Guest Faculty

Aaron Wood – Assistant Professor of Dance at Idaho State University

Aaron began his formal dance training at age 18. He has had the opportunity to work with such esteemed teachers/choreographers as Ellen Bromberg, Bronwen Curry, Della Davidson, Bill Evans, Abby Fiat, Pamela Geber, Zvi Gotheiner, Susan Hadley, Satu Hummasti, Marsha Fay Knight, Andrea Miller, and Peter Pucci. He has also had the opportunity to perform in such venues as The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.); The White Wave Dance Festival (NYC); The American Dance Guild’s 50th Anniversary (NYC); The International Choreographer’s Showcase (Madrid, Spain); and several American College DanceFestivals throughout the nation. He spent seven seasons as a full time company member with Salt Lake City’s Repertory Dance Theatre, where he had had the pleasure of performing the works of some of the dance world’s most renowned choreographers including Merce Cunningham, Doris Humphrey, Michio Ito, Jose Limon, Murray Louis, Daniel Nagrin, Anna Sokolow, Shapiro & Smith, Charles Widman, and Laura Dean. Together, with fellow colleague and educator Sarah Donohue, he continues to further his choreographic and performance skills in their emerging dance company My Turkey Sandwich.

André Megerdichian – Assistant Professor of Dance at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music

Andre’ is the Co-Artistic Director of the New York based Resonance Collective, has been performing professionally over two decades with such companies and choreographers as the Jose Limón Dance Company, Janis Brenner and Dancers, The Mary Anthony Dance Theatre, Soundance Repertory Company, Reidel Dance Theatre, Daniel Charon and Sean Curran. For seven seasons he was a principal dancer with Dance Kaleidoscope, under the artistic direction of David Hochoy, former rehearsal director of the Martha Graham Dance Company. During his time in Indiana, André was awarded the Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship by the Indianapolis Arts Council for his sustained artistic contributions to the community.

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Amy Ernest – Hartford Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Tulsa Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet

Amy began dancing at the age of three in Atlanta, GA. Ms. Earnest received her training with the School of Atlanta Ballet; under the direction of Tom Pazik, School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. As a professional dancer she performed with Hartford Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Tulsa Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. She performed principal roles in George Balanchine’s; Four Temperaments, Prodigal Son, Apollo, Western Symphony, and Who Cares; William Forsythe’s In The Middle Somewhat Elevated; Alonzo King’s Map and Dreamer; Nacho Duato’s Arenal; Kirk Peterson’s Amazed in Burning Dreams, Firebird, Nutcracker; and Paul Taylor’s Esplanade. She also was a finalist in the prestigious New York Ballet Competition of 1996 and was a member of the Chautauqua Ballet from 1998 to 2000. Ms. Earnest has been teaching and coaching students for the last ten years and is certified with the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum in Primary through Level 3. Ms. Earnest owned and directed Avant-Garde School of Dance (AGSD), along with her husband Lance Hardin, where they choreographed and produced numerous performances including an annual Nutcracker. Students trained at AGSD were accepted into many prestigious schools including American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet School. Ms. Earnest is also a certified Pilates instructor receiving her certification through D.K. Body Balancing accredited by the University of Nevada Las Vegas and approved by the Nevada and Arizona State Boards of Physical Therapists. Ms. Earnest has choreographed both locally and nationally for The Denver Independent Choreographer’s Project and Springfield Ballet Company. Most recently she enjoyed her role as company teacher with Dawson Wallace Dance, for their 2011-2012 season, along with a variety of requests as guest instructor.

Brittany Mohler – Professional dancer with Soul 2 Sole’s A*dore

My main goal as a teacher is to share with my students my love for dance. I believe that sharing this passion creates committed dancers and an environment, in and out of the classroom, for teachers and students to share in the art form. As a teacher I want to be able to assist and reach out to all my students in the best way possible for them. I want to create a safe environment for my students where I can share my passion for dance with them and also train them to take care of themselves to the best of their ability. I want dance to be an outlet for them that is going to satisfy their physical, emotional, intellectual and social needs while becoming both an accomplished athlete and artist, because I believe dance has the power to do just that.

Dale Shields – Ballet Mistress of the Atlanta Ballet

A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Ms. Shields graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts and Butler University before starting her career as a professional dancer. After joining and rising to principal dancer with Indianapolis Ballet Theatre under Artistic Director George Verdak and Dace Dindonis, she appeared in the leading roles of many productions. In her position as principal ballet mistress for Ballet Internationale, she assisted with the original choreography of several full-length ballets. In her current position as Ballet Mistress for Atlanta Ballet, Dale has assisted in mounting many full length productions. She is also inspired to have worked with many National and International choreographers in bringing exciting and innovative dance to Atlanta. Her current teaching of the company dancers, the many students of the Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education’s Summer Intensive Program, and guest teaching around the country, is another rewarding part of her work where life is never dull.

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Lawrence Jackson

Lawrence Jackson Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Alabama. Lawrence received a BFA in Dance from the University of Southern Mississippi and an MFA in Dance from Florida State University. Professionally, he devoted several years with the internationally acclaimed modern dance company, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. Additionally, he has performed as a guest artist in a variety of venues; on the concert stage, PBS television programs, dinner theatres, and summer dance intensives. Jackson has choreographed over 75 original works for the concert stage. As an instructor, he has taught and continues to guest teach and choreograph at various universities, academies and summer workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad.

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Jacob Mora – Artistic Director of Moraporvida Contemporary Dance, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble

Choreographer, dancer, actor and musician Jacob Mora hails from Denver, Colorado where he works in dance, music and film. As Artistic Director of Moraporvida Contemporary Dance Jacob fuses both cultural and contemporary movements and music styles, ever expanding his continued exploration of relationships and the human experience. Jacob has garnered international success as a performer, teacher and artist. He has been seen dancing with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Hannah Kahn Dance, and Santee Smith Group. He has had the pleasure of working with Choreographers such as Donald Mckayle, Betty Jones, Milton Meyers, David Rousseve, Eleo Pomare, David Dorfman and Lisa Race, among many. Existing as a fiercely passionate educator and promoter of dance culture, Jacob unites different genres of movement, both traditional and progressive to bring together peoples of different cultural and socioeconomic groups to embrace the art and joy of dance. Jacob teaches nationally and internationally conducting workshops and residencies on Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Hip Hop and Conditioning the Spirit. He has been on faculty with the University of Wyoming, UNLV the New York Institute of Dance, as well as guest artist and teacher for many other schools, festivals and institutions.

Jennifer Deckert – Professor of Dance at University of Wyoming, BFA and MFA in Dance

Jennifer is a native of St. Louis, Missouri where she began her training with Alexandra Zaharias. She received a BFA in ballet performance from University of Utah, performing with Character Dance Ensemble, Eastern Arts Ensemble, and Utah Ballet.   She continued to perform with Utah Ballet and choreograph for department productions as she received her MFA in ballet teaching, choreography, and research. Jennifer was then invited to join Roxey Ballet, under the direction of Mark Roxey.  While with Roxey Ballet she had the opportunity to further develop her performing, teaching, and choreography skills while performing and showcasing her choreography in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and surrounding areas.

Madison Ewing – Apprentice with Nevada Ballet Theatre and A Time To Dance Alumni

Madison was raised with her eight siblings in Colorado Springs. She began her training at 9 years old at the Ballet Society of Colorado Springs. During her time there, she had the honor of performing roles such as a Bridesmaid in Coppelia, Paquita 2nd Soloist, the Fairy of Eloquence, and the Sapphire Fairy from Sleeping Beauty. She continued her training at A Time To Dance Colorado when she was 17 and also began her career there as a dance teacher. She has received awards from both the Denver Ballet Guild Competition and the Youth America Grand Prix, placing as a top finalist in both. Over the summers, she trained with Ballet Magnificat, Ballet Austin and Oklahoma City Ballet on scholarship.  In 2014, she joined State Street Ballet on scholarship as a trainee where she trained under Megan Philip and performed the roles of Paquita Principal, and the Symphony in C Soloist. In 2015, Madison joined Nevada Ballet Theatre where she is currently dancing today. At Nevada Ballet Theatre, she has performed with the Cirque Du Soleil, worked with renowned Balanchine repetiteurs in Nevada Ballet Theatre’s performances of Serenade and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, and displayed her acting and comedy abilities as an Evil Stepsister in Nevada Ballet Theatre’s original production of Cinderella.

Tyler Gum – Soloist with Ballet West

Tyler Gum is from Calhan, Colorado. He studied with Holly Marble at the Ballet Society of Colorado Springs, and with Fernando Schaffenburg at the Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre. He attended summer programs at Walnut Hill, Harid Conservatory and the Pacific Northwest Ballet School on scholarship. Tyler attended the University of Arizona where he performed with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and was featured in Jory Hancock’s Tonadas Pas de Deux. He competed in the Youth America Grand Prix where he received first place with his classical ballet solo at regional competition and a contract with Ballet West II at the New York City finals. Tyler is in his 8th season with Ballet West currently performing as a soloist. With Ballet West, Tyler has performed featured roles in Ballet West’s The Sleeping Beauty, Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, George Balanchine’s Symphony in C, Jewels,Divertimento No. 15 and Who Cares, Val Caniparoli’s The Lottery, Jiri Kylian’s Forgotten Land, Overgrown Path and Petite Mort, Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker,. Tyler has performed in world premiers such as Emily Adams’ Regarding Us, Avichai Scher’s White Noise and in Nicolo Fonte’s Rite of Spring. One of Tyler’s other interests include visual art. At the Works of Art “Holiday Party Arty” in Colorado Springs, Colorado, he won a Juror’s Award and sold one of his paintings, titled “Setting Sun.”He is also a published illustrator. The Butterfly Fly and I, written by D.J. Seddon, is a children’s book about Colorado that Tyler illustrated. It can be checked out from Colorado Spring’s libraries and is sold online, stores in Colorado.

Valerie Madonia – Colorado Ballet Academy Director

Valerie started her training with Maris Battaglia at the American Academy of Ballet in Buffalo, NY and then trained at the National Ballet School of Canada from 1975-1979. She danced professionally for more than 20 years with the National Ballet of Canada from 1979-1981 (under the direction of Alexander Grant), at American Ballet Theatre 1981-1986 (under Mikhail Baryshnikov) and at the Joffrey Ballet 1987-1997 (under Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino). She has been teaching for 17 years, served on the faculty at the New School University in NYC from 2000-2003, taught for the Joffrey Ballet School since 1996 and directed the Joffrey School South Workshop in Georgia from 2003-2010. She teaches biannually in Yokohama, Japan and teaches master classes at The Four Corners Dance Experience and for the Regional Ballet Association Festivals. She is also an adjudicator and master teacher for the Youth American Grand Prix. Madonia has been a guest teacher for: The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Alaska Dance Theatre, Louisiana Delta Ballet, Colorado Ballet and Boulder Ballet.

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