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Classes meeting as usual

Acton School of Ballet
Chip Morris, Director
Lindsay Moncrieff, Assistant Director
Melissa Morris, Administrator
3 Spruce Street
P.O. Box 796
Acton, MA 01720
Acton School of Ballet (978) 263-6572


Christine Campbell Ballet, Ballet History

Ms. Campbell studied ballet at the Royal Academy of Dance in London and holds an Master of Fine Arts in Dance. She has studied modern dance with Martha Graham, the Alwin Nikolais Co. and the Donald McKayle Co., and jazz with Gus Giordano. She is also an accomplished choreographer for regional theatre productions, and is the 2008 recipient of the TAMY Award for Best Choreographer in a high school musical production.

Rebecca Caprara Lower School Ballet

Ms. Caprara is a graduate of Acton School of Ballet and former company dancer with Commonwealth Ballet, where she danced numerous roles including “Belle” in Beauty and the Beast and “Snow Queen” in The Nutcracker. She continued her dance training at the Ithaca Ballet and Cornell University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. She is also a children’s writer, and her first middle grade novel will be published in 2018. She currently splits her time between two active toddlers, writing, and teaching ballet to our local Montessori school students.

Melenie Diarbekirian Ballet

Melenie Diarbekirian began her formal training at the Acton School of Ballet under the artistic direction of Kathryn Anderson and Chip Morris, where she was also a member of the Commonwealth Ballet Company. In following her passion, she attended the Boston Conservatory and graduated cum laude in 2011 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance. Throughout her dance career, Melenie has had the privilege to perform works by José Limón, Anna Sokolow, Alwin Nikolais, Gianni DiMarco, Jim Viera, Thang Dao, Olivier Besson, Larry Keigwin, Jaclyn Walsh, Ellenore Scott, Andy Noble and currently dances for Boston based companies Pantos Project, Luminarium Dance Company and Turning Key Dance. She has choreographed and performed in venues including The Boston Opera House, Jacob’s Pillow Inside-Out Stage, and the ICA/Boston.

Hannah Holgate Fairy Tale Dance

Hannah Holgate is an alumna of the Acton School of Ballet, where she was also a beloved teaching assistant for the Lower School. During her tenure she was also a member of the Commonwealth Ballet, where she performed the soloist roles of Spanish, Neapolitan and Merliton in The Nutcracker and repertory roles in the 2017 performances at Boston University. She was also a member of the Arts Movement Company, performing lead roles in SoleCry! in New York. Hannah is currently attending Worcester State University where she is majoring in Occupational Therapy with a focus of dance-incorporated therapies. Hannah is a certified pre-school teacher for the state of Massachusetts.

Joseph Jefferies Ballet

Mr. Jefferies is on the faculty of Boston Ballet and Northeast School of Ballet. He has served as Director of Portland Ballet’s Summer Dance Program and has taught master classes and workshops at ballet schools across the country. Mr Jefferies is an award-winning choreographer creating over 30 works for companies including Ballet Memphis, Miami City Ballet, Peoria Ballet, Ballet Trockadero, Harid Conservatory, Ballet Yuma and Walnut Hill School for the Arts. He has won the RDA Emerging Choreographer scholarship twice and had his work selected and performed for New York City’s Ballet Builders Showcase and for the RDA National Convention in Montreal, Canada. As a professional dancer, Mr. Jefferies was a member of Ballet Memphis dancing the lead roles in Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia and Cinderella. As a member of Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo he toured the world performing in over 25 different countries.

Lindsay Moncrieff Ballet

Ms. Moncrieff received her pre-professional training at the Acton School of Ballet, where she danced leading roles as a member of Commonwealth Ballet and won the Kathryn Anderson Scholarship. She graduated from Butler University, where she received the Eileen Poston Dance Scholarship (awarded to most talented Freshman dance major) and the Butler University Talent Award covering her entire four years at Butler. She danced as an apprentice at Colorado Ballet, and worked on the development staff at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA. In 2017 she will again perform the role of the “Sugar Plum Fairy” for the Commonwealth Ballet’s The Nutcracker.

Chip Morris Director, Ballet
Chip Morris with a Level 6 student

Mr. Morris began his dance training in Madison, Wisconsin where he directed Jazzworks Dance Theatre and choreographed for Choreographer’s Consortium and the Madison Savoyards. Since coming to Boston in 1985, Mr. Morris has performed with the modern dance company, Choreo, and danced as a soloist with The Dance Prism. Mr. Morris has choreographed for several companies in the Boston area including the Harvard-Radcliffe Dance Company and Wheaton College. With Kathryn Anderson he is co-founder of the Commonwealth Ballet Company and currently serves as its Artistic Director. He has choreographed more than 25 ballets, including full-length productions of Dracula, Beauty and the Beast, Hans Christian Anderson’s The Nightingale, and The Secret Garden. Mr. Morris holds a PhD in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Melissa Morris School Administrator

Mrs. Morris holds an Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Lesley University and has had an extensive career as a visual designer. She co-wrote the scenario for The Enchanted Toy Shop and The Pharaoh’s Daughter, and has designed sets and props for ballets such as The Nightingale and The Secret Garden, and The Pharaoh’s Daughter. She is married to ASB Director, Chip Morris.

Denise Pons (Leone) Ballet (Senior Faculty)

Ms. Pons began her dance training in New Orleans, LA with Joseph Giacobbe and the Delta Festival Ballet. She has been coached by Michael Smuin, Mark Morris, Bruce Marks, Natalia Dudinskaya, Edward Villella, Dinna Bjorn, Georges Garcia, Bojan Spassoff, Bruce Wells, and Anna-Marie Holmes. She received the Nordan Fine Arts Scholarship and attended Texas Christian University. She has performed with New Orleans Delta Festival Ballet, Fort Worth Ballet (now Texas Ballet Theater), San Francisco Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet, Ballet Oklahoma, and Boston Ballet 1981-1995, promoted to soloist in 1985).

In 1990, Ms. Pons was selected by Mark Morris and Mikhail Baryshnikov as one of the eight founding members of the White Oak Dance Project. Through her professional career she has performed the roles Black Swan Pas de Deux, Firebird and leads in Les Sylphides, The Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote. Ms. Pons has taught extensively throughout the United States and France. Her background also includes extensive training in tap, jazz, flamenco, and modern dance, and she is a certified teacher and mentor for Zena Rommett Floore Barre Technique®. In addition to ASB, Ms. Pons is on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory.

Rebecca Shelton Ballet

Ms. Shelton trained at the Middlesex Ballet Academy, the Academy of Ballet Arts, and completed her pre-professional training at Ballet Workshop of New England uner Jacqueline Cronsberg. She has studied with Peter Stark, Fernando Bujones, Gelsey Kirkland, Adam Luders, John-Pierre Bonnefoux and many others. She danced professionally with the Orlando Ballet, and has since taught at New England Civic Ballet, Concord Dance Academy and elsewhere in Massachusetts.

Kathryn Stark Ballet

Kathyrn Stark came to Acton School of Ballet from Walnut Hill School where she served as Director of the Community Dance Academy for 14 years. She was also the Founder and Director of Walnut Hill’s popular Youth Summer Dance Program. She was a member of the faculties of Pittsburgh Youth Ballet and the American Academy of Ballet in Buffalo, NY, and spent five summers on the faculty of Chautauqua Institution. Ms. Stark received her dance training at North Carolina School of the Arts, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, and as a child in Pittsburgh with Jean Gedeon and Eduard Caton. She danced professionally with Ballet Met in Columbus, OH and was a principal dancer of Southern Ballet Theatre (now Orlando Ballet) where she performed roles including “Lisette” in La Fille Mal Gardee and lead roles in Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie and Allegro Brilliante.

Juliana Utz Ballet, Contemporary, Modern, Choreography

Juliana Utz holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree from The College at Brockport, State University of New York where she specialized in Dance Performance and Choreography. She also received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in Dance Education from Radford University. She lives in Boston where she is Artistic Director of Turning Key Dance, performing and presenting her choreography nationally and internationally. Her work has recently been showcased at the American School in Switzerland, The Commonwealth Ballet Company and at the Rochester Fringe Festival. She also dances for the bi-coastal company, VVWdance, under the direction of Vanessa Van Warmer, and has recently performed at the Pasadena Dance Festival, Ticino en Danza Festival in Switzerland, Core Project Chicago, and the DUMBO Festival NYC. Juliana has also studied and performed with Mariah Maloney Dance, performing at Jacobs Pillow and the Rochester Fringe Festival.

Summer Faculty

Audra Carabetta Modern, Jazz

Ms. Carabetta holds an Master of Fine Arts in dance from Smith College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has been on faculty at Amherst College, Smith College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Bridgewater State College, Holy Cross College, Ballet Arts Center of Winchester and Acton School of Ballet. Audra has performed with choreographers and companies such as: Lorraine Chapman The Company, Caitlin Corbett Dance Company, Brian Crabtree, Daniel McCusker, Marcus Schulkind, Weber Dance and the Ken Pierce Baroque Dance Company. Her dancing has taken her to places such as Holland, London, Canada and New York City. Choreographically, Audra has received attention via awards and grants, and her work has been presented at various venues, some of which include: Green Street Studios, The Dance Complex, The Dance Place of Newburyport, Bowdoin College, The College of the Holy Cross, Smith College, Tufts University, The American College Dance Festival, the Massachusetts Dance Festival, The Virginia Beach Performing Arts Center, The Massachusetts Dance Festival and The Hatch Performing Arts Series in New York City.

Guest Teachers

Arthur Leeth Guest Master Teacher, Ballet

Mr. Leeth graduated from Butler University before moving to New York to study at SAB and at the school of ABT. In 1976 he joined Boston Ballet where he danced for 13 years before becoming the Company’s ballet master and music librarian. His many teaching credits include current appointments at the Boston Conservatory and Burklyn Ballet Theatre.