Tess (Terri) Post, originally from Norfolk, Virginia, received her early ballet training at the Norfolk Civic Ballet. She continued her studies and professional career in NYC with many legendary teachers and directors. Tess opened The Post School Of Ballet in 1987 and in 1990 founded the Southwest Virginia Ballet Company, serving as Artistic Director until 2006, when she and her husband
Gene moved to upstate NY.
Mrs. Post is thrilled to be back in the Roanoke Valley and teaching
at The Dance Centre of Southwest Virginia.

Tess Post

Sandra Smeltzer

Szalay A native of Venezuela, Szalay was born to Hungarian parents and is a native of La Guaira , Venezuela where he started dancing in local school by Ms. Machado .He received a scholarship at Ballet Nacional of Caracas, coached by Vladimir Isayev and many other national and international teachers. There he danced many of Nebrada's choreographed pieces. Later he traveled to New York City to be coached by Madame Darvash and performed with New York Dance Theatre directed by Frank Ohman.
After New York, Szalay was company dancer with Richmond Ballet from 1996 to 2006 where he was an inspiration for many choreographers and he danced pieces from Balanchine, Burn, Canaporoli, Lang, Soleau, Stevenson, Orff, Wainrot, Winslett and many others. He was also a guest performer and choreographer with the Latin Ballet of Virginia .
He has guest taught in South Carolina, Philadelphia, Virginia School of the Arts, Washington and Lee University and St. Paul's Ballet Company. Szalay served as a coach, choreographer for the School of Richmond Ballet and other Richmond dance schools. He served as Artistic Advisor for Chesterfield Ballet School . Szalay coached the Wheel Chair Miss Richmond. He currently teaches at The Dance Centre of Southwest Virginia. In summer 2016, he was invited to guest teacher in Murcia, Spain at Robles Ballet School.
Szalay for the past 10 years enhanced the lives of many 4th graders through his instruction of the Minds In Motion program in Richmond, Charlottesville, Martinsville, Salem and Roanoke City Schools. Beginning in 2012, Szalay developed a Spanish language, choreographed movement program called Dance Espanol for 4th graders in public schools. In 2013 created a Ballet program for Middle School in Roanoke City Public Schools.
January 2007, Szalay became Artistic Director of Southwest Virginia Ballet in the Roanoke Valley, since he has brought SVB to be recognized locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. In 2009 he was awarded the Perry F. Kendig Awards for Outstanding Performing Artist and in 2010 named the best Local Celebrity for Charity Events by the Roanoker Magazine.
Szalay is a Resident Artist for Carilion Clinic Healing Art Program. Board member of Thursday Morning Music Club as Dance Chairman - Footnotes and Roanoke City Public School Education Foundation, Inc.
Szalay's choreography credits include : The Long Christmas Ride Home , for Flournoy Playwright Festival, Ties: A Railroad Ballet, Cinderella, Coppelia, Romeo and Juliet, Miss Richmond Pageant(2002-2003), the Miss Virginia Pageant(2009-2012), Like Winter Waiting ( 2012- 2014), Sewing Seeds with Ann Waldrop, Dominos for Charlottesville Ballet. Holidays Pops, Peter and The Wolf, Carmina Burana with Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Excerpts of Act II of The Nutcracker, Firebird and Under the Tent with Roanoke Youth Symphony, Nick Cave, Norman Rockwell and many others for Taubman Museum of The Art. La Traviata and South Pacific for Opera Roanoke. His newest project for 2017 is a commission to choreograph for an original score in remembrance of the Virginia Tech tragedy.

Pedro Szalay

Founding and Former Instructors

Laurence Blake (Educator/Choreographer), a native of Virginia, attended the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC.  During his senior year, he toured nationally with the Agnes DeMille Heritage Dance Theater and upon graduation was asked to join the North Carolina Dance Theater. After two seasons with NCDT, Laurence joined The Joffrey II Dancers and joined The Joffrey Ballet in the fall of 1977. He has danced ballets by such notable choreographers as Glen Tetley, John Cranko, Twyla Tharp, Sir Fredrick Ashton, Agnes DeMille, Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey. 

He has taught both nationally and internationally, most notably at the BalletKadiem in Stockholm, Sweden; Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA; University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; Governors Magnet School of the Arts, Norfolk, VA; Orange County High School of the Arts, Los Alamitos, CA; Regional Dance America/ Pacific Festival, Bremerton, WA; the Conservatory of Performing Arts, Pasadena, CA; Nevada Ballet Theater; and Island Moving Company, Newport, Rhode Island.

Laurence served as Assistant, Associate and Interim Dean of the Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at the California Institute of the Arts, as well as served on faculty from 1982 until his retirement in 2017. Laurence taught ballet and contemporary dance, composition and choreography at CalArts.

As Resident Choreographer for the Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, he has received nominations for the Lester Horton Award for Outstanding Choreography for his ballets “TUNNEL”, “BLACK ANGELS” and “THE NUTCRACKER”. Laurence has served as Associate Artistic Director of the Pasadena Dance Theater where he has choreographed several ballets for the company. His ballet “HOLBERG SUITE” was awarded the National Choreography Plan Award ‘97. The Regional Dance America/Pacific region presented his ballet “ORIGINS” at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS in June 2006. Laurence has been commissioned to choreograph work on the Island Moving Company, Los Angeles Chamber Ballet, Hawaii Ballet Theater, Inland Pacific Ballet, Cal State University Long Beach, Loyola Marymount University and the Houston School of Performing and Visual Arts.  

Isabel Meyers

Laurence Blake

Sara Early

Mrs. Smeltzer holds a B.A. in Ballet from Virginia Intermont College, where she graduated summa cum laude, and an M.A. in Dance from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She performed throughout seven seasons with the Bristol Ballet, under the direction of the late Constance Hardinge. Bristol Ballet was one of fhe original honor companies of the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association, an organization of highly acclaimed pre-professional ballet companies. Mrs. Smeltzer has studied with such notables in the field of dance as: Oleg Sabline, James Truitte, Robert Barnett, Robert Joffrey, Frederick Franklin, George Zoritch, Sally Brayle-Bliss, Edward Villella, and many others. Mrs. Smeltzer is a former Assistant Professor of Dance at Virginia Tech, where she received a Certificate of Teaching Excellence from the College of Arts & Sciences. She has taught on the faculties of Virginia Intermont College, Academy of Virginia Beach Ballet, Emory & Henry College, UVA-Wise, and Washington and Lee University. She is a former Artistic Director of Virginia Tech Dance Theatre, and Washington and Lee Jazz and Tap Ensemble. She is a former Associate Director of Southwest Virginia Ballet.

 Elizabeth Francis began her dance training at The Meredith Gravely School of Dance
in Danville, Virginia, where she received a strong foundation in ballet, tap,
and jazz; she then furthered her dance education at Hollins University in Roanoke,
Virginia, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. In her performance career,
she has humbly shared the stage with the Moscow Ballet as well as
World Champion Magician Wayne Alan; additionally, Elizabeth has also performed in
Cabaret (Showtimers Community Theatre), Goodnight Moon (Hollins University Theatre)
and 42nd Street (Mill Mountain Theatre).
Elizabeth is incredibly excited to be part of the Star City School of Ballet
family as jazz, musical theatre and jazz teacher.

Elizabeth Francis

Justine Thomas - graduated high school in the class of 2021. She has been training in dance for fourteen years with various dance schools and had been with Southwest Virginia Ballet for two years, but she has had a passion for dance all of her life. Currently, Justine has been working towards and will be graduating from Virginia Western Community College with an associate´s degree in General Studies this year. She hopes to attend Hollins University and mayor in dance and creative writing. In the future Justine wants to persue a career and dance and continue her training as a dance teacher.

Over the course of three years, the trajectory of our dedicated Pilates teacher for ballet students of all ages has been nothing but remarkable. She has a deep love for both Pilates and Ballet and understands the importance of the vision to enhance the physicality and grace of aspiring dancers. She has evolved into an integral part of our dance community focusing on the improved flexibility , strength and posture of our students she fosters a sense of discipline and self confidence among them.

Justine Thomas

Isabel Meyers is a contemporary and modern dance artist and choreographer. She grew up as a student of the Academy of Dance in Warner Robins, Georgia, and went on to earn her degree in Dance from Hollins University in the spring of 2021. For three years, she served as the co-director of the Hollins Repertory Dance Company, where she organized and choreographed company performances and taught dance classes in her community. She is an alumna of American Dance Festival and Bates Dance Festival, and she is certified in the National Dance Institute Art of Teaching.