Ballet Esprit Company
Sarah Yvonne Chappell
Sarah was born in Huntsville, Alabama and studied ballet at the Briarwood Ballet in Birmingham. During her high school training, she attended the Houston Ballet, Ballet Magnificat! and American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensives. Sarah opted to home school her senior year of high school in order to dance as a Soloist for the Alabama ballet and danced there for two seasons. Her principal roles included Dew Drop and Sugar Plum in the Nutcracker. Soloist roles in Roger Van Flettern’s Tickling the Ivories, Wes Chapman’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Coppelia. Since 2000 she has performed as a Guest Artist nationally and internationally, trained and coached dancers as well as set numerous choreography projects on many local schools and companies including Ballet Tennessee, Chattanooga School of Creative Arts, and Chattanooga Christian School. Her most recent adventures include opening SPOT Venue & Ballet Esprit in the Brainerd Arts District, fostering the passion of dancers and creatives of all ages. Sarah is a certified in Pilates, Yoga and Progressing Ballet Technique, offering a strong foundation and holistic approach to dance education and the healing arts. Sarah celebrated her 20th year of teaching ballet this spring! She is also in her Senior year at UTC studying business administration; looking forward to graduating in May 2019. When the work hats are off, she enjoys spending every second of free time with her husband Lance, 6 children and two cats!
Meaghan Fitzgerald began her dance training at the age of five in Chattanooga, TN. She initially studied ballet and, later, modern, jazz, and other dance forms before leaving for college. Meaghan put her dance education on hold while she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Science in Social Work. She worked in various school, community mental health, and hospital settings in Memphis and Knoxville, TN before earning her L.C.S.W. and beginning her career in private practice. Meaghan moved back to Chattanooga with her husband, continued in private practice, and went on to earn a Doctor of Social Work degree a few weeks before the birth of her daughter. The identity shift in becoming a mother sparked an interest in reconnecting with an earlier self, so in the summer of 2016, she began dancing again. Once Meaghan found Ballet Esprit, she knew she was home. As a BE resident choreographer, Meaghan enjoys exploring themes of mental health, ethics, personality structures, and social and political issues with modern and contemporary movements.
Melissa began her dance training at 11 in Paris, France where she studied at the American Academy of Dance in Paris, Le Centre de Jazz Rick Odums, and studied under Meredith Hudson. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Modern Dance from Belhaven University in 2010. She spent a semester in New York City as a part of The Limon Dance Company’s Professional Studies Program. Upon graduating, she moved to Chattanooga where she taught at various local schools and performed for the Chattanooga Ballet. After a year in Chattanooga, she moved to New York City. While in New York, she performed with Live Arts by Nancy L’Heritier, Community Dance Project NYC, The Physical Plant with Karesia Batan, and The Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation. She performed with these companies in venues all over New York, including The Gibney Center, Chelsea Studios, Alice Austen House, Old Westbury Mansion, Untermeyer Park, The Secret Theater, Dixon Place, and performed as a part of the Movement Research Open House at Eden’s Expressway, NACHMO at The Actors Fund Theater, and The Queensboro Dance Festival in 2014, and 2015. After the birth of her daughter, she and her husband moved to Chattanooga, where she has taught at Girls Preparatory School, The Chattanooga Dance Theater, and Alicia’s Dance, Cheer, and Tumbling.