Meet the Instructors!
Amelia Breed has been choreographing and performing dance professionally for 10 years. In addition to the Knoxville dance scene, her work has been performed in Asheville, NC; Brooklyn, NY, Charleston, SC; Chattanooga, TN, and Lewisburg, WV. Amelia feels grateful to have studied with various artists including Art Bridgeman and Myrna Packer, Chris Burnside, Joy Davis, Cindy Dollar, Vicki Fink, Angie Hauser and Chris Aiken, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Tere O’Connor, Stephen Koplowitz, Leah Pinder, Shelley Senters, Nancy Stark Smith, Ray Elliott Swartz, Amanda Thom-Woodson, and Doug Varone and Dancers. Amelia founded the Chickamauga School of Art, a program offering art classes and camps to children and adults, 2009-2015. She founded BreedArts School of Art and Dance in 2015. Amelia has worked with children for 16 years in schools, museums, and art centers both in Virginia and Tennessee, and is in her ninth year teaching art and yoga at Garden Montessori in Knoxville, TN.
Semaj Johnson is a Knoxville native Hip-Hop dancer who has trained in the styles of Popping, Locking, Waving ,Electric Boogie, Battle, Tutting, Stepping, Capoeira, and Krump. He is an Austin-East Alumni and the Co-director of Align Movement Project. He has had the pleasure of dancing with Southern Sole, University of Tennessee Knoxville, Co-Choreography in What the Water Tells Me, and has taught workshops for Carpetbag Theater. Semaj believes that dance is a tool that we use to reinvent ourselves through self-empowerment and body awareness.
Debbie Whelan, for 40 years, has designed dance programs, curriculums and choreography for people of all ages in multiple settings: Meredith College, Penn State University, University of Tennessee, Beaumont Magnet Academy, private arts and community centers throughout the east coast, including a senior citizen dance company, “The Elderberry Dancers”, and the Tennessee Department of Education, where she co-authored the state’s current K-5 Dance Curriculum.
She is the architect of the first public elementary school dance program in the state of Tennessee, “Beaumont Magnet Academy” (1993) and the first children’s dance company in a Tennessee public school, “Beaumont Dance Works” (1995). She is the recipient of many awards and accolades, including: Outstanding Educator of the year, from TAD and Outstanding Accomplishments in Dance Education, from AAHPERD.
Her teaching philosophy is shaped by years of study with the Limon Company, Bill Evans, Peggy Hackney and Ann Green Gilbert. Her teaching of technique and composition is infused with the theories and work of Rudolf Von Laban and Irmgard Bartenieff.