Melissa's early training began in Pensacola, Florida with her mother Gioia Michelotti (a second generation studio owner) and the pre-professional youth company Kaleidoscope Children's Dance Theater. She studied summers with the world renowned Dame Sonia Arova, and also took master classes in the Cecchetti Method. Melissa attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama on a Ballet scholarship offered by the Montgomery Ballet; and while there, helped develop a dance minor program. During this time, she continued to broaden her ballet training by taking master classes with David Howard and Finis Jhung.
Upon graduation, Melissa began her professional career with the Montgomery Ballet under the director ship of Don Steffy and Mary Lou Hume. She rose to the level of principal there, dancing such roles as "Heloise" in David Anderson's premiere of Abelard and Heloise, "Sugar Plum Fairy" in Nutcracker, and "Swanhilda" in Coppelia. While in Montgomery, Melissa began teaching in the Montgomery Ballet School a training ground for their youth company. She later moved to Boise to dance with Ballet Idaho under the directorship of Toni Pimble. It was there that Melissa had the opportunity to dance in Alice in Wonderland, Gisselle, and Sleeping Beauty as well as work with the nationally known choreographer, Lynn-Taylor-Corbett as "The Lady at the Party" in Ms. Taylor Corbett's ballet In a Word.
After retiring from a decade of dancing professionally, Melissa returned to teaching at the Ballet Idaho Acadamy under the directorship of Sarah Arnold Phipps, has coached and choreographed for Gem State and Tullilov Gymnastics, and has been a dance instructor at Idaho Arts Charter School. Melissa is currently choreographer for Greater Idaho Family Theater for Youth at the Morrison Center, and is the director of Capital City Ballet Center as well as choreographer and director for Capital City Youth Ballet pre-professional company since 2008.
With her twenty-five years combined professional teaching and dancing experience, Melissa Strader will continue to offer the highest quality of classical ballet training and performance opportunities at Capital City Ballet Center.
Jo Anne studied with the University of Utah's department under the direction of William Christensen and began her early training with Goleta Civic Ballet. She performed and taught for the San Francisco Dance Spectrum and other studios in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is Jo Anne's nineteenth season working with Capital City Ballet Center. Ms. Michaels is a true professional with the best interests of the students as her goal. She is Co-Artistic Director of Capital City Youth Ballet and created an original story ballet, "Snow Maiden" for the company in 2007.