At School of Philadelphia Ballet, formerly School of Pennsylvania Ballet, each teacher’s primary objective is to help his or her students achieve the individual goals they set out to reach as dancers. We not only recognize our students’ genuine passion for this art form, but equally embrace the dedication they bring to the studio each and every day. We also believe the same passion, commitment, and joy for dance they bring to their training will spill over and enrich all aspects of their daily lives.

Guest Faculty have included: Artur Babajanyan, Sterling Baca, Jacqueline Callahan, Tiit Helimets, Krista King-Doherty, Rachel Lockhart, Fernanda Oliveira, Tolando Sarabia, among others.


Director of the School of Philadelphia Ballet
Hometown: Yerevan, Armenia

Davit is an acclaimed performer and dance educator, and was appointed Director of School of Philadelphia Ballet beginning with our 2022/2023 season. He previously served as Co-Artistic Director of the Pennsylvania Ballet Academy for five years, preceded by over a decade as a principal dancer with San Francisco Ballet.

Born in Yerevan, Armenia, Karapetyan received his training at the Armenian School of Ballet and the Schweizerische Ballettberufsschule in Zurich, Switzerland. His extensive experience includes 12 years as a principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, and six as a soloist with the Zurich Ballet. Karapetyan served on the jury for Prix de Lausanne in 2018, and has been a guest teacher with San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Philadelphia Ballet and more.

Davit has performed principal roles in Helgi Tomasson’s 2004 Nutcracker (Nutcracker Prince and King of Snow), Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella (Prince Gillaume), John Cranko’s Onegin (Onegin), among others, and created principal roles in Helgi Tomasson’s On a Theme of Paganini, Caprice, and On Common Ground.

“Throughout his career, Davit has continually distinguished himself both as a performer and a teacher of ballet’s next generation. His wide range of experience, depth of knowledge, and passion for ballet education make him the ideal candidate to lead the School boldly into the future.” – Philadelphia Ballet Artistic Director Angel Corella.


Principal of the School of Philadelphia Ballet
Hometown: Silver Spring, MD

Kristina Windom joins School of Philadelphia Ballet after 16 years as a dancer, educator, and administrator with The Washington Ballet, where she studied classical ballet with Mary Day. She is excited to “return” to Pennsylvania, where she spent her first summer away as a young dancer, studying with Barbara Weisberger.

As a 17-year old, Kristy competed as one of two Americans in the prestigious Varna International Ballet Competition. She danced professionally with The Washington Ballet, Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, San Francisco Opera Ballet, and Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet. Kristy completed her Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance at George Mason University and taught dancers at GMU for 18 years, helping students navigate the benefits of dance in university settings. As a division head in The Washington School of Ballet, Kristy was part of a team that focused on nurturing students and helping to grow the school’s student body threefold.

In her research, Kristy explores interdisciplinary and innovative dance training strategies that primarily focus on neuromuscular performance and execution. Her studies as a somatic practitioner influence her ballet curricula, helping students recruit dynamic alignment and safe movement practices. She is a sought-after mentor to ballet students who aspire to professional careers and non-traditional paths. She is most interested in experiences that promote diversity in ballet so this training can be practiced and shared widely and equitably.


Company Manager, Philadelphia Ballet II
Artistic Coordinator, School of Philadelphia Ballet
Hometown: Richboro, PA

Magge Hoelper received her classical training at Olga Kresin’s Ballet School in Philadelphia, Pa. Under Ms. Kresin (Odessa National Ballet Theater) and Lev Assoulyak (Perm Ballet Theater), Magge participated in international competitions such as the Barcelona International Dance Competition, where she was awarded first prize for pas de deux, and Prima De Roma, where she was a finalist. After graduating from high school, she became a member of the Mystic Ballet Company where she premiered works by Brian Enos, Sergei Vanaev, and Gregory King. In 2012, she premiered Gabrielle Lamb’s Marooned at Jacob’s Pillow. After returning to Philadelphia, Magge resumed her studies, graduating from Temple University with a Bachelor of Art History.

Magge has been a dance educator and arts administrator in the Philadelphia area since 2015. Most recently she served as the Artistic Manager and Performance Company Coordinator at The Rock School for Dance – West. While at Rock West, Magge staged several ballets including The Nutcracker, Paquita and Coppelia as well as choreographed and produced two original ballets – Rhodophis: A Tale from Ancient Egypt and Night at the Opera. Her students have won top prizes at competitions like Youth America Grand Prix, Odessa Ballet Competition, and Universal Ballet Competition and been accepted into prestigious dance programs such as USC Glorya Kaufman, UNCSA, SAB and Ellison Ballet. Magge joined the School of Philadelphia Ballet as the Artistic Coordinator and PBII Company Manager in 2023.


Children’s Ballet Stager
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Jaime Santoro began her ballet training at age six at both the Rock School of Dance and the Philadelphia Dance Conservatory. She had performed as a member of Pennsylvania Ballet, now the Philadelphia Ballet, before joining Orlando Ballet in 1996. During the summer of 2001, Ms. Santoro was granted a professional fellowship award and invited to perform as a guest artist and tour with the Rome Festival throughout Italy.

While with Orlando Ballet, Ms. Santoro performed soloist and principal roles in both classical and contemporary works. Her classical repertoire includes The NutcrackerRomeo and JulietDon QuixoteSwan LakeCinderellaThe Sleeping Beauty, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her Balanchine repertoire includes Symphony In C (First and Fourth Movement), Who Cares?Concerto BaroccoValse FantaisieSerenade, and Agon.

The transition from principal and soloist dancer to choreographer and teacher was a natural evolution for Ms. Santoro and has provided her the opportunity to carry out both roles for several organizations, including Orlando Ballet, Orlando Ballet School, Springton Dance Academy, and Dance Arts of Yardley.

In 2009, Ms. Santoro was recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership, and excellence in the performing arts.


Digital Content Assistant
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Laura Bowman Goldstein began dancing at the age of 3, in Raleigh, NC. She trained at The Raleigh School of Ballet, studying primarily under Ann Vorus, Mary LeGere, and Susan Carlin Galdy; supplementing her instruction with summer intensives at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and Houston Ballet School. She completed her final year of training with a full scholarship at the Rock School for Dance Education.

Ms. Bowman joined Pennsylvania Ballet (now Philadelphia Ballet) in August of 2001, where she danced for fifteen seasons before retiring in June of 2016. Her versatility afforded her opportunities to perform featured roles in both classical and contemporary works; including Angel Corella’s Don Quixote, George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Four Temperaments, William Forsythe’s Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, Jerome Robbins’ N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, Paul Taylor’s Company B, Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, and Matthew Neenan’s Penumbra, among others. In addition to her work with Pennsylvania Ballet, Ms. Bowman performed with Carolina Ballet and BalletX, and, in 2010, was cast in the Academy Award-nominated film Black Swan. She has performed in the International Ballet Festival of Miami, the Edinburgh Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and the Vail International Dance Festival.

Ms. Bowman fell in love with teaching early in her professional career; sharing her knowledge and passion with students and schools along the east coast since 2003. In 2012, she was selected as an inaugural instructor with the re-established School of Pennsylvania Ballet, now known as School of Philadelphia Ballet. In addition to her years of dedication to the School, Ms. Bowman has also held the position of Senior Lecturer with the School of Dance at the University of the Arts. Ms. Bowman resides in Philadelphia with her husband and two beautiful sons.


Hometown: Mullica Hill, NJ

Valerie Amiss began her training at age eight under Sue Millington at the Regency Ballet. She continued her instruction with Victor Moreno and Alexei Yudenich, and at age 12 joined the Pennsylvania Ballet School under the direction of Bojan and Stephanie Spassoff. Ms. Amiss spent a summer studying in Saratoga Springs, NY with members of New York City Ballet, including Peter Martins, Heather Watts, and Jock Soto. She was nominated for the prestigious Princess Grace Award in 1994, and in 1995 performed at the Algur H. Meadows Award Ceremony to honor choreographer Paul Taylor. In the summer of that same year, she also performed with the Chautauqua Ballet Company, directed by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride, and, in 1997, she was asked by Gloria Govrin and Sandra Jennings to performed at the St. Bart’s Music Festival on the island of St Bart’s.

Ms. Amiss joined Pennsylvania Ballet (now Philadelphia Ballet) as an apprentice in 1992 under the direction of Christopher d’Amboise. She became a member of the corps de ballet and was promoted to soloist with then director, Roy Kaiser. In the summer of that year, she also represented the company at the Sintra Festival in Portugal. And in 2005, Ms. Amiss not only performed at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, where she danced featured roles in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, but also performed Matthew Neenan’s 11:11 and Carmina Burana at New York City Center. Additionally, she had the honor of performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as well as with Susan Jaffe and Nicole Hlinka for a Rock School benefit.

Ms. Amiss has performed numerous principal roles in the Balanchine repertoire, including Titania and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Odette in Swan Lake Act II, and the Sugarplum Fairy and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. She danced featured roles in such works as Giselle, Paul Taylor’s Company B, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Christopher Wheeldon’s Continuum and Swan Lake, Janek Schergen’s The Sleeping Beauty, Alvin Ailey’s The River, Jerome Robbins’ In the Night and The Concert, and George Balanchine’s Rubies, The Four Temperaments, Western Symphony, Agon, Scotch Symphony, Bugaku, and Serenade, among others.

Ms. Amiss has taught ballet and pointe classes at summer sessions for The Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, as well as a guest instructor at schools throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Ms. Amiss was co-ballet mistress for the Academy of Ballet NJ in West Berlin, NJ, for seven years. She also had the pleasure of teaching ballet to aspiring figure skaters in Aston, PA. In 2016, Ms. Amiss was asked by Arantxa Ochoa to join the faculty of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, where she taught varied age levels. Ms. Amiss has also participated in teacher training with Marcia Dale Weary and Barbra Weisberger at the Peabody institute of Baltimore in MD. Locally, she was a senior lecturer at the University of the Arts, where she taught several ballet classes, and a guest lecturer at Drexel University where she was asked to speak about Balanchine repertoire for the Philadelphia Museum of Dance at the Barnes Museum. Executive director of American Repertory Ballet, Julie Diana called on Valerie to join The Princeton Ballet School where she taught in both the Cranbury and Princeton, NJ. locations.

Ms. Amiss was asked by Pennsylvania Ballet (now Philadelphia Ballet) outreach program director Sarah Cooper to teach classes for children with Down syndrome. She taught several ballet classes for children with special needs at St. Katherine Day School in Wynnewood, PA. Ms. Amiss produced her first Nutcracker for St. Katherine’s Day School where the entire cast were dancers of different abilities. Valerie also helped create “Audrey’s Class” for children of all abilities at the Princeton Ballet School, under the direction of Aydmara Cabrera.

Ms. Amiss retired from The Pennsylvania Ballet Company in June 2007, and now resides in Ocean City, NJ, with her husband, former Pennsylvania Ballet, soloist Edward Cieslak, and their son Adam, and daughter. Lily.


Hometown: Chelyabinsk / Perm, Russia

Alexei Borovik was born in Russia and began his ballet training at the age of ten at the Perm Ballet Academy. Upon graduating in 1979, he was invited to join the Perm Ballet Theatre. His reputation quickly established itself, and in 1982 he was elevated to Premiere Dancer. Alexei was awarded the Second Prize at The Artistic Ballet Competition in Moscow in 1984. In 1987, he won the Gold Medal at The Sixth Concourse International Ballet Festival in Peru and was honored with a decoration as “Merited Artist of Russia.”

A highly sought-after guest artist, Alexei has made numerous appearances internationally and throughout Russia. In 1997, he toured China with The Stars of the American Ballet. From 1992-2006, Alexei was a Principal Dancer with the Pennsylvania Ballet. His extensive repertoire includes principal roles in Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Don Quixote, and The Nutcracker, among others. Along with leading roles in the classical repertoire, he has taken up additional assignments in the ballets of George Balanchine, including Apollo, Rubies, The Four Temperaments, Tarantella, Serenade, Theme and Variations, and Stars and Stripes. Alexei has also danced in such diverse pieces as Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fuge, Paul Taylor’s Arden Court, Lynne Taylor Corbett’s Great Galloping Gottschalk, and has created roles in many new ballets. In June 1997, Alexei had the prestigious honor of being invited to return to his homeland of Russia to appear as Principal Guest Artist in The Perm Ballet Theatre’s productions of Don Quixote and Giselle in celebration of their 125th Jubilee.

On October 13, 2006, Alexei retired from the Pennsylvania Ballet with a Gala Performance of Balanchine’s Apollo. He gave his last performance with Perm Ballet in Russia in November 2006. Alexei has worked with Jeanne Ruddy Dance since January 2007, teaching ballet classes and expanding his career as a modern dancer. He is on the faculty as a ballet teacher with School of Philadelphia Ballet.

Alexei is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with all levels of students and is committed to providing the highest-quality ballet training in a fun and supportive environment.


Hometown: Voorhees, NJ

Gabrielle Byrnes, from Voorhees, NJ, is excited to join the School of Philadelphia Ballet as a faculty member, bringing her love and passion for teaching dance to young children. Gabrielle is currently dancing professionally with Glorify Performing Arts in West Chester PA.

She began her training at the Academy of Ballet NJ in South Jersey under David Gallagher and was taught by Valerie Amiss, Gabriella Yudenich, Jennifer Tedesco and William DeGregory. She performed in many full-length productions with lead roles such as Snow Queen and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Cygnet and Peasant pas de trois in Swan Lake, Stepsister in Cinderella, and Swanhilda in Coppelia. She has attended summer intensives at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Paradosi, Princeton Ballet School, Paul Taylor and Mark Morris Dance Group.

Gabrielle attended Adelphi University in Long Island, New York and received a BFA in Dance and with a minor in Art and Design Education. At Adelphi, she worked with choreographers Frank Augustyn, Orion Duckstein, Tamara Babic, Jennifer Kreichman, and Fernando Carrillo. While at Adelphi she interned at Long Island High School of the Arts and the Waldorf School of Garden City, teaching her choreography to students.

Gabrielle is delighted to continue her passion for teaching children dance where she began her career.


Hometown: Veracruz, México

Elba has been living in Philadelphia teaching at the School of Philadelphia Ballet since 2021 as a faculty member focused on Spanish Dance and Flamenco. Additionally, she is an Artistic Faculty member and Company Manager of Pasion y Arte Conservatory in Overbrook.

Originally from Veracruz, México, Elba Cena is a dance educator, choreographer, and highly accomplished dancer. She has been endorsed as a qualified teacher by Institution “Amor De Dios”, a highly esteemed and oldest institution in Madrid, where Spanish dance and Flamenco have been taught since 1953.

She and her mother founded the renowned school “Danzas Españolas Elba Cena” over 30 years ago, teaching Flamenco and Spanish Dance where their technique has been recognized at the National Center for the Arts in Mexico City.

She has studied with many renowned artists, including Cristobal Reyes (her primary Flamenco teacher), Olga Marcioni “La China”, Manuel Reyes, Merche Esmeralda, José Molina and Manuel Linan, Ana López (teacher of the Conservatorio real de Madrid Mariemma), Elba Hevia y Vaca, among others.

Elba has been recognized numerous times for her artistic direction, her solo dancing, and her dance company and school´s productions over the past 17 years. She has made several appearances with renowned symphony and philharmonic orchestras in Mexico and taking flamenco, to important stages within large productions such as the show Esencia y Consecuencia for 15 years, and the staging of Viva Lara accompanying great artists of international stature.

A recent twist in Elba’s career saw her collaborate with the British Junior Ice Skating Champions Phebe Bekker and James Hernandez. She choreographed flamenco elements into their program, where they won a silver medal at the Junior Prix in Ostrava 2022, first place at the British Championships and recently, third place at World Junior Championship in Calgary with their Flamenco program.

Elba is passionate about connecting and sharing dance with all of her students, regardless of where they are in their careers.


Hometown: Yoshkar-Ola, Russia

Born in Yoshkar-Ola, Russia, Mr. Charov began his ballet training at age nine and graduated from the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg – home of the famed Russian ballet traditions. His studies there included Classical Ballet, History of Theater, History of Art and Music, Acting, Stage Makeup, History of European and American Ballet, Character, Historic Dance, Fencing and Pas de Deux. From school and throughout his career, Mr. Charov had great teachers who helped him to achieve his goals like Veniamin Zimin, Professor Nikolai Serebrennikov – greatest teachers of Mariinsky ballet – Sergei Berezhnoi, Vladlen Semenov, and Irina Kolpakova, just to name a few.

Mr. Charov started his professional career at the age of seventeen at the Donetsk Opera and Ballet House in Ukraine. He began touring nationally and abroad and enjoyed great success, quickly building a rich classical repertoire. In 1991, he moved to the United States and continued his performing career with the Indianapolis Ballet (Cavalier in Nutcracker, Hilarion in Giselle, Pas d’ Esclave, Zuniga in Carmen). In 1996 he was invited to perform for Her Majesty, The Queen Anne of Romania and Her Royal Highness, The Princess Sophie of Romania. In the same year he joined Philadelphia Ballet, formerly Pennsylvania Ballet, and started adding a wide collection of Balanchine works to his range. Mr. Charov has also performed in original works by many internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Ben Stevenson, Margo Sappington, Kirk Peterson, John Cranko, James Kudelka, L. Taylor-Corbett, Alvin Ailey, Dwight Rhoden, Christopher Wheeldon, Paul Mejia, Alberto Alonso, Matthew Neenan, and others. His performances were highlighted and reviewed by the press in Europe and Asia, as well as in the United States.

Mr. Charov served as a Ballet Master for Koresh Dance Company and helped to develop the Children’s Ballet Program for the school. Currently, Mr. Charov works for Philadelphia Performing Art String Theory Schools as a coordinator of curriculum for classical ballet programs for beginner levels. He is also serving as a faculty member of the School of Philadelphia Ballet. Mr. Charov teaches master classes and stages classical performances and original works around the country and internationally.

In 2016, Mr. Charov received a Bachelor’s Degree in Choreography, Directing, and Teaching. In January of 2018, he completed his Masters in Fine Arts and Pedagogy. He is also official judge for W.B.A.C. Grand Prix.


Hometown: Vinnitsa, Ukraine

Born in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, Ms. Charova began her ballet training at age ten and graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow – home of the famed Russian ballet traditions. Her studies there included Classical Ballet, History of Theater, History of Art and Music, Acting, Stage Make-Up, History of European and American Ballet, Character, Historic dance and Pas de Deux.

Beginning in school and throughout her career, Ms. Charova has had esteemed teachers who helped her to achieve her goals. These teachers include Elena Riabinkina, and the great teachers of the Mariinsky Ballet, Sergei Vikharev, Vladlen Semenov and Irina Kolpakova.

Natalia started her professional career at the age of eighteen at the Donetsk Opera and Ballet House in Ukraine. She began touring nationally and abroad and enjoyed great success, quickly building a rich classical repertoire. Some of her favorite roles include Odette, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Maria Taglioni from Pas de Quatre. In 1991 she moved to the United States and continued her performing career with the Indianapolis Ballet and later the Pennsylvania Ballet, adding a wide collection of Balanchine works to her repertoire. Natalia has also performed in works including the world premieres by many internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Ben Stevenson, Margo Sappington, Kirk Peterson, John Cranco, James Kudelka, L. Taylor-Corbett, Alvin Ailey, Dwight Rhoden, Christopher Wheeldon, Paul Mejia, Alberto Alonso, Matthew Neenan and others. Her performances were highlighted and reviewed by the press in Europe and Asia, as well as in the United States including Dance magazine, Pointe magazine and Philadelphia Inquirer.

In 2016 Ms. Charova received a bachelor’s degree in choreography, directing and stage management. In January of 2018 she completed her master’s in fine arts and Pedagogy.

Ms. Charova teaches Master classes and stages classical performances and original works around the country and internationally. She is also a judge with the WBAC Grand Prix. For over 12 years and currently Ms. Charova has been directing the Classical Ballet program and coordinates curriculum at Philadelphia Performing Arts a String Theory School. The curriculum includes all levels of ballet students, beginner through advanced. Ms. Charova is also a dedicated faculty member at the School of Philadelphia Ballet.


Hometown: Staten Island, NY

Courtney Conigatti began her dance training at the Professional Performing Arts School in New York City. As a dance major, she trained in various styles at the Ailey School under the direction of Hassan Blandford. After high school, she went on to study at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she earned her BFA in dance. While at the university, Courtney performed the works of many respectable choreographers such as Ronen (Roni) Koresh, Wayne St. David, Douglas Becker and Sidra Bell.

In 2014, she had the opportunity to participate in the “DanceAbility” (dance for able and disabled bodies) teacher certification course in Vienna, Austria under the direction of Alito Alessi. Upon graduating, Courtney performed in Opera Philadelphia’s production of “Turandot,” choreographed by Renaud Doucet.

As Courtney has been dancing from a young age, she found Pilates to be a reliable form of cross-training and injury prevention. She began seriously training in Pilates under the instruction of Sabrina Collins in 2012. Later, Courtney progressed through the Pilates Comprehensive Teacher Training under the direction of Ellie Herman through the internationally recognized Pilates certification program. This program consisted of ten intensive modules covering Mat, Barre, Springboard, Reformer, Cadillac, Pilates Arc, and Wunda Chair. Courtney hopes to share her love for movement as well as provide her students with the necessary tools to ensure their bodies remain strong and aligned throughout their career.


Hometown: East Norriton, PA

Charity Eagens began her dance training at age seven with the Valley Forge School of Dance under the direction of Sharon Atkinson and later under full scholarship with Bo and Stephanie Spassoff at the Rock School of Dance. She also spent summers training at the Rock School and Hartford Ballet. In addition, Ms. Eagens trained under the guidance of Wilhelm Burmann, Gloria Govern, Olga Kostrizsky, Natalia Nikulin Barr, Yvonne Patterson, Nina Fedorva, Roy Kaiser, and Sandra Jennings, among many others.

In 1994, Ms. Eagens became a trainee with Hartford Ballet, where she danced in ballets such as Western Symphony, Coppélia, and Kirk Peterson’s The Nutcracker, which she also had the opportunity to tour throughout the New York region. In 1996, she returned to Pennsylvania Ballet under the direction of Roy Kaiser and was promoted to the corps de ballet in 1998. In addition to performing most of the company’s repertoire, Ms. Eagens also danced leading roles in ballets such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Sleeping Beauty, The Four Temperaments, Raymonda Variations, Agon, Swan Lake, Company B, Great Galloping Gottschalk, and Romeo and Juliet, among many others. Additionally, Ms. Eagens had the honor of performing alongside such notables as Susan Jaffe, Jose Carreno, Nicole Hlinka, and Damian Woetzel in a Rock School benefit for Milton Rock in 1996. And in 1998, she had the privilege of performing in the Balanchine Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Eagens retired from Philadelphia Ballet, formerly Pennsylvania Ballet, in 2005 to start a family, and has since begun a teaching career. She has taught for numerous schools in the Greater Philadelphia area, including Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA), Delaware Valley Dance Academy (Colmar, PA), Lionville School of Dance (Exton, PA), and the Radomile Academy of Dance (Havertown, PA), among others. In the fall of 2015, Ms. Eagens attended a teacher’s workshop at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where she observed classes led by Marcia Dale Weary of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Ms. Eagens has appeared as Queen in Philadelphia Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty, as well as Angel Corella’s, Swan Lake, and the role of Step Mother in PBII’s Prince Charming. She currently resides in Worcester, PA and is the proud mother of three daughters.


Hometown: Sicklerville, NJ

Mikaela, native to Sicklerville, NJ began her dance training at Chez Dance founded by Roseanne Mastrogiacamo Gatto. She attended Paul VI high school and was deeply invested in the dance and performing arts department led by Courtney Daniels. While at Paul VI she received the excellence in dance award and scholarship which led her to further her career into undergrad studies

Mikaela was able to attend University of the Arts in Philadelphia, receiving the “Artistic” Scholarship to study and earn her B.F.A in Dance under the direction of Donna Faye-Burchfield. During these four years she was fortunate enough to work and perform in works choreographed and led by Katie Swords-Thurman, Tommie-Waheed Evans, Jesse Zaritt, Sidra Bell, Milton Myers, Meredith Rainey and Kyle and Dinita Clark. Simultaneous to her schooling Mikaela was also an active company member with Philadanco! D/2 second company under the leadership and direction of Donald T. Lunsford. This then led to apprenticeship opportunities for the First Company PHILADANCO! The Philadelphia Dance Company while finishing up her junior and senior year. After graduating in 2017, Mikaela was able to fully transition as a company member with Philadanco! Led by founder Joan Myers-Brown. Mikaela continues to stay curious and seek out knowledge and new perspectives. She was invited to participate in intensives such as JacobJonas the Company first digital Intensive and workshop and Kyle Abraham A.I.M’s first digital Intensive and workshop. She also attended Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater summer intensive. Parallel to performing, Mikaela finds joy in teaching and pouring her knowledge back into her community. An active dance educator with Core Academy of Dance, Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, Ms. Carols Center for Dance, and the School of Philadelphia Ballet. Mikaela is also one of Philadanco’s Master Class instructors and speakers while traveling.


Hometown: West Chester, PA

RuthE Freeberg is a well established dance educator who has cultivated a career introducing children to dance for over 30 years. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Child study in Psychology with a concentration in Education and Dance from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.

Beginning a career directly after graduating, she dedicated her skills to the children in her community, first teaching at West Chester Performing Arts Center for 5 years, then the Rock School West for 25 years, and continues to make connections and foster early dance at other local studios. Through her many years of experience and her background in child development, she is well versed in what nurtures students’ minds, well being, and creative capacities. Working with children her whole life, her greatest passion has been instilling the joy of dance to the youngest dancers and watching them grow both developmentally and artistically. RuthE is excited to continue this now at The School of Philadelphia Ballet.


Hometown: Long Island, NY

Gillian Lastinger has had a passion for dance for as long as she can remember. She began dancing at age 3. She trained at Dance Techniques in Long Island NY where she advanced to Dance Captain of the Senior Company Dance Team at age 12. She has won numerous awards at dance competitions both regionally and nationally including Hall of Fame and Starpower. She furthered her ballet education with the Egvelsky Ballet under the direction of Ali Pourfarrok, Luba Gulyaeva, and Kristen McGrew. She also danced with the associated American Theater Dance Workshop and spent her spare time taking additional classes at Broadway Dance Center and Steps in NYC soaking in as much variety and dance as she could.

Gillian graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2012. During her 4-year program, she continued dancing, participating in University dance and theater productions as well as dancing for the Binghamton University Kickline. Following graduation, she moved to Florida to work in an entertainment role at Walt Disney World, an absolute dream come true for a long-time Disney fan. Following her performance career Gillian continued to work as a dance educator and teacher helping to mold the next generation of performers.

Gillian comes to the School of the Philadelphia Ballet with over 15 years of experience as a dance instructor having worked with aspiring dancers from ages 3 to adult. She has experience with all ages and levels of dance experience and has studied many different dance pedagogy methods over her time as a teacher. Gillian is always ready to adapt and make ballet fun while still focusing on the technique, vocabulary, and musicality that is so important for young developing minds. She works to encourage dancers to do their best and help them feel confident about what they are doing.

Gillian continues to train and coach dancers in the greater Philadelphia area to help them hone their skills, improve technical aspects of their dance, and compete in regional and national dance competitions.


Hometown: Tulsa, OK

Amy Novinski received her training from the Tulsa Ballet Academy, Academy of Colorado Ballet where she was privately coached by renowned teacher Olga Tozyiakova, and later the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. It was at UArts that Ms. Novinski received the Presidential Scholarship Award and earned her BFA in Ballet Performance. She has performed in ensemble pieces and full-length ballets with Tulsa Ballet, Colorado Ballet, International Ballet Classique, Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Fleming, and under choreographers Christine Cox, Melissa Rector, Dillon Shifferly, and Rebecca Malcolm-Naib.

In addition to welcoming students of all levels, ages, and backgrounds into her highly sought after virtual classes, Ms. Novinski opened Amy Novinski Ballet Class in 2020 at the Bok Building where she hosts private students, workshops, and open classes. Ms. Novinski was the premiere ballet instructor for BalletX’s Center for World Premiere Choreography, has taught for the University of Pennsylvania’s dance organizations, held the position of Senior Lecturer within the University of the Arts’ Ira Brind School of Theater Arts, and Adjunct Instructor of Ballet at Temple University’s School of Theater Film Media Arts. Most recently she held the position of Associate Professor in Performance at Swarthmore College. In 2023 Ms. Novinski was delighted to join Kathryn Morgan & Friends as co-teacher for their Philadelphia event.

Ms. Novinski has been featured in publications including Pointe Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Hometown: Havana, Cuba

Lourdes Novoa trained at the National Art School in Havana, Cuba under the guidance of Ramona de Saa. Upon graduation, she was immediately admitted to the Cuban National Ballet Company where she rose to the rank of Principal dancer under the mentorship of Alicia Alonso. For a time, Ms. Novoa also joined the English National Ballet as a Principal Dancer. Throughout her career, her repertoire included principal roles in Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Paquita, La Fille Mal Gardee, La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Les Sylphides, and La Sylphide. She also danced In the Night by Jerome Robbins and Themes and Variations by George Balanchine as well as several contemporary pieces by Cuban and international choreographers. She performed alongside many notable male dancers including Jose Manuel Carreno and Carlos Acosta.

In addition to performing in Havana and London, Ms. Novoa toured extensively and danced in renowned stages of major cities and iconic venues like the Bolshoi in Moscow, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Grand Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Champs Elysees in Paris, and the Colon Theater in Argentina. After retiring, Ms. Novoa began her teaching career. She taught for professional and trainee program levels for the Cuban National Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet Theater of Harlem, Princeton Ballet School, American Repertory Ballet, and School of Philadelphia Ballet, formerly School of Pennsylvania Ballet. She is passionate about shaping the younger generation using her knowledge and experience to help all dancers grow and succeed to the best of their abilities.


Hometown: Columbia, SC

Kathryn Phipps is an enthusiastic teacher with a passion for ballet’s art and instruction. She is a full-time doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania in the department of Spanish and Portuguese and graduated from Princeton with a major in Spanish, and where she studied dance under the direction of Susan Marshall with Tina Fehlandt and Kathleen Moor Tovar. Kathryn’s pedagogical training in language and culture informs her approach to inclusive ballet instruction, and she loves to support students of all ages in their pursuit of growth and excellence.

Kathryn began her training at the age of 10 in her hometown of Columbia, South Carolina under the direction of Cynthia Dewar. She received highest awards in adjudications of syllabus work from the American Academy of Ballet (AAB), and the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) from 2007 to 2015. Kathryn complemented her foundation in AAB and RAD techniques with instruction in Balanchine, Vaganova, and Cecchetti styles. In 2012, she was granted a scholarship from the Royal Academy of Dance of Canada at the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theater’s Summer intensive and trained on scholarship with BalletNova the following summer. Kathryn additionally trained with the dance department at the University of South Carolina, under the direction of Susan Anderson with Erin Elizabeth Morton.

Kathryn completed her B.A at Princeton University where she graduated summa cum laude from the department of Spanish and Portuguese. Kathryn also worked with Princeton Dance Department and performed with Princeton University Ballet, holding leadership positions with the company throughout her collegiate career. In this time, Kathryn worked with various guest artists including Jessica Lang, Ashley Bouder, and Noah Gelber among others, and she was selected to perform in a new work by Brain Reeder.

Kathryn earned her M.A. from Penn and is now finishing her forthcoming dissertation titled, “Inquisitorial Women: Unconventional Readings of the Spanish Reformation.” She has also taught for Penn’s Spanish Department, receiving the Certificate of Excellence in Teaching Award in 2022. She also founded Revisionary Writing where she coaches individuals through academic and creative writing journeys. Whether in writing, researching, or dancing, Kathryn is a passionate coach, who can often be found frequenting her favorite local coffee shop—when not in a library or studio.


Hometown: Lehigh Valley, PA

Jesse Sani is a Lehigh Valley native and a graduate of the Lehigh Valley Charter HS for the Performing Arts’ dance department. He trained at institutions such as New World School of the Arts, The Ailey School and Jacob’s Pillow. He has taken the stage with Momentum Dance Company, Philadelphia’s own PHILADANCO under the direction of Joan Meyers Brown and later BalletX under the direction of Christine Cox.

He has guested with companies such as Whim’whim, Ballet Hawai’i-Washington Ballet, Capitol Ballet, The Ballet Guild and has been brought in to teach around the U.S. Jesse is honored to be a part of the School of Philadelphia Ballet’s team!


Hometown: Dover, DE

Madeline began her training at Ballet Theatre of Dover, Delaware under the direction of Teresa Emmons. Madeline attended the University of Alabama from which she received a Bachelor of the Arts in Dance in May 2021. While at the University of Alabama she originated roles for works by Qianping Guo, Rita Snyder, and Aidan Nettles and performed pieces by James Jordan, after Todd Bolender, and Mikhaïl Ilyin.

Madeline also danced with Ballet Pensacola under Darren McIntyre where she originated roles in Dracula and The Wizard of Oz. Throughout her career, she has performed in works such as Flower Festival at Genzano, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Paquita, La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Raymonda, and La Sylphide. She moved to Philadelphia to further her teaching and performing career. Madeline is a freelance artist and began working with The School of Philadelphia Ballet in the spring.


Hometown: Southampton, NJ

Jennifer Tedesco began her training at Mount Laurel Regional Ballet School. She trained under Lorraine McAdams with summers at The Rock School of Ballet. At 15 years old, Jennifer went to train with Irina and Alexander Boitsov, with coaching by Leslie Browne. At 17, she performed in the corps de ballet with The Russian Ballet Theatre of Delaware before moving on to touring the US and Canada with the International Ballet Theatre. Jennifer performed in the The Nutcracker, Les Sylphide, Les Corsaire, Raymonda, Swan Lake, Bolero, and Esmerelda. She also performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet (now Philadelphia Ballet) in Dracula as a Bride and in PB’s The Nutcracker. Jennifer was a Principal artist with Roxey Ballet, dancing principal roles in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and many pieces by director Mark Roxey. Jennifer retired from the stage at a young age to start a family and begin a teaching career.

Jennifer thoroughly enjoys teaching and takes pride in helping her students overcome technical obstacles. She is a certified Pilates teacher and is certified in Progressive Ballet Technique. Jennifer has been and is a valued teacher in the South New Jersey area, and is very excited to work with students at The School of the Philadelphia Ballet.


Hometown: Seattle, WA

Natalie Thibodeaux began her training at Pacific Northwest Ballet in her hometown of Seattle before moving to Philadelphia to attend The Rock School where she graduated high school. She spent her summers in numerous prestigious intensives across the U.S and Europe. Including School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Rock School, The Kirov Academy of D.C, Pacific Northwest Ballet & IBStage Spain.

She was honored to receive full merit scholarships to every school she attended, year-round and for summer studies. Through her participation in Youth America Grand Prix she received a trainee position at Ballet West in 2012 and was later offered a spot in the Professional Program at Nationale Ballet Academie of Amsterdam in 2015. Following her passion of teaching she joined The Rock School’s artistic faculty in 2016 where she taught Childrens through Pre-professional levels. She joined the School of Philadelphia Ballet in 2021.


Portsmouth, RI

Olivia was three years old when she began dancing at Position One School of Dance in her hometown of Portsmouth, RI. In high school, she joined the Newport Academy of Ballet, home of Newport Contemporary Ballet, with whom she performed in the Nutcracker at Rosecliff Mansion. In 2017, Olivia graduated summa cum laude from Muhlenberg College with her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Spanish. At Muhlenberg, she performed works by Jeffrey Peterson, Teresa VanDenend Sorge, Megan Flynn, and Paul Taylor Dance Company’s Orion Duckstein.

After graduation, Olivia moved to Philadelphia, where she performed with esteemed companies and choreographers such as Anne-Marie Mulgrew, Grounded Aerial, Matter Movement Group, Asya Zlatina, and Anito Gavino. In 2022, Olivia joined Yu.S.Artistry as a company dancer and associate director, where she performed works by Artistic Director Yuki Ishiguro and guest choreographer Yoshito Sakuraba. Olivia has appeared as a guest artist with Aru dell’Arte in Washington D.C. and was one of Ballare Carmel’s inaugural Dance Fellows, where she was delighted to work with Alex Ketley, Nicole Hennington, and Lillian Barbeito. Olivia speaks fluent Spanish, holds a Level 1 Bungee Dance Certification from Grounded Aerial, and is a teaching artist for Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers’ CHI Dance Program. Olivia joined the School of Philadelphia Ballet as a faculty member in 2023.

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Meet the Ballet

Philadelphia Ballet comprises a team of dedicated professionals—each one devoted to bringing you the most thrilling and inspired works ballet has to offer.