As the artistic director of Patti Rutland Jazz Headland, Tara strives to be the most dedicated and inspirational teacher possible. She started taking dance lessons at the age of 8 from Oz Performing Arts Centre. She was a company member of Patti Rutland Jazz from 1992-2010. At the age of 18, she moved to Chicago where she continued her dance education. Her professional training was received from Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago where she trained under many world renowned teachers and choreographers including Gus Giordano, Nan Giordano, John Lehrer, Eddie Ocampo, and Billy Siegenfeld. After moving to Los Angeles she trained under various instructors at The Edge in Hollywood, CA. Tara worked professionally as a dancer for the MTV Movie Awards with the Pussy Cat Dolls, toured the USA with X-box and Wayne Foster Entertainment and starred in a Backstreet Boys video. Her many television credits include CSI Miami, The O.C., Numbers, and Spin City. Movie credits include Old School, American Pie 2, Gigli, and In The Mix. Its has always been Tara’s dream to share the gift of dance with children of all ages and backgrounds. Her mission is to create a fun and innovative dance environment while encouraging self esteem, respect, and discipline in all students.
Camille Whaley is a native of the Wiregrass area. She received her early dance education at Oz Dance Center. After graduation, she further pursued her career in dance at Florida State University. In 2006, she and her husband relocated closer to home and she came on as faculty for Oz Dance Center. For almost 10 years, she has taught many different ages and forms of dance ranging from Creative Movement up to Advanced Pointe. She also spent those years at Oz Dance Center choreographing and rehearsing for their award winning competition team.
Brittney is a true triple threat singer, dancer and actress. Brittney received her professional training from Chipola College with dance training from OZ Dance Center and Millsaps Dance Studio. Brittney is the choreographer for Dothan High School Dance Line and constantly works as choreographer for numerous show choirs, theatre departments and dance teams in the Southeast.
Sydney Wingate received her early training at Oz Dance Center. She started taking dance at the age of 8 and quickly realized that this was her passion. She continued to work hard while training and was an apprentice company member of Patti Rutland Jazz for 3 years. Her training to date has been received from many world renowned teachers and choreographers including Niki Loud, Dante’ Pulaio, James Boyd and Thang Dao. She is versatile in many styles of dance including contemporary, hip hop, jazz, lyrical and has trained in Limon and The Graham Technique. In 2019, Sydney was cast in her first professional job with Rosie Simas Danse and performed with them at the Alabama Dance Festival. She is currently on staff at Oz Dance Center as the company rehearsal coach and choreographer. Sydney was a 2020 dance major at Troy University in Troy, AL where she graduated with her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance.
Alex Folkes began her dance career at the age of seven in the small town of Headland, Alabama. She trained at Steps Dance Studio, To The Pointe Dance Academy and Oz Dance Center. Throughout Alex’s training, she has assisted teachers and taught several classes for all ages in various styles such as contemporary, jazz, ballet, and hip hop. This is where she found her passion for teaching young dancers and choreography. Alex is now a current student and upcoming senior at Troy University in hopes of achieving a BFA in dance. She has taken part in many student, faculty, and guest artists’ choreographic works. Alex has also choreographed two of her own works, one taken place in the Art In Motion Fall Showcase and the other given the opportunity to perform in Italy at the DAP Festival.
Mary Beth Blair
Mary Beth Blair is currently on Faculty at Patti Rutland Jazz Headland and a sophomore at Troy University - Dothan Campus. She has been dancing for seventeen years and started her training at Kelly School of Dance. She danced under Kathy Campbell for ten years before she trained at Oz Dance Center. She danced competitively for four years until she graduated from Dothan High School, but she continued teaching dance after graduating at Oz Dance Center. She has studied under and worked with countless talented artists: Tara Reiley, Camille Whaley, Brittney Holmes, Patti Rutland Simpson, James Washington, Hannah Gallager, Brian Raymond, and more. She has been a part of many camps held by Oz Dance Center, but her most recent endeavor was being a PRJ faculty member at the Patti Rutland Jazz Reunion Camp.
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