Meet Our Instructors

Eva Taylor Hunter Founder/Director

Eva Taylor Hunter ~ Classical Ballet, Technique & Performance Coaching

  Classical Ballet, Technique & Performance Coaching

Miss Taylor’s early studies began with ballet, tap and jazz classes under Reese Holloway Toohey at the Holloway Dancing School in Johnson City, TN. Reece was a classically trained dancer and he sister Wilma was a conservatory trained pianist. These young ladies traveled annually to New York to study with the masters of their arts. At age 17, Reese chose Eva as her apprentice and taught her how to teach and manage a studio. For the next 5 years, Eva studied daily under Reese and taught the classical ballet and jazz classes at the Holloway Dancing School in Kingsport, TN. She was an original member of the Inter-City Youth Ballet, a predecessor to today’s City Youth Ballet, where she danced many roles.

During that time, and at Reese’s insistence, Miss Taylor attended the Costa du Sol International Academy of Dance under Anna Marie and David Holmes, a summer intensive. This was her first exposure to the Vaganova Method and went on to study with the famous couple for an additional 6 years. Anna Marie Holmes studied in New York with Felia Dubrovska and trained in Leningrad with Natalia Dudinskaya, Alexander Pushkin and Alla Shelest of the Kirov Ballet. Ms. Holmes was the first North American invited to perform with the Kirov Ballet in Russia.

Eva relocated to Oak Ridge to assume the lead teaching position for the children’s ballet classes at the Holmes’s Performing Arts/Dance Center and was a soloist for the Holmes’ Tennessee Festival Ballet Company. David Holmes once called her “a young, vivacious teacher of jazz and ballet”. Lynn Loomis, a Master Instructor with whom she danced with at TN Festival Ballet says, “Eva was the best utility dancer he has ever worked with….could master any choreography presented to her. ”

Whenever Eva returned to home, she continued her loyalty to the Holloway family and often returned to the Johnson City studio where she, at Susan Pace-White’s request and always, voluntarily taught classes. She considers her 45 year association with the Holloway Dancing School as some of the best times in her life. 

Additional training includes studies with Christine Anthony- Ballet Mistress Dutch National Ballet, Sasha Mintz- Ballet Master American Ballet Theatre, and Margo Marshall- Artistic Director City Ballet of Houston, Gelsey Kirkland of Academy of Classical Ballet, Rick Salinas – assistant to Luigi in New York and she was a favorite of Gus Giordano’s – American Jazz Theatre, in Chicago. 


She has performed in Coppelia, La Sylphide, Cinderella, Le Corsair, Giselle, Firebird, Nutcracker, Paquita, La Bayadere, Raymonda, Sleeping Beauty and, of course, the endearing favorite The Nutcracker.


Shannon Bowman Stinnett Assistant Director

Shannon Bowman Stinnett

Shannon Bowman Stinnett began ballet training in 1986 with Holloway Dancing School in Johnson City TN. She trained under Ms. Susan Pace White and danced many principal roles with the Inter City Ballet Company which later became City Youth Ballet of Johnson City. 

At age 17, Shannon was personally invited Shannon to the prestigious South Carolina Ballet Conservatory by Susan Anderson. Anderson had trained under Madame Olga Uceve of the Kirov Ballet. 

Shannon cherishes the time spent training with world renowned danseur  Edward Viella. Viella’s career spanned several decades, most notably, with the New York City Ballet and the Miami City Ballet Company.  Additional instructors that had an impact on Shannon’s career includes Jazz with Daniel Tanamie, Jeremy Blanton of Joffrey Ballet, NY, Joan Buttram of Georgia University, Claudia Flets of Charlotte City Ballet, Tommy Robinson of Columbia City Ballet SC, and Jeffrey Freeze and John Curnnin of North Carolina School of Arts. 

She is extremely proud to have studied with Michael Blevins, a former student of Reece Toohey of Holloway Dancing School, Kingsport. Michael’s first big break was his portrayal of Mark in Chorus Line the Movie. He continues to live in New York and spends his weekends as Artistic Director for the noted Centenary Young Performers Workshop. Blevins is also the Artistic Director for the Group Theatre Too. 

Shannon’s lead roles include Anna Pavlova’s Dying Swan, The Red Shoes, Les Sylphides, Gisselle’s-Mazurka, Seasons, Don Quixote, La Esmeralda, and the Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen of The Nutcracker.

Shannon favorite role remains - Aerial of The Little Mermaid as a guest artist for the Charlotte City North Carolina Ballet.  

Connie Cannon Taylor

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 Connie Taylor grew up taking dance at Bolding School of Dance here in Johnson City, studying ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics, later teaching classes there in high school, then again, after college. She also had the opportunity to take some classes with her teachers in New York City for several summers. She enjoyed acting in plays at Johnson City Community Theatre, such as The Sound of Music and Oliver, where she later choreographed plays as well. She studied dance and education at Stephens College in Columbia , Missouri, then returned to Johnson City, where she later received a master’s and Ed.S at ETSU.  She loves her job as a school counselor at Indian Trail Intermediate School. Connie has recently enjoyed performing in several plays at Jonesborough Repertory Theatre. 

 

Hannah Smith ~ Jazz

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 Hannah began dance lessons at four years old. She has been dancing ever since! For 15 years, she studied and performed at Sharon’s School of Dance in Indiana, PA. 

She trained in ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, tap, hip hop, and musical theatre. In her later years there, she was promoted to the teaching staff as an assistant. 

Hannah will begin freshman studies this Fall 2018 at East Tennessee State University. She will pursue a degree in Nursing. 

Abby Raper ~ Tap A

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 Abby is an 8th grade student at Liberty Bell Middle School.  She has taken dance since she was 2 1/2.  Most of her dance training came from the late Susan Pace-White through City Youth Ballet at Holloway Dancing School in Johnson City. 


 Abby is very active in community theater and was recently cast as Maria in 'The Sound of Music'.  Abby has worked with two separate workshops in NYC and has also participated in Broadway comes to Greeneville for the last three years.   


Most recently, she was invited to perform on the Plaza at The Today Show with Hugh Jackman's premier in New York City. 

Lily McKenzie

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 Lily began her training at the age of three at Bristol Ballet under Nadia Thompson, former ballet mistress of Milwaukee Ballet, and Gabriel Otevrel of Germany. She continued her studies under Susan Pace White at City Youth Ballet, home of the Holloway Dancing School in Johnson City, TN. 

In 2014, Lily attended the American Ballet Theater Summer Intensive, held at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, studying under Christine Spizzo, Amy Rose, Jennet Zerbe, and Julie Bickerton Bravata. The following summer she attended Pas de Vie Ballet in Tallahassee Florida, where she studied under Charles Hagan. 

In these years, she has preformed various principal roles such as the Clara and Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker,  as well as in Sleeping Beauty, Dracula, The Christmas Carol, and Alice in Wonderland. Lily presently receives her training at Shellshead Classical Ballet Conservatory directed by Mrs. Eva Hunter. Her main focus is classical ballet, however she has training in various forms of dance including modern, contemporary, jazz and is a certified Pilates instructor. In addition  she enjoys competing in Pro/Am divisions with the Johnson City Ballroom Studio. 

She attends ETSU, where she received a full scholarship for her dancing under the Fine and Preforming Arts Scholars Program of the Honors College.