Jenni Nettleton, Markell School of Dance Director
Jenni Nettleton is an accomplished dancer who also has experience in choreography. She has choreographed for Project: Motion, the modern dance collective which she is a member, and Germantown Community Theatre. As a professional dancer with Project: Motion, she rehearses and performs regularly with other members and guest artists of note. Jenni’s other passion is theatre. She is currently in the Ph.D. program in English at the University of Memphis. Focusing on Modern and Contemporary Drama, Jenni is working on her dissertation on plays and performances that portray characters with physical disabilities. While studying for her doctorate, she has taught Introduction to Theatre and Introduction to Dance courses for the Theatre & Dance Department at the University of Memphis. Prior to joining the MJCC staff, Jenni worked for the Germantown Community Theatre as their Community Relations Coordinator and Box Office Manager. She looks forward to using her skills as a dancer, educator, and administrator for this position as the new director of the Markell School of Dance.
“I believe that every person should have an opportunity to learn to dance. Being a dancer isn’t just about being technically proficient; it’s also about being a role model, an advocate for dance, and, above all, a respectful person in and out of the classroom.” -Jenni
Kim Cunningham, Tap instructor
Kim began taking dance at Memphis-area studios when she was 4 years old. After teaching her first class at 14, she knew this would be her lifelong career. In pursuit of that career, she studied Dance Education and Choreography at Columbia College in Columbia, SC. She has attended conventions and master classes around the country. She is certified through the Southern Association of Dance Masters and the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters to teach jazz, tap, and ballet. She also teaches tumbling at the Dance Academy of Bartlett. Kim hopes to continue to professionally develop her career over her lifetime as well as share her passion and love for dance with every student she teaches.
Paige Ghent, Dance Fusion, Jazz, and Ballet IV Instructor
Paige Ghent was born and raised in Texas. She received a Bachelor's Degree from University of Texas at Dallas in 2008, where she specialized in Neuroscience/kinesiology and danced with the UTD Dance Ensemble. After graduation, she extended her dance experience by dancing with Collin Dance Ensemble, Brookhaven Dance Ensemble, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. At the University of Texas at Dallas, she choreographed a piece for ACDFA. She has also choreographed for Brookhaven Dance Ensemble, Richland College, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock for the summer showcase, and New Creation Dance Company. Through her years of dance she has worked with and performed dances with Robert Battle of BattleWorks, John-Mario Sevilla of Pilobolus, Jennifer Mabus an independent artist in Dallas, Kio-Thi African Dance Company, Ting-Ting Chang from San Francisco, and Annie Bunker of O-T-O, an aerial company out of Hawaii. She taught an after-school dance program for two years at Forest Heights Middle School in Little Rock and Heights Elementary in Dallas. After moving to Memphis in January, 2015, she danced with Project Motion in their spring show.
“Dance has the ability to turn imitation into innovation, it transcends physical limitations, it allows both children and adults to grow and create. As a teacher and dancer it is in those moments of facilitating the creative process that I find the greatest joy.” -Paige
Evan Hewer, Ballet V and Company Ballet Instructor
Evan Hewer has danced professionally for both San Francisco Ballet and Ballet Memphis and has trained at many leading schools including Houston Ballet Academy, School of Ballet Chicago, and San Francisco Ballet School. He has performed works by George Balanchine, Julia Adam, Trey McIntyre, August Bournonville, William Forsythe, John Neumeier, Kenneth Macmillan, Michael Fokine, and Helgi Tomasson to name a few. Evan was selected to perform at the Assemble International for National Ballet of Canada School’s 50th Anniversary in 2009 and was also selected to perform in Monte-Carlo, Monaco at the Tremplin Jeune Ballet Festival in 2010. In 2009, Evan participated in a teacher training seminar taught by San Francisco Ballet Trainee Program Director Jean-Yves Esquerre.
“I believe that every student should have access to dance instruction that can help them achieve whatever they want with their dance.” -Evan
Carmen Savage, Hip Hop Instructor
Carmen Savage is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. Carmen is a dancer and choreographer for Subculture Royalty Dance Company as well as a dancer for the Memphis Grizzlies GritGrind Squad. She has been dancing professionally for four years and has been teaching dance for three years. Carmen is also a student at the University of Memphis pursuing a degree in Exercise Sports Science.
Debra Wexler, Ballet II and III, Ballet V Pointe Prep, and Company Ballet Instructor
Debra began her early training at the Buffalo Ballet Center. Being in close proximity to New York, she studied at Harkness Ballet, School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and Joffrey Ballet. At the age of 17, Debra was asked to join the Joffrey II Ballet. She was later accepted into the Maryland Ballet in Baltimore. Over the next ten years, she worked her way up from corps de ballet, soloist, then to principle dancer. Debra then began a family and transitioned into an instructional dance career. Debra taught at The Maryland Ballet school, the Baltimore School for the Arts and, when she and her family moved to Memphis, the Tennessee Ballet Company. Debra opened Germantown Academy of Ballet then later, Cordova Academy of Ballet and has taught children and pre-professional for the last twenty-six years. She was most recently the ballet instructor and part-owner of Plié, Pump, and Palette.
“The world of dance opens a whole new world to those who experience it.” -Debra