Arnora Hummel – Founder, Academie de Ballet

Born April 21st, 1940 in Topeka Kansas to Nora and Arnold Perry, Arnora Perry spent the first four years of her life in Topeka. The family moved to Albuquerque New Mexico where she began taking ballet from Dr. Charles Fishback at the age of 8. After studying dance for nine years, Arnora’s family moved to Phoenix where she began teaching at Jack Cione studios. Two years later Jack Cione moved to Hawaii and gave the Phoenix studio to Arnora because, in his words, “You can clearly become a master teacher”. She also performed in Scottsdale theatre productions of Take Me Along, The Merry Widow among others.

Arnora changed the name of the studio to Arnora’s Studio of Dance and built it from one hundred students to six hundred students taking Ballet, Tap, and Jazz over the next six years. At the same time she produced several productions at the Arizona State Fair as well as the Miss Phoenix Pageant for the Miss America Pageant. In 1964 Arnora married David Hummel, a local television executive and two years later moved to Cincinnati where her husband joined Procter & Gamble. She taught dance briefly in Cincinnati and produced the Miss Cincinnati pageant and performed in and choreographed several musicals including Kismet, Fiorello, Carousel and Where’s Charlie.

In 1981 the family moved to Virginia Beach where Arnora focused her attentions on raising her family. She began her second career in the dance business in 1989 with a small studio in Chesapeake, Virginia. That small studio, Academie de Ballet, has become one of the largest dance studios on the East coast with more than 650 students and a dance center that occupies over three acres of land with four large studios, a scenic shop and wardrobe storage area.

In 1991 Arnora founded Masterworks, a performing arts company with several national and international television productions to her credit. Masterworks performing arts company has staged seven original story ballets to date three of which have been telecast nationally in the US, Israel and India. Her plans for the future include expanding the teaching facility to include all forms of stage performing including voice, drama, musical comedy and whatever new media is developed.

Melissa Moore

Melissa Moore is the studio manager and Administrator for Academie de Ballet. She is also our Director of Associate Arts. Melissa began dance lessons in 1971 and never looked back. Teaching since 1984, Melissa became certified to teach through Dance Masters of America and was a Carolina Dance Masters protégé. She has taught for the past thirty two years. She has been with  Academie de Ballet for 21 years.  Melissa has been afforded the pleasure of teaching students in both private and public schools, including the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, and Salem High School Performing Arts Academy in Virginia Beach. Melissa was a 2 time choreographer for the Seattle Tap Festival, and has spent her life teaching students so they could succeed. A past competition judge for many years, Melissa is our Competition dance team Director. After an accident, Melissa retired from full-time teaching in 2014. She continues to mentor teachers, choreograph competition pieces, and teaches a few of the upper level classes. She resides in Norfolk with her husband Ron and daughter Rachel. Her oldest daughter, Ashley, also grew up at Academie de Ballet and is the Assistant Director of the Competition Team.

Christine HartsfieldChristine Hartsfield

For over 23 years, Christine has been instrumental in helping young dancers fulfill their dreams in ballet at the Academie de Ballet and Dance Center.  She currently teaches classes for both the school and Masterworks’ Touring Company.  Whether instructing a large classroom full of students or teaching one on one in private lessons, her greatest fulfillment is watching the students she has invested her time and energy in succeed.  Christine has been instrumental in writing and producing several mini ballets including:  A Hat for Emily, The Littlest Orphan, The Empty Pot and The Green Nose Ballet among others.  She also co-wrote the Academie’s best known production,  Storyland Christmas.

Andrei Yemelianov

Andrei Yemelianov

Andrei Yemelianov received his training at the Kiev Choreographic Institute in the Ukraine. He has danced with the Jewish Independent Theater and Donetsk Ballet and in the USA with the Richmond Ballet. Locally, he performed in Masterworks’ productions of Hadassah, One Nation Under God and The Play for five years. Andrei has choreographed for Masterworks Performing Arts Company’s production of A Storyland Christmas, The Christmas Gift, Lily and the Gypsies, Hadassah, One Nation Under God, and Eternal Covenant. He is currently Ballet Master at the Academie de Ballet and has prepared many students for their scholarships, universities and careers in dance. He is the Director of Academie de Ballet’s Ballet Training Company (BTC). He and his wife Natalia live in Chesapeake, Virginia and have 3 children.

Natasha Yemelianov - Academie de BalletNatallia Yemelianova

Natallia, wife of Ballet Master Andrei Yemelianov, studied Ballet at Belarusian State Choreographic College. In her senior year at the Choreographic College she was accepted as a trainee with The State Musical Comedy Theatre of Belarus. Natallia continued her Ballet training as an apprentice at The National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus. In the United States, Natallia danced with the Renaissance Ballet performing throughout the country. She also danced for Masterworks and as a guest dancer for TMCJ International Productions. Natallia teaches pointe variations at Academie de Ballet and is Assistant Director of Ballet Training Company (BTC).

Vicka Mills Academie de BalletVicka Kortze

Viktoriya Kortze is a professional Ballet dancer from Belarus. She graduated from the National Ballet College of Belarus where she earned her diploma. Viktoriya was accepted to Bolshoi Belarusian Theater immediately upon graduation. In her career, she has had many opportunities to work with talented choreographers from all over the world, as well as travel to many countries. Later on, Viktoriya joined Christian Ballet Company in the U.S., and the year 2000 she became a teacher at  Academie de Ballet in Chesapeake, Virginia. She teaches all levels of ballet, and is truly passionate to share her knowledge with dancers of all ages. Vicka lives in Chesapeake, VA with her husband Jim and 2 daughters.

 Olivia SheddOlivia Shedd

Olivia Shedd has been training with Academie de Ballet for the past 14 years in ballet, pointe, jazz, adagio, musical theatre, modern, contemporary and character, and has been a teaching dance for the past 7 years. She co-directed the Worship Arts Camp at Harvest Assembly of God as the teacher of dance for the past 3 years and has participated in teaching dance at the Exalt Worship Arts Conference. Along with teaching dance, Olivia also holds the title of Miss River City 2019 – Her platform is “The Starfish Project”. She also received the “Esther Award” from Academie de Ballet in 2011. All the little ballerinas love Miss Olivia each summer as she leads Princess Camp – she herself is a different princess each day! Olivia lives in Chesapeake, Virginia and is the oldest sibling of 8 children. Above all else, Olivia is so excited and blessed to be teaching your children ballet and instilling a godly perspective of dance in their hearts and minds.

Brooke Blackman

Brooke began her dance training at Academie de Ballet and Dance Center when she was six years old. Over the years she has had the opportunity to dance multiple principal roles with Masterworks Performing Arts Company and was a founding member of the studio’s professional touring troupe, Masterworks Touring Company established in 2011. Growing up, Brooke competed and placed at various dance competitions with Masterworks II, guest danced with numerous companies and organizations, and was invited to attend summer intensives throughout the United States, including the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC, Kaatsbaan’s Extreme Ballet program in Tivoli, NY, and the American Ballet Theater’s summer program in New York City. In 2014, Brooke earned her B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies from Regent University and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health from Maryland University of Integrative Health. Additionally, Brooke is a choreographer/dancer for the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Superbook music videos, is a certified Pure Barre instructor, and assists the ADB All-Stars competition team, directed by Melissa Moore. Brooke considers it a privilege and an honor to be part of the ADB staff family and enjoys sharing her gifts and knowledge with her students.

Krystal Descano

Krystal began dancing at the Virginia Beach Conservatory of Dance when she was four. While in Virginia she had the opportunity to perform with the Virginia Beach Ballet Company in several performances including The Ugly Duckling and The Wizard of Oz. She also performed in Moscow Ballet Company’s Nutcracker and has been a guest dancer for the Scottish Dance Theatre of Virginia in the International Tattoo. Krystal has been in many of YMV’s Drama productions as well as the dance team captain, and choreographer of their production of Annie Jr. Krystal teaches many different styles of dance to all ages and has produced her own dance camp for children. Krystal has danced at her Church for many years and started a legacy of dance at her Church by creating the Liturgical dance group. Krystal has attended several summer programs with companies to include: the Moscow Ballet, Cosmopolitan Ballet, William Forsyth, Atlanta Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. Krystal spent four years working, studying, and performing in New York dancing at Joffrey Ballet and STEPS on Broadway. She was also a guest dancer at Ajkun Ballet Theatre. While in New York Krystal had many performance opportunities including Buglisi Dance Theatre’s 9/11 Table of Silence Project. Krystal has been a part of Masterworks Touring Company since 2015 and has choreographed musicals for Masterworks Theatre Arts and Norfolk Christian Schools. Krystal loves Working with children as well as volunteering at the Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center.

danielle baconDanielle Bacon

Danielle has received 12 years of extensive dance training at Academie Ballet and has been teaching for the past 6 years. Danielle trained under Andrei Yemelianov in the Vaganova (Russian) method of ballet, and also studied pointe, jazz, lyrical, and musical theater dance under various teachers. She has enjoyed learning from master dance instructors at dance conventions such as Dance Revolution, as well as competing locally in regional dance competitions. Danielle has had a desire to teach dance since the age of eight, and is very passionate about sharing the joy of dance with each of her students.

Carmen Chewning

Lynne Caris

Michaela Sigmon 

Elise Hughes

Raychel Eckert

Anne Bernadette Dail

Reghan Irving