The California Conservatory of Dance – Adult Intensives

Melissa Allen Bowman

Melissa Allen Bowman currently serves as the Artistic Director of Summer Intensives for American Ballet Theatre. She is also an Artistic Advisor and Examiner to the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Ms. Bowman began her classical ballet training with Lois Ellyn, formerly of New York City Ballet, and went on to train with Stanley Holden and Margaret Graham Hills. At fifteen, she was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join the corps de ballet of American Ballet Theatre, where she danced for the next seven years. During that time, Ms. Bowman began her own ballet company, the Emerson Dance Theatre, which featured up-and-coming ABT dancers. Afterward, she joined the Bern Ballet in Switzerland and later took a company contract with Zurich Ballet under the direction of Uwe Scholz. Following Mr. Scholz when he left the company, Ms. Bowman was invited to join Leipzig Ballet, where she danced soloist and principal roles and was appointed Associate Director in 1996.

After retiring from the Leipzig Ballet, Ms. Bowman was appointed resident choreographer and associate director of the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet. Here, she choreographed pieces that were performed both at Regional Dance America and alongside the Pittsburgh Symphony. In 2004, with her husband Richard, she established Dance Conservatory and California Dance Theatre Youth Ballet and served as the artistic director for five years.

Richard Bowman
Assistant Director

Richard Bowman is a Certified Teacher in the ABT® National Training Curriculum, levels Primary through Level 3. A native of New Zealand, Mr. Bowman began his training at the West Auckland Ballet. He received a full scholarship to further his training at the Royal Ballet School in London, and later briefly toured with the company. During this time, he studied with notables such as: Murry Kilgour, Alexander Agazhanov, and Jiahong Wang. For the next decade, Mr. Bowman danced as both a soloist and principal with internationally acclaimed ballet companies, including the Vienna State Opera Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Leipzig Ballet, Australian Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. During that time, he danced leading roles, including the Gaoler in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon, the Hussar in Leonide Massine’s Le Beau Danube, and James in Erik Bruhn’s production of La Sylphide. Mr. Bowman also danced principal roles in Kenneth MacMillan’s Las Hermanas, Juri Kylian’s Stepping Stones, and Glen Tetley’s Voluntaries. In addition to serving as Ballet Master for the City Ballet of San Diego, Mr. Bowman has been a guest artist for Sacramento Ballet; the University of California, Irvine; New Ballet West; and City Ballet of San Diego. In 2004, with his wife Melissa, he established Dance Conservatory and California Dance Theatre Youth Ballet.


Maud Wachter
Principal Ballet Mistress

Maud Wachter is a Certified Teacher in the ABT® National Training Curriculum, levels Primary through Level 3. Ms. Wachter began her training with Dominque Kalfon in her native country of France. She received a full scholarship to further her training at Roland Petit’s National School of Marseille. At sixteen, she was offered a professional contract with the company and became a full company member with Roland Petit’s National Ballet of Marseille. Several years later, Ms. Wachter joined Leipzig Ballet as a soloist, dancing under the direction of Uwe Scholz for the next eleven years. Ms. Wachter holds a DE from Le Centre de la Danse de Paris/Opera de Paris—a school endorsed by the world-famous Paris Opera Ballet. After retiring from Leipzig Ballet, Ms. Wachter became ballet mistress and resident faculty member for Pittsburgh Youth Ballet for two years. From 2005 to 2009, she served as the Ballet Mistress of Dance Conservatory and California Dance Theatre Youth Ballet.

Amy Oates

Amy Oates is a Certified Teacher in the ABT® National Training Curriculum, levels Primary through Level 3. She is versed in all styles of dance including ballet, jazz, modern, tap, and musical theater and holds a BFA in dance from the University of Northern Iowa. After working as a member of Metro Dance Theater, Iowa, Ms. Oates settled in Orange County, where she has been teaching dance for the last decade. She is also a Body Arts and Science International (BASI) certified Pilates teacher.

Robin Mickle

Robin Mickle is a Certified Teacher in the ABT® National Training Curriculum, levels Primary through Level 3. Ms. Mickle trained at Contra Costa Ballet in Walnut Creek, California, where she was a member of a youth ballet ensemble that did continuous outreach performances throughout the community. She has also trained extensively with Oleg Tupine and Tania Rousseau of the Virginia Ballet Company and with Marcia Dale Weary of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Ms. Mickle has been featured in such productions as The NutcrackerSleeping BeautyA Midsummer Night’s DreamAnnie Get Your GunLil’ AbnerDeath Prayer, and Doomsday Inscription. For the past eleven years, she has been teaching ballet, musical theater, and creative dance throughout Orange County. She has also performed for eight years running in the Children’s Hospital of Orange County Follies and for the past five years at the Orange County Baron’s Ball for the American Cancer Society

Helen Clarke

Helen Clarke has been teaching ballet and tap throughout Orange County since 1964. Her promising dancers have gone on to dance professionally with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Met, and Houston Ballet.

Danielle Pigneri

Danielle Pigneri began her training at Hirschl School of Dance Arts and later taught the academy for the next ten years. While obtaining a BFA in dance from Chapman University, she had the honor of working with several distinguished teachers and choreographers, including Amy Bates-Nakamura, Tiffany Billings, Nancy Dickson-Lewis, Molly Lynch, Dale Merrill, and Larry Rosenberg. She was presented with the Outstanding Performance Award for her work in Tiffany Billings’ To High Hopes. Ms. Pigneri is also the assistant choreographer for the Crystal Cathedral’s annual Glory of Christmas.

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