The Oregon Ballet Academy is dedicated to offering the finest in dance training and performance. As a self-sustaining community arts organization, we provide a training ground for talented, aspiring artists and dance enthusiasts of all ages. We hope to inspire the love of dance and appreciation of music in students of varying abilities and ages, from preschool to pre-professional. We support the growth of classical ballet by maintaining the highest standards and by nurturing the talent of every student.
Pre-professional students have the opportunity to develop the skills, experience, and discipline which are the necessary foundations for a professional dance career. Our director is an accomplished professional dancer who brings his experience to bear for the benefit of our serious students.
Those students whose paths lead to non-dance careers gain immeasurably from having studied at OBA. They develop self-motivation, self-discipline, poise, grace, and an appreciation for the arts which they will carry with them throughout their lives.
Artistic Director - Upper School Director
(Upper Level Ballet Classes, Pointe)
Since his arrival as director of the Academy in 2003, John Grensback has had a profound influence on the students of the academy, specifically with his high standard of excellence, his working relationship with teachers and his dedication to every student.
John Grensback began dance training at the age of 7 with his foster father, Eldon Parish, in Chicago. At the age of 15 years, Mr. Grensback attended The School of American Ballet in New York City. Upon graduation from SAB, Mr. Grensback joined the New York City Ballet and danced with the company for two seasons. He then joined the Joffrey Ballet where he danced until 1982. In 1982 he was invited to join the Houston Ballet where he became a principal dancer and danced under the direction of Ben Stevenson.
Mr. Grensback retired from the stage in 1990 and moved to the island of Guam with his wife, Megan Murphy. He opened and directed his own studio in Guam until June of 2003. Mr. Grensback taught master classes in Hong Kong, The Philippines, Houston Ballet Academy and at the Joffrey Ballet School. While in Guam he choreographed, produced and directed The Nutcracker Ballet, The Sleeping Beauty Ballet, Hansel and Gretel, Carmina Burana, The Emperor and the Nightingale, and many other classical and contemporary works.
Principal roles (Artistic director)
Prince Siegried, Swan Lake (Ben Stevenson)
Prince Albrecht, Giselle (Peter Wright)
Prince Florimund, Sleeping Beauty (Ben Stevenson)
James, La Sylphide (Ivan Nagy)
Prince, Nutcracker (Ben Stevenson)
Dr. Faulke, Rosalinda (Ronald Hynd)
Male Jumper, Etudes (Harold Landers)
Dark Angel, Serenade (George Balanchine)
Male Lead, Paquita (Larry Long)
Prince, Cinderella (Ben Stevenson)
Pas De Deux, Don Quixote (Ben Stevenson)
Pas De Deux, Esmerelda (Ben Stevenson)
Pas De Deux, Blue Bird(Ben Stevenson)
Guest appearances Performed as a guest artist with the Cincinnati Ballet,
Chicago Ballet, Bartlesville Civic Ballet, St. Louis Ballet, Indiana State
University, Teatro Municipal de Rio de Janiero.
John Grensback - Houston Ballet
Ms. Murphy began ballet training in Guam and left to study at The National Ballet School of Canada when she was fifteen years old. She attended The San Francisco Ballet School, studied under Richard Gibson in Palo Alto, California, and trained at The Houston Ballet Academy on a scholarship. She danced professionally with both The Atlanta Ballet and The Houston Ballet. After retiring from performing, Ms. Murphy joined the staff at the Houston Ballet Academy where she directed the pilates studio and the adult dance program. While attending The University of Houston she also managed the large
aerobics program at the Downtown YMCA in Houston.
She is currently a financial services professional with New York Life, or at the studio watching the students work.
Teacher of Ballet, Pointe, Variations, Contemporary, Improvisation & Composition, and Pilates
Felicia was born into the world of dance as her parents were dancing professionally with the Netherlands Dance Theater at the time of her birth in 1960. She made her first stage appearance at the age of 5 in Anna Sokolow's "Dreams." She received her formal training at the prestigious North Carolina School of the Arts, majoring in ballet during junior high and high school. She then went to Holland where she spent two years at the Rotterdam Dance Academy (now Codarts) studying various forms of dance including modern, jazz and flamenco. From 1980-1995 she danced professionally in Switzerland and Holland, performing classical, neoclassical and modern works. She worked with a wide variety of cutting-edge choreographers including Stephen Petronio, Yoshika Chuma, Randy Warshaw, Kathy Gottschalk, Amanda Miller, Job Sanders, Dieter Amman, Ton Simons and Shusaku Takeuchi.
Since moving to Eugene in 1995, she's performed with Robin Bryant and Dancers, Dance Theatre of Oregon, LCC Dance Department, Bonnie Simoa, Donna Briggs and Company, and more. She was the lead dancer in LCC's "West Side Story" in 2002. She's choreographed for Dance For A Reason, Swine Dive, Oregon Dance Project, Collaborations, Springfield High School and Dance Umbrella of the South Coast of Oregon. She's taught ballet at the Eugene Ballet Academy and LCC Dance Department. Ms. Sanders has taught creative movement for the Young Writer's Association and 14 years or Imagine That Summer Adventures. She became certified to teach Pilates in 2004 and has taught at In Shape and Body Now. She currently teaches at South Lane Ballet Academy, regularly teaches for the Eugene and Springfield Public Libraries and hosts, together with Cara Hakaanson, 40+DANCE, an ongoing class for older people with dance experience. She continues to study the art of dance improvisation with her mentor, Robin Bryant. Felicia has been teaching at the Oregon Ballet Academy since they opened in 2003 and feels eternally grateful to be working for and with John and Megan.
Holly Miller grew up in Eugene. She attended South Eugene High School and the University of Oregon where she received her BA in Fine Art and Visual Design. Holly studied dance and music extensively in high school and college, and lived in Europe for three years while growing up. After graduating from college, Holly moved to Portland where she met her husband and lived for seven years. When their two children were young they moved the family to Eugene, and Holly became involved with Rose Children's Theater as a volunteer and member of the RCT Board of Directors. In 2010, Holly joined the OBA staff as the graphic designer and office manager. Bringing performing arts education to children is Holly's passion and she is thrilled to be a part of the OBA family.
Lisa Morgan, a native of Eugene, is a wife and stay-at-home mom of three. Lisa’s ballet education started at Oregon Ballet Academy. She came to OBA in January of 2005 after her oldest child just turned 4. Starting as a mom/parent volunteer Lisa graduated to OBA part-time staff helper in the fall of 2008. Lisa is grateful to John and Megan for the opportunities they have provided for both her and her family. When not at the studio Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, cooking & eating, traveling (preferably abroad), camping, reading, and looking at interior design blogs.
Taylor began her dance training in Scottsdale, Arizona Plumb Performing Arts Center where she was exposed to a wide variety of dance including ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, and modern. She then decided to focus on ballet and attended the Scottsdale School of Ballet under the direction of Sibylle and Donald Dadey. Over the summer, Taylor has attended intensives including the American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Ballet Arizona, and The Rockettes. Taylor then attended the University of Arizona and was honored to perform pieces such as Antique Epigraphs by Jerome Robbins and Concerto Barocco by George Balanchine. In the spring of 2019 Taylor graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Taylor is a Company Corps artist with local ballet company Ballet Fantastique. This is her second season with the company and she has loved dancing for such an innovative company. She is hopeful to continue to make meaningful connections with the community through dance and have a positive impact on the audiences of Eugene.
Jessica Jay Mackinson
Jessica Jaye Mackinson
Jessica Jaye Mackinson received her training as a scholarship student at the Milwaukee Ballet School. She attended summer intensives at the School of American Ballet, Boston Ballet School, the Vail International Dance Festival, as well as with the Chautauqua Institution in New York where she was invited to dance with Charlotte Ballet (then NCDT) for their summer season. She won first place in the Carey Rose Dance Competition, and received scholarships to the Rock School for Dance Education, Blue Lake Fine Arts, and Orlando Ballet.
Mackinson has performed professionally with Milwaukee Ballet, BalletMet, Rockford Dance Company, Madison Ballet, and Elements Contemporary Ballet. She guested for Indiana Ballet Theater and Innervation Dance Chicago, and worked as a back up dancer for Weird Al Yankovic and Hannibal Buress.
Mackinson earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Rockford University, where she also served as an adjunct professor of dance. Over the past 12 years, Mackinson has excelled in managerial and directorship roles for numerous arts-based organizations in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Oregon. With a passion for teaching, Mackinson taught extensively for over 20 years, developing dance curricula for all ages and abilities.
Mackinson lives in Oregon with her partner and two children.
Lower School Instructor
Isabelle Morgan began her ballet training at OBA at the age of four. After years of helping out, she began teaching during the summer and subbing in the winter as well as directing summer camps for the lower school. She is very excited to be a full time staff member now.
Isabelle has danced in all of OBA's productions while growing up and had the opportunity to perform some solos. Isabelle was featured as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel as well as Princess Leia in Star Wars/ Dance Wars ballet in addition to being featured in many of OBA's other shows. Isabelle has also choreographed lower school productions, such as Angelina Ballerina.
When Isabelle is not dancing, she spends her time perfecting her violin technique and spending time with family and friends.
(Fun Fact- Isabelle has not missed a day of violin practice since 2016!)
Lower School Instructor
Isabel began dancing at age 5, focusing mainly on classical ballet, and later furthering her training with jazz and modern. Throughout high school, she performed throughout the community and danced solo ballet roles with Hosanna Dance and the Hosanna Performing Arts Foundation.
She received her Associate of Arts degree from Lane Community College in 2020, and will graduate from the University of Oregon as a dance major in 2022, receiving a bachelor of science degree and a certificate in teaching dance. She has taught at Hosanna Dance since 2019, as well as choreographing and running rehearsals with the Hosanna Performing Arts Foundation. She is excited to join the Oregon Ballet Academy staff in 2021!
Ms. Steidl's early training began with her mother, Mary Paula, founder of Petaluma School of Ballet. She continued her training with San Francisco Ballet School under the direction of Richard Cammack and an outstanding faculty that included Christine Bering, Christine Busch, Zola Dishong, Zelda Mortimor, and Anatole Vilzak. Ms. Steidl performed in San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker, school demonstrations and danced throughout Northern California as a guest artist for many years. Traveling to Russia, Ms Steidl had the opportunity to observe the International Ballet Competitions and participated in ballet classes in Moscow and St. Petersburg, providing the experience of a life time! Teaching has always been part of Ms. Steidl's training and she enjoys sharing her love of dance with students of all levels. She taught in the San Francisco bay area extensively before relocating to Wisconsin where she taught for Milwaukee Ballet School for several years. Returning to the West Coast she has been a guest teacher for Pacific School of Dance in Coos Bay, OR. Ms. Steidl enjoys working with the dancers and continues to coach and rehearse Ballet Pacific Company members.