”The U.S. International Ballet is leading the American wave of bringing health and diversity to ballet. Dancers are chosen for passion and talent, never for a specific body type.”

Our Team

Elizabeth Hester
Executive Director

Owner and Founder of the Wilmington School of Ballet & Dance, the Wilmington Preschool of Fine Arts, Glitz & Glam, and ZFitness Wilmington. She is, also, the Executive Director of the Wilmington Ballet Company. Her goal in establishing these companies was to provide many opportunities to students in the Lower Cape Fear Region of NC for quality dance education.​​ Hester was a soloist with Raleigh Dance Theater and a former faculty member of the Raleigh School of Ballet. Hester studied at the Atlanta Ballet as a scholarship student, the Walnut Hill School of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts, East Carolina Dance Program, and the Richmond Ballet, & has a degree in Civil Engineering from NC State. 

Walter Angelini
Artistic Director, RESIDENT Choreographer

Mr. Angelini studied at Accademia Del Teatro Alla Scala Di Milano where he also gaining performing experience with the ballet company of the same name and he was awarded a full scholarship for the JKO at American Ballet Theatre of NYC where he graduated. He has performed, as Soloist and Principal Dancer, all around the world. He join US International Ballet as Principal Dancers and Ballet Masters in 2017. Later that year, in addition to his role he were named Wilmington Ballet Company and USIB Artistic Director along his wife Ines Albertini. They brought to this position a gift for choreographing and for teaching, a dynamic vision, and the pursuit of excellence. Walter is an ABT® Certified Teacher.

Ines Albertini
Artistic Director, RESIDENT Choreographer

Mrs. Albertini studied at Ballettschule Theater Basel and graduated from Tanz Akademie Zuerich, Switzerland. She has performed, as Soloist and Principal Dancer, all around the world. She join US International Ballet as Principal Dancers and Ballet Masters in 2017. Later that year, in addition to her role she were named Wilmington Ballet Company and USIB Artistic Director along her husband Walter Angelini. They brought to this position a gift for choreographing and for teaching, a dynamic vision, and the pursuit of excellence. Ines is an ABT® Certified Teacher.

Andrea Chickness
Development Supervisor

Bio coming soon

Debra Berger
 Ballet Mistress

Debra Berger began her professional career at the age of nine when she performed with the New York City Ballet Company. Debra was a student at The School of American Ballet and performed with the company in The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Harlequinade. She studied modern at the Alvin Ailey School and jazz with Luigi, Charles Kelly and Nat Horne.
   Growing up in New York City she had the opportunity to study acting at HB Studios and voice with some of the greatest teachers in musical theater.
    Her performing credits also include: A Chorus Line, West Side Story, I Ought To Be In Pictures, and Educating Rita.
  As a director, choreographer, and teacher, Debra has traveled extensively, teaching ballet and jazz in the U.S. and Brazil. Debra is a certified Teaching Artist with Dancing Classrooms. She recently moved to Wilmington, and is thrilled to contribute to the performing arts in our community.

Katie Smyth
Inclusion Specialist

Bio coming soon

Nicole White

White has been a faculty member of the Wilmington School of Ballet since 2002. She served as Artistic Director & Founding Director of Dance for the Wilmington Ballet Company staging numerous ballets including The Nutcracker, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Cinderella, as well as excerpts from Raymond, Le Corsaire, Les Sylphides, and La Bayadere. White began her training with the Indianapolis Ballet Theater and Butler University’s pre-collegiate division, Jordan College Academy of Dance.  There, she trained under many wonderful teachers including Jack Copeland, Dace Dindonis, Dale Shields, Ken & Sue Tolle, Michael Stevenson, and Michelle Piner. She went on to spend 2 summers training at the Joffrey Ballet School and received a scholarship to Virginia School of the Arts. Upon graduating high school, White obtained a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Butler University, where she trained with Rochelle Zide-Booth, Marek Cholewa, Michele Jarvis, Rosanna Ruffo, Stephan Laurent, Larry Carpenter-White, and Cynthia Pratt.  She, also, spent a summer studying under the Vaganova School teachers at the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia. White was a soloist at Butler University and the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory Theater and performed in ballets such as; The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Rite of Spring, and Petrouchka, as well as, original and contemporary choreography. She, also, performed with the Greensboro Ballet and taught for their school before fully turning her attention to teaching with WBS.

Stacey Slichter
 Dance Instructor

Stacey Slichter is in her seventh season with North Atlanta Dance Theatre.  Stacey most recently danced the lead Wench and lead Topaz in Mr. Garrison's Pirates of the Phantom Waves, as well as, Sugar Plum in NADT's Nutcracker.In 2008 Stacey Slichter performed Myrtha in NADT'sGiselle.  In 2007, she performed the Grand Pas De Deux in Aurora's Wedding from Sleeping Beauty.  In 2005 and 2006, she performed Fate in Michael Garrison's Carmen.  She has also performed Michael Garrison's Echa Pa'Lante solo in NADT's Spring Concert 2005 and Snow Queen and Russina in NADT's Nutcracker 2005 and 2006.Stacey began training in Miami, Florida under the direction of Lynne Dresson, Gloria Gaither and Victoria Leigh.  She spent her summers training at The Houston Ballet Academy.  After attending and graduating from The Harid Conservatory, Stacey joined The Sarasota Ballet of Florida as a company member.  She has also danced professionally with Ballet Eddy Toussaint USA, Ballet Memphis, and Atlanta Ballet, in addition to performing with The Sarasota Opera.  Stacey is currently on the faculty of North Atlanta Dance Academy.  She enjoys teaching ballet to students of all ages.  Stacey is the proud mother of eight year old Maren!



and Values

Our mission is to create a company where a dancer can achieve their dreams through drive and commitment, where all dancers are given meaningful performance opportunities , where passion is valued above any particular body type, where technical excellence & artistry abound, and where lives are enriched through healthy dance achievement.


We value….


  • Commitment

  • Passion

  • Kindness

  • Hard work

  • Team Spirit

  • Humility

  • Honesty

  • Teachability

  • Community

  • Opportunity

  • Excellence

  • Health

  • Wellbeing

  • Ambition


U.S. International Ballet

The U.S. International Ballet is leading the American wave of bringing health and diversity to ballet. Ballet has historically been for the elite and in recent years has been wrought with unhealthy body images. The U.S. International Ballet is a leader in the new generation for change!

Dancers are chosen for passion and talent, never for a specific body type. Diversity is celebrated. Strong dancers who blend technical excellence and artistry are the ones who move audiences! The U.S. International Ballet is committed to developing a company that is healthy and happy.


Every dancer is valued! Often dancers feel lost in the back in big ballet environments. The U.S. International Ballet is committed to each dancer, whether apprentice or professional. That is why we offer the apprentice promise - the most unique in America. When an apprentice completes the apprentice program, they are guaranteed a professional contract. There is no other company who has that type of commitment to apprentices!


Professionals are still trained and grown artistically. Everyone gets daily class and is pushed to continue to develop technically. Each class has a professional teacher who is devoting their attention to giving a meaningful and inspiring class, everyday!


The U.S. International Ballet is committed to innovation. Our repertoire ranges from cutting edge contemporary to full length classical. We employ renowned choreographers, work with innovative costumers/puppeteers, involve film in dance, mix circus arts with ballet, and celebrate classic repertoire.


We are a resident Company of the magnificent Wilson Center and we guarantee a multi-city tour. The Wilson Center (www.capefearstage.com) is a 1500 seat state of the art theater. We also perform in numerous smaller venues to showcase cutting edge work. The U.S. International Ballet is committed to touring so that dancers can have the professional experience of travelling a production.


USIB provides year round professional opportunities. Summer is a company season and not just an intensive! Repertoire is set over the summer and performances are innovative.


Join us at the U.S. International Ballet - where your dance dreams can come true!

History of US International Ballet (USIB)

USIB was built upon the foundational work of The Wilmington Ballet Company (WBC) and The Wilmington School of Ballet (WSB). WBC/WSB was founded in 1999 by Elizabeth Hester with a mission of raising the level of ballet accessible to eastern NC, producing professional calibre productions that involved the community, and creating a ballet program that celebrated body diversity & dancer health.


For 17 years, WBC/WSB grew every year in size and stature. Community relationships and professionally produced productions were the core of the successful growth. WSB/WBC became a pillar of the arts in Southeastern North Carolina. Collaborations with the public school system, University, Symphony, community agencies, and more developed a broad audience for ballet performances. WSB/WBC brought in guest artists and master teachers from regional companies, including Carolina Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, Louisville Ballet, Washington Ballet, and Columbia City Ballet, in order to continually raise the barre for local ballet.


In 2015, the magnificent Wilson Center (a multi-million dollar state of the art theater) opened. The Center is unique in that it was funded by a tax bond with the intent to raise the arts level in our community. WSB/WBC had the infrastructure and community depth to become the only non-profit professional resident ballet company of the amazing theater. This was the beginning of USIB.


USIB was opened as an exclusively professional company that partners with WBC/WSB in all Wilson Center productions. WBC/WSB continues to be a production company that organizes youth, community, and outreach to put on major productions. In addition to partnering with WBC/WSB, USIB performs exclusively professional productions and tours.


Since opening, USIB has grown to over 30 dancers from 5 countries and has developed a tour in North Carolina. USIB partners with the community in every touring city. USIB collaborates with community groups, schools, and arts agencies on strategic long term efforts to enhance ballet in that community. The community partnership is a unique and stabilizing element of USIB.


USIB also has an international partner, Piacenza Art Summer Ballet Course (PAB). USIB Artistic Directors, Walter Angelini and Ines Albertini, are the founders and directors of PAB. USIB dancers have unique international opportunities with PAB.


USIB is taking the legacy of WSB/WBC and creating a remarkable future for artistry, diversity and health in ballet.


Written: March 2018; updated September 2019