About Us

 


 




 



Welcome to Richmond’s newest dance school!  The Richmond Academy of Ballet (RAB) is founded on principles of love, respect, and service.  Each student is given our full attention in a warm and caring environment. Through the study of classical ballet, our students learn universal values of reverence, beauty, courage, and strength.  

 



 


 


 

 

Michelle Bettin
Artistic Director

Michelle Bettin has danced professionally with Ballet
 Theatre of Maryland, Columbus Dance Theatre, and Manassas Ballet Theatre, where she met her husband and dance partner, Jack Bettin.

 

 

At nineteen, Michelle was a semi-finalist in the XII International Ballet Competition, Trujillo, Peru. She later returned that year to teach American jazz dance in Lima, and Arequipa, Peru.

 

She received her early training through Maryland Ballet Theatre and Georgetown School of Ballet. Michelle is a Cum Laude graduate of Towson University in Dance Performance and Choreography and has been certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer.

 

Later in life, Michelle studied ballet pedagogy through Mark Mejia and Linda Kintz, at Kintz-Mejia Academy of Ballet.

 

Michelle has been the Academy Director for Metropolitan Ballet Theatre - a non- profit arts organization, and on faculty with The Washington School of Ballet, Maryland Youth Ballet, and Joy of Motion.

 


 

 


 

Jack Bettin
Artistic Director
 

Jack Bettin has had the good fortune to have  been mentored by three masters of ballet - Roudolf Kharatian, Linda Kintz, and Mark Mejia. These three masters instilled in him an understanding of ballet that is both deeply rooted in the Russian tradition and cutting edge in its expression. 

 

He has also trained at The North Carolina School of the Arts, and on scholarship at the Washington School of Ballet, Kintz-Mejia Academy of Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, STEPS on Broadway, and the Virginia School of the Arts. He has been certified as a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and as a Gravity Yoga Teacher through Yoga Teachers College.  

 

Jack has performed as a company member with the Sacramento Ballet, ARKA Ballet, the Omaha Theater Company, Manassas Ballet Theatre (where he met the love of his life and long time partner, Michelle), and the Columbus Dance Theatre.  He has enjoyed performing in theaters from New York to California, and many places in between.

 

Towards the end of his performing career, Jack was hired as the Principal Instructor, Choreographer, and Manager for the Falls Church School of Ballet under Linda Kintz and Mark Mejia. Among his former students, some  have gone on to professional careers both in the United States and abroad, while others have chosen to continue their studies in college.  

 

In addition to his career in ballet, Jack is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and has worked as a Wine Director, Sommelier, Manager, and Captain in many restaurants, some of which have earned highly coveted Michelin stars.  Among them are The Inn at Little Washington (three stars), Minibar by Jose Andres (two stars), and Tail Up Goat (one star). His time in hospitality has forged an awareness that extends to each individual student in his classes and has inspired him to create a reverent and welcoming culture at the Richmond Academy of Ballet. 

 


 

 

Starr Foster

Modern Teacher

 

 

A Richmond native, Starrene Foster, is a choreographer, dance educator and the Artistic Director of Starr Foster Dance. Starrene has been recognized as 2019 Choreographer of the Year by RVA Dance Awards, Richmond’s Most Prestigious 25 Arts Innovators, and is the beneficiary of the VCU Star Alumni Award, the Theresa Pollak Award for Artistic Excellence, and has been featured on PBS's Virginia Currents.

 

For the last 16 years, SFD has produced the highly acclaimed Mid-Atlantic Choreographers Showcase which provides other dance artists the  opportunity to present work. She has received grants from the Virginia Council for the Arts for her teaching and community outreach, as well as many commissions to create new dance works for universities, professional dance companies, and independent artists.

 

Starrene's choreography has been presented nationally which include: ShortNorthStage (OH), Stockton University (NJ), The Philadelphia Fringe Festival (PA), The Jack Guidone Theatre (DC), SUNY Buffalo (NY), The New World School (FL), Old Dominion University (VA), Cornell University (NY), James Madison University (VA), Dance Charlotte (NC), The Goose Route Dance Festival (WV), the Demetrius Klein Dance Festival (FL), University of Maryland, The Richmond Ballet (VA), University of Richmond (VA), Scranton Cultural Arts Center (PA), Baltimore Theatre Project (MD), The Lorton Workhouse (DC), International Festival of Music, Big River Dance Festival (WV) and the Festival of Choreography (NC). She has also choreographed a wealth of music videos and commercials. As a dancer, Starrene trained under many dance greats including Betty Jones, Jeff Slayton, Gerri Houlihan,  Tatiana Akinfieva, and at the Neubert Ballet Institute. She has had the pleasure of performing works by Mark Taylor, Doug Varone, Sharon Kinney, Ronald K. Brown, Mark Dendy, Pewan Chow (Hong Kong), Raul Parro (Mexico), among many others.

 

Starrene is currently on faculty at the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Richmond, VCU Dance and the School of Richmond Ballet. She is an advocate for enriching the world with more art and has dedicated her life to collaborating with all types of artists and mentoring young artists. www.starrfosterdance.org