All instructors for Sun King Dance are highly trained, experienced, former professional dancers who enjoy teaching adults.
Heidi Winton-Stahle is the Director of Sun King Dance. She began her training in Saratoga Springs, NY with teachers Melissa Hayden, Elizabeth Carroll, Felix Smith, Tomislav Vuchovich, and Michael Steele. At age 17, she was accepted into The Boston Ballet School. At 18, she joined The Louisville Ballet and performed in many classical works including “Serenade”, “La Sylphide”, “Billy The Kid”,”Romeo and Juliet and “The Nutcracker”. After two years of performing with Louisville, she set off for college at The University at Buffalo to pursue a degree in dance. After school, she joined Ontario Ballet Theater in Toronto, where she performed leading roles in “Beauty and The Beast”, “Symbiosis” and “Alice”. In 2000, she started Sun King Dance, to focus on providing learning opportunities for the adult ballet students around the world. She is passionate about helping others in reaching their potential and discovering the joy of movement at any age. Heidi lives in Richmond, VA with her son.
Danile Giesy began her training at Tidewater Ballet in Norfolk, Virginia where she studied ballet and character. Additional training included summer intensives at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She has danced for Richmond Ballet, Chamber Ballet of Williamsburg and Ballet Tidewater. She also toured with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for several seasons. Danile has taught for the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk and Tidewater Ballet. She is Co-Director of Bayside Youth Ballet, the resident company of Diggs School of Dance in Gloucester, VA. Danile is a third-generation Certified Classical Pilates instructor and a Certified E.B.A.S. instructor. She has been a beloved instructor with Sun King Dance since 2002.
Christopher Hird was born in London, England and trained at The Royal Ballet School. He toured Europe professionally as part of a company headlined by the internationally acclaimed ballerina, Sylvie Guillem. After retiring from the stage, Hird worked as the assistant to the director at the British Ballet Organization, and later as the assistant to the development manager at The Royal Ballet School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in dance from the University of Surrey (Roehampton Institute), and a diploma from Canada’s National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program. Hird served on the international jury of the Japan Grand Prix in 2008 and 2010, the Surrey Festival of Dance (Canada) in 2007 and 2008, the Goainia Dance Festival (Brazil) and the Connecticut Classic in 2012. He has been a guest teacher for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Canada’s National Ballet School, Nevada Ballet Theatre Academy, Cecchetti Council of America, Harvard University, and Middlesex University (UK). Hird joined Boston Ballet School in 2003 and was promoted to Artistic Manager in 2009. He teaches students in the Classical Ballet and Pre-Professional Programs as well as being part of the senior leadership team. In 2013, Hird was also appointed Head of Adult Programming. He oversees the artistic vision of the program, as well as developing and enhancing the adult students’ involvement and experience with Boston Ballet. He has been teaching for Sun King Dance since 2005.
Kathy Sawyer Holtgrave
Kathy Sawyer trained at the Academy of Tidewater Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, School of American Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet. She danced professionally for 18 years with Joffrey Concert Group, San Antonio Ballet, Northwest Florida Ballet and as principal dancer with Louisville Ballet. She worked with notable dancers and choreographers, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Nicholas Beriozoff, Frederic Franklin, Niels Kehlet, and Sallie Wilson. In addition to dancing title roles in the majority of the classics, her repertoire includes works by Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, and Antony Tudor. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Kathy currently teaches and coaches both locally and nationally. She has been a guest instructor for Corpus Christi Ballet, Northwest Florida Ballet, Santa Barbara Festival Ballet and Virginia Ballet Theatre, and has been a faculty member for Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. In addition, she serves as Ballet Mistress for Nutcracker Key West. She has been teaching for Sun King Dance since 2003.
Gavin Larsen, a native New Yorker, received her dance training at the School of American Ballet, the New York School of Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She began dancing professionally at age 17 with Pacific Northwest Ballet and went on to perform with the Alberta Ballet, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre and as a guest artist with numerous companies. Over the course of her 18-year professional career, she danced principal roles in ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, James Kudelka, Helgi Tomasson, Yuri Possokhov, Christopher Wheeldon, Paul Taylor, Christopher Stowell, and Kent Stowell, among many others. In May, 2010, Ms. Larsen retired from full-time performing to focus on a career as a teacher, coach, freelance dancer and writer. Based in Portland, OR, she teaches at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre and Pacific University. Her writings on dance have appeared in Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, Dance Spirit, Dance/USA’s journal ‘In the Green Room’, Oregon ArstWatch, the Threepenny Review, Page & Spine, and KYSO Flash.
Randall Marks trained with the Tidewater Ballet in Virginia. He was awarded full scholarship with Joffrey Ballet School and then an apprenticeship with the Pennsylvania Ballet. He danced with Ballets Elan, Atlantic City Ballet, Ballet Austin, Dennis Wayne’s Dance Company, New York City Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company and guest starred with Connecticut Ballet Theater. Mr. Marks currently teaches throughout Texas and the United States and is presently Director of Ballet at the Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Mr. Marks teaches at the Joffrey Summer Program, adjudicates for the American Ballet Competition and has been teaching with Sun King Dance since 2006.
Scott Putman, an Associate Professor at VCU Dance and Choreography, is Founder and Artistic Director of Amaranth Contemporary Dance and the creator and master teacher of the Elemental Body Alignment System© (EBAS). His work has been presented regionally, nationally and internationally in showcases, concerts and dance festivals with Amaranth, as well as numerous ballet and modern companies. He currently directs and teaches the Summer I Program at the Accademia dell’ Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Scott has taught internationally in Bangkok, Thailand; Paris, France; Arezzo, Italy and San Jose, Costa Rica. Scott was awarded the 2005 National Choreography Plan Award for exceptional choreography from RDA, Pacific as well as Distinguished Achievement in Research in 2007 from VCU Arts and the 2008 Theresa Pollack Award for Excellence in the Arts. He has danced for Mordine and Company Dance Theatre, Dimetrius Klein Dance Company, Minnesota Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Chicago, Donald McKayle, David Alan and Douglass Becker. Scott received his BA from Columbia College, Chicago and his MFA from University of California, Irvine, where he was a Chancellors Fellow and a William Gillespie Scholar. Scott has been teaching with Sun King Dance since 2009.
Joni Petre-Scholz is a former member of the Berkshire Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet and Manhattan Ballet. She is a former principal dancer with Dances Patrelle, as well as rehearsal director and assistant to the managing director. She was a member of the faculty of Ballet Academy East in New York City. Joni is now the Associate Chair of the Dance Department of The Governor’s School for the Arts, serves on the teaching faculty of Old Dominion University Dance Department and the TRDance Center in Norfolk. Her choreography has been performed by Virginia Ballet Theatre, University Dance Theatre of Old Dominion University and The Governor’s School for the Arts in Virginia. Joni has been teaching with Sun King Dance since 2012.
Pedro Szalay is a native of Venezuela. He received a scholarship at Ballet National of Caracas, coached by Vladimir Isayev and other international teachers. He traveled to New York City to be coached by Madame Darvash and performed with New York Dance Theatre. Szalay was a dancer with the Richmond Ballet from 1996 to 2006. He has been a guest teacher, choreographer and coach for many organizations. For the past 10 years he has worked with the Minds In Motion program in Virginia schools. In 2007, Szalay became Artistic Director of Southwest Virginia Ballet in Roanoke, VA. In 2009, he was awarded the Perry F. Kendig Awards for Outstanding Performing Artist and in 2010, he was named the best Local Celebrity for Charity Events by the Roanoker Magazine. Pedro has been teaching for Sun King Dance since 2001.
Miranda Weese is from San Bernardino, California. She trained at Laguna Dance Theatre and the School of American Ballet. She became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in 1991 and a member of the corps de ballet in 1993. She was promoted to soloist in 1994 and principal in 1996. In 2007, she left New York City Ballet and performed as a guest artist with Pacific Northwest Ballet before joining as a principal. At New York City Ballet, Ms. Weese danced leading roles in George Balanchine’s “Apollo”, “Concerto Barocco”, “Divertimento No. 15”, “Emeralds”, “The Four Temperaments”, “Rubies”, “Stravinsky Violin Concerto”, “Symphony in C”, “Symphony in Three Movements”, “Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux”, and “Theme and Variations”; Peter Martins’ “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Swan Lake”; Jerome Robbins’ “The Concert”, “Dances at a Gathering”, and “The Four Seasons”; Richard Tanner’s “Ancient Airs and Dances”; and Christopher Wheeldon’s “Polyphonia”, and originated principal roles in his “Macurial Manouvers”, “Evenfall” and “Shambards”. Ms. Weese also originated a principal role in Twyla Tharp’s “The Beethoven Seventh”. At Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ms. Weese made debuts in Kent Stowells’ “Swan Lake”, Edwaard Liangs’ “Fur Alina” and George Balanchines’ “La Sonnambula”. Ms. Weese danced the role of Odette/Odile on the nationally televised broadcast of Peter Martins’ “Swan Lake” on PBS’s Live from Lincoln Center. She also appeared in the May 2004 Live From Lincoln Center broadcast of Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100, dancing in Balanchine’s “Liebeslieder Walzer”. Ms. Weese was also a recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation – USA Dance Fellowship for 1995-1996 and the Jerome Robbins award in 2011. Now retired from performing, Ms. Weese teaches ballet and dance fitness at the National Museum of Dance School of the Arts in Saratoga Springs, NY.