Artistic Directors Matthew and Laura Reinschmidt
Laura Reinschmidt founded Ballet North, first as a school in 1977; and later as a non-profit company in 1994. Ms. Reinschmidt was not interested in presenting her students in risqué costumes, dance routines or competitions. Rather, she wished to present them in a dignified manner that approaches, as closely as possible, a professional level of training and performance. Her love of this art form (and its history) have formed the foundation of the school and company, which have a mutually beneficial relationship; the Ballet North School trains dancers in the difficult technique that the company requires – and the Company provides exceptional stage experience to aspiring young dancers.
Ballet North’s unique approach allows young adults to explore principal and soloist roles in full-length ballets – roles normally reserved for professional dancers only. Ms. Reinschmidt feels that exposure to that kind of experience onstage is critical to anyone who wishes to dance professionally. Rather than appearing in minor children’s roles, Ballet North dancers are given the opportunity and responsibility of bringing a role to life.
This philosophy has paid off. Graduates of Ballet North have danced with San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Illinois Ballet, Minnesota Ballet and Kansas City Ballet.
More importantly, the minds of young students entrusted to the care of the school are a responsibility she does not take lightly. As many children go from pre-school to graduation while enrolled in our program, she felt that aiding parents in the character education of their children was an opportunity to be of service. For this reason, years ago, she and her husband, Matthew became certified “Virtues Project” (C) facilitators. Since that time, each class begins with a virtue; and over the years, as they themselves mature, their understanding of these virtues mature as well.
While Ms. Reinschmidt delights in the continued acceptance of Ballet North students to prestigious summer programs, her greatest delight is sharing her knowledge with her students and watching them grow into young adults of which she and their parents can be proud.
Matthew Reinschmidt has been involved with the performing, teaching and private coaching of ballet for over twenty-five years. Along with helping to establish Ballet North as a non-profit in 1994, he has performed many guesting roles such as the Cavalier in Nutcracker, Prince/Beast in Beauty and the Beast, and has performed the lead male roles of Albrecht in Giselle, the Poet in Les Sylphides, Carmina Burana, Watermark, the Prince in Sleeping Beauty and has also played character roles like Hook in Peter Pan and Simone in Wayward Daughter. Continuing to work with students and seeing them develop and excel technically is always very satisfying, however Mr Reinschmidt also believes in the importance of a good character and the ability to deal with challenges and difficulties with patience and perseverance - quite unlike anything young people see in today's movies or television series. This is why he became a certified "Virtues Project" (C) facilitator along with his wife Laura. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Kansas.
Heidi Luebbert began taking ballet from Laura Reinschmidt at age 6, and has been with the school, first as a student, and later as a teacher, since it was founded in 1977, and was one of the original members of Ballet North. Heidi danced the lead in many of Ballet North’s productions. She was the original female lead in Watermark and Carmina Burana, danced the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, and was a stepsister in Cinderella. Ms Luebbert earned a BA in Dance from the University of Missouri and now teaches the Pre-Ballet 0 and Pre-Ballet 1 levels, and loves teaching the youngest students in the school.
Angela Rice is from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She graduated from the Royal Academy of Dancing and studied with Shirley Grahame and Herida May from London, Carla Perotti from Italy, Yelle Bittencourt and Maria Mazzeti from Brazil. From 1978 to 1994, Angela worked as a classical dance teacher in Brazil. She has taught for Ballet North since 1996. Angela holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master’s degree in child and adult psychology. She speaks Portuguese, Spanish and English.