At The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, each teacher’s primary objective is to help his or her students achieve the individual goals they set out to reach as dancers. We not only recognize our students’ genuine passion for this art form, but equally embrace the dedication they bring to the studio each and every day. We also believe the same passion, commitment, and joy for dance they bring to their training will spill over and enrich all aspects of their daily lives.

BRIDGET PAYNE

Principal of Student and Professional Programs
Hometown: Manitowoc, WI

Bridget Payne began her Ballet training in her hometown of Manitowoc, Wisconsin with Jean Wolfmeyer. At 14 years old, she began training on full scholarship at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, IL. where she trained with Petrus Bosman and Valerie Taylor from the Royal Ballet, and former American Ballet Theatre soloist Maria Youskevitch. After graduation, she began an eight-year performing career with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, under the Direction of John Hart, CBE. She has performed soloist and leading roles in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella; Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker; Paul Taylor’s Company B; Sleeping Beauty; Swan Lake; multiple works by Balanchine, Ronald Hynd, Val Caniparoli, Andre Prokovsky, and more.

In 1995 she was personally invited by Ben Stevenson, OBE, to teach at the internationally acclaimed Houston Ballet Academy.  She soon became a Principal Teacher in both their Pre-Professional and Professional Divisions. During her time at HBA, she helped to further the development of their syllabus and worked closely with Shelly Power to create two successful Teacher Training Workshops.  Ms. Payne and her husband, Jim, opened Payne Academy of Ballet in 2001 in The Woodlands, Texas, where they developed a successful school of over 250 students; She was also Co- Artistic Director of Woodlands Ballet Ensemble. She has choreographed and staged many works and full-length Ballets including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, La Bayadère Act III (Kingdom of the Shades) and The Nutcracker. She has taught at Houston Ballet Academy and Ballet West Summer Intensives and has coached several dancers for Ballet competitions.

Ms. Payne brings 25 years of professional teaching experience to Pennsylvania Ballet. She is excited to be working with SPB and genuinely cares about the mindful and thorough development of the next generation of dancers. She and her husband, Jim Payne, reside in Elkins Park, PA and are the proud parents of a son, an aspiring animator, and a daughter, a dancer.

JESSICA KILPATRICK

Principal of Children’s and Adult Programs
Hometown: Hartford, CT

Jessica Kilpatrick began her training at age nine at the School of the Hartford Ballet, where she studied under the direction of Franco de Vita, Peggy Lyman, Maria Youskevitch, Raymond Lukens, Alla Osipenko, and Susan Brooker. She has performed various roles in productions of The Nutcracker, including Kirk Peterson’s American Nutcracker wherein she danced with members of the ABT II studio company. As well, she has danced in works by Jose Limon, Anthony Tudor, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and New York choreographer Thang Dao. Ms. Kilpatrick also performed Merce Cunningham’s Inlets 2 (restaged by Jean Freebury) at Duke University for the American Dance Festival – a performance that had been filmed as part of a documentary highlighting the work of Merce Cunningham.

Ms. Kilpatrick graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the dance division of the University of Hartford Hartt School, where she majored in dance pedagogy and her teachers included Stephen Pier, Miguel Campaneria, Hilda Morales, Katie Stevinson-Nollet, and Nina Watt. Her teaching experience includes positions with Ballet Hispanico in New York and the University of Hartford Hartt School Community Division, where she also served as artistic director for their 2014 summer ballet intensive From Studio to Stage II and was subsequently invited to return to choreograph and premiere two pieces for HarttWorks, the performance vehicle to showcase pre-professional students of the Hartt School Dance Department. One of those pieces, Amazing Grace, was also restaged in New York City for students of the Joffrey Ballet School, where Ms. Kilpatrick has also taught and served on the faculty from 2011 to 2016, teaching in the children’s, young dancer’s, adult, and jazz and contemporary programs. As well, she has served as a teacher at the Ballet School of Stamford.

Ms. Kilpatrick is a founding member of Alison Cook Beatty Dance, where she has been provided the opportunity to both perform and teach at prestigious colleges and venues across the country. In January 2015, she was also thrilled to perform with the Amy Marshall Dance Company for the first time and has since performed with them in Ladek Zdroj, Poland (July 2015), at the American Dance Guild (November 2015), the 2016 Bryant Park Summer Dance Festival, and, most recently, the 35th annual Battery Dance Festival.

Ms. Kilpatrick is honored to join the team at The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, where she cannot wait to continue to share her love of dance.

JAIME SANTORO

Children’s Ballet Mistress
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Jaime Santoro began her ballet training at age six at both the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Philadelphia Dance Conservatory. She had performed as a member of Pennsylvania Ballet before joining Orlando Ballet in 1996. During the summer of 2001, Ms. Santoro was granted a professional fellowship award and invited to perform as a guest artist and tour with the Rome Festival throughout Italy.

While with Orlando Ballet, Ms. Santoro performed soloist and principal roles in both classical and contemporary works. Her classical repertoire includes The NutcrackerRomeo and JulietDon QuixoteSwan LakeCinderellaThe Sleeping Beauty, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her Balanchine repertoire includes Symphony In C (First and Fourth Movement), Who Cares?Concerto BaroccoValse FantaisieSerenade, and Agon.

The transition from principal and soloist dancer to choreographer and teacher was a natural evolution for Ms. Santoro and has provided her the opportunity to carry out both roles for several organizations, including Orlando Ballet, Orlando Ballet School, Springton Dance Academy, and Dance Arts of Yardley.

In 2009, Mrs. Santoro was recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership, and excellence in the performing arts.

VALERIE AMISS

Instructor
Hometown: Mullica Hill, NJ

Valerie Amiss began her training at age eight under Sue Millington at the Regency Ballet. She continued her instruction with Victor Moreno and Alexei Yudenich, and at age 12 joined the Pennsylvania Ballet School. At age 15, Ms. Amiss spent a summer studying in Saratoga Springs, NY with members of New York City Ballet, including Peter Martins, Heather Watts, and Jock Soto. She was nominated for the prestigious Princess Grace Award in 1994, and in 1995 performed at the Algur H. Meadows Award Ceremony to honor choreographer Paul Taylor. In the summer of that same year, she also performed with the Chautauqua Ballet Company, directed by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride, and, in 1997, performed at the St. Bart’s Music Festival.

Ms. Amiss joined Pennsylvania Ballet as an apprentice in 1992. She became a member of the corps de ballet in 1993 and was promoted to soloist in 1999. In the summer of that year, she also represented the company at the Sintra Festival in Portugal. And in 2005, Ms. Amiss not only performed at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, where she danced featured roles in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, but also performed Matthew Neenan’s 11:11 and Carmina Burana at New York City Center. Additionally, she had the honor of performing twice at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. as well as with Susan Jaffe and Nicole Hlinka for a Rock School benefit.

Ms. Amiss has performed numerous principal roles in the Balanchine repertoire, including Titania and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Odette in Swan Lake Act II, and the Sugarplum Fairy and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. As well, she danced featured roles in such works as Giselle, Paul Taylor’s Company B, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Christopher Wheeldon’s Continuum and Swan Lake, Janek Schergen’s The Sleeping Beauty, Alvin Ailey’s The River, Jerome Robbins’ In the Night and The Concert, and George Balanchine’s Rubies, The Four Temperaments, Western Symphony, Agon, Scotch Symphony, Bugaku, and Serenade, among others.

Ms. Amiss has taught ballet and pointe classes at summer sessions for the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. As well, she has been a guest instructor at schools throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For seven years after her retirement from the stage, she was co-ballet mistress for the Academy of Ballet NJ in West Berlin, NJ. Ms. Amiss had the pleasure of teaching ballet to aspiring figure skaters in Aston, Pennsylvania. She was a senior lecturer at the University of the Arts, where she taught several ballet classes, and a guest lecturer at Drexel University where she was asked to speak about Balanchine repertoire for the Philadelphia Museum Of Dance at the Barnes Museum., Ms. Amiss has been a faculty member of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet where she teaches all levels including a beginner ballet at Croft Farms in Cherry hill N.J. She also teaches for the Princeton Ballet School in both the Cranbury and Princeton locations.

In 2019, Ms. Amiss was asked by Pennsylvania Ballet outreach program to teach classes for children with Down syndrome. She currently teaches ballet classes for children with special needs at St. Katherine Day School in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.

Ms. Amiss retired from Pennsylvania Ballet in June 2007. She resides in Mantua, NJ with her husband, former Pennsylvania Ballet Soloist Edward Cieslak, and their son Adam and daughter Lily.

 

 

AARON ANKER

Instructor and Company Dancer
Hometown: Fredericksburg, VA

Aaron Anker began his training in Fredericksburg, VA at age 10. He studied with Violette Verdy, Patricia McBride, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, and Suzanne Farrell during summer programs at Boston Ballet, Carolina Ballet, the Chautauqua Institution, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, and the Rock School for Dance Education.

Aaron joined Pennsylvania Ballet as an apprentice for our 2015/2016 season and was promoted to corps de ballet for the 2016/2017 season. He has performed featured roles in ballets that include Le Corsaire (Conrad), Don Quixote (Basilio), The Four Temperaments (Second Theme), and Trisha Brown’s O zlozony / O composite. Prior to Pennsylvania Ballet, Aaron pursued his Bachelor of Arts in ballet and Bachelor of Science in biology at Indiana University. During that time, he danced with Indiana University Ballet Theater, performing featured roles in works by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Anthony Tudor, Violette Verdy, and Nicolo Fonte. Aaron created the role of Amore for Tom Diamond’s production of Xerxes for Indiana University Opera.

STERLING BACA

Instructor and Company Dancer
Hometown: Larkspur, CO

Sterling Baca began his training at age 11 at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and later with world-renowned instructor German Zamuel. He then studied with American Ballet Theatre (ABT), at first attending five of their summer intensive programs (as a National Training and Bender Foundation Scholar) and later in their elite pre-professional program at the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School with full scholarship.

Sterling joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a Principal Dancer for our 2016/2017 season. Since joining us, he has tackled featured and principal roles in a varied repertoire that includes full-length ballets such as Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella (Prince) and Angel Corella’s Le Corsaire (Conrad) and Swan Lake (Prince), contemporary works like Brian Sanders’ Chicken Bone Brain, or a more classical approach such as in George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Jewels, and Western Symphony (Fourth Movement).

Prior to joining Pennsylvania Ballet, Sterling danced with American Ballet Theatre, where he began in 2010 as a member of their second company. He was invited to join the main company as an apprentice in May 2011 and soon after promoted to the corps de ballet in December of that same year. While with ABT, Sterling created the roles of Prince Fortune and Lilac Fairy Cavalier in Alexei Ratmansky’s Sleeping Beauty and performed leading roles in Liam Scarlett’s With a Chance of Rain, Mark Morris’ After You, Marcelo Gomes’s Aftereffect, and Zhong-Jing Fang’s The Final Frame.

Sterling also appeared on season 4 of Dance212, a popular online series that follows dancers trying to make it in New York City. As well, he was in the short film, On a Grass Field, which won Best Short Film at the 2014 New Jersey Golden Door Film Festival. In January 2016, Sterling was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine for their “25 to Watch” issue. In addition to his vast performance experience, Sterling is also certified in American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum.

LAURA BOWMAN

Instructor
Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Laura Bowman is originally from Raleigh, NC, where she began dancing at the age of 3. She trained primarily at The Raleigh School of Ballet, where she studied under Ann Vorus and Mary LeGere, supplemented her instruction with summer intensives at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and Houston Ballet School, and later completed her training under full scholarship at the Rock School for Dance Education.

Ms. Bowman joined Pennsylvania Ballet in August 2001, where she danced for fifteen seasons before retiring in June 2016. She has danced the leading role in Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo and has been featured in numerous ballets, including Angel Corella’s Don Quixote, George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Four Temperaments, William Forsythe’s Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs,  Paul Taylor’s Company B, Matthew Neenan’s 11:11 and Penumbra, Jerome Robbins’ N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, among others. Ms. Bowman has also originated roles in works by Christopher Wheeldon, Matthew Neenan, David Fielding, and Meredith Rainey.

In addition to her work with Pennsylvania Ballet, Ms. Bowman had performed with Carolina Ballet and BalletX, and, in 2010, was featured in the Academy Award-nominated film Black Swan. She has performed in the International Ballet Festival of Miami, the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts, and the Vail International Dance Festival in Colorado.

Ms. Bowman has taught for schools throughout Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Delaware, and New Jersey, and currently holds the position of Senior Lecturer with the School of Dance at University of the Arts and Instructor at The School of Pennsylvania Ballet. The School of Pennsylvania Ballet holds a special place in Ms. Bowman’s heart, as she was selected to join the faculty for SPB’s inaugural year and has been a part of SPB ever since. Along with her work here at SPB, she also works with Pennsylvania Ballet as their Content Specialist. Ms. Bowman resides in Philadelphia with her husband and two beautiful sons.

ALEXEI CHAROV

Instructor
Hometown: Yoshkar-Ola, Russia

Born in Yoshkar-Ola, Russia, Mr. Charov began his ballet training at age nine and graduated from the prestigious Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg – home of the famed Russian ballet traditions. His studies there included Classical Ballet, History of Theater, History of Art and Music, Acting, Stage Makeup, History of European and American Ballet, Character, Historic Dance, Fencing and Pas de Deux. From school and throughout his career, Mr. Charov had great teachers who helped him to achieve his goals (Veniamin Zimin, Professor Nikolai Serebrennikov – greatest teachers of Mariinsky ballet – Sergei Berezhnoi, Vladlen Semenov, and Irina Kolpakova, just to name a few).

Alexei started his professional career at the age of seventeen at the Donetsk Opera and Ballet House in Ukraine. He began touring nationally and abroad and enjoyed great success, quickly building a rich classical repertoire. In 1991, he moved to the United States and continued his performing career with the Indianapolis Ballet (Cavalier in Nutcracker, Hilarion in Giselle, Pas de Esclave, Zuniga in Carmen). In 1996, he joined Pennsylvania Ballet and started adding a wide collection of Balanchine works to his range. Alexei has also performed in original works by many internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Ben Stevenson, Margo Sappington, Kirk Peterson, John Cranko, James Kudelka, L. Taylor-Corbett, Alvin Ailey, Dwight Rhoden, Christopher Wheeldon, Paul Mejia, Alberto Alonso, Matthew Neenan, and others. His performances were highlighted and reviewed by the press in Europe and Asia, as well as in the United States. Mr.Charov served as a Ballet Master for Koresh Dance Company and helped to develop children’s ballet program for the school. Currently, Mr. Charov works for Philadelphia Performing Art String Theory Schools, as a coordinator of curriculum for classical ballet programs for beginner levels. He is also serving as a faculty member of The School of Pennsylvania Ballet. Mr. Charov teaches master classes and stages classical performances and original works around the country and internationally. In 2016, Mr. Charov received a Bachelor’s degree in choreography, directing, and teaching. In January of 2018, he completed his Masters in Fine Arts and Pedagogy.

NATALIA CHAROVA

Instructor
Hometown: Vinnitsa, Ukraine

Natalia Charova began her training at age ten and graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, home of the famed Russian ballet traditions, where her studies included classical ballet, history of theater, history of art and music, acting, stage makeup, history of European and American ballet, character, historic dance, and pas de deux. Ms. Charova also received a bachelor’s degree in choreography, directing, and teaching.

Throughout her schooling and career, Ms. Charova has credited great teachers for helping her to achieve her goals – teachers such as Elena Riabinkina, Sergei Vikharev, and Irina Kolpakova to name a few. Ms. Charova began her professional career at age 18 with the Donetsk Opera and Ballet House in Ukraine. She toured nationally and abroad, enjoying great success and quickly building a classical repertoire while performing such roles as Odette, the Sugarplum Fairy, and Maria Taglioni from Pas de Quatre.

In 1991, Ms. Charova moved to the United States where she continued dancing with the Indianapolis Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet, adding a wide array of Balanchine works to her repertoire. She has performed in original works by world-renowned choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Ben Stevenson, Margo Sappington, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Alvin Ailey, Dwight Rhoden, Christopher Wheeldon, and Matthew Neenan, among others. Her performances have been highlighted and reviewed in Europe and Asia, as well as the United States.

Ms. Charova continues to teach as well as stage classical productions and original works around the country and abroad. She currently works for Philadelphia Performing Arts String Theory Schools, teaching and coordinating ballet programs for beginners through advanced levels.

CHARITY EAGENS

Instructor
Hometown: East Norriton, PA

Charity Eagens began her dance training at age seven with the Valley Forge School of Dance under the direction of Sharon Atkinson and later under full scholarship with Bo and Stephanie Spassoff at the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. She also spent summers training at the Rock School and Hartford Ballet. In addition, Ms. Eagens trained under the guidance of Wilhelm Burmann, Gloria Govern, Olga Kostrizsky, Natalia Nikulin Barr, Yvonne Patterson, Nina Fedorva, Roy Kaiser, and Sandra Jennings, among many others.

In 1994, Ms. Eagens became a trainee with Hartford Ballet, where she danced in ballets such as Western SymphonyCoppélia, and Kirk Peterson’s The Nutcracker, which she also had the opportunity to tour throughout the New York region. In 1996, she returned to Pennsylvania Ballet under the direction of Roy Kaiser and was promoted to the corps de ballet in 1998. In addition to performing most of the company’s repertoire, Ms. Eagens also danced leading roles in ballets such as A Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Sleeping BeautyThe Four TemperamentsRaymonda VariationsAgonApolloSwan LakeCompany BGreat Galloping Gottschalk, and Romeo and Juliet, among many others. Additionally, Ms. Eagens had the honor of performing alongside such notables as Susan Jaffe, Jose Carreno, Nicole Hlinka, and Damian Woetzel in a Rock School benefit for Milton Rock in 1996. And in 1998, she had the privilege of performing in the Balanchine Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Eagens retired from Pennsylvania Ballet in 2005 to start a family, and has since begun a teaching career. She has taught for numerous schools in the Greater Philadelphia area, including Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA), Delaware Valley Dance Academy (Colmar, PA), Lionville School of Dance (Exton, PA), and the Radomile Academy of Dance (Havertown, PA), among others. In the fall of 2015, Ms. Eagens attended a teacher’s workshop at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where she observed classes led by Marcia Dale Weary of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Ms. Eagens has also appeared as Queen in Pennsylvania Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty and Step Mother in PBII’s Prince Charming. She currently resides in Worcester, PA and is the proud mother of three daughters.

CRISTINA ESPAILLAT

Body Conditioning
Hometown: Marlton, NJ

A Philadelphia-area native, Cristina began her study of dance at the Rock School of Dance Education, at five years of age. She continued her study there for the next 14 years, concentrating on classical ballet. Upon graduation she was accepted to the Performing Arts program at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana where she majored in dance and earned a BFA in Dance Performance.

Eighteen years of disciplined dance study paved the way for Cristina to realize her lifelong dream of becoming a professional dancer, when she was accepted to the City Ballet of San Diego in 2003. Rigorous training and performing was the single priority in Cristina’s life until she broke her foot during rehearsals in 2005. During rehabilitation from her injury, Cristina found herself drawn to yoga and Pilates for both the physical, and mental rewards. In 2007 she completed a 200hr yoga teacher certification at the Yoga Life Institute in Devon, PA. From a ballerina in California to a yoga instructor in Philadelphia, a new life journey began.

Balance, healing, and self acceptance were the driving forces in Cristina’s new way of life. She delved deeply into the ancient practices of Ayurveda and meditation. Studying the art of natural healing and simultaneously healing herself, Cristina was moved to share her knowledge with others. She opened Sculpere studio in 2011, bringing a cutting edge approach to yoga, Pilates, and ballet fitness to Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood. A staple in the Philadelphia boutique fitness scene, Sculpere continues to offer a variety of classes that she has carefully choreographed to deliver balanced results in both body and mind. Cristina has spent the past 7 years curating her adult classes, and pre-ballet program, and customizing one on one lessons for her ever growing following of private clients. Life came full circle for Cristina in 2017 when she was invited to teach at The School of Pennsylvania Ballet’s summer intensive. Now, a faculty member at The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Cristina is able to share her lifetime of experience with America’s next generation of top dancers.

An artist and entrepreneur, Cristina is devoted to creating beauty and balance in the world. Her main source of inspiration comes from the healing turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, where she spends the summers with her family. She aims to cultivate the effortless balance of mediterranean life, and incorporate it into Sculpere’s message, as a retreat from the monotony and stress of busy East Coast life. Cristina is an avid animal lover and mother to a rescue dog. She charitably offers her time as a foster mom for rescue dogs and regularly contributes to local animal rescues.

BLANCA HUERTAS-AGNEW

Instructor
Hometown: Puerto Rico

Blanca Huertas-Agnew began her training in Puerto Rico and was a Principal Soloist at Ballets de San Juan. During her career, she had the opportunity to perform an array of classical and contemporary repertoire. She was chosen to dance lead roles such as Lise in Fille Mal Gardée, Swanilda in Coppélia, Myrtha in Giselle, and Polyhymnia in Balanchine’s Apollo. As corps de ballet member at Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, she was able to learn classics such as Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Romeo & Juliet from ballet masters such as Alexander Beriozoff and José Parés. She was able to perform not only in her native Puerto Rico, but in United States, Central America, South America, and Europe.

As an educator, Blanca is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 & Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She is experienced in Classical French, Russian, Italian, and Cuban schools of dance. Her students have been accepted to International Programs such as the Royal Ballet and Paris Opera Summer Programs as well as national programs such as American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive, The Cuban Classical Summer Intensive at The School of Ballet Hispánico, The School of Pennsylvania Ballet, and Ellison Summer Intensive in NY. Blanca was the founder and Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Ballet Arts in Chalfont, PA.

 

She is currently a ballet instructor at The School of Pennsylvania Ballet and is part of the Dance Chance and Let’s Dance Community Engagement Programs of Pennsylvania Ballet. Blanca also has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Temple University with a concentration in Risk Management & Insurance with a second concentration in Real Estate. Blanca is certified to teach Progressing Ballet Technique Junior thru Advanced level. In 2017, she received the Howard Gilman Fellowship Award at Jacksonville University, where she completed her MFA in Choreography in 2019. Blanca has been commissioned to choreograph for Drexel University Dance Ensemble for Spring 2020. www.blancahuertas-agnew.com

JON MARTIN

Instructor
Hometown: Chicago, IL

Currently teaching the beginning/elementary levels at the School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Jon Martin has worked and trained with such notable teachers as Ruth Page, Harold Lang, Dimitri Romanoff, Jacqueline Hepner, Robert Rodham, Lupe Serrano, Gloria Govrin, and former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Jillana. Additionally, Mr. Martin has been invited to work with companies that include the San Diego Ballet, California Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet.

LOURDES NOVOA

Instructor
Hometown: Havana, Cuba

Lourdes Novoa trained at the School of National Art in Havana, Cuba under the guidance of Ramona de Saa. Upon graduation, she was immediately admitted to the Cuban National Ballet Company where she rose to the rank of Principal dancer. Ms. Novoa was also a Principal dancer with the English National Ballet. She has danced the roles of Giselle in Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Swanilda in Coppelia, Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, Paquita in Paquita, Lisette in La Fille Mal Gardee, Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadere, Medora in Le Corsaire, lead female in Les Sylphides, and the sylph in La Sylphide. She performed alongside many notable male dancers including Jose Manuel Carreno.

Ms. Lourdes also danced many modern, contemporary pieces by Cuban and International choreographers. In addition to performing in Havana and throughout Cuba, she also toured extensively with the company dancing on all of the renowned stages of the major capitals of the world including Bolshoi in Moscow, Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Liceu in Barcelona, Champs Elysees in Paris, Colon Theater in Argentina, and many others. Ms. Lourdes has taught for professional and trainee program levels for the Cuban National Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Ballet Theater of Harlem, and The School of Pennsylvania Ballet. She is passionate about shaping the younger generation using her knowledge and experience to help all dancers grow and succeed to the best of their abilities.

JOSEPH CIANCIULLI

Principal Accompanist
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Joseph Cianciulli, a native to Philadelphia Pennsylvania, received his Bachelors of Music from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance in both concert piano and opera performance. Mr. Cianciulli has enjoyed a career as dancer with the Louisville Ballet under the direction of Robert Curran before returning to Philadelphia to work with the Pennsylvania Ballet as piano accompanist.

Mr. Cianciulli has served as accompanist to The Louisville Ballet, University of Hartford dance department and Temple University music department as well performed as a guest pianist to Boston Ballet, New York City Ballet and Pittsburg Ballet Theatre. Joseph Cianciulli’s most influential instruction has come from, concert pianist, Dr. David Pasbrig and, vocal master, Daniel E. Montes. Mr. Cianciulli is excited to begin the 2019-20 season as Principal Accompanist to the School of Pennsylvania Ballet.

JAIME A. MALAGON

Principal Accompanist
Hometown: Mamaroneck, NY

Jaime A. Malagon started to accompany dance while attending college ar SUNY at Purchase. Since 1979 he has accompanied for CalBal, Stage 7 Dance Theater, Ballet Austin, Houston Ballet, and is currently accompanying at Pennsylvania Ballet.

KARINA ADRIANA

Accompanist
Hometown: Country of Georgia

Graduate with honors of Musical College, and State Music Conservatory of the Country of Georgia. Began her career as the permanent pianist of Country of Georgia Philharmonic orchestra, performing solo concerts, accompanist to guest singers and playing with the full orchestra. Karina continued her career performing solo concert tours all over the former Soviet Union, Turkey, Israel, Italy, Austria, and Greece.

Since moving to the United States, Karina continued to perform in solo concerts, performed in venues such as Caesar’s palace and Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, NY area, Philadelphia Convention Center and the Philadelphia Art Museum. Around 10 years ago, began working as accompanist pianist in University of Arts and The Rock School for Dance Education and Pennsylvania Ballet.

 

KEVIN MUCCHETTI

Accompanist
Hometown: West Chester, PA

Kevin Mucchetti is a Philadelphia-based pianist, composer, and music director. He began his musical studies at age three, and progressed under the guidance of such teachers as William Carr and Richard Johnson. His first association with Pennsylvania Ballet came in 2001, when he sang as a member of the Philadelphia Boys Choir in the company’s production of The Nutcracker.

A graduate of the Department of Music at the University of Pennsylvania, he currently serves as Director of Music for Church of the Holy Child in Wilmington, Delaware and as music director for Philly Improv Theater’s musical improv troupe, Thank You, Places. In 2017, he was appointed Resident Composer for Tieline Theater Company, based in Connecticut. Kevin has written original music for a number of theatrical productions, including Dorian Gray (New York Musical Festival) and Margot and Mr. Fog (Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival).

 

JEFF STORY

Accompanist
Hometown: Columbus, OH

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Mr. Story began his professional affiliation with movement at Ballet Met and the Department of Dance at Ohio State University. In Philadelphia, Mr. Story has served as an accompanist for the Philadelphia Dance Company, Pennsylvania Ballet, The Rock School, University of the Arts, Bryn Mawr College, and Dance for Parkinson’s Disease.

Jeff has participated in summer residencies at Perry-Mansfield and at the Yard. Mr. Story’s compositions are currently featured in repertory performances by Philadanco, Gwirtzman Dance Company, Ailey 2, Dawn Bazemore Dance, and the Taylor P Collins blues band. As an LPS student of music at UPenn, Jeff has also been extensively involved in choral performances of acapella works from the Renaissance and Middle Ages.

NATALIA VARLASHOVA

Accompanist
Hometown: Irkutsk, Russia

Natalia Varlashova was born in the city of Irkutsk, Russia (Siberia) and began her piano studies at the age of six. She received her B.A. in Music/Teaching Piano from the Irkutsk College of Arts, and then went on to complete a M.A. Music Methodology/ Certificate in Music Pedagogy Irkutsk State Pedagogical University, Russia.

Prior to her arrival in the United States, she performed as musician at the Irkutsk National Music Theater and Symphony orchestra, Chamber ensemble for 22 years.

Also, she conducted rehearsals, worked with vocalists, accompanied ballet, teaching piano, and worked as Director of the Ballet School for 15 years.

She provided piano accompaniment for numerous state and international competitions. Her students have successfully participated in various music competitions, receiving prizes and honors. Some of her students performed at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, New York. She has worked for Bolshoi Ballet program, Temple University, the Rock School, Pennsylvania Ballet, University of the Arts, Drexel University, Muhlenberg College, and Nelly Berman School of Music.  She was awarded numerous Certificates of Excellence. Ms. Varlashova students with a variety of musical instruments at the concerts and winner recitals including concerts at the Weill Recital Hall at New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Perelman Hall at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center.

 

 

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