Debra Gierling Poole returned to Gateway in 2016 for Gateway's 10th Anniversary Season and is thrilled to be back as the Director of Gateway's Dance Academy.
At the age of 12, Debra was offered full scholarships to train with the Bolshoi in Moscow, Russia and the Kirov in Washington, DC. Although she did not accept either of those engagements, she went on to pursue a professional career in dance as a performer, choreographer, teacher and coach.
Debra has been dancing for three decades, teaching for a quarter of a century and has been coaching pre-professionals for the last 11 years. She is a graduate of Belhaven University, having obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet, Magna Cum Laude. She is the Founding Director of Cornerstone Dance (cornerstonedance.org), a non profit organization, which utilizes dance as a medium to serve, love and share the message of hope. Debra loves utilizing her gifts to minister within the church and beyond. She has been blessed to teach and perform all across the United States and throughout more than a dozen countries.
As a performer, she has danced with East Coast Dance Theatre, Jacobs Pillow, Ballet Magnificat!, Belhaven Dance Ensemble, Phoenix Dance Theater, Polarity Dance Theatre, Doxa, Space Coast Ballet, Japan Mission, Glory Dance, Living Stones, Illume, International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, Arrows International, Beijing International Christian Fellowship, Dánzale, Dawn Branch Works and many others. She has made eight trips to Israel to serve through dance with the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, but took a sabbatical to return as Director for Gateway Dance. Debra and her family attend church at First Baptist Church of Melbourne.