Since 2002, following the passing of Anneliese von Oettingen and the new role of Studio Director Laura Hughes, a collaboration of sympathetic souls formed sharing the express vision of preserving and continuing the work of Anneliese von Oettingen. Since the formation of the School as a non-for-profit organization, those friends and family forming the staff and board of directors see their roles as guardians of a precious commodity.
Cornelia Berns: Ballet Mistress, Board Member
Cornelia Berns is the daughter of Anneliese von Oettingen and as such has witnessed and assisted in the life work of Anneliese more than any other person. We are thrilled for the opportunity to share in her expertise both in the Art of Ballet and in the Art of Teaching. Conni performed with the Cincinnati Ballet Company, and the AVO Ballet Company. In addition to training with Anneliese, Conni also studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory, with Hanya Holm’s summer program in Colorado Springs, with Frederick Franklin for Les Sylphides, and Joseph Levine with the Cincinnati Community Ballet Company. Conni taught with Anneliese for more than 40 years, eventually managing the studios in Western Hills, Wyoming, and Pleasant Ridge. She also taught at Moss Lake in New York State when Anneliese was unable to teach, and assisted her in Eagle Bay many summers. Conni taught sessions at Hyde Park and began the College Hill Branch of the AVO Studio. She was responsbile for the Western Branch of the Kinderballet Company. Conni graduated with honors from UC with a B.A. in Romance Languages in French, a B.S. in Education, and later a Masters Degree in Special Education. Over the years she has taught kindergarten, grade school, high school, and college, and tutored all levels of students in all areas.
Anna Garcia: Instructor, Rehearsal Coach
Anna Garcia began dancing at the AVO School of Ballet in 1994. She has been a member of the Cincinnati Kinderballet Company since 1998; playing a variety of roles such as Clara from the Nutcracker, the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker, and Peter in Peter Pan. As an AVO Apprentice, she has worked with Conni Berns as a demonstrator and instructor for both the Cheviot and Batesville locations. Anna has worked as a teacher since 2003 and currently choreographs and coaches for the Kinderballet. Anna currently works as a microbiologist for Q Laboratories.
Jaymee Bentle: Instructor, Rehearsal Coach
Jaymee Bentle began studying dance in 1994, and has studied at the Anneliese von Oettingen School of Ballet since 2003. In 2005 Jaymee became a Kinderballet member and performed the role of Nana in The Velveteen Rabbit. Since then she has performed roles such as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Peter Rabbit in The Tales of Beatrix Potter, and originated the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. She was an assistant teacher at Love to Dance Studio from 2002 to 2011. In 2004 she joined the AVO Apprenticeship Program to learn Anneliese’s teaching methods, and has taught for AVO since 2006. She has been a rehearsal coach and choreographer for the Kinderballet since 2014.
Patty Pille: Instructor, Rehearsal Coach
Patty Pille studied dance with one of the founding mothers of Cincinnati Ballet, Rita O’Neill, studying ballet, tap and jazz. While there, she danced many lead rolls and planned to go professional until an injury sidelined her dream. She began teaching in 1980 and found she had a real passion for it. In 1992 she began her own studio “Patty Pille’s School of Dance” until 2015. During her 23 years as a studio owner she choreographed many shows and had a successful dance team. Patty loves working with children and is very excited to be part of the AVO family.
Jaclyn Sidow: Instructor
Jaclyn Sidow began studying dance in 1998. She started studying at the AVO school of ballet in 2001. As a member of the Cincinnati Kinderballet she performed roles from the Sugar Plum fairy in the Nutcracker, the Firebird, and Tinkerbell in Peter Pan. Since then she has worked with Tevlin Ballet Company, Cincinnati Ballet Academy and CCM Preparatory department where she has performed roles such as; Odette in Swan Lake, the duck in Peter and the Wolf, and has choreographed her own piece. She has worked as a demonstrator at both AVO and CCM prep. And currently teaches stARTS! at CCM preparatory and co-teaches at AvO. Jaclyn was accepted to the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music Ballet program in 2015 but has decided to study physical therapy at the University of Cincinnati to achieve her ultimate goal of becoming a physical therapist for dancers. She continues to take ballet class regularly to continue to improve her technique and fulfill her passion for ballet.
Laura Taphorn: Instructor, Production Manager, Board Member
Laura Taphorn has been practicing yoga since 1997 and is working towards her 300 hour yoga teacher training program with World Peace Yoga and her 200 hour Yoga Teacher certification with the Yoga Alliance. Through teaching yoga, she seeks to help students become more peaceful and centered, as well as physically invigorated, strong, and flexible. Laura has studied Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern throughout her career. She has been a member of the Kai Kweol Dance Company. In addition to teaching and practicing yoga, Laura teaches Environmental Education, and also enjoys hiking, biking and kayaking.
Michele Frey: Artist, Studio Manager, Board Member
Michele Frey is a working artist and owner of Prism Partners which specializes in stained glass art. Her organization skills among her many other talents have been invaluable to the AVO school. Michele has done everything from answering and returning calls, overseeing billing and registration, acting as liaison to other parents at the school, creating programs and visual displays, writing newsletters, building props, sets, painting scenery, sewing costumes, and making sure the studio is clean and neat. She leads the “parent pit crew” who transport and set up sets and costuming for our performances. For end of year concerts she organizes flower sales, photo sales, and other fundraisers, as well as acting as emcee and representative. She is a constant friend and advocate for the school. She resides in Harrison, Ohio with her husband and three children, all of whom have performed with the Kinderballet.
Laura Hughes: Artistic Consultant
Laura Hughes began as an apprentice instructor for Anneliese and Conni in the fall of 1984. In 1989 after attaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Xavier University she was given responsibility for Anneliese’s Western Hills Branch, and later the Pleasant Ridge, Wyoming, and Hyde Park Branches. She was given responsibility for the Western Branch of the Kinderballet in 1989, assuming full responsibility for the performing companies in 1994. Laura worked as a camp counselor, cook and assistant at the Eagle Bay Camp for 10 years. In June of 2002 Laura and her family moved to Arkansas, and later to West Virginia and North Carolina. Laura has worked as an independent choreographer, artist, costume designer, and educator while continuing as Artistic Director of the AVO School of Ballet. Currently Laura lives in Greendale, Wisconsin with husband, Burg, son Burgoyne, and daughter Bronwyn.