Our Growing List of Guests

Meet our Guests, Make New Friends,

Share Your Dreams

Ballet Journeys provides learning and inspiration through conversation, interviews, and physical workshops from some of the world’s leading ballet voices. It is a place to refresh ideas, renew your body, and synthesize future possibilities.  

Catrina Choate-Heretoiu


Gavin Larsen

Writer, teacher, and former professional ballet dancer.

Author, "Being A Ballerina"

Dena Abergel

PhotoCredit: Blaine Truitt Covert

About Ms. Gavin Larsen

Gavin Larsen is a writer, teacher, and former professional ballet dancer.

Born and raised in New York City, Gavin received her professional dance training at the School of American Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the New York School of Ballet.


Over the course of her 18-year professional career, she was a member of Pacific Northwest Ballet, Alberta Ballet, the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and Oregon Ballet Theatre, dancing prominent roles in ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Anthony Tudor, James Kudelka, Christopher Wheeldon and Paul Taylor, as well as the major classical works and numerous original contemporary pieces.

From the Book

We all deserve to feel our spirits expanding past the boundaries of our skin, to be powerful without needing to hold power over anyone else.

Dancing takes the most beautiful, extraordinary, and universal instrument - the human body - to its fullest, highest, most complete capacity.

Physical body, intellectual mind, emotional spirit, interpretive artistry all unite in even the simplest classroom exercise.

“Everyone should dance.

Everyone should let their soul sing.”

Gavin's Special Guest

Dena Abergel

NYCB Children's Repertory Director

SAB Ballet Faculty

Dena Abergel

About Ms. Dena Abergel

Dena Abergel began taking ballet classes at the age of six with Dorit Koppel at Progressive Dance Studio in Englewood, New Jersey. When she was twelve, she enrolled as a full-time student at the School of American Ballet, where she continued her training until she joined New York City Ballet at the age of eighteen.

Ms. Abergel pursued college studies while a member of New York City Ballet and graduated summa cum laude in 2001 with a B.A. in English from Fordham University.


During her eighteen years as a member of New York City Ballet, Ms. Abergel performed in numerous works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She originated roles in Robbins’s West Side Story Suite; in Peter Martins’s Chichester Psalms, Harmonielehre, Symphonic Dances, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Romeo+Juliet; and in Christopher Wheeldon’s Carnival of the Animals, Variations Serieuses, and An American in Paris.

Ms. Abergel performed featured and soloist roles in a number of works by George Balanchine, including The Nutcracker®, Firebird, Coppélia, Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet.


Upon retiring from performing in 2009, Ms. Abergel joined SAB’s faculty and became NYCB’s Assistant Children’s Repertory Directory. She was named Children’s Repertory Director at New York City Ballet in the fall of 2012.


Virtual Nutcracker Workshops

Belvoir Ballet Summer 2022

Gavin's Special Guest

Cherilyn J. Lee

Editor-In-Chief & Founder

The Ballet Herald

Cherilyn   Lee

About Cherilyn J. Lee

A former Dancer with Hartford Ballet and Carolina Ballet, Cherilyn's lifelong passion for ballet has opened the door to the next chapter of her journey. Her strong foundation includes training at the School of American Ballet, being a featured dancer with Hartford Ballet and Carolina Ballet, and being co-director/owner of City Ballet Raleigh. She was granted the Affiliate Teacher Award after successfully completing the ABT National Training Curriculum®.

After her performing career, Cherilyn graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in Spanish Language & Literature and a minor in Business Administration.


A professional career in the industry along with extensive global travel provide her with a unique set of experiences to draw upon as an audience member. Cherilyn is excited to be sharing her insight about ballet around the world.

Gavin's Special Guest

Priyana Acharya

Company Artist

Oregon Ballet Theater

Steven Houser

About Priyana Acharya

Born in Illinois, Priyana Acharya began her training at her hometown studio and continued training at the Joffrey Academy in 2016. For the 2018-2019 season, Acharya joined the Joffrey Ballet as a Trainee and performed in world premiere works by Edgar Zendejas, Tommie-Waheed Evans, as well as a work by Lar Lubovitch.

She has attended summer programs with The Royal Ballet School, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, and Joffrey Academy of Dance, among others. After joining Kansas City Ballet’s Second Company from 2019-2021, she performed numerous roles in Devon Carney’s The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.

Current Career

Most recently, Acharya was invited to be a part of the 2021 Onsite Contemporary Ballet Performance Ensemble at Jacob’s Pillow. She performed in works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Amy Seiwert.

She joined Oregon Ballet Theatre as a Company Artist for the 2021-22 season and has most recently performed in The Four Temperaments by George Balanchine, as well as Jennifer Archibald’s Sculpted Clouds.

Gavin's Special Guest

Jasmine Parente


The HARID Conservatory

Dena Abergel

About Jasmine Parente

I grew up and received most of my dance training in the mountains of Asheville NC, and just recently transitioned to HARID. I enjoy performing and emphasizing artistry when I dance and working with the music to create authentic expression has been my newest ballet goal. 

Gavin's Special Guest

Josh Spell

Mental Health Therapist & Social Worker

Former PNB Company Dancer

Cherilyn   Lee

About Josh Spell

My wish is to provide a warm and welcoming space that allows clients to be vulnerable and take emotional risks in the service of self-discovery and healing. At times, we may lose our ability to trust our intuition. We may feel like imposters in our relationships, jobs or within ourselves.


Flexible Mind Counseling provides a bridge back to understanding your authentic needs.

We will develop an understanding of the structures at play in our daily life that construct and uphold self-doubt and lay the framework to trust our intuition.

Executive Producer

Catrina Choate-Heretoiu

Ballet-Journeys Founder

Ballet Educator, Feldenkrais® Practitioner

Dena Abergel

About Ms. Choate-Heretoiu

Catrina is a somatic practitioner and dance educator who works with recovery and learning through movement. She is the co-founder of Soma Studies which includes online/live somatic classes and is the creator of Ballet Journeys.

While young, she trained at the prestigious School of American Ballet and then continued to dance professionally with Miami City Ballet, Carolina Ballet, and Miami Contemporary Dance Company. Catrina thrived in her performance career but she also understood movement from a healing perspective and chose to nurture an academic and somatic path. 


Catrina has a B.A. Degree in English Literature from Florida International University, an MFA Degree in Dance from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and is certified in The Feldenkrais® Method of Somatic Education. She has taught all levels of ballet and Feldenkrais® at many conservatories throughout the U.S. and Europe such as the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Dance Department, Northern California Dance Conservatory, and Sacramento Ballet.  

On Movement

Throughout Catrina’s life, movement has been the trusted language of communication and she understands that a somatic conversation through movement can reveal unexpected experiences that can promote learning, growth, relief, and ultimately connection.


“Movement is everything and

everything is movement.” 


© 2022 Ballet Journeys & Catrina Choate-Heretoiu. Digital Styling by Arts4Hope