Executive Director/Artistic Director of Performing Arts
Leanna hails from the San Francisco Bay Area where she began her extensive training in the performing arts. She studied under exceptional instructors including: Yehuda Maor and Kristine Elliot (ballet), Ina Krause and Florence Riggs (voice) and Howard Fine and Jay Goldberg (acting). She had the honor of being awarded a scholarship to hone her acting skills under the incomparable Uta Hagen.
A true triple threat, she made her professional debut at age 17 as Maggie in A Chorus Line. Her performing credits include principal roles in the Broadway National Touring companies of Cats (1991-1993), Jerome Robbins’ Broadway (1991) and Grease (1996), where she played Patty Simcox, and was first understudy in the role of Sandy, to an up and coming, but still unknown, Sutton Foster. Favorite roles performed with regional theatre companies throughout the country include Eva in Evita, Polly in Crazy for You, Maria and Liesl in The Sound of Music, and Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. Over her 20 year career she had the pleasure of sharing the stage with many celebrities, and Tony Award Recipients including: Sutton Foster, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Bebe Neuwirth and Donna McKechnie to name a few. She also worked under the legendary Jerome Robbins.
She retired from performing 15 years ago and was inspired to teach. She has been in the studio ever since, passionate to create a nurturing environment while instilling strong technique and artistry. She has shared her expertise and experience in numerous ways, including: teaching dance in multiple private studios, as the Associate Director of Worship Arts at First United Methodist Church, teaching private voice lessons, directing and choreographing for local community theatres and as Performing Arts instructor at both Hickory Day School and St. Stephen’s Lutheran School. She became Artistic/Executive Director of Hickory Ballet and Performing Arts in January of 2018.
Artistic Director of Ballet/Director of Educational Outreach
Adrienne Lowman, from Virginia, started dance lessons at a young age. She trained at Avery Ballet throughout high school under her teacher and mentor, Lisa Snape Avery. She also attended summer intensives at Richmond Ballet, BalletMet, American Ballet Theatre, and Joffrey Ballet. In 2003, she joined the Nashville Ballet 2 company performing in such productions as Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Sleeping Beauty, as well as the children’s ballets Jack and the Beanstalk, Degas and the Little Dancer, and the Singing Tortoise. In 2007, Adrienne moved to North Carolina, where she met Melissa and Michael French. In 2011, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Appalachian State University with a degree in Spanish Education and taught Spanish at Bandys High School. Adrienne has performed the Nutcracker, Coppelia, Alice in Wonderland, and Cinderella with the New Art School of Ballet. Mrs. Lowman choreographed the spring productions of Peter and the Wolf in 2016 and Coppelia in 2018 as well as pieces in several summer intensives. In fall of 2018, Adrienne was named Artistic Director of Ballet and Educational Outreach for the Hickory Ballet and Performing Arts. She has enjoyed overseeing the school’s ballet productions ever since. Adrienne is also a certified PBT (Progressive Ballet Technique) instructor. Over the past decade, she has taught each level at the school and has a true passion for teaching the next generation of dancers.
Miss Kelly is certified by Dance Masters of America and has been teaching for 26 years. She comes to us from Grand Rapids, Michigan where she taught at Hearts in Step Dance Academy for 15 years. She teaches ballet, tap, and jazz, and loves the youngest to the oldest students!
Daniel Lung’s first experience with dance started in middle school with the production of My Fair Lady. After which, he studied at a local dance studio and then went on to earn a BFA in Dance Education from East Carolina University and is a NC licensed teacher K-12. He performed in the Green Room Community Theatre’s production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2012) and Anything Goes (2013) as well as choreographed for Bunker Hill’s production of Grease in 2013. He and his partner, Andrew Turnbull, moved to Charleston, SC where he Artistic Directed at Kelly’s Dance in Summerville. He choreographed for the Flowertown Players’ production of Sound of Music (2014) where he was nominated for Outstanding Choreographer (2015) and for the children’s production of Pippi Longstocking (2014). He moved to New York City where he took a break from performing and taught gymnastics and dance at the Jewish Community Center on the upper west side of Manhattan as well as various master classes. He then moved back to the area and lives in Conover where he has been teaching at various studios and is now teaching Jazz at Hickory Ballet and Performing Arts. He is very excited to bring his unique style and dance experience to the area and looks forward to all the fun at HBPA.
Eva began her training at the age of 10. In 2014 she began at the New Art School of Ballet with Michael and Melissa French. She began assisting in classes in 2015, and a year later began teaching Pre-Ballet and Ballet 1. In February of 2015 she was accepted into the American Ballet Theatre`s Summer Intensive. She has performed various roles of in the school included, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Eva was a trainee with the Charlottesville Ballet in 2020-2021, learning many pieces of their repertoire.
Intermediate Tap/Advanced Tap
Charlton is a native of Hickory, NC. He graduated from Hickory High School then later attended UNCG on a music scholarship. While there, he was introduced to tap dancing and immediately gravitated toward the percussive art form. In 2001, he moved to NYC to focus solely on learning this uniquely American style of dance. Charlton trained at Steps on Broadway from master teachers and performers including: Derick Grant, Lynn Schwab, Andrew Nemr, and Ayodele Casel. These artists greatly influenced Charlton and helped him develop his own signature voice in tap. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of tap dance and helping others discover movement through rhythm.
Kate Shugar earned her MFA in Dance (2019) from Sarah Lawrence College and is now continuing her practice and research in her home state of North Carolina. Her movement style and teaching are inspired by an assortment of mentors, most notably Jennifer Nugent, John Jasperse, Beth Gill, and Kyle Bukhari. She has been privileged to teach at Elon University (2020-) and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (2019) and has enjoyed performing at the North Charleston Arts Festival, American Dance Festival, and for guest artists at Sarah Lawrence College such as Raja Feather Kelly (the feath3r theory) and Diane Madden (Trisha Brown Dance Company).In the Spring of 2020, Kate was named an Artist in Residence at Dance Project (Greensboro, NC) where she delved into a creative project which investigated the intersection of spatial theory and the disruption of conventions of spectatorship in contemporary dance performance. More recently, Kate has been tuned in to her passion as an educator, providing one-on-one tutoring in dance studies at the graduate level as well as in French language. Education, particularly helping students discover the joy of learning, is at the root of her love for dance.
Rochelle Walton has been dancing since she was three years old. Originally from South Florida, she trained under Magda Aunon for eight years, from age 10-18, at Magda Aunon’s School for Classical Ballet. A graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University, with a double major in Elementary Education and Vocal Performance, Walton was part of the Lenoir-Rhyne A Capella Choir and also the Playmakers. After graduating, Walton taught in Hickory Public Schools for 7 years before marrying and starting a family. She currently stays home with her three children.