AvO Instructors & 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.

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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.
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Laura Baresel: Production Manager, Board Member

Laura Baresel’s career has been extraordinarily diverse with performances ranging form classical dance to musical theater, opera, operetta and television. Ms. Baresel was trained in ballet, jazz and tap dance at American Ballet Theater, Farnworth & Hauer Studio, Harkness Ballet in NYC and holds a BM in Vocal Performance from Wichita State University. She has choreographed opera, musical theater, dance recitals and show choir locally as well as throughout the US. Credentials also include Teacher Certification with Dance Educators of America. Since 2008 Laura has taught for the School of Ballet, coached, and contributed original choreography to our Kinderballet productions.  As AvO production manager, Laura does critical administrative duties for the Kinderballet and studio.
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Laura Hughes: Artistic Director

Laura began as an apprentice instructor for Anneliese and Conni in the fall of 1984.  In 1989 after attaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Xavier University she was given responsibility for Anneliese’s Western Hills Branch, and has also directed the Pleasant Ridge, Wyoming, and Hyde Park Branches.  She was given responsibility for the Western Branch of the Kinderballet in 1989, assuming full responsibility for the performing companies in 1994.  Laura worked as a camp counselor, cook and assistant at the Eagle Bay Camp for 10 years.  In June of 2002 Laura and her family moved to Arkansas where Laura worked as an independent choreographer, artist, costume designer, and educator while continuing as Artistic Director of the AvO School of Ballet.  For two years she was a Fellow for the Arkansas A+ Network, an arts integration school reform model developed by the Keenan Institute; and was on the artist’s roster for The Arkansas Arts Council’s Artists in Education Program.   Currently Laura lives in Greendale, Wisconsin with husband, Burg, son Burgoyne, and daughter Bronwyn.
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Sara Shayeson: Instructor, Rehearsal Coach

Sara began as a student with AvO School of Ballet in 1991. She quickly joined the Kinderballet where she performed as a soloist, helping to create such roles as Thumbelina and Tinkerbelle for the AvO repertoire. Sara began teaching as an apprentice instructor in 2000 and played a crucial role as instructor and rehearsal coach for the Kinderballet beginning in 2002. Sara continued teaching at the AvO main studio & satalite studio in Batesville for seven years through high school & college. In 2007 Sara married and moved to Washington with her husband, Dave, in support of his career in the US Navy. Upon their arrival back in Ohio (2010) Sara began teaching again for AvO School of Ballet and working with Kinderballet. Now with two daughters of her own, Megan & Sofia, she is excited to share her love of dance with them and inspire the next generation of dancers.

Anna Frey:  Instructor, Rehearsal Coach

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. Now more than seven years teaching and coaching for AvO, Anna is currently working on her Bachelors Degree in Education at NKU.
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Jaymee Bentle:  Instructor

Jaymee Bentle began studying dance in 1994. She has studied at the Anneliese von Oettingen School of Ballet since 2003.  In 2005 Jaymee became a Company member and performed the role of Nana in The Velveteen Rabbit. Since then she has performed roles such as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, Peter Rabbit in The Tales of Beatrix Potter, the Winter Fairy in Thumbelina, and originated the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. She was an assistant teacher at Love to Dance Studio from 2002 to 2011. In 2004 she joined the AvO Apprenticeship Program to learn Anneliese’s teaching methods, and taught for AvO in 2006.

Michele Frey:  Artist, Studio Manager, Board Member

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.  Michele also volunteers for her children’s schools, and serves on the Board of Trustees for Bethany House Services.  She resides in Harrison, Ohio with her husband and three children, all of whom have performed with the Kinderballet.