Carmela gained her pre-professional training from her uncle, Richard Gibson, in San Mateo. Through national auditions, Carmela was awarded a full Ford Foundation Scholarship from The School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet founded and directed by George Balanchine.
At age 15, she studied at The School of American Ballet's summer intensive. From the age of 13 through 18 she appeared in performances with the original Peninsula Ballet Theatre and The San Francisco Ballet. At the age of 18 she moved with Mr. Gibson to continue her training at The Royal Conservatorium of Music in The Hague, Netherlands, while training concurrently with The Netherlands Dance Theatre, particularly in Martha Graham technique. In 1970, Carmela was invited to join The Dutch National Ballet, where advancing through the ranks she remained for nine years, appearing as a soloist in numerous classical, modern and Balanchine ballets. In 1979 she returned to California and joined the San Francisco Ballet where she appeared in a number of featured roles and in several national television specials.
In 1987 Carmela and Zoltan founded Professional Ballet School where they served as Artistic Directors until the summer of 2017. Drawing on her vast experience studying with internationally renowned instructors and choreographers from around the world she gradually developed LDA/PBS’ comprehensive graded ballet syllabus. Carmela has also taught for Smuin Ballet/SF, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Western Ballet School, The Zohar School of Dance, Oakland Ballet, and the Academy of Ballet in San Francisco.