conservatory (n.)

– a home for foundlings
– a school specializing in one of the fine arts
– to guard, observe, to keep safe and/or sound

WHO WE ARE

About Wilmington Conservatory

Our excellent faculty has backgrounds in a variety of Ballet methods – Vaganova (Russian), Cecchetti (Italian), RAD (Royal Academy of Dance), and Balanchine/SAB styles. We believe that diversity in training also exposes our dancers to the international world of dance and helps the student to be well versed and adaptable. Through many years of experience we have developed a curriculum-based program that follows a structured monthly class plan. WCFA offers fun and creative classes in ballet, jazz, tap, and acro/tumbling for ages 18 mos-7 that is designed to nurture the young child’s natural desire for movement. For ages 8 and older, we offer classical ballet, pre-pointe/ pointe, variations/repetoire and conditioning with added opportunities to learn other dance forms, such as modern, jazz, improvisation, tap, hip hop, Pilates, Yoga, theatre/acting, ballroom, and acro/tumbling where we implement traditional technique basics in a friendly, encouraging environment.

We believe that every child is creative and it is our wish to grow and inspire them through the arts.

Statistics show that children that participate in the arts excel in creativity, communication, confidence, problem solving, academic performance and many more.

Meet Our Staff

  • Cory Smith
    Cory Smith
    Founder/Director
  • Joshua Wise
    Joshua Wise
    Assistant Director, Contemporary, Ballet, Acting/Theatre, Visual Arts, Media & Graphics
  • Lesa Rogers Broadhead
    Lesa Rogers Broadhead
    Modern, Ballet, & Yoga
  • Sarah Mason
    Sarah Mason
    Young Division & Music Together
  • Heather Wells
    Heather Wells
    Ballet, Modern, & Pilates
  • Amy King
    Amy King
    Acrobatics
  • Rachel Hemingway
    Rachel Hemingway
    Musical Theatre/Acting
  • Rhiain Wise
    Rhiain Wise
    Ballet
  • Katie Deese
    Katie Deese
    Acting/Theatre
Cory Smith
Founder/Director

Cory has studied with such teachers as Jacque D’Amboise, David Howard, Anne Goodrum, George Lyssenko, Lauri Worril Biggs & Kathy Thibodeaux and was invited to dance at such places as North Carolina School of the Arts, Duke University, East Carolina University, American Dance Festival, Bellhaven College, Carolina Ballet, Ballet Magnificat, Charleston Ballet, Moscow Ballet, Cape Fear Theatre Ballet, Glory Dance Company & The Wilmington Ballet Company.Cory has been a featured dancer in many musical theatre productions and movies. Mrs. Smith is a certified member of Dance Masters of America since 1997, where she won the title of Choreographer of the Year in 1999 & 2000. Her original choreography has been performed by many companies in Washington DC, New York city and throughout the southeast region.Cory is also certified by The International Ballet Competition teacher training program where she studied under David Howard. She has directed & choreographed many productions such as “Sleeping Beauty”,” A Christmas Festival”,” Coppelia”, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and many other seasonal concerts. Many of her students have been accepted into prestigious schools such as: School of American Ballet in NY, Boston Ballet, Kirov Academy, Joffrey Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet Company, North Carolina Dance Theatre, North Carolina School of the Arts, American Ballet Theatre in NY, Harrid Conservatory, Carolina Ballet, Storling Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Austin Ballet & Broadway Dance Center in NY.

Student testimonials:“Cory Smith has found a great balance between worshiping God through dance, and also still having beautiful technique. I feel so blessed to be a part of Turning Pointe, and Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts.”

Get in touch with Cory

Joshua Wise
Assistant Director, Contemporary, Ballet, Acting/Theatre, Visual Arts, Media & Graphics
Lesa Rogers Broadhead
Modern, Ballet, & Yoga

Lesa Rogers Broadhead, MFA, returned to her hometown of Wilmington, NC in 2010 after being away for 30 years. She has taught classical ballet and contemporary dance at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, where she received her MFA; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA (coordinator of ballet); Huntingdon College, Montgomery, AL (coordinator of dance); and the University of Akron, Akron, OH (adjunct dance faculty). Mrs. Broadhead’s choreography includes reconstructing classical ballet favorites and contemporary works with themes on historical and societal issues, such as the Holocaust. In 1999 she presented three of her Holocaust related dance works at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. cosponsored by the museum and the Embassy of Israel. In addition, she was artist-in-residence at De Montfort University, Bedford, England choreographing her first international dance work. Professionally she has performed with The Cleveland Opera and the Atlanta Ballet. Presently she teaches at Wilmington Conservatory of Fine Arts, DREAMS of Wilmington, and at Brunswick Community College where she teaches Dance Appreciation seated and online. Mrs. Broadhead also serves as a Board Member for The Wilmington Symphony Orchestra.

Sarah Mason
Young Division & Music Together
Heather Wells
Ballet, Modern, & Pilates

Heather has enjoyed dance classes since she was three years old. She has been a classical dance instructor in Wilmington for 15 years specializing in modern, jazz, ballet, and pointe. After training with instructors of various styles in Houston, Huntsville (AL), Birmingham (AL), Atlanta, New York and Paris, Heather was awarded dance scholarships for college, but was unable to pursue that route due to an injury. That change of course eventually led her to explore yoga and Pilates, and the experience fostered a greater appreciation for the gift of dance. Heather truly appreciates the opportunity to share her love of dance with students of all ages. Heather has choreographed and performed for the North Carolina Dance Festival, as well as other local shows, and danced in a movie filmed here in Wilmington. She is a certified instructor of yoga, Pilates mat classes and Pilates reformer method. Heather has a degree in Marine Biology and works as a research specialist for the North Carolina Coastal Reserve. She is happy to be a dancing scientist and encourages her students to follow their dreams.

Amy King
Acrobatics

Amy King was introduced to gymnastics at the age of 6 after being spotted by her first coach as having great gymnastics ability. During her initial training, she was cast as “Angelica” in the movie, “Little Monsters” with Howie Mandel and Fred Savage.After competing for many years, winning a state championship and competing on the regional level, she made the switch to cheerleading in high school. Her co-ed team competed in the UCA National Championships at Disney World. After high school, she received an athletic college scholarship for cheerleading to attend Methodist College in Fayetteville, NC. Her college team competed in the UCA National College Championships and was ranked nationally.Amy started teaching gymnastics when she was 17 years old. She has also taught cheerleading and basic dance at Gymnastics Unlimited in Wilmington, NC, at Young’s Gymnastics and Cheerleading in Wake Forest, NC, and the Coastal Tumblegym in Carolina Beach, NC.Amy’s training in gymnastics was within a very strict coaching philosophy and her childhood was spent in the gym. Although she is grateful for the intense training and employs a measure of that intensity herself, she tempers it with a kind and personal touch. In 2012, she became licensed in Zumba. Amy loves to study and continue her training through USA Gymnastics workshops and webinars. She is a wife and mom to four children and is currently pursuing her degree in Sign Language Interpreting. Teaching Acro and Gymnastics gives her an outlet to continue to enjoy a sport she has loved for more than 30 years.

Get in touch with Amy

Rachel Hemingway
Musical Theatre/Acting

Rachel’s passion for theatre started as a child. Her father ran a professional movie ranch/school in Arizona and Connecticut and was a professional stunt-man and an amateur actor. Because of this, Rachel grew up immersed in acting, singing, and dancing. Rachel and her husband, Erik became involved in the church and oversaw the children’s ministry which included musical theatre. They also implemented an adult skit ministry. After having children, Rachel’s passion for theatre grew to teaching drama to homeschoolers, and she has led a vibrant homeschool acting program for 15 years. She has experience directing musicals, dramas, and leading drama clubs for ages 5-adult. She continues to immerse herself in her personal study of theatre and all that the art form entails.

Get in touch with Rachel

Rhiain Wise
Ballet
Katie Deese
Acting/Theatre

Katie received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Georgia in Athens and was a music and theatre arts educator for 12 years. Her teaching career included experiences in public, private, and charter schools in North Carolina and Georgia, working with students from early childhood through adults. In 1998, Katie received a Grammy Award for her performance as a vocalist on the Classical Album of the Year. In 2015, Katie received her Master of Science degree in Instructional Technology and began working as an instructional designer at UNCW. Katie lives in Wilmington with her husband and two young daughters, and the entire Deese family is involved in local community theatrical and musical endeavors.

BEYOND THE CONSERVATORY

Student Accomplisments

At WCFA, we recognize each student’s creative talents and incorporate them into the disciplined arts that are classical ballet. Our goal is to encourage each dancer to take great pride in their accomplishments and to enhance their eagerness to learn. Whether a student is working toward a career in dance or enjoys dancing as a rewarding extra-curricular activity, the dancer’s changing body is a most fragile and important instrument which deserves only the finest and most proper instruction.

Our students have been accepted into many prestigious schools such as American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Boston Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Kirov Academy-Washington, DC, North Carolina Dance Theatre, North Carolina School of the Arts, Storling Dance Company, Ad Deum Dance Company, School of American Ballet and Belhaven University. They have danced on Broadway, on cruise ships, and many professional shows as well.