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 HillStudio 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 as a dancer was not limited to Ballet, and included training in Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, Character, and Partnering with 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.
Taylor BenoitTap 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.
Rachel BliegeBallet Instructor and Office Staff
Rachel has been dancing for about 14 years. She started dancing at 4 years old at Albany Parks and Recreation taking ballet classes. After that, she did gymnastics until she found dance was her true passion. At age 8, when Legacy Ballet opened, she joined a ballet class and has been dancing here ever since. Over the years at Legacy, she has learned many styles of dance such as ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, and contemporary. She also has been in the competition program with Legacy Ballet for the past couple years. After graduating from WAHS this past June, she is now studying at Western Oregon University/OHSU to become a nurse, but is very excited to be continuing at Legacy by teaching dance to young dancers!
Kily GilbertTumbling 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 .
Rebekah HillContemporary, Hip Hop and Competition Dance Instructor and Office Staff
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 can be seen at the studio helping build her family’s Legacy. Bekah is excited to spend more time in the studio teaching dance, and allow herself time to be creative with choreography again.
Kristin MillerJazz, Ballet and Competition Dance Instructor and Office Staff
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 has now graduated WOU with 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 SalasTumbling 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!
Quincey Van HoutenTumbling 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!
Bree WeedenCompetition Dance Instructor and Office Staff
Bree has been dancing for 10 years, beginning at the Regional School of Ballet in Corvallis before moving to Legacy Ballet. While at Legacy, she trained in ballet, jazz, and contemporary, and helped to start Legacy’s first competition team her senior year. She was also the captain of her high school dance team for two years. Bree then attended the University of California, Davis, studying Clinical Nutrition. At UCD she joined Vision Dance Troupe, a new and fast-paced advanced dance team with an emphasis in contemporary choreography. She was elected to direct the troupe her junior and senior years, and choreographed many routines in contemporary, jazz, ballet, and even hip hop. Her choreography won awards at local dance competitions, including first place at the charity dance show Dance For a Cause in 2017 and second place in 2018. Bree is excited to return to Legacy Ballet to work with the competition team she helped begin four years ago. When she’s not dancing, Bree loves cooking, running, and petting every dog she sees. She hopes to one day obtain a graduate degree in public health and pursue a career in health education and promotion while still finding time to dance as much as possible.
Support Faculty/Substitute Instructors:
Carrie HullDance 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.
Mandi SawyerTap 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.
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.