About Us

The vision of Inspire Ballet and Fine Arts is to create an atmosphere where dancers can thrive as artists, grow in technique, and reach their full potential in a loving Christian environment. Our mission is to guide dancers to a love and appreciation for the performing arts and realize their unique capabilities as individual dancers through tailored instruction and performance opportunities.

Inspire is home to The Calling Dance Company which desires to use the art of dance to spread the Gospel both locally and abroad. The Calling began in 2013 and promotes dance as a valid and relevant form of worship by ministering to the dancers with an intentional and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To see past productions by The Calling Dance Company, click here. The Calling was generously blessed with a dance space in Summer 2017 when a machine shop was tranformed into a beautiful dance studio with the help of many volunteers. This new dance studio opened its doors in August 2017 as Inspire Ballet and Fine Arts and the home of The Calling Dance Company. The Calling engages in local missions and supports missionaries around the world. The Calling has a Junior Company for ages 5th grade-8th grade and a Senior Company for ages 8th grade and up by audition only. In the 2020-2021 Season, The Calling will rehearse on Thursdays from 6:15-7:15 PM and enjoys performing in the community at events, nursing homes, churches, and holiday celebrations. Members of The Calling are required to attend one ballet technique class and one elective technique class at Inspire during the week. The Calling annually attends Dance Revolution in Orlando. 



The Inspire teaching staff strives to bring out the best in each student using positive reinforcement and encouraging them wherever they are at in their journey to love dance!

photo Shelley Thiess - Co-Director

Shelley trained at the Northwest Florida Ballet for over 10 years and went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance from Florida State University. She has attended summer dance intensives with Sarasota Ballet, Virginia School of the Arts, Orlando Ballet, and San Francisco Conservatory. She danced professionally for three years with Ad Deum Dance Company, a Christian contemporary dance company based in Houston, Texas where she performed works by guest choreographers from Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham Dance Company, Limon Dance Company and Houston Ballet. With Ad Deum Dance Company, Shelley performed all over the world in places like London, New York, and Malaysia. While in Houston, she obtained her Level 2 Comprehensive Pilates Certification in Mat, Reformer, Chair, Cadillac, and Barrell as well as her Personal Training Certification. She has taught and danced with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and Operation Mobilization (OM) in Hungary, Slovakia, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and South Africa.  She studied at Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia where she received her Diploma in Ministry and choreographed dances for church events. Shelley met her best friend and husband Jeremy Thiess while in Australia and they have two children Zion and Charis.

photo Brittany Swain - Co-Director

Growing up in Atlanta, Brittany's dance training began with Gwinnett Ballet Theatre in 1988. At the age of 12, she joined Atlanta Ballet's Center for Dance Education and trained with The Atlanta Ballet for five seasons performing in Cinderella, Divertimento No. 15, Paquita, Romeo and Juliet, Alice and Wonderland, and five seasons of The Nutcracker. She spent summers with Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, and The Chatuaqua Institute of New York. She has trained under and been influenced by Martha Goodman, Armando Luna,  Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride, Robert Barnett, Suzanne Farrell, and Violette Verdy. Brittany spent three seasons with The Tallahassee Ballet, from 2003 to 2006, and served one season as their DanceChance Director. In 2005, Brittany graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University with a BFA in Dance. In 2012, after many years of prayer, she embarked on the creation of The Calling Christian Dance Company with much help from Shelley Thiess and Jess Varnado and so many others that joined them through volunteer hours and prayer! She and her husband, Dru, have three children, Susan, Jackson, and Sawyer, and they are grateful to the Lord for all His many blessings!

photo Jade Malave - Elite Instructor

Jade Malave began her classical ballet training in Oklahoma City. In 2005, she continued at the Columbus Ballet Conservatory in Columbus, Georgia. Throughout her schooling, she attended Ballet Magnificat’s Summer Dance Intensives. In 2008, she was accepted into Ballet Magnificat’s highest level in the trainee program. In 2009, she was invited into an Apprenticeship with the Omega Company. In 2011, she was promoted to a Company Member as a Corps de Ballet member. She later became a Principle dancer for the company with lead roles in original works: Face to Face and Hiding Place by, Jiri Sebastian Voborsky. Jade toured throughout the Americas as well as Europe, Russia, and Africa performing and teaching workshops. After getting married in 2014, Jade and her husband moved back to Georgia where she was a guest artist for the Columbus Ballet in The Nutcracker and Coppelia as well as teaching various levels. In 2017, she started and ultimately completed her Registered Yoga Teacher Certification, (RYT 200) and remains passionate about bringing yoga to the ballet studio. Jade, her husband Bryan, and their two daughters Iliana and Evangeline recently moved to Niceville, Florida.

photo Lyndsi Stevens - Ballet, Tap, and Jazz

Lyndsi grew up in Fort Walton Beach, and trained in ballet, jazz, modern and tap for many years at Northwest Florida Ballet and Northwest Florida State College. While earning her BA degree in Public Relations at The Florida State University, Lyndsi took dance classes, worked in the dance department’s main office, and was a member of Seminole Dance Force, the university’s award-winning competition dance team. She went on to receive her Master’s degree from Georgetown University, and continued taking classes at Arlington Center for Dance in Arlington, Va., and Ballet Teatro Internacional in Washington, D.C.  Lyndsi and her husband, David, moved back to Florida in 2011, and Lyndsi began teaching dance in 2012. She taught ballet, jazz, and tap at 30A Ballet in Inlet Beach, and ballet, jazz, and pointe at Brite Starz Dance Studio in Fort Walton Beach. Lyndsi and David live in Niceville with their daughter, Claire.

photo Mary Muir - Jazz, Hip Hop, and Administration

Ms. Mary is a native of the Fort Walton Beach area. She began training in jazz, tap, lyrical and ballet at an early age. She grew up competing and performing and fell in love with the art of dance. She was honored to dance at the opening of the Millennium Games in London England as well as a Super Bowl pregame and halftime in 2001. Though she loves performing, Mary always knew she wanted to teach and pass on her love for dance! With this in mind, she attended University of Nevada Las Vegas where she continued to train, learn and grow as a dancer. She graduated with honors from UNLV and received her Bachelor of Arts in dance. She then went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Arts Administration with a dance focus. Upon graduation from her master’s program in 2008, Mary moved back to Destin/Fort Walton area, where she taught dance at Hurlburt Field Youth Center, choreographed for local stage theater, and coached a local dance team, The Pryor Starlites. She received the opportunity to perform with the NWFSC Dance Department’s “Dance Facets” and Northwest Florida Symphony Chorales “Madam Butterfly”. She has choreographed the stage performances of “1776”, “25 th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, “The Sound of Music,” and most recently “The Little Mermaid” for a local community theatre, Stage Crafters. Her experience with Stage Crafters opened a door to choreograph the stage performances of “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Guys and Dolls” for Rocky Bayou Christian. Ms. Mary taught dance at Brite Starz Dance Studio in Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap, Glee, and Pre Ballet for five years. She is currently a music teacher for FUMS (First United Methodist School) for one year olds through Kindergarten! This avenue has allowed her to spread her love for Christ with young children and their parents as well as build her walk with Christ. Ms. Mary feels blessed to have the opportunity to teach and guide young dancers to LOVE dance as much as she does!

photo Claire Ponder - Ballet, Jazz, and Contemporary

A Niceville native, Claire found her passion for dance at an early age and has held it close ever since. Upon The Calling Dance Company’s inception in 2013, she was among its first company members. In her training, she has spent summers studying with the American Ballet Theatre, Sanspointe Dance Company, Florida State University, and Pensacola State College. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Niceville High School, she went on to attend the University of Alabama, graduating May 2020 Cum Laude with a BA in Dance and minors in Theatre, Environmental Studies, and Business. In her time at UA, Claire was an Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre company member, performing classical ballet works such as Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Giselle, as well as original works by esteemed faculty members and guest artists. Claire’s choreography was selected for the student showcase “Dance Alabama” several times, as well as for other showcases in the local Tuscaloosa community. Spring 2020, she received the Best Student Choreography Award from Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honor Society. Finding a passion for theatre while at UA, she studied acting and musical theatre and performed in undergraduate/graduate directing scenes as well as Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters”. Claire held many offices within student organizations, most notably President of the Dance Honor Society of Alabama and Secretary of the Theatre Honor Society. Professionally, Claire has worked as a counselor for the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive for two years, taught workshops and studio classes across the Southeast, and performed with Yonder Contemporary Dance Company in the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is thrilled to be able to share with young dancers her passion for an art form that has brought so much joy into her life.

photo Kay Hebert - Tap

Kay began her dancing career in New Orleans at the early age of three and as a child performed in numerous local, civic and benefits productions including children’s T.V. shows. In her teens she performed with the New Orleans Ballet Co. She performed with several local groups in the New Orleans area as a young adult and in 1976 joined The Dance Centre where she taught for over 10 years during which time she worked with numerous teachers both in New Orleans as well as workshops throughout the U.S. Kay has performed professionally with The Crescent City Movin’ Co, a jazz ensemble based at the Dance
Centre in New Orleans, La. She headed the tap department and served as Studio Manager as well as instructor. It was through this affiliation that she met and worked with the late Mr. Al Gilbert of Hollywood, CA mastering and teaching his unique graded teaching syllabus. While living in CA from 1987 – 1993 she taught at several studios including the Al Gilbert studio in Hollywood. Her performances and choreography experiences include various industrial and trade shows, Tulane University Summer Lyric Theatre; Global Beauty and Fashion Show, New Orleans World’s Fair; dinner theatre and numerous specialty entertainment. After moving to the area and unwilling to retire, Kay returned to tap dancing in 2007 and has been the founder and choreographer for the adult tap group Soul to Sole in Niceville, FL. Kay has attended the Pensacola State College Summer Dance Workshop for the past seven years where she has had the opportunity to work with various Master Tap Teachers/Choreographers. Although she has had equal training in ballet, jazz and pointe, tap is her true love. Her teaching experience includes both children and adults at various levels. She has taught her own tap technique for over 40 years specializing in her ability to diagnose steps and break down problems in timing and execution.

photo Aubrey Morgan - Elite Instructor

Aubrey Morgan is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and obtained her early dance training with Giacobbe Academy of Dance. She went on to New
York City to study at the School of American Ballet before joining the New York City Ballet professionally at the age of 16. After dancing with NYCB for 5
years, Aubrey received an English degree from the University of New Orleans, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Since then, Aubrey has performed as a princi-
pal dancer with New Orleans Ballet Theater, Los Angeles Ballet, and Company C in San Francisco. She is currently an ensemble member of The Phantom of
the Opera in New York City and has been performing 8 shows a week with the company for the last 7 years. She was previously a guest artist on “So You
Think You Can Dance”. Her other television credits include Fox’s “House”, “Beverly Hills 90210”, a 2015 Under Armour commercial starring ABT principal
Misty Copland, and an acting roll as “Suzanne” on STARZ’ ballet drama “Flesh and Bone”. Aubrey has been teaching young students and conducting Master
classes across the country for over a decade and hopes to continue to teach the next generation of young, hopeful performers for years to come!

photo Caroline Swanick - Hip Hop

Caroline, a current junior at Niceville High School, has grown up dancing. Her parents signed her up for ballet class after a pediatric orthopedic surgeon suggested ballet to counter her significantly intoed feet. She fell in love with the art. She began training in ballet, jazz, and contemporary. Caroline was a member of the first Calling Junior Company. She was also a member of the Ruckel Middle School Dance Team which competed in state and national dance competitions. While on the Ruckel team, it placed 1st in the state of Florida and 2nd in the national. She then went on to become a member of the Niceville High School Dance Team, which placed 1st in the state of Florida and 6th in the nation with her on the team. She is excited to be teaching at Inspire and to share her love for hip hop with her students.

photo Katherine Johnson - Ballet
photo Harmony Boeh - Fitness Instructor

Harmony Boeh is a personal trainer, registered dietitian, military spouse, mother of two, and a Fort Walton Beach native. She's lived in South Carolina, Indiana, & Northern California. When she's not training, Harmoney loves to bake, cook, craft, re-arrange furniture, paddleboard the bayou, make my kids giggle, and read the same book at least 100 times in a row (Here's looking at you, Cat In The Hat).

"My journey with perinatal exercise began when I was pregnant with my first baby. The information I found about safe exercise during pregnancy didn't seem applicable and felt largely incomplete. My OB was unable to provide much information on safe fitness practices during pregnancy, so I had to carefully listened to my body. With a growing belly, I continued to attend my regular boot camp and yoga until a few days before going into labor. I credit my conscience and continued prenatal fitness regimen for providing me the strength & stamina required for the intense physical work of labor and later recovery. I was already a personal trainer with some basic fitness tools, but I knew I couldn't be the only mom who craved more information about effective exercise for pregnancy, labor, and recovery. I dove into perinatal exercise and became a certified perinatal corrective exercise specialist. After gaining a few years experience as a general perinatal trainer, I attended a 3-day, hands-on workshop for a specialty certificate in perinatal core and pelvic floor corrective exercise. I am fully committed to providing exceptional service to moms and moms-to-be. In addition to physically empowering women, I want to dispel the myth that mothers should sit by passively as the amazing (and the not-so-amazing) experiences of pregnancy happens to them. I want to encourage mothers and moms-to-be to understand and actively participate in the changes of their dynamic pre- and postnatal bodies. A healthy mind + body connection can positively alter the course at any stage of motherhood.

photo Alissa Clifton - Drama Kids Director

Alissa is a mother of eight. She spent the last 20 years volunteering at their schools, chaperoning, serving as secretary on the Student Advisory Council, and judging speech, debate and dramatic competitions. Alissa’s love of drama started at a young age, when her father cast her in a church play and continued through high school as she participated in drama classes, performances and competitions. As an adult she has been involved in community performances throughout the years as a performer as well as writer and director. She is excited to share that passion through the Drama Kids program!

photo Jeff Sobel - Discover Magic

Jeff Sobel has been performing magic for over 40 years for audiences of all ages! He's a life member of both the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians. Embedded in his fun magic classes are lessons to build character, confidence, and communication skills. As a retired Air Force Colonel, Jeff knows how important these interpersonal life skills are and he's excited to present the Discover Magic curriculum!

  Steve Reeths
  Sue Reeths