Leadership and experience are necessary to run a successful organization. The Ballet Conservatory is exceptional in that it is a two-tiered non-profit ballet academy and pre-professional company. Our faculty and staff have exceptional knowledge in the non-profit and arts community, and are committed to providing each student with the necessary tools and education to achieve their dancing goals.
Marieli Guardiola Pope
Since 2011, Marieli Guardiola Pope has served as the Ballet Conservatory Artistic Director. Born in Puerto Rico, Mrs. Guardiola Pope began her ballet training at the age of 8 with the Conservatorio de Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico and at a young age received intense summer training at Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Later, she became a member of Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico where she achieved a Principal Soloist position. Mrs. Guardiola Pope has studied and worked during her dance career with Carlota Carrera, Jose Pares, Maria Carrera, Lolita San Miguel, Lourdes Gomez, Alberto Mendez, Susan Pilarre, Vladimir Issaev, Cherie Noble, Gloria Contreras, Jimmy Gamonet de los Heros, Sylvia Marichal, Mayra Worthen, and Gabriel Zertuche, among many others.
She has performed lead roles in The Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Paquita, Carmen and Coppelia to name a few. Mrs. Guardiola Pope has performed in St. Thomas, Aruba, Egypt, Taiwan and throughout the United States. She has been a guest artist with Berks Ballet Theatre in Pennsylvania, and danced seven seasons with Ballet San Antonio. She performed in numerous classical and contemporary works including Gabriel Zertuche’s Tango Santa Maria, Stop, and Ode to Frida. Commenting on her role as Frida Kahlo, critics stated that she was “compelling” and conveyed “the iconic artist’s striving passion and pain both through her acting and dancing.” She has also received critical acclaim for her performances in neo-classical roles including “Dark Angel” in George Balanchine’s Serenade, William Dollar’s The Combat, “Alicia” in Jimmy Gamonet’s Pico Rico Mandorico, and Christine in Alberto Mendez’s The Phantom of the Opera.
Mrs. Guardiola Pope has also taught in numerous ballet schools throughout Puerto Rico and Texas and was the Rehearsal Assistant for Ballet San Antonio during her stint with the company. She has choreographed numerous contemporary and neo-classical pieces, and staged many classical productions for The Ballet Conservatory. Mrs. Guardiola Pope attends Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet for her continuing teacher education.
Most recently, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies – Bilingual Generalist.
Elysia Petru Hulings
Interim Executive Director
Originally from San Antonio, Mrs. Petru Hulings was a Company member with the Texas Ballet Concerto, and graduated from Clark High School. She later received a Fine Arts degree from The University of Texas at San Antonio, and interned as an art restorer in Florence, Italy. Mrs. Petru Hulings volunteered and worked for several grass root non-profits in San Antonio before moving to Washington, D.C. There she spent four years as a political fundraiser, and assisted several non-profit think tanks. Mrs. Petru Hulings and her husband returned to Texas moving to Del Rio, where she served as the Marketing Director and Sponsorship Coordinator for Laughlin AFB. In the evenings, she taught tap and ballet, and staged the community production of the Nutcracker.
Returning to San Antonio, Mrs. Petru Hulings completed her Masters in Public Administration and Certification in Non-profit management. She joined the Ballet Conservatory as their Development and Marketing Director, while also teaching Ballet I. In 2016, Mrs. Petru Hulings attended the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Teachers Workshop under the guidance of Marcia Dale Weary and Darla Hoover, perfecting the curriculum that the Ballet Conservatory is recognized for in the community. Currently serving as the Interim Executive Director, Mrs. Petru Hulings still oversees all development and fundraising programs, while still teaching ballet. In her spare time, Mrs. Petru Hulings enjoys spending time with her energetic toddler, John John, and volunteering on various non-profit boards in the city.