Faculty Biographies 


Nurlan Abougaliev

Nurlan AbougalievNurlan Abougaliev joined PBT as soloist in 2006 and was promoted to principal in 2010. Abougaliev was born in Kazakhstan, where he studied at Almaty Ballet Academy. In 1997, Nurlan moved to Moscow to work with the Russian National Ballet and later Moscow City Ballet. He has toured in the United States, England, China, South Africa, Japan and South Korea. Nurlan came to the United States in 2003 to join the Ballet Internationale, where he has trained with renowned teachers, including Irina Kolpakova and Vladilen Semenov. With Ballet Internationale, Nurlan has performed in International Dance Festivals in Vail and Montreal. He has danced leading roles, such as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Desiree in The Sleeping Beauty and Albrecht in Giselle as well as principal roles in Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Who Cares?, Agon and Serenade. Nurlan’s other roles include Paul Taylor’s Company B, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper RoomNine Sinatra Songsand Octet, Dwight Rhoden’s Ave Maria, Mark Morris’ Maelstrom and Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, and Ben Stevenson’s Dracula. Nurlan and his wife, Aygul Abougalieva, are the proud parents of their daughter and son.
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Naomi Boyd

coming soon
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Daniel Karasik

Daniel Karasik began his dance training in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In 2007, Daniel graduated from Point Park University, where he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. He then danced professionally in Pittsburgh, and also in Dayton, where he was a proud member of the Dayton Ballet. In 2011, Karasik premiered the Dayton Arts Project, a company that seamlessly integrated art forms, such as choreography, dance, film, installation art, new and live music, and mixed media in exhibition. Daniel is proud to have produced works for Bodiography Contemporary Ballet, Dayton Arts Project, Dayton Ballet, Duquesne University, Morgantown Dance, Pittsburgh Dance Conservatory and Point Park University. In addition to teaching at Morgantown Dance, he also teaches at Pittsburgh’s CLO Academy and Point Park University. Daniel is honored to be serving as director of the Morgantown Ballet Company.
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Craig Kaufman

coming soon
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Kathleen Logothetis Thompson

Kathleen Logothetis Thompson began dancing at the age of 3 and received most of her training from the Dancer’s Studio and Warwick Ballet Theatre in Warwick, NY. After leaving WBT she danced occasionally with two other studios through the end of high school and through college.  In addition, she trained in Irish Step Dancing with Kerry Gleason at Kerry Dance NY for many years and performed with Siena College’s troupe “Reel Treble.” Upon moving to Morgantown to pursue graduate degrees in History, she found Morgantown Dance and has trained and performed with them since 2010. She has a background in ballet, tap, Irish step dancing, and modern. Kathleen is member of the Morgantown Ballet Company and has performed in countless performances over her many years of dance.
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Ashley Marie Manzo

Ashley Manzo 2014Ashley Marie Manzo began her dance training at Monica’s School of Dance in Fairmont, WV. Her family moved to Illinois where she studied with various studios and danced/competed High School Dance Teams. Ashley went on to be a graduate of Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville with a Bachelors of Sciences Degree in Theatre & Dance. During her 4 years at SIUE, Ashley participated in faculty shows, student productions, danced in rep by the MidAmerica Dance Company and was President of the University Dance Organization. She found her true passion in college, which was choreographing. Ashley received the FOTAD Scholarship and Provost Fine Arts Scholarship… her choreography “Whisper to a Scream” was chosen for the Faculty Choreographers Award and was presented at the American College Dance Festival. In school, Ashley studied a variety of dance forms including Graham, Horton, Release, contact improv and Laban. While at MDS, Ashley has choreographed for several shows including: The Nutcracker, Snow Queen, Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, and directed her original works of A Sleeping Beauty and Romeo & Juliet. in 2014 her choreography performed by Jack Thompson “An Ode to the Human Transformation” rewarded Jack with the Jerry Rose Scholarship at the WV State Dance Festival. Ashley is also a FitTour Certified Modern Pilates Teacher and teaches Pilates/Core classes around the Morgantown area. She also created Marie Manzo Photography specializing in photographing dance. Apart from dance Ashley is an AST Certified Surgical Technologist and a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant at Regional Eye Associates. Ashley resides in Morgantown with her husband Beau and son Oliver.
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Mollie Mock Kaufman

MDS - Faculty Mollie Mock 2013 smallMollie Mock Kaufman began her early dance training in Beckley, WV and furthered her studies at North Carolina School of the Arts, California University of PA, and WV Governor’s School for the Arts. She went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Arts in ballet and jazz. While at Point Park she had the opportunity to perform works by Margo Sappington, Daniel Ezralow, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett, to name a few. Upon graduation Mollie moved to Chicago and trained on scholarship at the Lou Conte Dance Studio: Home of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and as a summer apprentice with River North Dance Chicago. In 2007, she accepted a position with Thodos Dance Chicago where she spent five seasons. During her time at Thodos she had the privilege of performing works by Founder and Artistic Director, Melissa Thodos, Bob Fosse, Ann Reinking, Ron De Jesus, Lucas Crandall, Lar Lubivach, Brock Clawson, among many others. Mollie had the opportunity to tour nationally and internationally, was a master teacher for the company, and served as the Company Liaison. She also had two of her collaborative works, Refclet and Exurgence, become a part of the company’s repertoire. While in Chicago, Mollie had the honor to work with Kai Harding Productions, doing film work that has premiered at Film Festivals all over the nation. She also taught extensively at studios in the Chicagoland area, as well as taught on the intermediate, collegiate, and pre-professional levels through Thodos Dance Chicago. She had the pleasure of being on faculty at the legendary Gus Giordano Dance School, and most recently, at Point Park University’s International Summer Dance program. Mollie, alongside her husband, Craig, just finished a contract with Holland America Cruise Lines through Stiletto Entertainment and are excited to be residing in Morgantown, WV.
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Gretchen Moore

Gretchen Moore, maiden name Gretchen M. Hurd, is originally from Brookville, PA. After receiving her BA in Dance from Slippery Rock University in 2002, she relocated to Pittsburgh to accept a company member position with Laboratory Company Dance (LABCO). After five seasons with LABCO and working with choreographers like Kyle Abraham, Teena Custer, Miguel Gutierrez, Jennifer Keller, Ursula Payne, Gwen Hunter Ritchie, Sarah Skaggs, Kevin Wynn and Pavel Zustiak, the company disbanded and Moore became a freelance choreographer and performer for the summer of 2009. While doing work with The Pillow Project and Pearlann Porter she was offered a position with the new African American-influenced dance company, the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble. For the 2009-2010 season, Moore performed with AWCDE as a founding company member and rehearsal director. She worked with choreographers Robert Battle, Crystal Frazier, Terence Greene, Christopher Huggins, Pearlann Porter and Greer Reed-Jones during her short time with AWCDE. This company catapulted her into a company member position with the Dance Alloy Theater. Moore has taught Choreography, Hip-Hop, Improvisation, Modern, Jazz, Salsa and Creative Dance to all ages in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. From Colleges and Universities like West Virginia Wesleyan College, Chatham College and the University of Pittsburgh, to master classes like the Jones Summer Dance Intensive, Moore has taught, created new works, and helped to shape the way young and established dancers view the art form of dance. Currently, Moore is performing as a guest artist with the West Virginia Dance Company and with Gia T. presents (in Pittsburgh).  She is on faculty at West Liberty University and oversees the Dance Minor at West Virginia Wesleyan College.

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Marcy Bowers–Mossburg

Marcy Bowers–Mossburg is a cum laude graduate of Point Park University where she was a Golden Key scholarship student. She has a BA in dance with a concentration in Ballet. She was a five-year dance faculty member at West Virginia University, where she also served as the Artistic Director and Principle Choreographer for the WVU Ballet Ensemble and Director of the children’s preparatory program. Marcy spent four years teaching at the Russell School of Ballet in Chantilly, VA. While in Virginia she choreographed for the Fairfax Ballet. She has been a guest choreographer and taught master classes throughout WV. A former member of the Morgantown Dance Studio faculty, she currently resides in Bridgeport, WV where she teaches for the Annabel Timms School of Ballet.

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Svetlana Novodran

Svetlana NovodranSvetlana Novodran’s career began in Europe with several ballet companies, including Perm State Opera/Ballet Theatre in Russia, Odessa State Opera/Ballet Theatre in Ukraine, and the Poland National Opera in Warsaw.  During her professional career, she worked with such prominent choreographers as Pierre Lacotte, Lorca Massine, Oleg Vinogradov, and Vladimir Vasiliev.  Mrs. Novodran toured extensively from 1980 to 1995, dancing in many places, including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Finland, Germany, Israel, Japan, and Spain.  Since settling In the U.S. in 1995, Mrs. Novodran has taught ballet and character dance for Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, La Roche College, Pittsburgh CLO, and Point Park University.  In addition, she has choreographed a variety of pieces from works such as Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, and Paquita, as well as coaching for the National Society of Arts and Letters and the Youth America Grand Prix dance competitions.

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Lori Patton

Lori PattonLori Patton brings 28 years of teaching and choreography experience to Morgantown Dance. She is a Cum Laude graduate of Point Park University where she earned a B.A. in Dance with an emphasis in Jazz and African movement. After college, Lori joined the dance faculty at West Virginia University where she coordinated the Jazz and Tap programs and served as Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer for the University’s, Mountain Jazz Dance Theatre.  Lori implemented a movement program for physically challenged children in Morgantown, WV and was awarded the Easter Seals Volunteer of the Year in 1990. She has been on the faculty at Momentum Dance Center in Clarksburg, WV, The American Academy of Ballet, Charleston, WV , January’s Dance Academy, Charleston, WV,  Schrader Youth Ballet, Parkersburg, WV and most recently, PACE Performing Arts Connection & Education in Parkersburg, WV. Lori has been invited to guest teach and choreograph for public schools, dance studios, marching bands, dance camps and companies in WV & OH. Her performing credits include Pittsburgh Playhouse Dance Company, West Virginia Public Theatre, Kitchen Sink Dance Company, Don Brockett Productions and Donna Beljac, Inc. Lori was on faculty at Marietta College from 2005-2013 teaching Musical Theatre, Jazz/Modern, Tap and African Jazz. She choreographed the Theatre Departments productions of Quilters, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, and Arabian Nights. Lori is happy to be returning to Morgantown where her teaching career began and work with the faculty and staff at Morgantown Dance. She believes in developing each student in a class to their individual potential in a positive and nurturing environment.

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Christy Pill

Christy PillOriginally from Morgantown, Christy Pill studied arts management and dance at the University of Richmond in Virginia. While an undergraduate, Christy trained, traveled, choreographed, and performed with the school’s dance company; attended ballet, modern, jazz, ballroom, and improv master classes with visiting professional artists; and performed Classic Kite Tales, a modern dance set by former Erick Hawkins Dance Company members, in the American College Dance Festival. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she moved to New York City where she led marketing for dozens of opera, music, and dance premieres at Miller Theatre at Columbia University. There she also earned a master’s degree in strategic communications. Between leaving Manhattan and returning to Morgantown, Christy spent time in warmer climates: she mentored a girls dance group while integrating creativity with community in rural Haiti and worked as wilderness camp leader and retreat center chef near San Diego. Christy is delighted to have the opportunity to teach some of Morgantown Dance Studio’s youngest students. In addition to teaching, she coordinates strategic planning and accreditation programs in West Virginia University’s Office of the Provost and serves as a volunteer board member for Mon County Habitat for Humanity. Her earliest dance years were at Kat & Company Dance Studio and Beth Barnes School of Dance.

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Marilyn Pipes

Marilyn Pipes began her dance training in Corning, NY at Madame Halina’s School of Dance Arts. She furthered her training at the University of Utah, in Boston with Tatiana Baboushkina, and in Tucson, Arizona with Richard France, Stephanie Stigers, and Rodney Gustafson. Marilyn danced soloist roles in numerous ballets, including Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty,  La Fille Mal Gardee, and The Nutcracker, and performed with various regional ballet companies, such as the Elmira-Corning Ballet Company, and Southwest Dance Theatre.  Marilyn has taught ballet for more than twenty years, including seventeen years at the Morgantown Dance Studio.  She served as Assistant Artistic Director for Morgantown Dance Inc.’s production of The Nutcracker from 1997 – 2004. Since 2004, Marilyn has served as Ballet Mistress and Choreographer for various Morgantown Dance Inc.’s productions of Snow Queen, Carnival of Animals, and The Nutcracker. Marilyn holds a Master of Science degree from the University of Arizona and currently works as a speech-language pathologist in Morgantown.

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Crystina Reseter

Crystina ReseterCrystina Reseter began her training at three years of age in Morgantown, WV. At the age of twelve she had the honor of spending a month in Italy with her dance troupe as an American dance ambassador. Crystina has studied a variety of different dance forms during her years as a dancer including acrobats, gymnastics, jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, contemporary, and modern. In 2005 Crystina received a dance minor from WVU where she was a member of the modern dance ensemble, Orchesis, and was also a choreographer within WVU’s Division of Theatre and Dance. Since graduating Crystina has had the pleasure of performing with Alchemy Dance Ensemble for three seasons as well as teaching and performing with the African American Arts and Heritage Academy.

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Robert Royce

Robert RoyceRobert Royce began his ballet training at Greensboro, NC at the age of ten. He continued to study at the North Carolina School of the Arts under numerous teachers including Gyula Pandi, Mellissa Hayden and Duncan Noble. During the summers away from NCSA, Mr. Royce attended summer intensives at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet and School of American Ballet. At the age of sixteen Robert moved to New York to study under Richard Rapp and Stanley Williams at School of American Ballet. Mr. Royce danced professionally for Cincinnati Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Ballet Theater of Maryland and the newly formed BalletFleming. During his career Robert has performed principal and soloist roles in Nutcracker, Serenade, Dracula, Spring Waters Pas de Deux, Tommy, along with many others. Mr. Royce has served as Ballet Master and a staff teacher for Alabama Ballet, BalletFleming and Burklyn Ballet Theater. As a choreographer, Robert has received the 2001 Viewer’s Choice Award in the Scotsman for his Cinderella at the Edinburg Fringe Festival and a four star review for The Little Mermaid in 2011, both with Burklyn Ballet Theater. Mr. Royce has been training and coaching professional and student dancers for the past sixteen years and has worked on many classical ballets including Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and Graduation Ball. Robert has students who are currently dancing for Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Nashville Ballet’s second company, and Joffrey Ballet’s trainee program.

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Teresa Sestito

Teresa Sestito is a native to Fairmont, WV. While in her undergrad at Fairmont State, Teresa discovered her passion for ballroom dance. Teresa earned certification at the Bronze Level from The United States Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in 2009. While attending Fairmont State University, she competed on the Ballroom Dance Team and was the President of the Ballroom Dance Club. In May of 2011, she earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Fairmont State University and Skills Set Certification in Ballroom Dance from Pierpont Community and Technical College. In August 2011, Teresa became a faculty member for the Ballroom Dance Program at Pierpont Community and Technical College. Currently, Teresa is a youth counselor and is working towards her Masters in Special Education.

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Stephanie Smith

Stephanie SmithStephanie Smith started dancing at the age of three at Dancing Unlimited, a local dance studio in her hometown of St. Albans, WV. There she trained in the disciplines of jazz, ballet, and tap. At the age of 13 she took a long hiatus from dance. After graduating college with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, getting married, and moving to Fairfax, VA, she decided to return to dance. Basically from scratch, she began her training again at Russell’s School of Ballet in Fairfax, Va where she trained under the instruction of Jane Masciarelli and Mary Marshall for about 2 years. Upon moving back to Morgantown, Stephanie has continued her training at Morgantown Dance Studio under the direction of Marylin Pipes, Lauren Slone, Jennifer Lawrence, and Daniel Karasik. She is a former member of the Morgantown Ballet Company and has performed in several Morgantown Dance Studio productions including Momotaro, The Nutcracker, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty. Stephanie also performed in Ballet Lafayette’s production of Mary Poppins. She has obtained her certification from Beverly Spell in the nationally renowned Leap ‘n Learn Program.

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Jesse Tidquist

Jesse TidquistJesse Tidquist started her ballet training at the age of 4 and her love of ballet ultimately led her to The Charleston Ballet. While with the Charleston Ballet, she has performed in many ballets including Giselle, Sleeping BeautyCountry MoonNutcrackerPaquita, and Christopher Fleming’s Play Ball! In 2008, she moved to Annapolis and joined Ballet Theatre of Maryland and danced for two seasons, performing in ballets such as ExcaliburBeauty and the BeastCinderellaSwan Lake Excerpts, and Anatomy of Light. She has been dancing in Philadelphia for the past year, training under Christopher Fleming and  his newly formed company BalletFleming. Ms. Tidquist performed in his ballets including Janis and Joe ExcerptsThe Myth and Madness of Edgar Allan Poe Excerpts, and Gaspar, a Pirate Fantasy. Jesse also trained with John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow of American Ballet Theatre, Alun Jones and Helen Starr of Louisville Ballet, and taught pointe classes this past summer during Burklyn Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive.

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Deborah Liberatore West

MDS - faculty 2013 Debbie West smallDeborah Liberatore West is a graduate of WVU with an undergraduate degree in Physical Education and Masters Degree in Special Education. She is a member of Dance Masters of America – certified by tests (written and oral) to teach dance. She has attended many dance conferences/conventions with instruction from many professionals including: Charles Kelley and the late Danny Hoctor. She is a former dance instructor for Virginia Chittum at the Virginia School of Dance and has taught tumbling through the Monongalia County Community Schools. She is the former dance instructor/sponser for the Steppin’ Stallions – a dance group at South Middle School. She is also a tap instructor for the “Motown Strutters” – a senior tap dance group.

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Desiree Witt

Desiree WittDesiree Witt holds a B.S. in Music Education and a M. Ed. in Dance Education from Frostburg State University.  A member of MENC and MMEA, she holds a Maryland State Teaching certificate for Music K-12 and has been teaching in the state of Maryland for over 25 years. Ms. Witt has been on the faculty of Morgantown Dance Studio in Morgantown, West Virginia for 25 years and has worked extensively directing, choreographing, and/or performing in such ballets as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, The Snow Queen, and Cinderella among many.  She is currently the resident Director for Community shows at Morgantown Dance. She is certified to teach Vaganova Levels I-VI through John White, Irina Kolpakova, and the late Jurgen Schneider.  She is also certified to teach Leap N Learn.  Ms. Witt supplemented her training at Ballet Theatre of Annapolis, Point Park University, and with Madame Darvash in New York City. Ms. Witt’s ballet students have been placed in prestigious schools and companies such as The Joffrey Ballet, School of American Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (Schenley Park), Point Park University, North Carolina School of the Arts and The Juilliard School. In her home studio she trains dancers for the future of the dance world and has even choreographed for The Miss America Pageant. You may reach her at dezzwitt@yahoo.com or by calling 301-689-3052.

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Guest Faculty

Guest Faculty will periodically teach master classes and workshops at MDS.

Elizabeth Chang

Liz ChangElizabeth Chang, a native of Philadelphia, PA moved to Pittsburgh to join Attack Theater in 2007. Liz began her formal training at the North Carolina School of the Arts where she received a high school diploma. Then, she went on to receive BA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago. She also studied at Drexel University, the America Ballet Theater Summer Intensive, the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet. She performed professionally with Carolina Ballet, Philadelphia Ballet Theater and Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago. She taught master classes all over Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Liz is currently on faculty at the Oriental Star Dance School and continues to teach summer programs at Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham College, the Boyd Community Center and the Pace School.
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Julia Erickson

Julia EricksonJulia Erickson, originally from Seattle, received her training on a scholarship with Pacific Northwest Ballet School and San Francisco Ballet School.  She has toured to Europe and Asia with PNB, and danced with the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet for two seasons prior to joining PBT in 2001.  She was promoted to soloist in 2004 and principal in 2009.  She has danced principal roles in Balanchine’s Sylvia Pas de DeuxThemes and VariationsWho Cares? and Serenade; the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Diana in Diana & Acteon, and the Sylph in La Sylphide.  Her other roles include Lady Capulet in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette, Myrtha in Giselle, Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, “An Episode in His Past” in Jardin Aux Lilas and featured roles in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Four Temperaments andDivertamento Number 15.  She has also danced featured roles in Paul Taylor’s Company B and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and Nine Sinatra Songs. Julia is also the creator of Barre real food bars (www.realfoodbarre.com).

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Christina Ghiardi

Christina GhiardiOriginally from Morgantown, West Virginia, Christina Ghiardi received her early ballet training from Morgantown Dance Studio. At the age of 14, she joined the Joffrey Ballet School Trainee Program on full scholarship where she studied for one year before being accepted to The School of American Ballet (SAB) where she completed four years of pre-professional training. While at SAB, she participated in the Student Choreographic Workshop (both choreographing and performing), New York Choreographic Institute, and New York City Ballet Lecture Demonstrations. She also performed in SAB’s annual Workshop Performances, with featured roles in George Balanchine’s Who Cares? and Cortège Hongrois. During her final year at SAB, she was the recipient of the Lisa and Richard Perry Scholarship. Upon graduating from SAB in 2012, Ghiardi was invited to join Boston Ballet II. She performed with Boston Ballet in many productions, including Mikko Nissinen’s The Nutcracker, Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty, and George Balanchine’s Symphony in C, Serenade, and Coppélia. She also performed the featured role of the harp in Jerome Robbin’s Fanfare for Boston Ballet’s 2013 Next Generation. Ghiardi has also performed as a guest artist with Pennsylvania Ballet and is currently a company artist with Nevada Ballet Theatre. During Ghiardi’s final year at SAB, she was one of two advanced students selected by Chairman and co-Chairman of the school, Peter Martins and Kay Mazzo, for an inaugural student teacher program.She taught a select number of classes to the advanced levels of SAB before graduating. Ghiardi became a part-time faculty member for Boston Ballet School’s pre-professional division during the 2013-2014 school year and has also taught at Boston Ballet School’s Summer Dance Program and at Morgantown Dance Studio. She was featured in Dance Magazine’s article “In Training: At the Front of the Class” by Jenny Dalzell in the March 2014 issue.
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Aaron Ingley

Aaron IngleyAaron Ingley’s professional education includes training with the Young Actors Theatre and Southern Academy of the Arts, both in Tallahassee, FL, as well as Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle, WA.  Mr. Ingley danced professionally at the Theater of the First Amendment in Fairfax, VA and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT).  While at PBT from 1999 to 2008, Mr. Ingley served as a Corps de Ballet member and Principal Character Actor.  His roles at PBT included the Wicked Stepsister in Cinderella, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Renfeld in Dracula, Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty, Dr. Coppelius inCoppelia, the Nutcracker Prince, and many more!  Ingley also has film and television credits to his name, including playing Gustavo in Threads, a training video produced by American Eagle Outfitters, and performing as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Pacific Northwest Ballet at the Hong Kong Festival.  Recently, he has choreographed pieces for the Dancers Trust and Wexford Dance Academy.

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Wendy Kalasky

Wendy Kalasky began her dance training under the direction of Larraine Susa in Uniontown, PA where she studied ballet, jazz, tap, acrobat, lyrical, contemporary, pointe, and musical theater for 13 years. During this time, she was the recipient of such accolades as Dance Masters of Pennsylvania’s Barth Acrobatic Scholarship, American Dance Awards Dancer of the Year for Pittsburgh, PA and Buffalo, NY, and Highest Overall Performance Winner for Headliner’s Dance Competition. She participated in many workshops across the country including University at Buffalo’s Summer Dance Session, New York City Dance Alliance, Dance Masters of America, and West Coast Dance Explosion. She then attended Penn State University to receive her B.S. in Secondary Mathematics Education. While in college, she was a member of PSU’s chapter of Orchesis Dance Company and taught and choreographed for local studios in the State College, PA area. Upon graduating from college, Wendy moved to Morgantown, WV where she is currently employed at Morgantown High School as a Mathematics Teacher and is currently the coach of the Morgantown High Dance Team.
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Tadashi Kato

Tadashi KatoTadashi Kato is a Tai Chi & Qigong instructor, dance therapy instructor, and an interpretive dancer & performance artist. He has been practicing various forms of martial arts for over 30 years and also has been practicing Qigong for 19 years ever since he learned it from Master Kaku who was a graduate from Beijin Physical Education University. He also studied Japanese sword dance with Kensei Namiki; traditional style swordsmanship with Ken Morita; Butoh (Japanese avant-garde dance) with Moe Yamamoto, Toru Iwashita, and Kunishi Kamiryo; Ballet at various dance schools including Morgantown Dance Studio, Modern Dance with Bill Evans, Kista Tucker, Don Halquis, Angela Dennis, Kristina Isabella, and Pilobolous Dance Company; Jazz Dance with Liz Rossi; Contact Improvisation with Jordan Fuchs; Break Dance at Harajuku Dance Academy; Central Asian Dance, Persian Dance, and Middle Eastern Dance with Narah Bint Durr; West African Dance with Jonathan Burbank; and Eurythmy (a form of modern dance founded by Rudolf Steiner) with both Akira Kasai and with Jolanda Frischknecht at Austin Eurythmy Ensemble. He was also trained in Mime, Laban Movements Analysis (Bill Evans and Kista Tucker), Bartenieff Fundamental (Bill Evans and Don Halquis), Alexander Technique (Suzanne Oliver), Qigong, Tai Chi, and various other forms of martial arts. While teaching Tai Chi, Qigong, and dance therapy at various studios in WV, MD, and NY, he also performs originally choreographed interpretive dance repertories by integrating all the movement arts he had learned. He was a commissioned artist at Dayton Performance Art Festival in 2008 and was also recently selected as a solo dancer/choreographer for the adjudicated performance series at Judson Church through Movement Research in NY. Tadashi started teaching at Morgantown Dance Studio in 2004 and he also serves as a faculty member at Fairmont State University WV. He also directs the Tadashi Project that produces benefit-oriented dance theater through M.T.Pockets Theatre in Morgantown, WV.
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Kiesha Lalama

Kiesha LalamaChoreographer and Educator, Kiesha Lalama has created more than 40 works today. Most recently, Kiesha choreographed for the film, Perks of Being a WallflowerAll Shook Up for North Shore Music Theatre, the National High School Musical Theater Awards on Broadway featured on the hit PBS series Broadway or Bust, “Shed” for DCDC, “Alegria” for Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, “Torque” for the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble and A Grand Night For Singing and Ruthless! The Musical for the Pittsburgh CLO Cabaret Theater.  Her conceived and choreographed full-length dance theatre production “The Bench,” received rave reviews and was honored to make it to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s “Best of Dance” Top Ten list in both 2009 and 2010.  The Bench is currently in the development stages for commercial audiences. Lalama has created works for companies such as Ballet Arkansas, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Jazz Dance World Congress, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, the Youth American Grand Prix, Kansas City Starlight Theatre and the film Sorority Row. In 2009, Kiesha Lalama was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” and has been awarded a Leo’s Award for choreography at the Jazz Dance World Congress.  The Youth American Grand Prix has twice named Lalama to the coveted “Top 12” and honored her with the Outstanding Choreography Award. As an educator, Kiesha serves as the Education Director for the Pittsburgh CLO and an Associate Professor in the Point Park University Dance Department. She has taught master classes and workshops for Cirque Du Soleil, DCDC, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Oakland University, Carnegie Mellon University, Wright State University, Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet, Booker T. Washington H.S. for the Performing and Visual Arts, and Dance Educators of America. Kiesha Lalama graduated with an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and has her BA in Dance from Point Park University.

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Donald Laney

Donald LaneyDonald Laney graduated from the University of California, Irvine with his MFA in dance in 2004. He is currently the Rehearsal/Co-Director of the West Virginia Dance Company. Before entering the graduate progam at UCI, Donald performed with the West Virginia Dance Company, Houlihan & Dancers (Miami, FL), Randy James Dance Worx (NYC), X-Factor (NC), and many guest appearances throughout the Mid-Atlantic states. While attending UCI, he had the opportunity to perform for Donald McKayle, Loretta Livingston, Lisa Naugle, and Christine Chrest, as well as presenting his own choreography which was chosen to represent UCI at ACDFA in 2003 and 2004. Donald’s work with Lisa Naugle and John Crawford has produced three dance videos that have been presented at the Lincoln Center and in dance video conferences in Yugoslavia, Japan, New Jersey, Michigan, Arizona, and at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. Donald has taught at James Madison University, UCI, Lees-McRae College, ACDFA-Southwest region, and at many regionally events. He has been the modern dance instructor at the WV Governor’s School of the Arts since 2005.
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Maureen Mansfield Kaddar

MaureenMansfieldKaddarMaureen Mansfield Kaddar is a dancer and educator originally from East Rockaway, New York. She holds a BFA, with honors, from Adelphi University and is slated to finish her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Spring 2015. A Paul Taylor Dance Company member from 1998-2003, Maureen now has the distinguished pleasure of setting Paul Taylor’s work on companies and universities and can be seen as a featured cast member in Dancemaker, the Oscar-nominated film about Taylor. She has also performed with the companies of Peter Pucci, Rebecca Kelly and Rebecca Stenn. She has taught dance and choreographed, nationally and abroad, as a guest artist at many university and college programs, including serving as Interim Director for Vassar College’s student dance company. Passionate about the power of learning and building connections through movement, Maureen enjoyed teaching Arts Integration in the public schools of Morgantown through a WV state grant. Currently she serves as an adjunct instructor of dance and yoga at West Virginia University and teaches private yoga and Anti-Gravity Yoga© classes as well. She is delighted to be a guest teacher with Morgantown Dance since moving to West Virginia from New York with her family in 2010. Working with children and adults, Maureen loves sharing the benefits of yoga and dance practices with all of her students.
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Tino Sauter

Tino Sauterbiography coming soon


Cecil Slaughter

cecil.slaughterCecil Slaughter, Artistic Director of the Project, is a Senior Lecturer in dance at Washington University and Artistic Director of Washington University Dance Theatre. He was a featured dancer with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company under the direction of Jearldyne Blunden for fourteen years. While at DCDC he served as the Assistant Rehearsal Coach. During his career he has worked with such notable choreographers as Alvin Ailey, Ulysses Dove, Talley Beatty, Doug Varone, Donald McKayle and a host of others considered masters in the field of modern dance. His choreographic accomplishments include collaboration between the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (Dayton, Ohio), and the Grammy Award winning vocal group, Sweet Honey on the Rock, on the premiere of his 1993 work Colours.
He has received several accolades for dance and choreography including an Individual Artist Fellowship for Choreography from the Montgomery County Regional Arts and Cultural District (Dayton, OH), and a Patricia Roberts-Harris Fellowship from the University of Iowa (1995), where he received a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Dance and Choreography. His classes at Washington University include all levels of jazz and modern (Horton Technique). He has created works for COCA dance, Ballet Midwest, MADCO and several other professional, university, and studio companies. His most recent work GRID was selected to represent the American College Dance Conference’s Central Region at the National American College Dance Conference in New York.

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Lauren Slone

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