Dress Code

Our system of instruction inspires dedication, demands both discipline and a high standard of achievement, and instills a love of the arts and music, all in an atmosphere of love and encouragement.

BalletCenter Studios specializes in holistic ballet training focused on the individual needs of our students. We develop our dancers at an appropriate pace for their level of understanding, development, and dance goals by basing class placement on a student's progress and abilities rather than age. Whether you are looking for serious training in Ballet and Contemporary dance, or recreational and supplementary classes, our Mission Hills Studio has been serving the San Diego community for over 25 years.​

The studio accepts students, from ages 3 years old to adulthood, providing classes for all levels of understanding and ability: from creative movement pre-ballet Nurseridance through the pre-professional level, from an adult student's first acquaintance with ballet up to the professional dancer looking for supplemental classes. Our curriculum is based on the French and Vaganova techniques, and incorporates contemporary dance science in an effort to provide students with a holistic approach to dance: familiarizing students with differing styles, terminology, and with their bodies. The program has been organized to increase the students' technical skills and stamina with a special emphasis on technique, placement, line, sustainability, and artistry.

Our students have been accepted into prestigious programs at Royal Ballet School, Dutch National Ballet, English National Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, School of American Ballet, Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Washington Ballet, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Philadelphia Ballet, Ballet West, Colorado Ballet, Kaatsbaan, and others. They have danced as trainees and professionally with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, City Ballet of San Diego, California Ballet, San Diego Ballet,  Ballet Austin, Ballet Met and more.

​BalletCenter Studios also provides a space for those looking for recreational and supplementary classes -- instilling in students the importance of coordination, work, concentration, and a sense of community.​

Adult classes are geared to all levels of proficiency: from absolute beginners taking their first step in ballet to professionals looking for supplemental classes.

Michelle Bartolomei - Owner and Artistic Director

Michelle G. Noblejas-Bartolomei has been teaching ballet since 1986. She has taught and choreographed at numerous academies in the Washington D.C. area and Florida. She has served as the Ballet Director at Centreville Academy of Dance and Dancensations Dance Centre in Northern Virginia. She created ballet programs for both children and adults at the Skyline Health Clubs in Falls Church, Virginia. Throughout her career as an instructor of the art of ballet, she has also taught lyrical, jazz, tap, and run a summer dance camp which included other facets of theatre such as voice, acting, music theory, keyboard basics, stage make-up, and costuming.She began her training at age 5, studying with such well-reputed schools as the Washington Ballet and the Boston Ballet. She received scholarships to attend the Joffrey Ballet in New York City and the Ballet Academy of Northern Virginia. She performed as a soloist with the Shenandoah Dance Ensemble and the Tidewater Ballet. To complement her skills in ballet, she attended Shenandoah Conservatory for studies in Musical Theatre including jazz dance, dance composition, voice, acting, stage make-up, stage craft, and lighting. She has also choreographed and performed with a touring children's theatre company.As an instructor, Miss Michelle seeks to inspire the pride and beauty within each dancer. In class she demands a high standard of discipline and an aspiration towards perfection. She believes that a student with the mind and body disciplined enough to adhere to the precise rules of Classical Ballet is better prepared for success in school, the workplace, and throughout all other aspects of life. In fact, those of her students who excel in ballet generally receive top honors in academics.​Equally important is Miss Michelle's endeavor to bring fun and enjoyment to her class. Ballet, by its repetitive and gradual nature requires an instructor who instills in her pupils the patience, dedication to hard work, and most of all, a love of the art which contributes to the formation of a graceful dancer. Together, she and her students celebrate during the stages which each dancer passes through on the way to greater mastery of the art of dancing.

Trystan Merrick - Owner and Program Director

Trystan Merrick studied ballet under the tutelage of Ahita Ardalan, formerly of the Paris Opera Ballet. Having toured internationally performing in 18 countries on five continents Trystan had the unique opportunity to grow their appreciation and knowledge of the international dance community. They have performed the works of Twyla Tharp, Robert Cohen, James Canfield, Peter Anostos, Septime Webre, Merce Cunningham and George Balanchine in addition to most of the full length classical ballets. Trystan started their professional career with Nevada Ballet Theater in 2007, and has since danced as a principal artist for San Diego Ballet, San Diego Dance Theater, Malashock Dance, Owen Cox Dance, Concept Zero, City Ballet of San Diego, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, and The California Ballet. Trystan has presented choreographic work for DISCO RIOT, San Diego Dance Theater, and The California Ballet. While navigating their performance career Trystan prioritized developing experience as a teacher, choreographer, and artistic leader over past 17 years. They believe being able to relate and empathize with the intersectionality in our dance community can bring us to a future with more opportunities for all.​

Michaela Gould - Instructor

Michaela received her training at the American Academy of Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. She has performed with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Cincinnati Ballet, City Ballet of San Diego, and the California Ballet Company.

Barrett Bartolomei - Instructor and Office Manager

Barrett began his training with his mother, Michelle Bartolomei, and continues to train with her and Trystan Merrick. He has trained over summers at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Ballet Austin, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. He has been a guest performer for San Diego's local companies and schools, such as the California Ballet School and Company and City Ballet of San Diego. ​

Stephanie Koresaar - Jazz Instructor

Stephanie is a native San Diegan, who received her Ballet training from Marius Zirra, Wayne Davis, Judy Sharp, and Maxine Mahon; and Jazz & Tap with Pam Thompson, Michael Rooney, Gregory & Maurice Hines, and Savion Glover. She performed locally with many companies such as California Ballet, San Diego Ballet, Jazz Unlimited and Three’s Company.  She danced in L.A. in Commercials & Industrials, TV, and Movies, such as “ La Bamba,” “The Menedez Brothers,” “Silk Stalkings,” and “Renegade.” She also danced with Norwegian Cruise Lines where she played Diane Lorimer in the original Broadway version of  “42nd Street,” as well as “Meet Me in St Louis” and “Sea Legs Goes Hollywood.” Stephanie starting teaching at 15, and has been teaching and choreographing in San Diego and Orange County ever since. She holds a B.A in Fine Arts from U.C. Irvine, a Masters in Education from Chapman, and a CA. Clear Teaching Credential.

Joyce Kushner - Contemporary Instructor

Joyce Lien Kushner is a SoCal native, trained in modern, contemporary, jazz, ballet, and tap, and is a certified Progressing Ballet Technique® (PBT) instructor. She graduated from UCLA, Magna Cum Laude.

As a dance teaching artist, Joyce has trained dancers of all ages and has performed and collaborated with artists all over California - Modern City Repertoire, Strong Pulse Dance, Epiphany Dance Theater, Surhabi Suraf, Sarah Bush Dance, Amy Lewis, Five Feet Dance, and Chris Black Dance. In 2015, Joyce founded TILTshift Dance. Now in San Diego, Joyce continues to teach, make work, and serves on the board of Disco Riot.

Judith Sharp - Instructor

Judith Sharp was the ballet mistress for the California Ballet Company in 1988. She has also been an instructor for the U.C. San Diego Department of Theater and Dance since 1984.

Judith Sharp trained and performed with the original San Diego Ballet Company, studied at American Ballet Theatre in New York, and went on to receive a degree in Ballet from the Indiana University School of Music. Ms. Sharp has received numerous awards for choreography including first place in 1996 in the ballet category and grand prize in the Second Annual International Dance Competition held in Tijuana, Mexico. Nine of her ballets are in the CBC repertory.

Shannon Harris - Conditioning Instructor

Shannon’s early dance experience included training in ballet, jazz, musical theater, tap, hip-hop, and lyrical. She danced with several companies and performing groups while also teaching and pursuing her academic education. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science with additional emphasis in geriatrics and nutrition as well as additional education and certifications in Pilates, yoga (hatha/Iyengar/vinyasa), strength and conditioning, pre- and post-rehabilitation, as well as sport specific training in running, cycling, triathlon, and kickboxing among others. She owned and operated a Pilates/Yoga/personal training studio for 15 years and ran an international Pilates certification program for 10 years.

Since 2008, Shannon has been pursuing advanced education in brain-based approaches to pain, performance, and health. Much of this training has been with Z Health Performance Solutions which uses applied neurology to help people find more options for reducing pain, improving movement, and accelerating performance. She currently works with clients, teaches group classes, and presents on integrating a neuro-centric approach with the many of valuable movement tools more commonly used. This blended, holistic approach honors the uniqueness of each individual and allows the athlete and coach to harness neuroplasticity and the most current scientific understanding to discover greater movement potential.

Female Identifying Attire:
- Pink leotard, full length pink/flesh colored tights, pink/flesh ballet slippers
Pre-Ballet - Pink leotard, full length pink/flesh colored tights, pink/flesh ballet slippers
Ballet I- Ballet V
- Leotard of choice, full length pink/flesh tights and ballet slippers

Male Identifying Attire:
Any unitard or solid color shirt and tights, ballet slippers should align with color of socks or tights

Adult Ballet - Any color leotard, tights or leggings and ballet slippers

Warm-ups/skirts are allowed at each instructor's discretion
Please secure hair away from face and no dangling jewelry.
If the dress code conflicts with your gender expression please reach out so we can help determine an appropriate attire for class