top of page


Faculty Biographies

Vlada K
Vlada Kysselova.png

Vlada Kysselova

Ballet 3B, 4A, 4B, 5, Pointe 5, Variations 4B, 5

Vlada Kysselova, also the Artistic Director of International Ballet’s pre-professional company, is originally from Kiev, Ukraine. She graduated from the Kiev State College of Choreography and holds a bachelor’s degree from Kiev National Linguistics University and a master’s degree with honors in Dance Pedagogy and Choreography from the Ukrainian Academy of Dance at International Slavic University. She danced and toured as a soloist with the National Theater of Opera and Ballet in Kiev, Ukraine, and as a principal dancer with Kiev Theatre of Classical Ballet and Ballet Classique de Paris in France before immigrating to the United States in 2001.

Since May 2004, Vlada has choreographed and staged full-length productions for International Ballet such as Francesca da Rimini, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Lady and the Hooligan, Giselle, La Sylphide, Coppelia, Don Quixote, Paquita, and numerous short works including original choreography for the South CarolinaRegional Ballet festival, as well as numerous collaborative works with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. A founding instructor for International Ballet Academy since its inception in 2003, she has coached and traveled with students for such prestigious ballet competitions as Youth America Grand Prix (Regional and NYC Finals), Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition (Kiev, Ukraine), and the USA International Ballet Competition (Jackson, MS), and her students have received multiple top placements, including “Regional Grand Prix,” in YAGP regional as well as NYC final competitions, and Most Outstanding School in 2008.

Victoria Y

Victoria Yanchuk

Ballet 3B, 4, 5, Pointe 4, 5, Variations 3B

Ms. Yanchuck graduated from Kiev Ballet Academy, Ukraine. In her career as a dancer she has performed a large repertoire of roles both nationally and internationally. She has worked with Donetsk Opera and Ballet Theater of Ukraine, Vadim Pisarev Russian Ballet and the Russian Ballet Company of Delaware. Ms. Yanchuck has also toured with the Soviet ballet troupe, “Stars of Russian Ballet” and has performed at the Nervi International Ballet Stars Festival in Genoa, Italy.

Ms. Yanchuck began teaching ballet in 1996 when she joined Nevada Festival Ballet Company of Reno. In 2011, she joined Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC as a Summer Preparatory Program Instructor, where she taught Historical Dance and Preparatory Ballet.  Ms. Yanchuk still regularly teaches audition classes as well as summer program courses for the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC. Ms. Yanchuck completed the professional program “Method of Classical Dance Teaching” at the Vagonova Ballet Academy in Russia in March 2018.

Irina U

Irina Ushakova

Ballet 5, Variations 4A

Irina Ushakova received her training from the Perm State Ballet School and was a principal dancer for 19 years for major ballet companies both in Russia and in the United States. Ms. Ushakova is a Bronze and Silver Medal winner in two international ballet competitions. Her repertory includes many classical ballet roles, Balanchine choreography, contemporary works, and modern performances.

In 1989, she toured the United States with the Donetsk Ballet, followed by a tour of Israel and Turkey with the Bolshoi Ballet.  Since 2002, Ms.Ushakova has been a faculty member of the Dance department at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, South Carolina, where she is known for her staging of many character and classical ballet works. In 2007, she graduated from Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University (Russia) with a Master’s Degree in Dance and Education.

Liz Blackwood

Liz Blackwood

Ballet 1, 2A, 2B, 3A, Studio Performance Group,
Character, Adult Ballet 

A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Liz Blackwood studied with Josée Beauséjour in Montreal, Canada where she successfully passed dancer and teacher exams with the Cecchetti Society of Canada. While in Montréal, she also worked with Odette Lalonde, Suzanne Plante, Victoria Yakobov, and other renowned teachers. She has attended workshops at Canada’s National Ballet School, l’École supérieure de ballet du Québec, Richmond Ballet, and other locations. She’s worked with numerous schools and choreographed dances for productions including The Wizard of Oz and La Boutique Fantasque. Ms. Blackwood most recently taught for Ballet Spartanburg before returning to International Ballet Academy in 2015, where she teaches many intermediate level classes, including pre-pointe training, beginning pointe, as well as Open Adult classes and IB Summer Camps.

© Jerry Finley Photography

Josha W

Josha Williams

Mommy & Me, Ballet 2A, 3B, Trainee Program Director

Josha Williams has been a dance educator in the Greenville community for the past 15 years. After completing her formal dance training at North Carolina School of the Arts, she returned to her hometown to begin her professional dancing career with Carolina Ballet Theatre in 2004 and teaching for Barbara Selvy’s School of Carolina Ballet Theatre. She continued training under the direction of Hernan Justo and the mentorship of Anita Pacylowski Justo, while dancing and teaching. One of the highlights of her career was having the opportunity to work with Alonzo King and to perform his originally choreographed piece, “MAP.”

Josha served as one of Carolina Ballet Theatre’s lead teachers for the outreach programs as well as an independent teaching artist in Greenville County Schools for over seven years. She has taught many levels but is best known for her love of teaching tiny ballerinas and specialized adult ballet/strengthening classes. Josha’s passion for exercise, fitness, and overall wellness is now stronger than ever. She currently works as an instructor for Greenville’s Pure Barre and has been since it’s opening in 2012. Josha is thrilled to start this coming year at International Ballet Academy teaching young ballerinas.

Lydia Sanders

Lydia Sanders

Ballet 2A, 2B, 3A

Lydia Sanders was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. She began her serious ballet training at the USC Dance Conservatory, under the guidance of Susan Anderson and Stacey Calvert. She continued formally training at Southeastern School of Ballet, studying under Hillary Krieger-Toth and Gabor Toth and at International Ballet Academy under Vlada Kysselova, Irina Ushakova, and Victoria Yanchuck. Lydia has attended summer programs with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Charlotte Ballet. Lydia graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2018 with a BA in Dance Performance and Choreography and a Psychology minor. In the USC Dance Company, she performed in several works by George Balanchine, including the principal role in Walpurgisnachtand soloist roles in Raymonda, Who Cares, andStars and Stripes. Lydia also danced the title role as the Firebird in Susan Anderson’s production of The Firebird.Post-graduation she joined Virginia National Ballet, where she danced a variety of soloist roles in choreography by artistic director Rafik Hegab. Lydia will be joining Ballet Spartanburg for the 2019-2020 season.

In addition to dancing herself, Lydia has a passion for teaching and is thrilled to be joining IBA’s faculty this year. She has been cultivating her love of teaching since she was 14 and has not stopped since, working as a teacher for Aletheia Dance Inc., Southeastern School of Ballet, USC Dance Conservatory, and Virginia National Ballet School. Lydia has experience working with students from the age of 2-20 and is excited to share her knowledge in an environment that shaped her into the person she is at International Ballet Academy.

Lauren R
Lauren Russ.jpg

Lauren Russ

Pre-Ballet A, B, Ballet 1

Lauren Russ received her training at International Ballet under Vlada Kysselova, Victoria Yanchuck, and Irina Ushakova. She danced five seasons with the IB company. She has performed in The Nutcracker as Spanish, Snow, and Waltz of the Flowers, in the Waltz of the Hours and Czardas in Coppélia, and in numerous mainstage performances, as well as in community outreach events such as Storytime Ballet at the Greenville County Library. Lauren attended  Ballet Magnificat's Summer Dance Intensive in Jackson, MS, and volunteered and performed at Greenville's Artisphere. She is a student at Bob Jones University. 

© Jerry Finley Photography

Linda Thompson

Project Pirouette Instructor

Linda O’Brien Thompson trained with the Boston Ballet School performing the Nutcracker every year of her youth. She finished her training with Pacific Northwest Ballet School and then Cleveland Ballet School. Mrs. Thompson began her professional career with the Cleveland Ballet but later joined the Ohio Ballet where she enjoyed performing many roles choreographed by George Balanchine, Anthony Tudor, and Heinz Poll, the director of Ohio Ballet. Mrs. Thompson was ballet mistress to both the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre and Carolina Ballet Theatre. She has worked with Tuscaloosa Community Dancers, setting the Nutcracker and choreographing original works. Mrs. Thompson has five young adult children and is married to Lee Thompson, a former ballet dancer now Michelin employee. Mrs. Thompson is delighted to return to the studio and share her love of ballet with the youth of Greenville.

Screen Shot 2022-07-16 at 7.08.56 PM.png
Linda T
Ginny Lynn B
Ginny Lynn Brown.jpg

Ginny Lynn Brown

Pre Ballet B

Ginny Lynn fell in love with Ballet right here in Greenville, SC. She began her training at the age of 3 and has been dancing, teaching, and performing ever since. Through grade school she studied Ballet, Tap, and Jazz at SODA in Florence, SC. She became a member of the South Carolina Dance Theatre Company in 1994 and enjoyed many years of performing her favorite Ballet: The Nutcracker, in roles as a Mouse, Soldier, Party Girl, Snowflake, Angel, Arabian, Polichinelle, Mirliton, and Flowers. While achieving her degree in Business Management from Clemson University in 2006, she spent most of her extra time in the studio. Ginny Lynn was the Ballet Teacher for the Clemson Dancers from 2003-2006. She also performed with the Clemson Dancers in all areas of dance from Pointe to Clogging all four years. In 2005, Ginny Lynn was accepted into the very first year of the Clemson UDC. She also enjoyed performing in musicals with the Clemson Theatre Department. Ginny Lynn was the President of the Clemson Shag and Ballroom Club and still enjoys teaching shag today. She has taught in many places over the years including Ballet Spartanburg, and for the last five years/currently teaches Ballet, Tap, and Jazz for DTG.

Susan F

Susan Ford

Pre Ballet C

Susan, a seasoned dance instructor originally from Columbia, South Carolina embarked on her ballet journey under the guidance of the esteemed Ann Brodie. She joined the Columbia City Ballet Company at a young age and continued her studies at the School of American Ballet and classes at American Ballet Theatre. Susan’s academic journey includes a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Management from the University of South Carolina where she was a member of the USC Dance Company under director Susan Anderson and later an instructor at the USC Dance Conservatory. Prior to completion of a Master of Business Administration from the State University of New York, with a specialization in Arts Management, she was a member of the former regional company South Carolina Ballet Theatre under the direction of Anita Ashley. Susan is thrilled to embark on a new chapter as an instructor at the prestigious International Ballet Academy, where she is eager to continue her mission of inspiring and nurturing young dancers, imparting her wealth of skills, experience and dedication to the art of dance.

Screen Shot 2022-07-16 at 7.08.56 PM.png
Uriah headshot.jpg

Uriah Boyd

Contemporary 4/5

Uriah Boyd is an interdisciplinary performance artist from Portland, Oregon. Her primary artistic mediums are dance and music, which she often integrates in live performance. She began her dance training in 2006, studying jazz, tap, ballet and modern. In 2009 she enrolled in Jefferson High School, a performing arts school with a renowned pre-professional dance training program. While at Jefferson High, she met a filmmaker and began working on a documentary with her older sister entitled Soar. The film focuses on their relationship as siblings, dancers, and creative partners. Soar was released in 2014 and has aired on PBS internationally. It is still in syndication today. After graduating high school and releasing Soar, Uriah began dancing professionally. She performed and toured with numerous dance companies and collectives in Portland and the greater NW, most notably, Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater. Uriah was a founding member of Rejoice! and it was during her time with the company that she began training in folkloric dances of the African Diaspora, which has become a large influence in her movement to this day. She began teaching in 2016 and has led contemporary dance workshops throughout the Pacific Northwest, in Mexico and Peru. Uriah travels often and enjoys connecting to new communities by way of movement and music. In recent years, music and aerial dance have become more prominent creative focuses for Uriah. She’s working on more intentionally integrating her music and movement practices, and spends most of her time engaged in creative play. Uriah is currently based in Greenville, SC and has found a warm home in the live music and contemporary dance communities here.

Uriah B
Carissa K

Carissa Kubitz

Jazz 3A/3B, Guest Choreographer

Carissa Kubitz began dancing at 3 and began teaching 20 years ago. She toured Europe with a youth ballet company, filmed for an Apple iPod commercial & was on the dance team for the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers (during Lebron James’ second season!). She lived in Los Angeles to further her dance training and has also studied extensively in New York City. She is certified from the Finis Jhung’s teacher training program, a certified WuDang Qigong teacher & has over 200 hours of teacher training with Yin Yoga master Douglas Johnson of Mahapatha Yoga. She moved to Greenville, SC from Atlanta where she had been teaching competitive & pre-professional dance for 10 years. Her students have placed in overalls at national competitions and can be seen dancing in movies, commercials, music videos and for professional sports teams. She is excited to work with the dancers of International Ballet.

Carissa Kubitz.jpg
Macayle McMullin.jpg

Macayle McMullin

Pre Ballet C

A native to the Greenville, South Carolina area, Macayle McMullin started dance lessons with Louise’s House of Dance from 2006-2008. In 2010 she began her training with International Ballet under Vlada Kysselova’s instruction. While cultivating her dancing technique with Victoria Yanchuk and Irina Ushakova, Miss McMullin performed in IB’s The Nutcracker and three seasons with their pre-professional company. Her roles included Giselle waltz, Don Quixote corps, La Fille Mal Gardée corps and many others as well as solos in contemporary pieces choreographed by Megan Hannon and Juliana Jordan. In the Summer of 2020 McMullin participated in the Royal Ballet School’s online summer intensive. In 2021 she appeared in the short film ballet “Just Let Go” choreographed by Thomas Shoemaker. McMullin is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Visual Art from Bob Jones University and will perform with Cornerstone Ballet in their production of The Nutcracker in the 2023-2024 season.

Macayle M

Laura Dunn

Pre Ballet D, Ballet 1, 2B, 3A

Laura Winship Dunn is the former owner and director of Ballet Aresko in Lynchburg, Virginia. She has trained under artists such as; Martin Friedman of Colorado Ballet, world renown Galina Panova, Eli Lazar, Adam Sage, Martha Fesia, Dominique Angel, Tyrone Brooks and Sandra Meythaler. She has danced for several companies including The Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre, North Carolina Academy of Dance Arts and Roanoke Ballet Theatre. She also danced at several Summer Intensives with the Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre and Ballet Magnificat! She received her dance education from The Sangre de Cristo Ballet and from Virginia School of the Arts as a postgraduate student.Shortly after this she joined and began dancing for Roanoke Ballet Theatre. She danced lead roles for RBT including, the Snow Queen, Isabella in Napoli, The Queen Fairy in an original Ballet and the principal role of Cinderella. Prior to founding Ballet Aresko, she taught dance for many other studios such as Dance Theatre of Lynchburg, Seven Hills Dance studio, Roanoke Ballet Theatre and Assemble Dance studio as their Director of Dance. She is also the Co-founder of Haven School of Dance in Pueblo, Colorado. She received her Bachelor of Science in 2011 and hopes to one day obtain her MFA in dance pedagogy. Her desire is to provide an exceptional dance education for her students. One that leaves them with skills and lessons to apply to everyday life. Believing that every dancer is unique, it is important to her to teach according to the needs of each individual student.

Laura Dunn.jpg
Laura D
Screen Shot 2022-07-16 at 7.08.56 PM.png

Robin Otey

Ballet 2A

Originally from the Washington, DC area, Robin Otey began her intensive training at the Maryland Youth Ballet under the direction of Tensia Fonseca and Michelle Lees.  After moving to Houston, TX to complete her training, she began dancing professionally with the Houston Ballet in corps de ballet roles in La Bayadere, Swan Lake, The Snow Maiden, Manon, and The Sleeping Beauty. While with Houston Ballet she had the privilege of performing with such stars as Carlos Acosta, Angel Corella, and Nina Ananiashvili.  She later danced with Ballet Memphis performing numerous soloist and principal roles. While touring to New York City, she received praise from the New York Times for her contemporary roles in Mark Godden’s Angels in the Architecture and Trey McIntyre’sSecond Before the Ground. Her passion for teaching began in her late teens and then grew as she matured as a professional, learning new ways of moving that she wished she had learned as a student.  Convinced it was possible to teach students this artistry and movement quality along with their technique, she began teaching in the Ballet Memphis School while still dancing as a professional. After marrying and moving to St. Louis in 2002, she taught at the St. Louis Ballet School (where she also guest starred as the Sugar Plum Fairy in St. Louis Ballet’s Nutcracker). Since, she has taught beginning through advanced levels at a variety of ballet schools throughout the Midwest and West. In 2015, Ms. Otey became a certified STOTT Pilates Instructor. She appreciates how this form of exercise brings her love of movement, alignment, and anatomy/physiology together. New to the Greenville area, she is thrilled to be joining the International Ballet Academy faculty and excited to be teaching such a wonderful group of students.

Robin O

Laura Karanevich

Ballet 2A, 2B

Laura Karanevich was born in Lenexa, KS, where she grew up dancing at Legacy School of the Arts under the direction of Maura Landers and Michele Hamlett-Weith. In high school, Laura continued training at Kansas School of Classical Ballet (KSCB) under the direction of Juan Pablo Trujillo and Stefani Schrimpf. While at KSCB, Laura performed soloist roles in full length ballets such as, La Bayadère, Les Sylphides, and Paquita. From 2017-2021, Laura completed her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography at the University of Missouri- Kansas City (UMKC). While at UMKC, Laura performed in both ballet and modern works by the faculty and guest artists including Paula Weber, David Justin, Ronald Tice, Gary Abbott, Karen Brown, DeeAnna Hiett, Tom Gold, Christopher Huggins. Laura also performed in Concerto Barocco, staged by Nilas Martins and Les Sylphides, staged by Paula Weber. Professionally, Laura has danced with Albany Berkshire Ballet, Quixotic Fusion, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, and, most recently, Columbia Classical Ballet (CCB). While performing in the corps de ballet with CCB, under the direction of Brooklyn Mack, Laura performed in guest works by Simone Cuttino and Terrance Henderson, as well as full length works such as La Bayadère and The Nutcracker. Outside of performing, Laura enjoys educating aspiring dancers as well as teaching pilates. Laura taught in IB’s Outreach program Project Pirouette in the Summer of 2023.

Laura Karanevich.jpg
Laura K
bottom of page