Our dedicated, professional faculty is what sets us apart! Our students benefit from the talent and experience they bring to The Ballet Barre — as performers, choreographers, and dance educators. And they take pleasure in the opportunity to share their expertise with our wonderful students.
Faculty page

Suzanne Sarlitt (Founder)

Suzanne has successfully juggled her many roles as Director, Teacher, Choreographer, Ensemble Coach and Mentor since establishing The Ballet Barre in 1983. She is a registered teacher and member of the Royal Academy of Dance, London, England, an affiliate of The American Academy of Ballet and serves on the advisory board of the dance department at Morris County College.

Her experience and dedication to teaching is reflected in her students’ achievements. They have been winning medals, awards and scholarships since 1995 and have been selected by audition to further their studies at The School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theater Summer Intensives, Jacqueline Onassis School at ABT, Kirov Academy, Nutmeg Conservatory and The Rock School, among many others.

Students have been the recipients of scholarships to The New Jersey Governor’s School for the Arts, Joffrey Ballet School and the American Academy of Ballet, in addition to colleges and universities. Former students are professional performers with jazz, ballet and modern dance companies; others have pursed dance related careers as instructors, choreographers and theater arts physical therapists.

Heather Jakob (Director and Instructor)

Heather received her training at The Ballet Barre, Royal Academy of Dance (England) and the School of the Garden State Ballet. She was awarded a four year talent scholarship from DeSales University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. Upon graduation Heather was the recipient of the “Excellence in Teaching Award”.

Heather has performed ballet and modern with the Garden State Ballet, the DeSales Dance Touring Company, university concerts and art festivals. She taught all ages and levels of abilities at The School of the Garden State Ballet before joining the Ballet Barre as an instructor in 2008. She is the creator and instructor of 3-2-1 Fun drop-in classes, to introduce toddlers and young children to movement and music. Heather’s classes and choreography give students opportunities to express themselves as they develop their artistic talents from one level to the next.

Kimberly Jackson (Tap, Jazz, Modern, Combination Classes)

Kimberly graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance and a minor in musical theater from Montclair State University as a NJ STARS scholar. As a student at The Ballet Barre, she studied every style of dance, competing and performing extensively throughout high school. She loves to choreograph and her work has been performed at our annual dance concerts, competitions, NJ Teen Arts festivals, high school musicals and community theater productions. Kimberly has created and implemented a successful dance program curriculum for homeschoolers throughout Sussex, Morris, Warren, and Somerset counties in liaison with a performing arts co-op.

Chrystina Kepreos (Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Preschool)

Chrystina joined our faculty after graduation at Susquehanna University (2014) with a B.A. in communications/public relations and a minor in dance. She served as president and choreographer of SU’s student-run dance program and also performed with the Susquehanna University Dance Team. During her college years she choreographed musical theater productions for high school and community theaters.

Chrystina grew up training and competing in every genre of dance at The Ballet Barre. Throughout high school she assisted the faculty at classes, attended workshops, conventions, master classes, summer intensives and augmented her training at Broadway Dance Center. We’re delighted she is still passionate about dance and loves mentoring children of all ages.

Melanie Sumski (Tap, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical)

Melanie Jackson graduated from Montclair State University in 2013 with a BFA in dance while pursuing a second degree in Dietetics. Upon graduation she continued to perform at dance festivals and numerous theatrical productions, including two of her favorite musicals, West Side Story and a Christmas Carol. Melanie trained at The Ballet Barre in all genres and is ecstatic to be able to teach at the same studio. She is a talented singer, actor and choreographer combining her passion for the performing arts with a professional career at Atlantic Health System.

Monika Aimova (Ballet, Pointe)

As a child, Monika was training for the Czechoslovakian Junior Olympic gymnastics team, when her teacher recommended that she audition for the elite Conservatory of Prague. For the next 8 years, she trained with Czech and Russian teachers in the Vaganova technique. During her 10 year professional career, Monika danced over 1,000 performances with major ballet companies throughout Eastern Europe. As a soloist, she performed the leads in many famous classical ballets, including Sleeping Beauty, La Corsaire, and Don Quixote. 

Monika was on our faculty from 1994 through 1996, and rejoined our faculty in 2008. She is a gifted instructor and choreographer, and she continues to challenge students in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere.

Gioia Grasso (Jazz, Ballet, Modern, Contemporary)

Gioia graduated cum laude in 2019 from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase College, with a BFA in Dance. She began dancing at The Ballet Barre focusing on ballet, among many other styles, and continued her training on weekends at The New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble. While on her professional path, Gioia has performed works by David Parsons (Parsons Dance), Ohad Naharin (Batsheva Dance Company), and Ana Maria Lucaciu (assistant to choreographer Alexander Ekman). In addition, she worked closely with ballet master and personal mentor Rosanna Seravalli (American Ballet Theater). Gioia loves spreading her passion to move with dancers of all ages, encouraging the fusion of creative expression with athletic movement. She specializes in the style of Contemporary Ballet, Pointe, Classical Modern, Improvisation, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Floor-work. With an open mind and willingness to learn, she believes any student can succeed, and is excited to be joining The Ballet Barre faculty. 

Patricia Durante (Singing, Acting)

Patricia directs and produces the vocal routines performed at our annual Holiday Revue in December. She is a graduate of The American Music and Drama Academy in New York, and has been a professional actor and singer for 20 years. She has been a lead singer in many bands and has performed backup vocals for headliners in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Patricia has performed in commercials, independent films, as well as classical drama, comedies and musicals.</>

Tammy Klinck (Ballet, Pointe, Modern)

Tammy was a scholarship student for seven years at the School of the Garden State Ballet and a member of the junior company before performing with the Garden State Ballet Company. She studied in New York City with renowned teachers such as Evie Lynn and Madame Darvish, and graduated from Montclair University in 1997 with a BFA degree in dance.

Tammy performed professionally with Freespace Dance, Trish King and the Dance Collective before becoming a mother in 2002. She has over 17 years of experience teaching ballet, jazz and modern at community studios, public schools and Community College of Morris. . Tammy’s students appreciate her clear and concise explanations of proper execution, alignment and anatomy as it pertains to each student’s individual physique.