MEET OUR STAFF
Because these powerful women are pretty amazing!
After graduating with top honors from The Interlochen Academy of Arts, Melanie spent eighteen years dancing professionally with Cleveland Ballet, Washington Ballet, Chautauqua Ballet, & Das Ballett Augsberg, before returning to Grand Rapids Ballet as a principal dancer. As a professional she shared the stage with Rudolph Nureyev in Ireland & Scotland, performed for President Bill & First Lady Hillary Clinton, took center stage at the The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Sadler's Wells in London, the Joyce Theatre in New York, and on tours to France, Spain, Portugal, Hawaii, & throughout North America.
Working with legends in the dance world, such as Alonzo King, Violette Verdy, Suzanne Farrell, Melissa Hayden, Lupe Serrano, & Marcia Dale Weary, helped her refine her vision for a studio founded in traditional technique, while incorporating modern principles with a compassionate and encouraging approach. Training, instructing and choreographing for The Cleveland Ballet School, Washington School of Ballet, many West Michigan Public Schools, Wealthy Street Theatre, The Grand Rapids Ballet, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, & Grand Valley State University Dance Department, all helped to shape her educational philosophy. As a mother of two, Melanie knows that small class sizes, patience, clear communication & individual attention are key to each child's fulfillment. She models her school after her original instructor, coach, and role model, Nancy Baum, who was dedicated to her students & traditional instruction.
Ciara began her dance training with Nancy Baum at the age of 12. Soon after, her family relocated to Reno, Nevada where she continued her training at In Motion School of Dance with Jeniffer August. She danced competitively across the West Coast and received national recognition and invitations to join the modern dance company, Black Rock Dance Company, founded by Jeniffer August and the ballet company, Sierra Nevada Ballet, founded and directed by Rosine Bena. She was also a member of the contemporary dance company, Dysrhythmia Contemporary Dance, founded by Jenny Buck. After high school, Ciara continued her dance training at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she trained with many accomplished teachers and choreographers such as; Sidra Bell, Donald Lunsford, Kim Bears-Bailey, Wayne David, Roni Koresh, Brian Sanders, Christine Cox and Denis Gronostayskiy. Through her early twenty’s she traveled, performed, and taught dance in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Reno, San Jose and Barcelona. All while continuing her dance studies in world renowned studios including; Peridance, Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, The Ailey Studios, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, ODC Dance Commons, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Lou Conte Dance Studio and Barcelona Dance Center.
Ciara is continually growing and learning new techniques and philosophies. She loves managing, teaching and inspiring the younger generation of dancers to work hard and reach for their dreams!
Mackenzie is currently working to complete her BBA with majors in Management Information Systems and Dance at Grand Valley State University. Before her time at GVSU, Mackenzie trained extensively at Ann Parsley School of Dance where she completed Cecchetti ballet examinations through grade V and was awarded a student scholarship. She also studied ballet, modern and choreography at Arts Academy in the Woods, where she was the captain of the Dance Company and valedictorian of her class. Mackenzie is a former member of the Macomb Ballet Company and has performed in numerous pre-professional ballets including The Nutcracker and Snow White. She presented her work, Human Nature, at the Summer 2016 NewDANCEFest Choreography Showcase hosted by the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. During her time in the GVSU Dance Program, Mackenzie has performed in guest artists, faculty, and student works. She also held the position of President for the student dance organization, MOMENTUM. Mackenzie is currently completing her business major requirements and will graduate this coming December 2018.
At the age of 5, Lara began her dance training at balletmore with founder and director Melanie Anderson Brossiet. Throughout the years Lara took several summer intensives at the studio and had the opportunity to perform lead roles in many of the productions. She then continued to take dance classes throughout college and channeled her flexibility and love of movement into her current career as a yoga instructor. In the summer of 2018 she completed her 200 hour teacher training course at Funky Buddha. Shortly after she began teaching at Premier Tennis and Health Club where she continues to promote and educate students on the benefits of movement.
Jacqueline began her dance training at the age of four under the direction of Beverly Babcock, a Royal Academy of Dance certified teacher. Babcock’s training led to Bishop attending a summer intensive at Canada’s National Ballet School, where she was accepted into the school. At the age of 11, Jacqueline moved to Toronto, Canada to train in NBS’s professional student program. For five years, she trained under artistic director Mavis Staines and various world renowned ballet faculty. Following her time at NBS, Jacqueline attended the Royal Winnipeg Summer Intensive for six weeks, then returned home to Michigan to train under Cornelia Sampson and perform with Michigan Ballet Theatre. During her time at Grand Valley State University, she received training by her professors Carrie Brueck Morris, Hannah Seidel, and Samantha Shelton as well as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 2014 and Complexions Contemporary Ballet in 2015. Jacqueline earned her Bachelors of Arts in dance at GVSU in 2017 and is currently pursuing her Bachelor's of Business Administration in marketing, which she will earn in 2019.
Jessica grew up studying at the Grand Rapids Ballet School & performed alongside the professional company as a member of the school's Senior Co. & international touring group. Jessica attended Grand Valley State University and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. As a member of GVSU’s Dance Ensemble, she performed soloist roles in works by artists Thang Dao of Thang Dao Dance Company, Patrick Corbin, Mary Beth Cabana of Ballet Tucson, and Michael Philips of Rioult. While at Grand Valley, Jessica was also member of GVSU's Laker Dance Team which competes nationally. After college, Jessica danced professionally as a member of MoreDances Contemporary Dance Co. (Detroit, MI), The Grand Rapids Dance Project (Grand Rapids, MI), The Dance Hall Twigs (Chicago, IL), & Deeply Rooted Dance Theater I & II (Chicago, IL). In addition to performing, Jessica spreads her love of dance through teaching.
Miss Brooklyn has been dancing for 19 years and teaching for 10. She has been trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, pointe, pom, and ballroom. She has danced and taught competitively on both regional and national levels. Miss Brooklyn trained and taught at Academy De La Danse, Lake Superior State University, and Arthur Murrary. Miss Brooklyn is also involved in Kings Table Ministries. A non-profit foundation that is dedicated to help individuals & families who are impacted by a developmental disability. The foundation gives them the opportunity to be a part of a thriving community in which they learn, live and worship together. Through the foundation Miss Brooklyn is the Head Coach of the BOLD dance team, were she teaches dance to special needs adults and gives them the chance to dance and perform through various community events and local churches. She is very excited to share her love and passion for dance with The Balletmore family.
Kara began her dance training at age five at the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Aquinas College with a double major in English and Biology she began her professional dance career with Cleveland’s Verb Ballets Contemporary Dance Company. Kara danced for five seasons as a company member at Verb, where she performed many original pieces and masterworks, including Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring, Doris Humphrey’s The Shakers, Alwin Nikolais’s Noumenon Mobilus, Shapiro and Smith’s To Have and to Hold, Ian Horvath’s Laura’s Women, and the title role in Richard Dickinson’s Carmen, among many others. While in Cleveland, Kara taught students of all ages and levels at many local schools, studios and community centers. In 2015, Kara moved to Shanghai, China, where she danced with SLATE contemporary dance company and taught classes and workshops throughout the city. In 2019, Kara received her M.F.A. in dance at the University of Arizona, with an emphasis in performance and choreography. Kara is committed to uniting people through the arts and is thrilled to be back in Michigan, reconnecting to the community that first fostered her love of dance.
Bethany began her dance training at the Beck Center for the Arts near Cleveland, Ohio studying under the direction of Melanie Szucs. Throughout the years she has attended Ballet Magnificat summer dance intensive in Jackson, Mississippi, Balletmet summer intensive in Columbus, Ohio artEmotion in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2016 Bethany had the opportunity to be a mentor with the American Ballet Theatre in Austin, Texas working with students during their summer intensive. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Degree in Non-Profit Administration from Grand Valley State University. During her time in the GVSU Dance Program, she had the opportunity to study under wonderful faculty members such as Samantha Shelton, Carrie Morris, Hannah Seidel, and Stephen Sanford. While at Grand Valley she performed in faculty pieces, student works and guest artist works. Bethany also served as Secretary of Momentum, a student run choreography club for three years, as well Secretary for Xtension, as outreach dance club focusing on organizations like the Boys and Girls Club.