Meet our Team!

Amy Russell Ballet Kalamazoo

AMY RUSSELL

Artistic Director/Owner

Amy Russell is from Paw Paw, Michigan. She started dancing at the age of 4, beginning a life-long love of dance. This passion inspired her to pursue ballet training in the Vaganova Method of classical ballet at Farrell Ballet Theatre at Kalamazoo College at 12 yrs old. In 2003, she became a principal dancer in the company. There, she partnered and collaborated with professional artists from the Grand Rapids Ballet Company and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Amy had the privilege of experiencing classical ballets and the opportunity to dance her favorite roles: Odette in Swan Lake, Giselle, Kitri in Don Quixote, and Swanhilda in Coppelia.

In September 2016, Amy launched her own youth ballet company called Ballet Kalamazoo in Downtown Kalamazoo to share her love for ballet and passion for helping others. 

She was the proud recipient of 2013, 2016, and 2018 Kalamazoo Artistic Development Initiative Grant with the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo which funded her teacher studies with American Ballet Theatre and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Amy is committed to continuing education and preserving the high standard of technique required as a ballet teacher and dancer. Amy Russell is an AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT National Training Curriculum.

 

Annually, she studies the Proven Teaching Syllabus © developed by Marcia Dale Weary, one of the nation’s foremost instructors of classical ballet at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.   Amy is proudly certified in the innovative Progressing Ballet Technique.  She is certified in Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED.

 

Amy and her husband Kirk have two daughters named Sylvia and Juliet and live in Downtown Kalamazoo.

Sarah R Bombard action shot.jpg

Sarah Bombard Hudson

Master Ballet Instructor

Sarah Renae, originally from Naples Florida, began dancing at  

the age of three under the directors of Ballet Arts and Etutdes de  

Ballet. She has worked and performed with a wide range of  

great artists from Mikhail Baryshnikov to professionals with  

The Miami City Ballet. Throughout her training Sarah studied  

Balanchine, RAD, Cecchetti, and Vaganova methods of ballet.  

Sarah holds a BA in Dance from Western Michigan University  

where she performed in many guest artists’ and faculty works,  

focusing mainly on Jazz, Modern, and Ballet technique. This  

passion has taken Sarah over seas to Scotland, London, and  

France where she’s had the pleasure of performing at historical  

venues and sites. Within the last fourteen years, teaching in multiple cities and states across the  country, Sarah has also reconstructed ballet curricula and stage-managed production/prop design  teams. In addition to performing, choreographing and instructing many different ages and levels  Sarah has expanded her education further by completing certification in PBT (Progressing Ballet  Technique) as well as Mat Pilates. Sarah believes in promoting an educational experience while  inspiring dancers to find their true joy and love for this versatile art. 

Julie Torrence Ballet Kalamazoo

JULIE TORRENCE

Master Ballet Instructor

Julie began dancing at the young age of three. She began her formal ballet training at the age of 11 under Liz Legget, training in the prestigious pre-professional division at the Milwaukee Ballet. While at the Milwaukee Ballet, she went on to study under Taras Kalba, Jeanette Makaro , and Nicole Sowinski and performed various roles in the Nutcracker, Giselle, and Swan Lake. She also enjoyed training under notable teachers throughout the Chicagoland area including the late Larry Long of the Ruth Page Center for Dance, Regina and Ricardo Moyano of Dance West Ballet, and Preston Miller, to name a few. 

In 2000, Julie graduated from Hope College with a BA in Psychology and Dance.

 

After graduation, she began teaching at Turning Pointe School of Dance in Holland, MI. Upon moving to Chicago in 2006, Julie founded the former Turning Pointe School of Dance, Chicago (now Ballet 5:8) where she served as Artistic Director, faculty member, resident choreographer, and school administrator for over 10 years. She set numerous full length original ballets including Creation to Revelation, Noah and the Ark, Created to Worship, and various works for, For Such a Time as This and the annual Christmas ballet The Promise. 

Julie loves sharing her passion for dance through providing excellent classical ballet training to her students. She resides in Portage with her three children, Alexis-18, Olivia-16, and Ethan-14. 

Aliya Kosten Ballet Kalamazoo

Aliya Kosten

Ballet Instructor

Aliya Kosten began her dance training at age three. She has trained at Michigan Ballet Academy, Grand Rapids Ballet, Turning Pointe School of Dance, Zeeland Dance and at summer intensives at American Ballet Theater - Alabama, Bossov Ballet, Orlando Ballet, and Joffery's Contemporary and Jazz Intensive.

 

Aliya is currently at Western Michigan University and majoring in Dance and Digital marketing. She is also a member of WMU's Dance Team. She has performed roles in Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and Cinderella, as well as original ballets produced by Turning Pointe School of Dance including Blue Coat, It is Well, The Promise, and The Deliverer.

At Ballet Kalamazoo, Aliya trained for a year as an assistant instructor under the Artistic Director. During this training, she was recognized for her talent, as a mentor to young dancers, and her contributions of choreography to Ballet Kalamazoo, and was promoted to ballet instructor.  Aliya implemented and leads the YAGP dancer training program at Ballet Kalamazoo.