Teaching is a gift that grows with years of experience. Each School of Performing Arts teacher is a highly– respected teacher, specializing in their dance field!
Russell Sultzbach - DirectorRussell Sultzbach is currently director of the School of Performing Arts and also Director of Ballet South. He is a native of Orlando and began his dance training with Edith and Bill Royal in order to be eligible for the local Nutcracker.
Mr. Sultzbach was a student at the American Ballet Center and The School of Joffrey Ballet. He was chosen by Robert Joffrey for his major dance company where her worked for seven years. He performed the principal roles in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo, Sir Fredrick Ashton’s The Dream, Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table and Jerome Robbins' Interplay, Moves and New York Export Opus Jazz. Of Mr. Sultzbach, the legendary Agnes DeMille said, “He is one of the best young technicians in dance today, a brilliant mime, a true comedian, and an enchanting personality.”
In 1981, Mr. Sultzbach returned to Florida to work as Ballet Master and choreographer for Southern Ballet Theatre, Orlando’s professional ballet company where he remained until 1993. Now as director of Ballet South, he has choreographed an eclectic repertory for the Company, which includes All-American, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Reflections, Valhalla, Copacetic Concerto, The Four Seasons, Phoenix, the Nutcracker and most recently our new full length ballet, American Carols.
Phyllis Sultzbach - Ballet, PointePhyllis Sultzbach was born in New York City and raised here in Orlando. She studied all forms of dance with the School of Performing Arts and Southern Ballet Theatre starting at the age of four. She was fortunate enough during her training to study with many well-known teachers from all over the states, including Robert Barnett, Manny Rowe, David Howard, Robert Joffrey and Richard Thomas.
During her Senior year in High School, she was invited to be a professional member of Southern Ballet Theatre. She danced there for thirteen years and was privileged to work with many international choreographers. Some of her principal roles were the lead in Labros Firebird, lead in Yes, Virginia another piano ballet, fouette girl in Graduation Ball, Effie in La Sylphide, Tarantella Pas de deux, Snow Pas. Lead mom, Spanish and Marzipan in Russell Sultzbach’s Nutcracker. She retired from performing in 1994 to have her son, Austin. She has been teaching her favorite dance forms, ballet and pointe since 1995. Since 1994, she has worked with children in Nutcracker, first with Southern Ballet Theatre and now with Ballet South.
Gina Lang - BalletGina Lang, known for working with children, grew up in Winter Park. She studied with Edith Royal and at 17 was selected to assist Mrs. Royal. She also started teaching at the time and pursuing a degree at UCF. She taught for the Royal School of Dance for 5 1/2 years while also working in local theater productions. She left the Royal School of Dance to dance at Disney World, Universal and Circus World as Dance Captain. She has also worked with convention and fashion shows. In 1984, she began teaching for the School of Performing Arts. She has taught thousands of students and hopes to have shown them the love of dance within her teaching.
Christine French - Ballet, JazzAt the age of 9 Chrissy started her dance training at the School of Performing Arts, taking all disciplines. Through her experiences with the performing company and performances throughout the community with various organizations, her passion for dance grew. Her passion and education were furthered at Valencia Community College’s dance program and Florida State University where she received her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance.
In 2000, she returned home to the School of Performing Arts to teach and share her passion with the young dancers. Since 2007, she has had the great honor of directing the junior company with Ballet South. Through Ballet South has had the opportunity choreograph jazz and ballet pieces with the senior and junior dance companies. More recently she has received her Masters of Arts from University of Central Florida in Health/Wellness and Applied Exercise Physiology.
Ellie Potts Barrett - ModernEllie Potts Barrett (Trained at Boston Conservatory and graduated with a B.A. in Dance from the University of South Florida) is a highly sought after teacher/choreographer by national dance organizations, professional theatre companies, schools, colleges and private dance studios.
Ellie danced with the Ina Hahn Modern dance Company, Boston Dance Company and Mary Anthony in New York, and has been an associate at the Atlantic Center for the Arts to Master Artists Merce Cunningham, Meg Harper and Elizabeth Streb.
Ellie was instrumental in spearheading the first ever middle school dance festival in 2003, which was a benefit for the Florida Dance Association that attracted 250 students from all over Florida and raised over $10,000.00 for the organization. She was selected for inclusion into the 2002-2004 Florida Artist’s Residency Directory by the Division of Cultural Affairs in Tallahassee, as well as being selected by her students for the Who’s Who Among America’s Best Teachers publication for 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006.
She is a faculty member for Dance Olympus/Dance America, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Flagler College in St. Augustine, the School of Performing Arts in Orlando and The Dance Company in St. Augustine. She most recently composed the Modern Dance Syllabus for the Florida Dance Masters Organization, which will be used as a study tool for the testing of future Modern dance teachers in Florida. She recently produced and choreographed BARRETTWERKS, a modern dance concert presented in Orlando, April, 2008.
Ellie was just honored in April, 2008, as the recipient of the Central Florida Lifetime Achievement Dance Award given by the University of Central Florida.
Amy Davidson - TapAmy received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Allentown College of Saint Francis de Sales (now DeSales University). She has taught and choreographed for over fifteen years in the Central Florida area. Her performances include productions of West Side Story, Of Thee I Sing, Anything Goes and Hello Out There, a one act play. Amy has worked with Shelley Oliver of Manhattan Tap Company, Ernestine Stodelle of Doris Humphrey Dancers and Chi-Town Jazz Company. Amy has also performed with Still, Moving-Dance, a Modern Dance company in Orlando created by Ellie Potts Barrett.
Another passion of Amy’s is working with the Chorus and Drama programs in Orange and Seminole County Public Schools. Some of the schools she has worked with are Winter Park High School, Edgewater High School, Colonial High School and Lake Howell High School, where she is the Resident Choreographer. Amy has choreographed productions of West Side Story, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, M*A*S*H, Grease and The Tempest just to name a few.
Amy is very proud of each of her students and even has a former student in a television sitcom. Vincent Martella was a Tap student of hers and is currently starring in Everybody Hate Chris on The CW. She hopes that all of her students reach their goals and live their dreams.
Patti Haine - Tap and Theatre JazzPatti Haine has been on the staff of S.P.A for over thirty years. She is a native of Orlando and studied with Edith Royal from the age of 8. Trained in ballet, tap, jazz and acrobatics, she moved to New York in 1962 and danced professionally for 10 years. Her credits include Broadway, Off Broadway, 2 National Touring companies, TV, and numerous stock companies.She has choreographed for Sea World, community and dinner theaters, Edgewater, Boone and Winter Park High Schools, and Park Maitland Preparatory. Patti is married to David Haine and has 2 daughters and 1 grandson.
Laura Bostic-Work - TapAttended Hofstra University in New York, studying singing dancing and acting. She has been a dance instructor for the past twenty five years, and had owned and operated her own studio in Michigan.
She has had students receive scholarships to Interlochen, Las Vegas, LA, New York, American Ballet Theatre, and Joffrey Ballet. Her students have been seen dancing with the Rockettes, Siegfried and Roy, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Dragon Tails and Sesame Street Live. Over the years she has had many award winning students, most recently Kirsten Haglund ,Miss America 2008-2009.
Along with being a National Director for Dance Masters of America she is the administrator for the DMA’s Student Honors Intensive Program held in Buffalo New York. Laura is a nationally certified examiner through Dance Masters of America, a graduate of Dance Masters of America’s Teachers Training School, and the Masters in Dance Direction Program. In her spare time she teaches master classes at conventions, and also works as an adjudicator at many dance events. She is especially proud of the many students who have continued their dance education in college and who are now performing or teaching.