Leadership

Riet Velthuisen – Founder/Director

Riet Velthuisen is both the founder and director of the Continental Ballet Company. She is a native of Holland and has danced professionally with several European ballet companies, including the Dutch National Ballet. Riet studied classical ballet in Amsterdam, the Hague and Paris.

After working as ballet mistress in Memphis and Florida, she moved to the Twin Cities with her family. In 1987, she began teaching in Bloomington, and in 1988 formed the Continental Ballet Company.

Riet’s primary work is with the Company Dancers conducting all rehearsals and directing all productions. She passes on her European style which is evident in the dancers who have trained with her. On several occasions she has accompanied dancers to Holland to share her European heritage and training with them.

Riet has choreographed numerous ballets for the Company. These include Floret Silva, Proclamation, Classe de la Danse, Bonae Fortunae, Cinderella, and the Nutcracker. In addition, she has staged/choreographed Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Paquita, and Swan Lake.

Riet is also involved in community education by speaking in public schools for career days, physical fitness seminars, and arts education. Her love of classical ballet is evident in all her work; whether she is speaking, teaching, or choreographing.

 

Jenny Spooner – Assistant Director

Genevieve “Jenny” Spooner is the Assistant Director for Continental Ballet Company.   She works closely with the Director to administer the daily operations of the Company.  Jenny writes and researches grants, seeks out new sponsors, maintains relationships with current sponsors, writes press releases, and was integral in the development of the Bloomington Center for the Arts (completed in 2003) Jenny currently serves as Vice President for the Bloomington Fine Arts Council.  She regularly attends workshops on nonprofit management and grant writing, to refine her skills in this area.

Jenny also has a background in dance having studied and performed with the Andahazy Ballet Company where she was in major productions such as Giselle, Les Sylphides, Scheherazade, Los Seises, and Miraculous Stag.  She also participated in numerous lecture demonstrations and smaller performances.  After completing a pedagogy class taught by Lorand and Anna Andahazy, Jenny joined the teaching staff at Andahazy Ballet Company.  She later taught for Continental Ballet Company until 1999, then focused her time on administrative duties.

 

School Administration

Alicia Smith  

Along with being an integral part of the studio, student enrollment, and the box office, Alicia has taught levels Pre-Ballet, Ballet 1, Ballet 3, been an Assistant Teacher, and a substitute teacher, along with other roles.  

In her dance education and performance experience, Alicia earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Dance program at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri.  She trained primarily in ballet and modern, as well as studied musical theater, and several world dances. Alicia took part in the department’s many dance performances annually, in addition to choreographing.

Prior to her dance involvement and awards throughout high school (at Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Massachusetts), she trained at Ballet Arts Minnesota in ballet, pointe, and modern dance. Each year she performed in showcases like their annual City Children’s Nutcracker production.  Alicia has also performed with the Dance Theatre of Harlem in Donald Byrd’s Nutcracker, in Minneapolis.  

Some of Alicia’s other work experiences include working with students in Saint Paul Public Schools.  She’s been with CBC since 2011.

 

Estrella Reyes-Esteva

Estrella “Star” recently joined CBC in September 2019.

Her complete bio will be posted shortly!

 

Continental Ballet Company

Board of Directors

 

Riet Velthuisen

Mary Vasaly

Genevieve Spooner

Anne Burns

Kimberly Kirby

Heather Shafland

Amy Dennison

Lori Barnd

Beth Buteyn Van Hoever

Ashlie Keith