Heidrun S. Robitshek – Artistic Director & Instructor

Ms. Heidi began her studies in Classical Ballet and Character in Heidelberg, Germany under the direction of Tatiana Sawitzkaya and Henryk Szymczak. She took the examination to be certified as a professional in Stuttgart, Germany and studied with Anne Wooliams of the Stuttgart Ballet. Ms. Robitshek danced professionally with the State Opera and the State Theaters in Pforzheim, and Heidelberg, Germany. Ms. Robitshek studied at the Palucca School in Dresden, Germany, with Gret Palucca, and in Cologne, Germany, with Ursula Borrmann. Since in the United States, Ms. Robitshek has studied with Gene Hammett, Susan Borree, Teresa Martinez, Perry Brunson, Maggie Black, G.T. Darvash, Oleg Tupine, Gennadi Vostrikov and has danced professionally with the Richmond Ballet, Norfolk Civic Ballet, Annapolis Ballet, The Common Glory Outdoor Drama with Howard Scammon and Myra Kinch, Cumberland Dance Company, and the Chamber Ballet of Williamsburg. She has worked with choreographers Anton Dolin, Valerie Deakin, Edward Stewart, Luis Fuente, Dariusz Hochmona, Myra Kinch, Florin Scarlat, Robin Comissioni, and Enrique Martinez. As Artistic Director of the Chamber Ballet, Ms. Robitshek produced or choreographed The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, La Fille Mal Gardée, Les Patineurs, The Blue Danube, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Fairy Tale to Fairy Tale, The Secret Garden, The Magic Flute, and The Tales of Beatrix Potter. In alternating years Ms. Robitshek accompanies selected students to Heidelburg, Germany, where they participate in L’Art de la Danse, a cultural exchange program. This is a tradition Ms. Robitshek started in 1993. Ms. Heidi also teaches seminars in Mexico, the United States, and Germany. She teaches Ballet 2A-3, Intermediate-Advanced Ballet, Character Dance, Pas de deux, Beginning Pointe, and Intermediate Adult Ballet.

Adelle P. Carpenter – Studio Director & Instructor

Ms. Adelle began her training at the age of ten as a protégée of Heidi Robitshek at the Chamber Ballet. She studied dance at Old Dominion University and has participated in numerous productions of The Nutcracker and other classical ballets for Chamber Ballet and other companies. Ms. Adelle attended summer studies at Ballet West and the Joffrey Ballet. She has competed in international dance competitions in Peru and Moscow and is a member of the Robitshek Dance Ensemble that performed in Heidelberg, Germany. Her full-length ballet roles include Swanhilda in Coppelia and Alice in Alice in Wonderland. In pas de deux, Ms. Adelle has danced Le Corsaire, peasant pas de deux from Giselle, the Snow pas de deux with the Old Dominion University Ballet and the grand pas de deux in Chamber Ballet’s 1995 performance of The Nutcracker. She worked one season with Busch Gardens in the Festa Italia show. She was on the teaching staff of the Chamber Ballet from 1994 to 2006 and performed many principal roles in Chamber Ballet’s productions. Ms. Adelle has been teaching dance for nearly twenty years. She is the proud mother of three. (Photo credit Corey Miller at coreymillerphoto.com)

Cayley Mooney – Instructor

Ms. Cayley started dancing when she was just 3 years old at The Chamber Ballet. While with The Chamber Ballet, which then became Virginia Regional Ballet, she trained in various forms of dance including – Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Modern, Lyrical, Hip-Hop, Celtic and Competitive Dance/Cheer. She has performed in several classical ballet productions and excerpts to include The Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Paquita. She performed leading roles in Virginia Regional Ballet’s Nutcracker to include Dew Drop, Tirolese, Lead Russian, Mouse King, and Klara. At the age of 17, she was offered three full ride scholarships for dance – The Joffrey Ballet, Interlochen School for the Arts, and Shenandoah University. She went to New York City and attended The Joffrey Ballet. At the end of her study there, they offered her a position as a trainee within the company. Ms. Cayley’s passion for teaching dance started in high school when she helped as a teacher assistant at Virginia Regional Ballet and helped Ms. Adelle teach the SHIP program after school. She also taught at various dance schools in North Carolina to include Diana’s Dance Academy, Swansboro Dance Studio, Emerald Isle Dance Studio and Dance Theatre of Jacksonville. She has now been teaching a variety of dance classes for over 8 years. Ms. Cayley now works full time as a Registered Nurse and resides in Williamsburg with her husband and son. She loves the opportunity to be back with her VRB family where her love for dance started and hopes to pass along that passion to her students.

Angelique Jones – Instructor

Angelique Jones has over 25 years teaching experience teaching ballet, jazz, and tap. Her dance experience spans many years of commitment to the arts. Her professional training includes study in the fields of ballet, jazz, modern and tap. She has performed with the Festival Ballet, Ruth Mitchell Ballet, LeFace Productions and various repertoires with Gotta Dance and Company.

Prior to moving to Virginia, Angelique performed In the Atlanta area, she worked with Alex Pelham of Colors, Jimmy Locust, and Roberson Entertainment. She choreographed and produced numerous fashion shows and was selected to choreograph for Charelle. During the 1996 Olympics, she represented IBM and performed for athletes and guests from around the world.

She was formerly ballet mistress with Roswell City Dance, before moving to Virginia. While in Virginia she taught for Virginia School for the Arts before teaching for Denise Wall’s Dance Energy for 22 years. We are excited to welcome her to the VRB family!

Jenn Bates – Instructor

Jennifer Bates started her dancing career in Massachusetts. Her early years include performing with the Boston Ballet and Dance Prism Nutcrackers, Miss Massachusetts top 10 and non-finalist talent winner (she performed a jazz number of course), professional NFL New England Patriots Cheerleader and dancer in Das Fest Haus, right here in Williamsburg. After teaching in Massachusetts for nearly 10 years, Jenn moved to Virginia. She was an instructor for 4 years locally before opening her own studio, Absolute Dance, with her husband, David. During her years at Absolute Jenn took her dancers to perform in the Miss America Parade, the Cherry Blossom Parade, the Orange Bowl Halftime Show, the Globetrotters Halftime show and numerous competitions on the regional and National levels. Over the course of 9 years, she was able to raise and donate over $10,000, with A Pink Christmas performances, to help bring awareness and try to find a cure for breast cancer. During this time Ms Jenn became a mom to Asher and Gibson. Through the years, Ms Jenn was awarded the prestigious Marjorie Perry Award twice at the regionals and once at Nationals. A move back to MA in 2018 resulted in her studio closing. Upon returning to VA, Ms Jenn found her home here, at VRB, where she is excited to continue lessons in tap, jazz and contemporary as well as introducing our brand new competitive dance group!

Helen Gault – Instructor

Helen Gault, originally from Williamsburg, began her training at age three with the Chamber Ballet. She later trained at the Eastern Virginia School for the Performing Arts. She was chosen to participate in programs at the Joffrey Ballet in New York City,  the Virginia School of the Arts, and North Carolina Dance Theatre.  Her first professional appearance was with The Music Theatre of Williamsburg.  In 2003, Ms. Gault joined Virginia Ballet Theatre where she danced in roles such as Waltz Girl in Balanchine’s Serenade, Dream Clara in The Nutcracker and both the Firebird and the Princess of Immortal Beauty in Firebird. Further pieces in her repertoire include Rachmaninoff’s Divertissements, Lew Christensen’s Con Amore, Coppelia, CinderellaThe Twelve Dancing Princesses, and Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty.  She was a principal dancer for Ballet Virginia International and a guest artist with the Elbert Watson Dance Company.  She has been teaching classical ballet for over fifteen years at various schools throughout Hampton Roads and during the summer intensives at The Washington School of Ballet. 

Suzanne Glass – Instructor

Beginning at age 12, Ms. Suzanne studied ballet, modern and jazz at The Dance Conservatory of New England with Ken Lipitz and Shelly Ziebel. She was a company member with David Potter’s Callboard Dance Theatre performing musicals at the Academy of Music in Northampton, MA. When she came to Virginia for college, she joined the University Dancers at the University of Richmond. Ms. Suzanne has been teaching ballet and modern locally for over 15 years. She has worked with several studios including York County School for the Arts. She has taught and mentored other teachers and has directed her own developmental dance program. She received adaptive dance training through Autism Movement Therapy and has led workshops for adults as well as children. She also currently teaches adult fitness conditioning classes.

Nicole Moran

Nicole received her BA in Dance from James Madison University and has been teaching dance for over 10 years. She has previously performed and choreographed for Dance Matrix Dance Company and JMU’s Contemporary Dance Ensemble, and currently performs at Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion. She has directed and choreographed three original student ballet productions, and is Level 1 certified in Progressing Ballet Technique. Nicole trained at Fredericksburg Ballet Centre, Amyclae Dance Academy, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Summer Course, and the American Dance Festival Summer Program.

Christine Matter – Aerobics Instructor

Chris teaches the original Aerobic Dancing program choreographed by Jacki Sorensen. For all ages shapes and sizes, this progressive course incorporates the criteria for fitness: stretching and flexibility, muscle toning and strengthening, and a cardiovascular workout.

Marcus Rivera PT, DPT, SCS

Marcus Rivera received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Christopher Newport University before earning his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University. He is board-certified as a Sports Clinical Specialist by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. A highly trained Physical Therapist with specialty expertise in sports rehabilitation and injury prevention. He believes that every movement has a purpose – either for sport, leisure or work. Restoring the body to that optimal function is his goal, achieved by a personalized plan for exercise, manual therapy or combination of methods. He graduated from Lafayette High School and remained in Hampton Roads for his undergraduate and post-baccalaureate education. He gives back to the community volunteering with Warhill High School Football team coaching offensive line and leading strengthening conditioning. Marcus donates his time to our studio, conditioning and training dancers. His knowledge of motion, kinesiology and overall mechanics benefits the classical Vaganova Ballet foundations our studio teaches. Marcus works several training sessions during the dance year with our dancers correcting strengthening and increasing range of motion. He is on sight during Nutcracker performances and rehearsals to aid and prevent injury with assessment. We are so grateful to have him on the VRB team.


Tamara Carson

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Under the guidance and leadership of Tamara “La Garbancito” Carson, the founder and Artistic Director of KC Flamenco, Kansas City is an inviting home and nurturing community for all practitioners and students of this inspiring art form of personal expression.

La Garbancito was a trained dancer from her earliest years, but it was her immersion in the gypsy world of Spain that spoke to her artistic spirit. Her professional apprenticeship with the great Meistro Lombardero in Barcelona, Spain laid the foundation of her technique and approach, and since that time she has dedicated her artistic passion and energy in spreading respect for Spanish art and culture, and Flamenco in particular.

Together with her many active students and musicians, she performs and teaches throughout the Kansas City area.

Her well-known position in the greater world of Flamenco has drawn other great Flamenco artists to Kansas City for performances and special workshops.

She continues her long association with the Kansas City Ballet as the staff instructor in flamenco for 20 years, imbuing the classically trained dancers with the fiery technique of this important style.

William Sterling WalkerInstructor

William Walker began dance training at the age of 14, at the Chamber Ballet (now the Virginia Regional Ballet) in Williamsburg, Virginia. He went on to receive the Artist Merit Award from the Virginia School of the Arts, and was a Regional Dance America scholarship recipient. He also trained with the Allegheny Ballet Company, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He has danced professionally with the Richmond Ballet, Starr Foster Dance Project, Chris Burnside and Dancers, Charisma Dance Theater, and has guest taught and performed throughout Virginia and beyond as far reaching as central Mexico, the coast of Columbia South America and Southern Spain. He is a certified teacher in the Wolf Trap teaching method for children. William taught for eleven years Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Latin, Flamenco and Techno Hip-Hop at Henrico County High school’s Center for the Arts, and The School Of The Latin Ballet Of Virginia in which he was the Junior Company Director and veteran dancer of it’s professional company The Latin Ballet Of Virginia. He is most pleased to be returning full circle to teach at the studio where he was first given the opportunity to discover the world of dance and to pass along the joys and strength that it has given him to aspiring young people.

Caitlin Hanacek – Instructor

Ms. Caitlin’s passion for dance was ignited at the age of four when she started dancing at the New Hampshire Academy of Performing Arts (NHAPA).  While at NHAPA, she trained in many forms of dance including; Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Tap.  While at NHAPA, Caitlin was a member of the Seacoast Civic Dance Company and served as captain of the company from 2004 to 2006, traveling nationwide for competitions, performances and intensive workshops. In 2006, she was named NHAPA’s Student of the Year for her dedication and leadership.  Caitlin went on to study at the University of New Hampshire where she was a member of the UNH Competitive Dance Team.  After completing her freshman year, Caitlin was given the opportunity to move to New York City to intern at the acclaimed Broadway Dance Center.  While at Broadway Dance Center she trained with many renowned choreographers while focusing her intensive training in contemporary jazz.  After auditioning and training in New York, Caitlin finished her degree at the University of Maryland graduating in 2010 with a BA in Psychology.  Since graduating she has developed a great passion for teaching and has taught and choreographed for competitive contemporary and jazz teams in the DC area while continuing her own training at various conventions and seminars.  Caitlin has just recently moved to the Williamsburg area and looks forward to sharing her passion for dance and her exceptional training with students at the Virginia Regional Ballet. (Photo credit Andrew Jackson at savand-photography.smugmug.com)

Nicole Lorah – Instructor

Nicole grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia, studying classical ballet and various other forms of dance at Eastern Virginia School for the Performing Arts under the tutelage of Sandra Balestracci. She also trained with Adrienne Dellas-Thornton and Ludmilla Morkovina at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C.. She has also trained in gymnastics, aerial hoop and other circus arts, and enjoys singing and musical theater as well. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with a Minor in Dance from Christopher Newport University and has performed with numerous local dance and theatre companies including Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Virginia Opera Association, Virginia Musical Theatre, and Todd Rosenlieb Dance Ensemble. She has also taught for various local dance studios and gyms including Margie Williams Studio of Dance, SI Dance, Airotique Movement, and WISC Gymnastics. She loves teaching and is very excited to begin working with Virginia Regional Ballet!

Stephanie Delneky – Instructor

Stephanie began dancing at the age of 10. She is a self-taught hip hop dancer whose passion for dance was ignited by watching Step Up movies and YouTube videos. Stephanie is a graduate of Christopher Newport University, with a degree in psychology and minors in leadership and sociology. She continued her education with a Masters in Sports Psychology and is moving forward to start a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. While at Christopher Newport University, Stephanie decided to create a hip hop dance club from what had previously been a group that died out. In 2012, she rebuilt the group to be what it is today, comprising of 50 dancers. The group performs on campus and she continues to be a part of their choreography team even after graduating. In addition, Stephanie is currently the Assistant Coach for CNU Storm, the university’s elite competition dance team.

Miryam MendelsonInstructor

Miryam is new to VRB and Williamsburg this year. She studied Musical Theatre Dance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts for the past two years, and she is now at William and Mary studying Public Policy. She is so excited to be a part of VRB!

Teanna Devnew – Instructor

Ms. Teanna began taking ballet lessons at the age of 3 per her doctor’s request. She had a slight pigeon toe, and he knew ballet would naturally correct her problem. She hasn’t stopped dancing ever since. Growing up military, she got her training from all over the country until she settled in Virginia during high school. She began working at Busch Gardens as a dancer at the age of 16 and continued to perform there for 8 years. While at Busch Gardens, she also acted as dance captain, rehearsal technician and did casting on their audition tour. Teanna began her education at Point Park University as a jazz dance major but left in her junior year to get her BA in Communication Studies from Christopher Newport University. While at CNU, she helped started Dance Fusion, a dance club, and choreographed a contemporary piece that was showcased in their dance concert. She has been teaching for VRB since 2009 and loves watching her students improve! While teaching for VRB, she is also able to pursue her other love of event planning while working as the Guest Services Manager for Waters Edge Church….all while juggling a 3 year old and husband! (Photo credit Andrew Jackson at savand-photography.smugmug.com)

Cathy Leach – Instructor

Ms. Cathy has been performing, teaching, and sharing her love of dance for the past 35 years. She studied dance at the Tidewater Ballet in Norfolk, VA and was in the first company of the Richmond Ballet. In the 1980s, Ms. Cathy initiated the dance program for Newport News Parks and Recreation. She has taught beginner to advanced ballet, tap, and jazz, beginner to intermediate baton, beginner tumbling, Zumba, and ballroom. She has directed marching units for numerous parades and has been a guest adjudicator for the VA State Pageant. Mrs. Leach became a Zumba Fitness Instructor in 2010. Currently, Ms. Cathy teaches Zumba, Intro to Dance, ballet, tap, and jazz, as well as teaching dance in local schools as part of Virginia Regional Ballet’s outreach programs.

Cornelius Barlett

Mr. Bartlett trained with Heidi Robitshek at the Chamber Ballet before attending the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C. as a scholarship student and North Carolina School for the Arts. At the Kirov Academy he studied with Ulena Vinogradova and Rudolph Kharatian and danced with the Kirov Ballet in The Nutcracker. He began dancing with Virginia Ballet Theatre in 2003. He has since performed as the Prince, Cavalier and Russian in The Nutcracker, the Court Jester in Cinderella, and the Cobbler in Twelve Dancing Princesses. He also performed in Allegro Brilliante, Serenade, Irish Ode, Mr. Evil & the Forever Diamond, Kettentanz — Eisel und Beisel Sprung, Suite Saint-Saens and The Firebird. Other professional affiliations include Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Busch Gardens Tampa, The American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Oak Ridge Civic Ballet in Tennessee.

Sandra Carlino

Sandra Carlino began her dance training at age nine with the Norfolk Civic Ballet under the direction of Gene Hammett and Perry Brunson. Her eight years of study included five years of performing with the Company. Ms. Carlino has an extensive performing repertoire, including memorable roles in Paquita, Raymonda, Spring Waters, Graduation Ball, La Bayadere and Swan Lake as well as major classical and contemporary works. At age 17, she was offered a position with Joffrey II, where she studied for three years. Ms. Carlino has over 25 years teaching experience for regional companies and festivals, as well as the Virginia Governor’s Magnet School, Virginia Ballet Theatre (formerly Norfolk Civic Ballet), Harrisburg Ballet, Joffrey Ballet School Summer Program, Baltimore School for the Arts and served as temporary Ballet Mistress for Cedar Lake Ensemble’s premiere touring season. She began her association with Pennsylvania Regional Ballet (formerly Cumberland Dance Company) in 1989, becoming Ballet Mistress in 1991 and was named Artistic Director in 2000. In addition to her work as Artistic Director, Ms. Carlino serves as a master teacher and rehearsal director throughout the country, as well as the Northeast Coordinator to the National Board of Regional Dance America and as a panel member for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Danile Giesy

Ms. Danile began her training in Norfolk, Virginia. She has been performing professionally since 1981 and teaching dance since 1983. Danile has performed with Chamber Ballet, Ballet Tidewater, Young Audiences of Virginia and Richmond Ballet. She has taught for Tidewater Ballet, Chamber Ballet, and the Governor’s School for the Arts, and Margie Williams Studio of dance. Danile is a third generation certified classical Pilates instructor and was recently certified as an EBAS (Elemental Body Alignment System) instructor.

Alexis Hopkins

Miss Hopkins studied a wide array of technique and performance styles at the Chamber Ballet in Williamsburg, VA, the Richmond Ballet, and Point Park University’s Conservatory for Performing Arts in Pittsburgh. She performed in full-length classical ballets including The Secret Garden as well as many productions of The Nutcraker, plus numerous festivals and cultural events throughout her home state of Virginia. In the summer of 2006, Alexis was invited to Germany to perform as part of the touring Robitshek Dance Ensemble, where she was part of a cast of talented dancers from around the world. As a dancer at Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg, VA, she spooked in the magical Rockin’ Eve’s Countdown to Midnight, polka’d in This is Oktoberfest, and scared in Frightnight in the Festhaus. Alexis also completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology summa cum laude at the College of William and Mary. After moving to New York, Alexis delved further into international dance styles as part of Valeria Entertainment, a world dance company. Performing bellydance, Brazilian samba, bollywood, jazz, and traditional gypsy was a blast. Miss Hopkins traveled with Valeria Entertainment throughout the northeast including the five boroughs of New York, plus Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Alexis also performed in the all-original The Little Mermaid’s Maid with the Pink Pig Ballet in downtown Manhattan. Since returning to Virginia, Miss Alexis has enjoyed embarking upon her sixth year teaching. She has taught in the Williamsburg/JCC and Newport News school systems, at the Chamber Ballet, and the William and Mary tap club. She is also a licensed Zumba instructor.

Jennifer Lent

Ms. Jennifer is a Professor of Dance and Musical Theater at Christopher Newport University and previously at Western Carolina University. She holds a B.A. in Theater from The College of William & Mary in Virginia and an M.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography from Florida State University. She performed for six years with Busch Gardens Entertainment Williamsburg and Tampa Bay, Florida. Outside the university setting, Jennifer has taught dance in VA, NC, NJ, and FL. Her work, “Oklahoma City,” based on the bombing, was accepted into “Take a Chance Choreographer’s Showcase” at New Dance Group Arts in NYC. She has performed two seasons with The Lost Colony, and has performed as a vocalist/dancer for Legends in Concert. She has also worked with Gwen Verdon, Ben Vereen, and Ann Reinking with The Broadway Theater Project.

Leda Meredith

Ms. Meredith’s dance career spans classical ballet, modern dance and theater. She was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre II, Edward Villella, Manhattan Ballet, Ohio Ballet, Ballet du Nord and others. She toured as Louise in San Francisco Opera Ballet’s Carousel, and appeared as Columbine for the Walter Verdehr Trio’s PBS presentation of Pierrot. Leda is currently Rehearsal Director of Dances Patrelle, and originated numerous roles for that company including her critically acclaimed Lady Macbeth in Francis Patrelle’s Macbeth. She was a company member of Jennifer Muller/The Works for over eight years and returned as Artistic Associate Director for The Works 25th anniversary season. Leda is one of the few officially accredited teachers of the Muller modern dance technique, as well as teaching ballet, partnering, composition and performance skills. She is an Adjunct Professor for Adelphi University’s Dance Department, and the recipient of Adelphi’s 2007-2008 Teaching Excellence Award. She holds an Honorary Doctorate in the Arts from La Universidad Leonardo Da Vinci in San Salvador. Leda is a returning guest instructor for Pennsylvania Regional Ballet, the Henny Jurriens Stichting in Amsterdam, Western Washington University, Koelnertanz in Cologne, and the Dance Loft in Rorschach, Switzerland, among others. She has taught for the Iles de Danse in France, for the Artist’s Trust International Course in England, and as a guest instructor for Carolyn Carlson’s Atelier de Paris. Other dance programs she has taught for include the California State University at Los Angeles, SUNY Purchase, SUNY Oswego, and Brigham Young University in Hawaii. She has been a featured instructor for the Northeast Regional Dance Festival and the American College Dance Association. A published author on many subjects, her writing has appeared in Pointe Magazine, European Dance News, The Herb Companion, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s All-Region Guides, and The-Vu, among others. Leda is also a professional gardener and botanist and teaches for the New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Mimi Phillips

Mimi Phillips has over 25 years of dance experience and is currently a champion Irish dancer. She is also a certified Health and Fitness Instructor with the American College of Sports Medicine and Stott pilates instructor.

Victoria Schneider

Victoria Schneider studied with Fred Danieli at the School of the Garden State Ballet in New Jersey. She danced professionally with the Garden State Ballet as a soloist, and with the Pennsylvania Ballet. She then taught at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet for seven years, before moving to Italy where she worked as principal teacher at La Scuola di Danza Classica in Florence. After returning to the United States, she established the School of the Tampa Ballet and served as ballet mistress of the Tampa/Colorado Ballet. Ms. Schneider studied the teaching syllabus of Russian Classical Ballet with her late husband, Jurgen Schneider, and with Janina Ciunovas. In addition, she completed the two-year pedagogy program at the Vaganova Academy of Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia. (She is one of only three Americans to be certified through this prestigious and demanding program.) Her students have won major awards in numerous ballet competitions and can be found dancing in major ballet companies in the United States and abroad. Ms. Schneider has served as a jury member for the Japan Grand Prix ballet competition since its inception in 2002. She is currently a faculty member at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida.

Abigail Simon

Abigail Simon played the part of Louise to critical acclaim in the Chicago Lyric 2015 production of Carousel. She also played the principal dancer in the Chicago Lyric production of Cappriccio with Renée Flemming. In November and December of 2015, she toured throughout the United States as the Sugar Plum Fairy in 30 performances of The Nutcracker. Other recent roles include Juliet/Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (Vienna). Abigail trained at the School of American Ballet and performed with American Ballet Theater prior to dancing for ten years with The JoffreyBallet. She played principal roles in The Merry Widow, Night, Kettentanz and Reflections. Simon has worked with such renowned choreographers as Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon, and Benjamin Millepied. In 2014 Abigail signed as an Ambassador Capezio Artist. Abigail is recognized as an international guest speaker, teacher and ballet coach.

Donald Tolj

Donald Tolj is currently a ballet faculty member at Southern Dance in Florida and a Guest Artist at the Dreyfoos School for the Arts. He was on the resident faculty of The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton Florida for 2 years. He returned to Florida from the UK where for 4 years he was Artistic Administrator and a ballet faculty member at the Elmhurst School for Dance in Association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. While in the UK Mr. Tolj was a panel member on the first international symposium on Dance Psychology hosted by the University of Birmingham, UK., a dance and movement consultant for the Bio-mechanics of Dance Project at Coventry University, and completed his Level 2 Certification in Pilates. He started his career at the Cincinnati Ballet while attending the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Don received a BA in Visual and Performing Arts from The University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 1977. During his 20 year international performing career, he worked with the Who’s Who of both Ballet and Contemporary dance. He was a dancer with Maryland Ballet, Richmond Ballet and Southern Ballet Theatre, dancing Principal and Soloist roles in the most of the Classic repertoire as well as having roles created for him by leading choreographers. Donald has been the Artistic Director of The Chamber Ballet and Evansville Dance Theatre, Louisville Ballet’s Civic Company, as well as the Director of their affiliated schools. Concurrently he spent 14 years on the summer faculty of the prestigious Governors School for the Humanities and the Visual and Performing Arts in Richmond VA, instructing a range of interdisciplinary arts and humanities subjects as well as dance. He has many former students in companies world wide, including, New York City Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Singapore Dace Theatre, Estonian National Ballet, Teater (Theatre) Vanemuine, Magdeburg Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Slovak National Ballet and others.

Lauren Fadeley Veyette

Lauren Fadeley was born in Orlando, FL, where she began her dance training at age four. She trained at the Orlando Ballet School and the School of Performing Arts in Florida, along with summer intensives at The Rock School for Dance Education and The School of American Ballet. In 2000, after attending SAB for three consecutive summers, Ms. Fadeley moved to New York City at age 15 to study there full-time. Once completing a year at SAB, Ms. Fadeley was invited by Peter Martins to join New York City Ballet. While there, she performed in numerous works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, and Christopher Wheeldon. After two years with New York City Ballet, Ms. Fadeley decided to further her academic and dance education by attending Indiana University. While at IU, she performed principal roles in Seranade, Sonatine, The Nutcracker, Spring Waters, Cinderella, Who Cares?, Paquita, Napoli, and Allegro Brillante. In May 2007, she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an outside field in Kinesiology. She joined Pennsylvania Ballet in fall 2007, where Ms. Fadeley originated feature roles in Peter Quanz’s Jupiter Symphony, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Reqium for a Rose, Nicolo Fonte’s Grace Action and Matthew Neenan’s Pampeana, Keep, At the border and Beside them, they dwell, La Chasse and Shift to Minor. She has also performed featured roles in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ (Lead Marzipan, Dewdrop and Sugarplum Fairy), The Four Temperaments(First and Third Theme, Sangunic), Agon (Pas de Deux), Ballo della Regina, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; Jerome Robbin’s In G Major, Other Dances and NY Export Opus Jazz, Peter Martins’s La Sylphide and Barber Violin Concerto, William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, In the middle, somewhat elevated, Artifact Suite, and The Second Detail, Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, After the Rain and DGV. In March 2011, Ms. Fadeley premiered as Odette/Odile in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake and reprised the role again in 2015. In May 2012 she performed the role of Wendy in the company debut of Trey McIntire’s Peter Pan. Other full length leads include Giselle (Giselle), Coppelia (Swanhilda) and Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania and Divertessmont Pas de Duex). She was also one of fourteen Pennsylvania Ballet dancers who performed in the Academy Award-winning film Black Swan. Ms. Fadeley joined Miami City Ballet in 2016 as a soloist.

Francis Veyette

Francis Veyette began his dance training at the age of ten at Dance Arts in Visalia. With his brothers Andrew and Michael, he began studying at Westside Ballet in 1992. He danced lead roles in The Nutcracker (Sugarplum Cavalier, 1995-96 and 1998) and The Sleeping Beauty (Prince Florimund, The Bluebird, 1997). His summer programs included the School of American Ballet in New York City and The Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet. Francis became an apprentice with Pennsylvania Ballet in 1997, and was promoted to the Corps de Ballet in September 1999. Featured roles include Candy Cane and Tea in The Nutcracker, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew and Titania’s Cavalier in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Andrew and Francis VeyetteIn August 2003 Francis joined Kansas City Ballet under the artistic direction of William Whitener. His roles for Kansas City Ballet include Cavalier and Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker and principal couple in Paquita. Francis returned to Pennsylvania Ballet in Fall 2005. He was promoted to soloist for the 2007-08 season and to principal for the 2011-12 season. His principal roles have included the Pas de Deux in Balanchine’s Agon and Colas in Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardee. He retired from Pennsylvania Ballet in 2016.

Gennadi Vostrikov

Gennadi Vostrikov was born in Siberia, Russia. He received his early training in Perm. Mr. Vostrikov studied with the renowned ballet teachers Plaht and Asaular. Gennadi was awarded the first degree diploma in the Leningrad Ballet Competition. Upon graduation, he was asked to join the Moiseyev Classical Ballet Company. While with the Moiseyev Company he was coached by the legendary ballet masters, Igor Moiseyev, Asaff Messerer, and Sulamif Messerer. The Moiseyev Classical Ballet Company traveled worldwide. It was during one of their many tours that Mr. Vostrikov saw the possibility for freedom and defected while in Mexico. The Mexico Ballet Company prompted him to join their company as a principal and teacher. Nicholas Petrov, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre director, heard about his defection and requested that Gennadi join PBT. While with PBT, Gennadi performed numerous principal roles in such ballets as The Nutcracker, Prince Igor, Rite of Spring, Spectra de la Rose, Carmena Burana, Coppelia, Cinderella, Giselle, Swan Lake, Les Sylphide, Romeo and Juliet, Corsaire Pas de Deux, La Bayadere, and Don Quixote, as well as having performed with the Pittsburgh Opera. Mr. Vostrikov also was a principal with Chicago Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet. Gennadi was an associate professor of dance with the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Shenandoah University, as well as Director of Ballet Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Mr. Vostrikov is currently director of the Virginia Youth Ballet and Vostrikov’s Academy of Ballet. He is also a guest teacher and choreographer with Cumberland Ballet, New Castle Ballet, Virginia Regional Ballet, Louisiana Dance Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and master teacher with national and regional ballet festivals.

Elbert Watson

Mr. Watson studied classical ballet at the New York Conservatory of the Arts and at The John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, Germany. Mr. Watson is a former principal dancer with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Staatstheater of Kassel, Germany, The Pearl Primus Earth Theater, and The Joan Miller Dance Players. He is a master teacher for the City of Norfolk Dance program and the Ballet Virginia International School and Company. Mr. Watson also serves on the Norfolk Commission of Arts and Humanities for the City of Norfolk and has participated in and led numerous collaborations with the Virginia Symphony, the Chrysler Museum, the Attucks Theater, and Portsmouth Redevelopment. Mr. Watson is the co founder of the “Kinetics of Stone” fine arts collaborative in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the founder of the Tidewater Dance Collective and the Elbert Watson Dance Company. Mr. Watson is the dance master at Norfolk Academy and has been a dance instructor there for over twenty-five years.

Anton (Tony) Wilson

Anton is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts. Anton T. Wilson was born in Annapolis, MD, where he began his studies with Anne Waugh Allen and Edward D. Stewart. He has performed with: Ballet Theatre of Maryland; Parnassus Dance Theatre, Japan; Djazzex, Holland; Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo; Martita Goshen’s Earthworks; Jennifer Muller/The Works, New York, among others. He has taught, choreographed and toured internationally for twenty-three years. Anton is a 2007 and 2009 recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award for choreography. He is currently an instructor for the Baltimore School for the Arts.

Nanako Yamamoto

Nanako Yamamoto was born and raised in Japan, where she began her training at the Geijutsuza Ballet Studio “Jardin des Arts,” performing such roles as Clara in The Nutcracker, Rose Adagio in The Sleeping Beauty and the title role in Cinderella. In 2005, she was selected to attend the prestigious Royal Ballet Summer School, then auditioned for and was accepted to the Elmhurst School for Dance in Association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. While a student, she performed in the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s National Tour of Firebird, Fokine’s Petrushka, Petipa’s Raymonda, and David Bintlye’s Beauty and the Beast. She performed for his Royal Highness Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and for the grand re-opening of Birmingham’s town hall. Since graduating in 2009, she has performed with New Tampa Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Tampa, Ballet Fleming, in Giselle with Boca Ballet Theatre alongside Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes, and as soloist in La Bayadere with Gillian Murphy, Jose Manuel, and Daniel Ulbricht. In 2013, Ms. Yamamoto joined American Repertory Ballet. While with the company she has performed soloist roles in The Nutcracker, Fantasy Barouque, Romeo and Juliet and Rite of Spring and has danced in world premiers, including the ARB’s production of Firebird.

Ricky Wallace – Instructor

Ricky Wallace, Jr., began dancing at the age of 17 as a freestyle Hip-Hop dancer. With no actual professional training experience, at 18 he decided to audition for the Stuttgart New York City Dance School (NYCDS) Professional Dance Academy (PDA) and was accepted. While studying at NYCDS, Ricky learned basics in ballet, jazz, modern, tap, and grew tremendously in hip hop. Also while attending NYCDS, Ricky performed in a flash mob promoting the clothing line S.Oliver, a backup dancer for 2 concerts hosted by a popular radio station called SWR 1 & 2, and as a dancer promoting the car company Mercedes Benz. After graduating in March 2012 from NYCDS and receiving his certification to teach, Ricky returned to the states and with his family, moved to Newport News, Virginia. In October of 2012 Ricky received his first job as a teacher, teaching at the Margie Williams Studio of Dance. Ricky has a huge passion and love for dance, and feels blessed to be able to share that passion with others. Ricky also attends Saint Leo University and is pursuing a major in business management with hopes of owning his own dance studio in the future.

Leah Thompson – Instructor

A theatre major with a minor in music, Leah also specializes in various dialects, improvisation, movement and gymnastics; plays the ukelele and sings soprano with belt mix. She has performed in dozens of shows and is a graduate of the Mississippi University for Women.

Starr Needre

Starr began dancing at the young age of three with Chamber Ballet under Heidi Robitshek and Adelle Carpenter. She had the opportunity to travel and perform twice with the Robitshek Dance Ensemble in Heidelberg, Germany. Starr continued her training with Virginia Regional Ballet dancing in many Nutcrackers. She also studied at Point Park University’s International Summer Dance Program. Continuing her passion for dance, Starr went on to gain her B.F.A. in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College. Since starting her dance career, Starr has performed with Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Princess Cruises, The Holy Land Experience, Sea World Orlando, and The Lost Colony. She has also performed in musicals including West Side Story with Riverside Center Dinner Theatre and The Addams Family with The Show Palace Dinner Theatre. In addition to dance, she recently acted in both The Mystery Dinner of Williamsburg and OBX Mystery Dinner. Currently, Starr and her husband are back performing at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (where they actually met four years ago)! Starr is extremely thankful to be with her VRB family again, and is thrilled to be sharing her love of dance through teaching!

Desiree Moore – Instructor

Ms. Desiree was 6 years old when she began her dance training at Diggs School of Dance. She has been dancing with Virginia Regional Ballet since 2010 and has been a part of VRB’s Nutcracker since 2006. Desiree has attended summer dance programs with the Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, Virginia, Common Thread in Missouri, and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance in Colorado.

Bridget Ewell-Haigh – Instructor

Ms. Bridget grew up in Grafton, graduating from Tabb High School. She earned her undergraduate degree from Christopher Newport University and received Masters in teaching from Old Dominion University. She is a teacher at Grafton Middle School in York County and coaches the Color Guard.

Tiffany Burt

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