GINNY SIANO-ECK is the founding Artistic Director of Foothills Conservatory for the Performing Arts and owner and Director of Foothills Dance Conservatory in Seneca.
She began her early classical training with Larry Long and Delores Lipinski at the Ruth Page Foundation and with Bell Bender and Ellis-DuBoulay dance schools in Chicago. Ginny holds a B.A. in Dance and Secondary Education from Barat College. While at Barat she trained with Kenneth Melville, Carol Walker, Bobbie Neiman, Marcus Alford, Eileen Cropley and performed with the Barat Repertory Dance Company. While pursing graduate studies at Northwestern University Ginny worked with Peter Sparling, Sue Lee and Juanita Lopez. She trained in modern dance with Randy Duncan, Joseph Holmes, Harriet Ross, and studied jazz under Gus Giordano, Nan Giordano and Lea Darwin.
Ginny Siano-Eck taught modern dance for seventeen years in the Performing Arts Departments at Highland Park High School and for three years at Stevenson High School. Ginny has danced with the Tony Wilson Dance Company and Chicago Ballet Ensemble. In 1987 she founded Lake Shore Dancers and remained artistic director until 1996 when she relocated to the upstate. Ginny's former students have had professional careers with American Ballet Theatre, The Mark Morris Dance Group, Charleston Ballet, Maryland Dance Theatre, Cedar Lake Dance Ensemble and most recently Charlotte Ballet. Ginny was artist in residence for the School District of Oconee County from 1997-2005 and was on the approved artist roster with the South Carolina Arts Commission.
Born just down the road, David McAlister has been a featured performer for a variety of professional dance companies and artistic projects throughout the United States and Europe. FDC’s Artistic Director, Mrs. Ginny Siano-Eck, discovered David’s talents while teaching at West-Oak High School under the Target 2000’s Arts Outreach Grant. After training at FDC for 3 years, David attended the prestigious School of the Arts in Winston-Salem NC with the help and direction of his long-time mentor, and friend, Mr. Joe Merck. After UNCSA, David would go on to perform, choreograph, and teach professionally for the next 8 years, ultimately continuing on to create a customized curricula for contemporary training blending modern and classical movement into both traditional ballet and structured/free-form contact improve classes. In 2010, David retired from working full-time in the dance industry in order to pursue Active Duty military service. David’s time on Active Duty was spent jumping out of perfectly good aircrafts and numerous deployments to both the Middle East and South America. Always chasing adventure and learning, he believes his time in service was pivotal in shaping the person he has become today. David will be returning to FDC as the Ballet Master for the 2023- 2024 season and school year along with his wife Jessica, who will be the new Ballet Mistress. Jessica and David have 4 children, ages 10, 7, 6, and 1 ½.
Jessica Fry McAlister is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana where she trained under Joseph and Maria Giacobbe and performed with the New Orleans Youth Ballet, New Orleans Opera productions, and later professionally with the Delta Festival Ballet. Upon graduating high school, she accepted a position with the Joffrey II in New York under the direction of Gerald Arpino. She continued her professional career with Ballet Austin, Colorado Ballet, Greensboro Ballet, Montgomery Ballet, and the Ballet Theatre of Maryland, where she achieved principal status. It was also where she met her husband and greatest partner, David McAlister. Together they taught and performed with the Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Long Island Ballet Theatre, and the Eglevsky Ballet in New York. David and Jessie performed several summers with Burklyn Ballet Theatre, with which they performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. Jessica returned to the Greensboro Ballet as Ballet Mistress and then Artistic Director, choreographing and producing a new Nutcracker, Cinderella, and mixed rep production, amongst others. While in North Carolina Jessica also performed professionally with Winston Salem Festival Ballet in numerous contemporary works, her favorite dancing the role of Lucy in Director Gary Taylor’s Dracula. She has performed many lead roles both classical and contemporary throughout her career. Her favorites include Cinderella, Juliet, and Odette/Odile. She feels fortunate to have been coached in these roles by dance legends such as Helen Starr and Alun Jones, John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow, Tom Clower, Arthur Leeth, and the late Elissa Minet Fuchs. Jessie and David are excited to return to David’s hometown with their four children to work with FDC as Ballet Master and Mistress and are excited to bring their knowledge and experience to its talented students.
Born in Springfield, Illinois. Meghan has been dancing with Carolina Ballet Theatre under director Hernan Justo for over a decade. She began her training with Grace Luttrell Nanavati at Dance Arts Studio in Springfield and began performing with the Springfield Ballet Company under Julienne Ratz in 1999. She auditioned for the first year of their pre professional trainee program at age 10 and the next year was accepted into the Company, performing soloist and principal roles throughout her time there. In 2001 Meghan placed in the top ten of the Youth American Grand Prix Chicago Semi- Finals and went on to compete in the New York City Finals and perform in the Grand Gala. Meghan has been privileged to work with some amazing choreographers such as; Dwight Rhoden, Adam Sage, Robert Philander Valentine, Mark Diamond, Marcus Herman Payne, Julie Tice, and Krenley Guzman. She has performed original works created by, Martha Graham, Alivin Aley, Dwight Rhoden, and Alonzo King. She has had many amazing moments and opportunities in her career so far and enjoyed sharing the stage with fellow dancers, Herman and Erica Cornejo, Jeanette Delgado, Skylar Brant and Daniel Ulbrich.
In her most recent years Meghan found a more chancy and dynamic performance style in aerial circus arts. In 2018 she was excited to continue to bring aerials and dance to the Upstate so started her small business and became the owner of Loman Uplifted LLC. She has choreographed several pieces for her students and has gotten the opportunity to perform her own solo works across the US. In 2020 she took the stage with CBT performing aerials for Hernan Justo’s “The Jungle Book” and hopes to bring more unusual and exciting acts to the stage.
ALLIE LARSON-THOMSON started dancing at 3 years and hasn't stopped since. Graduating from James Madison University with a BA in Theater and Dance, she joined West Virginia Dance Company/Theater West Virginia in 2008. After finishing her contract, Allie came back to South Carolina to help start a poultry operation and teach modern and jazz to the students of the Foothills Dance Conservatory. Allie sat as President of the FCPA from 2011 to 2014 and has aided in its indeavors to foster, create and produce positive and engaging educational children's programming for the community at large.
hails from Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia. A small town that is a gateway to The Great Barrier Reef, known for it’s big fish with large teeth, saltwater crocodiles and deadly snakes. However that is where he first began to study ballet and at eighteen years old he was dancing at The Sydney Opera House with the Australian Ballet. Since retiring as a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet and The Joffrey Ballet, Mr. Palmer has created more than 50 ballets for companies including San Francisco Ballet, The Australian Ballet, The Washington Ballet, Miami City Ballet and others. A winner of the Choo-San Goh Award for choreography, he also led his own company Maximum Dance Company for nine years. Mr. Palmer led Maximum Dance Company on four international tours and many national tours. In 2004 David Palmer was awarded The New World School of the Arts Achievement Award.He brings with him years of experience having directed Rochester City Ballet and The Washington Ballet.
Kelly has also enjoyed teaching ballet for the Rochester City School District through the after school program Quad A for Kids.
TRACY VOGT, originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, started her dance training at Little’s Dance Studio at age 3. She attended the School for the Performing and Visual Arts where she was given scholarships to study at the Erie Civic Ballet School (Lake Erie Ballet) and the Erie Bayfront Ballet. She received scholarships to the PA Governor’s School for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow Modern Intensive, Point Park Summer Dance and attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. She was also a scholarship student at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York, NY, where she was personally chosen to demonstrate Graham technique by School Director, Denise Jefferson.
Her professional experience includes Assistant Rehearsal Director, Principal Dancer and Masterclass Instructor with the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) for twelve years, Rehearsal Director and Principal Dancer for the Wylliams Henry Contemporary Dance Company in Kansas City, MO, Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theater and Verb Ballets in Ohio, under the direction of Hernando Cortez. She received the Philadelphia Rocky Award for Dance Excellence, and has performed lead roles in works by Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, David Parsons, Elisa Monte, Talley Beatty, George Faison, Bill T. Jones, Dianne McIntyre, Christopher Huggins, Dwight Rhoden and many other diverse contemporary choreographers.
Ms. Vogt has taught at the National Regional Dance America, Southeastern and Northeastern Regional Ballet Festivals, as well as numerous schools, summer intensives and Universities both nationally and abroad, most recently in Uganda, Rwanda and Guinea, Africa for MindLeaps non-profit organization. She was Dance Director for North Atlanta High School in 2009 and on faculty at Tri-Cities High School, Atlanta Ballet and the South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and Humanities from 2012-2020.
Her choreography was selected and performed at RDA SE festival in 2011and 2019, and her contemporary choreography placed 1st, 2nd and numerous top twelve finishes at Youth American Grand Prix in Atlanta, Winston-Salem and YAGP Finals in NYC. She has also choreographed works for Dance Canvas Atlanta, Rockford Dance Company, Erie Contemporary Ballet as well as the Regional High School Dance Festival in Norfolk, VA. She is currently the Artistic Director of the Roswell Dance Theatre Modern Company and teaches at the Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance in Atlanta.
student, all of which combine to make her a popular and successful teacher.
ROBYN MAGGIO started tapping in Massachusetts at the age of 4 and hasn't stopped since! She was fortunate to have moved to Spartanburg when she was 9 and began training with Marion Feinstein. Miss Marion sealed her love for tap, traveling to take master classes and performing across the country (including The Worlds Fair in 1984). She even auditioned for Kenny Ortega for the movie Dirty Dancing and was selected as one of the dancers, only to injure her knee the week before filming was to begin. As a young adult, she lived in New York and studied under some great tap and jazz professionals at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway.
SVETLANA TODINOVA is a professional ballet dancer from Russia and performed with the prestigious Moscow Ballet since 2001 before relocating to teach
at Foothills Dance Conservatory. Her profile on the official website for the Moscow Ballet's "The Nutcracker" states the following:
"Svetlana Todinova, Moscow Ballet's dynamic Audition Director and soloist for over a decade, dances as soloist with Moscow Ballet in all the company's repertory. Born in Yadrun, Russia just outside of Moscow, Todinova completed formal training under ballet legendary Yuri Gigorovich at the Ufimsky school of Choreography in Ufa, now named Rudolf Nureyev Russian State Ballet Academy in honor of the legendary dancer who was also a graduate. Upon graduation in 1997, Svetlana was invited to dance with the Ufa Opera and Ballet Theatre in the capital city of the Bashkiria Republic. She was later invited to join the Krasnoyarsk Musical Theater, directed by Yuri Grigorovich who is now famous for his virtuosic productions at the Bolshoi Theater. There she danced all the big works that Grigorovich created including "Legend of Love," "Spartacus" and more. She recounts that at rehearsals for these productions Grigorovich would watch the complete show without comment and then gave corrections to each dancer as needed one by one on stage and from memory. In 1999, Svetlana joined Russia's renowned National Academy of Theatrical Arts, aka "GITIS," founded in 1878 by theater pioneer and founder of the Stanislavsky acting method, K. directory, and to preserve the heritage of Russian classical ballet. There she specialized in pedagogy and repertory for children.
Known for her high speed jumps, turns and strong accents, Svetlana was known affectionately among her colleagues as "The Baby Swan" for her role in the classic "Swan Lake." Along with Swan Lake, her repertoire included Spartacus, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Carmen, Romeo and Juliet, and more. As Moscow' s former Ballet Audition Director, Svetlana visited dozens of American cities September though November annually, where she auditioned and rehearsed hundreds of aspiring dancers to perform in Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker." Foothills Conservatory was honored to have her join the faculty in August of 2015.
OLIVIA POWELL a native of the Boston area, received her ballet training from the Boston Ballet School. She attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ dance department and received her BFA with first class honors at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, in Hong Kong. Olivia then joined The Alabama Ballet where she performed in works such as George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, as the dew drop fairy, and Tarantella. She also performed in Jiri Jylian’s Sechs Tanze, Agnes De Mille’s Rodeo, and Roger Van Fleteren’s Romeo and Juliet and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In 2014 Olivia joined Ballet Memphis where she worked with many choreographers including Mark Godden, Steven McMahon, Uri Sands, Joshua L. Peugh, Gabrielle Lamb, Julia Adam and Julie Marie Niekrasz. Currently, Olivia is working as a freelance artist and is based out of Pompano Beach, Florida under the direction of Magaly Suarez. This is Ms. Pwell's first season with Diablo Ballet, Walnut Creek CA.