Alumni and Testimonials

Professional Dance Careers

Ballet Virginia alumni are dancing professionally all over the world.

  • 2017/2018 Leo Ameika – Ballet West – Professional Training Division
  • 2017/2018 Nicole Arsenault – Ballet West – Top level in the Student Division
  • 2017/2018 Kyra Coco – Houston Ballet – Top level in the Academy, Full Scholarship
  • 2017/2018 Lillian Hendrickson – Pennsylvania Ballet – Trainee Program
  • 2016/2017 Kellen Hornbuckle – Houston Ballet apprentice 18/19 season
  • 2016/2017 Leah Upchurch – Kansas City Ballet – Trainee
  • 2015/2016 Caileigh Gold – American Repertory Ballet trainee, currently ODU student
  • 2015/2016 Matthew Frezzell – San Diego Ballet – Company Member
  • 2015/2016 Rebecca Ailstock – North Carolina School of the Arts, ballet major
  • 2014/15 Kayla McCabe – Atlanta Ballet Conservatory
  • 2012/13 Hayley-Ann Vasco – Ballet Theatre of Maryland – Apprentice
  • 2009/10 Jacquelyn Long – Houston Ballet II, currently Houston Ballet soloist
  • 2009/10 Emily Brennan – Nashville Ballet 2, currently Ballet Theatre of Maryland principal dancer
  • 2008/09 Quincie Hydock – Richmond Ballet trainee and VCU joint BFA program, currently freelance artist and choreographer
  • 2008/09 Janelle Jones – Alvin Ailey American Dance Center/Fordham University BFA program, currently freelance artist and choreographer
  • Trained under BVI faculty – LeeAnn Walker, Currently at Roanoke Ballet Theatre, also studied at Radford University as a dance and nutrition major, professional guest artist for BVI
  • Trained under BVI faculty – Caroline Lambert, BFA in Music Dance Theatre from Brigham Young University, currently freelance musical theatre
  • Trained under BVI faculty – Kimberly Marcotte, Point Park University, currently freelance artist

Academic Achievements

Pursuit of excellence in dance can also reach far beyond the stage. Our alumni and graduates have been accepted and honored in many other ways including scholarships for the following higher education institutions, as well as continued education in dance:

  • University of Virginia – Marianne Trimble, Alexandra Hennelly, Matilda Francis, Isabel Glass, Katherine Stauch, Sophie Cox
  • Baylor University – Paisleigh Price
  • University of Michigan – Megan Morford
  • Hollins University – Brianna Berry
  • Virginia Tech – Lexi Hennessy, Emma Barnett
  • Virginia Commonwealth University – Grace Murden, Alicia Brown
  • TCC/Radford University – Katie Orlino
  • Belhavan University – Melody Stowe
  • James Madison University – Kate Ross
  • William and Mary – Sophia Perrotti
  • George Washington University – Amber Clark
  • Barnard University – Shenel Lambiro
  • Penn State – Laura Morris
  • Virginia Tech – Bryanna Vesely, Kaite Coerse
  • Northeastern University – Victoria Romulo
  • Old Dominion University – Athena England, Caileigh Gold, Gianna Coco
  • University of South Carolina – Eliza Dixon

Summer Programs:

Each year our talented dancers make impressive showings at summer intensive auditions. Annually, our dancers are awarded over $25,000 in merit scholarships for summer programs at these prestigious institutions: Houston Ballet, English National Ballet, Summer Dance Company, Orlando Ballet, Ballet Met, Atlanta Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, American Ballet Theatre NYC, Winston-Salem, School of American Ballet, Suzanne Farrell Company, Lexington Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Ballet Arizona, Chicago Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, American Ballet Theatre Young Dancer program, Boston Ballet, Nutmeg Conservatory, Cincinnati Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Kirov Academy, Washington Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet Austin, Milwaukee Ballet, University of NC School of the Arts, Oklahoma City Ballet, Nevada Dance Theatre, Miami City Ballet, Ballet West, University of South Carolina Conservatory, and Indiana University.

Alumni Testimonials

Leah Upchurch – Kansas City Ballet II

  • Joined BVI age 5
  • I learned what it was like to be taught by different teachers as well as different methods they used to help us grow.
  • I learned about what I can do in order to make myself stand out and be successful in my adult life as a dancer.

Jacquelyn Long – Houston Ballet – Soloist

  • Joined BVI age 4
  • Ballet Virginia prepared me for a professional career in ballet by allowing me to have many opportunities to perform throughout the year.
  • When I was first starting out with Houston Ballet my stage presence was one thing that helped me stand out and get to the Soloist position I have today.
  • BVI has faculty members who danced professionally and taught me basic corps de ballet work and stage vocabulary that some of my coworkers who didn’t have this had to learn about later.
  • BVI’s early teachings technically and their support since being a professional have been key to my success.

Bryanna Vesely – Podiatric Surgeon

  • Joined BVI age 7
  • As I’ve been successful throughout my educational career and as I enter my professional one, I’ve brought with me the invaluable tools ballet has offered.
  • Ballet reinforces the academic fundamentals such as math, time management skills, perseverance and dedication to one’s goals – all of which have been instrumental in my success.

Hayley-Ann Vasco – Demi-Soloist dancer Maryland Ballet Theatre

  • Joined BVI age 3
  • Because all of my BVI instructors knew what it was like in the professional dance world, they were able to pass on skills that continue to help me succeed and even stand out in my career today. Being able to pick up choreography quickly and having the confidence to trust myself to try something difficult are just two of the skills I’m proud to have learned from my many years at BVI.

Emily Brennan – Principal dancer Maryland Ballet Theatre

  • Joined BVI age 8
  • BVI’s Artistic Directors and instructors taught me not only how to do ballet, but how to be a smart, confident, and well-rounded professional ballet dancer.
  • Because they all had professional dance careers themselves, they truly know exactly how to prepare and properly train a student for a career as a professional dancer.

LeeAnn Elder – Principal dancer Roanoke Ballet Theatre

  • Joine BVI age 10
  • Ballet Virginia International’s exceptional and versatile training well equipped me to have a long and successful career in the professional ballet world. All the faculty taught and helped me produce solid and clean technique, helped grow my artistic side of dancing to improve my performance skills, and taught me life long lessons of how to work and flourish in any professional ballet company.

Nicole Arsenault – Ballet West Academy

  • I began training with Ballet Virginia International when it first opened in 2008.  Throughout my 10 years with BVI, I learned the skills for classical ballet technique and have experienced the art of performing.  I have acquired the knowledge to collaborate and dance amongst others from around the country.  Ballet Virginia International has provided me with the skill set and intellect to be successful in the professional ballet world.

Grace Murden – Account Manager

  • Ballet Virginia International truly molded me to be who I am today.
  • I am truly grateful for the time management, discipline, and confidence BVI taught me and helped me gain over the 12+ years I did ballet within the organization.

Kellen Hornbuckle – Houston Ballet – corps de ballet

  • BVI has prepared me for the life as a professional dancer by teaching me many things pertaining to ballet and basic life lessons. They have taught me how to have a great work ethic and self discipline to become the dancer I am today.

 Kyra Coco – Houston Ballet Academy, scholarship

  • I started ballet when I was 3 years old. BVI has prepared me for the professional world by giving me tremendous performance opportunities with not only classical ballet, but also contemporary and modern works.

Shenel Lambiro

I began dancing with Ballet Virginia in 2008. I am currently a high school English teacher in the New York City Public Schools system and graduate student at Teachers College of Columbia University.
Ballet Virginia provided a safe, creative space for me to develop both confidence and a deep appreciation for ballet among a community of supportive, bright, diligent dancers and upstanding young adults. As a high school teacher, I realize now more than ever the benefits that a community of peers with like-minded values rooted in discipline, respect, and camaraderie can bring to a young person’s development emotionally, physically, and socially. BVI supported me in learning how to overcome challenges, to manage time and stress in healthy and productive ways, and to conduct myself with poise, focus, and respect both inside and out of the studio.