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Ruth Balestra artistic directorRuth Balestra
Artistic Director

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Ruth Balestra attended her first formal dance lesson at the age of 10, and she received her technical dance training at Kent State and Youngstown State.  Ruth's areas of specialty include Pointe, Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and Musical Theater and she has used these forms over the past twenty-eight years to create innovative choreography in her dance productions.   While pursuing her Bachelor of Fine and Performing Arts Degree at YSU, she refined her classical ballet and modern dance techniques at Kent State.  Ruth served as President of the “YSU Dance Ensemble” at Youngstown State University, and she also performed in many YSU theater and dance productions.  At Kent State University, Ruth studied, “Lester Horton” and “Jose Lemon” modern dance techniques, Ballet and Improvisation.

This past year, Ruth accepted a partnership with The Moscow Ballet to be a Host school for "The Great Russian Nutcracker".   The performance took place at DeYor Performing Arts Center, in Youngstown, this past November 26th.  “The Great Russian Nutcracker”, gave students an opportunity to perform in their "Dance With Us Program".   This was the second time, Ruth partnered with the Moscow Ballet, so kids in the Youngstown community, could have an opportunity to be showcased.   Recently, the Senior and Junior dance students of Ruth's Dance Co., were asked to perform in the half time show at the Russell Athletic Bowl this coming New Years in Orlando Florida.  While they are there, they will also have the opportunity to perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade at Universal Studios.   In 2012, Ruth’s students were chosen to perform the halftime show at the Orange Bowl in Miami.  Between November of 2010 and June of 2017, several of Ruth’s dance students were chosen by New York City, Talent Scout, Peter Sklar, to attend  "The Beginnings Workshops” in New York.  At the Workshop, Broadway cast members teach students to act, sing and dance.  The workshop culminates in an off-Broadway performance in New York City in front of Broadway directors and producers.   In 2008, Ruth took her students to New York to study ballet with Finis Jhung, the former principal dancer with the Joffrey and San Francisco Ballet Company’s.   In January of 2007, The Senior and Junior Students were accepted to dance at Disney World's Magic Kingdom through the Disney Magic Music Day’s program.  

 Over the last 10 years, Ruth’s dance recitals have been created to Broadway productions to create artistry on the stage.  Students of all ages have been taught to dance, act and sing to the soundtracks of the following musicals; " The Phantom of The Opera"," Mamma Mia", Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella", Broadway's "The Little Mermaid", "The Lord of The Dance", "Wicked", "Tangled", "Jersey Boys", "Newsies", "Swan Lake", "An American In Paris", "Singin In The Rain, and this evening, "Aida".

Ruth is a former choreographer for the Youngstown Play House, where she choreographed,  “Can Can”, “Mame”, “Cinderella’s”, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and “Idora Park”, and most recently, this past November, some choreographyfor" Nativity, The Hope".  She is also a former choreographer for the Struthers Show Choir, and several high school dance lines.  Ruth also taught dance at St. Luke's preschool and Kindergarten at Holy Family.  Ruth's primary goal is to teach ballet technique and flexibility in all of her classes, with a special emphasis on proper alignment and safety awareness.

Kaitlyn Kurdziel performed the female lead role of  "Lise", in our 2016 performance of "American In Paris".  She has been studying  Pointe, Ballet, Jazz, Modern and the artistry of Musical Theater with Ruth for 10 years.

This past November 26th, Kaitlynn was chosen to perform "The Spanish Dance", with the Moscow Ballet through the "Dance With Us"  program which took place at  the DeYor Performing Arts Center in Youngstown.  She was one of the few to perform a Pointe duet with the Moscow Ballet.  She was also cast as a Pointe dancer this past winter in "Nativity, The Hope" which took place at The Youngstown Playhouse where she was cast as an "Angel".  

 Kaitlynn 's experience in dance and theater lead her to be cast this past spring in "Spring Awakening" and  most recently, "A Night of One Acts" with WDFC Productions in Salem.  

In the Spring of 2015, Kaitlynn played the role of Kathryn in our dance production of Newsies.  She has danced and acted in many of Ruth's choreographed productions.  Some include:  " Mamma Mia", "Rodger's and Hammerstein's Cinderella", "Broadway's Little Mermaid", "The Lord of The Dance", "Wicked", "Tangled", "Jersey Boys", "Newsies", "Swan Lake", "Singing In The Rain", "An American In Paris" and "Aida".  In the Spring of 2013, Kaitlynn was cast as the Green Witch's mom, in Ruth's production of "Wicked".  She also acted, sang and danced as "Jetsam" in our choreographed story of "Broadway's Little Mermaid". 

In high school, Kaitlynn graduated at the top of her class and was a member of the National Honor Society.  Kaitlynn was also the President of SHS Starlight Singers.  Currently, Kaitlynn attends Youngstown State University double majoring in dance management and exercise science, she is also a dancer in the YSU Dance Ensemble.  This coming fall, Kaitlynn plans to continue to assist Ruth with children's dance classes. She is also currently training to teach Body Strengthening and Step Aerobics classes for Ruth.

 Ruth is very excited about having Kaitlynn on board this year as a teacher. Her technique and discipline in Ballet will help her serve as an excellent role model for all the children.


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5626 South Avenue       Youngstown OH, 44512       330.782.6785
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