Jury Panel Archives
Houston Ballet II
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, L.de 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.
Royal Winnipeg Ballet
A graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Arlene Minkhorst performed with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company before joining the RWB School as a faculty member in 1979.
An accomplished teacher and pedagogue, Ms Minkhorst has taught in the RWB School Professional Division for many years. Appointed Director in 2004, she has raised the profiled of the School, developing national and international partnerships with other professional training schools and organizations.
A guest teacher and adjudicator for dance festivals and competitions around the world, Ms Minkhorst is also a regular member of the Youth America Grand Prix Jury in New York, NY, and has been invited to sit on juries for the Prix de Lausanne, the Japan Grand Prix and the Tanzolymp in Berlin, Germany.
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.
The Washington Ballet
Xiomara Reyes, Head of TWBS, performed as a soloist and principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre for 14 years before retiring from the stage in 2015. She was born in Cuba, studied at Cuba's National Ballet School and later joined The National Ballet of Cuba where she performed in the corps de ballet and as a soloist. She has also performed principal roles with the Joven Guardia de Cuba under the direction of Laura Alonso, and leading roles as a soloist with the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium for seven years.
Reyes’ awards include the Gold Medal for the Best Soloist at the International Ballet Competition of Chiclayo, Peru; Best Couple Prize at the XIV International Ballet Competition Varna; Silver Medal at the Cinquième Concours International de Danse de Paris and Second Prize at the International Ballet Competition of Luxembourg.
Reyes has danced internationally as a Guest Artist with companies including The National Theatre of Tokyo, Ochi International Ballet in Osaka, Hakucho Ballet Japan, Jeune Ballet de France, Ballet the Limoges in France, Balleto Del Sud in Italy, the Nafsika Dance Theater in Greece, Georgia State Ballet in Chicago and the Bashkirian State Ballet in Russia. In 2015, she danced the role of Katherine in The Washington Ballet’s premiere of Septime Webre's Sleepy Hollow.
Ms. Reyes' repertory also includes Giselle, Manon, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixote, Titania in The Dream, Lise in La Fille mal gardée, Caroline in Jardin aux Lilas, Natalia Petrovna in A Month in the Country, Desdemona in Othello, Raymonda, Cowgirl in Rodeo, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Sylvia, Zina in The Bright Stream, Cinderella in both Sir Frederick Ashton's and James Kudelka's works, Sibyl in Dorian, Anne in Christopher Wheeldon's VIII, Le Grand Pas de Deux, Prudence in Lady of the Camellias, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Wife in The Moor's Pavane, Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Kevin McKenzie's The Nutcracker, Clara and the Princess in Alexei Ratmansky's The Nutcracker and Olga in Onegin. She has also performed leading roles in Allegro Brillante, the first and fourth movements in Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, Désir and many others.
In 2015, Reyes retired with the American Ballet Theatre in the title role of Giselle. She continued to perform as a Guest Artist in national and international performances.
Ms. Reyes is also passionate about teaching and inspiring the new generation of dancers. Since 2013 she has been co-directing IBStage, a summer intensive in Barcelona, Spain which aims to connect renowned professionals of the dance field with young talented dancers. In 2015 she directed From Studio to Stage in Hartford where she staged Giselle and continues to give masterclasses all around the world.
The Washington Ballet
Mimmo Miccolis, an Italian born dancer and choreographer, is the winner of the “Outstanding Choreographer Award” at the Youth American Grand Prix Finals 2015 at the Lincoln Center in New York City and at the YAGP Pittsburgh Semifinals 2016 . In 2011 he was also one of the winners of the BBC Performing Arts Fund Dance in London, UK. Miccolis graduated from two dance academies in Italy: “Fondazione Niccolò Piccinni” (Bari) and “Balletto di Toscana” (Florence).
Currently, Miccolis is a contemporary teacher and choreographer at The Washington Ballet. Miccolis’s creation “END” on “domestic violence” has been presented at the World Bank in Washington DC and “CRISIS” has been commissioned by The Washington Ballet for the “New Works Festival”. His recent performance engagements as choreographer and dancer include “IN ALL” performed at the Carnegie Hall for the UN General Assembly in New York City, “COURAGE” performed at the European Forum Alpbach (Austria) and “ENLIGHTMENT2.0” performed at the European Commission Joint Research Center in Ispra (Italy). As of December 2016, Mimmo has presented 15 new choreographies, 13 with The Washington School of Ballet and two with The Orlando Ballet School. In 2016, he also presented new works for VKIBC in NYC, and Helsinki International Ballet Competition.
In May 2016 the premiere of his work “ICONS” at the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC has been acclaimed by more than nine thousand people. In 2015 Mimmo choreographed the rebranding music video for the Inter American Development Bank(IDB). In December 2014, Miccolis’s work “WHITE” was performed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC. In July 2014, he presented a well received show at the Kennedy Center "An evening for humanity". An extract of his piece “GROWTH” was also presented and performed in May 2015 in Vienna, Austria, at the House of the European Union to commemorate the 70th anniversary from the end of World War II. In London, Miccolis presented two shows, “RIGHTS(?)” about human rights and “LUST LOST LAST”, about violence against women. His last works in London are the choreographies for the music video by Aurora Lee “Creature” and a contemporary Flashmob, in Central London for the OBR UK Art Festival. Previously he was a dancer with the “RBR Dance Company” in Verona, with “Evolution Dance Theatre” in Rome and performed in operas such as “La Traviata”, “Carmen” and “Satyricon” in Italy, Spain, and Oman. In Italy he took part in the TV show “Domenica In” as a member of the chorus and in the American tv series “Rome” as a performer.
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%.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
Company Ballet Master
TB II Artistic Director
Mr. Martín began his ballet training at a very early age at the studio of Dance Aikoa in Spain. At the age of 15, he moved to Madrid to pursue his ballet training under the guidance of Carmen Roche. While in Madrid, Mr. Martín finished his studies of Music and Dance, earning a degree with High Honors from the Royal Conservatory of Madrid. After his graduation, he joined the Ballet del Mediterraneo, and it was with this company that he made his professional debut in Madrid dancing The Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadère.
Immediately following these performances, Mr. Martín was invited by Fernando Bujones to join Ballet de Monterrey (Mexico) as a Principal dancer. During his time in Mexico, he danced numerous Pas de Deux from the classical repertory and performed throughout Mexico as a guest artist.
In 1998, he joined Tulsa Ballet as a Demi-Soloist and rose through the ranks, receiving his promotion to Principal dancer in April of 2001. Mr. Martín’s professional career also includes Boston Ballet. His repertory includes Principal roles in Giselle, Don Quixote, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias, Brigit Culbert’s Miss Julie, George Balanchine’s Who Cares? and Theme and Variations, as well as the creation of Charles in the world premiere of Tulsa Ballet’s The Nutcracker. Mr. Martín has been featured in works by John Cranko, Val Caniparoli, Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Antony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Robert North, Nacho Duato, John Butler, Twyla Tharp, Fredrick Ashton, Christopher Wheeldon, Edwaard Liang, Jorma Elo and Ma Cong.
He received the gold medal at the second National Competition in Torrelavega, Spain. Mr. Martín has appeared as a guest artist across the United States and in Spain, Italy, Mexico and Brazil. At the end of the 2012-2013 season, he retired from dancing and joined the Tulsa Ballet Artistic Staff assuming the responsibilities of Tulsa Ballet II Artistic Manager and Ballet Master. Off stage, he is married to retired Principal dancer, Ashley Blade-Martín.
Dierdre Miles Burger was appointed Director of Orlando Ballet School in July 2010. She began her formative dance training with Margaret Prishwalko Fallon and subsequently the Boston Ballet School on a Ford Foundation Scholarship. Miles Burger became an apprentice with Boston Ballet at age fourteen. Following her graduation from high school, she joined Boston Ballet as a full-time member. 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 Artistic Staff. Miles Burger was promoted to Artistic Coordinator in 1998.
In September 2002 Miles Burger was appointed Principal of Boston Ballet School. During this time she established Boston Ballet School Ensemble, Boston Ballet Trainee Program, and instituted a new school curriculum. Certified in the dance notation method Labanotation, Miles Burger was also on the faculty of The Boston Conservatory from 1991 until 2001. In the summer of 2006 she left Boston Ballet to move to Florida, 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. During 2008 and 2009, Miles Burger was invited to Orlando Ballet as a guest ballet mistress on two occasions and taught in Orlando Ballet Schools Summer Program. Under her leadership Orlando Ballet School has grown and developed programming, most notably Adaptive Dance for students with Down Syndrome and the Orlando Ballet School Academy which develops young dancers for profession careers. At the 2014 YAGP regional semi-finals in Tampa, FL Miles Burger was awarded Outstanding Teacher. Most recently under her leadership Orlando Ballet School was awarded Outstanding School at YAGP NY Finals and was named a Certified School of America Ballet Theatre.
ABT Studio Company
Guest Ballet Master
Ms. Chen was born in China where she started her dance training at the Shanghai dance school. She later continued her studies at San Francisco Ballet School. In 1987, she won the first prize at the Prix de Lausanne International Competition. She then joined The Washington Ballet and rose to the Principal rank.
In 1993, Ms. Chen joined American Ballet Theatre and was promoted to soloist in 1994. As one of ABT’s most lyrical and versatile dancers, she has performed leading roles in Romeo & Juliet, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, Le Corsaire, Othello, Giselle, and Onegin, as well as works by Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch, George Balanchine, John Cranko and others.
Ms. Chen has performed as a guest artist throughout the world and has been invited to perform at many prestigious dance festivals. She also appeared in PBS Great Performance Program for television and video: “American Ballet Theatre Now.” In 2004, Ms. Chen became a faculty member with the American Ballet Theatre and has also been a guest teacher with Orlando Ballet since 1994. Ms. Chen lives in Orlando, and serves as Ballet Master for the Orlando Ballet. Ms. Chen is also a faculty member with the American Ballet Theater’s summer intensive program and an ABT Certified Teacher.
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.
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.
Founder & 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.
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.
Dean of Education
Dean Story is currently in her 20th 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.