Outer Banks Dance Academy
Sabrina Hassell - Owner/Director/Instructor
Sabrina Hassell - Owner/Director/Instructor
Sabrina Hassell grew up in Virginia beginning her dance training with Virginia Ballet Theatre, Hampton Roads’ oldest professional ballet company at the age of ten. At eleven, she was a part of their Junior Company, The First Pointe Players where she performed several lead roles; such as "Elizabeth" in Elizabeth thru the Looking Glass and "Swanhilda" in Coppelia.
At age twelve she was invited to perform with the Virginia Ballet Theatre’s Professional Company preforming in The Firebird and Dracula. During her summers, Sabrina would study with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet at their summer intensive under the mentorship of teachers such as Darla Hoover and Marcia Dale Weary. At fourteen, Sabrina auditioned for the summer program at School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. She was accepted and asked to stay and study with them for the year. Her teachers were some of the highest ranked in the world including: Susan Pilarre, Darci Kistler and Suki Schorer.
While living in New York Sabrina would attend additional classes weekly at Steps on Broadway taking ballet at the advanced professional level from Wilhelm Burmann and David Howard. Once finished with her studies in New York, Sabrina moved to Bermuda joining In Motion and preforming with their company, Concepts under the directorship of Lizz Pimentel. Being a part of this company expanded Sabrina’s study of dance adding styles such as Modern, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary and so on.
While with Concepts, Sabrina was able to work with renowned choreographer Desmond Richardson co-founder of Complexions Ballet, and companies such as Momix and American Ballet Theatre. Before leaving for college Sabrina spent her summer with American Ballet Theatre in New York City.
After High School, Sabrina attended Virginia Commonwealth University where she performed regularly with the University. While attending V.C.U. Sabrina furthered her knowledge of different Modern dance styles such as Graham, Limon, Cunningham, and Horton. She was the highest ranking freshman of her class in the dance department taking modern with sophomores, and ballet with the seniors. After her freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University, she transferred to Old Dominion University where she performed with the University Dance Theatre, and later received her Bachelor of Fine Arts for dance education.
Sabrina's students have been accepted and gone on to attend and perform with several prestigious companies and schools, some of these students being awarded scholarships to attend. These Intensives include but are not limited to; The Richmond Ballet, Sheer Talent's Ballet Intensive, Alvin Ailey, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and The Cary Ballet.
Sabrina’s other love (her husband Nick Hassell) brought her to the Outer Banks were they have had their two beautiful daughters. Sabrina's family has ignited her passion of dance more than she ever thought possible. With their love and support she continues to inspire and share her knowledge and passion for dance with her students.
Abby Spence O'Neal
Abby Spence O'Neal
Abby Spence O’Neal was raised on Roanoke Island. She began taking gymnastic classes prior to the start of elementary school. She found early on that she enjoyed gymnastics but she loved dance. She quickly began taking all dance classes provided by Dare County Dance at that time which included Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. Once in high school Abby continued to take classes but began teaching classes for Dare County Dance as well. At the same time Abby danced and trained with CliffAnn Perry of Creative Ministries Inc. CliffAnn has a Master of Creative Arts from Regent University and is the Creative Director of Creative Ministries Inc. Creative Ministries Inc is an international ministry whose focus is on sharing the gospel using the fine arts. Abby was able to travel in the summers with Creative Ministries Inc throughout high school and college which gave her the opportunity to fall in love with lyrical dance and choreography. Abby’s favorite outreach trip with Creative Ministries Inc was a 3 month tour of South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. During that time she was able to not only use her knowledge of dance to reach out to others, but she also had the privilege of expanding her knowledge of dance by witnessing traditional African dance and costumes first hand. Once Abby returned home she immediately began pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in Dance with a Concentration in Dance Education at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. While at UNCG she studied under Jan Van Dyke and performed numerous times in many different dance styles including but not limited to modern, African, lyrical, and ballet prior to her graduation in 2001. Also in 2001 she married her High School sweetheart Ashley O’Neal and they both moved home to start a family and help run their family owned business O’Neal’s Sea Harvest. Abby taught briefly for Dare County Dance when she moved home but stopped when she had her first child. They now have three children Ayden (13 y/o), Daylen (11 y/o), and Madalyn (9 y/o). Madalyn was born with Abby’s love for dance and has been taking from Mrs Sabrina for 6 years. Although Abby took some time off from dance to have children her passion for dance has never left. In 2010 Abby trained with TMCJ International Productions under Joan Wilson and traveled to Israel where she performed in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Caesarea. During this time she was able to learn traditional Hebrew dance and add that to her always growing dance knowledge. Abby is excited that her children are at an age where she feels comfortable returning to one of her first loves, teaching dance and choreography. She is thrilled to continue to grow her own knowledge of dance but also to pass that knowledge, technique, skill, and passion onto her students.
Jeni’s passion for dance shined bright at a young age. While she has trained in many styles her specialties have been Acro, Lyrical, Contemporary and Jazz. Along with her formal training Jeni has attended workshops and dance conventions with Hollywood Vibe, NYCDA, Artist Simply Human, Sheer Elite, andTSpheres injury prevention workshop.
In addition with her training she received from Outer Banks Dance Academy Jeni has taken several master classes with Todd Rosenlieb Dance, Virginia Ballet Theatre, Steps on Broadway in NYC and Jeff Rogers from Ballet West Academy.
Jeni enjoys sharing her love and knowledge of dance with younger generations. She has regularly been an Elevated Artist with out younger competition team dancers. Her commitment to make sure they are progressing while growing their love for dance truly shows her wonderful nurturing spirit.
Mackenzie Daniels is a native to the area. She has gained most of her training from Outer Banks Dance Academy. Along with her training from The Academy Mackenzie has attended workshops and conventions with Hollywood Vibe, Artist Simply Human, NYCDA, and Sheer Elite where she has been a Full Scholarship Recipient.
During her Summers she continues her training with the Academy’s intensives and has attended ballet intensives with Cary Ballet Conservatory, and Steps on Broadway in NYC. She has also been invited to attend Atlanta Ballet’s summer intensive.
Mackenzie’s performance experience encompasses competitions across the east coast covering several states, both performing in them and sending choreography. She has also performed group repertoire in Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest ballet competition.
Along with her formal training, workshops and conventions she has attended several master classes withTodd Rosenlieb Dance, Virginia Ballet Theatre, Steps on Broadway in NYC and with Jeff Rogers from Ballet West Academy.
Mackenzie shares her love of dance and knowledge with her classrooms and continues to educate herself with regular master classes and workshop.
Nick Hassell, or Dance Dad Nick as we also refer to him, excels in his attention to detail with providing our studio with the highest quality dance photography. His work of our dancers has been featured with major brands on both their campaigns and their social media. Companies include but are not limited to; Capezio, Freed of London, Sodanca, Lulu Bun Wraps and Things, Youth American Grand Prix, and Weissmans.
We are so lucky to have a photographer who goes above and beyond for our dancers.
For a few of our dances and soloist we require a custom costume. Mary Saints, or Nana MJ as we call her, makes the most beautiful custom creations to enhance the dance and dancer. We are so lucky to have her talent and her expertise!