To inspire a lifelong interest in the performing arts, create ballet dancers of a recognized caliber, and develop model young individuals by encouraging commitment, dedication and the sustained pursuit of excellence in the art of dance. 




Our Philosophy

Having both experienced the benefits of a rich and varied formal dance education, founders Maartje and Ryan Lawrence created the Movement Arts Center in 2015.  Their hope was and remains to foster the same lifelong appreciation among future generations of dancers and their families that they experienced first as students at top level conservatories and later as professional dancers.  Much like those conservatories the goal with what is now commonly referred to as SLOMAC is to create a retreat, a place for dancers to explore and develop – not just their technical skills, but the life skills inherent in training of an historical art form.


Meet the Founders


Ryan and Maartje are both highly trained ballet professionals with degrees in dance from The Juilliard School and Het National Ballet Academy of the Netherlands, respectively. Their performance careers literally span continents...


Meet Our Faculty

"The training at Movement Arts Center is the best we have found anywhere!"
                                           --M. Wilson on Yelp

Katya Vasilaky

is a former dancer with the San Francisco Ballet Company where she performed works from George Balanchine to Mark Morris. She has also danced works by Avi Scher, Constantine Baeacher, Martha Graham, Elisa Monte, and Anna Sokolow while dancing in NYC. In addition to classical ballet, Katya has training in acting from the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and in improvised theater from the Upright Citizens Brigade

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Catherine Russel Barnickel

Raised in Philadelphia, PA Catherine trained and performed with The Pennsylvania Ballet and later with the Massachusetts Youth Ballet, School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet School under such notable teachers as Gloria Govrin, Carter Alexander, Sandra Jennings and Suzanne Farrell.  She danced with the Kansas City Ballet for 12 years performing many classical principal and soloist roles, a large number of Balanchine works, and modern and contemporary pieces. She is delighted to be sharing her knowledge and experience with the students at SLO Movement Arts Center.


Heather Gray

Heather Gray holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  She is a dancer and photographer living on the Central Coast and returning frequently to Colorado to work and play.  Active in community and caring passionately about the arts, society, and human rights, she infuses her class with music and movement that breeds introspection and personal development.

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Trevor Quezada

Trevor is an accomplished young man who is from Arroyo Grande, but has traveled the world.  In his final year of High School he won the Icon of the Year award from Hollywood Connection and soon received a contract to dance with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.  Upon returning from this experience he has been teaching and assisting in Los Angeles and at the  SLO Movement Arts Center where he teaches Jazz and Lyrical.  Fun Fact: Trevor can be seen in the Megan Trainer video, "Better when I'm Dancin".