The 2023 National Audition Tour is here! We are excited to travel throughout the U.S. and Canada to audition students interested in attending our 2023 Summer Intensive.

There are so many ways to prepare for an audition: making sure you have the appropriate footwear and attire, resting well, fueling your body properly, practicing and even conducting research! This includes finding our who you may meet at the audition.

At Charlotte Ballet, we have a multitude of distinguished faculty who not only teach year-round at our Academy, but play a major role in auditioning students for our Summer Intensives. So who can you expect to meet at your audition? Meet our faculty that’s headed on tour in the new year below!


Ayisha McMillan Cravotta is the Director of Charlotte Ballet Academy. Hailing from Illinois, Cravotta’s dance career began at an early age at the Momenta Dance Company, where she trained in ballet and early American modern dance with Stephanie Clemens. On scholarship from Homer Hans Bryant, founding principal dancer at Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ayisha studied at the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center. She also trained at Maria Tallchief’s School of Chicago City Ballet, and under Bolshoi Ballet Director Asaf Messerer and Mikhail Messerer at their Soviet American Ballet School.

At the age of 15, Ayisha left home to study on full scholarship at the Houston Ballet Academy. Ayisha joined Houston Ballet, under Director Ben Stevenson, in 1996. With Houston Ballet, she toured and performed in London, Hong Kong, Toronto, and at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., performing ballets by Stevenson, George Balanchine, Glen Tetley, Trey McIntyre and Lila York.

Ayisha spent five seasons with Charlotte Ballet and was the first African American woman to play a principal role in the company’s Nutcracker. Her time at Charlotte Ballet also included a memorable role as Tinker Bell in Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s Peter Pan, as well as being featured in Alvin Ailey’s The River and in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

After retiring as a professional dancer in 2007, Ayisha joined Charlotte Ballet’s marketing department. In 2011, at the invitation of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, she became principal of the Charlotte Ballet Academy. Ayisha‘s teaching experience includes working as a dance instructor and mentor at La Salle Street CYCLE WIZ Factory of Learning and Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center. She was also a resident artist for the Arts in Medicine Program at Texas Children’s Hospital where she conceptualized, developed and led movement and music-based workshops to creatively engage pediatric cancer outpatients. In 2005, Ayisha was honored for her career achievements with an appointment as a Grand Marshal in the Chicago Defender’s 76th Annual Bud Billiken Parade. Several national dignitaries, as well as over one million Chicagoans, were in attendance. In 2007, Ayisha was inducted into the prestigious HistoryMakers national archive in recognition for her accomplishments as an African American in the Arts. A National Achievement Scholarship Finalist, Ayisha studied at Rice University and most recently at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


Kati Hanlon Mayo is Charlotte Ballet’s Academy Associate Director of the Upper School. She trained at The Boston School of Ballet under the direction of E. Virginia William. At the age of 15, she became a member of Boston Ballet 2 and performed regularly with the main company. In 1992, Kati was invited by Salvatore Aiello to join North Carolina Dance Theatre (now Charlotte Ballet) as a principal dancer. That same summer, she also became a member of The Chautauqua Ballet Company under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. In 2000 and 2004, Kati was named Best Performing Artist by Charlotte Magazine. The New York Times reviewed that she “ruled the stage with benign classical authority” and Dance Magazine heralded her as a “performer of stunning versatility and dramatic power.”

Kati began teaching at the Charlotte Ballet Academy upon its inception in 1993. Many of her students have gone on to professional careers with ballet companies throughout the world. She has been a guest teacher for The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The Chautauqua Institution, Regional Dance America and she’s a repetiteur for the Salvatore Aiello Trust. Kati is a certified instructor of Dance for Parkinson’s Disease through The Mark Morris Dance Group and she’s a certified instructor for Progressing Ballet Technique.


Laszlo Berdo is the Academy Associate Director of the Pre-Professional Trainee Division. He was born in Grand Rapids, MI, where he began dancing at the age of five and later intensified his studies at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, IL.

Upon graduation, he first joined Ballet Austin and then the Louisville Ballet. Throughout his career, Laszlo has worked as a corps de ballet member, soloist and principal dancer at Boston Ballet. As a principal, he danced numerous roles by Cranko, McMillan, Balanchine, Bournonville, Hynd Stevenson, Tharp, Taylor, Feld, Butler and York. Laszlo was also the first to perform the lead role in Cranko’s Euene Onegin in the US.

Laszlo’s choreography career began in 1993. His works span from the pas de deux Eternal Being to Four Hands, Below Down Under, Sanctuary, Bass Elements, Concentrate, Snow White, Peter Pan, a restaged Swan Lake, Carnival and The Nutcracker. Laszlo has worked internationally with companies such as Boston Ballet, Shubert Theatre, Finnish National Ballet, Boston Conservatory and Harvard University, Eglevsky Ballet and more.


Johanna Butow is the Academy Associate Director of the Lower School. She is an alumna of the Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre (ABT).

While dancing in the Joffrey and ABT, she performed many leading and Corp de Ballet roles in classical and contemporary ballets.

Johanna is certified in American Ballet’s National Training Curriculum from Pre-Primary through Partnering.  She serves on the Board of Examiners for ABT’s National Training Curriculum.  She has been on the faculty of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York City, the New York, California and Tampa Summer Intensives, as well as the Young Dancer Intensives for ABT.

Johanna teaches Charlotte Ballet’s main company and many levels of Charlotte Ballet Academy. She also oversees all of Charlotte Ballet’s children’s productions.


Ben Kubie is a Charlotte Ballet Academy Instructor and a former principal dancer with North Carolina Dance Theatre (now Charlotte Ballet). Ben trained on full scholarship at the Joffrey School of Ballet in New York City and The David Howard Dance Center. His professional dancing career spanned over fifteen years where he danced leading roles by George Balanchine, Choo Sah-Goh, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, William Forsythe, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride, John Clifford, Kirk Peterson, Graham Lustig, Jean Grand-Maitre, Sal Aiello, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Donlin Foreman, Mark Diamond, Alonzo King and many others.

In 2004, he retired from the professional stage as a principal dancer with the Charlotte Ballet and was featured in Dance Magazine’s September edition that year for professional dancers in career transition. Ben is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Ben is a full-time dance teacher and private coach in both North and South Carolina and a frequent guest teacher for the Charlotte Ballet.


Alissa is a Charlotte Ballet Academy faculty member. A native of metro Detroit, Alissa received her early ballet training from Rose Marie Floyd and continued her classical studies at the schools of the Cleveland Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and the New School of the Arts in Amsterdam.

Alissa performed with the Detroit Contemporary Civic Ballet for four years performing soloist roles in the Nutcracker, Giselle, Coppelia, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Swan Lake. After moving to Chicago in 2000, she joined the Chicago Ballet under the direction of Paul Abrahamson and was an original member of Elements Contemporary Ballet under the direction of Michael Gosney. While in Chicago she performed original works by choreographers Randy Duncan, Susan Quinn, Paul Abrahamson and Christina Ernst.

In 1997, Alissa earned her BFA in Dance (Ballet Performance emphasis) at the University of Arizona, graduating summa cum laude. She is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. In 2015, Alissa completed her Advanced Professional teaching examination in the Cecchetti Method with honors and was awarded the Jane Carol Miller teacher’s scholarship.

She has been teaching ballet for over 24 years for ballet studios in metro Detroit, Chicago, and Charlotte. Many of her students have gone on to perform with professional companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, and even Cirque de Soleil. Alissa is also an accredited Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher, a licensed Master Teacher for the GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® Methods and a Pilates for dancers specialist. She is thrilled to continue to share her love for Ballet, Pilates, and movement with the students of the Charlotte Ballet Academy.


Sophie Folts is a Charlotte Ballet Academy Instructor and a former Pre-Professional Trainee with Charlotte Ballet. She started her dance education at Charlotte Ballet and pursued musical theatre at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. There she took musical theater classes, performed in a number of plays and musicals, and joined their Performance Company her freshman year of high school. She also studied ballet with Melissa Hale Coyle while doing community theatre.

Sophie trained in Charlotte Ballet’s Pre-Professional Division under teachers Patricia McBride, Mark Diamond, Kathryn Moriarty, Kati Hanlon Mayo, Jeanene Russell Perry, and Sarkis Kaltakhtchian. She trained for four years on full scholarship at Gelsey Kirkland Academy’s year-round training program in New York City. Sophie’s training at GKA was under teachers Gelsey Kirkland, Lybov Fominich, Vera Soloveyva, Liudmila Polonskya and Alexandra Lawler. She performed in Gelsey Kirkland Ballet’s full-length classical ballets, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, La Bayadere, and Le Corsaire as well as GKB’s performance excerpts from Giselle, and August Bournenville’s Enchainements.

Sophie joined the faculty at Miller Street Dance Academy in 2015. In 2016 Sophie attended ABT’s National Teacher Training program for levels Pre-Primary to level 3. Charlotte Ballet Academy celebrates Sophie’s return to the organization as a faculty member.

We are so grateful for ALL our faculty at Charlotte Ballet, but are excited for these members to travel on our 2023 National Audition Tour.

Now that you’ve done your research and who you may meet at your audition, it’s time to register! Click here to register for an audition near you. We’ll see you on tour!