Artistic Staff

Artistic Director: Gregory M. George.

CBT is proud to continue its relationship with Artistic Director Gregory M. George. A native of Michigan, Mr. George began dancing at age eight in Wayne, Michigan. From age 12 to 18 he studied at the Jordan College of Music, a division of Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana with George Verdak (formerly with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo). Becoming professional at the age of 16, he danced with the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre. He then continued his studies with a full scholarship at the Ruth Page Foundation Chicago Ballet School, directed by Larry Long. For four years Mr. George danced leading roles for the Ohio Ballet in Akron, Ohio, touring extensively throughout the United States and performing pieces by Ruthanna Boris, Paul Taylor and Balanchine. He performed in several festivals including Jacob’s Pillow and the Spoleto Festival in Italy, as well as performing in original works reviewed in Dance Magazine. Returning to the Indianapolis Ballet, he performed leading roles in Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Swan Lake, Sylvia, Raymonda and Gaite Parisienne.

Mr. George has a well-earned reputation as a respected dancer, teacher, choreographer and director for companies and universities across the Midwest. He has performed and choreographed musicals for Wisconsin University, Ann Arbor Civic Players and Bay View Theater Arts, in addition to TV commercials, plays and fashion shows as well as ballets for many companies as a guest resident director, dancer and choreographer. Over the past ten years with CBT, he has produced full-length ballets such as Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Anastasia and Nutcracker, and has choreographed over 100 other repertory works for other CBT performances.

Mr. George treats his students as young professionals, interjecting into his teaching techniques information regarding his vast experience with stage direction, lighting, set design, history and of course, wonderful stories of his adventures along the way. Mr. George’s 41 years of experience allows him to collaborate with dancers of all ages.

Ballet Mistress:Patricia Villaneuva

Patricia Villanueva has served as the Ballet Mistress and Rehearsal Assistant for the Children’s Ballet Theatre of Michigan for nine years and also teaches ballet at Happendance. She has performed as a guest artist with the Happendance Professional Company and has choreographed for Happendance-2-Go, which brings dance to Michigan school children in their schools. Her performing experiences also include principal dancer with the Greater Lansing Ballet Company and soloist with Aerial Dance Company, a modern repertory company in Holland. Dedicated to bringing the joy and discipline of ballet to children, Ms. Villanueva’s teaching career includes the Academy of Dance Arts in Lansing, the Holland Area Arts Council, Lakeshore Ballet Arts in Grand Haven, Zeeland Michigan Public Schools, Hope College in Holland and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp.

Kaitlyn Baisel

Kaitlyn has been teaching for CBT Academy for two years and has also taught at Danceworks of Michigan. She has been studying ballet for 17 years, getting her formal training at Academy of Dance Arts and Children’s Ballet Theatre. She was a member of CBT from January 2000 to May 2009. While a member, she danced in over 18 performances with numerous principal roles including the Lilac Fairy (Sleeping Beauty) and the Sugar Plum Fairy (the Nutcracker). She also served as a Company Assistant. Summer dance studies have included Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp Ballet Ensemble, CBT Summer Performance Company, Greater Lansing Ballet Company (GLBC) Summer Intensive, Anderson Ballet Intensive, and North Carolina Dance Theatre Intensive. She performed with GLBC at Regional Dance America in 2006 and 2007 where she received scholarships for various summer dance programs and with CBT at Michigan Youth Arts Festival in 2007. Kaitlyn is a junior at Michigan State University.

Amanda Smith-Heynen

Amanda danced professionally with the Joffrey Ballet. She was trained by former dancers with the Joffrey Ballet, Charthel Arthur and Robert Estner. She has attended workshops instructed by Robert Joffrey, Margot Fonteyn, Edward Villella, and Alexandra Danilova. Amanda taught at the school of Grand Rapids Ballet for 16 years and has taught for a number of charter and specialty schools in the Grand Rapids area, as well as for Grand Rapids Ballet’s award winning outreach program, “Steps In a New Direction”. She has served as ballet faculty for the Joffrey Midwest Workshop, Teachers Training School for Dance Masters of America, and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. Most recently, Amanda taught at Hope College where she was also the Artistic Director of InSync Dance Theatre.