Andrew Rist, co-founder and co-director

andy-cheryl-2012Andrew’s interests have always been in the areas of teaching, directing & choreography. After dancing professionally for 14 years, Loyce Houlton encouraged Andrew to become Avocational Director of the Minnesota Dance Theater school (1986-87). In 1987, Andrew and his wife Cheryl took steps in a new direction and co-founded the Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota. Andrew is co-director of CBA and teaches intermediate through advanced students.

For more information about Andrew Rist’s work, click here.

Cheryl Rist, co-founder and co-director

DSCN0795 copyCheryl, a graduate of the Cornish School of Arts in Seattle, was the recipient of seven Arts Scholarships. Her teachers included Robert Joffrey, Loyce Houlton, Hanya Holm, Flemming Halby and Frank Bourman. She began dancing with Sacramento Ballet under the direction of Jean-Paul Comelin (formerly Paris Opera Ballet). She danced as a principal with the Banff Festival, the Minnesota Dance Theater (under the direction of Loyce Houlton) and Ballet Minnesota. Cheryl is the co-director of CBA and teaches intermediate through advanced students.

For more information about Cheryl Rist’s work, click here.

Taylor Huber

taylor-teachingTaylor Dreyling Huber is a Minnesota native, who began dancing with Classical Ballet Academy (CBA) in 1996 and graduated in 2001. She has received several scholarships to numerous ballet summer intensives such as; Dance Aspen with Jillana, Virginia School of the Arts, Milwaukee Ballet School and Boston Ballet School. Taylor went on to the University of Kansas and the University of Wisconsin – Madison, under dance scholarships. She was a Ballet Minnesota company member from 2001-07 dancing several soloist roles such as; Snow Queen in The Classic Nutcracker, Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, Flower Girl in Don Quixote, Willi soloist in Giselle, Dawn in Coppelia and was in several of Andrew Rist’s original works such as Italian Symphony and The Black Dog Café. Taylor has performed with several companies around the Twin Cities Metro and nationally performed the Grand Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker as a guest artist. After retirement she became a notable teacher and private coach with several schools all over the metro. She currently resides in Woodbury MN with her husband and daughter, instructs Pre-Ballet through Level 2B in both CBA Woodbury and Saint Paul locations and in her spare time teaches Barre Burn classes with Yoga Fresh in Woodbury.

Sarah Pelletier

Sarah Pelletier enrolled in the Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota as a level 1 student in 2000 and graduated the Academy at Level 8 in 2008. She has danced in the classics Ballet Minnesota productions of Swan Lake and Giselle, restaged by Cheryl Rist. She has also danced in other original works by Andrew Rist including: ‘Black Dog Cafe’, ‘Nightmare’, Sorcer’s Apprentice, ‘At The Museum’, Emperor’s New Clothes ‘River Songs, and original version of ‘Nutcracker. Sarah taught ballet and choreographed original dance at Rain Academy of Dance in Hastings receiving an awards for original choreography. She and her sister Rebecca also choreographed a dance in the original production of Amahl.

Svetlana Gavrilova Bak

Svetlana Gavrilova graduated from the world famous Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. She studied under Alla Sizova and Marina Vasilyeva, both former soloists from Mariinsky Theater (Kirov Ballet). As a soloist, Svetlana performed and toured around the world with The Mikhailovsky State Opera and Ballet Theatre.

2001-Current: Cofounder, Director, Ballet Mistress, Choreographer of Academy of Russian Ballet.
Choreographed and Staged original ballets “Great Halloween Adventure”, “Peter and the Wolf” 
and “Carnival of the Animals”. Restaged classical ballets such as Les Chopiniana, Corsair, Swan Lake, Paquita, Nutcracker and many more.
1998-2000: Danced with Ballet Minnesota
1992-1998: Danced as a soloist with Mikhailovski Theatre St. Petersburg, Russia
1992: Graduated from Vaganova Academy St. Petersburg, Russia

Becca Stevens

Becca Stevens started dancing at the young age of four years old. In 1998 she started attending Classical Ballet Academy, and performed in her first Nutcracker, under the direction of Andrew and Cheryl Rist. As she continued through her dance training at CBA, she was given opportunities to perform in classic Ballets such as, The Classic Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Giselle, and Swan Lake. She was also in original works choreographed by Andrew Rist. (Italian Symphony, At the Museum, and Black Dog Café.) After graduating high school she spent the summer in Michigan studying with the American Ballet Theater, and was chosen to perform a solo variation in their summer showcase. When she returned to Minnesota in the fall, she became a company member with Ballet Minnesota. While she was a part of the company she accepted roles in The Classic Nutcracker, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and La Bayadere.

In 2010, Becca started her teaching career. She has taught Ballet technique to Competition Lines and Recreation Lines at Woodbury Dance Center, White Bear Dance Center, Studio One Dance, and SonDance Studio. She has also taught the Adult Ballet Class at CBA. Becca is so excited to be coming back to CBA, and is looking forward to working with all of the students and faculty.

Harper Skulley

Harper began her dance studies at the Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota in March, 2002. Harper trained with the Boston Ballet School Summer Programs. Harper was made an apprentice to Ballet Minnesota for the 2013-2014 season, and joined the company for the 2015-2016 season. She has danced in many of the classics restaged by Cheryl Rist for Ballet Minnesota and has danced in and been a featured dancer in works by Andrew Rist including: “Cinderella’, ‘Messiah’, ‘Beethoven’s 6th Symphony’, ‘At The Museum’, ‘Nutcracker’ ‘Song of Silence’ and Beethoven’s ‘Grosse Fuge’.  She is currently a student at St. Catherine University. 

Karissa Kockelman

Karissa is an advanced dancer with the Classical Ballet Academy and began her studies with CBA in 2006. She loves seeing the excitement and eagerness of the younger dancers as they learn new repertoire and delights in seeing their progression as they advance the different levels at CBA. 

Karissa attends Stillwater Area High School. In her spare time, she participates in a variety of SAHS academic clubs. She plays the Concert Grand Pedal Harp, taking lessons at MacPhail Center for Music, and enjoys playing for various events at several venues.