ASHLEY CASTRODirector, SOTD Alumna, and Senior Instructor Ashley was a student for five years at SOTD. She continued her studies at The Maryland Youth Ballet with world-renowned Tensia Fonseca and the late Eric Hampton. Throughout her study at MYB, Ashley worked with The Washington School of Ballet, The Kirov Academy of Ballet of DC, and was selected to train with The Boston Ballet, The American Academy of Ballet, and received a scholarship to The Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. In 2005, Ashley graduated from the College of Charleston in SC earning degrees in Performing Arts, Ballet & Corporate Communications. In Charleston, Ashley was a member of The Robert Ivey Ballet Company for five seasons. In addition, Ashley has performed with the Joffrey Ballet and Charleston Ballet Theatre in such venues as The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, and the historic Sottile Theatre. In 2006, she returned to dance and teach at SOTD. She most recently continued her professional dance training during her four year residence in Cyprus. Ashley has a lovely daughter, Evelina, who is already following in her mother’s footsteps!
THERESA D’ALESSANDROSOTDFounder, Director from 1980-2020, and Administrative Advisor
Theresa has been in the teaching profession for over 35 years. Teaching all levels of Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern. Her formal ballet training began in the early 60’s with Solange Binda at the Ballet Academy of Northern Virginia who she thanks for making childhood dance a nurturing and inspiring experience. At age 9, she auditioned for, and danced in the National Ballet’s (The predecessor of The Washington Ballet) “Nutcracker”, under ballet legend, Frederick Franklin. At 14 she was accepted into the prestigious full time academy at the Washington School of Ballet, but chose to continue her public education while studying under WSB founder Mary Day, Julio DeBettencourt, and Martin Buchner. She received her BA in Dance from Mary Washington University under the guidance of Sonja Dragomanovic Haydar, Jean Hunt and Kathy Gray. After officially opening the school, in 1980, she continued to pursue her performing career. She danced with the Washington Opera Ballet for five seasons at the Kennedy Center, working with such world-renowned choreographers as Baayork Lee, Donald Sadler and Brian Macdonald. She was one of four dancers in Ring Around the Moon at Arena Stage. For ten years she was a member and soloist with the Modern dance Company, KHG Dance Theatre. Over the years Theresa has choreographed and produced numerous original ballets, such as “From Amber to Blue”, “Cuban Overture”, “Equisses de Royaute”, “Brandenberg Concerto”, The Little Mermaid”, “La Fortuna”, “Come Spring”, “Bach”, “Firebird”, “Seasons”, and multi genre productions including, “A Pig’s Tale”, “A Golden Afternoon”, “J’Adore Paris”. Theresa has also worked in television, acting and choreographing for the Korean EBS network, as well as being a voice actor for radio and video. She is a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science, registered with the Royal Academy of Dancing, and AGMA. Theresa has a son, Tom, “My joy”.
LINDA McLEANSenior Fitness Instructor
Linda graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri earning degrees in Theatre Arts and Social Science for Secondary Education. She has been certified by AFAA and ACE and has CPR/AED certification. Linda started teaching Aerobics at The School of Theatrical Dance in 1982, and has taught at a variety of local health clubs in Reston and Mclean over the years. Linda has been a beloved member of the SOTD family for almost 40 years!
MICHAEL STOKES(“Styles”) Senior Instructor
Michael Stokes is a member of the National Ballet Company and has studied at Julliard in New York, and the Jilliana School of The Arts. He has appeared as a back up dancer in various music videos with leading Hip Hop artists such as Justin Timberlake, Tabi Boney and Missy Elliot. He has performed on stage with Alicia Keys, Beyonce, John Legend, Omarion, Bobby Valentino, Avant, and Chris Brown. In 2010, Michael passed the NYC audition of the “So You Think you Can Dance” competition, and was invited to compete in Vegas, where he made it through two more rounds. Michael is currently focusing on his career by auditioning in the US and abroad. He recently appeared with Beyonce and has upcoming roles on HBO’s “Veep” and “House of Cards”. Mr. Styles enjoys spending time with his daughter, Layla and fiance, Gina.
FLORIAN ROUILLERSenior Instructor
Originally from Geneva, Switzerland, Mr. Rouiller received his early training with Ecole De Danse Contemporaine and the Stuttgart Ballet School. He has danced with, among others, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Ohio Ballet, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Milwaukee Ballet and Goteborg Ballet. He has performed the ballets of such choreographers as Balanchine, Butler, King, Prokovsky, Goh, North and many others.