Who: Carol Bellis, an instructor at Princeton Ballet School and the coordinator of the school’s summer programs.
Inspiration: For Bellis, becoming a teacher was a natural progression. As a dancer and student, others were always asking her to explain things. Helping others came naturally, so after her career as a dancer, teaching made a lot of sense.
Academic Background: As a senior in high school Bellis began commuting to New York to attend the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet, on scholarship.
Career path: Bellis first danced professionally with the Garden State Ballet (now merged with American Repertory Ballet). After her career there, she continued to dance and was taking open classes at Princeton Ballet School in the mid1980s when then-director Judith Leviton approached her about teaching at the school. Since joining Princeton Ballet School, her role has expanded from teaching to include administrative work. She now coordinates the school’s summer programs.
Special focus: Since she teaches class for many different ages and levels, Bellis’ specific curriculum varies, but she uses the Princeton Ballet School syllabus, which is based on the Vaganova technique. She infuses it with her experience from the School of American Ballet, which is informed by George Balanchine’s technique.
Most satisfying moment: It is always wonderful for Bellis when former students come back to her and say she had an impact on them, but a couple of years ago former student Corrine Mucha told her, “You taught me how to think,” which was a particularly satisfying moment.
vacation: Since she coordinates the summer programs –– five-week “intensives” serving hundreds of students ages nine and up –– she doesn’t get much of a summer vacation. After the Summer Programs are over, she tries to spend as much time at the beach swimming as she can.
Extracurriculars: Bellis loves being outside and she loves animals. She also loves sailing and tries to do that as much as she can.
Carol Bellis, American Repertory Ballet’s Princeton Ballet School, 301 North Harrison Street, Princeton. 609-921-7758.
Princeton Ballet School, 29 North Main Street, Cranbury. 609-921-7758.
New Brunswick Studio/Administrative Offices, 7 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick. 732-249-1254.