Megan Skinner grew up at the Corvallis Academy of Ballet, studying under Jutta Hardison and Catherine Levi, as well as working as a teaching assistant and performing with Willamette Apprentice Ballet. She received additional training at the Academy of Colorado Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy at Vail. Megan danced professionally with Colorado Ballet before entering the Ballet Department at the University of Utah, where she danced with and/or choreographed for Utah Ballet, the Character Dance Ensemble, and Eastern Arts. In 2003, Megan received her BFA in Ballet, with emphases in Performance, Teaching, and Character Dance. Megan became a staff member for Oregon State University’s Physical Activity Courses (PAC Program) in September 2015, teaching three levels of Ballet Technique for undergraduate & graduate students and OSU Faculty. In addition to being the Director of the Corvallis Academy of Ballet and Willamette Apprentice Ballet, Megan is the Corvallis Children’s Rehearsal Mistress for Eugene Ballet’s touring production of The Nutcracker, and as a freelance choreographer she has choreographed numerous musicals and operettas for Albany Civic Theatre, OSU Theater, Corvallis Community Theatre, Majestic Education, and the Corvallis School District. Megan has been teaching at the academy since 2003.
Kristin Jones began her dance training with Corvallis Academy of Ballet and Willamette Apprentice Ballet in Corvallis, Oregon. After graduating from Crescent Valley High School, she went on to study at the prestigious Butler University Department of Dance. While studying there, she participated in two international performing tours to Russia and Poland. In 2008 Kristin graduated cum laude with a BFA in Dance Performance and high departmental honors; following graduation, she danced with Ballet Austin in Austin, Texas. While there, in addition to dancing and performing, she served as a production assistant and an instructor at Ballet Austin Academy. Kristin also danced for seven seasons with Kim Robards Dance in Denver, Colorado, as well as serving on the faculty of The Academy of KRD as a ballet and modern dance instructor. Her dance mentors include Jutta Hardison, Catherine Levi, Michelle Jarvis, Derek Reid, Susan McGuire, Marek Cholewa, Stephen Mills, Michelle Martin, and Kim Robards, and many others. Kristin taught two and three-week summer residencies at the Corvallis Academy of Ballet for three consecutive summers before joining the CAB faculty in September 2017. She was named a Resident Choreographer for Willamette Apprentice Ballet in the summer of 2018.
Kathy Scharp received early ballet training in her native Michigan with Marjorie Randazzo and later, extensively, at CAS Ballet Theatre School in Ann Arbor, under the direction of Carol Radovic. After graduating high school, she studied Bournonville technique in Copenhagen, Denmark with famed Royal Danish Ballerina, Toni Lander Marks. Vaganova classes were also offered there, paving the way for a life-long love and appreciation of this demanding, beautiful and expressive style of ballet. In 1980, Scharp and Radovic co-founded the non-profit, Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre, where Scharp was a Principal Dancer and Choreographer; and later Co-Artistic Director, Ballet Mistress and Vice President on the Board of Directors. Her favorite roles have included the lead in “Carmen”, Dying Swan in “Carnival of the Animals”, and Arabian and Snow Queen in “The Nutcracker”. From the mid 1980s – late 1990s Scharp studied under many Vaganova and Bolshoi trained teachers, including Luba Gulyaeva, Mikhail Lavrovsky, Ninel Kurgapkina, Genrikh Mayorov, Ludmila Sakharova, Ludmila Synelnikova and Edward Villella. During those years Scharp also received Vaganova method teacher training with Jurgen Schneider (American Ballet Theatre) and Janina Cunova (Australian Ballet). In 2010 Scharp founded Russian Ballet Theatre School, in Ypsilanti, MI, where she taught Vaganova ballet technique, pointe, partnering and conditioning classes, and directed and choreographed many in-studio chamber pieces as well as theatre productions, most with live music. In 2014, Washtenaw Indie Awards/Think Local First of Ann Arbor awarded Russian Ballet Theatre School “The Big Leap” Award, for successfully creating a thriving business despite all the risks. Then in the Spring of 2016, a long-time dream of relocating to the Pacific Northwest became a reality, and Scharp and her husband, Jake relocated first to Corvallis with their two dogs, Violet and Tulip, eventually settling down in Seattle, WA. Scharp is honored to have opportunities to teach at Corvallis Academy of Ballet and stage her choreography for Willamette Apprentice Ballet.
Mimi Chen has over 25 years of experience in choreographing and teaching various styles of dance, including ballet, modern, jazz, musical theater and Chinese dance. She has a BFA and an MFA in Dance from the University of Arizona, and she was awarded the Creative Achievement Award from the School of Fine Arts at the University of Arizona. Locally, Mimi has choreographed for Majestic Education, Corvallis Community Theater, the Arts Center “Globetrotters” program, and she has been a frequent Guest Choreographer with Willamette Apprentice Ballet. Mimi has choreographed and staged numerous Chinese dance pieces for Oregon State University’s annual China Night, working with dancers from Corvallis Academy of Ballet and Willamette Apprentice Ballet, as well as working with non-dancers from OSU, Franklin School, Corvallis Chinese School and Willamette Chinese School.