Our Professional Resident Faculty
All WB faculty are background checked and held to professional standards.
EXECUTIVE Artistic Director
Ann (Renhard) Cole received her formative dance training with the Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the School of American Ballet on full scholarship before being invited to join the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company in Seattle, WA. Her superb training from master teachers, including international stars from The Ballets Russes, Joffrey Ballet, New York City Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Kirov (Mariinsky) and Bolshoi Ballets, helped her develop a strong technical foundation built on a diversity of dance styles. Ann enjoyed touring the U.S. and Canada as a company member with Pacific Northwest Ballet, where she performed a wide variety of ballets in both corps de ballet and soloist roles. She had the privilege of performing in Gala concerts with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Cynthia Harvey, and Gelsey Kirkland and appeared in the Hyperion Films production of “The Nutcracker,” for which children’s book author Maurice Sendak designed the sets and costumes. Ann feels fortunate to have also spent a year dancing with Lines Dance Company in San Francisco, under the direction of the brilliant choreographer, Alonzo King. After a back injury forced her to retire from performing, Ann earned her undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Texas at Austin while teaching at the University’s dance department, Ballet Austin academy, and Austin Dance Ensemble, where she contributed several pieces of choreography to the Ensemble’s semi-annual performances. Ann’s teaching approach draws also on her many years working with movement and sports medicine specialists to learn healthy alignment and injury-prevention techniques.
Associate Artistic Director
Master ballet teacher, award-winning choreographer, and dance entrepreneur, Sara Neal has founded and directed three successful businesses: Mid-Atlantic Ballet (MAB), Dance Delaware, and Green Ballerina Products. After retiring from a life as a professional ballet dancer, she founded MAB in 1997, and quickly developed it into a successful nonprofit training school and company for aspiring ballet dancers. She created a well-balanced curriculum and challenged her dancers with inspiring choreography, which included the full-length ballets The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and The Firebird. During her 10-year tenure at MAB, she oversaw many successful performances and collaborations, as well as a bountiful capital campaign to increase MAB’s studio space and regional prominence. She also founded a second nonprofit, Dance Delaware, to bring together the regional dance community under one umbrella, and to provide performance opportunities and scholarships to all area dancers. As an advocate for the Delaware arts community, Sara was proud to be appointed to many cultural nonprofit boards and committees. She was honored to direct the Delaware Dance Festival seven times, and be selected as an Established Choreography Fellow by the Delaware Division of the Arts. Her dance students have joined the ranks of many professional companies and university dance programs. Sara recently taught and choreographed for eight years on the advanced ballet dancers at Project Ballet, and currently teaches ballet at the HAC School of Dance. She will teach all levels of ballet at Wilmington Ballet.
Artist-in-Residence & Directors' assistant
Sophie Malin currently dances professionally with Sharp Dance Company and Alchemy Dance Company in Philadelphia, PA. She has attended summer intensives at Ballet X in Philadelphia, Northern Cincinnati Youth Ballet, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York and Joffrey School of Ballet. Ms. Malin was a recipient of scholarship to Instituto Colombiano de Ballet in Columbia and was invited to St. Petersburg, Russia to perform in the World Dance Open Festival 2011. She has a wide variety of classical ballets and modern pieces, and has been featured in Antonia Brown’s Little Bird, No Translations, and My Composed Life, danced in Diane Sharp’s Roller Coaster, Spoons, and Amy Harding’s I Am We. She will teach ballet and modern at Wilmington Ballet, and assist with performances.
Adult ballet & wardrobe master
Karen Hostler was born in Wilmington, Delaware and raised in Arden. She began taking ballet lessons at the age of five with Stella Hobson, a former member of the Ballet Russes. Karen took time off from her ballet instruction from the age of 11 until she was 31, at which time she began searching for an activity to do with her young daughter. Karen began taking lessons from Marc Levy, a former student of The Academy of the Dance, and studied with Marc for about 12 years, during which time she also began teaching for him. Since that time, Karen has taught at the Performing Arts, Paul Klocke Dance Centre, Anna Marie Dance Studio, Brandywine Y, and the Nina Robinson School of Dance. She has also attended classes in New York at the Broadway Dance Centre.She lives by the rule that there is always something to learn, even if it’s what not to do. Karen is continually trying to find a better way to teach, to explain and to break down the steps for her students. She feels it is important to connect with her students so they know what to feel and how to work for clean technique, and most of all, for the love of the dance.
Pre-professional division ballet master
Anya Ward studied at the Washington School of Ballet and the North Carolina School of the Arts. After summers at the School of American Ballet, Anya joined New York City Ballet before moving to Geneva, Switzerland to dance with the Geneva Ballet. Upon her return to the United States, she danced with Pennsylvania Ballet for four years. She co-founded The Ballet Studio in center city Philadelphia where she taught all levels of ballet for twelve years. After moving to Delaware, she was named Artistic Director the Russian Ballet Theatre of Delaware. Under the patronage of MBNA, Anya started a school for inner city children at the Baby Grand in Wilmington where over 1000 children enjoyed classes in music, dance, and theatre. Teaching is her first love and Anya is excited to be back in the studio.
jazz & musical theatre
Christopher Davis has appeared on Broadway in Guys and Dolls, Miss Saigon, Candide, The Life, Peter Pan, On the Town and A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden. His tours include Ziegfeld: A Night at the Follies, Guys and Dolls, Miss Saigon, The Wiz w/ Stephanie Mills and the Jimmy Buffett Tiki Time Tour. Mr. Davis has appeared in the films Jeffrey, Center Stage and Marci X. His television appearances include Rosie O’Donnell, Sex and the City, the TV Guide Awards, the NBA All-Star Weekend, VH-1 Vogue Fashion Awards with Macy Gray and as a Versace man on Saturday Night Live with Hallie Berry. He is a featured dancer in the FatBoy Slim music video, "Wonderful Night". Mr. Davis has worked with Alan Johnson, Anne Reinking, Chita Rivera, Susan Stroman, Jerry Mitchell, George Faison and countless other dance and theater luminaries. He’s taught master classes in musical theater and jazz technique across North America and has been a judge for various dance organizations and received the President’s Award from Dance Masters of America (the nation’s oldest dance teacher organization) for his continued work in the field of dance.
princess camp director & Ballet A
Beloved Preschool and Children's Division teacher, Deb began dancing at the age of 3 1/2 at the Anna Marie Dance Studio. In her teen years, she taught tap and jazz at the Claymont School of Dance. She has continued to teach since 1992 and began teaching pre-school dance in 2002. Miss Deb's goal is to inspire a love of dance in all students, regardless of their age. She teaches Ballet A at our studio and our Preschool Creative Movement enrichment class at Aldersgate Preschool.
Pre-professional Division ballet & contemporary
Linnea began her dance education with Linda Moores, former principal dancer of Group Motion. She continued her dance education with Sara Neal, Jody Anderson, and Patrick Korstange at Mid-Atlantic Ballet in Newark, Delaware. While at Mid-Atlantic Ballet she studied classical ballet, modern, jazz, and contemporary. She has had additional training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Ballet Austin, The Rock School for Dance Education, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, Secret Circus Philly, and was invited to dance with Pennsylvania Ballet’s II Company and BalletX in 2015. Linnea graduated as a Dance Major from The University of the Arts in 2016, with honors and an Artist’s Merit Award Scholarship.
Kate Forehand is thrilled to be working with the Wilmington Ballet. She has been dancing since she was 3 years old, training in ballet and jazz. In her teenage years she found her passion in musical theatre and has been performing and choreographing shows ever since. She is so happy to keep that passion alive and bring it to other dancers here at Wilmington Ballet.
Ethan hunter raysor
Ethan Hunter Raysor, born and raised in Delaware, started dancing at the age of 14 and fell in love with ballet while going to Cab Calloway School of the Arts. After studying instrumental music, he decided quickly that he wanted to pursue ballet. He began his training with James Zynda and later enrolled at Delaware Dance Company, where he studied ballet, jazz and modern dance. Ethan’s roles at DDC included the Prince in Cinderella and Arabian and Snow King in The Nutcracker. After attending summer programs at Boston Ballet School and Charlotte Ballet School, Ethan graduated from Cab Calloway and signed his first professional contract with FSBT in 2012. His roles at FSBT include Spanish in Swan Lake, Russian in The Nutcracker, Melody, and the Scarf Pas de Deux from Viktor Plotnikov’s Everlasting Arms. Ethan is also a landscape designer and he teaches ballet and jazz at local dance studios from Media to Dover, and has completed United States International Society of Teachers of Dance medals in American Ballroom and Rhythm styles.