Meet our teachers!
Misako Aoki, Owner & Artistic Director
Misako Aoki began her dance training in Japan and later trained at the Royal Ballet School in London. From there, she joined the Matsuyama Ballet Company, one of the major ballet companies in Japan, and performed in Europe and China with Rudolf Nureyev. After moving to the United States in 1993, Misako founded her own studio and taught at Towson and UMBC. She was also a rehearsal assistant for the Moscow Ballet's Nutcracker and the Washington Ballet's Nutcracker at the Hippodrome. Additionally, Misako is the Artistic Director of Misako Ballet Company, a non-profit professional dance company. She has served as a scholarship review panelist for Howard County Arts Council for several years and as a 2015 Dance panelist at Maryland State Arts Council.
We are pleased to announce that Ms. Misako Aoki has been selected as the recipient for
the Howard County Arts Council’s FY 2019 Mark Ryder Original Choreography Award!
Charlie Abel has been performing in ballet, opera, musical and dramatic theater for more than three decades. A former high-school wrestler and semi-pro baseball player, Charlie fell in love with ballet in his home state of Louisiana. He has performed with the Yugoslav National Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, and the Baltimore Ballet, and has appeared in two Helen Hayes nominated stage plays in Washington, DC. Mr. Abel has taught classical and theater dance at Dance Institute of Washington, Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts, Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland, and Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts. Charlie currently teaches at University of Maryland in Baltimore County, and has more than 13 years of experience at the university.
Jessica joined the faculty of Misako Ballet Studio in 2004. She has a B.A.in Dance, a B.A. in Modern Languages and Linguistics, and an M.A. in Instructional Systems Development from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She received her early training at MgM Dance Studio, Falls Road Dance Studio, and the Baltimore Actor's Theatre Academy. She participated in workshops with Doug Varone and Dancers and Clancyworks, and performed with Doug Hamby Dance. Jessica continues to perform as a member of Misako Ballet Company. She is also a production assistant and educational outreach teacher for Misako Ballet Company and Studio.
Cecilia Ituarte has over 14 years of experience as a dance teacher. She holds an Associate Diploma in Ballet Teaching and Advanced II degree in Modern Dance Theatre from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD). She graduated in Classical Ballet from the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). As a dancer, she has enjoyed performing in several cities in Mexico; in Trujillo, Peru and in Los Angeles, California with companies including: Mexico en Movimiento and Momentum Danza among others. She has choreographed pieces for her students, and is also a professional graphic designer.
Amber started dancing at the age of 5. At the age of 9, she moved to to Maryland, where she started dancing at Misako Ballet Studio. She had been involved in multiple dance companies and programs such as the Pre- Collegiate Summer Intensive at TU, Maryland State Council of Dance, Regional's, Chesapeake Ballet, Old Mill Middle North Dance Company, Old Mill High School Dance Company, the Anne Arundel County Dance Ensemble and Moscow Ballet Nutcracker. She has received various awards as the Maryland State Dancer of 2013, 2014, and 2015. Currently, she is studying at AACC and is part of the AACC Dance Company.
Amanda Wade started her dance training at Ballet Royale Academy under Vyacheslav Mesropov. In 2004, she moved to Misako Ballet Studio under the instruction of Misako Aoki while dancing at Liz Lehrman Dance exchange under Kevin Malone. She attended summer programs at North Carolina School of the Arts and the Dance Institute of Washington. She graduated with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Towson University.
Christine has been teaching Pilates classes since 2002. Christine is certified as a Pilates instructor by Peak Pilates in Pilates Mat, Pilates Reformer, Pilates Tower, Pilates Chair and Pilates Barrel. She has also developed and taught Aqua Pilates classes. Known by her students for her enthusiasm and encouraging attitude, Christine enjoys helping people achieve their personal fitness goals. Christine blends excellent teaching skills with passion, creativity, motivation and education. She continues to take advanced workshops and certification training in the health industry to increase her knowledge and better serve her clients.
Jessica Markiewicz received her early training with Barbara Willis at the Carter School of Dance, and continued training at Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland under Slava Mesropov. She has attended summer programs at The Washington School of Ballet, the Kirov Academy in Washington D.C., and American Ballet Theater. She has also received her Cecchetti Intermediate certificate. Jessica graduated with a B.A .in Dance from Goucher College, and also earned an M.A. in Dance Education with a concentration in ABT Ballet Pedagogy from New York University. She is a member of Misako Ballet Company, and teaches dance in AACPS.
Jodi has been teaching for 18 years. In 2002, she earned a B.F.A. from Point Park University. Before college, she studied at Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts and the Gniazdowski Studio of Ballet. Jodi attended summer programs at North Carolina School of the Arts, Joffrey Ballet School, and Point Park University. After college, Jodi danced and trained in New York City and became certified to teach the Pilates Method under master teacher Deborah Lessen. In 2004, Jodi moved to St. Louis and worked at The Pilates and Yoga Center of St. Louis. Jodi moved to Wuerzburg, Germany in 2005 and created a dance program for the children on a military installation. Next in Fort Hood, Texas, she created and maintained a reputable ballet program for children of military families. Jodi had the privilege to study and teach at the Newcomb School of Ballet under the late Renee Gillenwater while in Texas, and now, resides in Columbia, MD with her husband and two children.
Tonja Mask-Gomez began her dance experience at La-Cher-Tari Dance studio at the age of 3, under the direction of Mrs. Cheryl G. Jenkins. Her teaching is a combination and reflection of the superb instruction that she received while at La-Cher-Tari Dance Studio under such greats as the late Marian D. Cuyjet, Delphine Mantz, Jiva Rankins, Henry Roy, Carol Butcher, and the late Melvin Purnell. When she was 15 she furthered her dance career at Pointe Breeze “Positively to the Point” Dance Co. In 2003, Tonja received her Bachelor’s in Liberal studies and minored in Dance at West Chester University. During her time at WCU, she was the captain of the Black Student Union (BSU) Dance Co. for 3 years, and performed with the West Chester University Dance team for 4 years. Tonja is also a proud 9 year member of L.Y.F.E (Live your fantasy everyday) Dance Co. Tonja has instructed, choreographed and inspired young people to pursuit their dreams and to do it with excellence! Throughout her career, Tonja has captured the essence of disciplined instruction and has been both admired and revered by her dance peers and students. These accomplishments and being a wife and mother of two beautiful kids has made Tonja the person that she is today.