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.

Karen M. Kennedy joined the Mobile Ballet staff in 2012 in the new position of Managing Director & Development Director, bringing 30+ years of experience in non-profit management, governance, program development, marketing, PR and fundraising. Karen’s work has received numerous awards including the national MacEachern Award for health promotion, regional Addys and the Southern Public Relations Federation Lantern award. Mercy Medical’s volunteer group Mercy Magic received the national American Hospital Association HAVE award while under her direction.  Working collaboratively with outstanding volunteers, Karen has helped raise funds for Mobile-area non-profits, including annual appeals, special events, capital campaigns and planned gifts.

Through a management contract with her company PRADCOM, Karen also served as Executive Director of the Alabama Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association for ten years. Her work with the volunteer leadership of the Alabama Chapter garnered several national awards in Chapter Governance, Governmental Affairs and Conference Management. She also served as national President of APTA’s Council of Executive Personnel.

A graduate of Leadership Baldwin County, Karen is an active community volunteer and a passionate supporter of the arts.  Currently, she is serving on the Board of Directors of the Alabama Dance Council. She has participated in the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) annual Leadership Retreat four times, attended the statewide 2016 Arts Advocacy Conference in Montgomery and served on the ASCA grant review panel for dance for four years.  A member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Auburn University and has studied at the graduate level in the Master of Liberal Arts program at Spring Hill College.