Throughout the year, The Ballet School is fortunate to be visited by guest teachers who conduct Master Classes for our Advanced and Intermediate students.


Guest teachers have included:


Christian Claessens, born in Brussels, Belgium, began his ballet training at the Conservatoire de la Monaie.  He continued his early studies in Cannes, France, under former ballerina, Rosella Hightower, and renowned teacher, Jose Ferrant.  In 1979, Mr. Claessens came to New York as a scholarship student at the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre School.  After graduating, he performed with the Kansas City Ballet under the direction of Todd Bolender and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater under the direction of Patricia Wilde.

In 1984, he returned to Europe as a member of the Dutch National Ballet.  There he had the great opportunity to expand his classical repertoire in ballets by Fokine, Petipa, Ashton, Tudor, Nijinska, Balanchine, and Nureyev, while working closely with contemporary choreographers, such as Rudy Van Danzig, Hans Van Manen, Maguy Marin, William Forsythe, and many others.  As a soloist, Mr. Claessens toured internationally in ballet companies such as Stars of the American Ballet, Stars of the New York City Ballet, Stars of the Hong Kong Ballet, Kozlov and Friends among others.  He has appeared on television and in film.  In 1991, he founded the Scarsdale Ballet Studio with New York City Ballet soloist, Diana White.  During his fifteen year run as Director and Master Teacher, he trained dancers of all levels.  In 1998, he was asked to take over the directorship of the Purchase Youth Ballet, a division of the Conservatory of Dance at the State University of New York (SUNY Purchase).  In l999, he co-directed the International Ballet Project with Valentina Kozlova and Diana White of the New York City Ballet.  His choreography has been presented in the New York City area since 1991. 

From 2011-2012, Mr. Claessens was on faculty with Ballet Tech, the official public school for dance in New York City under the direction of Eliot Feld.  He privately coaches students at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis School and the School of American Ballet.   He is in charge of the special needs dance program at New Rochelle High School (New York).  Additionally, for the past twenty years, Mr. Claessens has been teaching daily professional ballet classes. Former students of Christian Claessens are now dancing in major ballet companies, such as the American Ballet Theatre, the New York City Ballet and the Pennsylvania Ballet, among others.

Currently Mr. Claessens is on faculty at The Jacob School of Music /Ballet Department in Bloomington Indiana (Indiana University) under the direction of Michael Vernon.




Joseph Morrissey has danced with the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich, Germany, the Boston Ballet and Charleston Ballet Theatre. A graduate of the Harid Conservatory, Joseph also holds a Master of Arts in Performing Arts Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in Classical Ballet from The Jacob’s School of Music at Indiana University.

In March 2011, Joseph was selected to participate in the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of the New York City Ballet where he choreographed for the advanced level students at the School of American Ballet to a commissioned score by Michael Ippolito of the Juilliard School. That same year, Joseph was invited to speak at the Dance Theatre of Harlem on a choreographic panel alongside five emerging and established choreographers of New York. In 2009 and 2010 he was invited to choreograph for the Noverre Society performances, a historic platform for young choreographers hosted by the Stuttgart Ballet in Stuttgart, Germany. His pas de deux Poised was premiered in February 2013, choreographed for Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews, soloists at the American Ballet Theatre.

Joseph has taught classical ballet at Indiana University and the Saint Paul Ballet and has served as the guest instructor for the Harid Conservatory’s annual audition tour in New York. He is also a member of the International Vaganova Method Society, having completed the Vaganova Ballet Academy’s methodology seminar held at its school in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Joseph currently serves as the Director of CORPS, a nationally recognized classical ballet training program for high school students. (Photo© Lori Gleason 2012)


Sabir Yapparov received his academic and ballet training at the Perm Ballet Academy, Russia and studied with some of the finest teachers in his country, including Julius Plahkt. He was a soloist with the Sverdlovsk Academic Theatre of Opera & Ballet and with the Bolshoi Theater in Uzbekistan, and was a principal with the Odessa Academic Theater of the Opera and Ballet in the Ukraine. His repertoire included leading roles in the classical, neoclassical and contemporary ballets: Albrecht in Giselle, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Star in Masquerade, Prince Desire in Sleeping Beauty and Ivan in Hunchback Horse.

Mr. Yapparov worked with such prominent teachers and artists as A. Messerer, M. Plisetskaya and V. Gordeev. He was invited as a guest principal throughout the former Soviet Union, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, Finland, India, Spain and Canada. He was also awarded the rank of Honored Artist of the Ukraine.

Mr. Yapparov worked as a ballet master with the Sarasota Ballet for 11 years, serving one year as Associate Artistic Director. In 2003-2004 he was a Visiting Professor in the Dance program at the USF School of Theatre and Dance in Florida, and was a guest faculty member at North Carolina School of the Arts in 2007-2008.  Mr. Yapparov recently was both a ballet teacher and the Assistant to Artistic Director at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC. Most recently, he served as Director of the pre-professional C.O.R.P.S. program at Portland Ballet in Maine, and the Principal of Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy.



Bryan Matluk is a seasoned Master Instructor in classical ballet with a focus on the Balanchine aesthetic. Mr. Matluk (Bryan to his students) was trained at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the tutelage and mentorship of founder Marcia Dale Weary, where he also served as part-time faculty member, as Outreach and Summer Program Director, and eventually as Acting Executive Director.
In 2009, after graduating from the John F. Kennedy Center (now DeVos) Institute of Arts Management, working with luminaries such as Suzanne Farrell and companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet and New York City Ballet, Mr. Matluk moved to Philadelphia where he began working with a series of dance companies including BalletX and COMPLEXIONS Contemporary Ballet. Mr. Matluk was a lead faculty member of the Sandonato School of Ballet and Ballet Master for several productions with the Eglevsky Ballet (featuring Lia Cirio and James Whiteside) and the Wilmington Ballet (featuring Abi Stafford).
Mr. Matluk recently founded the Exchange Street Studio in Portland where he offers drop-in classes and private instruction for the aspiring professional. More information is available on their Facebook page.

Photograph by Erin Little


Photograph by Erin Little


Photograph by Erin Little