Nicole Onuszkanycz – Owner/Director/Instructor
Nicole began her ballet training under Loyd B. Tygett, Keren Gibb Hilliard, and David Herriott with Community Ballet (now Huntsville Ballet) in Huntsville. She also received instruction from well-known master teachers such as Shamil Yugudin (formerly of Bolshoi Ballet) and Mira Popovich (Birmingham Southern College). Nicole has danced leading roles with the Huntsville Ballet in their productions of “The Nutcracker”,” Romeo and Juliet”, “Les Sylphides”, “Les Patineurs”, and “La Bayadere”. She received a Wings Award for her performance as “The Sugar Plum Fairy” in “The Nutcracker.” Nicole was previously the Ballet Director of Dancers Inc. in Decatur where she designed the levels and wrote the syllabus for their ballet program as well as developed, directed, choreographed and danced in their production of “The Nutcracker”. While at Dancers Inc., Nicole choreographed for their competition teams receiving several “Best Choreography” awards. Most recently, Nicole developed, choreographed, and directed “Narnia, A Holiday Ballet” for Steps of Faith Performing Arts Center where she has taught for several years. Nicole’s students have been selected by audition to participate in many prestigious summer intensives and year round programs at American Ballet Theater, Dance Revolution, Ballet Magnificat, Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet and Alabama School of Fine Arts. Nicole has taught throughout the North Alabama and Atlanta area and has choreographed for several church productions. Nicole’s vision for her students is to facilitate the best technical training possible, to reach their full potential as a dance artist and to see them use that art to bless their community and to glorify the Lord!
Whitney Huynh – Instructor
Whitney Huynh studied ballet, modern and tap at Melodies Dance School for ten years. Over multiple summers, she trained in ballet with Carrie Rothwell and The Huntsville Ballet Company. She taught ballet, tap, and modern at both Melodies Dance School (6 years) and Steps of Faith Performing Art Center before joining Adonai. Whitney and her husband Huy enjoy swing dancing (including Charleston, Lindy Hop, Balboa), and they teach several of these dances locally as well as regionally. Regardless of the dance style Whitney is teaching, she promotes a blend of technique and artistry. Whitney loves teaching and encouraging students of all ages to dance and to develop their abilities to the fullest, enjoying dancing in their everyday lives and striving to use their talent to minister to others.
Erin Johnson – Instructor
Erin began her dance training at age four at the Tolbert-Yilmaz School of Dance in Roswell, Georgia. Erin had an opportunity to dance in a church musical production at age 8, and has had a passion for worshiping the Lord through dance ever since. She continued her training with the Atlanta School of Ballet and Capital City Ballet, and had opportunities to perform with Atlanta Ballet and Chattanooga Ballet. She studied ballet and modern dance at Butler University’s Jordan College of Fine Arts, and pursued degrees in dance and elementary education. Erin received a bachelor’s degree in elementary
education from the University of Georgia. She and husband Steve have three children: Matthew, Ryan, and Katie. She has taught both public and private school, ballet, tap, and worship dance, and enjoys using dance and sign language to participate with the praise team at The Grove Baptist Church.
Chelsea McLain – Instructor
Chelsea began her training at the age of seven at Jill’s Studio of Dance. At the age of ten, she began studying at Community Ballet School (now Huntsville Ballet School), to focus on her training in ballet. She later joined the Huntsville Ballet Company, and trained under Carrie and Clinton Rothwell, and Phillip and Rachel Otto. While performing with the company, she performed various roles in “The Nutcracker”, “Paquita”, “Swan Lake”, and “Sleeping Beauty.” Chelsea spent her summers at various intensives, including Joffrey Ballet and Ballet Magnificat. She was offered a scholarship to continue her training in dance at Belhaven University, but felt God calling her into the field of education. She graduated from the University of North Alabama with a BS in Elementary Education, and later with an MA in Elementary Education. Chelsea has continued to have a passion for ballet, and has continued to take classes over the years. She looks forward to sharing that passion with her students and using that passion as a way to worship God.
Fran Meaux – Instructor Special Needs
Born in Louisville, Ky, and one of 6 children, and because of circumstances, Francita was raised in a convent. Not realizing that God had a calling on her life, she would dance in her own privacy, read the Word of God and become enthralled as she helped clean the place of worship. Her passion continued to control her mind even though it was unknown to others. She was never given professional lessons but was inspired and taught by her Creator. Not until years later did God give her the opportunity to release her gift. Married at this time with two children and raising two of her brothers, practicing in her own privacy, her Pastor, the late Dr. A. J. Elmore, gave her the opportunity to share her gift. Like no other dance, she was dancing for the Lord. Unknown at this time “Liturgical Dance” became a part of the worship experience. A complete thespian ministry was formed, consisting of many of the children and adults. The move to Alabama, many years later, opened the door even wider when “Miss Fran” as she is called, formed her company “Les Maseran”. She and her dancers danced for many churches in the North Alabama area. She was blessed by becoming a manager of the “Dance Factory”, owned by Susan Fisher where she was trained in the art of tap and ballet. She continued to use her gift in teaching, tap, ballet and Liturgical dance. She became know by many and was asked to share her gift. She was able to share her life in a book “LOOKING BEYOND THE WALL”, authored by the late Brian Passé who saw her dance at his church in 2001. This book is still available on eBay. “Miss Fran” has a strong passion in the teaching of special needs in which she formed “JUST FOR ME”. After seeing Miss Fran and her special group dance, the Mayor of Athens opened the Senior Center for her and her troupe for their recital. Attending the event, he praised Miss Fran in her efforts. Her relentless passion for her gift is forever powering her and at age 69 still holds her strong in her gratefulness to God for His gift to her. Soon to be 70, there are no signs of aging and no time of retiring.
Ashley K. Self – Instructor
Ashley K. Self has 13 years of dance experience and has received dance training in ballet, modern, pointe, and tap. She has 8 years of teaching experience in various genres (ballet, modern, pointe, and tap) for ages ranging from 2-adults; in that span of time she has taught for five different dance schools varying throughout Southern Tennessee and North Alabama. In addition to teaching for five different dance schools, Ashley opened her own part-time practice for homeschooled children through Life Christian Academy in Harvest, AL for the 2013-2014 school year. Furthermore, she composed, directed, and choreographed a ballet production in Fayetteville, TN in 2013 as a community outreach to support Slingshot Ministries, Inc. This one-hour Christmas Production (“The Christmas Journey”) also contributed as a canned “food drive” to support Slingshot Ministries’ monthly food-giveaway for community members in need. During the fall 2014 season, Ashley completed one semester as a company member on Middle Tennessee State University’s pre-professional Dance Company (Dance Theatre). She was one of four dancers selected for an eleven-minute piece under the choreographer and trainer Kate Kastlenik. Ashley is happily married to her husband (Colyn) and they live in Fayetteville, TN where she and her husband are the Youth Leaders of Slingshot Ministries, Inc. She and her husband are passionate about living healthy and enriched lives not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually; their heart is to use their talents to lead others to do the same.
Elizabeth Staley – Instructor
Raised in Colorado Springs, Elizabeth started dance at the age of eight. She trained with her three other sisters at a small competitive studio called The Dance Center of Colorado Springs (TDC), focusing on ballet and tap. Elizabeth started assistant teaching dance classes at the age of twelve for TDC and later became a substitute teacher. Additionally, she performed with Ballet Idaho and Oklahoma City Ballet for four years in the annual Colorado Springs Philharmonic Nutcracker. Although attending UAH to study computer engineering, Elizabeth still wants to remain involved in the dance community. She performed last year as a part UAH’s Baptist Campus Ministries STOMP team and taught lyrical and ballet classes at Madison Ballet Academy. Someday, Elizabeth hopes to help design technology that can be used to assist the arts and dance, but for now she is thrilled to continue learning and sharing her experiences at Adonai School of Ballet and Fine Arts.
Hannah Swanner – Instructor
Hannah began dancing at age 3 with In His Courts Dance Studio. At 10 she began more intensive training at Steps of Faith Performing Arts Center. She has extensive training in ballet, pointe, modern, contemporary, jazz, tap, hip hop and tribal. She began assisting in and teaching classes at age of thirteen. She has performed, competed and received high honors in competitions and has participated in master classes with Dance Educators of America, Dance Revolution and Panoply Arts Festival and An Evening of Dance. She has performed in Adonai’s production of “Sleeping Beauty” as Aurora and in productions of “Narnia” as Peter Pevensie and Jadis, the White Witch. Hannah has received instruction from well known Master Teachers such as Gary Taylor, founder and artistic director of Winston Salem Festival Ballet, Ryan Warren, professional dancer hip hop choreographer and staff member with Dance Revolution, Marc Wayne, musical theater dance instructor and producer at Marc Wayne Productions and staff with Dance Revolution. She has participated in dance intensives with such places as Huntsville Ballet Company, Alabama Youth Ballet and Element Dance Studio. Hannah is a Huntsville native and the oldest of 3 girls. She hopes to audition for Ingredients Dance Company, a christian dance company based out of Dallas, TX.
Katherine Tharp – Assistant Instructor Special Needs
Eva Thompson – Instructor
Eva began her dance training at age four at North Alabama Dance Center and trained there for over thirteen years. She received her primary instruction from Barbara Ellen Smartt, Melony League, and Jennifer Bernhard; and her classes included ballet, pointe, tap, modern, and jazz. Eva also had the opportunity to attend Ballet Magnificat’s Summer Dance Intensive for two summers during high school. After high school, she continued her dance training with The University of Alabama Department of Theater and Dance, where she received pre-professional training from Cornelius Carter, Qianping Guo, Rita Snyder, and Sarah Barry. She graduated from The University of Alabama with a BFA in Dance in May 2012. Eva is very excited to begin her teaching career with Adonai and share her love of dance with others. Her goal is not only to help her students further their dance education, but also to show them how dance can be used as a form of worship to bring praise and glory to God.