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Contessi Ballet and the North Bay Performing Arts Association



Contessi Ballet offers instruction in classical ballet, following the methods of Vaganova and Cecchetti, contemporary dance, pas de deux, and pointe. Marcella Contessi-Smith founded the Contessi Ballet School and the North Bay Performing Arts Center over 40 years ago. We have highly talented, professionally trained and experienced teachers in the performing arts. We are proud of the excellent reputation Marcella Contessi-Smith has built and we are dedicated to maintaining high quality training at our school. Instruction methods and techniques are based on the firm belief that every student has something to offer and learning should be fun and exciting! It is important that each student develop a sense of self confidence and self esteem. All students receive a generous amount of personal attention. We recognize the potential in each dancer and work very hard to assist the students in developing to their fullest potential.


With the mission of making the performing arts accessible to all, the North Bay Performing Arts Association is a California (501(c)(3)) organization comprised of a dedicated team of volunteers who work on studio maintenance, performances, and public outreach. NBPAA sponsors the annual Nutcracker production and a spring performance. In August 2018, Marcella Contessi Smith gifted Contessi Ballet School to NBPAA. The school is now operated by the Association a non-profit; only the teachers are compensated for their time.


Association Members


Kathleen Alvarado Mankowski
Board Members:

Michelle Hirsch, Treasurer

Jennifer Ridgeway

Advisory Board Members:

Noelle Brennan

Nathan Mitchell

Volunteers for Contessi Ballet School

Payroll Volunteer:

Cindy Figueiredo

Social Media Specialist Volunteer:

Katie Zechlin Hotz


President's Note

On behalf of the Board, I would like to welcome you to the Contessi family! I am fortunate to have worked with our talented and experienced former owner and Director, Marcella Contessi Smith, who sadly passed away in 2020.  It is our mission to continue her legacy, which she started in 1976, by maintaining a true classical ballet school where our students are educated in the history of ballet and dance as well as trained in the Russian Vaganova and Italian Cecchetti methods of classical ballet.  In addition, our goal as a Board is to help foster the continued success of Contessi Ballet through our productions and help to maintain an inviting and positive studio environment for dancers of all ages in order to ensure the future success of Contessi Ballet school.

As a non-profit school, we seek out grants and fundraise to assist with the continued success of our beautiful school and with the productions of The Nutcracker as well as our Spring showcase. Your support of NBPAA is sincerely appreciated.

Kathleen Alvarado Mankowski
President, NBPAA

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