This perennial favorite has brought its own special magic to the
Premiering in 1892, The Nutcracker has since become the most popular and most performed ballet in the world—charming generation after generation with its fabulous music and wonderful story. When young Clara receives a toy soldier nutcracker from her mysterious godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, she falls asleep with it in her arms. That’s when the magic begins to happen! Bring the kids and travel with Clara through her dreamscape—one filled with Sugar Plum Fairies, Snow Queens, Mice Kings, and more.
The story is set in Vienna in the middle of the nineteenth century. Herr Silberhaus and his wife, along with their children, Clara and Fritz, celebrate the holiday festivities with friends and family. During this Christmas Eve night, the guests and their children rejoice in the magical Christmas atmosphere that Herr Drosselmeyer, Clara’s godfather, brings to the Silberhaus home. He fills the festivities with magical entertainment, dancing dolls, and toys for the children. Herr Drosselmeyer has a special surprise for Clara, a Nutcracker doll. Overjoyed, Clara dances with her new Nutcracker, but her jealous brother, Fritz, damages the Nutcracker. Herr Drosselmeyer fixes it with his magic powers, and after one final dance, the guests leave.
That night, Clara falls into a deep sleep but is woken by giant mice that menace and threaten her. Herr Drosselmeyer protects her and helps her escape. She finds herself back in the living room where, to her amazement, the Christmas tree grows to giant size, and she is in the midst of a huge battle between an army of tin soldiers and the mice. The Nutcracker doll comes to life and duels with the King Mouse. The Nutcracker ultimately rescues Clara from the King Mouse, whom she distracts by throwing her slipper, thus saving herself from his clutches. Herr Drosselmeyer takes Clara on the first part of a magical journey, the first stop of which is the Land of Snow, presided over by the Snow Queen and her Cavalier.
Herr Drosselmeyer then takes Clara to the Land of Sweets, where she is met by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her court of angels. Clara recounts her story of battle with the King Mouse. As a reward, the Sugar Plum Fairy performs her famous dance for Clara and invites her to stay and watch while she is entertained by the many Divertissements who inhabit her kingdom.
Michael Vernon started dancing at the Nesta Brooking School of Ballet in London before going on to study at the Royal Ballet School in London with such legendary teachers as Dame Ninette de Valois and Leonide Massine. He performed with the Royal Ballet, Royal Opera Ballet, and London Festival Ballet before coming to New York in 1976 to join the Eglevsky Ballet as ballet master and resident choreographer. He became artistic director of the Long Island-based company in 1989 and remained in that position until 1996.
Vernon choreographed numerous ballets for the Eglevsky Ballet, in addition to ballets for many other professional companies in the United States and worldwide, such as BalletMet of Columbus, Ohio, and North Carolina Dance Theatre. Mikhail Baryshnikov commissioned him to choreograph the successful pas de deux In a Country Garden for American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Vernon’s solo S’Wonderful was danced by ABT principal Cynthia Harvey in the presence of President and Mrs. Reagan and shown nationwide on CBS television. He served as the assistant choreographer on Ken Russell’s movie Valentino, starring Rudolph Nureyev and Leslie Caron.
Vernon taught at Steps on Broadway in New York City for many years, working with dancers from New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and many other high-profile companies. He is an integral part of the Manhattan Dance Project, which brings New York-style master classes to all regions of the United States. He has been involved with the Ballet Program of the Chautauqua Institution since 1996 and is the artistic advisor for the Ballet School of Stamford. He is permanent guest teacher at the Manhattan Youth Ballet and has a long association with Ballet Hawaii.
Vernon has been a company teacher for American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has guest taught in companies all over the world, including West Australian Ballet, National Ballet of China, Hong Kong Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Berlin Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, and Norwegian National Ballet. He has been a guest teacher for The Juilliard School and taught for many years at The Ailey School. He recently joined the panel of judges for the Youth of America Grand Prix regional semi-finals. For Indiana University, Vernon has choreographed Endless Night, Jeux, Spectre de la Rose, and Cathedral, and has staged and provided additional choreography for the full-length classics Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. He has choreographed for many IU Opera Theater productions, such as Faust and the world premiere of Vincent.
Judith Yan is the artistic director of Guelph Symphony Orchestra and music director and principal conductor of Opera on the Avalon. She has been a staff conductor for San Francisco Opera (SFO), Canadian Opera Company, and National Ballet of Canada.
With San Francisco Opera, she served as staff conductor, assistant to Donald Runnicles. While there, her performances of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress were included in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top-Ten Classical Performances of the Year. She made her company debut with Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera.
Prior to San Francisco Opera, she served as the first conductor-in-residence of the Canadian Opera Company, where her performance of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia garnered critical acclaim. She made her German conducting debut at Ulmer Oper with Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Mozart’s Idomeneo, and her Italian debut in 2007 in Sulmona, Italy, with Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She returned the following season to conduct Puccini’s La Bohème.
As a conductor of ballet, she has led more than 90 performances at the Four Season’s Centre for the National Ballet of Canada. Since 2010, she has had a close association with Hong Kong Ballet, conducting the company’s production of Swan Lake as well as premiering all three of the company’s most recent productions of The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and Don Quixote. In 2014, she made her Seoul conducting debut with Korean National Ballet’s La Bayadere, conducting the Korean Symphony Orchestra.
As a guest conductor, Yan has performed internationally, most recently with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in New Zealand; Hong Kong Philharmonic, Korean National Ballet, and Hong Kong Ballet in Asia; Manitoba Chamber Symphony and Stratford Symphony in Canada; and Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Opera, and Seattle Opera in the United States.
Yan’s 2014-15 season includes performances of Stravinsky’s Firebird, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, a gala performance with the Guelph Symphony Orchestra, a return to Korean National Ballet for productions of Giselle and Swan Lake, a return to Stratford Symphony with a Remembrance Day program of Martinů and Meyer, a world premiere of Jack Perla’s Belongings with Seattle Opera, and Carousel and a gala concert with Opera on the Avalon, where she returns for her fifth season as music director and principal conductor.
Jennifer Adam Bailey began her ballet training at Rochester School of Ballet under the direction of Cornelia Sampson in Rochester, Mich. Summers were spent studying with the Royal Danish Ballet, School of American Ballet, and at the Chautauqua Institution. At the age of 16, she was accepted to the School of American Ballet on a full scholarship and studied there for three years. From 19 to 25, Adam danced professionally with Pennsylvania Ballet and Atlanta Ballet. Upon retiring from a professional dance career, she began teaching at the Atlanta School of Ballet under the direction of Robert Barnett. In 1997, she was offered a merit scholarship to attend Indiana University to study in the Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department. In 2001, she graduated with honors, having completed a B.S. in ballet and a teaching degree, with an emphasis on arts administration from the Individualized Major Program. In 2001, Adam was offered a full scholarship and teaching fellowship to the University of Michigan and earned an M.F.A. in modern dance and choreography. Since 2003, she has been working as an adjunct professor and raising a family.
Christian Claessens, born in Brussels, Belgium, began his ballet training at the Conservatoire de la Monaie. In 1978, he came to New York as a scholarship student at the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre School simultaneously. After graduating, he performed with the Kansas City Ballet and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. In 1984, he returned to Europe as a member of the Dutch National Ballet. As a soloist, Claessens toured internationally in ballet troupes such as Stars of the American Ballet, Stars of the New York City Ballet, Stars of the Hong Kong Ballet, and Kozlov and Friends, among others. In 1991, he cofounded the Scarsdale Ballet Studio with Diana White. During his 15-year-run as director and master teacher, he trained dancers on all levels. In 1999, he codirected the International Ballet Project with Valentina Kozlova and White, both of the New York City Ballet. In 1998, he was asked to take over the directorship of the Purchase Youth Ballet, a division of the Conservatory of Dance at The State University of New York. Claessens has been presenting his choreography in Westchester and New York City since 1991. His unique and highly effective teaching method has attracted dancers of all levels. He has trained students that are now members of the New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. He was the director of La Lecon: Christian Claessens School of Ballet in Westchester, N.Y.
Born in Bloomington, Ind., and raised not two blocks from campus, C. David Higgins started his theatrical studies at IU intent on becoming an actor/dancer before he discovered his love for scenic design. He studied with the famous C. Mario Cristini and became proficient in the Romantic-Realist style of scenic design and painting. After earning his master’s degree, he joined the staff of Indiana University Opera Theater and worked there as master scenic artist from the time the Musical Arts Center opened in 1971 until his retirement in December 2011. He was appointed to the faculty in 1976 and served as chair of the Opera Studies Department and principal designer for Opera Theater. His design credits throughout the United States include the San Antonio Festival, Memphis Opera, Norfolk Opera, Louisville Opera, Detroit Symphony, Canton Ballet, and Sarasota Ballet, as well as many other venues. His Indiana University productions have been seen throughout North America as rentals by major regional opera companies. His many international credits include the Icelandic National Theater; Ballet San Juan de Puerto Rico; Korean National Opera; Seoul City Opera; Korean National Ballet; Dorset Opera (England); Teatro la Paz de Belém, Brazil; and the Teatro National de São Paulo, Brazil. He has designed the scenery for the world premiere of Our Town (Ned Rorem), the American premières of Jeppe (Sandström) and The Devils of Loudun (Penderecki), and the collegiate premières of Nixon in China (Adams) and The Ghosts of Versailles (Corigliano), as well as many other operas and ballets. Known for his Italianate painting style, Opera News magazine has referred to Higgins as one of the finest American scenic artists today.
Patrick Mero is the head of lighting for Indiana University Opera and Ballet Theater. He has designed the lighting for Don Giovanni, Albert Herring, La Bohème, Tosca, L’Italiana in Algeri, West Side Story, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi. He has done extensive design work for the Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department and the African American Art Institute’s Dance Ensemble. In addition to his work on the Musical Arts Center stage, Mero’s designs have been seen in several Cardinal Stage Company productions, including, most recently, All My Sons, Romeo and Juliet, The Grapes of Wrath, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Inherit the Wind. Mero originally hails from Charleston, S.C., but calls Bloomington home.
Shawn Stevens is originally from Houston, Texas. At age 14, she attended Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts under the direction of Sydelle Gomberg. She continued her training at The School of American Ballet. In 1982, she was chosen by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet (NYCB). During her time with the company, she performed principal roles in Balanchine’s ballets, including Symphony in Three Movements, The Four Temperaments, and Symphony in C. She also danced in the original cast and performed principal roles in Brahms/Handel, choreographed by Twyla Tharp and Jerome Robbins. Stevens has worked with many other choreographers, such as Peter Martins, William Forsythe, Edward Villella, Ib Andersen, and Joseph Duell. During the 10 years she performed with NYCB, she danced in the TV programs Live from Lincoln Center with NYCB and Dance in America. She has also appeared as a principal dancer with the New York City Opera in Cinderella. In 1991, Stevens joined Twyla Tharp Dance, where she performed for five years. With Tharp’s company, she performed repertoire works as well as new works as a principal. She was asked to dance in the Cutting Up tour with Tharp and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Stevens’ film credits include I’ll Do Anything and In the Upper Room, both choreographed by Tharp. Stevens was personally invited to perform in Tharp’s hit Broadway musical Movin’ Out. She has been teaching ballet at several schools, universities, and companies through the United States. She is approved by The George Balanchine Trust to restage George Balanchine works and also stages works by Tharp through the Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation.
Irina Ter-Grigoryan received her degrees of piano performance, pedagogy, and accompaniment in the former Soviet Union. She served as a faculty member at the Baku State Conservatory and as an accompanist for the Azerbaijan State Theater Opera and Ballet. She was selected from a small pool of musicians to accompany international and regional competitions representing the Soviet Union. During her time in the United States, she has continued her work as an accompanist with the Temple Square Concert Series Recitals in Salt Lake City, Utah; University of Utah; and Ballet West Co.; and as a collaborative pianist at DePauw University. She currently holds the position of accompanist and music director with the IU Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department.
A native of China, Guoping Wang trained at the Shanghai Dance Academy and in the graduate program at the Jacobs School of Music. He performed with the Shanghai Ballet Company, Ballet Chicago Company, Colorado Ballet, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and many other companies. He worked with the Shanghai Ballet Company for 11 years before coming to IU. Wang has performed in many countries, including Egypt, Turkey, Israel, England, Scotland, Italy, Portugal, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and in many U.S. states. From 1995 to 2002, he performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He has taught at Cincinnati Ballet Company and School, Hubbard Street Dance Company, Gus Giordano Dance Center, Joffrey Ballet Company Apprentice Program, Salt Creek Ballet of Chicago, North Shore School of Dance, Ballet Chicago, Butler University, Ping Academy of Dance Canada, Kaleidoscope Company Indiana, Alwin School of the Dance in New Mexico, Dance Interlochen Center for the Arts, Rochester Ballet Company in New York, and many other ballet schools. Among the many roles he has danced are Coppelia for Ballet Chicago and The Torch Bearer for the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, both in 1997. He received the Ruth Page Award for outstanding dance achievement. Wang has been on the faculty of the School of Ballet Chicago and is a teacher and coach for Indiana University Ballet Theater.
Aaron Anker was born in Portland, Ore., and began his dance training at the age of four in Ashland, Ore. Upon moving to Virginia, he began formal ballet training at age 10 under the direction of Lisa Snape Avery. He attended summer programs at The Rock School, Carolina Ballet, Chautauqua Institution, and Boston Ballet, and has trained under many prestigious teachers, including Suzanne Farrell, Violette Verdy, Patricia McBride, and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. Anker has been featured in principal roles at Indiana University in George Balanchine’s Donizetti Variations and The Four Temperaments, Violette Verdy’s Variations for Eight, Nicolo Fonte’s Left Unsaid, Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker, and the role of Amore, a character created by director Tom Diamond in his production of the opera Xerxes. Anker has also performed roles in George Balanchine’s Western Symphony and August Bournonville’s Tarantella. He is currently a junior at Indiana University studying ballet and biology.
Maura Bell, a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Arts Management and a minor in French. She began her ballet training at Pittsburgh Youth Ballet under the artistic direction of Jean Gedeon and continued at Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, where she studied with Steven and Lindsay Piper, Robert Steele, and Lindy Mandradjieff. There, she had the opportunity to dance the role of Sugar Plum Fairy partnered by Stephen Hanna, a principal dancer of New York City Ballet, and the principal role in George Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht. With IU Ballet Theater, Bell was featured in August Bournonville’s Folktale pas de sept, a principal in Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15, and most recently, danced in Balanchine’s Donizetti Variations. Her summer studies include Chautuaqua, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Carolina Ballet, and Ballet Chicago working with Daniel Duell and Patricia Blair. Bell is a Founders Scholar, a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, and a recipient of a Hutton Honors College academic scholarship.
Kelsey Byrne is a senior from Orange County, Calif. She trained at the Orange County High School of the Arts as a member of the Classical and Contemporary Dance Department. She has attended summer intensives at the Boston Ballet School, American Ballet Theater School, Maple Conservatory of Dance, San Francisco Ballet School, Los Angeles Ballet School, and Alonzo King LINES. She was a semi-finalist in the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Awards in Classical Dance in 2011 and received the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts Young Arts Merit Award for Dance in 2011 and the National Society of Arts and Letters Marina Svetlova Memorial Award in Ballet in 2014. Byrne is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Art History.
Bella Calafiura began her ballet training at the age of three under Gillian Davis in Port Richey, Fla., where she completed all the Royal Academy of Dance Grades and Vocational Syllabi with the mark of distinction. In 2009, she was a semi-finalist in the Geneè International Ballet Competition in Singapore. In high school, she went on to train at the Patel Conservatory at the Straz Center for Performing Arts under Peter Stark and Ivonne Lemus. Calafiura also spent her summers training at Houston Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, and Paul Taylor Dance Company. This past summer, she was an intern at Broadway Dance Center and completed its Summer Professional Semester. Since being at IU, she has enjoyed dancing featured roles in Paul Taylor’s Company B, Twyla Tharp’s Sweet Fields, and this past spring’s Bournonville Suite. She is a recipient of the Ken C. Whitener Jr. Fund for Ballet Excellence and is working toward a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Arts Management.
Andrew Copeland began ballet in 2001 and trained at Rowland School of Ballet in Kingwood, Texas, and Akiko Ballet Studio in Japan. Copeland attended Ballet West for two years, Oklahoma City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Portland Festival for summer intensive with full scholarship. He is a recipient of the Premier Young Artist Scholarship from the Jacobs School of Music as well as the United Airlines Scholarship. He is a member of Hutton Honors College, IU Founders Scholars, and Phi Eta Sigma and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies. With IUBT, Copeland has performed in Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker as Arabian and Paul Taylor’s Airs. He is currently a sophomore pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Biochemistry.
Austin Dowdy was born in Tampa, Fla. He began his formal training at the age of 14 with Orlando Ballet School directed by Peter Stark, where he earned many classical titles at the Youth America Grand Prix. Two years later, he moved to New York and studied under Darla Hoover at Ballet Academy East. During his time there, he danced George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and Raymonda Variations, among original works by Daniel Ulbricht and Jonathan Stafford, principals of the New York City Ballet. Additional studies include the School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Orlando Ballet School, each on full scholarship. Since coming to Indiana University, Dowdy has danced featured roles such as Waltz of the Flowers, Trepak, Chinese, and Harlequin Doll divertissements in Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker and the Melancholic theme in George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, in addition to various supporting corps de ballet roles.
Rachel Duvall is a senior at Indiana University. She is from Mission Hills, Kan., and trained at the Kansas City Ballet School, where she was an apprentice with the Kansas City Ballet for its 2010-11 season. She has attended summer programs with The School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. While at Indiana University, Duvall has performed in Concerto Barrocco, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Appalachian Spring, The Four Temperaments, Western Symphony, and Divertimento No. 15. In addition to ballet, she is also studying business at IU.
Ellie Edwards is currently a senior majoring in ballet with an outside field in chemistry. Her training began at age eight with the Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education. She joined the pre-professional division there at age 13 and graduated from the premier level as a senior. She has attended several summer programs, including Chautauqua, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and one of her own design with Dora Manela.
Colin Ellis is a sophomore from McHenry, Ill. He began his classical training at age five on full scholarship with the Judith Svalander School of Ballet. He has attended summer intensive programs with American Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet Academy in New York City, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet Chicago, all on merit scholarships. Ellis was in the corps de ballet in the 2010 movie Life Lessons. He was awarded a third-place prize at the 2012 Carey Rose Winski Dance Scholarship Competition and is a recipient of the 2013 Woodstock Fine Arts Scholarship. In 2014, he won third place in the National Society of Arts and Letters Classical Ballet competition. With IUBT, Ellis has performed in Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker and Paul Taylor’s Airs. A recipient of the Premier Young Artist Award at the Jacobs School of Music, he is currently pursuing a Bachelor in Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Arts Management.
Rebecca Green is originally from Bakersfield, Calif., and is currently a senior attending Indiana University. She began her training at Civic Dance Center under the direction of Cindy Trueblood and attended summer programs including State Street Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, The Harid Conservatory, Boston Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet. Since joining IUBT, Green has performed in Michael Vernon’s The Sleeping Beauty, David Parson’s The Envelope, and George Balanchine’s Western Symphony, The Four Temperaments, Divertimento No. 15, and Emeralds. This is her fourth performance in Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker. Green is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Marketing and a minor in Art History.
Alexandra Hartnett is a junior from Malvern, Pa. She began her training on scholarship in The Rock School for Dance Education’s Professional Development program, working with Mariaelena Ruiz. During the summers, Hartnett continued her training at The School of American Ballet (2008-09) and on scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet (2010), Boston Ballet (2011-12), and Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York (2013). She was a second-round top-12 finalist in the first Boston International Ballet Competition (2011). The same year, Hartnett received the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts YoungArts and Presidential Scholars Program award. Upon graduation from high school, she danced as a company artist with Ballet Arizona for the 2011-12 season before coming to IU, where she is studying ballet performance and informatics. She is a recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship from the Jacobs School of Music and is a member of Hutton Honors College, Founders Scholars, IU Dance Marathon Marketing Committee, and Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity for Women. With IUBT, Hartnett has performed in Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring, Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker, Violette Verdy’s Variations for Eight, and principal roles in Marius Petipa’s La Bayadere and George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Divertimento No. 15, and Western Symphony.
Glenn Kelich comes to Indiana University from Arcadia, Ind. He began studying ballet at Indiana Ballet Conservatory as a sophomore in high school under the direction of Alyona Yakovleva-Randall, Tatiana Pali, Alexei Moskalenko, Sergey Sergiev, and Hailey Argan. There, he performed principal roles in its fall ballet Pointe to the Cure, The Nutcracker, and Cipollino. His other training includes summer intensives on scholarship at The Joffrey Ballet, The Rock Ballet School, and Ballet West Academy, while also being accepted by San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. This past spring, Kelich was awarded the gold medal at Youth American Grand Prix in classical variations, performing Don Quixote, moving him onto the finals in New York. He is a freshman ballet major with an outside field that is yet to be determined.
Natalie Nguyen, a senior at IU, was born and raised in Orange County, Calif. There, her early ballet training began with Michelle Hamilton and Norma Hamilton. She later continued her studies at Maple Conservatory of Dance in Southern California, where she performed in ballets such as Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, and Cinderella, and excerpts from Raymonda and Swan Lake. Nguyen has been offered scholarships to summer programs such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, Washington Ballet, and Ballet Austin; she has attended programs at Pacific Northwest Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. Nguyen has participated in competitions including Youth America Grand Prix for several years and the Prix de Lausanne in 2010. At IU, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Applied Health Sciences and a minor in Psychology.
Allison Perhach, a junior from Leesburg, Va., began her serious ballet training at the Loudoun School of Ballet under Maureen Miller and Sharon Mercke. There, she performed roles such as Odette/Odile, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Aurora, as well as a variety of contemporary work. With IUBT, she has performed in Bournonville’s Tarantella, Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Western Symphony, Divertimento No. 15, and Donizetti, and as a featured dancer in Paul Taylor’s Airs, as well as in Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker. A member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and a Jacobs School of Music Premier Young Artist scholarship recipient, Perhach is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Arts Management.
Born in Tucson, Ariz., Matthew Rusk trained at the Tucson Regional Ballet and the Ruth Page School of Dance before moving to Houston, where he graduated from the High School for the Performing Visual Arts with honors in dance. He also trained at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy, where he performed in The Nutcracker and Stanton Welch’s Studies. Over the past several years, Rusk has attended summer programs at Ballet Chicago, School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Boston Ballet School. Now a junior at IU, he has performed the Snow Cavalier, Arabian, and Drosselmeyer in Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker and Phlegmatic in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments. Rusk is a recipient of the Premier Young Artist scholarship from the Jacobs School of Music.
Kenneth Shelby is a 21-year-old junior at Indiana University. He first gained his passion for dance while in his former dance group, Anointed Praise, at church; watching his older sister and cousin, Allicia Gonzalez and Alexys Cobb. In fourth and fifth grade, he attended Perkins Elementary, where he first gained his ballet training with some influences of tap and jazz. He went on to Johns Hopkins Middle School in the magnet program for dance; for three years, he studied in the Vaganova method of ballet and character. In high school, he attended the magnet program called Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High, studying in the Vaganova method and the Horton Technique. In those four years, he worked with several great artists, such as Ferdinand De Jesus, Erik Wagner, Helen French, Christopher Fleming, Amy Raymond, and Carmen Rozestraten. Shelby is pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance.
Leslie Theisen is a senior from Rochester Hills, Mich. She began her pre-professional ballet training at the age of eight at the Rochester School of Dance under the direction of Cornelia Sampson. There, she trained with Michael Anderson and Deborah Dawn of The Joffrey Ballet. At age 16, she began training with Amanda Knox and Addison O’Day at the Link School of the Arts under the direction of Betty Mitchell. She has attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, and the Complexions Contemporary Dance Intensive. She participated in the regional Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) in 2008, winning first place in the contemporary division and third place in the classical division. In 2010, she placed in the top 12 for both the contemporary and classical divisions at the regional YAGP and went on to compete in the New York City finals. At Indiana University, she has received the Excellence Scholarship and the Jacobs School of Music Dean’s Scholarship and is a part of Hutton Honors College. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Life Sciences through the Individualized Major Program.
Katie Zimmerman is a junior from Chester Springs, Pa. She began training under Lisa Slagle and Thomas Nicholson at the Ballet Academy of Texas. After moving to Pennsylvania, she continued her training at Chester Valley Dance Academy and at the International Ballet Theater with Alexander Boitsov. Zimmerman has attended summer intensives including The Joffrey Ballet, Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet, The Rock School, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. In 2011 and 2012, she placed in the Youth American Grand Prix regionals in Philadelphia and continued on to the New York finals. At IU, she has been featured in Violette Verdy’s Variations for Eight, George Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15, and Michael Vernon’s The Nutcracker as Arabian. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an Outside Field in Business.