Elizabeth Shipiatsky, Founder & Artistic Director

Ballet, Pointe, Repertoire, Variations, Acting

Elizabeth Shipiatsky was trained at the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Upon graduation, she was invited to dance with the Kirov Ballet of the Mariinsky Theater. She then completed a Master’s Degree in Choreography with the Leningrad State Conservatory (Russia) in 1989. Ms. Shipiatsky has choreographed for major ballet companies in Europe and North America, including the Kirov Ballet and the Vaganova Academy. Several of her original ballets have been adopted by the Vaganova Academy as part of its curriculum and are being performed by Vaganova Academy dancers all over the world. Maestro Pyotr Gusev launched Ms. Shipiatsky’s career as a ballet mistress by inviting her to assist him in staging Le Corsair for the Kirov Ballet. Since then, Ms. Shipiatsky has staged classical ballet repertoire for a number of major ballet theaters and companies including the Kirov Ballet, Vaganova Ballet Academy, Academy of the Russian Ballet, Kuibyshev Opera and Ballet Theater, Brighton Ballet Theater, Minnesota Classical Ballet, and Colorado Ballet. Ms. Shipiatsky served as a Principal Choreographer and Associate Director of Colorado Ballet II, and as a faculty member of DanceAspen and Colorado Ballet. She was the co-founder and artistic director of Classical Ballet of Colorado, and later owner and Artistic Director of Classical Ballet Academy.


The quality of Ms. Shipiatsky’s instruction is reflected in the success of her students, many of whom have been accepted to prestigious dance schools in the U.S. and abroad, such as the Vaganova Ballet Academy (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Kirov Academy of Ballet (Washington D.C.), School of American Ballet, Houston Ballet, Arizona Ballet, Bolshoi Summer Intensive (New York), Bolshoi Academy (Moscow, Russia), American Ballet Theater, English National Ballet School (London), and Juilliard. Several of her former students are professional dancers with companies including Colorado Ballet, Dutch National Junior Company, National Ballet of Ukraine and Sacramento Ballet. Ms. Shipiatsky was the well-deserved recipient of the Outstanding Teacher award at the Denver Regional Youth America Grand Prix in 2012 and, under her direction, CBC and CBA were deemed the YAGP Outstanding School in 2013 and 2018. In the summer of 2017, Mme Shipatsky took the first steps toward forming her long-dreamed-of professional trainee and early career professional company, Ballet Melange, where she also serves as Artistic Director.

Sergii Sydorskyi

Ballet, Men's Ballet, Pas de Deux,  

Character  & Acting

Sergii Sydorskyi joined our year around faculty in the 2019/2020 season after guest teaching and performing with us in previous years.  Named an Honored Artist in Ukraine, Mr Sydorskyi has earned numerous awards for the purity and academism of his dance execution. Mr. Sydorskyi earned a degree in dance, choreography and teaching from the famed Kiev State Choreographic School, as well as a Master's Degree in Theatrical Arts from the Kiev National I. K. Karpenko-Kary Theatrical Arts University. He has been Principal Dancer with the National Opera Ballet of Ukraine for many years. His extensive repertoire includes leading roles in numerous classical ballet productions in Ukraine and around the world like Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, Coppelia, Giselle, as well as in contemporary pieces like Apollo from George Balanchine. Currently, Mr. Sydorskyi is Principal Dancer with the Dance Alive National Ballet in Florida. Mr. Sydorsky will perform principal roles in Ballet Melange productions and will be lending his talents teaching Ballet Technique, Character, Men's Class, Acting and Pas de Deux classes. 

Maureen Breeze

Modern & Composition

Maureen Breeze began her professional career in the apprenticeship program with Alwin Nikolais Dance Theatre and the Murray Louis Dance Company. She performed as a member and/or guest artist with many modern dance companies including: Sara Pearson & CO and Stephen Kaplowitz & Dancers in New York, The Pat Graney Company and Co-Motion Dance in Seattle, and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Jan Justis Dance, and the Hannah Kahn Dance Company in Denver. She was the founder and artistic director of JUMPSTART/Dance Works where her choreography was funded by the Colorado Council on the Arts (in partnership with the National Endowment of the Arts), the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, the Denver Foundation, The McCormick Tribune Foundation, and other granting agencies. Prior to running her own company, Ms. Breeze owned and directed Dance Centre Seattle, a studio for professional contemporary dancers. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Claremont McKenna College in California where she studied International Economics and Mathematics. She was on the faculty at Denver School of the Arts, Classical Ballet of Colorado and Classical Ballet Academy prior to helping to launch Ballet Melange.

Marina Popovich

Ballet, Russian Language &


Marina began competitive rhythmic gymnastics at the age of 5. She was a candidate for Master of Sports of Ukraine (equals level 9 in USA gymnastics system.) Marina graduated from the National University of Physical Education and Sports of Ukraine in 2012 with a major in Rhythmic Gymnastics Coaching. She has worked as a rhythmic gymnastics coach in Ukraine, Japan and USA for many years and is a USA Gymnastics certified member and judge. Alongside her gymnastics training, she studied classical ballet (Vaganova method) for four years under the highly regarded and recognized ballet teacher, Igor Taranushenko. She also studied contemporary and jazz from the top teachers in Ukraine. 

While coaching and living abroad Marina became fluent in multiple languages and has also taught University level linguistics. CBA is thrilled to offer Russian Language classes  under Marina's tutelage. CBA students who travel and entertain dancing abroad have enjoyed this additional opportunity of study.

Rya began her movement journey at age 5 in Casper, WY, where she discovered her love of dance at a neighborhood dance studio.  Dance and choreography continued to be instrumental throughout her adolescence and influenced her decision to pursue her B.F.A. in Modern Dance Performance/Choreography at Arizona State University. While at ASU, Rya was fortunate to study with many dance greats, including Daniel Nagrin, Elina Mooney and Cliff Keuter.  Graduating ASU in 1994, she received the Outstanding Graduate award for Performance/Choreography, as well as accolades for her choreography. 

In 1994, Rya moved to Denver and began dancing with the Jan Justis Dance Company.  She was also fortunate to dance with other Denver/Boulder companies such as Maureen Breeze JUMPSTART/ Dance Works and Speaking of Dance, as well as co-directing her own company: Off Center Dance Collective.  While dancing and choreographing, Rya began teaching Pilates in 1999, and received her certification from Physical Mind Institute.  Her longest tenure with a dance company was with the Hannah Kahn Dance Company, where she was a company member from 1997-2005, and again from 2011-2018.  Throughout her time with the HKDC, Rya performed in numerous large stage productions, countless school shows and enjoyed teaching many creative dance workshops for K-12th graders.  Rya has been teaching modern/contemporary dance and composition, as well as having her choreography produced at various Denver dance institutions including Smokey Hill High School and Denver School of the Arts, where she served as a guest artist in residence for three years.   She has also taught creative dance classes for Colorado Academy, Stanley British Primary School as well as numerous Front Range schools.  She has choreographed flash mobs, for theater companies and summer camps as well as guiding novice choreographers to create their own work.


Recently, Rya completed her Registered Yoga Teacher Training from Kindness Yoga and is currently teaching yoga at Move! and other local studios.  She is a firm believer in proper body mechanics and alignment for dancers and loves the therapeutic and strengthening aspects that Yoga and Pilates have to offer. 

Rya Merschat

Contemporary & Composition 

Henry McCall

Contemporary & Composition

Henry Maximilian McCall was born and raised as the youngest of four boys in St. Louis MO, where he started dancing at COCA.  He studied at a series of schools, including the Ailey School Junior Division and Manhattan Youth Ballet, before graduating from Walnut Hill School for the Arts under Michael Owen.  This was followed by a move across the country to work and study at the Pacific Northwest Ballet in their Professional Division Program under Peter Boal.  While there he performed in Balanchine's A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Kent Stowell’s Nutcracker, as well as working with choreographers such as Crystal Pite. Since then he moved back across the country to study in and graduate from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in the class of 2018.  While in New York City he spent time freelancing with various artists and companies including working as an apprentice with Ailey II. He has been with Wonderbound since 2018 and has enjoyed leading roles in Garrett Ammon's works of Wicked Bayou, With Your Help, Boomtown, Serenade for Strings, and Sandman. 

We are so happy that Henry is able to carve out time from his busy performance schedule to teach and choreograph for CBA and Ballet Melange.

Avalon Kirby

Ballet & Contemporary

Avalon started her classical ballet training at the age of five and began training seriously with Elizabeth Shipiatsky at the age of 11. In her time at Classical Ballet Academy and Ballet Melange she has received numerous awards at local, regional and international competitions. She was a prize winner and selected to be in the final round of the international competition, Grand Prix Kiev, in 2020, 2019 and 2018. Avalon received first place in the Pas de Deux category at YAGP Denver in 2020 as well as placing in the top 12 or higher in her soloist category each year she participated: 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015 and 2011. Avalon also placed in the top 10 or higher at Denver Ballet Guild in 2017, 2015, 2014 and  2013. Avalon joined Ballet Melange as a trainee in 2018 and in that time has had the opportunity to perform in numerous full length ballets with Ballet Melange including favorite roles, Giselle in Giselle, Big Masha in The Nutcracker and Radish in Cipollino.


While substitute teaching for a couple years Avalon discovered a parallel passion for teaching. So, she became a certified Vaganova instructor through CBA’s Teacher Training Program in 2018 under the tutelage of Elizabeth Shipiatsky. She currently teaches ballet, pre-pointe and pointe. She also teaches contemporary and has choreographed contemporary work for CBA and YAGP soloists.

Liliana Watson

Ballet & Contemporary

--coming soon--

Irene Fischer


Irene studied music growing up in Russia at the Saratov central music school majoring in violin and piano. She later attended the Saratov State University earning her BA in Foreign Language Instruction and Interpretation (German/Russian/English.) After relocating to the US she earned her Masters at Texas Tech University in Business Administration and Finance and later moved to Colorado where she attended Colorado Christian University adding yet another degree, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction. She is a K-12 licenced teacher in Colorado and has ESL, Russian and elementary school endorsements. Irene has taught in the Denver Public School District, Red Rocks Community College, Community College of Denver and the Russian American Academy where she currently holds the positions of Russian High School Accredited Course Instructor and Principal.

Olga Zaretskaya

Visiting Faculty Member

Master's Classes, Ballet, Character

Ms. Olga Zaretskaya is a graduate of the Kiev State Ballet Academy, Kiev (Ukraine) and holds a Master’s Degree in Rehearsal Direction from the Kiev State University of Theatrical Arts under Valery Kovtun. Olga has considerable experience teaching and staging ballets. She was a Principal Teacher with the Academy of Russian Ballet and Assistant Artistic Director of the Russian Ballet company based in Denver, CO. Ms. Zaretskaya has staged full-length 19th century classics as well as numerous contemporary pieces. Her academy students continue to be accepted at leading ballet schools in the United States on full scholarships. Ms. Zaretskaya has been a guest teacher in studios on both coasts, in the mid-west, and Europe. She has taught summer intensives at Danceology Performing Arts Campus in San Diego as well as at V&T Classical Ballet & Dance Academy in Laguna Hills, California.


Ms. Zaretskaya is a first soloist in the Ukraine National Ballet in Kiev, and her repertoire includes Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, Giselle, Don Quixote, La Bayadere, Flower Festival, Esmeralda, Le Corsair, Carmen-Suite, Spartacus, Romeo and Juliet, Legend of Love, Bolero, and many others. Ms. Zaretskaya will share her talents with CBA as a visiting faculty member as her performing schedule allows.



6740 E Hampden Ave #309

Denver, CO 80224 USA


(303) 500-3226

  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • YouTube - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle

© 2018 by Classical Ballet Academy