Soili Arvola

Artistic Advisor

Soili_PhotoOnly.jpgAt the age of eight, Miss Arvola was accepted to the Ballet Academy of the National Opera House in Helsinki, Finland. After graduating from the Academy at the age of 17, she was invited to join the National Ballet of Finland and toured with the company around the world.

While dancing with the San Francisco Ballet for 4 years, she and her husband Leo Ahonen started their partnership both on stage and off.

Among her numerous honors, Miss Arvola received a Bronze Medal and a diploma for high artistic achievement in Women's Senior Category (professional category) at the prestigious 1972 International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. In 1975 she was chosen as an Outstanding Young Woman of America, she was the Texas State Winner. Miss Arvola has appeared as the featured guest artist with Finnish National Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Chicago Ballet, Houston Ballet, London's Royal Ballet Choreographic Group, Indianapolis Ballet Theatre, Ballet International de Ochi of Japan, and with numerous Symphony Orchestras, Opera Companies and Civic Ballet Companies throughout the United States and abroad. In 1972 Tokyo's NHKTV produced a half-hour special of Miss Arvola and Mr. Ahonen in their monthly program: "The World of Music". Her ballerina roles include: "Swan Lake", "Sleeping Beauty", "Giselle", "Romeo and Juliet", "Cinderella", "Coppelia", "Don Quixote" ... the list is endless.

Miss Arvola's partnership with her husband on stage lasted thirty years. And in 1976 on the Day of Constitution they became Citizens of the United States.

She also choreographs and stages most of the Classics, and lately she has become a creator of "new style" full-length ballets including: "Tarzan", "Dracula", and "Samson and Delilah". Miss Arvola not only choreographs her ballets, she also writes the libretto, chooses the music, and designs and makes the costumes herself.

She retired from performing in 2006 after a long, healthy career of 40 years, never cancelling a performance! In 2005 Miss Arvola received the first Marie Bollinger Vogt Achievement Award at Toledo Ballet's 65th annual "Nutcracker". In these performances, she also danced the role of "Sugar Plum Fairy" for the last time - the role she started portraying in 1970! In 2009, she was the adjudicator for Regional Dance America/Southwest.

Learn more about Miss Arvola’s amazing career at arvola-ahonen.com.

 

Nicole DeWitt

Ballet Instructor

IMG_5089.jpgNicole started ballet at age 4 under the direction of April Vilhildal of San Francisco Ballet and California Ballet. From the age of 15 she started attending summer intensives, mainly at San Diego Civic Ballet and soon after enrolled in Palomar College under Joffrey dance master Curry Peterson.  


    After dancing in many productions, over many years, such as The Nutcracker, Coppélia, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Swan Lake and The Firebird, Nicole suffered a knee injury her senior year of high school, requiring her to take time off from dance and all athletics to recover. She continued her education at Palomar College, where she began dancing again, then transferred to San Diego State University where she graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology. After graduation Nicole took 8 years off to raise her young family. When her eldest daughter enrolled in ballet, Nicole was drawn to start back as well. After one class back, Nicole was offered a job to teach at Ramona Julian Academy of Dance in Ramona, California.  Nicole co-directed and co-produced The Nutcracker in 2016. Soon after, Nicole started her own studio, Turning Pointe, in Ramona, California. Turning Pointe was a Christian based studio that started with less than 40 students in their first production of The Nutcracker. With great community support, the studio grew quickly into over 150 students. Nicole directed several shows including  an annual Nutcracker, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, as well as numerous Spring Recitals, and Irish Dance Troop Performances.


    In 2022, Nicole and her family moved to Pawhuska, Oklahoma, where her family raises cattle, and has a small business in town. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge and love of ballet with the students in Bartlesville, and is excited to be part of BCB.

 

 

Majic Iacono

Ballet Instructor and Lead Repetiteur

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Majic began her formal training under esteemed ballet instructor Charlotte Lyke and has continued her studies throughout the years under Soili Arvola and Leo Ahonen. In her formative years she danced in many classical productions with Bartlesville Civic Ballet, including The Nutcracker, Giselle, and The Sleeping Beauty. 

After graduating she went on to become an arts instructor and performance production director at the Mutual Girls Club. 

In 2012 Majic returned to performing at the Bartlesville Civic Ballet, dancing in acclaimed Arvola productions. These include Arvola’s Dracula, La Bayadere, and Coppelia. 

Majic has studied extensively under Soili Arvola, attending workshops on technique and teaching in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Toledo, Ohio, and Kona, Hawaii. In her quest to further knowledge of Ballet Pedagogy Majic returned to Charlotte Lyke to master her unique teaching method for Pre Ballet students. 

Applying this method Majic has taught at Bai Lan Studio in Tulsa, OK and most recently at Dancemaker Studio in Pawhuska, OK. 

Majic is excited to join the staff of the Bartlesville Ballet Academy as Ballet Instructor and Repetiteur. She looks forward to passing on the tradition of classical ballet to the next generation. 

Melissa Zervas Hahne

Artistic Director

MelissaHahneOwnerSWBT.jpgMelissa Zervas Hahne began dancing at the age of three under the teaching of Charlotte Lyke at Bartlesville Civic Ballet. After meeting her teachers and mentors, Soili Arvola and Leo Ahonen at the age of 11, she knew she wanted to dance professionally.

Melissa began her freelance career at the age of 18, traveling with Soili and Leo to dance major classical solo and principle roles in Oklahoma, Washington, Texas, Philadelphia and Phoenix. While still freelancing, she received her formal training at Texas Christian University’s dance company under Fernando Bujones and ballet master Li-Chou Cheng, and graduated with a BS in Kinesiology.

Melissa went on to Philadelphia Dance Theatre teaching in PDT’s pre-professional division under the artistic direction of Joy Delaney Capponi. After Melissa, her husband, and three children moved to the Phoenix area to start a church, she continued her professional career with Terpsicore Dance Company and began working closely with Daniel Baudendistel, former American Ballet Theatre and Joffrey Ballet principle dancer. In 2014, Melissa founded and was acting Artistic Director of Southwest Ballet Theatre, a pre-professional school and non-profit performance theatre, until Melissa’s family relocated to Newport Beach, CA in 2019.

Desiring to rebuild her ballet career in teaching after COVID, Melissa is excited to join Dance 4 Joy teaching classical ballet. She is also the Director of Choreography for Bartlesville Civic Ballet, her home dance studio. Melissa is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brittany Moore

Ballet Instructor

IMG_0573.jpgBrittany started dancing in 1996 and never stopped. She trained at Dance Dynamics in Tulsa and went on to major in Dance at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee. She has studied ballet, tap, jazz,
modern,contemporary, ballroom and hip-hop.

At St. Gregory’s Brittany graduated in three years and danced in the Spirit and Sole Dance Ensemble for three years and the SGU Basketball Dancers for two. She completed a teacher training course for ballroom after college. She has danced with Oklahoma Movement and currently dances with Chemstri Dance Company and trains at Temple of Dance in Tulsa. She has performed in many musicals and plays in the Muskogee and Tulsa areas, including Mamma Mia, White Christmas, Matilda, Dracula, Nanyehi and many more.

Right out of college she taught for a year but took a break until recently to focus on her day job as a librarian. She teaches creative movement and tap at Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education and recently taught pointe, ballet, tap and jazz in Muskogee. Her librarian career has brought her to Bartlesville and is excited to share her knowledge and teach ballet here.