American Academy of Ballet


Celebrating Our 52nd Year of Dance!

The American Academy of Ballet, under the direction of Maris Battaglia, is celebrating its 52nd year of dance. More than 147 students have gone on to achieve prominent careers across the States, Canada and Europe in dance companies, television and the Broadway stage. We are proud to continue that tradition throughout the many years to come! The Academy's success and continued philosophy over the years is that "love and positive reinforcement can work together in a warm and caring atmosphere to provide experiences that will last a lifetime."

Princess Camp

Important Dates:

February 1-7 - Watch Week
February 20-25 - Mid-Winter Break - Studio Closed
February 27 - AAB Reopens
April 10-15 - Spring Break - Studio Closed
April 17 - AAB Reopens
May 26 - Dress Rehearsal at UB
May 28 - AAB Performance
May 29 - Memorial Day - Studio Closed
June 14 - Last Day of AAB Classes
June 17 - Fairytale Dance Performance
June 26 - Princess and Dance Camps begin
August 14-18 - Intensive Week
September 9 - AAB School Begins



The AAB faculty consists of the finest teachers, not only in Western New York, but in the country. Six were members of professional ballet companies: Boston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Arkansas Ballet, Ohio Ballet, Tulsa Ballet and Saratoga Ballet. Three are current members of Buffalo's own LehrerDance, one is the co-director of Infinity Dance, another attended the renowned Juilliard School in NYC, and the director won the "Teacher Excellence Award", which is presented to one teacher in the US every year. They bring many years of experience and knowledge to their students in a warm and caring atmosphere.


Maris Battaglia - Director

Maris Battaglia is the director and founder of the American Academy of Ballet. She received her training at George Balanchine's School of American Ballet in New York City and has applied this across the country and world through her teaching. Over 130 of her students have gone on to dance professionally in major ballet companies in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Broadway Stage. She is the Associate Director of the Chautauqua Institution's School of Dance where she has taught since 1989. She served on the New York State Council of the Arts for an unprecedented four years and received the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County Award for Outstanding Arts Contributor in 2008. In 1997, she was the recipient of the Artist Excellence Award, which is presented to one outstanding dance teacher each year in the United States. In 1999, she was introduced into the Western New York Dance Hall of Fame.


Carol Klocke Murphy - Associate Director

Carol Klocke Murphy is the associate director of the American Academy of Ballet where she also received her training. Throughout those years, she received many awards and scholarships from prestigious companies such as Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York City Ballet, and Harkness Ballet. At an early age, she received the honor of dancing with the Bolshoi Ballet Company. At age 18, she joined the Pennsylvania Ballet Company. Her repertoire included many of Balanchine's ballets such as Concerto Barocco, Serenade, Allegro Brillante, Four Temperments, Raymonda, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Graduation Ball and countless others including John Butler's Carmina Burana. After eight years at Pennsylvania Ballet, her professional career continued with the Ohio Ballet where she danced a varied repertoire including Joffrey's Cakewalk, American Ballet Theatre's Pas Des Desses and Paul Taylor's 3 Epitaphs. In 1990, she returned to Western New York and joined the teaching faculty at the American Academy of Ballet where she teaches advanced and variation classes.


Janice Blum Feldballe

Janice Blum Feldballe trained at the School of American Ballet and Julliard School of Dance in New York City. Upon her return to Buffalo, she joined the faculty of the American Academy of Ballet where she taught for seven years. In 1977, she opened her own studio before rejoining the Academy in 2004. She currently teaches ballet and pointe classes at the Academy.


Patricia Farkas Sprague

Patty Farkas Sprague received training in the Vagonava Ballet Technique while attending the Harford Ballet Intensive Teacher Training Program. Her dancing career involved performing with Buffalo Ballet Theater, Atlantic Contemporary Ballet and Pick of the Crop Dance Company. She taught for Buffalo Ballet Theater before joining the faculty of American Academy of Ballet where she currently teaches Pilates, Ballet and Contemporary classes.


Donatella Accardi

Born in Sicily, Donatella Accardi began her ballet training at the age of nine. Upon moving to the United States, she was offered a full scholarship at The School of American Ballet. She danced professionally with Tulsa Ballet Theatre and with Boston Ballet. She has been on the faculty of The Ballet School of Stamford, The Pulse Performing Arts Studio, and has been a guest teacher at the Rock School, the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and the Mark Morris Studios. She joined the American Academy of Ballet faculty in 2009. She teaches ballet and pointe classes at the Academy.


Gary Marino

Gary Marino began his formal training in the music department of SUNY at Albany. He then went on to study dance at Skidmore College before studying jazz at the Luigi School in New York and modern dance with Ethel Winter of the Martha Graham School. He has performed with the Skidmore Dancers, Saratoga Ballet Company, Schenectady Civic Ballet, Buffalo Repertory Ballet Company, and Camelon Dancers. In addition to teaching classical Vagonava technique in ballet at Niagara University, he has coached figure skating for the Buffalo Skating Club. He is also a pianist and composer. He teaches ballet and pointe classes at the Academy.


Rachael Humphrey

Originally from Buffalo where she studied dance for 15 years at the American Academy of Ballet with Maris Battaglia, Rachael Humphrey is a 2010 graduate of SUNY Potsdam/Packer Dance, Configuration Dance Theater and Danny Grossman Dance Company. She is currently a member of LehrerDance and teaches hip hop, ballet, lyrical and modern classes at the American Academy of Ballet.


Rebecca Guile

A BFA graduate from the University at Buffalo, Rebecca Guile has extensive training in jazz, lyrical, ballet, modern, tap and hip hop. She has trained with Leonard Castilone, Tom Ralabate, Bill Thomas, Buffalo City Ballet, Carlisle Pennsylvania Ballet, Gus Giordano, Paul Taylor, Doug Varone Dance Company, ABT's Studio Company, and Joe Tramaine. She has performed with Princess Cruise Lines on the Regal and Costa Victoria as well as in Las Vegas at the MGM, Bally's, The Tropicana, and Ceaser's Palace. In addition, she has filmed commercials at the Rio Hotel and Casino. She has worked live with 'Charo' on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon and has traveled through China with Eastworld Entertainment in 'Iron Beats'. In addition, she is the founder of Xtreme Talent Dance Convention and the Director of Infinity Dance Project, Inc. She teaches lyrical and jazz classes at the Academy.


Jane O'Connor

Jane O'Connor has been on the faculty of the American Academy for ten years. She trained with Madame Natalie Krassovska (formerly with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo) and danced professionally with Ballet Jeunesse in Dallas, Texas and Southwest Regional Ballet under the direction of Bill Martin-Viscount. She teaches ballet and adult classes at the Academy.


Karen Mikoll

Karen Mikoll received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from the State University of New York at Buffalo where she completed an internship in Dance Therapy. She was also a performing member of the Zodiaque Dance Company. As a professional member of the National Dance Education Organization, she continues to attend teaching seminars, has been published in Dance Teacher Magazine, and serves as an alumni ballet instructor for SUNY at Buffalo summer dance programs. She teaches ballet classes at the Academy.


Lara Mojeski

Lara Mojeski began dancing at the age of six at Spezio's Dance Dynamics and began teaching when she was just 15 years old. In 2005, she received the Young Choreographer of the Year award from the American Dance Awards Competition. She is certified by Dance Master of America and teaches all areas of dance, including acro, modern and ballet at the Academy.

Celeste Di Stefano

Celeste Di Stefano received her dance training at Jacksonville University and the University of Buffalo. She then taught acting at Studio Arena Theater School and was an English teacher at Canisius High School. She now teaches Pre-Ballet I and Pre-Ballet II classes at the American Academy of Ballet, along with coordinating activities & providing instruction in our summer "Princess Camp" programs.


Jenna Wozer

Jenna Wozer began her training at American Academy of Ballet under Maris Battaglia. She went on to study at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and Alonzo King Lines Ballet, where she later joined faculty for the pre-professional school programs. Since 2008, Jenna has been performing professionally in San Francisco with a number of free-lance companies and choreographers. She is a certified trainer in both Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis and has experience teaching pre-professional and professional dancers from Alonzo King Lines Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. She recently moved back to Buffalo and is excited to teach ballet and contemporary modern classes at AAB.

American Academy of Ballet