Ballet Youth

Radford University Ballet Youth


Radford University Ballet Youth (RUBY) provides inspired training to dancers in ballet, contemporary, pointe, jazz, and tap. RUBY students perform in University productions alongside Radford University dance majors. This partnership enables students a unique opportunity to delve into the collegiate world of dance, offering them a level of professionalism and preparation for continued learning. 

RUBY embraces movement, creativity, and collaboration. Students learn to build relationships proactively with classmates, castmates, teachers, and choreographers, while lending a hand to lift each other up. RUBY students express themselves creatively through movement, while developing discipline and focus.

Radford University Ballet Youth program was begun in 2006 by RU ballet faculty Inessa Plekhanova. Today, the program continues to thrive under the direction of Melissa Gerth. 



Melissa Gerth brings with her a wealth of experience in dance, theatre, and music. As an educator, Melissa served 6 years as adjunct professor of dance at Webster University. Additionally, she taught at Fontbonne University, Missouri Baptist University, Mahidol University in Thailand, and served as Associate Director of Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance in Connecticut for 10 years. Melissa taught vocal master classes for the Patravadi School in Hua Hin, Thailand and directed the choral program for the Ridgefield Academy. As a choreographer, Melissa both starred in and choreographed for the world premiere of Bosnian/American: The Dance for Life for Mustard Seed Theatre Company in Saint Louis, MO. She choreographed and performed the role of Kathy in the Sondheim musical Company for Insight Theatre Company, Saint Louis, MO.  Melissa’s solo work, Tisarana, which debuted at the Saint Louis Fringe Festival, won the Critic’s Choice Award and was selected to represent Saint Louis in the Rome Fringe Festival in Italy. Melissa choreographed and starred in L’Histoire Du Soldat with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra, String Theory with the Grammy Award nominated Beau Arts Trio, Ridgefield 300th Celebration, and the 5x5 Dance Festival in CT.  Additionally, she choreographed The Drowsy Chaperone for Radford University, The Wiz for Wilton Children’s Theatre, choreographed and directed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for the Ridgefield Academy, and Dancing at Lughnasa for Pound Ridge Theatre Company. As a performer, Melissa danced with James Robey Dance Company for 10 years, and was a founding member of Edgar Cortes Dance Theatre. Melissa toured throughout Missouri and Florida with Metro Theatre Company and Imaginary Theatre Company playing a variety of roles in multiple productions.  She starred in Mustard Seed Theatre’s world premiere of Human Terrain, written by Jennifer Blackmer. Additionally, she performed in several productions with Axial Theatre Company in NY, played the role of Silly Girl in Variety Children’s Theatre production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and worked with Insight Theatre Company. Critics have called Melissa’s performances “emotionally powerful”, “vital and vibrant”, “compelling”, “nuanced”, and said Melissa is “graceful and athletic”, “one to watch”, “dynamite”, and “a pert young Katherine Hepburn.” She holds a BA in Voice, an MA in Theatre, and a 500-hour yoga teachers certificate from Kripalu. 




To register and/or schedule a placement audition contact:

Fall Calendar 2022

Fall Semester: August 29 – December 9
Ballet Youth Company (BYC) Auditions: Thursday September 1 at 7:45-8:45
Fall Dance Festival Performance (BYC): Oct 13 & 14 at 7:30, Oct 15 at 2:00
Thanksgiving Break: November 19 – November 27
The Nutcracker (BYC): Dec 1 & 2 at 7:30, Dec 3 at 2:00 (tentative)
Not Another Nutcracker Performance: Friday, December 9 at 7:00 (tentative)

Spring Calendar 2023

Spring Semester: January 23 – May 7
Spring Break: March 4 - 12
RUBY Spring Showcase: Sunday, May 7 at 2:00  (tentative)  


There will be open enrollment through the academic year unless class enrollment maximums are met. Children must be at least 3 years old to enroll. For more information, please contact us via email:

Note: Enrollment is open year-round.




4:00-4:30 Pre-ballet I (3 & 4 year-olds) with Ariel Bowman
4:30-5:15 Pre-ballett II (5 & 6 year-olds) with Ariel Bowman
5:15-6:15 Ballet II (9 year-olds & up)  with Melissa Gerth
6:15-7:15 Jazz I/II (7-10 year-olds) with Melissa Gerth
7:15-8:30 Ballet III/IV  with TBD


4:30-5:30 Ballet I (7 & 8 year-olds) with Melissa Gerth
5:30-6:30 Contemporary I (7 & 8 year-olds) with Melissa Gerth
6:30-7:45 Ballet III/IV with James Robey
7:45-8:45 Jazz III/IV with James Robey


4:00-4:30 Pre-ballet I (3 & 4 year-olds) with Ariel Bowman
4:30-5:30 Ballet II (9 year-olds & up) with S. Kadel
5:30-6:30 Contemporary II (9 year-olds & up) with S. Kadel
6:30-7:15 Tap I/II (7-11 year-olds) with Mailey Paupore
7:15-8:00 Tap III with Mailey Paupore


4:00-4:45 Pre-ballet II (5 & 6 year-olds) with Mailey Paupore
4:45-6:00 Contemporary III/IV with Mailey Paupore
6:00-7:15 Ballet III/IV with S. Kadel
7:15-7:45 Pointe III/IV with S. Kadel
7:45-8:45 Ballet Youth Company with Melissa Gerth

*Ballet Youth Company is by audition only for levels III and up.



All tuition and fees are due the first week of class. Checks and cash only. Credit cards not accepted.

Registration Fee: $25/semester
Pre-Ballet I - $90/semester
Pre-Ballet II - $90/semester
Tap (all levels) - $90/semester
Jazz I/II - $120/semester
Jazz III/IV - $150/semester
Contemporary I/II -$120/semester
Contemporary III/IV -$150/semester
Ballet I -$120/semester
Ballet II - $240/semester (2 classes per week)
Ballet III/IV - $295/semester (2 classes per week)
Pointe - $90/semester
Ballet Youth Company - $100/semester


For Ballet and Pre-Ballet classes:

Female identifying students: hair pulled back in a bun whenever length allows without scrunchies or headbands, pink or skintone ballet tights and pink or skintone ballet shoes with a solid colored leotard (no underwear underneath).

Male identifying students: black tights, black ballet shoes and plain white T-shirt.

For Jazz, Contemporary, and Tap:

Female identifying students: hair in a pony tail if length allows, and solid colored leotard, black leggings, black, slip-on, split sole jazz shoes (jazz)  barefoot (contemporary) tap shoes (tap). 

Male identifying students: black athletic pants and solid colored t-shirt with appropriate footwear.


RUBY classes will be canceled if Radford City Schools are closed. Otherwise all parents will be notified via email by 2 p.m. on that day.