The Studio, School of Classical Ballet, Santa Cruz, CA
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They Started With Us...

Many graduates of The Studio have continued on to professional careers; we have a high ratio of training professionals, some of whom are featured here. Our students are prepared with the most classically-clean technique they can have, which means they are in high demand by companies of different types: companies who perform mostly classical repertoire, companies that perform a mixture of classical, contemporary, and modern repertoire, and companies that perform mostly modern and contemporary repertoire. Classical ballet technique is the base for all forms of dance, so our dancers are ready to take on whatever challenge they are presented.

Many alumni begin training at an early age, starting in pre-ballet or with our Level Ia at the age of eight or nine. Most of the professionals we have trained had something special about them that stood out at an early age. For some of them it was their obviously natural ability and/or physique, well suited to ballet. For others it was their pure desire. For still others it was their natural musicality, interpretation, or presentation. No matter what made each of them special, we provided the best training we could and they thrived. Above all, they became dancers because of their perseverance and the will to make it happen. We salute each and every one of them and are proud of their accomplishments.

Melody Mennite ~ MELODY began ballet training in Santa Cruz at The Studio, School of Classical Ballet and danced with Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. She studied on full scholarship at Houston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and with Suzanne Farrell at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. In 2001, Melody joined Houston Ballet as an apprentice. She was promoted to soloist in 2005 and to principal dancer in 2008. Melody performs as a guest artist nationally and internationally and has danced many featured roles with Houston Ballet. In January of 2007, Melody was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine as one of their annual 25-to-Watch. Her repertoire includes" Manon" in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Manon, the "Sylph" in Bournonville's La Sylphide, "Tatiana" and "Olga" in John Cranko's Onegin, "Odette/Odile" in Stanton Welch's Swan Lake, "Swanilda" and "Daw" in Coppelia, "Valencienne" in The Merry Widow, "Cio-Cio San" and "Kate" in Madame Butterfly, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and "Cinderella" in Stanton Welch's Cinderella.

Read the fascinating article by Nancy Wozny, SUSPENDED IN DANCE, online, "Turning point: Extreme slow motion video captures Houston ballet dancer's every move," featuring Melody.

Read Dance Magazine's 2013 feature story on Melody

Contemporary, featured roles for Melody include the "White Pas de Deux" in Jirí Kylián's Forgotten Land and Petite Mort; Stanton Welch's Velocity, Indigo, Wildlife, and Brigade; Christopher Bruce's Ghost Dances, Rooster, and Hush; Harald Lander's Etudes; Paul Taylor's Company B; William Forsythe's In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated; George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments and Serenade; and Mark Morris's Sandpaper Ballet, "Emeralds and Rubies" in Balanchine's Jewels. Roles created on Melody include "Marie" in Stanton Welch's Marie," Spring" in Stanton Welch's The Four Seasons, and "Rosie" in Stanton Welch's The Core.

Visit these additional online links for beautiful
video footage of Melody in action:
Falling ~ Melody + Ian | Swan Lake, Cygnettes

Lucien Postlewaite ~ LUCIEN is from Santa Cruz and began his training at The Studio, School of Classical Ballet at the age of four. He performed many leading roles with Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre throughout his training, including the Nutcracker Prince, Snow King, and Cavalier, Prince Sigfried in Swan Lake Act II, Don Quixote Pas de Deux, and had many roles created especially for him by Robert Kelley. While on tour with SCBT in 2000, he performed Don Quixote Pas de Deux and Pivot throughout Austria, Germany, and France. Lucien completed his training at the School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School on scholarship and joined Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) in 2003.

While at PNB, Lucien was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 2007 and Principal in 2008. He has performed leading roles in many of the classic ballets including Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Cinderella, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, and he performed the role of "Romeo" in the company's premiere of Jean Christophe Maillot's Romeo et Juliette to much critical acclaim. In addition to the classics, he has danced many leading roles by George Balanchine, including Agon, Square Dance,The Prodigal Son, and Theme and Variations to name a few. His repertoire with PNB is vast and includes works by Val Caniparoli, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, William Forsythe, Ulysses Dove, Ronald Hynd, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmanski, Jiri Kilian, Kent Stowell, and Jerome Robbins. He has originated many roles with various choreographers while at PNB, most notably, by Twyla Tharp. Lucien has appeared as a guest artist with the New York City Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, and has performed with companies in China and Japan. In 2003, Lucien received a Level II Award for ballet in the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts and in 2008 was the recipient of The Princess Grace Award, Dance Fellowship. In addition to his work at PNB, Lucien works as a freelance artist and is a member of the Seattle based contemporary company, "Whim W'Him." Latest News! Lucien has accepted a new position as dancer with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, directed by Jean-Christophe Malliot. He continues to work with Whim W'him in Seattle whenever possible. Read his first interview about his move to Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, as well as his interview with Alice Kaderlan of Crosscut, and his 2008 interview with Ballet-Dance Magazine.

As a child, Lucien performed nearly every male role in SCBT's Production of The Nutcracker. It's been our great pleasure to have invited both Lucien and Melody back to Santa Cruz these past several years to reprise their respective roles and inspire so many young, up-and-coming dancerrs in SCBT's annual holiday production.

>> Studio Director, Diane Cypher Reminisces About Melody and Lucien... click here and read more...
"Melody Mennite and Lucien Postlewaite were two children that were hungry for more challenges, from very young. Robert (Kelley) choreographed the first small Pas de Deux for them, in a piece that featured older dancers in the more prominent roles (at that time, Gabriel Williams and his partner). Melody and Lucien were, I think, 13... They performed this piece at the RDA Festival that year, and many people took notice. We knew they were talented, but the fact that both of them arranged their academic school schedules around ballet was simply amazing. Their families were extremely supportive. They both took courses at Cabrillo College instead of regular high school, which made it easier for them to arrange their class times. When they were both 15, they both came in to The Studio twice a week at noon and we had class, they rehearsed whatever we were working on. The first time it was Swan Lake Act II. They would come in and rehearse for a couple of hours, eat something, take the first class at 3:30pm, then their own class at 5:00pm, then do the rehearsal that night with the other dancers or take another class.

I remember Lucien would take my Level III class in Studio B instead of the more advanced class in Studio A at 3:30pm, because we were working on stretching a lot and he wanted to work on his flexibility. By 15, they were both incredibly dedicated. They kept asking us for more. They wanted to learn, and since they were working together and had similar school schedules, it was possible to do more. The second year we worked during the day together, we taught them the "Grand Pas de Deux" from "The Nutcracker." Our guest artists — alumnus Jeff Stanton and his partner Kimberly Davey — were unable to get to Santa Cruz in time for opening night, where they were featured as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavailer. Melody and Lucien worked very hard on that Pas de Deux. They did the standard choreography for everything, which means professional-level steps that included variations and coda — very mature work, and also incredibly difficult stamina-wise for young dancers. They performed as the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier opening night and I remember, Robert and I couldn't have been prouder. Now, when they return and perform these roles each December in SCBT's production at Christmas, it makes me think back on when they were so very young and dancing their little hearts out. They have both worked incredibly hard to get where they are now, neither sat back and rested on their laurels, and it shows. They are top-notch dancers today, each in their own way."

Kaelyn Magee ~ KAELYN began her ballet training at age seven with local teachers in Carmel, California. At age ten, she began studying at The Studio, School of Classical Ballet upon invitation from Diane Cypher and Robert Kelley, and soon after joined Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. With the company, she performed annually for six years at Regional Dance America Pacific. She attended summer courses at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, The Studio, School of Classical Ballet, Utah Regional Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School on scholarship.

She joined Utah Regional Ballet in 2008 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2009. Kaelyn was recently quoted in an indepth article as she stars in "Once Upon a Time: Swan Lake", May of 2012.

Kaelyn performed Alan Hineline's Resolute in 2009 for the opening ceremonies of Regional Dance America Pacific held in Utah. She has performed with Utah Regional Ballet, and has had various principal roles in full length ballets including, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Hansel & Gretel, Peter Pan, Legend of Timpanogos, Coppelia, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the role of "Medora" in Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, as well as various contemporary works.

While a member of Utah Regional Ballet, Kaelyn taught full time at Jacqueline's School of Ballet. In the fall of 2013, she starts a new job as dancer with Ballet Arizona, based in Phoenix.

Katerina Robinson ~ KATERINA was a student at The Studio from age seven to age 18 and danced with the Petite, Junior, and Senior Companies of Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Katerina left the studio in 2006 to attend UC Berkeley, where she double majored in Political Science and Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. While attending UC Berkeley, Katerina danced in the Berkeley Modern Dance Department and took ballet classes in the Berkeley PE Department. In the spring of 2009, Katerina spent four months in Washington DC working for the U.S. Congress and took ballet classes at Washington Ballet. In fall 2009, Katerina founded the Ballet Company at Berkeley (BC@B), a student-run, student- taught, student-directed ballet company that allows Berkeley students to take inexpensive, professional ballet classes and provides an opportunity for student choreography and performance every semester. BC@B is the first student ballet company Berkeley has ever had. Katerina graduated from UC Berkeley in the spring of 2010. In October that same year, she took a trip down to Southern California to work as the Field Coordinator for California State Assemblymember Mike Gatto's reelection campaign. After a successful race, she is currently working in Sacramento as a Legislative Assistant to Assemblymember Gatto.

Sarah Stein Eriksen
~ SARAH, of San Jose, California joined Ballet San Jose as a trainee in 2006, was promoted to apprentice in 2007, and became a part of the Corps de Ballet in 2009. She received most of her ballet training from Diane Cypher and Robert Kelley of The Studio and Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre, prior to joining the Ballet San Jose School. She has also studied with San Jose Dance Theatre and attended the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Boston Ballet summer programs, as well as USDAN Center for the Performing Arts, under the Direction of Dennis Nahat. Sarah has performed with Ballet San Jose in Dennis Nahat's The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Carmina Burana, The Firebird, and Blue Suede Shoes. She has also performed in Daryl Gray's Cinema Sountracks and Pirates of Penzance, Flemming Flindt's Phaedra, and The Toreador, George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments (Sanguinic), Serenade, and Square Dance, and Anthony Tudor's Jardin auxLlias (Lilac Garden). She has also performed in Made in Denmark, alongside the Dancers of the Royal Danish Ballet, in Spain, and toured with Ballet San Jose to China, both in the summer of 2008.

Beth Terwilleger
~ BETH, originally from Santa Cruz, California, joined Ballet Austin II in the fall of 2003 and joined their dance company in 2005. Prior to joining Ballet Austin II, Beth studied ballet with The Studio, School of Classical Ballet and Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre, Richmond Ballet, The Rock School, and Miami City Ballet. She has enjoyed dancing roles in Concerto Barocco, Episodes, and Serenade by George Balanchine, Truth & Beauty: The Bach Project, Hamlet, Touch, Silence Within Silence, Songs of Innuendo, and Red Roses by Stephen Mills, along with other works by Twyla Tharp, KT Nelson, Michelle Thompson, Reginald Harris, Dominic Walsh, Gina Patterson, Thaddeus Davis, Viktor Kabaniaev, and Thang Dao. Read an interview with Beth, online...


Gabriel Williams ~ GABRIEL was born and raised in Felton, California. He trained at the Studio, School of Classical Ballet, and No Limits Dance and Performing Arts during high school, and after graduating, was an apprentice at the Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles for two years under some of the best teachers and choreographers on the Jazz/commercial scene. Gabriel attended summer programs at Houston Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet and was a member of the Milwaukee Ballet second company for two years. Gabriel then went on to dance soloist and principal roles with New York Theatre Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Black Rock City Ballet, Madison Ballet, and the Sacramento Ballet. Gabriel has performed works by Balanchine, de Mille, Ashton, Tudor, Dwight Rhoden, Twyla Tharp, Trey McIntyre, Donald McKayle, Eugene Loring, Stephen Mills, Ron Cunningham, Ronn Guidi, and Carlos Carvajal among others. Since embarking on a freelance career, Gabriel has danced with Ballet Idaho, Idaho Dance Theatre, Amy Seiwert's Im'ij-re, and the Trey McIntyre Project.


>> Additional Veteran Graduates of The Studio We Are Oh So Proud of (read more...)

Hayley Blackman is in her second year studying physical therapy at University of Texas at Austin; she teaches ballet at local studios.

Joshua Burnham was both dancer and Ballet Master with Ballet Theatre of Maryland and is now with Manassas Ballet Theatre in Virginia.

Bonnie Costa is a dancer with Utah Regional Ballet and has performed featured roles in "The Nutcracker" and "Peter Pan."

Leila Drake continues her career with State Street Ballet.

Sam Fulk begins his second season with Utah Regional Ballet, simultaneously attending Utah Valley University on an academic scholarship.

Julia Halpin continues her career as a freelance dancer, photographer, personal trainer, and artist in
New York City.

Jan Javier continues her career as a freelance dancer in New York City and she also danced with Luna Negra dance company in Chicago. She was an apprentice with Richmond Ballet and was in the national touring company of Movin' Out.

Courtney Jesberg is a student of the Dance Department at Cal State University Long Beach.

Gabrielle Kamalani attends Stanford University and intends to study medicine.

Gabriela Minden has left the Ballet West trainee program and is nowstudying English at Columbia University.

Emilee Mullin is currently studying at UC Berkeley and is a member of Ballet Company at Berkeley (BC@B).

Jeff Stanton retired from dancing with Pacific Northwest Ballet last season; he had been a principal dancer with the company for over ten years.

Natalie Thomas has concluded an exciting dance career in Europe with Nederlands Dans Theater II and William Forsythe's Frankfurt Ballet, and is currently pursuing an acting career in New York.

Lauryn Winterhalder was a Professional Division student with Pacific Northwest Ballet for one season before joining Cincinnati Ballet as a trainee. Lauryn is a dancer with Sacramento Ballet, having performed featured roles in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and new works in the Modern Masters series.

Meagan Wodecki is currently studying at UC Berkeley and is a member of Ballet Company at Berkeley (BC@B).