Executive Board & Officers
The Fairfax Ballet Company is a volunteer-based board with only the Executive Director and the Artistic Director receiving monetary compensation. There are no employees of the Company.
The Fairfax Ballet Company
Executive Board 2023-2024
Meet Our Executive Board:
Andrea Cook (Artistic Director) – Andrea, a Fairfax County native, and Chantilly High School alum, is currently the Academy Administrator at the Fairfax Academy for Communications and the Arts, after directing the dance program for nine years. After receiving her BFA in Dance Performance, with a concentration in jazz from Point Park University, Andrea moved to New York City to pursue dance performance and teaching opportunities. During her time in New York City, she danced with PushFactor Dance Company and Undertoe Dance Project worked for the New York International Ballet Competition and taught dance classes at the New York Kids Club. She also served on the faculty of and was a judge for, DanzJam Conventions in the New England area. Her work has been featured in numerous companies and as part of choreography festivals in Pittsburgh, New York City, and the Washington, D.C. area, in addition to local theatre companies. She has had the privilege of working with dancers at various youth companies, including setting both ballet and contemporary works for the Fairfax Ballet.
Karla Petry (Executive Director) – Karla became the Executive Director of The Fairfax Ballet Company in 2011. In her youth, she attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for many summers and worked in professional theaters in Michigan and South Carolina. Karla has worked as a costumer in Hollywood, California; South Carolina, and the various Ballet companies where her children studied dance. Karla has a working knowledge of lighting, backstage operations, stage-craft, and business operations and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University for Recreation and Youth Leadership. She gained leadership experience through her service on a number of Air Force Officers’ Spouses Club Boards as President, Ways and Means, and Financial Chairperson.
Cathleen Karlsson (President) - Ms. Karlsson is the Content Strategist for SpouseLink and the American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA). She has been part of the Marketing team since December 2015. During that time, she hasvdeveloped and managed content creation for
the SpouseLink website and social channels, and has participated in the review of content on the AAFMAA website and additional print and online media. Ms. Karlsson earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Writing (Fiction) from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA. Throughout her four years on campus, she was a Staff Writer and the Assistant Arts & Entertainment editor for “The Pitt News” student newspaper, as well as a performing member of, choreographer for, and member of the board representing the Pitt Dance Ensemble. Her studies included theater production, performer interviews, and costumery. Since 2012, she has been a member of the board for The Fairfax Ballet Company and is currently serving as President of the Board, having previously served twice as Vice President. Additionally, she is the Marketing Chair and produces all promotional materials for the Company and the Russell School of Ballet. Ms. Karlsson performs annually in the Company’s full-length production of The Nutcracker.
Johanna Choi (Vice President) - Ms. Choi has a long history in the field of non-profit work. Ms. Choi earned her Bachelor of Arts from The George Washington University with a double major in Social and Political Philosophy and Human Services. During her undergraduate tenure, she served as a Corp Member for the Neighbors Project, coordinating volunteers and fostering new relationships with local non-profit health sites, increasing volunteerism and awareness of local health issues. Due to her organization's work, May 30th was declared “Neighbors Project Day” by the DC City Council. Through her experiences in the not-for-profit world, Ms. Choi has learned the importance of leveraging technology in organizations to increase outreach, efficiency, and transparency. Ms. Choi furthered her education in technology by earning a Bachelor of Science in Information
System Management from UMGC. Today, she works as a Cybersecurity Advisor, is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and lives in Fairfax County with her husband, their aspiring ballerina daughter, and loving, but dramatic, Siberian Husky.
Ashley DeSesso (Secretary) – Ashley has been a parent at and supporter of the Russell School of Ballet and the Fairfax Ballet since her daughter began dancing seven years ago. While not knowing much about the dance world previously, she has expanded her role at the school over time, working in both the front office and as the volunteer coordinator for several performances. Ashley received her undergraduate degree and masters' degrees at the University of Mary Washington in 2006 and 2007 and has worked in education for almost 16 years. During this time she was a member of various PTA organizations and served on one organization as secretary. She currently works for Fairfax County Public Schools' central offices as an ESOL Resource Teacher which continues to support the organizational skills and familiarity with various digital platforms needed for the role of secretary. Ashley and her family reside in Loudoun County and her eldest daughter dances ballet, jazz, musical theater, and modern at the Russell School of Ballet
Marissa Fattorini (Treasurer) – Marissa has participated and supported the dance community for over 35 years. Marissa began her journey with dance at the age of 3 after her mom recognized her joy imitating dance routines from various movies. She completed 15 years of ballet rooted in the Royal Academy of Dance program while growing up in New Jersey. She expanded into a love of modern and jazz that continued through her college career in Washington, DC at The George Washington University. While at college, Marissa began transitioning to her business career majoring in Economics and minoring in Psychology. Marissa built a professional career across the past 17 years specializing in account management, customer success, and new program launches across financial services and healthcare industries. Today, Marissa serves as Vice President of Membership Advisory Services at The Health Management Academy based in Northern Virginia working with the nation's largest Health Systems and Healthcare Industry Partners. She resides in Fairfax County with her husband and two young daughters who are embarking on their own dancing journey at The Russell School of Ballet.