Academy Principal Kate Linsley and Children’s Program Coordinator Aven Chadwell lead exemplary dance programs

School of Nashville Ballet will begin its fall semester on August 20. As the organization enters a new school year, new program leadership will drive the school’s continued focus on excellence in artistry and athleticism.

“Our organization has earned a reputation for offering the highest level of ballet training in Tennessee largely due to the impressive commitment, expertise and tireless work of our faculty and staff,” Associate Artistic Director Nick Mullikin said. “Promoting Kate Linsley and welcoming Aven Chadwell will allow us to continue providing elevated training and tremendous dedication to the development of each student who enters our studios.”

Recently promoted Academy Principal Kate Linsley will oversee the artistic aspects of School of Nashville Ballet. Linsley brings a wealth of dance and dance education experience to the position. As a dancer, Linsley was a soloist with Ballet West for 10 seasons, retiring in June 2010, and a corps de ballet member with Kansas City Ballet from 1995 to 2000. Before joining Nashville Ballet in 2017, Linsley served as the dance department chair at The Waterford School, as well as the director of the Waterford Dance Academy, in Sandy, Utah for five years.

Aven Chadwell will manage the Children’s Division as the school’s new children’s program coordinator. Chadwell holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History with a minor in Dance from Belmont University. As an artist, Chadwell attended the American Dance Festival at Duke University in 2012, 2015 and 2016. She was also the founding owner and principal instructor for ABC Dance Academy in Crossville, Tenn. and strives to make dance class a positive experience for all children.

Tracy Julias, Kate Kastelnik, Nicole Koenig and Shabaz Ujima comprise the remaining full-time faculty for School of Nashville Ballet. Each contributes unique talents, perspectives and areas of expertise to the organization through their instruction in classes within the Academy, Professional Training Division and NB2, Nashville Ballet’s official second company.

Julias recently joined the School of Nashville Ballet full-time team, but is no stranger to the organization having previously danced in Nashville Ballet’s company. Additionally, her distinguished career as a performer spanned more than a decade including tenures as a principal artist with Joffrey Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre and Pittsburgh Ballet. Kastelnik and Koenig have deep ties to Nashville Ballet, each having danced professionally in the company for at least 10 years. Both had many of Artistic Director Paul Vasterling’s original works created on them; as a result, they’re both deeply knowledgeable about the history of Nashville Ballet and passionate about preserving beloved choreography for generations to come. Koenig also holds a certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies from the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance. Ujima trained at Nashville Ballet before enjoying a successful career in contemporary dance with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company under his stage name, Hershel Horner III.

The numerous classes taught at School of Nashville Ballet for students ages two and up are led by the aforementioned faculty, as well as many highly vetted part-time instructors equally qualified and passionate about the high level of artistry and training that School of Nashville Ballet provides. School of Nashville Ballet offers classes for dancers of all ages and experience levels. Young dancers interested in learning more about the Children’s Division can attend an open house Aug. 11 from 10 a.m. to noon at the school’s Sylvan Park location, 3630 Redmon St., Nashville. Aspiring artists interested in enrolling in School of Nashville Ballet’s Academy can take part in an open audition Aug. 4 at 10 a.m. at the school’s Sylvan Park location. To learn more about School of Nashville Ballet classes leading up to the fall semester, visit

About Nashville Ballet
Nashville Ballet is the largest professional ballet company in Tennessee. Nashville Ballet presents a varied repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary works by noted choreographers, including original works by Artistic Director Paul Vasterling. Nashville Ballet and the second company, NB2 (a pre-professional training company), provide more than 70,000 arts experiences to adults and children annually through season performances and its Community Engagement programming. Curriculum-based Community Engagement programs bring dance education to community centers, colleges, public libraries and public elementary, middle and high schools across the state. School of Nashville Ballet brings world-class dance instruction to students age 2 to 70.

Nashville Ballet receives public funding from Metro Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Contributions from local, regional and national institutional funders and community partners, as well as hundreds of generous individuals, provide ongoing support of Nashville Ballet’s mission-critical programs.

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AuthorNashville Ballet