Raised in Dallas, Texas, Robin Hargest has been residing in Nashville, Tennessee for the past 25 years. She began her training at the age of 11 in classical jazz and quickly realized classical ballet was her forte. She has studied with renown teachers such as Arthur Mitchell, Myrtha Rosello, Randelyn Kaye, and Paula Moreland to name a few. She received a scholarship to attend summer intensives at Dance Theater of Harlem. She performed with Texas Civic Ballet, Dance Repertory Theater, and later realized her personal dream when she became a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
At the age of 18, she began her professional teaching career in the Dallas area. After relocating to Nashville and the birth of her children, she re-established her desire to teach and began teaching at dance studios in the area. In 2000, she started her own dance company, Nashville Dance Ensemble, where she has worked with numerous pop groups such as Jump 5, pureNRG, and other solo artists. She also teaches privately to students throughout the area, many which have gone on to work as commercial and professional dancers on tour with numerous established artists and on shows such as So You Think You Can Dance. In addition, several of her dancers have gone on to be excellent teachers and choreographers.
With her 35 years of teaching experience in ballet and jazz, Robin’s goal as a teacher is to develop her student’s technique and performance abilities. She wants her students to always strive for perfection even if it seems impossible by pushing and encouraging them to go beyond what is easy, and to always be the best they can be at all times.
BRITTANY (HARGEST) Prins
Brittany (Hargest) Prins, born in North Carolina, has resided in Nashville for 25 years. She has been trained extensively in classical ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and gymnastics beginning at the age of 3. She was accepted into the Kirov Academy of Ballet at the age of 9. She started vocal training at the age of 5, and within the year, began performing in live productions at Opryland USA Theme Park. In addition, she recorded with numerous renown artists such as Kenny Rogers, Bob Carlisle, Deanna Carter, and several Disney Acts. Brittany competed in dance and vocal competitions for many years, winning national awards and titles until she herself became a recording artist with the pop group Jump5 in 1999. She continued with the group for 8 years, performing across the world, and for many distinguished audiences including the President of the United States. The group put out 12 full length albums before she ventured out on her own as a solo recording artist. She has performed with countless artists which include Jonas Brothers, Hilary Duff, Kelly Clarkson, Jesse McCartney, and Aaron Carter.
Brittany has choreographed for several artists, and has helped them hone their craft by training them for stage performances. She has been teaching and choreographing professionally for almost a decade, winning national titles and choreography awards this time as a teacher. She has found a passion for creating and educating dancers by pushing them to reach their full potential, and is grateful for the opportunity to continue to grow alongside them.
Jennifer Drayton Winker
A Michigan native, Jennifer has had the pleasure of residing in the beautiful state of Tennessee for over a decade. Her dance training began at the age of 5 followed by classical piano at age 6. By the age of 9, Jennifer was attending competitions for both music and dance, winning several honors including national awards and scholarships for continued training. She has had the opportunity to perform both nationally and internationally, sharing the stage with various artists such as Marie Osmond, Phyllis Diller, Roy Clark, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Arthur Duncan. As Miss Michigan 1996, Jennifer was the recipient of the preliminary talent award and was honored to represent her home state in the 1997 Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, NJ. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and has completed training at the Boston Conservatory, Boston, MA. While in Boston, she was awarded the title of Dance Captain and was selected to follow a rigorous path of professional training in dance, voice and acting.
They say that life is all about the journey, not the destination, and Jennifer has said that some of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences have been ones that were not originally planned, but evolved because she decided to embrace the journey. Whether teaching, performing, or creating costumes and sets, the arts have always been a part of that journey; teaching the value of self-expression and the magic of being able to speak and touch someone without words. Perhaps most important, the performing arts require you to work for the future but live in the moment; a skill proven to be invaluable in enjoying life! Jennifer is honored to be able to continue the journey with students at The Hargest Academy.
Jordyn Smalling has been dancing for 11 years and has trained in jazz, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, and hip hop. She found her passion for dance at DC Dance Factory in Nashville, TN, where she competed for 7 years and worked with professional choreographers and took class across the nation from many of the best teachers the dance industry has to offer. In accompaniment to her studio experience in high school, she trained with ballet technician and Nashville native, Robin Hargest, and went on to work under her as an assistant by her senior year. In her college dance career Jordyn competed with the University of Tennessee Dance Team for four years, where she secured 2 national championships in the D1A Jazz Division at College Nationals.
Jacqueline Shealy Randall
Jacqueline was born and raised in Alabama and since the age of 3 she has been involved in gymnastics and dance. She has had the honor of dancing and performing for numerous dance studios throughout the years. In addition for the last 10 years, Jacqueline has taught dance acro, strength, and flexibility.
At age 11 Jacqueline became a level 10 gymnast and competed across the US earning many titles and honors. At the age of 14 she moved away from her family in Alabama to Plano, Texas to train with the 2004 Olympic Coach Evgeny Marchenko, as well as the 2004 and 2008 Olympic All Around Gold medalists, Carly Paterson and Nastia Liukin, as an Elite Gymnast. Jacqueline remained at the World Olympic Gymnastic Academy until she graduated from high school in 2006.
After high school she returned to Alabama and competed for the University of Alabama from 2006-2010, helping the team win an SEC title in 2009. Over the last 9 years she has been coaching gymnastics and teaching dance. She has developed a unique ability to teach dancers how to intertwine their dance abilities with gymnastics and acro skills.
For the last 3 summers, Jacqueline has been the head dance teacher for the University of Alabama Gymnastics Camp and has taught at numerous dance intensives. Her and her husband, Matt, have a 1 year-old little boy named Caleb. They are new to the area; moving to Brentwood last fall where she has continued enjoying teaching gymnast and dancers of all ages.
Greg is an army brat and has lived all over the world from Germany to Japan and practically every state in the US. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism. He was a director of the local News station in Gainesville, before he married and started a family in Dallas, TX, then he began a career in management. Greg has been in management for over 30 years, from general management to managing partner. He is co-owner and office manager of The Hargest Academy of Performing Arts. He will be in charge of all parent and student coordination, and all questions and concerns can be forwarded to him.
Ashley a native Texan, has lived in Nashville for 12 years. She is a classically trained pianist and also plays the Ukulele and guitar. She is very musical, writes music along with Brandon in their group called The Boy & the Bride. However, Ashley’s passion lies in modeling and acting. She has been modeling since the age of 15. Her resume is extensive, ranging from runway to print and commercial. She is currently working with a local production company to get a web series ready for TV.
Ashley’s sweet and gentle nature makes her a perfect fit for our children’s program. She is also the Acting and Modeling Director for The Hargest Academy of Performing Arts, where she will be holding workshops and seminars ranging from headshots and resumes, coaching sessions on what to expect at auditions, how to audition, modeling, and acting. We are very excited to have her available to us. If you are wanting a career in the entertainment business she is an excellent source.
Brandon Hargest was born at Duke University Hospital in North Carolina, and now lives in Spring Hill with his wife and son. He was trained in the Suzuki method of piano, starting at the age of 3. His vocal training began after watching his sister perform at Opryland USA, when he decided he wanted be on the stage as well. He joined Brittany for the next three years performing in the Christmas shows at Opryland. He has extensive training in classical ballet, jazz, hip hop, and gymnastics, and he also trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC. Like Brittany, Brandon has competed in dance competitions, and has won many awards and titles. He has numerous vocal credits on various recording artists albums, and was a member of the pop group Jump5 for almost a decade. After singing and performing with the group, he found a love for writing and producing music, and has produced several albums with his production company Split Fusion Music since the group disbanded in 2007.
Brandon is the music and video director for the Hargest Academy of Performing Arts, and will be having workshops on song writing, music and video production, and is also available for piano and vocal lessons. He is also available if anyone wishes to record a demo, or a music video.