Faculty and Staff

Tish Cordova
Artistic Director, Virginia Ballet Company & School

We are grateful for the 15 years of excellent leadership Ms. Cordova has given to Virginia Ballet. She is retired, effective January 31, 2020. Our program leaders are continuing the tradition of excellence that she has inspired.

Ms. Cordova began her training with Tatiana and Oleg Tupine in 1976 and performed many featured roles with Virginia Ballet Company. In 1986 she accepted a contract to dance with the Tulsa Ballet Theatre. As a soloist for Tulsa, Ms. Cordova performed principal roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Lev Ivanov’s Nutcracker, the Rancher’s Daughter in Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, and the High Priestess in Arthur Mitchell’s Rhythmetron. While with Tulsa, her repertoire expanded to include George Balanchine’s Mozart Violin Concerto, Lew Christensen’s Filling Station, Ruth Page’s Carmen and The Merry Widow, and Frederic Franklin’s Tribute. She has worked with many distinguished choreographers including Frederic Franklin, Peter Anastos, Larry Long and Esmerelda Agogliev. In 2004, Ms. Cordova assumed the title of Artistic Director of the Virginia Ballet Company and School and continues to teach the same standards and techniques that she was taught as a student by Tatiana Rousseau and Oleg Tupine. With her own professional experience, she continues to stage the full-length classical ballets of the Virginia Ballet Company repertoire. As Artistic Director, she has choreographed many well received full-length ballets, such as Snow White, and one-act ballets including Firebird, Concerto in G and Grand Tarantelle. She has recently choreographed Cinderella, which will be performed in full in Spring 2020 as part of our 70th Anniversary Celebratory Season. Ms. Cordova is the former President and Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Virginia Dance Coalition, bringing together the Virginia dance community for advocacy and collaboration, promoting dance awareness through performance and education.

 

Classical Program Leaders

Dina Fadeyeva

Ms. Fadeyeva was born in Almaty, Kazahkstan and received her training at the acclaimed Almaty State Ballet Academy. Ms. Fadeyeva danced with the Almaty State Theatre of Ballet and Opera from 1985-1989. In 1989, she went to Moscow, Russia to study at the State University of Arts and Theater (GITIS), where she studied under Marina Semynova; she graduated in 1994. From 1993-1996, Ms. Fadeyeva taught at the Moscow Institute of Contemporary Dance as well as being a guest artist with many companies in Moscow. In 1996, Ms. Fadeyeva returned to Almaty State Ballet Academy to continue her career in teaching and taught at the Almaty Institute of Contemporary Dance. In 2000, Ms. Fadeyeva participated in the International Festival of Traditional Dance in Almaty and won the Grand Prix. In addition, many of Ms. Fadeyeva’s students have won prizes in International Ballet Competitions in Moscow, Budapest, Lausanne, and elsewhere. Between the years of 2000-2005, she worked with the National synchronized swim team in Kazakhstan. The programs she choreographed were performed in World Cup in Barcelona, Spain, in Rome, Italy, in South Korea, and at the 2004 Olympic Games, which was held in Athens, Greece. In 2005, she choreographed her own production, “Triumph of Athena” with music by Mahler, for the Almaty State Theatre of Ballet and Opera. That same year, Ms. Fadeyeva accepted a teaching position with the Ballet Royale in Maryland and came to the United States. She later joined Manassas Ballet Company and choreographed Stars and Stripes Forever, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carmen, Frankenstein. She joined our faculty in 2009.

 

Leanne Mizzoni

A Northern Virginia native Leanne started her training under Susan Blazy at the Metropolitan Ballet School. She later studied at Virginia Ballet, where she trained under former Ballets Russes dancers Oleg Tupine and Tania Rousseau. Leanne continued her training at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School, where she graduated cum laude with a BFA in Dance Pedagogy. There Leanne studied Music Theory, Dance Administration, Kinesiology, Human Development, Dance History, Music in the Classroom, Composition and Dance Production under the guidance of Peggy Lyman, Peter O’Brian, Alla Nikitina, and Hilda Morales in. She performed with American Ballet Theatre in The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet and in 2003 was the Assistant Director of the children’s division in Kirk Peterson’s Nutcracker. Leanne was a company dancer for four years with Manassas Ballet Theatre, performing many soloist roles. A founding dancer of Ballet Fantastique (Eugene, OR), Leanne has appeared in Oregon, Washington, and internationally in soloist and principal roles. While in Oregon Leanne started the largest adult ballet program in Eugene and received the prestigious Lane County Cultural Coalition grant to teach underprivileged children in Mapleton, Oregon. She has choreographed original pieces and restaged many of the classics, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, The Dream and Alice in Wonderland. Many of her students have gone on to acclaimed summer programs and Universities.

 

Contemporary Program Leaders

Ann Saretzky McGinnis
Contemporary Program Lead

Ms. McGinnis began her training in Berlin, Germany and joined Virginia Ballet Company (VBC) in 1976.  At 11 years old she danced at the Kennedy Center with New York City Ballet and Mikhail Baryshnikov in Harlequinade directed by George Balanchine.  Ann is grateful to Oleg Tupine and Tania Rousseau for instilling their love of dance and encouraging her to teach; she has been a VBC instructor and rehearsal assistant since 1983.  Ann received a BS in Dance from Radford University and a full scholarship to be a Graduate Teaching Assistant at James Madison University (JMU) in 1990.  Along with teaching semester ballet, modern, and jazz for 4 years, she also taught Russian folk dance for the Russian Studies Academy at JMU in the summers.  Ann has also served on faculties at Park College Conservatory, Shenandoah University and George Mason University while earning an MFA in Dance.  She danced in works by David Dorfman, Doug Elkins, Mark Taylor, and Doug Varone and performed in various professional ballet and modern companies: Battery Dance Company, Virginia Repertory Company, Dance Alloy, Loudoun Ballet, Jane Franklin Dance, & most recently Nomadic Artist.  Ann’s eclectic work has been commissioned by VBC, Lexington School of Dance/Rockbridge Ballet, Loudoun Ballet and GroundShare Arts Alliance.  She has won awards for both choreography and costume design and has also danced and presented work in Klagenfurt & Vienna, Austria.

 

Alex Miegel

Mr. Miegel is originally from Fairfax, VA and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance & Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2008. While a student at VCU he danced in faculty member James Frazier’s piece “Suspect Seven” which was performed at the American College Dance Festival held at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida and the Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. His own choreographic work “Ethereal Emissaries” was performed at the Senior Project Dance Concert in April 2008. After graduating he was a dancer at Theatre West Virginia for their 2008 summer season and was Assistant Dance Captain for their 2009 summer season. While at TWV he performed in Honey In The Rock, Hatfields & McCoys, Cinderella, Seussical, and High School Musical. He was a member of the West Virginia Dance Company for their 2008-2009 season and travelled around the state performing at Elementary, Middle, and High Schools in their dance education series. Since returning to Fairfax he has worked with Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh Dance Company primarily in their educational outreach program. He currently is a company member of DanceArtTheater under the direction of Meredith Barnes where he collaborates choreographically with the Artistic Director and the other dancers. DAT has performed at Capital Fringe, Small Plates Choreography Festival, and the Virginia Dance Coalition Gala among others. He began teaching at Virginia Ballet Company in January 2013. His work has been performed by VBC students in numerous Precedence performances, Burke Centre Festival, and Virginia Dance Coalition Festival.

 

Faculty

Cathy Bernero

Mrs. Bernero began her ballet training at the age of 5, with Muriel Shelley Evans at the Academy of Ballet and Hampton Roads Civic Ballet, in Hampton, Virginia. As a teenager, she studied under Mary Marshall at the Academy of the Peninsula Ballet and later Esperance Dance Theatre, where she was privileged to perform in many of Ms. Marshall’s original works of choreography, in locations around the Tidewater area and Williamsburg. She continued her training at Virginia Tech under Sandra Owens. For three years, she performed with Live Entertainment at Busch Gardens, The Old Country, in Williamsburg, Virginia, as a German Festhaus dancer, the last year as dance captain for the company. She has attended numerous Masters’ classes with teachers such as Robert Joffrey, Donald Sutherland, Robert March, Heidi Robitshek, and Gene Hammett, among others. She began teaching at Virginia Ballet Company & School in 2013.

 

Stacey Claytor

Ms. Claytor has studied and dedicated the majority of her life to the art of dance. She chose James Madison University where she continued to enrich her technique and range, and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and Dance with a concentration in dance. In addition, Ms. Claytor has studied with several dance studios in Virginia and New York City, including the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. With a passionate love for dance and the performing arts, Ms. Claytor constantly seeks opportunities to perform, instruct, and give back to the community the joy she has experienced through dance.

 

Barbara Mirabello

Mrs. Mirabello has incorporated her experience as an RN in Neurosurgery and Orthopedics and her interest in Natural Health, yoga, reflexology, fitonics and healing touch therapy to provide a gentle stretch program designed to safely stretch, strengthen and relax the entire body. She keeps up to date on current trends with monthly updates from the Weill Medical College at Cornell University and the Tufts University fitness newsletter. Mrs. Mirabello holds a Yoga Fitness Certification from the AFPA (American Fitness Professionals & Associates).

 

Alisha Reay

Ms. Reay has taught ballet for over 16 years, while continuing to choreograph and perform. Ms Reay began her dance training at Chicago City Ballet, followed by the Ballet Russe School in Skokie, Illinois, where she studied and performed for seven years, achieving the rank of soloist and principal dancer. Ms Reay holds a certification in teaching the Vaganova method of ballet and also teaches character, modern, jazz and hip-hop. She was a founding member of the Union Street Dance Company in Valparaiso, Indiana and was the owner and manager of the Valparaiso Dance Connection before moving to the Washington DC area in 2001.

 

Mark P. Rubin

Mr. Rubin has been teaching for more than 30 years. He began his training with such world renowned teachers as David Howard, Dolores Brown, Robert Christopher and George Chafee for ballet; Luigi, Fred Benjamin, and Ron Forella for jazz and Joyce Tristler, Bertram Ross and Milton Myers for modern. He also studied with master teacher Zena Rommett, the originator of the Floor-Barre® Technique. He has performed with Ailey II, the Joffrey Ballet, Bertram Ross Dance Co., the Batsheva Dance Co. and the Fred Benjamin Dance Company. Mark is Lifetime Certified in the Floor-Barre® Technique. He has taught company class for CityDance, has been Ballet Master for Manassas Dance Company and the Dance Director at the Madeira School in McLean, Virginia.

 

Shelley Siller

Ms. Siller grew up in Cape Coral, FL, where she studied multiple disciplines at Pine Island Dance. During this time, she also studied under New York City Ballet principals Jock Soto and Melinda Roy at Gulfshore Ballet, and, after moving to the D.C. area, she became a member of the first generation of IMPACT Dance under Candra Preshong and Kellie Payne. After graduating, Shelley danced for choreographers Emery LeCrone and Florian Rouiller in MOVEiUS Contemporary Ballet and was recently honored to guest with Company E at the Kennedy Center. Ms. Siller has been honored to dance and present her choreography internationally in Scotland, Guatemala, and France, along with cities in New York and the DC/Metro area.

 

Heidi Spence

Ms. Spence began her training at Lascu School of Ballet in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where she performed for 7 years in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s production of the Nutcracker. At 12, she attended American Ballet Theater’s 4-week summer program studying under such artists as Wes Chapman, Cynthia Harvey, and Megali Messac. Later she attended the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida. She studied privately with American Ballet Theatre’s soloist, Yan Chen, while also studying under accomplished teachers as Alla Chernova, Irina Depler, Vadim Fedotov, Fernando Bujones, Peter Stark, Nathalie Krassovska, and Gelsey Kirkland. With Southern Ballet Theatre School and Company, now the Orlando Ballet, Mrs. Spence performed solo and corps roles in numerous ballets including Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Le Corsaire, Dracula, Carmen, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Nutcracker, Cinderella, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Faust and Bolero. While in Orlando, Mrs. Spence taught Vaganova floor barre classes and creative movement at the Orlando Ballet School, while also teaching at a private school in the Orlando area. Mrs. Spence has been teaching ballet in Northern Virginia for the past fifteen years to children of all ages.

 

Rachel Snow

Ms. Snow began her dance training at the age of 3. She studied at Ballet Conservatory in San Diego, Virginia Governor’s School for Dance, Ballet West’s Summer Intensive, and eventually graduated from Virginia Ballet Company in 2012, where she performed some of her favorite roles: the Firebird, the Arabian Pas, and the Voodoo Queen. She studied dance at Point Park University, where she experienced different choreography methods and styles. She also studied abroad in Spain in 2015, continuing to be inspired by the passionate art of Flamenco. In 2016 Rachel graduated from BYU-Hawaii, where she learned and performed Polynesian dance. She has directed VBC’s summer concert – Precedence – several times, as well as choreographing pieces: Senso di Colpa, Zodiac, Quiet is Violent, Everybody, The Clique, and Beneath Contempt. She began teaching at VBC in February 2017 and joined Nomadic Artist in September 2017.