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Kelly Avery | Founding Director, Academy Director

Kelly Avery began her dancing career at Vestavia Dance at the age of six as a student in the program. From there, she went on to further her instruction with Mira Popovich at Birmingham-Southern College. Kelly received a Bachelor of Arts degree from BSC with a major in Dance. She has studied in New York with the New York School of Classical Dance and has taken classes under David Howard, The Alvin Ailey School, The Joffery Ballet, The American Ballet Theatre, Steps on Broadway, and Broadway Dance Center. Kelly came to Vestavia Dance as a teacher in 1996 and accepted the director’s position in 2001. She is a founding director of the Magic City Nutcracker.

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Stephanie Thompson Rangel | Founding Director, Artistic Director

Stephanie Thompson Rangel began her training in Jacksonville, Florida under Mark Spivak. She then continued her training with Beth Marks where she studied ballet, jazz, and modern. She joined Jacksonville Ballet Theatre at the age of 15 where she studied under Dulce Anaya. She attended notable summer intensive programs including American Ballet Theatre (Irvine), Briansky Saratoga Ballet, and Charleston Ballet Theatre where she trained with the company. She was simultaneously a member of JBT and the Bolles School Repertory Theatre. She moved to Birmingham, Alabama and joined Birmingham Ballet Repertory Company where she has performed roles including Princess Florine in Sleeping Beauty, Arabian coffee in The Nutcracker, and the lead in Alfonso Figueroa’s Hues. She joined Arova Contemporary Ballet in 2012, under the direction of Alison Page. She performed the role of the "Sorceress" in the original ballet The Snow Queen. She has been teaching ballet, jazz, and contemporary to students of all ages since 2007. After she was married in 2013 she moved to the country of Panama with her husband David and taught for Crossroads Bible Church and the Metropolitan School of Panama. 

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Jamie grimes | Ballet Mistress

Jamie Zarrilli Grimes started her dancing at the age of three in Huntsville, AL and has been teaching and choreographing for over fifteen years throughout Alabama.  In August 2004, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Dance and a minor in Theatre from the University of Alabama.  At UA, she was a member of the Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre and Dance Alabama where she performed soloist roles in the ballets Paquita and Raymonda among many others.  She also earned scholarships for five American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensives, the SFA Dance/Theatre Gift Scholarship, and the Dancer Award for excellence. In 2004, Jamie had the honor of performing at the "Sharing the Legacy" concert held at Hunter College in New York City where she performed original choreography by Isadora Duncan and Anna Sokolow.  Her theatre studies led to roles in Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story, and Ragtime.  In Birmingham, she has performed and choreographed with CenterStage Productions including dancing the lead role in 42nd Street.   In 2006, Jamie's choreography for Exclusively Ballet and Dance was selected for the Panoply Choreography Competition finals.   From 2007-2009, Jamie served as the Director of Dance for the Shades Valley Theatre Academy at Shades Valley High School where she created numerous pieces of award winning original choreography for their theatre department under the direction of Roy Hudson.  Her choreography was presented internationally at the Fringe Festival in Edinburg, Scotland in the summer of 2009.   In 2015, Jamie furthered her study of anatomy, human movement, and injury prevention by completing training to become a certified instructor of the Bar Method in Vestavia where she currently teaches bar fitness classes.  Jamie has lived in Vestavia Hills for the past 10 years with her husband Charley and their two young boys.   She loves sharing the art of dance with her students, and is thrilled to be a part of the Vestavia Dance family.

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Jamie Kilgore | Assistant Director

Jamie Kilgore Foust is a founding company member and ballet mistress of the AROVA Contemporary Ballet. Jamie has been featured in works by international choreographers, such as Thor Sutowski and Jorden Morris, in AROVA productions of Pointe / Counterpointe, Signature Blend, and Star-Crossed. She began her ballet training under the guidance of Margaret Galloway. Later she continued to train at the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) under Dame Sonia Arova, Thor Sutowski and Therese Laeger. As a student, Jamie had the opportunity to work professionally with the Alabama Ballet in productions of the Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet. She also performed with the Alabama Dance Theatre as a soloist in La Bayadere, Cinderella, and Crystal Edge. She graduated from ASFA with the Prix D’Excellence de Danse Award in 1998 and immediately joined the San Diego Ballet. There she was best known for her role as lead Arabian in the Nutcracker and as a soloist in many of Javier Velasco’s contemporary works. Jamie is an adjunct faculty member of the ASFA Dance Department, and she teaches for ASFA’s Preparatory Dance Program. Photo by Fred Jemison.

Kaitlin Winborn | Assistant Director

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Jaclyn Shiflett | Assistant Director 

Jaclyn Horsley Shiflett is a native of Birmingham, AL and has been studying ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and modern dance since childhood. She began training with Monica Barnett-Smith of Exclusively Ballet along-side Wes Chapman and Roger VanFleteran of the Alabama Ballet and continued her training at The Joffrey Ballet School in New York, The South Carolina Conservatory, STEPS, Broadway Dance Center and Pineapple London.  Jaclyn graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Birmingham-Southern College and is currently the Director of Operations for RFG Advisory Group, an investment advisory firm headquartered in Birmingham, AL. Jaclyn has been professionally teaching ballet, jazz, lyrical and contemporary dance for 12 years. Her students have earned numerous accolades at the regional and national levels. Recent productions include: Alice in Wonderland and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Some of her favorite roles include: The Dew Drop Fairy and Princess Aurora.

Leslie Dupont | Costume Director

Leslie Dupont has been involved in costume design and production for over 10 years. 

After graduating from the University of Delaware she moved from illustration and art history to designing and reconfiguring costumes for the ballet and theatre; ranging from The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Alfonso Figueroa’s Hues Contemporary Ballet, Wuthering Heights and Angels in America at The Theatre Downtown and historical ballgowns. 

She has had the wonderful opportunity to work with the Magic City Nutcracker from its inception to create the vision for her esteemed directors and friends. Without the invitation to design and costume an entire ballet from Stephanie Rangel, Kelly Avery and Angel White years ago, her life would not nearly have been as much fun: as the energy and laughter they make together every year drives the creative process even further.

Catelin Welshans | Production Manager

Catelin has worked for Vestavia Dance for 11 years as their Production Manager. When asked to join the team to help create the Magic City Nutcracker there was no hesitation. Catelin has done theatre and production for 17 years. When she's not producing MCN and Vestavia Dance recitals she is an avid baker and cake decorator. Mrs. Catelin is married to her spectacular husband of 5 years, Anthony, and they have 2 incredible sons Gideon and Asher.  She is over the moon thrilled to start the 6th year with MCN. Catelin has seen much change and  growth with the MCN and is excited for many performances in the years to come.