VRB Faculty & Staff
Heidrun S. Robitshek, Artistic Director & Instructor
Ms. Heidi began her studies in Classical Ballet and Character in Heidelberg, Germany under the direction of Tatiana Sawitzkaya and Henryk Szymczak. She took the examination to be certified as a professional in Stuttgart, Germany and studied with Anne Wooliams of the Stuttgart Ballet. Ms. Robitshek danced professionally with the State Opera and the State Theaters in Pforzheim, and Heidelberg, Germany. Ms. Robitshek studied at the Palucca School in Dresden, Germany, with Gret Palucca, and in Cologne, Germany, with Ursula Borrmann. Since in the United States, Ms. Robitshek has studied with Gene Hammett, Susan Borree, Teresa Martinez, Perry Brunson, Maggie Black, G.T. Darvash, Oleg Tupine, Gennadi Vostrikov and has danced professionally with the Richmond Ballet, Norfolk Civic Ballet, Annapolis Ballet, The Common Glory Outdoor Drama with Howard Scammon and Myra Kinch, Cumberland Dance Company, and the Chamber Ballet of Williamsburg. She has worked with choreographers Anton Dolin, Valerie Deakin, Edward Stewart, Luis Fuente, Dariusz Hochmona, Myra Kinch, Florin Scarlat, Robin Comissioni, and Enrique Martinez. As Artistic Director of the Chamber Ballet, Ms. Robitshek produced or choreographed The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night's Dream, La Fille Mal Gardée, Les Patineurs, The Blue Danube, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Fairy Tale to Fairy Tale, The Secret Garden, The Magic Flute, and The Tales of Beatrix Potter. In alternating years Ms. Robitshek accompanies selected students to Heidelburg, Germany, where they participate in L'Art de la Danse, a cultural exchange program. This is a tradition Ms. Robitshek started in 1993. Ms. Heidi also teaches seminars in Mexico, the United States, and Germany. She teaches Ballet 2A-3, Intermediate-Advanced Ballet, Character Dance, Pas de deux, Beginning Pointe, and Intermediate Adult Ballet.
Adelle P. Carpenter, Studio Director & Instructor
Ms. Adelle began her training at the age of ten as a protégée of Heidi Robitshek at the Chamber Ballet. She studied dance at Old Dominion University and has participated in numerous productions of The Nutcracker and other classical ballets for Chamber Ballet and other companies. Ms. Adelle attended summer studies at Ballet West and the Joffrey Ballet. She has competed in international dance competitions in Peru and Moscow and is a member of the Robitshek Dance Ensemble that performed in Heidelberg, Germany. Her full-length ballet roles include Swanhilda in Coppelia and Alice in Alice in Wonderland. In pas de deux, Ms. Adelle has danced Le Corsaire, peasant pas de deux from Giselle, the Snow pas de deux with the Old Dominion University Ballet and the grand pas de deux in Chamber Ballet's 1995 performance of The Nutcracker. She worked one season with Busch Gardens in the Festa Italia show. She was on the teaching staff of the Chamber Ballet from 1994 to 2006 and performed many principal roles in Chamber Ballet's productions. Ms. Adelle has been teaching dance for more than fifteen years. She teaches Mommy & Me, Intro to Dance, Pre-Ballet, Ballet I-III, Intermediate Ballet, Beginning Pointe, and Teen/Adult Ballet. She is the proud mother of three, ages 13, 10, and 8.
Teanna Calhoun, Instructor
Ms. Teanna is a dance major graduate from Point Park University and currently is pursuing her masters from Christopher Newport University. She has danced 7 seasons with Busch Gardens Williamsburg and has taught many summers for EVSPA. She really enjoys teaching children the joy of dance and has a fun and energetic teaching style. Ms. Teanna teaches tap and jazz.
Jose Eric Cruz has been living and dancing within the Hip-Hop community his whole life. He taught Popping and Hip-Hop cultural dance styles full time throughout the Boston area, and has now relocated in the Newport News area. As a professional Dance Instructor, Choreographer, and Performer, Mr. Cruz has also utilized his artistic dance talent working with children, teens, and adults of all ages and backgrounds in dance studios, after school programs, sports clubs, corporate events, colleges and universities.
Mr. Cruz has taught classes at Lesley University, Boston University, Boston College, Weston High School, Belmont Day School, Boston International School, Pierce School, Extreme Dance Sport, Brookline Academy of Dance, Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Impulse Dance Studio, Boston Center For Adult Ed, Brookline Center For Adult Ed, Brookline Community Center For The Arts, sports clubs such as Reebok Headquarters, Benefitness, Boston Sports Club, FIT CORP, Beacon Athletic Club, Health Works, and China Town YMCA. He has performance experience for Neil Young, Reebok, Puma, Ecco, Fleet Center, Museum of Fine Arts, Miami Music Conference, F.I.T. for Elan Awards, Extreme Dance Sport, Champion of Dance Studio, The Tannery, Colleges of The Fenway, NZDA Dance Studio and many more.
Jessie Lynn Dunning, Instructor
Ms. Dunning began her dance training at a very early age and continued her dance education at Radford University earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance with a minor in Spanish in 2006. Also in 2006, Mrs. Dunning became AFAA certified as a Group Exercise Instructor, in 2007 certified by American Heart as a BLS CPR instructor, and in 2009-10 earned her Zumba Basic Steps Level 1 & 2 certification. Mrs. Dunning has recently moved to Williamsburg from Staunton, Virginia where she was a Dance and Zumba instructor at Inner Goddess Studio and a Water Aerobics & Fitness Instructor at Lifetime Fitness at Augusta Medical Center.
Cathy Leach, Instructor
Ms. Cathy has been performing, teaching, and sharing her love of dance for the past 35 years. She studied dance at the Tidewater Ballet in Norfolk, VA and was in the first company of the Richmond Ballet. In the 1980s, Ms. Cathy initiated the dance program for Newport News Parks and Recreation. She has taught beginner to advanced ballet, tap, and jazz, beginner to intermediate baton, beginner tumbling, Zumba, and ballroom. She has directed marching units for numerous parades and has been a guest adjudicator for the VA State Pageant. Mrs. Leach became a Zumba Fitness Instructor in 2010. Currently, Ms. Cathy teaches Zumba, Intro to Dance, and Ballet 1, as well as teaching dance in local schools as part of Virginia Regional Ballet’s outreach programs.
Ms. Jennifer is a Professor of Dance and Musical Theater at Christopher Newport University and previously at Western Carolina University. She holds a B.A. in Theater from The College of William & Mary in Virginia and an M.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography from Florida State University. She performed for six years with Busch Gardens Entertainment Williamsburg and Tampa Bay, Florida. Outside the university setting, Jennifer has taught dance in VA, NC, NJ, and FL. Her work, "Oklahoma City," based on the bombing, was accepted into "Take a Chance Choreographer's Showcase" at New Dance Group Arts in NYC. She has performed two seasons with The Lost Colony, and has performed as a vocalist/dancer for Legends in Concert. She has also worked with Gwen Verdon, Ben Vereen, and Ann Reinking with The Broadway Theater Project.
Desiree Moore, Instructor
Ms. Desiree was 6 years old when she began her dance training at Diggs School of Dance. She has been dancing with Virginia Regional Ballet since 2010 and has been a part of VRB's Nutcracker since 2006. Desiree has attended summer dance programs with the Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, Virginia, Common Thread in Missouri, and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance in Colorado.
Noelle Schatzel, Instructor
Ms. Noelle began her dance training as a dedicated student of Chamber Ballet, under the instruction of Heidi Robitshek. In the summer of 2000 and 2004, Noelle participated in cultural exchange programs to Germany with the Robitshek Dance Ensemble. She was awarded a dance scholarship to Butler University. After finishing her sophomore year at Butler, she took a semester off and performed as a trainee with the Richmond Ballet in 2007. Noelle returned to college and earned her BA in Dance at Old Dominion University and Masters from William & Mary. She is a member of Sigma Rho Delta, the honorary dance fraternity. In 2009, Noelle began teaching for Newport News Public Schools as a dance teacher for physical education courses, as well as helping coordinate the dance program for NNPS Summer Institute for the Arts. Noelle has performed leading roles with Chamber Ballet and Virginia Regional Ballet, including Lissette in The Magic Flute, and the Snow Queen and Dewdrop in The Nutcracker.
Amber Spivey, Instructor
Ms. Amber put on her first pair of ballet slippers at the early age of 2. As the daughter of a prominent children’s dance instructor in the Williamsburg area, dance became a fundamental part of her childhood. Amber studied with Heidi Robitshek at Chamber Ballet throughout her school years. During that time, she performed in various productions including The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Coppelia, Alice in Wonderland, and Beauty and the Beast. Amber continued her pursuit of dance throughout high school performing in the productions of My Fair Lady, Music Man, and Guys and Dolls. She also choreographed and competed with the Lafayette High School dance team.
Amber first became interested in teaching children’s yoga when her oldest daughter began copying some of the poses she had seen on television. After conducting some research, she chose to do her training under Shakta Khalsa, founder of the Radiant Child Yoga program. Amber is pleased to be teaching Radiant Child Yoga at VRB.
Visiting Instructors and Guest Artists
Mr. Bartlett trained with Heidi Robitshek at the Chamber Ballet before attending the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C. as a scholarship student and North Carolina School for the Arts. At the Kirov Academy he studied with Ulena Vinogradova and Rudolph Kharatian and danced with the Kirov Ballet in The Nutcracker. He began dancing with Virginia Ballet Theatre in 2003. He has since performed as the Prince, Cavalier and Russian in The Nutcracker, the Court Jester in Cinderella, and the Cobbler in Twelve Dancing Princesses. He also performed in Allegro Brilliante, Serenade, Irish Ode, Mr. Evil & the Forever Diamond, Kettentanz -- Eisel und Beisel Sprung, Suite Saint-Saens and The Firebird. Other professional affiliations include Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Busch Gardens Tampa, The American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Oak Ridge Civic Ballet in Tennessee.
Jordan “Jordance” Cann
International dancer, chorepgrapher, martial artists, and acrobat.
Sandra Carlino began her dance training at age nine with the Norfolk Civic Ballet under the direction of Gene Hammett and Perry Brunson. Her eight years of study included five years of performing with the Company. Ms. Carlino has an extensive performing repertoire, including memorable roles in Paquita, Raymonda, Spring Waters, Graduation Ball, La Bayadere and Swan Lake as well as major classical and contemporary works. At age 17, she was offered a position with Joffrey II, where she studied for three years.
Ms. Carlino has over 25 years teaching experience for regional companies and festivals, as well as the Virginia Governor’s Magnet School, Virginia Ballet Theatre (formerly Norfolk Civic Ballet), Harrisburg Ballet, Joffrey Ballet School Summer Program, Baltimore School for the Arts and served as temporary Ballet Mistress for Cedar Lake Ensemble’s premiere touring season.
She began her association with Pennsylvania Regional Ballet (formerly Cumberland Dance Company) in 1989, becoming Ballet Mistress in 1991 and was named Artistic Director in 2000.
In addition to her work as Artistic Director, Ms. Carlino serves as a master teacher and rehearsal director throughout the country, as well as the Northeast Coordinator to the National Board of Regional Dance America and as a panel member for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
Stephanie Jackson received her training at Capital Area Dance, where she was a charter member of the Cumberland Dance Company (now Pennsylvania Regional Ballet). Stephanie also trained at the Joffrey Ballet Trainee Program, Washington Ballet, University of the Arts, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and the Carlisle Project. She has guest performed with the Allegheny Ballet Company and was a member of Harrisburg Ballet. She has performed various roles in Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Dracula, Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet. Formerly, Stephanie taught at Harrisburg Dance Conservatory where she served as Director of the Beginner/Intermediate Division, Greater York Youth Ballet and has now been with PRB (CDC) since 1999.
Ms. Meredith's dance career spans classical ballet, modern dance and theater. She was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre II, Edward Villella, Manhattan Ballet, Ohio Ballet, Ballet du Nord and others. She toured as Louise in San Francisco Opera Ballet's Carousel, and appeared as Columbine for the Walter Verdehr Trio's PBS presentation of Pierrot. Leda is currently Rehearsal Director of Dances Patrelle, and originated numerous roles for that company including her critically acclaimed Lady Macbeth in Francis Patrelle's Macbeth. She was a company member of Jennifer Muller/The Works for over eight years and returned as Artistic Associate Director for The Works 25th anniversary season.
Leda is one of the few officially accredited teachers of the Muller modern dance technique, as well as teaching ballet, partnering, composition and performance skills. She is an Adjunct Professor for Adelphi University's Dance Department, and the recipient of Adelphi's 2007-2008 Teaching Excellence Award. She holds an Honorary Doctorate in the Arts from La Universidad Leonardo Da Vinci in San Salvador. Leda is a returning guest instructor for Pennsylvania Regional Ballet, the Henny Jurriens Stichting in Amsterdam, Western Washington University, Koelnertanz in Cologne, and the Dance Loft in Rorschach, Switzerland, among others. She has taught for the Iles de Danse in France, for the Artist's Trust International Course in England, and as a guest instructor for Carolyn Carlson's Atelier de Paris. Other dance programs she has taught for include the California State University at Los Angeles, SUNY Purchase, SUNY Oswego, and Brigham Young University in Hawaii. She has been a featured instructor for the Northeast Regional Dance Festival and the American College Dance Association.
A published author on many subjects, her writing has appeared in Pointe Magazine, European Dance News, The Herb Companion, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's All-Region Guides, and The-Vu, among others. Leda is also a professional gardener and botanist and teaches for the New York Botanical Garden and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Mimi Phillips has over 25 years of dance experience and is currently a champion Irish dancer. She is also a certified Health and Fitness Instructor with the American College of Sports Medicine and Stott pilates instructor.
Adrianna began dancing eighteen years ago. She has studied and performed with numerous companies throughout the United States, however her most prestigious studies were at the Chamber Ballet in Williamsburg, VA under the direction of Heidi Robitshek. In 2000 Adrianna was invited by Ms. Heidi to perform at a Cultural Dance Exchange in Germany.
While at college, she studied under Pamela Risenhoover. Her training included extensive studies with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company and Pilobolus. In 2007 Adrianna graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College with a BA in Fine Arts.
Adrianna has performed as Klara in Chamber Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Peter Rabbit in Chamber Ballet’s Beatrix Potter’s The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Friends, Primitive Mysteries choreographed by Martha Graham at R-MWC and Tarleton’s Resurrection from the Pilobolus Dance Company at R-MWC. She has performed professionally with Busch Gardens Williamsburg during the summer seasons 2004-2006 as a strolling actor. She has taught for the Virginia School of the Arts, Academy of Fine Arts.
Victoria Schneider studied with Fred Danieli at the School of the Garden State Ballet in New Jersey. She danced professionally with the Garden State Ballet as a soloist, and with the Pennsylvania Ballet. She then taught at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet for seven years, before moving to Italy where she worked as principal teacher at La Scuola di Danza Classica in Florence. After returning to the United States, she established the School of the Tampa Ballet and served as ballet mistress of the Tampa/Colorado Ballet. Ms. Schneider studied the teaching syllabus of Russian Classical Ballet with her late husband, Jurgen Schneider, and with Janina Ciunovas. In addition, she completed the two-year pedagogy program at the Vaganova Academy of Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia. (She is one of only three Americans to be certified through this prestigious and demanding program.) Her students have won major awards in numerous ballet competitions and can be found dancing in major ballet companies in the United States and abroad. Ms. Schneider has served as a jury member for the Japan Grand Prix ballet competition since its inception in 2002. She is currently a faculty member at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida.
Donald Tolj is currently an instructor at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida. Prior to Harid, he was director of ballet at New Tampa Dance Theatre and the choreographer in residence for Dance Theatre of Tampa. He returned to Florida after four years in the UK from 2006 to 2010 where he was Artistic Administrator and faculty member at the Elmhurst School for Dance in Association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. While in the UK Mr. Tolj was a panel member on the first international symposium on Dance Psychology hosted by the University of Birmingham, UK., a dance and movement consultant for the Bio-mechanics of Dance Project at Coventry University, and completed his Level 2 Certification in Pilates.
He started his career at the Cincinnati Ballet while attending the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Don received a BA in Visual and Performing Arts from The University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 1977. During his 20 year international performing career, he worked with the Who’s Who of both Ballet and Contemporary dance. He was a dancer with Maryland Ballet, Richmond Ballet and Southern Ballet Theatre, dancing Principal and Soloist roles in the most of the Classic repertoire as well as having roles created for him by leading choreographers.
Donald has been the Artistic Director of The Chamber Ballet and Evansville Dance Theatre, Louisville Ballet’s Civic Company, as well as the Director of their affiliated schools. Concurrently he spent 14 years on the summer faculty of the prestigious Governors School for the Humanities and the Visual and Performing Arts in Richmond VA, instructing a range of interdisciplinary arts and humanities subjects as well as dance. He has many former students in companies world wide, including, New York City Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Singapore Dace Theatre, Estonian National Ballet, Teater (Theatre) Vanemuine, Magdeburg Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Slovak National Ballet and others.
Gennadi Vostrikov was born in Siberia, Russia. He received his early training in Perm. Mr. Vostrikov studied with the renowned ballet teachers Plaht and Asaular. Gennadi was awarded the first degree diploma in the Leningrad Ballet Competition. Upon graduation, he was asked to join the Moiseyev Classical Ballet Company. While with the Moiseyev Company he was coached by the legendary ballet masters, Igor Moiseyev, Asaff Messerer, and Sulamif Messerer.
The Moiseyev Classical Ballet Company traveled worldwide. It was during one of their many tours that Mr. Vostrikov saw the possibility for freedom and defected while in Mexico. The Mexico Ballet Company prompted him to join their company as a principal and teacher. Nicholas Petrov, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre director, heard about his defection and requested that Gennadi join PBT. While with PBT, Gennadi performed numerous principal roles in such ballets as The Nutcracker, Prince Igor, Rite of Spring, Spectra de la Rose, Carmena Burana, Coppelia, Cinderella, Giselle, Swan Lake, Les Sylphide, Romeo and Juliet, Corsaire Pas de Deux, La Bayadere, and Don Quixote, as well as having performed with the Pittsburgh Opera. Mr. Vostrikov also was a principal with Chicago Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet. Gennadi was an associate professor of dance with the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Shenandoah University, as well as Director of Ballet Zulia in Maracaibo, Venezuela.
Mr. Vostrikov is currently director of the Virginia Youth Ballet and Vostrikov's Academy of Ballet. He is also a guest teacher and choreographer with Cumberland Ballet, New Castle Ballet, Virginia Regional Ballet, Louisiana Dance Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and master teacher with national and regional ballet festivals.
Mr. Watson studied classical ballet at the New York Conservatory of the Arts and at The John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, Germany. Mr. Watson is a former principal dancer with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Staatstheater of Kassel, Germany, The Pearl Primus Earth Theater, and The Joan Miller Dance Players. He is a master teacher for the City of Norfolk Dance program and the Ballet Virginia International School and Company. Mr. Watson also serves on the Norfolk Commission of Arts and Humanities for the City of Norfolk and has participated in and led numerous collaborations with the Virginia Symphony, the Chrysler Museum, the Attucks Theater, and Portsmouth Redevelopment. Mr. Watson is the co founder of the “Kinetics of Stone” fine arts collaborative in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the founder of the Tidewater Dance Collective and the Elbert Watson Dance Company. Mr. Watson is the dance master at Norfolk Academy and has been a dance instructor there for over twenty-five years.
Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Cumberland Dance Company (now Pennsylvania Regional Ballet), and The Julliard School.
Anton (Tony) Wilson
Anton is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts. Anton T. Wilson was born in Annapolis, MD, where he began his studies with Anne Waugh Allen and Edward D. Stewart. He has performed with: Ballet Theatre of Maryland; Parnassus Dance Theatre, Japan; Djazzex, Holland; Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo; Martita Goshen’s Earthworks; Jennifer Muller/The Works, New York, among others. He has taught, choreographed and toured internationally for twenty-three years. Anton is a 2007 and 2009 recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award for choreography. He is currently an instructor for the Baltimore School for the Arts.