About Us

Makaroff Youth Ballet (MYB) is a non-profit youth ballet company serving the people of the Fox Valley and surrounding communities. MYB’s mission is to make the fine art of ballet performance accessible to the community through our young, talented dancers and to provide our dancers with pre-professional performance opportunities. By doing so, we provide the public with the wonderful opportunity to see our youth in high quality and unique performances.

jeanetteJeanette Makaroff, Artistic Director
Jeanette Makaroff is the artistic director of the Makaroff Youth Ballet. She is a former dancer with the Milwaukee Ballet and the North Carolina Dance Theatre. She served as Ballet Mistress for the Milwaukee Ballet, company teacher for the PM Ballet and the North Carolina Dance Theatre, and served as a Resident Faculty member of the Milwaukee Ballet School from 1983 until 2000. During much of that time Ms. Makaroff taught for the prestigious Milwaukee Ballet trainee program and conducted their national audition tour identifying talent to feed into the company. She received her training at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the School of American Ballet in New York City. Ms. Makaroff began her training in Appleton at the Makaroff School of Ballet.

A large number of Ms. Makaroff’s students have gone on to professional ballet careers, including: Ethan Steifel, former Principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet; Raven Wales, Milwaukee Ballet, and Kara Wilkes, Milwaukee Ballet and North Carolina Dance Theatre; Ian Grosh, Milwaukee Ballet and Suzanne Farrell and Friends dance company; Zach Hackstock, Washington Ballet; Jacki Moesicki, Milwaukee Ballet; Jessica Willems, Milwaukee Ballet; Justin Lutze, South Carolina Ballet; Becca Place, New Dialect Dance Collective of Nashville; Lauren Ganther, Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota; and Kyle Davis, Pacific Northwest Ballet.



Nikolai Makaroff


Juanita Makaroff

A Fox Valley Legacy
The rich Makaroff Legacy began with Nikolai and Juanita Makaroff over 50 years ago. Nikolai was a Bolshoi-trained ballet dancer who was captured by the Nazi regime during World War II. When the war ended, Nikolai and other performers traveled throughout Europe performing for war survivors in hopes of lifting spirits, as well as earning a meal. Bob Hope happened to see Nikolai dance, as did Pope John XXIV when he was the Cardinal of Venice. The Don Cossack Chorus hired Nikolai and brought him to the United States. It was in New York City that Nikolai met his future wife, Juanita, who was a student at the School of American Ballet Theatre. After marrying and starting a family, the couple moved to Appleton to be closer to Juanita’s family.

In 1960, Nikolai and Juanita founded The Makaroff School of Ballet and their reputations for ballet excellence quickly reached the ears of famed Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi. Lombardi understood the athletic strength and balance required of ballet dancers and wanted them to have the same training. He hired Nikolai to teach ballet to the Packers players, including Bart Starr and Paul Hornung.

Nikolai and Juanita’s daughter, Jeanette Makaroff, continues her family’s legacy today by bringing with her experience in the professional ballet world. Since returning to Appleton in 2000, she has enhanced MYB’s visibility by producing series of two productions each year, our Holiday Concert and the Spring Concert. She has added many ballets to the repertoire, in addition to continuing small company appearances through lecture demonstrations, mini-concerts, parades and collaborations with the other Fox Valley arts organizations.


Jeanette Makaroff, Artistic Director
Katy Hopp, outgoing Executive Director
Emily Bowles, incoming Executive Director
Colleen Seagraves-Foster, Bookkeeper

Board of Directors:
Emma Reiser – Treasurer
Dawn Schulz – Secretary
Duyen Bagwell
Steve Helphrey
Sara Mittlestadt
Margaret Paek
Lydia Phillips
Kay Tripp
Jennifer Van Elzen
Jason Wood
Adam Skarie – Advisor
Juanita Makaroff – Emerita