Meet the Staff of Studio A
Owner and Director
Aunika fell in love with dance at age three after participating in a summer ballet camp. Her mom quickly enrolled Aunika in regular tap and ballet classes at the Tapestry Performing Arts Center in Boone, North Carolina. After moving to Sneads Ferry, NC at age ten, Aunika began dancing at Dance Theatre of Jacksonville. Under the direction of Debra Baile, Maura Herrera, and Ashleigh Hunter, Aunika expanded her training to include jazz, lyrical, tap, musical theater, hip hop, and contemporary. During her years on the DTOJ Protégé team Aunika traveled up and down the east coast competing and attending conventions from Atlanta, GA to New York City, NY. Aunika also had the privilege to perform choreography by guest artists such as Lauren Adams, Emily Shock and Bobby Newberry. During this time Aunika began assisting other instructors and after teaching classes of her own fell in love with dance again, but this time as a teacher. Aunika was also one of the original dancers in the Dance Theatre of Jacksonville Ballet Company and danced soloist roles in the first two annual productions of The Nutcracker. After high school Aunika went on to study Dance Performance and Choreography at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. While at USC Aunika studied under the careful instruction of Susan Anderson, Stacey Calvert, Kyra Stratsburg, Tayna Wideman-Davis, Thadeus Davis and many other guest instructors while performing both classical and original works. After returning home to North Carolina, Aunika began teaching dance full time and traveling to competitions again, but this time as an instructor. Soon, after watching her students' success on stage, Aunika realized her dream of opening her own dance studio was becoming a real possibility. Now, as Studio A is moving from a dream to reality, Aunika is happier than ever to share her love of dance and to foster the same type of passion she has found for dance within the next generation of students!
Addie began dancing at the age of 3. She studied at Dance Theatre of Jacksonville and was a member of their award-winning competition team and ballet company, where she danced several soloist roles in the annual ballet productions. In 2022, Addie graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Dance Performance & Choreography and Graphic Design. Under the direction of Jennifer Deckert, André Megerdichian, Stephanie Milling, Hilary Krieger-Toth, and Olivia Waldrop, Addie performed several classic and contemporary works, as well as studied with guest artists, such as Pablo Ruvalcaba. While in school, Addie trained and guested during the Summer and in multiple USIB shows, performing corps roles in Giselle and Napoli, as well as soloist roles as Kitri's Friend in Don Quixote, a Sister in The Little Mermaid, and Lead Spanish in the Nutcracker. Currently, Addie also works as an administrative assistant and is a first company member with USIB.
Ballet & Pointe Instructor
Katherine started dancing at a local studio in her hometown of Lexington, VA when she was twelve years old. She spent her summers training at the Richmond Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet. Katherine continued her dance education under the direction of Tauna Hunter at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. While there, she studied with notable guest artists including Laura Alonso, Virginia Johnson, Nilas Martins, and others. After college Katherine danced as a soloist with Connect the Dots Dance Company in Washington DC, as well as freelancing and teaching. In 2019 she joined USIB as a Second Company Member, was promoted to First Company in 2020, and is currently a Demi-Soloist. Since joining the company, Katherine has performed soloist roles including Paquita (title), Dark Princess in The Little Mermaid, Sugar Plum Fairy and Arabian in The Nutcracker, and Bathilde in Giselle.
Katharine Marianacci began her ballet training at Degnan Ballet Center in Northeastern Pennsylvania under the direction of Kristin Degnan-Boonin. As a dancer at Degnan Ballet Center, Katharine had the opportunity to perform many notable roles including Clara, Ice Princess, and Dewdrop Fairy in the Nutcracker, a Cygnet in Swan Lake, and Ariel in the Little Mermaid. Katharine has also served on the faculty at Degnan Ballet Center, teaching ballet technique and pre-pointe classes. Katharine attended summer intensive programs at American Ballet Theater and Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. She also trained with E. Laura Hausmann at Lehigh University and Yu Hong at Pennsylvania Classical Ballet in Easton, Pennsylvania. In June 2022, Katharine was selected to compete in the Valentina Koslova International Ballet Competition Finals in New York City. She has also modeled for All About Dance and Discount Dance print catalogs and online stores. Additionally, Katharine earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wilkes University and her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Lehigh University. She continues to work as a Therapist and Career Coach part-time while pursuing professional ballet. Katharine is currently a company dancer with US International Ballet.
Ballet & Contemporary Instructor
Eduardo was born in Mexico City and began to dance at the age of 5 at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. He continued his dance training at Academia De la Danza Mexicana in Mexico City, performing in the Sugar Plum Fairy Pas de Deux, Le Corsaire, and Sleeping Beauty. He was a INBA-UAM Prix Finalist in 1992 with the company En Dos Partes, with the piece XXY. Eduardo danced with Ballet Independiente from 2006-2011 and Ballet Clasico de Sinaloa from 2012-2016. His notable roles include Basilio and Spada (Don Quixote), Hilarion (Giselle), Sugar Plum Cavalier (Nutcracker), Prince Desiree (Sleeping Beauty), Prince Siegfried (Swan Lake), and Conrad an Ali (Le Corsaire). Eduardo began dancing with USIB as a soloist in May 2022, performing Cavalier in the Nutcracker, Don Jose in Carmen, Espada in Don Quixote. Besides his work as a dancer, he also became a Capoeira professor in 2010. Eduardo has a passion for teaching and has taught ballet, contemporary dance, and capoeira.
Wells Jackson is a Dancer and Choreographer from North Carolina. He began his training at 12 years old as a competitive dancer; winning awards for performance and choreography and holding numerous titles. Wells has trained under the instruction of Desmond Richardson, Abraham in Motion, Ballet X, Maree Remalia, Dena Rizzo, and the Joffrey Ballet School as well as being a founding dancer at USIB. Wells graduated with honors from Appalachian State University with a BA in Dance Studies and a minor in Theatre Arts in 2021. Wells’ passion is performance; he has danced roles such as Hilarion (Giselle), Drosselmeyer (Nutcracker), and The Mayor (Wizard of Oz). Furthermore, he has experience performing contemporary, hip-hop, African, tap, and modern styles of dance, in works choreographed by Appalachian State’s faculty and guest choreographer residencies. Most recently, Wells performed in USIB’s Nutcracker, the Cucalorus Dance Festival, FMD’s annual dance showcase, and OHTC’s GREASE! When not performing, Wells works as a dance instructor and an adjudicator for dance competitions. Wells is excited to return to USIB in 2023 and for the opportunity to perform with these talented artists.
Madeleine Pautier of Lancaster, Pennsylvania began her ballet training under Viktor Yeliohin followed by master teacher Adrienne Thornton Dellas. She was selected to participate in the Kennedy Center Master Series, and subsequently moved to New York to continue her education with celebrated teachers Edward Ellison and Erin Forrest at Ellison Ballet. Madeleine attended summer programs at the Princess Grace Academy, ABT NY and BalletMet. To continue with her Vaganova training, Madeleine trained with Marianna Lobanova at the Kirov Academy of Ballet. While at Kirov, Madeleine distinguished herself as an artist when her piece Eleutheromania created for the Kirov Collaborative caught the attention of dance critic, George Jackson, who wrote “Pautier warrants watching as a choreographer.” Her choreography was also showcased at BalletMet where she completed her preprofessional education as a Trainee. While at BalletMet, Madeleine performed in Coppelia, Paquita, and George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco. Madeleine began her professional career with Ballet Theatre of Maryland where she danced for four seasons and was promoted to Demi-Soloist. She has performed internationally, dancing the Swan Lake Pas de Trois variation in Beijing. Madeleine has appeared on stage in Giselle, Swan Lake, and Don Quixote inThe Florida Classical Ballet Summer Gala alongside international stars Adiarys Almeida and Taras Domitro. During layoffs, Madeleine continues her professional training with Magaly Suarez at The Art of Classical Ballet, and teaches ballet, yoga and fitness classes to students of all ages and levels. She is a degree candidate at Harvard University’s Extension School and enjoys spending time with her dog Marley. Currently, Madeleine dances with USIB as a First Company Member.