Faculty

Elissa Colombi Okin- Director

Elissa graduated from Cleveland Heights High and received her Bachelor of fine arts, magna cum laude from Texas Christian University.majoring in Ballet with minors in Theatre arts and French literature. In Texas, Elissa danced with the Fort Worth Ballet under the direction of Fernando Shaffenburg and the TCU Ballet Ensemble performing a wide range of roles in classical and contemporary works.  She has taught here in Cleveland for 40 years and choreographed for many local theatres and schools including Chagrin Valley Theatre, Ensemble Theatre, Fairmount Center for the Arts, Suburban Cultural Arts, University School, Beachwood High School and others.  Ballet Jeunesse was founded in 1982 by Elissa while teaching at Suburban Cultural Arts Institute. In 1984 Elissa opened the Ballet Academy and continued to develop Ballet Jeunesse as a performing opportunity for her advanced students. She choreographs, designs and sews costumes for the company and brings area professionals together to create an artistic and instructional experience for young dancers.

Meghann Okin Sullivan- Ballet Instructor

Meghann began her ballet training here at the Ballet Academy where she was a member of Ballet Jeunesse.  She also studied at the Akron Institute of Dance, School of Cleveland Ballet, and Virginia School of the Arts.  She attended Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where she received her B.A. in English Literature and continued her studies in dance performance, choreography, and teaching pedagogy, and performed in many ballet, modern and jazz works.  She now teaches and choreographs for Ballet Jeunesse and works at Beachwood High School as a high school counselor.

Shannon Fischer Titas - Modern Dance Instructor

Shannon is a proud alumna of The Ballet Academy and Ballet Jeunesse. She went on to earn a BFA in Dance from Ohio University, where she concentrated on modern dance and choreography. She has performed, choreographed, and taught as a freelance artist since 1998. Her work has been performed at venues such as Cleveland Public Theatre, Cleveland State University, and Contemporary Dance Theater in Cincinnati. Past teaching appointments have included an adjunct faculty position at Hiram College and outreach for Verb Ballets (formerly The Repertory Project). She is also a certified Iyengar Yoga instructor with many years of experience. Shannon combines her knowledge of varied modern dance styles, improvisation, ballet, and somatic techniques to lead classes that are engaging, nurturing, and fun. She challenges students to explore and discover their own creative expression through movement.

 

Lieneke Matte- Ballet Instructor

Lieneke Matte grew up in the Bronx and received her early training at Ballet Tech and the School of American Ballet. She then attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts in New York City. Lieneke studied for a semester at the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase College. She then joined Verb Ballets as a company dancer, where she is now in her seventh season. She has performed throughout Northeast Ohio, and has toured abroad to Taiwan and Cuba. Lieneke loves to teach and share her passion for dance with others, and is excited to be at the Ballet Academy this year!