The Ballet Tech Foundation
Board of Directors
Philip E. Aarons
Chairperson & President
Jilian Cahan Gersten
Carol Zerbe Hurford
Patricia Tuthill Pazner
LuEsther T. Mertz
Chief Operating Officer
212-777-7710, ext. 314
Director of Development
212-777-7710, ext. 323
212-777-7710, ext. 316
212-777-7710, ext. 321
212-777-7710, ext. 319
Jennifer Marck Moran
Dance School Administration & Staff
Dionne D. Figgins began her career as a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, under the direction of Arthur Mitchell, dancing lead roles in Serenade, Four Temperaments, Agon, and Concerto Barocco, all by George Balanchine. She has also appeared as a guest artist with Complexions Contemporary Ballet.
Her Broadway credits include Hot Feet, Memphis, Leap of Faith (Assistant Choreographer) and Motown The Musical. Her regional theatre credits include Sophisticated Ladies,The Wiz, Ray Charles Live, Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Ovation Nominee, Chita Rivera Award nominee), Trip of Love, Chicago, and A Wonderful World. Film/TV credits include: Across the Universe, Walk Hard, The Princess and the Frog, Bolden, She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix), Starz dramas Flesh and Bone (Yasmine) and Power, Glee, House, and The Academy Awards, to name a few.
Ms. Figgins is the co-founder and Creative Director of Broadway Serves, a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage theater professionals in com-munity service opportunities locally, nationally, and abroad. During the pandemic, she turned her focus to teaching full time for her home studio of Jones-Haywood Dance School in Washington, DC. She also galvanized the theatre community in a series of conversations on Instagram called Pass the Mic Broadway, an initiative that sparked dialogue about social justice issues between Black and White female theatre makers. She is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
Director of Faculty, The Upper School
212-777-7710, ext. 324
Ms. Hemsworth trained at the School of American Ballet and performed for four years at Chicago City Ballet under the direction of Maria Tallchief. In 1987, she joined Feld Ballets/NY as a dancer. Subsequently she began teaching classes at Ballet Tech, conducting rehearsals for both the company and the school, and setting Eliot Feld’s ballets on dance companies worldwide. Ms. Hemsworth assumed the Director of Faculty position for the Lower School in June 2008, and for the Upper School in September 2018 . She is also Ballet Tech’s rehearsal director and sets ballets and rehearses students for Kids Dance.
Director of Faculty, The Lower School
212-777-7710, ext. 310
Ms. Tuttle was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join American Ballet Theatre at the age of 16. Her career spanned 17 years with Ballet Theater reaching the rank of Principal dancer. Ms. Tuttle is known for her pure classicism and vivid characterizations. While maintaining her career with A.B.T., Ms. Tuttle joined the acclaimed Twyla Tharp Dance Company in 2000. During her time with T.T.D., Ms. Tharp created the hit Broadway show Movin’ Out and the role of Judy on Ms. Tuttle. Her interpretation of this role earned her both TONY Award and Fred Astaire Dance Award nominations. As well as continuing her performing career, Ms. Tuttle teaches ballet at the Mark Morris Dance Group, Steps on Broadway, The School at Steps, Gibney Dance, and Barnard College. Ms. Tuttle was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Wofford College in the spring of 2011. She joined Ballet Tech’s faculty in 2016, and assumed the position of Director of Faculty for the Lower School in September 2018.
212-777-7710, ext. 306
Janel Cooke Rayome
212-777-7710, ext. 304
212-777-7710, ext. 313
212-777-7710, ext. 302
Ballet and Repertory
Ms. Hemsworth trained at the School of American Ballet and performed for four years at Chicago City Ballet under the direction of Maria Tallchief. In 1987, she joined Feld Ballets/NY as a dancer. Subsequently she began teaching classes at Ballet Tech, conducting rehearsals for both the company and the school, and setting Eliot Feld’s ballets on dance companies worldwide. Ms. Hemsworth assumed the Director of Faculty position in June 2008. She is also Ballet Tech’s rehearsal director and sets ballets and rehearses students for Kids Dance.
Ms. Rhodes began her professional career with American Ballet Theatre at the age of 15. The company toured the United States and Europe under the direction of Lucia Chase and later Mikhail Baryshnikov. Later she was offered a contract under John Neumeier with The Hamburg Staats Opera in Germany. She holds her teaching certification from American Ballet Theatre and also holds certifications in fitness and yoga. Ms. Rhodes joined Ballet Tech’s faculty in 1995 and taught full-time for 10 years. She has since returned to teaching at BT and continues to audition children throughout New York City.
Ms. Shamblin received her BFA from the University of Utah, where she studied under Bene Arnold and Attila Ficzere and performed with the Utah Ballet. Relocating to Sacramento, she danced for Capitol City Ballet and the Sacramento Ballet, choreographed and presented work, and was the Ballet Director for the Roseville School of Dance Youth Ballet. Since moving to New York, she has performed with the New York Dance Theatre and Christy Walsh.
Ballet and Modern Dance
Michael Snipe received his BFA from Juilliard in dance, with Choreographic Honors. He has performed with Ailey II, Battleworks Dance Company and the Parsons Dance Company. He has also performed in Swing! and Movin’ Out, both on Broadway and the National Tour. Mr. Snipe has taught at the Joffrey Ballet School, the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., Columbia College in Chicago, and is currently on faculty at the Alvin Ailey School. He joined Ballet Tech as a full-time faculty member in 2015.
Ms. Tuttle was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join American Ballet Theatre at the age of 16. Her career spanned 17 years with Ballet Theater reaching the rank of Principal dancer. Ms. Tuttle is known for her pure classicism and vivid characterizations. While maintaining her career with A.B.T., Ms. Tuttle joined the acclaimed Twyla Tharp Dance Company in 2000. During her time with T.T.D., Ms. Tharp created the hit Broadway show Movin’ Out and the role of Judy on Ms. Tuttle. Her interpretation of this role earned her both TONY Award and Fred Astaire Dance Award nominations. As well as continuing her performing career, Ms. Tuttle teaches ballet at the Mark Morris Dance Group, Steps on Broadway, The School at Steps, Gibney Dance, and Barnard College. Ms. Tuttle was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Wofford College in the spring of 2011. She joined Ballet Tech’s faculty in 2016.
Dance Class Assistants
The New York City Public School for Dance
Academic Faculty & Staff
Mr. O’Neill was appointed Principal to Ballet Tech in 2009 after having served as the school’s fifth grade teacher for 8 years. He received his B.A. in English Literature from UCLA and completed his teaching certification program at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He began his teaching career in the Los Angeles Unified School District as an elementary school teacher before moving to New York in 2001
212-254-1803, ext. 7072
212-254-1803, ext 7022
212-254-1803, ext. 7021
212-254-1803, ext. 7023
Middle School Social Studies & ENL
Health & Physical Education
Ms. Fernandez joined Ballet Tech in 2003. She has thirteen years of teaching experience. Prior to Ballet Tech she taught at FDR High School and Gregorio Luperon High School. Ms. Fernandez has a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Spanish Education from Saint Thomas Aquinas College. She earned her masters in Learning Technology from Mercy College. Teaching is her passion!
Middle School Science
Ms. Herlihy joined the Ballet Tech staff in 2001 as the Middle School Math and ELA teacher and continued on in 2002 with Math and Science. She currently teaches Science and Health and holds a Permanent Certificate in Earth Science & General Science 7-12 Extension. Ms. Herlihy has enjoyed serving the Ballet Tech community as a School Leadership Team member, Inquiry Team member, Class Adviser and Community Spirit Committee Chair. After graduating from the University of Vermont in 1987 with a B.S. in Secondary Education – Earth Science major, Ms. Herlihy committed to working in and educating herself about every facet of New York City theatre for the next 15 years. She has worked on stage, tech and crew, box office and as a house, stage and company manager on, off and off-off-Broadway. She has been a member of ATPAM (Association of Theatrical Press Agents & Managers) since 1999 and has also studied voice, acting, poetry and playwriting. She earned her Master of Science in Urban and Multicultural Education at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in 2009. Ms Herlihy loves being a life-long learner. She continues to embrace and infuse in her teaching a love for science, the arts and athletics (especially being on a team!) through ongoing involvement with a variety of New York City based organizations including the Wildlife Conservation Society, AMNH, Central Park Conservancy, Gotham Writer’s Workshop, BCEFA, New York Road Runners, Big City and Gotham Volleyball.
5th Grade (501)
Ms. Lum joined Ballet Tech in 2009. She brings experience teaching a broad range of students from around the world. She holds a Bachelor degree in Education and English Literature, and a Masters in Literacy Education from Fordham University. Ms. Lum strives to develop a love of both literature and writing in all her students!
Middle School Math
4th Grade (402)
4th Grade (401)
Ms. Rubakha joined Ballet Tech’s faculty in 2014. She has taught grades 2-12, and finds fourth grade to be her favorite. Ms. Rubakha holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from Skidmore College and a Master’s in Mathematics Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Ms. Rubakha comes from the beautiful city of St. Petersburg. She has two school-age children of her own, and loves being a parent and a teacher at the same time.
5th Grade (502)
Ms. Sobolewski joined Ballet Tech in 2007 as interim fourth grade teacher, after graduating from SUNY New Paltz. She spent the 2008-09 school year teaching fourth grade at PS 154 in Harlem, and is happy to be back at Ballet Tech teaching the fifth grade. Ms. Sobolewski received her B.S. in Nutrition from Lehman College.
Jared Van Zweeden
Middle School ELA
PROFESSIONAL PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL
Professional Performing Arts School Staff
Assistant Principal & Director of Performing Arts