“[Ballet Etudes is] truly the strongest program I see in my travels.”
- Karen Gibbons Brown, Artistic Director, Fort Wayne Ballet
As its founding Artistic Director, Sharon Seder Meko has been the driving force and inspiration behind Ballet Etudes since 1986. Her foresight and vision are responsible for the company's tremendous growth and development and the artistic accomplishments of its dancers. Due to her efforts, many of the company's dancers have been accepted at the most prestigious schools and companies throughout North America. Ballet Etudes' stature in the southwestern United States has been achieved because of the dedication to excellence and the exceptional professional abilities of this most talented woman. Under her watchful eye, three of Sharon’s students have studied at American Ballet Theatre in New York City after having received the National Training Program Scholarships, two others have been accepted into the Professional Division of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s school, and countless others have gone onto professional dance careers and college-level studies with scholarships. Sharon began her training in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, with the Schuykill Valley Regional Dance Company. She then continued her formal ballet training in Philadelphia and later trained as an auditioned student under Edward Canton at the Pennsylvania Ballet. She continued her dancing career as a soloist and principal dancer. Some of her roles include: Sugar Plum Fairy, Waltz and Mirlitons in Nutcracker, Kitri in Don Quixote, Blue Bird, Lilac Fairy and Spanish in Sleeping Beauty, and roles in Coppélia. She has studied and taken master classes with teachers Margaret Craske, Hector Zaraspe, Pearl Lang and Martha Graham. In Denver she continued her professional career with the Colorado Concert Ballet Company and Ballet Now. Since 1979, Sharon has pursued her love of Ballet in Arizona. She danced with the Mesa Civic Ballet (presently Ballet Arizona) and has choreographed for the Arizona Metropolitan Ballet Junior Company and served as a guest teacher. She was on the faculty of the Dance Department at Arizona State University. A teacher of ballet for 30 years, Sharon is presently Director of BE School of Dance. Sharon Meko was honored by the Mesa Chamber for Commerce and by Arts in Mesa when she was named "Artist of the Year.”
Susan began her dance studies in California where one of her most influential teachers was Eugene Loring. In Junior High School she was accepted on scholarship at Colorado Collegeʼs Dance Department, studying with Professor Norman and Dorothea Cornick, formerly principals with the Memphis Ballet. She was a soloist in the Collegeʼs performing company. Susan began her training with American Ballet Theater under Francesca and Dimitri Romanoff, the companyʼs Regisseur. She went on to perform in American Ballet Theatreʼs corps and was promoted to soloist. As a soloist her repertoire included the ballets Les Sylphides, Les Patineurs, Swan Lake, Nutcracker and Giselle.
After coming to Arizona she completed her exams in the Dance Education Syllabus of the Royal Academy of Dancing and now is a certified and registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dancing, London, England. Susan is a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. Susan is also a ballet instructor at BE School of Dance.
Astrit received his training from the National School of Albania and the University of Oklahoma, and has since been a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Albania, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. He has received several awards, including the Gold Medal in the 1994 Eastern European Ballet Competition in Kazanluk, Bulgaria, and first prize in Albania’s 1995 National Ballet Competition. In 1998, Astrit was a finalist in the Paris International Ballet Competition. His repertoire includes many of his favorite ballets: Swan Lake, Giselle, Raymonda, Esmeralda, Cinderella, Nacho Duato’s Rassemblement, Ib Andersen’sRomeo and Juliet and George Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, Theme and Variations, The Four Temperaments, “Rubies” from Jewels, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and Who Cares?. Since joining Ballet Arizona in 2003 Astrit has originated principal roles in Ib Andersen’s Preludes and Fugues, Coppélia, Mosaik, Play, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and danced principal roles in La Sylphide, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, and Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Suite, Dwight Rhoden’s Ave Maria, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia. Astrit has made international appearances with National Ballet of Croatia, Jorgen Ballet of Canada, and in 2009 represented Ballet Arizona in the Miami International Dance Festival. Most recently Astrit danced at the Kennedy Center in D.C. for the première of Andersen’s Diversions.