Faculty

Megan R. Jones

Ballet Mistress, Tupelo Ballet

Associate Director, Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts

Megan Jones was born and raised in New Albany, Mississippi. At the age of three she began taking dance classes and at the age of four she transferred to Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts. Under the direction of Sharon Long, Megan was a member of Tupelo Ballet where she performed solo roles as Dew Drop, Mechanical Doll, Winter Fairy, and more. She also guested as Snow Queen with New Albany School of Ballet. She attends dance classes in New York City with the Joffrey Ballet  School where she was offered an opportunity to attend school and to study in Moscow with Bolshoi Ballet. Megan has also studied with Peridance Capezio Center and Broadway Dance Center. She is a former company member of Hinge Dance Company in Oxford, MS.

Megan currently teaches creative movement, ballet, pointe, musical theatre, contemporary, jazz, tap, hip hop, and private lessons. Recently Megan has begun choreographing for individuals in competitions, pageants, and talent shows. When not teaching, Megan has appeared in country music videos, as a background actress for numerous movies and television series, and works with Country Music Television in Nashville, Tennessee.

Suanne Messer

Instructor, Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts

Suanne was born in Alice Springs, Australia, and after living in the U.S. for a number of years, she moved back to Australia from 2005-2010.  She then moved to Hattiesburg, MS and attended the University of Southern Mississippi, where she obtained her BFA in Performance and Choreography in 2014.  She currently teaches ballet, jazz, musical theater, tap, pointe, and contemporary in both Tupelo and Oxford.  She is also a dancer and choreographer with Hinge Dance Company.  Her future plans include going to graduate school to get her MFA and then starting her own dance program at the university level.  Besides teaching, her other interests include performing in and/or choreographing concert dance, site-specific dance, and dance for film.

Courtney Wilemon

Instructor, Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts

 

Courtney Wilemon was born and raised in Tupelo, Mississippi.  She developed a love for dance at the young age of 4 when she began classes at Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts under the instruction of

Mrs. Sharon Long.  She found passion for teaching dance to young students at the age of 14, when she began assisting and eventually teaching ballet and jazz classes at the Academy.  Following graduation from Tupelo High School, Courtney received her degree in elementary education from Mississippi State University.  

Upon graduating from college, she returned to Tupelo and began teaching school at Lawndale Elementary School.  She also returned to TADA to teach ballet, tap, and creative movement.  As a public school teacher, Courtney is able to incorporate her love of dance and drama into her lessons and share her love of the arts with countless students in the community.  Courtney finds great joy teaching at TADA and sharing her passion for dance and movement with her students.

Emily Nelson

Instructor, Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts

Emily began her early ballet training with Rosanne DeVries in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Grand Rapids Academy of Dance Arts. Upon moving to Mississippi at age ten, Emily began training with Sharon Long at the Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts, where she danced with the Tupelo Ballet Company until 2006.  While at TADA Emily performed as The Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. Emily went on to dance and teach in Oxford, Mississippi in 2006, with the Oxford Ballet School & Oxford Ballet Company under the direction of Genevieve Fortner. Mrs. Nelson graduated in 2010 summa cum laude from The Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College with a B.A. in English. Between 2010 and 2013 Emily taught at Mississippi Metropolitan Dance Academy, under the direction of Jennifer Beasley, in Madison, Mississippi and performed with Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet as The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella and The Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker. 

Emily  recently returned to Tupelo, from Little Rock, Arkansas where she taught under the direction of Jana Beard and Allison Wilson at Shuffles and Ballet II, between 2013-2018.  Emily is excited to return home with her husband, and two young children, to where her love of dance began and is very excited to share this love with TADA and the community. 

Arianna Hodges

Instructor, Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts

Instructor, Tupelo Ballet Company

Arianna Hodges was born and raised in Tupelo, Mississippi. Arianna began her dance training under Trudie Miller and continued to learn under the direction of Jan Dijkwel. In high school, Arianna was a soloist in Civic Ballet and attended Ballet Magnificat! Summer Intensives for 3 years. Arianna was member of the Northeast Tiger Dance Team at Northeast Mississippi Community College and the captain of the Delta Belles Dance Team at Delta State University. Arianna is of a graduate of Delta State University with a B.A. in Psychology and is currently finishing her M.S. in Experimental Psychology at the University of West Alabama. During her time at the University of West Alabama, she served as the head dance coach which performed jazz, pom, and hip hop routines.

Arianna is excited to return to Tupelo and be married in November 2019 to Xavier Washington. Arianna has such a heart for teaching and looks forward to teaching for Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts and Tupelo Ballet. She finds great joy in ballet and loves encouraging students to find joy in ballet as well.

Angie Caldwell

Instructor, Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts

Angie Caldwell is a former student of TADA and member of the Tupelo Ballet. She has taught ballet and aerobics for over 27 years.  Mrs. Angie has a heart for teaching the developmental physical progressions that young aspiring dancers need in order to succeed with the Tupelo Ballet and beyond. Mrs. Angie and her husband, Britt, have J. Britt Lighting.  Their two sons, John Michael and Anders, are both at Tupelo High School and are competitive swimmers.  She loves working with toddlers at church and her favorite place to be is beachfront!  

Mary Morgan Burks

Instructor, Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts

Mary Morgan Burks is a Tupelo native. As Sharon Long’s granddaughter, she grew up in the TADA studios from the time she could walk to present day. She was a member of the Tupelo Ballet under the direction of Sharon Long, where she danced the solo roles of Snow Queen, Arabian Queen, Mechanical Doll, Clara, Little Red Riding Hood, and more. She spent many summers dancing with the Alabama Ballet as a summer intensive student. Mary Morgan received her Bachelor's degree in Business Marketing at the University of Mississippi. Hotty Toddy! While in school, she danced for the Hinge Dance Company and Ole Miss Student Dance. She was a teacher at Oxford Academy of Dance Arts, as well.

Shortly after college, Mary Morgan made her way back to Tupelo where she lives with her husband, Taylor, and daughter, Gravlee Grace. Mary Morgan enjoys working with young dancers teaching Creative Movement & ballet classes. She is excited to be working alongside her grandmother and continuing her legacy for the arts in Tupelo. 

Anna Kirk Presley

Instructor, Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts

Anna Kirk Presley was born and raised in Tupelo, MS. She grew up in the studio as she is Sharon Long’s second granddaughter and began taking ballet classes at the age of three. She was a member of the Tupelo Ballet under the direction of Sharon Long, where she danced the solo roles of  Arabian Queen, Mechanical Doll, Clara, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and more. Anna Kirk is a junior at the University of Mississippi pursuing a degree in Exercise Science. After college she is planning to go to nursing school to become a nurse anesthetist. In Oxford, Anna Kirk dances with Hinge Dance Company and is the Vice President of Membership recruitment for her sorority. She also taught at Oxford Academy of Dance Arts her freshman year.  Anna Kirk currently teaches ballet, tap, and jazz at TADA. She enjoys working with dancers and teaching them something that she absolutely loves. Her favorite part of every week is driving from Oxford to teach her students.

Hannah B. Grimes

Instructor, Tupelo Academy of Dance Arts

Hannah B. Grimes was born and raised in Hattiesburg, MS and began her ballet training with Yvonne Bergeron at the age of 5.  As a member of Pine Belt Ballet she also studied under Mr. Henry Danton and Val Salnikov where she performed solo roles as Sugar Plum, Dew Drop, Mechanical Doll, Swan Lake Pas de Trois, and more.  Hannah placed top 12 at Youth American Grand Prix in 2012. She has attended South Carolina Dance Conservatory, Joffrey Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Ave Bohemia in Prague, Czech Republic summer programs.

In 2009 she attended Boston Ballet’s year-round program. Hannah is also an avid tennis player. She received her undergraduate degree in finance from William Carey University on a tennis scholarship. She taught ballet at Columbia Dance Center while completing an MBA at the University of Southern Mississippi. Hannah relocated to Tupelo to be with her husband who is the tennis pro at Rob Leake Park and is super excited to be at TADA.