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Artistic Director

Nicole Kelsch

Nicole Kelsch received her early training from Peter and Kristin Degnan at Ballet Northeast in Pennsylvania. She also received training from Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Austin, Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts, and Princeton Ballet. Nicole graduated from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Ballet Performance in three years. Upon graduation, she danced professionally with Columbia City Ballet, Atlanta Festival Ballet, and Connecticut Ballet.  

In 2006, Nicole joined The Ballet Theatre of Maryland as an apprentice under the direction of Dianna Cuatto. She was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2008 and throughout her career was featured as Clara and The Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the Firebird in The Firebird, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, as a Principal in Antony Tudor’s Continuo, the Principal Couple in Italian Symphonette, Titania and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Magdalena in An American Southwest Carmen, Cinderella in Cinderella, Guinevere in Excalibur, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Pearl in The Little Mermaid, and has performed the Don Quixote Pas de Deux. 


In 2008, after having served on the faculty for two years, Nicole became the School Principal for The Ballet Theatre of Maryland Conservatory. She was named the Ballet Mistress for the company in 2015. Nicole retired from performing in March 2020 and became the Artistic Director in July 2020. She successfully led the company through a full 2020-2021 performing season at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, staging performances of Edward Stewart’s Dracula, Dianna Cuatto’s The Nutcracker, An American Southwest Carmen, and The Little Mermaid.  

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Emily Carey

Conservatory Principal

Emily Carey, originally from Chesapeake VA, received her early ballet training under Janina Michalski, Suzanne Lownsbury, Patricia Sorrell, and Lydia Roberts Coco at Ballet Virginia. While training, she was gifted the opportunity to student teach under Patricia Sorrell which first introduced her to the world of dance instruction and ultimately instilled her passion of teaching the art of dance. Emily received additional training from Virginia Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Nashville Ballet. Following high school, Emily joined Nashville Ballet’s second company, NB2, where she performed in company and outreach productions, leading many creative movement story-time performances throughout the greater Nashville community. 


In 2012, Emily joined Ballet Theatre of Maryland as an Apprentice under the direction of Dianna Cuatto. She rose through the ranks to Principal dancer in 2017 and throughout her career was featured in many roles including, a soloist in Anthony Tudor’s Continuo, Clara in Cuatto’s The Nutcracker, Morgan Le Fay in Cuatto’s Excalibur, Princess Samira in Cuatto’s Aladdin, the title role in Cuatto’s Snow White, Swanhilda in Cuatto's Coppélia, Mina in Edward Stuart’s Dracula, a soloist in Le Sylphides, Kitri in Don Quixote and has danced the Peasant Pas de Duex from Giselle and the Grand Pas de Duex from Paquita.


In addition to dancing professionally for BTM, Emily has served on faculty since 2013 and as a company Ballet Mistress and Student Rehearsal Assistant since 2020. In 2021, she became Conservatory Principal of Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Conservatory of Dance. Emily retired from her professional dancing career in the spring of 2023 and continues to teach company and Conservatory classes, run rehearsals, and lead BTM’s Conservatory of Dance as Principal. 

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