Alumni and History

Alumni and History

Founded in 1975, the Preparatory Dance Program was the brainchild of founding Dean of Dance, Robert Lindgren and his wife, Sonja Tyven. The Program’s mission was to seek out gifted young children in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County public school system and offer them after-school dance classes to create access to high quality training and to build a bridge to the School of Dance High School program.

Dayna Fox led the Preparatory Dance Program from 1989 – 2014, Preparatory Dance and UNCSA High School alum, Matthew Donnell (pictured) alongside Alana Niehoff led from 2014-2018, and Susan Brooker from 2018-2023. Currently, the program is under the direction of UNCSA High School alum, Monica Stephenson.

For almost 50 years, the Preparatory Dance Program has grown immensely and has continued on this path honing the talents of hundreds of young children in our community and beyond. Many students who began their training in the program have been accepted into UNCSA’s high school and college divisions and have become members of major dance companies across the country and around the world. Others have utilized their skills to teach, mentor, parent, and pursue a variety of professional careers. Some of the Preparatory Dance alumni and their professional companies include:

Lauren Alzamora
Ballet Hispanico

Sara Havener 
Royal New Zealand Ballet

Brian Waldrep 
Houston Ballet

Sierra Armstrong 
American Ballet Theatre

Jerome Johnson 
New York City Ballet

Ashley Jackson 
Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet

Jackson Calhoun 
Richmond Ballet

Monica Johnson 
Ballet Ethnic

Stephen Gunter 
Ballet Rhode Island

Dylan Clinard 
Atlanta Ballet

Claire Kretzschmar 
New York City Ballet

Daniel Cooper 
Boston Ballet

Lydia McRae 
Nashville Ballet

Brian Gephart 
"An American in Paris" Tour

Kelley Potter 
American Ballet Theatre

Samantha Griffin 
Cincinnati Ballet

Jake Stainback 

Matthew Donnell 
Kansas City Ballet

Isaac Stappas 
American Ballet Theatre

Are you an UNCSA Preparatory Dance alum? We want to stay connected with you and to recognize you. Please complete this form today!