Faculty & Staff

Barbara Barrington Jones Ballet West Academy at Thanksgiving Point



ACADEMY DIRECTOR | Peter LeBreton Merz

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.


Maricar Drilon was born in the Philippines and received her early training from her mother, Mercedes L. Drilon. She continued her training with Ballet Philippines (formerly CCP Dance Company), under the direction of Alice Reyes. She joined the company in 1979 and was promoted to Principal Dancer at the age 18, performing principal roles such as Juliet in Alice Reyes’ choreography of Romeo and Juliet, Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Raymonda, Swan Lake, The Voyages of Odysseus, Don Quixote, among others. She performed internationally with Ballet Philippines in Russia, Greece, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as Ballet Philippines’ National Tour. READ MORE+

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SHANIKA ELLS | Thanksgiving Point Administrator