Our Faculty

Our faculty is knowledgeable, accomplished, and committed. Each instructor is passionate about sharing their mastery of ballet and their professional experiences with the next generation of talented young dancers. With expert guidance by both our resident and international guest faculty, we are proud to foster global understanding among our diverse student body through the art of dance.

Ariel Serrano
President/CEO, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director

Born and raised in Oriente, Cuba, Ariel Serrano grew up training at his country's National School of Ballet system. He concluded his studies in 1990, at the National School of Arts in Italy. Upon his return to Cuba, he danced with Ballet Camagüey under the direction of Fernando Alonso, and then joined the Youth Corps of the National Ballet of Cuba under Laura Alonso and artistic director Alicia Alonso. Next, he became a principal dancer with the Ballet de Monterrey in Mexico. In 1993, he and his wife, Wilmian Hernandez, defected from Cuba. A year later, they were invited to join the Sarasota Ballet, then under the direction of Robert de Warren, where they both danced principal roles until their retirement in 2000.

In 2013, the Serranos co-founded the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School (SCBS). This is the first school in the United States to exclusively teach the Cuban ballet style to all proficiency levels, from beginners to pre-professional.

Every year, Mr. Serrano recruits students from all across the United States and all around the World, so the School might meet its goal of fostering global understanding and nurturing culturally diverse talent for the enrichment of America’s Ballet scene.

Under his direction, SCBS students have participated in multiple national and international competitions. In every ocassion, the School has earned top accolades —including UBC Best Teacher and Best School— and its students have taken home multiple awards including scholarships, and several gold and silver medals.

Additionally, Mr. Serrano has guest-taught at many prestigious schools throughout the U.S., United Kingdom, South America, and the Caribbean. He also has served as an expert judge in several international ballet competitions.

One of Mr. Serrano’s greatest accomplishments is the success of his students. You can find SCBS Alumni at prestigious schools and companies such as the Dance Theater of Harlem, Milwaukee Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Boston Ballet, Ballet Manila, Ballet Municipal de Lima and the Royal Ballet School and Company.


Wilmian Hernandez
Vice President/COO, Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director

A native of Havana, Cuba, Wilmian Hernandez graduated from the National School of Arts in 1984 and began her professional career under the artistic direction of Fernando Alonso at Ballet Camagüey. In ten years dancing with Ballet de Camagüey and Ballet Nacional de Cuba, she rose to principal dancer. In 1993, she then accepted an invitation from Marie D‘Angelo to join the Ballet de Monterrey in Mexico. While in Monterrey, the Serranos took the hard decision of defecting from Cuba and a year later moved to the United States to join the Sarasota Ballet, then under the direction of Robert de Warren. It was in Sarasota were the Serranos danced principal roles until their retirement in 2000.

Ms. Hernández didn’t left the dance world for long. After her daughter Camila was born, she started working as a guest instructor at various ballet schools in Florida.

In 2013, the Serranos co-founded the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School (SCBS). This is the first-ever school in the United States to exclusively teach the Cuban training method to all proficiency levels, from beginners to pre-professional. Ms. Hernández is responsible for building the skill and confidence of our young and intermediate level dancers, so they can be ready to perform at their best level in auditions, competitions, and shows.

One of Ms. Hernandez's greatest accomplishments is the success of her students. Many have gone on to perform and study at prestigious schools and companies such as the Dance Theater of Harlem, Milwaukee Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Boston Ballet, Ballet Manila, Ballet Municipal de Lima and the Royal Ballet School and Company.


Delia Ballart Arcia
Master Teacher

Ms. Ballart earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Stage Arts and ballet instruction at the Superior Institute of Arts in Cuba. She is one of the founders of the Ballet de Camagüey, were she trained as a professional dancer and served as rehearsal master. She has performed in numerous international and national dance tours and ballet festivals. Ms. Ballart served as maestra at the Cuban National Ballet School and Cuba’s Institute of Arts.

She has garner international acclaim as a ballet master thanks to the gold, silver and bronze medals obtained by her students in dance competitions hosted in Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. She is also an award-winning choreographer who has worked with masters such as Gustavo Herrera, Ivan Tenorio, Jorge Lefebre, and Alberto Alonso among many others.

Although she teaches full time at SCBS, Ms. Ballart still finds time to collaborate with other ballet schools and is always willing to assist with instruction, choreography, and stage performances.


Tania Vergara
Choreographer and Master Teacher

Ms. Vergara trained in Cuba and taught at the prestigious National Ballet School from 1986 to 2013. During this time she founded, directed and was the choreographer of Endedans, a Cuban contemporary dance company. After coming to the United States in 2014, she joined the faculty of the School of Ballet Arts in Lake Worth, Florida and she became a popular guest choreographer for dance companies based in the U.S.

Her work has won many awards, including the Ibero-American Choreography Award in 2008 for “To the Ends of the Earth,” the Anacaona "Golden Flower" Distinction granted by the Dominican Republic’s Igneri Foundation,  and the National Union of Writers and Artist of Cuba Choreography Award (UNEAC). 


Emilio Borjas
Dance Conditioning and Fitness Instructor

A professional gymnast for the Cuban National Competition Team for over a decade, Mr. Borjas became a fitness and conditioning instructor for several Cuban dance companies, where he developed advanced physical conditioning regimens for intermediate and professional dancers. With his 20 years’ experience as a strength and conditioning coach he utilizes an individualized approach that emphasizes flexibility, strength and specific techniques (jumps, lifts, and lower body control) to accelerate results.  His technique was especially designed to help dancers avoid injury.   


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Morgan Rivers
Children’s Program Director and Instructor

A local Sarasotan, Ms. Rivers studied at Sarasota’s first ballet school: The Florida Ballet Arts Academy. She danced with the Appalachian Dance Ensemble while studying for and earning her Bachelor of Arts in Education with a minor in Child Psychology.

As an elementary school teacher for 13 years, Ms. Rivers was twice nominated Teacher of the Year and ultimately won the prestigious Golden Apple Teaching Scholarship. After retiring from public schools to concentrate on family and dance, she managed Florida Ballet Arts Academy's creative movement department until its relocation and new mission in 2008. She then founded, created, and grew the elementary program at Gulf Coast Ballet and has now been with the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School for over four years, serving as the Director of the Children’s Program.


Renate Suttle Adult Dance instructor Sarasota Cuban Ballet School

Renate Suttle
Instructor

Ms. Suttle’s dance education began in Hamburg, Germany, with preparatory training in classical ballet, modern and character dance. She continued her training in academic ballet, pointe, modern and character dance, partnering, stagecraft and makeup, costume design, and maintenance, graduating with state certification as Stage Dancer. Ms. Suttle then continued her professional ballet training with Hamburg Staatsoper (State Opera), participating in opera performances as well. As a Ballerina of Diamond Ballet Company in Switzerland, she toured throughout Europe. Ms. Suttle began teaching ballet under the sponsorship of the U.S. Army in Germany, and has been teaching ever since in New Jersey, Maryland, and now Florida.