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.
Lower School Instructor
Sophie has grown up in the studio and has been dancing since she the age of 2. She trained mainly classical ballet at OBA, until she began competing Latin ballroom when she was 10. She became a National Champion in Latin ballroom at the age of 15. At OBA, she has danced solo ballet roles such as The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, the Evil Queen in Snow White, and the Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty.
Sophie received her Bachelor of Science in Public Health from Oregon State University in 2020, while still teaching ballet at Oregon Ballet Academy in the Summers.
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.
Cornesha Tweede was born and raised in Riverside, California. She is the founder and owner of Tweede Tingz LLC where she teaches, interprets, translates and tutors in Spanish. She received her B.A. degree in Spanish with a minor in Biochemistry from Oral Roberts University. While at Oral Roberts, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Valencia, Spain.Cornesha is also a dance teacher and dance performer here in the Eugene/Springfield area. She has been dancing for 16 years and is very compassionate about how life is shaped through movement. She has trained in various styles of dance including West African, styles of hip hop, contemporary, jazz, praise dancing, (among others). She has taught hip hop, Zumba, jazz technique, drill and more to students ranging from age 5 years old and up.Currently, she is happily part of the Adult Performance Teams at Elite Dance Company and Xcape Dance Academy. She has been part of the choreography team at Elite for the past two years and will be again this year!
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.
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.