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Sarah Walston

ARTISTIC TEAM

Director

Performing Artist

Sarah Walston is a professional dancer and choreographer currently based out of Tampa, FL. Sarah is the Director and Founder of ATLAS Modern Ballet, a new professional performance company serving the Tampa community. She also performs and creates works in the Tampa Bay area as a freelance artist. 

 

Sarah graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance from the University of South Florida in 2015. At the University of South Florida, she had the privilege of working with and performing works by choreographers such as Alonzo King, Maurice Causey, Robert Moses and Jennifer Archibald among many other guests and faculty members. In addition to her USF training, she has participated in many professional training programs across the country including, the Ailey School, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, ArchCore40 and BalletX, as well as studying abroad in Paris. 

 

After graduating from USF, she spent five seasons as a company member at Florida Dance Theatre where she performed and created new repertory presented by the company in Lakeland and on tour. At Florida Dance Theater she performed principal roles in original narrative ballets and The Nutcracker, as well as in contemporary works by company directors and guests such as, Jerry Opdenaker and Gregory Dolbashian. Following her time at FDT, Sarah was a member of Tampa City Ballet in Tampa, FL for two seasons as a performer, guest choreographer, and company class instructor.

 

Over the past few years her choreography has be presented in multiple festivals and showcases both across the United States, and internationally. She also has choreographed for Florida Southern College's Dance Department, where she is Adjunct Ballet and Modern Faculty. Sarah has graduated Summa Cum laude this past Spring from Jacksonville University with her MFA in Choreography.

COLLABORATING DANCE ARTISTS

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Baylie Dockins

Black Background

Baylie Dockins began her dance training and competitive career at Dance In Motion in Abilene, Kansas. At the age of thirteen Dockins switched her focus from competitive training to classical ballet under the direction of Mara Klenda. She has attended many prestigious summer intensives including Kansas City Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet. After graduating high school, Dockins relocated to Tampa, Florida where she joined Tampa Ballet Theatre. During her time there she danced multiple Principal roles including Tinkerbell in Tampa Ballet Theatre's world premiere of "Peter Pan" as well as, Odile/Black Swan in Tampa Ballet Theatre's first production of "Swan Lake". Dockins has also performed with Brandon Ballet of Brandon, Florida as a Principal Professional Artist in productions such as "Nutcracker" and "Giselle". Outside of performing professionally, Dockins serves as Lead Ballet Instructor, Assistant Competition Director, and Choreographer for Just Dance Academy - champions of multiple national awards, and travels with Prestige National Talent Competition as a judge and convention teacher. Most recently, Dockins has become adjunct faculty for the dance program at Pinellas County Center of the Arts at Gibbs High School, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Caitlyn Elie-Gowan

Black Background

Caitlyn Elie-Gowan (Choreographer / Dancer) originally from Miami, FL is a graduate of The University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance with a Modern concentration. While she attended USF, she presented her own works and had the honor of working with many choreographers such as Yaniv Abraham who works under Ohad Naharin with the Batsheva Dance Company, Robert Moses from Robert Moses' Kin, Andee Scott, Erin Cardinal, Bliss Kohlmyer, Jeanne Travers, MerryLynn Morris, Julien Desplantez, Catherine Dénécy, Clint Lutes, and Kevin Quinao. Caitlyn is currently residing in Tampa, FL as a freelance artist & dance instructor. Also, she has worked with Jeanne Travers and Moving Current Dance Collective as a project-based dancer here in the Tampa Bay Area. As she progresses, she is focusing on developing her own movement/teaching vocabulary and working towards choreographing her own works, performing, and educating.  

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Drew Travis Robinson

Black Background

Raised in Largo, Florida, Drew Travis Robinson started his foray into dance with various genres at the Tutterow Dance Academy. This gave him the tools necessary to gain acceptance into the Dance program at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School where he received the Arete Award, honoring him for being a rare force of creativity and vision throughout PCCA. On scholarship at the University of Arizona, Robinson choreographed and set multiple works annually, was welcomed as a frequent guest at Artifact Dance Project, was an Ambassador of Dance for African American Student Affairs receiving Chaka Khan, was selected by Colin Connor to perform at the Jose Limon International Dance Festival and assisted in the research and development of various projects involving motion capture for dance preservation. Robinson was honored to perform various leads as well as choreograph during his time at Florida Dance Theatre before taking an offer at Tampa Ballet Theatre and later working with Tampa City Ballet. While his competition years gave him versatility, Robinson is most at home with modern. He has taught modern and more as a university employee, received the Gertrude Shurr Memorial Award for his exemplary abilities, and was invited by the Limon Dance Company to reprise an old role before then being invited into the fold. Drew is now adjunct faculty at PCCA, giving back to the community that raised him, and part of Prestige National Talent Competition & Convention. 

Raised in Largo, Florida, Drew Travis Robinson started his foray into dance with various genres at the Tutterow Dance Academy. This gave him the tools necessary to gain acceptance into the Dance program at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School where he received the Arete Award, honoring him for being a rare force of creativity and vision throughout PCCA. On scholarship at the University of Arizona, Robinson choreographed and set multiple works annually, was welcomed as a frequent guest at Artifact Dance Project, was an Ambassador of Dance for African American Student Affairs receiving Chaka Khan, was selected by Colin Connor to perform at the Jose Limon International Dance Festival and assisted in the research and development of various projects involving motion capture for dance preservation. Robinson was honored to perform various leads as well as choreograph during his time at Florida Dance Theatre before taking an offer at Tampa Ballet Theatre and later working with Tampa City Ballet. While his competition years gave him versatility, Robinson is most at home with modern. He has taught modern and more as a university employee, received the Gertrude Shurr Memorial Award for his exemplary abilities, and was invited by the Limon Dance Company to reprise an old role before then being invited into the fold. Drew is now adjunct faculty at PCCA, giving back to the community that raised him, and part of Prestige National Talent Competition & Convention.

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Troy Martin

Black Background

A Tampa native, Troy Martin began his dance journey at only eight years old at his hometown studio, Centerstage Dance Academy. After years focusing in hip hop, his interests broadened to include ballet and contemporary. Naturally, these genres led him to competitive dancing, where he found new inspiration on the stage, translating the language of dance for diverse audiences. Troy attended and graduated from the dance program at Blake High School’s School of the Arts, where he first discovered and began to nurture a passion for modern dance. This passion sent him down to Miami, where he continued to train at the New World School of the Arts. Due to COVID-19, Troy was forced to cut his academic training short and return home to Tampa in 2020. Nonetheless, he has continued to engage in performance and teaching alongside many talented peers at Centerstage Dance Academy, Song and Dance Inc., and the Tampa City Ballet. Today, Troy practices as both a freelance dancer and Reiki Master, and looks forward to continuing to create, collaborate, and help others feel inspired and balanced through dance.

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Ethan Barbee

Black Background

Ethan began his theatrical and dance training at the Musical Theater Center and Act Two in Maryland and continued at Northwood High School, CityDance at Strathmore, and the Maryland Youth Ballet. While at the University of South Florida in Tampa, he performed in works by artists such as Alonzo King and Maurice Causey and participated in the Beijing Normal University International Creative Dance Seminar in Beijing, China and Dance in Paris Semester program in France. He received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography with a modern dance concentration in the spring of 2017.

Since graduation, he has performed with the Collective Soles Dance Company, Tampa City Ballet, and Diavolo: Architecture in Motion and freelanced throughout Tampa Bay. Revolving around the intersection between the arts and the academics, his choreographic works have been presented at Midwest RADfest, the University of Tampa, Talking Bodies: Choreographer’s Fest by Collective Soles, and Eras by Tampa City Ballet. Most recently, he volunteered for seven and a half months in Israel and he is happy to be welcomed back into the Tampa Bay dance scene.

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Cynthia Clark

Black Background

Cynthia Clark began her dance training at age nine at Gulf Coast Dancenter in Clearwater, Florida. During her time there, she was a member of their resident dance company Gulf Coast Dance Theater, where she performed various principal roles in Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella. After moving to St. Petersburg, Florida, she continued her ballet training at St. Petersburg Ballet Conservatory and Guilfoil Dance Arts Center. She currently also attends classes at Tampa City Ballet. Cynthia has attended various professional training programs, including Atlanta Ballet Company, Complexions, Duncan Cooper, Alvin Ailey, and Peter Chu. Although her training had been primarily classical ballet, attending these intensives helped strengthen her love for contemporary and modern dance. She is currently attending school at St. Petersburg College and working toward a Chemistry degree.  

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Kate Gierke

Black Background

Kate Gierke is a 2023 graduate of USF, Tampa Florida. As an honor student she earned a BFA in Modern Dance Performance along with a sales and general business certificate. While at USF Kate performed in multiple pieces choreographed by USF faculty including Michael Foley, Jeanne Travers, Bliss Kohlmyer, and Andee Scott. She performed Foley’s piece at the American College Dance Association Regionals (2022) as well as two BFA senior pieces (2020 and 2022).  Kate auditioned three pieces for the USF student choreography showcase, they were all selected, one piece (2021) and two pieces (2022). Kate was selected to perform at the 2019 Fine Arts department’s Human Trafficking Awareness charitable performance. Kate participated in USF Dance in Paris (June 2023) under the direction of Michael Foley, Colleen Thomas and Wanjiru Kamuyu. She held an Internship with Howard Blake Performing Arts High School (2023) as a contemporary teacher.Kate grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. Kate trained extensively under the direction of several professional dancers and choreographers including: Lizzie Mackenzie, Ben Wardell, Lauren Blane, Laura Wade, Nick Pupillo, Rebecca Mclindon, and Jackie Nowicki. She attended numerous intensives including: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (2017), River North Dance Chicago(2016), The Cambrians (2018, 2019) and Engage (2020, 2021). Kate was selected to compete her solo at the Dance Awards in Las Vegas 2019 as a best dancer finalist. Kate is excited to continue her dance career as a professional dancer with Atlas Modern Ballet. 

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Mackenzie McLean

Black Background

Apprentice

Mackenzie McLean is a dance artist from Seminole Florida. She is currently enrolled at St Petersburg college. She started her dance training at three years old at her local competition studio. She has recently graduated from Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School. For the past five years Mackenzie has trained with the Academy of Ballet Arts to gain a strong ballet base while also being on FYI Dance Company’s competition team. Mackenzie is now a ballet and contemporary teacher for FYI Dance Company. She has attended many intensive summer programs with companies such as Alonzo King LINES, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Duncan Cooper, and the Orlando Ballet School. Mackenzie is very excited to be joining ATLAS Modern Ballet as an apprentice for their second season.

ATLAS is committed to upholding the highest respect and support for our performing artists and additional collaborators at all times. Diverse performers which bring forth their perspectives within each creative process are the lifeblood of the company. Their uniqueness is celebrated through the mission to uphold inclusive values and share art that is relatable amongst all audiences.

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