Dance Instructor Bios
Director of Pre-professional Ballet
Holley Johnson is the executive director and director of the pre-professional ballet division for the Holmes Center for the Arts. She has trained in many different dance schools including Dance Arts (Valdosta, Georgia), The Academy of Dance (Hampton, VA), The Ballett Schuller (Oldenburg, Germany), and more. Holley attended summer dance programs at Joffrey Ballet School (New York), North Carolina School of the Arts, The Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet West Conservatory, the Georgia Governor's Honors Program, and Ballet Magnificat. She continued her education by attending the University of Utah where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a major in Ballet and a performance emphasis. While there, she received full dance and academic scholarships including the Presidential Scholarship for the arts and was selected to be a member of the Utah Ballet and the Character Dance Ensemble. After college, she danced professionally with the Atlanta Ballet and the Lexington Ballet. She performed at such venues as the Royal Festival Hall in London, England, the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia, the Olympic Centennial Park in Atlanta, and the Opera House in Lexington, KY. Holley has taught all levels of ballet for 15 years. She and her husband and three children live in Holmes County.
Mr. Ralston began dancing at the age of seven and has had extensive training and teaching experience in ballet, lyrical, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and acrobatics. He has been awarded numerous scholarships and has had the opportunity to perform and study dance around the country with well-known instructors and choreographers, such as Mark Marino, Dominic Sandoval, Stepp Stewart, Seth Stewart, and Tokyo. He has also trained under Inna Stabrova, former principal dancer with Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg Russia, and Dmitriy Tuboltsev, former principal dancer with Bolshoi Ballet and dancer with Ohio Ballet. In 2014, Mr. Ralston had the opportunity to attend the USA Gymnastics National Congress. Over the years, his many performance credits include Prince Florimund in “Sleeping Beauty” and Snow King in “The Nutcracker.” Mr. Ralston currently resides in Canton and attends the University of Akron where he is studying engineering.
Director of the Student Division
Lydia Havener began dancing at the age of 4 with training including ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, tap and hip-hop. She studied at Cleveland City Dance under the training of Courtney Laves-Mearini, Mark Otloski, Andrea Blankstein-Otloski, Heather Young and Jason Wang. She was a member of the pre-professional company, City Ballet of Cleveland, where she performed in soloist and corps roles in productions such as Swan Lake, Paquita, the Nutcracker, Coppelia, Les Sylphides and Sleeping Beauty. She has had the privilege of participating and performing in Regional Dance America (RDA) and training under many reputable teachers throughout her time there. After graduating from high school, Lydia trained with and graduated from AMTC (Actors, Models and Talent for Christ) in dancing, acting and modeling. She attended summer school at New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts for film & acting as well as worked for Disney Cruise Line as a performer on the Disney Magic. Lydia has continued to teach all levels of ballet and other forms of dance as well as perform as a guest artist with credits that include soloist work in the Nutcracker. She has thoroughly enjoyed teaching, directing and choreographing at Holmes Center for the Arts and loves interacting with parents and students as the Director of the Student Division.
Haley Ervin is the tumbling director and a tap and jazz instructor for the Holmes Center for the Arts. She began taking dance at age 3 at Jenyce's School of Dance in Millersburg, OH. She trained in gymnastics, tap, hip-hop, jazz, and ballet. While there, she competed in many dance competitions including Dance Master's of Ohio. She was also an assistant teacher for Jenyce for 5 years. Haley cheered at West Holmes High School lettering in varsity for two years. Haley has taught dance and tumbling for Holmes Center for the Arts since its beginnings and through her leadership, care for her students, and knowledge, she has helped to build a strong program. This year she created the Holmes Center for the Arts Elite Tumbling Performance Group which performs at local basketball games and other venues. In addition to teaching dance, Haley is a cosmetologist at Village Hairworks in Shreve and recently married her high school sweetheart.
Abi Besse began dancing at the age of four with Linda Adolphi and Paul Wilson at Cleveland City Dance. She has trained under Courtney Laves-Mearini, Mark Otloski, Andrea Blankstein-Otloski, and Shannon Sterne. Abi went on to graduate from the professional trainee program of Light of the World Ballet in Syracuse New York in 2012. Over the last six years she has enjoyed teaching, choreographing and performing. She has performed multiple soloist and supporting roles as a guest artist for Holmes Center for the Arts and City Ballet of Cleveland including Sleeping Beauty, Paquita and the annual Nutcracker Ballet. She loves working with students of all ages and levels and finds the greatest joy in watching them grow and achieve their goals.