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 and Contemporary 3.

Gabriel Paluzsak

(Contemporary 3)


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 Children's Summer Camps.

Liz Blackwood

(SPG, Adult Ballet)


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.

Megan Hannon

(Contemporary 4, 5)


Sara Lane graduated cum laude from Oklahoma City University with a Bachelors of Science in Dance Management.  She has been teaching dance - including ballet, jazz, and tap - since 2007 and has been awarded for pedagogy accomplishments at OCU.  Sara has also worked as an assistant dance and cheer coach at Neosho County Community College and as the head dance and cheer coach at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas.  She worked as the Program Director for dance, cheer, and gymnastics for the Greater Wichita YMCA in El Dorado, KS where she taught dance, cheer, and gymnastics to all ages.

Sara Lane

(Beginning Jazz)


Liz grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina Upstate. She has a background in business administration and also serves as the office administrator for International Ballet.  Liz and her husband, Doug, who is the volunteer International Ballet Production Manager, have twin daughters, Lydia and Logan, who are members of International Ballet's senior company.  Liz has extensive knowledge and experience in the ballet "parent" perspective of everything from pointe shoe purchasing to summer program auditions and is the organized face of the International Ballet Academy studios.

Liz Acker

(Office Administrator)


Emily Paluszak

(Career & College Guidance Program Director, Social Media Coordinator)

Emily has over 25 years of teaching experience and has worked in a variety of school settings. She received a Master of Education degree from Converse College, and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/ Accounting from the University of South Carolina in Columbia. She is the owner of Seat of Wisdom Educational Services, which, since 2005, has contracted with an international, accredited, classical independent study school with over 5,000 students in grades K-12 in 50 states and six continents, serving as a guidance counselor, middle and high school teacher, and trainer/ supervisor of faculty. Many of her former school clients are currently dancing in professional companies, attending university college dance programs, and teaching dance in schools around the country, and one placed in the Top 12 at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in NYC in 2018.  Emily has 21 years of experience homeschooling her six children, three of whom now have careers in the arts, and one who is a senior voice student at the Fine Arts Center.  Her son, Gabriel, is International Ballet’s Professional Artist-in-Residence and a ballet and contemporary instructor with IBA; and her daughter, Emma, is a dancer with IB’s Senior Company. Emily founded the IBA Career & College Guidance Program in 2014, and she runs IB’s social media accounts.


Sarah Shoemaker brings 25 year of experience in dance, education, business, and film acting and production to her role at International Ballet. In 2015 Ms. Shoemaker began production on a film about the special needs dance class at International Ballet. Titled Invitation to the Dance, the film is set for completion in 2018. As a dancer, teacher and choreographer Ms. Shoemaker has worked in numerous professional companies, private studios and private schools in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Since arriving in the upstate in 2014, she has been the choreographer for TD Bank’s Annual Wow! Awards tour. She enjoys public speaking and acting, and has been seen in commercials, independent films, television, and web series'. She and her husband have two children, one of whom is a student at International Ballet Academy.  Ms. Shoemaker holds a B.S. in Business Administration from The College of Charleston.

Sarah Shoemaker

(Executive Director)