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 20 years. She and her husband and three children live in Holmes County.
Director of Pre-Professional Ballet
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.
A local to Holmes County, Sophia Beachy began her dance training at the age of 11 at Holmes Center for the Arts under the instruction of Holley Johnson. She attended multiple summer intensive programs through the University of Utah and Ballet Magnificat! in Mississippi. In her senior year of high school, Sophia began dancing with a nonprofit ballet company, North Pointe Ballet, out of Cleveland, OH. With the mission, “to make classical ballet accessible to everyone in our community”, daily outreaches to local schools and nursing homes are part of what inspired Sophia to continue using the arts as an outlet of expression and learning. Returning to Holmes Center for the Arts as an instructor and working with such talented and lovely students has been an honor!
Shannon Olsen started dancing at age 11 with training in ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, tap, and cheer. She attended what is now known as the Pinellas County Center for the Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida. She co-founded Take A Bow dance studio in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Shannon has coached cheerleading and taught jazz, tap, hip-hop, creative movement, and dance fit. Shannon lives in Holmes County with her husband, Brad, and their four children. Shannon enjoys teaching at Holmes Center for the Arts.
Tumbling + Dance Instructor
Susie Chaney is the coach of the West Holmes High School Majorettes and twirl instructor for Holmes Center for the Arts. She has over 20 years of experience in teaching and coaching baton and is excited to offer youth more opportunities for learning, performing, and growing in the art of baton twirling. She is available for teaching private lessons as well as group lessons.
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.
LoriMae has been the Project Administrator for the Holmes Center for the Arts new home since 2018. LoriMae holds a BA in Social Welfare and a BS in Meteorology. After serving in Desert Storm she married and had two wonderful sons. Her husband, Alan, continued serving in the USAF and the family ended up in Minot, ND. While in Minot, LoriMae became president of Habitat for Humanity and built their first two homes. She became a professional chocolatier when her family opened a chocolate shop in Minot. LoriMae has been involved in dance, theater and music her entire life starting with ballet and tap at the age of 3, sewing and designing costumes in high school, performing in theater in college and volunteering as a costumer, choreographer, dancer, or stage manager for Bright Life Players, WacPac, and the HCA since 2015. She also plays eight different instruments and performed at the Ford Theater in Washington DC with the Greenfield Symphonic band. She has been an event planner for many events including military balls, weddings, fundraisers for most of her adult life. After moving with her family to Ohio, she started ballroom dancing in 2012, and competed in the Buckeye Open 2014 with her husband where they won 1st place in all competed categories.