Meet the Staff

The faculty members at RBT are all highly trained professionals. Our teachers have studied, performed, and taught in countries all 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 Instructor, Costume Director,
Roanoke City Ballet Company Member.

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. Her Summer Intensive training began at the Virginia School of the Arts, under the direction of Petrus Bosman, when she was 16 and 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. While continuing her dancing at Radford University in Radford, Virginia taught by 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. She is also a company member with Roanoke City Ballet under the direction of Sandra Meythaler.


staff_jessie allenJessie Allen

Hip Hop and Tap Instructor.
Jessie Allen has been studied dancing for 15 years at the Floyd Ward School of Dance and has honed his ballet talents with four years of study at Roanoke Ballet Theatre. He is trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical and modern, but is most talented and most avid about tap and hip-hop. Jessie competes at the regional and national level in each of the above listed categories of dance, and has won awards including Youth Dance Ambassador for Dance Troop International. Recently, Jessie was featured on WDBJ for his age category win in the local Lewis-Gale/United Way Talent Show. Jessie is a graduate of the Arnold R. Burton Center for the Performing Arts, where he has performed in the shows Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma!, The Wedding Singer, Thoroughly Modern Milly, and Big River. Jessie has been featured in RBT performances, including roles as the Wolf in Peter and the Wolf, various tap, jazz & hip hop performances, and Lead Soldier in the 2010 performance of The Magic Toyshop and the Baker in Napoli!


staff_patricia copePatricia Cope

Acrobatics Instructor and Co-director of the Tinker Showcase.
Patricia Brooks Cope 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 were she thought 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 are now in collaboration with RBT hosting a works-in-progress performance series called the Tinker. She enjoys teaching Modern, Acrobatics, and Jazz classes at RBT.


staff_liza deckLiza 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. Since 1994, Mrs. Deck has directed the Fleming-Ruffner Magnet Center for the Arts dance department and is proud to be the founder of the F.R.E.E. Dance Company. She is the Director of the City Modern Ensemble and her choreography has been featured at Virginia Tech and Washington and Lee University.


Sara KosuthSara Kosuth

Ballet Instructor 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 now dances for Roanoke City Ballet, and teaches in the Roanoke Ballet Theatre’s school.


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 Theater he portrayed roles in a variety of classical ballets such as”Swan Lake”,”Giselle”,”Sleeping Baeuty” 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 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 in Nahat’s “Blue Suede Shoes” and Roland Petit’s “Carmen” garnering public and critical acclaim. In the Summer of 2000 Norbert competed in 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 Quichote” and “Dracula” among the others.


staff_christina robertsChristina Roberts

Ballet Instructor and City Modern Ensemble Member.
Christina Hale Roberts has studied various forms of dance for over 20 years. Her true love is ballet but over the years, she has expanded her knowledge in dance to include modern, jazz, and character classes. As an adolescent, she was a member of various companies in the Roanoke Valley, including the Southwest Virginia Ballet and Roanoke Ballet Theatre. Some of her performances include several RBT pieces in the 1996 PreOlympic Festival in Atlanta, a Seventeen Fashion Show Performance, and various tourings. She attended Radford University as a Dance Major. As an adult, she has taught at a variety of studios in the Valley.


Caitlin O'RiordanCaitlin Smith

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 an 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.  After performing Bluebird Pas for RBT with husband and fellow dancer Will Smith in June, Ms. Smith is excited to start her first season with Roanoke Ballet Theatre.

company_will smithWill 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 chreographed several Ballets and He was awarded the Virginia Commission of Arts Fellowship for Choreography in 2014. Mr. Smith is excited to join Roanoke Ballet Theater this year with his wife and fellow dancer Caitlin.


Jamisen Taylor

Modern Instructor and Office Worker
Jamisen Taylor holds a B.A. in dance from Hollins University (2013). During her time at Hollins, she studied under numerous guest artists and performed in many student and faculty works. Jamisen has interned at Rva Dance Collective in Richmond, VA and at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. She has taken summer and winter intensives at the American Dance Festival, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and attended two American College Dance Festivals (Allentown, PA and Greensboro, NC). Along with a strong interest in movement and collaboration, she works in administration within the non-profit sector of the performing arts. In addition to working and teaching at RBT, she works at The Jefferson Center in downtown Roanoke. She is excited to embark in her new role as a dance educator at RBT and to begin making work again.


Caleb Waybright

Modern Instructor and Roanoke City Ballet Company Member.
Caleb Waybright began his training at The Dance Factory in Buckhannon, WV. Through TDF, he performed as a member of the Augusta Youth Ballet; favorite roles including The Caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland and Franz from Coppelia. He has most recently performed as a dancer for Theatre West Virginia’s summer stock musical theatre company. Currently, Caleb continues his training as a BFA Dance major at Radford University.