Ballet West Academy announces new principals for two locations

SALT LAKE CITY–May 2, 2018– The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy is thrilled to announce the promotion of Heather Fryxell to Principal of the Salt Lake City campuses; and the hiring of former Ballet West dancer, Maricar Drilon to the Principal role at the Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation Ballet West Academy at Thanksgiving Point.

“We’re delighted to have Heather and Maricar in these roles,” said Peter LeBreton Merz, Director of the Academy. “Both are veterans of the ballet world, having grown up in the studio, performed on the stage, and have had long careers teaching the next generation. I’ve worked with both of them closely; they have skilled administrative talents, deep artistic integrity, and a passion for ballet that is infectious.”

Heather Fryxell graduated from Brigham Young University with degrees in English literature and educational psychology. After graduation, Heather danced with Atlanta Ballet before joining Southern Ballet Theatre (currently Orlando Ballet) as principal dancer. She co-founded the Central Florida Ballet and taught for several years before returning to Utah. At Ballet West she has launched the highly successful Movement Mentor program which teaches ballet to children with special abilities. “Heather’s teaching career spans three decades, educating students at all skill levels and ages. I know she will lift the Academy to even greater heights,” said Peter.

Maricar Drilon trained with Ballet Philippines, before joining that company as a principal dancer at the age of 18. In 1984, she joined Ballet West under the direction of Bruce Marks as a first soloist. She went on to dance with Oregon Ballet Theater, Nevada Ballet Theatre, and LA Classical Ballet. In 2000, she founded her school, Northwest Classical Ballet, and choreographed and set numerous full-length ballets including The Nutcracker, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, and Don Quixote. “I have watched Maricar’s students for quite some time now and she is a remarkable teacher with great credentials,” said Peter. “Maricar has a winning way with people, and has the ability to inspire. She will be marvelous with our local, national, and international students and fantastic with parents, faculty, and public alike.”

“Since I became Artistic Director of Ballet West, over 10 years ago, I have worked hard with the directors and faculty of our Academy to help it grow. I would like to thank Jennie Creer-King at the Thanksgiving Point campus for setting the course—steadily building and expanding the reputation of the Academy in Utah County,” said Adam Sklute. “Heather and Maricar are perfect in their new roles to continue this growth at the Ballet West Academy into a major destination school.”

Ballet West Academy has four campuses and is home to more than 900 fulltime students. Another 300 students are accepted to the Summer Intensive every year. Students attend from every state in the nation and several foreign countries. Notable alumni include Robbie and Megan Fairchild, current and former Principal Dancers, respectively with New York City Ballet. Dancers in the Academy consistently place in the final rounds of the Youth American Grand Prix and other prestigious competitions.


Joshua Jones, Director of Communications | 801-414-4101 (cell) |