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Instructors

Linda Walker - Leslie Milligan - Geri Salmen - Pamela Reyman Paetia Mechler

Linda Walker began her dance training at the age of six in California. She studied with many small ballet schools throughout California, Robert Joffrey in New York, and San Francisco Ballet on full scholarship. She is the founder of Academy of Ballet (formerly Tucson School of Ballet, 1981), founder and Artistic Director of Tucson Regional Ballet (1983), proud mother of four, and grandmother of lots and lots. From 1988 through May 2002, Ms. Walker instructed students from St. David, Sierra Vista, Dragoon, Pomerine, Benson, and Wilcox at her Benson site.

Ms. Walker’s dedication to quality ballet led the Tucson Regional Ballet to audition for, and gain membership in, Regional Dance America/Pacific (1994), and her innovative creativity has brought TRB to new heights with the original production of A Southwest Nutcracker. TRB also premiered Ms. Walker's original ballet adaptations of Susan Lowell’s best-selling children's books, The Three Little Javelinas and The Tortoise and the Jackrabbit. Ms. Walker has served on the board of Regional Dance America/Pacific and as a panelist for Tucson Pima Arts Council.


Leslie Milligan began her ballet training at the age of nine, receiving her core training at the Academy of Ballet in Tucson, Arizona under Linda Walker. She studied intensively at Ballet Arizona, Ballet Aspen, Houston Ballet, Joe Tremaine, Lines Contemporary Ballet, UA Dance Ensemble and has completed the teacher training program, in Pilates, at the Body Works Studio.  She performed as a soloist with Tucson Regional Ballet and performed professionally with Oakland Ballet.  Ms. Milligan has been an instructress of ballet and jazz in past years at Academy of Ballet and held the position of Ballet Mistress to Tucson Regional Ballet for the 01-02 season.


Geri Salmen began her dance training at the age of 15.  She studied with Zuleka's School of Belly Dance, Fritschy's Dance Academy and Academy of Ballet where she has performed in annual school recitals.  She has performed in Tucson Regional Ballet’s production of A Southwest Nutcracker since its inception and is currently the TRB’s Wardrobe Director.  It was in the fall of 2002, when Ms. Salmen began  working as a teaching assistant, with the younger children, that her natural abilities as an instructor was revealed.   This revelation lead to an invitation to be on staff at Academy of Ballet, as an instructor.


Pamela Reyman, born in New York City, began her dance training at the age of fifteen.  She trained with Istvan Rabovsky and at the American Ballet Theatre School with Valentina Pereyslavic, Olga Merinowa, and Patricia Wilde.  In 1977 she began her professional career with Dennis Wayne’s Dancers in NYC.  Over the course of her twenty-two year performing career she also danced as a principal dancer with Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Dayton Ballet and Ohio Ballet.  An artist recognized for her versatility, Ms. Reyman has danced a range of roles, including Tzarina, Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop, Dying Swan, Giselle, Juliet, Lizzie Borden in deMilles’s Fall River Legend, Emilia in Limon’s Moors Pavane, the Partisan in Jooss’ The Green Table, the Woman in His Past in Tudor’s Lilac Garden and Fairy Godmother in Holder’s Cinderella. She danced principal roles in an extensive Balanchine repertoire including Tarantella, Square Dance, Minkus Pas de Trois, Agon, Apollo, Serenade and Nutcracker. Ms. Reyman has also performed in works by Butler, Van Dantzig, Lubovitch, Byrd, Arpino, Flindt, Fokine, Massine, Nault and many others, including her husband Jeffrey Graham Hughes.  In 1990, she performed in Scotland at the Edinburgh Festival in Flindt's The Overcoat with Rudolf Nureyev.  As a principal dancer with Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, she had roles created for her by Dennis Nahat in many of his ballets.  She has also participated as a dancer in New Steps, a choreographic workshop in Ohio and in Festival of Life, a benefit for children and adults with AIDS in Atlanta. 

Ms. Reyman was ballet mistress for Ohio Ballet, interim ballet mistress for Hong Kong Ballet and was on the staff of the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts.  She has guest taught throughout the U.S. and has choreographed two chamber ballets that have been performed in Ohio and Switzerland.  Locally, Ms. Reyman has taught at Ballet Arts in Tucson and briefly worked as a part-time ballet mistress for Ballet Tucson.  She is grateful to the many teachers who have inspired her throughout her career and would especially like to thank Maggie Black and Alonzo King. 


Paetia Mechler is a senior at the University of Arizona, where she is an honors student double-majoring in French and dance with academic scholarships. She studied ballet for 14 years at Academy of Ballet, where she also studied tap and jazz. In addition, she attended intensive summer workshops on partial-tuition scholarship at the schools of the San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Long Beach Ballet Ambassadors to China Program. She received invitations to remain for the winter terms at both the School of Boston Ballet and University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She also accepted a full scholarship to attend the Bloch International Master Class at the University of Wisconsin. Ms. Mechler dedicated two seasons to Tucson Regional Ballet's Junior and Senior Apprentice Companies, and performed for six seasons with TRB's Senior Company, in numerous solo roles in A Southwest Nutcracker, as well as Myrta in Giselle, the lead female dancer in Balanchine's Valse Fantasie, the sixth variation from Paquita, and others. Now studying ballet, jazz, modern, and tap at the UA, she performed in James Clouser's ballet, Carmina Burana, performed by UA Dance, and was chosen to perform with the Martha Graham Dance Company when it performed in Tucson. Her choreography has been performed by the TRB, Sabino High School, and UA Dance. Ms. Mechler worked as a teaching assistant at the Academy of Ballet for seven years, and served the Tucson Regional Ballet for many years as a rehearsal and directors' assistant. She is currently on staff as an instructor at the Academy of Ballet and Tucson Regional Ballet.