Production Team

Luis Abella

Artistic Director

Luis was born in Cuba and began studying ballet in 1983 with many of the best ballet Masters of the country. While in Cuba he studied methodology and history of classical ballet. He graduated from the National School of Ballet in Havana, Cuba in 1991. Luis has performed all over the world as a Principal Dancer and soloist with many renowned ballet companies including the National Ballet of Cuba, under the direction of Alicia Alonso, Bellas Artes Nacional of Mexico, the Minnesota Ballet, and the University of Miami Ballet, under director Rosario Suarez. Luis is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 & partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.  Currently, Luis resides in St. Augustine, FL  where he opened Abella’s School of Dance, a pre-professional ballet school. 

Emily Masson

Assistant Director

Emily began dancing at the age of 5, taking classes in ballet, tap, jazz and modern. During high school she was a member of the St. Johns County Center for the Arts dance program. After that she attended Florida School of the Arts where she majored in Dance Studio Management. Emily continued her studies through various summer intensives, including Atlanta Ballet. She began teaching, as an assistant, at the age of 15 and has taught at many studios throughout Florida, as well as running the Dance Department at Matanzas High School in Palm Coast. She has performed all over the state of Florida, including Universal Studios and Disney World in Orlando as well as in the St. Augustine Ballet Nutcracker. For the past 5 years Emily has been teaching and performing in the Boston area and was the Studio Administrator and Registrar for the Joanne Langione Dance Center in Newton, Ma. This past summer Emily attended a teacher seminar for Pointe instruction at the American Academy of Ballet in New York. 

Robert O'Leary

Scenic & Lighting Designer

Robert O’Leary has been a professor and Head of Scenic and Lighting Design at The Florida School of the Arts for eleven years.  There,  Robert has designed such shows as, Fiddler on the Roof, Night of the Iguana, Little Shop of Horrors, Big River, Once on this Island, and Meet Me in St Louis  for which he has won multiple design awards from The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.  Robert also serves the 9 states of the southeast region as the chair of the design committee for the South Eastern Theatre Conference.  In 2004 he completed his M.F.A. in Scenic design at Virginia Commonwealth University.  While in Richmond he designed and directed a number of productions for the University and Virginia regional theatres receiving several national awards for his work on such productions as The Boys Next Door, Our Town, Breath, Boom, and Proof.  Robert’s design work has been seen in a number of theatres including The Limelight Theatre, Seaside Musical Theatre, The Barksdale Theatre, The Shaw Center for the Performing Arts, The Actor’s Theatre, The Roper Theatre, The Stables Theatre, and The Little Theatre of Norfolk.  Robert is also one of the original co-founders of Chesapeake, Virginia’s Shakespeare in the Grove project.  There he designed and performed in such shows as, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night,and As You Like It.  Robert’s Current projects include the scene design for Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet at Florida School of the Arts, the recent set design for Sweet Bird of Youth at the Limelight Theatre.  He is also working on the restoration of Downtown Palatka’s “100 Block” where Robert has been called in as a designer to help rediscover the beauty of the historical riverfront architecture.

Virginie Woodward

Costume Design & Construction

Virginie Lorang-Woodward is a French native, born in Paris, where she received a Master’s Degree in American Civilization from La Sorbonne. She moved to Florida in 1999 to pursue a graduate degree at Florida State University. She learned to sew from her grandmother and has always loved ballet. She has been making ballet costumes since 2010. She currently teaches French at UNF.

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