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MEET OUR TEAM

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Co-Director

Gavin Stewart

Originally from Tulsa, OK, started his training at Tulsa Youth Ballet and received his BFA from UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. Gavin has danced professionally with Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Owen/Cox Dance Group, MOVE: the Company, Richmond Ballet II, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance, Company E and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance Company.  During his time with Company E, he performed regularly at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and worked extensively through the State Department touring as a Cultural Ambassador. These tours took him to Kazakhstan, Sweden, Turkmenistan, Russia, Cuba, Israel, Palestine, Azerbaijan, and Uruguay where he taught, performed, and choreographed contemporary dance.  

 

Gavin was the first Richmond Ballet II member to create new works for both Richmond Ballet and Richmond Ballet II, and he has also presented choreography at UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, Virginia Commonwealth University, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Agora Dance, Velocity DC Dance Festival, McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival, and Company E. 

 

He has served on the faculty of Company E, CityDance Pop, Metropolitan Ballet Academy, the Academy at Terpsicorps, WNC Dance Academy, Ballet Conservatory of Asheville, and French Broad River Academy.  Since moving to Western North Carolina in 2017 Gavin has continued to freelance as a professional dancer, while also Co-Directing Stewart/Owen Dance alongside his wife, Vanessa Owen.

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Instructor of Intro to Contemporary Dance

Sarah Ann Hamrick

Born and raised in Asheville, NC, Sarah Ann began her dance training at the age of three. She went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude from East Carolina University with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography with a second major in Communications. Upon graduating, she completed an internship with the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC in which she served as the Communications & Marketing Intern. She most recently performed alongside Staib Dance in Sorrento, Italy as a part of their summer intensive program. Sarah Ann is an alumni of Stewart/Owen Dance's summer program, DELVE, and she teaches dance throughout Western North Carolina. 

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Instructor of Intermediate Contemporary Dance

Eden Hughes

Eden Hughes is a dancer, choreographer and teacher based in Asheville, NC. She received her BA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with majors in Dance Performance and Arts Administration, as well as a minor in Therapeutic Recreation. While at UNCG, Eden trained under industry-renowned faculty and guest artists, performing in works including “James” by Francine Ott, which was presented at the American Collegiate Dance Association’s annual gala in Richmond, VA. Upon returning to Asheville in 2021, Eden joined the Asheville Ballet as a company dancer, and has additionally been choreographing for the company since 2023. She has recently taught contemporary dance for the Asheville Academy of Ballet and the Blue Ridge Dance Intensive, and has additionally performed in the Black Mountain College Arts Conference, ReVIEWING, and the Lake Lure Dance Festival. She is also a comprehensively certified Balanced Body Pilates instructor, teaching full-time since returning to the area. Eden is proud to be deeply immersed in the ever-growing, vibrant arts community in Asheville and is ecstatic to join S/O Dance!

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Instructor of Open Level Contemporary Dance

Megan Jones Medford

Megan Jones Medford received a BA in Dance Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She spent six years living in NYC as a professional dancer and teacher. Along with free-lance work Megan was a company member with Periapsis Music & Dance, LiNK! the movement, and Shauna Sorensen and Dancers. Some of her performances include SummerStage, Jazz at the Lincoln Center, American Dance Guild Festival, Symphony Space, New York Moves, Carnival, and Choreographers Canvas. Megan trained with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Martha Graham School, and American Dance Festival. She was on faculty for the Children & Teen Program at Broadway Dance Center and All Star Studios in NYC. She has guest taught and choreographed for studios and conventions around the States. Megan moved back to her hometown of Asheville, NC to start a family and to continue to share the art of dance through teaching and performing. Megan has been dancing with Stewart/Owen Dance since 2020. 

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Co-Director

Vanessa Owen

Vanessa is originally from Amity, Pennsylvania and she received her B.F.A. in Dance from Wright State University.  She has danced professionally with Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, the Kennedy Center’s production of Children of Eden, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance and Company E.  Vanessa performed regularly at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and worked extensively through the State Department touring as a Cultural Ambassador during her time with Company E. These tours took her to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Cuba, Israel, Palestine, Republic of Georgia, Azerbaijan, China, and Uruguay where she taught, performed, and choreographed contemporary dance and musical theater productions.

Vanessa was awarded a McDowell Regional Artist Grant, a Fellowship in Choreography by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Audience Choice Award at the NYC Dance Gallery Festival, and her choreography has been presented at Wright State University, Women in Dance Conference, Shenandoah University, McCallum Theatre, Asheville Fringe, CHOP SHOP, Richmond Dance Festival, Versatility Dance Festival, Palm Desert Choreography Festival, Austin Dance Festival, Stavna Ballet and Company E. 

 

She has served on the faculty of Stavna Ballet, Joy of Motion Dance Center, Company E, the Academy at Terpsicorps, and WNC Dance Academy. Since moving to Western North Carolina in 2017 Vanessa has continued to freelance as a professional dancer, while also Co-Directing Stewart/Owen Dance with her husband, Gavin Stewart.

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Instructor of Lifelong Dance 

Jamie Brege-DeVito

Jamie Brege-DeVito is a dance educator, choreographer, teacher trainer, and collaborative artist based in Asheville, North Carolina. Prior to moving to Asheville, Jamie served as Assistant Principal for Boston Ballet School, where she taught, choreographed, and worked closely with school leadership, faculty, students, and families to ensure a high-quality dance education experience for students of all ages and abilities. 

Jamie earned her BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College SUNY.  Jamie holds a Master of Arts in Dance Education, Ballet Pedagogy from New York University. She is an ABT® Certified Teacher through the ABT® National Training Curriculum, Pre-primary through Level 7 and Partnering. Jamie’s teaching credits include Boston Ballet School, Grand Rapids Ballet School, Purchase College SUNY, Boston University, Dean College, Endicott College, and Lasell University. Jamie co-created, and will continue to lead, Adaptive Dance Teacher Trainings for Boston Ballet School in Boston and at schools and organizations around the country. Jamie currently serves as Artistic Director of WNC Dance Academy's repertory company.

 

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Instructor of Open Level Contemporary

Kendall Teague

Kendall Teague was raised in the mountains of western North Carolina and attended the South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, SC.  He began his career in the Bay Area in 2008 as a corps de ballet member of San Francisco Ballet. He has since worked with North Carolina Dance Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet under Dwight Rhoden, Ballet San Jose, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, ODC/Dance, and Kate Weare Company. 

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Instructor of Lifelong Dance

Karen Ninos Carpenter

Karen is a professional teacher and choreographer committed to sharing the art of dance with students since 1970. After training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB)and American Ballet Theatre School, she went on to become a member of the City Center Joffrey Ballet Company, where she served as personal assistant to Robert Joffrey. She accompanied Mr. Joffrey on the company’s ground-breaking 5-week tour of Russia in 1974.

 

Karen served on the faculty at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet from 1982-2020, she founded the Alfred Ballet Academy in Alfred, NY, founded the Campbelltown School of Ballet in Campbelltown, PA and the Hershey School of Ballet in Hershey, PA. Karen served on the dance faculty at Alfred University in Alfred, NY, and Hagerstown Community College in Hagerstown, MD.

 

From 2017 to 2022, Karen worked in collaboration with Heather Maloy of Terpsicorps Dance Theater to build an academic ballet program for serious young dancers. 

Karen is currently a faculty member at WNC Dance Academy where she teaches in the newly-formed repertory company. Karen lives with her husband Jack, her golden retriever and her calico kitty in Hendersonville.

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