What they’re saying about us…

Stephen Hanna headshot

Stephen Hanna - former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Original Broadway cast of Billy Elliot, and current cast member of the Broadway revival On the Town.

Having both taught and performed with the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, I am continually impressed with both the quality of the teaching and the professionalism of the students. The emphasis on clean, correct technique is the hallmark of the school, and students are given ample opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned in the classroom with a repertoire featuring classical works such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty, in addition to works by George Balanchine. I highly recommend the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh to parents looking to begin their young child in classical ballet, or to students of an intermediate/advanced level who aspire to post-secondary or professional careers. The instruction they will receive at the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh is unmatched in the greater Pittsburgh area!

Rachel headshot

Rachel Klisavage - 2008 BAP alumnus, principal dancer with Missouri Ballet Theatre

In my most formative years, just before I left to pursue my professional career, the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh helped to prepare me for the journey that was to come.

For me, one of the most influential aspects of BAP's training was the opportunity to participate in the high school early-dismissal program. This program allowed me to begin practicing how to balance a schedule jam-packed with activities. Though my days look a little different now, when I was in the program, I learned how to manage my high school academics in the morning with ballet in the afternoon, school activities following that, and homework every night. This rigorous schedule was coupled with intensive training from the teachers who helped me to grow. I got to work on my technique in ballet, pointe, and variations classes, and learned how to process choreography not only in a corps de ballet setting, but also in soloist roles. We also had a variety of modern, jazz, and cross training classes that helped me to branch out past my ballet-specific comfort zone.

Though I am currently past my years of academic homework, I have moved on to many other jobs and responsibilities of my adult life and career. My day starts off with class and rehearsals as a principal dancer with Missouri Ballet Theatre, and follows with a second job teaching at one of two local studios where I am a ballet instructor and more.

I am very thankful that I have been able to translate the aspects of my own training not only into my own dancing, but also to the students that I teach. I expect much of them because much was expected of me. The faculty at BAP always encouraged me to always do my best, and to keep working through times that may seem difficult. For example, I first learned about the benefits of cross training- something that I love to work on with my students- at the recommendation of some of the teachers. After suffering a minor injury right before a major performance, I was able to maintain stamina through swimming. Because I was able to maintain all that I had worked toward for such a rigorous performance, I was able to bounce back and right into my role. This is something that I have kept with me throughout my entire career so far, though I often take on new forms of cross-training. (I currently enjoy the benefits of yoga and floor barre!)

Being able to share my own experiences with my students is such a special feeling, and because of my training at BAP, I am able to my share valuable advice about no range of topics. Without the foundation that I developed in my training, it is doubtful that I would be where I am today!

Emily Kikta headshot

Emily Kikta - former BAP student, currently with the New York City Ballet. 

Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh’s High School program was perfect for me. It allowed me to study and train with a variety of teachers who knew what the professional ballet world demanded while also being able to go to high school like every other teenager. BAP really helped me to realize that I wanted to pursue ballet as a career, and I’ll be forever grateful to them for that.

Photo credit: Paul Kolnik

Maura Walpurgisnacht

Maura Bell - 2011 BAP alumnus, Ballet Major with an Outside Field in Arts Management and French Minor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. 

At the Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, I was challenged by all the instructors and my peers to continually grow as a dancer.  I was lucky enough to participate in the high school early release program enabling me to have an abbreviated day at school in order to focus on ballet.  I am still reaping the benefits of this opportunity.  BAP offered me an ideal situation  - incredible training in a nurturing environment.  It amazes me the repertoire I performed while at BAP from new choreography to Balanchine works.  Most importantly, BAP became my home.  I knew the teachers cared about my life beyond ballet, and I felt the support of classmates and friends.  Training at BAP helped me to gain acceptance to Indiana University of Bloomington where I continue my serious ballet training within the Jacobs School of Music.  Going into my senior year and upcoming audition season, I know I have BAP to thank for my strong foundation.  As I prepare for a professional career in ballet, I know the experiences I had at BAP, both in and out of the studio, molded me into the dancer and young woman I am today.

Jillian Swanilda

Jillian Schepis - 2011 BAP alumnus, Dance/Arts Administration Major and Marketing Minor at Butler University. 

The training I received at Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh allowed me to receive the best technique training possible while preparing me for dancing after high school. The caliber of the teachers at BAP is equivalent to professors and master teachers I have trained with in college and at prestigious summer intensives. I am always confident that the strong ballet background and technique that BAP provided me with is one of the reasons I have been so successful as a college dance major. 

Maeve Black Swan

Maeve McEwen - 2012 BAP alumnus, Dance Major and Movement Science Minor at the University of Michigan. 

The training I received during my years at BAP gave me the solid foundation necessary for my admission to and success in the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater and Dance. The high school early dismissal program prepared me to balance a college schedule of academics, technique classes and rehearsals, while the professionalism in the studio taught me the proper etiquette towards other dancers and chorographers. Although Michigan is a Modern-based dance program, my strong training in classical ballet eased the transition into the contemporary/modern field, allowing me to discover a completely new dancer in myself. 

Questions or comments? E-mail us at  info@balletacademypgh.com