Debra Ford was born and raised in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. She moved to Los Angeles California when she was 17 years old and danced with the professional group “Disconnection” while performing in Private Clubs and Knotts Berry Farm Amusement Park. She was then selected to dance in three movies adding to her credits. She then went on tour dancing with a band called “Way Out” across the USA and throughout Canada for six years. She has trained and assisted choreographers from all around the world in all styles of dance, which lead to her teaching career. Debbie has been teaching and choreographing performances for over 40 years. She is the proud owner of Debbie’s Dance Company, which she opened in 1986, and this year she is celebrating her 30th anniversary. She has taught and been a mentor to many students who have gone on to dance professionally all over the world in various dance careers. She takes most pride in her students and especially her staff, teaching is what she was meant to do and continues it because she loves the passion and dedication her children have.
Jennifer Turbyfill is a graduate of Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and received her BFA in dance performance cum laude from Florida State University. While attending Florida State Jennifer was a multiple recipient of the Friends of Dance scholarship. Jennifer also was a member of Dance Repertory Theatre for three years and assisted as rehearsal director for much of her time under the direction of Lynda Davis. While attending FSU Jennifer was privileged to study under world-renowned ballerina Suzanne Farrell, Lynda Davis, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar director of Urban Bush Women. After graduation Jennifer pursued her dream of dance and moved to New York City. She continued to study intensively with Doug Varone and Dancers and at the Limon Dance Studios in New York. Jennifer has danced as a featured performer in works by: Bridget Bleistein, Sean Curran, Alan Danielson, Lynda Davis, Gerri Houlihan, Anthony Morgan, Jessica Patz, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. She has performed as an ensemble dancer in works by Piper Arpan, Maria Bauman, Nancy Smith Fichter, Donlin Foreman, Jennifer Handel, and Brent Schneider. Jennifer is currently on the dance faculty at Douglas Anderson where she teaches all levels of modern technique, senior choreography, musical theater, and dance aesthetics. While on faculty at Debbie’s Dance Company she has received choreography awards and numerous top placements at the regional and national level.
Master Teacher and Nationally known Choreographer Jill Eathorne Bahr joins the faculty in August of 2022. Jill Eathorne Bahr serves as CEO of Coastal Ballet USA, a pre-professional Ballet and Academic Institution that offers a unique custom fit education for ballet dancers. She served as Resident Choreographer and Senior Faculty Member for the Charleston Ballet Théâtre from 1987-2014. She taught summer intensive workshops throughout the US including Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet West, and Ballet Aspen. In 2008, Bahr was the recipient of the Governor’s Award – “Elizabeth Verner Award”- the highest Arts Award. In South Carolina. Jill has served on the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Panel and served as an Adjudicator with College Dance Festivals. She is a robust devotee of Regional Dance America. Jill has adjudicated all five regions and this 2017 National Festival marks the second time she has served as a National Adjudicator for Regional Dance America. She will be on the faculty of the 2022 RDA Southeast Festival in Daytona Beach this coming month. Jill has taken part in the notable Carlisle Project, a program that supplied time, resources, and mentorship to gifted, committed choreographers. Jill Bahr’s awards include two National Endowment, (NEA) Fellowships, four Monticello Fellowships, William Habich Choreography Award, two South Carolina Arts Fellowships, and two Astral Choreography Awards. Her choreography can be found in the repertoires of Atlanta Ballet, Boston Ballet, Cary Ballet, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Ballet Eddy Toussaint, Eugene Ballet, Indianapolis Ballet Theatre, Nevada Dance Theatre, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Michigan, State of Alabama Ballet, Ballet Omaha, Joffrey II Dancers, Douglas Anderson School of Arts, the Central Indiana Dance Ensemble, Florida Ballet at Jacksonville, Heartland Youth Ballet, Project Ballet, Victoria Ballet Theatre and the Fort Wayne Ballet. Her newest world premiere creation “Aladdin and the Magic Carpet” for Midland Festival Ballet this past month was a heralded landmark success.
April Henehan graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida and has earned degrees from both Florida State University & Jacksonville University. She was awarded ‘Most Artistic’ by Faculty two years in a row and has performed works set by Alonzo King, Ronen Koresh, Michael Foley, Mia Michaels, Eddy Toussaint, Bill Evans, and Kavin Grant. As a dancer. she has performed principal roles of ‘Lead Chinese Doll’ and ‘Nutcracker Doll’ alongside the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, been featured in commercials and can be seen as a Las Vegas finalist on Season 4 of the hit TV series “So You Think You Can Dance.” April has worked as a guest choreographer for the Jacksonville Giants Dance Teams, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, LaVilla School of the Arts, and the Teen Jacksonville & Miss Jacksonville USA pageants. Her dance photography has been featured & awarded by Dance Spirit Magazine; and her choreography was showcased on tour in 2015 with “American Idol” Season 12 Winner, Candice Glover, recognized by Tyce Diorio and recently featured in the January, 2016 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine. In addition to consistently being recognized on both the Regional & National Competition levels; April currently travels as a Competition Adjudicator, Choreographer, and Convention Teacher while continuing to teach in the Jacksonville area as a guest teacher.
Jessica Eurom grew up in Jacksonville, Florida and is an alumnus of Debbie’s Dance Company where she danced competitively for many years. She recently graduated from James Madison University with a B.A. in Dance and a B.S in Kinesiology. Throughout her years at JMU Jessica was selected to perform at the 2017 American College Dance Association and was cast as a company member of the Virginia Repertory Dance Company for the 2018-19, and the 2019-20 seasons. Jessica is a cofounder, member, and choreographer for The Aftermath Company; a pre-professional theatre collective which operated for two full seasons. During her time at JMU she has performed works by Kyle Abraham, DanceWorks Chicago, Matt Pardo, Scott Putman, and Ruben Graciani as well as participated in residencies with Omar de Jesus, Sara Burke, and Emily Cargill. She studied abroad in London enrolling in classes at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, The Place, and Pineapple Studios. While there, she attended performances by Nederlands Dans Theater, Hofesh Shechter Company, and Semperoper Ballet. Jessica is a choreographer of multiple works, some of which have been showcased in the Fall & Spring Dance Concert and the New Voices in Dance Concert. She is currently employed as a physical therapy technician, utilizing her love for movement and knowledge of kinesiology. Jessica is thrilled to be returning to Debbie’s Dance Company as an instructor and is excited to share her passion for dance with her students.
Sydney Connor grew up in Jacksonville, Florida where she studied at Debbie’s Dance Company under the direction of Debra Ford. She attended LaVilla School of the Arts under Michelle Ottley Fisher and then Douglas Anderson School of the Arts under the direction of Jennifer Turbyfill where she was able to hone her technique and choreographic practices. Sydney was placed into Dance Theatre during her junior year where she had the opportunity of working with choreographers like Francisco Gella, Elizabeth Johnson, and Stephanie Powell. Under the wing of Rhonda Stampalia, she has performed with the Jacksonville Symphony in their POPS Holiday Concert and the First Coast Nutcracker. She has participated in Nutcracker for over 10 years receiving many principal roles including ‘Lead Chinese’ and ‘Ballerina Doll’. Sydney graduated from the University of South Florida, Tampa, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a minor in nutrition in 2022. She has worked under the instruction of Andrew Carroll, John Parks, and Bliss Kohlmyer as well as guest artists such as Erik Wagner and Joshua Peugh. During her time at USF, she was the President of Student Dance Productions where she took her leadership and love for dance to manage a fully student-ran concert. She also interned at Howard W. Blake High School as an instructor within their dance department. She has also worked with Central Florida Choreographers Collaboration and Tampa City Ballet during her residency in Tampa, Florida.