June 2016 Newsletter – Metropolitan Ballet’s 20th Anniversary Gala Celebration!  

June 29th, 2016 |



MBA Alumna Kamryn Baldwin (San Francisco Ballet) with MBA Alumni/MBC Dancers; read full caption below!

  June 2016 Newsletter

Dear Metropolitan Ballet Parents, Students, Alumni and Friends:

I can’t believe we are already well into the month of June! The faculty and I again wish to thank you for a superb weekend of Showcase performances, including our 20th Anniversary Gala Performance and Reception, as well as our end of year outreach events and Bridge Master Classes. Thank you for your hard work, dedication and amazing support all year long. 2015- 2016 was an incredibly wonderful, memorable and productive school year.    

Metropolitan Ballet’s 20th Anniversary Gala Celebration!  

Many thanks to our Metropolitan Ballet Company Board of Directors, faculty, alumni, dancers, parents, students and community for their joyous participation on June 4th!  It was an amazing evening of dance, celebration and reunion.  Here are just a few of the many great photos from the evening, with more to follow on our website. Visit our Gala Photo Gallery online soon at www.metropolitanballetacademy.com!



MBA Alumni Leah McCormick (Nashville Ballet 2) and Ariel Breitman (Colorado Ballet); Photo by ccwolfe


MBA Alumni Melissa Gelfin (Cincinnati Ballet)and Peter Weil (Pennsylvania Ballet); Photo by EA Kennedy III


MBA Alumni Sierra Levin (Carolina Ballet Trainee) and Jonathan Tavares; Photo by ccwolfe


MBA Alumna/Choreographer Sarah Mettin; Photo by ccwolfe


MBA Alumni Cameron Auble-Branigan (American Repertory Ballet);  Photo by EA Kennedy III 


MBA Alumna Torrey McAnena (H.T. Chen & Dancers; Amanda Selwyn Dance Company, Lisa Fagan Dance Problems, NYC); Photo by EA Kennedy III



Twenty MBA alumni returned home to share the stage, many collaborating in a new work created for the Gala occasion by alumna/choreographer Sarah Mettin.  Our incredible MBA Faculty were honored at the event, as well as MBC patron Mr. William A. “Wally” Loeb, for his generous and founding support of our Boys’ Scholarship Program. 


Gala co-chairs Arleen Armstrong and Betsy McKinstry  worked with the Board and Zac Hulayev of Jenkintown’s Drake Tavern to create a sumptuous dinner at the beautiful Curtis Hall at Curtis Arboretum.  MBA guest artist Karen Cleighton provided music for yet more dancing!  


Celebrating 20 years with MBA students and alumni at the Gala!


We are especially grateful to our Metropolitan Ballet Company Board of Directors,

who so creatively, generously and joyously provide MBC with the financial support, wisdom and manpower required to keep us growing. Their energy and enthusiasm inspires us every day! 


Metropolitan Ballet Company Board of Directors 2015-2016  (l-r): Bernard S. Panzak Jr., Nina Edelman, Arleen Armstrong, Kora Vidnovic,  Kimberly Mehler, Janet Blenheim, David Ballard, Judith Bishop, Julie Price, Lisa Collins Vidnovic, June Hines, Barbara Mattleman, Betsy McKinstry and Amber Permsap.  Not pictured are Marcia  Steinberg and Mareen Leporace.  Photo by ccwolfe 

Photo at top of newsletter:  Metropolitan Ballet Academy alumna Kamryn Baldwin  (San Francisco Ballet) with alumni Cameron Auble-Branigan, Ariel Breitman, Wyatt Peterson, Jonathan Tavares and MBC company members in The Rose Adagio from Sleeping Beauty, Act 1, as staged for the Gala Performance by MBA faculty member Natalya Zeiger.  Photo by ccwolfe.


CBS3 Philly, June 10, 2016: “It’s All About the Boys at Metropolitan Ballet Academy”

CBS3 Philly Visits Metropolitan Ballet Academy & Company to Announce Boys’ Audition

A BIG thank you to Ukee Washington, Vittoria Woodill and the entire CBS Philly news team for their feature story in advance of our Boys’ Audition. Students in Angel Corella’s master class on June 10 were delighted to participate in the taping for the story, which aired on CBS3 news later that evening to promote the MBC Boys’ Scholarship Audition on the morning of June 11th. With the support of CBS Philly helping us spread the word about the Audition, MBC offered more than 15 scholarships to a new Level 1 class of boys. We look forward to welcoming our new students in September! 

Congratulations to our Graduates!

One of the most rewarding aspects of directing Metropolitan Ballet is the unique opportunity to work with a student throughout their childhood years — and each spring brings a graduation or two! I would like to recognize our graduating senior dancers Sophie Lane, Claudia Steel and Brianna Yarnoff.  Sophie studied at MBA for the past 13 years, since age 5; while Claudia and Brianna have each been with us for the past 15 years, since age 3.

These lovely young women have been role models not only on the stage, but also in their generosity to the younger students, their camaraderie in the classroom, and their ability to juggle demanding school responsibilities with the rigors of classical training and commitment to the performing company. It has been a joy to participate in their artistic growth and to share so many studio hours with such special and creative young women.  

Ladies: we will miss you, and wish each of you every well-deserved success. Stay in touch, and visit often!


Sophie Lane in Le Jardin Anime from Le Corsaire; Photo by EA Kennedy III

Sophie Lane has been accepted to The University of the Arts on a Promising Artist Award and University Grant Scholarship. She will be majoring in the visual arts and dancing. Sophie is working at the Cheltenham Center of the Arts this summer. 

Claudia Steel will be attending Hofstra University this coming fall as a recipient of a significant four year Merit Scholarship Award. She will study speech and language therapy and plans to also participate in Hofstra’s dance program. 


Claudia Steel in MBA’s 2016 showcase, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Photo by EA Kennedy III


Brianna Yarnoff in Le Jardin Anime from Le Corsaire; Photo by EA Kennedy III

Brianna Yarnoff has been accepted to Princeton University. Entering this fall, she will pursue a degree in Neuroscience. and has been invited to participate in Princeton’s dance program. 

 Summer Study – Don’t miss it!

The summer kicked off with a spectacular Bridge program. Many thanks to our guest master teachers John Selya, Angel Corella and  Nurlan Abougaliev, and guest pianist Valentina Slutsky! Next up is our summer intensive!  

Our rigorous summer intensive program offers the opportunity to work with some of the most renowned teachers and dancers in the area and beyond. Classes are offered in ballet technique, men’s ballet technique, pointe, variations, partnering, modern, jazz and character.

Metropolitan’s Summer Intensive guest faculty will include:

  • Laura Alonso (Ballet Nacional de Cuba)
  • Samantha Dunster (Assistant Director, Pennsylvania Ballet)
  • Etienne Diaz (Pennsylvania Ballet)
  • Fiona Fuerstner (Pennsylvania Ballet, San Francisco Ballet)
  • Eddy Tovar (Orlando Ballet)

Summer Intensive also offers academic enrichment for boys and girls ages 7-10

M3= Math x Music x Movement©

An academically integrated enrichment program

for children ages 7-10, highlighted in Dance Teacher magazine!

Read Julie Diana’s story in the May 2015 issue of Dance Teacher here.

July 11-15 

12:30 pm to 3:00 pm

For children entering 2nd, 3rd or 4th grades in September

 Add M3 to your dance study (week 1) to create a full-day summer program.



Weekly classes run July 11 through August 14. Half and full-day classes available with acclaimed MBA faculty and guest artists. For information and registration, please call 215-663-1665 or email collinsvidnovic@verizon.net.

We appreciate our students, faculty, families and donors. Thank you for being a part of the Metropolitan Ballet Academy and Company community!


Lisa Collins Vidnovic

Founder & Artistic Director

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Metropolitan Ballet Company Announces Audition for Free Boys’ Scholarship Program dance classes, June 11, 2016 at 9:00 am

June 1st, 2016 |

Boys ages 7-18 are eligible for weekly classes with Metropolitan Ballet faculty, acclaimed Bolshoi-trained artists Denis Gronostayskiy and Sergey Pupyrev

Jenkintown, PA— Metropolitan Ballet Company will hold auditions for its renowned Boys’ Scholarship Dance Program on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 9:00 AM, at the studio of Metropolitan Ballet Academy, 700 Cedar Road, Jenkintown, PA 19046. Boys ages 7-11 and 12-18 are eligible to receive free, weekly dance classes plus performance opportunities from September 2016 through June 2017. Boys’ Scholarship classes are taught by artists Denis Gronostayskiy and Sergey Pupyrev, who trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and performed professionally worldwide, and presently serve on the Metropolitan Ballet faculty. No prior dance experience or pre-registration is required for the audition; boys should arrive ready to dance at 9:00 am in gym clothes or dance attire.

Boys Audition Class - Sergey

The Boys’ Scholarship Program provides tuition-free training in all-male classes designed to enhance athletic skills, motor intelligence, balance, flexibility and strength. Approximately 50 boys enroll each year to study beginning, intermediate and advanced ballet and partnering with distinguished male dancers who serve as teachers and role models, while addressing boys’ unique movement and learning styles. Boys in the Scholarship Program also enjoy classes taught by guest artists in modern, jazz and character dance, and diverse performance opportunities with Metropolitan Ballet Company. The Company is affiliated with Metropolitan Ballet Academy, which POINTE magazine named as one of America’s top seven ballet studios “cultivating top talent” (Oct/Nov 2011).

MBC boys in Peter Pan

Metropolitan Ballet’s Boys’ Scholarship Program was created by Lisa Collins Vidnovic in 1999 as a way to make ballet accessible to boys in the greater Philadelphia region. Vidnovic, a former Pennsylvania Ballet soloist and Ballet Mistress, founded Metropolitan Ballet Academy in 1996 and Metropolitan Ballet Company, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, pre-professional performing company, in 2001. More than 250 boys have participated in the Program to date, and several Program alumni have pursued professional careers in dance, earning summer scholarships to regional intensive ballet programs, and performing with companies nationwide. Alumni dance artists including Ariel Breitman (Colorado Ballet) and Peter Weil (Pennsylvania Ballet) will return to Jenkintown, PA, to perform in Metropolitan’s 20th Anniversary Gala Performance on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 4 pm, at the Josephine Muller Auditorium of Abington Friends School. Tickets for this performance are still available at $50/each.

The Boys’ Scholarship Program is a community outreach program of Metropolitan Ballet Company, and proudly supported by grants from the Loeb Performing Arts Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation and by many generous gifts from individuals. For more information and tickets, call 215-663-1665, email collinsvidnovic@verizon.net or visit http://www.metropolitanballetcompany.org.


Metropolitan Ballet Company Boys’ Scholarship Audition Class with MBC faculty member, Sergey Pupyrev, photo by Miki Wray

Metropolitan Ballet boys perform Peter Pan, choreography by Kanji Segawa, photo by E.A. Kennedy, III

Metropolitan Ballet Academy & Company Celebrates 20th Anniversary Year with Gala Performance on June 4, 2016

June 1st, 2016 |

Tickets still available for Gala Performance featuring Metropolitan alumni now dancing professionally from coast to coast.

Metropolitan Ballet Company_photo E.A. Kennedy III

Jenkintown, PA—Metropolitan Ballet Academy & Company (MBA/MBC), recognized by Pointe magazine as one of “seven local studios in America cultivating top talent” (Oct/Nov 2011), will celebrate its 20th Anniversary year with a Gala Performance on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm. Alumni from Metropolitan’s two decades of training will return from their professional engagements with dance companies across America to perform in the Gala, which also features pre-professional Metropolitan Ballet Company dancers in classical and contemporary works. The Gala Performance will be held at the Josephine Muller Auditorium of Abington Friends School, 575 Washington Lane, Jenkintown, PA 19046. Tickets are $50 each and available at 215-663-1665 or online at www.metropolitanballetcompany.org.

June 4 Gala Performance Program Highlights and Guest Artists

Metropolitan Ballet founder and artistic director Lisa Collins Vidnovic has created a Gala Performance Program which showcases the Academy’s highly acclaimed classical dance training for boys and girls, as well as the nonprofit Company’s repertoire and professional alumni. Highlights of the Program include:

    • Sleeping Beauty, Garland Waltz and Rose Adagio; choreography by Marius Petipa as staged by Natalya Zeiger, music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky; featuring alumna Kamryn Baldwin and members of Metropolitan Ballet Company: Ms. Baldwin, from Honolulu, Hawaii and Blue Bell, PA, joined San Francisco Ballet in 2015 after receiving a full merit scholarship to the San Francisco Ballet School—she is one of the youngest dancers to ever receive a full contract with San Francisco Ballet;
    • Flames of Paris Pas de Deux; choreography by Vasily Vainonen; music by Boris Asafiev; featuring alumni Leah McCormick and Ariel Breitman: Ms. McCormick, from Jenkintown, PA, completed Richmond Ballet’s two year trainee program and now dances with NB2, Nashville Ballet’s second company; Mr. Breitman from Huntingdon Valley, PA, is a member of Colorado Ballet. In 2012-13 he won three Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) gold medals and one silver medal at the Tanzolymp International Ballet Competition, held in Berlin, Germany.
    • Folk Tales; choreography by Katarzyna Skarpetowska, music by Warsaw Village Band, costume design and creation by Mia McSwain, lighting design by John Hoey (photo attached*). Katarzyna “Kate” Skarpetowska was named one of DANCE Magazine’s 2016 “25 to Watch”—MBC Company Premiere 2006.

MBC_Folk Tales_photo E.A.Kennedy III

  • A Winged Victory; choreography by MBA alumna Sarah Mettin, music by The Haxan Cloak, Olaf Bender, Ben Frost, costume design and creation by Jan Schleiger, lighting design by John Hoey; featuring Metropolitan Ballet Company boys; World Premiere by MBC March 12, 2016.
  • Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire; choreography by Marius Petipa as staged by Natalya Zeiger, music by Alolphe Adam as arranged by Riccardo Drigo; featuring alumni Sierra Levin and Jonathan Tavares: Ms. Levin, of Doylestown, PA, was invited to join Carolina Ballet in Raleigh, NC as a Trainee for the 2015-16 season, after studying in the Company’s summer program. In 2015 Sierra earned 2nd Place in the YAGP Senior Classical Division semi-finals, in Boston, MA.
  • Spring Waters Pas de Deux; choreography by Asaf Messerer, music by Sergei Rachmaninov (photo attached*); featuring alumni Kamryn Baldwin and MBA Alumnus Jonathan Tavares. Mr. Tavares was a member of both First State Ballet Delaware and American Repertory Ballet and continues to dance professionally as a freelance artist.

YAGP 2013 Hartford, CT semi-finals

    • Untitled; choreography by alumni Justin Geiss, music by Horsefeathers; featuring alumna Sophie Lane: Mr. Geiss, from Furlong, PA, just completed his third year as a full merit scholarship student at the Houston Ballet School, TX, where he recently received the prestigious Ben Stevenson Award. He will join Milwaukee Ballet in the fall.
    • Don Quixote Pas de Deux; choreography by Marius Petipa, music by Leon Minkus; featuring alumni Melissa Gelfin (photo attached*) and Peter Weil (photo attached*): Ms. Gelfin is a member of Cincinnati Ballet and has also performed in Cincinnati Opera’s production of Turandot; in 2009 she was awarded a National Training Scholarship with American Ballet Theatre and later danced with Orlando Ballet from 2010-2014; in 2014 she was a finalist in the USA International Ballet Competition. Mr. Weil, of Jenkintown, PA, was a YAGP medalist and New York semifinalist from 2009 – 2015. After completing a Traineeship at Boston Ballet in 2013, Mr. Weil was member of Next Generation Ballet.  In 2015, Mr. Weil was a participant in the prestigious Prix de Lausanne.  He was invited by Mr. Corella to join Pennsylvania Ballet 2 in September 2015. He was recently promoted to a member of Pennsylvania Ballet after his success dancing the lead role of “Basilio” in Don Quixote as an Apprentice with the Company.

Peter Weil in Don Quixote, courtesy of PA Ballet_photo Alexander Iziliaev

    • Viva; choreography by Kanji Segawa, staged by Patrick Coker, music by Antonio Vivaldi, costumes by Elena Comendador, lighting by John Hoey; featuring alumni and members of Metropolitan Ballet Company (photo attached*); created by New York choreographer Kanji Segawa for MBC, World Premiere March 5, 2011.

Viva by Kanji Segawa, photo by E.A.Kennedy, III

Lisa Collins Vidnovic launched Metropolitan Ballet Academy in 1996, after performing for a decade with Pennsylvania Ballet, where she was also a Ballet Mistress. At age 14, Ms. Vidnovic received a full scholarship to American Ballet Theater in New York City; at age 16 she began dancing professionally with Chicago’s Lyric Opera Ballet, directed by the renowned Maria Tallchief. Over four decades, Ms. Vidnovic’s dance career included feature roles in many ballets by George Balanchine, as well as choreographers Jacques d’Amboise, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Peter Martins, Richard Tanner and Lynne Taylor-Corbett. She was a member of the School of Pennsylvania Ballet faculty from 1983-1996 and the Bryn Mawr College faculty from 1990-2000. Ms. Vidnovic also performed for seven years with the Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble.

MBC_Melissa Gelfin in Don Quixote_photo Visual Arts Masters

Ms. Vidnovic founded Metropolitan Ballet with a vision to create a pre-professional ballet school and performing company that provides the highest quality classical dance training, scholarships, performance opportunities and outreach programs designed to promote an appreciation of dance in our community.

Metropolitan Ballet is distinguished by its nationally acclaimed Boys’ Scholarship Program, founded in 1999, which annually provides tuition-free dance training for nearly 60 boys ages 7 to 18. Families enjoy its community and Showcase performances of classical and contemporary repertory, including George Balanchine’s Serenade and Valse Fantaisie, both performed with permission from the Balanchine Trust. More than 25 Metropolitan alumni dance professionally with regional companies across America, on Broadway and in Cirque du Soleil.

Over 50 Metropolitan students have earned highest honors at Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) and/or scholarships for intensive study with prestigious ballet companies from coast to coast. Ms. Vidnovic is a three-time winner of YAGP Philadelphia’s Outstanding Teacher award, and Metropolitan Ballet Academy has twice won Outstanding School. In 2015 the Eastern Montgomery Chamber of Commerce named Metropolitan Ballet Company Nonprofit of the Year.

Metropolitan is now accepting registration for The Bridge Master Class Series for Intermediate and Advanced Students from June 8-15 and its renowned Summer Intensive from July 11-August 12. Boys ages 11-18 are invited to audition for a full academic year of tuition-free training on June 11 at 9:00 am at Metropolitan Ballet Academy, 700 Cedar Rd., Jenkintown, PA. Learn more at www.metropolitanballetacademy.com.


  1. Metropolitan Ballet Company dancers, photo by E.A. Kennedy III.
  2. Folk Tales, photo by E.A. Kennedy III.
  3. Spring Waters, photo by Visual Arts Masters.
  4. Melissa Gelfin in Don Quixote, photo by Visual Arts Masters.
  5. Peter Weil in Don Quixote, courtesy of Pennsylvania Ballet, photo by Alexander Iziliaev.
  6. Viva, photo by E.A. Kennedy III.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ellen Warren, ellenwarren@comcast.net, desk 215-886-1666, cell 215-669-0011.

Tickets Now on Sale for Metropolitan Ballet Company’s annual Variations/Collaborations performance with Settlement Music School; Saturday, March 12 at 7 pm at Kurtz Center of the Wm. Penn Charter School

February 9th, 2016 |

Jenkintown, PA—Metropolitan Ballet Company (MBC) announces that tickets are now on sale for its annual performance, Variations/Collaborations: An Evening of Music and Dance, presented with Settlement Music School at 7:00 pm on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at Kurtz Center of the William Penn Charter School, 3000 West School House Lane, Philadelphia. Tickets are $15 in advance at www.metropolitanballetcompany.org or $20 at the door.

MBC founder and Artistic Director Lisa Collins Vidnovic says, “Our highly trained pre-professional dancers are excited to perform works by three cutting-edge, contemporary choreographers based in New York City, as well as works accompanied by the brilliant live music of very talented Settlement Music School students. Our annual Variations/Collaborations performance unites student dancers and musicians from two Philadelphia-area cultural resources, giving each group not only the opportunity to hone their performance skills in the collaboration, but also the opportunity to share a beautiful, high quality evening of music and dance with our community in the spectacular Kurtz Center, at the very affordable rate of $15 in advance or $20 at the door.”

Viva by Kanji Segawa

Viva by Kanji Segawa, photo by E.A.Kennedy, III

Presently celebrating its 20th anniversary year, Metropolitan Ballet will revive two favorite contemporary dance works from its repertoire: Viva, created for MBC by Kanji Segawa in 2011 to music by Antonio Vivaldi, with costumes by Elena Comendador; and Katarzyna Skarpetowska’s Folk Tales, first performed by MBC in 2006, with costumes by Mia McSwain, courtesy of New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble. Reviewing Folk Tales on November 10, 2008 for the Chicago Tribune, Sid Smith wrote, “Skarpetowska’s compelling, incandescent Folk Tales is an ingenious postmodern mix of contemporary dance and ethnic accents, brightened by stretches of step dancing and fueled by an intelligent, anxiety-tinged seriousness…” Dance Magazine recently named the Juilliard-trained Ms. Skarpetowska to its 2016 “25 to Watch” list. Mr. Segawa, currently a member of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, worked extensively with noted choreographer Mark Morris from 2008-2011.

Folk Tales by Katarzyna Skarpetowska

Folk Tales by Katarzyna Skarpetowska, photo by E.A.Kennedy, III

The Company will also perform a World Premiere by Sarah Mettin, an alumna of Metropolitan Ballet who has danced nationally and abroad and received significant acclaim for her choreography. Ms. Mettin and her dance company, Mettin Movement, were well-received at Jacob’s Pillow in summer 2015.

The highly accomplished young musicians who will perform in Variations/Collaborations study at various branches of Settlement Music School and will include The Myer Schwartz Advanced Studio Piano Trio coached by SMS faculty member Sandra Carlock and The William A. Loeb Chamber Ensemble coached by SMS violin faculty member Jean Louise Shook, as well as solo performers on violin, piano and cello. Mezzo-soprano and MBC alumna Claire Galloway Weber, who recently received a Masters of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory, where she studied with Steven Rainbolt, will also perform.

Tickets for Variations/Collaborations on March 12th may be purchased online at www.metropolitanballetcompany.org. For additional information or assistance, contact the MBA studio office at 215-663-1665 or Metbaseman@gmail.com.

Metropolitan Ballet Academy Student Dancers Take Top Honors at 2016 YAGP Philadelphia Regional Semi-Final Competition; Founder & Artistic Director Lisa Collins Vidnovic Awarded “Outstanding Teacher”

February 9th, 2016 |

Metropolitan Ballet Alumni performing professionally across America; many will return to dance in Metropolitan’s 20th Anniversary Gala Performance on June 4, 2016

Jenkintown, PA—27 student dancers of Metropolitan Ballet Academy (MBA) in Jenkintown, PA, achieved great success in the 2016 Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) Philadelphia Semi-Final, held January 14-16, 2016 on the Swarthmore College campus. Complementing the students’ honors, Artistic Director Lisa Collins Vidnovic, who founded Metropolitan Ballet Academy 20 years ago, received her third YAGP Outstanding Teacher award.

MBA dancers have been among the top-honored dancers at YAGP Philadelphia for many years. In 2016, awards for MBA students were as follows:

  • · Philadelphia resident and MBA student dancer Jacey Gailliard (age 11) won First Place in the Pre-Competitive Contemporary Division and Second Place in the Pre-Competitive Classical Division. As one of the Top 12 men and women in each category, Miss Gailliard will advance to the YAGP Finals, which will be held April 22-29 in New York City.
    Jacey Gailliard

    Jacey Gailliard

  • · Tyler Diggs (age 14), a resident of Holland, PA and a student in MBA’s Boys’ Scholarship Program, won Second Place in the Junior Men’s Classical Competition. Mr. Diggs will also advance to the YAGP Finals in New York City.
    Tyler Diggs

    Tyler Diggs, photo credit CC Wolfe, Nov 2015

  • · In the YAGP Ensemble Division, 24 MBA dancers from Pennsylvania, performing “Seguidilla” from the classical ballet Don Quixote, earned Second Place (tie) and have been invited to advance to the Finals in New York City. Ensemble dancers included: Grace Aheimer (12, Doylestown), Cody Bakhshi (16, Abington), Kiersten Borkert (16, Pipersville), Juan Castellanos (15, Philadelphia), Eoin Daly (15, Philadelphia), Tyler Diggs (14, Holland), Carley Felzer (17, Philadelphia), Jacey Gailliard (11, Philadelphia ), Hannah Henderson (15, Huntingdon Valley), Michael  Jastrzebski (15, Philadelphia), Caleb Mansor (15, Hatboro), Emma  Morrison (13, Doylestown), Brian Ouzomgi (16, Meadowbrook), Giulia Pascucci (13, Doylestown), Devon Reid (15, Perkasie), Kyle Schoener (16 Chalfont), Micah  Sell (13, Philadelphia), Maria  Sperger  (16, Jenkintown ), Claudia Steel  (17, Elkins park), Natalie Valko (16, Chalfont), Henri Wache (13, Maple Glen), Emily Warden (14, Wyncote), Mercedes  Wentworth-Nice (16 Doylestown), and James Wray (11, Hatboro).

Ms. Vidnovic, who danced professionally as Lisa Collins with Pennsylvania Ballet for a decade, said, “These honors are a testament to our outstanding faculty at Metropolitan Ballet Academy, and the hard work of our student dancers, who devote countless hours to improving their technical skill and artistry. We are very proud of all of our dancers, whose performances also included that of Hannah Henderson (15, Huntingdon Valley), who danced beautifully in the Senior Division Classical and Contemporary Competitions.”

Metropolitan Ballet Academy Alumni Perform Professionally Across America

Many of Metropolitan Ballet Academy’s alumni are former YAGP winners who now dance professionally with classical and contemporary dance companies from coast to coast. In honor of Metropolitan’s 20th anniversary this year, Philadelphia area residents will have the opportunity to see these accomplished dance artists perform when they return to the stage at Abington Friends School’s Josephine Muller Auditorium for Metropolitan’s Gala Performance, on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm.

Some of the many professional and student dancers who will perform in the MBA Gala include:

  • · Kamryn Baldwin, age 17, from Honolulu, Hawaii and Blue Bell, PA, joined San Francisco Ballet in 2015, after receiving a full merit scholarship in 2013 and 2014 to the San Francisco Ballet School, where she was awarded the 2014 Keith White Scholarship. When she received a full contract at age 16, she was one of the youngest dancers to advance directly from Level 8 to the corps de ballet of the San Francisco Ballet company. Miss Baldwin has earned numerous YAGP awards and competed in the 2013 New York City Finals. In 2012 she was invited to perform at the International Young Medal Winners Performance during the XVII Annual International Ballet Festival of Miami. She previously earned earned full merit scholarships to study at the School of American Ballet (2011) and Bolshoi Ballet Academy NYC (2012).
  • · Darius Black, age 17, from Voorhees, NJ, is in his third year on full merit scholarship to the School of American Ballet, NY. At SAB’s Workshop Performances on May 30, 2015, he performed in the Third Regiment, Thunder and Gladiator of George Balanchine’s “Stars and Stripes” staged by Jock Soto.
  • · Ariel Breitman, age 22, from Huntingdon Valley, PA, is performing in his second season as a member of Colorado Ballet, where he is dancing in principal roles. He previously danced with the Washington Ballet Studio Company. In 2012-13 Ariel won three YAGP gold medals and one silver medal at the Tanzolymp International Ballet Competition, held in Berlin, Germany.
  • · Justin Geiss, age 16, of Furlong, PA, is in his third year as a full merit scholarship student at the Houston Ballet School, TX, where he recently received the prestigious Ben Stevenson Award.
  • · Melissa Gelfin, age 23, joined Cincinnati Ballet as a New Dancer in the 2014-15 season. In February 2015 she was promoted to the corps de ballet, and last year also performed in Cincinnati Opera’s production of Turandot. In the 2015-16 season she regularly performs principal roles. In 2009 Melissa was awarded a National Training Scholarship with American Ballet Theatre. She danced with Orlando Ballet from 2010-2014, and in 2014 was a finalist in the USA International Ballet Competition.
  • · Sierra Levin, age 19, Doylestown, PA, was invited to join Carolina Ballet in Raleigh, NC as a Trainee for the 2015-16 season, after studying in the Company’s summer program. In 2015 Sierra earned Second Place in the YAGP Senior Classical Division semi-finals, in Boston, MA. In 2014 she performed with Take It Away Productions as the principal female in Meet Us at the Corner, choreographed by Elizabeth Hoowchuk and Dorothy Wasserman.
  • · Leah McCormick, age 22, from Jenkintown, PA, completed Richmond Ballet’s two year trainee program, and is now in her second year dancing with NB2, Nashville Ballet’s second company. Leah was a Top 12 finalist in the YAGP Semi-Finals in 2007, 2008 and 2011.
  • · Scott Stampone, age 24, from Huntingdon Valley, PA, relocated in 2015 to Portland, OR, to join BodyVox, a contemporary dance company, after graduating from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and working professionally as an independent dance artist.  Scott now performs with BodyVox and teaches at The BodyVox Dance Center.
  • · Sara VanderVoort, age 21, from Feasterville, PA, performs with the Colorado Ballet Studio Company, the training company of Colorado Ballet. Sara previously danced for two seasons as a member of Nashville Ballet’s second company.
  • · Peter Weil, age 19, Jenkintown, PA, in 2015 was promoted to Apprentice at Pennsylvania Ballet, after joining Pennsylvania Ballet II earlier in year. Peter was previously a New Artist at Next Generation Ballet and in 2013 was a Trainee at Boston Ballet. This year he also participated in the Prix de Lausanne. He was a YAGP medalist and New York semifinalist from 2009 – 2015, and earned full scholarships to summer programs at The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, Orlando Ballet, and Boston Ballet. Mr. Weil began studying ballet in Metropolitan’s prestigious Boys’ Scholarship Program at age seven. He will dance the lead role when Pennsylvania Ballet performs Don Quixote by Angel Corella (After Petipa), March 3-13, 2016 at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, PA.

Additionally, MBA alumna Sarah Mettin, an accomplished choreographer, dancer and founder of Mettin Movement in New York City, will premiere a new work at the MBA Gala Performance.

The MBA Gala will be followed by a Gala Celebration on Saturday, June 4, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:30 pm at the Curtis Arboretum in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. Advance tickets are required; a portion of each ticket supports scholarships, performances, and community outreach by Metropolitan Ballet Company, MBA’s affiliated nonprofit, pre-professional dance company. Ticket information for the Gala Performance and Celebration will be available soon at www.metropolitanballetcompany.org.