Classical Ballet Academy Of Minnesota Testimonials

Emma Benja, CBA graduate and Professional Dance

Dancing ‘Porcelain Dolls’ in Ballet Minnesota’s Nutcracker

At a late age of 12 I joined Classical Ballet Academy and my experience here was life changing. I came without understanding any fundamentals of classical ballet, but by the time I graduated I had the confidence to pursue ballet as my career.  Andrew and Cheryl were very patient with me from the beginning and put in a lot of time and care to help me progress. Their teaching method of balancing discipline with nurturing created an environment for me to find my own strengths and weaknesses. A very special memory of mine was performing in Classical Ballet Academy’s annul shows. Every performance opportunity was an unforgettable experience. The professional rehearsing process also taught me the importance of dedication, responsibly and team work. In 4 short years Andrew and Cheryl prepared me the essential tools needed to become successful wherever I go. Most importantly, they led me to find my passion for dance. Andrew and Cheryl are the 2 most influential people that shaped me into becoming the dancer/person I am today. I am forever grateful for having met such inspiring teachers!

     – Now living in Tokyo as a professional dancer –

Emma dancing at a market in Tokyo

Sara Ezzel, CBA graduate and Professional Dance

Dancing the Lead role of Clara in the Nutcracker

The ten years I spent studying dance at the Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota were invaluable to my childhood. The discipline and perseverance I learned served me in every facet of my life, but even more precious are my countless experiences of self expression through dance. Andrew and Cheryl nurtured a creative, imaginative haven that offered me the space, care, guidance and opportunity to discover and explore my creative potential. Professional performance opportunities such as the Classic Nutcracker and Andrew Rist’s magical children’s ballets were so exciting to be a part of. I watched the potential of dance, storytelling and teamwork blossom before my eyes. I grew up in a world of music and inspiration, playing hide and seek in theaters with friends that I am still close with. Looking back I can see what a special experience I had at CBA. Everything I have pursued in my life has benefited greatly from my joy and base in the creative process.  Thank you Andy and Cheryl!

     – Sara Ezzel, a CBA alum, previously with the Stuttgart Ballet -Germany, St Petersburg Ballet – Russian, and John Neumeier’s Bundesjugendballet – Hamburg Germany is now an independent artist. 

Dancing the lead role of Giselle with the St Petersburg Ballet, Russia

Parent and Other Testimonials

Danette Nix, Parent

Leaving the competitive dance environment, I have been absolutely thrilled with both the atmosphere and the teachers at CBA. My daughter has been both nurtured and challenged, enjoying friendships, and growing in her discipline. Thank you CBA!


Andy and Cheryl are amazing! My daughter loved CBA and it was sad to leave there when we moved back to IL.

Jeni Deery Owen, Parent

We had been desperately trying to find a local dance studio that my (then) young daughter could acquire dance skills beyond just booty shaking. I’m so grateful we found CBA, because nine years later she has turned into a beautiful ballerina! If you are going to pay for dance, you might as well be at a studio that can teach solid technique and skill. In addition to the technique my daughters have acquired, the wonderful memories they have made through performing will stay with them throughout their lives.

Maureen Flaherty Anderson

Great teachers and opportunities to dance with a professional ballet company.

Kathleen Lee Mangum, Parent

Great instruction. Great discipline. We love performing the Nutcracker every year.