David Herriott received his early dance training with Loyd Tygett at the Huntsville Civic Ballet. He danced professionally as a principal soloist with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and North Carolina Dance Theatre, touring internationally, and working with noted choreographers including Agnes de Mille, John Neumier, Norbert Vesak, and Elliot Feld. Mr. Herriott has held the positions of Artistic/Executive Director of Huntsville Ballet Company and Columbus Ballet, and Artistic Director of AYB since its inception in 2006. He has choreographed for Fantasy Playhouse, Ars Nova, and Huntsville Community Chorus, and won the contemporary division of the 1992 Panoply Choreography Competition. He has been an instructor at Santa Monica College and at The University of the South. Mr. Herriott’s former students have been invited to study and perform with Alvin Ailey, ABT, Joffrey, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Alabama Ballet, and Harrid Conservatory to name a few.
Keren Gibb Hilliard began her dance training in Mobile as a child and continued to study during her college days in Montgomery, performing with local dance companies and theater groups in both cities. She taught dance classes at Huntingdon College while a student there and completed her degree at UAH in Huntsville. She held various positions with Community Ballet in her 40+ years with them, including dancer, teacher, choreographer, ballet mistress, school director, and both associate and interim director of Huntsville Ballet Company. She has twice won the ballet division of the Panoply Choreography Competition and became certified to teach the Zena Romett Floor Barre Technique in 2002. Her community service includes serving on the Arts Council Board, Community Ballet’s Board, and setting choreography for Community Chorus, Fantasy Playhouse, Ars Nova, and Bob Jones High School presentations.
Alicia Wright is the director of AYBT's Liturgical Company and has been dancing since age 3 and under the direction of David Herriott and Keren Gibb Hilliard since 2000. She has performed leading roles with Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre as Dew Drop, Orchid, Snow Queen, and Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, Cinderella, Aurora and Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Odette and Odile in Swan Lake. In 2014 she was awarded Alabama Youth Ballet Theatre's Dancer of the Year Award of Excellence. Alicia also holds several nominations for Wing's Awards and her choreography was a finalist in the Panoply Choreography Competition. Alicia graduated from the University of Alabama with a master’s and bachelor's of science in nursing. She is employed as a RN with Hospice Family Care.
Laura de Guia Villalobos serves as Footprints: A Creative Children's Movement Company Director. Ms. Villalobos hails from Los Angeles, CA, and has trained in various dance disciplines. As a professional dancer, Ms. Villalobos has performed in music videos, gala performances and events, and benefits. She has graced the stage with Nevada Ballet Theater, the Dallas Opera, Ballet Oklahoma, Ballet Theater of Maryland, Kentucky Ballet Theater, the Montgomery Ballet and Ballet San Antonio, along with guest appearances with other pre-professional dance companies. Ms. Villalobos also has experience at the international level, having been invited to represent the United States at the 4th International Ballet and Modern Competition in Nagoya, Japan, as well as representing the Montgomery Ballet at the DAP Festival in Pietrasanta, Italy.
Teaching is a passion for Ms. Villalobos; she is privileged to have been able to touch so many students' lives. Students have gone on to dance professionally in companies and productions, as well earn scholarships to universities with renowned dance programs. Many have received scholarships for summer studies to prestigious programs such as the Kirov Academy, Houston Ballet, the Harid Conservatory and American Ballet Theatre. Still, others have received top honors at competitions, even appearing on the covers of trade publications. Her dance experience has allowed for the development of a strong and versatile multi-disciplinary dance curriculum, implemented by company-affiliated and pre-professional dance organizations. Ms. Villalobos’ is proud to have shared her passion for dance with students of all ages and abilities, from the tiniest dancer to those at the university level and beyond. Most recently, Ms. Villalobos, along with her husband, has served as the director for Ballet San
Antonio Academy, Dance Elan, and the Montgomery Ballet. She and her husband reside in Alabama, along with their greatest accomplishments, Lydianna and Angelina. Ms. Villalobos is grateful for all of her students , and looks forward to continuing to promote the love of dance in the South East.
Ms. Whitney D. Steele started dancing at age three at Anne’s School of Dance in Huntsville, Alabama. She continued her training at North Alabama Dance Center. As she grew older, she wanted to know more about Ballet and enrolled at Community Ballet. Ms. Steele learned the Ballet foundation from Karen Gibb, David Harriot, and Mary Anne Peterson. Ms. Steele danced Soloist with Alabama Youth Ballet as Red Rose and Arabian.
Additional training includes: Academy of Academics and Arts, Alabama School of Fine Arts, and Lee High School Dance Magnet Program.
Ms. Steele trained with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre Pre-Professional Program in New York, New York. At Alvin Ailey she learned Graham Modern technique.
Ms. Steele began teaching for Prima Dance Studio in 2009 as a Ballet and Jazz Teacher. Ms. Steele has choreographed for Huntsville High School Pantherettes, Columbia High School Dance Team, and Hampton Cove Middle School.
Currently, Ms. Steele is the Director of Prestige Performance Arts and continues to take Ballet classes to further her dance knowledge. She also serves as The Dance Connection Director.