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The Company

KATHERINE GIESE, Executive/Artistic Director

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Katherine Giese graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Arts Management with a Theatre Emphasis and a Minor in Dance. She has worked with Flagstaff Festival of the Arts, the Joffrey Ballet Workshop, Northern Arizona University Orchestra, and the University of Incarnate Word Dance Department. Upon moving to Albuquerque in 1996, she began teaching, dancing, and choreographing with Ballet Repertory Theatre. Katherine has danced featured roles in Macbeth (Lady Macbeth), The Nutcracker (Snow Queen), Lumina by David Chavez (Fertility Pas de Deux), Casa de Bernarda Alba (Magdalena), Paquita (Soloist), the 1997 Bravo award-winning production of Cinderella (Stepmother), and the 2003 production of Cinderella (Stepsister). She has choreographed The Nutcracker and numerous one-act ballets and concert pieces for BRT, and has collaborated with other choreographers on Enchanted Tales of the Southwest and a children's version of Alice in Wonderland. Throughout her career at BRT, she has served in a number of roles, including principal dancer, resident choreographer, ballet school instructor for ages three to adult, Educational Outreach Director, Director of the Children's Division, Ballet Mistress, and Administrative Assistant. In 2004, Katherine became Executive/Artistic Director. During her tenure, she has broadened and enhanced the quality of ballet training, increased enrollment in BRT's academy and enhanced the quality of company productions, resulting in sold out performances for the last four seasons. With more shows performed to broader audiences, BRT has become the premier ballet company and ballet academy in Albuquerque. Katherine trained with Susan and Buddy Trevino, Maureen Price, Sharon Randolph, Jillana, Gretchen Warren, Alex Ossadnik, and Jayne Lee. Besides Ballet Repertory Theatre, she has performed with Bill Evans for New Mexico Ballet Company, Contemporary Dance Ensemble, Canyon Movement Company, and the Incarnate Word College Ballet Company. As a child, she performed with San Francisco Ballet in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and with the Berlin Ballet in La Sylphide featuring Rudolf Nureyev and Eva Evdokimova.



ALEX OSSADNIK, Artistic Advisor/Choreographer

Born and raised in the former East Germany, Alex Ossadnik trained for 8 years under government scholarship at the prestigious Palucca School in Dresden. He performed with the Ballet Theatre de Bordeaux in France and was a principal dancer with the German National Theatre Weimar. In 1995, Alex came to the United States to pursue his career as a choreographer and teacher. He has set numerous original ballets around the country; was founder and Ballet Director for the Santa Fe Festival Ballet (now Aspen Santa Fe Ballet); is Artistic Director for Ballet Pro Musica; and has served as an artistic advisor, resident choreographer, and Associate Artistic Director for Ballet Repertory Theatre. As a choreographer and director, Alex has worked with artists from New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Alberta Ballet (Canada), Oregon Ballet Theatre, and the Colorado Ballet. Past choreographic works for Ballet Repertory Theatre include Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Orpheus, Carmen, Beauty and the Beast, La Mer, Tchaikovsky Suite, Act I of Giselle, The Sleeping BeautyCoppélia and Alice in Wonderland. Alex is currently ballet master of Ballet Idaho.

 


BETH GRIFFIN, Rehearsal Assistant 

Beth began her ballet studies with Terrell Paulk of the Atlanta Ballet. She performed in his regional company for many years, dancing roles in Les Sylphides, Swan Lake, Giselle, Cinderella, Graduation Ball, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, and many original and contemporary works. She later joined the Las Cruces Chamber Ballet and continued study with Marc Ligon of American Ballet Theater and Andree Harper of Ballet El Paso. Throughout her years of study, she had the privilege of studying with Robert Barnett, Wei Dong Cheng as well as famed icons Alexandra Danilova and Robert Joffrey. She continued her study of dance at the University of Texas ultimately graduating with a BSEd in biology from Columbus State University. She choreographed for that university’s “Nunsense”, the Springer Opera House’s “Christmas Carol” and “A Doll’s House”, as well as producing choreography for the Miss Georgia Scholarship Pageants, all in her home state of Georgia. She established the Columbus Ballet Conservatory under the continuing education wing of the university and wrote the curriculum that is still in use today. During that time, she cofounded the Columbus Ballet with Maria Hirsh of Ballet de San Juan. Since her move to Albuquerque she has served as an instructor at Ballet Repertory Theatre, rehearsal assistant, and has choreographed for the company.



TRACY MENSCHING
, Company Rehearsal Assistant 

Tracy has been an instructor with Ballet Repertory Theatre of NM since 1996 and performed in roles in the company for The Firebird, Triptych, and The Nutcracker.  She also danced with the New Mexico Ballet Company for many years, and was an original member of their Jr. Company.  She has danced lead roles in The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty for various ballet companies, plus A Christmas Carol, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Carmina Burana with NMBC under the direction of David Chavez.   Tracy also performed in over twenty Albuquerque Civic Light Opera Productions during the 1970’s 80 and 90’s, and toured with Summer Stock productions of “My Fair Lady” and “George M.”  She has been a guest artist for Ballet Lubbock, Texas Ballet in Houston, and the Asian American Ballet Company in Los Angeles, Ca. Her early training was here in Albuquerque with Suzanne Johnston, Cecelia Jaramillo, Bill Potenziani, David Chavez, Soili Avrola, and Leo Ahonen.  Tracy also attended the Southwest Ballet workshop with Bill Martin Viscount and the Joffery Ballet workshop with Robert Joffery and Diane Oreo.  She was lucky enough to study with many world renowned guest teachers in her dance career.


SARAH MORRIS, Company Rehearsal Assistant
  

Trained as a second-generation Balanchine dancer, Sarah Morris joined the Fort Worth/Dallas Ballet in 1993.  Her repertoire included classic Balanchine ballets and original works by artistic director, Paul Mejia.  Among her favorite roles were soloist in Balanchine’s La Valse, Mother in Mejia’s Les Noces and Stepsister in Cinderella.  She later joined the Bruce Wood Dance company, a modern troupe heavily influenced by Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey, and Lar Lubovitch.  During her professional dance career and since, she has enjoyed teaching ballet classes, staging, rehearsing, and auditioning children of all ages for musical theater and dance productions in a variety of venues.  Sarah has taught all levels of ballet and choreographed numerous dance pieces in Texas, Idaho and now, New Mexico.  Along with over a quarter century of teaching experience, she has also directed a non-profit dance studio for low income families, coordinated an outreach program to children in public schools, created an authentic after school dance program, directed a youth dance ensemble and served on the Board of Idaho Dance Theatre.  She is excited to bring her experience and join the staff at Ballet Repertory Theatre!

 

COREY NAGEL, Jr Company Rehearsal Assistant  

Corey Nagel has her B.S. in Dance from Illinois State University and has been on the dance faculties for ISU, Loyola University Chicago, Harper College, Columbia College Chicago, and the University of Chicago.  Ms. Nagel had the opportunity to study with Gus Giordano, Lea Darwin, Patty Obey, Pirkoff Lawlor, Birute Barodicaite, Nana Shineflug, Rosemary Doolas, and Joel Hall while growing up around the Chicago area.  She is a co-founder of Dance for Life/Next Generation and the McLean County Dance Association and developed the children’s program for two prominent Chicago studios. Ms. Nagel has worked with dancers from all over the states, been guest choreographer for multiple high schools, and has served as an adjudicator for dance festivals, dance companies, and dance scholarships.  She is passionate about her art, thrives on building strong dancers, and loves sharing her knowledge of dance.

 


The Dancers

LEO AMEIKA 

Leo was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia and began attending creative dance classes at the age of 11 as part of a gifted arts program at his school. He started his ballet training at the age of 13 with Ballet Virginia, a school in Norfolk, VA, after being scouted in a master class. He attended Orlando Ballet School’s summer intensive in 2015, ’16, and ’17 before graduating from high school early to pursue a career in dance. After spending the summer of 2018 at Ballet West Academy’s intensive, he was awarded a scholarship to dance year-round in their Professional Training Division. He has performed many roles and has been featured as Franz in Coppélia and The March Hare in Alice in Wonderland both for Ballet Virginia as well as Sugar Plum Cavalier in Ballet West Academy Park City’s The Nutcracker.

*Leo Ameika appears courtesy of Ballet West Academy. 


JACOB EDINGTON 

Jacob was born in Las Cruces, NM, and raised in Huntsville, AL. He began dancing after being awed by the strength and control of the male dancers in The Nutcracker. His first instructor, Jayson Pescasio, instilled in him a passion for excellence and a firm grasp of the power of effort. Jacob has studied Balanchine, Cecchetti, and Vaganova technique, modern, and tap, in addition to ballroom dance. During the 2017-18 season, he performed as a member of the Jr. Company for the Huntsville Ballet Company under the artistic direction of Philip Otto. He has danced in Billy the Kid; Philip Otto’s Phantom of the Opera, the Ballet; The Nutcracker; Cinderella. With BRT he has dancing in The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Ode to Johann, Juan and John. During the summer of 2018 and 2019, Jacob attended five weeks of Summer Intensive at Nashville Ballet, where he studied with Jeffrey Rogers, Jared Redick, Maniya Barredo, Jon Upleger, and Nick Mullikin. This is his second season with Ballet Repertory Theatre.


ISELA FLORES 

Raised in Santa Fe, NM, Isela began her dance training at the age of 5 at NDI- NM. She performed roles in Coppélia, Serenade, The Nutcracker, and Valse Fantasie. She’s attended summer intensives such as Ballet Chicago, Joffrey Ballet School NYC, and Alonzo King Lines Ballet. After she graduated High School from New Mexico School for the Arts in 2016 and headed out to New York to attend Joffrey Ballet School Jazz & Contemporary Trainee program. She recently just graduated in May and joined BRT in August 2019 for her first season.


HANNAH GREIG

Hannah Greig started her ballet training at age nine at Fishback Studio of the Dance, where she also studied tap and jazz. She has been training with Ballet Repertory Theatre since 2010 and has performed featured roles such as the Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker, the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland, and Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Additional BRT credits include The Sleeping Beauty, Wizard of Oz, Swan Lake, Beauty & the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Coppélia, and contemporary shows Favorites!, Voices in Motion, Three-Quarter Time, Food for Thought…A Feast in Dance, and Contemporary Innovations.  This is Hannah's sixth season as a member of the company.  In 2019, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.


EMMA HEUERTZ

Emma began her ballet training at the age of three with Ballet Repertory Theatre. She has attended summer intensives at Walnut Hill School for the Arts; New Mexico Ballet Company; Modas Dance; Orlando Ballet School; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City on a full merit scholarship. Emma has performed with BRT for the past twelve seasons in numerous productions including The Nutcracker (as Princess Clara, Snow Queen, Dew Drop Fairy, and other assorted roles), Beauty & the Beast (as Beauty), Coppélia (as Coppélia), Alice in Wonderland (as the Red Queen), and many more. During a brief leave of absence to study in the Netherlands, Emma had the opportunity to train with Alexander Zhembrovskyy (Bavarian State Ballet, Slovenian National Ballet, and the Dutch National Ballet), Naira Agvanean (Dutch National Ballet), and Daan Visser (Dutch National Ballet Academy and Nederlands Danse Theatre). This will be Emma’s seventh season as a member of the company. Emma will be graduating May 2020 from the University of New Mexico’s School of Architecture and Planning with her bachelor’s in Environmental Planning and Design, with a concentration in Landscape Architecture.

 

VIVIEN JONES

Vivien began her interest in dance and music at the age of three and has trained with Ballet Repertory Theatre since. She has supplemented her training at Fishback Studio of the Dance and with Megan Berlint-Nicko at SiSu Dance Academy. She has continuously attended BRT’s summer intensives and performed with BRT in many productions of The Nutcracker, as well as Food for Thought, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Contemporary Innovations: Ode to Johann, John, and Juan.  As a pianist, Vivien has accompanied Quintessence Choral Artists of the Southwest and the New Mexico Philharmonic Young Musician Initiative. This will be her second season dancing in BRT’s company.


MIRRA MCFADDEN

Mirra started dancing at age five and joined Ballet Repertory Theatre’s academy at age 7. For Ballet Repertory Theatre she has performed in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, The Sleeping Beauty, and Wizard of Oz. Mirra has attended the Arizona Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Joffrey South, Kirov Academy of Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, and Los Angeles Ballet Summer Intensives. Mirra was awarded a full tuition scholarship for Joffrey Ballet Chicago’s trainee program and trained there for their 2015-2016 season. In 2016, Mirra moved to Los Angeles and was a trainee with Los Angeles Ballet for two seasons. In 2018, Mirra was an apprentice with American Contemporary Ballet in Los Angeles for their summer season. Mirra is excited to be back performing with BRT.


EDWARD MONTOYA

Edward Montoya was born & raised in Northern NM. Edward began training in dance at age 19 with Gwen Mills at the Santa Fe Community College. He has studied dance at the Santa Fe Community College, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and Ballet Repertory Theatre (BRT). Edward has performed lead and featured roles in BRT’s productions of The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Seasons, Elementals, Cinderella, and Alive. Edward is also currently performing and training with Soirèe Entertainment. Edward continues to work toward improving his performance in technical skill, athletic ability and artistic interpretation. In addition to dance Edward is an accomplished costume designer and has designed costumes for BRT and Soirèe Entertainment.


OLANIKE ONIMOLE
, Rehearsal Assistant  

As a native of New Mexico, Olanike began her dancing career at BRT at five years old. With BRT, she has performed in many productions including The Nutcracker, Coppélia, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Wizard of Oz, Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pasion, and Tchaikovsky & Shakespeare. She recently graduated with a degree in Exercise Science from Anderson University in Indiana and plans to continue her education to pursue a career in Physical Therapy. Besides a member of the company she is also a Jr. Company Rehearsal Assistant and instructor for Ballet Repertory Theatre. 



ERIKA RAY 

Erika Ray began her ballet training at the age of five with Fishback Studio of the Dance in Albuquerque, where she also studied tap and jazz. In 2008, she began dancing with Ballet Repertory Theatre and since joining has danced principle and soloist roles in The Nutcracker (Clara, Sugar Plum, Dew Drop and Snow Queen) Swan Lake (Odette) Wizard of OZ (Glinda), Alice in Wonderland (Alice) and The Sleeping Beauty (Green Fairy). Other works with BRT include Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella, Mythical Wonders, Literally Dance and more. This is Erika’s eighth season as a member of the company. Erika graduated from UNM with her bachelor’s in Exercise Science in May 2016 and graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in May 2019 where she now works as a Physical Therapist in outpatient orthopedics.


TOMAS TAFOYA
Tomas Tafoya, a native of Albuquerque, grew up dancing at Sandra’s School of Dance where he danced on their nationally recognized competitive teams. The team’s highest achievement was being the only team in the state of New Mexico to rank in the top 50 by the Federation of Dance Competitions. Mr. Tafoya has been a guest teacher to numerous studios and schools in New Mexico, passing on his love and passion for dance. Between 2013-2015 Tomas traveled all over the world with The Silhouettes – runners up on America’s Got Talent Season 6 –, including a tour of Ireland, the Polish Academy Awards, and many more. In 2015 Tomas joined BRT as a company dancer and has performed lead roles in BRT’s productions of The Nutcracker, The Little Mermaid, Coppélia, Alice in Wonderland, and their contemporary concerts. With BRT, Tomas is also an instructor, Jr. Company Rehearsal Assistant, and has choreographed. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.

ASHLEY TORREZ

When Ashley Torrez was 8 years old, she was awarded a full scholarship to dance and train with Ballet Repertory Theatre when their City Dance Program was first introduced in 1995. She danced and trained full time for six years as a young dancer and performed in several productions including BRT’s The Nutcracker, Manuel Flores’s Coppélia, and as Thumbelina in Celia Dale’s Tales of Hans Christian Anderson. In 2014, Ashley decided to revive her love of dance and began training once again with BRT. This is now her third season as a member of the company and is also an instructor for Ballet Repertory Theatre as well as a pharmacy technician and a mother of two. Since returning to BRT she has performed in The Nutcracker, The Little Mermaid, Coppélia, Food for Thought…A Feast in Dance, Ode to Johann, John, and Juan, and has been featured as one of the Twins in Alice in Wonderland and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In the summer of 2019, Ashley was invited by Sparrow Dance Production to dance as Fauna in their production of Onward and Upward to Narnia and the North.


MARISOL VELAZQUEZ 

Marisol began her dance career at Ballet Repertory Theatre when she was 3 years old. She has enjoyed performing in BRT productions such as The Nutcracker (Clara and other various roles), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Coppélia, Swan Lake, Beauty & the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, Like Water for Chocolate, and Ode to Johann, Juan and John.  This is her first season dancing in BRT’s company. 



GIACOMO ZAFARANO

Giacomo Zafarano began performing at a young age with in-school music and drama programs. His ballet training began with the Ballet de Santa Fe Youth Company under the direction of Endelecia Prince. After graduating from the University of New Mexico with a B.A. in Linguistics, he performed professionally in Las Vegas and in commercial, industrial, and theatrical venues across the United States. Since joining BRT, he has danced featured roles in Swan Lake (Prince Siegfried), Romeo & Juliet and Other Games of the Heart (Romeo), Alice in Wonderland (Mad Hatter) and has performed in The Nutcracker, Seasons, Elementals, and Mythical Wonders. Giacomo is a licensed New Mexico real estate broker and continues to expand his intellectual, athletic, and artistic boundaries through the performing arts. Giacomo is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists, AFL-CIO.

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