Ms. Merrell began her training at Jordan Academy of Dance in her hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. At age 15 she became a full-scholarship student at the School of American Ballet in New York City where she was featured in the annual Workshop Performances. Ms. Merrell joined Miami City Ballet under the direction of Edward Villella as an apprentice in 1994 and rose through the ranks to principal dancer in 2003.
Her many roles include Balanchine’s Slaughter on 10th Avenue, Agon, Rubies, Western Symphony, Serenade, Concerto Barocco, The Four Temperaments, Bugaku, Apollo, Elegie, Symphony in Three Movements, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Who Cares?, and Prodigal Son. She has performed Taylor’s Company B and Funny Papers, Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove, Ashton’s Les Patineurs, and Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering as well as numerous Gamonet de los Heros ballets. Ms. Merrell originated roles in Villella’s Waltz; Our Lady of Oblivion and Gismonti as well as portrayed Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis in Giselle and Prayer in Coppelia.
Ms. Merrell has extensive teaching experience dating back to 1994 and has instructed students at Miami City Ballet School Summer Intensive, Jordan Academy of Dance, Stage One Academy, and was a company teacher for Dance Kaleidoscope. She has been on faculty at the Indianapolis School of Ballet since 2007 and is honored to teach Indianapolis Ballet company class on occasion. Upon retirement from the stage in 2006, Ms. Merrell received her BSN from the IU School of Nursing and, since 2011, has been an RN in the operating room at University Hospital specializing in cardiothoracic surgery.