School Staff & Faculty
Kathy Thibodeaux began her dance training at the age of six with the Jackson Ballet School under the direction of Albia Kavan and Rex Cooper. When the Jackson Ballet Company turned professional in 1978, Kathy was one of the first dancers to be contracted. Soon after being a contracted dancer, Kathy soared to the highest levels of the company, becoming a Principal Dancer, a position she held successfully until 1986.
During her tenure with the Jackson Ballet (later Ballet Mississippi), she appeared as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, the Pigtail Girl in Graduation Ball, Odette in Swan Lake - Act II, Taglioni in Pas de Quatre, and had leading roles in Les Sylphides and La Bayadere - Act II. She has danced principal roles in John Butler’s Othello, Todd Bolendar’s Stillpoint, Jean-Paul Comelin’s Daughter of Morning, and William Christensen’s Bravura, as well as such traditional grand pas de deux as Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, and Raymonda.
In 1982, Kathy was awarded a silver medal for her performance at the II USA International Ballet Competition (IBC), where she premiered her solo piece, “We Shall Behold Him.” She was featured in the 90-minute ABC/PBS documentary, “To Dance for Gold," which documented her progress through the II USA IBC and her silver medal win. She has been a guest instructor at several of the USA International Ballet Competitions and has performed for their Gala in Jackson, Mississippi.
Her desire to use her God-given talent of dance to share her faith in Jesus Christ led Kathy to resign from Ballet Mississippi and found her own company, Ballet Magnificat!, in 1986.
Through the creation of Ballet Magnificat, Kathy has performed many ensemble, solo, and principal roles, as well as choreographed several works for the company, including Creation (1987), Regathering (1988), Light Eternal (1989), Joy (1989), Thy Kingdom Come (1989), A Christmas Festival (1991), Praise Magnificat (1992), Sanctuary (1992), sections of Savior (1996), Unveiled Hope (1997), Freedom (2002), A Christmas Dream (2006) sans the “Battle Scene”, and sections of Snow Queen (2011).
In 2006, Kathy authored a children's book based on the ballet A Christmas Dream which she choreographed in honor of Ballet Magnificat!'s 20 anniversary.
In 1983, “Kathy Thibodeaux Day” was proclaimed by order of Mississippi Governor William Winter, a commendation by Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus was issued in 1989, and a resolution commending Kathy was given by the Alabama Senate in 1998. In 2008, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, along with Peavey Music Founder Hartley Peavey, presented Kathy with the annual Hartley D. Peavey Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
In February 2017, Kathy and Keith pioneered Ballet Magnificat! Brasil, a professional trainee program and performance company headquartered in Curitiba, Brazil. Later in 2017 Kathy transitioned from full time touring with the Alpha Company to oversee more of the day-to-day operations of the companies, Trainee Program and School of the Arts in the Jackson, MS office. She and Keith travel to Brazil several times each year to direct and build the Ballet Magnificat! Brasil program.
Kathy’s passion for the Lord is so evident and she pours herself into serving God and His people through praising Him with the dance. She feels very grateful to be living this life of service and working with her husband, Keith Thibodeaux.
Kathy and Keith have one daughter, Tara Drew, a dancer, teacher, and choreographer, who is married to Bryce Drew, former player in the NBA and former head basketball coach at Valparaiso and Vanderbilt University. Tara trained at Ballet Magnificat!, performed with the company for several years, and has set many works on the companies including The Arrival and Stratagem. Tara and Bryce Drew have one son, Bryson.
Ms. Sol Maisonet was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At age 12 she started her training in classical ballet. Ms. Maisonet received many scholarships from the Puerto Rico Institute of Culture to continue training in Cuba and in New York City. Her instructors included Madame Maggie Black, Ramón Segarra, David Howard, Melissa Hayden, Juan Anduze, and José Pares.
For more than 25 years, Ms. Maisonet performed professionally as a Soloist and Principal Dancer with companies such as Ballet Puertorriqueño, Ballet Theatre of San Juan, Ballet Concierto, and Ballets of San Juan. In 1983, she was invited by the government of Colombia to perform as a Principal Dancer with the “Ballet Nacional of Colombia,” under Artistic Director Ramon Segarra. During her time there, she danced as the lead role in several original ballets choreographed especially for her, such as Val’s of Ravel, Stravinsky’s Firebird, Symphony in Three Movements, and Ciclos.
She performed principal roles in many classical ballets, including The Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Swan Lake, Rites of Spring, Tango Expectro, The Merry Widow, George Balanchine’s Rubies, Serenade, Who Cares.
In 1990 she was invited to represent Puerto Rico in Barcelona, Spain, at the 5th Iberoamerican Festival. Performing Cuban choreographer Petra Bravo’s piece, “Que Signo Lleva el Amor,” she became a finalist. In 1992, she joined recognized choreographer Gabry Christa from Holland and Gloria Llompart from Puerto Rico to found the dance company "Danzadentro."
In 1994 she once again represented Puerto Rico in Barcelona, this time with her own choreography, "Una Vez al Mes." Ms. Maisonet represented Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, performing in the Latin-American Dance Congress with Bravo's choreography, "Un Solo Dueto," and Gabry Christa's "Matutina.”
Ms. Sol Maisonet has taught classical ballet since 1977. She developed and enhanced the Dance Department Ballet Curriculum for the School of the Arts in Carolina, Puerto Rico and choreographed for several children’s musicals including “Lilipun” and “Aladdin.” She has been the Guest Master Teacher for Summer Intensives at San Augustine Conservatory of Dance in FL, Rejoice Dance Academy in MS, Ballet Aviv in LA, and Ballet 5:8 in IL. She has served as the Ballet Magnificat Trainee Program Director and the Ballet Magnificat II Artistic Director. From 2001-2011 she served at Ballet Magnificat! as the School of the Arts Principal and developed the Upper School Ballet syllabus which is still in use today. From 2011-2016, she served as adjunct Dance Faculty for Belhaven University and was the Dance Ministry Ensemble Artistic Director. She has trained many successful professional dancers during her career.
Currently, Ms. Maisonet serves as Rehearsal Director for the fall and spring Belhaven dance concerts. At the same time, she is the Ballet Mistress for Ballet Magnificat! and is a Rehearsal Director and Master Teacher for the Trainee Company.
Elizabeth Quinlan is originally from Hudson, New Hampshire, and moved to Jackson to be a part of Ballet Magnificat! Trainee Program. She began her ballet training at the age of eleven under the direction of Sarah- Beth Smith of Gate City Ballet. Before coming to Ballet Magnificat in 2015, she moved to Pennsylvania to train with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. As a trainee, Elizabeth performed with the Events Company in the USA, Guam, Asia, Mexico, and Honduras. In 2018 she graduated from the trainee program and became the School of the Arts Administrator.
Marcie was born in Vicksburg, MS. She began training at age five with Debra Franco in Vicksburg and later with Lisa Howell at Ballet Mississippi in Jackson. Marcie was a student teacher and choreographer, and she attended numerous advanced study workshops with artists such as Anna Fowler (Berlin Ballet Company), Eugene "Luigi" Louis, Joe Tremaine, Gus Giordana and Jo Rowan.
Marcie received a four-year ballet scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Cum Laude) in Dance and French, and a Master of Arts in Education (GPA 4.0) in Exercise Physiology/Cardiac Rehabilitation. She attended the University of Strasbourg in Strasbourg, France, where she completed a UAB International Studies Program. Marcie was named "Outstanding Undergraduate Student in UAB's Department of Theatre and Dance" for two years and "Outstanding Dance Major" by the National Dance Association.
At UAB, Marcie trained extensively with Stevan Grebel, Melanie Grebel, and Marcus Alford.
She performed with UAB Ballet for seven years and BAD & Company (Ballet Against Drugs) for two years. Marcie danced many principal roles in her repertoire of more than twenty productions, including Miss Sarah Lennox in George III, A Mad King, Esmeralda in Esmeralda, Cerrito in Steps For Four, Plus One, and Lost Child in Ancient Voices Of Children.
Marcie was Principal Instructor for the UAB Youth Ballet and an instructor in the UAB Department of Theatre and Dance, Birmingham Dance Theatre, and Birmingham Ballet Academy. She choreographed and directed two original productions at UAB, designed costumes, and has choreographed numerous ballet, jazz, tap, and acrobatic pieces.
In 1997, Marcie returned to Mississippi. Her love for the Lord and desire to share her talent with young dancers led her to join the ministry of Ballet Magnificat!, where she has the privilege of nurturing the hearts and talents of even the youngest of our precious students.
Pam Hindall started her training in ballet, tap, and jazz under Mary Blake at Blake’s Studio of Dancing in Marine City, MI.
Pam has performed in La Sylphide on Canadian Television and danced with Shekinah (a group of professional Christian dancers from around the world) in Toronto, Canada. In 1970, she was mentored by Bernice Harper RAAD (Dual Examiner for the Royal Academy of Dancing in London).
Pam became a registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance, London, England, and owned, operated, and taught in three dance studios in Algonac, MI (1970-73), Pontiac, MI (1978-85), and The Classical Academy of Dance in Bay Village, OH (1986-2005), where she produced an annual Nutcracker ballet, held top-rated student recitals, directed two competition teams and prepared her students for the yearly RAD Examinations. During her time as a studio owner, Pam brought many students to Ballet Magnificat!’s Summer Dance Intensive, including her 3 daughters, 2 of which became part of the ministry of Ballet Magnificat!: Jessica Hindall Brock, Alpha Company Member and Angela Hindall Ewing, Trainee Program.
Pam sold her studio of 435 students in 2004 and moved to Brandon, MS, with her husband Gary to be with their 3 daughters and families. Pam and Gary are blessed with those 3 daughters and their husbands, a son and daughter-in-law in Ohio, 5 granddaughters, and 5 grandsons.
Jennifer, from Rochester, New York, trained and performed with the School of Classical Ballet of Rochester and the Flower City Ballet, and also earned a degree as a Physical Therapist Assistant.
Jennifer moved to Jackson to participate in the Ballet Magnificat! Trainee Program and performed with Ballet Magnificat! II. She toured with Ballet Magnificat!'s professional company throughout the United States and internationally.
Jennifer has been teaching since 1997 and currently teaches ballet in our School of the Arts, as well as ballet and conditioning classes in the Trainee Program, bringing her combined experience in art and science to the classroom. Jennifer is married to William, and is the mother of three boys, Dante, Kaden and Rylan, and a daughter, Layla.
Bethany Haynes is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She received her dance training under the direction of Amanda Neeley, Susan Beebe, and Tara Thibodeaux Drew at Praise Him With Dance in Atlanta.
Bethany taught ballet and tap and choreographed for Praise Him With Dance for 2 years. At age 15, she choreographed and danced in a piece that received the Ultimate Skill Award at the Dance Revolution Competition in Indianapolis. She also choreographed a piece for, and danced in, the John Tesh "ALIVE" Concert in Denver. Bethany received her professional training from summer dance intensives at Ballet Rotaru and Ballet Magnificat!
She joined the Professional Trainee Program at Ballet Magnificat in 2005 and trained under Sol Maisonet, Jiri Sebastian Voborsky, and Cassandra Voborsky. In 2007 she taught jaz and choreographed for Ballet Magnificat!'s School of the Arts.
In Fall 2008, Bethany was promoted to an Alpha Apprentice with Ballet Magnificat!, and to Company Artist in Fall 2009. Bethany married Frank in January 2015, and in July Bethany retired from the touring company to join the teaching staff of the Trainee Program and School of the Arts.
Born and raised in upstate NY, Leah began her classical ballet Training at the age of 5 in a small town called Apalachin, NY. From ages 8-16, she trained under Tina Christina Price (formerly of the Russian Ballet) at Ballet Arts Theatre in Endicott NY. Her junior and senior year she joined the pre professional company, the Ithaca Ballet, in Ithaca, NY and preformed as a soloist and in the corps de ballet.
After attending Ballet Magnificat’s Summer Intensive in 1999 she auditioned and was accepted into their Trainee Program. After a little more than a year as part of the Trainee Program she was asked to be Tour Director for the Company. She toured with them all over the US and made two international Tours during the next two years.
Leah met her husband during that time and was married in 2003, at which she came off the road and settled down in Ridgeland, MS. At this point she began to teach at Ballet Magnificat’s School of the Arts and also work as a designer at a local shop in Jackson, The Pine Cone. After doing both for a year she decided to take a break from dancing and explore the field of interior design exclusively. She achieved great success as a designer and had her holiday work featured in an issue of Mississippi Magazine.
Thirteen years and two children later, Leah decided it was time to return to her first love of dancing, and continue to pass on her knowledge to a new generation of Ballerinas. She accepted a position as instructor at Ballet Magnificat’s School of the Arts and resides in Brandon with her husband and two children.