Summer Faculty 2020, CCA Enhanced Men’s Training Program
Boston Ballet, CPYB, Charlotte Ballet
Laszlo Berdo was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he began dancing at the age of five. At age 11, his mother encouraged him to try an audition for a local Nutcracker production. Initial resistance to classical ballet turned into a life-long passion.
Laszlo intensified his studies at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois. Upon graduation, he first joined Ballet Austin and then the Louisville Ballet under Alun Jones and Helen Starr. He was later hired by Ivan Nagy first as a guest artist then later as a soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet. Laszlo joined the Boston Ballet in 1990 as a corps de ballet member under Bruce Marks. He was promoted to soloist in 1993 and became a principal dancer in 1995.
He began choreographing in 1993 and has since created works for Boston Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet in Oslo, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and the Finnish National Ballet in Helsinki. He choreographed for the Boston Conservatory and participated in ChoreoPlan 2001 in which he choreographed for the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.
Laszlo has been a faculty member for the Boston Conservatory, Harvard University and CPYB. He was appointed Artistic Director and School Director of Eglevsky Ballet in 2011. Under Laszlo’s leadership, Eglevsky Ballet opened its doors to the community with a brand new state-of-art facility in Bethpage, NY, reestablishing Eglevsky Ballet as the premiere ballet school and only professional company on Long Island. Laszlo was previously Ballet Master of the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet and a private coach.
Chair, Dance Department Hope College
Chair of the Dance Department at Hope College, the Co-Artistic Director of R.G. Dance Productions and the Co-Artistic Director of H2 Dance Co. Formerly the Director of Dance at Anderson University, Farmer has had great success as a director, educator, choreographer, performer, and author; co-authoring the book Introductory Modern Dance: A Teaching Manual. Formerly an Associate Director and company member of LehrerDance, Farmer has appeared in Dance Teacher Magazine, Dance Magazine Online, and Dance Magazine. Prior to dancing with LehrerDance, Farmer danced with Peter Sparling as a company member of The Peter Sparling Dance Co. While dancing for Sparling, Matthew received his MFA from the University of Michigan in Dance Performance and Choreography. Farmer received his BA in Theatre and Dance from Hope College. As a soloist and guest performer, his performance credits include Dance Chicago, Dance in the Desert Festival, Men Dance Michigan, NextStep Dance, Chicago Humanities Festival, The Rein Orange Project (Duesberg, Germany) The European Cultural Bid (Liverpool, UK), The Roof (Germany), The Summer Stage (Brugge, Belgium), and various national dance companies and festivals both home and abroad. His teaching credits include Hope College, The University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Anderson University, Dancer’s Inc. National Conventions, Chicago National Association of Dance Maters, Southern Association of Dance Masters, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Interlochen, and a host of festivals and master classes throughout the United States. Farmer’s choreography spans the field of dance, and can be seen on college campuses, professional dance companies, international festivals, theaters companies, competitive dance teams, and musical theater venues throughout the U.S and abroad.
Ballet West, Broadway
Based in Chicago, Tom is a freelance choreographer, teacher, and performer. He began his early training in the California desert before attending Virginia School of the Arts. Upon graduation in 2005 Tom was awarded the Margot Fonteyn Award for artistic excellence. He then danced with Richmond Ballet, Chautauqua Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet before joining Ballet West in 2008. There he began to amass many leading roles under the watchful eye of such greats as Cynthia Gregory, Anna Marie Holmes, and Sir Anthony Dowell. Dancing everything from Kylian to Ashton, he quickly rose through the company ranks and by 2013 was promoted to principal dancer. In 2014 Tom relocated to Chicago to join the newly formed contemporary ensemble Visceral Dance Chicago. After 2 years of immersing himself in the Chicago dance scene he was invited to join the first national tour of “An American in Paris”, the four time Tony Award winning musical directed & choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon. Now back in Chicago, Tom is focusing on teaching and the development of his choreographic career. To date he has created world premieres for Ballet West, Ballet West II, Ballet West Academy, Dance in the Parks, Richmond Ballet, Utah Arts Festival, Ballet Arkansas, Charlottesville Ballet, Elite Choreographic Initiative, Arova Contemporary Ballet, Beijing Ballet Invitational, World Ballet Competition, and Youth America Grand Prix.
Grand Ballet Canadiens, Basel Ballet, Cleveland Ballet
Christopher began his training in the San Francisco Bay area. He studied at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City and L’Ecole des Grands Ballets Canadiens. His professional career began in Montreal, dancing with Les Grands Ballet Canadiens where he rose to rank of Soloist. While in Montreal Chris was offered a position with the Basel Ballet of Basel, Switzerland, where he performed many soloist and principal roles. After dancing in Switzerland, he joined Cleveland Ballet and danced many principal roles, ranging in scope from Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake to the Champion Roper in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo.
While still dancing with the company, Chris was promoted to the position of Ballet Master, and soon thereafter Regisseur. Chris has taught and staged many works for companies such as the Atlanta Ballet and Ballet Nuevo Mundo de Caracas of Venezuela. Since 1995 he has been a guest teacher and choreographer for the Cecchetti Council of America’s International summer conference. During the 2001-2002 school year, Chris accepted the position of Visiting Artist at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania where he taught choreography as well as all levels of ballet technique.