Miss Whetstone began Woodlawn Ballet originally with the hope of creating equality in dance training; today her greater hope is to bring peace and prosperity to Birmingham through an investment in the education of our most precious natural resource, our children, so they might compete and win in the global economy, which thirsts for Truth in entertainment.
Adair earned a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Art History at the University of Alabama. She is grateful to her father Bill Whetstone and her beloved Professor of Economics Dr. Charles Leathers for encouraging her inquisitiveness, growing her in wisdom, and encouraging her to challenge the status quo.
Adair feels very blessed to have received four very short but fruitful years of serious ballet training under Kathy Nolen, Former Co-Director of Briarwood Ballet. She is thankful to her mother, Grace Reed for investing in Adair's dance training even as a very small child, beginning with "Joy of Movement" classes with Mrs. Cindy Free, now the Director of Birmingham Ballet, and paying to see professional productions whenever possible.
Adair learned tap and jazz as a member of the Star Spangled Girls, Homewood High school's competition dance line under the Direction of Mrs. Jennifer Ayers. In May of 2004, Adair was honored as the line's “Most Valuable Dancer.”
Miss Whetstone also danced in competitive Show Choirs throughout middle and high school that had great influence on her as a dancer. She would like to recognize: Mrs. Ellison, Mr. Horton, and Mr. Thorne. Especially, she would like to thank her church youth choir director Stephen Mitchell, who was the first teacher to introduce her to dance and singing performed together as part of his ambitious annual church choir tours. Adair has been dancing and singing ever since.
Before founding Woodlawn Ballet, Adair taught ballet for two years at Dancing Stars, a Tuscaloosa dance company owned by Veronica Anderson and Tanika Rice. Adair currently dances with Restoration Arts Dance, a Contemporary Christian Dance Company under the direction of Jennifer Morrow. She also enjoys rare but highly cherished adult ballet classes at Ballet Arts and Fitness in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Dr. Jan Berry,
As Artistic Director for Woodlawn Ballet, Dr. Jan Berry desires for every dancer to develop their technique and effectively incorporate dance technique into a lifestyle of praise and worship.
Dr. Berry began her formal training in modern dance under Mrs. Geraldine Wilson Truss, Athletic and Dance Coach of Lawson State Community College at 12 years old. In 1980 Dr. Berry graduated from Birmingham-Southern College where she earned a Bachelor of Education and Foreign Languages and a minor in Modern Dance. While at Birmingham-Southern, she received classical and modern training under Mira Popovich.
Dr. Berry is a licensed evangelist through the Church of God in Christ and a licensed minister through the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Dr.
Berry has a Master's of Arts from the University of Phoenix in Curriculum and
Instruction in Fine Arts (2007). Dr. Berry earned her doctorate in Theology from
the Church of God in Christ Seminary in 2010. She is currently working on her
second doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction in Fine Arts.
She was nominated in Who's Who Among Students in American Community Colleges in 1976. She taught Child Development at Lawson State Community College from September 1990- 2005. She received the Who’s Who in Jr. Colleges Teachers 2002. In 2009 she was awarded the Teachers are Heroes Award (2009) which is sponsored by the Alabama Sports Festival Foundation. Dr. Berry’s choreography has also received many awards including the Jasper Artist of the Year Award in 2009 from Jasper, an arts publication based in Columbia, South Carolina. From September 2000-2008, Dr. Berry lead the advanced praise team Rhythm of His Wings. After her retirement from Lawson, Dr. Berry served as Assistant Director to Annie Lindsay over Ramsay High School’s Dance Department from September 2008-2013. In 2009 Dr. Berry founded Birmingham Dance, a community praise dance team serving dancers of all ages and continues today as the group’s founder. Dr. Berry is currently a member of the Alabama Dance Council, the Christian Dance Fellowship and the International Dance Commission.
Miss Cassady graduated in 2010 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelor's of Science degree with concentrations in biology and chemistry. She currently works full time as a laboratory technician at a pharmaceutical company in Hoover. Below she describes her journey back to dance in her own
“God gifted me to utilize both of my brain hemispheres equally. I have a passion for science as a career and art as a trade. I have always enjoyed and been good at dance and marketing growing up. In high school, I danced on the Sound of the South Danceline from 2002-2006. Dance concentrations were jazz and ballet basics. My team won numerous awards including Best in Class all four years. My marketing interest comes from my thriving desire to be creative. In college after honing my gift, I served the University Programs Council as Vice President of Public Relations. In this role, I developed marketing aspects and techniques. I was awarded the Student Excellence Award for Outstanding Member in 2007 for my contributions to the university. Dance and marketing eventually turned into hobbies after college and joining the workforce.
I joined Church of the Highlands in 2011 and a dance small group in the
summer of 2013. This was not just any group; I joined the well established
Restoration Arts Dance. I had never danced for the Lord nor had I danced
lyrically. I believe God has called me to this group to worship and fellowships
with other disciples. It was through RAD that I met Adair. We immediately became
friends in Christ. God presented me with the opportunity to join Woodlawn Ballet
and immediately took charge as Operations Manager. I believe that with my passion for dance and marketing I can help establish Woodlawn Ballet and carry out the vision of the organization."
Miss Cassady plans to attend Ballet Magnificat!'s Dance Intensive in Summer 2014 for the teacher's workshop, “I believe the next step I need to take as a dance teacher is professional training.”