2015-2016 Company Members
Raylee Alford graduated in 2011 from the first Dance Repertory Company of the Mississippi School of the Arts, a residential honors high school for students throughout the state. After serving as an Arts Ambassador and School Recruiter, Raylee was accepted into the University of Alabama where she performed with the Dance Repertory Company and Dance Alabama. She has also worked as a counselor for the Alabama Ballet Theatre during the Summer Intensive Program held at the University of Alabama. Raylee moved to Birmingham for the birth of her son where she raises him and continues to pursue her undergraduate degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Raylee recently graduated from Highlands College and continues her work with single mothers in the greater Birmingham area.
Margaret Armstrong graduated from the University of Alabama in 2001 having completed a B.A. in Dance. While studying at UA, she was a member of both the Alabama Repertory Theatre and Dance Alabama! Margaret continued her education at the University of South Alabama where she earned her MEd in Exercise Science. After working as a personal trainer for 5 years, she returned to school earning both a bachelors and masters in nursing from UAB. Margaret and her husband Tommy are parents of Miles and Eli. She has been a member of Sanspointe since 2005 and is a founding board member.
Shellie Chambers is from Hopkinsville, KY. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Master of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations from The University of Alabama. While studying at UA, Shellie was a member of Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre and Dance Alabama. She is a recipient of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham’s Grants to Individual Artists and The University of Alabama Dance Department’s Lou Wall award. She is the inaugural board President and former Artistic Director (2007-2011) of Sanspointe. Shellie is the Director of Youth and Adult Programs and Marketing Director for The Dance Foundation in Birmingham. Shellie also serves on the board of the Alabama DanceCouncil.
Meredith K. Cox, a native of Athens, Alabama, began dancing at age nine under the tutelage of Susan Fisher Nesbitt and Deborah Bailey. Upon graduating high school, she attended the University of Alabama receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Dance in 2009. While attending the university, she performed as a company member of the Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre and choreographed and performed for the student organized Dance Alabama. Meredith received the honor of the Edith Barnes Award for choreography during her time at Alabama. She has attended the American Dance Festival and participated in summer intensives with Margi Cole and the Florida Youth Ballet. Meredith last performed with Sanspointe in 2009 and is excited to be back with the company!
Anna Foshee graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in dance from the University of Alabama with a minor in Social Work. While at UA ,she was a member of Alabama Repertory Dance Theater, the pre-professional company at Alabama and Dance Alabama! a student led organization at UA. She served as a counselor for the American Ballet Theatre summer intensives for two years and was the public relations officer for Dance Alabama! Anna teaches dance in the Birmingham area and serves as a choreographer and teaching artist at the Centre for Performing Arts in Prattville, Al. She joined Sanspointe in 2009 and now serves as the Artistic Director.
Michelle Knutson, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, graduated from the University of Alabama (UA) Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Dance and Minor in Psychology. While studying at UA, she was a member of the pre-professional company, Alabama Repertory Dance Theater and performed with the student-directed company Dance Alabama!. She received the Lou Wall Award from UA dance department faculty in 2000. Michelle’s professional training includes work with Celeste Miller, Paul Taylor Dance Company, American Dance Festival, and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Michelle served as the Upper School Program Coordinator, directed the Student Ensemble program, and performed with the school-touring program; “Math in Motion,” at The Dance Foundation from 2001 – 2007. Michelle was an inaugural recipient of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham’s Grants to Individual Artists Award in 2007. Currently she teaches Dance/Physical Education at Trace Crossings Elementary and directs the Bumpus Middle School Dance Team. Five-time winner of the Panoply Arts Festival’s Best Modern Choreography Award, she is the founding Artistic Director of Sanspointe Dance Company and currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors.
Alisa McCool, hails from the buzzing metropolis of El Reno, Oklahoma. Alisa is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Oklahoma and has a Master of Education from Texas Christian University. In 2010, she received her M.F.A in choreography and performance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Alisa began her training at the only dance studio in her small hometown and attended the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute each summer during high school. Throughout her studies, Alisa has worked with a variety of teachers and choreographers including Mel Wong, Fernando Bujones, Gus Solomons Jr., Deborah Jowitt, Doug Varone,Jill Johnson, and Phyllis Lamhut. Alisa has been a featured dancer with the Second Avenue Dance Company (New York), Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth (Texas) and Dance Revolution (nationwide) and has traveled the country performing and teaching in a variety of venues. For five years, Alisa served as the founding director of the Dance Department at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts in Fort Worth, Texas. Alisa is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches dance and yoga throughout the Birmingham area.
Stella Nystrom was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama and has lived in Birmingham for 7 years. She has danced with Alabama Contemporary Danceand The Down-Downs in Mobile and Arova Contemporary Ballet, Sanspointe, Corpus Euphonium ( an improvisational dance and music collective ), and Pyro-Salto ( a fire performance troupe that changed their name to something recently , something like ” burning Hearts of Desire…..whatever ). She’s trained in Royal Academy of Dance Syllabus, Vaganova Syllabus, several styles of African Dance ( most of which she’s forgotten) and lots and lots of modern techniques ( most of which have also been forgotten ). Currently, she works at The Wine Loft as a Certified Sommelier and is working on the Advanced Sommelier Certification. Eventually, she would like to become a Master Sommelier because being a Master of anything is awesome.
Sara Turney Wallace is from Toney, AL. She holds a BA in English and Dance from The University of Alabama. While at UA, she received the Edith Barnes Choreography Award and performed with the pre-professional company, Alabama Repertory Dance Theater, and the student-produced organization, Dance Alabama!. Sara is in her fourth season as a company member of Sanspointe Dance Company, where she regularly performs and choreographs. She was made the company’s Interim Artistic Director August, 2015 and now serves as the Assistant Artistic Director. She has been teaching with The Dance Foundation in Homewood, Alabama since 2012.
Justin Wallace (Music Director) graduated from UAB with a Bachelor’s in Music Technology and a specialization in percussion. He is the co-founder/director of Iron Giant Percussion, a contemporary quartet focused on bringing percussion music to a wider audience. Justin began working with Sanspointe Dance Company in 2009 as a company artist before becoming the company’s music director in 2011.