Director & Faculty
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
Evan Hewer, Junior & Senior 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
Rachel Hewer, Junior & Senior Company ballet instructor and Company modern dance instructor
Rachel is from Olive Branch, Mississippi and trained at Ballet Memphis from 1st grade through high school. She attended Boston Ballet Summer Program and Milwaukee Ballet Summer Program on scholarship and was invited to participate in Alonzo King's Lines Professional Workshop. She danced professionally with Ballet Memphis for ten years, and while dancing she taught in the Ballet Memphis School.
"I love sharing my passion for dance with others and I enjoy helping people pursue personal excellence. You learn so much about the world around you investing in the community and discipline of dance and I want to encourage my students to explore, create, and develop their artistic expression." ~ Rachel
Alexis Jackson, jazz instructor for the Jazz and the company dancers.
Alexis is from Sherveport, Lousiana and she has performed with, taught, and been the assistant instructor for the Carol Anglin Dancenter/Louisiana Dance Foundation. Alexis has been a member of Louisiana Dance Theatre for eight years prior to moving to Memphis. She has previously taught at Carol Anglin Dance Center for five years teaching many styles of dance (ballet, jazz, tap, and modern). She is currently working on a bachelors degree in both Greek and Roman Studies and Political Science at Rhodes College.
“Dance is one of the few art forms where you express yourself in all forms, and watching students discover this craft not only makes you a better teacher, but a better person.” ~ Alexis
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 she has been teaching dance for three years. Carmen is also a student at the University of Memphis pursuing a degree in Exercise Sports Science.
Marianne Bell, Tap instructor
Marianne Bell is a graduate of The University of Memphis and Cornell Law School, and has been teaching tap dance in Memphis for three years. Since 2000, she has choreographed and performed professionally with Metal Velvet Dance Project, Breeding Ground Dance Collective, Voices of the South, and Project: Motion. In December 2012, Marianne founded the Hot Foot Honeys, a tap performance group that is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and performing rhythm tap. She regularly attends tap conferences throughout the country, including the St. Louis Tap Festival, Chicago’s Human Rhythm Project, and New York’s Tap City, in order to bring the latest and most innovative tap skills back to her students in Memphis.
“Tap dance provides both children and adults with an opportunity to experience the freedom of making their own music and rhythms, which gives them confidence to express themselves in every avenue of life.” ~Marianne
Sarah Bolton, Academy I & II instructor.
Sarah Bolton has a BFA in dance from Belhaven University. She received her early training in classical ballet and modern dance from Gilbert Reed and Theresa Slobodnik in San Luis Obispo, California, and has performed with several professional dance companies, including Gilbert Reed Ballet, Entourage!, Performance Art Network, and Project: Motion. Sarah has taught ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, and musical theatre to students from ages 5-18 for the past 6 years.
“'Why are you stingy with yourselves? Why are you holding back? What are you saving for—for another time? There are no other times. There is only now. Right now.’ These powerful words by renowned dancer, choreographer and ballet instructor, George Balanchine, remind me why I dance and why I love to teach dance to others.” ~Sarah
Neolia Warnette-Jones, Pre-Ballet, Primary Ballet, and Ballet I & II class instructor
Noelia Warnette-Jones is a native New Yorker. She has been dancing since the age of seven. She is a graduate of the Alvin Aliey American Dance School where she trained professionally in dance. She furthered her education and received her BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College and came to Memphis in 2000 to join the University of Memphis Dance Department as an adjunct professor, teaching jazz and beginner ballet. While teaching at the University of Memphis, she is currently a five year fulltime dance teacher for Shelby County Kirby High School. She is a six year veteran of the Memphis Grizzlies Dance Team. Her first debut in Musical Theatre was at Playhouse On The Square’s production HairSpray. Since then she has been in Ragtime, Footloose, and was a dancer and choreographer for Legally Blonde. She was Dorothy in The Wiz and Deena in Dream Girls at the Hattiloo Theatre, Lilly in Annie, Ronnette in Little Shop Of Horrors, and Mrs. Brown in the musical Camp Rock. She just closed Chorus Line at Theatre Memphis as Diana Morales and as an ensemble dancer in The Color Purple. Her film credits include Malcolm X as a principle dancer and body double for Jada Pinkette-Smith in the movie Bamboozled.
“I have a passion for teaching students and developing the whole child. I am honored to be apart of a wonderful and prestigious Dance School at the Markell School of Dance at the MJCC. My goal is to turn these dancers from good to great.” ~Noelia
Aimee Adler, Discover Dance Assistant.
Aimee Adler began dancing when she was three years old in ballet classes at the Memphis Jewish Community Center. At eleven years old, she started volunteering in dance classes and recitals. For the past several years, she served as a teaching assistant at the MJCC Markell School of Dance for classes of 3 – 5 year olds. After graduating high school, Aimee plans to continue to dance for recreation. Still today, fourteen years after her start in dance, Aimee is friends with several of her preschool ballet classmates.
“I enjoy the beauty and structure of ballet and find it rewarding to teach ballet to younger students.” ~Aimee
Tamara Prince-Parrish, Teen/Adult Ballet class instructor
Tamara Prince-Parrish has been an active professional member of the arts community in Memphis, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Georgia through teaching, choreography, acting, and dancing for 13 years. She currently is an instructor the Teen/Adult Ballet Instructor at MJCC, an adjunct professor of dance at the University of Memphis, and Artistic Director & Founder of Bridging Souls Productions. Tamara was last seen in the Ensemble/Dance Captain of The Color Purple at Playhouse on the Square (2013). She has a B. F. A. in Theater and Dance from the University of Memphis (2003).
“I believe in teaching every student consistently in a nurturing way to help them fulfill their dance goals whether recreationally or professionally.” ~Tamara
Sarah Ledbetter, Junior & Senior Company Choreography class instructor
Sarah Ledbetter began dancing at the age of 3 at the Edgar Hall School of Ballet in Jonesboro, AR, with whom she also made her stage debut as a mouse in the Nutcracker of 1983. Since then she has gone on to perform in Chicago, Washington D.C., Chapel-Hill, North Carolina, Melbourne Australia, Paris France, and right here in Memphis with Project:Motion, Peter Carpenter Performance Project, the Dance Exchange, Winsome Dances, and under her own direction as a solo and freelance dancemaker. Sarah graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University in Performance Studies and is currently training in the Axis Syllabus, a global movement research forum that mines the connections between diverse dance practices for their common ground in the body-mind. She began teaching dance in 1999.
“A dancer's education must be the education of the whole person, willing to be both subject and object of a glorious and ongoing inquiry: who am I? what may I become? what are the perils and opportunities unique to life on planet earth? When we create dance, we learn what we didn't know before, and we connect to the greatest in ourselves and in others.” ~Sarah