Elizabeth Musil McCarthy Grand Rapids Ballet Development Director

Elizabeth McCarthy Musil

Development Director

Elizabeth comes to us from Disability Advocates of Kent County where she served as Development Director since 2015. There she provided leadership and management of mission advancement and philanthropic giving.  As a member of the senior leadership team she shared in responsibilities of the organization’s strategic initiatives and community engagement.  Prior to her tenure at Disability Advocates, she held previous development roles in arts and culture organizations including Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and Gilda’s LaughFest.

Elizabeth is from Grand Rapids, Michigan and earned her B.A. in Communications from Grand Valley State University. She is a member of Association of Fundraising Professionals, The Economic Club of Grand Rapids, GVSU Women’s Center Advisory Council, and Inforum.

To learn more about making a donation or sponsorship opportunities, send Elizabeth an email here.

Marketing Director Michael Erickson

Michael Erickson

Marketing Director

Michael Erickson joined Grand Rapids Ballet as marketing director in August of 2016. Prior to that, he was the marketing director for Fifth Group Restaurants in Atlanta, Georgia.

Prior to Fifth Group Restaurants, he held various marketing positions in advertising agencies in Atlanta including Ogilvy & Mather and Earle Palmer Brown.

Erickson received a BAA in Journalism from Central Michigan University with a concentration in advertising.

To learn more about marketing and advertising opportunities, send Michael an email here.

Mellissa Slack

Production Stage Manager

Mellissa joined Grand Rapids Ballet in August of 2009. Prior to that, she locally worked for Opera Grand Rapids, Mason Street Warehouse, and Grand Valley State University. She has also worked at numerous regional theatre across America. Some favorites were Weston Playhouse in Vermont and Pioneer Theatre Company in Utah. Prior to her stint of regional theatres, she was a Senior Entertainment Technician for Carnival Cruise Lines.

When not hanging out in a dark theatre, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 children.

John Ferraro

Company & Facilities Manager

John Ferraro came to Grand Rapids Ballet in 2008. Initially brought on board as Production Manager having graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy as a theater tech major and having worked with various theaters in Chicago and Boston.

Over time his responsibilities have changed and grown to eventually become Company Manager as well as managing the Grand Rapids Ballet facilities.

After attending Columbia College in Chicago as a photography major John has worked in a variety of industries from industrial design at Synergy Product Development to electronic publishing at McGraw Hill, to technical writing for Siemens Dematic. He also has extensive experience in the custom furniture world.

In what seems to him like another life, John also studied violin making at the Chicago School of Violin Making and continues to make the occasional instrument in his home shop, which he donates to young musicians who can’t afford a good quality violin.

Kelly Herremans

Box Office Manager

Bio coming soon!

dawnell grand rapids ballet staff

Dawnell Dryja

Artistic Coodinator

Dawnell retired from dancing with Grand Rapids Ballet in 2017 after 16 seasons. She then transitioned to Artistic Coordinator and Ballet Mistress at Grand Rapids Ballet.  Previously dancing with Cincinnati Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Dayton Ballet and Metropolitan Ballet Theatre of Detroit, Dawnell enjoyed a long, rewarding career with a repertoire spanning the classics to contemporary masterpieces, including Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Paquita, Dracula, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Firebird, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Jack The Ripper, Red Angels, Fingerprints, Black and White, Sync, Jewels, Allegro Brilliante, Who Cares, Serenade, Four Temperaments, Divertimento No. 15, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Concerto Barocco, Nine Sinatra Songs, Where the Wild Things Are, Celts, Rapture, Il Distratto, Con Amore, The Sofa, This Is Not A Raincoat, and The Gift of the Magi.

Having the opportunity to work with esteemed choreographers and teachers from around the world such as Lila York, Nils Christe, Fredrick Franklin, Suzanne Farrell, Kirk Peterson, Val Caniporoli, Peter Boal, Septime Webre, Raymond Lukens, Mario Radakovsky, and Stanton Welch helped shape her artistry.  Having new roles crafted for her and mastering the classics were her happy place as a dancer.  Performing live in concert with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and the John Jorgenson Quintet were outstanding stage experiences.

Additionally, Dawnell took over as the owner and Artistic Director of Academy of Dance Arts in Comstock Park, Michigan, six years ago and enjoys fostering an environment where the students can grow in all the different disciplines of dance, as well as staging and creating new works.  She holds a professional membership with Dance Masters of America and the Cecchetti Council of America and enjoys guest teaching, dancing and judging around the country.

Ms. Dryja is married to Bryce Black and has a daughter Tevyn who is the light of her life.

Errol Shewman

Guest Services Manager

Bio coming soon!