Kay Sandel, Founder & Artistic Advisor
Kay Sandel has danced professionally with Ruth Page’s International Ballet Co. of Chicago, the Chicago Lyric Opera, Tulsa Ballet, National Ballet of Washington D.C., and Ballet Oklahoma. She received her formal training in Tulsa with Roman Jasinski and Moscelyne Larkin (one of the five Oklahoma Indian Ballerinas), former members of the Original Ballet Russe. It was during this time that she danced for many years as principal dancer with the Tulsa Civic Ballet, the precursor of Tulsa Ballet Theatre. She was Artist-In-Residence for the Tulsa Arts and Humanities Council, presenting programs at local schools on the development of ballet. She was awarded a Ford Foundation Scholarship to study and apprentice with the National Ballet of Washington D.C., under the direction of Frederic Franklin. While there, she received further training from renowned teachers such as Maria Swoboda and Oleg Tupine, and Sonia Arova. She has danced many roles in such ballets as Nutcracker, Carmina Burana, Con Amore, Bolero, Swan Lake, Pas de Quatre, La Favorita, Afternoon of a Faun, Prodigal Son, and Coppelia. She also danced the part of Myrtha in Giselle with Maria Tallchief (another of Oklahoma’s Indian Ballerinas).
Kay has been teaching ballet for over 30 years. Her insistence on purity of line, cleanliness of technique and the importance of expression has enabled many of her students to be accepted into professional dance companies and prestigious schools such as School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet School, Boston Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Kirov Academy, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Magnificat, Tulsa Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Harid Conservatory, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Oklahoma City Ballet. She is Artist-in-Residence at Oklahoma City University and regularly choreographs for the American Spirit Dance Company. Ms. Sandel also guest teaches at dance conventions and competitions and regularly attends international teacher workshops.
Julie Bierne, Director
Julie Bierne is a former ballerina with Ballet Oklahoma (now Oklahoma City Ballet). There she danced in productions of Carmen, Coppelia, Les Sylphides, Tangos, and many Nutcrackers among others. Her favorite role was the “Peasant Pas de Deux” in Giselle, her favorite ballet. At the age of 15 Ms. Bierne was accepted into the Los Angeles Ballet summer intensive program. It was there, under the watchful eye of Russian ballerina, Irina Kosmovska, that her technique and artistry blossomed. Julie has a long history with the school and has known Classical Ballet Founder, Kay Sandel, since moving to Oklahoma in 1977. When Julie finished her professional career, she chose Classical Ballet School for herself and her daughter.
Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from the University of Central Oklahoma and has studied abroad at the Université de Paris, Sorbonne, France. She has many years of business and marketing experience in the luxury hotel industry and has served as Education Director for the Air Force—creating curriculum, training and certifying volunteer staff, and managing education programs to Department of Defense compliance standards for students of all ages.
These competencies give Ms. Bierne the expertise to direct both the business and artistic aspects of Classical Ballet School as one of the premiere ballet schools in the state of Oklahoma.
Amanda Popejoy, Artist in Residence
Amanda began her dance training with Doran-Vossen School of Dance in Yukon, OK. She then went on to train at The Dance Center of Oklahoma City Ballet. Amanda has also studied at Ballet Austin, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theater in New York City, and the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. Amanda performed with Pacific Northwest Ballet in Kent Stowell's The Nutcracker and also performed Sonia Dawkin's Cu Ture in Dance This Seattle. She then joined Ballet Austin II, where she performed in Stephen Mill's The Nutcracker and A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as Thaddeus Davis' The Monologue Project and Dwight Rhoden's Salsa Pit. In 2008 Amanda worked with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in Houston, TX. Her favorite roles include The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Amanda also enjoyed the opportunity to perform aerial dancing in Robert Mills' Mozart's Requiem.