Patti Eylar started ballet in California as a child and later trained at the Maryland Youth Ballet.  At 17 she moved to NY to study on scholarship at the American Ballet Theatre School with Patricia Wilde, Leon Danielian and Valentina Pereyaslavec.  After a summer of study with Melissa Hayden, she moved to Chicago in 1977 to join the Lyric Opera Ballet and was a founding member of the Chicago City Ballet, directed by Maria Tallchief and Paul Mejia.  Her favorite ballets there were George Balanchine’s  Rubies, Valse Fantasie, Four Temperments, Concerto Barocco and Divertimento #15 and Paul Mejia’s Cinderella.  She then danced with Ballet Chicago, directed by Daniel Duell, from its inception in 1987 until 1993.  Notable ballets there include Balanchine’s Square Dance and Allegro Brillante, Gordon Pierce Schmidt’s By Django and Duell’s Octet a tete, which was shown on WTTW.  She was also a soloist in Ruth Page’s Nutcracker at the Arie Crown Theater, dancing the roles of Columbine Doll and Marzipan, directed by Dolores and Larry Long.   


She was a faculty member and accountant at the School of Ballet Chicago from 1995 to 2001, and started teaching at Chicago Ballet Arts in 2002.  In 2005, she and Leslie Saunders became Co-Directors of CBA.  Patti has also been on the faculty of the Lou Conte Dance Studio since 2002, and teaches company class for Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre and Giordano Dance Chicago. 


Patti has served on the Boards of the Chicago Dance Coalition, Chicago Dance and Music Alliance, and the Civic Ballet of Chicago. She is currently a Board member of the Joffrey Ballet Women's Board, Chicago Dancers United and Audience Architects, Chicago’s dance service organization.  In 2011 she received the Ruth Page Award for her contributions to the Chicago dance community, and in 2014 she and her husband, Charles Gardner, received the JUBA award from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. She is amused to be a recognizable extra in the film, The Company, seen in a box seat at the Auditorium Theatre with Malcolm McDowell as the credits roll.


Ballet 2 - Adv. & Pointe


Hudgins Headshot.png

Christina, originally from Chesapeake, Virginia, is an MA candidate for Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling at Columbia College Chicago. This program focuses on finding connections of the mind, body, and spirit through observing and analyzing movement, sharing empathy, and building a therapeutic  movement relationship from a place of curiosity, openness, acceptance, and love.  After receiving a BA in Dance Performance and  BS in Psychology from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Professional Dance Training Certificate from Charlotte Ballet, she had the joy of dancing  with Virginia Ballet Theater and Todd Rosenlieb Dance. She  also coordinated the MixMo Dance Program through Todd Rosenlieb Dance Studio, that created outreach dance classes for people of all abilities and ages to access dance and movement. She currently teaches creative movement and dance classes in schools around the Chicago area and administers dance/movement therapy through internship sites with clients from children to adults who have had various life experiences. Christina’s primary training is in classical ballet, but she enjoys moving in all different ways practically all the time. Her joy comes from teaching and guiding others to see what their bodies are capable of and how valuable their expression truly is. 

Creative Movement



Maxine Lapin began her ballet training at the age of four at Chicago Ballet Arts. She continued under the instruction of Clare Carmichael, Catalina Garza, Patti Eylar, Leslie Saunders, Calvin Kitten, Amy Rose, Lauren Schultz, and more. In college at Tulane University, Maxine continued to study ballet, and acted as stage manager for CBA’s spring performances, as well as helping with administrative duties and later becoming a ballet teaching assistant. She also has worked with the children’s cast of Christopher Wheeldon’s Nutcracker at the Joffrey Ballet for two years. Outside of ballet, Maxine has been a Teacher Associate for sixth and second grades, and is preparing for a master’s degree in education in Chicago. She has been involved with Chicago Ballet Arts for over two decades, and is excited to officially join the CBA Faculty in 2018.

Beg. Ballet B


Maliwan (Molly) Diemer began her dance training in Columbus, Ohio at the age of three. She continued her studies with RAD certified teacher, Ng Siew Fong while her family lived abroad. Ballet became her passion and by the age of thirteen Molly had been invited to study and perform with Indiana University's Ballet Theater, where she trained with Violette Verdy, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride, Jacques and Virginia Cesbron, Leslie Peck and Doricha Sales, along with notable guest choreographers and directors.


A long time instructor for Indiana University's Pre-College Ballet Program, she also spent a year as Associate Instructor for the African American Dance Company under the direction of Iris Rosa. Molly currently teaches in Chicago and is on faculty at the Lou Conte Dance Studio and at Chicago's first public arts high school, The Chicago High School for the Arts. She is a guest instructor for Empower Dance Company and has been a guest coach and teacher for the University of Chicago's UBallet. Molly has also taught for the Joffrey Academy of Dance and has taught company class for DanceWorks Chicago and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. She has had the pleasure of teaching and serving as Performance Project Director for Chicago Ballet Arts since 2007.  


With her husband, Molly also competed professionally as a ballroom dancer. She is a 2-time U.S. National Rising Star Smooth finalist and a U.S. National 10-Dance finalist and has won Professional Rising Star and Open events across the country in Smooth, Latin and Standard. 


Molly holds a M.A. in Arts Administration and a B.S.O.F. in Ballet and Political Science, magna cum laude, both from Indiana University.

Ballet 2 - Adv., Pointe & Performance Project Director



Terence Marling began his dance training at the age of six at the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance under the direction of Larry Long. He spent twelve years at the Ruth Page School before joining Pittsburgh Ballet Theater in 1994, then directed by Patricia Wilde.


In his nine seasons with PBT, Terence danced a variety of Balanchine ballets, all of the major classical works and participated in the creation of new works. He was promoted to soloist in 1999. Marling was also encouraged by Terrence Orr, then director of PBT, to begin choreographing. Mr. Orr commissioned two works from Terence. At PBT he worked with choreographers including Ohad Naharin, Ib Andersen, Dwight Rhoden and Kevin O’Day. Mr O’Day extended an invitation for Terence to join Nationaltheater Mannheim in Germany.

While in Germany, Marling participated in the creation of eight full evenings of work over a two-year period. The works created included elements of improvisation and movement languages that extended far beyond the boundaries of ballet. The language of Marling’s choreography began to change with his dancing experience. He began to combine elements of classical technique with the idea that all human movement was, in fact, dance. In addition, Terence began to teach ballet to the company on a regular basis.

In search of a wider field of choreographic voices to dance, Terence joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2006. There he enjoyed dancing the work of Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato, Jiri Kylian, Jorma Elo and Alejandro Cerrudo, among many others. While dancing with the company Terence was commissioned to create two works with Hubbard Street 2 and began teaching in the newly created summer intensives as well as teaching regular company class.

In 2010, Terence retired from dancing and became Rehearsal Director for Hubbard Street. In this role, he assisted with all new choreography and staged and rehearsed all existing repertoire. In addition, Terence traveled with the company on tour and placed all the work on stage in various houses all over the world. In 2013 Terence became director of Hubbard Street 2 where he commissioned new works from choreographers, created original programming and toured the company internationally.  Terence was also commissioned three times to choreograph for the main company of Hubbard Street, including participating in “The Art of Falling”, Hubbard Street’s collaboration with The Second City.

In 2017, Terence moved into a freelance teaching, choreographing and staging career. This has included making choreography for Robert Moses’ Kin in San Francisco, working with the artists of Ryerson University in Toronto on choreography by Alejandro Cerrudo as well as teaching for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Visceral Dance Chicago, The Chicago High School for the Arts, and A&A Ballet. In addition to this, Terence has begun a private teaching and coaching schedule as well as choreographed several solos for audition or competitive purposes.

In 2018, Terence will begin a new role as Artistic Director of Dance at The School of Performing Arts in Naperville.



Piano Keys

Sol Mendelson

Kyle Nelson

Rebecca Segal

Olga Todorchyk

Vera Vasilenko

Pre Ballet - Adv.



Leslie Saunders is from Columbia, S.C., where she received her early training from Ann Brodie and frequent guest teachers Michael Lland and Igor Schwetzoff.  Before attending the School of American Ballet, she spent her summers studying at SAB, American Ballet Theater (Patricia Wilde), Harkness House (David Howard), and at Melissa Hayden’s NY Studio.  While at SAB Leslie performed with small troupes lead by Jacques d’Amboise and Jean-Pierre Bonnefous, and participated in the SAB Workshop Performances and Lecture-Demonstration Program.  


Leslie danced with Columbia City Ballet (Ann Brodie), the Los Angeles Ballet (John Clifford), the Chicago Lyric Opera Ballet (Maria Tallchief), and the Richmond Ballet (Stoner Winslett).  She danced featured roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Cinderella, Copélia, Don Quixote, La Sylphide, Les Sylphides, Paquita, Divertimento # 15, Allegro Brilliante, Concerto Barocco, Handel Celebration, Aubade, and The Green Table.  

Leslie began teaching ballet at her first ballet school, Calvert-Brodie School of Dance, and later taught at the School of the Richmond Ballet while dancing in the Richmond Ballet.  In 1991 Leslie began teaching with Clare Carmichael at Chicago Ballet Arts, then known as Montay.  At CBA Leslie has performed several times in the school’s concerts and benefits, most memorably in 2002 in The Eye of the Beholder where she danced works created for her by Ms. Carmichael and Terence Marling.  Leslie became Co-Director of Chicago Ballet Arts in 2005.


Ballet 2 - Adv. & Pointe



Maribel Yadao, also known as "Miss Mari," began her ballet training at the age of 6 with Clare Carmichel and Leslie Saunders at Chicago Ballet Arts (CBA). She continued her training at CBA with Amy Rose and Calvin Kitten. In addition to CBA, Miss Mari trained with Larry Long at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts. In her youth, Miss Mari performed in Coppelia with Ballet Chicago, The Nutcracker with The Ruth Page Center for the Arts as well as The Nutcracker with the Joffrey Ballet. She also danced at a summer intensive in Detroit, Michigan with the American Ballet Theater. Miss Mari has been happily teaching Pre-Ballet and Beginning Ballet at CBA since 2003.


Outside of CBA, Miss Mari is a full-time, National Board Certified Teacher with Chicago Public Schools at Sauganash Elementary School. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education at DePaul University as well as her Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Digital Teaching and Learning at the American College of Education. Miss Mari has also worked and lived with children with exceptional needs for several summers at Camp Starfish in Rindge, New Hampshire. She has been teaching with Chicago Public Schools in kindergarten and 1 st grade since 2006.


Miss Mari enjoys helping and watching all her students learn and grow.

Pre Ballet & Beg. Ballet A


Melanie Cortier (Choreographer/ Artistic Director Eidolon Ballet) has danced professionally with several companies and choreographers throughout the U.S. and abroad, including Michael Mao Dance, Dances Patrelle, Lydia Johnson, Stamford Ballet, American National Ballet, and Gen Horiuchi, for whom she was dance captain at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1998 Winter Olympics (Nagano, Japan).  She graduated cum laude from Marymount Manhattan College with a BFA in Dance and has choreographed for Phoenix Productions (Evita), The Puppeteer Cooperative, as well as over 20 ballets for Eidolon Ballet where she has been resident choreographer since its inception.


She has been on faculty at Chicago Ballet Arts, Ballet Academy East New York, and has guest taught at Steps on Broadway, the 92nd St Y Harkness Dance Center, American Youth Dance Theatre, and Ball State University.   Her choreography has been has performed at The Joyce SoHo, Ailey Citibank Theater, Lincoln Center’s Clark Studio Theater, Lincoln Center’s Out-of-Doors Festival, New York City Center, Dance Parade’s Dance Fest at Tompkin’s Square Park, The Downtown Dance Festival, Merce Cunningham Studio Theater, Steps on Broadway, The Bridge for Dance, Dixon Place, The Brecht Forum, Borders Bookstore at 57th Street, Summerstreets, the CBS morning show, White Wave Cool NY Dance Festival, Dumbo Dance Festival, Dance Tracks Choreography Showcase, the 92nd St Y Harkness Dance Center, The New York Fringe Festival, Chicago Freelance Dance, Link's Hall, Chicago Ballet Arts at Dance in the Parks, and The Inside/Out Series at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival. 




Photo Credit: Lois Greenfield

Ballet 1A & 1B


Born and raised in Omaha, NE, Sarah Schafer began her professional career as a dancer with Ballet Omaha at the age of 17. After moving to Chicago in 1996, she continued her career dancing in Ruth Page's "Nutcracker" and with companies such as Paul Abrahamson's Moose Project, Luna Negra Dance Theater, The Civic Ballet of Chicago and the Alma Dance Company. Sarah has also danced for the Dallas Opera, Omaha Theater Ballet and most recently with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 2003 she choreographed "Momentum is a Vector" for the Omaha Theater Ballet. Having taught ballet for many years, Sarah also became a certified Pilates instructor in 2004. Sarah is currently teaching ballet as an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, at Lou Conte's Dance Studio, and at The Jillana School Summer Ballet Intensive in Taos Ski Valley, NM.

Adv., Variations & Flexibility



Melanie Manale-Hortin received her Pilates certification from Romana's Pilates in 2002. She was fortunate to have all of her training and seminars taught by Level 1 instructor, Juanita Lopez, and to be tested by Romana Kryzanowska herself, protege of Joseph Pilates, for her 600 hour exam. Currently, Melanie is on staff at Pilates Practice Inc, Lou Conte, Pilates Inc, Extensions Dance Center & Chicago Ballet Arts. 

After earning her bachelor’s degree in dance from SUNY Buffalo and getting her Pilates certification, Melanie began a very fulfilling 12 year career with River North Dance Chicago. She has worked with many top choreographers in their field such as Adam Barruch, Ruben y Sabrina Veliz, Frank Chaves, Harrison McEldowny, Kevin Iega Jeff and Julia Rhodes. Additionally having the pleasure to also perform choreography by Sidra Bell, Danny Ezralow, Robert Battle, Randy Duncan and Sherry Zunker. Throughout her time with the company Melanie had the opportunity to tour Germany, Switzerland, South Korea, Columbia, Russia, Hawaii and all over the United States.  

Melanie has been developing, and teaching a Theraband class over the past 3 years called APP.  Whether it be class, rehearsal or performance, she saw that there was a need for dancers to learn of tools & exercises that could help keep them free from injury, while warming up and strengthening their body. This class is specifically structured to ‘Activate, Protect, & Prepare' a dancers body against injury.



Ballet Dancers

Michael Anderson

Jennifer Goodman

Suzanne Lopez

Kim Sagami

Formerly of the Joffrey Ballet


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Photo Credits: Pointe Dance Photography and Friends of CBA.

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