Lisa O’Connor brings a wealth of training and experience to St. Pius X. She trained with the Gainesville Ballet and danced professionally with the Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater. She spent her summers studying with the Joffrey Ballet, Charleston Ballet Theater, Lexington Ballet, and the late master teacher, David Howard in New York City. While dancing with the Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater, Mrs. O’Connor expanded her performance range by working with Salvatore Aiello, Tom Pazik, Sara Yarborough, Winthrop Corey, and Andrew Kuharsky. Mrs. O’Connor graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Psychology and began her teaching career with the Duluth School of Ballet and the Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater. Mrs. O’Connor is a K-12 Georgia State certified dance educator, and she has completed certificate programs at UGA, the American Dance Festival, Giordano Dance Chicago, and the Creative Dance Center in Seattle, WA. She is also trained in Stott Pilates. In 2010, she earned a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. O’Connor began teaching at St. Pius X in the fall of 1998, served as the Fine Arts Department Chair from 1999-2013, and received the Excellence in Teaching Award in 2003 and 2008. In addition to directing the program, she also serves the entire department as the Fine Arts Coordinator.
For the past five years, Madison Blanchard has been teaching dance to children of all ages and in various styles including Ballet, Pointe, Contemporary, Modern, Jazz, Tap and Hip hop. Starting at the age of three, Mrs. Blanchard received her training at Georgia Academy of Dance & the Performing Arts. She became a member of Georgia Dance Theatre where she trained and performed for eight seasons. As a member of Georgia Dance Theatre, she performed in multiple classical and contemporary ballets dancing soloist roles such as Dew Drop in The Nutcracker and Peasant Pas Des Deux in Giselle. During her senior year of high school, Mrs. Blanchard was selected to participate in the work-study/mentorship program of GAD & the Performing Arts in conjunction with the Fayette County Board of Education. Outside of her high school training at GAD, Mrs. Blanchard received additional training at the American Ballet Theatre and the Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet summer intensives. Mrs. Blanchard holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of Georgia, as well as a certification in Dance Education for K-12 schools. Throughout her college training, she gained experience in production, dance training in technique and academia, and choreography. She was a member of the UGA Ballet Ensemble for two years and set choreography on other dance majors. Additionally, Mrs. Blanchard worked as an Arts Administrative Intern for two summers with the Joffrey Ballet School under Colleen Barnes where she also held positions such as rehearsal assistant and stage manager. After graduation, Mrs. Blanchard completed her Dance Education Certification at North Atlanta High School where she continued her training and experience in dance instruction, choreography, and production. For the past 2 years, she has been a dance educator and guest choreographer at Georgia Academy of Dance & The Performing Arts.