Meet The Director
Artistic / Executive Director
Ballet, Jazz, Modern/Contemporary
MaryElizabeth received her first twelve years of training in Ballet, Modern, and Jazz from Florida Ballet Arts School (FBA) under the direction of Lynn Winslow while spending her summers at Summer Intensive programs throughout the country, earning scholarships and invitations from Boston Ballet, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Washington Ballet, Princeton Ballet, and Colorado Ballet. At the age of 14, she was selected by world renowned director, Eddy Toussaint, to join the former Sarasota Ballet Junior Company, where she took company classes and performed on stage with the professional company while continuing her training at FBA. At the age of 16, she furthered her training at Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts in New England as a full time residency student and performed with the Nutmeg Ballet Company.
Embarking upon her professional performing career at just 17 years of age, MaryElizabeth has danced for the Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Classical Ballet Theatre, and guest performances with Southern Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, and Ballet South, performing classical and contemporary works. After spotting her diverse talent, the late Frank Hatchett, "Master of Jazz" and founder of the Broadway Dance Center in NYC, invited her to serve as a choreography demonstrator for his Jazz and Contemporary Master Classes in 1997. Throughout her years as a student and young professional, Ms. Mock has had the great privilege of working with Eleanor D'Antuono, Alex Ursuliak, Azari Plissetski, Galina Shlyapina, Eddy Toussaint, Andre Prokovsky, Vassili Sulich, Pavel Fomin, Sasha Yapparov, Alexei Dovgopoli, David Howard, Michael Maul, Densie Pons, Sydelle Gomberg, Fernando Bujones, Linda Kintz and Mark Mejia, among many others.
While intently focused on her professional performing career in Washington D.C. in the mid-90's, MaryElizabeth was asked to serve as a private ballet coach to a group of Olympic gymnast trainees in Bethesda and Gaithersburg, MD. It was then when she realized her abilities as a teacher and since, she has continued to hone her coaching skills, teaching and choreographing for highly respected schools and professional companies across the country. However, it was in the year 2000 when MaryElizabeth's career took a sharp turn as she set out on an unexpected mission to save Florida Ballet Arts, the school she called 'home' as a child. FBA, under the previous owner, had seen some rough days and closed its doors for good. Or so they thought... Two weeks later, a determined 24 year old reopened the studio doors and breathed new life into what had been Sarasota’s longest standing ballet school. As the new owner, Ms. Mock successfully restructured the business, the training curriculums, and everything in between. Within the first four months, she grew business by 320 percent and within the first five years, by a steady 835 percent. She carried on the traditions of the company and school that first introduced the art of ballet to Sarasota, while taking the school to a higher level of training and performing for the enrichment of the students. During that time, she founded the Florida Ballet Arts Ensemble, through which she dazzled Sarasota audiences with cutting edge performances. She revived the Florida Ballet Arts Foundation, which brought scholarship opportunities to promising students with financial need and brought holiday performances to nursing homes throughout Sarasota, while also bringing residents of retirement and assisted living facilities to the theaters for FBA’s annual Nutcracker performances. She then founded Imaginique Contemporary Ballet, a professional performing company dedicated solely to original and eclectic choreographic works. For more than a decade as President, Artistic/Executive Director, and Principal Ballet Mistress of Florida Ballet Arts Academy and the Florida Ballet Arts Ensemble, MaryElizabeth demonstrated her creativity, business acumen, and sharp attention to detail on a broad and diverse scale, consistently turning visions into reality and earning great trust and respect from the Sarasota community and greater dance community through her expertise, commitment to excellence, and strong integrity.
Never shying away from a challenge, MaryElizabeth lived bi-coastal with her son for more than a year, commuting between Florida and California monthly to serve as a Ballet Master to San Diego Ballet, while also serving as a Master Teacher to Unity Dance Ensemble / Unity LA, a Los Angeles based company founded by Emmy Award Winning Choreographer, Tessandra Chavez (best known from "SYTYCD", "Dancing with the Stars", and "World of Dance"). Additionally, she served as an Audition Site Liaison-Coordinator and Conductor of Auditions for Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, selecting students coast-to-coast for their Summer Intensive and Year-round residency programs, and as an Audition Conductor for Jose Manuel Carreno & Robert DeWarren's "Carreno Dance Festival" Summer Intensive Program, all while continuing her entrepreneurial roles running the academy, performing company, and fundraising events for FBA. During her bi-coastal commute, she even managed to squeeze in time to train fitness patrons of 'Semper Fit' aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
MaryElizabeth continues to choreograph and train dancers in both private and group settings in Sarasota and beyond. She measures her success by that of her students, who have been accepted into full time year-round programs at School of American Ballet in NYC, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre in NYC, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre's Certificate Program at the Ailey School. Her students have graduated from outstanding universities including Fordham, Emory, Columbia / Columbia Law, Pratt, NYU, Johns Hopkins, Duke, WVU, New College, Ringling College of Art + Design, SCAD, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, UF, and FSU Law, just to name a few, and have gone on to dance professionally for Boston Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, Texas Ballet Theater, Ballet West II, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Tampa Ballet Theatre, Tokyo Disney, The Royal Ballet in London, and The Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen.
MaryElizabeth's highly effective teaching styles rooted in the Vaganova Syllabus, combined with her mindset focused coaching and passion for artistry in dance, continue to make her highly sought after as a Master Teacher, private coach and choreographer, as well as a business consultant to studio owners and dance organizations nationwide.