About Our School
Founded in 2005, the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet is a training school for students interested in pursuing a career in classical ballet and for all students who value excellent training and artistic education. The Academy’s creative and positive approach to teaching provides every student, from child to adult, with high-quality, inspirational classes. Advanced ballet students take daily lessons and perform as a part of MABETA: A non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing local culture through dance with community partnerships, including the Wistariahurst Museum, the Victory Theater, the South Hadley and Holyoke Public Libraries, and Providence Ministries.
The Academy’s students have won medals and scholarships at the Youth American Grand Prix and the Connecticut Classic Ballet Competitions. They have danced professionally with companies including Festival Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the Mark Morris Dance Group.
About The Directors
Rose and Charles Flachs
Rose and Charles Flachs, Professor’s Emeriti of Dance at Mount Holyoke College, have danced professionally with the Nashville Ballet, Ballet West, and the Cincinnati Ballet. They currently are Associate Professors of Dance at Mount Holyoke College and guest teachers with the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet. They have studied the Vaganova method of training with John White, author of Teaching Classical Ballet and Margarita de Saà, and have traveled to the National Ballet School in Havana, Cuba, to further their studies. The Flachs’ have danced the lead roles in such classical ballets as Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Coppelia, and Cinderella. In addition, they performed the works of choreographers George Balanchine, Choo San Goh, Peter Anastos, Paul Taylor, Jose Limón, John Butler, Michael Smuin, and Val Caniparoli.
They have been guest artists and teachers at Jacob’s Pillow, Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, Columbia College, University of Georgia, University of Wisconsin, and the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music. They have also taught for the Southeast Regional Ballet Festival, the American College Dance Festival, and have choreographed and staged over 50 ballets for university dance departments and regional ballet companies.
Charles has produced and released three musical CD’s for the classical ballet lesson, First Class, Open Class and Master Class, and Rose has written articles for Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit Magazines. The Flachs are founding members of the Council of Organized Researchers of the Pedagogical Studies of Ballet, CORPS de Ballet International Inc. An organization dedicated to the development, exploration, and advancement of ballet in higher education. They are the recipients of three Outstanding Service Awards from the CORPS de Ballet, a Choreographic Fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council, and an Individual Artist Award from the state of Tennessee. They are also the proud parents of Connie and Nathaniel Flachs.
About The Faculty
Debra Vega is thrilled to be a part of the faculty at Massachusetts Academy of Ballet (MAB) again this season, and loves working with Rose & Charles!
Debra started dancing at age 4 and basically never stopped. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Performance/Theater, traveled the world as a musical theater professional, and lived in NYC for 10 years dancing on Broadway and as a Radio City Rockette. Debra has also taught dance throughout her performing career and beyond, now over 30 years. In addition to MAB, she currently teaches at the prestigious CLI Conservatory Pre-Professional Program, as well as starting her own Broadway training program called Broadway Brings Joy (also home-based at MAB) that includes programming for both Youth and Adults. Debra is always trying to figure out ways to include her singing/dancing son, Odin, in her creative endeavors, so she strives to choreograph local musicals that can also involve him. Including professional productions, schools and community theater, Debra has choreographed nearly 30 musical productions to date!
In addition to dance, Debra is the Co-Director of Vega Yoga Mobile with her husband Aaron, bringing yoga to businesses, community organizations, non-profits, or to you virtually via zoom www.vegayoga.com. She also serves on several local boards, including Girls Inc. of the Valley (vice-chair) and The Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice. Giving back to her community is very important to her. You can follow Debra online @debradvega or @vegayoga_mobile.
Audrey West is from Hadley, Massachusetts. She received her training at the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet summer intensives in Connecticut and New York. She was a member of MABETA, the Academy’s performing group appearing at the Worcester County Dance Festival, the Wistariahurst Museum, MAB’s Winter and Spring Ballets, and the Dance to Stop Hunger. She has performed in choreography by Charles Flachs, Rose Flachs, and Debra Vega, in addition to performing in excerpts from Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Walpurgisnacht. Her roles in the Academy’s Nutcracker include the Waltz of the Flowers, the snow scene, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. She graduated from the Hopkins Academy and the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet. Now on the faculty at MAB, Audrey teaches levels one, two, and four.
In 2008, the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet Educational Training Association (MABETA) was launched. The mission of this not-for-profit initiative is to educate residents of Holyoke and the surrounding communities about the art of classical ballet; to perform ballet at schools, senior centers and other community venues; to offer scholarships for the underprivileged and/or under-funded students interested in studying classical ballet. MABETA has formed many collaborative partnerships with community institutions including the Wistariahurst Museum, the Holyoke Children’s Museum, the South Hadley Public Library, Westfield Arts on the Green, Girls Inc. and the Holyoke Public Library. We gratefully accept donations for any amount to support our programs