Dawnell Dryja Retires from the Grand Rapids Ballet

Grand Rapids Ballet (GRB)—Michigan’s only professional ballet company—and Dawnell Dryja—long-time company member and audience favorite—announced today her retirement from the stage during her 16th season. She will dance in the first show of the 2017-18 season (From Russia with Love) and continue to be involved at GRB in her new role as artistic coordinator.

“Dawnell will be missed from our stage, but not from our hearts or the joyful memories we have of her wonderful performances,” said GRB Artistic Director Patricia Barker.

Ms. Dryja was born and raised in Canton, Michigan and formally trained under her mother, Dawn Greene, the owner and artistic director of Grosse Ile Academy of Dance. She also studied at the School of Ballet Chicago, Cleveland Ballet School, and Milwaukee Ballet School—all on scholarship. Prior to joining GRB, she danced with Tulsa Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Dayton Ballet, and Metropolitan Ballet Theatre of Detroit. She is proficient in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and modern dance.

“The time that I have spent at GRB have been some of the most rewarding of my life—both personally and professionally,” said Dryja. “I will always remember my time dancing here with great fondness. The timing of my retirement aligns perfectly my new role as artistic coordinator working with Patricia Barker on the 2017-18 season and with the new artistic director on upcoming seasons.”

Her repertoire includes many leading roles from the classics to contemporary masterpieces, including Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Where The Wild Things Are, Dracula, Red Angels, Rapture, Celts, Fingerprints, Jewels, Serenade, Who Cares?, Allegro Brilliante, Concerto Barocco, Slaughter On Tenth Avenue, Con Amore, and Il Distratto. She has worked with esteemed choreographers such as Nils Christe, Frederick Franklin, Kirk Peterson, Val Caniparoli, Suzanne Ferrell, Mario Radacovsky, Gordon Peirce Schmidt, Bruce Wells, Stanton Welch and Raymond Lukens.

“Dawnell came into my life as a bright light when she danced in the opening night of my production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for Detroit Ballet,” said choreographer Bruce Wells. “We would reunite again at GRB when she danced the role of Fairy Godmother in the world premiere of my production of ‘Cinderella.’ From the first rehearsals to the last, Dawnell and I had a sincere, unique connection and immediate respect for one another. She’s a consummate professional with an amazing career.”

Her final performances as a GRB company member will take place over the run of the first show of the 2017-18 season, From Russia with Love.

 She is also the owner and artistic director of Academy of Dance Arts. She is married to Bryce Black and the couple have one daughter, Tevyn, who has inherited her mother’s love of dance and performing. 

The CCA extends best wishes to Dawnell as she begins the next phase of her career.

In Memoriam-Betty Pendracki Bandyk






Elizabeth Rose (Pendracki) Bandyk was born on April 23, 1929 to parents Carl and Rose Pendracki. She is survived by her four children, Matthew Bandyk, Andrew Bandyk, Marya Davis and Sarah Hamann, whom they adopted into their home and hearts. Elizabeth often said to her children, “You may not have been born flesh of my flesh, or bone of my bone, but you are heart of my heart.” She truly made them feel loved, wanted and chosen. She also leaves behind six grandchildren, Ashleigh, Charlie, Rose, Patrick, Maria and Maureen, as well as a younger brother, Carl Pendracki Jr.

“If there ever comes a day

Where we can’t be together

Keep me in your heart

And I’ll stay there forever.”

A.A. Milne “Winnie the Pooh”


Memorial Services to be held at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, 133 Orchard Lake Rd., Northville, MI on October 28, 2017 at 10:30 am.

Luncheon to follow at Deluca’s Restaurant, 27424 Warren Rd, Westland, MI

Final interment will be with her husband and her parents, at St Hedwig Cemetery, in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.


In lieu of flowers, we offer for you to join the Cecchetti Council of America as they have now established the Betty Bandyk Scholarship Fund for Teachers, earmarking this scholarship specifically for the annual seminar for teachers to explore and study the Cecchetti Method. Teachers can learn and share knowledge in a positive and friendly atmosphere provided by the CCA and Hope College.  The annual seminar is devoted to the art of teaching, emphasizing developing technique and the quality of movement, body placement, and style.

Your tax-deductible donation will be graciously received either via online at https://www.cecchetti.org/donation/

Or you may mail a check to:

Betty Bandyk Scholarship Fund

c/o Cecchetti Council of America

23393 Meadows Avenue

Flat Rock, Michigan 48334

Memorial Tribute

On August 22, 2017 Elizabeth Pendracki Bandyk, known to her friends as Betty and to her ballet students as Miss Betty, passed peacefully at the age of 88. She has rejoined her husband and best friend of 59 years, Anthony Stanley Bandyk. They can now dance many polkas together, which gave them true joy. Ballroom dance floors often parted on their frequent cruises as others observed their skill and radiant happiness.

Betty graduated from Detroit’s Immaculata High School, a catholic school for girls. From a young age, she took ballet, which became a true life-long passion. She began teaching ballet at her parents’ dance studio at only 12 years old. After high school, she continued teaching at various community centers and at the conservatory in Wyandotte. She was a Prima Ballerina with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and later went on to become a soloist for the Joey Harris Ballet Company in the early 1950s. When her performing career ended, she dedicated her life to teaching.

Betty taught Polish Dancing in the late 40s for the Polish League in Detroit and joined the Cecchetti Council of American (CCA) soon after. She enjoyed years as the owner of Miss Betty’s School of the Dance while her Mom, Rose, was the receptionist and Uncle Ivan was the handyman. In 1967 the studio was sold, but kept in the family. It is now known as Marcia’s School of Dance.

Miss Betty continued her teaching at various ballet schools over the years and was a permeant examiner for the CCA.  

She studied and taught the Cecchetti Method of ballet, achieving the highest level certifications as both student and teacher. She not only taught ballet with amazing skill and knowledge but taught her students so much more. She mentored many ballet teachers. Betty went on to become the President of the Cecchetti Council of America for several years, as well as an examiner in this method, invited as a guest teacher and examiner all over the United States and other countries. Her career spanned over 60 years.

Elizabeth’s other passions were entertaining, interior decorating, bargain shopping and making others feel welcome and at-ease with her genuine charm, graciousness, wit and kindness. She was a true lady of poise and grace. She was loved by many and missed by all who knew her.

Come to Me

God saw you were getting tired,

And a cure was not to be,

So he put his arms around you,

And whispered,

“Come to Me.”

With tearful eyes we watched you,

And saw you pass away.

Although we loved you dearly,

We could not make you stay.

A golden heart stopped beating,

Hard working hands at rest.

God broke our hearts to prove to us,

He only takes the best


CCA International Summer School Enhanced Men’s Program

New for Summer School 2016

Introducing the Cecchetti Council of America’s Enhanced Men’s Training 

A comprehensive training program devoted to the development of the physiological, technical, and artistic capabilities of the classically trained male dancer. Dancers within the Men’s Training Program will take a daily men’s class focused on the performance of Men’s Variations, the development of flexibility, strength training/ conditioning, pas de deux, and pantomime. Participation will also include modules in disciplines such as turning, pettit allegro, and more. The program provides participants at the beginning stages of their training with excellent fundamentals to advance their knowledge of classical ballet, while providing more seasoned dancers with additional tools to further their careers within the art form. Dancers within the Men’s Training Program will be mentored by Michael Fothergill and Paul Sutherland, in addition to the exceptional faculty of the CCA’s summer intensive program.  A stage performance will complete the two week intensive program housed on the campus of Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition 2017

Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition

Florence, Italy

July 31-August 5, 2017

Competition Divisions:

Junior division:

  • 14-16 years of age (at onset of competition)
  • Must have passed CCA Elementary by January 1, 2017
  • Will demonstrate the 1st set of Port de Bras
  • See list of approved variations
  • Contemporary piece not to exceed two minutes

Senior division:

  • 17-20 years of age (at onset of competition)
  • Must have passed CCA Intermediate by January 1, 2017
  • Will demonstrate the 2nd set of Port de Bras
  • See list of approved variations.
  • Contemporary piece not to exceed two minutes and thirty seconds

Competitors must be a student and not a professional dancer i.e. anyone who is employed as a full time dancer with a professional dance company. This includes dancers who are not currently employed but have been in the past.

Click on the link below for Cecchetti Internationale Classical Ballet Competition list of approved variations.

CICB Junior and Senior Divisions Approved Variations

Click on the link below for a complete list of required elements to include on audition DVD.

2017 CICB Required Classroom Exercises

CICB 2017 Important Dates to Remember:

  • Application and DVD submission deadline is January 15, 2017
  • Competitor arrival date Saturday, July 29 or Sunday, July 30, 2017
  • Competition begins Monday, July 31, 2017
  • Competitors depart Sunday, August 6, 2017


CICB Candidate Application 2017

For more information contact CICB Delegate Lee Ann King at [email protected]

Candidate application and DVD should be mailed to:

CICB Delegate, Lee Ann King, P.O. Box 74, Manchester, MI 48158



CCA Examination Updates 2015

The CCA Board of Examiners has made the following changes to the length of the following CCA Examinations:

  • The Grades I-IV Teacher Examination length will increase to 2 hours.
  • The Elementary (V) Teacher Examination length will increase to 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  • The Grade III Student Examination length will increase to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • The Grade IV Student Examination length will increase to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

These changes will be effective January 1, 2015.

All Student and Teacher Elementary Candidates will be required to present the CCA Revised syllabus as of January 1, 2015.

New CCA Student Exam Prices for 2015 are as follows:

Grade I- $50.00
Grade II- $50.00
Grade III- $60.00
Grade IV- $70.00
Elementary (V)- $90.00
Intermediate (VI)- $100.00
Advanced (VII)- $120.00
Diploma- $180.00

The Board of Examiners would like to remind CCA teachers to present the graded theory and Basic steps to exam candidates when preparing for CCA exams.

Click on the link below to download or print a copy of the new Student and Teacher Examination Sheets for 2015.

Student-Exam-Info-2015 (.pdf)

Teacher- Exam- Info-2015 (.pdf)


Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition Awards

The Cecchetti Council of America congratulates all competitors and coaches for their participation in the CICB 2014 Classical Ballet Competition.









Maestro Enrico Cecchetti Award – $5,000 USD

Jenny Hackwell, UK







Most Promising Dancer Award – $2,500 USD

Rebecca Blenkinsop, Australia







Musicality Award – $1,500 USD

Kirsten Johnson, South Africa







Contemporary Award – $1,500 USD

Kathleen Videira, South Africa







Audience Choice Award – $1,000 USD

Melissa Eguchi, Canada






Miya Bates, Canada

Rosanna Ely, United Kingdom

Mami Hagihara, United Kingdom

Chloe Hollow, Australia

George Nightingale, United Kingdom

Edward Pope, Australia

Natalia Ruiz, Cecchetti Council of America

Daniel Salinas, Cecchetti USA

Hannah Ward, South Africa

Lauren Worley, Cecchetti USA



ABT/JKO School – New York

George Nightingale, United Kingdom

Australian Ballet

George Nightingale, United Kingdom

Ballet West – Utah

Kathleen Videira, South Africa

Lauren Worley – Cecchetti USA

Boston Ballet – Massachusetts

Chloe Hollow, Australia

Canada’s National Ballet School – Ontario

Isabelle Glavin, Cecchetti Council of America

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet – Manitoba

Danielle Whitfort, Australia

Cecchetti Council of America – Michigan

Catherine Evans, Cecchetti USA

Cecchetti USA – California

Hannah Budny, Cecchetti Council of America

Connecticut Ballet

Jenny Hackwell, United Kingdom

Danzare Cecchetti ANCEC – Italy

Miya Bates – Canada

Rebecca Blenkinsop, Australia

Shardae Matthews, Australia

Elmhurst School of Dance – England

Melissa Eguchi, Canada

Grand Rapids Ballet – Michigan

Hannah Ward, South Africa

Interlochen Performing Arts High School – Michigan

Mikayla Isaacs, South Africa

Joel Hall Dance Centre – Illinois

Valerie Garcia, Cecchetti USA

Joffrey Ballet School – New York

Natalie Hackett, Cecchetti USA

Joffrey Ballet School – Texas

Katherine Anderson, South Africa

Brennan Benson, Cecchetti Council of America

KS Dance – England

Hannah Ward, South Africa

Portland Youth Ballet – Oregon

Grace Hume, United Kingdom

Richmond Ballet – Virginia

Isabelle Allor, Cecchetti Council of America

Carmen Lehnigk, Cecchetti Council of America

Natalia Ruiz, Cecchetti Council of America

Daniel Salinas, Cecchetti USA

School of Alberta Ballet – Canada

Edward Pope, Australia

Texas Ballet Theater School

Rosanna Ely, United Kingdom

Kirsten Johnson, South Africa

Genevieve MacNulty, Australia

Victorian College of the Arts – Australia

Kirsten Johnson, South Africa

CICB Ballet Competition Candidate Requirements

Dear Cecchetti Council of America Members,

The Cecchetti International – Classical Ballet (CICB) will sponsor the 4th International Competition which will be held on August 7 – 9, 2014 at the Carpenter Theater at Richmond Center Stage in Richmond, Virginia. Since 2005, the CICB has sponsored three competitions: the first in Australia, the second in Canada and the third in England.

We are pleased to announce that the 2014 competition will be held the USA. The CCA, one of the founding member organizations of the CICB, fully supports the organization’s purpose and goals.

The Cecchetti Council of America is looking for outstanding dancers to represent the CCA at this prestigious event and will, once again, offer scholarships to selected candidates to assist with expenses. The requirements for candidates are as follows:

  1.  Candidate must be no younger than 15 at the onset of the competition, and no older than 19 at the onset of the competition.
  2. Candidate must have passed the CCA Intermediate Exam.
  3. Candidate must be sponsored by a Teacher Member in good standing with the CCA.
  4. Candidate must be a student and non-professional classical ballet dancer.
  5. Candidate must be accompanied and supervised by their CCA teacher member, or responsible adult/mentor throughout. This person will receive free entry to all paid events.

The CCA application requirements are as follows:

  1. Teacher Member should submit 4 photographs of candidate.

–        A head shot, 1st arabesque en l’air, 2nd position en l’air, and attitude croise or efface.

  1. Teacher Member should submit two DVDs of eligible candidates:

–        One of a classical variation, preferably from the list of accepted CICB variations.

–        One of a contemporary piece- neo classical, contemporary, or modern genre.

–        Solo’s not to exceed 3 min.

  1. Application must accompany DVD
  2. Each DVD must have candidate’s name, name of piece, choreographer, music title and composer.
  3. Teacher Member must include a written recommendation of candidate.
  4. All application requirements must be received by January 15, 2014

Please send application and DVDs to: Lee Ann King at P.O. Box 74, Manchester, MI 48158

Application and accepted repertoire list are available online at www.cecchetti.org. This competition is being hosted by Cecchetti USA (CUSA) and will be held in conjunction with the annual CUSA Summer Course. Competitors’ classes and the summer course will be housed in the professional studios of the Richmond Ballet August 3-8, 2014. Selected candidates and their coach should plan on arriving on Sunday August 3, 2014 with check in between 3-5 pm.

For more information, please contact Lee Ann King at 734-476-7390/[email protected] or Ann Parsley at 469-585-8553/[email protected]


Lee Ann King and Ann Parsley

CCA Delegates to CICB

CCA International Summer School and Teachers Course

The National Executive Board is pleased to announce the dates for the CCA International Summer School are July 6-19, 2014.  The Teachers Course will be held July 13-19, 2014 with a special Diploma Course presented by Gillian Hurst, ISTD, on July 12-13.

The esteemed Guest Faculty members include:

  • Laura Berman
  • Erica Fischbach
  • Jennifer Ferrigno
  • Michael Fothergill
  • Denise Gillman
  • Gillian Hurst
  • Scott Putman
  • Kimmary Williams

The 2014 brochure and application will be mailed to all members when it becomes available.

The brochure will also be posted online on the “Summer School” page in the near future.