about us

Mission Statement

Board of Trustees

Marie-Jose Payannet, President
Laurie Mohler, Vice-President
Dominique Fratkin, Treasurer
Eileen Neilands, Marketing, Costuming
Dominique Payannet, Videotaping, Bookkeeping, Music, Sets


Danse Etoile is dedicated to producing quality artistic performances, programs, and instruction which will foster access to and appreciation of dance and theatre for new audiences. 

The value of ballet study extends beyond the mastery of dance steps and the outlet for artistic and emotional expression. Our mission is about building self-esteem through hard work, learning self-discipline, responsibility and commitment; and the value of working as part of a larger community.

Danse Etoile is dedicated to making ballet accessible to people of all ages. From school programs to family events, we offer many exciting ways to develop our audiences' awareness, appreciation and understanding of dance. With our community partners, we are constantly striving to develop and increase our programming so that dance continues to be a part of everyone’s life.

Notes from the Director

I created Danse Etoile in August 2004 to give an opportunity to passionate dancers, musicians, actors to train, perform, and educate others about what they love most. Danse Etoile is unique. Our dancers have different backgrounds, levels of training or talent yet each one brings something unique to the team. All dancers participate in the creation of a performance from helping others in rehearsals to ideas about a piece, a costume, or a set design.

By supporting Danse Etoile, either by coming to our performances, volunteering, sponsoring or giving donations, you are helping us build a community that is not based only on video games and reality TV. Ask about our enrichment programs to schools and organizations. The future of the arts is in the hands of the young.

Marie-Jose Payannet
Artistic Director

photo by Dominique Payannet

photo by Dominique Payannet

Marie-Jose Payannet, Executive and Artistic Director grew up in beautiful Southern France. She studied ballet at the Conservatory of Classical Dance and Music in Avignon. She was fortunate to train and dance with many great dancers, including Galina Mezentseva, prima absoluta Kirov Ballet; Shamil Yagudin, ballet master Bolshoi Ballet; Luba Gulyaeva, soloist Kirov Ballet; Gaenor Grange Parkes, Royal Ballet; Mira Popvic, principal Czech Republic; and David Herriot, principal dancer Winnipeg Ballet and North Carolina Ballet. Marie-Jose moved to the United States with her husband, and was a principal dancer with the Huntsville Ballet, and a guest artist and teacher with the Alabama and Atlanta Ballets. Marie-Jose performed many classical and character roles and was recognized by her audiences for bringing life and emotion to the stage. 

Marie-Jose moved to Colorado in the year 2000, where, prior to founding Danse Etoile, she was director of the Apprentice Company of Ballet Nouveau Colorado. Marie-Jose holds a Master’s Degree in Statistics and Economics, writes and illustrates children’s books, and is an accomplished artist in oil and watercolor painting.