2015-2016 Company Members
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 Dance Council.
Kelsey Ebersold grew up in Athens, Alabama where she began her training under the direction of Beth Cannon and Julie George. She continued her studies at the University of Alabama and graduated in 2012 with a BS in Dance Performance and Choreography. At UA, she performed leading roles in The Nutcracker, La Bayadere, Les Sylphides, and Jose Limon’s There is a Time. After graduating, Kelsey joined the Atlanta Ballet as an apprentice. While at Atlanta Ballet she performed in Michael Pink’s Dracula, Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, and Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo et Juliette, Ohad Naharin’s Secus and Minus 16, and Alexander Eckman’s Cacti. She is grateful to have performed featured roles with Atlanta Ballet such as Marya in John McFall’s The Nutcraker, Jorma Elo’s First Flash, and the lead Rose girl in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Requiem for a Rose. She was also a member of Atlanta Ballet’s summer company, Wabi Sabi, where she has performed featured roles in many outdoor venues. Soon after moving to Birmingham, she performed with Hosanna Sacred Arts and now teaches at Briarwood Ballet. Kelsey is excited to join Sanspointe and perform for the Birmingham community.
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 is a choreographer and dance instructor at the Centre for Performing Arts in Prattville, Al. Anna joined Sanspointe in 2009 and is the current Artistic Director.
Vivian Givhan is a Birmingham native. She began her dance training at Birmingham Ballet. Beginning in middle school, she spent five years dancing with The Dance Foundation’s student ensemble, studying ballet and modern dance with Shellie Chambers, Michelle Hamff Knutson and Rhea Speights. She attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and studied dance for a year, but ultimately graduated with a B.A. in English and a minor in Creative Writing in 2013. In addition to dancing, she teaches barre fitness at Grand Jeté Fitness in Mountain Brook, and is an avid yoga practitioner. Vivian has long admired Sanspointe’s dancers and work, and is honored and excited to be a part of The Deconstruction Zone.
Diedre Graham is a native of Mobile, Alabama. She is a Fall 2013 graduate of the University of Alabama with a major in Dance and double minors in German and Anthropology. She is an ABT (American Ballet Theater ) Scholarship Recipient and the recipient of several dance honors from the University of Alabama Department of Theater and Dance. Diedre has trained at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s summer intensive, American Ballet Theater’s summer intensives, Broadway Dance Center, Sheffield School of the Dance, Gotta Dance Atlanta, Dance 411, and Atlanta Ballet. She also participated in a project with noted choreographers Chris Judd, Dave Scott, and Eddie Garcia. Diedre was a member of the pre-professional company Alabama Repertory Dance Theater (four years) at the University of Alabama and the student- choreographed Dance Alabama semi-annual shows. Additionally, Diedre served as both a performer and choreographer in the Actor’s Charitable Theater’s production of The Color Purple. Diedre has experience in arts Administration, serving as an Arts Intern at the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Diedre is a certified teacher in the Mobile County Public School System, teaching ballet, jazz, hip-hop and modern to middle school girls. Diedre is beyond excited to spend her first season with Sanspointe Dance Company!
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.
Natalie Tindell is originally from Navarre, Florida. Natalie grew up training in various styles of dance.While earning her BFA from Troy University, Natalie performed over twenty five works as a member of Troy Dance Theatre. She performed seven works at the Alabama Dance Festival,where she was also given the opportunity to perform with Abraham.In.Motion. Natalie studied modern under the direction of Tracy Gilland- Shillabeer, who earned her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. She received ballet training from former Joffrey Ballet member, Dominique Angel. Natalie also studied contemporary and jazz under So You Think You Can Dance choreographer, Nicki Loud. This is Natalie’s first season with Sanspointe. She is thrilled to begin her journey in the artistic community of Birmingham!
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.