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Artistic Director, Nicole Kelsch

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.  

Conservatory Principal, Emily Carey

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. 

Artistic Director Emeritus, Dianna Cuatto

Dianna Cuatto

Artistic Director Emeritus

Dianna Cuatto became the Artistic Director for Ballet Theatre of Maryland for the 2003/2004 season and continued to lead the company for seventeen seasons. She has choreographed The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, An American Southwest Carmen, Beauty and the Beast, Tango Dramatico, Little Women and Excalibur, among others.


Previously, she spent four seasons as the Ballet Mistress with the Richmond Ballet and taught ballet and jazz in their school of dance. She was also Artistic Director/Choreographer/School Director of the Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre in Colorado where many alumni went on to pursue professional careers in such companies as San Francisco Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Hubbard Street, San Diego Ballet, Ballet Nouveau and Richmond Ballet. Prior to that, Ms. Cuatto taught classical ballet at San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Sacramento Ballet, New Orleans Ballet Theatre and Oklahoma Ballet. In addition, she has taught at the University of Oklahoma, University of Utah, California State University at Sacramento, and at several high schools for the performing arts.


Ms. Cuatto began her career as a professional dancer with Ballet West in 1963 where she was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1966. She has also performed as a Principal Dancer with a number of national companies including Sacramento Ballet, Oklahoma Ballet, Berkeley Ballet Theatre and the Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre.


She has performed a wide range of classical and contemporary roles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Lizzie in The Rainmaker, Balanchine’s Serenade, Stars and Stripes, Symphony in C, Valse Fantasie and also in contemporary works by Caniparoli, Weiss, Robbins, Orejudas and others. She also had a stint in Hollywood performing for the American Music Awards, A Chorus Line and national television, where she also choreographed The Wonderful World of the Waltz for National PBS.

Founding Artistic Director, Eddie Stewart

Edward Stewart

Founding Artistic Director

Born in Kulpmont, PA, Edward Stewart (Eddie) began his training with Norman Craig in Philadelphia. He went on to further his studies at the Igor Yousekevitch School

of Ballet and the American Ballet School in New York. He danced as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Chicago Ballet Company, Chicago Chamber Ballet, the Maryland Ballet Company, and the Cincinnati Summer Opera. Additionally, he served on the faculty at the Baltimore School for the Arts and taught at Towson State University for many years. After retiring from dancing, Eddie became the Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s (originally Ballet Theatre of Annapolis) first Artistic Director in 1980. During his time as director, he choreographed multiple full-length ballets including The Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, The Eleventh Commandment, and Dracula. In 1992, Eddie received the Maryland Council for Dance Distinguished Service Award, as well as the prestigious Individual Artist Award in Choreography from the Maryland State Arts Council in 1993.

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