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Faculty

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 inLa Sylphide featuring Rudolf Nureyev and Eva Evdokimova. 


MICHELLE DAVIS

Michelle Davis, a Dallas, Texas native, trained at the Dallas Ballet Academy and at Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet High School, as well as a student dancer with the Dallas Ballet. Michelle spent a decade dancing with the San Francisco Ballet from 1990 to 2000 and one season with the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the Portland area, she has taught for The Portland Ballet since 2008, six years as artist in residence at Arts and Communication Magnet Academy, three years at PDX Contemporary Ballet, and various classes teaching at Bodyvox, Polaris, and Vancouver School of Arts and Academics. She and her husband, Jason Davis, have three children.



CHRISTINA ENDLER 
bio coming soon











BETH GRIFFIN  

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, 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.


CECELIA JARAMILLO 

Cecelia Palladino-Jaramillo started dancing at age 5 and studied locally at Fishback Studio and Suzanne's School of Ballet. She continued her dance studies at the University of Utah as a Musical Theater major with a Ballet Emphasis. Ms Jaramillo is trained in Classical and Cecchetti Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Character Dance, and mime. Her ballet training has been with Ballet West, Bill Martin-Viscount, Leo Ahonen and Soili Arvola, Eugene Tanner, and Suzanne Johnston, among others. She received advanced jazz training from Gus Giordano, Luigi, and instructors in L.A. Her tap training was furthered through Tony Coppola, Jim Taylor, and Bril Barrett, and she studied character with Yurek Lazowsky at the University of Utah. Extended dance education includes Chicago National Dance Masters Association, Professional Dance Teacher's Association, National Dance Educators of Texas, and Cecchetti Council of America, where she became qualified to teach Cecchetti levels I-VI.

Ms. Jaramillo received the 2003 National Dance Educators Organization award for meritorious service to dance education in New Mexico and was a Bravo Award nominee in 2004 and 2005.

Teaching experience, starting in 1967, includes Fishback Studio, Albuquerque Ballet Co., Suzanne's School of Ballet, and The Music Studio (Salt Lake City). In 1987 she opened La Mesa Dance Academy, which she closed in August 2019, after almost 33 years. In 1992, Ms. Jaramillo created the Energy in Motion Dance Company, which had its final performance in 2019.

Ms. Jaramillo has performed, choreographed, and directed for ACLOA/MTS, in over 40 performances, since 1968. Choreography credits include Chicago, Evita, 7 Brides for 7 Brothers, Cabaret, and Singin' in the Rain. She also choreographed and directed for Carlaw Productions and performed and choreographed numerous ballets for the original NM Ballet Co., under Suzanne Johnston.

Ms. Jaramillo is extremely happy to be part of the BRT family. It feels like coming home! 




TRACY MENSCHING

Tracy has been an instructor with Ballet Repertory Theatre of NM since 1996 and performed in roles in the company for The FirebirdTriptych, 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 CarolThe 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

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

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.


OLANIKE ONIMOLE 

As a native of New Mexico, Olanike began her dancing career at BRT at five years old. With BRT, she has performed in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Wizard of Oz, Swan Lake, 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. After a four-year hiatus from dance, Olanike is excited to return to BRT to teach and dance with the company.




ALEX OSSADNIK 

Born and raised in the former East Germany, Mr. 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. Moving to the United States in 1995, he has worked with numerous companies as a teacher, ballet master, choreographer, and director with artists from the Alberta Ballet, Boston Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Compania Nacional de Danza de Mexico, Joffrey Ballet, Joven Ballet de Jalisco, Veronique’s Ecole de Danse in Bordeaux, France, and Compania National de Danza in Mexico City. From 1996-1999 he Co-Founded and Directed Santa Fe Festival ballet and from 2008-2018 Alex was the Ballet Master for Ballet Idaho. He also co-founded Ballet Pro Música in Albuquerque, NM and the Atlantic Southeast Ballet in Charleston, SC. Past choreographic works for BRT include Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Orpheus, Carmen, Beauty and the Beast, La Mer, Tchaikovsky Suite, Act I of Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, The Little Mermaid and Like Water for Chocolate. Mr. Ossadnik was Artistic Director of Ballet Wichita from 2018-2020.

 
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.



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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