School Director & Instructor
Camilla Bullard discovered her passion for dance at the age of nine. She trained for eight years under the direction of Pat Wall at Gaston Dance Theatre, studying Ballet, Modern, Jazz and Tap. During this time, she danced featured roles in many well-known Ballets; the Coffee Arabian Princess in The Nutcracker and the Lead Gypsy in Don Quixote proved to be favorites. Camilla also attended multiple intensive programs offered at the North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA) and performed as a featured Soloist in the selected Group Assemble entered by The GDT Company.
After graduating high school, Camilla trained and performed under the direction of Anne Blackwell at the York County Ballet, becoming a part of the Featured Company within the school. She continued her education at Gaston College, receiving her N.C. Early Childhood Credentials. This led her to many years working in a pre-school, an experience that taught her how much she loved working with children.
In 2015, Camilla returned to her roots as a Ballet instructor at Gaston Dance Theatre. She teaches all levels of Classical Ballet, from our youngest dancers in Creative Movement through our most advanced students. Since 2017, she has served as the Rehearsal Director of GDT’s holiday classic The Nutcracker. Under her tutelage, many students have gone on to successful dance intensive and college dance programs. Over the years, her love and passion for dance has continued to grow and she looks forward to educating the next generation of GDT students. Camilla is dedicated to holding the highest standard of dance education and now serves as the School Director for GDT.
Elizabeth Lowry grew up in Florida, where she enjoyed studying Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Pointe. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Affairs and a Master’s Degree in Urban & Regional Planning from Florida State University. After working in the field of transportation planning for nearly a decade, she “retired” to be a full-time wife, mom and volunteer. She joined the administrative team at Gaston Dance Theatre in 2015 as the Office Manager and also serves as the Front of House Manager for all GDT productions. This year she takes on the new role of Business Director, handling activities such as fundraising, marketing, communication, and financial matters.
Ballet & Pointe Technique
Katarina Dimitrijevic is a graduate of The State Ballet Academy of Belgrade, Serbia. Katarina danced with the Simionov Ensemble and instructed classical ballet at three different ballet institutions in Belgrade. She then spent several years in Italy as a ballet instructor, choreographer and dancer at ballet schools in Ragusa. Cosimo, Acate and Grammichele. In 1997, Katarina opened her own dance school, KAYA, in Belgrade. She also completed a four-year course in Ballet Pedagogy at the University of High Culture and Arts in Rome, Italy, where she continued her studies in the Vaganova methodology. She served as Assistant to Professor Ivan Goliandin in the Character Dance Department. While studying in Rome, she taught classical and character dances at several studios while also dancing professionally.
Katarina moved to the United States in 2003 and taught classical ballet at the Fort Wayne Ballet Academy. For more than ten years, she has been an instructor at Charlotte Ballet and joined our staff at GDT in 2016.
Just Dance & Tap 1
Emily Hobart began dancing when she was five years old at Dance Magic in Kings Mountain, where she fell in love with tap and ballet. In 2007, she began her classical ballet training at the Belmont School of Ballet under the direction of Gay Porter, where she received grades of distinction in the Royal Academy of Dance, and Cecchetti examinations. She attended Gaston Dance Theatre from 2013 to 2017, and discovered her love for jazz and modern dance, as well as continuing her ballet and tap training.
In 2019, she returned to GDT as an instructor, teaching tap classes while she attending college. Emily earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 2021, and is excited to return to GDT to share her love of the arts with the students at GDT.
Modern, Jazz & Tap 2
Shonda Hooper began her dance training at Gaston Dance Theatre. Under the direction of Pat Wall, she studied Ballet, Tap, and Modern from 1993-2003. She also attended several summer intensives including University of the Arts in Philadelphia and American Dance Festival.
Shonda continued her training as a dance major at UNC Charlotte, where she was trained in the styles of Ballet and Modern under the direction of Kim Jones (former Graham company member), Delia Neil, E.E. Balcos, Sybil Huskey and Pamela Sofras. During these years, she was granted several noteworthy opportunities including: performing in a dance choreographed by Claire Porter; performing in the restaging of “Steps in the Street”; participating in a dance that was funded by NSF as a research project with technology and dance; touring with Kim Jones in her piece “Mauri” for the North Carolina Dance Festival; and performing original choreography for the informal concert at American College Dance Festival.
Shonda earned a BA in dance and a BS in Public Health. Since graduating, she has taught various styles of dance including Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, and Ballet.
Em Jacobsson is a recent graduate of East Carolina University’s School of Theater and Dance. Em earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography, as well as Entrepreneurship Certification.
As a young dancer, she began her training at Holly Springs School of Dance under the direction of Marilyn Chappell. Em trained in ballet, pointe, modern, and jazz, and later taught and choreographed on Holly Springs School of Dance students.
Em has completed multiple summer intensives with Hubbard Street Dance in Chicago, IL, attended The American Dance Festival in Durham, NC, and received scholarships to summer study at Carolina Beach and UNCSA. In recent years, Em has also begun teaching conditioning classes for Carolina Ballet’s Summer Intensive program. Em has a passion for creating and can’t wait to share this passion with the students of Gaston Dance Theatre this year!
Intro to Ballet
Amarah Kendrick discovered her love of ballet at the age of 9, and began her training at Gaston Dance Theatre. She has since expanded her training to the genres of Modern, Contemporary and Jazz. Amarah has performed in multiple leads in GDT productions, beginning with Clara in The Nutcracker (2017), Snow Queen in The Nutcracker (2018) and the title role in Cinderella (2019).
Amarah has attended prestigious summer intensives at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts and American Ballet Theatre at University of Alabama. She was also accepted into and offered a scholarship to the summer program at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
Amarah has proved to be a wonderful role model for young dancers and has served as a substitute instructor in both Ballet & Modern. This year, Amarah joins our staff as an instructor for Introduction to Ballet .
Anna Patterson began her classical ballet training at the Charlotte School of Ballet under the direction of Gay Porter and Bridget Young. There, she achieved the grades of Distinction and Highly Commended in the Royal Academy of Dance and Cecchetti examinations. In 2016, Anna was handpicked to be trained by Gelsey Kirkland and moved to New York City to attend the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet where she was trained in the Vaganova and Bournonville method. At age eighteen, Anna was invited to join the U.S International Ballet as a corps de ballet member and became one of the company’s founding members. There, she had the privilege of dancing many roles varying from corps de ballet to soloist. In 2019, Anna joined Columbia Classical Ballet where she danced in numerous ballets including Giselle, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Red Riding Hood, and The Wizard of Oz. Anna is still dancing and enjoying teaching and hopes to inspire the joy of ballet in the next generation.
Ballet & Pointe Technique
Anthony Schweighardt is a former dancer for Charlotte Ballet under Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride and former Principal Dancer for Ballet Tucson, Ballet Virginia and Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota.
Anthony is comprehensively certified as a Pilates instructor and personal trainer. He is currently a full time ballet instructor and cross trainer for youth, pre-professional and professional dancers in the Twin Cities area as well as a freelance dancer/choreographer.