Gillian Murphy 
​Raised in Florence, South Carolina, Gillian Murphy was a member of Columbia City Ballet before attending high school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Under the tutelage of Melissa Hayden, she danced principal roles in several of the school’s ballet productions including The Nutcracker and George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Western Symphony, Tarantella and Theme and Variations.

In 1995, at the age of 15, Murphy was awarded the Prix de Lausanne Espoir after performing in the final round of the Prix de Lausanne international ballet competition at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. In 1996, she was a National YoungArts Foundation Winner in Dance. In 1998, she was honored with a Princess Grace Foundation-USA grant. The Princess Grace Foundation awarded her its highest honor, the Statue Award, in 2009.  In May 2014, Murphy was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from her alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Soon thereafter, the Gillian Murphy Scholarship was established at UNCSA, to fund a full-tuition scholarship each year, in perpetuity.

Murphy has appeared as a guest artist in Australia, Japan, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Canada and throughout the United States.  She made her debut with the Mariinsky Ballet in March 2008, dancing Odette-Odile in Swan Lake.  Other guest appearances include the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Mariinsky Ballet, the world premiere of a new production of The Nutcracker, directed and choreographed by Ethan Stiefel for the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Nikiya in La Bayadère with The Australian Ballet in November 2014.  Other international guest appearances include dancing with the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Staatsballett Berlin, the Kiev Ballet, and three years as Principal Guest Artist at the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Murphy joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in August 1996, was promoted to Soloist in 1999 and Principal Dancer in 2002.  Her repertoire with the Company includes Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadère, the Ballerina in The Bright Stream, Cinderella in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, Cinderella in James Kudelka’s Cinderella, Swanilda in Coppélia, Medora and Gulnare in Le Corsaire, Kitri in Don Quixote, Titania in The Dream, the Accused in Fall River Legend, the second girl in Fancy Free, Lise in La Fille mal gardée, the pas de deux Flames of Paris, Grand Pas Classique, Giselle and Myrta in Giselle, the Queen of Hearts in Jeu de Cartes, Known by Heart pas de deux, Manon in Lady of the Camellias, Lescaut’s Mistress in Manon, the Sugar Plum Fairy in Kevin McKenzie’s The Nutcracker, Desdemona in Othello, Other Dances, Hagar in Pillar of Fire, Raymonda in Raymonda, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Romeo’s Farewell to Juliet), Princess Aurora in Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Sylvia in Sylvia, the first and third movements in Symphony in C, the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, the ballerina in Theme and Variations, Princess Tea Flower in Whipped Cream and leading roles in Allegro Brillante, Bach Partita, Ballet Imperial, Ballo della Regina, Baroque Game, Birthday Offering, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Clear, Désir, Diversion of Angels, Duets, Études, From Here On Out, Meadow, Les Patineurs, Piano Concerto #1, Push Comes to Shove, Raymonda Divertissements, Les Sylphides, Symphonie Concertante and Without Words.  Murphy has also performed featured roles in Black Tuesday, Company B, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, The Elements, Gong, In the Upper Room, Overgrown Path, Pretty Good Year and Sinfonietta.

She created Pierrette in Alexei Ratmansky’s Harlequinade, Clara, the Princess in Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, leading roles in Her Notes, Kaleidoscope, Rabbit and Rogue and Thirteen Diversions, and featured roles in After You, Glow – Stop, One of Three, Praedicere and Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison.

Murphy danced Odette-Odile in the ABT telecast of Swan Lake and also appeared in the ABT telecast of Le Corsaire.  Other television credits include the Washington Opera’s Die Fledermaus and, in November 2010, an appearance on the series Gossip Girl.  During November 1999, she also participated in the Melissa Hayden Project, part of the Balanchine Foundation’s video series filming dancers, who worked with George Balanchine, teaching their roles to young performers.  The Foundation filmed Hayden teaching Murphy the pas de deux from Stars and Stripesand Donizetti Variations.  Murphy was seen in the feature film Center Stageand also appeared in the sequel, Center Stage 2: Turn It Up. In 2013, she starred as Giselle in the the New Zealand Film Commission’s movie of Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg’s production of Giselle at the Royal New Zealand Ballet. In 2015, Murphy was featured in the Ric Burns American Mastersdocumentary entitled American Ballet Theatre: A History.

For three summers, Murphy directed Dreamcatchers, a training program in Martha’s Vineyard for dancers aged 12 to 14, and she has taught master classes in Japan and throughout the United States. In 2018, Murphy graduated summa cum laude from St. Mary’s College of California with a Bachelor of Arts, and she completed the Harvard Business School’s “Crossover into Business” program. Murphy is married to former ABT Principal Dancer Ethan Stiefel.

Ms. Murphy’s performances with American Ballet Theatre are sponsored by Mary Jo and Ted Shen.

Master Class Series 2018-19 

Anna Licieca

Principal Guest Artist - former American Ballet Theatre Soloist and New York City Ballet dancer
Born in Bucharest, Romania, she studied at the National Ballet School during which time she received the first place in Romania's National Ballet Competition. She went on to study at the School of American Ballet in New York where she won the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise. She was invited to join the New York City Ballet where she performed in most of the company's Balanchine repertory from 1992 until 1996, including NYCB's 'The Nutcracker' movie.

She joined the American Ballet Theatre in 1996 and has performed with the company in all the great classics throughout the world during which time she was also awarded the Diagilev Award and the Silver Medal at the third Rudolf Nureyev International Ballet Competition as well as The Viewers' Choice Award at the Maya Plisetskaya International Ballet Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia. Anna was promoted to soloist with the American Ballet Theater in year 2000. Since then, she gave numerous performances throughout the United States, Germany, Austria, Romania, Hungary, Japan, China, Korea, Spain, Brazil, Russia, France, Mexico, with the American Ballet Theater, and as a Guest Artist with other companies abroad. Her repertory includes all great classics such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Don Quixote, Bayadere, Raymonda, Coppelia, Cinderella, as well as many contemporary master works. 

She is a judge and master teacher for Youth America Grand Prix and also a principal guest artist with Deutsche Oper in Berlin where she has performed in La Gioconda and Onegin, among others.

Throughout the years she has produced, directed and staged a series of performances called 'Classical Moves - Evening of Dance with members of ABT and friends' that include legendary classical works as well as new choreography by American Ballet Theatre members.

Anna has been a repeated and loved Master Class teacher at Skye Ballet Center!

Anna Licieca, YAGP Judge, American Ballet Theater Soloist, New York City Ballet Dancer 

Simon Ball, CPYB, Boston Ballet and Houston Ballet Principal Dancer 

Kristi Capps, Kansas City Ballet Ballet Mistress, Principal Dancer Cincinnatti Ballet 

Garielle Whittle, Balanchine Trust Reptiteur, New York City Ballet Dancer 

Rolando Yanes, Director Milwaukee Ballet School, Principal Dancer Milwaukee Ballet 

Michelle Wiles, Principal dancer American ballet Theater, Director Ballet Next

Charles Askergard, Principal Dancer New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Ballet Master Pennsylvania Ballet 

Septime Webre, Director Washington Ballet, American Repertory Ballet

Deanna Seay, Principal Dancer Miami City, Boston Ballet Faculty                                                                                             Sona Kharatian, Principal  Dancer Washington Ballet                                                                                                                     Jon Jordan , Principal Dancer Washington Ballet                                                                                                                           Melanie Riffee, Suzanne Farrell Ballet                                                                                                                                                   Julie Marie Niekrasz, Principal Dancer Ballet Memphis                                                                                                                    Lara O'Brien, Principal Dancer, Carolina Ballet                                                                                                                                 Tim Lynch, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Met Academy Director                                                                                               Claire Rathburn, YAGP Gold medalist, Washington Ballet Studio Company                                                                                   Jane Wood, Principal Dancer and Ballet Mistress Ballet West                                                                                                               Arantxa Ochoa, Principal Dancer and School Director Pennsylvania Ballet, Director Miami City Ballet School                            Jerri Kumery, Dancer New York City Ballet  , Associate Director Richmond Ballet                                                                          Gavin Larsen, Soloist Pacific Northwest Ballet, Principal Dancer and Ballet Mistress Oregon Ballet Theater                             Deanna McBrearty, Soloist New York City Ballet                                                                                                                                   Amy Brandt, Dancer Milwaukee Ballet and Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Editor of Pointe Magazine                                                    Anna Liceica, Dancer New York City Ballet, Soloist American Ballet Theater, YAGP Judge                                                         Valerie Madonia, Dancer American Ballet Theater ,Principal Dancer Joffrey Ballet, Colorado Ballet Academy Director   Rhodie Jorgensen, Dancer American Ballet Theater, Faculty Maryland Youth Ballet, Kennedy Center Childrens Mistress               Nicholas Ade, Dancer Pacific Northwest Ballet , Executive Director Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet                                 Jennifer Kronenberg, Principal Dancer Miami City Ballet 

Deanna Seay and Misha Nikitine                                                                                                                       Friday April 5th                                                                                                         3:30-5:30 Technique Class

​5:30-6:30 Variations Class 

Ages 12-20 

Deanna Seay grew up in Fork Union, Virginia, and received early ballet training at the School of the Richmond Ballet as well as with Louisa Naughton at the Ballet Center in Charlottesville, VA. She went on to dance for twenty one years with the Miami City Ballet after graduating as a student of Melissa Hayden from the (University of) North Carolina School of the Arts in 1989. As a scholarship student at (U)NCSA, she won a Level 3 award from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts before joining Miami City Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in August 1989. Named a Principal Dancer in 1998, she was featured extensively throughout the repertoire. In 1999 she was chosen to work with Maria Tallchief for the Balanchine Foundation Interpreter’s Archive. Dedicated to preserving Balanchine’s key roles as interpreted by their originators, the Balanchine Foundation filmed Ms. Seay being coached by Ms. Tallchief in the principal female role of Allegro Brillante.

While dancing, Ms. Seay also served as a member of the Miami City Ballet School faculty for both summer and winter terms. She has been a full-time faculty member at the Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, NC and the Boston Ballet School. She returned to Central Virginia with her husband and two young sons in 2016 and is on the faculty at the School of the Richmond Ballet. She also teaches at Charlottesville Ballet and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Misha Nikitine trained at the Perm Choreographic Academy in Perm, Russia, and also with Truman Finney at the School of the Hartford Ballet. He began his performing career at the Stanislavsky Theater in Moscow, and went on to dance as a Principal Dancer with Hartford Ballet, Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet, Miami City Ballet and Carolina Ballet. He has performed leading roles in a diverse spectrum of works, ranging from Balanchine classics such as Allegro Brillante, Jewels, Prodigal Son and Apollo, to classical full-lengths (Giselle, Coppelia, Swan Lake), to original roles in works by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Damien Woetzel and Christopher Wheeldon. He has also choreographed several contemporary works, and in 2009 co-founded Seanik Arts, a contemporary performance ensemble.

It is our honor to offer Master Classes throughout our school year for our Intermediate, Advanced  , Pre professional and Professional Division Dancers. Mr. and Mrs. Schissler bring their vast connections of Master teachers, dancers, directors who are relevant to today's dance world.

If you are interested in participating, please email us at

Gilllian Murphy                                                             American Ballet Theater Principal Dancer  

                                                                                  Saturday  March 23rd                                                    11:30-1:00 Technique class ages 12-20

1:00-2:30   Variations Class

Past Master Class Teachers:

*Please stay tuned for more Master Classes of the 2019-20  Season

Anna Liceica                                                              Soloist American Ballet Theater                                        Dancer with New York City Ballet                                  YAGP Judge                                                        Saturday May 5th                                                 10:30-11:30pm Technique   ages 9-11                                             11:30-1:30 Technique ages 12-20 

Skye Ballet Center LLC