Advanced and Pre-professional Ballet Instructor and Advanced Modern Teacher
Melissa Wenhold comes to us from East Greenville, PA with a wealth of knowledge in dance and teaching. She began her dance training at the age of six under Deanna Schubert, Founder and Artistic Director of Schubert School of Dance Arts. For the next fourteen (14) years she trained and performed in classical ballet, pointe, modern, jazz and tap. During her tenure at Schubert School of Dance Arts, she attended summer studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, and Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts and danced with the J. Dance Company in Bucks County, Pa. Melissa continued her dance training and graduated from the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. Ms. Wenhold holds a BFA in dance from Belhaven University in Jackson, Ms. and served as part of teaching faculty for Pennsylvania Classical Ballet and Schubert School of Dance Arts. In addition, she continues to expand her teaching experience through master studies at Belhaven University and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Teachers Training. We are extremely excited that Ms. Wenhold will be joining the Link Faculty.
Bethany Lenhart is currently a Fellow of the Cecchetti Council Of America, holding the Advanced Certification (FCCA). She serves as the First Vice President and current Liaison Coordinator of the Executive Board. Bethany has held the offices of President, Vice-President, Corresponding Secretary, and General Board Chairman. She received the Sylvia Hamer/Margaret Marsh Scholarship and attended the Cecchetti Teacher’s Course in England. She has choreographed for several regional dance companies in the USA and Canada and was associated with the former Flint Ballet Theatre. Bethany has received the Children’s Champion Award and is listed in the International Who’s Who of Professionals.
We are very excited that Bethany has joined the Link Family and Faculty.
Sarita began her early ballet training at Rochester School of Dance. At the age of twelve, she was selected to dance with The American Ballet Theatre in their production of Le Corsaire. At age 13, Sarita was accepted into the Michigan Ballet Theatre Company Rochester Hills, MI – Cornelia Sampson, Artistic Director..
During her tenure with Michigan Ballet Theater, Sarita felt a strong calling to dance for the glory of God and became a member of the Studio’s christian dance company, Grace Dance Ensemble. Currently, Sarita teaches worship classes at The Link from beginning A through advanced levels, Mustard Seeds (creative movement for 3 year olds) and Pre-Ballet 1 and 2.
Sarita has a huge passion for teaching young girls to dance for the glory of God, and believes it undoubtedly has the ability to change lives by its beauty and power. Sarita is a student at Oakland University pursuing a graduate degree in Elementary Education.
Financial Administrator and Ballet Instructor
Susan Howard received her early classical ballet training at the Doris Marsh School of Ballet. Earlier jazz and tap training were studied at the Judy Kanary School Of Dance. Following her study, she went on to become a dancer with the Detroit City Dance Company, a professional modern dance company under the direction of Carole Morisseau. Plans to join the Alvin Ailey Dance Company were thwarted when she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal savior. In 1984, Susan joined “The Glory Dancers”, a Christian interpretive ballet company that toured locally, regionally and nationally, communicating the Gospel message through dance. As a member of CCA, Susan has attended numerous Cecchetti seminars as well as workshops including the 1998 IBC Teacher’s Workshop with David Howard and Master Classes at the Houston Ballet in Houston, TX, in addition to spending two summers with Sylvia Palmer, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Mary Beth Kisner, Gus Giordano Dance Company. Susan was a ballet instructor for 7 years at the Bethesda Christian School of Dance and performed with the Latter Rain Christian Dance Ministry for 11 years. She then went on to teach ballet, tap, jazz, and modern for 7 years at Kensington Church School of Dance. In 2002, Susan assisted Betty Mitchell in launching The Link School of the Arts, a 501c3 arts launch of Kensington Community Church. Currently, Susan serves as Financial Administrator and is a Ballet instructor at The Link.
Drama Instructor and Director Of Productions
Theresa has been a performer, director and producer for over fifteen years. Performance credits include: performing as a cast member on Main Stage at The Second City (Detroit, MI) and Assistant Directing there under Saturday Night Live Director Tom Gianas, cast member of “Strong Women Keep Coming”, Host of TV pilot “Peacemakers”, Improvisational Comedian for Toyota Motors and a Spokesperson/Product Specialist/Trainer for automotive companies including General Motors, Daimler Chrysler, Honda and Toyota. Theresa has also had featured film roles in “Mutant Swingers from Mars”, “Temptation” and “A Polish Wedding”.
Theresa has served as Executive Director for Spare Me Productions and Executive Producer for Peacemakers, Inc. Theresa has also served as Director/General Manager of The Magic Bag in Ferndale, The Millennium Centre Convention and Performing Arts Complex in Southfield, The Majestic Theatre in Detroit and The Federal Reserve Conference Center in Detroit. Mrs. Maybee Bolinger has served as a Director, Assistant Director, Producer, Costumer, Make Up Artist and Set Dresser for many productions such as, “A Family Affair”, “If These Hips Could Talk”, “Ain’t Nothin’ Like Family” and, most recently, “Whatever She Wants” starring Vivica A. Fox in 2007. Theresa has spent over twelve years in Christian Arts Ministry including Director, Producer and Programming Team for Kensington Community Church from 1997 – 2000, Drama Team at Northridge Community Church from 2003 – 2005 where she directed the drama for “The Glory of Christmas” 2004- attracting over 20,000 audience members.
She is currently Drama Instructor and Director of Productions for The Link School of the Arts in Troy since 2002. Theresa has been a member of Word of Faith International Christian Centre in Southfield, Mi under Bishop Keith Butler since 2001.
Dance has been part of Lisa’s life for as long as she can remember. Lisa began her early training with Mask School of Dance, Jean Nuccilli’s School of Ballet, Toni’s School of the Arts and Wendy’s Dance Arts. Later, Ms. Johnson was crowned Miss Wendy’s Dance Arts where she began formal training with Carol Morisseau of Detroit City Dance Company. Following her training, Lisa became a company member and for the next few summers trained with the Harbinger Dance Company, Alvin Ailey and New York City Ballet. Lisa has performed with Wayne State University Dance Department, Oakland University Dance Department (Laurie Eisenhower), and Other Things and Company.
Lisa received a BS in Biology from WSU and years later discovered that her true passion was teaching. Over the years, she has created winning choreography for local Dance Schools and Churches. While teaching, Lisa began her focus of teaching in Creative movement, while still concentrating on Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Hip Hop. With the true freedom of expression, Lisa later incorporated her love for Christ into her teaching, and has taught at many area churches. Lisa and her husband, Blake, are members of St. Scholastics Church in Detroit, MI.
School Director and Ballet Instructor
In 1976, Betty Mitchell began her early ballet training with Jean Nuccilli, (Southfield, MI), Leslie O’Day (Detroit, MI) and Rosemarie Floyd (Royal Oak, MI), while touring and performing with The Glory and Latter Rain Dance Companies. Her current coaches are Rosemarie Floyd and Bethany Lenhart (Executive Board members CCA). In 1986, Ms. Mitchell was asked to assume the position of Director of Dance, Bethesda Christian Church, where she directed and taught ballet. Classes were also offered in modern to students through intermediate levels. Performances at various large church and school events contributed to a rapid increase in enrollment and brought a significant awareness of Jesus Christ to the performing arts in the greater metropolitan Detroit area.
In December, 1994, Betty assumed the Director of Dance position at Kensington Community Church (Troy, MI) where a Performing Arts School was implemented and classes offered in ballet, modern, jazz, tap and ballroom. Other disciplines offered were voice, drama and music. The Ballet program quickly grew in excess of 250 students. During her tenure at Kensington Community Church (1994-2002), Ms. Mitchell coordinated many collaborative and special events with local regional and nationally recognized ballet and modern companies, such as Ballet Magnificat (Jackson, MS), Eisenhower Dance Ensemble (Oakland County, MI), Rosemarie Floyd Civic Contemporary Ballet (Royal Oak, MI) and Houston Ballet Dancers (Southfield Millenium Center, Southfield, MI).
Currently (2002-present), Ms. Mitchell is Director of The Link School of the Arts and Artistic Director of The Link Ballet. As a non-profit 501 C3 arts organization, Kensington Community Church launched and provided the initial funds to establish the School in 2002. Operating as a separate entity with its own mission and infrastructure, The Link provides education, training and community outreach performances that draw people to Christ and bring Glory to God! High quality ballet instruction is offered as well as jazz, tap, modern and worship classes. Ms. Mitchell is a LCCA member of the Cecchetti Council of America (CCA) and is currently working on her ACCA and FCCA certification.
From 1987–2013, Ms. Mitchell has taught and presented more than 600 candidates for Cecchetti Examinations in Grades 1-Diploma with 30% passing Highly Commended, 60% passing commended and 10% passing plus- pass. During this time, even though she teaches Advanced 7 and currently studying the Diploma syllabus, these candidates are presented by Bethany Lenhart, a current faculty member of The Link School of the Arts and CCA Executive Board member. She has also studied under master teachers; most notable, Priscilla Nathan Murphy, Andrew Murphy, Lauren Anderson, Victoria Vittum (Houston Ballet), Shawn Stevens (NYCB and Twyla Tharp) and IBC Teacher’s Training (David Howard).
In 2008, Ms. Mitchell taught, mentored and coached a competitor at the CICB Competition in Calgary, Alberta, and the 2011 CICB Competition in Manchester, England. Ms. Mitchell’s students have also placed in the top 12 of YAGP regional and national competitions. In addition, she has taught, mentored and coached dancers who have obtained contracted positions with professional companies such as Texas Ballet Theatre, (Fort Worth, TX) Charlotte Ballet (Charlotte, NC), Ballet Austin 11 (Austin, TX), Central West Ballet (Los Angeles, CA), as well as other students being accepted at Summer Schools, i.e., Houston Ballet, Miami City Ballet School, SAB (New York), ABT (New York) and the Rock School of Dance Education. Ms. Mitchell has also placed students in the University of Indiana Ballet Program, (Bloomington, Ind.) Oklahoma University Ballet Program (Oklahoma), University of Utah Ballet Program (Salt Lake City, UT) and Belhaven University (Jackson, MS).
In March, 2012, The Link Ballet presented its very first classical ballet production, “Giselle” Many thanks and appreciation goes out to Ben Stevenson, O.B.E. for his generosity in choreography, Lauren Anderson (former principal dancer with Houston Ballet) for her flawless coaching and staging and Andrew Murphy (former principal danseur with Houston Ballet) for his impeccable dancing, artistry, experience and world renowned fame. This opportunity really showcased the Link Ballet’s versatility and strength in ballet as a true art form. Ms. Mitchell is a member of Living the Word Church, Hazel Park, MI (Pastors Taylor and Cynthia Cox) and gives all the honor and praise of these accomplishments to the Glory of God!