Meet the Staff

The faculty members at RBT are highly trained professionals. Our teachers have studied, performed, and taught in many countries around the world. They will ensure that your child is in a comfortable environment while learning technique in a sequential and safe manner.


Renee Aguilera

Ballet Mistress

Renee Aguilera, born outside of Chicago, Illinois, began dancing at the age of 9. When she was 11, she started at Dancenter North in Libertyville, Illinois, under the direction of Cheri Lindell. She was trained in classical ballet by Victoria Barlow, Greg Begley, and Altin Naska. She attended summer intensives and Master classes taught by Amy Brant, Rafael Delgado, Melissa Anderson, Mia Wilkins, Patricia Blair and so many more. Renee was also a summer scholarship winner of CNADM (Chicago National Association of Dance Masters) which she attended for three years. When she was 16 her Summer Intensive training began at the Virginia School of the Arts under the direction of Petrus Bosman. She was accepted as a full year student as a senior. She was fortunate enough to work with teachers and choreographers such as Martha Faesi, David Keener, Jeff Rogers, Tyrone Brooks, Lisa Thomas and other guest teachers and staff. She graduated in 2005 from Virginia School of the Arts and E.C. Glass High School. Ms. Aguilera continued her dancing at Radford University in Radford, Virginia, under the instruction of Inessa Plekhanova.  She also studied Interior Design and Psychology. She has danced in major ballets such as various Nutcrackers, The Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, Cinderella, and excerpts from Swan Lake along with many others. Renee is currently the Costume Director and a Ballet Teacher for Roanoke Ballet Theatre and City Youth Ballet and a former member of the Roanoke City Ballet. Renee is also the owner of the Virginia Tutu Company. 


Laurie Beth Baker

Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop Instructor

Laurie Beth Baker or LB received her B.F.A with a minor in Theatre from Hollins University in May of 2019.  Before attending Hollins, she was a Dance Instructor at J’adore DANCE Studio in Midlothian VA, where she taught and choreographed for students k-12th grade in the genres of tap, jazz, improvisation and contemporary, as well as choreographed a for their competition team.  During her time at Hollins, she assisted in running the dance program for the YMCA Express at Gainsboro as well as choreographed and performed four pieces of self-work.  Her work ‘Inherited Ignorance’ was performed at the 2018 ladyfest CLT showcase in Charlotte North Carolina as well as the 2018 American College Dance Association regional conference in Richmond Virginia.  Laurie Beth is a choreographer and teacher who brings her experiences from her backgrounds of competition technique classes, theater work and college experiences to create work with originality, purpose and meaning.  She hopes to always bring dance history to the forefront of her dance classes so students can learn to appreciate where the roots of their movement vocabulary comes from as well as always push her students to appreciate their individual self-worth.

 


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Patricia Cope-Levy

Acrobatics Instructor and Co-director of the Tinker Showcase.

Patricia Cope-Levy grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. She trained at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts also with Karen Norris in many forms of dance. She attended Hollins University, graduating with her BA in dance. During her time there she studied with Donna Fay Burchfield, Jeffery Bullock, Vladimer Espinosa, Ashley Anderson, Emily Wexlor, Jennifer McGinn, Mark Haim, Lisa Rase, and many more marvelous guest artists. She also attended the American Dance Festival the summers of 2006 and 2007. She lived and worked in Belfast, N. Ireland 2009-2010 where she taught many dance classes and was a member of the N. Ireland Dance Research Base. Upon returning to the US, she became a company member of the Braided Light Dance Project in Jacksonville, FL. She also has performed some of her own dance works in Jacksonville, Salt Lake City, and Roanoke. In the summer of 2011 she begun an artistic partnership with Meredith Dayna Levy and formed Dwelling Dancetheatre. Together they have produced Legend: a concert of plays and dance works, in Jacksonville, and present, in collaboration with RBT, a works-in-progress performance series called the Tinker.  In 2016 Patricia graduated with an MFA from Hollins University.


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Liza Deck

Modern Instructor and Director of City Modern Ensemble.

Liza Emily Fritz Deck earned her MFA in dance from Arizona State University after attending Hope College where she received the Florence Cavanaugh Dance Award. She has performed professionally with Andrew’s Arts Dance Company, Aerial Dance Company, Opera Roanoke, Mill Mountain Theatre, danah bella DanceWorks and is currently dancing with the Roanoke Ballet Theatre and City Modern Ensemble. Mrs. Deck currently teaches at Washington and Lee University and has directed the Fleming School the Arts dance department since 1994. She is proud to be the founder of F.R.E.E. Dance Company and the Director of City Modern Ensemble. Her choreography has been featured at Virginia Tech and Washington and Lee University.


Sara Kosuth

Sara Kosuth

Ballet Instructor, Part-time Marketing Assistant and Roanoke City Ballet Company Member.

Sara Kosuth began dancing at the age of 3 at Susan Barnes Dance Studio, in Carbondale, IL. When she was 13 she started taking weekly ballet classes at the Alexandra School of Ballet, in St. Louis. MO, under Alexandra Zaharias. During this time she attended two summer intensives with Katherine Dunham where she instructed classes in East St Louis. The next year she was accepted into Virginia School of the Arts (VSA), in Lynchburg VA. where she attended for three years until her graduation. While at the Virginia School of the Arts she trained under Petrus Bosman, Martha Faesi, Tyrone Brooks, Adam Sage, Dominique Angel, and Lisa Thomas. When she was 18 she attended the North Carolina Dance Theatre (now Charlotte Ballet)’s Conservatory Program in Charlotte, NC, under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride. The following year she received an Apprenticeship at Montgomery Ballet in Montgomery Alabama where she danced under the direction of Elie Lazar for two years. She received additional training with Milwaukee Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Orlando Ballet, and Richmond Ballet, Montgomery Ballet and Dance Theatre of Tennessee’s Summer Programs. Sara is a founding member of the Roanoke City Ballet, and teaches in the Roanoke Ballet Theatre’s school.


Lisa Santiago Linger 

Ballet and Tap Combo, and Jazz Instructor 

Lisa Santiago Linger was born on the coast of California, but grew up in North Carolina where she found her love for dance at 4 years old. She was raised learning classical ballet, rhythm tap, modern and jazz at pre-professional studios around North Carolina such as Sandhills Ballet Theatre, High Point Ballet, and North Carolina Academy of Dance Arts, studying under professionals such as Galina Panova, Elie Lazar, and Gene Medler. Lisa also participated in several festivals through the NC School of the Arts. After graduating high school, Lisa went on to study Biology and Psychology at the University of North Carolina. While a student at UNC, she continued studying ballet at the Chapel Hill Ballet School. Afterward, during graduate school for couples and family counseling, Lisa taught dance classes through a local church ministry and was given an opportunity to be a dancer in a music video for Emily and Jonathan Martin.   After taking a hiatus from dancing to focus on a career in mental health, Lisa returned and founded Mental Health in Motion when she moved to Roanoke in 2017. Mental Health in Motion is supported by The Roanoke Ballet Theatre. Lisa is also a company member of the City Modern Ensemble.


Norbert Nirewicz

Ballet Instructor and Roanoke City Ballet Company Member.

A native of Poland, Norbert began his ballet studies at the National Ballet School in Gdansk.  He was a finalist in Poland’s National Ballet Competition in 1993 and obtained a silver medal in the same competition in 1995.  As a Dancer for the Polish National Theatre he portrayed roles in a variety of classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and La Fille Mal Gardee in Warsaw and throughout Europe.  In 1997 Mr. Nirewicz joined Ballet Classico de Camara in Venezuela as a Principal Dancer, adding La Bayadere, Le Corsaire and many more ballets to his repertoire.  After Mr. Nirewicz competed at the 1998 US International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, he was offered a contract to join Cleveland/San Jose Ballet.  He performed with the company for two seasons performing in Nahat’s Blue Suede Shoes and Roland Petit’s Carmen, garnering public and critical acclaim.  In the summer of 2000 Norbert competed in the New York International Ballet Competition where he was a finalist.  After two seasons with Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, Mr. Nirewicz joined Columbia City Ballet with a Principal contract where he performed in Don Quixote and Dracula, among others.  Since 2002 Mr. Nirewicz has been working as a freelance dancer, teacher and choreographer performing across the United States, Japan, Latin America, and Europe.  He has added many more ballets to his repertoire such as Apollo, Who Cares, Allegro Brilliante, Combat, Serenade, Tchaikovsky’s Pas de Deux and Romeo and Juliet.  He has also taught numerous master classes, company classes and summer intensive workshops throughout the county, and has created award winning choreography for ballet companies and ballet competitions.  During his spare time, Mr. Nirewicz also enjoys his time as owner and professional photographer at Noriphotos. 


Caitlin O'Riordan

Caitlin Smith

Ballet Instructor and Roanoke City Ballet Company Member

Ms. Smith trained with Ballet San Antonio and Omaha Theater Ballet before graduating with a B.F.A. from Butler University where she trained under Derek Reid, Susan McGuire and Tong Wang among others.  While at Butler, she had the opportunity to participate in international tours to Poland, Russia, and China.  She has studied with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Nashville Ballet and began her professional career dancing with the Minnesota Ballet from 2011 until 2013.  She then moved to Virginia and spent two seasons with Manassas Ballet Theatre. Ms. Smith joined Roanoke Ballet Theatre in the fall of 2015. 


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Will Smith

Ballet Instructor and Roanoke City Ballet Company Member.

Originally from Camden, New York, Mr. Smith started dancing under Delia Foley (A.R.A.D.) and completed the Royal Academy of Ballet’s advanced syllabus with merit. He then attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City on a talent and merit scholarship. Mr. Smith graduated with a B.F.A. in dance, ballet emphasis. Mr. Smith has danced with the Kansas City Ballet, Montgomery Ballet, Albany Berkshire Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Ballet Theater of Maryland. He has choreographed several ballets and was awarded the Virginia Commission of Arts Fellowship for Choreography in 2014.  After several years of guesting with Roanoke Ballet Theatre, Mr. Smith joined the company in the fall of 2015.