Jury Panel Archives
2023 JURY & SELECTION COMMITTEE
ARTISTIC ASSOCIATE &
RICHMOND BALLET II DIRECTOR
Igor Antonov was born in Zaporozie, Ukraine. Upon graduation from the Kiev Choreographic Institute, he joined the Donetsk Ballet (Ukraine) as a soloist. In 1990, he was invited to join Richmond Ballet, where for five seasons he danced leading roles in works by George Balanchine, John Butler, Antony Tudor, William Soleau, Malcolm Burn, and Stoner Winslett. During that time, he was also a medalist and best couple award winner at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.
For the next several years, he danced with Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Germany, and made guest appearances with major ballet companies in Berlin, Madrid, and Nice. In 2003, he returned to Richmond Ballet, and while continuing to perform with the Company, he began conducting rehearsals and teaching at the School of Richmond Ballet. After his retirement from the stage, Mr. Antonov stepped into the role of leading Richmond Ballet’s second company, Richmond Ballet II
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.
KATHLEEN BREEN COMBES
FESTIVAL BALLET PROVIDENCE
Kathleen Breen Combes joined Festival Ballet Providence as Executive Director in August 2019, after an illustrious career as a principal dancer with Boston Ballet. Originally from Rockville Centre, NY, Breen Combes received her early training from the Fort Lauderdale Ballet Classique, the HARID Conservatory, and The Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet before joining the Washington Ballet in 2000. She joined Boston Ballet in 2003, was promoted to second soloist in 2005, soloist in 2007, and to principal dancer in 2009.
As one of Boston Ballet’s leading dancers, Breen Combes was hailed by The New York Times as a “ballerina of colossal scale and boldness”. She was awarded the Lefkowitz Award for Special Achievement at the New York International Ballet Competition at Lincoln Center in 2003, and was featured on the cover of Dance Magazine in 2007. Breen Combes was nominated for the prestigious Benois de la Danse award for her portrayal of Juliet in Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet and Titania in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2012, and was invited to perform at the world-renowned Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia.
Alongside her performing career, Breen Combes holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Graduate Certificate in Non-profit Management from Northeastern University. She worked within the Development and Artistic Administrative Departments while at Boston Ballet as well as serving as the AGMA Union representative for the company. She has been featured in and contributed to numerous print articles in Dance Spirit, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Magazine among others. In 2014, Breen Combes created a TedEd video entitled “Rethinking Ballet” and has been a guest speaker at The University of Massachusetts, University of Tokyo, Northeastern University and Harvard University.
Breen Combes was appointed Director of Festival Ballet Providence in January 2021.
FORMER PRINCIPAL DANCER
PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS MANAGER
Serving as the 2023 Female Compulsory Coach
Anaïs Chalendard trained with Carole Bentolila in Roanne. Herself a student of Max Bozzoni étoile and teacher at the Paris Opera school. Anaïs then moved to Marseille and kept dancing under the tuition of Dominique Khalfouni in the École Nationale de danse de Marseille Roland Petit.
She got her first professional contract at the age of 17 with the Deutsch Oper am Rhein under the direction of Youri Vamos, after graduating her baccalauréat in economic and political science. She then got an engagement with the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin directed at the time by Vladimir Malakov.
Few years later, Chalendard joined the Badische Staatstheater under the direction of Birgit Keil, where she became a Principal. Chalendard joined the English National Ballet in 2008 under the direction of Wayne Eagling, where she was promoted to first soloist following performances in Manon and The Dying Swan. In 2012, Chalendard appeared at the Nureyev Festival in Russia as Giselle with Principal dancer Jozef Varga from Het National Ballet, and as Odette/Odile in Derek Dean's Swan Lake with English National Ballet. She has been listed in the “100 Best Dancers in the World” by Dance Europe Magazine. In June 2013, she was invited to dance Erik Brühn's La Sylphide with Friedemann Vogel, principal with the Stuttgart Ballet, and Rolando Sarabia, international guest artist, at the Teatro dell Opera di Roma.
Chalendard joined Boston Ballet in 2013 as a Second Soloist, and was promoted to Soloist in 2014 and Principal in 2016. In 2019, Anaïs was invited to dance with Kammer Tänzer Flavio Salamanka during Mozart festival In Salzburg. And has also guested as Princess Aurora in Maina Gielgud’s production of Sleeping Beauty with Joburg Ballet. She retired from the Stage in the role of Giselle in October 2019 in a special and last guest appearance with Joburg Ballet.
MAURICE BRANDON CURRY
In 2015, Maurice Brandon Curry was appointed Executive Artistic Director of Eglevsky Ballet. He is the seventh artistic director in the history of the organization and the first to hold both titles.
Mr. Curry began his initial training with Ned Williams and continued at the School of American Ballet, where he studied with Andrei Kramarevsky, Stanley Williams, Richard Rapp, and Antonina Tumkovsky. Subsequently, he trained with Ann Brodie, founding artistic director of Columbia City Ballet. As a dancer, Mr. Curry appeared with New York City Ballet and danced with Carolina Ballet, Kaleidoscope Dance Company, Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal, and DancEllington. In addition to his BFA in Choreography, Mr. Curry holds a degree in Digital Filmmaking and Multimedia. He is a sought-after consultant with dance studios, colleges & conservatories across the country on matters of policy, programming, and curriculum.
His work as an educator has been recognized by many international organizations as he is a frequent guest instructor throughout the world. Mr. Curry was the Chairperson of the Dance Division at Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts. He was also the Director of Educational Programs at the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, where he was also a member of the faculty.
Mr. Curry’s ballets are in the repertoires of international ballet companies, academies, colleges, and performing arts high schools. In 2016, new works by Mr. Curry were added to the repertoires of the Alabama School of Fine Arts (where he was the resident guest artist) and the Columbia Ballet Collective at Columbia University in NYC. He has achieved major success as a director and choreographer in both the concert, musical theater, and commercial dance worlds working with many notable dance luminaries, recording and media artists.
Maurice Brandon Curry has served on the board of directors for dre.dance (a company directed by Andrew Palermo and Taye Diggs), the Bangor Ballet, DANCER magazine, and the Mark Stuart Dance Theater. Currently, Mr. Curry serves on the advisory board of the Young Choreographers Festival. Recently nominated to membership at the International Dance Council (which is sponsored by UNESCO) Mr. Curry proudly serves on the Alumni Committee on Diversity and Inclusion at his alma mater, the School of American Ballet.
His former students have danced or are currently dancing with the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey Ballet, the Royal Ballet, the Dutch National Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Ballet San Jose, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Cincinnati Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and on Broadway, in film, and on television.
THE ROCK SCHOOL
DIRECTOR, WEST CAMPUS
Etienne began his training at the Orlando Ballet School as the Founders’ Scholarship Award Recipient and, following graduation, attended Florida State University with a full scholarship. Etienne danced in Teatrul de Balet Sibiu, Balletto del Sud, in Italy, Milwaukee Ballet in Wisconsin, and the National Opera of Bucharest in Romania where he performed many leading roles. In 2014, Etienne joined Philadelphia Ballet, where he rose to the rank of demi soloist dancing many leading roles. He has worked with renowned choreographers and distinguished artists including Fernando Bujones, Bruce Marks, Michael Pink, Vicente Nebrada, Alexei Ratmansky, Edward Clug, Johan Kobborg, Magaly Suarez, Nacho Duato, Matthew Neenan, Jiří Kylián, Christopher Wheeldon, Jean-Pierre Frohlich, and William Forsythe.
Etienne resumed his business administration studies at Temple University where he graduated with honors. Additionally, he was in the faculty at Bryn Mawr College for two years and Metropolitan Ballet Academy for eight years. He joined The Rock School leadership in 2022 as Director of the West Campus.
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.
Celia Fushille has served as Artistic Director of Smuin Contemporary Ballet since 2007. From 2008-2014 she also served as Executive Director of the company. A founding member of Smuin Ballet and its principal dancer for more than 12 years, Fushille worked closely with company founder Michael Smuin.
In a performing career spanning 25 years, Fushille appeared on stages in the U.S. and Europe, on television and in film. As Artistic Director, Fushille has created her own vision for the company while maintaining Michael Smuin’s legacy. She has expanded the repertoire of the company by commissioning more than 20 world premieres and including the work of renowned choreographers.
Increasing the company’s stability and place in the arts community of San Francisco, she realized a 10-year goal with the company’s move into its permanent home in 2019. For the last decade Fushille has been part of the national discussion addressing diversity, equity and inclusion among leaders of U.S. dance companies. Fushille sat on the board of Dance/USA and served as chair of the Artistic Directors’ Council for Member Companies with budgets of $3 million and greater. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (summa cum laude) from Saint Mary’s College of California.
PITTSBURGH BALLET THEATRE
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 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.
OKLAHOMA CITY BALLET
COMPANY REHEARSAL DIRECTOR
DaYoung Jung, from South Korea, trained at Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy. She graduated with honors with a specialist degree in Ballet Pedagogy, and was a semifinalist in the Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition held in Donetsk, Ukraine in 2006.
Jung joined Oklahoma City Ballet in 2012, was promoted to soloist in 2014, and to principal in 2017. Her repertoire with Oklahoma City Ballet includes Robert Mills’ The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, Beauty and the Beast, The Firebird, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid. She has performed the title roles in Giselle, Jacob Sparso’s Cinderella, Septime Webre’s ALICE (in wonderland), and August Bournonville’s La Sylphide and performed lead roles in Toni Pimble’s Mowgli – The Jungle Book Ballet, Paul Vasterling’s Peter Pan, and Michael Pink’s Dracula.
Jung has been featured in George Balanchine’s Rubies and Serenade, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, Robert Joffrey’s Pas des Déesses, Ma Cong’s Forgotten Memories, Sarah Tallman’s If These Walls Could Talk, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, and Cayetano Soto’s Adam.
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. Mr. Kulpin joined The HARID Conservatory’s faculty in August, 2016.
Katherine Lawrence was named Principal of the Jessie Eccles Quinney Ballet Centre and Trolley Corners Campuses in June 2021 upon her retirement from a thrilling 23-year performing career.
A native of Fairfield, Connecticut, Ms. Lawrence trained at Connecticut Dance School and The Harid Conservatory, where she graduated as Valedictorian in 1998.
She performed with The Hartford Ballet for a year before joining Ballet Internationale, Indianapolis in 1999. There she quickly rose to the rank of Soloist. In 2004, Ms. Lawrence joined Ballet West, retiring as a Principal Artist in May 2021. She has also performed with The Universal Ballet of Korea, as a guest with numerous regional companies and schools, and is a founding member of contemporary dance companies Now-Id, Ruudances, and Dance Grand Moultrie.
Ms. Lawrence holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Ballet with a Teaching Emphasis from the University of Utah and has been a sought-out guest teacher throughout the course of her performing career. She is married to former Ballet West dancer Aaron Orlowski. Together they are the proud parents of two boys.
DIRECTOR OF MEN'S TRAINING
Domenico Luciano, former principal dancer with Colorado ballet, joins Colorado Ballet Academy after a 20 year career. Mr. Luciano danced with Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Germany, Europa dance in France, Maggio Danza in Florence, Teatro Dell’ Opera in Rome and Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. In 2004, Mr. Luciano came to the United States and joined Tulsa Ballet as a Demi-Soloist. In 2005, he joined Dominic Walsh Dance Theater as Principal Dancer, and joined Colorado Ballet in 2013.
Mr. Luciano’s training includes a variety of methods and techniques. His early years were formed with the Vaganova curriculum, establishing strong and clear foundations for classical ballet. Subsequently he trained with teachers from the National Ballet of Cuba, developing a much more athletic and dynamic way of dancing. During the last two years of his training he implemented the French style, refining his technique and quality of movement as he studied with teachers from Paris Opera Ballet.
Mr. Luciano has been teaching and choreographing for Colorado Ballet Academy since 2014. Mr. Luciano serves as School Principal and works with the Pre-Professional Division and Men’s Training Programs.
AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, SUMMER INTENSIVES
Kate Lydon is an alumna of both American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet. She has assisted with teaching the National Training Curriculum, both at ABT and for the Masters degree in pedagogy offered through the New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.
Lydon has been on faculty at ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, New York Summer Intensive and Young Dancer Summer Workshop, and also teaches class for ABT’s Main Company.
Lydon currently acts as Editor at Large for all of Dance Media’s publications including Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Spirit and Dance Teacher, and served as Editor in Chief of Dance Spirit for five years. Lydon also serves on the Board of the Dizzy Feet Foundation.
ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Michelle Martin had her early dance training at the Alberta Ballet School and danced with the Alberta Ballet Company for four years before joining the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre (IBT) in 1982. While with IBT and, subsequently, the Hartford Ballet in Connecticut, she performed leading and soloist roles in Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and The Moor’s Pavane as well as creating roles in many original works.
Martin’s teaching credits include guest-teaching engagements at schools and universities in Canada, South Carolina, Michigan, and throughout Indiana and Texas. She was on faculty at Butler University in Indianapolis for five years.
Martin began her tenure with Ballet Austin in 1991 as a dancer with the Company and in 1992 she was appointed ballet mistress and curriculum director of the Academy. In 1999 she founded Ballet Austin II, Ballet Austin’s apprentice program, providing professional development for the 10-member second company and designing educational programming for presentation in schools.
Martin has served on the Texas Commission on the Arts advisory panel for Arts Education and is a recipient of the Austin Under Forty award for contributions in the area of the Arts and Entertainment. Martin was appointed associate artistic director of Ballet Austin in 2000.
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
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.
Eduardo Permuy was born in Cuba where he began his training at the age of 7 at Laura Alonso's ballet school Per-Danza, later joining the National Ballet School of Cuba and finishing at Miami City Ballet School under the tutelage of Nancy Raffa.
At the age of 17, Permuy started his professional career with Miami City Ballet as an apprentice and he went to enjoy a career of 18 years also dancing for American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet West, Smuin Contemporary Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and appearing as guest artist with a few others. During this time, his repertoire included most of the classics and a vast number of ballets from the Balanchine repertoire, ranging from corps to principal roles.
He also had the opportunity to perform ballets from Gerald Arpino, Robert Joffrey, Jiří Kylián, Kurt Joss, John Cranko, Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, Twyla Tharp, Helen Picket, Nicolo Fonte, Antony Tudor, Ulysses Dove, Michael Smuin, Val Caniparoli, Alberto Alonso, Benjamin Millepied, Leonide Massine, and Amy Seiwert.
Throughout his career, Permuy feels blessed to have learned from figures like Nancy Raffa, Fernanado Bujones, Martha Bosh, Sir Anthony Dowell, Christopher Carr, Eddie Villella and Clinton Luckett.
In 2021, he joined Cleveland Ballet as a director of repertoire, where he had the opportunity to not only perform ballet master duties but also was able to return to the stage as a character dancer, performing the roles of Don Quixote in the ballet by the same name and Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker.
This is Permuy's first season with Atlanta Ballet and he's looking forward to bringing his experiences to the Company and to keep learning and growing under the direction of Gennadi Nedvigin and his team.
HB II DIRECTOR
Claudio Muñoz joined Houston Ballet’s Academy in 1999. Mr. Muñoz trained with numerous choreographers, including John Cranko, George Balanchine, Ben Stevenson, and Ronald Hynd. During his career as a dancer, he filled principal roles in Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, and New York.
In 1989 he founded the Chamber Ballet of Santiago. Mr. Muñoz has taught classes & seminars in Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, and the United States. He has worked as an instructor for the Ballet Nacional de Chile, Ballet de Santiago, and Ballet Nacional de Peru. The dancers Mr. Muñoz has coached have won the silver medal at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson (1990), third place in the Shanghai International Ballet Competition (1995) and first place at the Prix de Lausanne (2010).
In 1996, Mr. Muñoz was awarded “Best Teacher” at the Interdance Competition in Asuncion, Paraguay. Mr. Muñoz has staged ballets for Ben Stevenson and Stanton Welch at Ballet Florida, Cincinnati Ballet and Tulsa Ballet. Mr. Munoz is proud to have trained more than fifty percent of current Houston Ballet company dancers. In 2016 he was awarded the Dance Teacher Award by Dance Teacher Magazine.
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.
PB II DIRECTOR
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 Philadelphia Ballet Second Company.