Amanda Smelser – grew up in the Roanoke Valley of Southwest Virginia where she started dancing at 4 years old. As a young dancer she studied locally at Roanoke Ballet Theatre and Post School of Ballet where she performed with Southwest Virginia Ballet. As a dance student, she performed lead roles in several area ballets including Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Anastasia, and Sleeping Beauty. Since beginning to teach fourteen years ago, with her experiences ranging from dance studios, public schools, outreach programs, and festivals, Amanda has contributed choreography for different productions and has choreographed, directed, and produced a full length ballet based on the children’s story Winnie the Pooh.
In 2003, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from Roanoke College. While at Roanoke, Amanda choreographed and performed in the theatre department’s production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. After graduating from Roanoke, Amanda spent a year in St. Andrews, Scotland, where she danced with the Scottish performance group, Celtic Rose. After returning to the states, Amanda taught in various studios in the region, including most recently, Roanoke Ballet Theatre, where she taught ballet, tap, jazz, and pointe to all ages.
In 2011, Amanda returned to school at Hollins University to pursue a Master’s of Liberal Studies. While there she studied dance under the direction of Jeffrey Bullock, the chair of Hollins’ dance program and faculty member of American Dance Festival. During this time, she started her own studio The Ballet Academy teaching ballet, pointe, modern and jazz to children and teens until moving to the Greensboro area in 2015.
Amanda teaches a standard methodology of classical ballet, which nurtures young bodies with age – appropriate development and strong technique. She believes that dance training can be a wonderful addition to everyone’s life; one which teaches awareness of the body’s movement as an art and form of personal expression. She knows this knowledge helps each person find their creativity and the artist within, remembering too that the knowledge of dance not only creates an artist but also develops lifelong dance audiences.