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Julie Bierne, Owner and 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, many Nutcrackers, and in the “Peasant Pas de Deux” of 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.
Cynthia Schmidt, Leap 'n Learn Young Child Specialist
Cynthia Schmidt grew up taking ballet classes at Classical Ballet School, starting in pre-ballet at the age of 5 years old. She grew up watching her mother take the advanced classes and wanted to be just like the older girls someday. She has been in many of the school’s performances. Her favorites were Alice in Wonderland and Hansel and Gretel.
Cynthia has worked with children for many years as a counselor at Camp Fire’s Camp DaKaNi, as well as Camp Chaverim at Temple B’Nai Israel. She currently works as a receptionist at Wedgewood Pet Clinic when not dancing.
Cynthia believes that everyone should be able to learn ballet, and is excited to be able to share her love of dance with the students at Classical Ballet School.
Amanda Dolph, Jazz/Tap/Stretch&Strength
Amanda Dolph is a musical theatre major at OCU. She grew up dancing in Havre, MT and has studied ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and modern. In 2015 Amanda studied dance at the Oberlin Dance Collective in San Francisco, where she was completing an internship. Amanda has continued to study dance in college. She is a national champion on the OCU dance team and continues to compete nationally with them. Amanda has been teaching dance since high school and is grateful to get to continue. During her time in Montana, she was awarded six scholarships from the Montana Dance Arts Association and received gold medals at the Big Sky State Games Dance Sport competition. Summer studies include the St. Louis Tap Festival, Motor City Tap Festival and Tap City Festival in NYC, where she performed in Times Square. Her performing credits since attending OCU include Curtains, The Juniper Tree, South Pacific, Company, and student choreography shows. She is very passionate and strives to bring her students to their fullest potential.
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.