The John Carroll Ballet Academy

Under the direction of Laura Ward-Moran, Director of the John Carroll College Preparatory Dance Program, The Ballet Academy was founded to meet the need in our community for a structured, anatomically safe learning environment for students to obtain, grow and expand upon a proper ballet foundation as well as receive superior training in other dance genres.

Our Mission

The Ballet Academy was established to provide quality dance education to youth ages 3-18 by offering a curriculum of classes geared toward correcting and perfecting technique all while maintaining the proper balance of classes, performing and cross-training to prevent burn-out, overuse and mental fatigue. Our program is structured to support proper dancer development within a realistic schedule that will keep dancers dancing longer and stronger.

Whether you are committed to growing with us as your primary dance education facility or taking classes to supplement your training, you are guaranteed to find balance that will help you reach your goals without compromising your youth and well-being. We are a facility that strongly believes in quality over quantity when it comes to training life-long dancers.

Through the Ballet Academy, we offer the highest level of instruction for every child; our youngest dancers receive the same level of expertise in their instruction as our eldest. Integrity is always maintained by students and staff and class time is devoted to training and perfecting dancers in the intricacies of technique, not in preparing recital dances. Students wanting further performing opportunities can participate in our Preparatory Academy Company, THRIVE!

Dance opportunities

Explore what dance opportunities are currently available at John Carroll and don't miss any upcoming performances!

Designed for children ages 3-5, this workshop introduces them to the world of dance. Through nursery rhymes, fairytales and songs, classes enhance language and listening skills while developing motor skills, rhythm and coordination. Led by primary dance educator Mrs. Kellie Weygant, each class focuses on different developmental skills, fostering teamwork, friendship and fun in a magical and nurturing environment.

Through collaboration with our John Carroll College Preparatory Dance Program, we offer two performance opportunities a year. We pride ourselves by being able to offer a first-rate performing experience in our state-of-the-art Auditorium.

In the winter, our school performs The Nutcracker Ballet, followed by an additional story ballet in the spring. Through this collaboration, John Carroll students in the Dance Seminar Course as part of their coursework, are actively engaged in assisting in this process of putting on a production with the youth in our Ballet Academy. This experience offers great mentorship opportunities for our older students and enjoyable process for our community youth.

It is evident to see through these performances all of the progress and individual growth each dancer has made in our program. Education is at the forefront of everything we do.


Classes will begin September 11 and end April 27.

Class will not be held on the following dates:

  • October 9
  • October 31
  • November 18, 22–27
  • December 11–January 1
  • February 19
  • March 27–April 7

Required Attire

Ballet classes have a specific uniform leotard that must be purchased via our school store. Please visit the school store in the main building on campus to order yours. Female dancers will also need pink tights and pink leather or canvas split sole ballet slippers. Male dancers must have proper male dance attire.

Modern, Contemporary, Jazz and Lyrical classes allow dancers to wear any solid leotard or tank top with leggings and/or tights.

Meet the Director

Director of Student Activities, College Preparatory Dance Program Director, Ballet Academy Director

Laura Ward-Moran is the Director of Student Activities, and Director of both The John Carroll School Ballet Academy and The John Carroll School College Preparatory Dance Program. An award-winning dancer, choreographer, Pilates Instructor and educator, her extensive 25-year career includes time as a performer, educator, business owner, consultant, curriculum writer and program implementer. She has taught ballet, modern, composition and Pilates throughout the East Coast in public and private secondary education, as well as Pilates for her alma mater, Goucher College. She has been on faculty for various festivals and workshops throughout the East Coast as a guest lecturer and teacher. Her Involvement with dance education goes beyond the classroom as she has an extensive background in writing curriculum and implementing dance programs in public and private schools; having written curriculum for and implemented programs in Harford County, Baltimore County and The John Carroll School. Additionally, she is pursuing her M.Ed in Educational Leadership with administrator certification at Loyola University.

Laura was the first to bring The Authentic Pilates Method of Body Conditioning to Harford County in 2002. While commuting to/living in New York from 2000–2002, she received her certification as an Authentic Pilates Instructor in New York City, NY, and is currently a level V+ Instructor through Romana’s Pilates, New York City, NY. She is proud to have been a direct student of Joseph Pilates’ protégé, Romana Kryzanowska. In addition, she spent a valuable summer in Dallas, Texas at Southern Methodist University where she obtained her Fundamentals Certificate in the Language of Dance (Motif), as developed by Dr. Ann Hutchinson Guest where she also had the privilege to learn from Dr. Tina Curran. Laura is also certified by Marie Walton-Mahon to teach Progressing Ballet Technique. She attributes her ability to “see and correct” a dancers body placement to these additional studies and certifications she has achieved.

Fifteen years of her extensive career were spent successfully owning and operating her own school, The Maryland School of Ballet and Modern Dance, Inc. where she built and grew a dance program for children and adults producing 29 original ballet and modern dance concerts through her school and Company, The Maryland Dance Project. In 2016, she successfully executed the sale of her school assets and dissolved her company.

Today, you will find former students of Laura’s performing in various dance companies, working as dance educators, Pilates instructors and various other dance related fields. Her students have graduated from/are currently attending prestigious dance programs and schools including: The School of American Ballet Summer Program, Miami City Ballet Summer Intensive, The University of Arizona, George Mason, The Boston Conservatory, Towson University, Point Park and Goucher College.

Laura has contributed to her community as a panelist, guest speaker, volunteer and columnist regarding dance, education and business. Her publications include being interviewed for Dance Studio Life Magazine as well as serving as a contributing writer for Dance Teacher Web. She keeps an active online dance audience through her blog, A Collection of Dance Topics. She is a member of the NDEO, the Maryland Dance Council and the Sponsor for the JCS NHSDA Chapter. Currently, she serves on the MDEA Board where she represents private, independent and parochial Schools for grades K-12. She also served her community as a proud member of the Harford County Cultural Arts Advisory Board June 2018 through January 2021. Laura is the recipient of the Maryland Dance Education Association 2022 Dance Educator of the Year: K-12 Education. Additionally, she holds her Real Estate Salesperson License in the State of Maryland.