Ashley Paige Romines
Ashley Paige Romines began her
dance training at age ten in Sevierville, Tennessee, and at age sixteen
continued on to pre-professional ballet training at Central Pennsylvania Youth
Ballet. She then studied on scholarship at the University of Oklahoma and
graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in ballet pedagogy. While
in college, she performed with Oklahoma Festival Ballet, and some of her
favorite credits include Cygnet in Swan Lake, a witch in James
Clouser’s Carmina Burana and in George Balanchine’s Valse
Fantaisie. Ashley Paige then performed professionally for three seasons
with Northern Ballet Theatre in New Hampshire and for two summer seasons with
Burklyn Ballet Theatre in Vermont, with credits including Columbine Doll and
Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker, Fairy of the Song Bird in The Sleeping
Beauty and "Pas de Trois” in Paquita. While in the
northeast, she taught at several ballet schools and received her Pilates mat
certification through Power Pilates. During her training and professional
career, Ashley Paige had the honor to learn from such inspiring teachers as
Marcia Dale Weary, Darla Hoover, Mary Margaret Holt, Donn Edwards, Dennis
Marshall, Melinda Howe, Leslie Hench, Laurie Jones, Denise Vale, Jeremy Lindberg,
Karyn Edison, and many others.
After her performance career, Ashley Paige
focused on her teaching, choreography and ballet administration career. In
2007, Ashley Paige joined Springfield Ballet as the Artistic & School
Director, where she spent twelve seasons through 2019. During her tenure and upon her return
to the organization in 2021, she has choreographed and staged the annual
production of The Nutcracker as well as several original
full-length and one-act classical and contemporary ballets, including the productions
of The Wizard of Oz, Coppélia, Cinderella, Alice
in Wonderland, Beauty & the Beast, and Peter
& the Wolf. Additionally, she attended Central Pennsylvania Youth
Ballet’s Teacher’s Workshop, with the late Marcia Dale Weary, which was
instrumental in her approach and philosophy for training dancers from tots to
Ashley Paige relocated to Denver with her
husband, Frank, in 2019. While there, she was on faculty for all levels and did
private coaching at Littleton Ballet Academy, served on faculty at Colorado
Ballet Academy, working mainly with the pre-professional program, and was on
faculty for Colorado Conservatory of Dance. She continues to serve as guest
faculty at Littleton Ballet Academy. In
2022, Ashley Paige was honored to receive the Phoenix Award at the Ozzies, and
is delighted to continue with Springfield Ballet as Artistic Director to share
her "passion for dance, poise for life”.
While Abigail is
administratively focused in her current role at Springfield Ballet her passion
for dance and the performing arts is evident in all she does. She has literally
grown up through theatre and dance, beginning at a family-oriented dance school
in Kansas run by her initial inspiration Beth M. Bell, to her current role in
guiding Springfield Ballet so the organization can bring the art of ballet to
Abigail’s dedication to the
performing arts, and particularly dance, was kindled through the local support
and opportunity to instruct, choreograph, design and most of all dance when
Springfield became her new home. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance
Performance from Missouri State University as an involved, working dance and
movement artist primarily with Ruth Barnes, Sara Brummel, and Darryl K. Clark. During
this time Abigail found parallels between real life and the discipline of dance
that provided her with a strength that she carries with her to this day.
Continuing to build on this
new found strength Abigail gained valuable experience in dance and business
administration through studio, collegiate and professional experiences from a
list that includes places such as Kansas, New York, South Carolina and Dublin,
Ireland. In Dublin at the Dance Theatre of Ireland she gained experience and
appreciation for the magnitude of the effect an art and community partnership
can have through her work specifically with Olwen Grindley, Robert Connor and
Loretta Yurick as this arts organization actively worked through the reality of
Abigail brings this more than
15 years of experience with various profit and nonprofit organizations managing
logistics, marketing and research for these operations both on and off the
stage to her position at Springfield Ballet. With this experience, and the art
form of dance near and dear to her heart, she hopes to encourage the community
to share in her enthusiasm for dance. In her role Abigail plans to use this
enthusiasm to be a leading advocate for current and future dance and ballet students
and artists, their families, the patrons, supporters and the community, showing
them the difference the art form of dance can make in the world for generations
Maria (Hall) Velazquez
Associate Artistic Director
Maria (Hall) Velazquez early dance training began at
Springfield Ballet under the direction of Ashley Paige Romines. She graduated
Magna Cum Laude from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a Bachelor of
Fine Arts degree in Ballet, Modern Performance and Choreography. At UMKC, she
trained under Paula Weber, Mary Pat Henry, David Justin, DeeAnna Hiett, Gary
Abbott, Tobin James and Sabrina Madison-Cannon. During this time, Maria
performed works by Alvin Ailey, Gregory Dawson, Peter Anastos, Kameron Saunders
and Philip Jerry. She performed with Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey and the
Alvin Ailey 1st Company in "Memoria.” Maria also performed "Eden” as
an apprentice with Wylliams-Henry Contemporary Dance Company. She has trained
at summer programs including SummerWind Youth Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago,
The Rock School for Dance Education, Kansas City Ballet and Netherlands Dance
Theatre. Maria had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala to perform in the
76th Annual International Choreographers Showcase with dancers from around the
After graduation, Maria spent a season dancing with
Missouri Contemporary Ballet, where she performed in works by Karen Grundy,
Sean Aaron-Carmon, Penny Saunders and Fernando Rodriguez. As an alumna of
Springfield Ballet, Maria was honored and excited to return in 2021 to the
ballet school that shaped the foundation of her dancing. She has been
teaching and choreographingas Associate Artistic Director of Springfield
Ballet ever since. She is thrilled to continue sharing all she has
learned and help the future stars of the dance world grow and flourish.
Outreach Programs Coordinator
Tami C Franklin began ballet at Miss Margaret’s in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
After Miss Margaret’s retirement, she studied ballet, tap and jazz at
Encore! Dance Studios, Inc. Under the mentorship of Linda Twedell, her
teaching career began in 1987. Tami was a performing member of the
Encore! Dance Company for four years alongside the Stillwater High
School Pom Squad for three years. She worked two summers with Universal
Dance Association leading and instructing dance camps for high school
students across the United States. In 1992 she moved to Pensacola,
Florida and spent the next two years teaching ballet, tap, and jazz at
Five Flags Dance Academy. Upon returning to Oklahoma in 1994 she founded
Steppin’ Out dance studio in Tuttle, a suburb of Oklahoma City. She
shared her passion for dance and love of teaching with her students for
14 years (1994-2008). Attending Tremaine’s regional and national dance
conventions for over 20 years as a dancer, competitor, and instructor,
she trained with artists: Joe Tremaine, Doug Caldwell, Darryl Retter,
Laurie Johnson, Benji Schwimmer, Desiree Robbins, and Keri Lagrand. She
has choreographed numerous works in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical,
and pom for the classroom and stage. Tami also loves to country
two-step! She has danced, competed and instructed partner dances
including country two-step, shuffle, waltz, nightclub two-step,
west-coast swing, salsa, cha-cha, east coast swing, and shag. In 2016,
Tami began annual trips to Port-de-Paix, Haiti where she teaches dance
and works with children at Sonlight Academy. In 2017, she founded The
Brave Butterfly, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower
all people through leadership, ethics, and the Arts. Tami’s pursuit of
higher education gained her a BA in Anthropology (May 2016) and a
Masters of Professional Studies in Global Philanthropy (December 2017)
from Missouri State University. Tami not only loves to dance, but she
also loves people! With over 30 years of teaching experience and her
anthropological perspective toward philanthropy, Tami is enthusiastic to
be part of Springfield Ballet.
Education Programs Coordinator
Emily Walley has been dancing since age three and has been passing on her passion for dance through teaching at Springfield Ballet since 2019. She has a Master's and Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education as well as a certificate in Gifted & Talented Education from Missouri State University. Emily completed her student teaching at Springfield Little Theatre’s Fine & Performing Arts Academy. Emily began her dance training at Sonshine Performing Arts Academy from 2003-2005. She then danced at Ozark Dance Academy under the instruction of Julia Bubalo from 2005-2015. Emily made her debut performance in a Springfield Ballet production when she played a Party Scene Boy in The Nutcracker (2013). She fell in love with the art of ballet and the core values of commitment, professionalism, knowledge, respect, excellence, confidence, and discipline that Springfield Ballet instilled in her. Since then, Emily has appeared in many SB productions. Some of her favorite roles include Snowflake and Flower in The Nutcracker, Teardrop and Tiger Lily in Alice in Wonderland (2017), and Rose in A Tale of Two Wolves. Emily was a merit based work-study scholarship recipient during her senior year of high school where she had the opportunity to assist ballet classes. In the fall of 2018, Emily became an instructor apprentice under the guidance Artistic Director, Ashley Paige Romines. Emily now teaches Dance with Me beginning classes through Ballet 5A level classes and tap at Springfield Ballet. She also teaches for Springfield Ballet’s outreach programs Dance Chance and Star Steps. Emily also worked as Assistant Office Manager, Production Assistant, Costume Coordinator, and Rehearsal Assistant at Springfield Ballet. She is extremely grateful for Springfield Ballet’s continuous impact on her life and the opportunities she has received through this organization.
Alexandra Olson began dancing at the age of two. In 2011 she started her training at Springfield Ballet where she
was on scholarship for six years. Alexandra appeared in numerous productions of Springfield Ballet’s, The
Nutcracker, some of her favorite roles being Snow Queen and the Dew Drop Fairy. She also performed in many
spring productions, most notably appearing as Cinderella in, Cinderella, and Beauty in, Beauty and the Beast.
Alexandra attended many of Springfield Ballet’s summer intensives, but she also attended Indiana University
Ballet’s summer intensive in 2018, and Kansas City Ballet’s summer intensive in 2019 on merit scholarship. She
participated in many years of Springfield Ballet’s Young Choreographers Showcase taking on various roles
including, choreographer, performer, and house manager. Alexandra is currently a student at Missouri State
University as a Creative Writing major. She hopes to one day have a published book series. She is so thankful
for the opportunity to teach at Springfield Ballet, her second home!
Alexis Smith began dancing at the age of three in her hometown of Parsons, Kansas, at PRC Dance Studio. She performed in many of her studio’s recitals and was on the competition team as well. Throughout high school, she was greatly involved in her high school’s theatre program performing in all of their plays and musicals. Because of this, she had the opportunity to perform on the mainstage at the 2019 International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska. Coming from a small town, she is thankful to be immersed in the arts here in Springfield. Alexis is currently a student at Missouri State University getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance, while also minoring in psychology. She has been able to perform in the Fall and Spring Dance Concerts in her time at MSU. She performed at the 2022 American College Dance Association conference as well. Alexis enjoys all things music, singing, and dance. She is so grateful for the experiences and opportunities she has had thus far and is even more grateful to continue to be surrounded by such amazing people here at Springfield Ballet!
Haley began her dance training in her home state of New Jersey with a focus in ballet since age four. She attended summer intensives with The New Jersey Ballet, The Rock School, Saratoga Summer Dance, and The Mercyhurst Dance Experience. Haley received dance and academic scholarships to attend Mercyhurst University and graduated cum laude in 2012 with a BA in Dance and a minor in Arts Administration. While at Mercyhurst she taught open ballet classes, volunteered administratively for Arts Erie, completed an administrative internship with the Erie Dance Consortium, performed with the Lake Erie Ballet Company, and played Carmen in the musical Sweet Charity. A versatile artist, Haley has also performed as an actress at the Off-Broadstreet Theatre in New Jersey as Elsie in Black Tie and The Mute in The Fantasticks.
In 2013, Haley moved to Philadelphia where she taught the members of Penn Ballet at the University of Pennsylvania, and within both the ballet and theatre departments at the Philadelphia Dance Academy. She performed with Beyond Dance Company, Reverie Dance Theatre, and Rock en Pointe while serving as the Programing Manager of the Koresh Dance Company from 2013-2016.
She moved to Vermont in 2016 and joined PH Dance as a founding company dancer and performed with the company for six seasons. During the COVID-19 pandemic she was featured in their award-winning dance film, "The One I Wanted to Be”, and became the company’s Project Manager for their second film in 2022, "The Migrant Body”. She was a faculty member at the Vermont Ballet Theatre School and the Ballet School of Vermont where she taught all ages, and educated the adult ballet community at the newly established Lines Vermont.
In 2022, she joined the staff at the world-renowned Colburn School in Los Angeles working under new Dean and former New York City Ballet dancer, Silas Farley. As Dance Administrator she managed many programs including the Youth Dance Program, Pre-Professional Colburn Dance Academy, Jumpstart Outreach Program, and Adult Classes. She was invited to join the acclaimed faculty at Colburn and taught ballet to the early childhood development classes and adult dance program.
Haley moved to Springfield in 2023 after accepting an adjunct faculty position at Missouri State University. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge with the dancers at Springfield Ballet.
Hattie began dancing at the
age of five. She started her ballet
training in 2010 at Springfield Ballet under Ashley Paige Romines, and joined
the faculty in 2018. Hattie graduated in
2023 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Missouri State
University and her Associate of Arts degree from Ozarks Technical Community
College in 2020. She performed in
numerous productions during her years at Springfield Ballet, her favorite roles
included Evil Enchantress in A Tale of Two Wolves, Russian
Trepak, Snowflake, and Flower in The Nutcracker, and The Teapot in Beauty
and the Beast. After having the
opportunity to assist classes through her scholarship at the ballet, she
realized that she had a passion for teaching.Throughout her years at Springfield Ballet she has taught classes,
assisted with rehearsals and served as Assistant Stage Manager for productions,
mentored students for the Young Choreographers Showcase, taught and
choreographed for the Primary and Junior Summer Intensives, choreographed for
the annual School Showcase, and recently she created and developed Springfield
Ballet’s Jazz curriculum. During her
time at Missouri State University Hattie trained under Ruth Barnes, Sarah
Wilcoxon, and Azaria Hogans. She had the
opportunity to have her choreography featured in both the Fall Dance Concert
and Spring Dance Concert, she was an Arts Administration intern with the dance
program, she performed in a piece choreographed by Guest Artist Ilana
Goldman (Associate Professor of Dance at Florida State University) that was
selected for the Gala performance at the 2023 American College Dance
Association, and her own choreography was selected to be performed at the 2022
American College Dance Association. Hattie
is thrilled to continue working with students at the Ballet and sharing her
passion for dance!
Jamie Williams, a Springfield, Illinois native, was a member of the Springfield
Ballet Company in Illinois for five years. During her time there, she
danced roles in Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, and many
productions of The Nutcracker. Jamie then moved to Springfield,
Missouri, and graduated from Missouri State University where she majored in
biology and minored in dance. Jamie now works as an Education Specialist at
Dickerson Park Zoo and enjoys dancing with Springfield Dance Alliance.
She has been seen as Mrs. Stahlbaum in Springfield Ballet’s The Nutcracker as well as the Stepmother in
Cinderella, The Queen of Hearts in Alice
in Wonderland (2013) and The Evil Queen in Snow White. Jamie
is thrilled to teach as a Springfield Ballet faculty member, as well as sew
costumes for productions.
Joshua Velazquez began his dance training at Midwest Regional Ballet in Joplin, MO under the direction of Kaye Lewis. He continued his training under the direction of Paula Weber, David Justin, Ronald Tice, Gary Abbott, DeeAnna Hiett, and Tobin James at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He performed professionally with Störling Dance Theatre, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Andalusia Ballet, American Youth Ballet, Modern Night at the Folly, and Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, as well as performed for the Harlem Globetrotters halftime show. Joshua is very excited to be sharing his knowledge with the talented dancers at Springfield Ballet.
Richard F. Nebel, II
Richard F. Nebel, II is a proud Springfield Ballet Alumni. He completed his classical ballet training with
the late John Magnus, dancing with the Portland Festival Ballet. With Mr. Magnus, he had the opportunity to
work on both classical roles as well as original contemporary works. When opportunity called he followed to
New York City, where he has been able to build a career in ballet and theatre. He returned to Springfield to
complete his BFA in Musical Theatre at Missouri State University (Go Bears!), graduating in 2020.
Pilates developed as a natural interest from his ballet technique-balance, power, and focus. He is also a
Comprehensive Certified Pilates instructor at The BodySmith Pilates Studio. Richard is so grateful for and
inspired by his return to Springfield Ballet- excited to perform and learn right alongside our dancers both
in the studio and onstage. Before you ask, he's 6'7". Tall men dance, too!
Brandi Houck is a native of Springfield, Missouri. She started dancing at age four and studied for numerous
years at Springfield Ballet. During the summers, she attended intensives at State Ballet of Missouri (now
Kansas City Ballet), Virginia School of the Arts, Alabama Dance Theatre, Joffrey (on scholarship) and
Milwaukee Ballet (full scholarship). She went on to attend the University of Missouri – Kansas City on
scholarship and received her BFA in Dance. While in college, she returned to Springfield Ballet as the guest
artist Sugar Plum Fairy two years. The highlight of her professional career was with the Albany Berkshire
Ballet as a principal dancer for a winter and two summer seasons. She danced roles of Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow
Queen, and the Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker as well as lead roles such as the girl in white in Carmina
Burana, Emily in Our Town, pig tail girl in Graduation Ball, gypsy in Petrouchka, and the trio in Red
Ellington. Brandi also performed with Kansas City Ballet as a freelance artist in the corps de ballet in the
productions of Carmina Burana, Swan Lake and Serenade. Additionally, she choreographed A Midsummer Night’s
Dream for the Missouri Repertory Theater along with several other pieces and has taught both ballet and
modern to various ages and levels and at several different schools. Brandi currently works as a Healthcare
IT Epic Radiant Consultant for a health system in Champaign, Illinois.
Miss Emily Ricca started dancing at the age of eleven in Springfield, Missouri. She was awarded a scholarship to go to the school of Springfield Ballet where after only six months began training en pointe. It was a fast track to become a ballerina ever since.
She was enrolled at thirteen as a special student to take advanced ballet classes at Missouri State University and soon out grew that. Miss Ricca studied and trained with Jillana, Patricia Renzetti, Maria Tallchief, Kiera Nichols, Arthur Mitchell and Edward Villella. She went to classical ballet boarding school under the direction of Petrus Bosmon of The Royal Ballet of London and is a currently a freelance ballerina.
Miss Ricca has danced professionally for Ballet de San Juan, Florida Dance Theatre, Boca Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet’s Advanced School division, the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, as well as a guest ballerina in Paris, France, where she worked with the legendary Michael Denard of the Paris Opera Ballet. Miss Ricca has performed excerpts from Swan Lake, Giselle, and Raymonda, and has presented The Romance Project – an informative educational program, engaging live music and dance performance for all ages. She also had the opportunity to appear as the prima ballerina for Joyce Stahl’s lavish production of The Nutcracker in Key West. Recently, Miss Ricca has been a principal guest artist for Florida Arts Company, Ashanti Cultural Arts, and the Dance Collective associated with the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, where she looks forward to setting an original ballet of hers there.
Miss Ricca has taught for the Miami City Ballet, The Marais in Paris, France, as well as at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center where she has been a resident artist. This past November, she produced, choreographed & starred in Emily Ricca Dance Through Time at Sandrell Rivers Theatre, a program designed for solo artists during Covid, which has taken off in different formats for different institutions across the country, including Missouri and Florida. Looking ahead, she will be a guest artist for Freddie De Jesus’ Dance Company in Lakeland, Florida where she will present her choreography as well as dance the White Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake. Emily Ricca is pleased to return to her home town and share her love of ballet with Springfield Ballet students.
Sara Brummel earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology from the University of Colorado at Denver and
holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre with a Dance Emphasis from the University of Arizona. Dance
training includes the North Carolina School of the Arts, the Pennsylvania Ballet, and studies with Juan
Antonio, Takako Asakawa, Peggy Baker, Jerry Bywaters Cochran, Robert Cohen, Blondell Cummings, Lynn Dalley,
Margaret Jenkins, the Louis/Nikolais Dance Theatre Lab, Bill Evans, Gary Masters, David Moroni, Nadine
Ravine, George Skibine, Marjorie Tallchief, and David Hatch Walker. Performing experience encompasses a
number of ballet and modern dance companies, including the Pennsylvania Ballet, New England Dinosaur, Dance
Company of Ontario, and Contemporary Dancers of Winnipeg. As a professional dancer, Ms. Brummel appeared in
works choreographed by Toby Armour, Malenko Banovitch, Anna Blewchamp, Rachel Browne, James Clouser, David
Earle, Martha Armstrong Gray, Rodney Griffin, Ina Hahn, Janet Justice, Earl Kraul, Rozann Kraus, Judith
Marcuse, Fred Mathews, Norman Morrice, Sophie Maslow, Linda Rabin, Cleo Parker Robinson, Lois Smith, Beth
Soll, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Norbert Vesak, and James Waring. As a teacher, Ms. Brummel’s credits include the
Cambridge School of Ballet, Cambridge School of Weston, Colorado Ballet, Crested Butte Summer Dance
Workshop, Dance Circle of Boston, Loretto Heights College, the Missouri Fine Arts Academy, Montezuma/Cortez
High School, SEEK Summer Enrichment Program, American College Dance Festival, Springfield Ballet, the
University of Denver, workshops in São Paulo, Brazil, and presentations at the Congreso de Pedagogia de
Danze in Bogotá, Colombia. Sara Brummel is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the
American Ballet Theatre® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 and Partnering of the
ABT® National Training Curriculum. Ms. Brummel’s choreography has been presented in Bogotá, Seattle,
Chicago, Albuquerque, St. Louis, Wichita, and Springfield. She is currently an Associate Professor in the
Theatre and Dance Department at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri; a member of the World
Dance Alliance, National Dance Education Organization, and Springfield Dance Alliance.
Simpson’s training covers a broad range of dance techniques including classical ballet, modern, and
improvisation. She holds an M.S. in Administrative Studies with a focus in Arts Management (2015) and a B.F.A.
in dance performance (2008) from Missouri State University. Teresa also holds an International Teaching Diploma
from the North American Montessori Center (2010) and has trained in Visual Thinking Strategies (2015). Teresa
has toured with Missouri State University’s community outreach dance company, Inertia performing in works by
Sara Brummel, Rhythm McCarthy, Ruth Barnes, Shirley Russon Ririe, and Rebecca Enghauser; and has presented
choreography at the American College Dance Festival. She began her pre-professional dance training with the St.
Louis Ballet School, performing in the company's production of *The Nutcracker* and participating in student
workshops. Teresa created and implemented a performing arts after school program at the Academy of Performing
Arts in Nashville, TN, designed an after-school program curriculum for Missouri State University’s Citizenship
and Service Learning office, taught movement and theatre games at the Rivendale Institute of Learning, and
worked alongside Springfield theatre artists to create a one-act play accessible for children with autism.
Teresa is a co-founder of Springfield Dance Alliance and produces Listen.Think.Leap! A Creative Movement
Podcast. She has served as per course dance faculty at Missouri State University, worked as a teaching artist
with Placeworks Arts Outreach and been a part of AATE’s Missouri Theatre in Our Schools committee. She is an
avid reader and enjoys spending time with her husband Matthew and sons Daniel and Arthur. Teresa is honored to
be a part of the Springfield Ballet faculty.