BalletMet Education Department Staff
Ambre Emory-Maier is Director of Education at BalletMet and teaches on the faculty of the BalletMet Dance Academy. Her accomplishments at BalletMet include developing Aladdin: Finding the Magic in Dance, a professional development arts integration curriculum for K-5 school teachers in Ohio and Moving Into Literacy, a program for second grade students that infuses dance education into English Language Arts education to positively impact literacy and children's affective development. Ms. Emory-Maier also oversees the Dance Academy's Scholarship Program and has been instrumental in its evolution and refinement in providing scholarships to talented and underserved youth. A native of Allentown, Penn., Ms. Emory-Maier was formerly Director of Education and Outreach for North Carolina Dance Theatre (NCDT). Ms. Emory-Maier also worked as an artistic associate for NCDT 2. While at NCDT, she conceived, developed and implemented DEEP, NCDT's nationally recognized professional development program. Previously, she was a faculty member and Assistant Chairperson in the University of Hartford/Hartford Ballet's Dance Division. Ms. Emory-Maier holds a MA in Dance Reconstruction and Directing and a BA in Communications. Ms. Emory-Maier's dance training and performance experience have included pedagogical study in the Vaganova method, modern dance study in the Limon and Humphrey/Weidman styles and national touring with Polite Society, a vintage ballroom dance company. She is certified by The Dance Notation Bureau to teach Labanotation and holds a 500-RYT yoga certification through The Yoga Alliance. Emory-Maier serves on the Steering Committee for The National High School Dance Festival, has presented nationally at the NDEO, NCAAPHERD, and CORPS DE BALLET conferences and is an advisory board member of OhioDance.
BalletMet Teaching Artists
Teaching Artists at BalletMet have undergone well-rounded, superb training in working with students in public school setting using specific curricula from BalletMet Columbus.
Laura Dustman began dancing when she was 4 years old. A Columbus native, Ms. Dustman trained at BalletMet from her youth up through her high school graduation. Furthering her education in dance, she graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance education. Ms. Dustman has been teaching at BalletMet for the past six years and enjoys introducing young dancers to ballet technique. Ms. Dustman and her husband have a young son, Noah, and a daughter, Brooklyn.
Ever since she can remember, Jillian has been dancing. Growing up, she studied various dance styles such as tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and character dance. Jillian then followed her passion to major in dance at Kent State University. She now holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Education. Since then, Jillian has been a company member of Verlezza Dance Company. With them she was given the opportunity to perform, participate in lecture demonstrations, and weeklong intensives. Jillian currently works as a Teaching Artist for BalletMet teaching in both the Academy and also in the Education department. She loves that she is able to reach out to students of all ages and experience levels, and give them the opportunity to dance and express themselves in the creative arts. Jillian is also a certified yoga instructor and a licensed Zumba teacher.
Janine Lawson studied under Jean Gedeon and Mansur Kamaletdinov as a scholarship student in the Pre-professional program at Point Park College in Pittsburgh, PA. She performed as a soloist in the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet. While an undergraduate at West Virginia University, she was a featured dancer and earned rave reviews for her choreography for the University's jazz dance company, Mountain Jazz Dance Theatre. Janine took her love of dance into the classroom to spread the joy of dance and hasn’t looked back.
She expanded her teaching by joining the Education department at Ballet Met. She teaches in the Early Childhood programs and Momentum. Janine trained at the Teaching Excellence Teacher Training Workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, specifically focused on Teaching Excellence through dance education curriculum in the public schools. She is excited about furthering children’s ability to succeed by enhancing education with dance.
Elle Pierman began dancing at the age of three, and has danced off and on ever since. Her dance background includes tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, musical theatre, and hip-hop. Elle received her Bachelor’s degree at The Ohio State University, with a double major in Psychology and Communication and a minor in Dance. During her time at OSU, she was also a part of Stylez Dance Group, one of OSU’s competitive hip-hop teams. Currently, she plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration and Policy. This is Elle’s second year in the Education Department at BalletMet. She primarily teaches in the Early Childhood Education programs. Elle is very excited to be able to share the joys of dancing with children.
Brad began his dance training early but did not pursue it for many years. It was not until he joined the Central Ohio Theatre community that he resumed histraining with BalletMet Columbus, specializing in tap, jazz, and ballet. Shortly after, he joined Zivili, a professional dance company specializing in dances and music of the Southern Slavic Nations. As a company member, Brad was involved with their outreach education programs and participated internationally with the United Nation’s sponsored seminars for university students in war torn nations. Additionally, he toured Croatian Refugee Camps and homes for the elderly. Before joining the education department at BalletMet, Brad was a faculty member of their dance academy and currently is on their substitute teacher list. Brad is also a member of the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America and is a certified trainer in group exercise and practical yoga.
Keely Shaffer-Glenn received her MFA in dance from The University of Iowa in 2010 and was awarded the prestigious Dean’s Graduate Fellowship. Previously, she graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy and after high school received her B.A. in dance education from Brigham Young University. Keely was the 2011 Gravity Ripple III resident choreographer. Her love for children and dance led her to Balletmet’s Education and Community Engagement program, and teaching in the Moving into Literacy Program has been a favorite dance moment in her career. The students inspire her to keep moving, believing, and creating while they all dance away to stories and music!
Katy Tombaugh Henn, BS, CPT- ACE, RYT, CLWLC - ACE
Katy is an individual who can honestly say she is doing what she loves, and is called, to do. A graduate of BalletMet’s Professional Training Program in 1999, Katy has been on faculty with BalletMet since 2001. Through the years she has enjoyed teaching both classical dance in the Academy as well as various dance and movement experiences as part of outreach programs through the Department of Education. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology. Most recently she has enjoyed her continuing education studies through the National Dance Institute of New Mexico where she completed the “Teaching Excellence” teacher training program.
An entrepreneur from the age of 26, Katy grew up training to dance professionally. This training instilled a love for discipline, movement and the human body. From classical dance, she discovered fitness and her call to teaching and serving others. She founded Fusion Fitness & Wellness LLC in April of 2006 and Columbus Corporate Wellness LLC the following year.
Today she is a Certified Personal Trainer (ACE), a Registered Yoga Teacher (Yoga Alliance), Pilates Instructor (Balanced Body University) and a Certified Lifestyle & Weight Loss Consultant (ACE). She is also a Certified Holistic Health Coach (Circle of Life) and specializes in helping others with behavior change and implementing healthier lifestyle habits. Additional specializations include corporate health/wellness, prenatal/postnatal fitness, sports-specific training and children’s/youth fitness and wellness.
Although business minded, you will always find Katy in the classroom, both as a teacher and student. With over 16 years teaching experience, Katy is proud of positively impacting the lives of children and adults every day of her life as she develops customized corporate and community health and wellness programs. She takes pride in providing wellness solutions, education, inspiration, empowerment and motivation. She believes everyone deserves to achieve their best, both personally and professionally, in all aspects of their lives.
Katy works regularly in public and/or private schools as a Teaching Artist. This work takes her into multiple districts working with children K-12. She is an instructor/choreographer within the Momentum program which reaches over 400 children annually. As a Teaching Artist she also contributes to the Moving into Literacy programs and various arts education residencies. Recent projects include the development of tools for gifted and talented identification in movement as well as a partnership with Bexley City School’s physical education department for staff professional development with movement curriculum.
Katy has a very supportive husband, Bryan, two step-children, a newborn daughter and various animals who bring her joy. She enjoys spending her free time learning, reading and retreating out West or in Ohio’s Hocking Hills.
Julia Van Houten
Julia Van Houten grew up in Gahanna, Ohio and has been with BalletMet for six years. She has an Associate of Arts degree and over ten years teaching experience in the dance field. Julia began dancing at the age of three and has a background in ballet, tap, and jazz. She was the Pro-Am Scholarship recipient in 1994 at her local dance studio. In 2000, she toured the United States with Hoctor’s Dance Caravan in their dance training program. Julia feels very fortunate to be able to combine her love of dance with her passion in working with children and is delighted to share in the experience of movement and music with young ones in the Head Start schools through BalletMet’s Grow Up Great!™-Magic in Movement program.
Ohio native Nyla Clark Phillips received a Bachelor of Music degree from Ohio University where she studied with Gail Berenson. She earned a Master of Music degree from the University of Akron, studying with Marian Lott. Nyla is active as an adjudicator of Piano Events for the Ohio Music Education Association (OMEA) and the Ohio Music Teachers Association (OMTA). She accompanies dance classes at the BalletMet Dance Academy in Columbus, as well as movement classes in Columbus City Schools for BalletMet’s Education Department. She also accompanies a corporate chorus at Nationwide Insurance. She served on the Board of Directors for the Society of Alumni & Friends for the School of Music at Ohio University for six years and has taught piano privately for 30 years. Her public school experience includes two years as a high school Band Director, substitute music teacher in Franklin County and accompanying positions at several Central Ohio high schools in the past 20 years.
Helen Kushnir was born in the Soviet Union and graduated from the Music Conservatory in Russia with a Masters Degree. During her study she had 3-4 public performances a year. After graduation she worked for the Musical College as a music teacher, accompanist and had several performances every year. She works frequently as accompanist working with singers and choirs. When she came to the USA, she joined BalletMet as accompanist and has worked for the organization for 18 years playing for all levels of classes including Company class. Mrs. Kushnir has played for several dance schools around Columbus, Dennison University, OSU and Jewish Choir. Helen also works as an accompanist in the Education Department at BalletMet. She enjoys playing for young children and is delighted to share in the experience of movement and music.
Since graduating from Ohio State in 2010 with a degree in Jazz studies, Daniel has been busy playing, teaching, and recording. Some of the current and past projects he’s been involved with include: Shrub (a touring Reggae/Rock/Hip-Hop band), The Daniel Zwelling Band (a wedding/party band), and The Eugene Walker Project (an R&B/Neo-Soul project) which Daniel writes and records for. Daniel leads a busy teaching career as well which include private drum and percussion lessons at Music and Arts, in-home private drum and piano lessons, and master classes at Fort Hayes and The Columbus Academy. Daniel has been involved with Ballet Met since 2012 accompanying classes for The Wiggle Jig and Moving into Literacy programs, as well as playing for modern dance classes through the Academy.