Learn About Ballet In The 2022-2023 Season!

For 75 years, Decatur School of Ballet has trained the next generation of dancers, and people.

For students of all ages and backgrounds, we are in the business of not just teaching dance, but developing each student as an individual. We hope you will join us during this 75th season to celebrate each students realizing their creative potential.

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About The Instructors

Monica Garcia Bradley

Monica has been dancing for over 25 years, and grew up as a competition dancer in Houston, Texas. She spent nearly a decade in New York City performing professionally and is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association. She has traveled the country performing in Musical Theatre at Paper Mill Playhouse, TUTS, Ivoryton Playhouse, The Elektra and North Carolina Theatre. Now in Atlanta, Monica is a full time performing artist and teacher. Outside of dance, she is also an accomplished film actress, having been in feature films and network television shows, such as The Resident (FOX), MacGyver (CBS). Monica is currently a recurring guest star on Tyler Perry’s Sistas (BET), and is featured on numerous regional and national commercials. Dance is the heartbeat of her career and success, and she looks forward to working with the students of Decatur School of Ballet.

Leslie Palmer Gourley

Leslie started her dance training at age six in Marietta and continued her dance studies in Mississippi and with the Joffrey School of Ballet in New York. At age 16 she came to study with Decatur School of Ballet. After graduating from Texas Christian University with a BFA in ballet performance in 1986, she returned to teach with Decatur School of Ballet and to perform with Decatur City Dance. She has studied with notable instructors such as Stanley Zompakos, Terrell Paulk, Delia Stewart, Fernando Schaffenburg, Lisa Fusillo, Meli Kaye, Peter Powlus
and Martha Goodman. In July 2018, Leslie purchased Decatur School of Ballet and became Artistic Director of Decatur City Dance.

Meg Gourley

Meg is a graduate of the University of Georgia with her B.F.A. in Dance, with a K12 Certification, and a Minor in Anthropology. She began her dance training at age three at Decatur School of Ballet and continued through high school as a member of the Apprentice Ensemble of Decatur City Dance and Decatur School of Ballet’s Rug Cutters. Meg has studied with the Joffrey Ballet School, staibdance, the Governor’s Honors Program, and the American Dance Festival. During her years at UGA, she performed in various faculty and student pieces and was chosen to work with notable guests such as Alexandre Munz and Luis Piedra. She has performed with Danza Universitaria in San Jose, Costa Rica. Meg has worked for the Joffrey Ballet School and currently dances professionally with Kit Modus and AboutFace.

Jenna Latham

Jenna began her classical training at Central Florida Ballet in her hometown of Orlando, FL. After high school Jenna danced with these notable companies: Atlanta Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, and City Ballet of San Diego. Through these companies she was able to perform lead roles in the Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht, Carmina Burana, and Etudes. She also danced many corps de ballet roles in Septime Weber’s Alice in Wonderland, La Sylphide, Beauty and the Beast, Balanchine’s Serenade, and Don Quixote amongst other contemporary ballet works. Since joining the freelance art scene in Atlanta she has worked with Leo Briggs, Nadya Zeitlan, and Sarah Hillmer, George Staib and Anna Bracewell Crowder through ImmerseATL. She has also choreographed work for A.M. Collab, Fall for Fall dance festival, and MAD festival. This past season she has also been honing her art making and teaching style. In these differing experiences she has melded her time in the ballet world with that of passion for creativity to generate an uplifting space for kids and adults to find joy in classical and contemporary movement.

Marideth Read

Marideth began her dance training at just two years old with Mainstream Dance (now known as Covington Regional Ballet) in Covington, Georgia until she was eleven years old. Marideth continued her training at Kidz in Step Dance & Gymnastics where she competed in tap, jazz, and contemporary until graduating high school. She attended Heritage High School and participated in the fine arts academy where her primary focus was ballet, jazz, modern, and musical theater. She has recently graduated from Brenau University where she received her B.A. in Dance with a concentration in dance/movement therapy. Marideth has a great passion for teaching and hopes to help others experience the therapeutic power dance holds.

Eliza Reese

Eliza started her dance training at our studio at age four and has been assistant teaching since age nine. She was a member of Decatur City Dance (Junior and Apprentice Ensembles and Junior Rhythm Keepers) and Decatur School of Ballet’s Rug Cutters. Eliza is a graduate of Agnes Scott College and Mercer University’s nursing program. She works as a nurse at The Shepherd Center and she is the director of the Rug Cutters. Eliza is also a member of The Rhythm Keepers.

Jessica Paget Reese

Jessica began her dance training at the Gainesville School of Ballet at age six. A professional performer with South Carolina Ballet Theatre, she also taught with the Columbia Ballet School before opening her own studio in Lexington, South Carolina. In addition to her classical ballet training, Jessica has performed in musical theater productions. With a BA degree in English and an M.Ed. in elementary education from Columbia College, she taught seventh grade for seven years. Jessica is an associate director of Decatur City Dance.

Caleigh Paxton Santa Maria

Atlanta-born, Caleigh Santa Maria is trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, swing, and tap with Decatur School of Ballet before attending Brenau University. While studying at Brenau as a Dance Major with a concentration in pre-physical therapy, Caleigh was a member of the Gainesville Ballet Company where she trained under distinguished artists such as Du’Bois A’Keen, Carl Flink, Owen Scarlett, and Regine Metayor. During the summers, she continued her dance training participating in many summer intensives within her dance studios as well as with Joffrey Ballet and The American Ballet Theater. In addition, Caleigh is a competitive premier Highland Dancer, which she has had the privilege of touring internationally in Canada and Scotland, where she is a member of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Dance Company. She is a certified highland dance instructor, which she teaches many younger dancers entering her home studio, Killough School of Highland Dance. Caleigh is thrilled to be back at her home studio to pass on her love of dance to the next generation.

Heather Yates

Heather began her dance training at Decatur School of Ballet at age eight and continued her study with the Atlanta Ballet, the Royal Academy of Dance, and the Cleveland Ballet, where she also danced in the company. She also danced professionally with the American Ballet Theatre in New York City from 1988 to 1994, working with such notable artists as Twyla Tharp, Natalia Makarova, Jiri Kylian, and Mark Morris. Heather is also a professional chef and pharmacy technician.