Gay Porter

Directing the Charlotte Youth Ballet for 33 years, Gay Porter has dedicated her life to dance. Mrs. Porter was trained at the Arts Educational School in London, England and began her professional career at Stratford-on-Avon in a musical version of Wind in the Willows. As a member of the British Equity, her career took her to the British Isles and London’s West End for the original productions of The King and I and Kismet. She also danced in Spain with Festival Ballet, the Ballet de M. Grandjear and in Germany. Mrs. Porter’s vast dance career included film and television, and she swam and danced in the Esther Williams Spectacular in London.

After coming to the United States, Mrs. Porter danced with the Southern California Ballet. She then moved to Charlotte and danced for six seasons as a resident member of the Charlotte Summer Theater, performing in a different musical every week at Ovens Auditorium. Mrs. Porter has directed works with the Charlotte Regional Ballet, the Central Piedmont Community College and the Charlottetown Players. Her credits include The Hollow Crown, The Glass Menagerie, l’Enfant Prodigue and Trial by Jury. Mrs. Porter has choreographed many Charlotte Opera productions, the Lollipop Concerts with the Charlotte Symphony, and over thirty ballets for Youth and Regional Ballets. She founded the ballet department at Central Piedmont Community College where she taught for thirteen years.

As Artistic Director of the CYB, Mrs. Porter has created and/or produced over 30 Nutcrackers and numerous storybook ballets. In addition to her non-profit work, Mrs. Porter continues to operate and teach at her highly reputed school, the Charlotte School of Ballet. She has prepared many dancers for professional or pre-professional careers; and she has been a role model and mentor for hundreds of others. In 1994, Mrs. Porter received the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts Teacher of the Year Award.

Bridget Porter Young

Since she danced as a child with Baryshnikov and the NYC Ballet and performed at the White House for President Carter, Bridget has made dance and performance a priority.

She has danced with the Louisville Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater and Ocala Ballet and made many guest performances. She has toured the US performing industrial shows and summer stock roles. As an actor, Bridget appeared on All My Children and Guiding Light. As a choreographer, she has worked on many musicals and ballets including South Pacific, The King and I, and Big River. She also choreographed and directed the Nutcracker for Pueblo Ballet in Colorado and South Dakota. Her short ballet works have been selected and performed at the North Carolina School of the Arts Festival of Dance in Winston Salem sixteen times.  Bridget holds the Teaching Certificate of the Royal Academy of Dance, London, England. She is a licentiate of the Cecchetti Council of America and is also current President of their Southeast Committee. She is an affiliate of the American Academy of Ballet, and is certified in the ABT National Training Curriculum for levels pre primary through grade three.  Bridget currently teaches dance at her school The Belmont School of Ballet in Belmont, NC.

Rachel Palpant

Rachel, a Florida native, has devoted her life to the art of ballet. She received early ballet training at the Jeanne Benson-Smith Dance Academy in Ocala. She has also studied with Sasha Bondarenko of the Bolshoi Ballet, Gladissa Guatalupe of Cleveland School of Ballet and Yvonne Salcedo Williams of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Her performance repertoire includes, but is not limited to, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and Carmina Burana. In 2004, Rachel became an instructor for the prestigious Otto M. Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet and Ballet Theatre Midwest. A year later, in 2005, she founded the Vineyard Christian Church Dance Program, offering classes to underprivileged children and teens. Rachel served as Ballet Mistress for the Miller Street Dance Academy from 2007-2010. It was during that time that she founded the Miller Street Ballet Company, working as Artistic Director and Choreographer for the The Nutcracker production. In 2010, Rachel was honored to receive training in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus and became a certified Cecchetti Council of America teacher. She received this training while working under Gay Porter of Charlotte School of Ballet and Bridget Porter Young of Belmont School of Ballet. Since 2010, Rachel has also enjoyed being involved with the Charlotte Youth Ballet.  She has danced numerous roles with the company and loves helping with costumes.  With over 24 years of experience as a ballet instructor, Rachel has become known for her compassion and dedication as a teacher, consistently bringing out the extraordinarily graceful style that each of her students possess.