Directors

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Sandra Meythaler

Executive Director

Ms. Meythaler was a principal ballerina with the National Ballet of Ecuador. She has performed ballet and contemporary dance around the world including Peru, Belgium, Germany, Italy, England, France, Spain, Brazil, Columbia and Japan. She began dancing professionally at the age of fifteen with Compania Nacional de Dance in Ecuador and then joined the National Ballet of Ecuador in 1989. She also danced with Ballet Novo, Opera Ecuador and Koral y Esmeralda. In 2001 Sandra became a part of Roanoke Ballet Theatre and was promoted to Director in 2007. She is also a professor of dance at Washington and Lee University.

Ms. Meythaler’s awards include:

  • Silver Medal – Festival International de Dance – Dijon, France – 1986

  • Bronze Medal – Festival de Dance – Gastrovillari, Italy – 1986

  • Best Performance – Festival International de Dance – Tarascon, France – 1988

  • Nominated Best Interpretation – Festival of Choreography – Ecuador – 1991

  • Award given by Hitoshi Motochino, Mayor Nagasaki – 1994

  • Gold Medal – Awarded by Organization MINON, Tokyo – 1994

You may email Ms. Meythaler directly at:

smeythaler@roanokeballet.org

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Rolando Sarabia

Artistic Director

Rolando Sarabia is a Cuban ballet dancer of international acclaim who has danced with companies throughout the world including the Cuban National Ballet, Houston Ballet and Miami City Ballet. He danced with American Ballet Theatre as a guest artist in 2011 and is a principal dancer with the Washington Ballet. Sarabia is often compared to the young Mikhail Baryshnikov and has been called the “Cuban Nijinsky” by The New York Times.

Sarabia grew up among ballet dancers and his father was a dancer with the Cuban National Ballet. He was trained by his father, Alicia Alonso, Lázaro Carreño and Magaly Suarez at the National Ballet School in Havana. He has performed with renowned dancers including Maya Plisetskaya, Patrick Dupont, Farouk Ruzimatov, Alicia Alonso and Tamara Rojo among others. Sarabia is the recipient of the Prix Benois de la Danse, Concours International de Danse de Paris, Varna International Ballet Competition, Gold Medal USA International Ballet Com-petition, Gold Medal 1998 International Ballet Competition and Grand Prix 1998 International Encounter of Ballet Academies among others.

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Renee Aguilera

Renee Aguilera, born outside of Chicago, Illinois, began dancing at the age of 9. When she was 11, she started at Dancenter North in Libertyville, Illinois, under the direction of Cheri Lindell. She was trained in classical ballet by Victoria Barlow, Greg Begley, and Altin Naska. She attended summer intensives and Master classes taught by Amy Brant, Rafael Delgado, Melissa Anderson, Mia Wilkins, Patricia Blair and so many more. Renee was also a summer scholarship winner of CNADM (Chicago National Association of Dance Masters) which she attended for three years. When she was 16 her Summer Intensive training began at the Virginia School of the Arts under the direction of Petrus Bosman. She was accepted as a full year student as a senior. She was fortunate enough to work with teachers and choreographers such as Martha Faesi, David Keener, Jeff Rogers, Tyrone Brooks, Lisa Thomas and other guest teachers and staff. She graduated in 2005 from Virginia School of the Arts and E.C. Glass High School. Ms. Aguilera continued her dancing at Radford University in Radford, Virginia, under the instruction of Inessa Plekhanova.  She also studied Interior Design and Psychology. She has danced in major ballets such as various Nutcrackers, The Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, Cinderella, and excerpts from Swan Lake along with many others. Renee is currently a Ballet and Pointe Teacher for Roanoke Ballet Theatre and City Youth Ballet and a former member of the Roanoke City Ballet. 

Ballet Mistress

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A native of Poland Norbert began his ballet studies at the National Ballet School in Gdansk. He was a finalist in Poland’s 7th national Ballet Competition and obtained a silver medal in the same competition in 2 years later. As a Dancer for the Polish National Theater he portrayed roles in a variety of classical ballets such as "Swan Lake", "Giselle", "Sleeping Baeuty" and "La Fille Mal Gardee" in Warsaw and throughout Europe. After leaving Poland Mr. Nirewicz joined Ballet Classico de Camara in Venezuela, as a Principal Dancer adding "La Bayadere", "Le Corsaire" and many more to his repertoire. After Mr. Nirewicz competed at US International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, he was offered a Principal contract to join Cleveland/San Jose Ballet. He performed with the company for two seasons in Nahat's "Blue Suede Shoes" and Roland Petit's "Carmen" garnering public and critical acclaim. In the Summer Norbert competed in the 16th New York International Ballet Competition where he was a finalist. After two seasons with Cleveland/San Jose Ballet Mr. Nirewicz joined Columbia City Ballet with a Principal contract where he performed in "Don Quichote" and "Dracula" among the others.

Since 2002 Norbert has been working as a Free Lance Dancer, Teacher and Choreographer performing across United States Japan, Latin America and Europe adding many more ballets to his repertory such as "Apollo", "Who Cares", "Allegro Brilliante", "Combat", "Serenade", "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, "Romeo&Juliet" to name the few as well as taught numerous Master Classes, Company Classes and Summer Intensive Workshops through out the Country as well as created Award Winning choreographies for Ballet Companies and  Dance Competitions.

Norbert Nirewicz

Choreographer/Ballet Master

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Vladimir Espinosa 

Musician

 Vladimir Espinosa is a musician, actor, and choreographer born in Havana, Cuba. He graduated from the ENA (National Arts School in Cuba) in 1985. He also studied with the National Folkloric of Cuba with Regino Jimenes and Pelladito: both having taught at ENA.  After he graduated he became a professor and instructor in the school of the arts and the house of the culture in Havana, Cuba. Then he started a professional career for different companies as an actor, dancer, and choreographer the companies he worked with included: Teatro Caribeno (Cuba), Teatro Orile (Cuba), Compania National De Danza (Ecuador), and Rojo Oscuro (Ecuador). In 1996, Vladimir was the Artistic Director and Choreographer for the election ceremonies of Miss Ecuador. He has been a teacher, instructor, and musician accompanist for the American Dance festival (Duram, North Carolina) since 2005. He propagandized a movie (El Accidente De La Libertad) and a co-production with Germany and Venezuela. Vladimir was part of many different groups and bands like Savuka Son, Havana Express, Coral y Esmeralda, Los Gatos, Las Manos Del Sol, Solazo, Western Mambo, Lenny Marcus Jazz Trio, Jazz Trio Michel and Vladimir, Latin Clave, and many others. He was an instructor of Latin Percussion, Afro-Cuban Dance, and Musician accompanist in residence at Hollins University. His specialties include Latin and afro-Cuban music, contemporary Latin and Afro-Cuban Folkloric Dance, and traditional African Diaspora rhythms. Since 201he has been performing with bands like El Coco, JStop Latin Jazz and Music Road Co. and the Reunion with his group Solazo. Vladimir has always been an active participant of music events in the community like Local Colors, the Latino Festival in Roanoke, Floyd Fest and Stepping Out in Blacksburg Virginia. He is currently teaching salsa classes with Focused Radio and at Roanoke Ballet theater teaching Afro Cuban Rumba, Salsa and Latin styles. 

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Pat Wilhelms

Pat Wilhelm’s theatre education includes a BFA from Daemen College and an MFA from Penn State. Acting and directing credits include  residencies with GEVA, Theatre of Youth Co, Idaho Rep, Melic and Mime and Mill Mountain Theatre where she performed among others, a one woman show called: At What Cost, The Story of Marie Curie. She also served as Mill Mountain Theatre's Director of Education and Resident Director for 10 years. Later, she founded and served as Artistic Director of Roanoke Children’s Theatre where she taught theatre classes and directed 42 productions from 2008-2020. Some of her favorites are Madeline's Christmas, Shrek, Cat In The Hat, Seussical, Annie and Matilda the Musical. She also founded RCT4Teens, a New York Times-recognized issue based touring program that tackled issues especially for teens. A 2021 recipient of the Perry Kendig Award for Excellence in Arts and Culture, Pat is so excited to bring the art and craft of theatre to the Grandin Village at  Roanoke Ballet Theatre. Pat brings her years of experience to serve RBT as Marketing Director and  is excited to helm the newly created PB&J Theatre Co inside Roanoke Ballet Theatre.

Marketing Director & Acting 

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An educator for 25 years, Jill has taught in public school, private school and homeschool. She founded the area's largest one-day-a-week school for area homeschoolers that she directed for 10 years. Currently, when not at RBT, Jill acts as a film producer and administrative assistant for an award-winning local filmmaker, scheduling locations, handling budgets, craft services and much more.  

Jill Shelton

Administrative and Marketing Assistant

Teachers

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Ballet

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Caroline Bundschuh

Ballet, Jazz

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Ballet

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Mary Grace Cole

Ballet

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Liza Deck

Modern

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Patricia Cope-Levy

Acro / Modern

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HipHop

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Acting