Katia Garza is a native of Piedras Negras Coahuila, Mexico and trained in Monterrey, Mexico in the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza de Monterrey, graduating in 1995. After graduation, she joined Ballet de Monterrey and after six months was promoted to Soloist and a year later Principal Dancer, under the direction of Fernando Bujones. In 1997, she was invited by the Compania Nacional de Danza in Mexico City to dance the Black Swan in Swan Lake and also performed as a guest artist with Panama Ballet. In 1999, Katia won the silver medal in International Ballet Competition in Peru, the only medal awarded that year.

In 2000, Katia joined the Orlando Ballet as Principal dancer, a position she held for 14 years. Her repertoire as a principal character includes Don Quixote, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Fille Mal Gardee, Coppelia, Cinderella, Corsario, Flames of Paris, La Bayadere, Firebird, La Vivandiere, Esmeralda, Arlequinade, The Nutcracker, Sinatra Songs, Serenade, Who Cares, Upper Room, Festival Fantasy, and Tarantela.  Katia represented Mexico in the Jazz World Congress in 2001 and was a finalist at the 2002 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS.

Katia has choreographed original full length ballets A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Little Mermaid. Mobile Ballet will premiere her new production of The Nutcracker in 2017 and Northwest Florida Ballet will premiere her Peter Pan in 2018. She has also choreographed numerous works for ballet companies throughout the United States and for neoclassical solos for Youth American Grand Prix students, including La Bayadere, Luca Bottleblue (Original Story), Paquita, Corsaire 2nd act, Don Quixote, Raymonda, La Esmeralda and Giselle.

Katia has worked as a choreographer and master teacher with numerous ballet companies and private students throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Japan, including Ballet de Monterrey (Mexico), Youth Ballet of Monterrey, ESMD, Tallahassee Ballet, Franceschi Arts Academy ( Puerto Rico), Orlando Ballet, Orlando Ballet 2, Orlando Ballet School, Northwest Florida Ballet, Jackson Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, Midland Festival Ballet (Texas), Russian Academy (Sarasota), Studio 321 (Indiana), UNAM (Mexico), Company Taller Coreografico de la UNAM ( Mexico) and others. In 2013, she was chosen as one of the most successful Mexican choreographers and invited to return to Mexico and choreograph a ballet the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico which is now included as a repertory of the Taller Coreografico de la UNAM.

IRG Productions made an inspirational documentary Katia Garza My Life in Dance which premiered in Mexico and in the United States and is now available on itunes, amazon and at Katia was recognized with the Outstanding Teacher award in the Youth American Grand Prix Semifinals in 2015.  She has also been recognized for her leadership in the arts community with numerous awards, including recognition from Casa de Mexico and the Mexican Consulate in Orlando and the award of Outstanding Female in the Arts in the “Hispanic Women That Make the Difference” program in Central Florida.  Katia became an American citizen in 2011. She and her husband Israel Rodriquez live in Orlando, Florida.

Director, Mobile Ballet School

Zoe has served on the Mobile Ballet faculty for 22 years, including 11 years as Associate Director of the Mobile Ballet School at our Eastern Shore location. As a Principal dancer with Mobile Ballet, she performed numerous roles including Clara in The Nutcracker and originated the roles of Mina in Winthrop Corey’s Dracula and Stella in Winthrop Corey’s A Streetcar Named Desire.

Zoe began her ballet studies at Lee Weatherby School of Dance at the age of five, under the direction of Ann Duke. She continued her studies with Vasile Petrutiu, Homer Garza and Winthrop Corey. Zoe attended Oglethorpe University in Atlanta and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of South Alabama, graduating magna cum laude. She was a scholarship student at Steps on Broadway and has choreographed for Playhouse in the Park and Bayside Academy. Zoe lives in Daphne with her husband Darin and their children, Cameron and Amelia.

We are grateful for “Miss Lee” and her very significant influence on the development of a strong classical ballet community in the greater Mobile area since the 1950s. Her extensive training includes her experience as a student at the School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York, as well as the Washington School of Ballet. She founded the Lee Weatherby School of Ballet in Mobile, which trained generations of dancers in the greater Mobile area, and co-founded the Mobile Civic Ballet Company, one of our outstanding predecessor organizations.
After moving to Natchez, Mississippi, Lee co-founded the Natchez Ballet Academy and was active in the dance community as a teacher and choreographer, including serving as a longtime supporter and volunteer for the internationally sanctioned USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, since its inception. The Lee Weatherby School of Dance in Mobile continued under the direction of Ann Duke, who later became the Ballet Mistress of the Mobile Ballet School and Mobile Ballet Company.
Upon her return to Alabama after her husband’s retirement, Lee joined the faculty of the Mobile Ballet School at the Eastern Shore location. We recognized Lee as the Honorary Chairman of our Nutcracker Charity Ball last year and celebrated her longstanding contribution to Mobile Ballet, as well as the greater Mobile community. We appreciate Miss Lee’s willingness to step back into a leadership role and we know she will be an incredible asset to both our students and our faculty.

Noel is a native of Brandon, Mississippi and studied at the Mississippi Metropolitan Dance Academy under Jennifer Beasley. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance, where she was a member of the Alabama Repertory Dance Theater for four years. After college, Noel danced professionally for two seasons with Alabama Ballet under direction of Tracey Alvey. With the Alabama Ballet she performed in works by George Balanchine, Teri Weksler, Christopher Bruce, Agnes de Mille and Anthony Tutor. Noel also danced with Southern Danceworks, under direction of Teri Weksler, and Sanspointe Dance Company, under direction of Shellie Chambers. While dancing in Birmingham, Noel was on faculty with Samford University and Birmingham Dance Theater. Noel is a former Ballet Mistress, Mobile Ballet Company, and Associate Director of Mobile Ballet School. As a principal dancer with Mobile Ballet, Noel was known for her roles as Swanilda in Coppelia, the title role in Cinderella, Mina in Winthrop Corey’s Dracula and the Dewdrop and Arabian in The Nutcracker.