Susu Hale Prout

Owner and Artistic Director



Susu was just two years old when she realized she loved to dance. As she grew, so did her love for ballet. Deciding on dance as a career, she earned a BFA degree in Ballet from Texas Christian University. She danced with the Fort Worth Ballet Company and Ballet Concerto and was a member of the Chi Tau Dance Honor Society. Susu received specialized training under Rosella Hightower at the Centre of Danse International in Cannes, France, the Washington School of Ballet, the Center of Dance in Los Angeles, the Alabama Ballet and the New York Chatuaqua Ballet. She is certified by Dance Masters of America and is a two time recipient of the prestigious Druid Arts Award. Ms.Susu was most recently awarded the Women in Business Council's Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding service  professionally and throughout the community.

    Susu has performed as a soloist and principal dancer with the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers and has served as artistic director, choreographer and board member. She opened the Academy of Ballet in 1977, changing the name in 1993 to the Academy of Ballet & Jazz (ABJ) to better reflect the school's extensive curriculum. Even after 35 years as a dance professional, Susu continues to train, updating her teaching skills and style by attending regional conventions and extensive workshops at prestigious places such as the Alabama Ballet and the Broadway Dance Center (BDC) in New York City. She recently directed a Creative Movement workshop at the BDC for teachers across the country. In 2002, Susu was selected to coach the children's cast of the Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker. Susu co-directs the award winning ABJ Company, which is a performance ensemble that also competes and attends workshops regionally and nationwide. Susu personally teaches many classes and closely supervises classes taught by her excellent staff here at the Academy of Ballet & Jazz.

    Susu has trained hundreds of dancers, many of whom have chosen dance as a career path. Some have become members of professional ballet and modern dance companies. Others have continued their education at fine arts high schools or have chosen dance as their course of study in college. Still others continue to take classes for the sheer joy of it.

I am truly looking forward to a fabulous new dance season with all of you and my talented faculty!
— Miss Susu

Alden Phillips

Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Preschool, Variations/Choreography, Company


Alden was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where she began her dance training at the early age of 2.

Alden left Tuscaloosa to pursue her training at the State University of New York at Purchase where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Arts Management. At Purchase she studied classical ballet and modern styles, and she had the privilege to perform works by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Kimberly Bartosik, Sarah Mettin, John Heginbotham, Jason Parsons, and Claire Porter among others. She was invited to perform at New York Live Arts for two seasons with the Purchase Dance Company.

Professionally, she has danced the role of “Clara” with the Radio City Rockettes, was a member of project-based company CBGDance in New York City and toured with Odyssey Dance Theater in Utah for their "Thriller" production.

Missing her Tuscaloosa roots, Alden moved back to Alabama to explore teaching dance and fell in love with it. Since moving back, she was appointed the Artistic Director of Tuscaloosa Community Dancers’ Nutcracker this past season and is currently in the process of directing their Spring Show. She also works in choreographing and helping to direct Tuscaloosa County’s Distinguished Young Women Program and runs an “Art of Dance” program through the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa’s Spectra Program. 

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I am excited to begin this opportunity at ABJ of sharing my passion in my hometown and showing them how to grow and develop into a stronger dancer! I am looking forward to being a part of their passions and I hope to share skills through dance that students can take with them in not only dance, but in life. I am excited to begin a new year of setting goals, finding inspirations, creating and choreographing, and growing with so many eager and talented students at ABJ!
— Alden


Sydney Hamm

Contemporary, Jazz, Tap 


Sydney is currently a sophomore at the University of Alabama studying to receive her Bachelors degree in Dance and Business. Her early training began as a competition dancer at Expressenz Dance Center in Fishers, Indiana where she studied ballet, contemporary, jazz, and tap. Now she trains under the tutelage of professors Cornelius Carter, Lawrence Jackson, and Rita Snyder studying various styles such as jazz, modern, contemporary, and ballet. She has been lucky enough to have the opportunity to choreograph and perform for her student show DanceAlabama that takes place every semester, as well as perform for the faculty show, ARDT. She is so thankful to have been given the chance to get her work on stage so early on in her dance career, and hopes to continue to do so as she furthers her education. Teaching has always been a passion in her life, and she has been able to teach at her home studio for the past 3 years; she is so excited to continue that passion here in Tuscaloosa! 

I am so excited to be able to have the opportunity to teach this year at ABJ! The welcome I have received from all the dancers, as well as the rest of the faculty has made me more than thrilled to get started. I have always had the desire and passion to inspire and teach younger dancers, and I am humbled to be given the opportunity to do that here! The positive and life giving atmosphere that I have seen the ABJ dancers and faculty create in the time I have spent with them so far, as well as their incredible talent, make me so hopeful and ready for the year to come! Thank you all for allowing me the opportunity to create, inspire, and above all dance! I cannot wait to get started!
— Sydney

Olivia Turner

Preschool, Ballet, Jazz


Olivia started dancing at age three at Eastern Shore Dance Academy where she spent many years improving her technique and growing as a person and dancer. Dancing has allowed her countless opportunities such as traveling to New York to dance in the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade and having the main role as Dorothy in the ballet production The Wizard of Oz. After high school her dance career continued at Faulkner State Community College where Olivia was awarded a full tuition dance scholarship. She began teaching at Eastern Shore Academy and it was there she developed a love for teaching and decided to pursue a career in dance. Olivia now attends The University of Alabama where she plans to graduate with a degree in dance and physical education. 

Teaching at the Academy of Ballet and Jazz is an amazing opportunity. Teaching is something that I am passionate about and I hope to share my love for dance while teaching others and help my students grow not only as dancers but also as people. ABJ has a wonderful program and I am excited to become a part of their dance family. This opportunity will allow me to be exposed to different teaching methods and new people and that is something that I am looking forward to. I am thankful for the opportunity to pass on my passion for the art of dance with the girls at ABJ.
— Miss Olivia
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Morgan Rudolph

Preschool, Ballet, Hip Hop, Acro, Musical Theater

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Morgan holds a B.F.A. in Performing Arts with a Concentration in Dance from Western Kentucky University. After college, she based herself in New York City to audition and has traveled the country performing in regional musical theatre and directing theatre for young performers.

Morgan chas performed with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, as a featured dancer and aerialist aboard the Freedom of the Seas. For the past 8 years, she taught and choreographed for several competitive studios in Middle Tennessee and danced professionally with Nashville’s premier dance company, Found Movement group.  Some of her favorite credits include dancing with Bette Midler at the opening of the Horseshoe Casino in Chicago, IL and appearing as Marie Antoinette in an episode of “My Fair Wedding” with David Tutera on WeTV.

Now Morgan enjoys sharing her love of dance with the next generation, hoping to instill her discipline of the art and her incredible passion for performing.


Ability is what we are capable of doing. Motivation determines what we do. Attitude determines how well we do it!
— Miss Morgan

Drew Martin

Hip Hop

Born in Irmo, SC, Drew trained in a  variety of styles at the Southern Strutt under the direction of Nancy Giles. He has been dancing since he was 5 years old. He is a member of the Alabama Dance Repertory Dance Theatre, Dance Alabama Showcase, Dance Film Festival, and Yonder Dance Company. 

His choreography has been featured in the Dance Alabama Showcase and the American Dance Festival. He received scholarships to train under Justin Giles and the Soul Escape Company, the faculty at the University of Alabama, and the faculty of the American Ballet Theatre. 

He is a recipient of The University of Alabama's 'Most Outstanding Dance' award along with the 'Outstanding Artistic Achievement' award. 

Drew is so excited to be teaching Hip Hop at ABJ this year. He is ready to push each and every student to become a better, more versatile dancer. 

I love being able to express who I am through movement and I cannot wait to teach the students at ABJ how to do the same. I love seeing students go out of their comfort zone in order to grow. My favorite quote is ‘If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.’ Challenging each student is exactly what I’m going to do in each class.
— Drew
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Jenni Chapman

Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet

Jenni grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and is a former student of the Academy of Ballet and Jazz. She began dancing at the age of nine and has studied a multitude of styles over the years, including jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, tap, and hip hop. She began her teaching career her senior year of high school, but prior to that she had apprenticed a handful of other dance instructors for years. She is currently a student at the University of Alabama and hopes to graduate with a degree in dance and communicative disorders. 

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I am honored to be able to teach at the Academy of Ballet and Jazz. I have grown so much from my experience as a teacher. There is so much that my students have taught me and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. It is amazing to be able and share my love and knowledge of dance with my students. I hope to help them grow as dancers and people by pushing them to their fullest potential and supporting them in every way I possibly can.”
— Jenni