A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Carissa has spent the majority of her dancing years training at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, initially entering their preparatory dance program in 8th grade under the direction of Dayna Fox. By age 12, she had been accepted into UNCSA’s high school program- making her the youngest student to ever enroll there. She continued her dance training there throughout high school and college. In May 2020, Carissa graduated from UNCSA with a BFA in Ballet. While there, she had the privilege of training under the direction of Susan Jaffe, Jared Redick, Laura Martin, Dayna Fox, Misha Tchoupakov, and Jennette Zerbe. She has performed in a wide variety of pieces including Giselle, Paquita, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Groove, Coppélia, Les Sylphides, and the premier of Carmen Terra by Susan Jaffe. After graduation, Carissa began her professional career with Northwest Arkansas Ballet Theatre, where she remained for 2 years. Carissa has spent several summers training at Charlotte Ballet on full scholarship, in addition to Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Atlanta Ballet. She has also received scholarships from Alonzo King LINES, and recently the Royal Danish Ballet Summer School in Copenhagen, Denmark for the years 2019 and 2022. She is delighted to be joining Virginia National Ballet for their 22/23 season!