About Us

Our Mission

Performances of High Artistic Quality

Our major productions are full-length ballets with professional choreography, scenery, costumes and guest soloists, presented at the Stanley Center for the Arts in Utica. We include in our holdings a costume collection valued at $165,000, Nutcracker sets valued at $65,000 and a $3,000 collection of props.

Development Opportunities for Young Dancers

We provide young dancers with the training and development opportunities essential to progress to professional ballet. Following the Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.) method, we work with dancers ranging in age from preschool to young adult. They progress through levels of difficulty and achievement, testing before outside judges as prescribed by ARAD. The most accomplished dancers are offered contracts with our Company and Senior Company.

Over the past 42 years, over 40 Mohawk Valley Ballet Company Dancers, through their experience with us, have gone on to professional careers in dance. They have become dancers, choreographers, designers and teachers with such notable organizations as the New York City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Boston Ballet, Cleveland Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet.

Community Education Programs Celebrating the Living Arts

We fulfill our education mission with our Education Through Experience Series, which offers an array of programs for people of all ages. With corporate sponsorships, Mohawk Valley Ballet is able to offer school-day programs at only $6.00 per ticket.

Under arrangements with BOCES, some school districts receive state funding to help with the purchase of tickets. Other schools find private sponsors to assist. Some count on families to cover the cost. Senior citizen groups also attend our school-day performances at the same price as students.

Melissa Larish

Melissa Larish, Artistic Director

Melissa Larish is the Artistic Director of the Mohawk Valley Ballet (MVB) and the owner of Ballet Arts of CNY in Clark Mills.  She began her ballet training with Delia Foley and was a member of the Mohawk Valley Ballet’s Senior Company.

As a member of the MVB Melissa performed leading roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty and the title role in Cinderella.

She attended Butler University graduating cum laude with High Honors in Dance.  There she performed principal roles in Nutcracker, Coppélia, and several original one act ballets.  As a student and then as a professional with the Channel Islands Ballet, Melissa performed in Indianapolis, Santa Barbara, Camarillo, and Tbilisi in The Republic of Georgia.

Melissa is slated to complete the Royal Academy of Dance Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies program this year to become Registered Teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance. Her choreography for the MVB includes Glory Songs, Petite Pizzicato, Of Poetry and Motion, XX, Me, Trio, and restaging of other classical works. She has also choreographed for Westmoreland and Poland High Schools productions of Cinderella, The Sound of Music, and Guys and Dolls.

Melissa and her husband Glenn have four children, Nathan, Sophia, Wesley and Ian.

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Board of Directors

The Mohawk Valley Ballet is comprised of an artistic staff, a board of directors and dozens of volunteers and parents who work together to present the most beautiful ballet performances in the Central New York area. Without their help, these elaborate productions would not be possible. Take a minute to learn more about our artistic staff and the board of directors.

If you, or someone you know would be interested in serving the Mohawk Valley Ballet in the capacity of a board member, please contact our president, Byron Elias, for additional information regarding the application process. We are always willing to welcome additional directors to this exceptional local organization.

Byron W. Elias
President

Lisa Burline-Roser
Vice President

Briana Moriarty
Secretary

Nicole Trificana
Treasurer

Claudette Abounader

Tricia Cater

Glade Cook

Amy Lamberto

Jacquelyn Mitchell

Richard Rogers