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Meet the School Director

Jill Landrith has been teaching dance since 1978. She is currently on faculty in Wichita State University’s Dance Department lecturing in Dance History. Jill was Artistic Director of Metropolitan Ballet of Wichita (now known as Ballet Wichita) for twenty years, after serving as Associate Artistic Director for five years. She created an innovative introduction to dance and the arts open to all children five to ten years of age for Unified School District 265 in Goddard, Kansas, and directed that program for nine years. Her teaching experience includes working with students aged four to seventy-two, in all levels of ballet from the beginning level to advanced, including pointe, variations and pas de deux, as well as creative movement and dance kinesiology.

She returned to Kansas after her performance career as a soloist with the Aachen Ballet in West Germany and a member of Ballet Met of Columbus, Ohio, with an intense desire to choreograph and teach. While she was still in Germany, Jill appeared as a Guest Artist with noted choreographer Robert Wexler, and had many roles created on her by Thorsten Muller. It is her goal to make similar opportunities available for her students now. Jill’s dance training includes extensive work with David Howard, Maggie Black, Rebecca Wright and Francoise Martinet in New York City, and Bill Martin-Viscount in Texas. Jill began her studies in dance with her mother, June Landrith.

Jill expanded her movement studies and choreographic potential with her work merging trained dancers with people who are disabled. She choreographed Ride to Wagner’s Ride of the Valkuries using wheelchair athletes and ballet dancers, See? for visually impaired children, and she also worked in a funded program for USD 259 for two years, working with children with various disabilities in dancing classes and choreography. In 2007, Jill was also able to work with regular education students at Woodland Elementary School, in dance and exercise benefits, thanks to a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.

Jill Landrith was featured in an article in the October 2004 issue of Dancer magazine. Recently, she was a guest teacher for the Washington Ballet School, and has also been a guest teacher for The Springfield Ballet, as well as for schools in New Jersey, Florida, and throughout Kansas.

Teachers

Robyn Nelson was born in Wichita, Kansas where she began her dancing career at the tender age of six. Her classical ballet training in Cecchetti and Vaganova started under the direction of Carol Iwasaki. Soon after, Robyn began performing with the Wichita Children's Theatre and Dance Center Company. By age thirteen, Robyn was dancing at Nancy Harvey's School of Ballet and studying with Jill Landrith. She also performed with Ballet Wichita in the yearly production of The Nutcracker along with other annual spring concerts and summer Ballet in the Park Series. Robyn also studied under Marjorie Kelly where she had the opportunity to train in The Royal Academy of Dance program. Under the direction of Katherine Esposito, Robyn discovered her passion to dance competitively. Being trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and musical theatre Robyn has attended numerous master classes, ballet intensive, and dance workshops through Wichita State University; including several with the late David Howard. The military has taken Robyn and her wonderful husband, Cliff, to many exciting places. In Abilene Texas Robyn taught with The Abilene Performing Arts Company and was an APAC Fusion Director of the Senior Competitive Dance Company. Robyn was also the Director of the Abilene Cooper High School Cougarette Dance Team. Along with dancing and teaching, Robyn keeps grounded through running. She is currently a certified personal trainer and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sports and Recreation Management. Even though Robyn's heart is always on stage, her real love is teaching and enriching young dancers. Cliff and Robyn recently moved back to Wichita with their 2 dogs, Jay (a Jack Russell), and Angel (a Miniature Dachshund).


Katy Kaufman is a native to the Wichita dance community. She grew up dancing competitively at The Movement Authority and also with The Nancy Hervey School of Ballet for additional ballet training. After graduating high school Katy went on to college at Wichita State University, where she was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with well-known choreographers such as Janice Garrett, Doug Varone, Taye Diggs, and Andrew Palermo. Katy graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance from WSU in 2009. When she was finally finished with college, Katy decided to go to San Francisco to follow her dance dreams of performing with a company. During her time in California, Katy performed with Garrett + Moulton Productions, Printz Dance Project, Nhan Ho Project, and as a part of Kat Worthington’s performance workshop group in Copious Dance Theater’s first home season. Since moving back to Kansas, Katy has been teaching dance at Studio A at Collegiate and working at the local dancewear shop, Attitudes. She also recently finished her 200 hr yoga certification and is now a Yoga Alliance registered yoga instructor, and teaches part-time at Firefly Yoga Studio.


Sherry Urton is a graduate of Wichita State University earning her BFA in Dance. She is a former soloist with Metropolitan Ballet of Wichita and danced with various companies such as Wichita Contemporary Dance Theater, Music Theater of Wichita, Oklahoma Dance Theater, and Dance Athletics. She created and co-owned Newton Performing Arts Center and its resident company, Montage Theatre of Dance. Montage is a multidisciplinary dance theater company that incorporates performing arts disciplines with many genres of dance. Montage has evolved into an eclectic company performing in Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and found a permanent home in Mississippi. After studying with various artists from the University of Arizona, University of Kansas, New York, Chicago, Parsons Dance Company, and Paco Pena Flamenco Dance Company she studied for 2 years with a former Toulouse, France ballerina, Maryse Gobel. Sherry has choreographed and guest taught for Tyler Junior College in Texas, and Hinds Community College in Mississippi. Sherry is thrilled to be part of Jill Landrith’s School of Dance.