Karen holds a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in elementary education, a master’s degree from Troy University, an additional master’s degree from Auburn University in Leadership/Administration, and an EDS from Auburn Montgomery. She is retired from the Autauga County School System with twenty-five years of service. Mrs. Jordan is an active member of her church, has directed children’s choir, teaches Sunday School, serves on the Personnel committee, and has been involved with the Youth Committee. She has attended various seminars promoting the arts and is a member of the Alabama Council of the Arts in Education where she served on the State Grant Committee. She studied dance extensively with Al Gilbert, Gus Giordano, and Terrell Paulk with the Canadian Ballet Company. She also performed with the Montgomery Civic Ballet. She has judged numerous pageants and choreographed many productions. She has over forty years of teaching and choreography experience. Karen is the Founder Emeritus of Centre for Performing Arts. She continues to lend her voice, creativity, and experience to the studios educational dance program while thriving in her efforts to equip our youth with the tools to become productive, hardworking individuals capable of exceling in any aspect of the dance industry. Her alumni list spans decades worth of talent ranging from performing artists to nationally renowned celebrities, college dance professors, elite competition overall winners, studio owners, and production company owners. She prides herself on her unique ability to open doors, prepare, and align new and exciting opportunities for those pursuing a career in the arts.
Ashley Goodwin Watson
Ashley was introduced to the world of dance from a very young age and from there her passion and support for the artistry of dance has continued to grow and develop. She is a Prattville native and a graduate of Prattville High School. She is experienced in various levels and styles of pageantry, and cheerleading. Her love for the stage came after she put on her first sparkly costume and competed in front of a crowd. Shortly after graduation, Ashley found an additional creative outlet through cosmetology. She is a licensed and Alabama State Board certified Cosmetologist. Her creative exploration led her to study under and be influenced by several master stylists to various artists and performers. Ashley has been an entrepreneur and business owner from a very young age. It is her passion for the arts, drive, and determination that saw fit for her to take the guidance under her mentor and former instructor and educator Karen Jordan to become the owner of Centre for Performing Arts. Ashley executes of the studio Prodigy program. The program places students wishing to enter the world of professional dance in classes as assistant instructors to prepare them for future job opportunities and work experience in a structured studio environment. Ashley oversees studio administrations and registrations for daily operations. She is a member of Alabama Dance Council, Dance USA, Performing Arts Alliance, and Dance Studio Owners Association. She is the wife of Tres Watson and the mother of two daughters. Ashley’s daughter’s, Tasley and Braelyn, teen and pre-teen ages, dance at Centre and are members of our competitive team. Ashley and her family attend a local church where she is a member of the dream team and also serves on the church’s info/resource team. She possesses an acute attention to detail, a determination to never stop learning, and a passion to open doors until every child has had the opportunity to… just dance.
Anna Walker Foshee
Anna Foshee graduated from The University of Alabama with a B.A. in Dance where she trained under Cornelius Carter, Sarah Barry, Rita Snyder and Quinping Guo. While at UA she was a member of the pre-professional company, Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre, and served as the marketing coordinator for Dance Alabama! After UA, Anna joined Sanspointe Dance Company (SDC) and has been with the company since 2009. After performing with the company in multiple site-specific works, company tours and concert projects, Anna was named Artistic Director of SDC in 2015. Anna is a working dancer, teacher and choreographer throughout the state of Alabama. She is an adjunct professor at Samford University and UAB where she teaches all levels of Jazz classes to musical theatre majors. Alongside teaching here at CFPA, Anna is a teaching artist at The Dance Foundation in Homewood, Al. Outside of teaching and performing with SDC, Anna has had the opportunity to dance in film alongside Dakota Fanning in The Last of Robin Hood and as a lead dancer in St. Paul and The Broken Bones’ new music video All I Ever Wanted. Anna lives in the Birmingham area with her husband and three sons
Starr Gaither was the owner & artistic director of STARRZ Performing Arts Centre in Alabama for 15 years. Starting from ground zero in 2000 she quickly climbed the ladder of success. In 2009, her innovation, dedication & commitment to her passion earned her studio the most prestigious award in the industry, The International World Grand Prix Dance Championship world-cup in Barcelona, Spain. On the side of teaching children how to grand battement for 25 years, Gaither has also traveled the world to train under world renowned instructors & entertainers. After studying in Paris, France, she was certified under Dance Educators of American on a master’s level in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, musical theater, modern, hip hop, acrobatics & flamenco. She is also an elite level 9 gymnast & accomplished singer and has worked with some of Broadway’s finest entertainers. She comes from an artistic bloodline with generations of performers and artists including Starr’s father who is a talented singer/songwriter. Over the years, Gaither and several of her students have been featured on the Fox reality T.V show “So You Think You Can Dance”, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent”, Lifetime Network’s “Dance Mom’s,” & is proud to have many students who hold national level dance titles. Many of Gaither’s students have received full paid dance scholarships to major Universities, moved to LA & NYC to pursue their professional careers, & have been cast in a few commercials & movies. She is member of the Alabama Dance Council & a sought after choreographer. Her passion for fine arts has landed her in the seats of many judges’ chairs for dance, cheer, & national level pageants.
Starr has had the privileged of teaching a variety of recreational and competitive dance classes at Centre for Performing Arts for 3 years now. She considers herself honored to be a member of such a phenomenal dance family. Her unique creativity, larger than life personality, love for dance, theater, children, and her natural talent has provided her many open doors in which she considers herself blessed. She resides in Alabaster, Alabama with her son, Nolan Edge.
Kennedy Thomas has been dancing for several years training in jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop, contemporary, modern, ball room, and so much more. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude with a B.A. in dance from the University of Arizona (the number one public University for dance with a focus in ballet, jazz, and modern). Fortunately, with her hard work and dedication, Kennedy was able to travel to places like California and New York to train with well-known artist such as Debby Allen, The Radio City Rockets, and Shannon Mather. Kennedy is now a signed artist with MSA Talent Agency. Under their representation, she has been able to be a part of several music videos, musicals, live stage performances, etc. Kennedy is a valued member of the Centre’s staff as not only an instructor, but as a choreographer. Her choreography for Centre’s Elite level competition teams have won overall placements, placed at the highest levels in adjudication, recieved judges awards, and recieved invitationals from cities and states spanning across the nation.
Kennedy is a sought after instructor, professional working dancer, and choreographer, but has always made it her goal to give back to her community by providing others an opportunity to accumulate some of the same skills and technique she has acquired. She is the director of her personally crafted summer dance program created 4+ years ago. It has grown tremendously throughout the years with a following of over 100 dancers seeking to train under her guidance. Kennedy is an artist and a mentor to dancers, pulling the very best out of everyone she comes into contact with.
Ashley Monet Hurst
Ashley Monèt Hurst, born in Miami Florida has danced for eighteen years. In those eighteen years she has gotten training from a number of places. Starting with Dance Explosions in Hollywood, Fl at the age of 3. After moving to Tampa, Florida she began training under the city of Tampa at Tampa Gymnastics and Dance. For the 14 years she was there she studied tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip hop and pointe. Becoming a teaching assistant also helped Ashley Monèt discover her passion for choreography, while still learning all that she needs to become a technical and well-rounded dancer. Performing in annual shows throughout the year like parades, competitions, and receiving endless awards all helped her become the dancer and performer she is today. Once she got to high school Ashley Monèt continued her passion for dance at Howard W. Blake high school for the performing arts. While there she picked up two modern styles and contemporary while still studying ballet. Limon and Horton were the two modern styles that were taught as well the American Ballet Theatre technique. Going into Ashley Monet’s senior year she decided she wanted to major in dance while furthering education. Taking on two majors in dance and communications at Alabama State University on a full-ride scholarship, she knew she made the right choice. So far Ashley Monèt has produced over 10 major pieces that were performed in school wide shows, along with many other opportunities to show off her talent through both dance performance and choreography. Ashley Monèt is still undecided on which route she wants to take with dance. Recently she announced tap being her favorite style and wanting to focus on that style in its entirety. With that in mind she continues to learn all styles but making tap her main focus and bringing it back to the light of dance.
Blair Williams began dancing at the very young age of 3 and decided ballet was her passion at 9 years old and began to study at Mobile Ballet. She studied summers at various schools including: the Joffrey Ballet, Pensacola Junior College, and the Alabama Ballet. Williams studied under Winthrope Corey, Sydney Adams, Kathryn Morgan, Dorothy Lister, Colby Shinn, and Renata Pavam.
Ke'Yana Symone Paradise Robinson
Ke’Yana Symone Paradise Robinson is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, originally from Beaufort, South Carolina. She began her training under the teachings of Priscilla Ball, former Director of The Montgomery Ballet. In 2011, she joined Alabama Dance Theatre, under the direction of Kitty Seale and Foye Dubose as a Junior Company Member. In 2014, she was promoted to a Senior Company Member. Upon graduation from Booker T. Washington High School, Robinson attended Alvin Ailey’s School of Dance in New York. She is currently working on her BFA Dance Degree from Alabama State University. Robinson has studied with great choreographers and teachers from across the nation including American Ballet Theatre’s former soloists Marianna Tcherkassky and Shawn Black, Alvin Ailey Company Member Vernard J. Gilmore and New York City Ballet’s former soloist Debra Wingert. She has auditioned and received scholarships and trained in many summer workshops and intensives such as The School of Dance in Dothan and The Ailey School. She has attended Southeast Regional Ballet Association Conferences, and participated in the Regional Dance America 2012, hosted in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. As a dancer, she has danced roles such as Stepsister in Cinderella, Wendy in Peter Pan, Tsura in Dracula, and Clara in The Urban Nutcracker and has performed in many ballets with major roles including Peasant Pas de Deux in Act I of Giselle. Works of her own have been performed by BTW Dance Department, which include “Be Right There”. She is currently attending ASU and aspires to become a company member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in the future.