Charleston Dance Institute's Faculty

Stephen Gabriel, Co-Founder/ Director

Stephen Gabriel trained extensively with master teachers Michael Simms of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Elizabeth Hard of the Kansas City Ballet and was awarded full scholarships from both Duke University and Stephens College where he earned his B.F.A degree in dance. His professional performing credits include seasons with the Richmond Ballet, Ballet Omaha, and as principal dancer for Orlando’s Southern Ballet Theatre and the Charleston Ballet Theatre.

Throughout his career he danced lead roles in many of the classics as well as works by Lambros Lambrou, Mauricio Wainrot, Lew Christensen and NYCB’s Christopher Fleming. Stephen has also performed for renowned modern choreographers Doug Varone, Peter Pucci, Mark Taylor and the Humphrey-Weidman Repertory Company. During his time with the Charleston Ballet Theatre he served as the company’s Ballet Master, a teacher in the CBT School, and as the Founding Director of the critically acclaimed Broadway Dance Project that has produced seven successful premieres to the Charleston community and Piccolo Spoleto audiences. Also during his tenure, he had the honor of working closely with Repetiteurs of the George Balanchine Trust in the staging and coaching of the company’s Balanchine Repertory. He has also been a guest teacher for the Tallahassee Ballet, Westport Ballet, and the Charleston County School of the Arts.

Jonathan Tabbert, Co-Founder/Director

Jonathan began his dance training at the Dayton Ballet School and then received a scholarship to study at The Harid Conservatory, where he was awarded a number of dance honors. In 1999 Jonathan completed his training at the School of the Hartford Ballet with supplemental training from the Houston Ballet Academy and American Ballet Theatre. Jonathan had an illustrious performance career as a principle dancer with the Charleston Ballet Theatre as well as being a guest artist for the North Carolina State Ballet and the Greenville Ballet. After twelve years of being a valued staff member of the Charleston Ballet School he became the director of the Palmetto City Youth Ballet. He also held the title of company teacher for the Charleston Ballet Theatre, with his choreography being a staple in the repertoire as well as receiving a performance grant from the Harkness Foundation for his ballet “Jubilee”. Other credits include Guest Teacher and/or Choreographer for the Gem City Ballet, Victoria Ballet Theatre, Burklyn Ballet Theatre and The Charleston County School of the Arts.

Marka Danielle

Marka Danielle has been performing Classical and Modern Ballet along with Dance for Musical Theatre since she was nine years old. Marka was raised and trained in Baltimore, MD and was a full scholarship student at both at the Boston Conservatory and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where she was invited into the Ailey’s prestigious Ailey II Performance Company. Having been offered a job to teach in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marka worked nearly 8 years there training dancers and actors, as well as performing in Concert Dance, numerous International Musical Theater Productions, Television and Movies. She has also studied anatomy, physiology, kinesiology and pedagogy, in order to train dancers and non-dancers alike to be HEALTHIER of body and mind. She is a Corrective Exercise Specialist with the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

After a cervical Spinal Cord Injury, C4-6, in 1994 that should have left Marka paralyzed, she used her own Movement Therapy program, Ultimate Physicality that came to be her personal “saving grace” and kept her out of a wheelchair. In 2001, she was invited to teach this technique at the Medical University of SC and other dance and fitness studios. After a second SCI in 2012, that left her an incomplete quadriplegic, C3-7, Marka now takes her passion for dance to a whole new level, bringing to anyone who wants to watch and/or learn, her expression of the Art that she has always loved to share, along with the message that SCI (or other physical challenges) doesn’t mean life as you knew it has ended, it just means the journey has changed directions.

Jodie Davis Caplea

Jodie began her dance training in Ohio under the direction of Nan Klinger with the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet. Other training includes Giacobbe Academy and the New Orleans Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Chatauqua Institute, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Jodie earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Wright State University while performing with Dayton Ballet. After college, Jodie performed  with Richmond Ballet and then Charleston Ballet Theatre.

After retiring from dance Jodie earned her Montessori certification and taught at a Montessori preschool for 3 years before starting her own family.  Now a mother of 3, she has been teaching ballet to preschoolers for 10 years and now she is thrilled to be joining the team at CDI.

Gwenyth Kelley

Originally from Boston MA, Gwenyth formally trained at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she graduated and went on to dance professionally with Ballet Austin and Charleston Ballet Theatre. She also studied at such summer intensives as San Francisco Ballet, ABT New York and Orange County, Miami City Ballet, Hungarian State Opera, and Ballet Austin. While in Austin she was enrolled in the pedagogy program. As well as being a guest teacher at Ballet Spartanburg, she finished a summer intensive with Charleston Dance Institute in which she was greatly enjoyed by all her students. She is very excited to be teaching at Charleston Dance Institute and looks forward to a wonderful year ahead!

Heather Cahoon

Heather Cahoon began her formal ballet training at Hilton Head Dance Theater with John and Karena Brock-Carlyle, a former principal of ABT. Throughout her years studying with them she also trained at various summer intensives in Washington, Orlando, California, New York, and Austria – with teachers such as Fernando Bujones, Fernando Coehlo, Cynthia Gregory, Martine van Hamel, and Peter Breuer. After high school Heather attended SUNY Purchase studying with Ted Kivitt and later Charlotte Ballet's conservatory with Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride. Her professional career includes working alongside and touring with Salzburg Ballet in Austria, Israel Ballet in Israel, Gÿorii Ballett in Hungary, and then most recently with Ballet Evolution in Charleston where she continues to dance. She has also been teaching with various studios since 2010. Heather is excited to be working with Charleston Dance Institute!

Haley-Jean Race

Haley-Jean Race began her dance training at the Abigail Francisco School of Classical Ballet in Maryland. She went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Radford University in 2016 with a BFA in Dance performance. While pursuing her dance degree, she was a Trainee with the Roanoke City Ballet, and upon graduation, she joined Ballet Evolution. In addition to choreographing and teaching throughout college, Haley-Jean also earned her certification as an Ultrabarre fitness instructor. She has had the pleasure of guest teaching contemporary, tap, ballet, and improvisation classes at several summer intensives including the Radford University Ballet Youth International Summer Intensive and the Abigail Francisco School of Classical Ballet Summer Intensive. Haley-Jean is excited to be joining the CDI’s team of instructors and looking forward to the year ahead!

Brad Moranz

Brad has appeared on Broadway in the role of Cosmo in "Singin' in the Rain" and later re-created the role for the national touring production. Other Broadway and off-Broadway credits include the role of Groucho in "A Day in Hollywood, A Night in the Ukraine", and Seymour in "Little shop of Horrors." Other national tours include A Chorus Line and Me and My Girl. His film and TV credits include the role of Fred Astaire in the feature film Radioland Murders, and guest appearances on the series "Matlock" and "Surface". 

Tonia Heidenreich

A native of Massachusetts, Ms. Heidenreich has had a passion for dance for long as she can remember. She began ballet classes at the Dance Education Center in Clinton, MA and received her formal training at Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts and at the Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education. At 19, she was offered a contract to join the Charleston Ballet Theatre where she danced for 6 seasons. During her time with CBT, Ms. Heidenreich performed everything from the modern and contemporary works of David Parsons and local choreographer Jill Bahr to the classical Sleeping Beauty (Diamond Fairy) and George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Allegro Brillante, and Who Cares?.

While still performing, Tonia completed her classical Pilates certification which led to her eventual exit from the professional dance world. Today, as well as raising her two children, Ms. Heidenreich continues to rehab dancers and teach injury prevention though the Pilates Method. She is honored to be part of the amazing staff at CDI where she can share her love of Ballet and movement.

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    Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

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