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Meet the Team

Owner & Director

Ursula Pegg has been a part of the dance community here along the Emerald Coast for over 25 years. She started her dance training in Fort Walton Beach, FL under the direction of Beverly Stewart at the age of 3. From the very start, Ursula had a passion for dance. She continued to cultivate a love for the art throughout her childhood. She received training from many famed teachers including Scott Benson, Steven Boyd, and the late Al Gilbert. She became a member of a competitive dance company in 1998, long before competitive dance gained the popularity it has today. As a ‘competition kid’ she had a wealth of opportunities in dance. She was able to take class with many notable instructors and choreographers including Steven ‘Twitch’ Boss, Frank Hatchett, Paula Morgan, Mia Michaels, Michelle Dorrance, and Doug Caldwell.  As a competitive soloist, she received many high-score and special recognition awards. She has performed onstage at an NFL Half-time show, in New York City, aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and multiple times at Walt Disney World.

Ursula Pegg



Ursula’s teaching career began at the age of 15 as a teacher’s assistant. While a student at Fort Walton Beach High School, she was a member of the renowned STARS National Dance Team. She was selected as an “All-American” award recipient by the American All-Star organization. She went on to serve as a choreographer and coach for several local school dance teams. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from high school, she was asked to take a teaching position at her childhood studio. Ursula enjoyed teaching classes while enrolled as a full-time student at Okaloosa Walton-College, where she had the privilege of continuing her dance training under the late Francis Herron. In 2007, Ursula moved to Pensacola to continue her education at the University of West Florida. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations with a minor in Advertising in 2009. 


After college Ursula planned to pursue a career in the Public Relations field, but dance still had her heart. After teaching part-time for a local studio in Pensacola for a season, Ursula returned to dance full-time taking a position as the studio’s Office Manager and Competition Team Director. Even then, she had more to give and a bigger vision for her future in dance. In 2014, she was blessed to open Emerald Coast Dance Conservatory to share the talents and passion her teachers instilled in her with today’s youth. She continues to fulfill her own love of performing as a member of Swerve Dance Company, under the direction of LaVonne French.


Ms. Ursula has watched dance change so much in her young lifetime. She believes continuing education is of utmost importance for today’s dance educators. She attends many conventions, classes, and seminars throughout each year to stay current on the field’s best practice methods for teaching and the most relevant trends and styles in effort to produce exceptionally-trained, healthy, and competitive future dance professionals.

Kathleen Carter


Miss Kathleen Carter, a Pensacola native, began her dance training at Pensacola School of Ballet with Anthea Nader in 1995. She joined the sister company, the Emerald Coast Ballet, in 1997 and danced with the company at the Senior level until its closure in 2008. In 2000, she joined the Northwest Florida Ballet as an Apprentice to the Company and studied under Ballet Mistress, Dorothy Lister. She has attended several summer intensives including workshops at Pensacola State College, the Northwest Florida Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. She has been teaching dance since 2005 and has had students of all ages and skill levels. She has experience in the Royal, Vaganova, and Cecchetti methods of ballet teaching, ballroom, jazz, modern, contemporary style dance, and ballet fitness. She has performed various roles in many productions including “Odile the Black Swan” (Swan Lake), “Carabosse” (The Sleeping Beauty), “Swanilda” (Coppelia), and the “Waltz of the Flowers” in Pensacola's Nutcracker. Miss Kathleen is a 200 hour Certified Hatha Yoga instructor (May 2015). She is also a Nationally Certified Pilates Instructor. 

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Miss Kathleen holds a Bachelor's degree in Writing with a minor in Public Relations from the University of West Florida. She is a staunch advocate for the physical and mental benefits of a regular movement practice and enjoys guiding her students in all disciplines of movement through a strong and steady flow that focuses on fluid transitions, powerful stamina, proper alignment, and injury prevention/rehabilitation. She is a strong supporter of local arts and believes that dance is not only a discipline, but a form of expression of the body and soul. 

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Genevieve  Fortner


Genevieve Le Gall Fortner began her dance training with the Princeton Ballet School. She also trained with The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, Ballet Magnificat, and Le Centre de Formation Regional de la Danse in Nantes, France. She graduated magna cum laude from Belhaven College in Jackson, MS, with a BA in English and a minor in dance. She immediately joined the ballet company under the directorship of Kenn Tolle, Hosanna Sacred Arts in Nashville, TN and later taught and danced with Ballet Mississippi in Jackson, MS. Her performances include The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Coppelia, Carmina Burana, Mississippi Opera's Orfeo ed Euridice, and American Ballet Theatre's Don Quixote. She has taught ballet and modern at the University of Mississippi, is the founder of Oxford Ballet School and co founder of the non-profit, Oxford Ballet Association. She continues to guest perform and teach around the nation as well as abroad in France.

Genevieve moved to Pensacola in 2018 and is currently a freelance ballet and modern dancer, choreographer and teacher with Moving Artists Project (MAP). She and her husband are realtors and have four sons. This is her 4th season as faculty with Emerald Coast Dance Conservatory.

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Katie Jones

Instructor/Assistant Director, ECDC Motion Company

Katie Poindexter Jones began her dance career at the age of 2 at The Dancer’s Studio in West Point, MS. Throughout her youth, Katie trained with many professional dancers and attended conventions and competitions all over the south, and danced for school dance teams. Katie was selected as a UDA All-Star and danced in Orlando with All-Stars from all over the nation. She began teaching at the age of 17 at Warehouse Dance Company in West Point, MS. She has taught for multiple after-school dance programs in Northeast Mississippi. She attended Ole Miss and received a Bachelor’s in English and a Musical Theatre Minor. After college, she returned to Columbus, MS to help open The Wherehouse Dance, a non-profit dance studio.

In 2014, Katie moved to Florida to be closer to her siblings. Katie has taught at many studios in the area, and travels to Mississippi to teach as well. Her choreography has won many awards from national competitions. She has also choreographed for contestants in the Miss Mississippi pageant.

Katie’s passion has always, and will always be dance. She is so thankful to the amazing and talented kids she has had the opportunity to teach! Ms. Katie is very excited to be a part of the ECDC family! 

Amanda McKinnon

Instructor/Assistant Director, ECDC Motion Company

Mrs. Amanda has danced since the age of 3 and began assistant teaching at the age of 12. During her years as a dancer, Amanda trained in many styles including: Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Clogging, Musical Theatre, Acrobatics, Hip Hop, Lyrical, and Contemporary. She began competing at the age of 10 at both regional and national levels. In her early years of teaching she trained under Dance Masters of America in ballet, acrobatics, and jazz. She celebrated her 20th year of teaching in the 2022-2023 season.


She has been a staff member and assistant director of Motion Company since the founding of Emerald Coast Dance Conservatory. Working with Motion Company, Amanda has won numerous choreography awards for her competition pieces. Amanda has a passion for Acrobatic dance and has been fundamental in establishing the Acro program at ECDC. She continues to pursue training opportunities for the program.



As a dance teacher, Amanda feels that it is important for her students to feel confident, motivated and inspired in an environment they feel comfortable in. Amanda wants to see her students succeed, be proud of their accomplishments and enjoy all of the hard work and dedication they put into dance.


Hannah Whelton

Hannah is an accomplished former professional ballet dancer and currently works with dancers of all ages to share her knowledge. She began her training at the Conservatory of Ballet Aviv and Ballet Magnificat's Trainee company. With extensive performance experience, including touring nationally and internationally, Hannah has also taught ballet at The Schramel Conservatory of Dance. She then went on to dance professionally with the New Orleans Ballet Theatre where she performed both Corps de Ballet and Demi Soloist roles in classical ballet productions through New Orleans. She is also certified in Pilates and Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT). For the past 5 years she has taught at Ballet Virginia where she held the role of ballet mistress and company manager. Now living in Pensacola, FL, Hannah continues to inspire dancers of all ages with her expertise and passion for proper alignment and injury prevention cross training. Her favorite classes to teach are adult ballet and ‘Parent and Me classes’!

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After leaving the Ballet Russe, she continued to pursue, develop and expand her talents, and made guest appearances with numerous Civic Ballet and Opera Companies. She performed many of the famous pas de deuxs from various ballets and such roles as The Firebird with the New York Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony and the Hartford and New Haven Orchestras.

Ms. Lister received her early training at the Elvie DeMarko School in Pensacola, Florida. She continued her studies in New York at the Swoboda School, (later known as the Ballet Russe School), under the guiding hand of Madame Swoboda. Her other illustrious teachers included Frederic Franklin, Anatole Vilzak, Edward Caton, Boris Romanoff, William Dollar, Bill Griffith, Leon Danelian and Igor Schwezoff. She also attended New York University and Hunter College before joining the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo company.

She danced with the Ballet Russe for 5 years and worked with such renowned stars as Alicia Alonso, Maria Tallchief, Nina Novak, 

Alexandra Danilova, Igor Youskevitch, Frederick Franklin, Leon Danelian and Leonide Massine.

Dorothy Lister

In Loving Memory


Classical Ballet Instructor

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Her varied talents led her into musical theater where she performed on Broadway and Off-Broadway. She also appeared in summer and winter stock companies, Dinner Theaters and at the renowned Radio City Music Hall. She has worked in several theater positions advancing from the chorus of a musical to performing leading roles and to assisting directors and choreographers.

She began her teaching career at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. For two years she was on staff at the Kingsboro College of the Performing Arts, a college dedicated to the training of boys and girls at the college level. She was invited to join the teaching staff of the American Ballet Center, the official school of the Robert Joffrey Ballet Company. For 25 years, she not only headed the Children’s Department, but also taught technique and variations classes to the advanced and trainee levels. She also found time to coach dancers for various jobs and competitions, and actors and actresses for dance roles in television and film work. Today, she has former students performing in all mediums of dance from classical ballet companies to Radio City to Broadway and television.


She considers correct training from the Beginner level to the Advanced level to be of the utmost importance and the teaching of children to be her forte. She developed a Pre-Ballet teaching syllabus that has been used at the Joffrey School for over 25 years. She is featured in two published books, Going To My Ballet Class by Susan Kuklin and And they Danced On by Waltraud G.Karkar. She is the co-author of the book, Conversations with Choreographers, published in 1996.

In 1997 Dorothy moved back to her hometown and is presently the Ballet Mistress and teacher for the Northwest Florida Ballet Company and is the dance coach for the Tate High School’s Chaparrals and Cadets. She has choreographed musical shows (Fiddler on the Roof, Annie Get Your Gun, Guys and Dolls, South Pacific) for Tate High School. She continues to teach for the Joffrey School’s summer session. 


LaVonne French, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance, with an emphasis in Modern Dance and Choreography, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, and a Master of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities, with an emphasis in Critical and Creative Topics in Dance, from the University of West Florida. She is a founding member/artistic director of SWERVE/dance Company, a Northwest Florida-based modern dance company. Ms. French teaches the Ballet and Modern dance technique classes, Dance Appreciation, Theatre Appreciation (on-line) courses at Pensacola State College and is the costumer for the Performing Arts Department. She was also the coordinator/director of the annual PSC Summer Dance Workshop, 2011-2017. A long-time volunteer in the area Arts community, she is the chair of the Dance Stage committee and member of the Scholarship Committee of the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival, has served on the Artistic Committee at Pensacola Little Theatre, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Dance Association from 2005-2008. 

LaVonne French


Ms. French has worked with Young Audiences of Kansas City, Missouri Repertory Theatre (now Kansas City Rep), and City in Motion Dance Theatre (KCMO). Her choreography has been presented at the Florida Dance Festival in Miami, with Kaleidoscope & Ballet Pensacola, Paraplue Dance in Mobile, at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX, and in New Orleans, LA. As a dance major at UMKC, her student choreography was adjudicated at the American College Dance Festival Central Midwest Region, where she also performed in Leni Wylliams’ Ascension in the Gala Concert, and was awarded a summer workshop scholarship to the Laban-Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in NYC. Some of her theatre choreography includes Young Frankenstein, Jesus Christ Superstar, Spamalot, 9 to 5, Chicago, West Side Story, and The Sound of Music at Pensacola State, Jekyll & Hyde, Man of La Mancha, and Cabaret at UWF, and The Rocky Horror Show, Oklahoma!, Peter Pan, Seussical, The Producers, and All Shook Up at Pensacola Little Theatre.  She also directed and choreographed the musical, Go Dog, Go! for PLT.

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