As the Directors of the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, Lindsay and Steven Piper take great pleasure in sharing their knowledge of the classical ballet vocabulary with any and all who wish to learn. As former professional ballet dancers, they feel privileged to have worked with some of the most famous choreographers and teachers of our time, and it is their mission to pass that knowledge on to their students.
Lindsay LaFrankie Piper (Ballet Technique, Pointe, Variations) grew up in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. She studied at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, School of American Ballet and on full scholarship at the Kirov Academy of Ballet (Washington D.C.). At 17 Lindsay began her professional career when she joined the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, then under the directorship of Patricia Wilde. While there she enjoyed dancing a diverse repertoire of classical and contemporary works and working with established and emerging choreographers. Some of her favorite ballets included Balanchine’s Jewels and Symphony in C, Choo San Goh’s Beginnings and Kenneth McMillian’s Elite Syncopations. In 2002, Lindsay received a B.A. in Management from Chatham College, graduating magna cum laude with highest honors and with a membership in Phi Beta Kappa. She has taught ballet and rehearsed young children in the Pittsburgh area for the past ten years. She resides in Jefferson Hills with her husband Steven and their children Kyra, Ava, Stella and Griffin.
Steven Piper (Ballet Technique, Pas de deux, Variations) began his training at the age of eleven with Mary Day at the Washington School of Ballet, and after that, the Maryland Youth Ballet with Michelle Lees, Tensia Fonseca and Eric Hampton. He also studied with Nicolai Morozov at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C., and after moving to Pittsburgh, he completed his training with Mansur Kamaletdinov, former Acting Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet.
Steven danced professionally with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Nashville Ballet, performing in numerous classical and contemporary works. Among his favorites were Choo San Goh’s Beginnings, Configurations and Unknown Territory, as well as Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante. In 2002 Steven graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a B. A. in History and Philosophy, and he is nearing completion of a Masters Degree in Historical Preservation from West Virginia University. During the past several years, he has taught ballet in the Pittsburgh area and has performed in many local and national venues.
Lindy Mandradjieff (Ballet Technique, Pointe, Variations) Born in Pittsburgh, Pa, received the majority of her training at School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet. Lindy began her professional career with the San Francisco Ballet, and in June of 2001, she joined the New York City Ballet.
While at the New York City Ballet, Ms. Mandradjieff danced featured roles in David Allan's Reunions; George Balanchine's Coppélia (Waltz), George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (Marzipan and Dolls), Raymonda Variations, La Sonnambula, and Walpurgisnacht Ballet; Peter Martins' Eight Easy Pieces, The Sleeping Beauty (Eloquence and Ruby), and Swan Lake (Pas de Trois and Pas de Quatre); Jerome Robbins' Interplay; Richard Tanner's Soirée; Helgi Tomasson's Prism; and Christopher Wheeldon's Mercurial Manoeuvres and Polyphonia. She also originated a featured role in Peter Martins' Viva Verdi and corps roles in Melissa Barak's Telemann Overture Suite in E Minor, Susan Stroman's Double Feature, and Christopher Wheeldon's Carnival of the Animals.
In 2002, Ms. Mandradjieff appeared in the nationally televised Live From Lincoln Center broadcast New York City Ballet's Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography on PBS, dancing in Mercurial Manoeuvres.
Dina Bilofsky (Ballet Technique, Pointe)
Dina Bilofsky began her training at the Allegheny Ballet Company when she was five years old. She studied under the direction of Deborah Anthony and Cristin Burwell (Davis). At the age of sixteen, she was invited to study year round at the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. Dina spent her summers on full scholarship at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle, WA. At eighteen, she received an offer to join the Los Angeles Ballet under direction of Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen. For six seasons, Dina danced numerous roles with the Los Angeles Ballet including featured roles in Christensen/Neary’s “The Nutcracker”, “Swan Lake”, “Don Quixote”, and George Balanchine’s “La Valse”.
While dancing for the Los Angeles Ballet, she was recognized for her leadership, sharp eye, and teaching abilities, which then became utilized when she was appointed a company teacher and rehearsal mistress to Colleen Neary.
Dina began her teaching career as a guest for the Allegheny Ballet at the age of seventeen. While in Los Angeles, she joined the faculty at the Brentwood Academy of Dance and later became a primary teacher of the Los Angeles Ballet School.
In 2010, Dina began choreographing, and choreographed her first ballet, "Fly", for the School of American Ballet's student choreography workshop. She then created "Danzas Argentinas" in 2011 and "Simple Symphony" in 2014 for the Los Angeles Ballet's choreography workshop. Dina has created many other works for the Brentwood Academy of Dance, Los Angeles Ballet School, Allegheny Ballet, and Blair Dance Academy.
Jason McDole (Contemporary)
Jason McDole was born in Aliquippa, PA and received his formal dance training from Buddy Thompson, Paula Scriva and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. McDole received a B.F.A. from The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy in 1997. He has danced in the companies of Twyla Tharp, David Parsons and Lar Lubovitch. McDole was a founding member and assistant to Robert Battle of Battleworks Dance Company. He has been privileged to work on projects with Zvi Gotheiner, Mark Dendy and Graciela Daniele. On Broadway, he originated the role of the Dog in Twyla Tharp/ Bob Dylan's The Times They are a Changin'. McDole has taught and staged works throughout the U.S. and abroad. Currently, he is on faculty at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Meredith McCall (Children’s Ballet)
Meredith McCall is thrilled to join the faculty at the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, having studied dance from the age of two with a primary focus on classical ballet. She spent her summers dancing with the New York City Ballet in Saratoga Springs, the Pennsylvania Governors School of the Arts and the Broadway Dance Center. Meredith went on to earn a B.A. in musical theater from Point Park University. She was then accepted to the Actors' Equity Association and performed and choreographed professionally for regional theaters and national tours. She brings over ten years of teaching experience and a love of ballet that she believes instills a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence in all of her students. Meredith lives in Peters Township with her husband Bryan and their daughter Addison.
Lauren McKee (Children’s Ballet)
Lauren McKee is a dance educator and performer formerly from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. A graduate of Slippery Rock University, Lauren received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance while completing minors in Art and Adapted Physical Activity in 2014. She strives to create an inclusive environment for both dancers and non dancers of all ages and ability levels. She has had the privilege of performing works for Attack Theatre, Shana Simmons Dance, and Staycee Pearl Dance Project. McKee can also be found teaching at the Center for Theatre Arts and the Hope Academy of the Arts. Most recently, she wrapped up the year teaching at the Propel Charter Schools and for Abby Lee Dance Company. She is so excited to be part of the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh this year!
Anna Thompson (Children’s Ballet) originally hails from the rolling hills of Frederick, MD and the moors of Nantucket, MA. A graduate of Point Park University (dance- jazz '12), a certified power pilates instructor and reiki practitioner, Anna uses her technical tools and improvisation to expand awareness within herself and students. She emphasizes clarity of spirit, intention and presence within performance as the key to fulfilling experience. Anna remains active in the Pittsburgh dance/art community and has practiced and expressed with The Pillow Project, h2o, Poof!/Riva Strauss, Maree Remalia, Mark C Thompson, Anthony Williams , Mario Ashkar as well as in personal work with her partner Taylor Knight. Anna hopes to encourage young students to always cultivate an open and curious mind within a strong technical foundation. Most importantly, she hopes to instill a passion for dance and a secure sense of self within those that she touches.
Christine Romani-Ruby (Pilates) is a rarity in the Pilates world – an experienced Pilates professional with a strong background in physical therapy and fitness. She is a frequent presenter at international fitness and rehabilitation conferences such as NATA, IHRSA, Club Industry, IDEA World, Filex, and Can Fit. Christine holds a masters degree in Physical Therapy, and is an assistant professor California University of Pennsylvania, an AFAA certification specialist, an ACE faculty member, a certified athletic trainer, a certified instructor of the Method, and a gold standard PMA certified Pilates instructor. She is the founder and owner of Phi® Pilates one of the first companies to offer scientific based training for fitness and rehabilitation professionals in Pilates. The author of four Pilates books and the star of eighteen Pilates videos, she has written for IDEA Health and Fitness Journal, PT News Line, PT Advance for Directors, Self Magazine, Training and Conditioning Magazine, and many others. Presently Christine is a doctoral candidate in education at Indiana University of PA.
Melanie Velasquez (Ballet Technique - Children’s Division & Intermediate Division)
Melanie grew up in Tampa, FL beginning her love for ballet at the early age of 3. Melanie began at a local dance school and was later accepted to study and train with America’s Ballet School, under the direction of Paula Nunez. There, she worked with renowned dancers and teachers such as Gina Bugatti, Illiana Lopez and Osmany Monato and served as a soloist in Paquita, staged by Miami City Ballet Soloist Mary Carmen Catoya. At that time, she began teaching ballet with a local dance school. She later joined the Bay Area Dance Company and worked directly with artistic director Troy Jansen, professional dancer Kendra Andrews and Artistic Director of Columbus Dance Theatre, Tim Veach.
Melanie attend Florida State University, where she received her BSW and studied with the FSU School of Dance, including Rick McCullough, Anjali Austin, Gerri Houlihan, and several MFA candidates.
During and after college, Melanie danced professionally with The Tallahassee Ballet as a soloist and performed lead roles in numerous ballets. She also taught conditioning, classical ballet, pointe and repatriate at The Tallahassee Ballet School in the Children's, Intermediate and Advanced Division. Melanie is trained in the American Ballet Theatre curriculum and 2013, Melanie developed a new curriculum for their community outreach program, Dance Chance. From 2014-2016 Melanie served as the The Tallahassee Ballet School Director and Outreach Coordinator.
Lauren Woleslagle (Ballet Technique - Children’s Division & Intermediate Division)
Lauren Woleslagle grew up in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. She received her ballet training with the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Chautauqua Institution and American Ballet Theatre, New York. Lauren received a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree, cum laude, from the University of Cincinnati, where she majored in ballet. After college, Lauren danced professionally with the Kentucky Ballet Theatre in Lexington, Kentucky, for three seasons. When she was not dancing or performing with the company, Lauren was the ballet instructor at a local dance school.
Lauren returned to Pittsburgh to attend Duquesne University School of Law. She is currently an attorney at a law firm in downtown Pittsburgh.