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 BeautyA 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 Medical Director to create a periodization model of cross training for the Charlottesville Ballet and 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 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 has 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 her bachelor of arts in Nonprofit Management & Arts Administration.

Emily serves as Co-Director of the Charlottesville Ballet, performs with the professional company, and is also on faculty at Charlottesville Ballet Academy where she enjoys teaching future generations of healthy, intelligent dancers. Emily is delighted to achieve balance through her multiple roles as administrator, teacher, and performer. She looks forward to the season ahead and is thankful to all who’ve made this journey possible.




Caitlin Lennon, Company Manager

Originally from Bozeman, Montana, Caitlin Lennon began her intensive training at the Queen City Ballet in Helena, Montana. She spent her summers studying at Juilliard, American Ballet Theatre 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 seeing the growth of the organization over the past nine seasons.  In addition to her roles on the stage and in the studio, Caitlin is thrilled to begin her second year as Company Manager for the 2016-2017 season.  



Nina2BNina Staeben, Operations Manager

Nina Staeben, a native of Arlington Virginia, studied ballet professionally throughout high school before graduating from The College of William & Mary in 2014 with a B.A. in English. In 2011 she started a ballet program for the children of employees at the U.S. Embassy in London to benefit the Haiti Disaster Relief efforts. During her time in school Nina also enjoyed an internship at the U.S. Department of Justice and working as Site Manager for Middlebury’s Interactive Language program hosted at the National Cathedral School in Washington D.C. She joined Charlottesville Ballet as an Administrative Intern in summer of 2014 and was offered to participate in the Trainee Program the same year. Nina also began teaching for CBA in spring of 2015. She is thrilled to join Charlottesville Ballet for a third year as the Ballet’s Operations Manager.  



Dinah Gray, Artistic Associate

Originally from Los Angeles, Dinah Gray began her dance training at the Yvonne Cusack Ballet Center.  After graduating from the Virginia School of the Arts, she earned her B.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography at Goucher College.  Ms. Gray has danced professionally with Ballet Theatre of Maryland, The Baltimore Opera, Kimberly Mackin Dance Company, and Off Center Dance Theatre.  From 2003 – 2007 she choreographed for, performed with, and co-directed Prospect Dance Group in Charlottesville, VA.  Dinah currently teaches at the University of Virginia, Albemarle Ballet Theatre, St. Anne’s-Belfield School, and ACAC, and performs and choreographs in the Charlottesville area.



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 furthered her studies with Madam Nora Kiss (Paris, France), Jean Clould Ruiz (Strasburg, France), and Finis Jhung (New York City). Mari has been a member of the American Repertory Dance Theatre and the Covenant Ballet Theatre in New York.  She has also appeared as a guest artist with numerous ballet schools and companies in California, New York, and Japan.  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 ballet at Sweet Briar College and the Virginia School of the Arts (VSA).  Upon the closure of VSA, she founded the Central Virginia Ballet in 2011 to continue to provide instruction to her Lynchburg-area students.  She is very happy to work with Charlottesville Ballet’s professional company and serve as Artistic Associate this season.



Anna Sides, Artistic Associate

Anna Sides danced professionally for 14 years and has taught for 30 years throughout the United States. Anna danced with Ballet West, Ballet Memphis, Maryland Ballet, and Festival Ballet of Rhode Island. Ms. Sides taught in Utah, Tennessee, Maryland, Washington, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Missouri, Virginia and West Virginia. The bulk of her training was from The National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois under the direction of Petrus Bosman. Highlights of her performing career were Sir Frederick Ashton’s Monotones II, Coppelia, and The Maiden Who Descends from Heaven. Balanchine Ballets include: Who Cares?, Allegro, Pas de Dix, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ms. Sides is currently guest Ballet Mistress with Missouri Ballet Theatre and running a traveling ballet school in Highland and Pocahontas counties: The Dance Academy. Students from The Dance Academy have attended summer intensives with Ballet Magnificat, The Rock School of Dance Education, and University of North Carolina School of the Arts.



Philip Rosemond, Guest Teacher

Philip S. Rosemond has 24 years performing experience as a professional dancer; 38 years teaching dance; 26 years as a director, choreographer, ballet master, counseling and workshop facilitator; 25 years in dance and arts management, consulting, and curatorship; and 25 years as a seminar and workshop facilitator in objectives training for artists and dancers. He was a professional dancer with 8 major ballet companies, including The Washington (DC) Ballet, Cincinnati/New Orleans Ballet, Western Chamber Ballet, New York City Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and many others. Mr. Rosemond has served as Artistic Director of Western Chamber Ballet and SW Washington Dance Center, as well as Ballet Master of Montana Ballet & Manassas Ballet Theatre. He has staged over 70 works of his choreography. He completed high school at Washington School of Ballet and studied at ABT and SAB, Joffrey Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet. He received his BFA in pedagogy and composition from the University of Cincinnati, under a CCM honors scholarship. His pedagogues include Melinko Banovich, Wilhelm Burman, Maggie Black, Melissa Hayden, and many others. He is fully trained In Vaganova pedagogy and is certified to teach Horton Technique modern dance, as well as other contemporary dance forms. Philip is a certified Floor-Barre ™ instructor, Viniyoga instructor and is completing his post-graduate training in Movement Analysis and Somatic Therapy through the Laban Institute for Movement Studies at the University of Maryland. For more information, visit


Jeffrey Boynton, Lighting Designer

With 20 years in the lighting design profession, Jeffrey applies his expertise and passion for lighting to a wide range of applications.  He works nationally and internationally on live theatrical 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.



Hayley Rose, Stage Manager

Born in London, England, and raised in the D.C. Metro Area, Hayley Rose is a veteran of the arts world and lover of classical music.  As a classically trained professional violinist/violist and music teacher with more than 17 years of experience, she has performed major chamber, orchestral and ballet repertoire including The Nutcracker and The Firebird.  Hayley has experience coaching private students, small chamber music groups, school ensembles and youth orchestras.  When her children began to dance at CBA, Hayley and her husband Adam (also a musician) fell in love with ballet, and have joyfully volunteered backstage ever since.  Together as a family they enjoy building props and set pieces both large and small.  Hayley splits her time homeschooling her children, teaching violin, and is now pleased to join the Charlottesville Ballet for her first season as Stage Manager.


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