Professional Level Ballet

Professional Level Ballet at Gibney Dance is taught by a diverse roster of experienced teachers. It is aimed at professional dancers but is also suitable for any advanced-level dancer. The class provides a strong basis in classical technique for the ballet dancer and contemporary dancer alike. Start your day off right in ballet shoes!

Professional Level Ballet Instructors: Christina Ilisije, Sharon Milanese, Kelly Slough, Jaclynn Villamil, and Megan Williams.

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  • Christina Ilisije

    Christina Ilisije, born and raised in New Jersey, moved to New York to attend Marymount Manhattan College. She graduated summa cum laude with a B.F.A. in dance and a business communications minor. While studying, her choreographic work, Naked Branches, was bestowed the Alpha Chi award. Her NYC Joyce debut was with her performance of Twyla Tharp’s The Fugue, as part of the College Showcase: Works by Tharp. Upon graduation, she became a full company member with Buglisi Dance Theatre where she performed and toured solos, original works, and historical reconstructions, including the signature piece Requiem. Christina also worked as a guest artist with Take Dance and participated in a structured improvisation, Behind Resonance, with Shen Wei Dance Arts. Most recently, Christina was a full-time company member with Parsons Dance for over five years where she toured domestically and internationally year-round. She had the joy of performing Parsons’ original works, including Round my World, and classic repertoire including Nascimento, The Envelope, Swing Shift and the rock opera Remember Me among others. While working with Parsons Dance, Christina performed solos and the original works of Kate Skarpetowska, Monica Bill Barnes, and Natalie Lomonte.In addition to teaching several Parsons Dance Summer Intensives and master classes while on tour, she has instructed workshops at Steps, Peridance, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School. She also teaches master classes and commissions new work on the students of the Fine and Performing Arts Center in Howell, NJ. In addition to sharing dance, Christina is a N.A.S.M. certified trainer and she teaches and manages Figure 4, a barre based fitness class on Manhattan’s UES and UWS. She inaugurated a dance cardio class, Figure 4 Fierce, which brings dance and exercises geared to sculpt long, lean muscles to non-dancers.

    When not dancing she can be found writing about her passions on her blog (, making fiscally irrational yet fashionable purchases, reading by the east river, indulging in a visit to the MET, or enjoying some well deserved vino.

  • Sharon Milanese

    Sharon Milanese is originally from New Jersey where she began dancing at a performing arts school, and studying ballet under the direction of the Royal Academy
of Dancing. She continued her studies at Southern Methodist University, receiving a BFA in Dance Performance. Sharon has studied at the David Howard Studios, Boston Ballet, Ballet School New York, Paul Taylor School, ODC/San Francisco, and is a certi- fied Pilates instructor. As a professional dancer she has studied with Christine Wright, Jocelyn Lorenz, Igal Perry, Diana Byer, Sally Wilson, and Patrick Corbin. Sharon has performed with New York Theatre Ballet, Cortez and Company Contemporary/Ballet, Verb Ballets, Ramon Oller and the Peridance Ensemble, Corbindances, Jody Gates, Liz Gerring Dance Company, Heidi Latsky Dance, and Motley Dance. Currently She is dancing for the Lucinda Childs Dance Company. Sharon has taught company class for the Lucinda Childs Dance Company, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and the Liz Gerring Dance Company, and has had the pleasure of subbing Christine Wright’s professional ballet class this past year.

  • Kelly Slough

    Kelly Slough has been living, dancing and teaching dance in NYC for the last 25 years. Currently on faculty at Mark Morris Dance Center, she has also taught at George Mason University, Rutgers, and Hunter College. Kelly was a principal dancer with The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company for seven years. During her tenure with the company she assisted Mr. Lubovitch in setting his work on American Ballet Theater and taught residencies, repertory classes and master classes in the United States and abroad. Kelly was an original cast member in the opera Nixon in China, choreographed by Mark Morris, and has performed with The Lucinda Childs Dance Company, Robert Kovich, Sungsoo Ahn, The State of Alabama Ballet and The Washington Ballet, where she received her training.

  • Jaclynn Villamil

    Jaclynn Villamil has taught contemporary ballet for 38 years. Her career has included being a dancer, choreographer, director, and Certified Movement Analyst which developed out of wide-ranging interests and a performing background of contemporary dance, Broadway, Off-Broadway, opera, television, and film. A full-time faculty member of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts from 1996-2012 she directed the Second Avenue Dance Company comprised of each year’s graduating BFA and MFA candidates. Currently teaching at Gibney Dance Center, her pianist is Allen Fogelsanger, and the guest violinist is Caroline Shaw, recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Dance companies that have requested Jaclynn for company class and pre-performance warm-up include: Doug Varone and Dancers, the Limón Dance Company, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Keigwin + Company, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

    For 10 years she was a SWS faculty member for the American Dance Festival and taught at the Bates Dance Festival for 6 years, sometimes scheduled at both festivals in a year. The Doug Varone and Dancers Summer Intensive which begun in 2000 has included her as guest teacher for 11 summers. Jaclynn became a Certified Movement Analyst from the Laban Institute in NYC in 1992; she graduated with a BA in the Arts from SUNY Empire State in 2008. She was awarded Choreography Fellowships from both the National Endowment and CAPS in New York State in 1979-80 for her work with the Theatre Dance Collection, a company she co-founded in 1972. She was appointed as a Dance Panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts from 2001-2005; served as an Editing/Advisor for the Joyce Choreography Program in 2002-2003, and was one of the three original founding board members for Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE. Her website is:

    In June 2015 Jaclynn will be the recipient of the Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Bienecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching from the American Dance Festival.

  • Megan Williams

    Megan Williams is an independent dance artist, choreographer and teacher with a BFA from the Juilliard School, and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She has performed and toured internationally with the companies of Laura Glenn, Ohad Naharin, and Mark Haim, among many others. In 1988, she joined the Mark Morris Dance Group, with whom she danced for 10 years, toured worldwide, taught, and appeared in several films, including Falling Down Stairs (with YoYo Ma), The Hidden Soul of Harmony, The Hard Nut and Dido and Aeneas. Ms. Williams continues her affiliation with Mark Morris as a guest performer (creating the role of Lady Capulet in Morris’ 2009 Romeo and Juliet: On Motifs of Shakespeare and dancing Bijoux at the 2014 Bessie Awards), and guest teacher at the Mark Morris Dance Center. She has staged Morris’ work on the Purchase Dance Company, Vassar Repertory Company, Fieldston Dance Company, the Boston Ballet, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and on students at the Juilliard School, George Mason University, and Les Etes de la Danse (Paris), among others. In 2012, Ms. Williams was Morris’ assistant in the creation of a new work for the San Francisco Ballet. From 2000-2013 she was on the modern dance faculty in the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, State University of New York. She was featured in Dance Teacher Magazine in 2010 and 2014. Her work has been produced by 10 Hairy Legs, Dancenow NYC at Joe’s Pub, Rivertown Artist’s Workshop, Dance Theater Workshop, Barnspace, Marymount Manhattan College and Purchase College She currently teaches Dance for Parkinson’s Disease in Rye, NY, and is mom the Dance for PD flagship team. In the fall of 2016 she will join the faculty at Connecticut College.She has served on the board of directors of the Martha Hill Dance Fund since 2011 and is proud to have a producing credit on the film Martha Hill: Making Dance Matter.

    Megan brings to the ballet lexicon a vast wealth of kinesthetic anatomy study and a playful, creative and intensely musical sensibility . She encourages the individual dancer to be her/his whole self within the material, and to find the interplay of rigor and ease while nurturing and expanding technical and expressive parameters.