Indianapolis Ballet | Michelle Merrell Conducts Company Class
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Michelle Merrell Conducts Company Class

02 May Michelle Merrell Conducts Company Class

The Indianapolis School of Ballet couldn’t be prouder of its faculty – and one of its longest-tenured members, Michelle Merrell, enjoyed a special morning with the Indianapolis Ballet professional company dancers as they continued preparations for May’s residency at The Toby at Newfields.


Call it coincidence or call it fate, but 12 years to the day from her last professional performance – May 2, 2006 – the former Miami City Ballet Principal Dancer stepped in to teach Indianapolis Ballet’s daily morning class as a favor to IB and ISB Founding Artistic Director Victoria Lyras.


Between Merrell’s tutelage at The School of American Ballet, more than a decade of professional on-stage experience at Miami City Ballet – where she learned under the legendary Edward Villella – and her regular teaching of ISB’s Level 7/8 Pre-Professional classes, putting IB’s Company, Apprentice and Professional Level Program dancers through their paces for the daily 90-minute class was certainly well within her wheelhouse. However, one curveball was thrown her way with the introduction of a newcomer – local television reporter Joe Melillo, who joined class to experience first-hand what being a professional dancer is like as part of an upcoming feature on WISH-TV’s Daybreak (we’ll have more on that tomorrow!).


Merrell has been with ISB from nearly the beginning, joining Lyras’ faculty in time for its second semester of instruction in winter 2007. You can learn more about Merrell’s incredible career here via her faculty bio page.


While ISB is fortunate to utilize Merrell’s remarkable gifts and talents as a dancer, there are many more Hoosiers who are thankful Merrell is every bit as skilled at her day job as a full-time operating room nurse and associate partner in thoracic surgery at IU Health University Hospital in downtown Indianapolis. Click here for a fantastic feature from a few years ago by chronicling Merrell’s transition from performing on the stage to helping perform complex surgeries.