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.
We are so excited to welcome Starr McKnight to DDC as our new ballet instructor! Bio- Starr McKnight trained year-round on full scholarship at the prestigious School of American Ballet, official school of New York City Ballet, and at Kirov Academy of Ballet. He trained on scholarship during the summers at Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Ballet West. He has danced professionally throughout New York, Colorado, and Texas with companies such as Joffrey Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Colorado Ballet. McKnight founded Texas Dance Theatre (TDT), a ballet company, serving as the company’s Artistic/Executive Director, and primary choreographer. With TDT, he choreographed and staged classical and contemporary works, created an outreach program, bringing dance to children in schools throughout Dallas and Fort Worth, and developed a company-affiliated school for young and adult dancers alike.
McKnight is a graduate of Texas Christian University, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology, and Florida Coastal School of Law, where he received a law degree. He is excited to join Debbie’s Dance Company as a ballet instructor!
Brittany was destined to become a dancer before she was even born. She follows in the footsteps of her loving and talented family all who are well respected and world-renowned dancers, choreographers, directors, and producers. Brittany’s training began in Jacksonville, FL at her mother’s dance studio - Debbie’s Dance Company. Broadway Dance Center soon became her second home for dance, training every summer and winter in NYC since before she can remember.
After graduating from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts- she immediately moved to New York City to attend Marymount Manhattan on a full dance scholarship, while continuing to train at Broadway Dance Center. This led her to audition for a prestigious dance company at BDC called the Professional Program under the direction of Wes Veldink. This experience really opened her career as a professional dancer, working with choreographers such as Mandy Moore, Joey Dowling, Jason Parsons and her cousin Stacey Tookey, just to name a few. Her main Inspiration was Internationally-recognized Producer/Director – Choreographer, Michele Assaf. Brittany has worked with and assisted Michele for several years on many projects. She was a dancer for a documentary on PBS featuring Phineas Newborn, has been featured in Michele’s “LIVE at Broadway Dance Center” instructional dance videos and was also featured posing in Dance Spirit’s Magazine for Michele’s Stretch & Strengthening training video and curriculum. Most recently Brittany performed Vivaldi “Four Seasons” with the World Dance Movement Company at the open house for the US Italian Embassy.
Brittany now resides in Jacksonville, FL where she is teaching for her mom at Debbie’s Dance Company, is also a teacher and assistant for “World Dance Movement International Workshop & Dance Competition”, is going on her second year judging for “Revolution Talent” Dance Competition but her newest, most rewarding, and hardest teaching job is being a brand-new mom. “I can’t wait to share my passion for dance with my little one the way I share it with all of my students.”
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.
Nadine Fillman was born in Montreal, Quebec. She began my dance training 35 years ago in Canada. She attended renowned schools such as Virginia School of the Arts, Orlando Ballet, New World School of the Arts, and Florida School of the Arts, where she studied under many master instructors from Juilliard, Orlando Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and SAB. She holds a fine arts degree with a major in dance education. She has extensive experience in re-staging and directing full length ballets. By age 22, she owned and operated a very successful dance studio in Florida - Starke Academy of Dance. She was artistic director of Precision Dance Company whose members aired on national television. She has worked with students throughout Florida at studios such as Central Florida Ballet, Orlando Ballet, and Focus Performing Arts Studio. Many of whom are now pursing professional dance careers, such as Hannah Bettes, who won Youth America Grand Prix nationals in NYC receiving a full scholarship with the Royal Ballet of London. Nadine has spent the last four years in New York City continuing her dance education at Steps, Broadway Dance Center, Joffrey, and Peri Dance. While residing in NYC she taught for the renown competitive team at "Studio L" owned by Kelly Larkin. She also was the primary ballet and technical coach for the Award winning Dance Arts Academy in Boonton, NJ. While a new little addition to her family is what has brought her back to Florida, she is thrilled to share her experience with the students of Debbie's Dance Company