Our Team

Our faculty is strong, qualified and committed. Each instructor is passionate about teaching and sharing their knowledge with the next generation of talented young dancers. With expert instruction by both resident and international guest faculty, we are proud to foster global understanding 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 in the National School of Ballet system. He went on to graduate from the National School of Arts in Italy in 1990. Upon his return to Cuba, he danced with Ballet Camaguey 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. In 1994 they were invited to join the Sarasota Ballet, then under the direction of Robert de Warren, where they both danced principal roles until they retired in 2000.

In 2013 Mr. Serrano and Ms. Hernandez co-founded the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School (SCBS). SCBS is the first-ever school in the United States to exclusively teach the Cuban ballet style to beginning through pre-professional dancers. Mr. Serrano recruits the students internationally, regionally and locally.

Under Mr. Serrano’s direction, SCBS’s students have competed at multiple national and international competitions, where the school has earned top awards such as Best Teacher and Best School, and students have taken home exclusive awards including 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 and has served as an expert judge in international ballet competitions.

One of Mr. Serrano’s greatest accomplishments is the success of his students who have gone on to perform and study at such prestigious schools and companies 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 Cuba, Wilmian Hernandez graduated from the National School of Arts in 1984 and commenced her professional career under the artistic direction of Fernando Alonso at Ballet Camaguey. She then accepted an invitation from Marie D‘Angelo to join the Ballet de Monterrey de Mexico. In 1993, she and her husband, Ariel Serrano defected from Cuba. In 1994 they were invited to join the Sarasota Ballet, then under the direction of Robert de Warren, where they both danced principal roles until they retired in 2000.

In 2013 Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Serrano co-founded the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School (SCBS). SCBS is the first-ever school in the United States to exclusively teach the Cuban ballet style to beginning through pre-professional dancers.

One of Ms. Hernandez's greatest accomplishments is the success of her students who have gone on to perform and study at such prestigious schools and companies 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 in Cuba. She trained as a professional dancer at the Camaguey Ballet of Cuba. She has danced in numerous international and national dance tours and ballet festivals. Ms. Ballart served as maestra in the Cuban National Ballet School and Institute of Arts Cuba. She achieved international acclaim as a professor as evidenced by Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for her choreographies, and the technical skills of her students.  She also responds to requests of different schools of ballet to assist with instruction, choreography and stage performances.


Tania Vergara
Choreographer and Master Teacher

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


 

Richard Cash
Instructor

Richard Cash has a long and varied career performing in ballet and opera companies as well as musicals. He studied with some of the best teachers of his days in New York.  San Francisco and Chicago in the United States and also Paris and Cannes in France. He toured with ballet companies and national companies of Broadway shows thought primarily in San Francisco and New York City before settling in Sarasota.


 

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 and Maryland.


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Morgan Rivers
Children’s Program Director and Instructor

A local Sarasotan, Morgan studied at Sarasota’s first ballet school, 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, Morgan 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, Morgan 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.