Meet the Staff
About the
Maria Crist's ballet studies began in Germany at the
age of eight where she was accepted through audition
into the "Kunstanzschule"
(School of the Dance Arts) of
the European Dance Master, Ann Willius-Senzer. Her
studies continued under the direction of Madame
Senzer for twelve years, with an average of twenty
hours of instruction per week. Maria then travelled
professionally with the Universal Ballet Specialist
Company, "Raimonda," until she gave up her
professional career to be married.
Maria has taught ballet in this country since 1958. She
co-founded the Range Academy of Dance in northern
Minnesota which is still in existence today. She also
taught for twelve years in her Glyndon, Minnesota
studio, the Maria Crist Academy of Dance. After a
ten-year recovery period due to a severe back injury
resulting from a car accident, Maria was fortunate to
resume her "labor of love," teaching ballet.
Ballet Academy
was founded in 1982, allowing Maria
to develop an exciting and demanding program of
classical ballet study.
Maria has continued her dance education at such
notable schools as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School,
and the Kansas City Ballet in Kansas City, Missouri.
She has studied with internationally renowned
teachers such as Todd Bolender, Una Kai, Jacque
d'Ambiose, Rosella Hightower, and Thalia Mara.
Since 1982, Maria has been an active, certified
member of Dance Masters of America, International,
Inc., whose members are certified by test to teach. She
is approved by the Professional Dance Teachers
Association, and approved and accredited by the
National Association of Dance and Affiliated Artists,
Inc., from which she has received two gold seal
Maria remained very active on a daily basis at Camria
Ballet Academy as an artistic consultant, and in many
other aspects until her passing in January of 2017.
Her influence will always remain at Camria.
About the
Bernadette Crist-Pinotti began her ballet training at
the Maria Crist Academy of Dance in Glyndon,
Minnesota at the age of four. She continued her
training under Maria's expert direction until Maria's car
accident forced the closing of her studio. When Maria
Camria Ballet Academy, Bernadette
became an assistant instructor while continuing her
dance education.
Bernadette has studied ballet extensively, including
the French, Vaganova (Russian), Cecchetti (Italian),
and RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) methods of
ballet and pointe technique. She has also studied
several other forms of dance including character
dance (which is part of classical ballet repertoire),
jazz, tap, modern, and hip hop.
Bernadette has studied with world renowned
teachers such as David Howard, Roni Mahler, Al
Gilbert, Gus Giordano, and Patricia Dickinson, and
has participated in classes at the Royal Winnipeg
Ballet School. She has also taken classes in dance
history, music, music history, kinesiology, pedagogy,
applied anatomy and physiology, and nutrition for
Bernadette has been an active certified member of
Dance Masters of America, International, Inc. since
1986, through which she has assisted with student
dance competitions. She has been a judge for ballet
competitions sponsored by the National Society of
Arts and Letters, and Dream Girls USA state
pageants. She is also a member of ASCAP, BMI, and
Bernadette took over as artistic director of
Ballet Academy
in 1996 when Maria expressed an
interest in retiring from these duties, remaining as
artistic consultant. Bernadette is now the artistic
director, owner, instructor, and choreographer for the
academy, continuing the discipline and tradition of the
beautiful art of classical ballet.
Student Demonstration Assistants
Although our student assistants do not actually teach classes, they are very important to us! Their main responsibility
is to participate in the classes of our younger students in order to correctly demonstrate the technique being taught.
Under the supervision of the instructor, they also assist with student questions, help make general corrections, lead
warm ups, and often help out with the daily maintenance tasks of the studio.

Assistants are carefully selected in order to provide the best possible role models for our younger students. They are
well-mannered, well-groomed, intelligent, dependable, and motivated  young people. We have found that many of our
assistants manage to maintain 4.0 GPA's all the way through their high school years, demonstrating their high level
of self-discipline.