CBA Faculty & Staff

Academy Faculty

Sara Jansen Clayborne, CBA 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.

Keith Lee, Artist Laureate and Director of Diversity & Inclusion

Keith Lee is a master teacher and choreographer originating from the Bronx, New York where he trained at the High School of Performing Arts in NYC. In 1969 Mr. Lee joined American Ballet Theatre and was promoted to the rank of soloist the following year. He then pursued his career at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre as their ballet master. He has choreographed works for American Ballet Theatre, the Washington Ballet, the Geneva Ballet, the Oakland Ballet, the Garden State Ballet, Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, the Lexington Ballet, and the Charlottesville Ballet. Mr. Lee now calls Central Virginia home, and continues to work as a freelance choreographer, teacher, and performing arts coordinator. Mr. Lee is excited to pioneer his new role of Director of Diversity & Inclusion for the Charlottesville Ballet.

Heather Rogers, CBA Principal

Heather Rogers began dancing at the age of four at her local dance studio in Florida. She then continued her training, with a focus in ballet, tap, and jazz, with South Georgia Performing Arts and eventually locally in Charlottesville. Heather danced for two seasons as an apprentice with Charlottesville Ballet and was also a faculty member at The Dance Barn from 2009 to 2011. At this time, she discovered her true passion for teaching dance. When Charlottesville Ballet Academy (CBA) opened in 2011, Heather was one of the first on faculty, and she has taken pride in instructing hundreds of CBA students the past decade.

In June 2020, Heather and her husband, Nick, welcomed their first child, Wilson. In the months following his birth, they slowly discovered that Wilson had been born with an extremely rare mutation in the DNM1 gene, causing seizures, visual impairments, and developmental and intellectual disabilities. In learning more about Wilson’s needs and after attending doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, and providing day-to-day care, Heather was made aware just how few activities are available for children with disabilities.

With this knowledge, Heather is thrilled to help launch Charlottesville Ballet’s NEW Adaptive Dance Program this fall 2021. She is excited to begin teaching classes designed specifically for children with disabilities and believes this will help spread the joy of dance and movement to kids of all abilities. She is dedicated to Charlottesville Ballet’s mission and overjoyed that she can make dance accessible for all.

Heather is an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher and has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum. Heather has also recently completed Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Teacher Training course.

Sabrina Alessi

Sabrina Alessi, born and raised in Manhattan, NY, began to dance at 8 years old, focusing primarily on Jazz – Hip-Hop. She joined Shooting Stars NYC’s competitive Hip-Hop and lyrical teams and was trained by NBA dancers. She performed annually with her Hip-Hop team at Barclay’s and Madison Square Garden during NBA games. At Trevor Day School, Sabrina was a part of the dance curriculum and choreographed two unique pieces to be performed by and for her peers. As a Biomedical Engineering Student at UVA, she is delighted to begin teaching at Charlottesville Ballet and rekindle her passion for dance by sharing it with others.

Amelia Anderson

Amelia Anderson has grown up in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is very excited to be joining the Charlottesville Ballet Faculty this year! She started ballet at age thirteen and immediately fell in love with dance! Amelia began a mentorship in 2020 with Kathryn Tokar assisting with Charlottesville Ballet Academy’s First Steps Division. She then discovered her passion for teaching and is thrilled to be guiding our youngest dancers as she is continuing to develop her own skills in the Academy. Amelia hopes to continue with ballet in her future education after she finishes high school.

Jeanne Berthy

Jeanne Berthy was born in Paris, France and moved to Virginia with her family when she was a year old. She began dancing at the age of three and joined the Charlottesville Ballet Academy when they opened in 2011. She has performed in numerous professional productions with the Charlottesville Ballet, trained in their Pre-Professional Program and joined the Trainee Program last year for its 2020-2021 season. She has attended summer intensives at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, The Washington School of Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Jeanne is excited to return as a Trainee with the Charlottesville Ballet for their 2021-2022 season and to begin her first year of teaching for the Academy!

Abigail Brent

Abigail Brent began dancing with Charlottesville Ballet Academy at its inception in 2007. She was invited to join the Pre-Professional program when it was created in 2015. She spent summers training on scholarship with American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey, School of American Ballet, Chautauqua, and Richmond Ballet. She was accepted into The Kennedy Center’s Master Ballet Class Series, enhancing her training in classes with NYCB, ABT, Ballet West, Mariinsky Ballet, National Ballet of China, San Francisco Ballet, and several internationally known contemporary companies. After a year as a Trainee with the Charlottesville Ballet, she was promoted to Apprentice Dancer in 2019. She has enjoyed performing many roles, including The Nutcracker’s Spanish and Dew Drop, and the Step-Sister in Cinderella. Abigail is thrilled to be teaching for her second year.

Cassidy Burk

Cassidy Burk grew up in Leesburg, Virginia and trained for 15 years at The Dance Academy of Loudoun where she fell in love with all styles of dance. It was here that Cassidy first had the opportunity to teach dance to kids of all ages. She attended Point Park University, where she performed the lead roles of Juliet in Nicolas Petrov’s Romeo & Juliet, Giselle in Giselle, and Lead Russian Girl in George Balanchine’s Serenade. After graduating from Point Park University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ballet and jazz, Cassidy joined the Charlottesville Ballet as a dancer and faculty member. She is thrilled to be teaching for her sixth year at Charlottesville Ballet Academy.

Greta Campbell

Greta Campbell grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where she began her dance training at Cincinnati Ballet. She danced with the academy performing solo roles in the Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Don Quixote. She also performed with the professional company in Beauty and the Beast and The Nutcracker. While with Cincinnati Ballet, Greta developed a love for teaching in the children’s division. Currently enrolled as a student at the University of Virginia, Greta is thrilled to be able to teach kids again and help foster a love of dance.

Maria Chee

Maria W. Chee holds a Ph.D. in anthropology, a master of arts in anthropology, a master of arts in dance, and a bachelor degree in dance. She started dance classes in 4th grade, completed her undergraduate dance curriculum in modern, jazz, folk dance, ballroom, improvisation and choreography, growth and development, and athletic injuries with simultaneous private ballet studio lessons three times per week; and finished her master degree curriculum in ballet, modern, jazz; dance production; as well as dance history and research. She has taken classes at the Martha Graham School in New York, intensive summer sessions with Bella Lewinsky, members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and Ballet Jazz of Montreal. Ms. Chee performed and taught various dance forms during her undergraduate career. She has more than ten years of teaching experience as a state licensed teacher in adult education and as a lecturer at the college level. She has been a member of the Charlottesville International Folk Dance since January 2014.

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 the professional company and to be on faculty at the Academy. Izabelly is happy to be back for the upcoming year!

Jessica Grant

Jessica is a native of Staunton, Virginia and began her dance training at the age of three with the Ballet Box under director Jann Shenk. At age fifteen, Jessica began dancing with Rockingham Ballet Theatre where she performed leading roles and also created a dance program at the Augusta County Parks and Recreation for young dancers to explore their own passions. Jessica joined Charlottesville Ballet as both a dancer and a faculty member in 2013. In 2015, she became an instructor for Charlottesville Ballet’s Chance To Dance program. Jessica holds degrees in both Dance and Cybersecurity. Jessica is an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum. Jessica enjoys teaching the amazing students at CBA and is excited for the upcoming year!

Emily Hartka

Emily Hartka fell in love with ballet at the age of five and began dance classes at Roanoke Ballet Theatre in her hometown of Roanoke, VA. She attended summer intensives at the 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 and danced as a trainee with the Richmond Ballet. In 2008, she relocated to Charlottesville to 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 the Co-Director and leads Charlottesville Ballet’s development strategies along with her roles as an administrator, choreographer, and teacher. Emily is thankful to all who have made this journey possible and she looks forward to the season ahead.

Mary Hein

Mary Hein began her dance training in Maryland at the National Ballet School under the direction of Pamela Moore where she earned her Enrico Cecchetti Diploma. She then attended Point Park University’s College of Performing Arts where she received a BA in Dance with concentrations in ballet and jazz. Following graduation, Mary danced for Charlottesville Ballet as a company artist from 2013-2015. During her time with the company, Mary taught several classes at CBA and choreographed for the professional company including a reimagining of Firebird in collaboration with co-director, Sara Jansen Clayborne. Mary choreographed for the Oratorio Society of Virginia’s production of Arthur Honegger’s King David in 2015 and for the Charlottesville Opera’s production of Oklahoma in 2017, both in collaboration with the Charlottesville Ballet. Mary has taught all over the country, and is thrilled to be working with the students of CBA again.

Lori Jablonski

Lori, originally from Rochester, NY, graduated from Muhlenberg College with a Bachelor of Arts in dance and a minor in entrepreneurial studies. She was a member of the Muhlenberg Dance Association, Copasetic Rhythms tap company, and the Muhlenberg Ballet Ensemble, and was selected to perform at the American College Dance Festival. Lori danced for the Walt Disney World Company before moving to Charlottesville in 2006, where she danced with inFluxdance, R Squared, UpRooted Dance, and Miki Liszt Dance Company, where she also served as Director of Operations. Lori taught dance in New York and Virginia. She also studied graphic design at Parsons The New School for Design and recently completed Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Teacher Training. Lori joined the Charlottesville Ballet team in May 2016 as the Academy Manager and is thrilled to assist in starting the adaptive dance program at Charlottesville Ballet this year.

Tabitha Newman

Bio coming soon!

Ruth Sherman

Ruth Olga Sherman was Miss Dance of New England 1999. She performed with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Company and Chicago Tap Theater for four seasons. After graduating from Northwestern, Ruth returned as an Adjunct Faculty Jazz teacher. As well, she taught at Giordano School and Master classes in Hawaii, Florida, Latvia, Germany, Mexico and Bruges. In 2008 Ruth moved to Berlin, Germany where she performed with Schindowski Ballet and Sidi Larbi Eastman Company in the Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Germany and La Scala in Milan, Italy. In 2019, Ruth was the Resident Supervisor for the Alonzo King Lines Summer Program, and in 2020 Ruth received her Masters in Dance pedagogy and choreography from Mills College.

Kathryn Tokar

Kathryn began her training at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Ohio, under the tutelage of Melanie Szucs. She continued training at Ohio Dance Theatre, completed summer intensives 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 Tauna Hunter’s direction at Mercyhurst, Kathryn performed at the YAGP Finals and for the New York City Dance Alliance at the Joyce Theater. She began her career as a founding member of the new Cleveland Ballet and then performed with Lake Erie Ballet, under the direction of Lesley Bories-Scalise, and served on faculty at McDowell Intermediate High School’s Creative Performing Arts program. In addition to serving on faculty at CBA, Kathryn teaches in the C2D and Movement For Parkinson’s programs.

Sherry Whaley

Sherry has been an active student, teacher, dancer, and advocate in the dance community in Central Virginia for over three decades. Sherry serves on the Charlottesville Ballet board of directors and has a 30+ year career in critical care nursing in the PACU, STICU, and NNICU at the University of Virginia hospital. Sherry began dancing at the age of 5 and studied ballet with Finish Jhung, Michael Vernon, and Dawn Hillen. She has studied jazz with Luigi, Frank Hatchett, Josh Bergasse, and Chet Walker, and many others and she taught dance in the Charlottesville community for over twenty years. In 2011, Sherry began studying the Zena Rommett Floor-Barre® Technique and is now teaching this highly-regarded therapeutic method for dancers at Charlottesville Ballet Academy. In 2019, Sherry completed Dance for PD® training at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn, NY; she is thrilled to be teaching for the Movement for Parkinson’s class and Chance To Dance outreach classes – both part of the CB Moves community engagement program.


Staff

Ali Brent, Finance Manager

Ali Brent grew up in Greene County and fell in love with ballet at a young age. She studied dance in Charlottesville at “The Dance Studio” under Nan Rennie and Daphne Sandridge, and at Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington). After college, Ali enjoyed working with children at a home for abused and neglected youth, and then with the elderly at an assisted living home. She then worked at Capital One, which led to a position in finance with the Marine Corps, where she met her husband. In 2005, the Brents moved back to Greene County to raise their family. As Charlottesville Ballet’s Finance Manager, Ali enjoys serving the community and furthering the organization’s goal to make dance accessible to everyone.

Lori Jablonski, Academy Manager

Lori, originally from Rochester, NY, graduated from Muhlenberg College with a Bachelor of Arts in dance and a minor in entrepreneurial studies. She was a member of the Muhlenberg Dance Association, Copasetic Rhythms tap company, and the Muhlenberg Ballet Ensemble, and was selected to perform at the American College Dance Festival. Lori danced for the Walt Disney World Company before moving to Charlottesville in 2006, where she danced with inFluxdance, R Squared, UpRooted Dance, and Miki Liszt Dance Company, where she also served as Director of Operations. Lori taught dance in New York and Virginia. She also studied graphic design at Parsons The New School for Design and recently completed Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Teacher Training. Lori joined the Charlottesville Ballet team in May 2016 as the Academy Manager and is thrilled to assist in starting the adaptive dance program at Charlottesville Ballet this year.

Cordelaine Klyne, Administrative Assistant

Cordelaine Klyne, originally from Marshall, VA, began her dance training at the age of three. She studied under Cynthia Kiehnau at Virginia Civic Ballet, and she is certified through Grade 7 in the Cecchetti Council of America syllabus. Cordelaine is studying at the University of Virginia, pursuing a major in Commerce with concentrations in Marketing and Management and a minor in Dance. She acts as Treasurer for the Dance Committee at UVA as well as Rhapsody Ballet Ensemble, and she is a Miller Arts Scholar for dance. This will be her first year working at Charlottesville Ballet, and she is absolutely thrilled to be a part of this amazing community!


Special Thanks to Peter Davis for the portraits of our CBA Faculty Members!