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Katie Ellis is our resident ballet teacher here at Studio A. Since her relocation from the East Coast, Katie has enjoyed every second of bringing an energetic and engaging ballet class to her students. Ballet is the root of all dance, and here at Studio A, we focus on the basics to make sure our dancers are not only theatrical, but technically proﬁcient. Katie grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and trained at the Chicago Youth Ballet Theater and Faubourg Ballet under the tutelage of Russian Ballet Master, and former director of the Moscow Ballet, Avnun Yakubov for 9 years. During that time, she and her fellow dancers, were awarded ﬁrst place in the Youth Grand Prix ballet competition for Yakubovs’s work “Ave Maria” At the age of 12, she was selected to attend the Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive in Flint, Michigan. There, she worked with some of the most well known Chicago based teachers at the time.
The following year, she attended the American Ballet Theater summer intensive in Tuscaloosa, AL. During her time at ABTSI, she was placed in the most elite level, and was given the principal role in “Quattro Vivaldi”, which was the original work of ballet mistress Melissa Hale. At the time, Katie was only 14 years old. Former principal ABT dancer Magali Messac, stated it was one of the best performances she had seen in all of her time working the summer programs.
During the next few years, katie expanded her repertoire by performing soloist, and principal roles in “sleeping beauty”, “ballet divertissement” “don Quixote” and “Giselle”. She continued her work with Yakubov, and trained at Lou Conte’s, home of Hubbard Street Dance, during her last three summers in chicago. She became a private student of GaoPing Wong, a master ballet dancer, and also took private lessons from former principal dancers of the Kirov Ballet in Russia. The role of “Thumper” in the American debut of “Bambi” was choreographed speciﬁcally for katie, which highlighted incredibly difﬁcult pointe work.
At 18, Katie accepted the scholarship to attend the Uiversity of Arizona, one of the leading universities in the country for dance majors. It was there that Katie was able to excel in not only classical ballet, but jazz and modern techniques as well. She studied jazz under the direction of Sam Watson, and Susan Quinn, who were Chicago jazz dance legends. In ballet, she worked and performed for James Clouser, former director of the Houston Ballet, and Mellisa Lowe, from the Paciﬁc Northwest ballet. In modern she worked with Amy Ernst, who was the prodigy of modern dance legend Bella Lewitsky.
After her time at the University, Katie accepted a job at the Mid Maryland Performing Arts Center, and was a teacher for two years. The second year of her time there, she was asked to be the advanced dance companies director, and choreographed a new work entitled “playgrounds and lullabies”. During her time out East she also danced professionally with Kitty Clark’s modern dance company “GRaC” there, she performed original works by Clark such as, “Trace”, “mood house”, and “everything’s better with Bach”. She performed for two years in Clark’s summer showcase that brought in dancers and dance companies from all over the country.
Soon after, Katie married her husband Mike, and had two children Connor, and Brayden, who are now the loves of her life. her husband was relocated to Moline, and Katie was thrilled that Angela brought her on staff. Entering her second year teaching at Studio A, and she has loved being able to bring the art and beauty of ballet to life for her students. Every accomplishment a student makes is celebrated, large or small, and when Katie hears “you know, I really like ballet now” she feels like she has done her job. Katie fully believes that the discipline of Ballet, is very personally fulﬁlling, and character enriching. For Katie, seeing her students excel, and smile through ballet class, is the greatest reward she could ask for as a teacher.