BIOS

To match a face to the name, see Faculty

SYLVIA TCHERNYCHEV

Founder and Artistic Director | Advanced Ballet 

 

Ms. Tchernychev began her training in the Vaganova method under Marius Zirra. Ms. Tchernychev, from San Diego, has performed the principal roles of the classical repertoire as a principal dancer and as a guest artist with ballet and opera companies across the United States. Her principal roles include Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, Coppelia, Paquita, Carmen, Carmina Burana, Serenade, Concerto Barocco, and others. Critics have praised her Giselle for its “purity” and her dancing for “poise and grace.” Her graceful elegance and solid technique made her a San Diego favorite. Ms. Tchernychev was one of three Americans chosen to represent the United States in the International Ballet Competition in Helsinki, Finland. She appeared on national television including an Emmy Awards program and the American Dance Honors. Ms. Tchernychev has staged and coached ballets and taught master classes throughout the United States and co-founded SDAB is 2001. 

 

Focused exclusively on pre-professional, professional and advanced dancers, Ms. Tchernychev has trained countless YAGP winners, two Tony award winners, and has also coached dancers in to professional careers around the world. 

SIMONE GABRIELLE

Director of Operations | Instructor | Beginner Ballet | Advanced Ballet 

 

As a child, Simone trained exclusively with California Ballet under the tutelage of Sylvia. Simone quit ballet at seventeen to attend college and received two degrees. Once SDAB was founded in 2001, Simone returned to San Diego to perform and train with the Tchernychevs. Over the years, Simone has traveled and danced all over the world, including New York, London, Boston, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Chicago and Portland, Oregon. 

LORI HERNÁNDEZ 

Director of Administration | SDAB Guest Principal Artist

 

Ms. Hernández is originally from San Diego, California.  She received her pre-professional training at the San Diego Academy of Ballet under the direction of Sylvia Tchernychev. She has had the opportunity to perform multiple principal roles from ballets such as The Nutcracker, Paquita, Don Quixote, La Bayadere, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. She has participated in the Youth American Grand Prix for five consecutive years and attended numerous summer intensives around the United States. She has danced professionally with Ballet Arizona and Oklahoma City Ballet. She continues to dance professionally while also taking on the role of Director of Administration at SDAB

BRIAN HEIL

Instructor | Intermediate Ballet | Advanced Ballet | SDAB Guest Principal Artist

 

Brian Heil, a native San Diegan, received his early training at the San Diego Academy of Ballet under Max and Sylvia Tchernychev. In May 2014, he graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where he trained under John Meehan. Then he danced two years as an apprentice in the Ballet Austin II program which included a repertoire of works by George Balanchine, Nick Kepley and Stephen Mills. Since joining City Ballet of San Diego in 2016, Brian has performed in numerous productions and has been featured in Geoff Gonzalez’s Seasons and Carmina Burana, as well as and Elizabeth Wistrich’s Samuel Barber Adagio. Mr. Heil teaches the intermediate and advanced class at SDAB.

MARSHALL WHITELEY

Instructor | Superhero Boys' Class | Advanced  Ballet | SDAB Guest Principal Artist

 

Born in Fairbanks, AK, and raised in San Diego, CA, Marshall was a nationally ranked ice hockey player by the age of 9. While attending the San Diego School for Creative and Performing Arts, he developed his interest in theatrical and innovative works. At the age of 13, he began training at the San Diego Academy of Ballet. He later trained and performed for two years at the Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy in Orange County before moving to the Washington School of Ballet in D.C. on scholarship. 

After working his way up through TWB Studio Company, Marshall had the opportunity to audition for and later join American Ballet Theater (ABT), in New York.

During his time with ABT, he performed in classics such as Don Quixote, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, and La Bayadere. He also helped create/was featured in neoclassical ballets like Whipped Cream, Songs of Bukovina, The Firebird, and Daphnis and Chloe. His performances have taken him all over the United States, through Canada and South America. He has also toured overseas: from Paris to Oman, Hong Kong to Singapore, and to Cape Town, South Africa.

In the future, Marshall hopes to invite fresh audiences to our ballet culture by broadening the genre palette, and at present strives to bring a sense of joy to every class he teaches or takes.

KATYA TCHERNYCHEV

Instructor | Beginner Ballet | Intermediate Ballet | SDAB Guest Principal Artist

Katya is the daughter of Sylvia and Max Tchernychev, the co-founders of San Diego Academy of Ballet. She has been exclusively trained at SDAB for the past seventeen  years. She has performed multiple principal roles including those in Swan Lake, Paquita, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Snow White, Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Coppelia, and more. She has also participated in many competitions around the United States like the World Ballet Competition, Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), California Dance Classics, and US Prix De Ballet. At age 17, Katya underwent major spinal surgery which pivoted her focus in ballet to more of a teaching role, but she’s still performing and taking class when she can.

 

Katya is involved in teaching the Beginner Ballet and Intermediate ballet levels.

HANNAH POTTER

Instructor | Pre-Ballet | SDAB Guest Principal Artist

Hannah was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona where she began her formal ballet training at Arizona School of Classical Ballet, at the age of six. Hannah furthered her ballet education by attending summer intensives on scholarship at the Long Beach Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet in New York and Grand Rapids Ballet. 

 

Hannah was selected to tour with the Long Beach Ballet, performing in five cities throughout China. Hannah competed at Youth American Grand Prix, and placed in the Regional Finals in 2012 and 2013. 

 

She started her professional career at 17 years old, dancing with the Grand Rapids Ballet. In 2017, she began dancing with the City Ballet of San Diego and teaching at various dance studios around San Diego. She is happy to be performing and teaching for San Diego Academy of Ballet where she thrives in the pre-ballet class. 

ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ

Instructor | Grown Up & Me | Pre-Ballet

A native Californian, Ashley balanced both ballet and elite club soccer while growing up. In lieu of continuing either however, she pursued a degree in architecture. Early in her design career, Ashley decided to recommit to intensive classical ballet training at The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago. In 2013, she joined San Jose Dance Theatre in Northern California under the Artistic Directorship of Linda Hurkmans. Ashley danced in the corps de ballet performing both classical and original works, including dancing through two pregnancies. Upon settling in San Diego with her family, Ashley continued training under the Tchernychevs, and she regards SDAB as her ballet home. 

 

Ashley holds professional certifications in PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique), barre fitness, and functional strength training. She has diverse experience teaching young children, including those with special needs.