bella ballet staff TEACHERS
Each staff member here at Bella Ballet gives their heart and soul to our kiddies and we couldn’t be more blessed with such a phenomenal team of ladies!
Hope MacDonald is an author, motivational speaker, and CEO of Bella Ballet. She is blessed to empower over 550 children weekly through dance while teaching core values such as confidence, leadership, empowerment, kindness, anti-bullying, and positive body image to young women. Hope has an extensive background in business, marketing, musical theater, poms tap, jazz, and ballet – she has gained experience through her studies at the Shenandoah Conservatory with a concentration in Musical Theater and Dance. She is a member of The International Dance Educators Association & working toward her certification in Youth Protection Advocates in Dance.
She was a four-time nominee and recipient of the prestigious Cappie Award for “Best Female Dancer” and “Best Choreographer,” presented at the esteemed Kennedy Centre in Washington DC. She has performed at various local venues including the Olney Theatre and Kennedy Centre, where she starred as “Cosette” in Les Misérables, “Reno” in Anything Goes, and “Halie” in Buried Child. She has performed and choreographed in more than 25 musicals.
Bella Ballet has received various awards including, 2016-2021 "Best Dance Studio" Montgomery Magazine, 2019 "Small Business of the Year", 2019 "Best Dance Studio" Bethesda Magazine, 2019 State of Maryland Governor's Award for Community Contribution, 2017-2021 "Best Ballet Teachers" Expertise Magazine, 2017 "Best Arts Program" Washington Family Magazine, 2016 "Best Arts Program" & "Best Ballet or Dance Studio" Best for Families Washington Family Magazine
Philanthropic work is extremely important to her; since the creation of Bella Ballet she has had the honor of working with over 70 local and national non-profits organizations in an effort to give back to the community and help children all over the world. These charities include Make A Wish Mid-Atlantic, Comfort Cases, The Tree House, The Rainbow Shelter, Nourish Now, and Shared Hope,
Most recently she has authored Bella goes to Ballet, a book that focuses on empowering children to love who they are through dance.
When she’s not trying to make the world a better place she’s spending time relaxing with her husband Brad, her family, and her little chihuahua, California.
Miss Jackie is our Executive Director as of 2020. Since starting at Bella Ballet part-time in 2015 she has grown with the studio and our students. Teaching is a passion of hers and loves all of her students. In addition to lead teaching, Miss Jackie heads all of our community events, philanthropic drives and community business connections.
Being a mom of two young boys who love dinosaurs and video games, she is able to get her fix of pink, sparkle and tutu's each day at the studio. "Bella Ballet has really given me the confidence to be a strong woman and a leader. I am so proud to be able to instill these life changing characteristics into our students on a daily basis!
Miss Michelle began dancing when she was 4 years old. As she will tell you, it’s been in her blood since she was born! Her first learned dance was the Salsa. Her latin culture has brought her so much diversity in dancing. While in high school she was able to participate in hip-hop and step competitions. She has always been able to adapt to any music. She always gives 100%, she’s able to fail and get back up!
Since joining the Bella Ballet team she has used her platform to inspire our girls of the new generation. She uses dance to build their confidence and all over the best version of themselves. “Personally building the relationships with our beautiful dancers has been such a sweet treat while watching them grow into beautiful and confident girls. It’s the best feeling a teacher could have!”
Miss Micaela has come to Bella Ballet all the way from Pleasanton, California. She began her dance story at age 3, and hasn’t stopped dancing since! Miss Micaela is trained in a variety of styles including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary, and has been teaching these styles to all ages for over 5 years. She also competed on her high school pom team, winning two National Championships, and was a member of the Division I dance team at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Miss Micaela is our Creative Director and one of our choreographers for the Bellas Dance Company, and absolutely loves helping Bella Ballet families behind the scenes to provide the best possible customer service! She is so grateful to still be a part of the Bella Ballet family from all the way in Pennsylvania, and loves to come back to Maryland frequently to see all of our amazing students and families.
Miss Hailey is a recent graduate from Quince Orchard High School, and was the captain of their pom team. She has been dancing all her life, starting at age 3. She has experience in ballet, lyrical, contemporary, modern, jazz, Broadway, pom, and hip hop. She has had the pleasure to dance competitively for three years, and has performed in many showcases. Currently, she gets to showcase her talents at her high school’s football games, basketball games, and county pom competitions.
Miss Hailey joined the team at Bella Ballet in order to share her genuine passion for dance with the children. She hopes to encourage them to use dance as an outlet and to not be afraid to express themselves through their movement. She believes that dance is an amazing art, and is so glad she is able to see this passion grow in the students she works with.
We are honored to have Leah Velasquez as a part of Bella Ballet staff since 2016! “It is a wonderful place to work!” says Miss Leah. Her roles at Bella have been administrative, special events and co-teaching. I love seeing all the dancers express themselves through dance, but especially the ones who are nervous, find confidence in themselves and bust a move!! Such a joy!!
I am also a fitness instructor and just recently competed in my first CrossFit competition! Life is full of opportunities to learn new things!!
At the age of 3, Miss Andrea stepped onto the dance floor, and her journey began! From her first dance on stage to the song "Groovy Chicken," she knew that she was born to perform! Not only does Miss Andrea love dancing and performing, but she also loves teaching children and allowing them to feel that same sense of joy when they dance. Miss Andrea quickly discovered her passion for dancing and wanted to try as many genres as she could!
She is trained in Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Lyrical, Modern, and Acro, and she is always looking to learn even more! Miss Andrea trained for thirteen years at her home studio in Pennsylvania, and she was given the opportunity to assistant teach there during her high school years and become a Lead Instructor after graduating! Then, the opportunity came for Miss Andrea to become a Youth Dance Instructor at the YMCA in her hometown in PA. It was there that she helped rebuild a dance program that had gone dormant and give students who had never danced before the opportunity to take dance class in a community setting!
A few years ago, Miss Andrea was able to go on a mission trip to Ecuador, where she got to interact with children who live in a very different culture. Not being too familiar with the language, Miss Andrea discovered that although she could not talk very well with the children, they were able to dance together and communicate through their movement. This opened Miss Andrea's eyes and showed her that dancing is a universal language, allowing people to communicate in ways that they cannot do through words.
It is Miss Andrea's dream to make dance possible for as many people as she can, as she believes that everyone should have the opportunity to dance and express themselves! Miss Andrea feels blessed to be part of the Bella Ballet family and able to be a real-life ballerina princess, hoping to inspire young students to discover their passion for dance and go on to share it with the world!
Kiara Nicole Davis is a freelance performing artist, choreographer, and visionary born in Washington, DC. She began dancing at age 12 at a few local dance studios. She didn’t look at it as anything more than a hobby until high school.
Miss Kiara attended Suitland High School in Forestville, MD, and auditioned to be a part of the visual and performing arts program. It was there that she found and began to cultivate her love for dance. Following graduation, she moved from the Washington metropolitan area to Baltimore, MD to attend Coppin State University, where she graduated with a B.S degree in dance. After graduation, she trained with Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre in Chicago, IL in their 2016 Summer Dance Intensive and moved back to Baltimore where she continued to train and perform as a freelance performing artist.
Her credits include a lead role in an original production by production company ArtsCentric entitled “Snapshots” and an ensemble in their rendition of “Chicago,” “The Bodyguard” by Toby’s Dinner Theatre, and a host of other concert dance productions. Miss Kiara’s life mission is to create an avenue of dance performance that is innovative and provides an opportunity as well as to use dance as a tool of social justice.
Dance is truly a part of her, it is how she shares her soul with the world. Miss Kiara is honored and overly grateful to be a part of the Bella Ballet family.
Miss Tatum is a current senior at Quince Orchard High School, and is captain of their varsity pom team. She started dancing when she was 3 years old and completely fell in love with everything about it. Some of the styles she is experienced in are jazz, hip hop, ballet, contemporary, modern, lyrical, musical theater, and pom. She is now dancing at her high school football game halftimes, basketball halftimes, and county pom competitions.
Along with Miss Tatum’s love of dance she also has an incredible love for children. Getting to work at Bella Ballet and mixing both of those passions together is something she is so grateful for. Watching her students grow into confident dancers is something Miss Tatum will never get tired of seeing. She can’t wait to continue this wonderful journey with so many incredible students and teachers.
BIO COMING SOON!
Miss Mia has been dancing since the age of 4! She is a current student at Quince Orchard High School and is a member of the pom's team. Previously, she danced competitively for many years and is a versatile dancer trained in ballet, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and modern. This is Mia's first year teaching at Bella Ballet and she is beyond excited to share her love of dance with her students!
Sarah Philabaum is a passionate multi-hyphenate artist and teacher. She has performed with Tappers With Attitude as well as with the New York City Tap Festival. Miss Sarah earned her BFA in Musical Theatre from Shenandoah Conservatory and has worked on over 200 professional productions all across the country as a performer, director and a choreographer.
She is the creator and host of the hit theatrical podcast: There’s No People Like Show People! Sarah is currently the Director of Dance Education at the Y Arts Center in Frederick, MD. She is happiest when she is teaching and inspiring future generations of artists!
Miss Karina was born and raised in Ukraine and moved to the US after graduating from college. She has been dancing ever since she can remember herself. One of her very first memories is dancing with her mom in the living room to some fun music, later followed by her joining a real ballet class. Ever since then, Miss Karina could not imagine her life without dance.
Throughout school and college Miss Karina was always on the dance team and has experience in different dance styles such as ballet, hip hop, Ukrainian, Russian and German folk dance, social Latin dances. Miss Karina is also a trained Zumba instructor and used to teach Zumba classes at the local gym.
“I am very grateful to have an opportunity to share my love for dance with little Bella Ballet dancers and help them to build self-confidence through dance!
Amanda Aslud is an established member of the Bella Ballet team. She started dancing when she was 3 years old and has trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, Pom, and modern. She is currently a student at Wootton High School and a member of their poms team.