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.
Jayson Pescasio – Resident Choreographer & Artist
Currently a Principal Dancer with Huntsville Ballet and former Principal with Ballet San Antonio, Mr. Jayson Pescasio began formal ballet training at age 10 under Brezhnev Larlar and Pamela Ortiz-Bondoc at the Teatro Baile de Cavite, where he performed its classical and modern repertoire. He danced the lead in Larlar’s Filipino ballets such as Pananakop and XIII Martyrs.
While attending De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, his dance training extended to include folk dance and neo-ethnic dance, and he became a member of the Filipinescas Dance Company, headed by Leonor Orosa-Goquinco and Manolet Garcia. Mr. Pescasio received the Award for Outstanding Achievement and Exemplary Performance from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004.
In 2005, Mr. Pescasio joined Ballet Philippines as an apprentice, where he trained under Noordin Jumalon and Jeffrey Espejo. As a guest artist for numerous productions of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Dance School, he performed lead roles such as Siegfried in Swan Lake, the Prince in Cinderella and the Poet in Les Sylphides. After becoming a member of Ballet Philippines in 2006, Mr. Pescasio danced in many pieces choreographed for the company by Alden Lugnasin and Bam Damian. In 2008, under the directorship of Alan Hineline (Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet) and Max Luna III (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), he was chosen to perform the role of Franz in the Philippine premiere of Hineline’s Coppelia. In 2010, he was a member of Nashville’s Dance Theatre of Tennessee.
In 2011, Mr. Pescasio joined Ballet San Antonio as a Soloist, and was promoted to Principal following the 2012 production of Gabriel Zertuche’s Dracula. In October 2013, Mr. Pescasio received critical acclaim for his role as the Jester in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella – “He greets guests at the Prince’s ball, enlivens the proceedings and beguiles the audience with his powerful, abrupt jumps – maybe five or six feet off the ground – and general bouncy vitality”- San Antonio Express-News.
As a Principal dancer, Mr. Pescasio is currently in his 2nd season with the Huntsville Ballet. This is Mr. Pescasio’s fifth season as a Guest Instructor here at the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas.
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.
Andrea Alshouse began her training at age 5 at Champion Studios in El Paso, Texas, under the direction of Andree Harper. She continued her training under Ingeborg Heuser with Ballet El Paso. Ms. Alshouse has attended several summer programs including Ballet Austin, Virginia School of the Arts, ABT Austin and Boston Ballet. In 2008 she joined Richmond Ballet as a trainee, where she performed Balanchine’s Four Temperaments and Rubies. She then joined Montgomery Ballet as an apprentice in 2009 under the direction of Elie Lazar. Ms. Alshouse has performed lead roles in ballets such as Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. This is Andrea’s sixth season with Ballet San Antonio and fifth year as a faculty member of The Ballet Conservatory of South Texas.
Lydia Relle started her training at Turning Pointe Dance Centre in Bothell, WA. Ms. Relle moved to Philadelphia to join the Rock School’s Rock Academic Program Alliance on scholarship. After two years in Philadelphia, she returned to Washington to continue training with Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle, dancing in the school and one year in the Professional Division Program on scholarship. Ms. Relle trained in Portland under Damara Bennett, School Director of Oregon Ballet Theatre. She attended summer programs at the Rock School, School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the Suzanne Farrell Program.
Ms. Relle’s professional experience includes apprenticeships with the Suzanne Farrell Company, Oregon Ballet Theatre and the Alabama Ballet. While with these companies Ms. Relle performed various roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter and the Wolf, Swan Lake, Don Quixote and George Balanchine’s Four Temperaments, Bugaku and The Nutcracker. Among her biggest accomplishments were dancing the solo role of Arabian in Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and the Pas de Deux in Roger Van Fleteren’s Be Major. This is Ms. Relle’s sixth season with Ballet San Antonio and fourth year as a faculty member of The Ballet Conservatory of South Texas.
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 will also become an inaugural member of the American National Ballet this fall.
Marie Sanchez, Administrative Manager