Founder & Artistic Director
Karen Eriksson-Lee, M.Ed
From 2006 - 2016, Karen Eriksson-Lee was on Faculty at the internationally recognized Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She is an Alumni of CPYB, and spent decades under Marcia Dale Weary’s tutelage.
In 1987 Eriksson-Lee founded the Northern VA Academy of Ballet in Front Royal, VA, As Artistic Director, Eriksson-Lee choreographed many original pieces, as well as original productions of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite. She was instrumental in procuring donations from the Embassy of the Russian Federation for a Winter Carnival held in Front Royal, VA, procuring items from Russia to auction, as well as securing a visit and vocal performance by the wives of the Russian Ambassadors at the event where her dancers performed excerpts from The Nutcracker Suite.
In 1989 Eriksson-Lee won the “Artie Award for Dance” from the Shenandoah Arts Council in Winchester, VA for her contribution to the Arts. Between 1989 – 1992 she modeled for the late Catholic sculptor Frederick Hart in two of his pieces. Hart’s models were often dancers as he appreciated their long, elegant lines, and his masterpieces have been commissioned around the world. Hart's works include the Vietnam War Memorial (Three Soldiers), and Ex Nihilo at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
Eriksson-Lee holds a Bachelor of Science for Dance with a Minor in Psychology from Shenandoah University, as well as a Masters of Education from Shippensburg University. While at Shenandoah University she studied under Gennadi Vostrikov and Susan O’Leary Vostrikov, both former Principal dancers with companies around the world. It was their training and encouragement that brought her to the Central PA Youth Ballet where she studied under the world-renowned Marcia Dale Weary and many other highly regarded teachers such as Barbara Sandonato, Alexei Yudenich, Richard Cook, Patricia Sorrell, Leslie Hench, Re Rebassi-Davis, Melinda Howe and many others, with each one leaving a lasting imprint.
Eriksson-Lee has taught ballet since 1985, developing her own Pre-Ballet curriculum over the last three decades, which has given the foundation for many young dancers to succeed and excel in their dance training. She is a licensed MUSIKGARTEN teacher, an Early Childhood Music Program that promotes musical awareness, respect for each other and the world around us, trains the ear, and prepares children for both ballet and private music lessons. Eriksson-Lee has taught students from around the world from preschool to pre-professional and is passionate about mentoring students to reach for their dreams.
Eriksson-Lee has taught Master Classes, private lessons, and coached students for auditions at studios in Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. She loves traveling, and is available to travel for Master Classes by appointment.
Alabama Ballet Company Member Guest Faculty
Anastasia Kubanda was born in Front Royal, VA, and has been a long term recipient of the Marion Park Lewis Foundation. She trained at the Central PA Youth Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet School elevating to a trainee in 2014. As a student she danced in Tomasson/Possokov’s Don Quixote (Dryads), and Makarova’s (after Petipa) “The Kingdom of the Shades” from La Bayadere, Act II Ms. Kubanda was named an apprentice in the company in 2015. There she danced in Tomasson’s Giselle (Wilis), Nutcracker (Snow and Flowers), Swan Lake (Swan and Czardas), and Prism, and Balanchine’s Coppelia (Friend, War and Discord, and Bride), and Cranko’s Onegin. She danced a principal role in the U.S. premiere of Macmillan’s Soirees musicales, and Tomasson’s Bartok Divertimento. In 2017 she joined the Alabama Ballet where she has danced roles in Van Fleteren’s Swan Lake including pas de trois soloist, and various roles in Balanchine’s Nutcracker including demi soloist flower. Anastasia has been teaching professionally throughout her career and has attended several workshops by the late Marcia Dale Weary, Founder of CPYB.
Certified Pilates Instructor
Kate has been teaching fitness and dance classes since 2006, upon graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from Shenandoah University. She earned her Pilates Mat certification in 2006 and her Pilates Apparatus certification in 2009 after completing 740 hours of teacher training.
She has taken additional coursework in Kinesiology, Biomechanics, Anatomy and Physiology, and has had a lifelong love for movement and a deep appreciation of the innate capabilities and potential of the human body. She believes that physical health and vitality positively influence our mental and emotional well being, which brings a greater sense of fulfillment to our lives.
Over the past 13 years, Kate has taught a variety of classes for a wide array of ages and abilities including Pre-school P.E., Group Fitness classes, Dance for PD (Parkinson’s Disease), Movement for Musicians, K-12 sports team cross-training, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and group and personal training for Pilates Mat and Apparatus. Kate currently manages and teaches at HIIT Like a Girl Front Royal: a kid-friendly women’s fitness community offering High Intensity Interval Training.
Kate taught group Mat and Apparatus classes and Pilates personal training at Quantum Fitness in Washington DC for four years and was an adjunct faculty member at Shenandoah Conservatory’s Dance department for ten years, during which she taught Mat and Pilates Apparatus sessions on the Reformer, Chair, Cadillac, Ladder Barrel and small apparatus including Magic Circles, foam rollers, resistance bands, Fitballs, etc. In addition to teaching at Quantum Pilates and Shenandoah University, Kate has taught at Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy (SCAA), Valley Health Wellness and Fitness Center, and various locations throughout the Shenandoah Valley prior to starting a family and moving from Winchester to Front Royal.
When she’s not teaching, Kate enjoys family time, music, good food, and trail running.
Kate discovered NVAB when a neighbor invited her to attend Karen’s Musikgarten/Pre-ballet class in the spring. Her daughters, aged 5 and 2, had such a wonderful time (and so did she!) that they continued classes into the summer. What Kate loves most about Karen’s class is that it combines joyful music-making, music appreciation, and creative movement. The class fosters an appreciation for the music itself, and allows little ones to explore ways of expressing themselves through movement. Children practice rhythm with the use of instruments and rhymes, learn to count in French (the language of ballet), enthusiastically sing songs, and get an introduction to ballet that is fun and age-appropriate.
“I’m so glad we found Karen and NVAB! I’m thrilled to be offering Pilates Mat classes to our community at this wonderful studio. The fact that my 2-year-old daughter can accompany me to class and enjoy the nursery care while I teach is such a fantastic opportunity for me and for families in our community. Hope to see you at the studio!” —Kate