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Meet the Faculty

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Executive Director, Artistic Director, Owner

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.

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Assistant Director, Rehearsal Director, Dance Instructor

Grace McWilliams graduated as a dance major from the Youth Performing Arts School in 2015. Grace is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville majoring in Business Management. She has performed with Sacred Heart School for the Arts (SHSA), the Youth Performing Arts School, Louisville Dance Alliance, Vandiveir Ford Dance Company, Louisville Dance Series, and Lou.Co.Lab. Grace has also created numerous works, and has had the opportunity to present her choreography in the Regional Dance Festival (2015), Moving Collective (2015), Vandiveir Ford Dance Company (2018), Louisville Dance Series (2019, 2020), and Lou.Co.Lab (2022, 2023). More of her works include SHSA collaboration with the Louisville Youth Choir and SHSA's musicals including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr., The Lion King Jr., and Aladdin Jr. Grace’s more recent choreography has appeared in the Louisville Academy of Fine Arts’ The Nutcracker (2019-2023), Spring Arts Gala (2021-2023), Peter Pan (2021), Cinderella (2022), and The Little Mermaid (2023). Grace is going into her 8th year of teaching dance, ranging from ages 3 to adult. Her teaching knowledge includes ballet, modern/contemporary, jazz, improvisation/composition, with some tap, hip hop, and yoga experience. She taught dance at Sacred Heart School for the Arts for 4 years and Louisville Dance Alliance for 2 years. This will be her fourth year with the Louisville Academy of Fine Arts as the assistant director. Grace is determined to ensure that her classes remain welcoming, judgment free, and a safe place for all of her students.

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Dance

Faculty

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Assistant Rehearsal Director, Graphic Designer, Dance Instructor

Clare Kresse is excited to continue her creative journey at Louisville Academy of Fine Arts. Kresse is the cofounder and director of the local dance company Lou.Co.Lab established in 2022. Through her company she continues to create opportunities for adults to continue their dance journey in supportive environment, and hopes to open her students eyes to the many opportunities awaiting them. Kresse graduated form Goucher College in 2020, with a BA in Dance and Environmental Studies. While in school she had the opportunity to study abroad to Edinburgh, Scotland and Chiang Mai, Thailand. Kresse was able to attend and perform in the American College Dance Association conference for 3 years, performing student and professional works. As an instructor Clare sees herself as a dance technician, stemming from her interests in labanotation (the physical writing of movement on a score) dance anatomy and kinesiology. She hopes to broaden her students understanding of the interconnectedness of all dance genres through beauty of movement efficiency mixed with movement quality. She is certified yoga teacher and certified in PBT. This with balance of mindfulness that movement brings, Clare hopes to aid in the well-roundedness and confidence of all her students.

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Stage Manage, Administrator, Dance Instructor

Emma Lucas is so excited to be working at Louisville Academy of Fine Arts as a dance instructor, office admin, and stage manager. Emma is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in Arts Administration, a BA in Communications, and 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.

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Technical Director, Dance Instructor 

Jon is an alumni of YPAS (Dance), GSA (Dance), and Ohio University where they studied dance filmmaking, business administration, and entrepreneurship. As co-founder of Ice Factory Films they have choreographed and directed two festival running dance films and performed in several experimental dance projects. With a focus on Dance & Technology and Post-Postmodern approaches to choreography, Jon hopes to bring a rich understanding of dance history and individualist creativity to the Louisville Academy of Fine Arts.

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 Dance Instructor 

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.

Piano Lesson

 Theater & Music

Faculty

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Musical Theater & Vocal Instructor 

Erik (he/him) is an theatre artist from Louisville, Ky. He holds a BFA in Acting (Musical Theatre) from Wright State University in Dayton, Oh. In addition to teaching Voice and Musical Theatre, Erik Co-Directs shows at Saint Margaret Mary School. He also performs as much as he can, both on stage and screen. He’s represented by Heyman Talent and has gone on to work on multiple films including White Noise on Netflix. On stage some of his favorite roles include: Dan (next to normal), Frank (The Memory of Water), Barfeé (Spelling Bee), Conrad (Stupid F***ing Bird), and Mendel (Falsettos). Erik is proud alum of GSA (Drama 2015), as well as a produced playwright. He is so thankful to work at such an incredible studio alongside such a wonderful team of artists.

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Cassia Wigginton

Musical Theater & Music Instructor

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Tuesday Arnold

Music Instructor 

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.

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Visual Art

Faculty

Tiffany Whelan

Books

Creative Writing

Faculty

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Lynn Slaughter is addicted to the arts, chocolate, and her husband’s cooking. After a long career as a professional dancer and dance educator, Lynn earned her MFA in Writing from Seton Hill University. Her first mystery for adults, MISSED CUE, comes out from Melange Books in August of 2023. She is also the author of four award-winning young adult romantic mysteries: DEADLY SETUP, LEISHA’S SONG, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU, AND WHILE I DANCED. Lynn lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where she’s at work on her next novel and is an active member and former president of Derby Rotten Scoundrels, the Ohio River Valley chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Costumer

Designer

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Selena Elbl

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