Lori A. Lahnemann, Ed. M.


Lori A. LahnemannLori A. Lahnemann received her fundamental training with Scott Jovovich, principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet; Nina Fedorova, principal dancer with New York City Ballet; and Jeffrey Lyons, dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet and faculty of The San Francisco Ballet School. Ms. Lahnemann attended the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and studied under Gloria Govrin and Yvonne Patterson of New York City Ballet. At age 15, she began working closely with her mentor, Anna Maria Jones. Ms. Jones coached dancers of The Pennsylvania Ballet, School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, and Ballett Frankfurt.

Ms. Lahnemann has attended: Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Boston Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba (Havana), David Howard Center, Steps on Broadway with Willy Burmann, and The University of the Arts.

At age 17, she began teaching at The Studio in Bucks County under the direction of Nina Fedorova. In 1999, she partnered with her mentor, Anna Maria Jones, and opened DanceSpace in Philadelphia, a program offering small group instruction in Creative Movement, Pre-Ballet, and Ballet Technique. Other teaching credits include the Dance Academy in Cherry Hill, under the direction of Douglas and Dalia Haye, and Rittenhouse Dance Academy.

She opened the Philadelphia Dance Academy in 2004 with the mission of creating a structured, disciplined, pre-professional ballet program in a positive, healthy environment. She strongly believes that the two do not need to be mutually exclusive.

In 2009, she completed a two-year intensive Pilates certification program under the direction of master teacher, Karen H. Carlson. This program, based in functional anatomy, afforded new perspectives on the biomechanics of ballet and allowed her to offer Pilates as part of the training program at The Philadelphia Dance Academy.  Ms. Lahnemann is also certified by the Pilates Method Alliance.  She teaches Pilates at the Ballet X summer intensive.

Ms. Lahnemann holds a Masters degree in Elementary Education and has taught in the Philadelphia public school system.

Ms. Lahnemann is an American Ballet Theatre® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.  In 2018, she completed the Junior, Senior, and Pre-Professional training course in Progressing Ballet Technique.

Ms. Lahnemann is on faculty at the University of the Arts dance department and served on the Dance USA Philadelphia advisory board.

Jennifer Smith

Principal Teacher

Jennifer SmithJennifer Smith began her dance training when she was only three years old at a local dance studio in her hometown of Manahawkin, New Jersey. After seven years there, Ms. Smith continued her studies at Red Bank Dance Academy with Rosemary Boross before moving to attend high school at North Carolina School of the Arts.

Ms. Smith graduated a year early to begin her professional career as an Apprentice with Pennsylvania Ballet in 1993 and was promoted to a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1994. She has been featured as Bianca in John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew, Dewdrop in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Lead Butterfly in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the White Cat and Song Bird in Janek Schergen’s The Sleeping Beauty.   She has also danced leading roles in Balanchine’s Steadfast Tin Soldier and Western Symphony; Lar Lubovitch’s Waiting for the Sunrise and Concerto Six Twenty-Two; Paul Taylor’s Arden Court; Trey McIntyre’s Cantilena; Jerome Robbins’ Interplay; and Margo Sappington’s Rodin, Mis En Vie.

Ms. Smith inspired and performed several principal roles in Christopher Wheeldon’s World Premier of Swan Lake. She also created roles in the world premieres of Kevin O’Day’s Col Legno, Matthew Neenan’s Vicissitudes and 11:11, Kirk Peterson’s Dancing with Monet, and Val Caniparoli’s Jaybird Lounge.

Jennifer also rehearsed the Wilma Theater’s resident ballet company, BalletX, for a number of their performances over the past three years and is currently teaching ballet at the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts and Dance Department at University of the Arts.

Jennifer Lameo

Theater Dance Program Director

Jennifer LameoHailing from Scranton, PA, Jennifer began dancing at age 5. Although primarily trained in Ballet, at age 18 she discovered her passion in Theater Dance and Voice.

Jennifer has performed many lead roles in Regional Theater and National Tours. Favorite shows include: A Chorus Line, 42nd St, Grease, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Annie, and Crazy for You. Her most recent role was the quirky “Princess Winifred” in Once Upon a Mattress.

She has lived in NYC for the past 10 years, in which time she has studied with Randy Skinner (Choreographer of 42nd St Broadway revival and White Christmas) , Germaine Salsberg, David Marquez, Mark Santoro, Josh Bergasse (Choreographer of NBC show “Smash”), David Howard, and Kat Wildish, at such schools as Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, and New Dance Group.

Jennifer was also selected to be one of the very first Rockette Assistants for the “Radio City Rockette Experience” held at Radio City Music Hall. For four years, side by side with a Rockette, she taught the original Rockette choreography, style, etiquette, and audition technique to students from all over the country.

Kathryn Van Yahres

Program Manager

Kathryn Van Yahres was born in Philadelphia, PA and received her formal training from Mariaelena Ruiz, Natasha Zeiger, and Eva Szabo at The Rock School, Philadelphia. In 2014 Kathryn completed her B.F.A, Magna Cum Laude from Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, PA and has been privileged to work with Jason McDole, Garfield Lemonius, Nicolas Petrov, Keisha Lalama-White, and Peter Merz. While attending Point Park University COPA, Kathryn received the Loti Folk Scholarship Award for academic and artistic excellence as well as other artistic scholarships. During her time in COPA, she performed principal and soloist roles in George Balanchine’s ballets “Serenade” and “Valse Fantasies”, as well as Nicolas Petrov’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

Kathryn also competed in Youth American Grand Prix with a Point Park University ensemble and made it to the Top 12 category in the final round in New York City. In 2011, Kathryn had the wonderful opportunity to dance with the company Huntsville Ballet in Huntsville, Alabama under the direction of Philip Otto for a season while continuing her studies as a full-time student at Calhoun Community College. She performed featured roles in Marius Petipa’s “Swan Lake”, “The Nutcracker”, Philip Otto’s “Stage Door Canteen”, and had roles created on her in Tim Fox’s “Incidental Pieces” and Keith Cross’ “De Bucie N-5”. Kathryn debuted with Simerson & Co. at the Jacob’s Pillow Inside Out Stage in July 2014.

In 2016, Kathryn completed a two-year intensive Pilates certification program under the direction of master teacher, Karen H. Carlson.  She works with private clients and teaches Pilates mat classes at The Philadelphia Dance Academy.

Amy Aldridge

Amy Aldridge_by_iziliaev-R_webBorn in Richmond, VA, Amy Aldridge is a graduate of the North Carolina School for the Arts, where she received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence and had the privilege of studying with Alonzo King, Jacques d’Amboise, Melissa Hayden, and Arthur Mitchell. Ms. Aldridge began her dance training at the School of Richmond Ballet and continued with The School of American Ballet and the Boston Ballet School.

Ms. Aldridge rose through the ranks at Pennsylvania Ballet to a promotion to Principal Dancer in 2001. Ms. Aldridge has performed principal roles in numerous works, including The Taming of the Shrew, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Sleeping Beauty, La Fille mal gardée, Alexei Ratmansky’s Jeu de Cartes, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Square Dance, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Ballo della Regina, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and Rubies from Jewels. She has also performed featured roles in Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove and Nine Sinatra Songs (“That’s Life”); Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia and Swan Lake, William Forsythe’s In the middle, somewhat elevated and The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude; Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto; Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort; and George Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Allegro Brillante, Theme and Variations, The Four Temperaments, Agon, Apollo, Serenade (Russian Girl), Valse Fantasie, Who Cares?, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, and Movements for Piano and Orchestra. In addition, Ms. Aldridge has created original roles for Dwight Rhoden’s 2×7, Trey McIntyre’s Plush and Cantilena, Matthew Neenan’s Keep and As It’s Going, and Jorma Elo’s Pulcinella.

Ms. Aldridge has appeared internationally as part of the Sintra Festival in Portugal, the Northwest Phalen Tanz Festival in Germany (with choreographer Kevin O’Day) and with the Stars of New York Ballet in London. In May 2004, she performed as a guest artist with New York City Ballet dancing Tarantella as part of the George Balanchine Centennial Celebrations. She has also appeared with BalletX in Neenan’s Broke Apart, Elo’s Scenes View 2, and at Jacob’s Pillow in Summer 2006.

Sarah Braviak

Sarah Braviak headshot bw

Sarah Braviak made her professional debut while attending the Academy for Visual and Performing Arts High School in Denville, NJ. While in school Sarah interned with the Freespace Dance Company and project:Smith, making her NYC debut with Freespace 2 in 2011. In 2013, Sarah studied at the Florence University of the Arts in Italy where she had the opportunity to choreograph and perform site-specific, solo works alongside the Florence Dance Company. Sarah continued her education at Muhlenberg College, where she double-majored in Dance (Education) and Psychology, taught modern and jazz classes at the Muhlenberg Community Dance Center, and was a member of DanceMax Moving Company under the direction of Teresa VanDenend Sorge. Sarah has also studied with Pilobolus Dance Theatre, taking their summer workshop series in 2014. Sarah has performed in the works of Charlotte Boye-Christensen, Ruth Clark, Karen Dearborn, Olase Freeman, Lynn Grossman, Randy James, Lisa Peluso, Jeffrey Peterson, Donna Scro, and Nicole Smith. Since graduating from Muhlenberg in January 2015, Sarah moved to Philadelphia to pursue her work as a dance artist and teacher. She is currently a member of the Megan Flynn Dance Company and can be seen performing works by Meredith Stapleton.

Sun-Mi Cho

Sun-Mi Cho

Sun-Mi received a full scholarship for dance at Southern Methodist University, where she graduated with a dance degree and an advertising degree. While at SMU, Sun-Mi performed in Paul Taylor’s “Esplanade,” pas de deux in Balanchine’s “Concerto Barocco,” Moses Pendelton’s “Bonsai,” and the lead role of “yellow” in Martha Graham’s “Divergence of Angels.” She received two fellowships to study at Alvin Ailey American Dance School. Last year, Sun-Mi was dance captain for the Opera Company of Philadelphia’s telecasted production of “Carmen.” She dances with Meredith Rainey’s Carbon Dance Theatre, where she also serves as Artistic Associate, and she teaches at the Rock School for Dance Education. Sun-Mi also does theatre and commercial work. She hosted 8 segments of ballet on Comcast on Demand’s “get up and dance,” was on a bus wrapper ad campaign for Septa, and can be seen in Harrison Ford’s upcoming movie “Paranoia.”  She is excited about teaching at The Philadelphia Dance Academy.

Sabrina Faith

Sabrina FaithSabrina Faith, a Philadelphia native, began studying ballet at 9 years old.  She started her training at a local dance studio with Barbara Scavello, a Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet instructor. In her younger years, she trained with Scott Jovovich, principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, Nina Fedorova, principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, and Rex Henriques, University of the Arts faculty and director of Bucks County Dance Center studying ballet, modern, and jazz dance.

After receiving a scholarship from Point Park University, she decided to attend Temple University, where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in dance in 2001. At Temple University, she had the opportunity to work with Ann Vachon, of the José Limón Dance Company, Merián Soto, Joselli Deans, of Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Eva Gholson.  During this time, Mrs. Faith also had the opportunity to work with ballet coach, Anna Maria Jones, who coached dancers of the Pennsylvania Ballet, School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, and Ballett Frankfurt. She attended workshops and master classes with Paul Taylor, Pilobolus, Illadelph (Rennie Harris), Mia Michaels, Desmond Richardson, and Tyce Diorio.

Mrs. Faith was a member of Underground Dance Works, Venus Dance Company, and a frequent guest with Amanda Diorio Dance (A.D.D).  She participated as an independent choreographer for the Female Persuasions Series at the Arts Bank in Philadelphia in 2007.

Mrs. Faith enjoys sharing her love of dance and has been teaching since 1999 for numerous dance studios in the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas.  She was an instructor at the Dance Academy in Cherry Hill, NJ under the direction of Daila and Douglas Hay, Cooper River Ballet in Collingswood, NJ, and Contempra Dance Theater in Fairless Hills, PA.  Mrs. Faith has been on staff at the Philadelphia Dance Academy since 2010.  She has staged many productions, including Snow White, the Nutcracker and has choreographed numerous works for the Philadelphia Youth Ballet.

Mrs. Faith found a passion for helping others achieve their goals, build confidence, and form emotional bonds through dance which led her to pursue dance/movement therapy.  Mrs. Faith is a board certified dance/movement therapist (BC-DMT) and received her Master’s of Arts in Creative Arts Therapy from Drexel University in 2006.  She has worked at the Center for Autism and the Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health (CNNH).  She currently provides therapy to children and adolescents diagnosed with neurological disorders.

In all aspects, she enjoys the challenge of the process and the meaningful rewards that happen along the way.

Fallon Gannon

Fallon Gannon, originally from Rome, NY began her training with Stephen and Canan Jackson and Delia Foley, A.R.A.D. Under the direction of Ms. Foley, Fallon studied the Royal Academy of Dance method and had the opportunity to perform many full length ballets with the Mohawk Valley Ballet. She furthered her training at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School’s Pre-Professional year-round Program directed by Marjorie Grundvig and Dennis Marshall. Upon completing this program, Fallon was awarded a Presidential Scholarship to attend the University of the Arts, where she graduated with a BFA in Ballet Performance. Since graduating, Fallon has danced as a company member with BalletFleming and Dance Del Bello in Philadelphia. She is also a company member with Arch Contemporary Ballet based out of NYC.

Fallon has been teaching dance for the past six years and is so happy to be a part of the Philadelphia Dance Academy. She also teaches for The Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, The RockReach program, The Philadelphia School, and Germantown Friends School.

 Emma Girandola

In 1999, Emma began her training at the Princeton Ballet School.  She trained under artists such as Graham Lustig, Douglas Martin, Mary Barton, and Kathleen Moore.  Throughout her years at Princeton she was placed into the advanced program and soon placed into the pre-professional workshop program.  The Princeton Ballet School, along with the American Repertory Ballet, puts on annual Nutcracker productions in which Emma participated in for ten years, dancing in roles such as: Toy Soldier, Chinese dancer, Flower, and others.

Emma is currently a double major in Dance and Economics at Temple University.  Emma’s training has been influenced by professors such as Kun-Yang Lin, Dr. Kariamu Welsh, and Sun-Mi Cho.  Now Emma is a member of Kariamu & Company, under Dr. Kariamu Welsh, and is projected to be a certified teacher in Dr. Welsh’s technique, Umfundalai, in January of 2018.  In the Fall of 2015, Emma performed Dr. Welsh’s piece, entitled Two Women, at the University of Pennsylvania and later at the 92Y in New York City.  Then in the spring of 2016, Emma took place as the lead dancer in Dr. Welsh’s production, Influx!.  Throughout her years at Temple University, Emma has also travelled to dance conferences, such as ACDA and Dancing Through College and Beyond, in order to represent the Temple dance department.  Emma served as an assistant ballet teacher at the Rock School for Dance Education and now continues her love for teaching at the Philadelphia Dance Academy.

James Idhe

Ihde-Headshots_570x315A native of Kent, Ohio, James Ihde began his ballet training at the Dance Institute of the University of Akron, where he studied for eight years. In 1993, he came to Philadelphia for a summer session at The Rock School for Dance Education. Upon completion, he was invited to join Pennsylvania Ballet as an Apprentice for the 1993-1994 Season. In 1995, Mr. Ihde joined the Corps de Ballet and was promoted to Soloist in September 2003.

During the 1996-1997 Season, Mr. Ihde received rave reviews for his featured role in Lar Lubovitch’s Waiting for the Sunrise. Since then, he has danced featured roles in several ballets including John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet (Paris), Paul Taylor’s Company B, Jerome Robbins’ Interplay and In the Night, Lubovitch’s Concert Six Twenty-Two, Margo Sappington’s Rodin, Mis En Vie, Matthew Neenan’s Penumbra, Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake (Von Rothbart, Czardas) and Polyphonia; Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, John Butler’s Carmina Burana, William Forsythe’s In the middle, somewhat elevated, the world premiere of Jorma Elo’s Pulcinella, and George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments (Second Theme and Third Theme), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Demetrius, Theseus, and Titania’s Cavalier), The Prodigal Son, and Serenade.

Mr. Ihde’s principal roles include Ivan in James Kudelka’s The Firebird, Wheeldon’s Liturgy and the pas de deux in After the Rain, Cavalier in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Balanchine’s Agon and Emeralds from Jewels, Jerome Robbins’ In G Major, the Black Couple in Kylián’s Forgotten Land, Pas de Deux 1 in Forsythe’s Artifact Suite, and the title roles in Balanchine’s Apollo and Ben Stevenson’s Dracula. In May 2014, Mr. Ihde originated a role in the world premiere of Trey McIntyre’s The Accidental. 

Gary W. Jeter II

Gary Jeter headshotGary W. Jeter II began dancing in 1997 at Pebble Brook High School for the Performing Arts in Atlanta, Georgia, where he graduated in 1999. Gary attended the Ailey fellowship summer program and received a full director’s scholarship to the University of the Arts where he graduated in 2003 with a BFA in Dance. After graduation, he was asked to join Philadanco where he was a principal dancer from 2003 to 2007. Gary has also worked with Fernando Bujones & Eddie Shellman in addition to dancing with Eleone Dance Theater. Mr. Jeter danced with Complexions Contemporary Ballet from 2007 to 2014, and is now an artist in residence for the company.  Gary has set works for The University of the Art, Eleone Dance Theatre, Philadelphia Dance Theatre, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Gary joined BalletX in the Fall of 2014.

Rachel Maher

Rachel Maher-209x250Rachel Maher began her training at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet from 1991 to 2002. From there, she went on to study at the San Francisco Ballet School from 2002 to 2004. The recipient of the National Coca-Cola scholarship from American Ballet Theatre , Ms. Maher attended many summer intensives including ABT Alabama, ABT New York City, and San Francisco Ballet. While studying at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, she performed in several Balanchine works including George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Divertimento No. 15, Stars and Stripes, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ms. Maher performed in Don Quixote, Serenade, and Who Cares? with San Francisco Ballet.

Ms. Maher joined Pennsylvania Ballet II in 2004. She was promoted to Apprentice in Fall 2006 and to the Corps de Ballet in January 2007. She has performed featured roles in Sleeping Beauty (Abundance Fairy), Coppélia (Spinner and Prayer variations), Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella (Autumn Fairy), John Butler’s Carmina Burana (White Girl), William Forsythe’s In the middle, somewhat elevated, Alexei Ratmansky’s Jeu de Cartes, and Jiří Kylián’s Forgotten Land (White Couple) and Petite Mort. She has performed several Balanchine works including George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ (lead Marzipan, lead Hot Chocolate, and Coffee), Raymonda Variations (Variation I), Ballo della Regina, Square Dance, Allegro Brillante, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and The Four Temperaments. In May 2014, Ms. Maher originated a featured role in the World Premiere of Trey McIntyre’s The Accidental.

Shannon Murphy

Murphy headshotShannon Murphy is dance artist and educator in Philadelphia. She is a co-director of idiosynCrazy productions along side Jumatatu Poe. Shannon is currently a Mascher Artist in Residence, was a FringeArts LAB Fellow (2013) and a New Edge Resident in Dance (2011).  Her work has been presented at AUX Space, Bryn Mawr College, Community Education Center’sNew Edge Mix, FringeArts Festival and Scratch Nights, The Goose Route Dance Festival, RealLive People Presents’, Group Motion Dance Company’s Spiel Uhr, Kelly Strayhdorn Theater’s newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival, and Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA).  As a freelance performer, Shannon has worked with many dance artists/companies, including: anonymous boddies||art collective/Kate Watson-Wallace, Dance Theater X, Group Motion Dance Co, Kosoko Performance Group, Jennifer Morley, The Naked Stark, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, SCRAP Performance Group, and has performed works by Peggy Baker, Wally Cardona, and Rennie Harris. Shannon holds a BA in dance from Point Park University, is a level three Certified Franklin Method teacher and is currently studying to become a Master Teacher under Eric Franklin. She is on faculty University of The Arts, Philadelphia Dance Academy and Koresh School of Dance and has worked at Bryn Mawr College and Temple University.Shannon Is also the Assistant Director of the Drexel Dance Ensemble at Drexel University.

Blythe Smith

Blythe SmithBlythe Smith began her dance training at age 3 in South Jersey. She became a member of the Vineland Regional Dance Company at age 12 and went on to achieve the role of soloist. She also trained at Pennsylvania Ballet, Columbia City Ballet, Ballet Magnificat, Central Pennsylavania Youth Ballet, and Atlantic City Ballet.

Blythe was offered scholarships to attend Joffrey Ballet, Boston Conservatory, and SUNY Purchase. She attended The University of the Arts on scholarship and graduated with a BFA in Ballet Performance in 2004. She was offered a trainee position with Ballet Magnificat in Jackson, MS in 2005. Her performance credits include Regional and National Dance America Festivals and soloist roles in The Vineland Regional Dance Company and Atlantic City Ballet’s “Nutcracker”. She has also performed soloist roles in “Paquita,” “Swan Lake,” and “Les Sylphides” at The Merriam Theater. She has performed in several performances of new work at the Painted Bride in Philadelphia, PA and in dance festivals in NYC including Pentacle Dance Works and Thelma Hill Dance Festival.

Blythe is a dance instructor and choreographer at several local studios throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania and has taught within the Philadelphia school system. She is the Associate Artistic Director and founder of Magnolia Hill Studios NJ, a studio dedicated to sharing a love of the visual and performing arts with children. In the summer of 2012 Blythe completed the Lester Horton Pedagogy Workshop at Alvin Ailey.  In addition to teaching, Blythe danced in a touring Tina Turner Review Show entitled, “Simply the Best” and was a member of Alchemy Dance Company for 7 years. She currently dances with the Philadelphia based company Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble and DanceSpora.

Blythe completed her MFA in Dance at Temple University in May 2016 and was awarded the Rose Vernick Choreographic Achievement Award.

Mary Stickney

Mary Elizabeth Stickney is a graduate of Drexel University with a Bachelors of Science in Dance and a Masters of Science in Elementary Education with a Special Education certification as a BSMS student at Drexel. She danced with the Drexel Dance Ensemble during the entirety of her undergraduate career and choreographed three pieces for the ensemble. She was also a member of the Touring Ensemble that performed weekly lecture-demonstrations about the art of dance for Philadelphia students. Mary is a member of Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble under the direction of Antoinette Coward-Gilmore. She is a dance educator at the Drexel University Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships and The Creative Living Room. She also choreographed for the 2015 Spring Concert for The Philadelphia Dance Academy’s Philadelphia Youth Ballet. Mary has studied and worked with global and local artists including David Parsons, Tania Isaac, Leah Stein, Meredith Rainey, Shaness Kemp, Donna Silva, Larry Sousa, Beau Hancock, Olive Prince, and Caroline O’Brien.

Guest Faculty

Samantha Barczak

Barczak-Headshots-Small_209x250An upstate New York native, Samantha Barczak received the majority of her dance training at Myers Ballet School. She continued her studies on scholarship at The Rock School for Dance Education, American Ballet Theatre, and the New York State Summer School for the Arts. She has performed as a guest artist with several American companies including Dayton Ballet, Northeast Ballet Company, Long Island Ballet Theatre, BalletFleming, and Contrast Dance Theatre, as well as serving as Ballet Mistress and Repetiteur for choreographer Christopher Flemings’ ballets in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. In 2009, Ms. Barczak became a Principal Dancer and Outreach Coordinator for The Rebecca Davis Dance Company where she remained through the company’s last performance.

With a great passion for teaching, Ms. Barczak has been a Guest Teacher at various schools across the country and was a founder and Artistic Associate of the Philadelphia Ballet School. Ms. Barczak performed as a guest artist with Pennsylvania Ballet in productions of Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille mal gardée, and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, and she joined the Corps de Ballet for the 2011-2012 Season. She has danced featured roles in ballets such as George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ (Coffee),  Raymonda Variations (Variation V), The Four Temperaments (Second Theme), and Rubies from Jewels (Tall Girl); Matthew Neenan’s 11:11; Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort; and Christopher Wheeldon’s Carnival of the Animals (Cuckoo) and Swan Lake (Can-Can)

Magrielle Eisen

Magrielle EisenMagrielle (Maggie) Eisen, a Philadelphia native, received the majority of her training at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. Prior to training at CPYB, Maggie trained locally at the Gwendolyn Bye Dance Center with Jennifer Wheat, Barbara Sandonato, and Nancy Berman Kantra. After attending summer courses on scholarship at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle, WA, Maggie was invited to study in the PNBS Professional Division program and was afforded the opportunity to perform with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Company in several productions. The following year, she joined Oregon Ballet Theatre under the direction of Christopher Stowell. Maggie has danced in numerous Balanchine ballets, as well as classical story ballets and contemporary works.

In addition to teaching ballet at PDA, Maggie works in the public health field with a focus on health disparities and health policy. Her projects reflect her passion for social justice and equality. Maggie graduated in 2012 with a dual Master’s degree in Law & Social Policy from Bryn Mawr College.  In 2009, Maggie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Anthropology.

Heidi Cruz

Heidi CruzBorn and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Heidi Cruz began her dance training at the age of four at The Dolly Haltzman Dance Academy. She went on to study at the School of American Ballet and The Pennsylvania Ballet.

Ms. Cruz has been a member of The Pennsylvania Ballet since 1994. Some of her featured roles include Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena, Summer Fairy in Ben Stevenson¢s Cinderella, Vortex in Alvin Ailey’s The River, Eve in Margo Sappington’s Rodin, Mis En Vie, the Pas de Trois in The Sleeping Beauty, and Christopher D’Amboise’s Symposium. She has also had featured roles in many George Balanchine works including Marzipan, Coffee and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Choleric from The Four Temperaments, and leading roles in Serenade, Who Cares?, Western Symphony, Scotch Symphony, and Divertimento #15. Ms. Cruz has premiered works for such renowned choreographers as Paul Taylor, Margo Sappington, Christopher D’Amboise, Jessica Lang and Pennsylvania Ballet’s Meredith Rainey, and Matthew Neenan.

In addition to dancing with Pennsylvania Ballet, Ms. Cruz has performed as a guest artist throughout the United States and Europe.

As a choreographer, Ms. Cruz has been commissioned to create works for Franklin and Marshall College, Repertory Dance Theater, and Ballet D’errico. Ms. Cruz has also had her work performed annually since 2000 for Shut Up & Dance. She was a winner of Ballet Builders 2004 in NYC where she showcased The Glistening. She performed and created works with the internationally renowned spoken word/recording artist Ursula Rucker. She was awarded a New Edge Residency from the Community Education Center of Philadelphia for 2004-2005.

Jennifer Binford Johnson

jenjohnson headshotDuring her performing career, Jennifer Binford Johnson danced worldwide with such companies as Martha Graham Dance Company, Richard Move and Move-it productions, Pearl Lang Dance Company, Pilobolus Creative Services, and Brian Sanders JUNK, among others.

Beyond her classical stage performing career, Jennifer performed in the VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards, at the Cannes Film festival, in “MoveOpolis!” at the European Cultural Capital in Lille, France, co-choreographed and performed in the Alexander McQueen Fashion show for fashion week in NYC, appeared in numerous operas and  TV commercials, was the lead dancer/actress in the movie “Ghost Light,” and spent a year performing with the Moscow circus in Japan.

Jennifer earned her MFA in modern dance from the University of Utah, where she worked with renowned dance kinesiologist and author Dr. Sally Fitt. Since then, she fervently explores the subjects of optimal performance cross training, sport psychology, movement analysis and the well-being of the dancer body. She has studied with and completed Irene Dowd’s teacher training program. She is also a certified Pilates, GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® instructor. She is a member of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science and the Performing Arts Medical Association.

Jennifer was on faculty at the University of the Arts from 2001 to 2016. She taught modern dance technique, repertory, performing skills and was the coordinator of the new curricular track called Body Pathways, a program that prepares students with the knowledge and practical experience for careers in Dance Science, cross training, dance performance enhancement techniques, safe dance practice and injury prevention.

Miro Magloire

miro headshotLauded as “refreshingly original” by Alastair Macaulay of The New York Times, choreographer Miro Magloire is the founder and artistic director of New Chamber Ballet.

Magloire has created over 60 ballets in his signature style for his company, all distinguished by sweeping elegance, a striking theatricality, and bold musical choices. “It’s heartening to see work so focused on the meeting of dance and music,” Macaulay wrote in his Times review, “always you’re aware of an intelligence at work that resists romantic cliché.”

Known for his visionary collaborations with musicians – singers, violinists, pianists and large ensembles – Magloire has a special affinity for cutting-edge contemporary music, which has led him to work with many of today’s leading composers.

Magloire, the subject of a 2008 full-page profile in the Sunday NY Times, recently received an O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation Grant. His works have been performed at Joyce SoHo, the Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Stage, Roulette, Ailey/Citigroup Theater, the Center for Performance Research and the Museum of Art and Design, among other venues. He has collaborated with the Argento Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Moto Perpetuo, Ensemble Sospeso and, in addition, has created ballets for the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and the State Academy of Dance in Cologne, Germany.

Born in Munich, Germany, Magloire started his career as a composer. At age 17 he won the “Forum of Young Composers Award” in North Rhine-Westphalia, and went on to study with Mauricio Kagel at the Conservatory of Music in Cologne, Germany.

After relocating to New York to study Modern Dance at the Ailey and Martha Graham Schools, where his teachers included Yung-Yung Tsuai and Kazuko Hirabayashi, and ballet with Wilhelm Burmann and Peff Modelski among others, he turned his attention to choreography and in 2004 founded New Chamber Ballet.

Sara Nye

Management Consultant

Sara NyeSara Nye has been living and working in Philadelphia since 2007. As a contemporary dance performer she has collaborated with RealLivePeople, Scott McPheeters, Kathryn TeBordo/Workshop for Potential Movement, Cie. Willi Dorner, Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble, Jenn Rose/Loose Screws Contemporary Tap Co., and Daniele Strawmyre/readySetGO. In 2010, she had the opportunity to work for Willi Dorner for a second time, participating in the Lower Manhattan staging of bodies in urban spaces. She has also worked with theater artists Martina Plag and Anisa George.

She began training in ballet at age six and continued studying modern and contemporary dance, improv, choreography, and theater at Dickinson College. Sara graduated magna cum laude from Dickinson with a B.A. in English and a minor in Creative Writing. She has worked as a teaching artist for the Kimmel Center, the Walnut Street Theatre, Theatre Horizon, and The Philadelphia Dance Academy. Sara is the Managing Director for contemporary dance company RealLivePeople and the Communications and Development Manager for Enchantment Theatre Company. She was The Philadelphia Dance Academy’s first Program Manager, serving for six years in that role.

Meredith Rainey

Meredith RaineyMeredith Rainey began dancing at 15 in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale.  In 1985 he joined the Milwaukee Ballet, and in 1987 he was asked to join the newly formed Pennsylvania-Milwaukee Ballet. When the joint venture ended, he remained with the Pennsylvania Ballet and was promoted to soloist in 1999 until his retirement in 2006.

In 1997 he performed briefly as a demi-soloist with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. He was also a guest artist with Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre in their gala performance in honor of Masazumi Chaya. In addition he toured throughout North and South America, Europe and Seoul, Korea as a choreographer and dancer.

Meredith performed works by choreographers George Balanchine, Alvin Ailey, Mary Anthony, Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch, Jose Limon, John Butler, John Cranko, and William Forsythe. He also originated roles choreographed by Jean Grand-Maître, Robert Weiss, Jorma Elo, David Parsons, Trey McIntyre, Kevin O’Day and Matthew Neenan.

Meredith has been commissioned to create works for Pennsylvania Ballet, Incoln Ballet (Ballet Clássico Nacional de Colombia), Brandywine Ballet, Ballet X, Delaware Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, Phrenic New Ballet. His work is performed throughout North and South America and Europe including Miami International Ballet Festival, the International Ballet Festival of Ecuador, the First and Second International Ballet Festival of Calí, (Colombia) and Madrid, Spain.

Upon retiring from the Pennsylvania Ballet in 2006, Meredith decided to focus his creativity on his passion for choreography. To that end Meredith spent two years as part of the Susan Hess Modern Dance Studio’s, “Choreographer’s Project”. Here, he took part in workshops mentored by Ralph Lemon and choreographic discussions with Simon Dove and alike.

In 2008, he was awarded a one-year “New Edge” residency at the Community Education Center (CEC) of Philadelphia. During this residency he started a new project, “Look Inside” that eventually evolved into his company Carbon Dance Theatre (CDT). During the collaborative process of building the work, Meredith realized his vision for creating a company. CDT empowers performers and entertains audiences by creating work that is rooted in classical ballet and infused with the collaborative processes of theatre. In a short amount of time Meredith’s vision has taken flight. CDT has been presented in Baltimore and Pittsburgh and is a resident company at Drexel University.

Meredith has won numerous awards including the 1995 & 2002 PA Council on the Arts Fellowship Grant for Choreography, 2001 Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Artist as Catalyst Grant, 2002 Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts, 2003 Pew Fellowship in the Arts Finalist, and most recently a 2010 Dance Advance Grant.

Meredith resides in Philadelphia with his partner of 10 years and their “child,” an adorable, overly excitable chocolate lab named Keiko.

Nora Gibson

Nora Gibson is a Philadelphia based dancer and choreographer, whose training spans classical ballet to post-modern improvisation. Gibson trained with Sylvester Campbell at Baltimore School for the Arts, and through ballet residencies at Chautauqua and NCSA. She holds a B.F.A. from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.  At Tisch, she had the opportunity to perform in the works of Elisa Monte and Mark Morris. Gibson studied improvisational forms with Daniel Lepkoff, Nancy Stark-Smith, and KJ Holmes. Gibson danced for the Ellicott City Ballet, PATH Dance Company, Andrew Marcus, ClancyWorks Dance, and Jeffrey Gunshol. She was selected to perform in the reconstruction of 1970s works by Lucinda Childs, under the direction of Childs and Ty Boomershine, and has performed this work over the last two years and continuing. Last summer, she was awarded an artistic residency in Poland.

Gibson has performed her own work throughout Philadelphia and in NYC at various downtown venues such as P.S. 122, St. Marks Church, and DIA Center for the Arts. In 2009, she established Nora Gibson Performance Project, with Philadelphia as its home base. Since that time, her work has consistently received recognition. Gibson was awarded a 2009-10 Artist in Residence with the nEW Festival in Philadelphia, the CEC New Edge Residency for 2009-10, and the Ellen Forman Memorial Award in 2011. Her work has been commissioned by Drexel University and Bryn Mawr College. Gibson’s choreography has begun touring, and was presented by New Dance Alliance at Joyce SOHO in April 2010. Gibson’s work was heralded by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “spellbinding” and “the most authoritative work in Philadelphia this year.” Philadelphia Inquirer, 4.12.10.

Valerie Amiss

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

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

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

Ms. Amiss retired from Pennsylvania Ballet in June 2007.  For seven years after her retirement from the stage, she was co-ballet mistress for the Academy of Ballet NJ in West Berlin, NJ.  Ms. Amiss had the pleasure of teaching ballet to aspiring figure skaters in Aston, Pennsylvania. She is a senior lecturer at the University of the Arts, where she recently taught several ballet classes for the spring semester, and a guest lecturer at Drexel University.