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MEET OUR TEAM

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Co-Director

Instructor of Adult Intro, Intermediate, and Advanced Contemporary Dance

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 Lifelong Dance and Open Level Adult Contemporary

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 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

Instructor of Adult Intro, Intermediate, and Advanced Contemporary Dance

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

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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Instructor of Theatre Jazz Dance

Nick Kepley

Born and raised in Asheville, NC, Nick Kepley (They/He) has spent the past 20 years working as a professional in the performing arts. In 2010, they founded MOTION Dance Theatre, a summer choreographic residency program based in Asheville. From 2015-2018 they served as Dance Lab/New York's first Director of Marketing & Development where they produced and hosted the In Step podcast, and launched the company's first Summer Choreography Intensive. Additionally, Kepley has worked in the marketing departments of New York City Ballet, Manhattan Theatre Club, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Performance credits: Ballet Austin, Kansas City Ballet, Mary Poppins (Broadway), Camelot (NY Philharmonic), and American Dance Machine for the 21st Century (Joyce Theatre), SMASH (NBC). Choreography credits: Thrace(Kansas City Ballet "In the Wings"), Season of Innocence (Ballet Austin II), Speak Out (Blanton Museum of Art), Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella (Broadway, Assistant), Waitress (Broadway, Assistant), Working (Prospect Theatre, Associate). Kepley currently serves on the faculty of Ballet Conservatory of Asheville.

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