W. Earle Smith, Artistic Director

W. Earle Smith, Artistic Director

W. Earle Smith has over 35 years of professional experience choreographing, teaching and performing. This is Mr. Smith's eighteenth season with the Madison Ballet as Artistic Director. As a dancer, D Magazine called Mr. Smith "meticulously chosen and prepared...who knows Balanchine." The Wisconsin State Journal hails his choreography as "imaginative and...rhythmically smooth and lively" with the Capital Times saying Artistic Director W. Earle Smith "more than delivered on every level."

Gretchen Bourg, General Manager

A native of Spooner, Wisconsin, Gretchen Bourg has spent her career in the dance world moving from dancer to teacher to administrative leader, serving as Madison Ballet’s General Manager since September 2011.  Ms. Bourg brings over 15 years of experience as a business manager, community leader, educator and performer to Madison Ballet.

Sarah Melli, Ballet Master & School Director

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.

Alyssa Gunsolus, Program Services Director

Alyssa Gunsolus graduated with a BS in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She started her formal training with Ms. Jill Kragie in 1996 and with Madison Ballet in 2000 under the direction of W. Earle Smith.

Alicia Kopp, Development Director

Alicia began her professional career as a High School English teacher. Upon her husband’s law school graduation and subsequent move, she found herself navigating a different career path. 

Rachelle Butler, Assistant Ballet Master

A Madison native, Ms. Butler’s training includes dancing with Ballet Chicago, Miami City Ballet School and The Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Alissa Bratz

Alissa began her training with Eugene Ballet and Salem City Ballet in Oregon state before moving to Wisconsin in 1988.

Alyssa Gunsolus

Alyssa Gunsolus graduated with a BS in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She started her formal training with Ms. Jill Kragie in 1996 and with Madison Ballet in 2000 under the direction of W. Earle Smith.

Bri Taylor George

Bri George began her early training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary for 11 years.

Kristen Hammer

Kristen Hammer grew up in West Bloomfield, MI where she trained under Mary C. Geiger at Geiger Classical Ballet Academy and its affiliate performance company, Michigan Classic Ballet Company.

Michaela King

Michaela King began her dance training in North Carolina where she was born. She continued ballet with coaching and private instruction in Virginia

Elisabeth Malanga

Elisabeth Malanga began her ballet training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle, WA under the direction of both Kent Stowell and Peter Boal.

Kelanie Murphy

Kelanie Murphy is from Crystal Lake, Illinois, where she began her formal dance training at Judith Svalander School of Ballet.

Shannon Quirk

A California native, Shannon Quirk began her training with Orange County Regional Ballet and continued her studies at University of California, Irvine earning a BFA in Dance Performance.

Annika Reikersdorfer

Annika Reikersdorfer began her ballet training at The School of Madison Ballet in 2005. She continued through the school’s Pre-Professional Division and joined Madison Ballet’s company...

Catherine Rogers

Catherine Rogers began dancing in St. Louis, Missouri where she trained at COCA (Center of Contemporary Arts), and performed the works of Trey McIntyre, Michael Uhtoff, Ellen Costanza, and Antonio and Kirven Douthit-Boyd.

Mia Sanchez

From Chicago, IL, Ms. Sanchez trained at Ballet Chicago under the direction of Dan Duell and Patricia Blair.

Kaleigh Schock

Kaleigh Schock was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago where started training for her professional career at the age of 15 at Faubourg Ballet School in Hanover Park.

Cecilia Monroy

Apprentice - Cecilia Monroy was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin and started her training with the School of Madison Ballet at the age of seven.