Sarah Melli, Ballet Master & School Director / by William Smith

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Sarah began her ballet training at the Wisconsin School of Ballet with Tibor Zana. At 14, she received a full scholarship to the Milwaukee Ballet and was asked to stay and dance with the company. Sarah was awarded scholarships and danced with Ballet West, Burklyn Ballet Theatre, Joffery Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, Houston Ballet, Cleveland Ohio Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet. While performing with the Burklyn Ballet Theatre, she was invited to audition for the Boston Ballet Company where she began her professional dance career. Sarah went on to dance professionally with Chicago City Ballet (Director, Maria Tallchief), Joffery II (Director, Sally Bliss), San Antonio Ballet (Director, Vladimir Marek) and Dayton Ohio Ballet (Director, Stuart Sebastian).

She has performed leading roles in Concerto Barocco, Serenade, Jewels, Stars and Stripes, Apollo, Coppelia, Swan Lake, Tarantella, Tchaikovsky Pas De Duex, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, and Graduation Ball. While Dancing in the Jillana School in Taos, New Mexico, Sarah was asked personally by Jillana to be her Choreography Assistant for the Summer Programs. Jillana was one of George Balanchine’s first Prima Ballerinas, and an exclusive authorized teacher of the Balanchine Technique® & Balanchine Style®, and she is happy to give Sarah her personal recommendation.

Sarah now teaches Master Classes at California State Fullerton, Mt. Sac College, Malibu by the Sea, Jillana’s Summer Intensives, Huntington Academy, Tustin Ballet Academy, Bare Dance Company, and Inland Pacific Ballet. She also does private coaching, and was hired to coach Miss California 2010, Kristy Cavinder, for her talent competition in the Miss USA 2011 Pageant. Kristy won First Place performing ballet in the Talent Competition, and 1st Runner-Up overall for Miss USA.

Sarah’s students have gone on to receive scholarships and company contracts from Miami City Ballet, School of American Ballet in NYC, San Francisco Ballet, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Suzanne Farrell, Arizona Ballet, Houston Ballet, Lou Conte’s Hubbard Street, and the Jillana School.