At The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, each teacher’s primary objective is to help his or her students achieve the individual goals they set out to reach as dancers. We not only recognize our students’ genuine passion for this art form, but equally embrace the dedication they bring to the studio each and every day. We also believe the same passion, commitment, and joy for dance they bring to their training will spill over and enrich all aspects of their daily lives.


Hometown: Mullica Hill, NJ

Valerie Amiss began her training at age eight under Sue Millington at the Regency Ballet. She continued her instruction with Victor Moreno and Alexei Yudenich, and at age 12 joined the Pennsylvania Ballet School. At age 15, Ms. Amiss spent a summer studying in Saratoga Springs, NY with members of New York City Ballet, including Peter Martins, Heather Watts, and Jock Soto. She was nominated for the prestigious Princess Grace Award in 1994, and in 1995 performed at the Algur H. Meadows Award Ceremony to honor choreographer Paul Taylor. In the summer of that same year, she also performed with the Chautauqua Ballet Company, directed by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride, and, in 1997, performed at the St. Bart’s Music Festival.

Ms. Amiss joined Pennsylvania Ballet as an apprentice in 1992. She became a member of the corps de ballet in 1993 and was promoted to soloist in 1999. In the summer of that year, she also represented the company at the Sintra Festival in Portugal. And in 2005, Ms. Amiss not only performed at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, where she danced featured roles in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, but also performed Matthew Neenan’s 11:11 and Carmina Burana at New York City Center. Additionally, she had the honor of performing twice at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as well as with Susan Jaffe and Nicole Hlinka for a Rock School benefit.

Ms. Amiss has performed numerous principal roles in the Balanchine repertoire, including Titania and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Odette in Swan Lake Act II, and the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker. As well, she danced featured roles in such works as Giselle, Paul Taylor’s Company B, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Christopher Wheeldon’s Continuum and Swan Lake, Janek Schergen’s The Sleeping Beauty, Alvin Ailey’s The River, Jerome Robbins’ In the Night and The Concert, and George Balanchine’s Rubies, The Four Temperaments, Western Symphony, Agon, and Serenade, among others.

Ms. Amiss has taught ballet and pointe classes at summer sessions for the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. As well, she has been a guest instructor at schools throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For seven years after her retirement from the stage, she was co-ballet mistress for the Academy of Ballet NJ in West Berlin, NJ. Ms. Amiss had the pleasure of teaching ballet to aspiring figure skaters in Aston, Pennsylvania. She is a senior lecturer at the University of the Arts, where she recently taught several ballet classes for the spring semester, and a guest lecturer at Drexel University. For the past three years, Ms. Amiss has been a full-time faculty member of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet. She also teaches ballet at Croft Farm in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Ms. Amiss retired from Pennsylvania Ballet in June 2007. She resides in Mantua, NJ with her husband, former Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Edward Cieslak, and their son Adam and daughter Lily.


Hometown: Fredericksburg, VA

Aaron Anker began his training in Fredericksburg, VA at age 10. He later studied with Violette Verdy, Patricia McBride, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, and Suzanne Farrell during summer programs at Boston Ballet, Carolina Ballet, the Chautauqua Institution, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, and the Rock School for Dance Education. Aaron joined Pennsylvania Ballet as an apprentice for our 2015/2016 season and was promoted to corps de ballet for the 2016/2017 season.

He has performed featured roles in ballets that include Le Corsaire (Conrad), Don Quixote (Basilio), The Four Temperaments (Second Theme), and Trisha Brown’s O zlozony / O composite. Prior to Pennsylvania Ballet, Aaron pursued his Bachelor of Arts in ballet and Bachelor of Science in biology at Indiana University. During that time, he danced with Indiana University Ballet Theater, performing featured roles in works by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Anthony Tudor, Violette Verdy, and Nicolo Fonte. As well, Aaron created the role of Amore for Tom Diamond’s production of Xerxes for Indiana University Opera.


Hometown: Perm, Russia

Alexei Borovik began his training at the Perm Ballet Academy at age 10. Upon graduating in 1979, he was invited to join Perm Ballet Theatre, where he quickly established a reputation as an exceptional performer and, in 1982, was elevated to the rank of premiere dancer. In 1984, Mr. Borovik was awarded 2nd prize at the Artistic Ballet Competition in Moscow, and, in 1987, he won a gold medal at the Sixth Concourse International Ballet Festival in Peru, where he was honored with a decoration as “Merited Artist of Russia.” A highly sought-after guest artist, Mr. Borovik has made appearances internationally and throughout Russia. In 1997, he toured China with Stars of American Ballet, and he also toured Europe and Asia with Stars of the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet.

Mr. Borovik joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a principal dancer in 1992. His repertoire includes principal roles in ballets such as Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo and JulietCoppélia, and Don Quixote, among many others. Along with leading roles in the classical repertoire, he has been featured in numerous Balanchine ballets, including Apollo, Rubies, The Four Temperaments, Serenade, Theme and Variations, and Stars and Stripes. And in addition to creating roles for a host of new ballets, Mr. Borovik has also danced such diverse works as Paul Taylor’s Arden Court, Hans van Manen’s Grosse Fugue, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Great Galloping Gottschalk.

In June 1997, Mr. Borovik had the distinct honor of being invited to return to his homeland to appear as principal guest artist in Perm Ballet Theatre’s productions of Don Quixote and Giselle in celebration of their 125th Jubilee. Mr. Borovik retired as a principal dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet in 2006


Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Laura Bowman began dancing at age three. She trained at the Raleigh School of Ballet, where she studied under Ann Vorus and Mary LeGere. She supplemented her instruction with summer intensives at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and Houston Ballet School and later completed her training under full scholarship at the Rock School for Dance Education.

In August 2001, Ms. Bowman joined Pennsylvania Ballet as an apprentice and was promoted to corps de ballet in September 2003. She has danced the leading role in Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo and has been featured in numerous ballets, including Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto, Margo Sappington’s Rodin, Mis en Vie, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Paul Taylor’s Company B, Matthew Neenan’s 11:11, Jerome Robbins’ N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, William Forsythe’s Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, and the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, among others. Ms. Bowman has also originated roles in works by Christopher Wheeldon, Matthew Neenan, David Fielding, and Meredith Rainey.

In addition to her work with Pennsylvania Ballet, Ms. Bowman had performed with Carolina Ballet and BalletX, and, in 2010, was featured in the Academy Award-nominated film Black Swan. She has performed in the International Ballet Festival of Miami, the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts, and most recently the Vail International Dance Festival in Colorado.

Ms. Bowman has taught for schools throughout Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Delaware, and New Jersey. She retired from Pennsylvania Ballet in 2016 and lives in Philadelphia with her husband and sons.


Hometown: Yoshkar-Ola, Russia

Born in Yoshkar-Ola, Russia, Mr. Charov began his ballet training at age nine and graduated from the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg – home of the famed Russian ballet traditions. His studies there included Classical Ballet, History of Theater, History of Art and Music, Acting, Stage Makeup, History of European and American Ballet, Character, Historic Dance, Fencing and Pas de Deux. From school and throughout his career, Mr. Charov had great teachers who helped him to achieve his goals (Veniamin Zimin, Professor Nikolai Serebrennikov – greatest teachers of Mariinsky ballet – Sergei Berezhnoi, Vladlen Semenov, and Irina Kolpakova, just to name a few).

Alexei started his professional career at the age of seventeen at the Donetsk Opera and Ballet House in Ukraine. He began touring nationally and abroad and enjoyed great success, quickly building a rich classical repertoire. In 1991, he moved to the United States and continued his performing career with the Indianapolis Ballet (Cavalier in Nutcracker, Hilarion in Giselle, Pas de sclave, Zuniga in Carmen). In 1996, he joined Pennsylvania Ballet and started adding a wide collection of Balanchine works to his range. Alexei has also performed in original works by many internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Ben Stevenson, Margo Sappington, Kirk Peterson, John Cranko, James Kudelka, L. Taylor-Corbett, Alvin Ailey, Dwight Rhoden, Christopher Wheeldon, Paul Mejia, Alberto Alonso, Matthew Neenan, and others. His performances were highlighted and reviewed by the press in Europe and Asia, as well as in the United States. Mr.Charov served as a Ballet Master for Koresh Dance Company and helped to develop children’s ballet program for the school. Currently, Mr. Charov works for Philadelphia Performing Art String Theory Schools, as a coordinator of curriculum for classical ballet programs for beginner levels. He is also serving as a faculty member of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet. Mr. Charov teaches master classes and stages classical performances and original works around the country and internationally. In 2016, Mr. Charov received a Bachelor’s degree in choreography, directing, and teaching. In January of 2018, he completed his Masters in Fine Arts and Pedagogy.


Hometown: Vinnitsa, Ukraine

Natalia Charova began her training at age ten and graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, home of the famed Russian ballet traditions, where her studies included classical ballet, history of theater, history of art and music, acting, stage makeup, history of European and American ballet, character, historic dance, and pas de deux. Ms. Charova also received a bachelor’s degree in choreography, directing, and teaching.

Throughout her schooling and career, Ms. Charova has credited great teachers for helping her to achieve her goals – teachers such as Elena Riabinkina, Sergei Vikharev, and Irina Kolpakova to name a few. Ms. Charova began her professional career at age 18 with the Donetsk Opera and Ballet House in Ukraine. She toured nationally and abroad, enjoying great success and quickly building a classical repertoire while performing such roles as Odette, the Sugarplum Fairy, and Maria Taglioni from Pas de Quatre.

In 1991, Ms. Charova moved to the United States where she continued dancing with the Indianapolis Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet, adding a wide array of Balanchine works to her repertoire. She has performed in original works by world-renowned choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Ben Stevenson, Margo Sappington, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Alvin Ailey, Dwight Rhoden, Christopher Wheeldon, and Matthew Neenan, among others. Her performances have been highlighted and reviewed in Europe and Asia, as well as the United States.

Ms. Charova continues to teach as well as stage classical productions and original works around the country and abroad. She currently works for Philadelphia Performing Arts String Theory Schools, teaching and coordinating ballet programs for beginners through advanced levels.


Hometown: East Norriton, PA

Charity Eagens began her dance training at age seven with the Valley Forge School of Dance under the direction of Sharon Atkinson and later under full scholarship with Bo and Stephanie Spassoff at the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. She also spent summers training at the Rock School and Hartford Ballet. In addition, Ms. Eagens trained under the guidance of Wilhelm Burmann, Gloria Govern, Olga Kostrizsky, Natalia Nikulin Barr, Yvonne Patterson, Nina Fedorva, Roy Kaiser, and Sandra Jennings, among many others.

In 1994, Ms. Eagens became a trainee with Hartford Ballet, where she danced in ballets such as Western Symphony, Coppélia, and Kirk Peterson’s The Nutcracker, which she also had the opportunity to tour throughout the New York region. In 1996, she returned to Pennsylvania Ballet under the direction of Roy Kaiser and was promoted to the corps de ballet in 1998. In addition to performing most of the company’s repertoire, Ms. Eagens also danced leading roles in ballets such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Sleeping Beauty, The Four TemperamentsRaymonda VariationsAgon, Apollo, Swan Lake, Company B, Great Galloping Gottschalk, and Romeo and Juliet, among many others. Additionally, Ms. Eagens had the honor of performing alongside such notables as Susan Jaffe, Jose Carreno, Nicole Hlinka, and Damian Woetzel in a Rock School benefit for Milton Rock in 1996. And in 1998, she had the privilege of performing in the Balanchine Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Eagens retired from Pennsylvania Ballet in 2005 to start a family, and has since begun a teaching career. She has taught for numerous schools in the Greater Philadelphia area, including Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA), Delaware Valley Dance Academy (Colmar, PA), Lionville School of Dance (Exton, PA), and the Radomile Academy of Dance (Havertown, PA), among others. In the fall of 2015, Ms. Eagens attended a teacher’s workshop at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where she observed classes led by Marcia Dale Weary of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Ms. Eagens currently resides in Worcester, PA and is the proud mother of three daughters.


Hometown: Hartford, CT

Jessica Kilpatrick began her training at age nine at the School of the Hartford Ballet, where she studied under the direction of Franco de Vita, Peggy Lyman, Maria Youskevitch, Raymond Lukens, Alla Osipenko, and Susan Brooker. She has performed various roles in productions of The Nutcracker, including Kirk Peterson’s American Nutcracker wherein she danced with members of the ABT II studio company. As well, she has danced in works by Jose Limon, Anthony Tudor, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and New York choreographer Thang Dao. Ms. Kilpatrick also performed Merce Cunningham’s Inlets 2 (restaged by Jean Freebury) at Duke University for the American Dance Festival – a performance that had been filmed as part of a documentary highlighting the work of Merce Cunningham.

Ms. Kilpatrick graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the dance division of the University of Hartford Hartt School, where she majored in dance pedagogy and her teachers included Stephen Pier, Miguel Campaneria, Hilda Morales, Katie Stevinson-Nollet, and Nina Watt. Her teaching experience includes positions with Ballet Hispanico in New York and the University of Hartford Hartt School Community Division, where she also served as artistic director for their 2014 summer ballet intensive From Studio to Stage II and was subsequently invited to return to choreograph and premiere two pieces for HarttWorks, the performance vehicle to showcase pre-professional students of the Hartt School Dance Department. One of those pieces, Amazing Grace, was also restaged in New York City for students of the Joffrey Ballet School, where Ms. Kilpatrick has also taught and served on the faculty from 2011 to 2016, teaching in the children’s, young dancer’s, adult, and jazz and contemporary programs. As well, she has served as a teacher at the Ballet School of Stamford.

Ms. Kilpatrick is a founding member of Alison Cook Beatty Dance, where she has been provided the opportunity to both perform and teach at prestigious colleges and venues across the country. In January 2015, she was also thrilled to perform with the Amy Marshall Dance Company for the first time and has since performed with them in Ladek Zdroj, Poland (July 2015), at the American Dance Guild (November 2015), the 2016 Bryant Park Summer Dance Festival, and, most recently, the 35th annual Battery Dance Festival.

Ms. Kilpatrick is honored to join the team at The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, where she cannot wait to continue to share her love of dance.


Hometown: Chicago, IL

Currently teaching the beginning/elementary levels at the School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Jon Martin has worked and trained with such notable teachers as Ruth Page, Harold Lang, Dimitri Romanoff, Jacqueline Hepner, Robert Rodham, Lupe Serrano, Gloria Govrin, and former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Jillana. Additionally, Mr. Martin has been invited to work with companies that include the San Diego Ballet, California Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet.


Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Jaime Santoro began her ballet training at age six at both the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Philadelphia Dance Conservatory. She had performed as a member of Pennsylvania Ballet before joining Orlando Ballet in 1996. During the summer of 2001, Ms. Santoro was granted a professional fellowship award and invited to perform as a guest artist and tour with the Rome Festival throughout Italy.

While with Orlando Ballet, Ms. Santoro performed soloist and principal roles in both classical and contemporary works. Her classical repertoire includes The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her Balanchine repertoire includes Symphony In C (First and Fourth Movement), Who Cares?Concerto BaroccoValse Fantaisie, Serenade, and Agon.

The transition from principal and soloist dancer to choreographer and teacher was a natural evolution for Ms. Santoro and has provided her the opportunity to carry out both roles for several organizations, including Orlando Ballet, Orlando Ballet School, Springton Dance Academy, and Dance Arts of Yardley.

In 2009, Mrs. Santoro was recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership, and excellence in the performing arts.

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Pennsylvania Ballet comprises a team of dedicated professionals—each one devoted to bringing you the most thrilling and inspired works ballet has to offer.