Our Artistic Director and founder, Eugene Petrov, is a native of St. Petersburg, Russia. Eugene began his education with the International Folk Dance Ensemble at the prestigious Institute of Culture, where he was trained in character dance and classical ballet. By age 15, he became a company member, and shortly thereafter, was promoted to soloist. He performed with the company throughout Russia and its former republics, as well as in Europe and India.
After arriving in the United States in 1992, he continued his training and worked as a teacher and leading dancer with Irine Fokine Ballet in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Mr. Petrov has performed as a guest artist with Connecticut Ballet and with Sierra Nevada Ballet. He has danced principal and soloist roles in renowned classics such as Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Paquita, and Romeo and Juliet, as well as many contemporary works, and has performed throughout the United States, including New York City; Washington DC; Reno/Lake Tahoe, NV; Cleveland, OH; Oneonta, NY; Phoenix, AZ; and Stamford, CT.
Mr. Petrov has over 20 years of teaching experience in both classical ballet and in character. He currently teaches all levels of ballet, from beginner through professional. Mr. Petrov enjoys being a part of the education and development of future generations of dancers here at the Petrov Ballet School.
Kerri O’Rourke was born and raised in Westchester, NY, and began her professional career in the Fashion Industry in 1985. She worked as a Merchandise Manager at Liz Claiborne Menswear, and years later, at Arrow Inc. Her expertise is within apparel manufacturing, cost, and inventory. After her children were born, Kerri’s career shifted to remote work when she assumed the role of Administrative Assistant for Summit Collections.
Kerri’s love for dance began when her daughter trained under Eugene Petrov at Irene Fokine Ballet. Her daughter was also one of the original students at Petrov Ballet School. Mrs. O’Rourke was a trusted parent volunteer who both directed the dancer dressing rooms and worked as a stagehand for Petrov’s annual Spring Galas.
Kerri became a part of the PBS staff in 2016 as Administrative Manager at the front desk. She supports Artistic Director Eugene Petrov and staff, keeps the studio running smoothly, and is a point of contact and advocate for all PBS dancers and parents.
Kara Bruzina began her ballet training at the School of Classical Ballet in her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. She continued her studies at Wagner’s Ballet Schule in Freiburg, Germany; Tachibana Ballet in Sendai, Japan; and summer sessions at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School before earning her BFA at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
She danced most recently with Milwaukee Ballet, after a career spanning several states and companies, including Ballet Memphis, Collage Dance Collective, Kentucky Ballet Theater, Dayton Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet Theater, among others. She performed a wide range of roles from classical to contemporary, such as Odette in Septime Weber’s “Swan Lake,” Clara and Sugar Plum in “Nutcracker” through Balanchine’s “Allegro Brillante” to Mark Godden’s “Angels in the Architecture,” Trey McIntyre’s “Naughty Boy,” and Matthew Neenan’s “The Last Glass.”
Along the way, Kara worked in various costume shops, learning costume construction and design, which turned out to be a new creative outlet, and has trained in Stott Pilates. After moving to New Jersey, she started teaching at Petrov Ballet School and has since discovered the joys of teaching: sharing what she has learned and experienced with the students and hopefully imparting her love of dance to them.
Jill Fede began her dance training with her mother, Janet Fede. At the age of 8, she began studying at the Irine Fokine Ballet School with Irine Fokine, Jeanette Tannan-Hoffman, and later with Eugene Petrov. She was a member of the Irine Fokine Ballet Company, performing leading roles such as Black Swan, Grand Pas Classique, Waltz of the Flowers Soloist, and Snow Queen, as well as performing with New Jersey Verissimo Opera and Marya Kennett Ballet Theatre. She also participated in the Youth America Grand Prix Competition in Washington, D.C., receiving an honorable mention award.
Ms. Fede was accepted into the SUNY Purchase College Dance Conservatory, where she studied with former dancers from American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet and was a member of the SUNY Purchase Dance Corps, perform-ing works staged by faculty and guest choreographers. In 2004, Ms. Fede was invited to perform with the Irine Fokine Ballet Company in St. Petersburg, Russia. She has also studied with Studio Maestro and Dorit Koppel in NYC, and continues to dance and study ballet in New York City.
Ms. Fede attended Montclair State University where she received her BA in Early Childhood Education. She is currently employed as a kindergarten teacher in the Garﬁeld School District and recently earned her Master’s Degree.
Jessica Molnar was born and raised in Waldwick, NJ.
She studied ballet at the Irine Fokine Ballet School in Ridge-wood for 11 years. Further ballet training came from Jeanette Hoffman, Maggie Black, David Howard, Michael Vernon, and Robert Joffrey. Starting her professional ballet career at 17, she joined Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 1990, Jessica joined the Zurich Opernhaus Ballet company in Switzerland. She enjoyed interpreting the classical as well as neo-classical roles created by Uwe Scholz. She performed in The Nutcrack-er, Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, The Firebird, Romeo and Juliet, Die Schopfung, Schumann, Ikarus, and Stravinsky’s Symphony in 3 movements, as well as the operas Salome and Eugene Onegin.
After retiring from the stage, Jessica pursued her desire to teach ballet to children. Using her language skills, she found she could reach a large number of students, and opened her own ballet school outside of Zurich. Further credits include: developing a ballet program to enhance the training routine of the boys gymnastics team of Zurich, choreographing and performing liturgical dance for a touring group in Germany, directing and choreographing “The Swiss Musical Night” which toured Switzerland as a musical revue, private coaching for opera singers and musical theater performers and directing the opera “Le Nozze di Figaro” in Lucerne.
After a fulﬁlling 17 years abroad, Jessica moved back to New Jersey with her husband and daughter in 2007. Upon her return, she joined the ballet staff at Miss Patti’s School of Dance in Midland Park where she is also involved in their annual Nutcracker production. Jessica was last seen as The Dancer in “John Brown’s Body,” a play presented by The Hillside Players of Ridgewood. In her free time, Jessica competes in American Smooth and Rhythm ballroom dancing and has won all of the Tri-State and Capital Dancesport championships she has entered.
Margo Sappington, international choreographer/director, a Texan, began her professional career dancing with the Joffrey Ballet in New York at the age of 17, and her choreographic career at age 21 with Oh! Calcutta! in which she also performed in NY/LA, London and the ﬁlm.
She has created works for ballet, opera and theater companies on 4 continents and special projects for international ballet stars. The companies include, Joffrey Ballet, (New York/Chicago), Pennsylvania Ballet, Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Ballets Jazz de Montreal and Dallas Black Dance Theater.
Abroad she has created for Ballet du Capitole, Ballet du Nord, Ballet de Bordeaux (France), ATERballetto (Italy), Ballet Nuevo Mundo and Rajatabla Danza (Venezuela), and Nederlands Dans Theater. Sappington was the ﬁrst American choreographer to create a new work for the National Ballet of China (Beijing) and a new full-length ballet (2009) for the Abai Opera and Ballet Theater, Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Always interested in creating dances to popular music, Sappington has choreographed to the music of Prince, Joffrey Ballet’s Billboards; Esquivel, Kansas City Ballet, Zuzu Lounge, and Indigo Girls performing live with Atlanta Ballet, Shed Your Skin. Common People, created for Milwaukee Ballet to William Shatner’s CD “Has Been”, is now a documentary ﬁlm called William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet.
From 1995–99 she shared artistic direction of Ballet: The Daring Project with ballerina Valentina Kozlova. The company of 10 dancers presented her works across the U.S. and in Italy plus 3 seasons at the Joyce Theater in New York City. Her series of ballets on artists include, Rodin, Mis En Vie, Under the Sun, on the works of Alexander Calder, Toulouse-Lautrec in association with the Musée Toulouse Lautrec in France, and Virgin Forest, the jungle paintings of Douanier Rousseau for Milwaukee Ballet and the subject of an award winning documentary by Milwaukee Public Television. On May 2, 2014, her pas de deux from Under the Sun was featured on PBS’ “Great Performances”, celebrating Pennsylvania Ballet’s 50th Anniversary.
Not limited to the concert stage, Sappington’s work has enhanced the international opera simulcasts, “Live from the San Francisco Opera” with the ballets in La Gioconda, Samson Et Delilah, and AIDA. Her extensive theatrical experience across the U.S. includes 4 Broadway shows with Tony and Drama Desk Nominations plus many commercials and music videos.
Lifetime achievement in Choreography from the Joffrey Ballet Heart and Soul Award from Career Transitions for Dancers She also guest teaches and sets or creates works for Performing Arts High Schools and Universities across the U.S.
Susan Sorota began her professional ballet training at The New York School of Ballet with Richard Thomas. She earned a B.F.A. in Dance from SUNY Purchase, and has also studied dance at The Schools of Cleveland, Houston, and San Francisco Ballet and at STEPS on Broadway.
Ms. Sorota has performed with the Dance Corps at Purchase, Ballet Binghamton, Eglevsky Ballet, and Felice Lesser Dance Theater. After making the decision to pursue a different career field, she continued to perform in local productions of original choreography, including Cinderella and the Nutcracker.
Ms. Sorota first started teaching ballet while still in high school. She joined the faculty at Petrov Ballet School in 2010 and teaches all levels of ballet, from the very young ones up through and including Adults. She has completed the Leap ‘N Learn Early Childhood Dance Program, as well as the Karma Kids Children’s Yoga Teacher Training Program.
Ms. Sorota lives in Glen Rock and has three children. Proudly, her two daughters are both graduates of Petrov Ballet School, and her eldest daughter, Stephanie, has gone on to dance professionally with The Washington Ballet.
Olga Yaroslavtseva was born in Riga, Latvia (former Soviet Union). At age 9, she started her professional training at the Riga Ballet Academy, where she was trained in all aspects of ballet, with a strong emphasis on traditional classical techniques. During her school years in the Academy, she performed at the Latvian National Opera House. After graduation in 1982, she became a member of the Latvian National Ballet, and in 1985 was promoted to principal dancer.
She performed leading roles in the full classical repertory including Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and many others, touring internationally. In 1989, while on tour, she defected from the Soviet Union, and became a member of the American Ballet Theatre under Mikhail Baryshnikov. Over her 11 years with ABT, she performed a wide variety of soloist and leading roles, including Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, Harlots and Friends in Romeo and Juliet, Bathilda in Giselle, and Madam Vyrubova in Anastasia, as well as many others. Olga toured extensively with the company throughout the United States and around the world.
Upon leaving ABT, she went on to teach at the YMCA Performing Arts School in Wyckoff, NJ. As teacher and choreographer, she worked with students ranging in age from 7 to 18 years, from beginner to advanced, including pointe, variations, traditional, and contemporary. She was the choreographer for award-winning competitions and yearly recitals, as well as head choreographer for The Nutcracker performed at the YMCA in December 2010. In the spring of 2011, Olga started work with the Greenwich Ballet Academy, and is now very excited to be part of the Petrov Ballet School faculty.