Legacy Ballet Faculty

Legacy Ballet requires that our instructors follow the same teaching philosophy, and we strive on keeping communication open between the dancers, their families, and our staff.  It is important to maintain this as our dancers continue to grow and progress through their training.

Meet the Legacy Ballet Faculty

Heather Hill

Owner/Director, Ballet Instructor

Heather began dancing 30+ years ago under the instruction of Tom Irwin at Corvallis School of Ballet then later with Shelly Svoboda when it became Regional School of Ballet.  At the age of 11, she began to study with the Eugene School of Ballet under Toni Pimble, Riley Grannan, Susan Zadoff, and Sarah Lombardi.  She spent two winter seasons dancing the role of “Clara” on tour with the Eugene Ballet Company.  Her training also includes summer dance intensives at Eugene Dance Pursuit, Ballet Aspen, Royal Winnipeg School of Ballet, and JoAnna Kneeland & Mary Price Boday’s Dance Kinesiology.  Heather worked for 10 years in the medical field as a Certified Medical Assistant and also a PT aide, working with specialists in orthopedics and physical medicine.  Her training there has developed her knowledge of body mechanics and how the body should move while dancing. While teaching, Heather has also continued her dance education and has participated in the David Howard teachers’ seminar. Heather still continues to dance, when she has a chance, and will occasionally be seen performing on stage with her dancers.  Heather teaches many of the Ballet classes through out the week, as well as working on the studio’s next big project. Heather resides in Albany with her husband, Brandon and her daughter, Rebekah. Heather feels that every dance instructor in her past has taken part in giving her a wonderful gift, one that she loves passing on to aspiring dancers. 

Haven Barrett

Hip Hop and Jazz Instructor

Haven started dancing when she was five years old at Albany Dance Academy, and has been dancing for thirteen years. She has trained in various styles, such as Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, and Hip-Hop. While dancing at ADA, she participated in several competitions and danced in a total of eleven productions including, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and Mary Poppins. Growing up , she developed a great passion and love of dance and hopes to give that same experience she had to other aspiring dancers. Shortly after dancing at ADA, Haven wanted to further her dance knowledge and experience and started taking at studios such as Dance Vision, Groove Nation, and Vega Dance Studio. Among these different dance experiences, Haven has also been able to attend Monsters of Hip Hop for six years and Monsters of Contemporary for one. In high school, Haven was a four year member of the West Albany Hi-Steppers dance team, captain for one year, and a 2014 All-State Dancer. She had the privilege of choreographing both the 2013 and 2014 hip hop routines for West Albany High School. She had the opportunity of being a 2014 Thunderbird Dance Camp assistant, and the honor of making the All-Star Team when she attended camp. Haven started choreographing and instructing Hip Hop at Sole Expressions Dance Studio, staying there for three years. Soon after, she began instructing Hip Hop and Contemporary at Rise Up Fitness, where her creativity as an artist took flight. Haven is excited to be part of the Legacy Ballet staff, and wishes to inspire fellow dancers and help them find a passion through dance.

Taylor Benoit

Tap Instructor

Taylor Benoit started dancing when she was three years old at Bodyarts Dance Studio in Guam. She fell in love with dancing at a very early age and has learned different varieties of dance such as ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern and character dancing. Taylor recently moved to Albany, Oregon a little over a year ago and started teaching tap classes here at Legacy. She loves being able to have a part in the development of a love and passion for dance for some of the wonderful dancers here at Legacy.

Kily Gilbert

Tumbling Instructor

Kily is a Junior at Oregon State University majoring in Kinesiology with an athletic training option and minoring in Spanish. Growing up, Kily participated in competitive gymnastics at Umpqua Valley Gymnastics for 8 years and currently is the Level 3 head coach at Peak Elite .

Chelsea Grimm

Competition Instructor

Chelsea grew up dancing in the Willamette Valley at various studios- including Cascade Performing Arts, Albany Dance Academy, Regional School of Ballet, and The Corvallis Academy of Ballet. She had featured roles beginning at the age 10 in her studio’s productions, when she played “Young Nala,” in Albany Dance Academy’s rendition of “The Lion King.” Chelsea also began competing at various competitions in the Portland area this same year- styles include Jazz, Musical Theatre, Ballet, Contemporary/Modern, Lyrical, Hip-Hop, and Improv. When reaching Jr. High, she became a choreography member of the SHJH Dance Team and then a captain/choreographer as an 8th grade. When joining the Sweet Home Huskiettes, Chelsea became a choreographer as a freshman and continued to be on the choreography team for the remainder of high school, along with being a captain as a sophomore, junior, and senior. She was a member of the OSAA 2006 Dance/Drill All-State team, won a scholarship through the DDCCA dance program to attend a college of her choice. After graduating from Sweet Home High School, Chelsea attended OSU and received a Bachelor’s in English; then going on to complete the Master’s in the Art of Teaching (MAT) program in the winter of 2010 at WOU. While attending OSU, Chelsea began teaching Ballet, Pointe, and Competition Jazz classes at Albany Dance Academy. This is where her love of dance truly blossomed. When Sole Expressions Dance Studio opened in 2009, she taught all levels of ballet and competition jazz classes. Many judges, at numerous competitions, have recognized Chelsea’s choreography; her teams have placed in the overalls- including high score at Spotlight for the Junior category, and received judge’s awards of various types- outstanding performance, creative concept, technique, and precision. She directed the end of the year productions at Sole Expressions until this year, which included Tinkerbell, Mary Poppins, and TMNT. Chelsea continues to be certified in the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) and refreshes her teaching practices at conventions, course work- written and kinesthetic, and online education through OPDI. She is currently beginning her 6th year of teaching English at NAMS and is very excited to be part of the Legacy Ballet family!

Rebekah Hill

Contemporary, Hip Hop and Dance Competition Instructor

Rebekah has danced since she was able to walk, and tumbled even earlier than that.  While she has many years of dance training, in Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop and Contemporary, gymnastics is her first true love.  After spending 11 years as a gymnast herself, even competing on a regional level, Bekah has focused the last two years on coaching gymnastics at Oregon State Gymnastics Academy while attending Western Oregon State University as a Psychology Major and Dance Minor, and spending time helping us develop our tumbling program. Bekah will be transferring to Oregon State University in the Fall of 2018. When not in the gym coaching gymnasts how to tumble on the floor, swing on the bars, balance on beams or throw themselves across the vault. Bekah is excited to spend more time in the studio teaching dance, and allow herself time to be creative with choreography again. 

Carrie Hull

Dance Instructor

Carrie Hull started dancing when she was 3 years old. She received training at Regional School of Ballet, later participating in the Nutcracker for 6 years.  In 1998, Carrie started taking jazz classes and performed in local productions of the Lion King, Aladdin, Annie, Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, Alice and Wonderland and The Little Mermaid.  Carrie danced with the West Albany Hi-Steppers dance team all 4 years of high school.  Her senior year she was team captain and All State Dancer.  Carrie continued her dance training at Western Oregon University where she completed her major in American Sign Language and a minor in dance.  At WOU she developed her knowledge and skills in modern/contemporary dance as well as ballet, hip hop, jazz and modern techniques as well as dance history and choreography.  She was selected to perform in the WOU annual Spring Dance Concert 2006 through 2010.  Carrie introduced our Performance Jazz class in our 2010-2011 dance year and choreographed several jazz pieces for the Performance group to perform as guest artists at dance competitions and dance performances. Carrie is currently finishing her Masters at WOU in Rehabilitation Mental Health Counseling and between her internship and homework she can sometimes be seen substitute teaching classes at Legacy Ballet.

Kristin Miller

Jazz, Ballet and Competition Dance Instructor

Kristin started dancing at the age of 3, after watching a ballet class that her sister was taking, and has danced ever since. She has trained at many studios in the Albany/Corvallis area, including Regional School of Ballet, Corvallis Academy of Ballet, Albany Dance Academy, and most recently, Legacy Ballet. While dancing with Legacy throughout middle and high school, Kristin participated in many performances, including Eugene Ballet Company’s and Legacy Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.” She also was a captain of the West Albany Hi-Steppers dance team, was chosen for the 2014 5A All-State Dance Team as well as the Thunderbird Dance Camp All-Star Team, and received a college scholarship through the Dance and Drill Coaches Association. She now attends Western Oregon University, and has been very involved in the dance department there. She was awarded a dance scholarship through WOU and the “Outstanding New Dancer” award. Kristin has performed in WOU’s Spring Dance Concert 3 years in a row, as well as taking classes in Advanced Ballet, Jazz, Modern, African, Improvisation, Dance Composition, and Ballet History. She was chosen to attend and perform at the American College Dance Association (ACDA) conference at both the University of Wyoming and the University of Oregon. In the Fall of 2016, Kristin attended the University of Roehampton in London, England through a direct exchange program and took classes in Ballet and Limon technique. Kristin is now finishing up her B.S. in Exercise Science with a minor in Dance and hopes to use this degree to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy, while still maintaining a passion for dance and overall health. She is very happy to still be a part of the Legacy Ballet family after many years!

Mary Salas

Tumbling Instructor

Mary began gymnastics at 8 years old, and started competing at age 10 at Tri County Gymnastics. Through high school she ran track & field, cross country, and worked her way up through level 8 gymnastics when an injury led her to quit competing. Mary has been coaching both recreational and competitive level gymnastics in the Albany/Salem area for the last 8 years. She went to college at Linn Benton and Oregon State University. Currently a full-time caregiver, she loves her dogs and beautiful bunny, Raven. She enjoys yoga, the outdoors, poetry, lifestyle photography, and modeling in her free time. A dream of Mary’s is to one day travel the 50 states in an RV.
She is a firm believer in taking each day as it comes and for now, is going with the flow!

Mandi Sawyer

Adult Tap Club Instructor

Mandi joined Legacy Ballet in 2012 as our Tap Instructor. Mandi started dancing at three years old at Dance! And All That Jazz studio in Newport. She started with ballet classes, then later added jazz and tap classes. Tap quickly became Mandi’s favorite. Mandi studied under master dancers J.T. Horenstein and Bill Prudich at several L.A. Dance Force conventions in Washington, which lead to a showcase piece and a silver medal for her studio’s advanced tap number. She currently is employed as a 2nd grade teacher here in Albany and her love of working with children shows as she teaches tap each week…just for fun! She also has an Adult Tap class that keeps in touch with Mandi on facebook through “Mandi’s Tap Dancer’s” posting videos to practice with, etc.  Mandi resides in Albany with her husband and enjoys traveling when she gets time off. 

Rachel Thornberry

Contemporary and Competition Instructor

Rachel Thornberry began dancing at the age of ten at Dance Dimensions Performing Arts Center in Grand Terrace CA. She studied the styles of Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Ballet, and Hip Hop. Rachel danced and competed on their competition team for 8 years. During that time she received numerous awards and scholarships for group and solo performances. During her training she has been fortunate enough to take classes from renowned choreographers such as Dee Caspary, Ray Leeper, and Mandy Moore. At the age of 18 she began teaching at Dance Dimensions and choreographing for the competition team. She also began working in the Los Angeles industry doing some performance and print work. Many students she has worked with have gone on to do music videos, films, tv, print and stage work. Rachel continued her training at Cal State Fullerton, where she began her bachelors in dance. Currently, Rachel is finishing her dance degree at the University of Oregon. Rachel is excited to begin teaching at Legacy Ballet and cannot wait to see what the future holds. 

Quincey Van Houten

Tumbling Instructor

Quincey is a 22 year old student at Oregon State University studying child development. Her future dream is to help children of all ages and their families, while doing and going wherever life takes her. She fell in love with gymnastics at a very young age and was a gymnast for 12 years, eventually competing at an optional level. Now, she enjoys coaching children with the same love and passion for gymnastics that she had when she was a gymnast. When she is not in the gym, she loves to spend time with her family and friends! Go beavs!

Shannon Barrett

Studio Office Manager

Shannon can be seen running the office at Legacy Ballet.  Proud mother of Haven Barrett, Shannon has spent many years as a “Dance Mom” and uses her expertise to help keep our studio organized, looking good and running smoothly!

We love what we do

We love to dance.  We are trained in what we do, and are happy to share our training and our love of dance with others.  We all have a vast number of dance teachers behind us, and what they passed to us, and what we pass along to you, is all part of the Legacy.