Michelle Cronje Hopper
Ballet & PBT
A native South African, Michelle performed as a professional dancer for over 16 years. Michelle’s training started at age 5 in the RAD, Cecchetti and Vaganova methods. At age 11, she won an international scholarship and attended the Royal Academy of Dancing’s International Summer Intensive program in London.
Michelle performed as a senior soloist with PACT Ballet in South Africa, dancing principal and soloist roles.
During her professional career, Michelle worked with top producers and choreographers like Patricia Neary, Val Caniparoli, Janeck Schergen, Ronald Hynd and David Bintley. She performed great classics and neo-classical pieces, and especially enjoyed performing ballets by George Balanchine, Kenneth McMillan and Choo San Goh.
After immigrating to the United States, Michelle joined Cirque du Soleil, as a featured character, “La Belle,'' in the Mystère show for seven years. Michelle was also dance captain for Mystère, and led dancer auditions and show integration. In addition, she has been featured in many publications including Dancer Magazine, Fast Company, Wine Spectator, Elle, and danceonline.
Michelle has taught at several studios in Southern California, and enjoys focusing on the artistry of movement and the science of technique to give her students the joy of dancing, whether on stage or in class. Michelle believes in a holistic approach, bringing benefit to all dancers.
Michelle is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Michelle is a certified Progressive Ballet Technique (PBT) Teacher, and has also completed her BASI pilates Comprehensive Teacher Training.