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LEADERS AND DANCE FACULTY

School Directors
Gen Horiuchi
and Tanya Strautmann

Dance Faculty

Stephanie Alioto
Michael Burke
Angela Cassidy

Lauren Christensen
Rebecca Cornett
Angela Elgani
Colin Ellis
Emily Fugett
Dana Golio
Julia Heiss
Kendall Heuman
Lauren Hoehne

CiCi Houston
Liz Lloyd
Avery Lux

Lauren McCart
Andrea Paxton

Elaine Rand
Roxy Shackelford
Lori Wilson
Lisa Wolfsberger

Learn about becoming a Teaching Assistant.  Click here for information, benefits and responsibilities. Current students who qualify (level 6 and up) call 636-537-1998 to inquire.

Pianist for Ballet Classes:
Rekha Dravina

 
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Gen Horiuchi
School Director, Ballet Instructor

Mr. Horiuchi, originally from Tokyo, Japan, moved to the United States after winning the Prix de Lausanne, the international ballet competition in Switzerland in 1980 and receiving a scholarship to study at the School of American Ballet. In 1982, George Balanchine invited him to join the New York City Ballet, where he became a Principal Dancer in 1989. Among the many ballets he performed with New York City Ballet, the role of Mercury in the ballet Persophone was created for Mr. Horiuchi by George Balanchine, as well as the ballets Eight More and Les Gentilhommes by Peter Martins. His Broadway Musical credits include Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance and as Mr. Mistoffelees in CATS. He went on to perform in London's production of CATS in the same role and became the first performer to play the lead on both Broadway and the West End in 1998. That same year, he choreographed the magnificent Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and has also been a judge of the Prix de Lausanne since 1993. In 2004 he was honored in New York City with the Seventh Cultural Bridge Award together with Harold Prince, (director of Phantom of the Opera). He most recently directed the Aoyama Ballet Festival in Tokyo with artists in major companies from around the world. Mr. Horiuchi became artistic director of Saint Louis Ballet in 2000 and has created a dozen original works for the company. His international reputation with major choreographers throughout the world has led to the presentations of many other original works to Saint Louis Ballet dancers and St. Louis audiences. Most recently in 2010 he founded Gen Horiuchi's Ballet USA which presents his works in Japan.

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Tanya Strautmann Horiuchi
School Director and Administrator

Ms. Strautmann, a native of St. Louis, grew up training locally with Berkley Evans and went on to study further at Saint Louis Ballet School until 1996.  She studied at summer programs all on scholarship at Joffrey Ballet in NY, Kansas City Ballet, Aspen Ballet, and Gus Giordano. After beginning her professional career with Saint Louis Ballet in 1996 she went on to become a principal of the company with a dance career lasting 17 years.  She performed the title roles in Giselle, Romeo & Juliet, as Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Waltz Girl and Russian Girl in Balanchine's Serenade and the lead in Allegro Brilliante. She also loved performing the leads in Francis Patrelle's ballets such as Rhapsody in Blue and Black Forest Carousel and Gen Horiuchi's Two of a Kind, Le Reve, Romantique to name a few.  After retiring in 2013 she has continued to oversee Saint Louis Ballet School as School Administrator.  Despite her stage time, her biggest claim to fame is her daughter Scarlett born who was born in 2014.

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Michael Burke
Ballet and Contemporary Instructor

Michael Burke is originally from Mexico, Missouri and trained at the Mareck Center for Dance, Nashville Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and Beijing Dance Academy. After graduating with a BFA in Ballet from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, Michael has danced with Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance, Deos Contemporary Ballet, and Birmingham Ballet. He is now in his seventh season as a company member with Saint Louis Ballet under the direction of Gen Horiuchi.

Highlights from his performance career include the principal pas de deux in Christopher Wheeldon’s The American, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie, Rubies, and Serenade, the Mad Hatter in Brian Enos’s Alice in Wonderland, Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, and the Jester in Cinderella. He has also performed works by Amy Seiwert, Kevin Jenkins, Emery LeCrone, and Princess Grace Award winner Kameron N. Saunders.

As an instructor, Michael has taught ballet, men’s technique, pas de deux, pointe, variations, contemporary, and conditioning to students of all ages, including for the Professional Training Program at Saint Louis Ballet.  He is an ABT® Certified Teacher and is also a certified in Progressing Ballet Technique.

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Angela Cassidy
Ballet Instructor

Angela Cassidy grew up in California, but her most influential study came as a scholarship student at School of American Ballet in New York City. A highlight as a student, was to tour with American Ballet Theatre to perform Mikhail Baryshnikov’s ‘Nutcracker’. Her full-time professional career began at the encouragement of ballerina, Suzanne Farrell, to join Paul Mejia’s company in Texas, which is now Texas Ballet Theatre. Ms. Cassidy danced principal roles for 10 years there in iconic Balanchine ballets such as Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Four Temperaments, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, La Sonnambula, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Who Cares?, and Serenade. She was frequently cast in character driven title roles like the Cowgirl in Agnes De Mille’s ‘Rodeo’, Wendy in Graham Lustig’s ‘Peter Pan’ and Cinderella in Paul Mejia’s version of the full-length story ballet, along with Ophelia in Mejia’s original work of ‘Hamlet’.
Ms. Cassidy, also, danced for 3 years with New York City contemporary ballet choreographer, Eliot Feld. As a teacher, she is equally passionate about the study of classical ballet for students that have varying goals, whether it be professional performance, teaching, or simply the love of this beautiful art form.

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Lauren Christensen
Ballet Instructor

Originally from Kansas City, Lauren began her ballet training at the Kansas City Ballet. While there she trained under Karen Brown, Sean Duus, Alecia Good, and James Jordan. She performed with the Kansas City Youth Ballet and the main company annually in Todd Bolender's Nutcracker. After graduating high school she went on to train at the Joffrey Ballet in New York, Ballet Austin, and Alonzo King's LINES Ballet. Her teachers included Gelsey Kirkland, Davis Robertson, Steven Mills, Michelle Martin, Alonzo King, and Maurya Kerr. She then went on to perform with Nashville Ballet's second company where she was taught by Paul Vasterling, Tim Yeager, and Nicole Koenig. She joined the Saint Louis Ballet in 2013 and began teaching in 2015.

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Rebecca Cornett
Ballet Instructor

Ms. Cornett has been dancing as a company dancer with the St. Louis Ballet since 2014, where she has danced various roles such as Juliet in Gen Horiuchi’s Romeo and Juliet, Nine Sinatra Songs by Twyla Tharp, the Turning Girl in George Balanchine’s Who Cares?, Neapolitan in Gen Horiuchi’s Swan Lake, Winter Fairy in Gen Horiuchi’s Cinderella, and Princess Florine in Gen Horiuchi’s Sleeping Beauty. She has also worked with several choreographers, including Greg Dolbashian, Emery LeCrone, Tom Gold, and Michael Uthoff. Before St. Louis Ballet, she trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet under the direction of Peter Boal and Boston Ballet School under the direction of Margaret Tracey. She won the bronze medal at the World Ballet Competition in the pre-professional category in 2010. 

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Angela Elgani
Hip Hop Instructor

Born and raised in St. Louis, Angela has toured the world with Britney Spears, N’ SYNC, Justin Timberlake, Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera and more.  Local grown dancer and performer, Angela is back in her home town with her 6 year old daughter.  Her lifelong passion for dance has accumulated over the years as she has trained/mastered almost every style of dance. She also has skills in choreography, productions, and singing.

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Emily Fugett
Substitute Instructor

Emily Fugett is originally from the south suburbs of Chicago. She first began dancing at the age of 3. Over the years she has danced at numerous local studios, striving for the best training. She has trained in various styles and competed at the national level. In 2012, with a love of ballet, she moved her training to Ballet Chicago. At Ballet Chicago she performed in various productions and honed her technique, with hopes of a career in dance.  Emily started her professional career with the Chicago Repertory Ballet, a contemporary ballet company, for two seasons. She is now a company member of The Saint Louis Ballet.  She is excited to have the opportunity to pass her knowledge and passion on to the young dancers.

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Colin Ellis
Ballet Instructor

Colin Ellis was born and raised in McHenry, IL. After 14 years of training with Judith Svalander School of Ballet; Colin attended Indiana University and graduated in three years with a BS in Ballet Performance with an outside field in arts management. After graduating, Colin went to BalletMet of Columbus, OH’s 2nd company for a year before beginning his career as a company member with St. Louis Ballet in 2017. Colin will be approaching his 4th season with the St. Louis ballet Company. Throughout his college and company years, Colin has had the privilege to perform works from George Balanchine, Anthony Tudor, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, Gen Horiuchi, Edwaard Liang, Gustavo Ramirez Sanso, Michael Pink, and Michael Vernon, among others. Colin has been teaching ballet, character, contemporary, men’s, partnering, pre-pointe, and pointe since 2014 and is excited to continue to teach the students of St. Louis.

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Dana Golio
Mom and Me, PreBallet, Ballet, Jazz, and Tap Instructor

Ms. Golio is a native of the Bronx, New York. She has been in the dance world for over 35 years with experience in dance training, instruction, performing and choreography. Dana comes from a dancing family. Her sister at present owns two studios in the NY area. Her parents, who were professional ballroom dancers, started training Dana at the tender age of 5. Dana along with her sister and parents won numerous awards. Dana took all subjects of dance throughout her life, such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Acro and of course Ballroom. Dana also trained with many teachers in the New York City area such as Mr. Al Gilbert, Charles Kelley, the Hoctor Family, and many other renowned instructors. She has always stayed faithful to her teacher and mentor Miss Dorothy who is still teaching in the Westchester area of NY. She was also a member of the dance troupe "The Doreyettes," which traveled around the tri-state area performing for all types or organizations, primarily the New York State Beauty Pageant.

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Julia Heiss
Ballet Instructor

Julia Heiss grew up in New York City where she began her training at American Ballet Theatre and School of American Ballet. At the age of thirteen, she moved to Dallas, Texas where she began her studies at Dallas Metropolitan Ballet, under the direction of Ann Etgen and Bill Atkinson. After their retirement, she then transferred to Mejia Ballet International in Fort Worth. There she started her pre- professional studies with Michele Gifford, Maria Terezia, and Paul Mejia. After attending Pacific Northwest Ballet’s summer intensive, she was offered a position as a professional division student. She performed multiple ballets with the company, including, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carmina Burana, and Cinderella. This is her first season with Saint Louis Ballet, beginning her professional career. 

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Kendall Heuman
Jazz and Contemporary Instructor

Originally from the Springfield Illinois area, Kendall Heuman graduated with Departmental Honors and Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance emphasized in Ballet from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri in May of 2020. Kendall began dancing at a young age at Dance Arts Studio, alongside with The Springfield Ballet Company, and performed in theatrical productions such as "West Side Story" with The Springfield Muni Opera. While earning her BFA degree at Webster, she trained with many instructors including Michael Uthoff, Alicia Graf Mack, Betsy Brandt, Maggi Dueker, and Beckah Reed. At Webster, she has worked with artists such as Gregory Dawson, Gary Hubler, Antonio Douthit-Boyd, and Cleo Parker-Robinson. Kendall has been a recipient of multiple scholarships from Webster's Department of Dance including The Wells Hobler Family Endowed Dance Scholarship, The Olsen & Brenner Annual Dance Scholarship, and The Marianne & Peter Gleich Endowed Summer Scholarship. In the summer of 2018, she studied abroad in Geneva, Switzerland to train in Ballet and International Dance. Kendall is also a part of the Convergence Trainee Program at the Big Muddy Dance Company for their 2020-2021 season.

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Lauren Hoehne
Ballet Instructor

Born and raised in St. Louis, Lauren began her dance education later in life at the age of 16.  She grew up training in gymnastics and competitive cheerleading before finding and pursuing her passion in dance. Beginning at a local studio she was introduced to the dance world before moving to Springfield for college. While attending Missouri State University for a degree in Animation and Computer Science, Lauren studied ballet, modern, and conditioning with Springfield Ballet.  She also performed in their pre-professional productions including a variety of roles in their annual performance of "The Nutcracker".  Additionally, during her time in Springfield, she choreographed, directed, and animated multiple fine arts dance projects for the Missouri State Animation and Electronic Arts programs, as well as professionally. Now back in St. Louis Lauren has been training with St. Louis Ballet’s school and assistant teaching for over 4 years.  She is excited to share her experience and passion with the younger dancers alongside the St. Louis Ballet staff.

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CiCi Houston Sudholt
Ballet Instructor

Ms. Houston received her training as a scholarship student from Theresa Lee Crawford in Detroit, Michigan, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and the Virginia School of the Arts under the direction of Petrus Bosman and David Keener, augmenting studies at summer programs in Houston, Boston, Cleveland, and Italy. As a former member of Saint Louis Ballet, Ms. Houston performed featured roles in ballets by numerous choreographers including George Balanchine, Gen Horiuchi, and Francis Patrelle. Ms. Houston has taught ballet in the St. Louis area since 1998. Also previously holding the title of Co-Artistic Director at Alexandra Ballet, during her twelve years there she taught all levels, oversaw rehearsals, served on the Board of Directors, tended to administrative duties, was a director for Regional Dance America, choreographed original works and restaged classics by Bournonville and Petipa. A lifelong enthusiast of various syllabi and repertoire, Ms. Houston has been influenced by the styles of Ashton, Balanchine, Cecchetti, Preobajenska, Vagonova, and considers the Bournonville style to be a particular specialty in her teaching. Having returned to the staff of Saint Louis Ballet School in 2015, Ms. Houston also serves as Ballet Mistress for the company.
 

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Liz Lloyd
Ballet Instructor

Originally from North Carolina, Liz began her dance training at Ballet Spartanburg, in Spartanburg, South Carolina.  She then spent two years at University of North Carolina School of the Arts before being invited to train at the San Francisco Ballet School at the age of sixteen. After completing her studies in San Francisco, she joined Oregon Ballet Theater as a trainee in their Professional Division. In 2014 she joined Saint Louis Ballet as a company dancer where she performed for eight seasons, dancing roles such as “The Queen of Hearts” in Alice in Wonderland, and “Fairy Godmother” in Cinderella. While dancing with the company she also taught students of all ages at the Saint Louis Ballet School and completed her Bachelor’s degree at Washington University in St. Louis. After spending the past year in New York City, she is thrilled to return to the St. Louis dance community and to share her love of dance and movement with the students of SLBS. 

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Avery Lux
Substitute Instructor

Avery graduated from the University of Wyoming with a B.F.A in Dance in 2017.  While in college, she studied ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, musical theatre, dance composition, pedagogy, and more. She had the honor of working with Limon Dance Company member, Pablo Fracisco Rubalcaba in a reconstruction of The Winged which was selected to perform at the Kennedy Center in the National College Dance Festival. After graduating, Avery choreographed Fascism: The Musical which received a Meritorious Achievement Award for choreography from KCACTF.  She also attended the Open Jar Summer Institute where she trained with some of Broadway’s best including: Thayne Jasperson (from Hamilton), Jeff Whiting, and James Gray. Avery also has been teaching dance for 8 years and is a certified yoga, cycle, and group fitness instructor. She is currently the head of the dance program at Principia High School and a freelance dancer, choreographer, and actor.  She just finished a season as a Trainee with the Big Muddy Dance Company. Some of her favorite credits include: Duke and Ella in Big Muddy’s Black, Brown, and Beige (soloist), That’s Life (choreographer), Assassins (Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme), 9 to 5 (Judy), Grease (Frenchy), The Music Man (Zaneeta Shinn), Almost Maine (Rhonda), Footloose (Dance Captain).

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Lauren McCart
Ballet Instructor

Lauren received her training at St Louis Ballet School with Gen Horiuchi and Ellen Costanza. She continued her training at Charlotte Ballet’s Summer Intensive and attended Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Summer Intensive with a merit scholarship from the Dance Council. Lauren has danced professionally with the Saint Louis Ballet and with Missouri Ballet Theatre. She has performed in George Balanchine's “Serenade”, Pas de Trois in "Swan Lake",The Sugar Plum Fairy in "The Nutcracker", as well as in various roles in "Giselle", "Cinderella" and "The Sleeping Beauty". Along with her passion for ballet, she loves musical theatre and trained with LifeLight Youth Theatre. She performed as Belle in “Beauty and The Beast”, The Narrator in “Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat”, and has performed in the Muny chorus.

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Andrea Paxton
Jazz, Tap, and Contemporary Instructor

Andrea took her first dance class at the age of 5 and it was love at first step. Over the past 38 years she has studied the art of Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Musical Theater, Hip-Hop & Modern.  In her years of training, she has been lucky to study under some of the biggest names in the industry today, such as Janice Barringer (Pace University NYC), Mia Michaels (Choreographer of Broadway’s Finding Neverland and Radio City Rockettes NYC Spectacular),Tyce Diorio (Emmy award winning choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance), Ray Leeper (Choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance), Marguerite Derricks (Choreographer of the 2009 movie "FAME" and the T.V. show "Bunheads.") Andrea has trained with Tremaine Dance, LA Dance Magic, The Edge Dance Center & Dupree Dance. She also minored in dance at Lindenwood University while majoring in Education. She is fortunate to have made a career out of her passion working as a professional dancer/singer, as well as dance instructor and award winning choreographer for the past 27 years. This job has offered many exciting opportunities and taken her all over the country, and across the world. Some highlights of her professional career include performing in shows at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, The Lotte Theatre in Busan, South Korea, The Empire Theatre at Six Flags St. Louis, The Rio Hotel in Las Vegas, Harrah's in St. Louis, Kansas City and San Diego and Line Captain and Choreographer for St. Louis Steamers Steam Heat Dance Line. In 2020, she choreographed an ensemble piece for YAGP for Saint Louis Ballet School, which was invited to compete at the Grand Finals in New York City. Andrea is committed to her craft and committed to sharing and passing her passion and knowledge of dance onto her students.

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Elaine Rand
Ballet Instructor

A native of West Lafayette, IN, Elaine Rand began her training at Lafayette Ballet School in 2004, studying with Sandra Peticolas. She continued her training at Indianapolis Ballet, where she was a part of the company’s Professional Level Program under the direction of Victoria Lyras. There, she taught dance students ages 4 to adult as a faculty member. Most recently, Elaine danced in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Professional Division program for two years under the direction of Peter Boal, where she rehearsed and performed frequently with the school and company. She has attended summer courses at Louisville Ballet School, Indianapolis School of Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and the Chautauqua Institution. She is eager to pass on her knowledge of ballet to the young dancers of Saint Louis.

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Roxy Shackelford
Ballet Instructor

Roxy Shackelford started her dance training at Dance Arts Studio in her hometown of Macon, Georgia. She then went to finish her last two high school years training at the Atlanta Ballet in their full-time conservatory program. While in Atlanta she was able to dance in company productions of John McFall's The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White. She then spent two years dancing as an apprentice with Charlotte Ballet where she worked closely with Patricia McBride and had the opportunity of dancing in Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux's The Nutcracker and works by Peter Chu and Stephanie Martinez. She has attended summer courses at The School of American Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Boston Ballet. She joined Saint Louis Ballet in 2019 and is very excited to inspire and share her love of dance with the students of  Saint Louis Ballet School.

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Lori Wilson
Ballet Instructor

Ms. Wilson began her training at Ballet Lubbock with Suzanne Aker under the direction of Yvonne Racz-Key. She later attended The Rock School for Dance Education where she competed in Youth America Grand Prix and placed in the top twelve for her contemporary solo choreographed by Christopeher Fleming. While attending the Chatauqua Institute's summer ballet program, she had the honor of performing Mark Diamond's world premiere, Maestoso, with the North Carolina Dance Theatre (now the Charlotte Ballet). In the summer of 2008, Ms. Wilson toured China performing with the Long Beach Ballet. Since joining St. Louis Ballet in 2008, Ms. Wilson has had the honor of dancing numerous leading and title roles in ballets such as: Cinderella, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Swan Lake, Giselle and Romeo and Juliet. She has worked with choreographers such as Pam Tanowitz, Amy Siewert, Christopher D'amboise, Francis Patrelle, Emery Lecrone, Kam Saunders and Brian Enos among others. Ms. Wilson has also danced in numerous Balanchine ballets such as Serenade, Western Symphony, Who Cares?, Allegro Brilliante, Valse Fantasie and Rubies. She has had the honor of originating roles in a myriad of ballets created by director Gen Horiuchi. Ms. Wilson has also danced works by notable choreographers such as Christopher Wheeldon, Gerald Arpino, and Twyla Tharp. She has been a guest artist with several ballet schools including: Evansville Ballet, Indiana Ballet, Ballet Lubbock, Toledo Ballet, and Huntsville Ballet. Ms. Wilson had her choreographic debut in 2018 with the premiere of her ballet, Night Rise. She recently completed her second work for the company to premiere in the fall. Ms. Wilson has been a permanent faculty member of St. Louis Ballet School since 2013. She is a passionate and energetic teacher who is thrilled to pass on her experiences and love of ballet to her students.

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Lisa Wolfsberger
Ballet Instructor

Ms. Wolfsberger's dance background is broad in scope and has taken her nationwide and throughout Europe. Born in St.Louis, she has been a teacher of classical ballet for over 35 years. Her early training came from Alexandria Zaharias, Nathalie LeVine, and Michael Simms. Her professional career began with Missouri Concert Ballet (now St.Louis Ballet) where she danced as Principal for over 10 years with directors Ludmila Dokoudovski and Antoni Zelewski. She studied under Gary Hubler at Webster University while working towards a Bachelors degree in Dance. She has also studied extensively in New York City. Ms. Wolfsberger later became the ballet director at Dancers' Alley in Jefferson City Missouri. While living in Columbia Missouri, she was guest artist in residence, teaching ballet for Stephens College. Lisa has taught ballet at St. Mary's College and Notre Dame University in South Bend Indiana. When she lived in England, Ms. Wolfsberger taught master classes throughout the country and intiated her own training school. Lisa has been on staff with Chicago National Association of Dance Masters where she taught ballet and adjudicated dance competitions. Her students have gone on to dance professionally, earning college dance degrees, and teaching. Lisa continues to be invited as a guest artist, teaching master classes and summer programs throughout the country. She helped to intiate and was co-director of St. Louis Ballet School Ensemble, a student performance company. Ms. Wolfsberger has been on staff with St.Louis Ballet School since 2001.

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Teaching Assistants

Learn more about becoming a teacher assistant by emailing school@stlouisballet.org

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