Bluebirds Ballet Academy
SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND FLY!
1007 East Saint Mary Boulevard
Jasmine Bertrand-Vale is a ballet and dance teacher in Lafayette, Louisiana and the Director of Bluebirds Ballet Academy. As a second-generation dance teacher, she has been teaching dance for over twenty years. She began her dance training with her mother, Therese Maraist, in St. Martinville, Louisiana. Her mother, who had travelled as far as France to study ballet, believed that a teacher's job was not just to give her students the best instruction she could, but to inspire creativity and to expose her students to the beauty of the world of dance. Because of that philosophy, her mother made sure that Jasmine received training from other wonderful Acadiana-area instructors and master teachers from across the country. While in high school, Jasmine began her training with Sarah Stravinska, dance professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and also began her training as a teacher and choregrapher.
Jasmine continued her training with Sarah Stravinska as a student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In college, she danced leading roles in several university productions, including Raymonda, Basically Broadway, and Firebird, and learning and dancing such ballets as Paquita, Stars and Stripes, and Pas de Quatre. She danced as a contract dancer with a local jazz troupe, and in Delta Festival Ballet's Nutcracker. She also began choreographing and teaching dance lessons in Lafayette, Louisiana and in dance studios across the Acadiana area, including studios in Lafayette, Franklin, Crowley, St. Martinville, Alexandria, and New Iberia.
Jasmine completed her degree in English, graduating summa cum laude, in 1999. Over the next several years, she continued to teach, choreograph and train as a dancer and teacher. Along with another wonderful local ballet teacher, she began her studies with master teacher Finis Jhung, travelling to New York several times a year to study with him and other master teachers. She worked with the developer of a commercial dance curriculum for children, serving as her transcriber and copy-editor, and assisting her in teacher training courses and conventions promoting her products. She regularly attended intensive trainings across the country, training with Finis Jhung, James Robey, Bill Hastings, Deborah Vogel and other master teachers from around the world. She continued to perform, dancing with several civic ballet and jazz companies, including Ballet Joyeaux in Lake Charles and Jazz Extensions in Lafayette, and began a local children's ballet company, serving as the company's ballet mistress. She also continued to develop as a choreographer, creating pieces for children's ballet, jazz and musical theater productions.
In 2002, Jasmine decided to return to school to pursue a law degree at Tulane University as a scholarship student. During her time in New Orleans, she had the opportunity to perform with Ballet Hysell, under the guest direction of Devon Carney. She also took advantage of her time in New Orleans to study with ballet legend Harvey Hysell, as well as other amazing New Orleans ballet teachers, including Mary Munro, Gregory and Marjorie Schrammel, and Diane Carney. She was a company member of Renverse Reperatory Ballet, dancing lead roles in its productions, and continued her work as a guest teacher, choreographer and performer for studios across the state.
After graduating from Tulane Law School, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, in May of 2005, she returned to Lafayette to star as the lead of a local ballet performance. She began practicing law at the Onebane Law Firm, one of Lafayette's oldest and most respected law firms, eventually becoming a shareholder and managing partner with the firm. She married her best friend, Louis Vale, and had three beautiful children, Violet, Finn and Annie-Rose. Never able to put aside her passion for dance, she continued to teach, choreograph, and dance with a local ballet studio and company, serving as its ballet mistress for its first term.
In 2016, Jasmine decided to open Bluebirds Ballet Academy and fulfill her lifelong dream of operating her own studio because of witnessing her own children develop a love of dance and remembering the joy she experienced with her own family in her early dance career. She wanted to be able to give all of her students that same family-type feel through a studio dedicated to developing the creativity of its dancers while offering a strong foundation in classical ballet. Recognizing that her true passion has always been dance, she is overjoyed to continue the family tradition of sharing her passion and enthusiasm for this beautiful art form to the next generation of dancers.
Leah Twilley is a first grade teacher at Green T. Lindon. She received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at UL Lafayette. For over 10 years she has enjoyed teaching and choreographing for various studios in the Lafayette area. She has trained with Finis Jhung, Bill Hastings, Jasmine Bertrand-Vale, Jessica Henke, Beverly Spell and Karen Segura. Additionally she has participated in intensives with Ohio Dance Theatre, The Ailey School in New York City, and has taken classes at Lou Conte, Giordano Dance, Broadway Dance Center and Steps. She has co-directed and written the children’s ballet, Into the Sea and was a residence at AcA for her production, Getting Out of Limbo. Leah is excited to be a part of Bluebirds Ballet Academy and is eager to share her passion of movement with her students.