Marin Ballet professionals have joined us with diverse backgrounds. From faculty who trained with founder Leona Norman…to dancers from around the world who retire from the stage to teach here with us…to actors and musicians…to staff from the worlds of film, fashion, and education…to a board of engaged alumni, parents, and business professionals…all are dedicated to Marin Ballet’s mission of excellent classical ballet training and promoting the art of dance.
Marin Ballet teachers nurture the whole student. Whether they pursue careers in the performing arts, or choose alternate professions, students develop the emotional, mental and physical resilience that they need to be successful.
Meet our teachers!
Catherine Hader became School Director of Marin Ballet in June of 2022. A graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School, Catherine began her professional career with The National Ballet of Canada under Artistic Director Erik Bruhn. She went on to a successful dance and film career in Los Angeles that includes five film industry awards as Co-Producer of the dance documentary An Improbable Dream. In 2013, she started teaching at the School of Ballet Arizona under Carlos Valcarcel and later, under Maria Simonetti. In addition to her dance career, Catherine is also a certified yoga instructor, bringing an emphasis on health and wellness to Marin Ballet students.
Laurie celebrates her 50th year of teaching with Marin Ballet this year! Her association with the school started in the 1950’s when she trained with Marin Ballet’s founder, Leona Norman, and was a member of the original Marin Civic Ballet. After graduation, she joined Norbert Vesak’s Western Dance Theatre, performing in Canada and the northwest. Returning home, Laurie began teaching when Marin Ballet opened its new facility at 100 Elm. She currently teaches Level 2 and 3 students, as well as Beginning Ballet for Teens and Adults.
Corinne Jonas received her training at Marin Ballet and danced professionally with the Houston Ballet and Diablo Ballet, performing principal and soloist roles in ballets by George Balanchine, classical and contemporary works, and roles created for her. Ms. Jonas worked with esteemed artists such as Dame Margot Fonteyn, Sir Kenneth Macmillian, Ben Stevenson and Paul Taylor and was featured in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. Ms. Jonas directed Berkeley Ballet Theater until joining Marin Ballet’s faculty in 2006.
Julia trained with the National Ballet School in Toronto, and upon graduation in 1983, spent five years with the National Ballet of Canada, and then joined the San Francisco Ballet in 1988, becoming a principal dancer in 1996. Upon retiring from the stage in 2002, Ms. Adam quickly gained recognition as one of the dance world’s rising talents in choreography. Ms. Adam has been featured in Dance Magazine, received the Isadora Duncan Award for Choreography, and currently directs her own dance company.
David Kato trained at Marin Ballet and holds a B.A. in Dance from Dominican University. He danced professionally with Empire State Ballet in New York and has danced as a Guest Artist with many Bay Area companies including Oakland Ballet, Western Ballet, Berkeley Ballet Theater, and Margaret Wingrove Dance Company. He has taught technique, pas de deux, and boys’ training in schools throughout the Bay Area, and joined the MB faculty in 2003.
Laura trained with Contra Costa Ballet, California Ballet and Oakland Ballet Academy. At age seventeen she joined the Oakland Ballet Company. After dancing with OBC she earned both a BA in Dance and an ABA-approved post-baccalaureate paralegal
certificate from Saint Mary’s College of California. Laura has taught at Ballet Arts in Oakland and Oakland Ballet Academy. She is honored
to be a part of Marin Ballet’s faculty since 2018.
Xiao was born in city of Changsha in People’s Republic of China. After graduation, she joined Hunan Dance and Music company, and was quickly promoted to Principal Dancer. In 1984, through a national dance audition and national college entrance examination, Xiao was accepted to Beijing Dance Academy’s Ballet Teaching Department. She received her B.A. in Ballet Pedagogy in 1988. After immigrating to the U.S. as a guest artist, Xiao performed the role of Sugar Plum Fairy for Grace Duty’s Nutcracker at Zellerbach Hall for 9 years. She has performed and taught ballet in the Bay Area for nearly 28 years. She feels blessed to be able to work with some of the best artists, smartest scientists, talented students, and wonderful human beings.
Erica received her professional training from North Carolina School of the Arts and the San Francisco Ballet’s Pre Professional Program. She performed in many company productions with SFB, and toured with the company in their production of “Don Quixote”. Erica went on to dance with Colorado Ballet in 2005. She also guested with various companies including Madison Ballet. She joined Ballet Arizona in 2008, and after four seasons with the company she joined Smuin Ballet. After 7 seasons with Smuin, Erica continues to dance as a freelance artist, and will teach and choreograph.
Stephanie Scarpello received her training at Marin Ballet, studying with Svetlana Afanasieva, Leslie Crockett, and Shannon Bresnahan. She continued her studies at the University of San Francisco, where she graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Performing Arts & Social Justice. Stephanie developed a love for teaching young children through her mother Signe Lando, a long time pre-ballet teacher with Marin Ballet. It is an honor follow in her steps, and carry on her passion for dance education. Mrs. Scarpello joined the Marin Ballet faculty in 2003.
Damon Mahoney began his performing career in the Bay Area in 2005 where he danced with a variety of companies including Savage Jazz Dance, Peninsula Ballet Theatre, Moving Arts Dance, Los Angeles’ Luminario Ballet, San Diego Opera, and principal roles with Oakland Ballet, San Francisco Opera and Menlowe Ballet. Damon has taught ballet and Pilates for over ten years and loves to weave elements of the two together, with an emphasis on healthy technique, form and foundation.
Claudia Alfieri began her professional career with American Ballet Theatre, as a soloist, at the age of 16, then went on to Boston Ballet. She was also in the Broadway touring company of Carousel. In 1997, Claudia joined San Francisco Ballet as a soloist, eventually ending her professional career with Smuin Contemporary Ballet. Working with choreographers such as Yuri Kylian, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, and Val Caniparoli has connected her with both new and traditional choreography, and has helped her become an inspirational teacher.
Charlie Martin trained at the Western Oklahoma Ballet Academy and studied on scholarship at ABT and Joffrey Ballet School’s Summer Intensives. Charlie then danced professionally with Kansas City Ballet for 11 seasons, performing leading roles in works by Twyla Tharp, José Limón, Val Caniparoli, and George Balanchine, among others. They also danced with Robin Dekkers’ Post: Ballet in San Francisco, Owen/Cox Dance Group in Kansas City, Remix touring Austria, and Oklahoma City Ballet. Martin’s choreography has been performed by Kansas City Ballet, Central Oklahoma Ballet Theatre, and Quixotic Fusion, to name a few. Charlie is also a repetiteur, staging works for professional companies, including work by Val Caniparoli and Penny Saunders. Previously, Mx. Martin was on faculty for the Oklahoma City Ballet Yvonne Chouteau School and Askew Ballet Academy, in addition to guest teaching for many schools and pre-professional companies.
Charlie Martin is an ABT® Certified Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 5, and is thrilled to join the Faculty at Marin Ballet.
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Timothy K. Murphy
Nancy Rehkopf, Interim Executive Director
Julia Adam, Performance Director
Stephanie Taubert, Operations Manager & Registrar
Catherine Hader, School Director
Sara AbuShaban, Marketing and Development Coordinator
Lauryn Smeester, Front Desk
Nancy Rehkopf, President
Sabrina Werby, Vice-President
Maria Newman, Secretary