Debra Jo Hughes
Ms. Hughes has danced with several ballet companies such as Capitol City Ballet, the Terri Lewis Dance Ensemble, Bay Ballet and Ballet Theatre International. She has also danced in films, theatrical productions and television, working with choreographers such as Michael Smuin, Debbie Allen and Chet Walker. Debra is currently on the faculty of STEPS on Broadway. She has also conducted dance classes for Pace University, The School at Columbia University, the University of South Florida and the Florida Dance Festival.
Debra completed her BFA with honors while on faculty as an Associate Professor of Dance at Long Island University. Previously, she has also been on the faculties of the Edge Performing Arts Center and Studio F in Los Angeles. Her interest in the fitness industry led her to earn instructor and personal trainer certifications by AFAA, ACE, AAAI/ISMA Pre-Post Natal and NYSC Adv. Training Systems. Debra holds a 200 hour yoga certification from Sondra Loring and Ragunath. She is currently certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and holds a Senior Exercise Specialist certificate.
Choreography credits include productions for Foxwoods Casino, the dinner theatre show “Tell ’Em Joe Sent Ya” in Santa Monica, CA, commercials for the Home Shopping Network, and various dance concerts, nightclub and fashion shows. Her piece “Passing Through” was chosen by Ballet Builders to be presented by its 2006 New Choreographers On Pointe performance at Florence Gould Hall, NYC and received favorable reviews. In addition she was awarded an Individual Artist Grant by the Pinellas County Arts Council for her work creating and producing the “Sunset Dance Festival” in Treasure Island and Gulfport, Florida and the television show, “Discover Dance!” which was cablecast throughout the Tampa Bay Area.
Influenced by the Vagonova and Paris Opera training methods, Ms. Hughes’ classes utilize the principles of correct alignment and the aesthetic classical ballet ideal while working within the anatomical confines of individual dancers. Classes also stress musicality, dynamics of movement, use of opposition, co-ordination of the entire body and artistic expression. Also encouraged is the use of breath and the release of excess tension which is necessary for the body to more sensitively develop the neuromuscular connections and responses that allow one to dance in a balanced and fluid manner. Combinations at the barre and in the center are structured to help dancers achieve the ultimate goals of that day’s class. Careful correction and attention is generously given to all students.
Ms. Hughes currently instructs HVAPA students in ballet levels 1 through 3, adult ballet, and fitness classes.