MICHELLE LEES, Principal and Artistic Director

Ms. Lees oversees the artistic integrity of MYB’s curriculum, productions, and projects.  As a Washington, DC native, she was one of the first graduates of the Washington School of Ballet’s academic program. Upon graduation she was immediately taken into the National Ballet where she rose steadily through the ranks to become a principal dancer. She was known as a dancer of strength and integrity and performed all the major roles in the repertoire: Swan Queen, Sugar Plum Fairy, Sleeping Beauty, the Siren in Prodigal Son, and virtually every role in Balanchine’s Serenade, Concerto Barocco, and Four Temperaments. When the National Ballet folded in 1974, Ms. Lees joined the Chicago Ballet as a principal dancer. She later toured America and Europe extensively with such well-known artists as Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.

In 1976 she joined MYB and for the past 30 years has led the faculty and is responsible for the school’s high-caliber and very successful training program. She is also the choreographer of MYB’s award winning production The Nutcracker, which regularly sells-out its annual run of 8 to 11 performances, also MYB’s new, The Mini-Nut, an abbreviated version perfect for young families, and for our highly acclaimed children’s ballets performed for 16 years at Wolf Trap’s Theatre-in-the-Woods. In addition, she is responsible for mounting all of the ballet classics performed by MYB including: Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Paquita, and Pas de Quatre. In 2006 and 2010 Ms. Lees won the award for “Best Teacher” at the Youth America Grand Prix and MYB was named “Best School” at the Youth America Grand Prix in 2007, 2009, and 2010.  Ms. Lees was recently selected to be a member of the prestigious, Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2012 which brings together leaders of diverse organizations to address the Washington metropolitan region’s issues and challenges.