At FWAFA, encouraging young people to pursue their love of artistic expression is our passion. Instilling in them the skills and determination to excel is our forte. Seeing them realize their dreams is our inspiration. Yes, our programs are challenging – yet our students emerge outstanding.
Training is given in five arts disciplines: choral and orchestral music, dance, theater and the visual arts. Elementary school students at Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts study four of these areas, and in middle school, students choose two fine arts areas. FWAFA students are involved in a minimum of two hours of fine arts coursework each day. By high school each student is expected to specialize in one artistic discipline.
Students are provided an abundance of occasions and venues to perform or exhibit their work to the public. FWAFA gives more than 100 performances annually, including the prestigious Performing Arts Series, which is marketed to the general public. And while the musicians, dancers, and actors get to play on stage, the visual artists frequently exhibit their work both inside and outside the school.
Since graduating from the dance program at FWAFA, Ahmad Simmons has taken his career to great heights in only a few years. A resident at the illustrious North River Dance Company in Chicago, Mr. Simmons used the multidisciplinary training he received at FWAFA to launch a burgeoning professional career.
Ahmad began his training at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. While in Texas, he trained with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the Debbie Allen Dance Institute and the Dian Clough West Dance Center. Holding a BFA in Dance from Point Park University (under the direction of Susan Stowe), he has performed works by Bill T. Jones, Robert Battle, David Parsons, Daniel Ezralow, Martha Graham, Heidi Latsky and Kate Skarpatowska. In addition to concert dance work, he is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association and has performed with Eisenhower Dance Ensemble and the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera in a number of shows including Cats, West Side Story, Oklahoma with Shirley Jones, Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby, Hairspray, The Producers and Oliver. In addition to his extensive performing career, Ahmad teaches contemporary, modern, ballet, jazz and musical theater at various studios in Chicago, including Visceral Dance Center and Extensions Dance Center. Ahmad is in his second season with River North Dance Chicago.
Sheyna Ferraro is in her tenth year as a dance faculty member at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, where she teaches 6th - 12th grade dance. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Ms. Ferraro directs the school’s top two dance companies—Academy Dance and Dance Company II. She set her first full-length ballet, Coppelia, for FWAFA in 2005. Since then she has produced Four Seasons, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, and Cinderella.
Ms. Ferraro received her early training at Eastside Ballet Centre in Arizona, where she was a member of their pre-professional ballet company run by Constance Stine. During this time, she performed roles from many ballets such as Coppelia, Le Corsaire and Paquita and she was provided the opportunity to work with Cheri Noble.
In August 1998, Ms. Ferraro moved to Fort Worth to attend Texas Christian University. During her years in the TCU Dance Department she had the privilege to work with many talented teachers and choreographers including the late Fernando Bujones, Li-Chou Cheng, Sean Curran, Elizabeth Gillaspy and Kerry Kreiman. Ms. Ferraro graduated in May of 2002 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet. In December 2002, she received her Secondary Teaching Certification for Dance.
In 2012, Sheyna Ferraro was the recipient of the Bates Dance Festival Teacher Fellowship Scholarship which allowed her to attend their professional level program in July. She enjoys sharing her love of dance with her students and challenging them to grow in their art form.