Sara Jansen Clayborne, Co-Director
Originally from New York, Sara trained at the Ballet School of New York under the direction of Diana Byer and Sallie Wilson. In 2001, she graduated from the Professional Children’s School in New York City and began to dance professionally with New York Theatre Ballet. While dancing with NYTB, Sara had the opportunity to tour the United States, perform at the Florence Gould Hall in New York City, and dance roles in Cinderella, Carnival of the Animals, Firebird, and Alice in Wonderland.
In 2004, Sara moved to Richmond, Virginia to join the Richmond Ballet trainee program. While at the Richmond Ballet, she performed with the professional company in such ballets as The Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and original choreography by Richmond Ballet Faculty. She danced with Richmond Ballet for two years before being asked to join Starr Foster Dance Project. As a member of Starr Foster Dance project, Sara performed the role of the White Rabbit in Alice and had roles created for her in many new works for the company.
Sara co-founded the Charlottesville Ballet in 2007, putting her myriad of experiences to work while keeping her love of performance alive in her dual role as dancer and director. Sara is thrilled to be directing the new Charlottesville Ballet Academy and has taught dance for over a decade. Her experience includes directing the Ballet Program at The Dance Company and teaching at West End Academy and Dance Theatre of Lynchburg. Sara is an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher in Primary through Level 7 of the ABT National Training Curriculum and is excited to put the ABT Curriculum into practice, both at CBA and within the professional company. Sara looks forward to nurturing the growth and appreciation for dance among peers and community.
Emily Mott, Co-Director
Emily Mott fell in love with ballet at the age of five. She began dance classes at Roanoke Ballet Theatre in her hometown of Roanoke, VA and continued her training with Unurbat Gunaajav and Michele Goacher. She performed in collaborative shows with Opera Roanoke, the Mill Mountain Theatre, and with Radford University as the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker. She has attended summer intensives at the Richmond Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and on scholarship with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Emily spent her senior year of high school at the Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA under the late Petrus Bosman. Upon graduation she joined the Richmond Ballet as a trainee, performing in Don Quixote, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie and Who Cares?, and in many new works by Richmond Ballet faculty. She also enjoyed working with school children in Richmond Ballet’s Minds In Motion program.
In 2008, Emily relocated to Charlottesville to join Charlottesville Ballet and to attend the University of Virginia, uniting both her artistic and academic pursuits. She pursued an interdisciplinary degree and holds a BA in Nonprofit Management & Arts Administration.
In addition to her role as a performer, Emily serves as Co-Director of the company and choreographs the Children’s Ballet Series productions. She is also on faculty at Charlottesville Ballet Academy, where she serves as the Academy Principal and enjoys teaching future generations of healthy, intelligent dancers. Emily is delighted to achieve balance through her multiple roles as a student, administrator, teacher, and performer. She looks forward to the season ahead and is thankful to all who’ve made this journey possible.
Check out Emily’s “Meet the Artist” interview from January 2011.
Emily’s performances for the 2010-2011 Season are graciously sponsored by an Anonymous Donor.
Support your favorite dancer through our Sponsor A Dancer Initiative!
Keith Lee, Associate Director
A native of the Bronx, New York, Keith Lee started his dance training at the age of three. With encouragement from Ben Vereen, he later pursued his studies at the High School of Performing Arts, where he received Capezio awards for excellence in both Ballet and Modern techniques. Immediately following graduation in 1968, he joined American Ballet Theatre. Promoted to the rank of soloist the following year, Keith Lee’s repertory included choreography of such masters as: Jose Limon, Jerome Robbins, Alvin Ailey, Lar Lubovitch, Antony Tudor and George Balanchine.
A versatile artist, as fluent in modern dance technique as Ballet, Keith Lee has served as Ballet Master of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, as well as Ballet Master for the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, The Capitol Ballet, and Nanette Bearden’s Contemporary Chamber Dance Company.
Lee began choreographing in 1968; since, creating ballets for American Ballet Theatre, the Washington Ballet, the Geneva Ballet, the Oakland Ballet, the Garden State Ballet, the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, the Capitol Ballet of Washington DC, the Memphis Concert Ballet, and the Lexington Ballet, to name a few.
Perhaps his most prized skill, Keith Lee is a master dance teacher. Based upon a lifetime of study and immersion, Lee has taught his own style of dance in schools throughout the Americas including: Jacob’ s Pillow, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Trikinia Kabilios in Bogota, Center Zena Romette, Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company, University of the Arts, Philadelphia School of Dance Arts, The Rock School of Ballet, Lee Theodore’s American Dance Machine, Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre and regionally, at Virginia School of the Arts, Roanoke Ballet Theater, Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, and Altavista Arts Council.
The co-founder and Artistic Director of Dance Theatre of Lynchburg, Mr. Lee currently resides in Lynchburg, Virginia with his wife and their three children. He continues his free-lance work in the dance field throughout the United States as a master teacher and choreographer.
Audrey Fenske, Resident Choreographer and Outreach Coordinator
Audrey Fenske began her dance training at Bounds Dance Studio/Triangle Youth Ballet in Chapel Hill, NC. She continued her studies in high school at the Virginia School of the Arts under the late Petrus Bosman, and received the Service Award upon graduation. She also trained at intensives with Houston Ballet, BalletMet Columbus, and Pilobolus. She graduated from Duke University as the university’s first Dance major with a double major in Developmental Psychology. While at Duke, Audrey received the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts and the Julia Wray Memorial Award for her choreography and performance work.
After graduation, Audrey taught, choreographed, and performed both freelance and at the Triangle Youth Ballet in Chapel Hill, NC, where she also served as Registrar and Director of Community Outreach. Audrey was also a member of the Durham, NC based professional company Gaspard&Dancers.
Audrey’s choreography has been commissioned by the Charlottesville Ballet and by the Duke University Dance Program, and has been performed at various venues nationally, including the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC; the Southeast Regional Ballet Association festival in Montgomery, AL; and at the 10th Annual Richmond Choreographers’ Showcase in Richmond, VA. Audrey is thrilled to join Charlottesville Ballet’s artistic team as Outreach Coordinator and Resident Choreographer for the 2012-2013 season.
Check out Audrey’s “Meet the Artist” interview from February 2012.
Dinah Gray, Artistic Associate
Originally from Los Angeles, Dinah Gray began her dance training at the Yvonne Cusack Ballet Center. After graduating from the Virginia School of the Arts, she earned her B.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography at Goucher College. Ms. Gray has danced professionally with Ballet Theatre of Maryland, The Baltimore Opera, Kimberly Mackin Dance Company, and Off Center Dance Theatre. From 2003 – 2007 she choreographed for, performed with, and co-directed Prospect Dance Group in Charlottesville, VA. Dinah currently teaches at the University of Virginia, Albemarle Ballet Theatre, St. Anne’s-Belfield School, and ACAC, and performs and choreographs in the Charlottesville area.
Ariadne Conner, Founder & Guest Choreographer
A Chicago native, Ariadne Conner relocated to Richmond, Virginia in 2003 to be a trainee with the Richmond Ballet. While a trainee, she had the opportunity to dance in Giselle, Swan Lake, Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, and original choreography by Richmond Ballet Faculty.
Prior to her two-year tenure as a trainee Ariadne was honored to work with outstanding teachers, many who worked personally with George Balanchine. Spending summers at the Houston Ballet Academy, Miami City Ballet, and the School of American Ballet in New York City, she worked with such teachers as Edward Villela, Suki Schore, Susan Pilar, Lauren Anderson, and Peter Boal.
Over the years, Ms. Conner trained at the Chamberlain School of Ballet in Dallas, Texas, with Marcia Dale Weary at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and with Dan Duell as a member of the Ballet Chicago Studio Company. During her time with Mr. Duell, she performed principle roles in Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Theme and Variations, Serenade, Tarantella, and The Nutcracker.
Ariadne’s varied background of experiences has enabled her to transition from the role of performer to that of choreographer. When Ms. Conner choreographed for the trainees of Richmond Ballet in the 2006 and 2007, she was propelled into a whole new experience with dance. Ariadne co-founded Charlottesville Ballet in 2007 and she continues her unique vision for the company through her beautiful works of choreography.