ARTISTIC DIRECTORS AND FACULTY

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Ballet Virginia International was established as a collaborative effort of dedicated, passionate, and talented artists led by Janina Michalski Bove and Suzanne Lownsbury. Our faculty brings professional experience, proven training techniques and deep understanding of how to pass the gift of dance on the next generation. 

Janina Michalski Bove – Co-Director/Resident Choreographer 

Instructor:  Ballet, Pointe, Variations, Partnering, Jazz, Acting 

Originally from Southern California, Ms. Janina Bove began her early training in the Los Angeles area. She trained with Joffrey Ballet under the instruction of Meredith Bayliss, Dorothy Lister, Cho-San Goh, Basil Thompson and Glenn White on scholarship. At 16 years, Ms. Bove apprenticed with Los Angeles Ballet under the direction of John Clifford, where she studied extensively with Irena Kosmovska. As a member of the Pacific Association for Regional Ballet, Ms. Bove was awarded scholarships to the Craft of Choreography Conferences sponsored Regional Dance America.

Ms. Bove danced professionally with Atlantic City Ballet, Colorado Ballet and the Cleveland Ballet, where she performed as Soloist and Principal dancer. During her professional career, Janina traveled the country as a guest dancer and teacher. Following her move back to California in 1985, Ms. Bove was Co-Director of her own company and academy where she was choreographer-in-residence for six years. Upon an offer from Glenn White, Ms. Bove moved to Hampton Roads where she served as Academy Director and rehearsal assistant for VBT’s professional company for 17 years. During this time, she was a faculty member of the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts for 13 years. In recognition of her talents, Ms. Bove was awarded a Presidential Citation from the Governor’s School for Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Richmond.

In the Spring of 2008, Janina set out on a journey with Suzanne Lownsbury Long to create Ballet Virginia International with the support of many dedicated and talented community leaders. Janina is now Co-Director of BVI where she continues to train dancers, choreograph classical and neo classical works, coach dancers for the Youth American Grand Prix and has co-choreographed Alice in Wonderland, The Nutcracker, Twelve Dancing Princesses, Peter and the Wolf, Sleeping Beauty, and Coppelia. Janina is actively involved in RDA/SERBA, giving back to the organization that assisted with her dance and choreographic training.

Suzanne Lownsbury – Co-Director/Resident Choreographer 

Instructor:  Ballet, Pointe, Variations 

Ms. Lownsbury began her training with the Toledo Ballet and Charlotte Regional Ballet, continuing her studies in Tidewater Ballet Association’s residency program under the direction of Gene Hammett. During her residency, she earned a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.

Suzanne embarked on her professional dance career with Cleveland Ballet as a trainee, progressing to soloist and principal roles within a year. For the next 11 years, she danced professionally for the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet. Her many featured roles included Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Maria and Tzarina in Dennis

Nahat’s renowned Nutcracker, Swanilda in Coppelia, the title role in Giselle and many neo- classical roles. She has toured throughout the United States and Europe including a tour to the Edinburgh Festival. Suzanne moved back to Hampton Roads in 1994 and joined Virginia Ballet Theatre, dancing such roles as the Greedy One in Three Virgins and a Devil, as well as Lucy in the world premiere of Dracula. She also joined the VBT Academy faculty, becoming Assistant Director in 2000.

Her teaching credits include School of Cleveland Ballet, Cleveland City Dance, Evelyn Ott School of Dance, and Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts. Suzanne has also taught and judged dance competitions throughout the United States. She has set many ballets and her

choreography includes: Coppelia, Danse de la Sprit, In the Light of the Sun, Spring Symphony, Summer Symphony, an- several Classical and neo-Classical works. Suzanne co- choreographed Alice in Wonderland, The Nutcracker, Twelve Dancing Princesses, Peter and the Wolf, and Sleeping Beauty.

In the spring of 2008, Suzanne set out on a journey with Janina Michalski Bove to create Ballet Virginia International with the support of many devoted and dedicated parents. She is proud to be the director of BVI along with Janina, and is looking forward to many successful years with the academy and company seasons. She is thrilled the Company has joined SERBA and is excited about the opportunity SERBA will bring to BVI. Suzanne is also extremely proud of her daughter, Jacquelyn Long, who is an alumna of BVI and a soloist with Houston Ballet.

Lisa McCarty – Children’s Program Director/Marketing Director 

Instructor: Ballet, Pointe, Repertoire, Jazz, Tap

Ms. Lisa began her dance training at age four. In her local dance school, she was exposed to ballet, jazz and tap. At age twelve she began her professional training at the Washington School of Ballet. Summer intensives at Richmond Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Joffrey Ballet rounded out her training. After high school, Ms. McCarty attended Point Park College for freshman year. She then went on to dance with Richmond Ballet and Nevada Dance

Theatre. Ms. McCarty danced in classics, such as Giselle, Swan Lake. Les Sylphides, and The Nutcracker, as well as many contemporary works.

When Ms. Lisa moved to Las Vegas, she found a real love for commercial jazz. For ten years she performed in various Las Vegas casino shows including The Aladdin and Flamingo Hilton as well as tours to Italy, Japan, Mexico and Korea. Travelling the world became a high priority so she became a dancer with the Cunard Cruise Lines and did a seven-month world cruise. While performing in Las Vegas shows at night, Ms. Lisa attended classes and University of Nevada, Las Vegas and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration.

Throughout her professional dance career, Ms. Lisa found time to share her love of dance with the next generation through teaching. She has taught in Richmond, Las Vegas, Northern Virginia and many studios in Hampton Roads.

Ms. Lisa moved back to Virginia in 1998. She taught jazz and ballet at Virginia Ballet Theatre among other local studios. In 2008 she became BVI’s Children’s Program Director and Marketing Director. She lives in the Larchmont area of Norfolk with her husband and two boys. She continues to teach ballet, jazz and tap to the newest generation of dancers while also overseeing the Children’s Program and marketing/public relations efforts of Ballet Virginia International.

Lydia Roberts-Coco – Contemporary Choreographer 

Instructor:  Modern, Ballet, Pointe 

Ms. Lydia began her training under the direction of Thaddeus Hayes in Norfolk, Virginia. She briefly trained with ODU Ballet and Tidewater Ballet. She began her professional training with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center with a full scholarship.

Ms. Lydia was invited to become a member of the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble; Ailey’s junior company where she danced for three years. She then went on to perform with the Jamison Project under the direction of Judith Jamison for one year. Ms. Lydia was also invited by Judith Jamison to dance with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She toured internationally as a principal dancer with the AAADT for seven years. Her credits include leading roles in Pas De Duke, Night Creature, Fix Me Jesus from Alvin Ailey’s signature piece Revelations, Suite Otis and many others. With her partner Desmond Richardson, Lydia traveled abroad to perform Pas De Duke (a ballet created for Mikhail Baryshnikov and Judith Jamison choreographed by Alvin Ailey) for various guest performances.

After retiring from AAADT, Ms. Lydia taught ballet, modern and jazz at the Russell School of Ballet (home of the Fairfax Ballet in Fairfax, Virginia). She was on faculty with Virginia Ballet Theatre for three years where the enrollment in Modern classes tripled under her direction. She also choreographed pieces for VBT II and Virginia Ballet Theatre. Ms.

Roberts Coco toured with Athletes for Kids as a faculty member reaching out to inner city youth through dance.

Currently, Ms. Lydia teaches modern and ballet at BVI. She also directs community outreach programs such as Nut-to-Go which visits Norfolk Public Schools to introduce classical ballet. She resides in Chesapeake with her three girls.

Patricia Sorrell – First Point Players Director/BVI Artistic Advisor 

Instructor:  Ballet, Pointe, Character 

Ms. Pat grew up in Southern California and graduated from Hollywood Professional School. She studied dance with Theodore Kosloff and Madame Baldina, who was the original Waltz Girl in Fokine’s Les Sylphides. As a young adult, Ms. Pat danced with the Gollner-Petroff Ballet under Nana Gollner and Paul Petroff. She has also appeared in movies, television, and toured in musical theatre productions such as Annie Get Your Gun and in Olsen and Johnson’s Oh What a Night. Ms. Pat moved to the East Coast and danced with the National Ballet and Washington.

In 1974 she joined the faculty of Tidewater Ballet, which became the Virginia Ballet Theatre. Ms. Pat has also been the Assistant to the Director of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet summer program since its inception in 1975. Her teaching credits include Allegheny Ballet, Arlington Dance Workshop, Parou Ballet, Tidewater Ballet, and others. Ms. Sorrell has staged many classics such as Giselle and Swan Lake. Her original works have been performed at the Northeast Regional’s.

Ms. Sorrell directed Ballet Tidewater, a performing company with Young Audiences of Virginia for several years. She directs First Pointe Players, a junior training company for BVI, and is a sought after guest teacher nationwide.

Isabel Cary: Ballet, Pointe, Variations and Contemporary Instructor 

Instructor:  Ballet, Pointe, Variations and Contemporary 

A California native, Ms. Isabel began her training at the Academy of Dance in San Luis Obispo under the direction of Andrew Silvaggio. In 2005, while living in Barcelona, Ms. Isabel had intensive training with Ion Beitia. Upon returning to the States her summers were spent on scholarship at the summer intensives of Pacific Northwest Ballet, Walnut Hill, The Rock, and American Ballet Theater. After receiving a scholarship to attend University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ ballet program Isabel relocated to Winston-Salem for her sophomore year of high school.

In 2012 she was invited on scholarship to The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theater under the direction of Franco DeVita. The following year she began working with ABT Studio Company performing soloist roles as well as performing in ABT’s Met season. In 2014 Isabel joined The Washington Ballet under the direction of Septime Weber. While at Washington Ballet some of her performing credits include featured roles in Swan Lake, Alice in Wonder Land, Sleeping Beauty, and Coppelia as well as Serenade, Sleepy Hollow, and The Nutcracker.

During her time at The Washington Ballet Ms. Isabel began assisting with the children division and found her love of teaching. Ms. Isabel has been a regular guest teacher and choreographer with Class Act Dance and The Civic Ballet of San Luis Obispo. Prior to moving to the Hampton Roads area Ms. Isabel was teaching ballet and contemporary at The Dance Extension in Connecticut.

Kimberly Lawver

Instructor: Children’s Program, Ballet, Tap, Adult Tap

Ms. Kim started her dance training at the age of three. She continued to train in local dance studios and at The Canton Ballet in Ohio. Miss Kim went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Masters in Arts Administration from the University of Akron. She has been an adjunct faculty member teaching tap and jazz classes there since 2001. Collectively, Miss Kim has been teaching for 30 years to students ages 3 to adult. She has taught classes in jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, lyrical, musical theatre, stretch and flexibility and tumbling.

Ms. Kim was also an instructor at the Dance Institute, a pre-professional dance program at the University of Akron. She was the Artistic Director and manager of a dance studio and a non-profit children’s community theatre for five years, where she directed her own shows. Many of her former students have gone on to become professional dancers.

She has been the assistant coach and choreographer for the University of Akron Dance Team and the assistant director/choreographer for the University of Akron’s musical, Dames at Sea. Miss Kim also choreographed for the University of Akron Dance Company and was on the faculty for the American College Dance Festival Association.

Lorraine Graves

Instructor: Ballet, Pointe

Ms. Lorraine comes to BVI via a long and impressive dance career both as a performer and teacher. She was a Principal Dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Prior to that, she graduated from Indiana University in three years. Ms. Lorraine is on permanent guest faculty with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, and the Virginia School of the Arts.

Sophia Perrotti

Instructor: Children’s Program Ballet

Ms. Sophia trained with BVI along with summer programs at various nationally recognized organizations. She is a graduate of William and Mary College. Prior to teaching her own classes, she assisted with various children’s program classes.

Quinn Danehy

Instructor: Children’s Program Ballet

Ms. Quinn has trained with BVI since she was a young child. She is currently a member of BVI’s company. Previous to teaching her own classes she assisted with various children’s program classes.

Guest Instructors

Elbert Watson

Guest Instructor for Ballet, Pointe

Elbert Watson is a former principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. He also danced as a principal dancer with The State Opera Ballet Company of Kassel, Germany, the Pearl Primus Earth Theater, and the Joan Miller Dance Players. He was the former artistic director of the Nanette Bearden Chamber Ballet Company in Manhattan. He has also taught and choreographed in schools and universities throughout the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. He is the former Ballet master for the Virginia Ballet Theater. He has done collaborative projects with the Chrysler Museum (Rodin exhibit, the Murano glass exhibit, and the Barbara Morgan photo exhibit about Martha Graham). He has done collaborative work with the Virginia Symphony as choreographer for the “Heroes and Human Rights Series.”

He is currently the Dance master at Norfolk Academy where he teaches grades 2-12 ballet, jazz, creative class projects, musical theater, pointe, and stretch and strengthen classes for the faculty. His latest collaboration will take him to Seattle Washington to work with

international sculptor, Tim Mark, “Movement as Response to Marble.” He will be traveling to Christchurch, New Zealand and to Melbourne, Australia to perform, choreograph and teach, expanding the fusion of this theme.

He was named teacher of the year in 1997 by the upper school student council. He was named teacher of the year in 2007 by the lower school and received the teacher of the year prize in the middle school in 2011. The Chrysler Museum asked Mr. Watson to choreograph a dance response for the Daniel Rozin interactive exhibit.

He is currently a member of The Commission of Arts and Humanities for the City of Norfolk and serves as a master teacher for the Ballet Virginia International and the City of Norfolk Dance Program. He is the founder of the Tidewater Dance Collective and The Elbert Watson Dance Company.

Roscoe L. Sales, Jr.

Guest Instructor for Ballet, Partnering, Modern

Mr. Sales is a native of Winston-Salem, N.C. where he earned his BFA on scholarship from the North Carolina School of the Arts. He has also studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and The Dance Theatre of Harlem. He has performed with the Dance Theatre of

Harlem, The Metropolitan Opera Company in Porgy and Bess, the Greensboro Ballet, and the North Carolina Dance Theatre. In 1999 Roscoe made his debut as a choreographer with his version of Othello for Carolina Ballet. He is on faculty at the Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education, Tri-Cities High School, and now Gotta Dance Atlanta!

Summer Intensive Instructors

Announced annually.