Lower Division Faculty, Pre-Ballet Faculty
Deborah Chen is originally from Arlington, VA, and grew up in St. Petersburg, FL. She began her ballet training with Elena Martinson at the age of 6. From there, she furthered her training at Judith Lee Johnson’s Studio of Dance, as well as Florida West Ballet and Academy of Ballet Arts, all located in St. Petersburg, FL. Her instructors included Silvia Manzanero, Sasha Yapparov, Pavel Fomin, and Suzanne Pomerantzeff. She then went on to dance as a full-time Trainee with Next Generation Ballet, in Tampa, FL, under former Artistic Director, Peter Stark. While dancing at Next Generation Ballet, she trained with Ivonne Lemus, Melissa Stafford, and Richard Sias. In addition, she got the opportunity to perform with Opera Tampa, compete at YAGP, and be featured in television news segments. As a student she attended summer intensives with Miami City Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, and Next Generation Ballet, all on scholarship. From 2012-2020, she danced professionally as a Company Dancer with Manassas Ballet Theatre, where she performed various Principal and Soloist roles both in classical and contemporary works, including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Dracula, Cinderella, Carmina Burana, and Swan Lake.
She started her teaching career in 2011, teaching Primary level ballet classes at the Patel Conservatory, located in Tampa, FL. Her teaching experience includes Academy of Ballet Arts, Charis Dance Academy, Dance Academy of Loudoun, and Message in Motion. Most recently, she taught at Ordway Conservatory of Classical Ballet, Lyrique Dance, and Ravel Dance Studio. She has set and choreographed dances for The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Don Quixote, and Swan Lake, and has also coached students for YAGP. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Marketing. She joined The Washington School of Ballet as a Faculty Member in the fall of 2023, and is grateful that she continuously gets to share her passion for ballet with the next generation of artists.