About TWSB

Co-founded in 1944 by the late Mary Day and Lisa Gardiner, The Washington School of Ballet (TWSB) is recognized nationally and internationally for its classical training and dedication to excellence in dance and dance education. TWSB provides a safe, nurturing environment enabling each student to explore their technical and artistic capabilities. Our mission is to inspire the next generation of young dancers to grow and expand to their full potential.

The school trains more than 900 enrolled students each year at its Northwest Campus studios on Wisconsin Avenue and an additional 350 enrolled students at its Southeast Campus housed at The Town Hall Education, Arts and Recreation Center (THEARC). More than 1600 adult students take class through TWSB’s Open Class programs which are held at both campuses.

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With best-in-class faculty, a unified curriculum across our programs, and student-centered classrooms, The Washington School of Ballet sets a new standard in ballet education. The Washington School of Ballet programs include creative dance, pre-ballet, boys’ classes, and a leveled program for children through young adulthood, many of whom wish to pursue dance as a career. The school also offers a Professional Training Division, overseen by Xiomara Reyes, that brings together especially talented students from around the world for intensive training under The Washington School of Ballet’s renowned faculty. Both the NW and SE campuses share a syllabus to ensure the same excellence in training at each location and both campuses also offer open adult classes.

Learn more about school programs

Each year, TWSB awards up to $350,000 in tuition assistance and merit scholarships to promising young dancers. Through financial assistance, merit-based recognition, and personalized faculty guidance, we strive to support equitable opportunities in ballet from registration to graduation. This incredible support is funded by donors like you who are committed to providing pathways for students in the DMV area to study classical ballet.

Join the Family Giving Circle

Learn more about the legacy of The Washington School of Ballet and its impact on Washington DC and the world of ballet.

History of The Washington School of Ballet

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School Leadership

School Leadership

Katie C. Sopoci Drake

Katie C. Sopoci Drake

Director of Schools

Katie Sopoci Drake is a seasoned administrator and educator with nearly 2 decades of experience in the arts spanning non-profit arts administration, teaching in higher education, and performance. As the …

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Xiomara Reyes

Xiomara Reyes

Professional Training Division Head

Xiomara Reyes, Head of the Professional Training Division at TWSB, had a successful and long international career. Performing with The National Ballet of Cuba, Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium …

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Damien Johnson

Damien Johnson

Upper Division Head, NW Campus

Damien Johnson is originally from Dallas, Texas. He received his early dance training from Kitty Carter, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and The Etkin-Atkinson …

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Pamela Bjerknes

Pamela Bjerknes

Pre-Ballet & Lower Division Head, NW Campus

Pamela Booth Bjerknes, a former member of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), brings extensive teaching, directing, and performing experience to The Washington School of Ballet. Performing classical and contemporary ballets throughout …

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Tammy Hurt

Tammy Hurt

School Principal, SE Campus

Tammy Hurt, a native Washingtonian, started her dance training at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet and later became a member of the Capitol Ballet Company under the direction of Doris …

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School Administration

School Administration

Katie C. Sopoci Drake

Katie C. Sopoci Drake

Director of Schools

Katie Sopoci Drake is a seasoned administrator and educator with nearly 2 decades of experience in the arts spanning non-profit arts administration, teaching in higher education, and performance. As the …

Read More
Tammy Hurt

Tammy Hurt

School Principal, SE Campus

Tammy Hurt, a native Washingtonian, started her dance training at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet and later became a member of the Capitol Ballet Company under the direction of Doris …

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Xiomara Reyes

Xiomara Reyes

Professional Training Division Head

Xiomara Reyes, Head of the Professional Training Division at TWSB, had a successful and long international career. Performing with The National Ballet of Cuba, Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium …

Read More
Damien Johnson

Damien Johnson

Upper Division Head, NW Campus

Damien Johnson is originally from Dallas, Texas. He received his early dance training from Kitty Carter, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and The Etkin-Atkinson …

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Pamela Bjerknes

Pamela Bjerknes

Pre-Ballet & Lower Division Head, NW Campus

Pamela Booth Bjerknes, a former member of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), brings extensive teaching, directing, and performing experience to The Washington School of Ballet. Performing classical and contemporary ballets throughout …

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Donna Glover

Donna Glover

Nutcracker Children's Coordinator and Summer Intensive Manager

Entering her 18th season with The Washington Ballet, Ms. Glover has transitioned from the leadership position of Director of Operations for The Washington School of Ballet to Summer Intensive Manager …

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Margaret Williamson

Margaret Williamson

Artistic Administrator, SE Campus

Margaret Giragosian Williamson received her early training at The Washington Ballet, the Maryland Youth Ballet, and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. During this time, she was also privileged to spend …

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Alexandra Schools

Alexandra Schools

School Manager, NW Campus

Alex Schools is a native of the Washington, DC area, where she received her ballet training under Pamela and Michael Bjerknes at American Dance Institute and Patricia Berrend at Berrend …

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Kayla DeShields

Kayla DeShields

School Manager, SE Campus

Kayla DeShields is a native of Woodbridge, VA where she grew up studying liturgical dance in her church beginning at age four and holding positions of leadership within the dance …

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Miya Hisaka

Miya Hisaka

Adult Program Head

With a life commitment to diversity and excellence in concert dance, Miya has been a Producing Executive/Artistic Director, teacher, choreographer, arts and diversity advocate, and urban planner. Since l984, faculty at WSB, under …

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Kim Parmer

Kim Parmer

Assistant School Director, NW Campus

Originally from Long Island, Kim Parmer has been immersed in the DC-area dance scene since moving here in 2010. Most recently, Ms. Parmer served as the director of Maryland School …

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Valentina Palladino

Valentina Palladino

Assistant to the Pre-Ballet and Lower Division Head

Valentina Palladino is a professional dancer, choreographer, and educator from Sardinia, Italy. Ms. Palladino began her dancing career in 2003 at the School Ballet Arabesque, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy, under the …

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Alumni

Co-founded by legendary ballet pioneers, Mary Day and Lisa Gardiner, The Washington School of Ballet has produced many notable alumni including: Virginia Johnson, Kevin McKenzie, Amanda McKerrow, Shirley MacLaine, Georgia Engel, and Chelsea Clinton.

The Washington School of Ballet students have gone on to dance professionally with The Washington Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dutch National Ballet, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet and numerous other companies all over the US and the world.

Join our TWSB Alumni Group on Facebook to connect with former classmates and to receive special invitations and promotions.

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