The AVO Instructors and Staff

Since 2002, following the passing of Anneliese von Oettingen and the new role of Studio Director Laura Hughes, a collaboration of sympathetic souls formed sharing the express vision of preserving and continuing the work of Anneliese von Oettingen.  Since the formation of the School as a non-for-profit organization, those friends and family forming the staff and board of directors see their roles as guardians of a precious commodity.

Cornelia Berns: Ballet Mistress, Board Member

Cornelia Berns is the daughter of Anneliese von Oettingen and as such has witnessed and assisted in the life work of Anneliese more than any other person. We are thrilled for the opportunity to share in her expertise both in the Art of Ballet and in the Art of Teaching. Conni performed with the Cincinnati Ballet Company, and the AVO Ballet Company. In addition to training with Anneliese, Conni also studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory, with Hanya Holm’s summer program in Colorado Springs, with Frederick Franklin for Les Sylphides, and Joseph Levine with the Cincinnati Community Ballet Company. Conni taught with Anneliese for more than 40 years, eventually managing the studios in Western Hills, Wyoming, and Pleasant Ridge. She also taught at Moss Lake in New York State when Anneliese was unable to teach, and assisted her in Eagle Bay many summers. Conni taught sessions at Hyde Park and began the College Hill Branch of the AVO Studio. She was responsbile for the Western Branch of the Kinderballet Company. Conni graduated with honors from UC with a B.A. in Romance Languages in French, a B.S. in Education, and later a Masters Degree in Special Education. Over the years she has taught kindergarten, grade school, high school, and college, and tutored all levels of students in all areas.

Anna Frey:  Instructor, Rehearsal Coach, Board Member

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Anna Frey began dancing at the AVO School of Ballet in 1994. She has been a member of the Cincinnati Kinderballet Company since 1998; playing a variety of roles such as Clara from the Nutcracker, the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker, and Peter in Peter Pan. As an AVO Apprentice, she has worked with Conni Berns as a demonstrator and instructor for both the Cheviot and Batesville locations. Anna has worked as a teacher since 2003 and currently choreographs, coaches for the Kinderballet and is a current member of the board of trustees. Anna also works as a microbiologist for Q Laboratories.

Laura Taphorn: Instructor, Production Manager, Board Member

Laura Taphorn bio

Laura Taphorn is known for her passionate and inspirational style of teaching, she blends the invigorating Vinyasa flow with concise alignment and provides individualized attention with specific exercise modifications. Integrating her love of the outdoors with teaching yoga classes, she leads Hike/Yoga classes at local parks.  She teaches with love, laughter and acceptance, emphasizing breath, alignment and body awareness. Laura’s teaching style is fun, laid-back and challenging, yet accessible to all.

Michele Frey:  Artist, Studio Manager, Board Member

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Michele Frey is a working artist and owner of Prism Partners which specializes in stained glass art.   Her organization skills among her many other talents have been invaluable to the AVO school.  Michele has done everything from answering and returning calls, overseeing billing and registration, acting as liaison to other parents at the school, creating programs and visual displays, writing newsletters, building props, sets, painting scenery, sewing costumes, and making sure the studio is clean and neat.  She leads the “parent pit crew” who transport and set up sets and costuming for our performances.  For end of year concerts she organizes flower sales, photo sales, and other fundraisers, as well as acting as emcee and representative.  She is a constant friend and advocate for the school. She resides in Harrison, Ohio with her husband and three children, all of whom have performed with the Kinderballet.