Laura Schwenk‐Berman began her professional ballet career dancing principal roles with the Garden State Ballet, the Chicago Ballet, the Boston Repertory Ballet and for seven years with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. As a guest artist she has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Ms. Berman served as Ballet Mistress, Interim Artistic Director and Associate Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company from 1992‐2010. She was Director of the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company from 1998 until 2010. During that time she conducted two capital campaigns to build beautiful new studios, offices, and rehearsal space, as well as a state of the art 300‐seat theatre of the company’s own. As director, she organized and established the curriculum, syllabus, faculty, staff, and school performances, while placing students in major ballet companies around the world, including New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Ballet of Antwerp in Brussels. In addition, she has taught dance extensively in higher education at the University of Washington, Columbia College, Northwestern University, Hope College, and Loretta Heights College. Ms Berman has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Skidmore College and a Masters Degree in Theatre from Northwestern University where she graduated with honors.
Anna Marie Holmes
Artistic director, choreographer, master teacher, and celebrated ballerina, Anna‐Marie Holmes is an internationally acclaimed dance luminary. Born in Canada, she trained with Heino Heiden, Lydia Karpova and Wynne Shaw; in London with Audrey de Vos and Errol The Cecchetti Council Of America Addison. In New York, she continued her ballet studies with Felia Doubrovska and trained in Leningrad with Natalia Dudinskaya, Alexander Pushkin and Alla Shelest of the Kirov Ballet. Holmes was the first North American invited to perform with the Kirov Ballet in Russia. She has also appeared with the London Festival Ballet, Royal Scottish Ballet, Berlin Staats Oper, Het Nationale Ballet of Holland, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Royal Winnipeg Ballet and others. Choreographers such as Brian MacDonald, Agnes de Mille, Ruth Page and Peter Darrell created works for her. She joined Boston Ballet in 1985 and was named Artistic Director of the company in 1997 as well as Dean of Faculty for the Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education. During her tenure with Boston Ballet, Holmes created new stagings of many ballets, including Giselle, Don Quixote, La Bayadère, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. Her interpretations of the Russian classics are in the repertoires of leading ballet companies worldwide. She is a recipient of the prestigious Dance Magazine Award and an Emmy Award for her staging of Le Corsaire for American Ballet Theatre’s PBS Great Performances. A guest artist at Jacob’s Pillow in 1968 and 1969, this is Holmes’ 12th season as Ballet Program Director.
Dawnell Dryja is originally from Canton, Michigan where she trained under her mother, Dawn Greene. Dawnell has been dancing professionally since the age of seventeen and is currently dancing for Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Previously she has danced with Cincinnati Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Metropolitan Ballet Theatre of Detroit and Utah Ballet, having the opportunity to dance a variety of roles and styles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Lila York’s Rapture, Stanton Welch’s Fingerprints and numerous Balanchine ballets. Dawnell has performed live in concert with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and the John Jorgenson Quintet. Dawnell has had the opportunity to work with esteemed choreographers and teachers such as Nils Christe, Frederick Franklin, Kirk Peterson, Val Caniporoli, Suzanne Farrell, and Raymond Lukens to name a few. She holds her Advanced Certificate in the Cecchetti method with high honors. Dawnell is on staff at the Grand Rapids Ballet School and teaches intermediate through advanced ballet as well as pointe class, variations and pas de deux class. She has taught and ballet mistressed for numerous schools, summer programs, and competitions throughout the United States.
Gillian Hurst RBS Dip (TTC), FISTD (CB), CDE (NB), ARAD, PDB Spanish Dance Society, holder of Enrico Cecchetti Final Diploma, Senior Examiner Cecchetti Society & Spanish Dance Society. Gillian Hurst undertook her early training at Bush Davies and continued at the Royal Ballet School on the teacher’s training course, from where she graduated as head student. She moved on to Elmhurst where she taught for six years and from there to Malta before freelancing in London at West Street School, London Studio Centre, the Cecchetti Centre and London Contemporary Dance School. She is a Fellow of the ISTD and a senior examiner for the Cecchetti Faculty as well as Profesora de Baile, one of the highest qualifications in Spanish dance, and is an examiner for the Spanish Dance Society. Miss Hurst is Deputy Principal of the Kate Simmons School where she teaches Classical Ballet (Cecchetti) and Spanish. Organiser of the Northern Cecchetti Associates, Miss Hurst is also the principal teacher of BBO Scholars North and a mentor for the BBO Teaching Diploma, as well as a regular faculty member of Cecchetti summer school in Chichester and BBO Dance Days at Elmhurst. In demand as a teacher and examiner, she has had the pleasure of working in Japan, Central America, Mexico, Malaysia, all over Europe and I the summer of 2012 will be teaching in Canada.
Aubrey Lynch II, from Woodhaven Michigan studied Cecchetti with Lee Ann King at The Sylvia School of Dance and also with, Dawn Greene, Betty Bandyk, and Jean Gloria Newell before moving to New York City to attend The Ailey School. He was a principal with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and then went on to appear in TV commercials, print ads, movies, and music videos. Mr. Lynch was an original cast member of the Tony Award‐ winning Broadway musical, Disney’s The Lion King serving as Dance Captain, Associate Choreographer, and then Associate Producer. Currently on faculty at The Ailey School and a Certified Life Coach, as a Master Teacher and Arts Educator Aubrey has developed a life transformative workshop program, The Aubrey Lynch Experience featured on www.AubreyLynch.com. Designed for both performers and non‐performers, using theatrical devices like poetry, music, and movement, this workshop series underlines the parallels between dance and life inspiring the risky leaps necessary for meaningful success.
Meg Paul ‐ grew up in Altamonte Springs, Florida and trained with Southern Ballet Theater. After winning the International Dance Competition of the Americas, she was invited under full scholarship and the guidance of Edith D’Addario to move to New York City and train with the renowned Joffrey Ballet School. She began her professional dancing career at age fifteen. Meg was asked to dance with the Joffrey II apprentice company and was then promoted at the age of nineteen to dance with the Joffrey Ballet. Shortly thereafter, she was honored as a recipient of The Princess Grace Award. As a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet, Meg has performed on some of the greatest stages in the world. Leading roles such as The Sugar Plum Fairy, Italian Suite, Valentine, Les Patineurs, Light Rain, Les Presages, and ballets created on her such as The Gardens of Boboli, Billboards, A Trifling and A Streetcar Named Desire and more. Meg has been the co‐director of Ballet Builders, a showcase for emerging choreographers, produced in New York City. She has been the Ballet Mistress for the Joffrey Ballet Ensemble, a youth company based out of the Joffrey Ballet School, which has toured the nation. Also, Meg co‐conceived and co‐produced an interactive show in New York City titled “Show and Tell”, a cabaret/variety show involving the audience in the process of creating. Meg’s greatest career moment was her collaboration in the creation, production and performance in the Tony‐award winning musical Movin’ Out. She assisted Twyla Tharp as dance captain, performed both leading roles as “Brenda” and “Judy” and helped set the national touring cast. Currently, Meg is the Director of Dance at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts and directs an annual benefit for dance titled National City Stars of Ballet and Broadway. For her work on National City Stars of Ballet and Broadway, she was honored as Renaissance Hero 2008 by the Detroit Free Press. In addition, Meg is a full‐time Ballet Lecturer at Wayne State University and a yoga instructor at Yoga Shelter. She recently brought Complexions to the Detroit area.
Mr. Pawlyshyn is a graduate of the Professional Division of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, and later joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Mr. Pawlyshyn holds a Graduate Certificate from the Pavlo Virsky Character Studio in Kiev, Ukraine. He has danced with Louisville Ballet and the Nevada Dance Theater, where he also served as assistant Ballet Master. He has appeared as Principal Guest Artist with the Boston Ballet. His roles include “Prince Gremin” in Onegin, “Hilarion” in Giselle, “Franz” in Coppelia, “Don Jose” in Carmen and “Frolo” in the Hunchback of Norte Dame. Mr. Pawlyshyn was on the teaching staff of the Boston Ballet School for seven years. As a guest teacher, Mr. Pawlyshyn has taught at the International Ballet Competitions in Jackson, MS, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Hartford Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet.
Gordan Peirce Schmidt
Gordon Peirce Schmidt has been choreographing and directing dance and theater for the past twenty‐five years. He is a recipient of numerous awards including a PRIME TIME EMMY NOMINATION FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT CULTURAL PROGRAMMING, and two RUTH PAGE AWARDS FOR CHOREOGRAPHY. Noted for his originality, musicality, and ability to create an emotional experience for the audience whether dramatic or comedic, he and his works have shared the stage with many great artists of the dance world, including ballet legends Maya Pliesetskaya, who included him in her biography I MAYA, and Rudolph Nureyev with whom he had the privilege of working with at the Vienna State Opera. He has also collaborated with renowned musicians performing in a variety of genres, (Bela Fleck,John Jorgenson, The Detroit Symphony, The DeVos Quartet, and his brother concert pianist Kimberly Schmidt); and has commissioned new compositions from various artists for the original work he is so well known for. Gordon received his first commission to create a ballet from Larry Long, Artistic Director of the Ruth Page Foundation. The Ballet, BY DJANGO, a lively evocation of the jazz‐age, went on to become the signature work for Ballet Chicago for whom he was Resident Choreographer between 1989‐1995. During that time he cofounded and directed The Peirce Group, a dance, theater and performing arts company and was named an “Artist of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune. From 1998 through 2010 Mr. Schmidt was the Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Under his direction the company received the ARTSERVE MICHIGAN GOVERNOR’S ARTS AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING CULTURAL ORGANIZATION. Also under his direction and with his vision the company acquired it’s own building, constructing four beautiful studios and a state of the art LEED certified 300‐seat theatre for furthering the exploration and promotion of unique dance works. He choreographed over fifty new works for the organization, including the original ballets, CANCAN!, DRACULA, CAUGHT IN A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM, THE PRISONER OF ZENDA, ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST, FLICKERS, EXOTICA, THE TEMPEST, MISTLETOE, and JACK THE RIPPER. Also at that time he received commissions from the Detroit Symphony, The Grand Rapids Symphony, The West Shore Symphony, and The Grand Rapids Art Museum to create works that would enhance their programming. To date he has created over sixty works for ballet companies around the world, and has staged and choreographed numerous professional musical productions in the Chicago area and throughout the Midwest. Mr. Schmidt is also co‐founder and Artistic Associate of RPM PRODUCTIONS, a non‐profit arts production company based in Chicago.
Scott Putman, Founder and Artistic Director of Amaranth Contemporary Dance, is an Associate Professor at VCU Dance and Choreography, resident choreographer of Pasadena Dance Theatre and the creator and master teacher of the Elemental Body Alignment System (EBAS). His work has been presented regionally, nationally, and internationally by his and other companies in concerts and dance festivals. He currently directs and teaches the Summer I Program at the Accademia dell’ Arte in Arezzo, Italy as well as teaching for California State summer School for the Arts and the Richmond Ballet. Scott has taught internationally in Bangkok, thaidlan, Paris, France; Arezzo, Italy, and San Jose, Costa Rica. Scott was awarded the 2005 nationals Choreography Plan Award for exceptional choreography form RDA, Pacific; the 2007 Faculty Award for Distinguished Achievement in Research from VCU Arts; and the 2008 Theresa Pollak Award for Excellence in the Arts in Dance for his Company Amaranth Contemporary Dance. He has danced for Mordine and Company Dance Theatre, Dimetrius Klein Dance Company, Minnesota Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Chicago, Donald McKayle, David Alan and Douglass Becker. Schott received his BA from Columbia College, Chicago and MFA from University of California, Irvine where eh was a Chancellors Fellow and a William Gillespie Scholar.
Kimmary Williams received her early training in Washington D.C. with Helen Moore and Pamela Moore. She continued her studies under scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School and with notable teachers Patricia Wilde, Richard Thomas and Finis Jhung. She has toured extensively throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Bermuda with Twyla Tharp, Connecticut Ballet and American Contemporary Ballet. Ms. Williams also appeared as a dancer in the feature film “Hair”, choreographed by Twyla Tharp. As a teacher she has attained the Maestro Enrico Cecchetti Diploma and has taught frequently at the Cecchetti International Summer School. Her teaching credits include Connecticut Ballet as a faculty member and company ballet mistress (1979‐1984), Pacific Northwest Ballet (1984‐1990), Princeton Ballet (1990‐1991), Miami City Ballet as Faculty Principal and Nutcracker children’s ballet mistress (1991‐1996), Pittsburgh Youth Ballet (1997‐1999) and School Principal at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (1997‐2002). The Edinburg International Festival brought Ms. Williams and her husband, Jacob Rice, to Scotland for two summers (1996/97) to create a youth dance choreography workshop. In 2002 Ms Williams and her husband were appointed co‐artistic directors of Southold Dance Theater, a professional school and youth company in South Bend, Indiana. During their three seasons with SDT they choreographed a new “Nutcracker”, “Graduation Ball” and a “Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Since 2004 Ms. Williams has been a guest faculty member and ballet mistress for the Trainee and Apprentice Programs at Ballet Austin. Her choreography has been featured in several of their programs. In 2005 she and her husband founded Central Maryland Youth Ballet in Columbia MD.