Artistic Team

Sara Clayborne, Co-Director

Originally from New York, Sara trained at the Ballet School of New York under the direction of Diana Byer and Sallie Wilson. In 2001, she graduated from the Professional Children’s School in New York City and began to dance professionally with New York Theatre Ballet. While dancing with NYTB, Sara had the opportunity to tour the United States and perform at the Florence Gould Hall in New York City. In 2004, Sara moved to Richmond, Virginia to join the Richmond Ballet trainee program. While at the Richmond Ballet, she performed with the professional company in such ballets as The Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and original choreography by Richmond Ballet faculty. She danced with Richmond Ballet for two years before being asked to join Starr Foster Dance Project. In 2007, Sara co-founded the Charlottesville Ballet, putting her myriad of experiences to work while keeping her love of performance alive in her dual role as dancer and director. She retired from the stage in 2012 in order to devote her time to the growth of Charlottesville Ballet.

Sara is passionate about health and wellness and is a NASM-certified personal trainer. She is delighted to work with the company’s Medical Director to create a periodization model of cross training for the Charlottesville Ballet and to use her personal training background to set dancers on a path to better health. In addition to her role as Co-Director for the professional company, Sara is the Principal of Charlottesville Ballet Academy (CBA). She has taught dance for over a decade and is an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher in Primary through Level 7 of the ABT National Training Curriculum. She is excited to put the ABT Curriculum into practice, both at CBA and within the professional company. Sara looks forward to nurturing the growth and appreciation for dance among peers and in the community.



Emily Hartka, Co-Director

Emily Hartka fell in love with ballet at the age of five. She began dance classes at Roanoke Ballet Theatre in her hometown of Roanoke, VA and continued her training with Unurbat Gunaajav and Michele Goacher. She performed in collaborative shows with Opera Roanoke, the Mill Mountain Theatre, and with Radford University as the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker. She attended summer intensives at the Richmond Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and on scholarship with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Emily spent her senior year of high school at the Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA under the late Petrus Bosman. Upon graduation, she joined the Richmond Ballet as a trainee, performing in Don Quixote, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie and Who Cares?, and in many new works by Richmond Ballet faculty.  She also enjoyed working with school children in Richmond Ballet’s Minds In Motion program.

In 2008, Emily relocated to Charlottesville to co-found the Charlottesville Ballet and to attend the University of Virginia, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Nonprofit Management & Arts Administration. She serves as Co-Director of the Charlottesville Ballet and recently retired from the stage to focus on the growth and development of the organization. Emily is thankful to all who have made the growth of Charlottesville Ballet possible and she looks forward to the season ahead.



Caitlin Lennon, Company Manager


Caitlin Lennon, originally from Bozeman, Montana, began her intensive training at the Queen City Ballet in Helena, Montana. She spent her summers studying at Juilliard, American Ballet Theatre in New York, Atlanta Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Ballet West on scholarship. Her travels across the country ended at the Richmond Ballet, where she was accepted into the trainee program on full scholarship and danced for two seasons. She also taught dance in the public schools with Richmond Ballet’s Minds In Motion program from 2007-2015. In 2008, Caitlin joined the Charlottesville Ballet as a founding member of the professional company and has enjoyed witnessing and being part of the growth of the organization. In addition to her roles on the stage and in the studio, Caitlin is thrilled to begin her fourth year as Company Manager for the 2018-2019 season.  







Emily Pozek, Artistic Associate & Outreach Manager

Emily trained at the Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA for high school before dancing professionally for the Walt Disney World Company in Orlando, FL.  She earned her Associates of Arts degree from Valencia College and danced in masterworks from Shapiro Smith and David Parsons. Emily earned her BFA and Masters degrees from the University of Florida, where her capstone project examined dance and Alzheimer’s disease. She was the Dancer in Residence for the Center for Arts in Medicine at UF Health Hospital and the lead instructor for Dance for Life, a dance class for people living with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers. Emily’s passion lies in how dance can shape communities, and she has worked in juvenile detention centers, schools and community centers as a champion in arts education. Emily has taught dance for over a decade and was most recently an adjunct professor at the University of Florida in the School of Theatre and Dance.  She is a certified Cecchetti instructor and travels across the U.S. and abroad as a master teacher and dance judge. In 2018 she earned her 200 hour yoga teaching certification and enjoys teaching yoga as well as including into her work within the dance studio. Emily is thrilled to relocate to Virginia this year to create the position of Outreach Manager at Charlottesville Ballet in addition to her teaching roles in the company, academy, and outreach programs.



Mari Mori, Artistic Associate

Mari Mori began her ballet training at the Yasuko Miyashita Ballet School in Kyoto, Japan. She studied with Hideo Fukagawa and subsequently joined his ballet company. She continued her studies with Madam Nora Kiss, Jean Clould Ruiz, and Finis Jhung. Mari danced pwith the American Repertory Dance Theatre and the Covenant Ballet Theatre in New York. After moving to the East Coast, she taught at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Wake Forest University, and the North Carolina Dance Festival. Mari moved to Lynchburg, VA in 2009 to teach at Sweet Briar College and the Virginia School of the Arts (VSA). Upon the closure of VSA, she founded Central Virginia Ballet in 2011 to continue to provide instruction to her Lynchburg-area students. She is very happy to serve as Artistic Associate this season.



Deanna Seay, Artistic Associate

Deanna Seay grew up in Fork Union, Virginia, and received her early ballet training at the School of the Richmond Ballet as well as with Louisa Naughton at the Ballet Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. She went on to dance for twenty one years with the Miami City Ballet after graduating as a student of Melissa Hayden from the (University of) North Carolina School of the Arts in 1989. As a scholarship student at (U)NCSA, she won a Level 3 award from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts before joining Miami City Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in August 1989. Named a Principal Dancer in 1998, she was featured extensively throughout the repertoire. In 1999 was chosen to work with Maria Tallchief for the Balanchine Foundation Interpreter’s Archive. Dedicated to preserving Balanchine’s key roles as interpreted by their originators, the Balanchine Foundation filmed Ms. Seay being coached by Ms. Tallchief in the principal female role of Allegro Brillante. While dancing, Ms. Seay also served as a member of the Miami City Ballet School faculty for both summer and winter terms. She has been a full-time faculty member at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, North Carolina and the Boston Ballet School. She returned to Central Virginia with her husband and two young sons in 2016 and is also on faculty at the School of the Richmond Ballet.



Anna Sides, Artistic Associate

Anna Sides danced professionally for 14 years and has taught for 30 years throughout the United States. The bulk of her training was from The National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois under the direction of Petrus Bosman. Anna danced professionally with Ballet West, Ballet Memphis, Maryland Ballet, and Festival Ballet of Rhode Island.  Highlights of her performing career were Sir Frederick Ashton’s Monotones II, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Flower Festival Pas de Deux, and the Maiden in The Maiden Who Descends from Heaven, as well as several Balanchine ballets. Anna was also a guest Ballet Mistress with Missouri Ballet Theatre and currently runs a traveling ballet school in Highland and Pocahontas counties. Anna is delighted to continue her work with the professional company and has been an Artistic Associate since 2015.





Jeffrey Boynton, Lighting Designer

Jeffrey Boynton has over 20 years of experience in lighting design and applies his expertise and passion for lighting to a wide range of applications. He works nationally and internationally on live theater and dance performances, landscapes and light, long range planning projects, lighting for museums, educational facilities, restaurants, private homes, transit and public works, renovations, large scale festival sculpture lighting, festival power and ambient lighting, lighting masterplans, lighting controls design and programming, and custom luminaire design. Rooted in a history of modern dance, dance theater and contact improvisation, he is also a dancer and facilitates movement meditation locally as a certified teacher of 5Rhythms®.  Jeffrey lives in Charlottesville with his beloved Samantha and their children.



Katherine Nies, Accompanist

Katherine Nies is a classically-trained musician with more than 17 years of experience in piano performance, vocal performance, and accompanying. She graduated summa cum laude from Albertus Magnus College with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Spanish, and Creative Writing. After spending a summer studying linguistics at Georgetown University, Katherine combined her love of music and visual arts by diving into cinematography, producing two short films, acting and singing in West Side Story, and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and performing with orchestras and other ensembles. She has been a resident of New England, DC, and Honolulu, and is now back in beautiful Virginia collaborating with musicians and performing. She is thrilled to become a part of Richmond Ballet’s Minds in Motion and Charlottesville Ballet’s wonderful community of artists.
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