History of The Charlotte School of Ballet

The Charlotte School of Ballet was founded in 1968 by Gay Porter and was the first classical studio in Charlotte, NC. The studio has provided a successful pre-professional training program that has prepared many dancers for careers in the most elite ballet companies. Including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet. Students from the school have received scholarships to study with David Howard, Luigi, UNCSA, USC, Harvard Dance to name a few. The Charlotte School of Ballet also has trained dancers for contemporary companies such as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Alvin Ailey, Alonzo Kings Lines Contemporary Ballet Company and careers on Broadway and in Television. Many of our dancers have also been accepted into prestigious summer programs throughout the United States. The Charlotte School of Ballet’s training creates strong dancers with clean technique that is adaptable to any style of dance. Students are encouraged to study not only ballet, but modern, jazz, tap and hip hop, in order to meet the demands required of dancers today.

Gay Porter

Artistic Director

Gay was trained in London, England at the Arts Educational School. Her classmates included Ben Stevenson, former Artistic Director of the Houston Ballet and David Howard known as “Teacher of the Stars” in New York and London. After an extensive career in England, Spain, France and Germany Gay came to the United States where she danced in California before coming to North Carolina. As a choreographer Gay has worked with the Charlotte Symphony, the Charlotte Opera, the Singing Christmas Tree, Central Piedmont Opera and Theatre, Actors Theatre and the Charlotte Youth Ballet. Gay is a full teaching member of the Royal Academy of Dance, London, England and holds the Advanced Teachers Certificate of the Cecchetti Council of America. North Carolina School of the Arts honored Gay as: “Teacher of the Year” in 1994. Gay is the founder and Artistic Director of the Charlotte Youth Ballet. It is the premier performing company for young dancers in the area. Gay has directed and choreographed full length productions of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Nutcracker and Coppelia for the company. She has also created original ballets such as The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Thumbelina, and Pinocchio which she had also set on companies throughout the United States.

Bridget Porter Young

Assistant Artistic Director

As a child Bridget was selected to dance with New York city Ballet and Baryshnikov for the Washington Season. During this time she was invited to perform at the White House for President Carter. She has danced with Louisville Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre and Ocala Ballet. She toured the United States performing industrial shows and spent many summers performing in summer stock including roles such as Jeannie in Brigadoon, and Dream Laurie in Oklahoma. She also appeared on All My Children and Guiding Light while living in New York. Bridget has choreographed many short works, ballets and musicals including South Pacific, The King and I, Once Upon a Mattress, Barnum and Big River. She also choreographed and directed The Nutcracker for Pueblo Ballet. Bridget holds the Teaching Certificate of the Royal Academy of Dance, London, England and is a Licentiate of the Cecchetti Council of America. She is the Ballet Mistress for the Charlotte Youth Ballet, and the Chair of the Cecchetti Council of America, Southeast Committee.

Emerson Engle


Bio Coming Soon!

Emily Kline


Emily started training at Nan Klinger’s Excellence in Dance in her hometown of Akron, Ohio at age 9 in addition to performing with the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, now known as Ballet Excel Ohio. She attended summer intensive programs at Cincinnati Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Boston Ballet, James Sewell Ballet, and Kansas City Ballet.


After graduating from the dance program at Akron School for the Arts in 2018, Emily decided to continue her ballet studies at the College- Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where she spent 3 ½ years training under the esteemed faculty. Emily was able to perform in  both new and current works in ballet and contemporary during her time there, her two favorites being a featured solo in Jardin Anime staged by Deirdre Carberry and the role of the  “Dark Angel” in Serenade staged by Joysanne Sidimus.  


In the fall of 2020, Emily took advantage of a co-op program CCM provides its upperclassman ballet majors and joined the corps de ballet of Columbia Classical Ballet. While still earning her degree she was able to begin her professional career under the direction of Radenko Pavlovitch. While a member of CCB, Emily was given the opportunity to dance in many new works by resident choreographer Simone Cuttino, one of which being a featured “Spanish Dancer”  in her staging of The Nutcracker. 


In her last season with CCB, Emily decided to attend graduate school at the University of South Carolina and graduated in May of 2023 with a master’s degree in Elementary Education. Emily has taught at ballet schools in Akron, Cincinnati, and Columbia and is very excited to come back and teach at Charlotte School of Ballet for a second year. 

Katherine Nobles


Katherine Nobles began her classical ballet training under the direction of Gay Porter and Bridget Young when she was 12 years old. In her young adult years, she worked as a freelance artist and taught ballet at Sullivan Dance Studio in Rock Hill, SC. Her dance journey took many twists and turns over the years, including an almost 15-year hiatus while she focused on her family and a career in dental hygiene.

For the last several years, Katherine has rediscovered her joy of dance alongside her youngest daughter, who is an aspiring dancer. Katherine has performed in several productions with the Charlotte Youth Ballet. In July of 2023, Katherine danced with her daughter, Lila Grace, in the Highland Echoes show at The Appalachian Theatre in Boone, NC, as Selkie Girl, choreographed by Bridget Young.

Since 2021, Katherine has been a ballet teacher for classes at the Charlotte School of Ballet and the Belmont School of Ballet. Katherine has completed the Cecchetti 1 & 2 teacher exams and is a member of the Cecchetti Council of America. She is very excited to work with some of the youngest dancers this fall as well as continue her personal development as an artist and teacher.

Kristin Ward


Originally from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Kristin has been dancing for almost 20 years. Her passion for dance, helped her earn her bachelor’s degree at Winthrop University. Kristin has danced and choreographed for numerous showcases including the American College Dance Association, Charlotte Dance Festival, and the ArchCore 40 summer intensive program. After Winthrop University, Kristin moved back to Myrtle Beach, and started dancing at The Carolina Opry theater. Since performing a variety of shows at the theater, Kristin moved to Charlotte looking for more experience in the world of dance. Now, she’s pursuing an education degree to further her teaching ability.

Niya Kerr


Bio Coming Soon!

Norah Miller


Bio Coming Soon!

Phillip McRorie


Phillip McRorie is a dance educator and artist based in the Charlotte-metro area. He began his training under the dance faculty at Appalachian State University where he studied ballet, modern dance, jazz, and choreography. After graduating with a BA in Dance Studies, Phillip performed with Verge Dance Collective, Caroline Calouche and Co., and the Asheville Ballet. Phillip shifted his focus to teaching full time as he pursued his MFA in Choreography at Jacksonville University. While he primarily focuses on instruction in ballet, modern/contemporary dance, and choreography, he has experience teaching jazz, conditioning, and lyrical dance as well. Currently, Phillip is teaching in and around the Charlotte area, working as a freelance choreographer with different companies and festivals, and completing teaching certifications in the Cecchetti method of ballet.