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 understudied the role of Sandy, to an up and coming 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. After retiring from performing she 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 Executive/Artistic Director of Hickory Ballet & 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 continued to perform and teach. 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.
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.
Originally from Illinois, it wasn’t until college that Nathan let himself explore the world of dance. He stepped onto the dance floor with the ballroom team at UNC Chapel Hill and never looked back. With the guidance of his incredible coaches, he went from newcomer to national finalist in the span of his degree.
Competing in Standard and Latin dances, Nathan grew to love the creativity of expression that ballroom dance allows in concert with a partner. That’s probably why he also grew to love his dance partner, too, and eventually got around to marrying her.
By day, Nathan works as manager and mentor to a global community of university students who are dedicated to building a sustainable, secure, and just protein supply. He’s a scientist by training and explorer by nature, and he brings that curiosity to his dancing. When he isn’t dancing, he can be found at his writing desk or exploring the forest.
Lark Bodnar is currently serving as HBPA’s Events Coordinator after working on the events team at Marbles Kids Museum for the past few years. She recently graduated with a B.A. in Biological Sciences from North Carolina State University, a self-designed degree with a minor in Theatre. She is living at home this year and ready to support HBPA by helping to expand the Birthday Party program and developing new “Day Away” camps for teacher workdays throughout the community. Lark has always loved theater, whether being backstage, directing, or performing. She has been performing at Hickory Community Theater and the Greenroom for many years and looking forward to re-entering that scene now back from college. Lark and her sister Lily have had three successful workshops of original musicals, one of which was featured in Musical Theater camp in Summer of 2021, “A Tale for Two.” They are currently working on more original works that they hope to share with the students of HBPA.
Lily started her training as a competitive gymnast but has been on the theatre scene ever since she could walk. Some favorite past musical theater roles include Annie (Annie), Mayzie La Bird (Seussical Jr.), Natalie (All Shook Up Jr.), Ensemble (Evita), and Dream Laurie (Oklahoma, Young At Part). Some favorite past roles in ballets include Giselle (Giselle), The Sugarplum Fairy (The Nutcracker), The Witch (Hansel and Gretel), Clara (The Nutcracker), and Featured Soloist (The Gershwin Project). Lily graduated in December of 2022, earning her high school diploma in a total of five semesters and graduating at age 16. When she is offstage, Lily is composing original works. Last spring, She and her sibling Lark wrote an original interactive outdoor theater experience, Finding Fairies, which was performed in 4 parks by HBPA’s musical theater company! Over the past two years, she has composed, and music directed four original musical workshops with actors ranging from ages 5-24. She is a member of HBPA’s chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and was elected as President in 2022. In 2021, she was awarded Outstanding Female in a Character Role by Hickory Community Theatre for her performance in Evita. Lily began teaching in 2020 and is so excited to continue!
Ballet/Family Worship Arts/Tap
Kelly started her training at Jane Kohl School of Dance in Guntersville, AL, developing it further with master classes around the southeast. She studied with the Montgomery Ballet trainee program, and holds a minor in dance from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL. She is certified by Dance Masters of America to teach ballet, tap, and jazz. From 2003-2018 in southwest Michigan, she taught creative movement, ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, teacher training, and special needs for Hearts in Step (HIS) Dance Academy, Turning Pointe School of Dance, and For His Glory Ballet. From 2018-present in western North Carolina she has continued teaching at Hickory Ballet and Performing Arts and Betty’s School of Dance. Her passion is to develop dancers of all ages and abilities to glorify God with their gifts and talents.
Alissa began her ballet training at the New Art School of Ballet when she was 8 years old. She has played roles such as Clara, the Dewdrop fairy, and lead Spanish in the Nutcracker, the Woodland Glade fairy in Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle’s mother in Giselle. In 2018, she trained in a 2-week summer intensive program with the Nashville Ballet. At the age of 14, Alissa began broadening her skill set at HB&PA and now has experience in musical theatre, Broadway rep, contemporary, jazz, and tap. She recently graduated with an A.F.A. in Theatre from Catawba Valley Community College. During this program she helped write, produce, choreograph, and perform an original musical called Wishful Thinking.
Eloisa Jingle Enerio de Niet
Jingle started ballet at age 12 in Manila under the excellent tutelage of Felicitas Radaic. She was trained in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and quickly progressed to become a
company member with Dance Theatre Philippines at age 17. Her professional career extended to Canada and the United States and lasted for 21 years. She was known as a versatile dancer performing principal roles in contemporary and classical genres. After retiring from the stage, Jingle continued her passion in ballet as an instructor, a choreographer, and a coach. For the last 20 years, she has been guiding young dancers in reaching their potential as dancers and artists.
Her latest endeavor is creating Move NOW, a recreational program designed for older adults who are looking for a basic way to keep the body and mind in shape. In her decades of experience in dance she has always believed that movement is essential in mind and body wellness. She is certified in Yoga and Progressing Ballet Technique. In addition, Jingle received her degrees in Human Services, graduating summa cum laude, and Gerontology. She moved to Hickory, North Carolina in 2021 where she continues to teach. She enjoys the serenity that nature brings, often going on hikes with her husband and their loyal dog. She has been blessed with a daughter who brings her constant joy.
Melody Martinez is a 2023 Graduate of the East Carolina University Dance Program. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and Communication with a concentration in Dance, Performance, and Choreography. Last summer, Melody was able to study abroad in Nairobi Kenya! There she taught at community outreach schools and learned choreography from well-known choreographers from Africa. Within this opportunity, Melody found her passion to travel the world and continue to spread the joy of dance.
Rachel is originally from eastern North Carolina where she started her journey in the performing arts. She received her BA in Theatre, Production Design and Technology from UNCW and her MFA in Costume Design for Theatre and Film from UGA. Since she has worked up and down the eastern United States. Her and her husband moved back to NC and are settling in Hickory. Rachel is a professor of theatre at Lenoir-Rhyne University and Catawba Valley Community College and costume designer for HBPA. She loves the Hickory area and excited to raise her son is such an arts filled community!
Pre-Ballet/Pre-Musical Theatre/Dance with Me
Ms. Jennifer has a master’s degree in child development and a graduate certificate in expressive arts therapy. She enjoyed doing ballet as a child and is excited for the opportunity to teach little ones the joy of dancing and be a part of HBPA. Jennifer also works at the Hickory Public Library as a Literacy Engagement Technician, spreading the love of story time. She feels blessed to be able to combine her love for the arts and working with children through these two careers. She is excited to announce that she has a children’s book being published in 2023.
Paul Sapp first stepped (or possibly tripped) onto the theatrical stage in 6th Grade. Since then he has been involved with theatre productions and companies—as an actor, crew member, director, producer and writer—in Baltimore, New York, Norfolk, Raleigh-Durham, and now Hickory. Paul is delighted that his daughter is growing her skills as a performer, and grateful to his wife and son for their help with crew—all of which you may have seen in such recent HBPA productions as The Little Mermaid and The SpongeBob Musical. And he is especially grateful to all of the parents who encourage and support their children’s creative potential.
Alex is a local born and raised and an alumnus of HBPA. Alex has worked professionally in regional theatre and New York City, including the original Off-Broadway production of Rag Of Man. After working as a professional Musical Theatre performer, Alex went to Elon University to obtain a Law Degree. Alex attributes his professional performance career and his success in Law School to the training he received at HBPA. Alex is passionate about teaching the next generation and helping them succeed in their artistic pursuits.
Shawnie grew up dancing at Dance Precisions in Orange County, CA from faculty that included Shannon Mather, Francisco Gella, Leslie Kenfield, Eddie Strachen and more! She attended Appalachian State University in 2011- 2016 where she studied dance. In July 2019 she attended Dance Teacher Web Conference in Las Vegas, NV and attended various jazz, ballet, and acro classes. She became Acrobatic Arts Certified in June 2019. Since then she has continued to learn and master the Acrobatic Arts syllabus. She is excited to join the Hickory Ballet and Performing Arts faculty and can’t wait to meet everyone!