Since 1970, School of Classical Ballet in Billings, Montana, has offered high quality dance education to dancers of all ages. Students who have trained at SCB have gone on to prestigious summer programs, high-quality colleges and universities, and professional dance companies.
Betty Loos - Betty Loos directed her own school for six years before co-founding the School of Classical Ballet with former business partner Jana Stockton. Betty received her early training from June Austin and Hungarian teachers Ildiko Perjessy and Angela Mc Alpin in Billings, MT. She continued her training at the University of Utah under the direction of William Christiansen, and at the Teachers' Training Program through the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and National Ballet of Canada. She has furthered her training through numerous intensive workshops with teachers such as David Howard, Fredbjorn Bjornson, and Conrad Ludlow. She was awarded a teacher's fellowship to attend the National Ballet of Canada. Former students have danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, Smuin Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, David Taylor, and apprenticed with the National Ballet of Canada. Betty has also trained in modern dance with Ririe Woodbury, Mark Morris, Bill T. Jones, Doug Varone, and Sandra Neels.
Betty has also served as a Founder, Co-Director and choreographer with the Billings children's community dance company, Motion Arts Dance Company (MADCO) started fall of 2012.
Julia Marble - Julia Marble graduated from the National Academy of the Arts, in Champaign-Urbana, IL. While there, she was fortunate to train with Lupe Serrano, Christine Hennesy, Corey Winthrop, Michael Maule, Anthony Valdor and Gwynn Ashton. She attended Cornish Institute of the Allied Arts in Seattle, WA. studying with Pat Hon, Noelle Mason and others. She later moved to New York City to further her training under many great teachers. Ballet: from Marjorie Mussman, Finis Jhung; Modern: with Mary Hinkson (Graham), Milton Myers (Horton), and at the Cunningham and Limon Studios; Jazz: from various studios including the American Dance Machine Intensives with Buzz Miller, Lee Theodore and Gemsi DeLappe. She continued special training with studies in Pilates at the Carole Treir Studio and in early-childhood development to enhance her teaching skills with younger children. She received instruction from Seattle's Anne Green Gilbert and through another youth program in Atlanta called "Tempo, Level, Energy, and Shape".
She danced professionally as a member of the Matthews-Masters Dance Company (Directors: Gary Masters and Fred Mathews), Sue Bernhardt and Dancers, and with many other modern dance groups in NYC.
Julia has been teaching Ballet, Modern and Creative Movement for 20+ years and is certified to teach the Zena-Rommett Floor-barre Method.
Julia served as Co- Director, Administrator and Instructor with Dance Arts Los Alamos, in Los Alamos, NM a non-profit organization. While there, she instituted an annual production of "The Nutcracker" inviting lead Guest dancers from ABT, Ballet West and elsewhere to provide a special cultural experience for that Community. She began Intensive Summer Programs with renowned guest teachers to further broaden the students and staff’s education and exposure to many different dance professionals.
Currently she serves as Co-Director of School of Classical Ballet (SCB) and as an Instructor at the school.
Julia began a Children's Community Dance Company, Motion Arts Dance Company (MADCO) fall 2012 and has served as one of its Co-Founders, Co-Directors and as a choreographer.
Paige Hunter - Paige is from Billings, MT, where she grew up dancing at the School of Classical Ballet, Chris' School of Dance, and with her mom, Bess Fredlund. In high school, she was awarded a summer scholarship from the Montana Dance Arts Association (MDAA) to attend the Bates Dance Festival in Maine. It was a life-changing experience that exposed her to a wider world of dance and, as a student of French, she surprisingly found herself in the role as translator for the two guest artists from Tunisia! She double majored in Dance and French at Western Washington University, and went abroad to Dakar, Senegal, where she studied the local African dances. For her final project, she choreographed a three-part dance production, gracefully accompanied by two local dancers and a live band of drummers. After graduation, she moved to NYC, and immersed herself in New York's dance scene. She devoted herself mainly to the Cunningham Technique, based in the logic of ballet, and performed in avant-garde projects with her friends in Brooklyn. She taught children and adults, choreographed, performed, and attended every dance show she could. After about five years in New York, she moved back to Billings and got married. For three years she lived with her husband in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and helped start a dance group there, yet they returned to Billings in 2019, to be closer to family. She’s delighted to be teaching at MDC now. When not teaching, she is busy chasing around her two young children.
Kristie Martin - Kristie Martin, born and raised in Billings, MT, is a wife and mother of 2 beautiful kids. She holds a masters degree in literacy education and is currently a literacy and curriculum specialist for School District #2 here in Billings. Kristie is committed to continual learning, taking informed risks and learning from the results in all aspects of her life.
Aside from school, her passion has always remained in the arts. Kristie grew up dancing here in Billings and studied dance at the University of Montana in Missoula. She also spent many years perfecting technique through various workshops around the country and summer studies in Los Angeles, CA. Kristie loves being a part of the arts community in Billings and has worked with Nova (Venture) Theater, The Montana Music Institute, the Skyview High Skylights Show Choir and she currently teaches dance at CDS The Edge Performing Arts Center and The School of Classical Ballet. She also currently dances with Terpsichore Dance Company. She can’t wait to pass on the love and joy of dance to her children as she watches them grow to love music and art.
~”There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Maribel Schaff - Maribel was born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico. Her first formal dance training was with the dance company “Danza Jazz Stage” where she was nominated for the Best Beginner Dancer of the Year 2005. In 2008, she was voted second place overall for Best Dancer in the adult division at AMTC international talent and model competition in Orlando, Florida. Locally, Maribel participated in many dance competitions earning first place awards in the hip hop and contemporary categories and best choreographer awards. Maribel is certified in Latin dance and she loves to teach and choreograph many different styles of dance.
Maribel continues her training with professional choreographers like Misha Gabriel, Mia Michaels, Jeff "PHI" Nguyen, Napoleon and Tabatha, Brian Freedman, Wes Veldik, Tyce Diorio, and many more, training at the Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway in New York, and workshops around the country. She currently enjoys being part of Terpsichore Dance Company and the hip hop Tri Us Crew Company. Maribel has a Business Administration degree and a master in Curriculum and Instruction with an endorsement in Spanish and business.
Carly Green - Carly was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from San Jose State University as a Dean's Scholar, Outstanding Graduating Senior and Magna Cum Laude. At SJSU she extended her training in Ballet, Modern and Jazz and performed as a member of the University Dance Theater (UDT) for two years. Her Early Childhood Development education from SJSU has helped her teach youth at public schools and dance studios in Bay Area of California and here in Billings. Carly is excited to perform with Terpsichore Dance Company and looks forward to bringing more dance to the Billings community.
Christina Taylor - Christina lives to perform. Whether it be in music or dance, she loves the performing arts. She grew up studying ballet and quickly added jazz, hip hop, and tap to her dance pallet. As a dance major at Weber State University in Utah, she added modern dance to the mix (and YES, she did learn to "be a tree!") Christina taught as a guest instructor and choreographer at the Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts and performed as a member of Movement Coalition and Junction Dance, two local, non-profit dance companies in Utah. She comes to Billings by way of Las Vegas and Phoenix and has enjoyed becoming part of the dance scene in Billings as a member of Terpsichore and a teacher at SCB. She loves traveling with her husband, Rocky, and having dance parties in the kitchen with her four kids!
Tiffany Wardell - Tiffany established her ballet training in Utah at Rocky Mountain Ballet under the direction of former Ballet West soloist, Connie Burton. Additional instruction was received at the Jillana School where she studied the Balanchine Technique. While in high school, Tiffany performed with the Ballet Showcase Company at Brigham Young University and was given the Sterling Scholar Award in the category of dance. She has enjoyed dancing principal roles in ballets such as La Fille Mal Gardee, Swan Lake, Paquita, and The Nutcracker in addition to a variety of original works by Connie Burton, Suzi Wood, and Shani Robison. Other dance teachers taht have influenced Tiffany's ballet and modern training are Kathleen Sheffield, Marilyn Berret, Jan Dijkwel, Sandra Allen, Jenny Creer-King, Janalyn Memmot, and Mark Lanham. Tiffany graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in Biology Composite Teaching, and a minor in Dance. Tiffany has been teaching and choreographing balet for over ten years at a variety of studios and covering all age groups. For three years, Tiffany taught levels five through seven here in Billings at the School of Classical Ballet. After living and teaching in Houston, Texas for four years Tiffany is excited to be returning to teach at SCB again.
Leeza Freeman - Leeza was born in Billings, Montana, where she he began her dance training at four years of age at Tracy's School of Dance. By age eight, she had moved to Ironwood, Michigan, where she continued to train for the next ten years at Ironwood Dance Company. There she studied Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Jazz, Funk, and Hip Hop. It was there that she began assisting dance classes and found her passion for teaching dance to all ages and in various styles. She regularly participated in competitions, workshops, and conventions while pursuing her love for performing dance, choreographing, and teaching this art form to others. Her love of Billings brought her back in 2009, where she became a nanny to four small children. Currently she manages a very busy optometrist office. She loves kids, making jewelry, eating good food, and traveling to new places. Leeza is very excited to be at School of Classical Ballet & Montana Dance Center pursuing her passion.
Guest instructors and choreographers are brought in to work with students of the School several times every year. Guests bring new perspectives and insight with them, inspiring young dancers to reach new heights in technique and performance. Guests bring a wealth of professional experiences and creativity that are passed on via exceptional instruction.
Past guests have included:
Jeff Amsden - Jazz and Ballet (NYC)
Kirsten Cooper - Jazz and Lyrical
Teal Darkenwald - Modern (East Carolina University)
Mary "Honey" Hudetz - Modern (North Carolina Dance Theater)
Theo Ivey - Jazz and Lyrical (Unity Dance)
Jennifer Martin - Ballet ( Eugene Ballet)
Regina Owens - (Encore Dance Center)
Peter Pawlyshyn - Ballet (Kansas City Ballet)
Nikki Trerise - Ballet ( Smuin Ballet)
Nicole Wolcott - Modern (Keigwin and Co.)
Photo of Leigh Schanfein
Photo of Jeff Amsden