Susan Gartell is MBC’s Academy Director and Ballet Mistress. Originally from Phoenix, Arizona Ms. Gartell enjoyed seventeen years in professional ballet, thirteen-years of which she spent at Milwaukee Ballet. Her favorite roles with the Company included Ophelia in Stephen Mills production of Hamlet, Mina in Michael Pink’s Dracula, Wendy in Michael Pink’s Peter Pan, and Claudia, a role created for her in Michael Pink’s Mirror Mirror, and the Red Queen in Septime Weber’s Alice in Wonderland.
In addition to her time at Milwaukee Ballet, she had the opportunity to dance with several other companies. She was delighted to perform the role of Odette/Odile as a principal guest artist with the Sacramento Ballet’s production of Swan Lake in 2015. She joined Paradise Ballet Theatre in Key West, Florida for the past four years for their biannual performance of The Nutcracker. She also performed with choreographic competition winner, Petr Zahradnicek, in Palm Desert at the McCallum Theatre for four years and was a member of the Traverse City Dance Project created by Jennifer McQuiston Lott and Brent Whitney.
In 2016, Ms. Gartell retired from full-time dancing and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee with a degree in Political Science. She quickly joined Wisconsin Conservation Voters, working to pass environmentally sound policy in Wisconsin. After a few years, she felt a desire to rejoin the ballet world and was accepted into the graduate program at the University of Utah. She was the only graduate student chosen to present their research for the esteemed CORPS de Ballet International Conference in the summer of 2020. Her research is focused on creating a more positive and inclusive culture within professional ballet companies. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with an M.F.A. in Ballet in May of 2021. She is delighted to join the Montana Ballet Company as Academy Director and Ballet Mistress.