Faculty and Staff
Led by Artistic Director Marieli Guardiola Pope, our best-in-class instructors deliver the finest instruction in San Antonio. Marieli and her ballet instructors have taught dance around the world and across the country. Their perspective reaches beyond our community inspiring our students to beauty and grace beyond the classroom. Many of our instructors are current professional dancers.
Dede Barfield – Curriculum Coordinator
Born in Ft. Worth, Texas, Ms. Barfield began her training in Ft. Worth with Gayle Corkery and continued at the Etgen Atkinson School in Dallas. At the age of 14, she began studying during the summers at the School of American Ballet in New York City and by the age of 16, she move there to study exclusively.
Ms. Barfield joined the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1984, was promoted to Soloist in 1987 and to Principal in 1990. Her repertoire includes a wide variety of classical roles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Myrtha in Giselle, Vera in Robert Weiss’ full-length production of Winder Dreams, Les Sylphides, the title role in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella and Juliet in John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. On June 12, 2004, she gave her last performance as a professional dancer as her favorite role of Odette/Odile in Christopher Whealdon’s Swan Lake.
Since leaving the Pennsylvania Ballet, Ms. Barfield has been busy teaching at Bryn Mawr College, The Performance Garage at Jeanne Ruddy Dance, The South Jersey Ballet School and with the Pennsylvania Ballet’s Outreach Program. She has been a guest teacher for the Chamberlain Ballet in Plano, Texas, the Country Day School in Ft. Worth, the Brandywine Ballet and the Dance Theater of Pennsylvania. Ms. Barfield also taught ballet classes at the University of Las Vegas during the 2007 Spring semester.
In addition to Ms. Barfield’s extensive ballet training and experience, she has studied Pilates since 1979 and in recent years completed a 2-year advanced teacher training seminar with her mentor of 20 years, Karen Carlson. She is certified in all apparatuses and mat and is currently an instructor here at the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas.
Rose Mary Forte Hensley – Children Rehearsal Coordinator
Rose Mary (Rosie) Hensley began her dance training at Capital Area Dance Theater in Enola, PA. She later joined the pre-professional program at Cumberland Dance Company. Ms. Forte has performed at regional festivals and received a variety of awards, including the Monticello Award for Best Performer. During high school, she performed in La Bayadere with the Kirov Ballet at the Metropolitan Opera House. In 2004, she participated in the Cultural Dance Festival in Germany.
Ms. Forte graduated from Indiana University’s Ballet Program under the direction of Violette Verdy and received a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance and English Literature with a minor in Contemporary Dance. She danced professionally with the Chicago Ballet and was a guest artist with the Civic Ballet of Chicago. In 2007 Ms. Forte performed in a music festival in Rome, Italy. She is a certified Pilates instructor and ballet, jazz, tap and modern instructor for students ages 3-18. Mrs. Hensley is a former corps de ballet with Ballet San Antonio and has been an Instructor at the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas since 2011.
Sally Turkel was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and began her ballet training in Cary, North Carolina at the Cary Ballet Conservatory. Turkel attended the North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied under Melissa Hayden, Kee Juan Han, Susan McCullough, and Warren Conover. She danced with Houston Ballet 2 and Colorado Ballet before joining Ballet San Antonio in 2013.
Turkel was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2014 and has had the privilege of dancing many leading roles. Some of her favorites include Ben Stevenson’s Swan Lake (Odette/Odile), Romeo and Juliet (Juliet) and Cinderella (Cinderella, Fairy Godmother), Gerald Arpino’s Ruth Ricordi per Due and Round of Angels, George Balachine’s Donzetti Variations, Willy Shives’ Giselle (Giselle), Sleeping Beauty (Aurora, Lilac Fairy, Princess Florine), and Don Quixote (Kitri, Cupid), Federic Franklin’s Tribute, and Dominic Walsh’s The Whistling.
Turkel has also had the honor of dancing at the Vail International Dance Festival, the Dance Presenters Conference at City Center in New York, the Martha’s Vineyard Arts Project, the World Ballet Competition Gala, and the Hollywood Bowl.
Turkel has been teaching ballet and movement for many years. She was also an integral part in the development of the Colorado based dance therapy program “Dare to Dance” which specializes in working with children with Down syndrome.
A native Texan, Ms. Wolf is originally from Corpus Christi. In 1977, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet from the University of Utah. Shortly after her marriage to her husband, Richard, Janice taught ballet and jazz for 5 years under the direction of Larry Roquemore, founder of what is now known as the Corpus Christi Ballet.
In 1985, Ms. Wolf moved to San Antonio and after the birth of their 3 daughters, she resumed her teaching career by starting a dance program at the Discovery School. The dance program was appropriately named, Dance with Wolf and became a prominent program offering for 13 years. During the last 10 years of that period, she also was a Principal Instructor for Connally’s Dance Workshop.
Having served on the Board of Directors for both the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet and the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas, Ms. Wolf has remained deeply involved in the local ballet community for many years. She has also been engaged in a wide variety of community activities including 10 years of service with the Junior League of San Antonio.
Ms. McCalla began her ballet training at the age of 6 with Sandra Bravo at the Performing Arts School of Classical Ballet in San Antonio, Texas. At the age of 15, Ms. McCalla expanded her dance training and joined Stellar Gymnastics in Kerrville. Ms. McCalla coached Mommy and Me classes as well as numerous other gymnastic and dance levels. In 2012, Ms. McCalla began teaching for Sandra Bravo at Bravo! Ballet School in the heart of Castle Hills. During this time, Ms. McCalla had the pleasure of working with and training under Mrs. Katia Garza, former principle dancer of the Orlando Ballet.
Ms. McCalla enjoys spending her free time with her husband in the beautiful Texas Hill Country that she calls home.
Originally from Seabrook, Texas, Jessica Ramm trained at The Houston Ballet Academy for six years before completing her training with the Texas Ballet Theater. She completed training programs hosted by Boston Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet Theater, Oklahoma City Ballet, and Ballet Austin. Her professional experience includes Coastal City Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Ballet Austin, Alabama Ballet, and Ballet San Antonio. As a member of these companies, she has performed in popular ballets such as The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Les Sylphides, Cinderella, Coppelia, Giselle, George Balanchine’s Rubies in addition to a variety of other classical and contemporary works. In addition to her work as a performer, she recently began her work as a choreographer creating contemporary works for the Alabama Ballet as well as Ballet San Antonio.
Nina A. Padilla is an accomplished multidisciplinary artist. She is a dance choreographer, performer and published portrait photographer specializing in dance portraiture and dance on film.
Nina is currently a modern and improvisation dance instructor with Dance Center of San Antonio. Her classes are a fusion of the Erick Hawkins technique and Bartenieff Fundamentals which helps her students understand how to move organically and within the limitations of their own anatomy.
With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Food, from Texas State University, Nina has almost two decades of dance training in a wide variety of dance styles including Modern, Contact Improvisation, Ballet and Jazz.
When she is not teaching, performing or photographing, Nina enjoys spending quality time with her husband and two children.
Zane Terry began his training at Grand Rapids Ballet in Michigan at the age of thirteen. He continued his formal training at Michigan Ballet Academy under the Direction of Akop and Gaianne Akopian. While there, he performed leading roles in many classical ballets such as Le Corsaire, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. In 2014, Mr. Terry joined Oklahoma City Ballet as an Apprentice and during the summer of 2015, he performed with the Atlantic City Ballet. In the fall of 2015, Mr. Terry joined Ballet San Antonio as an Apprentice, and in 2017 was promoted to Corps de Ballet. Mr. Terry has also had the privileged to study with teachers such as Nikoloz Makhateli, Wes Chapman, Maria Kowroski and Misty Copeland. His repertoire includes Balanchine’s ‘Rubies’ and ‘Prodigal Son’, Twyla Tharp’s ‘Nine Sinatra Songs’, ‘Hilarion’ in Giselle, as well as a large variety of classical and contemporary works.
Born in Mexico City, Alexa Horwath began dancing at the Scherzo Ballet Studio at age five. There she performed lead roles in productions like Alice in Wonderland, Cats and others. She eventually moved to San Antonio at the age of 10 and continued her training with the Ballet San Antonio Academy. Ms. Horwath worked with the Ballet San Antonio Junior Company and performed in many competitions, and for two summers she trained with Huntsville Ballet in Alabama. Currently, she is a member of the corps de ballet with Ballet San Antonio. Ms. Horwath has been assisting with ballet classes at Ballet Conservatory for several years and is now a teacher for Pre-Ballet.
Christopher McDaniel is a multifaceted artist originally from East Harlem, NYC. He began his ballet training at the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) School at age 10. At DTH he trained in classical ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and African Dance. He went on to study at the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, Boston Ballet, and Ballet Academy East.
Upon graduating from high school, Christopher signed a professional contract with the Dance Theatre of Harlem and toured with them for three seasons. In 2011 he relocated to Los Angeles to join the Los Angeles Ballet. During his five seasons with the company, he originated roles in various contemporary, classical, and neoclassical works. His performances earned him mentions in the LATimes, LAWeekly, Broadway World, among other publications.
Christopher was also very instrumental in the development of various outreach programs and initiatives for Los Angeles Ballet. After completing the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s Ballet Teacher Workshop, Christopher became a much sought after teacher and coach. He served on the faculty of the Los Angeles Ballet School, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, and appeared as a guest teacher for various other dance schools in the Southern California area.
After appearing with Ballet San Antonio as a guest artist for their production of Ben Stevenson’s Swan Lake in the fall of 2015, Christopher joined the company as a Demi-Soloist, and was promoted to Soloist the following Spring. Christopher is a 2016/17 National Visiting Fellow for the School of American Ballet, the official School of the New York City Ballet. He is currently performing with Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Marie Sanchez, Administrative Manager