Faculty and Administration
Bobbie Jaramillo, Co-Director
Bobbie began her training in Louisville, Kentucky where she joined the Louisville Civic Ballet at the age of nine and worked her way from corps de ballet to prima ballerina, appearing in such ballets as Giselle, Les Sylphides, Pas de Quatre, Carmina Burana, and The Nutcracker. She has danced and worked with such legends as Mia Slavenska, Andre Eglevsky, Lupe Serrano, Royes Fernandez, Toni Lander, and Fernand Nault and has been mentioned in the book "Who's Who in the Ballet World". Bobbie began teaching dance at the age of fifteen and at age eighteen operated her own dance school. She also studied voice and piano at the prestigious Gardencourt at the University of Louisville. Bobbie's versatility allowed her to work in the theater where she appeared as Anita in West Side Story, Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Rashomon (with Actors Theatre of Louisville), and A Most Happy Fella, many to rave reviews as well as appearing in several summer productions. Bobbie moved to New York City and within ten days landed a job in the National tour of Hello, Dolly! with Betty Grable in which she performed as a dancer and was also given the understudy to the role of Ermengarde which she performed twenty-eight times. When this tour had ended, she joined another, this one starring Ginger Rogers and Dorothy Lamour. This time Bobbie was given understudy to the major role of Irene Molloy. During an appearance in this role, the world renowned pianist Van Cliburn was so taken by her performance that he asked to meet her. Bobbie went to work for a well-known children's theatre company owned by CBS performing many ingenue roles. She also appeared as Polly in The Boyfriend and Lady Larkin in Once Upon a Mattress. In the New York area she worked in Gypsy with Margaret Whiting and Promises, Promises with Orson Bean. She was also cast in a starring role in an off-Broadway production. Bobbie was called upon once again to do Hello, Dolly!, this time on Broadway with Ethel Merman. After the show succeeded in becoming the longest running show on Broadway, she and her husband David decided to start a family. After having three children (one single birth and twins) in twenty-one months, they moved back to David's hometown of Denver. Bobbie went back to teaching. She also began to ice skate and since 1976 she has been a ballet coach for figure skaters both on and off the ice. She was the assistant choreographer for the closing ceremonies for Skate America in Reading, PA. in 2003. In addition to beginning the children's program, teaching and choreographing for the David Taylor Dance Theatre Academy of Ballet for eighteen years, Bobbie has choreographed musicals at Heritage High School over the last ten years, taught tap in Heritage High Schools now defunct Theatre Topics dance class, and has taught at Front Range Community College. She and her daughter Alison opened LBA in the fall of 2003. Bobbie currently has students dancing all over the country. Many are on scholarship at prestigious dance programs in universities, another studied on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet in NYC, one is currently enjoying great success in Hollywood, and still others have also gone on to dance professionally, both in ballet and musical theatre. She also has wonderful former students who have decided not to pursue careers in dance now enjoying other options. She treasures all of her students, former and present and celebrates all of their many successes.
Alison Jaramillo, Co-Director
Alison was raised in Colorado and first received her training with her mother Bobbie, and then with teachers Lynelle Mossholder, James Clouser, and Debbie Mercer, and later on scholarship at the Pennsylvania Ballet School, well as summers at the Boston Ballet School on scholarship, Joffrey Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and the Houston Ballet Academy. In 1988, Alison won the 1st place Florence Ruston Award and a $1,200 scholarship at the Denver Ballet Guild Scholarship Competition. She first joined the David Taylor Dance Theatre professional company at the age of sixteen and returned in the fall of 1998 where she was featured as Clara in The Nutcracker, and performed principal roles in many works over five years, including her favorite, James Wallace's The Storm. Previously, Alison danced with the Dayton Ballet for six years performing in over sixty ballets, including works by such legendary choreographers Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Robbert Joffrey, and Antony Tudor, and then joined Oregon Ballet Theatre in Portland, Oregon, and was most recently a principal with Boulder Ballet. Career highlights include being personally chosen to perform Balanchine's Tarantella by former NYCB ballerina Patricia McBride, as well as performing principal roles in works by Washington Ballet's artistic director Septime Webre, and former Joffrey Ballet dancer Christian Holder. She also performed a principal role at the 2003 Skate America closing ceremonies. She has taught dance for over twenty-five years including serving as the interim director of the Dayton Ballet School Ensemble and co-directing Movin' On, a dance group for mentally challenged teens and adults. In 2003, she won Best Choreography for her work at the Dance Educators of America conference. She has been a regular guest teacher at Denver School of the Arts, taught ballet for Heritage High School's Theatre Topics class and up until recently taught at Centennial Academy for Fine Arts Education in Littleton. She has coached dancers to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes at both YAGP and the Denver Ballet Guild and her contemporary choreography has placed at YAGP and StarQuest.
Lorita Travaglia, Pre-Professional Ballet
Lorita is originally from New Zealand. She was trained in both the Royal Academy of Dancing syllabus and the Russian Vaganova system. In her 20-year professional stage career, she danced with the Berlin Ballet, Boston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and International Ballet Rotaru and has been a guest dancer with many companies. She has danced principal roles in a wide repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary. Lorita has been teaching since 1986. She established a pre-professional, full-time training program in New Zealand and directed Canyon Concert Ballet in Fort Collins for three years. In September 1999, she joined Colorado Ballet as repetiteur and director of the Apprentice Program; in 2006 she was promoted to Ballet Mistress under the direction of Artistic Director Gil Boggs. Her choreography includes the Angel of Buenos Aires, Equanimity, Aspects, Pictures at an Exhibition and Piazzolla for Colorado Ballet and a full-length The Nutcracker for Canyon Concert Ballet. Lorita graduated from the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2000 and has a private practice in Denver. She is an avid tango dancer and is the Creative Director of Parasol Arts. Lorita has a beautiful young daughter named Lili. She teaches in the Pre-Professional Division at LBA.
Debra Mercer, Pre-Professional Ballet
Debra has been teaching and performing in Colorado for over thirty years. She has a B.A. with honors in Dance from York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She has been a principal dancer with the Jackson Ballet, Colorado Ballet, David Taylor Dance Theatre, and other local companies around the state. She is currently teaching ballet at Colorado College and is a member and Ballet Mistress of the Ormao Contemporary Dance Company, both in Colorado Springs. She has also taught for the Boulder Ballet, Boulder Ballet School, and taught at Miller's Dance Studio for fifteen years. She is fortunate enough to have studied with some of the best ballet teachers in the world, including Antony Tudor, Enrique Martinez, Milenko Banovic, James Clouser, Marjorie Tallchief, and George Skibine to name a few. She has studied from master teachers in the Bournonville, Vaganova, Cecchetti, and Royal Academy of Dance syllabi and travels to Taos, New Mexico every summer to study the Balanchine repertory with Jillana, a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Debbie teaches Ballet 5-8 and Adult students at LBA.
Slava Mesropov, Pre-Professional Ballet
Slava Mesropov is from Baku, Azerbaijan and graduated from the Baku Academy of Ballet. He was a soloist with the Azerbaijan Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, Moscow Festival Ballet, Ballet South and Colorado Ballet. Mr. Mesropov is trained in the Vaganova method of ballet and character dance. Before joining IBS full time in 2009, Mr. Mesropov served on faculty at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and was the Artistic Director of Ballet Royal Institute of Maryland where he choreographed and staged many productions including The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, La Bayadere, Giselle and annual gala concerts featuring principals from American Ballet Theatre. Mr. Mesropov has also taught for Ballet Theater of Maryland, the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Baltimore School for the Arts. He regularly teaches master classes and summer intensive programs throughout the United States including at Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, Southland Ballet Academy in Orange County, California, Michigan Ballet Academy in Grand Rapids and The Washington School of Ballet in Washington D.C. During his teaching career, Mr. Mesropov has prepared several participants for international competitions. He was named Outstanding Teacher at the 2003 Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) international competition finals in New York.
Jamie Lane Youtsey, Conditioning
Jamie has had ten years of dance training with teachers at LBA but her first love is figure skating. She has had 21years of figure skating experience in Free Skating, Ice Dance, Moves in the Field, and Synchronized Skating. She is a four time national competitor in Synchronized Skating and is also a US Figure Skating double gold medalist. Jamie has been a Professional Skaters Association (PSA) coach for five years and a PSA rated coach in both Free Skating, Moves in the Field, Dance, and Choreography. She is also a PSA Sports Medicine committee member. Jamie has been a myopatterning instructor for eight years. She teaches conditioning at LBA.
Erin Skufca, Ballet
Erin has over 30 years of dance experience. She began her training of Ballet in Northern California, at a Balanchine based studio. During those early years she traveled around the state receiving numerous scholarships to master classes and summer intensive programs. At the age of 13 Erin was accepted into the Alabama School of Fine Arts under the direction of Sonia Arova and Thor Sutowski. She has danced various roles with professional companies around the country including, Sacramento Ballet under Ron Cunningham and Barbara Crockett, Alabama Ballet, Fort Lauderdale Ballet, several Regional California Ballet companies including, Palos Verdes Peninsula Performing Arts under Patricia Stander and Dudley Davies. While studying in college to become a Registered Nurse, she began teaching at a local ballet studio and really enjoyed transferring into a new role. She has taught all levels of ballet as well as competition teams. Teaching has always been a very rewarding experience for her, and she feels fortunate to be along side the wonderful faculty and talented students at LBA.
Adrianne Hampton, Musical Theatre, Tap
Adrianne is an award-winning musical theatre performer and choreographer. LA credits include being a two-time Scenie Award and ITL Award winner for her performances in Chicago and Born Yesterday. She recently performed Cassie in A Chorus Line at Sierra Repertory Theatre, performed several supporting roles at the Candlelight Theatre, Sheila in A Chorus Line at Centerstage in Fontana and danced professionally in a contemporary dance company in Orange County. She also played Val in A Chorus Line under the direction of Kay Cole.
Denver credits include being the first Cassie to perform the original choreography that was used in the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line under the direction of Michael Gorman at Town Hall Arts Center. She also starred as Cassie in A Chorus Line at the Pace Center, has performed many performances at the Arvada Center and was Mrs. Wilkinson in Billy Elliot at the Vintage Theatre. She recently won Best Actress for her performance as Olive in Bullets Over Broadway at the Vintage Theatre. She earned 3 nominations from Broadway World: two for Best Actress in Billy Elliot, Bullets over Broadway and one as Best Choreographer for Mary Poppins. Adrianne also won Best Choreographer at the David Marlowe Awards for The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Teaching credits include, Long Lake Performing Arts Camp NY, International Arts Camp SD, Elite Dance Academy LA, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Littleton Ballet Academy, Palos Verdes Performing Arts Academy, Venue Theatre, Los Angeles Ballet Academy, David Taylor Dance Theatre, Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids, was a full dance scholarship student at Steps and Broadway Dance Center in NYC and danced in many dance industrials in NY. She is currently the founder of Broadway Bootcamp in Littleton. Adrianne teaches musical theatre and tap at LBA.
Karina Okoren, Pre-Ballet, Ballet
Karina began dancing at 3 years old under the tutelage of Irina Hamilton with Soul Motion Underground. She continued her training with Ali and Bobbie Jaramillo at Littleton Ballet Academy where she had the privilege of performing the roles of Clara in The Nutcracker, the Sprite in Cinderella, and Ozma in The Wizard of Oz. Karina continued to dance at Brigham Young University as she studied Human Development and Contemporary Dance and performed with the contemporary performance company, Dance Ensemble. A kidney transplant recipient at the age of 14, Karina believes in the power of dance to synchronize mind, body and spirit as a means of healing and expression. Karina is currently applying for Dance Therapy graduate programs to help others heal through movement.
Bryce Lee, Ballet, Pas de Deux
Bryce was born in Missouri and started his professional training at 12 at Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy in Laguna Hills, CA. In the summer of 2011, he attended School of American Ballet, then was asked to stay for the Winter Term program from 2011-2012. He attended several summer courses on full scholarship including SAB, Miami City Ballet and Colorado Ballet. Bryce has received several awards in classical and contemporary forms of dance as well as 1st place, semi-finalist at YAGP Europe, and two-time YAGP Finalist Qualifier. He joined Colorado Ballet’s Studio Company in 2013 and was promoted into the Company in 2015. Bryce teaches Ballet and Pas De Deux. He also coaches and performs as a guest artist with Littleton Youth Ballet.
Emily Speed, Ballet
Emily Speed began her training at Denton Ballet Academy under the direction of Hugh Nini and went on to graduate from Marina Almayeva School of Classical Ballet. Emily received First Place as a soloist at Youth American Grand Prix and was Finalist at World Ballet Competition. In 2010 she competed in Varna International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria and in 2014 she competed in USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Ms.
Ms. Speed has danced for Alabama Ballet, Ballet Tucson, Boulder Ballet and was with Colorado Ballet from 2014-2020 where she was a Demi-Soloist. During her career she has performed many soloist and principal roles. Some of her most notable roles include Russian Girl in Balanchine’s Serenade, Jiri Kylian’s Petite Mort, Antony Tudor’s The Leaves are Fading and Little Sister in his masterpiece Pillar of Fire, Clara, Dew Drop and Sugar Plum in The Nutcracker, Pink in Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, Flames of Paris Pas de Deux, Red Couple in Twyla Tharp’s A Brief Fling, Bluebird Pas de Deux in Sleeping Beauty as well as numerous others. She has had the honor of performing at Vail Dance Festival in 2015, 2017 and 2019. Ms. Speed loves to share her passion of dance through teaching and has taught at Colorado Ballet, Boulder Ballet, Mobile Ballet, South Mississippi Ballet Theater, Classic Dance Academy, Mpact Dance Project, Littleton Ballet Academy and just recently launched Point by Pointe: Conversations about Dance. Emily, her husband, Matt, and schnoodle, Rocky, live in New York City.
Melissa Pottberg, Pilates Reformer
Melissa earned her Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine as well as her Master's in Toxicology from Colorado State University. It was while working as a Physical Therapist tech where she was first introduced to pilates and soon was hooked, leading her to The Pilates Center where she achieved her advanced training certification and a certificate in Dynamic Neuro.
As a Pilates Instructor Melissa strives to continue learning and growing in her understanding of movement patterns which she has done with level 1 certification in NKT (Neuromuscular Kinetic Therapy) and level 1 and 2 certificates in DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization) from the rehabilitation Prague school.
She sees every class as a potential to combine fun with the opportunity to pass this information on to inspire her clients to be in control of their own pilates practices.
Celia Romanoski, Contemporary
Celia Romanoski Is a dance educator and professional dancer who was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio. Celia fell in love with dance early in life! She received the bulk of her dance training with The School of Ohio Dance Theatre, and went on to dance professionally with ballet and modern dance companies, as well as perform as a freelance dance artist.
Celia has been teaching dance since 2014 primarily teaching ballet, and contemporary somatic movement.
Celia’s love for movement is rooted in holistic expression and nonverbal communication, as well as its ability to deeply connect us to ourselves and each other. Celia strives to aid her students in cultivating a broader spectrum of creative expression, self exploration and somatic awareness to grow a stronger connection to their own individual artistry. To do so, Celia takes a playful, introspective and somatically aware approach with her teaching. She often utilizes prompts of improvisation alongside ,diving deep into the technicalities of how things feel, and prompts that open the creative drive for students to explore their own words of movement. Celia is so happy to be working with the students here at Littleton Ballet Academy teaching contemporary!
Emma Rutter, Ballet
Emma began her dance training at 9 years old under Ali and Bobbie Jaramillo at Littleton Ballet Academy. During her time at Littleton Ballet Academy, she had the opportunity of performing the roles of Clara in The Nutcracker, the Mad Hatter in Alice and Wonderland, and Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. During her summers she has studied at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and Ballet Austin. She has competed in YAGP, Denver Ballet Guild, and StarQuest. Emma began teaching while still a student, by helping with younger dancer’s classes. Emma now continues dancing at Santa Clara University with a double major in Neuroscience and Theater Arts with an emphasis in Dance. She is delighted to join the LBA faculty and share the passion for ballet she developed at LBA as a student.
Jennifer Haws, Choreography, Stage Manager
Jenn exhibited her love of dance as a two year old when she took her first dance class in Southern California. Her dance education has included jazz, ballet, modern, hip hop, tap, Mexican folk, Tahitian, and African. Her passion for the art motivated her to achieve a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance from University of Colorado Boulder where she was a three-time recipient of the University Dance Award. Jennifer has trained under Wes Veldink, Jessica Hendricks, Nancy Cranbourne, David Capps, and Denise Donovan. Her dance experiences include a scholarship to Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance School, performing with Wide Awake Dance Theater, the Damsels Dance Company, and at the 1999 Opening Ceremonies for the World Ski Championships in Vail. Jennifer also co-directed and choreographed concerts in Boulder in 2001; Dance Feast in New York in 2004; and KTCU's Disco Ball in New York in 2007. She has created choreography for Alameda High School theater department as well as judging for CHSAA and WHSAA spirit state competitions. Jennifer takes her distinctive talent in jazz dance throughout the country teaching master classes and judging for the StarQuest dance competition. She has been a teacher and choreographer for over 25 years in California, Colorado, and New York. Jenn is now based out of Olympia, Washington but will be coming in to stage manage and teach.
Heather Watson, Jazz
Heather Watson began dancing at age 5 and never looked back. She grew up training here in Denver with Mark Carlson and Shelly True. Deciding to pursue jazz, Heather moved to Los Angeles where she was a full scholarship student at The Edge Performing Arts Center training under Terri Best, Eddie Garcia, Adam Parson, Dee Caspary, and Mandy Moore. After graduating, Heather worked for Los Angeles Dance Force, traveling and teaching with Mandy Moore. As a performer, Heather worked for Royal Caribbean, 7 Dancers, Dee Caspary, and as a Radio City Rockette. Heather has been teaching Jazz, Contemporary, Technique, and Barre for more than 20 years and is passionate about developing young dancers.
Sarah Selden, Summer and Substitute
Sarah Selden started dancing at the age of 9 under Ali and Bobbie Jaramillo at Littleton Ballet Academy. During her time at LBA, she had the opportunity to perform the roles of Glinda in The Wizard of Oz and the March Hare in Alice in Wonderland. She continued dancing while pursuing her BA in English and secondary education at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Sarah discovered her passion for teaching while helping with younger dancers’ classes at LBA and loves watching how much our students grow and improve each year. She recently finished her MA in English and American Studies at the University of Oxford and now teaches English at Heritage High School.
Brigid Innerst, Pre-Ballet