Ayana Ballet School’s mission is to bring joy and happiness through creativity. We hope to create the finest educational space for the specialized training of young dancers where they are given the opportunity to grow and excel in their dance education. We wish to encourage our students to achieve their fullest potential – to support them as they grow artistically and intellectually, and help them to develop into well-rounded individuals – strong character, nurtured in body, mind, and spirit.


Founder & Director
Marianna Kombou


Kasymbek Tynibekov, Ballet, Character Dance, Boys Ballet, Choreography

Katsura Karadi, Ballet

Heather Shaw, Ballet, Contemporary, Choreography, Special Projects

Lacin Keles, Pre-ballet & Contemporary, Special Projects

Guest Instructors

Anton Penkavich, Ballet

Kimberly Dodge, Ballet

Kat Kalotkin, Contemporary

Marianna Kombou, Director

Marianna Kombou is the founder and director of Ayana Ballet School. For the last 15 years, she has trained dancers of all levels in ballet, historical dance and more. Marianna received a BS in Art Management & World History from Saint Petersburg National University of Art and Culture. She started her dance training at a young age at he Bishkek National School of choreography in Kyrgyzstan, where she was trained in the Vaganova Method.

The Vaganova method highlights understanding the body as a whole. Training is progressive and works on building strength, flexibility and minimizing injury. Marianna is well versed in a wide breadth of dance curriculum, including ballet technique, national character dance, historical dance, modern ballet and ballet history. She provides students with a deep understanding and passion for arts and culture, while developing exception versatility and adaptability.

Heather Shaw, Contemporary & Ballet

Heather Shaw received her early training at Santa Cruz Ballet Theater and TDC of the Bay Area. After graduating high school at age 15 and gaining an AA in Music, she went on to receive her BA in Philosophy (with a Theater/Dance minor) from UC Berkeley at age 20. In Los Angeles, Heather danced professionally with MKM Bollystars and Daurden Contemporary Dance Theater. She is currently a company dancer with ArcTangent Dance in San Jose. Heather also participated in the Vertigo International Dance Program in Jerusalem, Israel, and was recently selected as one of five Project Tier Choreographers for Regional Dance America’s National Choreography Intensive’20.

Heather has taught for gyms and studios such as Equinox, ElliptiFit, Pure Barre, Art of Pilates, and Plus One on the FOX Lot. Additionally, she has worked as an actor in theater and film and has served as Performing Arts Manager at the Oshman Family JCC, as well as Co-Curator of TEDxPaloAlto. Heather is currently the Artistic Director and Choreographer for Montage Contemporary Company, a contemporary dance company providing performance and repertory opportunities for adult dancers. 

Portrait of Heather Shaw, Contemporary & Ballet instructor at Ayana Ballet School.
Portrait of Lacin Keles, Contemporary & Pre-Ballet Guest Teacher at Ayana Ballet School
Lacin Keles, Contemporary & Pre-Ballet Guest Teacher
Born and raised in Turkey, Keles lived in Russia, stayed in Costa Rica, and traveled to various countries until she moved to California in 2015. Keles has a diverse dance background and she has trained in flamenco, ballet, modern, and contemporary dance, and pole dancing. Lacin has been choreographing, performing, and teaching around the Bay Area since 2016.
Keles has a somatic approach to all movement practices and her pedagogy focuses on the importance of finding our flow and moving with ease. She is the founder of Magnetic Pole Fit and the artistic director of Lacin Keles Movement, a contemporary pole dance company that creates dance works for stage. Keles holds a BS in mechanical engineering and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Dance: Creative Practice from St Mary’s College of California.
Katsura Karadi, Ballet

Katsura Echizen Karadi was born and raised in Japan. She started ballet at her mother’s studio at 4 years old. Later, Katsura went on to train with Hiroki Urushibara and Nayumi Koaki, both former dancers of the Tokyo Ballet Company.  She came to the United States and studied Art History at University of California at Berkeley.

While studying at university, she continued to help her mother’s ballet studio during summer by teaching young children and youth, and preparing performances. Katsura has experience in teaching both children and adults. She encourages students of all ages to challenge themselves and accomplish their individual goals through ballet.

Kasymbek Tynibekov, Ballet, Character Dance, Boys Ballet, Choreography

Kasymbek Tynibekov is a highly experienced and accredited ballet teacher and choreographer based in Ankara, Turkey. He began his journey at the age of 10 and trained at Frunze Ballet School, studying technique based on the Vaganova Method. He went on to become a member of the ballet company at the Opera and Ballet Theater.

Kasymbek graduated from the Russian Institute of Theatre Arts – Moscow, Russia, in the course of Lilia Talankina. After graduation, Kasymbek returned to Opera and Ballet Theater as a teacher specializing in classical ballet, Vaganova Method. In 2010 he moved to Ankara, Turkey with his family and began teaching at Hacettepe University to the present day.