JULIE HUNT KNOWLES has enjoyed a performing arts career spanning thirty-five years and she has trained and directed thousands of dancers in the Mid-South. Many of her students have been accepted into some of the country's most prestigious classical summer study programs and company apprentice programs including American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Virginia School for the Arts, Houston Ballet, and others. In addition to her students’ classical dance success, Mrs. Knowles' students have excelled in the commercial dance and theatre markets. Many of her students have become dance instructors and have started their own dance businesses, dance companies, and similar projects.
Nationally, several of her students have launched into professional entertainment careers at Disney World and on Broadway, appearing in musicals and live theatre performances including Fosse, Cats and West Side Story. The music video industry, TV commercials, major motion pictures, related careers in arts are some of the places you can find Mrs. Knowles students. Mrs. Knowles began her formal training as a young dancer in the 1970s with the Bischoff-Carroll Dance Centre and Memphis Ballet, under the direction of Michael and Judy Tevlin. Mrs. Knowles completed her Royal Academy of Dancing examinations and Dance Education Syllabus with Honours. It was also during this period that she began teaching dance classes, working with all ages of students, from pre-schoolers to adults. As a jazz dancer, her technical skill and her high-energy flair has landed her many roles in the entertainment industry and also afforded her a scholarship opportunity to study with legendary godfather of modern jazz dance, Gus Giordano.
In the late 80s and early 90s, Mrs. Knowles produced concerts for Richard Marx, REO Speedwagon, The Call, The Smithereens, Cheap Trick, Jay Leno, Bobcat Goldthwait, Michael Winslow, Najee and Pat Metheny, among many other gifted artists.
As a choreographer, Mrs. Knowles' work includes ballets such as The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Paquita, The Skaters, Peter & The Wolf, The Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides, and Coppelia, Over the last twenty-five years, she has produced award-winning choreography for competitions, theme parks, fashion shows, television shows, commercials, and film. Some of her work has included Kroger Stores, Toyota, Perkins Restaurant, and many others. She has also worked with CBS, Blink MultiMedia, and API-Cine. Mrs Knowles is a native Memphian, a graduate of Lausanne Collegiate School, and holds a BA degree in Communications from Memphis State University. She has been married to Tom Knowles for 28 years and together they have four amazing children!
Ms. Pohlman is a native of Germantown, TN and began dancing at the age of 3. She comes from a long family history of dancers including her sister, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Abby trained locally with Dance Dynamics, Classical Ballet under the direction of Pat Gillespie, and Ballet Memphis. Upon completing high school, Ms. Pohlman attended Middle Tennessee State University and was a member of their MTSU Dance Company. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree degree from the University of Memphis and is currently working towards her Master’s degree. Abby has also attended several SERBA (Southeastern Regional Ballet Association) conferences and taught with the Lausanne Collegiate School Summer Program, The Goddard School in Collierville, TN and St. George’s Independent School extra-curricular programs.
Ms. Pohlman serves as a rehearsal coach with the Collierville Ballet and is also a dance instructor at Collierville Arts Academy where she enjoys sharing her love of the dance arts with all of her students.
Mrs O’Connell received her training at the Princeton Ballet School and in summer study at North Carolina School of the Arts and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She has also studied with Risa Gary Kaplowitz, Elisabeth Carroll, and in NYC with Nancy Bielski. She has performed in New York City and the NY metropolitan area with Classics Dance Theater, Metropolitan Repertory Ballet, Princeton Ballet II, and as a guest artist. She has been a company member of The Metropolitan Ballet of Minneapolis and Continental Ballet. Ms. O’Connell was the artistic director and main ballet instructor at Betty Jo’s Dance Center in Apple Valley, MN and a company class teacher for Continental Ballet company in Bloomington, MN. Elizabeth loves to share her joy of dance and is proud to be a choreographer and rehearsal assistant with the Collierville Ballet.