Andrew and Merry Kuharsky - Directors

Our Faculty

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Andrew Kuharsky and Merry Kuharsky of Greenville Ballet School

Our faculty features Andrew and Merry Kuharsky; highly trained professionals who danced with The Atlanta Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and The Joffrey Ballet. They have taught in Greenville for 35 years, including at the Governor’s School and at the Fine Arts Center. This allows them to pass on to your child the accumulated knowledge of many generations of professional dancers, teachers and choreographers with whom they have worked.

Our faculty’s experience and training allow us to know the best techniques to keep your child safe and avoid injury or damage that can be caused by poor or improper training.

Even if you don’t want to dance professionally, top quality instruction from our faculty means you’ll learn more, be safer, and develop a lifelong appreciation of fitness, the arts, and learning in general.

Our faculty understands ballet very well, and can teach age-appropriate lessons that are safe for each level of development.

If your child decides they love dance so much they want to continue, they will be in the best position to do so. In fact, some of our students have gone on to dance with companies including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Co., San Francisco Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Co., Ballet West (Salt Lake City), Sacramento Ballet, Lexington Ballet, First State Ballet Theatre, and the Rockettes, and have performed in Broadway touring productions including 42nd Street and The Lion King.

Our Faculty

ANDREW KUHARSKY – Director     photos       videos

Andrew KuharskyMr. Kuharsky is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School. He was an apprentice with the Joffrey Ballet in New York, a principal dancer with The Atlanta Ballet, and a soloist with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal. He has performed across Canada, the U.S., and in France, Italy, Switzerland, and Yugoslavia. He taught in or chaired the dance program of the S. C. Governor’s School for the Arts from 1984-1999, and directed the high school dance program at the School District of Greenville County’s Fine Arts Center from 1984-2002. He has taught at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and choreographs regularly for many regional companies. He is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. In 1984 he won an
S.C. Arts Commission fellowship. His work has been performed in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Kentucky, Vermont, Texas, and Scotland.

 

MERRY KUHARSKY – Director     photos

Merry KuharskyMrs. Kuharsky was a principal dancer with The Atlanta Ballet and the Augusta Ballet in her native Georgia. With The Atlanta Ballet she danced leading roles across the United States including Alaska. She trained at the Augusta Ballet, and studied at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. She has taught at the Augusta Ballet School, the Atlanta School of Ballet, and the New Jersey School of Ballet. She served as Ballet Mistress for The Atlanta Ballet, and has staged works for The Atlanta Ballet, Augusta Ballet, Gainesville Ballet, and Burklyn Ballet Theatre. Mr. and Mrs. Kuharsky have two children and four grandchildren.

 

 

REBECCA LEE – Ballet, Modern

Rebecca LeeRebecca Lee is a native of Greenville, where she received her dance training with the Greenville Ballet, the Greenville County Schools’ Fine Arts Center, and the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts. She received her B.F.A. in Dance, Performance, and Choreography from Columbia College and her M.F.A in Dance, Performance, and Choreography from Florida State University. She has been a company member with Dance Repertory Theatre in Tallahassee, FL, and a guest artist with Wildwood Ballet and the Power Company in Columbia, SC. She has also danced with Christian von Howard in the Von Howard Project and with the Garage Girls a Go-Go in New York City.

She has taught for FSU Summer Dance Intensive, FSU non-major dance classes, Tallahassee Ballet, Pas de Vie Ballet Company, Ballet Spartanburg, and Broadway South. She has also choreographed for Converse College, Columbia College, Ballet Spartanburg, Tallahassee Ballet and the Fine Arts Center. She currently teaches dance at the after-school A.R.M.E.S. program at the Greenville County Schools’ Fine Arts Center and at Woodmont Middle School.

CHRISTIE LEONARD – Director, AC Dance and Company

IMG_6371Christie Leonard began her dance training with Frankie Sherman. Her early teachers included Pat Jackson, Felicia Scherz, Glen Irby and Laurie McAlister. Later, she studied in New York City taking classes from nationally acclaimed instructors at Steps, Peridance and Broadway Dance Center. For 14 years, Christie owned and operated two studios in the Upstate.  She is co-owner of AC Dance Craze, a dance convention that hosts workshops in studios across the east coast. Christie is also director of Furman University’s dance team. Christie’s students have won local and state pageant titles, numerous awards at regional and national competitions, performed on cruise ships, attended the Ailey School and Joffrey summer programs, were featured performers in the Miss SC pageant, and attended the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and the Fine Arts Center. Her students are in theater and dance programs at many local high schools and at College of Charleston, Washington and Lee University, University of Georgia, Clemson, Lander and USC.

Christie has worked with the Lander University Dance Team, Hillcrest and Mauldin High Dance Teams, worked as a judge for the National American Miss Pageant, Southern Council of Dance Masters, Marvonna National Dance Competition and Star Talent Productions.  Christie was also the choreographer for productions of A Christmas Carol and West Side Story for the theater ensemble FIRE.
 

ASHLEY PIRKLE – Director, AC Dance and Company

Ashley Pirkle has studied under Christie Leonard for 15 years. Ashley and Christie own AC Dance Craze, a convention that travels to studios in the upstate and along the east coast. Ashley has trained in many different styles of dance including Ballet, Pointe, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap and Canadian/Buck-style Clogging.  She is also director of Furman University’s dance team. Ashley has experience in tumbling and acrobatics. She attended conventions including West Coast Dance Explosion, Jump, and Adrenaline, and has taken many master classes with top choreographers and dancers such as Brandon Tyler (Broadway dancer in A Chorus Line), Eric Campros (back-up dancer to well known music artists, teacher at Broadway Dance Center in NYC), Paul Franklin (works with Cirque de Soleil dancers), Joey Tarwater (choreographer in L.A., dancer on Broadway, teacher at Adrenaline Dance Convention), Pavel Romanyuk (dancer for the Bolshoi Ballet), and many more. She has received two scholarships from Adrenaline dance convention, and has won numerous overall titles and awards in regional and national competitions. She has performed in the Miss South Carolina and Miss South Carolina Teen pageants. She has won awards for her choreography, and her students have won many overall titles at regional and national dance competitions. Ashley also has students who have won many pageants including Miss Hilltopper, Miss Woodmont, and Miss Golden Strip Teen. Her students have also won the talent portions within their pageants. Ashley has worked with Marvonna National Dance Competition, and Star Talent Productions. She has also assisted alongside Paul Franklin who is currently working with Cirque De Soleil. She has taken college courses in Anatomy and Physiology, Sports Medicine, and Food and Nutrition.
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