Faculty

Jamey Leverett - Draper Center ballet school, Rochester, NY

Jamey Leverett

Artistic Director

Ms. Leverett received her principal training with Timothy M. Draper at the Draper Center, the affiliated school of the Rochester City Ballet. As a former dancer with RCB, she performed major roles in Mr. Draper’s Nutcracker, and danced the lead role in his Firebird, choreographed specifically for her. During her performance career with RCB she was given opportunities to choreograph on the company. Her gift as a talented choreographer emerged, with several of her earlier works still performed by Rochester City Ballet today, such as Inner Voices and Gershwin in the Park.

Katherine Ertsgaard - Draper Center ballet school, Rochester, NY

Katherine Ertsgaard

Executive Director

Ms. Ertsgaard began her early training with Olive McCue and appeared with the Mercury Ballet in Rochester, New York.  Ms. Ertsgaard received her B.A. degree from Hamilton College in 1983, with a major in economics and minor in dance. She spent her junior year in New York City at NYU and continued her dance training throughout NYC with notable instructors as Richard Thomas, Finus Jhung, Merce Cunningham, David Howard and others at the Joffrey Ballet School.

Timothy M. Draper - Draper Center ballet school, Rochester, NY

Timothy M. Draper

Founder

Timothy Draper began his training in Rochester, New York under the tutelage of Olive McCue with Mercury Ballet and Kathleen Crofton with the Festival Ballet of New York. He pursued his dance education in New York City with the Joffrey School of Ballet, Harkness House of Ballet Arts and Steps followed by an extensive performance career with Israel Ballet, the Puerto Rican Dance Theatre and Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

Ballet & Dance Instructors

Ballet and dance instructor - Beth Bartholomew - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY

Beth Bartholomew

Beth Bartholomew is a native of Rochester, NY, where she studied at the former Enid Knapp Botsford School of Dance and later with the Pennsylvania Ballet School in Philadelphia, PA. At age 18, she received a contract with the Joffrey II dancers and went on to dance with the Joffrey Ballet in NYC. Five years later she joined the Washington Ballet where she danced solo and principal roles.

Jamey Leverett - Draper Center ballet school, Rochester, NY

Stefanie Cheshire

Stefanie Cheshire has been on faculty with Draper Center since 1997 acting as choreographer for dance competitions and teacher of various dance styles including jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and contemporary. Stefanie has received multiple awards for her excellence in choreography. 

Jamey Leverett - Draper Center ballet school, Rochester, NY

Fawn Doran

Fawn Doran received her training at Draper Center for Dance Education, the official school of the Rochester City Ballet. While dancing at Draper she had several opportunities to dance with RCB in their productions of The Nutcracker and Cinderella. She danced roles such as Snow Corps, Spanish Corps, Waltz of the Flowers and lead Arabian princess. In Cinderella she was a Ball Guest as well as a Midnight Fairy.

Ballet and dance instructor - Billie Jean Kandravi - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY

Billie Jean Kandravi

Billie Jean Kandravi grew up in Houston, Texas where she received her early dance training from American Academy of Dance. She then pursued her love for dance at the University of Oklahoma where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet Pedagogy. While there, she performed many roles and had the opportunity to tour to Austria and perform with the Oklahoma Festival Ballet.

Ballet and dance instructor - Breena Keefe - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Breena Keefe

Born in Rochester, New York, Breena Keefe began her dance training at Pittsford Dance Studio before joining The Draper Center for Dance Education at age 13. She was a gold medalist in both the contemporary and classical categories at the Indianapolis City Ballet Competition and traveled to Peru with the Draper Center Youth Ensemble in 2016 and 2018 to perform with professionals from across the Americas. 

Ballet and dance instructor - Lydia Marbach - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY

Lydia Marbach

Lydia Marbach began her dance training in Kingwood, Texas under the direction of Sheryl Rowalnd. She got invited to dance in her pre-professional program, Kingwood Dance Theatre and there she was a part of RDA Southwest region, performing and taking classes. Lydia later went to receive her BFA in Dance at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Ballet and dance instructor - Stephanie Mellinger-Reese - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY

Stephanie Mellinger-Reese

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and also known as StephMel, she received her B.F.A in Dance & Choreography from the State University of New York (SUNY) – College at Brockport. Throughout her college career, she focused on Modern dance training and had the opportunity to study with Doug Varone, Robert Battle, & The Jose Limon Dance Company.

Ballet and dance instructor - Fidel E. Orrillo Puga - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY

Fidel E. Orrillo Puga

Fidel Orrillo, born in Lima, Peru, and studied with his Aunt Stella Puga in Trujillo, Peru. At age 13 he received a scholarship to the renowned “National School of Ballet” in Havana, Cuba, directed by Alicia Alonso where he graduated and performed with National Ballet of Cuba. 

Ballet and dance instructor - Brittany Shinay - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Brittany Shinay

A native of Boston, Brittany Shinay received her training from Jamey Leverett, Tim Draper, Beth Bartholomew, Fidel Orrillo, Stefanie Cheshire, and other world-class faculty of the Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education. She additionally trained at ABT-NY’s summer intensive, attended Juilliard’s BFA in Dance program on full scholarship, and was a trainee of the Boston Ballet, where she performed in The Nutcracker.

Ballet and dance instructor - Jessica Tretter - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY

Jessica Tretter

A Rochester, New York native, Jessica Tretter trained at the Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education, and the Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy under full scholarship. She also attended the School of American Ballet summer intensive, under full scholarship, and American Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive in New York City.

Summer Guest Faculty have included:

Ballet and dance instructor - Cameron Basden - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Cameron Basden

Cameron Basden brings passion and spirit to her art, as well as a keen sense of organization and integrity to the projects she undertakes. After a performing career with the Joffrey Ballet, she served as ballet master and co-associate director of that company and director of dance at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Ballet and dance instructor - Kristi Boone - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Kristi Boone

Born in Rochester, New York, Ms. Boone trained at the Timothy M Draper Center for Dance Education and performed many roles with the Rochester City Ballet including the title role in The Firebird and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker.

Ballet and dance instructor - Phillip Broomhead - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Phillip Broomhead

Currently the School Director for the Orlando Ballet School, Mr. Broomhead was born in London, and trained at the Royal Ballet School. He then joined The Royal Ballet in 1981. He was promoted to soloist in 1983 and to principal in 1986.

Ballet and dance instructor - Tatiana Cater - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Tatiana Cater

Ms. Cater received her training through the Moscow State Institute of Culture and performed as a Principal Dancer with the International Ballet Collective in Moscow, Russia. Ms. Cater has worked as a choreographer with Olympic Ballet Theatre in Edmonds, Washington and as a teacher with Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, Washington, teaching both character dance and classical ballet.

Ballet and dance instructor - Joseph Davis - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Joseph Davis

Joseph was born and raised in the beautiful hills of upstate New York, and can be easily identified from a distance by his cacophonous laughter. He began his studies at The Draper Center for Dance Education in Rochester, New York and continued to receive his BFA at The Juilliard School under direction of Lawrence Rhodes, on tuition scholarship from New York City Dance Alliance.

Ballet and dance instructor - Parker Esse - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Parker Esse

After performing on Broadway as a featured performer in Fosse, Mr. Esse followed his passion to the other side of the creative table as Director/Choreographer. He is a two time Helen Hayes Award winner for best choreography; Arena Stage’s Oklahoma! and Pajama Game.

Ballet and dance instructor - Fiona Fairrie - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Fiona Fairrie

Fiona Fairrie began her professional ballet training in London at the Nesta Brooking School of Ballet and was then invited to attend the White Lodge Royal Ballet Junior School on scholarship. Upon graduation to the Upper School, she was later chosen for the Company Graduate Class with the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, where she was taught by Dame Ninette de Valois and performed with the Royal Ballet under the direction of Sir Frederick Ashton and Sir Kenneth MacMillan. 

Ballet and dance instructor - N’Jelle Gage - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
N’Jelle Gage

As a soloist with Les Ballet Dimension (Jamaica), N’Jelle began her career under the tutelage of Norma Spence & Tatjana Sedunova. She attended Academia Ballet Clasico Nina Novak as a scholarship student, graduated from Escuela Nacional de Arte & interned with Danze Contemporanea de Cuba.

Ballet and dance instructor - Katya Garza - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Katia Garza

Katia Garza was born in Mexico and began her training in Monterrey Mexico in the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza de Monterrey. She then joined Ballet de Monterrey and after 6 months became a soloist and a year later principal dancer under the direction of Fernando Bujones.

Ballet and dance instructor - Gypsy Ball - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Gypsy Hall

Born in Camaguey, Cuba, Gypsy Hall began her dance training at age eight with the National Ballet School of her birth city. During her student years, she won several awards in international competitions and festivals. At age eighteen she launched her professional career with the Ballet of Camaguey, where she became principal soloist under the direction of Fernando Alonso.

Ballet and dance instructor - Ivonne Lemus Mendez - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Ivonne Lemus Mendez

Ivonne Lemus began her dance studies at the Provincial Arts School in Pinar del Rio, Cuba and then was selected to continue her training at the National School of Ballet in Havana, Cuba. After graduating she joined the Ballet National of Cuba, where she was trained by Alicia Alonso, Josefina Mendez, Loipa Araufo and Laura Alonso. Lemus was promoted to soloist and later joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Canada.

Jamey Leverett - Draper Center ballet school, Rochester, NY
Michelle Madore

Michelle Madore is the 2002 World Champion in Professional Exhibition Ballroom Dance, winning this title at the Dutch Open in Assen, Holland. As a professional competitor, she won other National and International Competitions including The Heritage Classic, Dancesport Montreal, Chicago’s Crystal Ball, The New Jersey Open, Florida State Dancesport Championships, and many more.

Ballet and dance instructor - Hayley Meier - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Hayley Meier

Hayley received her early training from the Draper Center for Dance Education in upstate New York under Timothy M. Draper. In the summer of 2005, Hayley accepted an invitation to dance in the 14th annual International Festival of Ballet in Trujillo, Peru as the representative from the United States.

Ballet and dance instructor - Priscilla Nathan - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Priscilla Nathan Murphy

Originally from Singapore, she has trained in classical ballet – Royal Academy of Dancing Syllabi – Oriental Dance Mudras, Modern, and Jazz genres. Ms. Nathan-Murphy has a certification from the Royal Academy’s Dance Institution in London, England and has acquired a teaching Diploma from the British Association of Teachers of Dance.

Ballet and dance instructor - Alla Nikitina - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Alla Nikitina

Character dance master teacher and choreographer with over 35 years of experience, Ms. Nikitina was trained at the Donetsk School of Ballet, Ukraine and the State University of Culture and Art in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has worked with the leading dance companies in Russia and Ukraine.

Ballet and dance instructor - Brian Norris - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Brian Norris

Brian received his training at Jefferson Performing Arts in Portland, Oregon, while dancing with their student company from 1985 to 1988. He danced with the world famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo from 1994 to 2001. Over the past 20 years Brian has danced with the Rochester City Ballet in various productions and served as their ballet master for three years.

Ballet and dance instructor - Jimmy Orrante - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Jimmy Orrante

Mr. Orrante is a recipient of the 2005 inaugural Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship. He began his dance training at The Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and later at North Carolina School of the Arts. After 22 years as a professional dancer, he retired from BalletMet where he also had the opportunity to create over 15 premieres for the company.

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Andrew Parker

Andrew Parker, Dean of the School of Nashville Ballet is a regular guest master teacher at many ballet schools across North America. He has served on the dance faculty at Canada’s National Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, Milwaukee Ballet, Walnut Hill School and Southern Methodist University – Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, Texas.

Ballet and dance instructor - Leslie Peck - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Leslie Peck

Currently an Associate Professor at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts, Ms. Peck was trained by the legendary dancer, Andre Eglevsky and the School of American Ballet. At age 17, Ms. Peck joined the New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine. She went on to dance soloist roles with the Pennsylvania Ballet and later became a soloist with Houston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Ballet International in London. 

Ballet and dance instructor - Michaeljon Slinger - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Michaeljon Slinger

Originally from Queensland, Australia, Michalejon moved to the US in 2004 after winning the Australian Dancer of the Year Award to attend the Jackie Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theater on full scholarship. He then went on to attend the BFA dance program at the prestigious Julliard School in New York City, making him the first Australian to be accepted into either program.

Ballet and dance instructor - Marian Tonner - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Marian Tonner

Marion Tonner, L.R.A.D., A.R.A.D. is a native of London, England. Tonner received her education and dance training on full scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dance in Battersea, London. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dance with honors and credentials including a Licentiate Diploma and Advanced Teaching Degree. She enjoys analyzing body mechanics and designing classes to promote artistry and prevent injury.

Ballet and dance instructor - Tara Jeanne Vallee - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Tara Jeanne Vallee

Originally from Rochester, NY, Tara Jeanne is now an accomplished Choreographer, Teacher, and Performer based in New York City. Most recently, she performed in and served as Assistant Choreographer and Dance Captain on Goodspeed Opera House’s Singin’ in the Rain, which won a CT Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Production.

Ballet and dance instructor - Sasha Yapparov - Ballet School, Monroe County, Rochester NY
Sasha Yapparov

Currently the Director of the pre-professional C.O.R.P.S. program at Portland Ballet in Maine, Mr. Yapparov received his academic and ballet training at the Perm Ballet Academy, Russia and studied with some of the finest teachers in his country. 

Draper Center for Dance Education