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.


Principal of Student and Professional Programs
Hometown: Manitowoc, WI

Bridget Payne began her Ballet training in her hometown of Manitowoc, Wisconsin with Jean Wolfmeyer. At 14 years old, she began training on full scholarship at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, IL. where she trained with Petrus Bosman and Valerie Taylor from the Royal Ballet, and former American Ballet Theatre soloist Maria Youskevitch. After graduation, she began an eight-year performing career with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, under the Direction of John Hart, CBE. She has performed soloist and leading roles in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella; Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker; Paul Taylor’s Company B; Sleeping Beauty; Swan Lake; multiple works by Balanchine, Ronald Hynd, Val Caniparoli, Andre Prokovsky, and more.

In 1995 she was personally invited by Ben Stevenson, OBE, to teach at the internationally acclaimed Houston Ballet Academy.  She soon became a Principal Teacher in both their Pre-Professional and Professional Divisions. During her time at HBA, she helped to further the development of their syllabus and worked closely with Shelly Power to create two successful Teacher Training Workshops.  Ms. Payne and her husband, Jim, opened Payne Academy of Ballet in 2001 in The Woodlands, Texas, where they developed a successful school of over 250 students; She was also Co- Artistic Director of Woodlands Ballet Ensemble. She has choreographed and staged many works and full-length Ballets including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, La Bayadère Act III (Kingdom of the Shades) and The Nutcracker. She has taught at Houston Ballet Academy and Ballet West Summer Intensives and has coached several dancers for Ballet competitions.

Ms. Payne brings 25 years of professional teaching experience to Philadelphia Ballet, formerly Pennsylvania Ballet. She is excited to be working with SPB and genuinely cares about the mindful and thorough development of the next generation of dancers. She and her husband, Jim Payne, reside in Elkins Park, PA and are the proud parents of a son, an aspiring animator, and a daughter, a dancer.


Faculty, 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.


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 School of Pennsylvania Ballet, now known as School of Philadelphia Ballet. At age 15, 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, performed at the St. Bart’s Music Festival.

Ms. Amiss joined Pennsylvania Ballet, now Philadelphia Ballet, as an apprentice in 1992. She became a member of the corps de ballet in 1993 and was promoted to soloist in 1999. 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 twice 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. As well, 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 Dance. As well, she has been a guest instructor at schools throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For seven years after her retirement from the stage, she was co-ballet mistress for the Academy of Ballet NJ in West Berlin, NJ. Ms. Amiss had the pleasure of teaching ballet to aspiring figure skaters in Aston, Pennsylvania. 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. Ms. Amiss is a faculty member of School of Philadelphia Ballet where she teaches all levels including a beginner ballet at Croft Farms in Cherry Hill N.J. She also teaches for the Princeton Ballet School in both the Cranbury and Princeton locations.

In 2019, Ms. Amiss was asked by Pennsylvania Ballet outreach program to teach classes for children with Down syndrome. She currently teaches ballet classes for children with special needs at St. Katherine Day School in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Amiss retired from Pennsylvania Ballet in June 2007. She resides in Mantua, NJ with her husband, former Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Edward Cieslak, and their son Adam and daughter Lily.


Faculty and Company Dancer
Hometown: Larkspur, CO

Sterling Baca began his training at age 11 at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and later with world-renowned instructor German Zamuel. He then studied with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), at first attending five of their summer intensive programs (as a National Training and Bender Foundation Scholar) and later in their elite pre-professional program at the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School with full scholarship.

Sterling joined Philadelphia Ballet, formerly Pennsylvania Ballet, as a Principal Dancer for our 2016/2017 season. Since joining us, he has tackled featured and principal roles in a varied repertoire that includes full-length ballets such as Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella (Prince) and Angel Corella’s Le Corsaire (Conrad) and Swan Lake (Prince), contemporary works like Brian Sanders’ Chicken Bone Brain, or a more classical approach such as in George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Jewels, and Western Symphony (Fourth Movement).

Prior to joining Philadelphia Ballet, Sterling danced with American Ballet Theatre, where he began in 2010 as a member of their second company. He was invited to join the main company as an apprentice in May 2011 and soon after promoted to the corps de ballet in December of that same year. While with ABT, Sterling created the roles of Prince Fortune and Lilac Fairy Cavalier in Alexei Ratmansky’s Sleeping Beauty and performed leading roles in Liam Scarlett’s With a Chance of Rain, Mark Morris’ After You, Marcelo Gomes’s Aftereffect, and Zhong-Jing Fang’s The Final Frame.

Sterling also appeared on season 4 of Dance212, a popular online series that follows dancers trying to make it in New York City. As well, he was in the short film, On a Grass Field, which won Best Short Film at the 2014 New Jersey Golden Door Film Festival. In January 2016, Sterling was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine for their “25 to Watch” issue. In addition to his vast performance experience, Sterling is also certified in American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum.


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 (Veniamin Zimin, Professor Nikolai Serebrennikov – greatest teachers of Mariinsky ballet – Sergei Berezhnoi, Vladlen Semenov, and Irina Kolpakova, just to name a few).

Alexei 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 de Esclave, Zuniga in Carmen). In 1996, he joined Philadelphia Ballet, formerly Pennsylvania Ballet, and started adding a wide collection of Balanchine works to his range. Alexei 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 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 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.


Hometown: Vinnitsa, Ukraine

Natalia Charova began her training at age ten and graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, home of the famed Russian ballet traditions, where her studies included classical ballet, history of theater, history of art and music, acting, stage makeup, history of European and American ballet, character, historic dance, and pas de deux. Ms. Charova also received a bachelor’s degree in choreography, directing, and teaching.

Throughout her schooling and career, Ms. Charova has credited great teachers for helping her to achieve her goals – teachers such as Elena Riabinkina, Sergei Vikharev, and Irina Kolpakova to name a few. Ms. Charova began her professional career at age 18 with the Donetsk Opera and Ballet House in Ukraine. She toured nationally and abroad, enjoying great success and quickly building a classical repertoire while performing such roles as Odette, the Sugarplum Fairy, and Maria Taglioni from Pas de Quatre.

In 1991, Ms. Charova moved to the United States where she continued dancing with the Indianapolis Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet, now Philadelphia Ballet, adding a wide array of Balanchine works to her repertoire. She has performed in original works by world-renowned choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Ben Stevenson, Margo Sappington, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Alvin Ailey, Dwight Rhoden, Christopher Wheeldon, and Matthew Neenan, among others. Her performances have been highlighted and reviewed in Europe and Asia, as well as the United States.

Ms. Charova continues to teach as well as stage classical productions and original works around the country and abroad. She currently works for Philadelphia Performing Arts String Theory Schools, teaching and coordinating ballet programs for beginners through advanced levels.


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 SymphonyCoppélia, 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 DreamThe Sleeping BeautyThe Four TemperamentsRaymonda VariationsAgonApolloSwan LakeCompany BGreat 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 also appeared as Queen in Pennsylvania Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty and Step Mother in PBII’s Prince Charming. She currently resides in Worcester, PA and is the proud mother of three daughters.


Body Conditioning
Hometown: Marlton, NJ

A Philadelphia-area native, Cristina began her study of dance at the Rock School of Dance Education, at five years of age. She continued her study there for the next 14 years, concentrating on classical ballet. Upon graduation she was accepted to the Performing Arts program at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana where she majored in dance and earned a BFA in Dance Performance.

Eighteen years of disciplined dance study paved the way for Cristina to realize her lifelong dream of becoming a professional dancer, when she was accepted to the City Ballet of San Diego in 2003. Rigorous training and performing was the single priority in Cristina’s life until she broke her foot during rehearsals in 2005. During rehabilitation from her injury, Cristina found herself drawn to yoga and Pilates for both the physical, and mental rewards. In 2007 she completed a 200hr yoga teacher certification at the Yoga Life Institute in Devon, PA. From a ballerina in California to a yoga instructor in Philadelphia, a new life journey began.

Balance, healing, and self acceptance were the driving forces in Cristina’s new way of life. She delved deeply into the ancient practices of Ayurveda and meditation. Studying the art of natural healing and simultaneously healing herself, Cristina was moved to share her knowledge with others. She opened Sculpere studio in 2011, bringing a cutting edge approach to yoga, Pilates, and ballet fitness to Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood. A staple in the Philadelphia boutique fitness scene, Sculpere continues to offer a variety of classes that she has carefully choreographed to deliver balanced results in both body and mind. Cristina has spent the past 7 years curating her adult classes, and pre-ballet program, and customizing one on one lessons for her ever growing following of private clients. Life came full circle for Cristina in 2017 when she was invited to teach at School of Philadelphia Ballet’s summer intensive. Now, a faculty member at School of Philadelphia Ballet, formerly School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Cristina is able to share her lifetime of experience with America’s next generation of top dancers.

An artist and entrepreneur, Cristina is devoted to creating beauty and balance in the world. Her main source of inspiration comes from the healing turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, where she spends the summers with her family. She aims to cultivate the effortless balance of mediterranean life, and incorporate it into Sculpere’s message, as a retreat from the monotony and stress of busy East Coast life. Cristina is an avid animal lover and mother to a rescue dog. She charitably offers her time as a foster mom for rescue dogs and regularly contributes to local animal rescues.


Hometown: Havana, Cuba

Lourdes Novoa trained at the School of National Art 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. Ms. Novoa was also a Principal dancer with the English National Ballet. She has danced the roles of Giselle in Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Swanilda in Coppelia, Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, Paquita in Paquita, Lisette in La Fille Mal Gardee, Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadere, Medora in Le Corsaire, lead female in Les Sylphides, and the sylph in La Sylphide. She performed alongside many notable male dancers including Jose Manuel Carreno.

Ms. Lourdes also danced many modern, contemporary pieces by Cuban and International choreographers. In addition to performing in Havana and throughout Cuba, she also toured extensively with the company dancing on all of the renowned stages of the major capitals of the world including Bolshoi in Moscow, Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Liceu in Barcelona, Champs Elysees in Paris, Colon Theater in Argentina, and many others. Ms. Lourdes has taught for professional and trainee program levels for the Cuban National Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet Theater of Harlem, 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: Philadelphia, PA

Ms. Rachel Neitzke is a Philadelphia based dancer, choreographer and dance educator. She gained much of her early professional training at Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia, and was fortunate enough to experience many different styles and training methods while traveling through the United States in her childhood. Ms. Neitzke has danced professionally since the age of 15 and was a founding member of the Koresh Youth Ensemble. She was invited to train at Joffrey Ballet School as a Jazz/Contemporary Trainee under the direction of Michael Blake on scholarship.

While there she was able to work in collaboration with Louis Vuitton, Parsons School of Design, The New School of Music, and Ailey II Artistic Director Francesca Harper. Ms. Neitzke holds a BFA in Dance from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and had the opportunity to perform works by Milton Myers, Andrea Miller, Douglas Becker, Roni Koresh, Meredith Rainey, Jesse Zarrit and Sidra Bell. Upon graduating Ms. Neitzke’s passion for teaching and dancing alike has taken her throughout the United States and abroad. Most recently she has served as the Broadway Dance Teaching Artist at Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School, Guest Teaching Artist and Dancer throughout the country of Israel, Assistant to Ms. Natalia Charova – Ballet Mistress at Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School and teaches, choreographs and organizes programs and curriculums for dance schools in the Philadelphia area.


Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Meredith Rainey began dancing at 15 in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale. In 1985, he joined the Milwaukee Ballet. In 1987, he was invited to join the newly formed Pennsylvania-Milwaukee Ballet, remaining with the Pennsylvania Ballet when the collaboration ended—spending the majority of the time as a soloist—until his retirement in 2006.

Among other awards and fellowships, Meredith has been the recipient of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship (1995 & 2002), the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Artist as Catalyst Grant (2001), the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2002), a finalist for the Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2003), and a Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Grant (2010).

Meredith has been commissioned to create works for Pennsylvania Ballet, now Philadelphia Ballet, Ballet X, Delaware Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, National Ballet De Cali, Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble and institutions such as University of the Arts, Drexel University, Stockton University, Goucher College, Swarthmore College and Bryn Mawr College. His work has been performed in North and South America and throughout Spain.

In 2009 Meredith founded and directed Carbon Dance Theatre, a contemporary ballet company in Philadelphia. In 2014 after deciding to concentrate on more artistic projects Meredith closed the company and remained a sought-after teacher, mentor, and independent choreographer. In the Summer of 2018 Meredith became a member of the first University of the Arts Master of Fine Arts in Dance cohort and graduated in May of 2020.


Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina

Laura Bowman Goldstein is originally from Raleigh, NC, where she began dancing at the age of 3. She trained primarily at The Raleigh School of Ballet, where she studied primarily under Ann Vorus and Mary LeGere, supplemented her instruction with summer intensives at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and Houston Ballet School, and later completed her training under full scholarship at the Rock School for Dance Education.

Ms. Bowman joined Pennsylvania Ballet in August 2001, where she danced for fifteen seasons before retiring in June 2016. Her versatility afforded her the opportunity 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 11:11 and Penumbra, among others. Ms. Bowman has also originated roles in works by Christopher Wheeldon, Matthew Neenan, David Fielding, and Meredith Rainey. In addition to her work with Pennsylvania Ballet, Ms. Bowman has performed with Carolina Ballet and BalletX, and, in 2010, was featured 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 The School of Philadelphia Ballet. She currently holds the position of Senior Lecturer with the School of Dance at University of the Arts and Instructor at The School of Philadelphia Ballet. Ms. Bowman resides in Philadelphia with her husband and two beautiful sons.


Hometown: Seattle, Washington

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.


Hometown: Sicklerville, New Jersey

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

Kevin Mucchetti is a Philadelphia-based pianist, composer, and music director. He began his musical studies at age three, and progressed under the guidance of such teachers as William Carr and Richard Johnson. His first association with Philadelphia Ballet, formerly Pennsylvania Ballet, came in 2001, when he sang as a member of the Philadelphia Boys Choir in the company’s production of The Nutcracker.

A graduate of the Department of Music at the University of Pennsylvania, he currently serves as Director of Music for Church of the Holy Child in Wilmington, Delaware and as music director for Philly Improv Theater’s musical improv troupe, Thank You, Places. In 2017, he was appointed Resident Composer for Tieline Theater Company, based in Connecticut. Kevin has written original music for a number of theatrical productions, including Dorian Gray (New York Musical Festival) and Margot and Mr. Fog (Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival).


Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

Anne Marie Smith began her dance training at the age of 4 at the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program where she studied under Mary Ann Lee and Virginia Tanner. Anne Marie began her formal classical ballet training under Jan Clark Fugit and Stacey Swaner.She furthered her dance education in the Ballet Department at the University of Utah.

Anne Marie received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Utah in 1993. Anne Marie began teaching classicalballet, creative movementand tapto students in the Salt Lake City areain 1992. To continue her education as a dance instructor, she attended workshops presented by Olympic Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, Tanner Dance,The State Office of Education Fine Arts Department, Utah Dance Education Association, the University of Utah, and the National Dance Education Association to name a few. Anne Marie has been an instructor for The Ballet School, Power Plus Productions, and Expressions Dance and most recently Ballet West Academy. Anne Marie was the Children’s Dance Theatre Company manager as well as a faculty member for Tanner Dance in the nationally renowned Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program, a presenter of workshops in the Professional Development for Educators program, including a presenter at the daCi International conference in the Hague, Netherlands in 2006, and an Arts Education advocate at the Utah State Legislature for five years.In 2007, Anne Marie joined the faculty of the Ballet West Academy, and the faculty of the Ballet West Arts Education ICANDO program. During her time with the Ballet West Academy,Anne Marie created and directed new programing for summer camps and grew the young dancers programs while helping develop the curriculum. Her role in the arts and education programs allowed her to create lesson plans for classroom teachers to integrate dance into their school classrooms. Her positions at Ballet West provided the opportunity to teach and choreographworks forstudents of varied ages and abilities. Anne Marie also served as a new faculty mentor in bothprograms. Anne Marie recently relocated to Pennsylvaniawith her family. AnneMarie is excited to be back in the studio andis looking forward to working with the students of the School of Philadelphia Ballet.

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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.