SVB Dancer

Photo by McDilda Photography

Southwest Virginia Ballet is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing professional instruction and performance opportunities to the youth of Southwest Virginia.



  • artistic Director
  • Ballet Mistress
  • Executive Director
  • Board of Directors

Pedro Szalay - Artisitic Director

PedroSzalay A native of Venezuela, Szalay was born to Hungarian parents and is a native of La Guaira , Venezuela where he started dancing in local school by Ms. Machado .He received a scholarship at Ballet Nacional of Caracas, coached by Vladimir Isayev and many other national and international teachers. There he danced many of Nebrada's choreographed pieces. Later he traveled to New York City to be coached by Madame Darvash and performed with New York Dance Theatre directed by Frank Ohman. 
After New York, Szalay was company dancer with Richmond Ballet from 1996 to 2006 where he was an inspiration for many choreographers and he danced pieces from Balanchine, Burn, Canaporoli, Lang, Soleau, Stevenson, Orff, Wainrot, Winslett and many others. He was also a guest performer and choreographer with the Latin Ballet of Virginia .
He has guest taught in South Carolina, Philadelphia, Virginia School of the Arts, Washington and Lee University and St. Paul's Ballet Company. Szalay served as a coach, choreographer for the School of Richmond Ballet and other Richmond dance schools.  He served as Artistic Advisor for Chesterfield Ballet School . Szalay coached the Wheel Chair Miss Richmond.  He currently teaches at The Dance Centre of Southwest Virginia.  In summer 2016, he was invited to guest teacher in Murcia, Spain at Robles Ballet School.
Szalay for the past 10 years enhanced the lives of many 4th graders through his instruction of the Minds In Motion program in Richmond, Charlottesville, Martinsville, Salem and Roanoke City Schools. Beginning in 2012, Szalay developed a Spanish language, choreographed movement program called Dance Espanol for 4th graders in public schools.  In 2013 created a Ballet program for Middle School in Roanoke City Public Schools.
January 2007, Szalay became Artistic Director of Southwest Virginia Ballet in the Roanoke Valley, since he has brought SVB to be recognized locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.  In 2009 he was awarded the Perry F. Kendig Awards for Outstanding Performing Artist and in 2010 named the best Local Celebrity for Charity Events by the Roanoker Magazine.
Szalay is a Resident Artist for Carilion Clinic Healing Art Program. Board member of Thursday Morning Music Club as Dance Chairman - Footnotes and Roanoke City Public School Education Foundation, Inc.
Szalay's choreography credits include : The Long Christmas Ride Home , for Flournoy Playwright Festival, Ties: A Railroad Ballet, Cinderella, Coppelia, Romeo and Juliet, Miss Richmond Pageant(2002-2003), the Miss Virginia Pageant(2009-2012), Like Winter Waiting ( 2012- 2014), Sewing Seeds with Ann Waldrop, Dominos for Charlottesville Ballet. Holidays Pops, Peter and The Wolf, Carmina Burana with Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, Excerpts of Act II of The Nutcracker, Firebird and Under the Tent with Roanoke Youth Symphony, Nick Cave, Norman Rockwell and many others for Taubman Museum of The Art.  La Traviata and South Pacific for Opera Roanoke.  His newest project for 2017 is a commission to choreograph for an original score in remembrance of the Virginia Tech tragedy.

Abigail Furry - Ballet Mistress

Abigail Abigail is the Ballet Mistress for Southwest Virginia Ballet, where she has been dancing since 2003. She has performed lead roles with SVB, including Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Odette in Swan Lake, an Ugly Stepsister in Cinderella, and Blue Bird and Fairy of the Crystal Fountain in Sleeping Beauty. She earned her master’s certification in Pilates from FiTOUR in June 2013. Currently Abigail teaches ballet and pilates at the Dance Centre of Southwest Virginia. She has also taught for the Dance Español program in the Roanoke City public Schools and for the Richmond Ballet’s Minds in Motion program in Roanoke and Salem area public schools. Abigail has received a number of scholarships from the Footnotes division of the Thursday Morning Music Club for dance. She received her associates of applied science and certificate in accounting from Virginia               Western Community College in 2014, and lives in Salem.


Karen Kalbfleisch - Executive Director

PedroKaren Kalbfleisch has served as an SVB Board member since 2008. She assumed the duties of the Executive Director in August 2014 after serving one year as Vice-President and two years as President. Karen became involved with the ballet when her family moved to Roanoke in 2006 and one of her daughters joined the SVB Company in 2007. Her involvement began with costuming and backstage help during productions. Prior leadership roles include organizing the Nutcracker Ball and the marketing and distribution of free production tickets to human service organizations. Karen holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and worked for many years in Behavioral Medicine and private practice in Detroit, Michigan, before staying home to raise her twin daughters. She enjoys using her background in psychology and human communication to further the growth of this great arts organization.





Southwest Virginia Ballet is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors.  Board members represent SVB with the highest standard of ethical conduct.  This means being correct from the standpoint of law, making sound financial decisions, and modeling honesty and integrity.

Executive Board
     Artistic Director -  Pedro Szalay
     Executive Director - Karen Kalbfleisch
     President of Board - Peter Jessee
     Vice President - Dick Willis
     Treasurer - Niki Justice
     Secretary - Marty Debord

Board Members
     Angie Ball
     Joanna Coleman
     Amy McLaren
     Sue Munson 
     Paul Parnell
     Cindy Petersen
     Mari Hooper - Company Member
     Callaway Turner- Company Member
     Spencer Wiegard