Meet Our Founding Artistic Director

A proud Buffalo, NY native, Marisa f. Ballaro is a curious learner and an avid community builder. With dual degrees in Dance and Interdisciplinary Arts for Children, she is a summa cum laude graduate of State University of New York (SUNY), College at Brockport where she received prestigious honors including the Marion Schrank Student Leadership Award and the Outstanding Scholar in the School of Arts & Performance.


An energetic New Yorker, Marisa is on dance faculty at The Brearley School in Manhattan where she received the Margaret Riker Harding Lower School Fellowship and the Serena Marshall Weld 1901 Award; she taught on faculty at the New York State Summer School of the Arts, School of Modern Dance, for over a decade. Working as a master coach with the American Dance Legacy Initiative (ADLI), she developed teaching methodology for America’s modern dance masterworks, performing with ADLI’s ensemble, Dancing Legacy.


Founding Ballaro Dance in 2014, she explores modern dance through a range of viewpoints and approaches. The Company's dancers push boundaries to consider both the importance of rhythm, musicality, and the use of space, along with the compliment of small gesture and storytelling, to make meaning. The choreographic goals include creating a space for the audience to feel an empathetic reaction to the dancer's story, and at the same time to generate a space where the audience feels welcome to be who they are, to enter the space “as is” in the current moment. An advocate, she enjoys introducing people to dance and its approachable nature fully supporting her love of community building, and bringing people together in shared experiences. 


Marisa is on the Board of Directors for the SUNY Brockport Alumni Association, and she serves as Endurance Chair for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Tomorrow's Leaders. She was recognized as an Outstanding Educator by The University of Chicago in October 2019. Marisa is pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Dance at Montclair State University as part of the 2022 cohort.



Ballaro Dance builds community through the creation and presentation of modern dance while inviting its audience, often first-time dance viewers, to SEE, MOVE, & SHARE with the Company in an approachable, welcoming environment. 
We dance to engage with people; we choreograph to tell stories; we produce art to build community.


Adhering to its mission, the Company takes pride in skillfully connecting with various communities inviting them to SEE dance in various formal and informal settings, to MOVE while participating in the art, and to SHARE while gathering for conversation enabling a deeper connection. Ballaro Dance produced a 2019 summer performance series, Open Air, on farms and rooftops, in gardens and parks, across five cities in New York and Connecticut (Manhattan, Brockport, Buffalo, Sandy Hook, Oyster Bay). 2020 presented unique opportunities to SEE, MOVE, & SHARE in new, virtual methods: the Company launched a docuseries on YouTube, produced several new dance films, hosted a physically distanced day of dance at Appleberry Farm (Sandy Hook, CT), presented a virtual performance of new works, and a community production of The NETcracker. The Company began its eighth NYC season in February 2021 and just premiered Embedded Memories, in collaboration with Allison Patrick and Becky Osborne, at Appleberry Farm in Sandy Hook, CT for the Company's 2021 Season Gala.   


Ballaro Dance is a New York City based modern dance company performing the work of Marisa f. Ballaro.


The dances are about physical space, music, and time. Small gestures are brought to life while making meaning through storytelling.