Alexander Academy Faculty & Staff
Danelle Frieden Watson
Director and Teacher
Danelle started dancing at the age of 2 in Indiana with her mother. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from State University of New York at Purchase. During that time she also studied abroad at the London School of Contemporary Dance in England. While in New York City, she performed works by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Mark Morris, Jose Limon, Paul Taylor, Doug Varone, Kevin Wynn, Michelle Ellman and many others. She toured throughout the USA, China and Russia. She has taught ballet, modern, tap, jazz and gymnastics at numerous studios across the nation including New York, New Jersey, San Francisco, Indiana, Washington and now, Maui. Danelle previously was the Director of the Performing Arts Center of Carmel, Artistic Director for the Indiana Dance Ambassadors, and Co-Director at Issaquah Dance Theater. Danelle Watson is an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT National Training Curriculum. She is happy to be "home" at Alexander Academy and a mother of twin boys and 1 girl. She is celebrating 10 years as director at AAPA and is incredibly grateful for our dancing ohana community and our team of staff.
Hallie received her early training with Ballet San Jose school where she had the opportunity to perform with Ballet San Jose under artistic directer Dennis Nahat. She then went on to study with LINES Ballet School where she had the honor to perform with Alonzo King's LINES Ballet. She continued her training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance under the direction of Summer Lee Rhatigan. While at SFCD she had the opportunity to perform works by Jiri Killian and William Forsythe. She performed on tour with Artship Dance Theatre in Serbia under the direction of Slobodan Dan Paich. She danced and toured with The Foundry under direction of Alex Ketley and Christian Burns. Hallie co founded Adaptations Dance Theater in 2012 with the hopes of bringing more wonderful dance to Maui. Excited to be working at AAPA (since 2009), Hallie looks forward to continuing to teach and choreograph for the fantastic students on Maui.
Amelia began her career in theater and dance right here on Maui where she was born and raised. She started studying ballet at the Alexander Academy of Performing Arts, and later modern dance with the Seabury Hall Modern Dance Ensemble. During her high school years, she studied with Ballet Hawaii, American Ballet Theater, Ballet West, and the University of Utah Ballet Department. She returned to Maui to graduate from Seabury Hall and was accepted into the Department of Theater, Film, and Television at UCLA where she won awards for acting and musical theater performance. In 2006 she earned a Bachelor's degree in Acting and worked in Los Angeles as a dancer, singer, and actress. Amelia is also co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of Adaptations Dance Theater.
Absalon trained at the Orlando Ballet School in Orlando, Florida. He was selected as part of the final group of trainees by the late Fernando Bujones, and had the opportunity to spend 2 years dancing with the Orlando Ballet Company. Absalon joined the faculty of OBS as a teacher and conditioning instructor and became the pianist to the Company. Upon moving to Vancouver, Canada in 2009, he has taught ballet at Arts Umbrella Dance, and has been the company pianist to Ballet BC. Absalon is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training in all levels of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Lee Ann Lawrence
Lee Ann Lawrence has been dancing since the age of 8. Originally from Florida, she has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop and acrobatics. She holds a degree in Business Administration with a minor in Dance. Lee Ann spent her childhood competing in dance and attending dance conventions throughout the south. A few of her teaching influences include Joe Tremaine, Marguerite Derricks, and the late Doug Caldwell. As an educator, Lee Ann brings her 25 years of teaching experience to every class with an emphasis on technique, kinesiology and injury prevention. In 2014 Lee Ann founded a heels dance program appropriately titled HEEL'D. It is her goal to continue to inspire women, of all ages, to continue dancing while providing a positive environment for growth and self acceptance. Outside of teaching dance classes, Lee Ann is passion about fitness and nutrition.
Yasmine, originally from the east coast, is a dance artist, educator, and choreographer. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance from California State University Long Beach and a M.A. in Contemporary Dance from the London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS). While living in London, she toured internationally throughout Europe, performing works by Shobana Jeyasingh, Tony Adigun, Patricia Okenwa, and Kaeja d’Dance, under the artistic direction of Jeanne Yasko. Yasmine has presented her choreography in the USA, Portugal, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and the UK. Often working across mediums, she has choreographed for Do Not Entry Productions (BFI Film Festival), Oneohtrix Point Never’s MYRIAD (Barbican Centre), and Project Syntrex. Yasmine is a passionate teaching artist offering classes in a diverse range of styles. She has taught for various schools and companies such as Ballet Prague Junior Company, Scottish School of Contemporary Dance, and Shift Dance Company (LCDS). Yasmine is currently a member of Adaptations Dance Theater and she is excited to join the AAPA family!
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa and raised in South California, Melissa has been a dancer for over 21 years. Growing up, she trained at South County Dance and Maple Conservatory of Dance in Orange County, CA, where she trained and competed in various dance styles. She received her BA in Dance Science from California State University, Long Beach and was also a member of the Long Beach State Dance Team for three years, competing nationally at UDA and USA Nationals. In addition, she had the opportunity to study ballet and art history at the Lorenzo de' Medici University in Florence, Italy. Melissa has had the privilege of performing in works choreographed by Alex Ketley, Sophie Monat, Lorin Johnson, Laurel Jenkins, Vincent Paterson, Andrew Vaca, Deborah Brockus, Julienne Mackey, Jerome Alexander, and more. She's been a dance instructor for six years in studios and high schools throughout the Southern California area, as well as an NSCA certified personal trainer for 3 years in Santa Monica, CA. Melissa just recently moved to Maui and is happy to join our ohana.
Tamara Craft is a mother of 4 children, a Kindermusik Educator, a Juice Plus Wellness Coordinator, and an English Teacher to the children of China. Her work with children has also included working as a preschool teacher, and a special needs preschool teacher. She studied at Moore Head State University and Kindermusik International. She received a Maestro License from Kindermusik International in 2012. She has been training children through Kindermusik for over 20 years. Her family is new to the island of Maui and are excited to be here. She is passionate to inspire children musically! 3 of her children are accomplished musicians, and her youngest is dancing at Alexander Academy.
When Jen moved to Maui in October 2011, one of her first goals was to find a dance studio where she could reconnect with her passion for the performing art; a search that thankfully led her to Alexander Academy. Jen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006 with a B.A. in Communication Studies and Latin American Studies, and since then has worked primarily in the nonprofit marketing sector in support of film, youth development, and the environment. Beyond being a not-so-secret stage ham in AAPC's spring productions, Jen is also in her novice years at Nā Kai ‘Ewalu canoe club and is the proud mother of two feline fur babies, Neko and Tata.
Jenny has been involved with AAPA since 2012 when she enrolled her daughter in Pre-Ballet. Soon after, Jenny began to learn (and love) ballet as well. She appreciates the school's affordable tuition philosophy and has invested herself to support the studio in many ways, most recently as on-site office staff. Jenny entered the arena of dance in 1996 when she discovered Kathak, North Indian classical dance, via a course at San Francisco State University taught by Kathak master Chitresh Das. She soon became a dance teacher and school administrator for the Chhandam School of Kathak Dance, and a performing member of the Chitresh Das Dance Company. On Maui, Jenny applies her enthusiasm for classical Indian dance through her study of Odissi. She is also grateful to still be dancing ballet at Alexander Academy with her daughter and her son. She lives with her family and tends the abundantly productive land that supports them.
Chelsea became involved in AAPA after moving back to the islands with her family in 2013. She fell in love with ballet after enrolling her daughter in classes at AAPA. Her love for the studio, its philosophy and the dancing community that surrounds it grows each year. Although her full time job in Wailea keeps her busy at night, she devotes her afternoons to helping at AAPA's boutique and assisting with many studio needs. If you can't find her in the office, she'll likely be in the Studio's vault, brainstorming new costume ideas for an upcoming show.