Keliah Schertz is a recent high school graduate who is taking a gap year to focus on training for musical theater and dance college auditions. She has been dancing for 16 years. In addition to dancing, Keliah sings, teaches, choreographs, and performs with the competitive showchoir group for the Peoria Area Performing Arts School.
Liberty Pritchard began her ballet studies at Peoria Ballet at the age of five. She performed in many productions with Peoria Ballet throughout her pre-professional training, performing featured roles such as Snow Queen in the Nutcracker. She began her professional career as an Apprentice with Central Illinois Ballet where she danced for two seasons. In the 2019-2020 season, she joined Sacramento Ballet as a Trainee, and performed repertoire such as Amy Seiwert’s The Nutcracker, Lew Christensen’s Il Distratto (soloist), as well as excerpts from Swan Lake. Liberty has also been featured in several local musical theater productions, including Disney’s Newsies and Ragtime at Corn Stock Theatre. Liberty is teaching at Peoria Ballet for her second year.
Kathyrn Hollandsworth has been dancing for over 20 years and is an alumna of the Peoria Ballet. She trained with them for 12 years and has been teaching at Peoria Ballet for over 13 years. Along with performing over the years, Katie has been involved in many community theater productions, both dancing and choreographing.
Don Coven is a native Peorian who began tap lessons at the age of three at the Merkel-Ford Studios in 1950. He danced professionally with Ann Miller in Anything Goes, Gene Kelly in Take Me Along, and Ruby Keeler in No No Nanette. Mr. Coven’s dance expertise won him a complete scholarship for his Master of Fine Arts in Dance from S.M.U’s Meadows School of the Arts in 1983. Mr. Coven’s dance students in Peoria have won first place awards in dance competitions throughout the country. Peoria Ballet is proud to have “the best tapper in Peoria” as one of their instructors.
Elizabeth Blackaby began dancing at the age of seven with The Studio of Dance Arts Unlimited in Michigan City, Indiana. She later joined the Youth Ballet of DAU and the Brelsfoard Dance Theatre. She received her B.A. in Dance Performance/Theater Arts from Northern Illinois University. She received the Alternate Scholarship to the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Professional credits include dancing, choreographing, and teaching with Afterimages Repertory Dance Company (Louisville, KY), Rockford Dance Company (Rockford, IL), and Pacific Coast Academy of Dance (San Clemente, CA). She has created and restaged ballets including The Nutcracker, Snow White, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pas de Quatre, Hansel and Gretel, and An American in Paris.
Julia Fritch has experience as an elementary school teacher, as well as teaching dance within schools, and has written a dance curriculum for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching and Learning from Regis University, a BA in Dance from the University of Iowa, and a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa.
Molly Daly is a retired professional dancer who has been teaching for over 12 years. Molly was a principal dancer for Septime Webre’s American Repertory Ballet, as well as a dancer with Hartford Ballet and Ballet Michigan, and performed with Pennsylvania Ballet as a scholarship student. She is a Certified Teacher with ABT’s National Training Curriculum and has the IM=X Pilates certification. She plans to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and Movement Studies in the spring of 2022. In addition to her impressive performing and teaching resume, she also sets ballets for the internationally acclaimed choreographer Septime Webre.
Ian Thatcher graduated from the National Ballet School of Canada, and danced professionally with San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet de Monte Carlo, and Metropolitan Opera in New York City to name a few. He has been teaching for over 12 years and is a Certified Teacher with ABT’s (American Ballet Theater) National Training Curriculum. He has administrative experience during internships at American Ballet Theatre and The Washington Ballet. This fall he will complete his Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and Dance Arts Administration.