When students join our studio, they will be trained by our elite team of professional ballet dancers, all former members of renowned ballet companies around the world. In addition, we have partnered with State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara. This partnership provides our students the opportunity to dance and work with elite dancers in a professional ballet company. We have found that observing and dancing with these professional dancers inspires our students to even greater levels of achievement, focusing their goals and dedication to train.

Yukari Thiesen

Director, is a former soloist of the Matsuyama Ballet, Tokyo, Japan: Director Valley Performing Arts Council: Artistic Director Fresno Ballet Theatre. Ms. Thiesen has been the Producer of “the Nutcracker” with the Sacramento Ballet and also with Russian Festival Ballet, “Snow White & Seven Dwarfs” “Cinderella” “The Jungle Book” and “The Secret Garden” with State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara and director/choreographer for outreach productions of “The Little Match Girl”, “Snow Queen”, “Cinderella”, “From the Sleeping Beauty”, “Swan Lake Act III” and other ballets for over 132,000 grade school students from 25 school districts. Her choreographic works for other companies include a section for the Sacramento Ballet in “The Nutcracker”, “Merry Widow” for Fresno Grand Opera and Producer of the ballet scene in “Carmen” for FGO. She has directed and taught ballet programs for over 600 grade school students at seven elementary school districts.

She was the recipient of the 2013 Artists in Residence Grant from Fresno County Office of Education and the 2017 Outstanding Teacher’s Award from Foundation at Fresno County Office of

Marina Fliagina

Is in charge of all ballet productions of Northwest Studio for Ballet and has been a regular faculty member since 2014. She was born in Russia and graduated with distinction from Perm State College of Choreography in Russia. In 1990, she was admitted to the Moscow State Theatre Kremlin Ballet where she worked with the renowned Vladimir Vasiliev and Ekaterina Maximova. She has performed roles in all of the famous classical ballets and has toured internationally with the Russian Imperial Ballet, Moscow Classical Ballet, and the Moscow Festival Ballet. Ms. Fliagina joined State Street Ballet as a dancer in 1998 and was promoted to Ballet Master for the 2000-2001 Season. She has choreographed and directed the production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” performed by State Street Ballet & Fresno Ballet Theatre in 2009 and 2014. She choreographed and directed “Sleeping Beauty Act III” for Northwest Studio / Kingsburg Ballet Recital 2010, “The Little Humpbacked Horse” for Recital 2013, “La Sylphide” for Recital 2014, “Don Quixote” in 2015, “Chipolino” in 2016, “Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 2017, “Swan Lake” in 2018, “Coppélia” in 2019, “La Bayadère” in 2021 and “The Firebird” in 2022.

Yulia Gamboni

She is a native Ukrainian from Odessa, Ukraine. She was trained in classical Russian Vaganova Ballet method at the Grand Opera and Ballet House in Odessa Ukraine. She also holds a BA Degree in Liberal Arts and Dance. In 1993 she received a bronze medal and Title of Laureate at the Moscow International Ballet Competition of “Ballet Russ”. She owned and directed her own ballet school in the Ukraine prior to moving to the United States.

Elizaveta (Leeza) Domrachev

Was born in Santa Barbara CA. She graduated with honors from International Perm State Ballet Academy – professional Ballet School in Russia. In 2016 she became a finalist in the Russian National Talent TV show ” Blue Bird” in Moscow. In the spring of 2019 was a Second Place winner at the International Ballet and Contemporary Dance Competition “Domenico Modugno” in Italy, there she also received a “Special Jury Prize”.

In the fall of 2018, she performed the main part of Liza in the ballet premiere “La Fille Mal Gardee”, on the stage of the famous Perm Opera and Ballet Theater. Before moving to Russia to enter to Perm Ballet, she was trained at the Gustafson Dance in Santa Barbara, the official school of State Street Ballet and Ballet Academy Ventura. While she was young she joined the performing tour with State Street Ballet to Fresno and performed in “Snow White“ in 2011 and “Cinderella” in 2012 with Fresno Ballet Theater students. She had been teaching at Northwest Studio for Ballet since 2018 sharing her knowledge of classical ballet which she gained from her 9 years study at Perm Ballet.

Guest Faculty

Kenneth Balint

California State University Fresno Theater Dance Department Professor: Professional ballet dancing career including the Hartford Ballet, Omaha Ballet, Princeton Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Arizona. before joining the faculty of CSU. His choreographies have received awards at American College Dance Festival.

Joy Thiesen

Alumni Northwest Studio for Ballet: Formerly with Ballet Arizona under the direction of Ib Andersen (former principal dancer with New York City Ballet through personal invitation of George Balanchine). Her ballet teachers include Marat Daukayev – Former Artistic Director of the Kirov Academy of Ballet, Meelis Pakri – former Ballet Master of Colorado Ballet, the Royal Ballet School in London and current faculty member of Harrid Conservatory, and Kee Juan Han- former Director of the School of Ballet Arizona, currently the Director of School of Washington Ballet. She has performed in “Merry Widow” and choreographed and performed in “Carmen” with Fresno Grand Opera. She is an Honor Graduate from UC Davis and MFA from St. Mary’s College, California. She was a lecturer with CSU Fresno, Fresno City College and Clovis Community College until her relocation to San Francisco Bay Area in June 2019. She is the heard of the Dance Department at Mercy High School, all girls private school in Burlingame.

Aaron Smyth

Born on the Gold Coast Australia, Aaron Smyth dancer, actor and entrepreneur has been a company member with the American Ballet Theatre II in New York, The Royal Ballet in London where he created a role in Christopher Wheeldon’s Titian: Metamorphosis a collaboration with the National Gallery, and The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago were he danced soloist and principal roles. He has danced for Royalty, the Obamas and now travels the globe as a guest principal artist. He has recently performed on London’s West End in Christopher Wheeldon’s New Musical An American In Paris. He’s danced on TV, appearing on two series of the Got Talent. He appeared as the Snow Cavalier in Disney’s upcoming feature Film The Nutcracker and the Four Realms coming out in 2018. Mr Smyth has also won numerous medals in International Ballet Competitions and is the Founding Director of his company “Dance For Humanity” and wellness house EC1 Studios in London.

He was Basilio in “Don Quixote” in 2015, Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet” in 2017 and Cavalier in “The Nutcracker 2018 with the State Street Ballet Fresno tour and danced with Fresno Ballet Theatre. He was Price Siegfried in “Swan Lake’ in our Recital 2018, Fritz in Coppélia”, Sola in “La Bayadère” and Ivan Tsarevich in “The Firebird” in 2022 “. He has been Summer Program Faculty for Northwest Summer Intensive Ballet since 2018.