top of page

Mari Mori

Dirctor of CVB

Mari Mori began her ballet training at the Yasuko Miyashita Ballet School in Kyoto, Japan. She studied with Hideo Fukagawa and subsequently joined his ballet company. She furthered her studies with Madam Nora Kiss (Paris, France), Jean Clould Ruiz (Strasburg, France), Finis Jhung (New York City), and Zvi Gotheiner (New York City). Mari has been a member of the American Repertory Dance Theatre and the Covenant Ballet Theatre in New York. She has also appeared as a guest artist with numerous ballet schools and companies in California, New York, and Japan. After moving to the East Coast, she taught at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Wake Forest University, and the North Carolina Dance Festival.

Mari moved to Lynchburg, VA, in 2009 to teach ballet at Sweet Briar College and the Virginia School of the Arts (VSA). Upon the closure of VSA, she founded the Central Virginia Ballet in 2011 to continue to provide instruction to her Lynchburg-area students. She is also working with Charlottesville Ballet’s professional company and serves as an Artistic Associate since 2014.

Heatherly Ahern

CVB Dance Teacher

Heatherly Ahern is a dance educator with 10 years of professional teaching experience, following a lifetime of studying dance from the age of three. Heatherly received her AA in Physical Education K-12 from the College of Southern Idaho in 2011. While she was there she was able to pay for a part of her education with a scholarship provided by her participation with the CSI Dance Team. After receiving her Associates, she continued working towards her BA in Dance with a dance based scholarship with the University of Nebraska Lincoln. In May of 2014, Heatherly graduated with her Bachelor’s in Dance. In 2015, her family moved to Okinawa, Japan, where she became employed with FootLoose Dance Studio. Heatherly has enjoyed being the manager of FootLoose and a Team Director. She is currently celebrating her recent success at the 9th Ryukyu International Ballet Competition, having soloists place 2nd and 3rd in the Child and Teen Creative Division, along with her team FootLoose Elite place 1st in the Group Creative division. Heatherly has joined CVB in 2019 and teaches Creative Movement and Pre-Ballet classes.


Brianna Merritt

CVB Dance Teacher

Brianna Merritt began her ballet training at the age of three in Oklahoma. She has attended multiple intensives in New York with the American Academy of Ballet, Giordano in Chicago, and the Tulsa Ballet in Oklahoma. Brianna has performed in roles as Clara, Snow Queen, Arabian Princess, and the Flower Fairy, as well as corps de ballet pieces from The Nutcracker and Swan Lake.

Certified in the Nan Giordano Technique, Brianna currently teaches at Central Virginia Ballet and Amherst Dance Academy.

At the age of two, Lillian Merritt began taking dance classes and after moving to Virginia in 2015, she continued her traditional ballet training under the expert leadership of Mari Mori at Central Virginia Ballet. Lillian has attended multiple intensives with Tulsa Ballet in Oklahoma, as well as with the American Academy of Ballet and Giordano. 

She has performed in multiple productions of the Nutcracker as well as performing the Gamzatti Variation from La Bayadere, Jewels from The Sleeping Beauty, and one of the four dancers in the Pas de Quatre ballet. Lillian currently teaches ballet at Central Virginia Ballet. 

        Lillian Merritt

                 CVB Dance Teacher

Atlantis head shot.jpg
bottom of page