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Jury Panel Archives

Karin Averty


ABT Studio Company

Ballet Mistress

Karin Averty was born in France, and began her ballet training with Yvonne Goubé at the Centre de Danse de Paris. One year later, she was admitted to the Paris Opera Ballet School and joined the company in September 1979 at age 16.

In July 1980, she received international recognition early in her career when she won the Grand Prix, junior category, at the International Ballet Competition in Varna. In June of 1983, at the Paris Opera Ballet, she rose to Premiere Danseuse.

Under Artistic Director Rudolf Nureyev, Karin performed leading roles in his versions of Raymonda, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and La Bayadere. She danced in masterpieces by prestigious choreographers such Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Patrice Bart, August Bournonville, Nils Christe, Agnes De Mille, Michel Fokine, Martha Graham, James Kudelka, Pierre Lacotte, Harald Lander, Serge Lifar, Kenneth MacMillan, John Neumeier, Vaslav Nijinsky, Jerome Robbins, Leo Staats, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Antony Tudor et Hans Van Mannen.

In August 1987, Karin took a one-year leave of absence from the Paris Opera Ballet to become a Principal Dancer with the San Francisco Ballet under Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson. She returned to the Paris Opera Ballet the following year, but remained a Guest Artist with the SFB for its 1988-1989 season.

In 2003, Karin received her official ballet teaching diploma, the Diplôme d’Etat de Professeur de Danse.

In 2004, the Prime Minister of France honored her with the National Merit Order as a Chevalier (Knight).

For her farewell performance at the Bastille POB in 2005, Karin danced Juliet in Rudolf Nureyev’s version of Romeo and Juliet.

Since 2009, Karin has been a free-lance ballet teacher and coach for ballet companies, universities and ballet schools. She has taught in France, Korea, Japan, Canada and Israel. In 2012 she realized one of her dreams and relocated to New York. She began teaching at a number of well-known dance schools throughout the US, among them: Juilliard, Alvin Ailey, ABT/JKO, The Rock School, and the summer intensive programs of the Boston Ballet, Ballet West and Kansas City Ballet.

She has served as a judge for international ballet competitions such as Varna and YAGP. Karin is on the ballet faculty at Steps on Broadway. In 2016, she joined the faculty of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Karin is a guest teacher at Boston Ballet and its School, San Francisco Ballet and its School, Joffrey Ballet Chicago and its Academy of Dance, Hong Kong Ballet, Ballet West Academy, Houston Ballet Academy, among many others.

In 2018 she staged Mikko Nissinen’s “Raymonda 3rd act” for the Boston Ballet School and her own version of “Paquita Grand Pas” for the Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance Chicago.
In 2018-2019 Karin was a regular guest teacher with ABT, and in the Spring of 2019 , she assisted Alexei Ratmansky as guest Ballet Mistress for ABT JKO School Children Division and Pre-Professional students.

In August 2019, Karin was named Ballet Mistress of ABT Studio Company under Artistic Director Sascha Radetsky.

Amy Brandt


POINTE Magazine


Amy Brandt has been the editor in chief of Pointe magazine since 2014, following a 19-year dance career. She received her initial dance training at Dancenter North in Libertyville, Illinois, and at the Milwaukee Ballet School.


She later joined the Milwaukee Ballet, where her repertoire included 19th century classics as well as works by Antony Tudor, George Balanchine, Mark Godden and Alonzo King, among others.


She joined The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2003, dancing soloist roles in Balanchine’s Agon, La Valse, Pas de Dix and Divertimento No. 15. In 2005, she performed in honor of Ms. Farrell at the nationally televised Kennedy Center Honors. Ms. Brandt has also danced with Dances Patrelle, New Chamber Ballet, Ad Hoc Ballet and Ballet NY.


She has written extensively for several dance publications, including Pointe magazine’s “Ask Amy” advice column, since 2009. She joined Pointe’s editorial staff in 2014, and has also served as an associate editor for Dance Teacher and Dance Magazine. Ms. Brandt has a BA in English and World Literatures from Marymount Manhattan College.

Kelly Boal

Kelly Boal trained at the School of American Ballet and joined New York City Ballet in 1984, earning a promotion to soloist in 1989.


She left NYCB in 1993 to pursue guesting opportunities that included performances with Dutch National Ballet and Ballet Manila and participation in Le Gala des Étoiles in Montreal, Canada.


She taught at the School of American Ballet and is a part-time faculty member at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, teaching both the Professional Division and the Company.


Pacific Northwest Ballet

Edward Ellison


Ellison Ballet
Artistic Director

Edward Ellison has traveled the world as a dancer, teacher, choreographer and ballet master. Companies he has taught for include American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, Alvin Ailey and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. He has been a guest teacher with The Juilliard School and Joffrey Ballet School, and continues to teach open classes at STEPS on Broadway.


As a ballet master, he has worked for such companies as the Boston Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet and Alberta Ballet, as well as staging Helgi Tomasson's Nutcracker for San Francisco Ballet's annual tour. With love and devotion to his students guiding his work, his approach is infused by study and close association with renown ballet masters and directors, such as Larisa Sklyanskaya, Helgi Tomasson, Irina Jacobson and Marius Zirra. He particularly credits his years of pedagogical study with Ms. Sklyanskaya for the depth of his artistic knowledge, as well as teacher courses at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Russia and the National Ballet School in Canada.


A former soloist with the San Francisco Ballet and guest artist with many companies in the U.S. and abroad, Mr. Ellison's repertoire spans the great classical works of the 19th century to neoclassical and contemporary choreography of the 20th century and today.


Mr. Ellison employs a combination of detailed technical insight — including precise verbal and physical guidance to ensure proper alignment, placement, strength and coordinaton of the body — and artistic vision to excite and advance the student's journey. As Founder & Artistic Director of Ellison Ballet, Mr. Ellison has crafted an intensive study program to meet the needs of gifted ballet students from around the world who wish to dance professionally. Both the Summer Intensive and the in-depth Professional Training Program offer a stepping stone approach to realize new levels of achievement. The classes emphasize development of strong classical ballet technique, the exploration and discovery of the student's full artistic potential, and individual attention from the ballet master.

Marjorie Grundvig


Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
School Director

Ms. Grundvig began her ballet training in her hometown of Davis, California, and with Marguerite Phares in 

Sacramento, California. Additionally, she spent summers on scholarship with San Francisco Ballet School.  


At the age of 17, Ms. Grundvig joined the North Carolina Dance Theatre. She continued her performing career as a soloist with both the Tulsa Ballet and the Boston Ballet.  


She has guest taught at many schools, both nationally and internationally, in addition to touring nationally to audition students for the annual summer programs of Boston Ballet and PBT.


Ms. Grundvig directed the ballet department of the Washington Academy of Performing Arts in Seattle prior to being appointed Director of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School in August 2005. Since 

starting at PBT, Ms. Grundvig has been part of a leadership team that has managed to increase total school 

enrollment by more than 30%.

Christopher Hird


Sarasota Ballet
Director of Education

Christopher Hird is from England and studied the Royal Academy of Dance syllabi before training at The Royal Ballet School. He toured Europe as part of a company headlined by the internationally acclaimed ballerina, Sylvie Guillem. After retiring from the stage, Hird worked as the Assistant to the Director of the British Ballet Organization, and later as Assistant to the Development Manager at The Royal Ballet School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Roehampton and a Diploma from Canada’s National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program.


Hird joined Boston Ballet School in 2003 and was promoted to Artistic Manager in 2009. He was a main teacher for students in the Pre-Professional and Classical Ballet Programs as well as being part of the Senior Leadership Team. Hird has staged ballets for the School including Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère, and Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs, Les Rendezvous and La Fille mal Gardée. Hird was also a Children’s Ballet Master for Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker.


In 2013, Hird was appointed Head of Adult Programming. He has led the artistic vision for the redesign of the program as well as been instrumental in developing and enhancing the adult students’ engagement with Boston Ballet.


Hird has served on the international jury of the Japan Grand Prix in 2008 and 2010, the Surrey Festival of Dance (Canada) in 2007 and 2008, the Goiania Dance Festival (Brazil) in 2012 and 2015. He has been a guest teacher for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Canada’s National Ballet School, Cecchetti Council of America and Harvard University.


The Sarasota Ballet appointed Christopher Hird as Director of Education and Principal for the Margaret Barbieri Conservatory in July 2016. 

Rinat Imaev


The Washington Ballet
Head Faculty / Company Teacher

Rinat Imaev, Company Teacher and Senior Faculty, was previously a company teacher with ABT 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, Imaev studied at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg & later danced with the Mariinsky Ballet. He was a principal dancer with Sofia National Ballet in Bulgaria and Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium. Imaev has also performed for several international companies as a guest artist.


His repertoire includes leading roles in Don Quixote, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, Les Sylphides, Coppélia, La Fille mal gardée, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Corsaire, Paquita, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet and La Bayadère among other works.


Imaev has been a guest teacher at Boston Ballet, The Washington Ballet, Oklahoma Ballet, The Royal Ballet of Flanders, The Bruxelles, Sofia Opera and Ballet, Victor Ullate Ballet/-Communidad de Madrid, Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, The Ballet Internationale in Indianapolis, The Carreño Sarasota Festival, Salt Creek Ballet, Kaatsban International Dance Center, The Rock School for Dance Education, Joffrey Ballet School, Debby Allen Academy, Southland Ballet Academy, Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, Dance Academy, The State School of Antwerp, AlixRiga Dance Centre, Le Ballet de Bruxelles, Nafsika Dance Company, Jeune Ballet de France, Ochi International Ballet, Hakucho Ballet, Rei Ichianagi Academy, among more.


Imaev is the distinguished recipient of the Gold medal at the International Ballet Competition Varna; Grand Prix of the Bulgarian National Ballet competition; Golden Lire of the Ministry of Culture of Bulgaria and Special Partner Prize at the Madame Oya International Ballet Competition in Japan. He has also been a jury member of YAGP since its founding and a jury member at international ballet competitions in Nagoya, Japan. He is the artistic advisor of IBstage in Barcelona, Spain.

Alexey Kulpin


The Harid Conservatory

Alexey Kulpin is a graduate of the University of Culture and Art in St. Petersburg, Russia. He holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ballet methodology and choreography. In 1998, he was the Grand Prix winner at the Muse of St. Petersburg Ballet Competition. As a professional dancer, Mr. Kulpin has performed soloist and principal roles in both classical and contemporary ballets in Russia, Israel, and the United States. He danced professionally with St. Petersburg State Opera Ballet, St. Petersburg State Male Theatre by Mihailovsky, Ballet Israel, City Ballet of San Diego, Grand Rapids Ballet, Charleston Ballet Theater, Stars of St. Petersburg Municipal Theater of Music and Dance, and Krasnoyarsk Dance Ensemble. His roles included Basilio in Don Quixote; James in La Sylphide; Prince Ivan in Firebird; Spirit of the Rose in Le Spectre de la Rose; Swan Lake Pas de Trois; and the male leads in Tarentella and Maurice Bejart’s Trik Trak. Mr. Kulpin specializes in teaching classical ballet, male and female variations, and character dance. His  teaching career includes the Ballet Israel School, City Ballet of San Diego, Grand Rapids Ballet, and Charleston Ballet Company, where he taught company classes and served as director of the Charleston Ballet Young Artists Group. Most recently, he served as principal ballet teacher for Northern California Dance Conservatory. He has staged classical variations and choreographed solos for performance and ballet competitions, including Youth America Grand Prix. Mr. Kulpin joined The HARID Conservatory’s faculty in August, 2016.

Peter Merz


Ballet West
Academy Director

Peter Merz has choreographed over 40 original ballets across the USA and internationally. His award-winning 

choreography relies heavily on classical ballet, but is informed by his passion for contemporary dance forms.


As a performer he worked with the Dayton Ballet, the Louisville Ballet and the Cincinnati Ballet. In 2002, Peter 

served as the Artistic Administrator for the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS. In 2004, Peter 

joined the faculty of Point Park, where he is an associate professor of dance and Head of Ballet.


In 2014, he returned to the USA IBC to create an original work for the competitors to perform at the Awards Gala. He has served as a judge and Master Teacher for Youth America Grand Prix. Peter is also in demand throughout the US as a master teacher, and is known for his enthusiastic and encouraging approach to ballet training. He has twice been named Outstanding Choreographer by the Youth America Grand Prix, and was also honored to be named Outstanding Teacher by that organization in 2014.


In Summer of 2015, Peter Merz was appointed the Academy Director of Ballet West.

Mimmo Miccolis


The Washington Ballet

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 Grand Prix (YAGP) Finals 2015 in New York City, at the Indianapolis International Ballet Competition 2017 and at the YAGP Pittsburgh Semifinals 2016. In 2011, he was also a recipient of the BBC Performing Arts Fund in London, UK. In the last years several of his choreographic creations received awards in dance competitions across Europe and the US. 


Miccolis graduated from the Italian dance academies “Fondazione Niccolò Piccinni” (Bari) and “Balletto di Toscana” (Florence). As a dancer he performed in theaters and companies across Europe, the Middle-East and the United States. Since the start of his professional career, his work has been characterized as a blend of powerful versatility and theatrical range.


Most of Mimmo’s choreographic work focuses on social issues and have been performed in prestigious venues such as the World Bank Headquarters, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Carnegie Hall in New York, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Forum and the House of the European Union in Austria, the European Commission Joint Research Center in Italy and the Bernie Grand Arts Center in London(UK). 


Selected credits include: (A)MORI (Milwaukee Ballet II), Dancing With The Future (commissioned by IIASA and Harvard University), FIRSTS and ICONS (commissioned by the Italian Institute of Culture and The Embassy of Italy), END (commissioned by the World Bank), WHO WHEN WHY (commissioned by Julie Kent for The Washington Ballet), AETERNA and WHITE (The Washington Ballet Studio Company), Contextual Matters and IN ALL (commissioned by the Economist Jeffrey Sachs), InDilemma, COURAGE and ENLIGHTENMENT 2.0 (commissioned by the IIASA and the European Commission), CRISIS, DEEP BLUE, UNDERWATER and HIGH TIDE  (The Washington Ballet Trainee Program), RIGHTS(?) (Bernie Grand Arts Center in London(UK) and LUST LOST LAST (LCP Dance Theatre). Miccolis choreographed also the rebranding music video for the Inter American Development Bank(IDB).

Dierdre Miles Burger


Sarasota Ballet

Assistant Education Director

Born in Burlington, Massachusetts, Dierdre Miles Burger joined the Boston Ballet Corps de Ballet in 1974. From 1978 until 1982 Miles Burger danced in New York City and with Houston Ballet before returning to Boston Ballet in 1983. During her career she danced countless principal roles in the classical and contemporary ballet repertory but was most known for her portrayal of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and the Principal Stomper in Twyla Tharp’s Brief Fling. In June of 1993 Miles Burger retired from performing and joined Boston Ballet’s Artistic Staff. In September 2002 Miles Burger was appointed Principal of Boston Ballet School, having been a member of the faculty of The Boston Conservatory since 1991. She is also certified in the dance notation method Labanotation.

In the summer of 2006 she left Boston Ballet to move to Florida with her husband David Burger, where she continued to teach and coach on a freelance basis. During this time Miles Burger became an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum and was later appointed to the prestigious Board of Examiners for the curriculum. In addition she has served on the jury for a number of ballet conventions and competition including Youth America Grand Prix regional semi-finals and New York City Finals. In July 2010 she was appointed Director of Orlando Ballet School, serving there for eight years until August 2018. Under her leadership Orlando Ballet School grew and developed programming, most notably the Orlando Ballet School Academy which develops young dancers for professional careers. Reaching out to the community, she instituted several programs for children with special needs including Adaptive Dance for students with Down Syndrome, Come Dance With Us for children with physical challenges, and Kids Beating Cancer for children recovering from cancer.

Claudio Munoz


Houston Ballet II
Director & Ballet Master

During his career as a dancer, Mr. Munoz filled Principal roles in Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and New York, with a variety of choreographers including John Cranko, George Balanchine, Ivan Nagy, V. Bebrada, A. Rodriguez, W. Dollar, Layres, Ben Stevenson, and Ronald Hynd, (in whose work, Rosalinda, he partnered the esteemed Russian ballerina Natalia Makarova). Mr. Munoz was also involved in other forums for dance, such as Zarzuela, television, musical comedy, and opera.


In 1989 he founded the Chamber Ballet of Santiago. Mr. Munoz has taught classes and seminars in Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, and the United States. He has worked as an instructor for the Ballet Nacional de Chile, Ballet de Santiago, Ballet Nacional de Peru, and schools in Asucion, Peru.


The dancers Mr. Munoz has coached have won the silver medal at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson (1990) and third place in the Shanghai International Ballet Competition (1995). In 1996, Mr. Munoz was awarded “Best Teacher” at the Interdance Competition in Asuncion, Paraguay. He has coached students for the Prix de Lausanne who have won six medals in the past seven years.


Mr. Munoz joined Houston Ballet Academy as Ballet Master in 1999. As HBII Ballet Master, Mr. Munoz is responsible for the artistic leadership, teaching, choreography, curriculum syllabus development, and supervision of all HBII students to promote the studio performance of Houston Ballet. He has staged a ballet for Ben Stevenson at Florida Ballet, and also staged Stanton Welch’s work at Cincinnati Ballet and Tulsa Ballet. In addition, Mr. Munoz coaches students for the Prix de Lausanne (winning six prizes in the last seven years) and Beijing International Ballet Competition. Currently he serves on the jury and a teacher in the Junior Ballet Competition Japan Grand Prix, and in the Youth American Grand Prix (Mexico, Japan, Brazil, Europe, and New York). As a teacher, he has taught around the world from Canada, Argentina, Australia, Europe, all over Latin America and the United States.

Peter Stark


Boston Ballet II
Associate Director

Peter Stark is a renowned ballet teacher and coach who has been called “Ballet’s Pied Piper” by the Sarasota Herald Tribune. Stark trained at The School of American Ballet with Stanley Williams, Richard Rapp, Andre Eglevsky, and Fernando Bujones. He also went on to study Business Administration at Strayer University in Washington, DC.


His performing career includes The New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, and The Washington Ballet. He danced in works by George Balanchine, Marius Petipa, Peter Martins, Twyla Tharp and in the premieres of works by Jerome Robbins, Violette Verdy, Ralph Lemmon and Bujones. He was featured in a PBS telecast of Washington Opera’s La Rondine staring Jose Carras.


Bujones hired Stark as the Assistant to the Artistic Director of Ballet Mississippi, and later as School Director at Orlando Ballet. Stark has taught for The Washington School of Ballet, Ballet West, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Summer Intensive, American University, Maryland Youth Ballet, Orlando Ballet School and Next Generation Ballet. He led The Orlando Ballet School for a decade where he expanded it to four locations and founded Orlando Ballet II. He is the Founding Artistic Director of Next Generation which has grown to have an international reputation, winning many awards and accolades. The New York Times has twice praised Stark, calling his students “breathtaking” and noting that they displayed “a joyous appetite for movement.”


He has received many honors including the Florida Arts Educator of the Year, a feature on the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine, and was honored in Orlando, Florida with “Peter Stark Day.” Stark has judged dance competitions internationally and served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts. He co-presented four annual ballet galas with Youth America Grand Prix, including “Ballet’s Greatest Hits” that was streamed to movie theaters internationally and hosted by So You Think You Can Dance judge Nigel Lythgoe.


Stark staged and choreographed several critically acclaimed full length ballets that have been danced by companies such as Washington Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Next Generation Ballet and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He also choreographed Merry Widow, La Traviata, Aida, Don Giovanni among others for Opera Tampa.


Stark’s students are now dancing in companies including New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, American Ballet Theatre, and Paul Taylor Dance Company, among others. Students of his have received full merit scholarships at dance academies such as The School of American Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, and The Royal Ballet School of England. He has coached gold medal winners for International Ballet Competitions around the world. Students of his have won the Grand Prix at the Youth America Grand Prix New York Finals, the Princess Grace Award, Audience Favorite at the Prix de Lausanne, and Best Male Dancer at the Eric Bruhn Competition. Stark was named Outstanding Teacher at the 2014 New York Finals of Youth America Grand Prix and has four times led academies to be awarded Outstanding School.

Sharon Story


Atlanta Ballet
Dean of Education

Dean Story is currently in her 21st season with Atlanta Ballet. She joined Atlanta Ballet after a professional dance career that spanned more than 20 years, including tenures with Joffrey Ballet, the School of American Ballet, New York City Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and ten years with Boston Ballet.


In 1996, in addition to her role as ballet mistress, John McFall’s vision and mentorship brought Sharon to her current position as dean of the Centre for Dance Education, which has rapidly grown to one of the largest dance schools in the nation. The Centre for Dance Education is nationally recognized for great accomplishments in its programs and community initiatives. Under Sharon’s direction, the Centre achieved accreditation with National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD). Sharon is a member of the Board of Directors for NASD and is delighted to serve on many community and national boards.


Sharon received the 2015 Women Making a Mark award from Atlanta Magazine. She is committed to providing a noncompetitive atmosphere and access to dance education that is shaped by the community needs, is innovative, and inspires the commitment and excellence that are the trademarks of Atlanta Ballet. She is very proud of the dancers who have studied at the Centre for Dance Education and continue to share their experiences on stage in the Atlanta Ballet company and around the globe. She thanks her family for all their love and support during her career.

Maria Torija


Academy Director

Born in Madrid, Spain, Maria Torija began her ballet studies with Lola de Avila, Luis Fuentes and Carmen Roche. At the age of thirteen, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study for three years at the School of American Ballet in New York.


After a short stint with the Ballet Nacional de España Clásico, in 1987 she began her 20-year career as a dancer with the Deutsche Oper Berlin ballet company, currently the Staatsballett Berlin. During her time in Berlin, Maria performed in solo and principal roles in numerous classic ballets, including works choreographed by George Balanchine.


She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Ballet Teaching, and graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s and PhD in Performing Arts from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, in Madrid. She also has an extensive teaching resume. Beginning with the Opera Ballet of Deutsche Oper Berlin, she has served as a faculty member at the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz, Dresden. Maria has participated in seminars and has been invited to teach classes throughout Europe, Japan and Hong King and the United States. While on the  faculty of the Miami City Ballet and Miami City Ballet School, Maria taught dancing as well as classes on the history of ballet and other associated topics. She organized and conceived a popular program for the Open Barre at the Miami City Ballet, inviting the public to see a demonstration of the progression of professional ballet training. Maria became the Director of the BalletMet Academy in May 2017.

Eddy Tovar


Pennsylvania Ballet II


Eddy Tovar trained at the National Ballet School in Havana. He began his professional career in Brazil at the Bale do Estado de Goias before joining the Orlando Ballet under the direction of Bruce Marks and the late Fernando Bujones.


Eddy rose through the ranks of Orlando Ballet to that of principal dancer, while also serving as the resident guest artist of the Los Angeles Ballet. He retired from the stage after dancing for Texas Ballet Theater as a principal dancer, under the direction of Ben Stevenson.

Eddy has performed principal roles in virtually every full-length classic ballet, including roles in works by George Balanchine and Twyla Tharp. As well, he has won numerous medals in competitions all around the world and appeared as a guest on the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance”. Most recently, Eddy served on the faculty of the Hartt School of Dance Department at the University of Hartford. Throughout his career, he has staged ballets as well as instructed students of all levels.

Eddy is currently the director of Pennsylvania Ballet Second Company.

Iain Webb


Sarasota Ballet

Artistic Director

Born in Yorkshire, England, Iain Webb started ballet at the age of 14 and moved to London at 16, where he trained for 2 years with The Rambert School of Ballet and a year at The Royal Ballet School. He further spent a year as an apprentice with The Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, where he was offered a full time position. During his 18 years with both The Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet, his main principal repertoire included: Ashton’s The Dream (Oberon and Bottom), The Two Pigeons (Young Man), La Fille mal Gardée (Colas and Alain), Cinderella (The Small Sister, Dancing Master and Napoleon), Tales of Beatrix Potter (Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Pigling Bland), Balanchine’s Prodigal Son (The Son), Fokine’s Les Sylphides (Poet), Petrushka, MacMillan’s Different Drummer (The Doctor), Manon (Client), van Manen’s Five Tangos, Coppelia (Franz), Swan Lake (Prince and Benno),The Sleeping Beauty (Blue Bird), and Baryshnikov’s production of Don Quixote.

In 1996 Webb retired from The Royal Ballet but was invited back as a guest artist to give three farewell performances at Covent Garden as the Small Sister in Ashton’s Cinderella. After retiring as a dancer, he was invited by Matthew Bourne to be Rehearsal Director for The West End, L.A. and Broadway Seasons of Swan Lake and continued to work with Bourne on his production of Cinderella.

In 1999 Webb was asked by Tetsuya Kumakawa to join his newly formed K-Ballet Company in Japan as Ballet Master and, 2 years later, was appointed Assistant Director. During this time, he worked with Kumakawa on building the company into one of Japan’s leading ballet companies. He also worked with many international stars including Adam Cooper, with whom he co-directed The Adam Cooper Company and organized their tour to The Kennedy Center. Likewise, he co-produced with Johan Kobborg the London performances of Out of Denmark and staged Roland Petit’s Carmen Pas de Deux for Alessandra Ferri and Julio Bocca for American Ballet Theatre’s 65th Anniversary Gala.

Throughout Webb’s career he has produced and directed many international Gala performances, presenting dancers from Royal Danish Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet. He has been guest teacher for White Oak Project, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, as well as teaching master classes and workshops for all the major ballet schools in England. In 2013 he became an Ashton Associate for the Sir Frederick Ashton Foundation.


Iain Webb was appointed as The Sarasota Ballet’s third Director in 2007. With his background, experience and close personal relationships with some of the biggest names in the dance world, Webb has taken The Sarasota Ballet to an unprecedented level of national and international recognition.

Much of Webb’s success is, in part, attributed to the resurrection of Frederick Ashton ballets. A prolific 20th Century British choreographer, Ashton’s ballets have, until recently, been rarely performed in America and many were on the brink of being lost forever. Webb and Barbieri together have put The Sarasota Ballet on the map due to the precision and expertise of Ashton ballets that they introduced into The Company’s repertoire.


In the short 9 years with The Company, Webb has introduced 136 new ballets into the repertoire, 23 of which are ballets by Sir Frederick Ashton: an impressive feat recognized by critics, historians and ballet enthusiasts worldwide. The New York Times critic Alastair Macaulay recently said, “The Sarasota company’s meticulous, juicy performance makes Ashton’s “Enigma” newly expressive. In particular, this is a marvelously musical company.”


Webb celebrates a decade as Director of The Sarasota Ballet in The Company’s 2016 - 2017 Season.

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