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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. 


CHRIS BORNET
 

Christopher Bornet grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He started studying ballet at age ten with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet under the direction of Gisela Genschow and Sheila Rozann. Christopher trained on scholarship at numerous schools across the country including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He has performed lead roles in various ballets such as Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker. Christopher has been performing and teaching for Ballet Repertory Theatre since 2014. In addition, he has worked in sales, finance, and hospitality and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from UNM.


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.


JENNIFER LEACH  
bio coming soon
 










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.




LEZLIE BRINSON SCHREIBER  

Originally trained in RAD ballet technique, Lezlie went on to perform ensemble, soloist and principal roles, in regional and semi-professional dance companies in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, including NMBC and Tim Wengard Modern Dance Co. She began teaching Ballet in Albuquerque NM alongside her work as an Occupational Therapist. Following her passion for teaching she gave up her OT work to serve as Artistic Director for Jana’s School of Dance, followed by establishing her own school of Ballet in Germany some years later for the US military community. Returning stateside and after a long love affair with parenting, Lezlie returned to the dance world dancing, guest performing and creating independent projects around Albuquerque while refreshing her ballet pedagogy skills. Lezlie became an ABT® Certified Teacher, successfully completing the ABT® Teacher Training Intensives in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. More recently she taught for NDI and now teaches exclusively for BRT.  In addition to her passion for teaching ballet, Lezlie has a strong interest in art and serves on the board for Art in the School. 



 
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

Ashley Torrez was first introduced to the art of ballet while in third grade, where she was awarded a full scholarship to train at Ballet Repertory Theatre as part of their City Dance Program. As a young dancer she performed for BRT in The Nutcracker, Manuel Flores’s Coppélia, and as Thumbelina in Celia Dale’s Tales of Hans Christian Anderson. Although Ashley’s life shifted away from ballet and along the way she became a pharmacy technician and a mother of two, she came back to BRT and reignited her passion for dance in 2014. Since returning she has danced in The Nutcracker, The Little Mermaid, and as a Twin in Alice in Wonderland. This is her second season as a member of the company and is also an instructor at Ballet Repertory Theatre. 


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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