Meet our Team!


Artistic Director

Amy Russell is from Paw Paw, Michigan. She started dancing at the age of 4, the beginning a life-long love of dance. This passion has driven her to recognition as the lead ballerina for a semi-professional company. There, she partnered and collaborated with professional artists from the Grand Rapids Ballet Company and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. 

In September 2016, Amy launched her own ballet company called Ballet Kalamazoo to share her love for ballet and passion for helping others. Amy's choreography has been featured in original ballet stories such as “Snow White”, “Rapunzel ~ A Fairytale Ballet,”Princess Aurora ~ The Sleeping Beauty", "The Sugar Plum Fairy"~ A Nutcracker Story and "The Music Box Ballerina" ~ Welcome to the Wondrous World of Ella.


Amy was the proud recipient of a 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.


Amy most recently attended the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s Teacher Training Workshop and Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 4-day Intensive Teacher Training Seminar. Amy is proudly certified in the innovative Progressing Ballet Technique, Level 1 Teacher Training with Lisa Howell and with “If I was A Bird Yoga” for children ages 2-13 years old. Amy 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.


Master Ballet Instructor

Eun-Kyung Chung holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Arts in Dance from Ehwa University, the world’s largest female educational institute and is one of the most prestigious universities in South Korea. Mrs. Chung is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 3 of their training curriculum. She is also a certified Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® trainer who enjoys sharing these methods with people. 


Mrs. Chung was a principal dancer at Seoul Ballet Theatre prior to moving to Germany in 2010. She joined Mainfranken Theater Würzburg as a soloist. Later, she joined Landestheater Coburg as a principal dancer and choreographer. 


Mrs. Chung moved to the United States in 2016 and worked with Charlottesville Ballet Company (VA), Proia Dance Project (GA), Traverse City Dance Project (MI), Neglia Ballet (NY), TAKE Dance (NY), Koresh Artists Showcase (PA), and Princeton Festival (NJ).  She has taught at Central Virginia Ballet and Forest Dance Academy in Lynchburg, Virginia and she is currently a visiting professor at Randolph College and a part-time faculty at Western Michigan University.

Seyong Kim

Master Ballet Instructor

Seyong Kim, Assistant Professor of Dance at Western Michigan University, holds an MA in Dance Education from New York University and an MA in Dance from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea. He is a CMA (Certified Movement Analyst) completed through Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies and a RSME (Registered Somatic Movement Educator) at ISMETA (International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association). Seyong is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 of their training curriculum. He has taught in New York University, Rutgers University, Randolph College, Peridance Center, Libera University (Italy), Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, National High School Dance Festival, New Rochelle Arts High School, Brighton Dance Festival, Michigan Youth Arts Festival, Hamilton Ballet Theatre, and Charlottesville Ballet Company. 


He has professionally performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Albania National Ballet Theatre, Korean National Ballet, Arzid Modern Dance, Terra Firma Dance Theatre, Staten Island Ballet, Baltimore Ballet, Traverse City Dance Project, Neglia Ballet, Roxey Contemporary Ballet, Oakland Ballet Company, and TAKE Dance. In addition, his choreographic works have been presented at Landestheater Coburg (Germany), Dance in Italy Festival, Dzul International Dance Festival (Mexico), Seoul Fringe Festival, Korea-Japan Dance Festival, Daegu / Goyang International Dance Festival, Dumbo Dance Festival, Battery Dance Festival, Koresh Artist Showcase, Chicago International Dance Forum, Detroit Dance City Festival, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, Booking Dance Festival at Jazz in Lincoln Center, and Nimbus OFFLINE+ at the BAM Fisher. 


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 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 Ditgal 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.

Nirvan Singh

Ballet Instructor

Nirvan Singh was born in Brooklyn (New York) in 1999 and danced with Brooklyn’s Covenant Ballet Theatre from age eight to thirteen. He performed numerous shows with the theatre including pieces choreographed by Artistic Director Marla Hirokawa such as Orphan Train, Fools Gold, and Cinderella. At the age of thirteen, Nirvan attended the American Ballet Theatre summer intensive in downtown Manhattan and performed an excerpt from the Giselle peasant pas. In 2012, his family moved to Portage (Michigan) where he began taking class at Ballet Arts School of Dance and performed in BAE’s production of Les Patineurs. Nirvan also appeared in Nutcracker, Spring Concert 2016, Hansel and Gretel, and performed in Masquerade as a guest artist. He has also been a guest artist for Ballet Kalamazoo’s Princess Aurora - Sleeping Beauty, and the role of Prince Knutt in their production of Nutcracker, in addition to being an instructor at their summer intensive (2019). 


Nirvan now attends Western Michigan University on a full ride as a Medallion Scholar, studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Management Minor. He has performed in numerous pieces by WMU’s dance department faculty such as Falling Table, an excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake as Prince Siegfried, Phage, Fantoccio, An Evolutionary Story written in the East Sea, and Wingless Angels.


Nirvan has also had the opportunity to perform in Great Works pieces including Paul Taylor’s Esplanade,

and Aszure Barton’s Happy Little Things (Waiting on a GruffCloud of Wanting). During his time at the BalletMet Company Rep Week 2019, Nirvan was able to perform Edwaard Liang’s Beautiful Child And Gustavo Ramirez’s 18+ 1.