Julie began teaching classical ballet in 1991 after a professional career with the Louisville Ballet and the Lexington Ballet. In this time she quickly realized her calling was for performing arts education and thus sought to create her own Academy of Dance. As co-owner of the A.R.T. Centre with Amy Delaney from 1993-1998, Julie began choreographing and directing full-length storybook ballets for students and young professionals. Early in her career Julie proved herself to be a serious educator in dance and a symbol for wholistic artistic development in the City of Louisville.
In 1998 she was asked to join the Ursuline School of Music and Drama in order to found their dance department using her experience and her following in the artistic community--this would then be renamed to the Ursuline School for the Performing Arts. From 1998-2019, Julie administrated over 300 students as chair of the dance department for what is now known as the Sacred Heart School for the Arts (SHSA); While there she choreographed and directed two full-length storybook ballets annually, and created the tradition of Community Nutcracker Auditions that saw over 150 students each year.
Beginning as co-founder of her own dance studio, and ending as director of the SHSA Dance Program and the Ursuline Arts Centre (UAC), Julie developed a strong presence as a successful female entrepreneur and respected instructor of classical ballet. Looking forward, she has set a new goal of professionalism and artistic development in the city of Louisville with the recent establishment of the Louisville Academy of Fine Arts (LAFA). As artistic director of this new school, Julie is using LAFA as a beacon of professionalism, artistry, and equality in the Louisville Community.
The Louisville Academy of Fine Arts is a home as much as it is a school, for all students on their artistic journey through life.
Artistic Director; Dance Instructor
Grace McWilliams graduated with a dance major from the Youth Performing Arts School in 2015. She has performed in over 40 shows with Sacred Heart School for the Arts, the Youth Performing Arts School, Louisville Dance Alliance, and the Vandiveir Ford Dance Company. Grace has been a dance teacher for 4 years now, with knowledge in ballet, modern/contemporary, jazz, with some tap, hip hop, and yoga experience. She taught dance at Sacred Heart School for the Arts for 4 years and the Louisville Dance Alliance for 2 years. Grace has created numerous works, winning awards, and having the opportunity to present with her work with the 2015 Regional Dance Festival, Moving Collective in 2015, the Vandiveir Ford Dance Company in 2018, and presented her first work as the Graceful Movement Dance Company with the Louisville Dance Series in 2019. She has choreographed several dances for SHSA's collaberation with the Louisville Youth Choir, as well as been the choreographer for SHSA's musicals, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr., The Lion King Jr., Aladdin Jr., and many more.
Assistant Director; Dance Instructor
Robin Franck Schulman
Robin Franck Schulman has over forty years of experience in the field of dance with numerous accomplishments and accolades in various genres as a performer, choreographer, and dance educator. Robin trained professionally with Gus Giordano, Joe Tremaine, and Tommy Sutton. Her works have been featured in the Miss Kentucky Pageant and regional dance companies. She has also choreographed numerous productions for Music Theater Louisville, Center Stage Theater, and the Clarksville Little Theater, including Hello Dolly, Mame, Annie, Big River, Cabaret, and Gigi to name a few. She has choreographed High School musicals for Sacred Heart School for the Arts to include Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Wiz, and Thoroughly Modern Millie. She has performed with countless companies in West Side Story, The King and I, Grease, Guys & Dolls, Oklahoma, A Chorus Line, and Anything Goes. Robin is a Certified Creative Movement Specialist and renowned speaker in the field of early childhood education. She has taught jazz, tap, ballet, creative movement, and musical theater in the metropolitan Louisville area for numerous organizations and owned her own studio, The Dance Connection, for over ten years until she closed its doors in 1995 to raise a family. Robin and her husband Butch have four grown children: Benjamin, Halle, Matthew and Emily.
Katie Kasari received her early dance training in Scranton, Pennsylvania, studying classical ballet, jazz, and tap; and graduated with a B.A. in Dance from DeSales University, where she studied modern dance, with a focus on choreography and production. After college, Katie performed and taught extensively throughout Pennsylvania, and was Co-founder and Director of a Philadelphia-based modern dance company, VADA Dance Collective. Since moving to Louisville, Katie has choreographed for Moving Collective, Suspend Performing Arts, and Vandivier Ford Dance Company, and has participated in outreach programs such as the World Refugee Week Festival, and the Americana Festival. In 2016, Katie founded the Louisville Dance Series, an annual showcase of local dance companies and choreographers. She also directs a rotating collective of dancers under the name Kasari Dance.
Elena Diehl has been dancing for over 30 years and teaching ballet, jazz, modern and creative dance for more than 20 years. It is her passion to share her love of dance with people of all ages! Babies, waddlers, toddlers, and their favorite grown-ups love dancing together in her GrowBabyGrow early childhood creative dancing playgroups. Her Dance Wise creative dance programs for elementary-aged children through adults and even those with Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders support lifelong brain health, mobility, skill development, and creative expression. Elena creates an energetic, dynamic, and playful environment in every class and students (in their words) leave feeling joyful, inspired, motivated, fulfilled, and confident. Elena graduated Cum Laude with her BFA and MFA from the University of Arizona, is a licensed Nurturing Pathways® instructor, certified Happiest Baby Educator, Dance for PD Trainee, and Brain Compatible Dance Educator.
Emma is currently a student at the University of Kentucky working towards a B.A. in Arts Administration and a B.A. in Communications, as well as a minor in Dance. Trained in ballet, modern, and jazz, she has a wealth of performance experience to accompany her technical background. Emma grew up dancing in Louisville, KY before moving to Lexington to continue her dance education at UK. She has performed at the university level as well as at the American College Dance Association in Athens, OH with UK. In addition to performing in Louisville and Lexington, Emma has traveled to New York City and Lorton, VA to perform. She is a 2016 Dance Alumna of Kentucky’s Governor’s School for the Arts.
Katherine Alberts is adjunct professor of oboe at Bellarmine University and Indiana University South East where she also teaches Music Appreciation. She was a regular member of the Louisville Bach Society Orchestra and has often performed with the Louisville Orchestra, the Louisville Opera, Louisville Ballet and Harris Entertainment. In 1998, she recorded for National Public Radio with the Derrière Guard Festival Orchestra. In the summer of 2004, Ms. Alberts was principle oboist with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra ’04 River Tour. Recently as principle oboe on three cds, she recorded with Arlo Guthrie’s In Times Like These, Thomas Pasatieri’s Hotel Casablanca, and George McKay’s Epoch: An American Dance Symphony with The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. In June 2009, Ms. Alberts performed at the Vatican with the UK Women’s Chorus. Currently she is a freelance artist and active instructor of Double Reeds at several Kentuckiana schools, the K-8 general music teacher at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic School in Clarksville, Indiana.
Sculptor and teaching artist Tara Knorpp graduated from Bellarmine University in 1992, where she holds a BA in Studio Art and a BS in Psychology. Knorpp has a professional background in Graphic Art, and has taught for Spot Five Art Studio, Sacred Heart School for the Arts, Sacred heart Preschool and The Louisville School for the Blind. Tara Knorpp enjoys nurturing and inspiring students to tap into their "inner artist" as they learn new ways to think and express themselves.
Visual Arts Instructor
Owen Kresse is an alumni of the YPAS theater program here in Louisville. He holds a BFA in Acting from Wright State University. Since his graduation, he has worked locally with Kentucky Shakespeare and in local play festivals. He believes that the value in learning the skills of an actor are present in how we communicate our collective stories and lives, and gives students the skills to share them.