Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff2018-07-24T19:58:12+00:00

Leadership Team

Elizabeth Odell Catlett
Elizabeth Odell CatlettArtistic Director

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Ms. Catlett began her dance training with the University of Louisville Dance Academy under Charles Bronson and Cynthia Bronner. Her passion for teaching and choreographing led her to Radford University where she earned a B.S. in Dance Education. Ms. Catlett has performed classical roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Les Sylphides, Raymonda, and Les Corsaires. Ms. Catlett is currently a company member and guest choreographer for DanceEthos, a D.C. based modern dance company. Ms. Catlett has been responsible for the artistic direction at Metropolitan Ballet Theatre since spring 2012. In addition to directing The Nutcracker each season, she has since produced original ballets such as Snow White and Thumbelina, and revived Sleeping Beauty in two acts. In 2016, Ms. Catlett co-wrote, choreographed and staged an original fairytale ballet – Becoming Sugar Plum. She directs and choreographs for the Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble as well, the most recent works being Stories of Dr. Seuss, which premiered in October 2015 and “Shel” We Dance which will premiere at MBT in January 2017.

Paula Ross
Paula RossExecutive Director

Ms. Ross came to Metropolitan Ballet in 2012 as an expert in strategic communications and marketing, with a critical understanding of business planning and years of professional experience. Prior to assuming the Executive Director role, she served as MBT’s Director of Development & Marketing and was responsible for leading MBT’s 2014 relocation project and Capital Campaign. Prior to joining MBT, Ms. Ross built a successful communications consulting practice, serving the diverse strategic communications needs of her clients, which ranged from small retailers and nonprofits to Fortune 50 companies, in subject matters ranging from general sales and marketing, to fundraising, to environmental needs. She is a graduate of the Leadership Montgomery Class of 2014 and a 2014 recipient of a County Executive’s Award for Excellence in the Arts & Humanities. Ms. Ross wholly believes in giving back to the community and is an avid volunteer for other nonprofits as well, serving as President of the Board of the PTA at her childrens’ school, and volunteering for other organizations such as the Kentlands Community Foundation, Montgomery County Swim League, and Children’s National Hospital. Ms. Ross also currently is a member of Board of Directors at the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, for which she chairs the nonprofit sector group.

Staff & Faculty

Katerina Rodgaard
Katerina RodgaardAssistant Artistic Director

Katerina Rodgaard is originally from Maryland. She began her training with Irena Prochotsky and Daweh Zhang and also at the North Carolina School of the Arts. She continued her training on scholarship at Point Park University where she received her BA in Dance with a concentration in Ballet. At Point Park she performed in many ballets to include Pequita, Carmen, The Merry Widow, Don Quixote and The Night Before Christmas. Katerina danced professionally with the River North Chicago Dance Company, Cerqua/Rivera Art Experience, Tony Powell Music & Movement, Bowen/McCauley Dance, DanceSmith, and Dakshina/Daniel Phoenix Singh & Company. She has worked with members of the Athens Opera Ballet in Greece, performed on tour in China with the Washington Potomac Dance Ensemble, and has studied extensively with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Parsons Dance company in New York. In 1999, Rodgaard produced, choreographed, and directed The Kopsidas Project at the Jack Guidone Theater. In 2002 she performed on National TV for the Kennedy Center Honors Program in a Broadway tribute to Chita Rivera. Katerina has served as rehearsal director for Citydance 2 and has been a guest choreographer with DancEthos and many local schools and companies. She has taught master technique classes in the local area and abroad, most recently in Kazakhstan. Also a licensed attorney, Katerina has practiced real estate law and has worked for a national nonprofit organization doing legislative law. She enjoys her lifelong passion of dance the most and she currently continues to choreograph, teach, and direct in the DC metropolitan area.

Michelle Bettin
Michelle BettinAcademy Director - Clarksburg

Michelle Bettin, born and raised in Baltimore, received her training from Maryland Ballet Theatre, Georgetown School of Ballet, and Kintz-Mejia Academy of Ballet.

At nineteen, Michelle was a semi-finalist in the XII International Ballet Competition, Trujillo, Peru. She later returned that year to teach American jazz dance in Lima, and Arequipa, Peru.

After receiving her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Towson University, Michelle danced professionally with Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Columbus Dance Theatre, Manassass Ballet Theatre, Ballet Teatro Internacional, and RVA Dance Collective.

Apart from dancing, Michelle has been on faculty with The Washington School of Ballet, Stageworkz Theatre Arts Project, Westend Academy of Dance, Joy of Motion, and Maryland Youth Ballet. Michelle was a guest instructor with MBT before joining the faculty.

Having held a certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Michelle is able to teach exercises and stretches to prevent injury and promote the best dancer her students can be.

Brenda Lipowsky
Brenda LipowskyBusiness & Communications Manager

Ms. Lipowsky has a marketing degree from American University. Before joining MBT, she worked at the Potomac Butter and Egg Company for 23 years in sales, customer service, advertising, accounts payable and accounts receivable. Ms. Lipowsky is a former MBT board Vice President and President and joined the staff as Administrator in 2005.

Erin Rochow
Erin RochowAcademy Program Manager, Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble

Erin Rochow graduated magna cum laude from Elon University receiving her B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography and a minor in Communications. Before joining the MBT team in 2014, Erin was the Ballet Department Director at Ballet Petite and Youth Performing Arts School. She held an internship at the Boston Ballet School and completed the work study program at CityDance in Rockville. Erin has danced professionally with North Carolina companies and choreographers TERRANOVA Dance Theatre, Natalie Marrone and The Dance Cure, and Chris Burnside. Since moving to the DC metro area in 2012, she has performed with Ballet ADI, Moveius Contemporary Ballet, DancEthos, and choreographers Eleni Grove and Matina Phillips. Erin is currently a member of Company Danzante and the Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble.

Kyrstin Billups
Kyrstin BillupsProgram Assistant

Kyrstin grew up in Richmond, VA, where she began her love of the arts. Growing up, piano was a big piece of her life and she competed in multiple competitions hosted at the University of Richmond. As a young girl she loved dance, especially the art of Ballet, but did not officially start her training until attending Sweet Briar College. After transferring to Randolph College, she danced at The Dance Company studio in Lynchburg, VA and the Shenandoah Academy of Dance in Buena Vista, VA. She received her bachelors degree in Biology with a Chemistry minor. Kyrstin and her husband recently moved to Maryland for his military assignment. She is pursuing a career in dance and has most recently danced with Connect the Dots Dance company. In addition to helping our families in the office at MBT’s Academy, Kyrstin also teaches young dancers at our off-site class locations.

Jonathan 'Nino' Brown
Jonathan 'Nino' BrownFaculty

Originally from Baltimore, Nino started dancing in 2003. Labeled as a street dancer but not limited to, he trained in various styles of Hip-Hop. In 2006 he began his Dance career and had his first official battle at the Sky Lounge. By becoming a part of such a diverse dance community, this ignited his passion for dance and competition. In 2008 he began training in Krump and Break dancing. In 2010 he was inducted into DVC, formally known as The Deadly Venoms Crew. In 2011 he competed in numerous All-Styles and Top Rock battles and was also the featured dancer in a music video. In 2013 he was a showcase street performer in the production “Working America” and later that year went on to perform on his biggest stage yet, WDSF World games 2013 Kaohsiung (World Dance Sport Federation). He was a part of the US lead HipHop team. Most recently he performed for an audience made up of many of his peers along with onlookers that love the art for its raw form at the JoJo Diggs event Diggs Deeper. He is now a HipHop and Break dance instructor/ choreographer and leading the Allstyles division of his crew DVC known as “Venom Soul” along with expanding his groundbreaking Fitness program FitHop.

Rachel Coyle
Rachel CoyleFaculty

Rachel Coyle is originally from Boston, MA. She began her dance training under the direction of Denise Cecere and Sandra McNaught at the Northeast School of Ballet (formally Sandra Marie’s School of Ballet). After moving to Maryland, she studied at Metropolitan Ballet Theatre & Academy with founder Suzanne Erlon. Since becoming an instructor at MBT in 2009, Rachel has performed in MBT’s productions of Alice’s Wonderland (Queen of Hearts) and The Nutcracker (Arabian, Flowers, Marzipan, Snow, and Spanish). A former preschool teacher, Rachel holds an MA from Hood College in Frederick, MD, and works in Education Studies at Westat. Rachel also teaches in MBT’s dance program at Temple Beth Ami Nursery School.

Jennifer Hausdorfer
Jennifer HausdorferFaculty, Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble

Jennifer received her training at the Lafayette Ballet School in Lafayette, IN and subsequently became a member of the Lafayette Ballet Company. There, she originated many roles in contemporary ballets by Sandra Peticolas and performed soloist roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Paquita, Don Quixote, and La Bayadere, as well as the Dying Swan. She attended summer intensives at Ballet Internationale, The Rock School, and American Ballet Theatre. After graduating in 2008 she performed and taught at the Lafayette Ballet School, while studying at the Herron School of Art and Design, where she earned a BFA in photography in 2012. Since moving to the DC area, she has performed works by Katie Vaught and danced with the Classical Repertory Dance Theatre, Moveius Contemporary Ballet, and Misako Ballet Company. She has also had the privilege to work with choreographers such as Emery LeCrone, Constantine Baecher, Christopher Huggins, Olivia Sabee and Michael Smith. She is currently a member of The Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble and frequently performs as a guest artist in MBT’s annual ballet productions. She has taught Ballet and Character dance at many schools in the DMV area including the Kirov Academy, Georgetown University, Maryland School of Dance, Design in Motion, and MBT. Jennifer also works as a freelance photographer and costume consultant/designer. She has created many costumes for MBT, as well as Moveius Contemporary Ballet, Maryland School of Dance, and individual clients.

Erica Molina Hudak
Erica Molina HudakFaculty

Erica Molina Hudak was born and raised in the DC Metropolitan area. She studied dance at Maryland Youth Ballet and Washington School of Ballet and also has a strong foundation in modern, jazz, tap, flamenco and hip hop. As a young student, she danced at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House, with the American Ballet Theatre in their production of The Nutcracker and La Corsaire. She also performed with the Universal Ballet of Korea in their production of La Bayadere.

She attended University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she was a contemporary major. While there she performed with Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, Merce Cunningham Dance Company and with The Límon Dance Company. She pursued a professional career as a dancer after college in DC, where she joined DancEthos, as an original company member. Erica discovered her passion for teaching and choreographing at a young age. She has taught and choreographed at The Loudoun School of Ballet and BalletNova and currently teaches and choreographs at several DC-area studios. Erica is pleased to be joining the faculty at MBT.

Courtney Jefferies
Courtney JefferiesFaculty, Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble

Courtney Jefferies is a Maryland native and has over 17 years of dance training in ballet, modern, and contemporary. She began her dance training under Lynn Welters in Washington DC. Courtney furthered her dance studies at Metropolitan Ballet Theatre and The Madeira School, where she studied ballet, jazz, modern and other dance forms. She has had the privilege of attending summer intensives including the program with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in New York City. In 2017, Courtney received her Bachelor of Arts in Romance Languages and Literatures from Bowdoin College. Her academic pursuits took her to Paris, France where she continued her ballet and contemporary dance studies. Returning to the United States, she lead Bowdoin’s student-run classical ballet dance company for which she worked as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Courtney has since returned to Maryland where she will continue performing and teaching dance. This season Courtney will be dancing with Gin Dance Company and will begin her first season with the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre Ensemble.
Photo credit: Savannah Simmons-Grover

Rachel Knudson
Rachel KnudsonFaculty

Rachel Knudson teaches ballet, modern dance and creative dance. She holds a Master’s Degree in Dance Education from George Washington University and a Maryland Educator Certificate, Pre-K-12. She has taught and performed in the Washington, D.C. area for over 20 years.

Ms. Knudson is also a Wolf Trap Master Teaching Artist. In this capacity, she develops and leads workshops throughout the US and abroad for early childhood educators that provide strategies for integrating dance with early childhood STEM curriculum, and conducts residencies in Pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms.

Ms. Knudson danced professionally with Pacific Northwest Ballet and studied modern dance at Jacob’s Pillow and the American Dance Festival. She also attended the Teacher’s Institute at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle, Washington and most recently participated in Teaching Contemporary Limon, a workshop for teachers held at NYU in New York City. Ms. Knudson also teaches in MBT’s dance program at Temple Beth Ami Nursery School.

Shady Mohamed
Shady MohamedFaculty

Shady Mohamed is a native of Egypt and has lived in the Northern Virginia area since 2013. From 2004 to 2013, Shady performed as a dance soloist and principal dancer with the Cairo Opera ballet in Egypt,and from 2013 perform as principle dancer with Charlottesville ballet,TDC and perform most of the classical repertoire and guesting everywhere in world such as: France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Mexico, Canada, and in the U.S. His background and focus on dance instruction led him to receive his Bachelor of Art in Choreography and Dance Direction from the Academy of Art in Egypt. Besides his experience with the Cairo Opera, he is a dance instructor for ballet, pas de deux, character, modern, and hip hop with the Charlottesville Ballet Academy, Kintez&Mejia ballet Academy. Shady won first place in the Egyptian National Ballet Competition in 2010 from the Egyptian Ministry of Culture. He has also worked as a choreographer with Theatre du Vieux Moulin in Meythet, France from 2009 to 2011.

Anneliese Parisi
Anneliese ParisiFaculty

Anneliese began studying ballet locally at The Ballet Academy of Beltsville. She continued her training at Suitland High School for the Visual and Performing Arts. While there, Anneliese was introduced to Horton, Graham, Jazz, and African techniques. Mrs. Parisi would later study all of these techniques with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. She graduated from The University of the Arts with a BFA in Ballet Performance. Anneliese has performed with Danco2 (Second Company of Philadanco), Ballet Theatre of Maryland, The Washington Reflections Dance Company, El Teatro De Danza Contemporanea De El Salvador, and Contradiction Dance. She has had the pleasure of working with artists such as Brian Sanders, Fernando Bujones, Christopher Huggins, Juan Carlos Rincones, and Keith Lee.

Julia Smith
Julia SmithFaculty

Julia Smith was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, and grew up playing in and around her father’s Biochemistry lab at the American University of Beirut. Her mother taught Theater and Communications at the Beirut College for Women (now the Lebanese American University), while also directing a children’s theater company at the American Repertory Theater of Beirut. Her first ballet class was at the age of three with Margaret Haddad, a British ballerina expatriate. After moving state side, Julia attended the Pennsylvania Ballet School (The Rock School) where she received the bulk of her ballet training with Lupe Serrano and the ballet masters at the Pennsylvania Ballet. She received a Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship from the University of Maryland where she earned her BA in Dance. She received her MFA from the University of Maryland in 2016. Julia has been teaching and performing for the past 25 years in the Washington DC metropolitan area. She has danced for Alvin Mayes, Anne Warren, Alcine Wiltz, Word Dance Theater, Tango Mercurio, DanceSmith, Tommy Parlon Dance Projects, Gesel Mason, Boris Willis, Pam England, CityDance Ensemble, DC Dance Theater (Rincones and Company), Bowen McCauley Dance, Daniel Singh, and Tony Powell Music and Movement. Julia’s choreography has been performed at Dance Place, The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Currently, Julia is Assistant Professor of Dance at Anne Arundel Community College. She is delighted to be joining the faculty at MBT.

Dmitriy Vistoropskiy
Dmitriy VistoropskiyFaculty

Born in Kazakhstan, Dmitriy received his early training at the A. Seleznev School of Ballet and Choreography in Almaty. After graduating, he joined the corps of the National Opera and Ballet in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. He went on to dance as a soloist for the Russian National Ballet touring Russia, Asia, Europe, Australia and the United States. Dmitriy performs as a guest artist in principal roles throughout the United States. He has choreographed several original pieces for local dance schools and companies. Dmitriy is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. He also holds a bachelors degree in teaching and choreography from the State Pedagogical University in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Accompanists

Dilya Stepanova

Grace Kulvatunyou

Student Interns

Genevieve, Jennifer & Julia

MBT’s student interns can be found most every day assisting with everything from front office tasks to box office tasks, maintaining the studios and helping with programs for younger students. These upper level ballet students are learning hands-on about arts administration; please visit them with inquiries regarding tickets, tuition and MBT’s programs.  They can help you! Genevieve (Quince Orchard HS, Level 9 at MBT) will graduate in 2018, Jennifer (Damascus HS, MBT Level 9) and Julia (Winston Churchill HS, MBT Level 9) will graduate in 2019.

Guest Faculty

Matthew Bennett
Matthew BennettGuest Faculty

Matthew grew up in the D.C. area and was very active in the arts, performing as a high school student at the Imagination Stage, The Kennedy Center, The White House, and The National Theater with productions from The Young Americans of Washington, The Musical Theater Center and Bethesda Academy of the Performing Arts. He began his dance training with Helen Hayes at Joy of Motion Dance Center before moving to New York City in 2001 to attend NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he was awarded a BFA in Dance and Creative Writing with minor in Musical Theatre. While at NYU, Matthew was privileged to be involved in many productions, both on stage and also exploring directing and choreography, and working with such legends as Bill Cosby, Chita Rivera, Ann Reinking, Alix Korey, and Kathleen Turner to name a few. Shifting towards contemporary and classical dance after college, Matthew joined the scholarship program at Steps on Broadway in 2006, where he was able to train with remarkable teachers including Jana Hicks, David Howard, Kevin Wynn, Max Stone, Lisa Lockwood, Milton Meyers, Robert Battle, and Jason Parsons. Matthew was a member of The Next Stage Project, a contemporary dance company directed by Jana Hicks and Marijke Eliasberg beginning in 2007 and has performed with them at New York’s City Center, Lincoln Center Lab, the River to River Arts Festival and Dance New Amsterdam. Matthew is currently on the faculty of Joy of Motion Dance Center as well as the acting Artistic Director of Off Broadway School of Dance.

Alison Crosby
Alison CrosbyGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Alison Crosby began her training and graduated from the Maryland Youth Ballet, continuing in NYC at the Joffrey Ballet School. Her professional career spans classical ballet to musical theater. Locally she has danced with Eric Hampton Dance, Rincones and Company, Dancesmith, nms, and Karen Reedy Dance. Ms. Crosby is a founding member of Bowen McCauley Dance with whom she still performs and is a rehearsal assistant. She has taught dance throughout the metropolitan area for over 20 years.

Shu-Chen Cuff
Shu-Chen CuffGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Shu-Chen Cuff was born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan where she established a well-rounded background in dance with training in Ballet, Modern, Chinese Opera movements, and various Chinese folk dances. She immigrated to the United States to continue her training and pursue her dance journey. Shu-Chen received a B.F.A. from the University of Florida’s New World School where she graduated with honors on the Dean’s list. Shu-Chen performed numerous classical and contemporary works while dancing with the Miami Ballet and Nevada Ballet Theater. After relocating to the Washington, DC area in 2002, Shu-Chen worked with Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company and has left her footprints around the world, touring to Asia, Central America, and Europe. Shu-Chen has also performed at the International Dance Festival in Japan, Malaysia, and Taiwan.

Jayson Douglas
Jayson DouglasGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Jayson Douglas is a professional dancer with Bowen McCauley Dance company based in the Washington D.C Metro area. Mr. Douglas has also performed with Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre in Boston, MA and Company C Contemporary Ballet in San Francisco, CA. Mr. Douglas has a B.A. in Ballet Performance from Point Park University.

Elizabeth Gaither
Elizabeth GaitherGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Elizabeth Gaither has had a 22 year career as a professional ballerina. She joined Houston Ballet Company at the age of 15, and danced with them for five seasons. She was a finalist in the 1990 Jackson International Ballet Competition and placed fourth in the world in the junior division at age 16; she then won the Amilita Hoffman Award. For nine seasons she danced with American Ballet Theatre, and danced for eight seasons as a principal dancer at TWB.

Kourtney Ginn
Kourtney GinnGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018, Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble

Kourtney Ginn is a dance artist, educator, administrator, and advocate. A native of Winchester, VA, she received her early training from Vostrikov’s Academy of Ballet and summer programs at places such as Richmond Ballet and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Ginn graduated cum laude from Bucknell University with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Dance, and choreographed three original works and performed pieces by Salim Gauwloos, Tara Madsen, Matthew Neenan, and John Lehrer during her four years in the Bucknell Dance Company.
Ginn’s career in the professional dance field has been multifaceted. She has taught dance at American Dance Institute, Adventure-Theatre MTC, John Kerr Elementary School, Lewisburg Arts Festival, Move This World, and Vostrikov’s Academy of Ballet. Ginn has performed with Beth Elliot Dance Group, DC Contemporary Dance Theater, Karen Reedy Dance, NetCo Dance Company, and Washington Reflections Dance Company. Most recently, Ginn worked for Dance/USA, a national dance service organization, first as Development Associate and later as Director of Programs.
She currently performs with Dancethos and Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble, and as a guest artist with Company E which included traveling with the company on tour to Kazakhstan and Cuba in 2016. She also holds a 200 hour registered yoga certification and enjoys practicing and teaching yoga.

Jaylon Givan
Jaylon GivanGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Jaylon Givan is a current senior artist at Dissonance Dance Theatre and native from Birmingham, Alabama. Mr. Givan is a part of the first class to graduate from Alabama State University’s BFA Dance Program. Since college, he has studied Ballet, Jazz, African, Hip Hop, and Modern techniques (mostly Horton). Some of Jaylon’s training experiences has been with the Atlanta Dance Connection, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Kansas City Ballet. He has worked with Montgomery Ballet performing Arabian in the Nutcracker, and has also performed with The Dance Company Experience for their premiere company showcase. Jaylon’s career convincing moment was being chosen as a freshman to represent his school and the southern region at ACDFA Nationals in Washington D.C. held at the Kennedy Center.

Samantha Greymont
Samantha GreymontGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Samantha Greymont was born and raised in Needham, Massachusetts, where she began her dance training under the direction of Paulette Harwood. She continued her training at The Ailey School in New York City as a student in the pre-professional division, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College with a concentration in Modern Dance.
While living in New York City Samantha performed with Arch Contemporary Ballet in venues across the country including the Ailey Citigroup Theater, Paramount Center Boston, and Tempe Center for the Arts. She has also performed works by Trisha Brown as a part of the Dance/Draw Exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, and Jiwon Lee as a part of Freddie Moore’s Restoring the Dance at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Samantha has taught at several institutions in the D.C. area including BalletNova Center for Dance, Bowen McCauley Dance, Jane Franklin Dance, and Metropolitan Ballet Theatre. She has performed with local companies Gin Dance Company, Karen Reedy Dance, DancEthos, and DanceArtTheater.

Gabriel Gutierrez
Gabriel GutierrezGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Gabriel Gutierrez, informally known as Captain Puerto Rico in the dance/music industry, is originally from the Bronx, NY. He has been dancing for 16 years in various dance styles such as Breaking (Breakdancing), Popping, Hip Hop, House and Locking. He is also a member and official DJ of the dance company B More Houseful. His experience goes as far as learning straight from the pioneers of each style at a young age all the way to performing for various Hip Hop artists such as Common, Ludacris, T-Pain, Cassie, KRS-One, Grandmaster Flash, and The Jungle Brothers. As well as being a dancer, choreographer, and DJ, Gabriel Gutierrez is a music producer.

Melissa Lineburg
Melissa LineburgGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018, Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble

Melissa Lineburg, a professional ballet dancer in Washington, DC, is a Master’s of Science: Nutrition student at the University of Bridgeport. She earned her BFA in Dance Performance: Ballet Technique and a Business Administration minor from Radford University in 2011 and is dedicated to supporting the arts, specifically dance and its artists, through her work both on- and off-stage. Melissa currently works and performs with Misako Ballet Company, Agora Dance, Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble, and Connect the Dots Dance Company. Off stage, she is the Database Manager at Dance/USA. Upon obtaining her 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher Certification in 2016, Melissa’s interest in a dancer’s physical and nutritional well-being sky-rocketed and she returned to school at the University of the District of Columbia with a focus in nutrition before deciding that graduate school was her next step.

Chivas Merchant-Buckman
Chivas Merchant-BuckmanGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Chivas Merchant-Buckman, a native of Washington, DC graduated from Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He then received his BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College where he worked with choreographers such as Robert Battle, Jiri Kylian, Chris D’ Ambroise, Jose Limon, Sean Curran, and Donald Byrd. Previous companies that Merchant-Buckman has worked with are Eisenhower Dance Ensemble (Detroit, MI), Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (Denver, CO), Dallas Black Dance Theatre (Dallas, TX), Elisa Monte Monte Dance (New York, NY), and guested with The Big Muddy Dance Company (St. Louis, MO) and Dance St. Louis. His musical theater credits include Petrouchka in The New York Musical Festival and The Wiz with The St Louis Black Repertory. Teaching credits include Grand Center Arts Academy, Belleville School of Ballet, Belleville Elite Dance Academy, Allegheny Ballet, Stompin Beatz Professional Dance Company, First Class Dance Studio and Joy of Motion.

Stephen Nakagawa
Stephen NakagawaGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Stephen Nakagawa of Fontana, California began his training at the Academy of Russian Classical Ballet and later studied at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Kirov Academy of Ballet and South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. Before joining The Washington Ballet as a trainee in 2015, Nakagawa was a member of Ballet West Second Company from 2013 through 2015.
In 2012 and 2013, Stephen Nakagawa was a finalist in the Youth American Grand Prix Competition in New York under the coaching of Stanislav Issaev. Nakagawa has spent his summers training with Victor and Tatiana Kasatsky Classical Ballet Academy, Miami City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin. Stephen is excited to continue gaining knowledge from his mentors as a Studio Company member with the Washington Ballet.

Aleksandra Ordoñez
Aleksandra OrdoñezGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

A native of Washington DC, Aleksandra began her training with Hortensia Fonseca at the Maryland Youth Ballet and went on to New Jersey to study with Susan Jaffe and Risa Kaplowitz at Princeton Dance and Theater Studio. She received additional training at Boston Ballet, Orlando Ballet, and Corella Ballet in Spain. She has appeared as a guest artist performing principal roles with local companies. An accomplished choreographer, Aleksandra was invited in 2011 to attend the inaugural Choreographic Workshop hosted by Boston Ballet and led by Helen Pickett. Aleksandra has staged and choreographed dances from Giselle, The Nutcracker, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as created several original works for schools and companies throughout the United States. Aleksandra is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She has also trained in the Bowen McCauley Stretch™ method and is a Certified Barre Body® Instructor.

Felipe Oyarzun Moltedo
Felipe Oyarzun MoltedoGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Felipe Oyarzun Moltedo (Dancer and Educational Principal) is in his sixth season with Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company. Mr. Moltedo is from Santiago, Chile. He began dancing at the age of 12 and has since received several awards and distinctions, among others, Chile’s Best Dancer Inter-American Circle of Dance Professionals Award. In Santiago, Mr. Moltedo ran his own company, which led to multiple national and international tours. He holds a B.F.A. in dance, an M.A. in dance education with honors from the University of Chile, and an M.F.A. in dance from The George Washington University Department of Theater and Dance. Currently, Mr. Moltedo is the lower middle school dance program director at Georgetown Day School.

Flourian Rouiller
Flourian RouillerGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Florian Rouiller is a dance teacher, choreographer and performer who received a BFA from the John Cranko School in Stuttgart, and performed with the Stuttgart Ballet in Sleeping Beauty,and Giselle. Upon immigrating to the U.S., he danced with Merce Cunningham Dance Company as an apprentice, and Ohio Ballet, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Ballet International Eldar Aliev, Ballet Metropolitano de Caracas and Ballet Contemporanea de Caracas in Venezuela, as well as with Goteborg Ballet where he performed principal and soloist roles. Rouiller has an MFA in Dance from the University of Maryland, and has choreographed and performed in the original productions Profondeur Inconnue and Wave. Rouiller is also the recipient of choreographic prizes at YAGP and Korean National Competition. He is featured in Lois Greenfield’s book “Moving Still” NY. He was a guest teacher at the Kirov Academy in DC Summer Programs in 2005, 2008 and 2015, and served as a visiting artist at UMBC in the Fall of 2013; he also taught at TWSB in 2006 and 2017. Rouiller teaches and choreographs in the DC metropolitan area at UMBC, Baltimore School for the Arts and City Dance Conservatory in DC.

Margaret Russell
Margaret RussellGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Margaret Russell’s professional experience includes principal and soloist roles with Manassas Ballet Theatre and Ballet Theatre of Maryland. Her roles with MBT, under the direction of Amy Grant Wolfe, include Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Queen of the Dryads in Don Quixote, and Katrina in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, in addition to soloist roles in Les Sylphides and The Sleeping Beauty. Her roles with BTM, under the direction of Dianna Cuatto, include Dew Drop and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Cinderella in Cinderella, Odette in Swan Lake, and Dawn in Coppelia. While at BTM, Margaret was also appointed Ballet Mistress for the company.
She began her training with the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia under the direction of Lisa Sheppard. She has studied with Orlando Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet Austin, and Burklyn Ballet Theatre. Margaret performed in Austria at the Tanzsommer Festival with the Gwinnett Ballet Theatre and in Scotland at the Fringe Festival with the Burklyn Ballet Theatre.
Margaret has been teaching in Maryland and Virginia for the past ten years. She has choreographed neoclassical pieces for Manassas Ballet Theatre as well as contemporary pieces for her students who have attended the Youth American Grand Prix. Margaret is currently completing a degree in dance education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Katie Smith
Katie SmithGuest Faculty

Katie began dancing at the age of 5. Her training was with Ann Brodie in Columbia, SC as a scholarship student. She later joined Columbia City Ballet as its youngest member. After moving to Greenville, SC, Katie continued her training with Greenville Ballet where she performed as a soloist in The Nutcracker. She also performed at the SERBA festival in Montgomery, Alabama and in Greenville and Charleston, SC as a part of the Spoleto Festival. Katie continued her ballet training at the Boston Ballet School as a scholarship student and the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. She has also taken classes and danced for David Howard, Maya Plisetskaya, Edward Villella, Suki Schorer, Antonia Tumkovsky, Elise Reiman, Andre Kramerevsky, and Radenko Pavlovich. Katie has most recently performed as a soloist for International Ballet in Greenville, SC as Manu in Le Bayadere, the Hungarian in Swan Lake, Doll and Chinese in Nutcracker, Aurora from Sleeping Beauty and in Francesca de Rimini. Katie earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education from Clemson University, Clemson, SC. While at Clemson she also taught, choreographed and danced with the Clemson Dancers Organization. She has taught for the International Ballet Academy and served as Co-Owner/Artistic Director of Studio A Performing Arts Company, both in Greenville, SC instructing all levels of ballet. She also served as a teacher and judge for Dance Masters of America.

Rick Westerkamp
Rick WesterkampGuest Faculty

Rick Westerkamp is an actor-singer-dancer hailing from New Jersey, and has been dancing most of his life. Rick holds a BA with departmental honors in Theatre and Dance from The George Washington University. Rick has danced as a company member with DancEthos, darlingdance company, Next Reflex Dance Collective, and UnevEnlane, and is the Middle School Drama Teacher/Director at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. Rick is a Helen Hayes-nominated actor, and he has performed with Adventure Theatre-MTC, The Hub Theatre, Imagination Stage, InterAct Story Theatre, Landless Theatre Company, Monumental Theatre Company, Red Branch Theatre Company, and Studio Theatre. This fall, Rick can be seen in Constellation Theatre Company’s production of Urinetown.

Kristina Windom
Kristina WindomGuest Faculty, Summer Intensive 2018

Kristina Windom trained with Mary Day, Robert Steele, Julio de Bittencourt, Patricia Berrend, and Suzanne Erlon, at The Washington School of Ballet. After graduation, she was selected for the company, The Washington Ballet, when under the artistic direction of Choo San Goh. She performed repertory by many choreographers including Mr. Goh, George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Judith Jamison, Michael Smuin and Fernand Nault. Windom joined the Cleveland Ballet and expanded her repertory to include works by Dennis Nahat, Flemming Flindt and Kurt Jooss. She then danced professionally for Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, Eric Hampton Dance and Washington Opera Ballet. Ms. Windom has a Master’s Degree in fine arts from the School of Dance at George Mason University and has taught for the last nine years as an adjunct professor at George Mason. She continues her studies with Irene Dowd, whose knowledge of anatomy, movement, and somatic principles has shaped Windom’s pedagogy. A sought-after teacher, coach, and mentor, Kristina Windom is valued for her ability to refine students’ training and to develop their artistry. She has coached many students who have received awards from Youth America Grand Prix and other national and international competitions. When her schedule permits, Ms. Windom guest teaches around the country. She continues to mentor past and present alumni who pursue professional careers with other companies or who enroll in prestigious university degree programs.

Founder

Suzanne Erlon
Suzanne ErlonFounder

Ms. Erlon began her career in 1960 as a ballerina, choreographer, and teacher. As a 10-year member of the New York City Ballet, from 1964 to 1973, Ms. Erlon worked with George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Anthony Tudor, and others in more than 100 ballets, including many premiers such as Balanchine’s Stravinsky Festival. After one season with Eliot Feld, Ms. Erlon joined Ballet West as a principal dancer in 1974, working with Willam F. Christensen, Bruce Marks, Toni Lander and Bill Evans. Ms. Erlon also performed as a guest artist with several western ballet companies in Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Idaho. In 1982, Ms. Erlon co-founded the Christensen Ballet Academy in Salt Lake City. Moving to the Washington, D.C. area in 1985, Ms. Erlon taught for four years at the Washington School of Ballet and in 1989 formed Metropolitan Ballet Theatre. Her interest in choreography began while she was in Salt Lake City, creating works for Ballet West and the University of Utah. Ms. Erlon choreographed over twenty ballets for MBT during her years here, including The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Cinderella, Swan Lake (Act II) and many others.