SAB’s faculty consists primarily of current and former New York City Ballet dancers, a number of whom worked directly with the School’s founder, George Balanchine. At all levels of training, they strive to communicate the fine points of classicism that are the foundation of Balanchine’s aesthetic—teaching students to move with musicality, control, precision, speed and expansiveness. SAB and New York City Ballet have historically shared a common artistic leader: founder George Balanchine until his death in 1983, Peter Martins from 1983-2017, and, as of February 2019, Jonathan Stafford.
Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Jonathan Stafford began his dance training at the age of eight with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. He attended the School of American Ballet’s 1996 and 1997 Summer Courses before enrolling as a full time student at SAB in the fall of 1997.
Mr. Stafford became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in October 1998 and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in February 1999. He was promoted to the rank of soloist in March of 2006 and became a principal dancer in May 2007. Upon retiring from performing in May 2014, Mr. Stafford was named one of NYCB’s ballet masters. From late 2017 through 2018, Mr. Stafford led New York City Ballet’s four-person interim artistic leadership team while serving as NYCB’s primary artistic liaison with SAB. In February 2019, he was named Artistic Director of both New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet.
During his performing career with New York City Ballet, Mr. Stafford danced featured roles in George Balanchine’s Firebird, The Four Temperaments, Divertimento No. 15, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® (Cavalier, Hot Chocolate, Dr. Stahlbaum, and Mother Ginger), ‘Emeralds’ from Jewels, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lysander), Orpheus, Symphony In C (First Movement), and Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2; Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free, Fanfare (Double Bass), Interplay, and 2 & 3 Part Inventions; Peter Martins’ Octet, The Sleeping Beauty (Prince Desire and Gold), Songs of the Auvergne, and Swan Lake (“Pas de Quatre” and Spanish); and Christopher Wheeldon’s Klavier and Polyphonia. Mr. Stafford originated the role of Paris in Mr. Martins’ Romeo + Juliet.
Mr. Stafford served as a member of SAB’s guest faculty during the 2006-07 school year and joined the School’s permanent faculty in September 2007. In 2015 he was named SAB’s first Professional Placement Manager, a role created to assist students with the transition into their professional careers. Mr. Stafford became only the third Artistic Director in SAB history in February 2019. In this role he works closely with Chair of Faculty Darla Hoover and Executive Director Carrie Hinrichs to ensure that SAB’s students have the training, resources and guidance to develop into world class artists and healthy, well-rounded individuals.
Mr. Stafford was the School of American Ballet’s recipient for Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award in 1999. A graduate of Professional Children’s School, Mr. Stafford graduated summa cum laude from the Fordham School of Professional and Continuing Studies in May with a B.A. in Organizational Leadership. His film work includes Columbia Pictures’ Center Stage.
Chair of Faculty
Chair of Faculty
A native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Darla Hoover started her ballet training at age 6 at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. After attending the School of American Ballet’s five-week Summer Courses from 1974 to 1976, she was invited to enroll as a full-time student in the fall of 1976. Over the next three years, Ms. Hoover trained with renowned teachers Alexandra Danilova, Antonina Tumkovsky, Stanley Williams, and Suki Schorer, among others, as a student in SAB’s advanced division. In April 1979, George Balanchine created a featured role for Ms. Hoover in a new production of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme for New York City Opera in which she danced alongside Rudolf Nureyev, and NYCB Principals Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. In October 1979, George Balanchine invited Ms. Hoover to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet, and in April 1980 she was named a member of the Company’s corps de ballet. During her eleven years as a member of NYCB, Ms. Hoover performed featured roles in Balanchine’s La Valse, Chaconne, Harlequinade, Ballo della Regina; Peter Martins’ Eight Easy Pieces, Rossini Quartets, Sonata di Scarlatti; and Jerome Robbins’s Fanfare.
Ms. Hoover began to develop her teaching skills as a pre-teen while training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Recognizing her unusual aptitude for giving steps and corrections, Marcia Dale Weary charged her with teaching her fellow students on a regular basis, and she continued guest teaching at CPYB throughout her performing career and in the initial years following her retirement from NYCB in 1990. In 1995 she was named CPYB’s Associate Artistic Director, and in 2019 she rose to Artistic Director upon the death of Ms. Weary. Concurrently with her work at CPYB, Ms. Hoover joined the faculty of Ballet Academy East on Manhattan’s upper east side in 1996, rising to Associate Artistic Director in 2006. She was named the Artistic Director of BAE’s Pre-Professional Division in 2014, giving her full oversight of a focused ballet training program spanning beginning children through advanced teens. Ms. Hoover has regularly traveled between homes in New York City and Carlisle, PA, over the past 25 years to simultaneously fulfill her roles at CPYB and BAE. In addition, Ms. Hoover has guest taught at ballet companies and schools around the world, including New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Royal Danish Ballet and the Vaganova Ballet Academy, among many others.
Ms. Hoover has been a répétiteur for The George Balanchine Trust since 1996, staging the works of George Balanchine for leading U.S. and international dance companies, including American Ballet Theater, Royal Danish Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet and The Washington Ballet. Among the works in her staging repertoire are Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Concerto Barocco, Serenade, “Rubies” from Jewels, and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.
Since 2003, Ms. Hoover has directed the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s Teachers Workshop for dance instructors from around the world, and in 2013 she directed a teachers workshop for the Miami City Ballet School. She is a recipient of the Marcia Dale Weary Legacy Award in recognition of her lifelong commitment to education in the arts. In 2021 she received a Congressional Commendation for outstanding public achievement in New York’s 12th Congressional District.
Darla Hoover began her new role as the School of American Ballet’s Chair of Faculty in June 2022.
Associate Chair of Faculty
Associate Chair of Faculty
Aesha Ash was born in Rochester, New York, and started dance lessons at the Joyce Winters School of Dance at age 5. Upon enrolling at Rochester’s Draper Dance Theatre at age 10 she began her pursuit of classical ballet while continuing to train in tap, jazz, and lyrical dance. Beginning at age 14, Ms. Ash attended SAB’s five-week Summer Course for three consecutive summers before accepting an invitation to live in the School’s on-site residence and train as a year-round student in SAB’s Advanced Division. She performed the principal female role in George Balanchine’s “Rubies” from Jewels at SAB’s 1996 spring Workshop Performances and received the School’s Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise.
Ms. Ash was tapped to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in June 1996 and was hired into the corps de ballet upon making her debut during NYCB’s 1996 summer residency in Saratoga Springs, New York. She performed with New York City Ballet for seven years, originating corps roles in new works by Peter Martins, Christopher Wheeldon, and Miriam Mahdaviani, among others, and performing in numerous masterworks of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She originated a principal role in Haiku, with choreography by Albert Evans and music by John Cage, for NYCB’s May 2002 Diamond Project.
In 2003, Ms. Ash joined Béjart Ballet Lausanne as a soloist and for two years toured Europe and the Far East performing new and classic works by Maurice Béjart, including a principal role in his landmark Le Presbytère. She returned to the U.S. in 2005 to join the California-based Alonzo King LINES Ballet, originating roles in new works by Mr. King including Handel and Migration and touring with the company in the U.S. and abroad. From 2007 to 2009 she reunited with Christopher Wheeldon as a member of his Morpheses touring company, performing around the world in works by Mr. Wheeldon and William Forsythe. Ms. Ash retired from performing in 2009 prior to the birth of her first child.
Ms. Ash appeared as herself and as the principal dance double for Zoe Saldana in the 2000 feature film Center Stage. Other video projects include New York City Ballet Workout (Vol. 2) and Barbie in The Nutcracker.
Upon her retirement from performing, Ms. Ash founded The Swan Dreams Project, a not-for-profit endeavor which was initially conceived as a photography project but has expanded to include programs, lectures and camps with Ms. Ash’s career and imagery as the foundation of the Project’s mission to dismantle stereotypes surrounding race, beauty and talent. Ms. Ash returned to her hometown of Rochester in 2018 and 2019 to partner with the city of Rochester for Swan Dreams Project summer programs for underserved youth, and she continues to seek new avenues for the Project to inspire youngsters through her example.
Ms. Ash is a founding member of the School of American Ballet’s Alumni Committee on Diversity & Inclusion, which was formed in 2015. She served as a guest teacher at the School’s 2016 and 2017 California Workshop for Young Dancers and during the 2017-2018 Winter Term and held the position of Visiting Faculty Chair from September 2018 to July 2020. She participated in SAB’s National Audition Tour as a guest adjudicator to recruit students for the School’s summer training programs from 2018 to 2020. Ms. Ash was appointed to the School of American Ballet’s permanent faculty in September 2020. Aesha Ash assumed her new role as Associate Chair of Faculty at SAB in June 2022
Ms. Ash resides in New York City with her husband and their two young children.
Dena Abergel began ballet classes at the age of 6 with Dorit Koppel at Progressive Dance Studio in Englewood, New Jersey. She attended the School of American Ballet’s 5-week Summer Course at the age of 12 and enrolled as a full-time student in the School’s Intermediate division one year later. In 1989, she joined other advanced students on a trip to Amsterdam’s Holland Festival to perform on a program with Russia’s Vaganova Academy. She also accompanied SAB faculty member Suki Schorer to La Baulle, France, for a student performance of Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie. At SAB’s June 1990 Workshop performances, she danced featured roles in Stars and Stripes and the pas de deux from Kermesse in Bruges. Peter Martins invited Ms. Abergel to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in 1990, and she joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in 1991.
During 18 years as a member of New York City Ballet, Ms. Abergel performed in numerous works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She originated roles in Robbins’s West Side Story Suite; in Peter Martins’s Chichester Psalms, Harmonielehre, Symphonic Dances, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Romeo+Juliet; and in Christopher Wheeldon’s Carnival of the Animals, Variations Serieuses, and An American in Paris.
Ms. Abergel performed featured and soloist roles in a number of works by George Balanchine, including The Nutcracker®, Firebird, Coppélia, Swan Lake, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Upon retiring from performing in 2009, Ms. Abergel joined SAB’s faculty and became NYCB’s Assistant Children’s Repertory Directory. She was named Children’s Repertory Director at New York City Ballet in the fall of 2012. In her position with the Company, Ms. Abergel casts and rehearses children from the School of American Ballet in all NYCB productions featuring roles for children, including George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, The Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swan Lake and Coppélia.
Ms. Abergel pursued college studies while a member of New York City Ballet and graduated summa cum laude in 2001 with a B.A. in English from Fordham University.
Marika Anderson was born in Portland, Oregon, and began her dance training at the age of four at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, where she studied with Haydée Gutiérrez, James Canfield, and Elena Carter. She was an apprentice with Oregon Ballet Theatre for its 2001-2002 season. After attending the School of American Ballet’s 2000 and 2002 Summer Courses, Ms. Anderson enrolled as a year-round student in September 2002. She was invited to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in November 2004, and in June 2005 she joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet.
Ms. Anderson has performed featured roles in numerous ballets including Balanchine’s La Valse, Prodigal Son and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®; Peter Martins’s adaptation of Bournonville’s La Syphide as well as Mr. Martins’s The Magic Flute, Romeo + Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake; Jerome Robbins’s The Concert and The Four Seasons; and Alexei Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons. Ms. Anderson also originated a featured role in Justin Peck’s The Most Incredible Thing.
Ms. Anderson was invited to become a teaching fellow at the School of American Ballet in early 2016. She joined SAB’s permanent faculty in September 2016 and continues to perform as a member of New York City Ballet. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University in June 2018.
Megan Fairchild was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and began her dance training at the age of four, studying with Judy Levitre and Kaelynne Oliphant at Dance Concepts in Sandy, Utah, and at the Ballet West Conservatory in Salt Lake City with Sharee Lane, Deborah Dobson, and Maureen Laird. While at the Ballet West Conservatory, Ms. Fairchild was also a Ballet West trainee. Ms. Fairchild attended the School of American Ballet’s 1999 and 2000 Summer Courses before enrolling as a full-time student in September 2000. She was named a recipient of SAB’s Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise in June 2001, and in November 2001, she became an apprentice with New York City Ballet. She joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in October 2002, was promoted to the rank of soloist in February 2004, and in January 2005, she was promoted to principal dancer.
Ms. Fairchild’s vast repertoire includes principal roles in works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon and Justin Peck. Among the numerous ballets in which she has starred are Allegro Brillante, Ballo della Regina, Coppélia, La Sylphide, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Donizetti Variations, Duo Concertant, Raymonda Variations, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Jewels (“Emeralds” and “Rubies”), Square Dance, Stars and Stripes, Theme and Variations, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Taranetella.
Ms. Fairchild has originated principal roles in ballets by Robert La Fosse (Land of Nod), Peter Martins (Bal de Couture, Naïve and Sentimental Music), Angelin Preljocaj (Spectral Evidence), Alexei Ratmansky (Namouna, A Grand Divertissement), Susan Stroman (Double Feature) and Christopher Wheeldon (Shambards).
In 2011, Ms. Fairchild danced the role of The Sugarplum Fairy in PBS’ LIVE From Lincoln Center telecast of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker which was also screened in movie theaters around the world. In 2014, Ms. Fairchild made her Broadway debut in the Tony Award-nominated revival of On the Town at the Lyric Theater. She was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award, and received a Theatre World Award for her portrayal of Ivy Smith (AKA Miss Turnstiles).
Ms. Fairchild was a Teaching Fellow at SAB from 2012-16 and a frequent guest teacher during the 2017-18 winter and summer training programs. She joined the School’s permanent faculty in September 2018.
Born in Zaragoza, Spain, Gonzalo Garcia began studying ballet at the age of eight at Conservatorio Superior de Danza “María de Ávila”. In 1995, he attended the summer session at San Francisco Ballet School, and later that year, at the age of 15, Mr. Garcia becoming the youngest dancer in history to receive a gold medal at the prestigious Prix de Lausanne international ballet competition. He subsequently returned to San Francisco Ballet School to resume his studies and was selected by Helgi Tomasson, Artistic Director of San Francisco Ballet, to perform in a world premiere ballet created especially for the 1996 Spring Student Showcase. Mr. Garcia joined San Francisco Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in March 1998. In 2000, he was promoted to soloist, and in 2002 to principal dancer. Mr. Garcia was invited to perform Balanchine’s Ballo della Regina with New York City Ballet as part of the Company’s Balanchine Centennial Celebration in 2004. Mr. Garcia joined New York City Ballet in October 2007 as a principal dancer.
At San Francisco Ballet, Mr. Garcia’s featured roles included Balanchine’s Apollo, The Four Temperaments, Jewels (“Rubies”), Prodigal Son, Square Dance, Symphony in C, Tarantella, and Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux; William Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude; Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, Dybbuk, Fanfare, Glass Pieces, and Other Dances; Helgi Tomasson’s Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty (Bluebird, Pas de Six), Swan Lake, and Mr. Tomasson and Yuri Possokhov’s Don Quixote; and Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia and There Where She Loved. In addition, Mr. Garcia created the roles of Nutcracker Prince in Mr. Tomasson’s Nutcracker and Aminta in Mark Morris’s Sylvia, and originated a role in Mr. Wheeldon’s Continuum.
At New York City Ballet, Mr. Garcia’s repertoire includes principals roles in Balanchine’s Brahms/Schoenberg Quartet, Coppélia, Danses Concertantes, Divertimento from ‘Le Baiser de la Fée’, Donizetti Variations, Harlequinade, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Prodigal Son, Jewels (“Rubies”), Sonatine, La Source, Symphony in C, Tarantella, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Theme and Variations, Union Jack, and Vienna Waltzes. He has also performed leading roles in Jerome Robins’s Andantino, Brandenburg, Dances at a Gathering, Four Bagatelles, The Goldberg Variations, Opus 19, and Other Dances; in Peter Martins’s A Fool for You, Hallelujah Junction, Naïve and Sentimental Music, Romeo + Juliet (Tybalt), The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake; in Mauro Vigonzetti’s Vespro; in Christopher Wheeldon’s DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse, Mercurial Manoeuvres, and Polyphonia; and in Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go.
Mr. Garcia has originated featured roles at NYCB in ballets by Justin Peck (The Decalogue, The Most Incredible Thing), Pulcinella Variations, Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes), Peter Martins (Bal de Couture, Grazioso), Mauro Bigonzetti (Luce Nascosta); Alexei Ratmansky (Concerto DSCH, Pictures at an Exhibition), Robert Binet (The Blue of Distance), Pontus Lidberg (The Shimmering Asphalt), Wayne McGregor (Outlier), and Christopher Wheeldon (Les Carillons).
Mr. Garcia began guest teaching at the School of American Ballet during the 2017-18 Winter Term and joined SAB’s permanent faculty in September 2018.
Born in Maywood, Illinois, Craig Hall began his dance training at the age of four at Stairway of the Stars with Lois Baumann. At age 14, he began studying with Anna Paskevska at the Chicago Academy of the Arts and also studied at the Ruth Page Dance Foundation with Larry Long. He attended SAB’s 1996 and 1997 Summer Courses before enrolling as a full-time student in the fall of 1997. He was named a recipient of SAB’s Rudolf Nureyev Scholarship for the duration of his training at the School, and in 1999 he was awarded SAB’s Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise.
During his final year at SAB, Mr. Hall originated the principal male role in Christopher Wheeldon’s Scènes de Ballet, which premiered during NYCB’s 1999 spring season and was performed at that year’s SAB Workshop Performances. In October 1999, Mr. Hall became an apprentice with NYCB, and he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in February 2000. Mr. Hall was promoted to soloist in May 2007.
During his career with NYCB, Mr. Hall danced featured roles in numerous ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins, and has also originated roles in works by Justin Peck, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Benjamin Millepied, Jorma Elo, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett, among others.
Upon his retirement from performing in 2016, Mr. Hall joined New York City Ballet’s artistic staff as a ballet master.
Mr. Hall staged Justin Peck’s In Creases for SAB’s 2018 Workshop Performances and joined the School’s permanent faculty in September 2018. His film work includes Columbia Pictures’ feature film Center Stage and the 2010 film adaptation of Jerome Robbins’ N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz.
Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Adam Hendrickson began his ballet training at the age of six with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Beginning at the age of 13, he attended three consecutive SAB Summer Courses before enrolling as a fulltime student in the fall of 1996. He was named a recipient of SAB’s Rudolf Nureyev Scholarship for the duration of his training at the School, and in 1998 he was awarded SAB’s Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise. In the spring of 1998 Mr. Hendrickson became an apprentice with New York City Ballet, and in the summer of 1998 he joined the Company’s corps de ballet. In January 2005, he was promoted to the rank of soloist.
During his career at New York City Ballet, Mr. Hendrickson danced featured roles in numerous ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins, including The Goldberg Variations, Fancy Free, Watermill, Symphony in Three Movements, Chaccone, and Fearful Symmetries. He retired from performing in July 2012 after 14 years with New York City Ballet.
Mr. Hendrickson has choreographed new works for the School of American Ballet’s Winter Ball, New York City Ballet, the New York Choreographic Institute, and Columbia Ballet Collaborative, as well as for the music video for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros song “Man on Fire”.
Mr. Hendrickson was a guest teacher at SAB during the 2017-18 Winter Term and joined the permanent faculty in September 2018. His film work includes Columbia Pictures’ Center Stage and PBS’ New York Export: Opus Jazz.
Born in California, Arch Higgins began studying dance at the age of eight at Berkeley Ballet Theater, where his teachers included Janet Carole and former NYCB dancer Sally Streets. From the ages of 12 to 16, he attended five consecutive Summer Courses at the School of American Ballet before enrolling as a full-time student in the fall of 1986. In 1989, he received SAB’s Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise and was invited by Peter Martins to join New York City Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet that same year. Mr. Higgins was promoted to the rank of soloist in 1998. He joined SAB’s faculty in 2010 and retired from performing in 2011.
During his 22-year performing career, Mr. Higgins danced featured roles in numerous ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins. His repertoire included Balanchine’s Agon, Allegro Brillante, Divertimento No. 15, Episodes, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Haieff Divertimento, ‘Emeralds’ from Jewels, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mozartiana, Prodigal Son, Robert Schumann’s “Davidsbündlertänze,” Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, Union Jack, La Valse, and Vienna Waltzes; Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering, Fancy Free, Fanfare (Clarinets), Glass Pieces, The Goldberg Variations, I’m Old Fashioned, Interplay, In the Night, Ives, Songs, and Les Noces; and Martins’s Ash, Delight of the Muses, Les Gentilhommes, Jazz (Six Syncopated Movements), Les Petits Riens, The Sleeping Beauty (Gold), Slonimsky’s Earbox, Swan Lake (Benno and Hungarian) and Symphonic Dances.
Mr. Higgins originated roles in David Allan’s Pastoral Dances, John Alleyne’s The New Blondes, Robert La Fosse’s “Rockin’ In Rhythm” from Duke!, Miriam Mahdaviani’s Appalachia Waltz and Correlazione, Mr. Martins’ Reliquary, Trey McIntyre’s Steel and Rain, Kevin O’Day’s Swerve Poems, Robbins’ West Side Story Suite, Susan Stroman’s “Makin’ Whoopee!” (Garrison) from Double Feature, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Carnival of the Animals and Carousel (A Dance).
In recent years Mr. Higgins has staged several ballets for SAB’s spring Workshop Performances. He has staged Peter Martins’s Les Gentilhommes in both 2011 (with Albert Evans) and 2016; and for SAB’s 2013 Workshop he staged Balanchine’s Le Tombeau de Couperin with NYCB Ballet Mistress Rosemary Dunleavy.
In addition to teaching at SAB, Mr. Higgins has been Associate Children’s Repertory Director at New York City Ballet since the fall of 2013. He is also a guest teacher with New York City Ballet and taught at Boston Ballet’s 2010 and 2011 Summer Dance Program.
Anthony Huxley was born in Walnut Creek, California, and trained at San Francisco Ballet School and the Contra Costa Ballet School before attending SAB’s five-week Summer Courses in 2002 and 2003. He enrolled as a full-time student in the fall of 2003 and was awarded SAB’s Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise in June 2006. He performed the virtuoso principal male role in George Balanchine’s Square Dance as part of the School’s 2006 annual Workshop Performances and later that year he was asked to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet. He joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in July 2007, was promoted to the rank of soloist in July 2011, and was named a principal dancer in June 2015.
Mr. Huxley’s repertoire includes principal roles in Balanchine’s Ballo della Regina, Coppélia, Divertimento from ‘Le Baiser de la Fée’, Duo Concertant, Jewels (“Emeralds” and “Rubies”), The Four Temperaments, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mozartiana, Prodigal Son, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Raymonda Variations, Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements and Vienna Waltzes; in Bournonville’s La Sylphide; in Jerome Robbins’s The Four Seasons, Goldberg Variations and Two & Three Part Inventions; in Peter Martins’s Romeo + Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Fearful Symmetries; in Justin Peck’s Year of the Rabbit and Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes; in Alexei Ratmansky’s Concerto DSCH; in Christopher Wheeldon’s Mercurial Manoeuvres; and in Richard Tanner’s Sonatas and Interludes.
He has originated featured roles in ballets by Justin Peck (Belles-Lettres, Pulcinella Variations, Scherzo Fantastique), Peter Martins (Mirage, Ocean’s Kingdom), Liam Scarlett (Acheron), Troy Schumacher (Common Ground) and Peter Walker (dance odyssey).
Mr. Huxley served as a SAB Teaching Fellow for the 2016-17 Winter Term and was a regular guest teacher at SAB for the 2017-18 winter and summer training programs. He joined the School’s permanent faculty in September 2018 while continuing his performing career with New York City Ballet.
Sterling Hyltin was born in Amarillo, Texas. She began her dance training at the age of six at the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet, where she studied with Ann Etgen and Bill Atkinson. Ms. Hyltin attended the School of American Ballet’s 1999 and 2000 Summer Courses before enrolling as a full-time student in the fall of 2000. In October 2002, Ms. Hyltin became an apprentice with NYCB, and in June 2003 she joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. She was promoted to soloist in March 2006, and in May 2007 she was named a principal dancer.
Ms. Hyltin’s vast repertoire includes principal roles in works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, Alexei Ratmansky, and Christopher Wheeldon. The numerous ballets in which she has starred include Apollo, Ballo della Regina, Coppélia, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Duo Concertant, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Jewels ( “Rubies”), Stars and Stripes, Theme and Variations, La Sonnambula, La Source, Mozartiana, La Valse, Symphony in Three Movements, Afternoon of a Faun, The Cage, The Concert, In G Major, The Four Seasons, Hallelujah Junction, Calcium Light Night, Jeu de Cartes, Concerto DSCH, Pictures at an Exhibition and Polyphonia, among others.
Ms. Hyltin originated the role of Juliet in the 2007 NYCB world premiere of Peter Martins’s Romeo + Juliet and danced the role of the Sylph in the NYCB premiere of La Sylphide. She has also originated principal roles in ballets by Robert Binet, Kim Brandstrup, Jean-Pierre Frohlich, Douglas Lee, Pontus Lidberg, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Wayne McGregor, Benjamin Millepied, Alexey Miroshnichenko, Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Wheeldon.
Ms. Hyltin was NYCB’s Janice Levin Dancer Honoree for 2005-2006. She is featured in the Magnolia Pictures documentary Ballet 422, which follows the creation of Justin Peck’s Paz de la Jolla. Ms. Hyltin was a Teaching Fellow during SAB’s 2014-15 and 2015-16 Winter Terms and joined the School’s permanent faculty in September 2016.
Megan Johnson was born in Santa Rosa, California, and began her dance training at the age of three at the Academy of Dance Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey. Ms. Johnson attended the School of American Ballet’s 2002 and 2003 Summer Courses, and was invited to enroll in SAB’s Winter Term in the fall of 2003. She received SAB’s Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise in June 2008, at which time she was also named an apprentice with the New York City Ballet. She joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in October 2008.
Ms. Johnson’s repertoire includes featured roles in George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Chaconne, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, La Valse, and Walpurgisnacht Ballet; in Peter Martins’s The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Bal de Couture, and Fearful Symmetries; and in Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go. She originated a featured role in Benjamin Millipied’s Quasi Una Fantasia, and danced in the world premieres of Melissa Barak’s A Simple Symphony; Peter Martins’s Mirage; Justin Peck’s The Most Incredible Thing and Paz de la Jolla; and in Alexei Ratmansky’s Namouna.
Ms. Johnson served as an SAB Teaching Fellow for the 2017-2018 Winter Term, and she joined the School’s permanent faculty in January 2019 upon her retirement from New York City Ballet.
Children's Division Manager, Mae L. Wien Faculty Chair
Children's Division Manager, Mae L. Wien Faculty Chair
Following early ballet study in Pennsylvania with Marcia Dale Weary, Ms. Killian began her SAB training with the 1977 Summer Course and was subsequently enrolled in SAB’s Winter Term from 1979 to 1981. As a student, Ms. Killian participated in the New York City Ballet Education Department’s Lecture Demonstration program, performing pas de deux from Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments and The Nutcracker® for local-area school children under the direction of Suki Schorer. She was chosen by Peter Martins to dance a leading role in his new production of The Magic Flute for SAB’s 1981 Workshop Performances and reprised the role as a new member of New York City Ballet the next year.
Ms. Killian became a member of the New York City Ballet in 1981 and was promoted to Soloist in 1989. Her repertory included principal roles in Balanchine’s Bourée Fantasque, Divertimento from ‘Le Baiser de la Fée’, Tarantella, Symphony in C, Tchaikovsky Suite No. 3, Western Symphony, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Union Jack, Symphony in 3 Movements, and in Jerome Robbins’s Goldberg Variations and The Four Seasons; and Peter Martins’s Eight Easy Pieces and The Sleeping Beauty.
Among the ballets in which she performed soloist parts were Balanchine’s Coppélia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jewels, Scotch Symphony, Chaconne, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, The Four Temperaments, La Sonnambula, Stars and Stripes, Raymonda Variations, and La Source.
Ms. Killian originated a principal role in Jerome Robbins’s Ives, Songs in 1988.
In 1997, she joined the School of American Ballet as a guest teacher upon retirement from New York City Ballet. She was appointed to the faculty in 1998.
Ms. Killian currently also serves as Repertory Director for the New York City Ballet’s Education Department, staging productions featuring SAB’s Intermediate and Advanced students for NYCB’s Ballet Bridges programs, which reach over 2,000 public school children each year.
Lauren King was born in Massapequa Park, New York, and began her dance training at the age of 10 with Jane Miller, Luba Gulyaeva, Ali Pourfarrokh, and Lynn Glauber at the American Theater Dance Workshop, the official school of the Eglevsky Ballet Company, in New Hyde Park, New York. Ms. King performed with the Eglevsky Ballet Company during its 2000-2001 season. Ms. King attended SAB’s five-week Summer Course in 1998 at the age of 13 and returned for the 2000 and 2001 Summer Courses before enrolling as a full-time student in the fall of 2001.
She became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in the fall of 2003. As an apprentice, Ms. King danced a featured role in Michel Fokine’s Chopiniana, performed by SAB as part of New York City Ballet’s 2004 winter season, and she originated a corps role in Susan Stroman’s Double Feature. Ms. King joined New York City Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in June 2004 and was promoted to soloist in February 2013.
Ms. King has performed a wide range of featured roles during her career at New York City Ballet spanning the Company’s diverse repertoire. She has danced principal or soloist parts in George Balanchine’s Ballo Della Regina, Chaconne, Divertimento No. 15, Jewels (“Emeralds”), Episodes, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, La Sonnambula, La Source, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Symphony in C, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, and Swan Lake, among others. She has been featured in ballets by Jerome Robbins including The Four Seasons, Dances at a Gathering, Fanfare, and Glass Pieces, as well as in ballets by Peter Martins, Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, and Troy Schumacher. She originated featured roles in Justin Peck’s New Blood and in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Unframed.
Ms. King served as a SAB Teaching Fellow for the 2016-17 Winter Term and was a regular guest teacher at SAB for the 2017-18 winter and summer training programs. She joined the School’s permanent faculty in September 2018 while continuing her performing career with New York City Ballet.
Meagan Mann was reared in Lakewood and Howell, New Jersey, and began her ballet training at More Than Dance in Jackson, New Jersey. She was accepted into the School of American Ballet’s Children’s Division at the age of 11 and progressed through the Intermediate and Advanced training levels over the following 6 years. She was invited to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in June 2006 and joined the NYCB corps de ballet in the spring of 2007.
Ms. Mann’s NYCB repertoire includes featured roles in George Balanchine’s Coppélia (Spinner), Cortège Hongrois, Divertimento from ‘Le Baiser de la Fée’, “Emeralds” from Jewels, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® (Coffee, Flowers), Raymonda Variations and La Sonnambula (Pastorale); in Bournonville Divertissements; in Peter Martins’s The Sleeping Beauty (Courage) and Swan Lake (Spanish); in Jerome Robbins’s Glass Pieces and Interplay, and in Myles Thatcher’s Polaris. She originated a featured role in Justin Peck’s New Blood and danced in the world premieres of Justin Peck’s Everywhere We Go, The Most Incredible Thing, Paz de la Jolla, Scherzo Fantastique and The Times Are Racing; in Peter Martins’s Ocean’s Kingdom, Romeo + Juliet; in Liam Scarlett’s Acheron; in Troy Schumacher’s The Wind Still Brings and in Christopher Wheeldon’s American Rhapsody.
Ms. Mann served as a SAB Teaching Fellow for the 2017-18 Winter Term. She joined the School’s permanent faculty in September 2018 while continuing her performing career with New York City Ballet.
Kay Mazzo was born in Chicago, where she received early training from Bernadine Hayes. She first performed with New York City Ballet at the age of eight when the Company brought The Nutcracker on tour to the Chicago Opera House. She was cast by George Balanchine as a Party Scene guest and Polichinelle. She reprised the roles when NYCB returned to Chicago the following year.
Ms. Mazzo auditioned for SAB’s Summer Course when she was 12 and attended the program for three consecutive years before moving to New York and enrolling as a full-time student in SAB’s advanced division in 1959.
Following performances with Jerome Robbins’ Ballets U.S.A., Ms. Mazzo became a member of the New York City Ballet in 1961 and was promoted to soloist in 1965 and principal dancer in 1968. George Balanchine created principal roles for her in Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3 (1970), Stravinsky Violin Concerto (1972), Duo Concertant (1972), Scherzo à la Russe (1972), Union Jack (1976), Vienna Waltzes (1977), and Robert Schumann’s “Davidsbündlertänze” (1980), among others. She originated principal roles in the Jerome Robbins masterworks Dances at a Gathering (1969) and In the Night (1970).
Over the course of her nearly twenty-year career, Ms. Mazzo’s repertoire included countless roles in the works of Balanchine, Robbins, and other choreographers such as Merce Cunningham, Antony Tudor, Todd Bolender and John Taras. Among the many ballets in which she performed principal parts are Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Serenade, Symphony in C, Jewels, Agon, Square Dance, Episodes, La Sonnambula, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, La Valse, Liebeslieder Walzer, Apollo, and Donizetti Variations. Her dancing partners included Jacques d’Amboise, Arthur Mitchell, Peter Martins, Edward Villella, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Sean Lavery.
Upon her retirement from New York City Ballet in 1981, Mr. Balanchine asked Ms. Mazzo to begin teaching at the School of American Ballet, the official academy of New York City Ballet. She joined SAB’s permanent faculty in 1983, serving as a coordinator of curriculum between 1993 and 1997. She succeeded Stanley Williams as Co-Chairman of Faculty in October 1997, and in 2018 was named Chairman of Faculty. Ms. Mazzo retired from her role as Chairman of Faculty in June 2022 and continues to teach teach advanced classes.
Ms. Mazzo has been a Trustee of The George Balanchine Trust since 1987. She served as President of the Jury of the 2014 Prix de Lausanne international ballet competition.
Professional Placement Manager
Professional Placement Manager
Allen Peiffer was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He began his dance training at the age of 6 with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. Mr. Peiffer attended the School of American Ballet’s 1999 and 2000 Summer Courses before enrolling as a full-time student in the fall of 2000. In October 2002, Mr. Peiffer became an apprentice with New York City Ballet, and in October 2003, he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. He retired from performing in 2015 and joined SAB’s permanent faculty at the start of the 2015-16 Winter Term. After assisting Jonathan Stafford in the role, Mr. Peiffer was appointed SAB’s Professional Placement Manager in 2019.
At New York City Ballet, Mr. Peiffer performed featured roles in George Balanchine’s Agon, Chaconne, Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperaments, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® (Cavalier and Candy Cane), Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, Union Jack, and La Valse; August Bournonville’s Bournonville Divertissements (Ballabile from Napoli) and Flower Festival in Genzano Pas de Deux; Peter Martins’ Fearful Symmetries, Les Gentilhommes, Romeo + Juliet (Romeo), The Sleeping Beauty (Jesters) and Swan Lake (Neapolitan); and Jerome Robbins’ 2&3 Part Inventions, The Concert, and Les Noces. He also originated featured roles in Adam Hendrickson’s Flit of Fury – The Monarch, Justin Peck’s ‘Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes, and Peter Martins’ Ocean’s Kingdom.
Mr. Peiffer is a 2002 recipient of SAB’s Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise.
Susan Pilarre was born in Brooklyn, NY, and began her ballet training in Cedarhurst, NY, with New York City Ballet Principal Melissa Hayden. She enrolled at the School of American Ballet at age 11 and subsequently performed several children’s roles in NYCB’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Ms. Pilarre was invited by George Balanchine to join NYCB when she was 15. She was named a soloist in 1971.
During her 16 years as a member of New York City Ballet, Ms. Pilarre appeared in numerous works by the Company’s founding choreographers, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She originated a featured role in Balanchine’s Who Cares?, and her repertoire included featured roles in The Four Temperaments, Stars and Stripes, Serenade, La Source, La Valse, Divertimento No. 15, Jewels, Raymonda Variations, Dances at a Gathering and Coppélia.
Ms. Pilarre appeared in the original productions of Balanchine’s Harlequinade (1965), Jewels (1967), Symphony in Three Movements (1972), Danses Concertantes (1972), Le Tombeau de Couperin (1975), and Union Jack (1976).
Ms. Pilarre retired from dancing in 1980 but continued her involvement with the work of George Balanchine by staging his ballets for companies around the U.S. In 1983, she staged Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue ballet for the Broadway revival of On Your Toes.
Ms. Pilarre joined the permanent faculty of the School of American Ballet in 1986. Since then, she has staged numerous ballets or ballet excerpts (primarily by George Balanchine) for SAB’s annual Workshop Performances.
For New York City Ballet’s 1993 Balanchine Celebration, Ms. Pilarre reconstructed Balanchine’s Symphonie Concertante, consulting with the ballet’s original principals, Tanaquil LeClercq and Maria Tallchief, and using archival film footage of Ballet Society’s 1947 production and ABT’s 1983 revival. The ballet was performed by an all-SAB student cast at the Balanchine Celebration and at the School’s 1993 Workshop Performances. Ms. Pilarre set this version of Symphonie Concertante on ABT in 1994.
Other Balanchine ballet stagings include Serenade for Warsaw Ballet and Tarantella for ABT Studio Company in 2004, and Symphony in Three Movements for Pacific Northwest Ballet in 2005. Ms. Pilarre also collaborated with Suzanne Farrell on the staging of La Valse and La Source for Suzanne Farrell Ballet’s 2005 performances at The Kennedy Center.
She is one of the principal auditioners for the School’s National Audition Program, which screens over 2,000 prospective students each year in 22 U.S. cities for the five-week Summer Course.
Brown Foundation Senior Faculty Chair
Brown Foundation Senior Faculty Chair
Suki Schorer began her professional career with the San Francisco Ballet and joined the New York City Ballet in 1959, becoming a principal dancer in 1968. Her repertory included principal roles in Apollo, Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Symphony in C, Stars and Stripes, Tarantella and Jewels among others. Balanchine choreographed solo roles on her in Don Quixote, Raymonda Variations, Harlequinade, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
In the early 1960s, George Balanchine asked Ms. Schorer to assist him as a teacher at the Company and in Ford Foundation Seminars for teachers. She started as a guest teacher at the School of American Ballet while still a fairly new corps dancer in the Company and she also took class with several of the founding teachers of the School. In 1972, Ms. Schorer became a permanent member of the faculty, teaching intermediate and advanced students. That same year at Balanchine’s request, she reorganized the NYCB lecture-demonstration program for public schools, which she oversaw until 1995.
Suki Schorer has set ballets (or ballet excerpts) choreographed by Balanchine for SAB’s Workshop Performances annually since 1973. In early 2007, she staged Serenade with Francia Russell for the Bolshoi Ballet.
Ms. Schorer lectures on Balanchine aesthetics and guest teaches widely in the United States and abroad. She is the author of the award-winning Suki Schorer on Balanchine Technique (Knopf, 1999) and Put Your Best Foot Forward: A Young Dancer’s Guide to Life (Workman Publishing, 2005); and is the recipient of the Dance Magazine Award for 1998, among other honors.
Andrew Scordato was born in Sewell, New Jersey, and began his dance training at the age of nine at The Rock School in Philadelphia. Mr. Scordato earned a merit scholarship to the School of American Ballet’s 2002 Summer Course at the age of 16 and was invited to continue his training in SAB’s Winter Term the same year. In October 2005, Mr. Scordato became an apprentice with New York City Ballet, and in July 2006, he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet.
Mr. Scordato has performed featured roles in numerous ballets including Balanchine’s Agon, Chaconne, Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperaments, Symphony in C, and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® ; Peter Martins’ Romeo + Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake; Jerome Robbins’s The Concert and Glass Pieces; and Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance). Mr. Scordato has also originated featured roles in several ballets by Justin Peck, including Everywhere We Go, Rōdē,ō: Four Dance Episodes, Pulcinella Variations, and The Most Incredible Thing.
Mr. Scordato was invited to become a School of American Ballet teaching fellow in 2012. He joined SAB’s permanent faculty in 2014. Mr. Scordato currently oversees the SAB/NYCB Apprentice Mentorship Program alongside SAB’s dean of students and continues to dance with New York City Ballet.
Sheryl Ware began training in her hometown of San Mateo, California, with Robert and Carolyn Hanlin when she was 7. She continued her ballet studies with Roberta Meyers and then Richard Gibson.
At the age of 15, Ms. Ware attended the School of American Ballet’s Summer Course and subsequently enrolled in the School’s Winter Term. When she was 17, George Balanchine invited her to join the New York City Ballet.
During her ten years with NYCB, Ms. Ware performed in numerous works by the Company’s founding choreographers, George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She danced principal roles in Divertimento No. 15, Symphony in C, Vienna Waltzes and Symphony in Three Movements. Soloist roles included La Source, Scotch Symphony, Raymonda Variations, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Don Quixote, Coppelia, Goldberg Variations, Stars and Stripes, Chaccone, Ballo Della Regina and Swan Lake.
Ms. Ware performed in the original productions of a number of George Balanchine’s masterworks, including Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 (1973), Coppélia (1974), Union Jack (1976), Vienna Waltzes (1977), and Ballo Della Regina (1978).
Ms Ware retired from dancing in 1980. She was invited by Peter Martins to join SAB’s permanent faculty in 1996.
Being involved in the sport of gymnastics and realizing the potential movement has on our wellbeing is what drew Dirk toward the Physical Therapy profession.
Dirk received his bachelors in Health Science and his Masters in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University in 2008. Over the years he has pursued a higher level of education completing his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Temple University in 2015.
He is also a board certified orthopedic specialist (OCS) and a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and Registered in Musculoskeletal Sonography (RMSK). Dirk also works as a strength and conditioning coach with New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet.
He continues to further his professional development with certifications through the National Strength and Conditioning association, the American Physical Therapy Association and being a member of various professional organizations.
His passion is to stay up to date with the latest research, science and evidence that will provide the best possible outcomes for his patients. He enjoys staying active and finding new challenges that maintain overall health and wellness; to include rock climbing, skiing, hiking and maybe even a gymnastics class once in a while!
Phoebe Higgins trained in SAB’s Children’s Division from the ages of 8 to 12 and also received ballet instruction as a child from SAB alumna Romana Kryzanowska.
While earning an Art History degree at SUNY Purchase, Phoebe re-encountered Kryzanowska (then the director of The Pilates Studio) and began to study the Pilates Method. From 1980-89, Phoebe taught under Kryzanowska at The Pilates Studio, and upon its closing she partnered with NYC-based chiropractor Howard Sichel to offer Pilates to his patients. That work led to the establishment of Power Pilates, which Ms. Higgins helped to grow into a successful studio with locations around the world.
In 1998, SAB invited Ms. Higgins to design a Pilates program for SAB’s Intermediate and Advanced Students, and two decades later she continues to offer instruction to Winter Term students as an important component of SAB’s student wellness offerings.
In addition to her current work at SAB, Ms. Higgins offers private instruction and workshops to clients in New York City. She is a PMA Gold Certified teacher.
Caroline has been a ballet student since she was 5 in her hometown of Nashville, TN. After a knee injury when she was 16 she ended her formal dance studies and started to pursue a new passion — physical therapy. She earned her BS in Kinesiology from Miami University of Ohio where she studied the effects of the Female Athlete Triad on a dancer’s likelihood of injury. Soon after, she earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy from New York University and has since worked with dancers of all styles to rehabilitate and prevent their injuries. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with a strong passion for educating dancers on the importance of cross-training that differs from traditional ballet exercises.
She continues to take courses to broaden her knowledge and expertise in the field of dance medicine and manual therapy. She understands from personal experience how much an injury can impact a dancer’s future and is always excited to provide education, prevention, and treatment that keeps dancers dancing.
A recipient of a New Music USA Project Grant, CBA Fellowship at New York University and The Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship, Aaron is an American composer and avid educator committed to developing communicative skills between artists of multiple disciplines.
Prior to receiving his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in composition from The Juilliard School, he trained at the School of American Ballet and danced professionally for New York City Ballet. In 2021, he became the music teacher at SAB and has developed a curriculum that is unique to the School and informed by his experience in both art forms.
As a composer, he collaborates regularly on scores for concert, dance, film, television, and new media. Recent projects include music for a documentary about the Baryshnikov Art Center in New York and music for a new theatrical production in the works about opera singer Sissieretta Jones.
Aaron has spearheaded multiple educational projects including co-founding Juilliard’s student-run initiative, OperaComp, that led to the implementation of a two-semester course at the School called Opera Lab.
Awards and honors including The ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award and In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores – Honorable Mention. He divides his time between New York and Connecticut.
2021-22 Guest Faculty
Rector,Palucca University of Dance Dresden
Rector,Palucca University of Dance Dresden
Jason Beechey has been the Rector of the Palucca University of Dance Dresden since August 2006. A graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School, he completed his training at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg and under Stanley Williams at the School of American Ballet in New York.
Beginning his career as a soloist with the London City Ballet, he then danced for fifteen years with Charleroi/Danses in Belgium. During his career, alongside an extensive exploration of interdisciplinary, improvisation based work with Frédéric Flamand, he had the fortune to create works with Stephen Petronio, Karole Armitage, Lucinda Childs, to collaborate with artists from other fields such as the Architects Zaha Hadid, Diller and Scofidio, as well as dancing repertoire from Paul Taylor, August Bournonville, Marius Petipa and Merce Cunningham amongst others.
Passionate for dance based upon ballet, contemporary and improvisation, as well as of providing opportunities for young dancers to explore their creativity, this lead him to assume parallel to his dance career, the position of Training Director for the National Choreographic Centre Charleroi/Danses, to founding his own studio in Brussels, “The Loft” and to the creation of the D.A.N.C.E. Programme, in close collaboration with William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Frédéric Flamand and Angelin Preljocaj.
Bringing his vision to the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden since 2006, this had led to a redefinition of the profile of the University as well as the creation of new Initiatives, such as the Apprentice Programme with the Semperoper Ballet, Tanzplan Dresden and the building of a global Network of exchanges Programmes and Partner Schools. He is the first speaker of the AKT Conference (Ausbildungs Konferenz Tanz), which unites the ten professional dance training Institutions of Germany, serves regularly as a Jury Member for Youth America Grand Prix and is a member of the Artistic Committee of the Prix de Lausanne. In 2011 he choreographed a new production of The Nutcracker together with Aaron S. Watkin, Artistic Director of the Semperoper Ballet.
Artistic Director,Pacific Northwest Ballet
Artistic Director,Pacific Northwest Ballet
Peter Boal was raised in Bedford, New York. At the age of nine, after having seen a New York City Ballet performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, he began studying dance at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. Two years later he danced the role of the Nutcracker Prince. Mr. Boal became a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet in 1983, became a soloist four years later and was promoted to principal in 1989. In 2005, he retired from New York City Ballet after a 22-year career with the company. Mr. Boal was also a full-time faculty member at the School of American Ballet from 1997 to 2005. In 2004, he founded Peter Boal and Company, a critically acclaimed chamber ensemble.
In 1992, he married dancer Kelly Cass. The couple has two sons, Sebastian and Oliver, and one daughter, Sarah.
In 2005, upon his retirement from New York City Ballet, Mr. Boal became Artistic Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet and Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Pacific Northwest Ballet, one of the largest and most highly regarded ballet companies in the United States, was founded in 1972 and under the artistic direction of Kent Stowell and Francia Russell from 1997 to 2005. The company of 51 dancers presents more than 100 performances annually of full-length and mixed repertory ballets at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall and on tour. The company has toured to Europe, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, and throughout the United States, with celebrated appearances at Jacob’s Pillow, Vail International Dance Festival, and in New York City and Washington, D.C. Under the direction of Mr. Boal, PNB has continued to expand and diversify its repertory to include works by Ulysses Dove, Susan Marshall, Mark Morris, Victor Quijada, Twyla Tharp, Christopher Wheeldon, and others. Mr. Boal has staged the works of George Balanchine, Ulysses Dove, and Peter Martins for the Company and elsewhere. He also inaugurated an annual festival at PNB in April 2007 with the theme Celebrate Seattle. The Laugh Out Loud! Festival in April 2008 featured new and classic comedy ballets.
Among the many ballets in which Mr. Boal was featured at New York City Ballet are George Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon), and Prodigal Son; Jerome Robbins’s Dances at a Gathering and Opus 19/The Dreamer; and works by Ulysses Dove, William Forsythe, Peter Martins, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon.
In addition to touring with New York City Ballet, Mr. Boal performed as a principal dancer with Ballet Arizona; the Ballet du Nord in France; the Kirov Ballet; The Metropolitan Opera, dancing the variation in Zeffirelli’s La Traviata; the Norwegian National Ballet; the Royal Birmingham Ballet; the Suzanne Farrell Ballet; the Wendy Perron Dance Company; and with Molissa Fenley at the Joyce Theater. In 1996, Mr. Boal received the Dance Magazine Award, and in 2000, he received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his performance in Ms. Fenley’s State of Darkness.
Former Principal Dancer,American Ballet Theatre
Former Principal Dancer,American Ballet Theatre
A former principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre, Irina Dvorovenko was born in Kiev, Ukraine, and began her ballet training at the Kiev Ballet School at the age of ten. She joined the National Opera Ballet of Kiev in 1990 as a soloist, rising to the rank of principal dancer in 1992. A dancer of infinite range, her repertoire with the National Opera Ballet included leading roles in many of the great classics: Gamzatti in La Bayadère; Kitri, the Queen of the Driads and Mercedes in Don Quixote; Giselle and Myrta in Giselle; Princess Aurora and Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty; Odette-Odile in Swan Lake; the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker; and the title roles in Cinderella and Paquita. She also performed pas de deux from Le Corsaire, Diana and Acteon and La Sylphide, as wellas the Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.
Ms. Dvorovenko’s superlative style and technique have been recognized in numerous ballet competitions throughout the world. Her most notable awards include the 1994 Grand Prix at the International Ballet Competition Serge Lifar in the Ukraine, the 1992 Gold Medal and “Anna Pavlova” Prize at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow, the 1991 Bronze Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Osaka, Japan, and the 1990 Silver Medal at the International Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Joining American Ballet Theatre in 1996, Ms. Dvorovenko was made a soloist in 1997 and was appointed principal dancer in 2000, following a stunning season which won her widespread critical and popular acclaim. Anna Kisselgoff, writing in The New York Times, said “19th century ballets are built around ballerinas, and they offered a showcase for Irina Dvorovenko, who had a breakthrough season, usually in tandem with her husband, Maxim Beloserkovsky.” Her portrayal of Kitri in Don Quixote continued to set the stage afire: “The last Don Quixote of the season … had Irina Dvorovenko and (Maxim) Beloserkovsky in a stunning display of integrated artistry and technique, a truly flawless and exciting performance.” (Kisselgoff, The New York Times.) Ms. Kisselgoff’s review of Ms. Dvorovenko’s 1999 Don Quixote hailed it as “a perfect performance, unsurpassed in its attention to classical form while infused with verve.”
Ms. Dvorovenko’s Odette-Odile in Ballet Theatre’s new Swan Lake also brought critical acclaim: “Ms. Dvorovenko’s Odette was hypnotic.” “To see Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky step into the leading roles of Swan Lake was to see two outstanding dancers outdo themselves and enhance a 19th century classic with a splendid and mature performance.” “It is up to the principals to bring depth to the plot through their dancing. This is what Ms. Dvorovenko and Mr. Beloserkovsky did with unusual technical polish.” (The New York Times.) Equally dazzling in modern works, she was hailed for her debut as Katherina in John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew: “Ms. Dvorovenko’s dynamism defined her spirited heroine; every arrowsharp jeté added to the brio of her comic acting.” (Kisselgoff, The New York Times.) Jennifer Dunning, reviewing Etudes in The New York Times, noted that “Ms. Dvorovenko’s dancing had a weight that made it regal.” And Anna Kisselgoff called her Siren (in Prodigal Son) “a masterpiece of detail and projection.”
Her diverse repertoire with ABT includes her commanding portrayal of both Nikya and Gamzatti in La Bayadère; Cinderella in Ben Stevenson’s production; Kitri, the Queen of the Driads and Mercedes in Don Quixote; the Lilac Fairy and Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty; Odette-Odile in Swan Lake; Giselle and Myrta in Giselle; Juliet in Romeo and Juliet; Marguerite in “Cady of the Camellias”,Tatiana in Onegin; the title roles in Raymonda; Swanilde in Coppélia; the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker; Medora in Le Corsaire; the Ballerina in Etudes; the Empress in Anastasia; Hanna and Valencienne in The Merry Widow; Cupava in The Snow Maiden; the Operetta Star in Offenbach in the Underworld; the Siren in Prodigal Son; and Les Sylphides, Apollo, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Sylvia Pas de Deux and Paquita. Ms. Dvorovenko also excels in contemporary choreography and has danced leading roles in Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove, the Brahams-Haydn Variations and In The Upper Room; Symphony in C (first and second movements); Kylian’s Petit Mort; Christian Spuck’s Le Grand Pas de Deux; Nacho Duato’s Without Words; Natalie Weir’s Hereafter; Brüch Violin Concerto, Transcendental Etudes, The Wall, Maguar Suite, Jazzmania, Don’t Bring Lu-Lu, and Pas des Déesses. She has danced with the Finnish Ballet, the Australian Ballet, the New York City Opera Ballet, the Rome Opera Ballet, Verona Ballet, the Universal Ballet, and with the Stars of the Bolshoi Ballet, and has performed in France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Moscow, Hungary, Finland, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Korea, China, Singapore and Taiwan. She has also appeared in various videos and television specials, including the PBS broadcast of the opening of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, in which she danced the Act II Pas de Deux from Swan Lake. She has been featured on the cover of Dance Magazine, Pointe, Japan Dance Magazine (twice), New York Dance Fax (three times), as well as in People, Russian Dance Magazine, Dancing Times, Good Housekeeping, Bazaar, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Gotham, Jane, Elle, Russian Vogue, Town and Country, Time Out and Talk. Ms. Dvorovenko was the face of Movado Watches for three years.
In the spring of 2013, Ms. Dvorovenko retired from the ABT stage and simultaneously made her stunning musical theatre debut as Vera Baronova in the New York City Center Encores! production of Rodgers & Hart’s “On Your Toes,” garnering outstanding reviews. Ben Brantley wrote in the NY Times that “(Ms. Dvorovenko) is ideal for the part of a woman required to bridge the delicacy of ballet with the brass of Broadway” and that “(her) Vera maintains the ecstatic smile of someone who adores being adored. … It’s enough to make any red-blooded American boy defect to the Russians.” Linda Winer in Newsday wrote “(Ms. Dvorovenko has) the leafy, punchy attack and high-drama comic attitude that make Vera so tempestuously delightful.” From the NY Post: “She’s so effortlessly hilarious as a flighty diva that it’s hard to believe this is her first speaking role.” And in the NY Daily News: “Musical theater rookie Irina Dvorovenko… provides the real high – and the high kicks” and is “sexy, funny, lithe and lively as lightning. As Rodgers and Hart note in a lyric from the show’s title number: ‘See the pretty lady, top of the crop’ – they didn’t know it, but they were writing about this polished performer.” Since 2005 Ms. Dvorovenko and her husband launched a very successful line of ballet wear “Irina & Max” by Bloch. Following this triumph, Ms. Dvorovenko was invited to join the leading cast of the Starz network original television drama “Flesh and Bone,” which aired in November 2015. She also made guest appearances on “Forever” (ABC, 2015) and “The Blacklist” (NBC, 2016). She appeared in 4 episodes of the Starz series “Power” during the 2016-2017 season, and in 9 episodes of the FX series “The Americans” during the 2017 season. In the Spring of 2018 she starred in both the New York City Center Encores! production of “Grand Hotel” as fading prima ballerina Elizaveta Grushinskaya, and as the lead May Bartram in the Vineyard Theatre production of Susan Stroman’s “The Beast in the Jungle.” She had the leading dance role in the off-Broadway production “Shadows: A Dance Musical” in Fall 2018. In May, 2019 Ms. Dovorovenko was the winner of the annual Chita Rivera award for Outstanding Female Dancer in an Off-Broadway show for her performance in “The Beast in the Jungle.”
A virtuoso artist, Ms. Dvorovenko brings radiant beauty, serene elegance and dramatic precision to all of her endeavors. She is married to ABT former principal dancer Maxim Beloserkovsky; together they are the proud parents of Emma Galina, born in March 2005.
Répétiteur,William Forsythe Ballets
Répétiteur,William Forsythe Ballets
A native New Yorker, Noah Gelber began his singing, acting and dance training at the age of 5. Noah performed as a child in The Nightingale and Raft of Medusa with the First All Children’s Theater just opposite Lincoln Center. As a student the School of American Ballet for 11 years, he attended the High School of Performing Arts and Professional Children’s School. At age 16 Noah became principal guest artist with the American Ballet Company, where he began performing principal roles in Balanchine ballets. His Balanchine repertoire includes Tarantella pas de deux’, Steadfast Tin Soldier, Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, main roles in ‘Rubies’, Valse Fantaisie and Allegro Brilliante, ‘Melancholic’ from The Four Temperaments, second movement of Western Symphony, and various solo parts from The Nutcracker (among others). At 17 he performed in a New York production of West Side Story before pursuing his career in Europe.
After 3 years as soloist with the Royal Ballet of Flanders, he toured the U.S. and Mexico as a principal guest artist before William Forsythe invited him to the Frankfurt Ballet in 1991. Noah earned widespread critical acclaim for his speed, dynamism and technical precision, plus his ability to excel in the classical ballet genre as well as inspire contemporary choreographers. He was invited to perform in international galas all over the world, dancing solos and pas de deux created especially for him by William Forsythe and others. Over a decade of collaboration with William Forsythe, Noah performed the greater portion of the Frankfurt Ballet’s repertoire, notably premiering in the original cast of The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude which was created on him. Fashion designer Issey Miyake featured him on the catwalk in Paris and he has been presented in photographic exhibitions in museums and theaters across Europe. Well versed in the complex improvisation techniques Forsythe developed, Noah was chosen as an ambassador to demonstrate examples of these for the William Forsythe Improvisation Technologies CD-ROM. He is regularly invited as a guest professor to conduct master classes and workshops based on these improvisation modalities, at various international institutions.
Noah was active in the choreographic processes at the Frankfurt Ballet, creating considerable solo and pas de deux material contained in some Forsythe pieces. He was the first American choreographer ever invited to create a world premier for the Kirov Ballet at the Mariinsky Theater. His first story ballet, The Overcoat (after Nikolai Gogol), won 2 ‘Golden Sofit’ awards including Best Ballet of the Year, and a ‘Golden Mask’ Russia’s highest theatrical prize. His other creations include The Golden Age for the Mariinsky Ballet, Object Ours for dancers of the Royal Ballet, Running Time duet, plus his own solos Gnos Naos and Opus 3/1-3. Noah also choreographed for the hit TV show Born to Dance in Israel and collaborated with aerial ballerina Erika Lemay for Cirque du Soleil and her feature show Animus Femina. His choreographic works have been presented in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Minsk, New York, London, Milan, Monte Carlo, Montreal, Quebec, Talinn, Tel Aviv and Frankfurt.
Since 1997 while still dancing, Noah has maintained the responsibility of Choreographic Assistant for 12 different ballets from William Forsythe’s repertoire. The long list of companies with which he has collaborated includes the Royal Ballet, the Kirov/Mariinsky Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, La Scala Ballet, Nederlans Dans Teater (The Hague), Dutch National Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (Montreal), Royal Swedish Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, Vienna State Ballet, Ballet de Monte Carlo, Rome Opera Ballet, Berlin State Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, National Ballet of Portugal, Compañia Nacional de Danza (Madrid), Scottish Ballet, Ballet du Grand Theatre (Geneva), Ballet de Marseille, Bavarian State Ballet (Munich), Zurich Ballet, Basel Ballet, Stanislavsky and Nemirov-Danchenko Ballet, Perm Tchaikovsky State Ballet, Yekaterinburg State Ballet, National Ballet of the Republic of Belarus (Minsk), Israel ballet, Ballet am Rhein (Düsseldorf), Badische State Ballet (Karlsruhe), Hannover Ballet, Sao Paulo Dance Company, Ballet de Lorraine (Nancy), Queensland Ballet (Brisbane), Introdans (Arnhem), Oregon Ballet Theater and Dortmund Ballet (Germany).
Washington School of Ballet
Washington School of Ballet
Damien Johnson is originally from Dallas, Texas. He received his early dance training from Kitty Carter, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and The Etkin-Atkinson School of Ballet. Johnson went on to study at The Rock School and The School of American Ballet, the official school of The New York City Ballet.
As a professional dancer, Johnson has been a member of American Repertory Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, New Chamber Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, and London based Ballet Black where he was a principal dancer for 10 seasons. Since returning to the states in 2017, Johnson has performed with Madison Ballet, The Ashley Bouder Project, and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet.
Johnson is on faculty at The Washington School of Ballet and serves on SAB’s Alumni Advisory Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. A 2019-20 SAB National Visiting Fellow, Johnson is also certified in the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum in Pre-Primary-Level 3 as well as classical Pilates through Power Pilates. He has taught for many companies and dance institutions including The Central School of Ballet, Rambert School, Bermuda Civic Ballet, Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, Ballet Black, and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures.
Artistic Director,American Contemporary Ballet
Artistic Director,American Contemporary Ballet
Lincoln Jones is the founder and artistic director of American Contemporary Ballet, now in its 10th season in Los Angeles. Jones built the company from two dancers and a single performance in 2011 to 21 dancers in 2020 with 70 performances annually, largely on his original ballets. ACB’s repertory consists of new ballets in the classical tradition, stagings of works by George Balanchine and Fred Astaire, and reconstructions of late 19th century classical repertory from the original notation. The company performs only to live music played by some of the most accomplished musicians in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Times says that Jones’ choreography “soars”, praised ACB’s programming as “revelatory” and “beguiling”, and lauded the company’s “freshness, intelligence, and stylistic unity”. Los Angeles Magazinesays ACB “lets you experience ballet like you never have before”, and called Jones choreography “beautiful” and “crisply integrated with the music.”
In addition to his ballets, Jones is known for his ability to provide deep insight into the art. The Los Angeles Times says that Jones “…makes the most complex issues seem like child’s play”, and Los Angeles Magazinesays “… he consistently leaves audiences with a deeper understanding of dance”, and that “…you can see audiences light up with greater understanding of the steps, the music…” Outside of his work with the company, Jones has choreographed ballet in commercials for Apple, Facebook, Virgin Mobile, and other international brands.
Artistic Director,Washington Ballet
Artistic Director,Washington Ballet
Julie Kent became the Artistic Director of The Washington Ballet in July 2016. She is the longest-serving ballerina in American Ballet Theatre’s 79-year history. She began her dance training with Hortensia Fonseca at the Academy of the Maryland Youth Ballet in Bethesda, MD and attended summer sessions at American Ballet Theatre II and the School of American Ballet before joining American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 1985. In that same year, Kent won first place in the regional finals of the National Society of Arts and Letters at the Kennedy Center. In 1986, she was the only American to win a medal at the Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition, and she became a member of ABT’s corps de ballet.
Kent starred in the Herbert Ross film Dancers in 1987 opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov. She was appointed a Soloist with ABT in 1990 and a Principal Dancer in 1993, the year in which she became the first American to win the Erik Bruhn Prize in Toronto and was named one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.” In April 2000, Kent achieved another triumph, becoming the first American to win the “Prix Benois de la Danse.” Later that year, Kent starred in the motion picture Center Stage directed by Nicholas Hytner. In 2012, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts as well as a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Dance Magazine. Since 2014, she has been the Brand Ambassador for HANIA New York, a luxury line of hand-knit cashmere in NYC.
During Kent’s long performing career, she has acquired a vast repertoire dancing over 100 ballets, including all of the major classical, dramatic and neo-classical roles in works by Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, John Cranko, Anthony Tudor, Michel Fokine, Agnes DeMille, Merce Cunningham, Jose Limon, Jiri Kylian, Ronald Hynd, Ben Stevenson and Christopher Wheeldon. As well, she has had roles created on her by John Neumeier, Lar Lubovitch, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, Alexei Ratmansky, Nacho Duato, Stanton Welch, James Kudelka, Jorma Elo, David Parsons, Jessica Lang, and Natalie Weir. Her appearances as a guest include invitations from the Mariinsky Theatre, Teatro alla Scala, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Berlin Staatsballett, Australian Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsballett, Teatro Colon, Ballet de Santiago, and others. In August of 2015, after a 30-year performing career, Kent was named Artistic Director of ABT’s Summer Intensive, a comprehensive summer dance program for 1,400 students at five campuses across the US.
Since Kent arrived at The Washington Ballet, she has brought important classical and contemporary masterworks into the repertoire, including her and Victor Barbee’s own critically acclaimed staging of The Sleeping Beauty, described by New York Times former chief dance critic Alastair Macaulay as “one of the world’s finer Sleeping Beauties.” Kent’s steadfast commitment to the development of artists, rising choreographers, and the creation of arts education initiatives that benefit the community of our Nation’s Capital, showcase her dedication to creativity, expression, and to propelling ballet forward into the 21st century.
Kent is married to The Washington Ballet’s Associate Artistic Director Victor Barbee, and, as a mother of two children, she has helped redefine the image of the American Ballerina.
Artistic Director,Indianapolis Ballet
Artistic Director,Indianapolis Ballet
A native of Athens, Greece, Ms. Lyras received her training at the School of American Ballet under the guidance of Alexandra Danilova, Felia Doubrovska, Helene Dudin, Andrei Kramarevsky, Richard Rapp, Elise Reiman, Suki Schorer, Muriel Stuart, Antonina Tumkovsky and Stanley Williams. While studying at the School of American Ballet from 1967-1976, she performed numerous roles with the New York City Ballet.
At age 17, Barbara Weisberger selected her for the Pennsylvania Ballet where she rose through the ranks to soloist and principal dancer. During her association with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Ms. Lyras danced principal roles in the Balanchine repertoire: Stars and Stripes, Donizetti Variations, Divertimento No. 15, Western Symphony, Who Cares?, and Tarantella, in Benjamin Harkarvy’s Time Passed Summer, Madrigalesco and Grand Pas Espagnol, John Butler’s Carmina Burana, The Woman In His Past in Antony Tudor’s Jardin Aux Lilas, Emilia in Jose Limon’s The Moor’s Pavane, Paul Taylor’s Arden Court, Swanilda in Coppélia and created roles in Peter Anastos’ Domino, Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Ordinary Rhythms, and Dane LaFontsee’s Underlight. Ms. Lyras also danced the roles of Snow Queen and Dew Drop in the Pennsylvania Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker.
She performed on many occasions with Edward Villella and Dancers, dancing Odette in Balanchine’s Swan Lake Act II and the Stars and Stripes pas de deux partnered by Mr. Villella. During her career, she toured and performed as as freelance guest artist and master teacher throughout the United States. For the 1994-95 season, Ms. Lyras was a principal dancer with American Repertory Ballet.
In 1996, she joined the professional staff of Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers in New York City where she directed the ballet program exclusively created for figure skaters. She later founded “Lyrical Designs,” her company that designs and executes competitive skating dresses, tutus, ballet costumes and headpieces.
Ms. Lyras started the Indianapolis School of Ballet in August 2006. Since opening, the Indianapolis School of Ballet has performed 13 seasons of repertoire choreographed or staged by Ms. Lyras. The school’s distinguished production of The Nutcracker features the magnificent Victorian parlor from the Historic Morris-Butler House Museum in Indianapolis for its Act I Party Scene setting, Robert Rodham’s Snow Scene and has included the “Grand Pas de Deux” from Mr. Balanchine’s production of The Nutcracker.
In May 2017, Lyras joined the ISB’s Board of Directors in announcing the launch of Indianapolis Ballet, the first professional resident ballet company based in Indiana’s capital city in over a decade. After conducting auditions for its company, apprentice program, and Professional Level Program across the last half of 2017, the full company began rehearsals in early January 2018 and marked its main-stage debut that February with three sold-out performances of The Firebird at The Toby at Newfields. Last April’s sold-out production of Swan Lake concluded IB’s first full artistic season, notching yet another milestone for this timeless art form in the Circle City.
Ms. Lyras has taught the ballet majors at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music as Adjunct Lecturer with Michael Vernon, Chair – Ballet Department and the late Violette Verdy, Distinguished Professor of Music (Ballet). She also teaches company class for Dance Kaleidoscope. Ms. Lyras was a 2015 Creative Renewal Fellow through the generous support of the Arts Council of Indianapolis. In May 2018, Lyras was named the recipient of the 15th Annual Starkey Entrepreneurial Woman Award, which recognizes Indiana businesswomen who display courage, tenacity, selflessness, and determination as they establish their organizations in the Hoosier State.
Artistic Director,ABT Studio Company
Artistic Director,ABT Studio Company
Born in Santa Cruz, California, Radetsky began studying ballet in the San Francisco Bay area with Ayako Takahashi and Damara Bennett. At 15, he left home to train at Moscow’s Bolshoi Academy, under Pyotr Pestov, and at the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C., under Roudolf Kharatian and Andrei Garbouz.
Radetsky joined American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company in 1995 and its corps de ballet in 1996. He was promoted to Soloist with ABT in 2003, and retired from the Company in 2014. He also danced as a principal or guest principal with the Dutch National Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Berlin Staatsballett, and several other international companies.
Radetsky was named Artistic Director of ABT Studio Company in August 2018. He has served as Director of the ABT/NYU Master’s in Ballet Pedagogy Program since 2016 and is a Company Teacher with American Ballet Theatre. He has taught for institutions such as ABT’s JKO School, the Royal Ballet School, Youth America Grand Prix, Dance Theatre of Harlem, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Interlochen Arts Academy, Adelphi University, Rutgers University, and Ballet West Academy. He has lectured at Woodburne Correctional Facility, University of California at Santa Barbara, and AMDA College and Conservatory. He has choreographed for the Julliard School, Bucknell University, and Under Armour athletic wear. He has written for Vogue, Newsweek, Playbill, Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Spirit, and the programs of the Paris Opera Ballet and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. He starred in the films Center Stage and Center Stage 3, in Mandy Moore’s music video I Wanna Be With You, the Starz television series Flesh and Bone, and Hallmark Channel’s A Nutcracker Christmas. He studied at Long Island University and St. Mary’s College, and served as a fall 2015 artistic fellow at NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts.
Artistic Director,Ballet West
Artistic Director,Ballet West
Since 2007, Adam Sklute has expanded Ballet West’s outlook, repertoire, and visibility with exciting company premieres, increased touring, heightened public exposure, and a greater focus on the Ballet West Academy.
Sklute began his training in Oakland, California and was with The Joffrey Ballet for twenty-three years, starting in New York as a dancer where he was one of the last two artists personally chosen by Robert Joffrey for his company. He became Ballet Master in 1995 and was part of the team that moved the company from NY to Chicago. In 2004 he became the Associate Director of the Joffrey Ballet. Sklute has extensive television and film credits and is an Adjunct Professor at The University of Utah as well as a teacher, lecturer, coach, and judge for ballet schools, competitions, and companies worldwide.
Sklute was listed as one of the 25 Movers and Shakers of the Utah Arts Scene in 2007. In 2014, he was named one of Utah’s Enlightened 50, and he received the Utah National Guard’s Bronze Minuteman Award for outstanding service to Utah and the nation. Sklute was awarded the Utah Diversity Connection’s Business Award for “Outstanding Commitment to Diversity Initiatives,” and Westminster College’s MLK Unsung Hero Award for his ongoing work to promote inclusivity and diversity in ballet and in our community. Most recently, Sklute was included in Deseret Magazine’s 25 Changemakers of the West for his efforts to build greater equity and inclusion in classical ballet. In 2016, Sklute took on the dual positions of CEO and Artistic Director of Ballet West for the year.
Sklute has introduced BW to new and renowned contemporary choreographers such as Jennifer Archibald, David Bintley, Ulysses Dove, Nicolo Fonte, Jirî Kylián, Jessica Lang, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp, and Natalie Weir to name a few, while expanding the company’s Balanchine, Robbins, and Cranko repertoire and adding early 20th century and Diaghilev-era masterpieces. In addition, Sklute conceived and produced his own new versions of Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle. He has honored the history of Ballet West with a reconstruction of Willam Christensen’s lost ballet The Firebird, and he conceptualized and oversaw new sets and costumes for Christensen’s historic production of The Nutcracker while working with the Christensen family to modify the “Chinese” variation to create a greater celebration of Asian culture. Sklute developed Ballet West’s wildly successful annual Family Series, its Innovations and Works from Within programs, and in 2017, Ballet West unveiled the new International Choreographic Festival which invites companies to join Ballet West and present new and emerging choreography from around the world together on the same programs.
Under Sklute’s leadership, Ballet West has toured extensively to major venues, including four engagements at Washington DC’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2008, 2012, 2014, 2018); Chicago’s famed Auditorium Theater with two different programs (2013); twice at New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival (2009, 2011); twice to New York’s Joyce Theater (2013, 2017); twice to Victoria, British Columbia (2015, 2018); and many more. Notably, in 2016, Ballet West was invited to Havana, Cuba to take part in the renowned Cuban International Ballet Festival.
In 2009, BW graced the cover of Dance Magazine for the first time in 25 years. This was repeated in 2013, and again with Pointe Magazine in 2019. The company has garnered numerous reviews and articles in such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Dance Magazine, Ballet Review, and Pointe Magazine. Ballet West was the subject of the BBC Worldwide Production’s docudrama television series Breaking Pointe that aired on The CW channel for two seasons (2012, 2013), and in 2020, Ballet West was the subject of In the Balance, an online serialized documentary about the company successfully and safely producing live performances during the time of COVID.
In 2015, Ballet West moved into the new Jesse Eccles Quinney Ballet Centre. The result is a building that houses six large studios, administrative offices, a costume shop, dressing rooms, and a physical therapy suite to serve BW, BW II, and the BW Academy, all connected to the company’s home venue – The Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre. Following the success of this project, Sklute oversaw the development and building of three satellite locations for the Ballet West Academy.
The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy has grown in scope and size since Sklute took the helm. Under Sklute’s guidance, the BWA student enrollment is more than five times what it was prior to 2007, and it has expanded its facilities to four different campuses, bringing students from around the world to study in Utah. Sklute developed BWA’s successful trainee program and expanded BW’s second company, Ballet West II, to a touring ensemble in its own right. Currently, 95% of the main company has come out of BWII with a third of them being graduates of the Academy Trainee Program.
Artistic Director,The Joffrey Ballet
Artistic Director,The Joffrey Ballet
Ashley Wheater has dedicated his life to dance. He was born in Scotland and trained at The Royal Ballet School in England. He worked with Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, and Michael Somes in numerous ballets at Covent Garden, including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Manon, Anastacia and The Dream. Mr. Wheater danced with Rudolf Nureyev in Nureyev and Friends at the London Coliseum.
On Mr. Nureyev’s advice, Mr. Wheater joined the London Festival Ballet and danced in his Romeo and Juliet and Sleeping Beauty. He danced in Glen Tetley’s Sphinx and Greening and in Festival Ballet’s large repertoire of classics and new creations. Under the artistic direction of John Field, he was promoted to Principal Dancer at the age of 20.
In 1982, he joined the Australian Ballet where he continued dancing principal roles in both classical and contemporary work, especially in the John Cranko full-length ballets.
In 1985, at the invitation of Gerald Arpino, Mr. Wheater joined The Joffrey Ballet. For the next four years, he performed various works by American choreographers including William Forsythe, Gerald Arpino, Mark Morris, Paul Taylor, and Laura Dean, as well as repertoire by Ashton and Cranko.
Joining the San Francisco Ballet in 1989, he continued his creative career working under Helgi Tomasson, and with choreographers James Kudelka, David Bintley and many more. In 1997, he retired from dancing and was appointed Ballet Master and, later, Assistant to the Artistic Director at the San Francisco Ballet.
Since his appointment in 2007 as artistic director of The Joffrey Ballet, his passion and commitment to the Joffrey have been evident in the quality that he has brought to the dancing and to the repertoire. He has invited world-renowned choreographers, as well as fresh young talent, to create new work for the company. Mr. Wheater has added new full-length works to the Joffrey’s repertoire, including Lar Lubovitch’s groundbreaking Othello, Ronald Hynd’s The Merry Widow and Yuri Possokhov’s Don Quixote.
In 2008, Mr. Wheater was the recipient of the Boeing Game-Changer Award in recognition of his commitment to community engagement in Chicago and to the celebration of diversity through dance. He sits on the Advisory Board for Dance Magazine, serves as the Artistic Advisor for ChiArts and is the Advisor to the Arts for the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. In 2010, Mr. Wheater, representing The Joffrey Ballet, was named Lincoln Academy Laureate, the highest honor presented by the State of Illinois, and in 2013 the Chicago Tribune named him “Chicagoan of the Year”. In 2015, Wheater received the University of Chicago Rosenberger Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Creative and Performing Arts.
Former Principal Dancer,New York City Ballet
Recent Guest Faculty
Faculty, American Ballet Theatre JKO School
Artistic Director, National Ballet of Canada
Merce Cunningham Trust
Assistant Artistic Director, Boston Ballet
Former NYCB, Miami City Ballet
Dean, Trudl Zipper Dance Institute, Colburn School
Director, Boston Ballet School