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.
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
Originally from Auburn, California, Micaela trained and performed with Capitol Ballet Company in Sacramento under Stuart Carroll and Sharon Newton before pursuing a professional career with ballet West and the Kansas City Ballet. She has performed the work of George Balanchine, Willam Christensen, August Bournonville, Bruce Wells, and Devon Carney. Following her performance career Micaela moved to San Luis Obispo where she attended Cuesta College and UCLA where she received her degree in Mathematics/Economics, and now works for the County of SLO. She feels privileged to share her love of ballet with the highly dedicated students of the SLO Movement Arts Center.
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.