Professional Dance Company and Performing Arts School in Columbia, Missouri - City Ballet Theater



Contact Us to Register for our School or Audition for Our Company
2022 – 2023 Show Season

Classes for Ages 4+ to Adult | Year Round Training Options | Trainee Program
Summer Intensives & Workshops | Personal Coaching
Professional Teachers, Dancers, & Choreographers

School Instructors

City Ballet Theater - Emerson Mertens, Artistic Director

Emerson (Emmy) Mertens

School Director; Instructor – Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theater

Emerson has over twenty-five years of experience in the performing arts with extensive training in classical ballet, Progressing Ballet Technique, contemporary, modern, tap, jazz, ballroom & Latin dance styles, dramatic and comedic acting, improvisational acting, and mime technique. She loves to spread joy and beauty through the performing arts and share her own personal experience as a dancer with fibromyalgia and hEDS.

She also has multiple years of personal cross-training in various kinds of physical fitness genres such as Pilates, Gyrotonic®, strength training, and dance-based workout classes.

  • Artistic Director of City Ballet Theater Company
  • Bachelor of Science in Religion: Biblical and Theological Studies with an emphasis in Digital Arts, Liberty University
  • Certified Instructor, Progressing Ballet Technique (based in Australia, associated with Royal Academy of Dance) – Trained in all levels (Junior, Senior, and Advanced) and successfully completed the PBT Certification Teachers Workshop under the direction of their Official Tutor of the USA, Robyn Segel Shifren
  • Studied with renowned instructors from all around the world including London, Russia, Italy, France, China, Norway, Mexico, South America, South Africa, Egypt, Canada, San Fransisco, and New York City
  • Mentorship and personal instruction with master teachers who have graduated from some of the most prestigious schools in the world, including Michael Vernon of the Royal Ballet School in England and Dmitri Suslov of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia
  • Former Artistic Director of Anazao Dance
  • Performed numerous featured and lead roles with various company and school productions throughout her career, including the lead role of Clara in The Nutcracker with Minnesota Ballet Company, a Butterfly in Moscow Ballet’s The Great Russian Nutcracker, Sugar Plum Fairy in City Ballet Theater’s The Nutcracker: Clara’s Dream, Mary in Unto Us: The Story of Christmas, and Violet/The Dark Fairy in Sleeping Beauty: A Fairy’s Tale

Annie Eisenbeis

Instructor – Tap 1, Tap 2

Annie Eisenbeis, PharmD, MBA, TCRG, began dancing at age 8 and by 16, she was teaching competitive and recreational classes including teams, competitive solos, specialty classes, as well as workshops and summer camps.

Annie has danced on national and international stages under world-renowned choreographers and teachers. In 2013, she took the infamously difficult exam and became a certified Irish Dance instructor (TCRG) under An Coimisuin le Rince Gaelacha all while earning her Doctorate of Pharmacy degree at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and graduating the following year.

After moving to central Missouri, she opened the first Irish dance studio in Columbia where she taught for many years. During that time, she also went back to school to receive her MBA from Mizzou’s Trulaske School of Business.

When not dancing, Annie works as the Director of Practice Development for the Missouri Pharmacy Association. She credits her success in her career with skills she learned from dancing.

Administrative Staff

Photo by Trazo Litrato

Heather Mertens

Administrative Director and Co-Creative Director

Heather’s creative experience started when her love for writing, acting, and singing bloomed at a young age. She started writing comedy skits, dancing, and choreographing as a teenager for talent showcases, her high school flag team and cheerleading squad, as well as the high school show choir. She took adult ballet classes, as well as college level modern classes at University of Missouri – Columbia. She enjoyed adding Hip Hop and Tap Classes and continues to love dance as a health and fitness aspect as well, as it helps her deal with fibromyalgia.

Heather has extensive pointe shoe knowledge, both from her own many years of research and from working with her daughter, Emerson, throughout her dance training and career. Heather has also volunteered and organized numerous dance and theater events, including charity productions, fundraising events & parties for Lexington Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Kansas School of Classical Ballet, and The Culture House Conservatory of the Arts, among others. She has worked in various areas through the years including: backstage, photos, ticket sales and marketing, fundraising, show organization, costume cataloging, coordinated videography for professional productions, costume design, news releases, community outreach, show setup, and organized and marketed a charitable event dance and song variety show.

Heather began her experience in business ownership and management over 30 years ago. She has been honored to be the director of a church food pantry, the media specialist on the Board of a children’s charity, and an online Christian writer. She has been a freelance marketing specialist for over 20 years, designing websites and marketing and social media plans for various companies in the United States. Add to that, her love of volunteering for multiple entities including dance, charitable, and church organizations, and she enjoys bringing much to both the administrative and creative sides of City Ballet Theater.

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