Steeple Arts continues to offer the most professional, qualified teachers in Alabama. Most of our Steeple Arts teachers took class and trained at Steeple Arts. Our students experience quality instruction in a safe, supportive, fun environment which not only prepares them for more technical aspects of the art, but also instills discipline for success in life. Along with their dance training, young girls are taught grace, poise and social amenities. Most importantly, they are taught to “hold their pretty heads high, have self confidence and be proud of themselves.”
DEANNY COATES HARDY
Deanny Coates Hardy began her formal dance education under her mother, Lola Mae Coates, at age 2. Growing up at Steeple Arts has given Miss Deanny an insight and exposure to the art of dance and choreography that few can match.
Miss Deanny has studied and taught all styles of dance and movement, not only under her Mother, Lola Mae Coates, but in New York as well; studying with such dance legends as Al Gilbert, Jaques D’ambois, Madame Alexandra Danilova and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. She also continues her dance education by attending dance conventions annually, studying under master teachers such as Joe Tremaine, Frank Hatchett, Luigi, Darrell Retter, and Janice Barringer to mention a few.
During high school, Deanny was an assistant teacher at Steeple Arts. She was also a member of the Mountain Brook High School “Dorians” dance team until graduation in 1986, receiving the “110% Award” for most outstanding Senior Dorian. In college she performed on the Ole Miss “Rebelette” dance team, with the University of Mississippi“Pride of the South” Marching Band. Deanny also choreographed numerous campus events for her sorority, Pi Beta Phi. After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1990, she joined the teaching staff of her mother’s school.
Her credits include not just teaching dance, but also choreography for several pageant contestants, musical theatre productions and dance team competitions. In 1995, Deanny was named as the Assistant Director of Steeple Arts, and upon her motherʼs retirement in 2002 became the Director of Steeple Arts Academy of Dance, where she carries on the 3rd generation of excellence. Now, in addition to teaching, she devotes her full time to the position of Director of Steeple Arts Academy of Dance, and the training of its students, in whom she tries to instill, not only the love of dance, but a development of grace, self conﬁdence, and poise, inherent to the art of dance. Miss Deanny is the Producer, Director and Lead Choreographer for Steeple Arts’ bi-annual concerts.
Annette Troxell Collins
Annette Collins began her dance training at Steeple Arts at the age of seven and continued until her graduation from Mountain Brook High School. She graduated from Rhodes College in 1977. While at Rhodes, Annette performed with and choreographed for the Liturgical Dance Company. She received her masters degree in Special Education from UAB in 1982. Currently, Annette is on faculty at N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, where she teaches science and coordinates the Student Support program. In 1977, Annette began teaching at Steeple Arts and has continued her training at Alabama Ballet, Children’s Dance Foundation and the Pointe Dance Center, as well as participating in numerous dance conventions and conferences throughout the United States. She has studied under a number of master teachers which have included Tara Fasshuer, Roger van Fleteren, Janice Barringer, Jacques Dʼamboise, Frank Hatchett and Mark Morris. Annette learned about stagecraft and choreography from Lola Mae Coates. She is highly involved with the design and choreography for the Steeple Arts Concerts. Miss Annette is the instructor for the Adult Ballet Classes and Adult Jazz Classes. She has “retired” from teaching younger students, but consults and guest teaches for the Senior Advanced Ballet, Pointe and Advanced Jazz classes at Steeple Arts.
BEE GROVER LEWIS
Bee Lewis began Ballet at age 2. She started her training under Frances Sheetz before joining Steeple Arts Academy in 1979. Bee enjoys all types of dance, but as a student, her favorite class was Pointe. Upon graduation from John Carroll High School, Bee attended Samford University earning her Bachelors degree in Marketing. While at Samford, she helped choreograph her sororitiesʼ annual Step Sing show, winning the “Sweepstakes Trophy” for two of those years. Shortly after graduation, she began teaching a variety of classes; gymnastics, coordination and rhythm, aerobics and swimming. She has also been an adjunct teacher at Samford University for Social Dance. In 1987 Miss Bee began teaching at Steeple Arts, where she has taught all age groups. Miss Bee currently teaches the Pre-Ballet, Petite Ballet and the Combination Classes for younger students.
Mary Haley Byrne Griffin
Mary Haley Byrne began dancing at Steeple Arts at the age of 3 and continued dancing there for 15 years. She enjoyed many types of dance, however Ballet and Pointe were always her favorite. During high school Mary Haley was an assistant teacher at Steeple Arts for classes of all ages. After graduating from Mountain Brook High School, she attended Auburn University where she majored in Early Childhood Education. While at Auburn she participated in her sorority’s annual Greek Sing dance every year. In May 2012 Mary Haley graduated from Auburn and returned to Birmingham to teach second grade at Prince of Peace Catholic School. Mary Haley was also eager to return to Steeple Arts. She teaches younger students in Ballet/Jazz classes as well as teaching the Advanced Ballet and Pointe classes.
Mary Ellen McElroy Wall
Mary Ellen Wall started her dancing career at Steeple Arts in 2000. She studied Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Hip-Hop, and High Stepper Jazz. The skills she learned at Steeple Arts prepared her for the dance team world! Mary Ellen was a Spartanette at Mountain Brook Junior High and went on to be a Dorian at Mountain Brook High School where she was Captain her senior year. After graduating from Mountain Brook in 2008, she attended the University of Alabama where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Mary Ellen moved back to Birmingham in December of 2012 and started working in Neonatal Intensive Care at Children’s of Alabama as a registered nurse. Mary Ellen married her husband Kevin in August of 2013. They recently bought a house and share it with their two Golden Retrievers, Gunner and Charlie. She is thrilled to be back with her Steeple Arts family and can’t wait to see what the dancing season has in store each year! Mary Ellen assists and teaches Combination Classes for the younger students, as well as teaching Advanced Hip Hop and High Stepper Jazz-Dance Team Prep Classes.
LeeAnn Powers grew up with training in Vaganova style ballet from different studios around the country. Including the Indian River Ballet Academy and the Vero Beach Ballet. When she went to high school she started working and dancing at a studio in Florida called Leslie’s Dance Studio. At Leslie’s is where LeeAnn learned how to teach, run a successful studio, and found her passion for her career. After high school she atttended Stephens College, a women’s liberal arts academy, in Columbia, MO where she received her BFA in dance. In college she worked with amazing artists from around the world, and studied under some of the country’s greatest professors. She started choreography and composition while in college, and started creating work. She went on to create many works throughout the years; even creating a full work with an originally composed score, live orchestra, and the entire department for her senior capstone project. In the past few years LeeAnn has danced with Arova Contemporary Ballet and has created work for their Choreographer’s Showcases. LeeAnn joined the Steeple Arts family, teaching Advanced Ballet and Pointe! We are sad to see Miss LeeAnn move to Florida, but look forward to having her return to help with special events and recitals.
Kelly Ireland began dancing at Steeple Arts at the age of 2 and continued dancing there for 16 years. After graduating from Mountain Brook High School in 2007, she attended UAB where she is currently studying Secondary Education. She is thrilled to be back with the Steeple Arts family. She still enjoys taking classes at Steeple Arts attending the Adult Ballet, Jazz and Zumba Classes. Kelly currently assists with the Pre Ballet and combination classes with the younger students.
Monica Wesson began dancing at Steeple Arts at age 3, under the the Academy founder Lola Mae Jones, and then under Lola Coates. In 1969 Mrs Jones selected Monica to be a student teacher, a position she held until her graduation from John Carroll High School, where she was voted “Most Talented” in 1974. Miss Monica continued to study and teach dance while attending Montevallo, where she performed to acclaim in several theatrical productions, both at Montevallo and with Town and Gown Theater. In 1978 Monica moved to Huntsville, AL where she remained active in theater and dance, studying with the Huntsville Ballet and teaching Pre-school Ballet. She also assisted at Steeple Arts recitals as stage crew. In 2000, Miss Monica rejoined Steeple Arts as an assistant teacher to Bee Lewis.
Kathy Couch Nolan
Kathy Nolan joined Steeple Arts in 2001 as the Academy’s receptionist and secretary. Kathy has over 25 years of experience working with children as a pre school teacher. At Steeple Arts, her days are ﬁlled with phone calls, managing the ofﬁce and greeting students and parents. In addition to ofﬁce duties, she also ties shoelaces, ﬁxes elastic, and just hands out much needed hugs. And still these are only a part of what Kathy brings to the Steeple Arts Family. Creatively, Miss Kathy is our head seamstress and costume mistress. During her time at Steeple Arts, Miss Kathy has also become an assistant with the Pre-ballet classes and is an assistant instructor in the Steeple Arts 6th Grade Ballroom Program.
Mitzi Ireland has been a part of our Steeple Arts Family since she took Ballroom from Mrs Coates “many moons ago”. She continued her relationship with the studio when her daughters, Tricia and Kelly, were students at Steeple Arts.In addition, Mitzi also served as the Office Receptionist at Steeple Arts Academy for several years. Currently, she is on Staff at the IPC Day School. As a “Trooper”, she helps out backstage with our Dance Concerts and other special studio events during the year. Miss Mitzi has also become an assistant with the Pre-Ballet Classes and is an assistant instructor in the Steeple Arts 6th Grade Ballroom Program.
Loyce Hibbs joined Steeple Arts as class pianist in 2006. Loyce began piano lessons when she was eight years old. At age 16 she began playing for various groups in her church. Since that time she has continued to play both piano and organ for her church and has volunteered as a pianist at a nursing home. In 2005 she moved to Alabama. Miss Loyce provides accompaniment for Steeple Arts Pre-Ballet, Petite Ballet, and Combination classes for younger students.
Sanford Hardy is the husband of Steeple Arts Academy of Dance’ Director, Deanny Coates Hardy. Originally from Mississippi, Sanford is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and a former USAF officer. He is the Vice President of Hardy Commercial Properties and is the Facilities Manager of the Steeple Arts Complex. Sanford is also the designer and builder for the the Steeple Arts Concert sets. He is an Assistant Instructor with the Sixth Grade Ballroom Classes. He says, “I like to see the kids, both boys and girls, learning something that will stand them in good stead later in their lives, whether they realize it right now or not. It’s also fun to see them gaining confidence over the course of the class and learn to interact with each other in a more formal setting.”
Nick Leslie joined Steeple Arts in 2016 as an assistant instructor for the Academy’s 6th Grade Ballroom Program. Mr. Leslie also works as a real estate attorney in the Birmingham area. As the nephew of Miss Deanny, he is the 4th generation of his family to teach at Steeple Arts. Originally from Birmingham, he grew up in South Carolina after moving there with his family as a child. Upon graduating from high school, Mr. Leslie moved back to Alabama to attend college at the University of Alabama, where he met his wife, Lauren, and then attended law school at Cumberland School of Law. Nick and Lauren have one daughter whom they plan on enrolling in
classes at Steeple Arts as soon as she is old enough to take ballet.
Lucy French Spann
Lucy Spann begin dancing at Steeple Arts at age 5 and remained as a student at Steeple Arts for 13 years. She has always enjoyed dancing, especially Ballet. While in High School, she assisted a few classes and found a new calling. After graduating from Mountain Brook High School, Lucy attended Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where she majored in Early Childhood Education. While there, she and three other students founded the “Thornwell Dancers”, a program to bring dance to children living at the nearby Thornwell Home for children in crisis. Lucy taught ballet and jazz to these children, many of whom had never experienced any type of formal dance. After graduating from college, Lucy returned to Birmingham where she taught Preschool at Highlands School during the mornings and assisted at Steeple Arts one day a week. After her ﬁrst child was born, she stopped teaching at Highlands and began to assist with more classes at Steeple Arts. She is currently on leave raising her children, but is still a valuable member of our faculty as a substitute teacher and comes to help out with Recitals and other special events. Lucy now has four children, three of whom are current students at Steeple Arts.
Rebecca Morris Wise
Rebecca Wise began dancing with Steeple Arts at age 4, and after graduation from Mountain Brook High School, continued her dance education at Birmingham Southern College. She spent a summer dancing with New York Cityʼs “Broadway Dance Center” studying Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Modern, and Musical Theater styles of dance. Rebecca has choreographed for and performed in many local theater productions around Birmingham. In addition, she has also done choreography for local dance teams and cheerleading squads. Rebecca has been teaching and sharing her love of the art of dance at Steeple Arts since 2001. She teaches Ballet, Jazz and Total Dance Team Prep when at Steeple Arts. She is currently on leave raising her children, but is still a valuable member of our faculty as a substitute teacher and comes to help out with Recitals and other special events.
Tricia Brice began her dance training at Steeple Arts at age 2. After graduating John Carroll Catholic High school in 2007, she received a BS in Exercise Science from Samford University in 2011 and an MAE in Physical Education from UAB in 2015. Throughout college, Tricia was an assistant for ballet, tap, hip hop, and jazz classes. After college, she was given the opportunity to teach her own hip hop classes for the studio. Aside from Steeple Arts, Tricia works for Advent Episcopal Day School as a Physical Education Teacher, and is the program director at Camp Winnataska during the summer. She loves staying active, especially through outdoor pursuits such as rock climbing and backpacking. She has always enjoyed working with children and has greatly appreciated Steeple Arts for affording her that opportunity. She is currently pursuing her education teaching career full time, but it still a valuable member of our faculty as a substitute teacher and comes to help out with Recitals and other special events.
Nicole Hardekopf began her dance training at age 2. She studied ballet, jazz, hip hop, pointe, clogging, tap and lyrical until age 12, before going on to train and compete until age 18. Nicole has attended several dance conventions, including Company Dance, West Coast Dance Explosion, and National Dance Alliance, where she was selected as a three-time All-American. Nicole was a member of the Vestavia Hills High School “Rebelette” dance team, where she served as JV Captain in 2005 and Varsity Captain in 2007. She graduated from Auburn University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Spanish minor. While at Auburn, Nicole assisted with Greek Sing choreography for her sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. Nicole resides in Vestavia with her husband, Brad. She is a member of the Junior League of Birmingham, and is a local realtor. She has taught the Jr. and Sr. Advanced Hip Hop and High Stepper Jazz Classes. She is currently on leave raising her children, but is still a valuable member of our faculty as a substitute teacher and comes to help out with Recitals and other special events.
Elisabeth Pears Kindred
Elisabeth Kindred began her dance training at Steeple Arts at the age of 2. After her first recital with Steeple Arts, she knew she loved to entertain. She continued her training studying ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, tap, clogging, and contemporary, as well as dancing competitively. Upon moving to Nashville, TN with her family, Elisabeth focused her studies on classical ballet with the School of Nashville Ballet. Her passion developed as she spent summers away at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, and Boston Ballet. At the age of 16 she joined her high school’s dance team, started dancing in music videos, and focused more on the entertainment side of dance. Elisabeth went on to dance for the University of Alabama’s Crimson Cabaret Dance Team, and studied Telecommunication and Film. She currently lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, David, and works as a Communication Specialist for Canterbury United Methodist Church. She loves serving others, and is passionate about helping those in need. Elisabeth and her husband are members of Trinity United Methodist Church. Elisabeth believes she has come full circle for a reason, and is thrilled to be back “home” at Steeple Arts. She has taught Advanced Ballet and Pointe, Jr and Sr Advanced Hip Hop & Jazz and the dance team prep class : High Stepper Jazz, as well as assisted with younger students in the Ballet/Jazz classes at Steeple Arts. She is currently on leave raising her first child, but is still a valuable member of our faculty as a substitute teacher and comes to help out with Recitals and other special events.
Mallory Birmingham began dancing when she was 4. After a few years she left dance to be a soccer player. It didn’t take too long for her to realize that she only wanted to dance. At the age of 10 she started dancing again, studying Jazz, Tap, and Hip Hop. Mallory continued her dancing as a member of the Shades Valley dance team. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of North Alabama and received a degree in Elementary Education. She continues to dance through Zumba and by taking adult tap and jazz classes. Currently, she teaches first grade at Grantswood Community School. She is so excited to join Steeple Arts and teach dance classes where she has been assisting and teaching Hip Hop and Jazz. She is currently on leave focusing on her education career, but is still a valuable member of our faculty as a substitute teacher and comes to help out with Recitals and other special events.
Mary Robinett joined Steeple Arts in the fall of 2014 as the office receptionist. She also is an assistant for the younger students at the studio. Mary is originally from South Carolina and a graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Virginia. Miss Mary enjoys working with children and has spent years teaching Sunday school and being a preschool aide. She lives in Mountain Brook with her husband, Matt and their two daughters, both who have been students at Steeple Arts. She is currently on leave raising her children and focusing on her new massage therapy career with Over the Mountain Therapy, but is still a valuable member of our faculty as a substitute teacher and comes to help out with Recitals and other special events.
Margaret Day Elsner
Margaret Day began her dance training at North Jefferson Academy of Dance before joining Steeple Arts in 1998, where she studied Ballet, Pointe, and High Stepper Jazz for ten years. After graduating from Mountain Brook High School in 2008, Margaret attended The University of the South in Sewanee, TN, where she majored in Latin and English and minored in Ancient Greek. While there, Margaret performed in and choreographed for Perpetual Motion, Sewanee’s student-run dance company.
Margaret assists in the Pre-Ballet, Ballet, Jazz, and Pointe classes. She regularly attends Adult Ballet Classes and Zumba. Currently, Margaret is studying to receive her Masters Degree from Ohio State University. We look forward to her return to our Steeple Arts Family upon graduation.
Brooke Lofton started dance at age 3 with the Collierville Community Ballet in Memphis,TN . When she moved to Birmingham in 1997, she studied jazz and ballet until entering high school. After graduating from Mountain Brook High School in 2007, Brooke attended the University of Alabama where she majored in Studio Art and minored in Italian and Art History. Currently she is studying at UAB for her second degree in Graphic Design. Brooke continues her dancing education, taking Adult Ballet classes and Zumba at Steeple Arts. She loves working with children and says, “I love be at Steeple Arts with such wonderful people!” Brooke has assisted with the Pre Ballet and combination Ballet/Jazz classes with the younger students. She is currently focusing on her studies in school, but comes to help out at special events and recitals.