Leadership Team

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

Artistic Director

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, MPA

Executive Director

Elysia Petru Hulings is currently the Executive Director of The Ballet Conservatory of South Texas, the only nonprofit ballet academy and pre-professional company in San Antonio.  Elysia’s career has paired a passion for the arts with a commitment to public service.  She started early, holding a company position with the only professional ballet company in San Antonio at the age of 14.  Elysia later pursued a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Texas at San Antonio, which included more than a year studying art restoration at the Lorenzo de Medici School of Art in Florence, Italy.  After school, Elysia served as Executive Director of the Texas Burn Survivor Society, a nonprofit that helps provide treatment and care to burn survivors. Elysia then left San Antonio with her now-husband and moved to Washington, D.C., where Elysia served as a finance consultant for multiple elected leaders and policy development organizations, including the New Democratic Coalition, Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), and Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI).  After several years in Washington, Elysia and her husband moved to Del Rio, Texas, where Elysia served as the Marketing and Sponsorship Director for Laughlin A.F.B. She also started her own ballet company, Border Ballet, through which she produced community ballet productions and worked with young dancers across west Texas. After Elysia and her husband were transferred back to San Antonio, Elysia worked closely with multiple nonprofit organizations to expand their development programs and improve their operations.  Along with her leadership of the Ballet Conservatory, Elysia has served as the Development Director (working remotely) for the School for Ethics and Global Leadership, a nonprofit semester school dedicated to molding the next generation of American leaders in Washington, D.C.  She also leads the San Antonio Chapter President of the Texas Humane Legislative Network, serves as the Vice President of her neighborhood HOA, and was the Development Chair and member of the Board of Directors for Healthy Futures of Texas.  Elysia recently received her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Certificate in Nonprofit Management, and enjoys spending all her free time with her husband and very active toddler.


Associate Artistic Director