Kait Weber received her early dance training at The Dance Center, the official school of the Brandywine Ballet. She went on to train at the Washington Ballet, Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts and Wilmington Academy of Dance. Kait is a graduate of Towson University where she earned her BA in Mass Communications as well as pursued the Dance Performance major, graduating Cum Laude. While an honors scholarship recipient at Towson, she performed with the Towson University Dance Company and performed lead roles in the Nutcracker as well as several other classical and contemporary works. She also performed with the Baltimore Ballet in various productions and taught ballet, modern and jazz at the school for five years. After graduation, Kait pursued her communications career, working as an account executive for advertising and public relations agencies in Baltimore. Kait joined Ballet Chesapeake in 2010 and is the current Executive Director of the Ballet Chesapeake and Managing Director of the Dance Conservatory of Maryland.
Shana O’Brien has been a faculty member at DCM since 2002, teaching ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance. A graduate of Goucher College with a degree in dance performance and choreography, Shana has performed in works set by dance professionals such as Steven Mills of Ballet Austin, Rachel Berman, formerly of Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Christopher d’Amboise, both former principals with New York City Ballet. She has presented choreography in many diverse venues including the American College Dance Festival, the Maryland Council for Dance Choreographer’s Showcase, and the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition. In addition to her training at DCM, Shana has studied under Marilyn Gaston at the Ballet Academy of Baltimore, Laura Dolid of the Sudbrook Arts Center, and at the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. She has experience performing in such varied settings as the Nutcracker at the Lyric Opera House, musicals in regional dinner theater, and competitions held by Dance Masters of America.
Sarah Brown received her early dance training at Towson University’s Children’s Dance Division, Rage Box Contemporary Dance Center, and Carver Center for Arts & Technology. She went on to train at Point Park University’s Conservatory of the Performing Arts as a Jazz Dance major, where she participated in master classes with a number of professional artists including Sonya Tayeh, Desmond Richardson, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Sarah finished her schooling at Towson University, where she earned her BA in Mass Communications, Public Relations. She spent the past 4 years dancing and performing with the Baltimore Blast Cheerleaders and was Captain on the team for 2 of those years. Sarah loved the platform the team gave her and was humbled to be a part of their community outreach opportunities. Sarah has worked professionally in the event planning and marketing field for the past several years and is excited to join DCM.
Mr. Nelson began his training under Joyce Morrison and continued full-time at the
School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City, the Kirov Academy of Ballet in
Washington, DC, and the Ecole-Atelier Rudra Béjart in Lausanne, Switzerland. His
regular teachers at these institutions included Andrei Kramarevsky, Peter Boal, Vladimir
Djouloukhadze, and Azari Plissetski. At SAB, Mr. Nelson was selected as one of four
students to create an original work for the SAB Student Choreography Project. At the
Vail International Dance Festival in 2000, he studied with Jacques Namont of the Paris
Opera Ballet School and Pyotr Pestov of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.
As a dancer, Mr. Nelson's répertoire included Les Sylphides (Poet), Giselle (Peasant
Pas de Deux), and Swan Lake (Pas de Trois), among others. He has taught at The
Washington School of Ballet and Mercersburg Academy. Mr. Nelson’s staging credits
include Les Sylphides as well as excerpts from the classical repertoire and original
choreography. Mr. Nelson was a cofounder, and later sole owner and director, of Ballet Conservatoire
XIV , bringing conservatory-style training to a small group of carefully selected dancers
from 2015-2020. In 2019, Mr. Nelson presented students for American Ballet Theatre
National Training Curriculum Student Examinations, with each student achieving a level
of distinction of Merit, Honors, or High Honors.
Mr. Nelson is an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT
Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 and Partnering of the ABT
National Training Curriculum. He continues to attend professional development classes
and workshops at ABT.
Returning to the Untied States after touring Europe as Ballet Mistress with "Rock The Ballet," Deborah Engerman took on the role of Director of Maryland Classical Dance Academy, along with teaching at Charm City Ballet and Susquehanna Dance Center. She trained early in life with the Baltimore Ballet under Wendy Robinson in the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) tradition, passing her graded exams. Her classical studies also include training with Petrus Bosman, David Keener, and Christine Hennessy. Later, while pursuing her BA in International Policy at Dickinson College, she continued her study of classical ballet with the teachers of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Her dance training also includes Vaganova Technique, French Methodology, and the Dance Education Program at Towson University. Ms Engerman has staged ballets to include the Nutcracker and Swan Lake, Act II. Dancers trained by Ms. Engerman have earned professional contracts and danced with Universal Ballet, ABT, Complexions, The Washington Ballet, The Vienna Opera Ballet, the Boston Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Inc, Texture Ballet, Hubbard Street, and on Broadway. She has also been a coach to dancers succeeding at numerous international ballet competitions, such as The Prix de Lausanne, the Varna IBC, and The Youth America Grand Prix. Her student and, Adrienne Canterna, took the Junior Gold Medal at the 1998 Jackson USA International Ballet Competition. She is currently happy to continue to train dancers in MD and PA, while living with her husband and two dogs, in South Central PA.
Michelle Houser was a student with Ballet Chesapeake's school, Dance Conservatory of Maryland, for 14 years. She began photographing BC performances in 2014 and has grown as a dance photographer as the company grew.
John Gardner began his ballet training at age twelve. In 1978, he joined American Ballet Theatre and was promoted to the rank of soloist in 1984. Mr. Gardner's diverse repertoire include many soloist and principal roles, representing an extensive range of styles and affording him the opportunity to work with many of the great choreographers of the 20th centruy, including Antony Tudor, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Twyla Tharp. In 1991 Mr. Gardner joined Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project. Mr. Gardner created numerous roles during his time with White Oak Dance Project and toured extensively. He returned to American Ballet Theatre in 1995, where he danced a wide variety of roles until 2002. He is currently working at both the professional and student levels, and has taught, choreographed, and staged ballets for professional companies and schools in the U.S. and Europe.
Amanda McKerrow has enjoyed a career as one of America's acclaimed ballerinas. She has the honor of being the first American to receive a gold medal at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow in 1981. Ms. McKerrow joined American Ballet Theatre in 1982. Since then, she has been the recipient of numerous other awards, among them, the Princess Grace Foundation Dance Fellowship in 1986, the Deane Sherman Award for Excellence in the Field of Dance in 1988, and the New York Woman Award for Dance in 1991. In 2000 Ms. McKerrow, together with her husband John Gardner, began staging the works of Antony Tudor for the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust. Since retiring from performing in 2006, she devotes the majority of her time to teaching, coaching, and staging ballets for professional companies around the world.