Joseph Phillips, Artistic Director

Touted as the “golden boy of ballet” for winning more gold medals from prestigious international ballet competitions than any American danseur, Joseph Phillips’ numerous awards include top honors from the 2008 Seoul International Competition, the 2002 USA International Ballet Competition, the 2002 Prague International Ballet Competition, the 2002 Youth America Grand Prix Finals, and the 2002 Youth America Grand Prix Regional competitions. Joseph was a laureate of the Les Etoiles de Ballet2000 Critic’s Award in both Cannes and Paris in 2007, and was given the honor of lighting the Olympic Flame at the opening ceremonies of the 2006 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS.

Cited by critics for being “elegant, imperious and yet impulsive with very graceful and dazzling leaps, jumps and turns,” Joseph had been a premiere principal danseur of the Mariinsky Theater Primorsky Stage in Vladivostok, Russia, since 2010. Previous companies he had performed with include the American Ballet Theatre (2008-2013), Miami City Ballet (2006-2008), and San Francisco Ballet (2003-2006). Joseph Phillips joined Ballet Manila as resident guest principal in 2017, and then as guest artist at Ballet Philippines. Joining Ballet Academy of Charleston in January 2021 as Artistic Director, he will continue to travel the world as a highly esteemed international guest artist.

Among his notable classical roles are those of Basilo in Don Quixote, the Prince in The Nutcracker, Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Ali and Conrad in Le Corsaire, Franz in Coppelia, and Prince Desire and the Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty. He also has an extensive repertoire of modern and contemporary roles, including those from works by William Forsythe, Kenneth MacMillan, Alexei Ratmansky, Twyla Tharp, and Paul Taylor, among others.


Corina Fimian, Owner

Corina Fimian was born in Switzerland, Corina Fimian and emigrated to the United States of America in 1996. She took over Ballet Academy of Charleston after the previous owner, Ms. Mara, retired in 2007 and has since successfully lead and grown the school.



jessica lighthartJessica Lighthart

Jessica Lighthart is from Boca Raton, FL, where she trained with Boca Ballet Theatre under the direction of Dan Guin and Jane Tyree. While at Boca Ballet Theatre, Jessica danced in Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Les Sylphides, Coppelia, La Bayadere and much more. Jessica, a graduate from the College of Charleston, has been teaching at Ballet Aca-demy of Charleston for 10 years. During the years 2016-2018, she completed the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy Teacher Certification Program in New York City for all levels.

Douglas Smoak

Douglas Smoak studied with Robert Ivey Ballet in Charleston before attending the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for dance. He began his professional career with Nevada Dance Theatre, and then moved on to Florida, where he danced professionally with Sarasota Ballet and Ballet Eddy Toussaint. Mr. Smoak began teaching while in Florida, and continued teaching upon his return to South Carolina.


Sarah Bowdoin

Sarah Bowdoin toured internationally as a pre-professional and then went on to study dance at The University of Oklahoma, graduating with a BFA in Ballet Performance from the College of Fine Arts. In addition, Sarah completed a second degree in Organizational Studies. She performed with Charlotte Ballet and received additional training at the intensives of Kansas City Ballet, Ballet West, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Carolina Ballet, and the Académie Américaine de Danse de Paris in Paris, France. Sarah is a company member of Ballet Evolution of Charleston.

Natasha Nast

Natasha Nast began dancing at the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Russian Ballet Academy of Maryland and at 17, was accepted into the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Graduate Program, where she was one of the few student dancers selected to perform company roles in several classics including Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker, as well as George Balanchine’s Western Symphony, Lew Christensen’s Beauty and the Beast, and Derek Deane’s Alice in Wonderland and Romeo and Juliet. Natasha currently dances with Ballet Evolution.

Amanda Evans

Amanda Evans is a ballet dancer from Copper Canyon, TX. She began her early training at The Ballet Conservatory in Lewisville, TX where she danced with Lakecities Ballet Theatre. She has also danced with Oklahoma Festival Ballet and Contemporary Dance Oklahoma while pursuing her BFA in Ballet Performance at The University of Oklahoma. Amanda currently dances with Ballet Evolution.