Robert Atwood, from Fordham University's Dance Department, in New York City, teaches ballet, modern and jazz. He trained with Benjamin Harkarvey, Finis Jhung and Merce Cunningham, among others, and holds an M.F.A. from Florida State University. Mr. Atwoods extensive teaching experience also includes the Joffrey Ballet School, New York Academy of Ballet and The International Ballet School at Carnegie Hall. Some of his guest teaching positions include Academy of the Hong Kong Ballet; Tanztheartre, Stadtische Buhnen Munster, Germany, and the Tallahassee Ballet. Mr. Atwood has been a guest teacher and conducted dance workshops nationally as well as throughout the world, including the North Carolina Dance Alliance; Rockford Ballet Company, Rockford, IL; NYC Tanzschule, Stuttgard, Germany; and B.W. Gung Tanztheater, Ulm, Germany. A frequent summer guest instructor at the Albany Berkshire Ballet, Mr. Atwood recently staged The Sorcerer's Apprentice, a new children's ballet, for the Company in 1999 and Carnival of the Animals, another new children's ballet, in 2000.
Madeline Cantarella Culpo is the Companys Founder and Artistic Director. She was a member of the first dance class at the Julliard School, studying with such legendary teachers as Margaret Craske, Antony Tudor, Alfred Corvino and Martha Graham. She studied extensively at Jacob's Pillow and performed in Ted Shawn's Mountain Whippoorwill. She served on the board of directors at the Pillow and was a faculty member there for five seasons. In 1955 she started the Cantarella School of Dance from which evolved the Berkshire Ballet. Many alumnae from the school and the School of the Albany Berkshire Ballet have entered the world of professional ballet, dancing with some internationally known companies; The Boston Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ohio Ballet and others. Ms. Culpo is a former chairperson of the Northeast Regional Ballet Association, and has received three choreography fellowships from the NEA. She has choreographed a score or more of the works in ABBs extensive repertoire, originals and restagings. In 1996 she was the subject of a feature article in Dance Magazine.Laura Dean, internationally acclaimed as both a choreographer and composer, is recognized as "one of the most exciting choreographers of her generation." Laura Deans music and dance training began at the Third Street Music School in New York City. She studied with Lucas Hoving, Muriel Stuart, Norman Walker, Merce Cunningham and many other great teachers and has danced professionally in the companies of Paul Sanasardo and Paul Taylor. Dance and music works of Laura Dean have been commissioned by the New York City Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, the Walker Arts Center, the American Dance Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Joffrey Ballet, The Spoleto Festival USA, the Ohio Ballet and the BAT-DOR Company of Israel. Ms. Dean has created two highly acclaimed works for ABB: Arrow of Time and Night Wind.
Daryl Gray studied acting and music as a child, making his professional debut at age 14. He was trained by David Howard and at the ABT schools, He was a soloist with Bejart and with ballet companies in the U.S. and abroad. He also appeared in musicals. Choreographic credits include: Joffrey, American Ballet Theater Workshop, Atlanta Ballet and numerous other dance companies across the U.S.. His choreography has also been featured by the Brussel-based Bejart Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz De Montreal, Batsheva Dance Co. of Israel, as well as by companies in France, Germany, Belgium, England, Yugoslavia, Australia and South America. His musical stagings have been seen at Playhouse 91 in Manhattan, St. Louis Muni Opera, Coconut Grove Playhouse, Santa Fe Festival Theatre, Sacramento Music Circus and the Chicago Civic Theater, as well as for CBS.
Alan Hineline was born in Franklin, OH and has spent the majority of his career touring nationally and internationally as a freelance artist. Having recreated principal roles by many of the masters, he now concentrates on working on his own and with other choreographers in the creation of new works. As a choreographer he has been commissioned to create works for American Ballet Theatre II, the 1996 NY International Ballet Competition, American Repertory Ballet II, Central PA. Youth Ballet, Dances...Patrelle, ABB (NYS Arts Council-funded) and Ballet Omaha. His To the Eternity was recently presented at Lincoln Center's Clark Studio Theatre where it received outstanding reviews. He is currently the Ballet Master for Dances...Patrelle, ABB and Dance As Ever, and guest teaches throughout the country.
Philip Jerry was born in Elmira, NY and raised in Delmar, NY. He was Assistant to the Director of the Brooklyn Academy of Music and a faculty member of the Princeton Ballet School. He started dancing with Gertrude Hallenbeck and later trained with other New York Capital Region teachers including Phyllis Marmein and Bagha Follet, and Jacques d'Amboise at SAB. In 1972 he joined the Joffrey II Company and 3 years later joined the Joffrey Ballet where he remained for 13 years. He danced the roles of Romeo and Petruccio in John Cranko's Romeo & Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew. He was the Chinese Conjuror in Parade. He has appeared 5 times on Dance in America, part of PBS' Great Performances, and twice on Broadway - the 1979 revival of The Most Happy Fella, and Dangerous Games in 1989. He has created ballets for the Joffrey, the Washington Ballet, Pacific Ballet Theatre, the Fort Wayne and the Grand Rapids ballet companies. Mr. Jerry staged "Our Town" for the ABB several times, most recently in 1993 and 1995. Mr. Jerry passed away in August of 1996 at the age of 41.
Francis Patrelle has had a long association with the Albany Berkshire Ballet, spanning decades since 1974. A native of Bucks County, PA, he studied ballet in Philadelphia with Jean Williams and at the Pennsylvania Ballet before receiving his B.F.A. from Juilliard, where he studied with Alfredo Corvino, Jose Limon and Antony Tudor. As resident choreographer for the (then) Berkshire Ballet (1974 - 1984) he created two full-length dramatic ballets, Romeo & Juliet and Firebird and over 20 concert works, and also appeared in a number of them. His portrayal of Petrouchka received critical acclaim. In the 1984-85 season, the Riverside Dance Festival featured 3 of his ballets, including Musica Humana which was performed by the Berkshire Ballet, and Rhapsody in Blue. In 1988, Dances. ..Patrelle was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization to provide a forum for his works. Among his most recent works worthy of considerable note are a full-length version of Macbeth (1995) and The Yorkville Nutcracker (1996). In 1990, Judith Fugate, one of New York City Ballet's most personable ballerinas, and her husband Medhi Bahiri first appeared as guest artists in Patrelle's jazz pas de deux titled "Jazz Fools", dancing it to great acclaim. He was previously director of the dance program for Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, and is currently on the faculties of Barnard College and the Manhattan School of Music.
Nancy Ropelewski Pierce has been associated with ABB since she was among the original students at the Cantarella School of Dance. She was a scholarship student at Jacob's Pillow, and studied with Margaret Craske and Antony Tudor. She has been a principal dancer, character dancer, choreographer and ballet mistress. Currently, Ms. Pierce is on the faculty of the School of the Albany Berkshire Ballet in Albany and the Cantarella School in Pittsfield. She is Director of the Junior Company and Academies at both schools. Ms. Pierce choreographed the Albany Berkshire Ballet's production of Peter and the Wolf, a symphonic fairy tale used to introduce young people to the musical instruments of the orchestra. This production, one of the fundamental elements of ABB's Introduction to Dance Program, is quite popular at the elementary school level.A choreographer with Albany Berkshire Ballet since 1972, Ms. Giannone was also the founder and artistic director of Connecticut Dance Theatre, a modern dance repertory company which specialized in the reconstruction of the works of Doris Humphrey. Ms. Giannone's choreography has been funded by the NEA, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, New York State Council on the Arts, CT Commission on the Arts, and the Roberts Foundation. She has also choreographed for ABT II under Baryshnikov, Boston Ballet II, Dayton Ballet and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. Two of the works Ms. Giannone created for ABB, Celebration and Concerto, are included in the National Choreography Plan. She has been a guest teacher at The Boston Ballet and a Visiting Artist at Ohio State University and at Vassar College. In SummerDance 95 her fast-paced Temple Caves received critical acclaim. She has staged shows for country music's The Forester Sisters and has taught at Ohio State University, Wright State University, Vassar and Walnut Hill.
Mary Giannone Talmi, a graduate of the Cantarella School of Dance, went on to study at Julliard where she earned her BFA. Ms. Giannone-Talmi is married to ballet promoter Akiva Talmi and they have two sons, Dan and Ben. Since 1983 the Talmi's have co-produced several major ballet tours including Cynthia Gregory's Celebration Tour with Nancy Reagan as Honorary Chairperson, Leonid and Valentia Koslov's Bolshoi to Broadway tour, the First International Glasnost Tour with ballet stars from Russia, China and Eastern Europe, and Moscow Ballet's Russian Nutcracker tour, now in its 6th consecutive year.
Ginger Thatcher is an accomplished actress, classical and modern dancer, singer and choreographer. She was apprenticed with the Houston Ballet and later danced with the Cincinnati Ballet, and 10 years with the Cleveland Ballet as a soloist and principal dancer, performing in a wide range of classical and contemporary works. In 1991 she joined the Lar Lubovich Dance Company in which she performed internationally for two years. She has choreographed for opera, ballet, musical theatre, drama and TV and was/is Assistant Choreographer for Broadway Shows Big, The Red Shoes and Carousel, which won 5 Tony awards including choreography Her credits include the Minnesota Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, Northwest Dance Ensemble and, most recently the Sarasota Ballet, where she won the Triple Circle Ballet Choreography Competition.
Paula Weber is an Associate Professor of Ballet, Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She received her BA in Dance from Butler University and her MFA in Dance from Smith College. She has studied with such masters as Maria Tallchief, Jean Paul Comelin, Dermot Burke, Basil Thompson, Larry Long, Marjorie Mussman and Maggie Black. During her professional career she has danced solo and principal roles of more than 45 major works including Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo & Juliet and Coppelia, and contemporary works such as Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, Agnes DeMille's Fall River Legend, John Butler's Carmina Burana and Alvin Ailey's The River. Ms. Weber has danced with the Milwaukee Ballet, Chicago Ballet, Lyric Opera Ballet of Chicago, and the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre. She is principal dancer/ballet mistress with Albany Berkshire Ballet and has been a guest artist with the Hartford Ballet. She is also currently a member of the Wylliams/Henry Danse Theatre. Of most recent acclaim, Ms. Weber choreographed the highly-successful Carmina Burana for the State Ballet of Missouri. This production will receive its Northeastern premiere in the summer of 1998. She was a guest instructor of ballet for the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in China, making her the second American ballet master to visit that conservatory. Ms. Weber was the recipient of the 1997 Mrs. Ewing Kauffman Excellence in Teaching Award. [Photo from "Giselle"], [Photo from "Coppelia"], [Photo from "Nutcracker"], [Photo 1 from "Midsummer"], [Photo 2 from "Midsummer"]
Igor Youskevitch was a legend in his own time, both as a dancer and a choreographer. He was formerly Premier Danseur and Artistic Adviser of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and was generally considered to be the world's greatest male classic dancer of his time. Born in Russia and brought up in Yugoslavia, he was an athlete of Olympic caliber. In 1932, the Yugoslavian ballerina Zenia Grunt saw him at a tournament and persuaded him to take up dancing as a career, which he did with outstanding success. Prior to his death in 1994 he was the head of his own ballet school in NYC and was a professor of dance at the University of Texas at Austin and was Dance Chairman in the Drama Department at the College of Fine Arts. The (then) Berkshire Ballet was fortunate enough to have Mr. Youskevitch personally stage the productions of Coppelia and Giselle.
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