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, Pomerene, 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.
Jeffrey Graham Hughes was born in Alameda, California, where he started dancing at the age of six. His first two teachers were Vern Nerden and Madame Alexandria Baldina from the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg Russia and Ballet Russe circa Nijinsky and Pavlova. As a youngster he was a member of Oakland Metropolitan Ballet and was a guest artist with several companies in Northern California.
Mr. Hughes was artistic director of Ohio Ballet, interim director and then rehearsal director for Hong Kong Ballet, associate director/ballet master with Ballet de Monterrey, ballet master for Alonzo King’s Lines Contemporary Ballet, artistic director for Atlanta Ballet’s outreach program, and founder of his own educational performing group Ballet Atlantis.
Over a twenty-two year professional career as a dancer, he danced principal roles with Joffrey II, Joffrey Ballet, London Festival Ballet, Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, and Atlanta Ballet. Mr. Hughes had a vast repertoire of roles. Listed among some of his favorites were the Moor in Jose Limon’s Moor’s Pavane, Fleming Flindt’s The Lesson, Franz in Coppelia, Balanchine’s Tarantella, pas de deux from Le Corsaire, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, one of the two male leads in Lander’s Etudes, Fokine’s Spectre de la Rose, Prince Igor, and Les Sylphides. He danced in ballets by such choreographers as Ailey, Ashton, Bournonville, Cranko, Nureyev, Robbins, Schaufuss, Tharp, Tudor, and Watts, to mention just a few. Mr. Hughes was privileged to be in Robert Joffrey’s Remembrances, enjoyed dancing in many of Gerald Arpino’s ballets, and danced and created many roles in Dennis Nahat’s ballets.
Over the past twenty-seven years Mr. Hughes has choreographed over fifty ballets. His ballets have been performed in the U.S., Asia, Mexico and South Africa. He has been on the faculty of Hong Kong Academy for the Arts, San Francisco Dance Center and New York Academy of Ballet, among others. Mr. Hughes taught and choreographed at the prestigious Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet in New York during the summers of 2014-2016 and Orlando Ballet School during the summers of 2015 and 2016. Mr. Hughes is currently Co-Artistic Director of the Tucson Regional Ballet and on staff as an instructor at Academy of Ballet.
Skyler Newcom is a junior at University of Arizona, majoring in dance. He was born and raised in southern Georgia and grew up watching his two older sisters, both of whom are currently dancing on Broadway. Inspired by their devotion, he began his dance training at the age of eleven at Dance Arts Center in Suwanee, Georgia, where he studied all genres of dance. During his younger years, Mr. Newcom assisted in the management of classes and students. His goal is to broaden the knowledge and appreciation of dance through a fun approach with students and share the love and joy he has cultivated for the art style. Mr. Newcom is currently on staff at the Academy of Ballet as a tap instructor.
Pamela Reyman-Hughes, 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 as well as performing as a guest artist with small companies in the United States. An artist recognized for her versatility, Ms. Reyman-Hughes 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 Moor’s Pavane, the Partisan in Jooss’ The Green Table, The Woman in His Past in Tudor’s Lilac Garde, 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-Hughes 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-Hughes 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-Hughes has taught at Ballet Arts in Tucson and briefly worked as a part-time ballet mistress for Ballet Tucson. For the past two summers, 2015 and 2016, she has taught for Orlando Ballet School’s summer intensive, and she is a certified Gyrotonic® Expansion System Level I Instructor. Ms. Reyman-Hughes is grateful to the many teachers who have inspired her throughout her career and would especially like to thank Maggie Black and Alonzo King.
Ms. Reyman-Hughes is married to Jeffrey Graham Hughes, and they have a daughter, Maya Esperanza. Ms. Reyman-Hughes is currently Co-Artistic Director of the Tucson Regional Ballet and on staff as an instructor at Academy of Ballet.
Alexis Salmen began her dance training at the Academy of Ballet at the age of seven where she studied tap, jazz and continues to study ballet. She has been accepted to Long Beach Ballet Arts Center with partial tuition scholarship and State Street Ballet summer programs. She performed with Tucson Regional Ballet for six seasons and attended five Regional Dance America Festivals. Ms. Salmen is currently on staff at the Academy of Ballet as a ballet instructor and works in a supervisor position at Agero Inc.
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 were revealed. This revelation led to an invitation to be on staff at Academy of Ballet as an instructor.
Aaron Smith began his training as a recreational dancer at his hometown community center before earning his Bachelor of Science in Dance from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Since 2010, Mr. Smith has been a company member of Ron De Jesús Dance. For the past five years, he has been the Housing Director for the Complexions Detroit Summer Intensive, working alongside dance legends Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson and Meg Paul. He has also served as a choreographic assistant to River North’s award-winning dancer and choreographer, Stephanie Martinez. Mr. Smith has created works for many professional companies and schools including Joffrey Choreographers of Color, Dance Kaleidoscope, Island Moving Dance Company, Visceral Dance Chicago, Denver School of the Arts, James Madison University, Jacksonville University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Shenandoah University, Columbia College, Chicago Dance Crash, Northwestern University, and Oakland University. In 2015, Mr. Smith worked as an adjunct faculty member at Wayne State University. Currently, he is an MFA candidate at The University of Arizona School of Dance. Mr. Smith is currently on staff at the Academy of Ballet as a jazz instructor.