Jessica Pyatt Martin
Artistic Director, The Rockbridge Ballet
Executive Director, TheStudio for Dance & the Arts
Under the Direction of Jessica Pyatt Martin, the Ballet has entered a phase of explosive development. With energy, vision and determination, Martin initiated an apprentice company, hired multiple professional dancers, introduced live music, staged aerial flight work, and has begun collaborations with other performing arts organizations.
Her projects for The Rockbridge Ballet include “A Day for Dancing” community collaboration in 2010; “Signs of the Season” Movement and Language Project with the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in 2011, the “Military Outreach Project” in December 2012, sending hundreds of postcards to active military, and The Kendal project in 2013 which celebrated the healing and inspirational power of movement. In 2014 and again in 2016 Martin worked with Washington & Lee University teacher education department to produce “Where the Page Meets the Stage” a creative collaboration between young authors, choreographers and company dancers. In 2018 and 2022 Martin paired with local visual artists to produce “The Moving Canvas Gala.” Martin brought world renowned flight company ZFX INC. to Lexington for the Ballet’s premier of Peter Pan. In her tenure with the Ballet Martin has staged: Cinderella, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Firebird, Snow White, Don Quixote, Peter Pan, Romeo & Juliet, and The Wizard of Oz.
Mutual support/cross promotion among local performing artists is a theme that underlies her vision. It was her inclusive philosophy that led to the birth of TheStudio, a shared space for artists to learn, partner, and perform.
Jessica graduated from James Madison University with a double major in Dance and English. While at JMU, she was a member of its pre-professional performance group, The Virginia Repertory Dance Company as well as its Contemporary Dance and Associate Dance Ensembles. She was the Student Co-Director of JMU’s Associate Dance Ensemble and choreographed works that have been presented on the stages of JMU as well in local studio concerts. Jessica was awarded the “Most Dedicated to the Art Form” award from JMU’s Dance Theatre. She was also awarded the “JMU Dance Faculty Award”, given by dance professors to honor the student excelling in three areas: performance, choreography and teaching. Jessica has taught dance in Northern Virginia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Salem, Harrisonburg, New Castle, Virginia Beach, Roanoke and Lexington, Virginia.
Kitty is a Lexington native and former dancer with The Rockbridge Ballet with over 25 years of dance experience. In high school, she was selected to attend the Virginia Governor’s School Program for Visual and Performing Arts and served as the dance representative and speaker for the closing ceremonies.
Kitty graduated from Goucher College with a BA in Dance, with concentrations in Dance Therapy and Dance History and Criticism, and two minors in Psychology and Communications. While at Goucher, she trained and performed with an incredible selection of faculty, students, and guest artists, and performed professionally with a contemporary company based in Washington D.C. Following graduation, Kitty served a joint internship with the Development and Communications offices at Dance/USA.
In addition to serving as the Assistant Director, teaching all levels and styles of dance at TheStudio, and choreographing for The Rockbridge Ballet, Kitty works as a Realtor with eXp Realty. She holds years of teaching and mentoring experience in the Lexington community, and loves to read, travel, practice yoga, and spend time with her husband and retired racing greyhounds.
Company Manager & Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Maeve Dick is a 2017 Rockbridge Ballet alumna. She completed her Bachelor of Arts Dance Degree at Oberlin College, graduating with a concentration in Physical Technique and Education as well as the Distinction in Dance Award.
Maeve holds a Hispanic Studies Degree and has taught Spanish at the elementary school level. In addition to Spanish, Maeve is conversational in American Sign Language and Italian. In 2022-2023, Maeve danced professionally with the Stavna Ballet of Richmond, Virginia. Maeve is excited to return home to TheStudio.
Meagan has danced for over forty years, beginning her career as a child in Colorado under the guidance of Christina Noel, Eve Paris and Lisi Elsey at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. As a young dancer she rose to the rank of soloist performing in ballets such as Peter & the Wolf, Coppelia, Paquita, Pas de Quatre and Hansel & Gretel. During this time Meagan began to focus on teaching ballet and started apprentice teaching in 1988 under the watchful eye of Eve Paris. She was quickly elevated to teaching her own classes. Over her summers, she chose to train with James Clouser focusing on refining her training and which eventually led to a passion for working with beginning pointe students and nurturing an interest in injury prevention.
Throughout her training, she has studied many ballet styles including the Vaganova, Cecchetti and French methods. Although she uses all of these styles to benefit the unique needs of each student, she prefers to teach using the Vaganova method which focuses on empowering the students to learn from their mistakes. Meagan considers ballet to be an education for the mind as well as the body, reflective of the Vaganova style, spending time to discuss the intent behind the combinations given in class. She feels this is especially important in the years preceding a dancer being placed on pointe.
In addition to ballet, Meagan enjoys mathematics. The earned her doctorate from the University of Utah in 2007 and is a professor in the department of Applied Mathematics at the Virginia Military Institute. She has even been known to emphasize the importance of mathematics to her ballet students who have to learn to work within the realm of physics to create the illusion of defying gravity.
Resident Choreographer and Community Outreach Coordinator
Evelyn is 2015 Rockbridge Ballet alumni and danced with the studio since its opening. She was a member of the company from 2009 to 2015.
She graduated from James Madison University in 2019 with a BA in dance, and in 2020 she graduated from Hollins University with an MFA in dance.
Evelyn has been trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, choreography, and improvisation. She has been teaching dance professionally for four years and is excited to share her knowledge and love of dance with the students at The Studio.
Braigen has trained in dance her entire life and taught at multiple studios in Tulsa, Oklahoma and surrounding areas since 2011. Working under more than a dozen different instructors across Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas, she is trained in multiple schools of Ballet, as well as Lyrical, Tap, Modern, Pointe, Jazz and Contemporary. She continued her dance training minoring in Dance at The University of Tulsa, where she graduated in 2018.
Braigen has taught, choreographed and performed in many settings, including community outreach events, collegiate competitions, conferences, productions and studio recitals.
Her love for dance is tied to the freedom of emotion and expression that can be found in movement. Her passion for choreography is fueled by the stories she connects to and has the privilege to tell. Her teaching is driven by seeing students find that same freedom and joy.
Tom began dancing in middle school in northern Maine. After graduating high school, he pursued his love of dance with The Young Americans, a performing arts group in Corona, California. Tom taught and performed on six tours, traveling all over Japan, Europe, and the U.S.
After a brief hiatus in the Netherlands, Tom arrived in Lexington as a law student at Washington and Lee University. Never one to abandon his passions, Tom is excited to bring a high energy hip hop style to the Rockbridge Ballet!
When she took her daughter to her first ballet lesson over 25 years ago, Joanna never dreamed it would become such an integral part of her family. As a founding board member of The Rockbridge Ballet, Joanna was instrumental in securing its federal non-profit status as an organization independent from Fine Arts in Rockbridge (FAIR). She served in multiple positions of the fledgling organization from 2003-2006 including President. During her tenure, Joanna was integral in seeking out and receiving essential grant opportunities from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and Wells Fargo. In 2010, Joanna continued to work behind the scenes securing a space for what would become Rockbridge County’s first and only not-for-profit dance school, TheStudio.
After serving two more years as a board member, Joanna stepped down to serve as office manager in 2012. She shares a diverse skillset serving as bookkeeper, receptionist, registrar and marketing consultant for the sister organizations. With an eye for graphic and web design, Joanna has professionally designed programs, websites, brochures, and other promotional items for both TheStudio and The Rockbridge Ballet. As a parent and lifelong patron of the arts, Joanna takes pride in the opportunity to serve future generations of dancers. Joanna holds a BA in History from Mary Baldwin College and served in several capacities for over 18 years at the Stonewall Jackson House, including Museum Curator. In 2020, Joanna retired after over 20 years as a Records Specialist to the University Registrar at Washington & Lee University. She moved to Lynchburg with her husband John and enjoys her garden and being near her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.
Front Desk Manager
Vicki Smith is a life long supporter of the Arts. After spending many years as a dance mom, then a dance teacher mom with the Rockbridge Ballet, Miss Vicki serves as the Front Desk Manager.
Vicki holds a BA from Bridgewater College and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Mary Baldwin. She has spent the last 26 years as a Pre-school Teacher. She is a past member of the Rockbridge Choral Society, and is active in her church choir. A recent empty-nester, Vicki resides in Fairfield with her husband, Dave, and their cat, Morel. In her free time, she enjoys Antiquing, Traveling, Baking, and a good read with her toes in the sand!