Nikki Bybee

Bybee is a full-time faculty member at Ballet West Academy. She previously worked as Adjunct Professor at the University of Utah, and as Assistant Professor of Dance at Brenau University near Atlanta, Ga. Bybee's teaching experience includes ballet technique, pointe, movement development from infancy to adult, teacher development, dance composition, dance criticism, Pilates, and conditioning. Bybee's choreography has been seen throughout Utah, Georgia, and Idaho.


As a performer, Ms. Bybee danced principal and soloist roles in choreography by Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Bruce Wells, Ben Stevenson, Agnes de Mille, Gerald Arpino, Anton Dolin, Miguel Terekhov (after Petipa), and Toni Pimble. Her training includes certifications in classical Pilates, RedCord Active Training, and Progressive Ballet Technique. She holds an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Oklahoma where she excelled as a Teaching Fellow, Foundation Fellow, and earned awards for the Highest G.P.A, Buffalo Mask, and multiple Interdisciplinary Arts Grants. Bybee ballet instructors include Mary Margaret Holt, Steven Brule, Donn D. Edwards, Jeremy Lindberg, Conrad Ludlow, Jennie Creer-King, Maureen Laird, Sharee Lane, Bene Arnold, Marius Zirra, Diane Callahan, and Carol Szutek. In 2014, Bybee became an ABT Certified Teacher after successfully completing the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum.

Madison Salazar
Shazell Ellerbeck

Head Academy Administrator


Shazell Ellerbeck started as the Head Academy Administrator in January 2017; she began working for Ballet West in 2015. Shazell has an Associate of Science in Physics and Mathematics. She has been working in administration for the last 15 years with a background in Accounting and Finance. Shazell lives in Salt Lake with her husband and son.

Madison Salazar

Colleen Barnes


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Colleen Barnes danced with Dayton Ballet, Ballet Pensacola, Dance Now! Miami, and free-lanced near Vancouver. She has worked for the Joffrey Ballet School NY since 2009 in both administrative and faculty roles, working as the coordinator of the Ballet Trainee Program as well as teaching a myriad of dance-related subjects as needed. Colleen is the Artistic Director of Joffrey South, Joffrey Colorado Springs, and Joffrey Kansas City summer intensives. She has taught and choreographed internationally, including Tokyo, Kyoto, Ancona, Genoa, and London. She coaches dancers privately, is Pilates mat certified through Equinox of NYC, has attended many teacher training workshops, and serves as a judge/teacher for the Wild About Dance Competition of Pennsylvania. Colleen is pursuing her MFA in Ballet from the University of Utah on scholarship. Prior to moving to Utah, she attended New York University’s Tisch Dance MFA program for one year on scholarship. Colleen holds a BFA in Ballet from University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music.

Madison Salazar
Nikolai Moroz


Nikolai was born in Bilopillia, Ukraine. He received his dance education from Kiev State Ballet Academy under Dr. Valery Parsegov. He began his professional career with Odessa Theatre Opera and Ballet in Ukraine and from 1989-1996, Nikolai danced with the Kiev State Theatre of Classical Ballet as a soloist and then principal dancer. He toured Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, France, and several other countries. He is proficient in both classical and modern ballet.

In 1996, Nikolai was invited to the El Paso Ballet Company where he spent two seasons dancing solo and principal roles. In 1997, Nikolai joined Ballet Arizona where he originated featured roles in Julia Adam’s Before, Ib Andersen’s Coppélia (Dr. Coppélius), 2B, Romeo and Juliet (Mercutio), and Mosaik. He has performed principal and soloist roles in many ballets including Giselle (Peasant Pas de Deux), The Leaves are Fading, The Nutcracker, George Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, La Sonnambula, Theme and Variations, Serenade, Allegro Brilliante, and Prodigal Son.

After retiring from dancing Nikolai moved to Florida and served as ballet master, teacher, and choreographer at Mary Jo Performing Arts Academy in Tampa. In 2009 Nikolai joined The Dance P.A.D. faculty as ballet master teacher. He has continued to teach at several studios across central Florida. Nikolai currently teaches at Destination Dance and Ballet Academy of Central Florida.  His summer guest teaching engagements include Ballet Arizona, Space Coast Ballet, Brigham Young University, and South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts.


Madison Salazar

Silver Barkes


Silver received most of her training with the Marin ballet in the SF Bay Area and San Francisco ballet schools. Joining State Street Ballet in year 2000 was a wonderful "stepping stone" to her career at Ballet West in Salt Lake City UT from 2004-2011 as a Corp de Ballet member. In her years at Ballet West she was fortunate to work with the Balanchine trust and many, many esteemed Choreographers. As a Corps de Ballet member she did numerous soloist and demi soloist rolls over the years. In 2012 she came out of retirement to once again dance with the company and join the cast of the hit reality TV show Breaking Pointe as one of their main characters. Silver also was very fortunate to be able to attend and be certified in American Ballet Theater Teacher Training program in the summer of 2014 to further her teaching knowledge. 

Not only has she had a Ballet career she also is a accomplished Professional Makeup Artist, receiving her degree in 2012. 

Currently, Silver teaches at Creative Arts Academy in Bountiful as co-ballet director creating a beautiful program for their students. She also teaches at Waterford private school. And most recently has excitedly joined the staff at Ballet West Academy! Silver has also found her passion for choreography.... Having her pieces chosen and awarded in many competitions as judges choice. 

Silver’s love for Ballet through out her career has really inspired her as a teacher. She so excited to continue to work and grow as a teacher and share her knowledge with her students!!!

Madison Salazar

Anna Marie Smith



Anne Marie Smith began her dance training at the age of 4 at the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program where she studied under Mary Ann Lee and Virginia Tanner. Anne Marie began her formal classical ballet training under Jan Clark Fugit and Stacey Swaner.  She furthered her dance education in the Ballet Department at the University of Utah. Anne Marie received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Utah in 1993. To continue her education as a dance instructor, she attended workshops presented by Olympic Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, Tanner Dance,  The State Office of Education Fine Arts Department, Utah Dance Education Association, the University of Utah, and the National Dance Education Association to name a few. Anne Marie has been an instructor for The Ballet School, Power Plus Productions and Expressions Dance. In 2002, Anne Marie accepted the position of Children’s Dance Theatre Company manager, as well as a faculty member for the Virginia Tanner Creative Dance Program at Tanner Dance at the University of Utah. While there she worked as a workshop presenter in the Professsional Development for Educators program, including at the daCi International conference in the Hague, Netherlands in 2006. As a reprensentative of Tanner Dance Anne Marie was an Arts Education advocate at the Utah State Legislature for five years. Anne Marie served as a peer evaluator for the Professional Outreach Programs in Schools (POPS) statewide art organizations in connection with the Utah State Office of Education Fine Arts Department. Anne Marie also served as a member of the Tanner Dance team that wrote grants and reviews for Arts in Education funding locally and nationally.  In 2007, Anne Marie joined the faculty of the Ballet West Academy, and the faculty of the Ballet West Arts Education ICANDO program.

Madison Salazar

Jenna Rae-Herrera


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Ms. Herrera grew up in Ontario, California, and has spent the past 10 years dancing with Ballet West where she is currently at the rank of Soloist. With Ballet West she has performed works by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Sir Frederick Ashton and Nicolo Fonte. Her favorite roles include George Balanchine’s Tarantella, William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, and Princess Florine in Adam Sklute’s production of The Sleeping Beauty. She has taught for studios in Utah and California, along with coaching students for the Youth American Grand Prix competition. 

Madison Salazar

Natalie Desch



Natalie Desch, (Juilliard BFA, University of Washington MFA,) performed for five seasons with the Limón Dance Company and for eleven seasons with Doug Varone and Dancers in NYC and was a faculty member at Hunter College from 2005-2012. Having taught regularly at various NYC studios including the Limón Institute, Peridance, Dance New Amsterdam, and the 92nd Street Y, she has also been on faculty at summer intensives including those of the Limón and Varone companies, Ballet West Academy, the Bates Dance Festival, the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theater, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. Natalie was guest faculty at Weber State University in 2015 and at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2016. She has staged the works of Varone, Limón, and Jiri Kylián on companies and universities around the world, and her choreography has been presented at venues throughout the US. In 2008, Natalie earned her yoga certification from YogaWorks NYC, and she currently on faculty at Salt Lake Community College, Utah Valley University, and Westminster College in the Salt Lake City area. 


Madison Salazar

Lisa Hoyt

Trolley Square Academy Administrator | Faculty


Lisa Hoyt has worked for Ballet West since 2007 and currently serves as the Academy’s Trolley Square Campus Administrator, Academy Faculty, and Assistant to the Children’s Ballet Mistress.  Originally from Salt Lake City, Lisa Hoyt trained with Ballet West Academy/Conservatory, spent her summers at renowned programs, and performed with the International Folk-Ballet and in children’s roles with Ballet West.

Lisa Hoyt received her MFA and BFA in Ballet (business minor) from the University of Utah.  Lisa performed all over the world with, and served as Ballet Mistress for, the University of Utah’s Utah Ballet and Character Dance Ensembles.  Ms. Hoyt had the pleasure of dancing with Nevada Ballet Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Lisa currently performs regularly with Eastern Arts, a classical Middle Eastern performing group, for which she has made award-winning choreography.

Specializing in teaching ballet and character dance, Lisa enjoys inspiring a love of movement within her students.  She has spread this philosophy while teaching dance at schools and institutions across Utah.  Ms. Hoyt currently teaches in the University of Utah School of Dance as an Adjunct Assistant Professor.

Ballet West

Heather Thackeray

Student Ballet Mistress | Academy Artistic Liaison | Principal Faculty


Prior to her appointment as Student Ballet Mistress and Academy Artistic Liaison, Heather has enjoyed over three decades of association with Ballet West.  Her first experience with the company was as a child performer in The Nutcracker. She became a student in the Ballet West Academy, then accepted a contract to join the company in 1991. Toward the end of her performing career she transitioned to the artistic staff as the assistant to the artistic director.  Heather is a well-respected master teacher and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Utah.

Ballet West

Jeffrey Rogers

Jessie Eccles Quinney Ballet Centre Principal Faculty


Born in Virginia in a southern military family, Jeffrey Rogers began his early training at the age of nine in Germany under Maureen Gergun, a former Soloist from the Royal Ballet in London. He then continued his formation at the Olaker Youth Civic Ballet in Chester, Virginia, under Christine Parks, an original member of the Ballet Society, which became the American Ballet Theatre.

Rogers was awarded full scholarships to the School of American Ballet in New York where he trained under renowned teachers Stanley Williams, Andrei Kramirevsky and Richard Rapp. On another full scholarship at the National Academy of Arts in Illinois, he completed his formation in the Vaganova, Bournonville and Cecchetti techniques, working with such great teachers as Petrus Bosman, Georgina Parkinson and Valerie Taylor of the Royal Ballet and Francesca Corkle of the Joffrey Ballet, , Larissa Skylanskya, Flemming Halby and Toni Lander and Erik Bruhn of The Royal Danish Ballet.

The honor being one of the first recipients of the prestigious Princess Grace Foundation Award for Artistic Excellence in dance, ultimately lead Rogers to a long career as Principal dancer with Ballet West in Salt Lake City under the artistic directorships of Bruce Marks, John Hart and Jonas Kåge.

Rogers has danced all of the major principal roles in the classical repertoire from Albrecht to Siegfried as well as in the best contemporary works by renowned choreographers including Val Caniparoli’s The Lady of the Camellias and Lambarena, John Neumier’s Age of Anxiety,Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid, John Butler’s Carmina Burana, Paul Taylor’s Company B, Antony Tudor’s The Leaves are Fading, Hans Van Manen’sPolish Pieces, and William Forsythe’s Artifact II.

 Currently a Principal teacher the Ballet West Academy, company teacher for Ballet West, and a Master Teacher and Judge for the world renowned YAGP, he has also been an adjunct professor for the University of Utah’s Dance Department. Rogers also teaches at companies and schools nationally and internationally. His most current guesting was at Staatliche Ballettschule in Berlin. 

Ballet West

Heather Fryxell

Associate Director Adaptive Dance| Principal Faculty


Heather Fryxell (formerly Heather Sanders) was born and raised in Florida where she received her early dance training with Thomas Armour.  Upon leaving Miami, Ms. Fryxell attended the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, majoring in English literature and educational psychology while on a full tuition talent scholarship. During her educational experience, Ms. Fryxell danced extensively with both universities’ dance companies and toured the west as a guest artist. Ms. Fryxell then danced with the Atlanta Ballet before joining Southern Ballet Theatre (currently Orlando Ballet) as a principal dancer.  During her eleven year tenure with the company, she also taught in the company’s school and served as a lecture demonstration coordinator from 1996-2000, directing performances for over 20,000 Orange county school students.  In her last year with Southern Ballet Theatre, Ms. Fryxell directed the School of Southern Ballet Theatre.  In addition to the positions Ms. Fryxell held at Southern Ballet Theatre, she also created her own adaptive dance program, Movement Mentor, in which she volunteered her time to teach dance to children and adults of special needs. Movement Mentor is now a part of the Ballet West education and outreach program and is taught in six schools here in Utah and also in Florida.

In 2000, Ms. Fryxell co-founded the Central Florida Ballet and the Ballet Academy of Central Florida. There she taught in and directed the school, directed the student company, developed her adaptive dance program, and danced in the professional company.  Upon returning to Utah in 2005, Ms. Fryxell began teaching at Ballet West where she is a principal faculty member and associate director of adaptive dance.

Ms. Fryxell has danced the principal roles in all the great classics including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Cinderella, and Swan Lake, La Sylphide, Carmen, and Don Quixote, among others, and she has also performed in Balanchine ballets and contemporary works.

Awards and accomplishments include competing in the International Ballet Competition in 1990, performing at the International Ballet Festival in Cuba in 1992, earning degrees in English literature and educational psychology from Brigham Young University, and being honored with Honorary Alumna at Brigham Young and Heather Sanders Appreciation Day for the city of Orlando. Ms. Fryxell’s teaching career has spanned 3 decades, teaching ballet to students of all ages and skill level.  Having also had extensive experience coaching dancers, Ms. Fryxell has had many award-winning students who have won top honors at national and international ballet competitions.   

Ballet West

Peggy Dolkas

Associate Director of Ballet West II | Principal Faculty

Peggy Dolkas trained under Sheila Humphreys and graduated from the National Ballet School in Toronto, Canada, earning the Peter Dwyer Scholarship award and the Christopher Ondaatjie Ballet Prize. She joined Ballet West in 2003 under the direction of Jonas Kåge and was promoted to Soloist in 2005. Ms. Dolkas’ principal roles include Aurora, Giselle, Odette/Odile, and Juliet. Dolkas was Ballet Mistress for Nevada Ballet Theatre from 2013 to 2015. She co-choreographed The Little Mermaid (2012), and Aladdin (2013) and Beauty and the Beast (2016) with Pamela Robinson-Harris for Ballet West’s Family Series. Peggy joined Ballet West Artistic Staff in July of 2015.

Ballet West

Calvin Kitten

Assistant Ballet Master | Director of Ballet West II | Principal Faculty

Calvin Kitten began his dance training at the California Ballet School in San Diego, and continued training at the State Ballet School in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia and also at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. Calvin joined the Joffrey Ballet in 1991. During his 19 years with The Joffrey, Calvin performed many principal and soloist roles while touring the United States and internationally. Calvin has received two Ruth Page Awards, has been featured on the cover of Dance Magazine, and has appeared in numerous films. In 2010, Calvin joined the teaching faculty of the University of Utah’s Ballet Department. Calvin joined the Ballet West staff as Director of Ballet West II in 2015.

Ballet West

Bruce Caldwell

Ballet Master | Company Archivist


Bruce Caldwell, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, began his early ballet training in 1961 from Bene Arnold and later from Willam F. Christensen.  He first appeared on stage in Salt Lake City in Kingsbury Hall with the University Theater Ballet as a child in The Nutcracker in 1962.  Joining Ballet West, then known as the Utah Civic Ballet, as an apprentice in 1968, he moved through the ranks becoming a principal dancer in 1973. Caldwell also trained under Bruce Marks, Toni Lander, Royes Fernandez, David Howard, Denise Schultze, Sondra Sugai and Petrus Bosman.  During his tenure at Ballet West he has danced most major roles in their repertoire, including Albrecht in Giselle, Siegfried in Swan Lake, the title roles in Don Juan, and Don Quixote, Sugar Plum Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty, Count Vronsky in Anna Karenina, Franz in Coppelia, Christ in Sanctus, Oberon in The Dream, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, as well as principal roles in Etudes, Symphony in C, and Carmina Burana.

Caldwell has the distinction of being the only dancer to have danced under the direction of all four of Ballet West’s Artistic Directors; Willam Christensen, Bruce Marks, John Hart, and Jonas Kåge.  He has appeared as guest artist for many regional companies throughout the U.S., as well as performing in international competitions in Moscow, Russia, and Osaka, Japan.  Caldwell has been a guest artist, guest teacher, and choreographer with many companies in the United States and has traveled to La Paz, Bolivia to teach and choreograph, assisted by Partners in America and the United States Department of State.

Caldwell is currently Ballet Master for Ballet West.  In 1989 he received the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce Excellence in the Arts Award, and a year later, the Governor’s Award, presented by the Utah Arts Council.

Ballet West

Peter LeBreton Merz

Ballet West Academy Director


Peter LeBreton Merz was named academy director in 2015.  He has committed to building on the tradition of excellence at the Academy, and is dedicated to raising the level of training to be on par with the best national and international ballet schools.

Merz brings over 20 years of experience as a dance educator and choreographer to his role as academy director.  From 2004-2015, he served on the faculty of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA.  While there, he rose to the rank of Associate Professor, tenured, and led the ballet unit of the faculty for seven years.  He taught courses in ballet technique, pointe, male enchainment, classical pas de deux, dance composition, theater stagecraft, and an academic class in “Arts and the Human Experience”.

Merz has served as a coach, choreographer and jury member for several ballet competitions, including the USA International Ballet Competition, the Korea International Ballet Competition, the American Dance Competition, and the Youth America Grand Prix.  He was named Outstanding Teacher by the YAGP jury at the Pittsburgh regional in 2014, and has twice been named Outstanding Choreographer.

Ballet West