Where are they now?
Catch up with the lives and careers of some of our alumni.
If you are an alumnus of Morgantown Dance and would like to share your information, please email us a photo and a description of what you’re doing now.
Christina Ghiardi, from Morgantown, began her ballet training with Morgantown Dance Studio at the age of 6 and continued training there until she was 14. While with MDS, she received her ballet training from Dessire Witt, Lauren Slone, Katie Finklea, Marilyn Pipes, Marcy Bowers Mossburg, and Eunice Kim. At the age of 14 she was invited to train with the Joffrey Ballet School Trainee Program in New York City on full scholarship where she trained with John Magnus, Francesca Corkle and Era Jouravlev for a year. After her year at the Joffrey Ballet School she was invited to train at The School of American Ballet, also in New York City. She has spent three years training there with Kay Mazzo, Suki Schorer, Susan Pilarre, Sean Lavery, Peter Martins, Darci Kistler, and Katrina Killian and will be returning for the 2011-2012 school year to complete her training with the school. Throughout her past three years at The School of American Ballet, Christina has participated in the Student Choreography Workshop where she both choreographed a short ballet and performed in a contemporary ballet piece; she was chosen to be a dancer for the New York Choreographic Institute; she was chosen to participate in New York City Ballet’s Lecture Demonstration Programs; and she has performed in various ballets in the schools yearly Workshop Performances. Christina has also attended many different summer programs including Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Kirov Academy of Ballet, Joffrey Midwest Workshop, The School of American Ballet, Miami City Ballet School and most recently, Boston Ballet School.
Valerie Guido is originally from Clarksburg, WV where she began her dance training at the age of six. Following high school, she attended West Virginia University where she graduated with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology and a minor in dance. Valerie has performed with numerous companies over the years and has taught and choreographed for dancers of all ages. She has studied frequently at The Taylor School, as well as with Betty Jones and Fritz Ludin while dancing abroad in Italy. Recently in NYC, Valerie performed in a work that adapted Allegra Kent’s book “Ballerina Swan” into a charming children’s production, in which she got to work closely with Ms. Kent. Valerie moved to New York City in the fall of 2012 to pursue her passion of being a professional dancer. She is currently working for the Doris Duke Performing Artist Awards and dancing with Empty Nave Projects.
Alicia Holloway began dancing when she was three years old at Kat and company dance studio. While she was there, she took jazz, tap, acro, gymnastics, and ballet. In 2007, Alicia began taking classes at Morgantown Dance Studio. There, she trained with Desiree Witt, Lauren Sone, Marilyn Pipes, Eunice Kim, and Robert Steele. While Alicia trained at Morgantown dance studio, she attended the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet summer course for three summers. In 2009, she attended the University of North Carolina school of the Arts, as well as CPYB. the following year, she was asked and accepted to UNCSA, where she stayed for her freshman year of high school. That summer, she was accepted as a student at the School of American Ballet. In the fall of 2010, her sophomore year of high school, she accepted the offer to stay for the year at SAB. She has had teachers including Suzy Pilarre, Suki Schorer, Darci Kistler, Kay Mazzo, and Jock Soto. Over the last few summers, Alicia has attended the Boston Ballet Summer Dance Program, as well as Pacific Northwest Ballet. Alicia will begin her final year at SAB, while attending Fordham University, and has a desire to pursue ballet as a professional career
At age five Alaine started Creative Movement classes and a few years later added Modern and Ballet at the Morgantown Dance Studio. She performed as a guest artist with Alchemy and in the Red Stone modern dance company. Alaine performed in several seasons of Morgantown Dance’s Nutcracker and danced featured roles in Sleeping Beauty, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Carnival of the Animals. She also danced the role of the Snow Queen in the 2012 premier production. During the summers Alaine also trained at Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, the Alvin Ailey School in both their pre-professional and professional intensives, the Joffrey School, and with the Hubbard Street Dance Company. She is currently enrolled in the BFA program at SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory of Dance.
Kim Savarino, a Brooklyn-based performer and arts administrator, was born in Los Angeles and raised in West Virginia. She has worked with the Foundry (SF), empty nave projects (NYC), and Harper Addison (SF), and has performed works by Jawole Zollar, Sharon Eyal, Shen Wei, and Alex Ketley. In addition to performing, she works with ARTS Action Research and the MAP Fund. She studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and received her B.F.A. in dance, summa cum laude with honors, from Florida State University. Kim is currently performing with Third Rail Projects in their Bessie Award-winning immersive theater experience, Then She Fell.
Jordan Schwinabart began training at Morgantown Dance during her early teenage years, and upon graduating high school decided to pursue a BFA in Ballet from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. While attending CCM, Jordan had the opportunity to train in classical ballet and modern, and perform works by Balanchine, Bournonville, Petipa, and professors Jiang Qi and Dierdre Carberry. She also was able to perform with various companies while pursuing her degree, including Dayton Ballet and Ballet Theatre Midwest, and spent her junior and senior years dancing with the Louisville Ballet. Jordan is now beginning her second season as an apprentice with the Alabama Ballet under the direction of Tracey Alvey. Here she has been able to perform George Balanchine’s Nutcracker, and works by Agnes DeMille, Roger Van Fleteren, and Wes Chapman.
Anne Marie Snyder
Anne Marie currently lives in NYC. She was in the National Tour of The Wizard of Oz for two years, and now is auditioning for musical theatre productions and working various jobs. She’s also doing extra work on TV shows.
Jessica Stroech Brooks
I currently reside in Imperial, CA which is in southern CA about 1.5 hours outside of San Diego. I am the director of a Performing Arts Academy for Dance that is set with-in a public high school. I teach all styles and all levels. I have a two-yr old son named Carter and my husband Chris and I are enjoying are life here in the sun!
Matanya Solomon was introduced to dance at Morgantown Dance Studio when he was 14. Not quite a year later he was accepted on scholarship at The Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory’s Year Round Training Program in CT. Matanya completed Nutmeg’s professional and post-grad training programs in 2016. He attended summer intensives at the French Academie of Ballet in NYC, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre in NYC. While still in high school Matanya was a guest artist in a CA production of The Sleeping Beauty, performing Bluebird. Matanya has enjoyed dancing in pieces choreographed by Kirk Peterson and working with Eleanor D’Antuono, Tim Melady, Victoria Mazzarelli, and Alexei Tchernichov. Some of his favorite roles have included Romeo in the Balcony Pas de Deux of Romeo and Juliet, accompanied by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; Mouse King, Prince, and Cavalier in The Nutcracker; the Golden Idol solo from La Bayadere; and Basilio from Don Quixote. Matanya has performed MOMIX rep including Solar Flares and Hornets from Botanica and contemporary pieces choreographed by Victoria Mazzarelli, Brian Simerson, and solo roles in pieces by Brian Reeder. In August of 2016 Matanya became a Trainee with American Repertory Ballet, the professional company in Princeton, NJ. He has performed with the company in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and in several roles including Prince in The Nutcracker, both productions choreographed by Artistic Director Douglas Martin.
Photo Credit Don Perdue
Alice Wells attended the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and participated in the High School-Full Time program. She studied dance for 5 hours daily for 6 days a week. While in Pittsburgh she performed in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker. This fall she will become a trainee at the Louisville Ballet.