Deanna Doty, Director
Deanna Doty was born in Chicago, Illinois to ballet dancer Joan Marley Doty and graphic designer/photographer David Doty. She began her training at The Evanston School of Ballet and Ellis-Du Boulay in Chicago. At age sixteen she moved to train and subsequently dance under Harvey Hysell of New Orleans Ballet. Ms Doty continued her career with Robert Ivy Ballet in South Carolina, the Lexington Ballet in Kentucky, and as a guest artist with Ballet Alaska, Mississippi Ballet and Piccolo Spolato Festival.
Throughout her years dancing, Ms Doty enjoyed many opportunities to teach, and continued to do so when she moved to Champaign. In 1998, she opened the Champaign Ballet Academy and in the fall of the same year, founded the Champaign Urbana Ballet.
“I have spent decades dedicating myself to the establishment of a nationally recognized school and company right here in Champaign. It is an honor and privilege to make my living as an artist and teacher, and I feel lucky to be able to do it in a community like this. My hope is to be able to give back to our ballet families, and city, as much as they have given to me.”
Catrina Choate-Heretoiu, Ballet Instructor
Catrina Choate-Heretoiu received her primary ballet training with the Cecchetti Method and later with the School of American Ballet in New York City. She danced professionally with Miami City Ballet, Carolina Ballet, and Miami Contemporary Dance Company. Ms. Heretoiu performed many Balanchine Ballets including Agon, Concerto Barocco, The Four Temperaments, Jewels, and Serenade. As a teacher, she has staged many productions such as The Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Coppelia, and she has also choreographed many original contemporary ballets. Most recently, while living in Northern California, Ms. Heretoiu taught all levels of ballet in the pre-professional division of Northern California Dance Conservatory and also gave Movement Awareness classes for the Sacramento Ballet trainee program.
Ms. Heretoiu holds a B.A. degree in English Literature from Florida International University and an MFA degree in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From 2010-2014, Ms. Heretoiu was a full-time faculty member with the UIUC Dance Department where she taught ballet, directed the community outreach Lecture Demonstration program, and created an Injury Lab for the dance majors. She is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais practitioner and has structured specific Awareness Through Movement lessons for dancers to help the physical rehabilitation process and to increase a sense of body awareness.
Kevin Burnside, Conditioning
Kevin is a current dancer with Champaign Urbana Ballet and has performed in productions of The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake. Burnside studies with Deanna Doty at Champaign Ballet Academy and is a former dance major at the University of Illinois. While at the university, he danced in several roles within the department and was a member of a nationally ranked competitive dance team. He is the co-owner of I-Power School of Gymnastics, where he serves as head coach.
Elijah Ochs, Ballet Instructor
Elijah entered Champaign Ballet Academy and joined Champaign Urbana Ballet in 2006. He advanced to Apprentice in the fall of 2011, then to Senior Company in the fall of 2014, and in 2019 was awarded a performance contract with CU Ballet. His repertoire includes the Nutcracker, Cavalier, Rose King, and Arabian Prince among other roles in The Nutcracker; Prince Siegfried and Neapolitan in Swan Lake; Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty; Prince Charming and Spring in Cinderella; Cavalier and Harlequin in Coppélia; and danced the role of Golden Idol in La Bayadère. In 2016, Elijah began teaching at Champaign Ballet Academy under the direction of Tobey Martinez. In 2020, he joined the staff of CU Ballet as Assistant to Artistic Director, Deanna Doty. Elijah, a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is studying Kinesiology and Spanish. He aspires to serve the public as a physical therapist.
Zoleen Rypka, Ballet Instructor
Zoleen Rypka has trained with Deanna Doty and guest instructors at Champaign Ballet Academy since 2016. She started dancing at the age of 7 with Champaign Park District’s Dance Arts program, where at 13, she began assisting and teaching classes for younger students. In 2017, she was selected for the Dance Ensemble at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. In 2019, She attended the FAA High School Summer Intensive at the University of Illinois. Zoleen is a fourth-year company member and has performed in Champaign Urbana Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Paquita. Zoleen took part in Champaign Ballet Academy’s teacher training program starting in the summer of 2018. She joins the staff of Champaign Ballet Academy in 2021. Zoleen is currently an accounting major at Parkland College.
Taylor Feddersen, Guest Instructor
Taylor began ballet at the age of four under Deanna Doty at Champaign Ballet Academy. As a company dancer with Champaign Urbana Ballet, she danced the roles of Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Black Swan in Swan Lake, and Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. Taylor continued her ballet training with CAS Ballet Theatre School in Ann Arbor and Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. She has danced in over 100 ballet performances with Champaign Urbana Ballet and Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre. In addition, she has been a guest instructor at ACTS Manila, a ballet school and company in Manila, Philippines. Taylor is currently a computer science major at the University of Michigan.
Lauren Frost, Guest Instructor
Lauren entered Champaign Ballet Academy and joined Champaign Urbana Ballet as an Apprentice dancer in 2011. She advanced to Senior Company in the fall of 2013, and in 2018 was awarded a performance contract with CU Ballet. Lauren was recently promoted to Soloist, being only the third dancer to achieve this status with the company. Her repertoire includes Clara, Sugarplum Fairy, Rose Queen, Arabian Princess, Ice Fairy, Spanish, and Rose Bud in TheNutcracker; Odile in Swan Lake; Lilac Fairy and the Queen in The Sleeping Beauty; Fairy Godmother in Cinderella; a Friend and Swanhilda in Coppélia; and danced the role of Gamzatti in La Bayadère. In 2014, Lauren began teaching at Champaign Ballet Academy under the direction of Tobey Martinez. In 2018, she joined the staff of CU Ballet as Assistant to Artistic Director, Deanna Doty. After graduating with her Associates in Criminal Justice from Parkland College in the Spring of 2020, she has coninued her college career at Southern Illinois University Carbondale where she plans to graduate with her Bachelors in Psychology. Frost aspires to serve the public as a police officer after college.
Claire Daly, Guest Instructor
Claire joined the Champaign Ballet Academy in 2000. She performed in many productions with Champaign Urbana Ballet over the years. Her soloist roles include Clara and Sugarplum Fairy in the Nutcracker, Aurora and Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty, Swanhilda in Coppélia, and Pas de Trois in Paquita. She attended The Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory for their summer intensive training along with summer intensives taught by Nurlan Abougaliev. After leaving CU Ballet, she attended Parkland College then continued her degree at Lesley University College of Art and Design earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. For the last few years Claire has photographed for the CU Ballet resulting in two books and both web and print publications. She has thoroughly enjoyed the creative collaboration that has developed and appreciates the opportunity to combine her love of ballet and photography. She is happy to be back in her hometown of Champaign where she works as an artist.
Alexis Hedge, Guest Instructor
Alexis is from Champaign, IL., and started her training at Champaign Ballet Academy before continuing at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy. She joined Ballet Memphis in 2012 and has performed as Clara in the Nutcracker, Grace in Cinderella, and has been in Mark Godden’s A Distant Glimmer and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jennifer Archibald’s Glory, Matthew Neenan’s Darting Eyes, and Gabrielle Lamb’s I am A woman: Moult. She currently teaches ballet at NVS Dance and is a student at DePaul University studying Psychology.
Kathryn Hosier, Guest Instructor
Kathryn trained at the Champaign Ballet Academy and Canada’s National Ballet School. After dancing in such ballets as The Nutcracker (Clara), Le Corsaire and Swan Lake (Odile, Pas de Trois) at the Champaign Urbana Ballet, Kathryn moved to Canada to complete her training and join The National Ballet of Canada. She has received the Peter Dwyer Award as well as the Erik Bruhn Award, and is a second soloist with the company.
Erica Johnston, Guest Instructor
Erica began her performing career with the Southern Illinois Music Festival Dance Company, performing in The Firebird and Petrushka. She appeared with members of Butler Ballet in a production of Paul Taylor’s Le Sacre du Printemps: The Rehearsal, as well as the world premier of Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s “En Camino”. She graduated from Butler University with a BFA in Dance Performance and now freelances in New York, NY. She is a company member with the Victory Dance Project and also works with independent choreographers Allyson Ross (Southern Belle Stories) and Christopher Jackson (formerly of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater). Additionally, Erica is a sought-after costume designer for some of New York’s foremost dance institutions, including Hunter College, Marymount Manhattan College, and the Ailey School.
Valerie Linsner, Guest Instructor
Valerie was born and raised in Champaign, IL where she trained at Champaign Ballet Academy and performed with Champaign Urbana Ballet. In 2017, she began dancing with Ballet 5:8 where she is a current Company Artist. Miss Linsner instructs at Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts and is co-director of their Pre-professional Division and Ensemble Program.
Tracy McCabe, Guest Instructor
Tracy has over two decades of classical ballet training and experience as an instructor, production and choreographic assistant to CBA and CU Ballet. His teachers and influencers include Fury Gold and Delores Lipinski of Chicago, IL, Grace Lutrell Nanavati of Springfield Ballet Company, and Robert DiCello and Philip Johnston of the University of Illinois, among others. He is an associate vice president at the University of Chicago and an avid supporter of Krannert Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Sally Kim, Office Manager
Sally graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in economics and post-baccalaureate studies in advanced accounting. Her professional work experiences include commercial banking portfolio management and credit analysis, retail business operations, and bilingual education. She currently serves as vice principal of Korean Language and Culture School in Champaign and volunteers with Champaign Urbana Ballet as the head costume fitter. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Sally also has a background in performing arts, having more than a decade of training in Korean traditional dance under the direction of Kim Eung Hwa, disciple of Human Cultural Asset No. 27, Han Young Sook. She is passionate for all genres of dance, especially in their cultivation of creativity and artistic expression.
Teacher Training Program
Oscar Lewis, Ilana Cohen, Janie Lee, Hanna Laible-Seif, Farah Willenbrock
Emily Shunk, Eleanor Kraatz, Emma Rypka, Ava Teague
Roscoe is Champaign Ballet Academy’s official Dance Bag Inspector and Liaison. Roscoe spends his time going through each dancer’s bag in search of defective toe spacers. He is sure to greet you with a friendly tail wag and will happily sit by any dancer who needs some company on their snack break.