TWSB Leadership

TWSB Leadership

Katie C. Sopoci Drake

Katie C. Sopoci Drake

Managing Director of School

Katie Sopoci Drake is a seasoned administrator and educator with nearly 2 decades of experience in the arts spanning non-profit arts administration, teaching in higher education, and performance. As the …

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Xiomara Reyes

Xiomara Reyes

Professional Training Division Head

Xiomara Reyes, Head of the Professional Training Division at TWSB, had a successful and long international career. Performing with The National Ballet of Cuba, Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium …

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Pamela Bjerknes

Pamela Bjerknes

Pre-Ballet & Lower Division Head, NW Campus

Pamela Booth Bjerknes, a former member of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), brings extensive teaching, directing, and performing experience to The Washington School of Ballet. Performing classical and contemporary ballets throughout …

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Trinidad Vives

Trinidad Vives

Incoming School Director

“I am thrilled to be joining TWSB as its new Director and eager to bring my vast  professional experience to lead the faculty and students through this exciting time of change. As both a director and teacher, my goal has always been to offer the highest …

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Tammy Hurt

Tammy Hurt

School Principal, SE Campus

Tammy Hurt, a native Washingtonian, started her dance training at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet and later became a member of the Capitol Ballet Company under the direction of Doris …

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Pre-Ballet Faculty

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Pre-Ballet Faculty

Pamela Bjerknes

Pamela Bjerknes

Pre-Ballet & Lower Division Head, NW Campus

Pamela Booth Bjerknes, a former member of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), brings extensive teaching, directing, and performing experience to The Washington School of Ballet. Performing classical and contemporary ballets throughout …

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Brittany Bailey

Brittany Bailey

Brittany Bailey graduated high school from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied in both the ballet and modern dance departments under the direction of Melissa …

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Rena Bernardini

Rena Bernardini

Rena Bernardini is originally from Somers, New York. She began her training at the Westchester Ballet Center, studying everything from Ballet, Modern, Tap, and Jazz to Flamenco, Hawaiian, and Bharatanatyam. She then …

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Jennifer Buchanan

Jennifer Buchanan

Jennifer Johnson Buchanan is native of Seat Pleasant, MD. She began her training at the age of two at Incarnation Dance Group in Washington, DC under the direction of Katherine …

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Chanel Dews

Chanel Dews

Chanel R. Dews is a native of Prince George’s County Maryland. She is an alum of Suitland High School where she majored in Dance in the Visual and Performing Arts …

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Deborah Chen

Deborah Chen

Deborah Chen is originally from Arlington, VA, and grew up in St. Petersburg, FL. She began her ballet training with Elena Martinson at the age of 6. From there, she …

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Valentina Palladino

Valentina Palladino

Assistant to the Pre-Ballet and Lower Division Head

Valentina Palladino is a professional dancer, choreographer, and educator from Sardinia, Italy. Ms. Palladino began her dancing career in 2003 at the School Ballet Arabesque, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy, under the …

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Saki Scheller

Saki Scheller

Photo by XMB Photography.

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Emily Skord

Emily Skord

A Wisconsin native, Cacciotti began her early training under the guidance of Marc Darling and Linda Bennett. She went on to study as a trainee at Joffrey Ballet School studying …

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Margaret Williamson

Margaret Williamson

Artistic Administrator, SE Campus

Margaret Giragosian Williamson received her early training at The Washington Ballet, the Maryland Youth Ballet, and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. During this time, she was also privileged to spend …

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Lower Division Faculty

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Lower Division Faculty

Pamela Bjerknes

Pamela Bjerknes

Pre-Ballet & Lower Division Head, NW Campus

Pamela Booth Bjerknes, a former member of American Ballet Theatre (ABT), brings extensive teaching, directing, and performing experience to The Washington School of Ballet. Performing classical and contemporary ballets throughout …

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Brittany Bailey

Brittany Bailey

Brittany Bailey graduated high school from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied in both the ballet and modern dance departments under the direction of Melissa …

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Rafael Bejarano

Rafael Bejarano

Rafael Bejarano Vidal, from Guadalajara, Mexico, began dance training at the age of 11 at the Royal Academy of Dance in Mexico with Ana Torquemada. He has studied intensively throughout …

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Rena Bernardini

Rena Bernardini

Rena Bernardini is originally from Somers, New York. She began her training at the Westchester Ballet Center, studying everything from Ballet, Modern, Tap, and Jazz to Flamenco, Hawaiian, and Bharatanatyam. She then …

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Jennifer Buchanan

Jennifer Buchanan

Jennifer Johnson Buchanan is native of Seat Pleasant, MD. She began her training at the age of two at Incarnation Dance Group in Washington, DC under the direction of Katherine …

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Deborah Chen

Deborah Chen

Deborah Chen is originally from Arlington, VA, and grew up in St. Petersburg, FL. She began her ballet training with Elena Martinson at the age of 6. From there, she …

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Chanel Dews

Chanel Dews

Chanel R. Dews is a native of Prince George’s County Maryland. She is an alum of Suitland High School where she majored in Dance in the Visual and Performing Arts …

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Tammy Hurt

Tammy Hurt

School Principal, SE Campus

Tammy Hurt, a native Washingtonian, started her dance training at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet and later became a member of the Capitol Ballet Company under the direction of Doris …

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Yao Odamtten

Yao Odamtten

Fondly known as “Mr. Yao”, Yao E. Odamtten (pronounced oh-DAM-tin) is passionate about the healthy physical and psychosocial power of dance to transform both lives and society. Mr. Yao’s rich …

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Elena Ovchinnikova

Elena Ovchinnikova

Full-time Faculty

Dr. Elena Ovchinnikova graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy obtained her PhD in Pedagogic Science (Theory and Methodology of Professional Education in Choreography) and Master Degree in Ballet Pedagogy. Additionally, …

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Valentina Palladino

Valentina Palladino

Assistant to the Pre-Ballet and Lower Division Head

Valentina Palladino is a professional dancer, choreographer, and educator from Sardinia, Italy. Ms. Palladino began her dancing career in 2003 at the School Ballet Arabesque, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy, under the …

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Emily Skord

Emily Skord

A Wisconsin native, Cacciotti began her early training under the guidance of Marc Darling and Linda Bennett. She went on to study as a trainee at Joffrey Ballet School studying …

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Sydney Wiggins

Sydney Wiggins

Receptionist

Sydney B. Wiggins is a native Washingtonian and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) graduate with a BFA in Dance and Choreography. Sydney has been training in dance since the age of …

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Margaret Williamson

Margaret Williamson

Artistic Administrator, SE Campus

Margaret Giragosian Williamson received her early training at The Washington Ballet, the Maryland Youth Ballet, and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. During this time, she was also privileged to spend …

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Irina Wunder

Irina Wunder

Irina Wunder received her classical training in Turkmenistan, then a republic of the former Soviet Union. She performed with the Republic’s Theater of Opera and Ballet and toured with the …

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Zoica Tovar

Zoica Tovar

Full-time Faculty

Zoica Tovar began her training at the age of nine at the Cuban Ballet School of Havana. Upon graduation she was accepted at Classical Ballet of Havana under the direction of Laura Alonso.  Ms. Tovar danced as a principal dancer in Orlando Ballet from 1998 to 2009…

 

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Upper Division Faculty

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Upper Division Faculty

Edwin Aparicio

Edwin Aparicio

Summer Faculty

Edwin Aparicio is considered to be one of the most sought-after flamenco performers, teachers and choreographers in the United States. He has been described by critics as “the most amazing …

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Rafael Bejarano

Rafael Bejarano

Rafael Bejarano Vidal, from Guadalajara, Mexico, began dance training at the age of 11 at the Royal Academy of Dance in Mexico with Ana Torquemada. He has studied intensively throughout …

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Rena Bernardini

Rena Bernardini

Rena Bernardini is originally from Somers, New York. She began her training at the Westchester Ballet Center, studying everything from Ballet, Modern, Tap, and Jazz to Flamenco, Hawaiian, and Bharatanatyam. She then …

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Cece Farha

Cece Farha

Summer Faculty, Nutcracker Children's Rehearsal Director

CECE FARHA began teaching on the faculty of The Washington School of Ballet in 1999 under the direction of Mary Day. She works within multiple levels of the school as …

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Tammy Hurt

Tammy Hurt

School Principal, SE Campus

Tammy Hurt, a native Washingtonian, started her dance training at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet and later became a member of the Capitol Ballet Company under the direction of Doris …

Read More
Rinat Imaev

Rinat Imaev

Senior Faculty in charge of the PTD Men's Program, Company Teacher

Rinat Imaev, Company Teacher and Senior Faculty, was previously a company teacher with American Ballet Theatre for 15 years. He has made an international career performing and teaching across the globe in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Born in Oufa, Russia, …

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Ayano Kimura

Ayano Kimura

Ayano Kimura of Japan, is in 13th season with The Washington Ballet and sixth year teaching at The Washington School of Ballet. Kimura, born in Germany, went on a short-term …

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Andrea Long

Andrea Long

Bio coming soon!

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Amanda Melrose-Smith

Amanda Melrose-Smith

Amanda received her formal ballet training on scholarship at The Washington School of Ballet with Septime Webre, Rebecca Wright, and Victoria Leigh, and at Miami City Ballet with Edward Villella, …

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Mimmo Miccolis

Mimmo Miccolis

Mimmo Miccolis, born in Italy, is a neoclassical and contemporary teacher and choreographer at The Washington Ballet. He was the winner of the “Outstanding Choreographer Award” at the Youth American …

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Kurumi Miwa

Kurumi Miwa

Bio coming soon!

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Maki Onuki

Maki Onuki

Born in Kanagawa, Japan, Maki enters her 18th season with The Washington Ballet after one season with The Studio Company. Before joining TWB, she danced and studied with Goh Ballet …

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Elena Ovchinnikova

Elena Ovchinnikova

Full-time Faculty

Dr. Elena Ovchinnikova graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy obtained her PhD in Pedagogic Science (Theory and Methodology of Professional Education in Choreography) and Master Degree in Ballet Pedagogy. Additionally, …

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Valentina Palladino

Valentina Palladino

Assistant to the Pre-Ballet and Lower Division Head

Valentina Palladino is a professional dancer, choreographer, and educator from Sardinia, Italy. Ms. Palladino began her dancing career in 2003 at the School Ballet Arabesque, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy, under the …

Read More
Da’Shown Rawl

Da’Shown Rawl

Da’Shown Rawl studied Ballet and Modern at the Baltimore School of the Arts in Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from the prestigious Dance Department of George Mason University (GMU). While at …

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Xiomara Reyes

Xiomara Reyes

Professional Training Division Head

Xiomara Reyes, Head of the Professional Training Division at TWSB, had a successful and long international career. Performing with The National Ballet of Cuba, Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium …

Read More
Arron Scott

Arron Scott

Arron Scott was raised in State College, Pennsylvania, and started his training at the Ballet Theatre of Central Pennsylvania at age nine. He has danced on full scholarships at American …

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Katherine Smith

Katherine Smith

Katherine Smith a native Washingtonian, is a graduate from The Duke Ellington School of the Arts and received her B.F.A. from the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts [currently University of …

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Stephanie Sorota

Stephanie Sorota

Stephanie Sorota of Glen Rock, New Jersey is in her eighth season with The Washington Ballet. She has performed in works by various choreographers including George Balanchine, Gemma Bond, Sir Anthony …

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Keith Thomas

Keith Thomas

Keith Lamelle Thomas, is a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts.  Upon graduating, Mr. Thomas received a full scholarship to Dance Theater of Harlem.  He worked his way up …

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Adrian Vincent James

Adrian Vincent James

Adrian Vincent James is a native of Washington, DC, who began his artistic guidance under director Mike Malone in 1970. This led him to win scholarships giving him the opportunity to study …

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Brittany Bailey

Brittany Bailey

Brittany Bailey graduated high school from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied in both the ballet and modern dance departments under the direction of Melissa …

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Zoica Tovar

Zoica Tovar

Full-time Faculty

Zoica Tovar began her training at the age of nine at the Cuban Ballet School of Havana. Upon graduation she was accepted at Classical Ballet of Havana under the direction of Laura Alonso.  Ms. Tovar danced as a principal dancer in Orlando Ballet from 1998 to 2009…

 

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Irina Wunder

Irina Wunder

Irina Wunder received her classical training in Turkmenistan, then a republic of the former Soviet Union. She performed with the Republic’s Theater of Opera and Ballet and toured with the …

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Margaret Williamson

Margaret Williamson

Artistic Administrator, SE Campus

Margaret Giragosian Williamson received her early training at The Washington Ballet, the Maryland Youth Ballet, and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. During this time, she was also privileged to spend …

Read More
Parren Ballard

Parren Ballard

Full-time Faculty

Parren Ballard, a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, was trained by Dame Sonia Arova and Thor Sutowski. He began his professional career at the age of seventeen with the Cincinnati Ballet. From there he went on to enjoy an internationally successful career of over twenty years as a Soloist Dancer…

 

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Trainee Program Faculty

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Trainee Program Faculty

Xiomara Reyes

Xiomara Reyes

Professional Training Division Head

Xiomara Reyes, Head of the Professional Training Division at TWSB, had a successful and long international career. Performing with The National Ballet of Cuba, Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium …

Read More
Rinat Imaev

Rinat Imaev

Senior Faculty in charge of the PTD Men's Program, Company Teacher

Rinat Imaev, Company Teacher and Senior Faculty, was previously a company teacher with American Ballet Theatre for 15 years. He has made an international career performing and teaching across the globe in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Born in Oufa, Russia, …

Read More
Edwin Aparicio

Edwin Aparicio

Summer Faculty

Edwin Aparicio is considered to be one of the most sought-after flamenco performers, teachers and choreographers in the United States. He has been described by critics as “the most amazing …

Read More
Cece Farha

Cece Farha

Summer Faculty, Nutcracker Children's Rehearsal Director

CECE FARHA began teaching on the faculty of The Washington School of Ballet in 1999 under the direction of Mary Day. She works within multiple levels of the school as …

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Lisae Jordan

Lisae Jordan

Lisae Jordan is originally from upstate New York, where many small towns have ballet schools as a result of the Ford Foundation’s support for George Balanchine and his efforts to …

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Mimmo Miccolis

Mimmo Miccolis

Mimmo Miccolis, born in Italy, is a neoclassical and contemporary teacher and choreographer at The Washington Ballet. He was the winner of the “Outstanding Choreographer Award” at the Youth American …

Read More
Arron Scott

Arron Scott

Arron Scott was raised in State College, Pennsylvania, and started his training at the Ballet Theatre of Central Pennsylvania at age nine. He has danced on full scholarships at American …

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Françoise Thouveny-Doyle

Françoise Thouveny-Doyle

Françoise Thouveny-Doyle is a native of France. She started her classical ballet training in her hometown of Orléans and in Paris at le Centre de Danse de Paris training with …

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Irina Wunder

Irina Wunder

Irina Wunder received her classical training in Turkmenistan, then a republic of the former Soviet Union. She performed with the Republic’s Theater of Opera and Ballet and toured with the …

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Parren Ballard

Parren Ballard

Full-time Faculty

Parren Ballard, a graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, was trained by Dame Sonia Arova and Thor Sutowski. He began his professional career at the age of seventeen with the Cincinnati Ballet. From there he went on to enjoy an internationally successful career of over twenty years as a Soloist Dancer…

 

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Royce Zackery

Royce Zackery

Royce Zackery received a Master of Arts in Dance Education from N.Y.U. Steinhardt/American Ballet Theatre and is certified in the ABT National Teaching Curriculum with a concentrated degree in Ballet Pedagogy. He …

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Zoica Tovar

Zoica Tovar

Full-time Faculty

Zoica Tovar began her training at the age of nine at the Cuban Ballet School of Havana. Upon graduation she was accepted at Classical Ballet of Havana under the direction of Laura Alonso.  Ms. Tovar danced as a principal dancer in Orlando Ballet from 1998 to 2009…

 

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Adult Program Faculty

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Adult Program Faculty

Brittany Bailey

Brittany Bailey

Brittany Bailey graduated high school from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied in both the ballet and modern dance departments under the direction of Melissa …

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Linda Baranovics

Linda Baranovics

Linda Baranovics began her ballet career as a young adult while attending Georgetown University in 1977. After graduating in 1978, she continued her training at The Washington School of Ballet. …

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Rafael Bejarano

Rafael Bejarano

Rafael Bejarano Vidal, from Guadalajara, Mexico, began dance training at the age of 11 at the Royal Academy of Dance in Mexico with Ana Torquemada. He has studied intensively throughout …

Read More
Rena Bernardini

Rena Bernardini

Rena Bernardini is originally from Somers, New York. She began her training at the Westchester Ballet Center, studying everything from Ballet, Modern, Tap, and Jazz to Flamenco, Hawaiian, and Bharatanatyam. She then …

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Shu-Chen Cuff

Shu-Chen Cuff

Shu-Chen Cuff was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan where she established a well-rounded background in dance with training in Ballet, Modern, Chinese Opera movements, and various Chinese folk dances.  She immigrated to …

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Miya Hisaka

Miya Hisaka

Adult Program Head

With 40 years of experience as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, founding artistic/executive director, and urban planner, Miya’s life has spanned two continents with a commitment to diversity and excellence in …

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Adrian Vincent James

Adrian Vincent James

Adrian Vincent James is a native of Washington, DC, who began his artistic guidance under director Mike Malone in 1970. This led him to win scholarships giving him the opportunity to study …

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Tamás Krizsa

Tamás Krizsa

Rehearsal Director

Tamás Krizsa, of Hungary, is in his 13th season with The Washington Ballet. Krizsa graduated from the Hungarian Dance Academy with honors in 2002. During his school years, he was …

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Kevin Malone

Kevin Malone

Kevin Thomas Malone, a native of Washington, DC,Founding Artistic Director / Artist Development Coach for ktm eXtremes dance project as well as is currently Artistic Advisor/Resident Choreographer at the Dance …

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Gabriel Mata

Gabriel Mata

Gabriel Mata (pronounced: gah-bryehl mah-tah) is a Mexican American dance choreographer, educator, and performer based in Washington DC. He received his Masters in Fine Arts – dance from the University …

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Arron Scott

Arron Scott

Arron Scott was raised in State College, Pennsylvania, and started his training at the Ballet Theatre of Central Pennsylvania at age nine. He has danced on full scholarships at American …

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Keith Thomas

Keith Thomas

Keith Lamelle Thomas, is a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts.  Upon graduating, Mr. Thomas received a full scholarship to Dance Theater of Harlem.  He worked his way up …

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Elena Ovchinnikova

Elena Ovchinnikova

Full-time Faculty

Dr. Elena Ovchinnikova graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy obtained her PhD in Pedagogic Science (Theory and Methodology of Professional Education in Choreography) and Master Degree in Ballet Pedagogy. Additionally, …

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Alvaro Palau

Alvaro Palau

From Cali Colombia, An accomplished ballet dancer and teacher. Danced with The Washington Ballet for 13 years as a principal dancer, National Ballet of Venezuela for two years and the …

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Marcela Paz Palau

Marcela Paz Palau

Originally from Asuncion, Paraguay, Marcela began her training at age six at Studio Nilsa Abraham and Ballet Academic Patricia Manavella. She has attended summer intensives and competitions in Brazil, Chile, …

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Bahareh Sardari

Bahareh Sardari

Bahareh Sardari graduated from the London Royal Ballet School and the Royal Academy of Dance. She was a soloist with the Iranian National Ballet Company, and has worked and performed …

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Katherine Smith

Katherine Smith

Katherine Smith a native Washingtonian, is a graduate from The Duke Ellington School of the Arts and received her B.F.A. from the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts [currently University of …

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Royce Zackery

Royce Zackery

Royce Zackery received a Master of Arts in Dance Education from N.Y.U. Steinhardt/American Ballet Theatre and is certified in the ABT National Teaching Curriculum with a concentrated degree in Ballet Pedagogy. He …

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Accompanists

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Accompanists

Glenn Sales

Glenn Sales

Music Supervisor

Glenn Sales, Pianist, has been well-known to Washington, DC audiences since his National Symphony Orchestra debut at age 14 and his subsequent invitations as soloist with NSO. Sales attended the …

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Grigori Hovhannisyan

Grigori Hovhannisyan

Accompanist

Grigori Hovhannisyan has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music with concentration in Sound Engineering, and a Master’s Degree in Music with concentration in Flute, Saxophone and Piano from the Armenian …

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Irina Rutkaitiene

Irina Rutkaitiene

Accompanist

Irina Rutkaitiene got her Master’s degree from the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre and has nearly three decades of experience as a piano teacher and collaborative accompanist. Originally from …

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Leeza Wildgen

Leeza Wildgen

Accompanist

Leeza Wildgen (pianist) is native of St. Petersburg, Russia. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Rimsky-Korsakov Music College and University of Culture, both in St. Petersburg. She …

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TWB Accompanists

TWB Accompanists

Glenn Sales, Music Supervisor (pictured left. Photo by Spencer Bentley) Accompanists: Irina Edigarova, Bella Kristosturyan, Michael Parker, Irina Rutkaitiene, Yelena Nusinovich, Zina Steppanova, Leeza Wildgen [button label=’Washington Ballet pianists enhance …

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