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Academy Director

Debi Janea was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She spent her earliest years in London, England and moved to Pensacola when she was 7 years old. Debi grew up on the Pensacola stage and in theaters throughout town. She trained from age 7 to 18 at the Ballet Pensacola Academy under the instruction of Rio Barlow, Bobby Ball, Nannette Grimm, Richard Steinert, and Christine Duhon.

At the age of 18, she was offered a contract with a professional company. After her years 7 as a soloist, Janea became a principal dancer at age 24 and has performed countless roles for the Pensacola community throughout the years, including; The Sugar Plum Fairy, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Katrina in The Headless Horseman. Debi has also performed on stages in North Carolina, Biloxi and Jackson, Mississippi, and Atlanta, Georgia. She has also performed for the Pensacola Cultural Center.

At age 17, Janea began her training to formally teach ballet while also beginning her career in choreography with the Pensacola Little Theatre. She is heavily trained in the Cecchetti method and is well versed in many other styles of ballet, including Vaganova, Bournanville, and Balanchine. Over the past 10 years of being a teacher and choreographer, Mrs. Debi has worked with several ballet schools and high schools in our community. She choreographs/teaches annually with the Pensacola Opera children’s summer program. Currently, she is also the choreographer for Navarre High School’s drama department. Debi began teaching dance there in 2018 and has directed/choreographed several musicals with them, such as Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, and Footloose. She has also choreographed pieces for students within the Ballet Pensacola Academy and Ballet Pensacola’s stage performances for 8 years.

In 2020 Debi Janea was appointed Academy Director and Interim Artistic Director of Ballet Pensacola. She directed the organization’s spring production, Snow White, to conclude their 2020-2021 Season.

Janea is now focused on the Ballet Pensacola Academy and its growing enrollment numbers. Debi Janea is an ABT® Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary Through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.   She recently also received a certification in Progressing Ballet Technique; Junior, Senior and Advanced programs.

Her curriculum for the academy includes the influence of her base training in the Cecchetti method while pulling valuable lessons from other styles. Debi implements her knowledge of student learning to develop young dancers into well-versed professionals ready for the ballet world. Her goal is to continue to train professional standard ballet techniques while creating a positive and safe place for all students and providing new opportunities for students and patrons in the Pensacola community.

"I believe it is my mission as a teacher to provide a positive and enriching education that not only grows each of my students as well rounded and capable dancers, but also teaches them valuable life long etiquette, skill, and dedication that they strive to incorporate into their lives beyond ballet.    
I have learned over the years of teaching that all students progress differently through their ballet training and it is important to me that I am able to teach all students at any point of their ballet journey and help bring them to their fullest potential. Ballet is so much more than just technique; it is artistry and etiquette, intuitiveness and observation, and I strive to teach students to bring life into their dancing while bringing dance into their lives. This combination of life and ballet is what creates the passion, dedication, and creativity that it takes, in addition to skill, to become a great dancer.
I am grateful for my teachers over the years that taught me that any one who chooses to put in the work can become a great performer. My teachers have shown me the importance of being passionate while still technical to achieve what I have been able to. I am fortunate to have grown up in a ballet academy and later company that performed large productions frequently and regularly on stage, and to have had a wide variety of dancing, teaching, learning, and performing opportunities all at a very influential age of my life.  I want the same feeling of importance, success, joy, love, and confidence for each and every one of my students."
                                                                                                                                                         Debi Janea