Bonita Simpson, owner and director of Bonita’s School of Ballet (1992), founded Monroe City Ballet (2004) and the Union County Youth Ballet (1992). She is certified by American Ballet Theatre through the National Training Curriculum Program, Primary through Level 5. She is also certified as a ballet teacher through the Royal Academy of Dance and the Cecchetti Council of America. Simpson trained at the Charlotte School of Ballet under Gay Porter Speer. In her earlier training, Simpson attended summer programs at the North Carolina School of the Arts. She has continued her training with summer Teacher Intensives with Finis Jhung, Ballet Magnificat, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Since she founded the Union County Youth Ballet, Simpson has directed and choreographed numerous full-length productions including The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, and There is a God.
Tara has been dancing with Bonita’s School of Ballet since its inception in 1993. She has studied the Royal Academy, Cecchetti, & ABT methods of classical ballet. Tara is an ABT certified teacher, who has successfully completed the American Ballet Theatre Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level Three of the ABT National Training Curriculum. She is also certified in Progressing Ballet Technique method of training. Tara has also been trained in contemporary ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and lyrical. Tara is daughter of Owner/Artistic Director, Bonita Simpson. She is married to Grant Beaver, and they have one daughter, Aria.
Skyla Caldwell, A.R.A.D. (Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance), trained at the Charlotte School of Ballet under Gay Porter Speer and The Point Park Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA as a scholarship student under the direction of Robert Munoz. Skyla has danced for NCDT as an apprentice under Salvatore Aiello and Jerry Kumery. Caldwell has also danced at the National Ballet of Cuba under Laura Alonzo in Havana, Cuba, and is associated with the Royal Academy of London. Caldwell danced with numerous companies and has choreographed and taught for many companies in Charlotte and surrounding areas.
Elizabeth Roach is a native of North Carolina and an alumna of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she graduated with honors with a BFA in contemporary dance. She has received scholarships and participated in a variety of dance summer activities, such as: The American Dance Festival, Limon Summer Workshop, The London Contemporary Dance School, and most recently she has participated in the Methodist Liturgical Dance Workshop. Recently, she choreographed with members of the Bill T. Jones Company in a workshop known as “Thinking, Making, Doing Together” at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Elizabeth has had the pleasure of working with Doug Elkins and Company, The Limon Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Au Deum Dance Company and choreographers of The Place of London, Europe. Since Graduation, Elizabeth has been a full-time dance teacher at various dance studios in the Charlotte area, a member of The KYNETIC Works Dance Company of Charlotte, North Carolina. Elizabeth teaches beginning through advanced classes in modern at BSOB. Elizabeth is an ABT certified teacher, who has successfully completed the American Ballet Theatre Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level Three of the ABT National Training Curriculum.
Alex White is a New York native raised in the south Bronx. He attended UNCC as a nursing major. A lover of all things active, he played basketball, ran track and boxed competitively. He eventually found his true love of the arts. Alex has been a part of many major productions including the movie, Alvin and the Chipmunks, along with a host of Broadway shows (most recently The Lion King) and toured with Disney. He has been teaching since 2016 at numerous dance studios in the Charlotte area. He has also trained traditional African dance, ballet, jazz, and most notably, hip hop since 2012.
Kate is originally from the New Haven, CT area where she grew up dancing and training under Lorraine Judd. She received a BA in Humanities with a concentration in Theatre Arts from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT as well as a Dance Performance certificate from Naugatuck Valley College. She performed and worked technical theatre in numerous shows in the CT area. Training includes: tap with Dianne Walker, modern with Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts and members of Momix Company and Pilobolus, ballet with Susan Shields of Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project and Kate Lydon of American Ballet Theatre and hip hop with Brian Friedman and Rennie Harris Puremovement.
After performing and teaching at various CT dance studios, she and her husband Kristopher, opened their own dance studio, CT Dance Force, in Hamden, CT in the fall of 2004. With a focus on technique and performance, the studio ran successfully for 9 years until Kate and her family moved to NC in the summer of 2012.
Since moving to NC, Kate took a few years off from dance to focus on raising her children, Aidan and Juliana. She was the volunteer coordinator and board member at Matthews Playhouse from 2012-2017. She is currently a volunteer and board member with Matthew’s Helping Hands, an area non-profit for children and families with special needs, and recently started teaching dance again in area studios. Kate is passionate about teaching proper dance technique, sharing dance history with her students and is an advocate for performing arts accessibility for all.
Mary Beth King
Mary-Beth started dancing at the age of seven. Her love for dance started with her cheer dance classes. She began competition classes at the age of 14 and has continued to further her dance education ever since. Mary-Beth minored in dance at Western Carolina University and was a part of the WCU dance team, which went to Nationals. She has been teaching dance for the last nine years at several studios. Along with teaching, Mary-Beth has performed with local Charlotte artists, Breakin Convention, Charlotte Checker CheckMates, Corporate Events, Taste of Charlotte, Best of the Best Awards and at CIAA. Mary-Beth’s motto is, “You can’t teach passion, but you can inspire others by sharing yours.” As a teacher, she strives to inspire her students to reach their full potential and to push themselves to be the best dancers and people they can be.
Reaghan started dancing with Bonita’s School of Ballet in 2010. Since then she has taken part in productions with Union County Youth Ballet and Monroe City Ballet. She has continued dancing after graduation and was a member of Range of Motion Dance Ensemble at UNC Charlotte. In addition to teaching dance, she is currently studying nursing at Chamberlain University in Charlotte.
Rachel Palpant Auxier
Rachel, a Florida native, has devoted her life to the art of ballet. She received early ballet training at the Jeanne Benson-Smith Dance Academy in Ocala. She has also studied with Sasha Bondarenko of the Bolshoi Ballet, Gladissa Guatalupe of Cleveland School of Ballet and Yvonne Salcedo Williams of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Her performance repertoire includes, but is not limited to, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and Carmina Burana. In 2004, Rachel became an instructor for the prestigious Otto M. Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet and Ballet Theatre Midwest. A year later, in 2005, she founded the Vineyard Christian Church Dance Program, offering classes to underprivileged children and teens. Rachel has served as Ballet Mistress multiple Charlotte area studio ballet companies since 2007. In 2010, Rachel was honored to receive training in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus and became a certified Cecchetti Council of America teacher. With over 25 years of experience as a ballet instructor and choreographer, Rachel has become known for her compassion and dedication as a teacher, consistently bringing out the extraordinarily graceful style that each of her students possess.
Wynnter Knowles will be teaching the advanced level. Some may recognize Mrs. Wynnter as a dance mom of three of our BSOB dancers. Wynnter has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Education from Brigham Young University, as well as professional Musical Theater experience. She is very excited to get back into teaching after taking some time to focus on her family’s needs.
Originally from Waxhaw, NC, Miranda has received ballet training from Bonita’s School of Ballet and Ballet Magnificat. During her time at Bonita’s School of Ballet she was a member of Union County Youth Ballet as well as Monroe City Ballet, the Pre-Professional sector of the UCYB. With the UCYB she had the privilege to perform in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. She also attended UNCSA’s Winter Dance Festival for multiple years during high school and performed with MCB at the showcase at the end of the Festival. During high school she also attended Ballet Magnificat! Summer Dance Intensive for 2 years.
In 2014 Miranda was accepted into Ballet Magnificat! Trainee Program. While dancing in the Trainee Program she was awarded the Rose Faucher Scholarship for the 2015-16 season. She also served as Ballet Magnificat! School of the Arts Costume Mistress in 2016-17. She danced with Trainee I, II, and Events Company for 3 years. In the Events Company she toured not only nationally but also internationally to Honduras, Guam, South Korea, and China. She graduated from the Trainee Program in the spring of 2017. Miranda is a ABT certified teacher, who has successfully completed the American Ballet Theatre Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level Three of the ABT National Training Curriculum.