Meet the Artists

Company Artists

Say Ayers

Say was born and raised in North Carolina. She began her professional training at Graceful Expressions Dance Education. She studied under Kat Daniels, April Sweitzer, and Willie Hinton. She trained in ballet, musical theater, jazz, tap, modern, and contemporary dance. During high school Say performed with Carolina Ballet under Robert Weiss in works such as Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet. After high school, she spent three years with US International Ballet and was instructed by Deborah Berger, Stella Johnson, and Nancy Podrasky. She then joined Charlottesville Ballet and spent two years as a trainee. Say is honored to begin her professional career by returning to Charlottesville Ballet. She is very eager for this season!

Say’s 2023-24 season performances are sponsored by Bill Gray.

Jeanne Berthy

Jeanne was born in Paris, France, and moved to Virginia when she was a year old. She began dancing with the Charlottesville Ballet Academy at the age of three when it opened in 2011. Since then, she has performed in numerous professional productions with the Charlottesville Ballet, trained in their Pre-Professional Program, joined the Trainee Program in 2020, and she’s excited to be joining the company as a Company Artist for the upcoming season! Jeanne is also a faculty member at the Charlottesville Ballet Academy, teaching classes for its youngest students. She is excited to be a part of programs that benefited her so much as a student, and is excited for the upcoming academic year and season!

Jeanne’s 2023-24 season performances are sponsored by Penny & Dutch Dorschel.

Izabelly Gleed

Izabelly began her dancing career at the age of four, in Vila Velha, Brazil. She graduated in 2009 from the School of the Bolshoi Theater in Brazil and then in 2012 from the Escuela Nacional de Cuba. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in communications studies. Professionally, Izabelly has danced multiple lead and corps roles, and in 2015 she was brought on to Lake Erie Ballet in Erie, Pennsylvania as an instructor and company artist. In 2017 she moved to Charlottesville to perform as a Company Artist with Charlottesville Ballet and to be on faculty at the Academy. Izabelly is celebrating her 7th year with Charlottesville Ballet and will retire from the stage this May, but continue in her leadership roles at Charlottesville Ballet Academy.

Izabelly’s 2023-24 season performances are sponsored by Penny & Dutch Dorschel.

Jessica Grant

Jessica began her dance training at the Ballet Box when she was three years old and studied many styles of dance under director Jann Shenk. She completed RAD examinations, passing with Merit, from Level 3 through Intermediate. At age fifteen, she began dancing with Rockingham Ballet Theatre, where she performed leading roles, including Cinderella, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Swanhilda in Coppelia. Jessica graduated in 2016 with an A.A. in Dance from PVCC. In 2018, she attended the Compass Coaching Project with Dominic Walsh. Since joining Charlottesville Ballet in 2013, she has performed numerous roles in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Snow White, The Firebird, and other original works. She is very excited for her eleventh season with Charlottesville Ballet!

Ava Griebel

Ava Griebel, originally from Hanover, PA, began performing at the age of five. Her training has spanned various styles and genres to include ABT Curriculum, Vagonova, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Horton, jazz, lyrical, and tap. Ava went on to become a soloist with Antelope Valley Ballet. At the age of 16, she finished her training with Marat Daukayev School of Ballet and attended the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre graduate program for two years. Her past repertoire includes numerous roles in The Nutcracker, most notably the Sugar Plum Fairy, a principal dancer in Balanchine’s Valse-Fantaisie, and other roles in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Rodeo, Balanchine’s Serenade, Rite of Spring, and several contemporary pieces. Ava danced at Ballet Idaho as a trainee and ballet teacher for one year before settling in Virginia. She joined Charlottesville Ballet as a trainee for the 22-23 season and also serves on faculty at CBA as an American Ballet Theatre certified teacher. Ava will be retiring from the stage this May and she will continue to teach the next generation of dancers at Charlottesville Ballet Academy!

Eden Heille

Eden Heille started dancing at the age of eight in Minneapolis, MN and spent the last seven years of her training at Ashley Ballet Arts Academy in Golden Valley, MN. Eden spent various summers at the schools of Boston Ballet, Ballet West, San Francisco Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet, where she trained under the direction of Peter Stark, Larissa Ponomarenko, Patrick Armand, Christopher Hird, and Sofiane Sylve. She had the opportunity to perform leading roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker, La Fille Mal Gardee, Le Corsaire, Dracula, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Little Humpbacked Horse, Sylvia, Cinderella, Paquita, Giselle, and Raymonda. Eden joined Tulsa Ballet as a trainee in 2019 and Twin Cities Ballet as an apprentice from 2021-2023. She joined Charlottesville Ballet as a trainee at the start of the 2023-24 season and was recently promoted in February 2024! Eden also serves on faculty at Charlottesville Ballet Academy to share her years of experience teaching dance and the joy that it brings to students of all ages.

Yui Kaito

Yui Kaito is originally from Tokyo, Japan. Yui began her training at Tateda Ballet Studio before moving to Calgary to complete her education at the Alberta Ballet School. While at Alberta Ballet School, Yui passed the Cecchetti advanced examination and was invited to join the Alberta Ballet Trainee Program, which led to her dancing with Alberta Ballet. After graduating from school, she joined Kentucky Ballet Theatre in Lexington, KY where she performed leading roles. Some of her most memorable roles with the company to date include Sugar Plum Fairy (The Nutcracker), and Diana and Actaeon pas de deux. In 2022, she joined Charlottesville Ballet as a company artist and teacher at Charlottesville Ballet Academy.

Yui’s 2023-24 season performances are sponsored by Paul & Annie Sartori.

Michael (Mikey) Knight

Michael (Mikey) Knight began his training at NEW Fusion Performing Arts in Green Bay, WI. Upon graduation, Mikey relocated to Chicago, IL for an apprenticeship at Elements Contemporary Ballet. Mikey then relocated to Madison, WI to dance with Madison Contemporary Dance, where he held the title of Assistant Director. Shortly after, he joined Kanopy Dance Company as a principal artist. While dancing with Kanopy, he vigorously studied the Martha Graham technique under the guidance of Co-Directors Lisa Thurrell and Robert Cleary. As the principal dancer, he danced title roles in a variety of premieres and classical restagings, including Pascal Rioult’s Views of the Fleeting World, Lone Larson’s Song of Tears, Stanley Love’s Adam and Steve, and Lisa Thurrell’s The Maw. During the pandemic, Michael was fortunate to appear in projects by former Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo originator Brian Norris. After relocating to Virginia, Michael joined the Charlottesville Ballet. He has been honored to dance the roles of Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Prince Charming in Pedro Szalay’s Cinderella, and as a soloist in Sara Clayborne’s The Silence We Made. He is so excited to continue his training under the esteemed artistic faculty, and performing throughout Virginia with Charlottesville Ballet!

Mikey’s 2023-24 season performances are sponsored by Lewis & Bobbi Dunn.

Lucy Lucas

Lucy Lucas, from Sterling, Virginia, began dancing at the age of four. Her first introduction to ballet was through a Vaganova academy where she acquired a ballet foundation. In 2019, Lucy found training and mentorship under Troy Brown. In 2022, she joined Charlottesville Ballet’s 2022-23 season as a trainee, CBA faculty member, and administration staff. Lucy is continuing her work as a staff member at Charlottesville Ballet Academy, and is a company artist for Charlottesville Ballet’s 2023-24 season.

Daniel Miller

Daniel Miller has been studying ballet for six years. He is very excited to begin his professional career with Charlottesville Ballet. He has trained around the Southeast with companies such as the Professional Training Program of Terminus Modern Ballet in Atlanta, Georgia, and most recently he spent two years as a trainee with Richmond Ballet in Richmond, Virginia. When he is not onstage he is often working backstage or in the lighting booth. He has designed the lights for numerous shows, winning awards at regional and international competitions. Lastly he would like to thank his mother for passing on her love for dance to him and inspiring him every day to keep pushing and never give up.

Kathryn Tokar Conley

Kathryn Tokar began training with Melanie Szucs at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Ohio. She spent summers at Cincinnati Ballet, Next Generation Ballet, and ABT, and graduated from Mercyhurst University summa cum laude with a B.A. in Dance Performance and a minor in Biology. Under the direction of Tauna Hunter at MU, Kathryn performed at the YAGP Finals and the NYCDA Destiny Rising Gala. She began her career as a founding member of the new Cleveland Ballet, and then Lake Erie Ballet, with her mentor Lesley Bories-Scalise. Kathryn joined Charlottesville Ballet in 2017 as a Trainee and is thrilled to begin her next season with the company. She also performs with Deos Contemporary Ballet in Michigan over the summers. Her favorite roles include Snow Queen, Dew Drop (The Nutcracker), and an Ugly Stepsister (Cinderella).

Kathryn’s 2023-24 season performances are sponsored by Penny & Dutch Dorschel.

Trainee Artists

Isabella Becchi

Isabella Becchi received her training at New Jersey Ballet, The Kirov Academy, and Ballet Central New Jersey. She was previously a trainee with Ballet de Catalunya. She also attended numerous summer programs, such as Vaganova Academy’s Russian Masters Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, and Boston Ballet. In addition to dancing as a trainee with Charlottesville Ballet, she is a student at UVA. 

Kaitlyn Dixon

Kaitlyn Dixon grew up in Virginia and has been dancing for fourteen years. She was an apprentice with Asaph Dance Ensemble in Manassas, Virginia and also gained experience through summer intensives with The Washington Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Ballet Austin. Kaitlyn began the Charlottesville Ballet trainee program in 2021.

Gabriella Fedewa

Gabriella Fedewa began her training at the age of three at the River Raisin School of the Arts. During this time, she studied the Cecchetti method and completed her grade 6 ballet exam. She also performed lead roles in ballets such as The NutcrackerAlice in WonderlandPeter PanCoppélia, among others.  Gabriella received a BFA in dance with a concentration in ballet at the University of South Florida and was awarded a General Business Certificate. She has also attended several ballet summer intensives such as Orlando Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, Cincinnati Ballet, and Tampa City Ballet. This is Gabriella’s first year as a trainee at Charlottesville Ballet. She also is on the administrative team and teaches at Charlottesville Ballet Academy.

Miriam Gildea

Miriam Gildea began her ballet training at the age of three in Waynesboro, Virginia. She has since studied under Natalia Baskatova and Katerina Fedova with the Russian Ballet, Inessa Plekhanovaand James Robey at Radford University, and Pamela McCray with Staunton Academy of Ballet. She performed in numerous ballets including her seasonal favorite The Nutcracker, and others including La Bayadere, Coppélia, and Serenade, dancing corps de ballet roles and as a soloist. It is her “pointe” in life to dance with joy and to spread the magic of ballet to others.

Gillian Grossman

Gillian Grossman began her ballet training at the age of seven in Williamsburg, Virginia and attended summer intensives at Kirov Academy of Ballet and The Dallas Conservatory. After graduating from her home studio, S. I. Dance in Williamsburg, she started training professionally at the Richmond Ballet where she performed in many ballets including Balanchine’s Serenade and Stoner Winslett’s The Nutcracker. This is Gillian’s first year at Charlottesville Ballet as a trainee and she is so excited to pursue her dream as a dancer.

Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper started dancing at seven years old in the small town of Enumclaw, WA. In middle and high school, she danced with the town’s youth company Plateau Ballet Repertory Theatre. In 2021, Grace moved to Santa Barbara, CA to be a trainee at State Street Ballet, and also performed in various modern performances with Selah Dance Collective. This is her second season as a trainee with Charlottesville Ballet.

Erica Kline

Erica Kline was born in Marlton, New Jersey. Her love of dance began at an early age, appearing in The Nutcracker at the age of six. She started her ballet training at the Bowman School of Dance and attended numerous summer programs including The Rock School for Dance Education, as well as Boston Conservatory. She has danced with several professional ballet companies including America Swiss Ballet, United States International Ballet, and Columbia Classical Ballet. She is looking forward to her first season as a trainee with Charlottesville Ballet.

Maggie Lampl

Maggie is native to Columbia, South Carolina and began her training at the University of South Carolina Dance Conservatory. She also danced with Columbia City Ballet II from 2016-2018. She attended the University of South Carolina and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography.

Harleigh Marshall

Harleigh Marshall, originally from Dayton, Virginia, has been dancing since she was four years old. She trained with Rockingham Ballet Theater, Staunton Academy of Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Dance Works Chicago, James Madison University, and Hollins University. This is Harleigh’s second season with Charlottesville Ballet as a trainee.

Evelyn McKemie

Evelyn McKemie is a native Virginian. She trained for six years at Avery Ballet under Lisa Snape Avery. She has spent summers training at The Washington School of Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Richmond Ballet. She also attended the Kennedy Center’s Master Class Series and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Company Experience. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Germanna Community College in 2021. This is Evelyn’s second season as a trainee with Charlottesville Ballet.

Nekya Perry

Nekya Perry has been dancing for nine years and has trained in the disciplines of ballet, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, hip hop, and Hungarian character dance. She is originally from Hampton, Virginia, but spent 6 years in Columbia, South Carolina training with Southeastern School of Ballet under the tutelage of Hillary Krieger-Toth, Gabor Toth, Terrance Henderson, and many acclaimed guest artists. She also danced with Joan Kathy Dance Center (Leesville, LA) and Performing Arts Connection (Hampton, VA). Nekya was an apprentice with contemporary company YUHAS and Dancers for their 2019-2020 season. This is Nekya’s first season as a trainee with Charlottesville Ballet.

Hope Roberts

Hope is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and started dancing at age five at her hometown studio Abby Lee Dance Company. After high school, she moved to New York City to train with Dance Theatre of Harlem. Hope continued her ballet training under Marica Dale Weary with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Richmond Ballet as a trainee. Hope started her professional career with Conflux Dance Theater as a founding member. She is now excited to join Charlottesville Ballet as a trainee this season!

Exodis Ward

Exodis Ward is from El Paso, Texas and took her first ballet class at the age of eleven. She has attended summer intensives at The Jillana School and Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Exodis was also one of the first recipients of the Lauren Anderson Scholarship at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. She recently graduated summa cum laude from the University of Texas at El Paso with a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism. Upon graduation, she joined Charlottesville Ballet as a trainee in Spring 2023 and is excited to return this season.