LOWER DIVISION - INSTRUCTOR BIOGRAPHIES
Megan started dancing at the age of three and studied at the Fine Arts Center under Jan Woodward when her family relocated to Greenville her senior year of high school. Megan attended The University of the Arts and graduated with a BFA in dance performance and choreography. While in school, Megan performed in several works and also choreographed her own work and in collaboration with different artists. Following graduation Megan decided to move back to South Carolina and has continued to teach and present work. Megan is excited to grow and continue to share her passion for the art of dance with those around her.
Davina is a certified instructor with the organization “Cecchetti USA” (CUSA) and has been teaching ballet since 2005. She holds a TC-2 and Grade 9 with CUSA and is studying for her Associate. She received her classical ballet training in Indiana before moving to South Carolina with her husband. As a dancer, she performed soloist roles in The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Tarantella, Graduation Ball, The Nutcracker and Cinderella. She is a dance scholarship recipient and holds a Bachelors of Arts in Writing from Indiana Wesleyan University. Her writings have been published in magazines and literary journals. She is the mother of two young children and an avid baker.
A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Liz Blackwood studied with Josée Beauséjour in Montreal, Canada where she successfully passed dancer and teacher exams with the Cecchetti Society of Canada. While in Montréal, she also worked with Odette Lalonde, Suzanne Plante, Victoria Yakobov, and other renowned teachers. She has attended workshops at Canada's National Ballet School, l'École supérieure de ballet du Québec, Richmond Ballet, and other locations. She's worked with numerous schools and choreographed dances for productions including The Wizard of Oz and La Boutique Fantasque. Ms. Blackwood most recently taught for Ballet Spartanburg before returning to International Ballet Academy in 2015, where she teaches many intermediate level classes, including pre-pointe training, beginning pointe, as well as Open Adult classes and IBA Summer Camps.
Josha Williams has been a dance educator in the Greenville community for the past 15 years. After completing her formal dance training at North Carolina School of the Arts, she returned to her hometown to begin her professional dancing career with Carolina Ballet Theatre in 2004 and teaching for Barbara Selvy’s School of Carolina Ballet Theatre. She continued training under the direction of Hernan Justo and the mentorship of Anita Pacylowski Justo, while dancing and teaching. One of the highlights of her career was having the opportunity to work with Alonzo King and to perform his originally choreographed piece, “MAP." Josha served as one of Carolina Ballet Theatre’s lead teachers for the outreach programs as well as an independent teaching artist in Greenville County Schools for over seven years. She has taught many levels but is best known for her love of teaching tiny ballerinas and specialized adult ballet/strengthening classes. Josha’s passion for exercise, fitness, and overall wellness is now stronger than ever. She currently works as an instructor for Greenville's Pure Barre and has been since it's opening in 2012. Josha is thrilled to start this coming year at International Ballet Academy teaching young ballerinas.
Ashley Martin received her training at the Fine Arts Center and the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. She attended Clemson University as an Education major where she was a member of the Central Dance and Concert Committee and vice president of the Clemson Dancers. She studied in New York at Broadway Dance Center and was a featured performer with David Dorfman Dance. She has performed with International Ballet in La Sylphide, Lady and the Hooligan, Walpurgis Night, Don Quixote, A Soldier's Tale, Paquita y Mas, Coppelia, and Nutcracker, and has taught in the Academy for many years.
Gabriel Paluszak received his training at International Ballet Academy and has performed in numerous soloist roles with International Ballet in The Nutcracker; Fairy Doll Pas de Trois, Markitenka Pas de Six; and the Peasant Pas de Deux in Giselle. He also performed in Alexander Tressor’s world premieres of Central Park and Spa de Quatre; as well as in Juliana Jordan’s Playground Paradox and We Regret to Inform You. He placed 3rd in the Senior Classical Division at the 2016 Youth America Grand Prix in Atlanta, GA, where he was also named a finalist for the Marcelo Gomes Scholarship at the Harid Conservatory. Gabriel received additional training at summer programs at Next Generation Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Ballet Magnificat. Gabriel worked as assistant teacher for 2 years before teaching Ballet 1 at IBA last year. The year he is excited to add a Boys Class.
Lydia Sanders was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. She began her serious ballet training at the USC Dance Conservatory, under the guidance of Susan Anderson and Stacey Calvert. She continued formally training at Southeastern School of Ballet, studying under Hillary Krieger-Toth and Gabor Toth and at International Ballet Academy under Vlada Kysselova, Irina Ushakova, and Victoria Yanchuck. Lydia has attended summer programs with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Charlotte Ballet. Lydia graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2018 with a BA in Dance Performance and Choreography and a Psychology minor. In the USC Dance Company, she performed in several works by George Balanchine, including the principal role in Walpurgisnacht and soloist roles in Raymonda, Who Cares, and Stars and Stripes. Lydia also danced the title role as the Firebird in Susan Anderson’s production of The Firebird. Post-graduation she joined Virginia National Ballet, where she danced a variety of soloist roles in choreography by artistic director Rafik Hegab. Lydia is a member of Ballet Spartanburg for the 2019-2020 season. In addition to dancing herself, Lydia has a passion for teaching and is thrilled to be joining IBA’s faculty this year.