Ilka Doubek - Artistic Director, Owner
& Tom Fox
Ilka Doubek has been a professional ballet and modern dancer since 1973. She has collaborated with various renowned choreographers, theater and opera directors around the world. Ilka has guested as a solo dancer and/or choreographer in many of the major European opera houses where most of her performing career was focused. She has choreographed ballets, modern dances, opera dances, and movement internationally. She studied in Omaha, San Diego, New York, Canada and France, where she also performed.
Ilka, who received numerous scholarships and grant awards, was a member of the Omaha Ballet, the San Diego Ballet, the Frankfurt Ballet and the Hamburg Ballet before touring many nations of the world with her solo dance concerts. Ilka is a certified teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance and is a ballet examiner with the Dance Masters of America. She formed Litchfield Dance Arts Academy in 1995 with husband and partner Tom Fox and teaches a variety of classes there. In addition, Ilka is a guest master teacher and choreographer for ballet and modern dance with professional companies, schools, universities and dance organizations in many countries.
Our Dance Instructors
Jessica Hawver's love for dance started at the age of three. Like many dancers, she started lessons in jazz, tap, ballet, to her repertoire. When she was in high school, she developed a great interest in musical theater and appeared in several major productions. Her favorite role was Meg, the principle ballet dancer, in The Phantom of the Opera.
Professionally, Jessica served as assistant choreographer for Mary Poppins, Anything Goes, West Side Story, and Newsies at Carolina Forest High School. She is presently the school’s choreographer for the award winning ShowCase show choir and both the Intermediate and Women’s Show Choirs at CFHS. For the last two summers, she has been assistant choreographer at “High Steppin’ Country,” the Grand Strand’s longest running live show. In 2017 Jessica signed a contract with Legends in Concert as their swing and signed again as a full time dancer for 2018.
Jessica has taught and assisted at many dance studios along the Grand Strand. She loves being in the classroom and sharing her love for the arts with students of all ages. She will be teaching Musical Theatet for us!
Sam Picart (Kansas City, MO) began his dance training in urban street styles at the age of 15 and began ballet training at 18 under his aunt Jennifer Picart-Branner, formerly of the Frankfurt Ballet.
Sam received a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in 2013 and in 2016 he was the chosen winner of Ellen's Dance Off competition and was a featured guest on the show. Sam's training also includes the Joffrey Ballet Summer Program in NYC, Boulder Jazz Dance Festival, and the summer program at the Académie du Domaine Forget with Rubberband Dance.
He has worked with notable choreographers such as Mandy Moore, Camille A Brown, Victor Quijada and Iyun Ashani Harrison. He continues to perform many solo pieces and has been featured at multiple Seattle Mariners baseball games, The Harlem Globetrotters halftime show, and has done commercial work for Microsoft. Currently, Sam hosts and teaches conventions for Showstopper Dance competition and works internationally. He will be teaching Hip Hop and we are so excited!!
Kayla Suda took her first dance lesson at the age of 4 and has trained in various styles of dance including the Royal Academy of Dance under Ilka Doubek at LDAA. Kayla was the inaugural founding coach of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans cheer and dance team. Besides having taught conditioning, jazz, lyricial/contemporary, tumble, open ballet, & preschool combo classes, Kayla is also an award winning choreographer.
Lauren Hyatt was born and raised in Myrtle Beach, SC and has always had a love for anything to do with the arts. From a young age she performed in plays and throughout middle school and high school she played violin. She went to college at State University of New York at Purchase College and recieved a BA in Playwriting / Screenwriting and a minor in Theatre and Performance. During her time at Purchase College, she worked on student films, was the director of the campus Late Night Show, and even co-wrote and directed a campus TV show. After college she felt as if something was missing, and she was so glad to find LDAA.
From just another small-town girl with big dreams, to a globe-trotting professional performer, Gretchen McCutcheon has gotten to live (dance!) some of her wildest dreams.
Despite a severe spinal surgery where doctors told her she may never walk again, much less dance, she refused to let anyone else decide her future. And so, at just 16 years old, her professional dance career kicked off.
Her extensive training in ballet, jazz, musical theatre, contemporary, tap, hip hop, and ballroom has led her to stages all over the world. Some of her recent credits to date include Beauty & the Beast (Dancer/Puppeteer), Jedi Training: Experience the Force (Lead actress), The Carolina Opry Christmas Spectacular, (feat. Dancer), Good Vibrations! (feat. Dancer and contemporary soloist), Viking Ocean Cruises (Lead female dancer), MTV’s TRL (feat. Dancer), various music videos, live events, and gigs throughout NYC, and her favorite credit-- Disney Cruise Line. Gretchen has called The Walt Disney Company home for two years and counting, and has had the pleasure of performing in 6 different Disney Cruise Line shows. Getting to be a Mainstage Dancer/Jedi/Sword-fighter/Puppeteer for her dream company made all the hard work growing up in the dance studio, conventions, and competitions well-worth it!
In addition to over a decade of professional performance experience, she is also a passionate dance educator/teacher, who continues to further her own education and certifications, so as to better aide her students. Further, she is currently certified in Progressing Ballet Technique. Gretchen hopes to pass on her knowledge, inspiration, and maybe even a little bit of magic to the next generation of up-and-coming dancers!