Meredith Parks was born and raised in Smithfield, Virginia and began her dance training at the age of 3 at Southside Ballet Studio under the direction of Leslie McGinn. While dancing at Southside Ballet Meredith performed at many community events, annual recitals, local competitions and in “The Nutcracker.” Upon graduation from Isle of Wight Academy Meredith performed as a dancer in The Lost Colony, America’s longest running outdoor drama, for two seasons. Meredith majored in dance at Radford University where she performed many lead roles in “The Nutcracker,” “Giselle,” and “Swan Lake.” Meredith graduated with honors from Radford University and moved to Charleston, South Carolina where she performed with The Charleston Ballet Theatre during their 2001 and 2002 seasons. Meredith attended the Graduate School at the College of Charleston and graduated in 2005 with a Master’s of Arts in Teaching. She taught third grade for two years and was excited to find an available position teaching dance in the public school system in Dorchester District 2. Meredith has served as a dance educator at Oakbrook Middle School for the past five years. She was awarded two $18,000 Arts Innovation Grants for arts related projects and has written several curriculum guides on both the local and state levels. Meredith received the honor of being named the Oakbrook Middle School “Teacher of the Year” in 2012. Meredith is overjoyed to be back in the studio where her love for dance began and blossomed.
Trained in New York under Andre Eglevsky and was a member of the Eglevsky Ballet Company at the age of 16. Danced as a child in The Usdan Performing Arts Camp in New York. Performed with Fernando Bujones and George De La Pena in Coppelia, Cinderella, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and many more. Also studied at American Ballet Theatre and Joffrey Ballet in N.Y.C. Studied Jazz & Tap at Steps on Broadway. Attended Adelphi University majoring in dance, becoming the first freshman to perform in their dance company. Member of Chamber Ballet of Williamsburg and Young Audiences of Virginia. Director of Southside Ballet Studio since 1981. Leslie has choreographed and judged for many plays & beauty pageants. For the Smithfield Little Theater this fall Leslie will be choreographing "Peter Pan", other plays include, "Annie", "Dark Of The Moon and " Steppin' Out ". Won numerous awards for choreography at dance competitions and was awarded "Educator Of The Year" in Richmond through a nomination from The Governors School For The Arts.
Amanda Rogers began dancing at the age of three at Southside Ballet Studio under the direction of Leslie McGinn. She was a member of the student dance company until graduating from high school. She received her BS in Psychology with a minor in dance and family studies from James Madison University in 2002 and her MA in Community Counseling from Regent University in 2008. Amanda began student teaching at Southside Ballet Studio as a teenager and has been teaching the senior company members consistently since 2002. She has a passion for dance education and assisting her students to reach their full potential.
Jennifer Sauls Booth began dancing at the tender age of 3 under the direction of Leslie McGinn. Jennifer was a member of the Southside Ballet Dance Company, performing in numerous competitions, school shows, as well as for the community of Smithfield. She attended the Governor’s School for the Arts during her high school years. While in the Governor’s School she was awarded numerous dance scholarships including Shenandoah University, Joffery Ballet School, School of the Hartford Ballet, VA School of the Arts, and Texas Christian University. While in high school she also danced with the Virginia Ballet Theatre, performing Pas De Dix, Paquita, the Nutcracker, as well as other dances. In 1995 she graduated from both Smithfield High School and the Governor’s School for the Arts and attended Shenandoah University. While at SU she took master classes with Alan Arnett, Doug Elkins, Christine Dakin, Victoria Shiflet, Robert Duvall and Nester Ray. She also had the honor of dancing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 1996 she continued her education by attending Old Dominion University majoring in dance and elementary education. She performed with ODU’s University Dance Theatre. Here she performed works by Randy James, Melody Ruffin Ward, Todd Rosenlieb, and Kathryn Finney. Jennifer graduated in 1999 from ODU with a BA in dance. She finished her teaching certification at Christopher Newport University. She married her high school sweetheart, Jason in June 2000. Jennifer has 2 wonderful boys, Matthew – 12 and Jacob – 8. She is currently a first grade teacher at Carrollton Elementary and absolutely loves it. “I love that I am able to share my passion of dance with my students, in the studio where I began my training.”
Danielle Glaser was born and raised in Long Island, NY. She began dance at the age of 3. After dancing for 9 years Danielle focused on competitive cheer and gymnastics which she excelled in and won multiple awards with her team at many local competitions along with competing at Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1999 Danielle and her husband Tommy moved to Smithfield, VA. In 2005 and 2009 they gave birth to their beautiful children Zoe and Ian. In 2009 Danielle enrolled her daughter Zoe in dance at Southside Ballet Studio and at the same time was able to fulfill her love for dance once again and became a Ballet/Tap Instructor. She has mentored competitive and recreational dancers at various competitions along with attending the DEA Teacher workshop in Richmond, VA where she worked with certified dance instructors who are very well known throughout the country. She implements both the pre-ballet and gymnastics syllabus into weekly lessons. Danielle brings a vast array of expertise. It is her high energy, sharp teaching skills and charismatic approach to her craft that makes Danielle’s class so captivating. She strives to help each student reach his or her potential.
Dance runs in the family for Alexis! Her grandmother, who worked at a dance studio, enrolled her in her first class. She fell in love with dance her first season. Alexis began dancing at Maureen’s School of Dance in Chesapeake, Virginia at the age of four. She continued her training there until the age of 14 when she moved to Smithfield, Virginia. Alexis was a member of the Southside Ballet Student Company from 2013-2016. She has earned many awards on the competition level as well as the studio level. She has helped to mentor and inspire many young dancers at Southside Ballet Studio. Alexis attends Tidewater Community College and is working towards her Associates Degree. She plans to attend a University and acquire her doctorate in Psychology. Alexis is excited to share her love for dance with the students of Southside Ballet Studio!