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Vanessa Zahorian
Artistic Director 

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Davit Karapetyan
Creative Director

Vanessa Zahorian, born and raised in Pennsylvania trained locally as well as at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC. She was an apprentice dancer with the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1996 before joining the San Francisco Ballet in 1997. Zahorian was with the company for twenty years and as a principal dancer from 2002 until her retirement in 2017. She won numerous awards and medals in Ballet competitions around the world including the silver medal at the “Arabesque” Perm Competition in Russia, Gold Medal at the Erik Bruhn competition in Toronto Canada, and the best couple award alongside Davit Karapetyan at the USA IBC Competition in Jackson Mississippi to name a few. She was a guest instructor at numerous summer intensives over the last several years, is a certified GYROTONIC® instructor, and a repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust. She has been the Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Ballet Academy since 2017. 

Davit Karapetyan performed for more than a decade with the San Francisco Ballet, having served as a principal dancer since 2005. He previously was a member of the Zurich Ballet, and received training at the Armenian School of Ballet and the Schweizerische Ballettberufsschule, Zurich, Switzerland. In 2015, he won an Emmy for a dance film he choreographed and produced.



Artur Babajanyan
Master Instructor 

Artur Babajanyan was born in Yerevan, Armenia and trained at the Armenian National Ballet School of Yerevan from 1996-2003 and at the Tanz Academy of Zurich under the direction of Ricardo Duze. He became a member of the Junior Ballet Zurich in 2004. After two years, he became a member of the main company under director Heinz Spoerli. In 2008, he was promoted to Demi Soloist. In 2012, he joined Aalto Ballett Theater Essen (Germany) as a Soloist. After leaving Germany in 2014, he joined the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. In 2017 he received his certification as a teacher in the ABT curriculum.


Marissa Barragán
Ballet Instructor 

After graduating from the Hamburg Ballet in 2006, Marissa Barragán danced with numerous ballet companies around the world. She most recently danced with the Compañía Nacional de Danza de Mexico. Other companies she’s performed with include Ballet de Jalisco, Staatsballett Berlin and the Hamburg Ballet. During her career, she also participated in numerous competitions. Some of those include the 2002 Praha Gold Medal, 2002 Lyon France Grand Prix and the 2005 Prix de Lausanne where she was a semi finalist

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Tanya Doprcyk
Pre-Ballet & Adult Instructor 

Tanya Doporcyk studied at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet where she received training in classical ballet technique. She started her dance teaching career at the School of Music and Dance in Hanover. While she was there, she taught ballet and tap to all ages. Following that, she opened her own school in Carlisle where she taught children and adults of all ages ballet and tap. She specialized in teaching good technique in a friendly atmosphere. She eventually went back to CPYB and taught for 14 years. During that time, she taught ballet and tap to all ages as well as to Dickinson College students and adults. 


Our Adaptive Learning Instructor, Lee Marriot, has devoted a lifetime to teaching children with special needs. Over the past five decades, Ms. Marriott gained dance experience while participating with ballet companies in Virginia, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Ms. Marriott obtained her Masters in Special Education from Shippensburg University and holds certifications in Elementary Education, Special Education, Behavioral Disorders, Intellectual Disabilities, and Learning Disabilities. In her work with the Capital Area Intermediate Unit, she worked with children with a wide variety of physical and cognitive challenges, making her ideally suited to lead our bALLet program.

For more information on our bALLet program, click the button below.

Lee Marriot 
Adaptive Learning Instructor 

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Emmitt McKell 
Digital Marketing Manager


Ashley Cunningham
Administrative Coordinator 

Emmitt McKell was born in 2000 in Provo, Utah. In 2023, he received his Bachelor in Fine Art degree with a concentration in Photography from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. McKell's work has been published in "Echo Zine" by Eckert Gallery, Millersville, Pennsylvania. His recent photography series Magazines of Controversy was presented in "Theme and Variation" at Swift Gallery, Millersville, Pennsylvania in April, 2023. 

Ashley oversees registration for all students, including our bALLet and adult ballet programs. She keeps parents and students up to date on schedules, events, closures, and all other pertinent information. She is the liaison among our founder, directors, instructors, parents, and students. She is always available to answer any questions. She maintains the costume inventory, dance accessories, props, and the PBA boutique store.

Ashley graduated from Kutztown University with a bachelors in Business Administration.


Rick Hare
Security and Facilities Manager

Rick Hare, our security and facilities manager, has been with PBA since its inception in 2017. We are very pleased to have Rick with us, and parents of the students know their children are safe and well cared for at all times. Rick manages our student and faculty guests and visitors to and ensure their comfort and safety. He is married with children and grandchildren. He enjoys playing guitar and fishing.

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