Monica Barnett Smith – Owner/Artistic Director Exclusively Ballet & Dance
A graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance and English. Monica began her formal training in 1970 under the direction of Stevan and Melanie Grebel at The University of Alabama Birmingham. Monica was named principal dancer at Ballet UAB from 1971-1981 while pursuing her degree. Monica began teaching ballet at the age of 17, where she taught at UAB in the community school located at the University. Monica’s professional career as a principal dancer with The Alabama Ballet began in 1981 under the direction of Sonia Arova and Thor Sutowski she performed leading roles such as the “Sugar Plum Fairy” from the “Nutcracker”, the “Swan Queen” in “Swan Lake,” “Juliet” in “Romeo and Juliet,’ and “Cinderella” in “Cinderella”. She has performed throughout Europe and studied in Cannes, France at the Centre de Dance International with Rosella Hightower, Jose Ferrand, Elena Tchernichova and Patricia Neary. Summer studies were spent in New York with Robert Denvers, Melissa Hayden and David Howard.Monica has sat on the Board of Trustees at The Alabama Ballet where she was an active supporter and continues to support the current Artistic Director and her staff.
Sara Childers – a graduate of Birmingham Southern College with a degree in Dance and English. Sara’s early training began with Frances Armstrong in Bluff Park. At Birmingham Southern, Sara trained under Mira Popavich, Ruth Henry and Teri Weskler. As a young dancer Sara was awarded scholarships to Steps in New York City and Joffery Ballet School. While at Birmingham Southern, Sara performed various pieces of choreography under Teri Weskler, Marcus Alford and many more. Sara joined the Exclusively Ballet & Dance Family in 2008. Since then she has worked intensely with the performing company and has taught many different levels and disciplines. Sara is a member of Dance Educators of America and has participated in their competitions & conventions for 15 years. In 2013 Sara’s choreography was awarded 2nd place on a national level and 4th runner up to Miss Junior DEA. Her choreography has competed with NYCDA, COdance, Dance Educators of America, Star Systems and many more. Sara also has experience doing choreography for Miss Alabama and the Distinguished Young Women program.
Ellen Hardy Mitchell