Rossana Nesta Gahagan (formerly Machi) - Artistic Director
Christina de Matteis Fannéy - Administrative Director
Carmen DeVora Felder
Rossana Nesta Gahagan, (formerly Machi) - Artistic Director
Rossana Nesta Gahagan started her classical ballet studies in Italy at the School of "Balletto di Roma" and attended the "Accademia Nazionale di Danza, Roma" where she earned her BA in Vaganova Ballet Technique, the highest teaching degree given by the Italian Ministry of Education.
She enhanced her skills by attending the summer program in Varna (Bulgaria), under the supervision of teachers from St. Petersburg Ballet School, Martha Graham School of New York, and later studied with Mrs. Irina Trofimova, Director of the Leningrad Vaganova Academy.
During a successful professional dancing career, Ms. Gahagan performed with nationally renowned companies in Italy, such as the Teatro dell'Opera and the Company of Balletto di Roma in Rome (Italy).
Ms. Gahagan started her teaching career at the School of Balletto di Roma and was later invited to teach in summer programs in Messina, Agrigento, Catania and Venice.
In 1996 she was honored to be invited by the Director of La scuola di Ballo alla Scala, Mrs. Anna Maria Prina, to teach at the Ballet Summer Bozen Program in Milan, Italy.
After teaching and performing in Europe for ten years, Mrs. Gahagan moved to the United States where she taught at the Western Ballet School, in Mountain View, CA.
In 2000 Ms. Gahagan moved to Pittsburgh, PA and joined the faculty of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) where she taught Ballet Technique, Pointe, Repertoire, Men Classes, and Pilates. While at PBT, Ms. Gahagan worked with Mr. Orr in the 2003 production of the New Nutcracker and performed in PBT's Swan Lake in 2004. She also choreographed a number of pieces for the PBT School Spring Performances.
During her time in Pittsburgh she taught classes at Point Park University, and Allegheny Ballet Company and later became a Partner at the School of American Ballet in New York, where she was invited to attend seminars and workshops with the SAB School and the New York City Ballet.
In 2004 Ms. Gahagan relocated from Pittsburgh to Raleigh, NC where she joined a local ballet school and built the Intensive Summer Program bringing in such renowned guest teachers including Kee Juan Han (Director of The Washington School of Ballet), Roberto Munoz (former PBT Ballet Master, Artistic Director SSDI and Gulfshore Ballet), Melinda Roy (former NYC Ballet Principal Dancer, Artistic Director SSDI and Gulfshore Ballet), Maribel Modrono (former PBT and Miami City Ballet Principal Dancer), Sandra Ballestracci (Artistic Director of Eastern Virginia School of Performing Arts), Miguel Campaneria, Dana Arey (former PBT Ballet Master and former Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer, Faculty Point Park University), and Hong Yang (Carolina Ballet Soloist).
Ms. Gahagan restaged productions of La Bayadere, Coppelia, Paquita, and Sleeping Beauty among others. She was able to obtain a license from the Balanchine Trust allowing her students to perform several Balanchine pieces in 2008 and 2009.
Ms. Gahagan returned to the stage in 2009 when Robert Weiss, Director of Carolina Ballet invited her to perform in his 2009 productions of Swan Lake and Picasso's Salome.
She has been invited to serve on the guest faculty for the 2010 Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive.
Christina de Matteis Fannéy - Administrative Director
Christina de Matteis Fannéy was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. In Haiti, she attended the R.M.T. Academie de Danse under the direction of Regine Mont-Rosier who returned to Haiti after training with George Balanchine. Ms. Fannéy performed with the Compagnie de Danse R.M.T. where she was selected to perform lead roles in such ballets as Giselle, Pas de Quatre, Swan Lake, La Bayadere, and Coppelia. While with the company, Ms. Fannéy performed the Romeo and Juliet pas de deux with Miguel Campaneria. Along with the Compagnie de Danse R.M.T., Ms. Fannéy was selected to perform for the President of Haiti. Ms. Fannéy was also a member of Le Jazz Groupe under the direction of Sally Gage where she was selected to perform lead roles in numerous jazz productions.
After moving to North Carolina, Ms. Fannéy joined the Raleigh Dance Theatre. She performed lead roles in such ballets as Peter and the Wolf and A Midsummer's Night Dream. Ms. Fannéy attended the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Summer Intensive where she was selected to perform a lead role in Raymonda. Her choreography was also selected to be presented at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Summer Program.
While attending N.C. State University where Ms. Fannéy received a B.A. in Economics Magna Cum Laude, Ms. Fannéy continued to receive training and perform with the Raleigh Dance Theatre. Subsequently, Ms. Fannéy attended law school at UNC Chapel Hill where she received her Juris Doctor with Honors. Ms. Fannéy then worked as an Assistant District Attorney for the Wake County District Attorney's Office. During this time, she taught ballet and jazz at local ballet schools.
Carmen DeVora Felder
Carmen was born in Carrolton, Texas and began dancing at the age of 3.
After moving to North Carolina in 1996, Carmen began to focus on
ballet. It is in Cary that Carmen had the opportunity to train in
ballet. Carmen has performed twice in Carolina Ballet's Coppelia and
The Nutcracker. Carmen spent her summers across the nation, attending
Dance Theatre of Harlem, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet
Academy and Virginia School of the Arts. Carmen then went on to study
dance at the University of Oklahoma (O.U.). She earned her BFA from the
University of Oklahoma in Ballet Performance and a minored in German.
While at O.U. Carmen performed with Oklahoma Festival Ballet dancing
Divertimento #15 (Balanchine,) The Firebird as Firebird, a "Russian
girl" in Serenade (Balanchine) , Les Patinieurs (Bruce Wells), Rodeo
(DeMille) - Kansas City Girl, Reflections (Gerald Arpino, Sentimientos
(Ben Stevenson), La Bayadere (Petipa), Le Corsaire Pas de Deux
(Petipa),The Nutcracker (Mary Margaret Holt), Postcards From the Shore
(Jeremy Lindberg), Dream Ballet from Oklahoma! (Susan Stroman) - Basket
Girl, OK Blues (Donn Edwards), and Degas (Mary Margaret Holt). Carmen
has also traveled to China with Oklahoma Festival Ballet, dancing in
the Shanghai Baoshan International Folk Arts Festival. One of the
highlights of Carmen's four years at OU is having the privilege of
meeting Frederic Franklin, a former member of the renouned The Ballet
Russe de Monte Carlo. After graduation Carmen danced with Columbia City
Ballet in Columbia, South Carolina where she danced roles in Dracula
Ballet With a Bite, The Nutcracker, Cleopatra, Off the Wall and Onto
the Stage Dancing the art of Jonathan Green and, The Little
Mermaid. Carmen has joined Carolina Ballet as a member of their
Corps de Ballet but looks forward to continued involvement at IBA as a
Ruth Leney-Midkiff has been a master teacher, choreographer, and coach for almost 25 years. She received her early training at the Point Park College Conservatory for Dance, under the tutelage of Edward Caton, Mansur Kamaletdinov, Kenneth Johnson, Robert Munoz, and Nicolas Petrov. At age sixteen she became a soloist with the American Dance Ensemble, where she performed lead roles in ballets such as Les Slyphides, Romeo and Juliet, Rite of Spring, Graduation Ball, and Balanchine's Pas de dix. Subsequently in ten years as a free-lance artist, Ruth danced with such groups as the Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh International Folk Theater and the Ann Arbor Dance Works; performing countless traditional, contemporary and original works. Ruth began her teaching career at the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet under the guidance of nationally recognized teacher and Director, Jean Gedeon. Later, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she served on the ballet faculties of the University of Michigan and the Flint School of Performing Arts, frequently teaching Master classes in schools and universities throughout the state. Additionally, she established a youth program and later became school director for the Dance Gallery Studio/ Peter Sparling Dance Company. She has taught master classes throughout the United States and abroad in ballet, modern and her own contemporary ballet technique, and has created over 70 original pieces of choreography, ranging in style from full-length classics to modern dance works. Her ballets have been honored in Regional Dance, where they repeatedly received "gala" recognition and in reviewing her ballet, Tributaries, the Michigan Daily wrote, "The only way to describe this work was magnificent." In 1995, Ruth was honored in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's top 10 list in Dance for her work with Pittsburgh Youth Ballet. Moreover, Steve Sucato at the Pittsburgh City Paper (2008) described her Euphoric Dances saying, "Leney-Midkiff's elegant choreography skipped, hopped, and unfolded with delightful unpredictability ... giving one of the most solid performances of a ballet work I have seen in recent years." Her students have been awarded scholarships to some of the world's most prestigious dance conservatories and she is proud to see them now dancing in some of our countries foremost dance companies. Ruth holds an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Michigan as well as two BA's from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been happily working for the past six years in NC, where she resides with her husband, Andrew and son, Nate.
Sally began her professional training as a scholarship student at
the American Ballet Theatre and performed as an apprentice with the
company. After further studies in New York, London, Paris, and
Lausanne she danced professionally throughout Europe. Upon moving
back to New Jersey, she founded the Monmouth School of Ballet and was
soon appointed the Artistic Director of the Shore Ballet Company.
After passing the requisite exams, Sally became a member of the Royal
Academy of Dance. She has staged and choreographed many ballets
including the Nutcracker, Coppélia, and Cinderella as well as original
works for the Metro Lyric Opera. Many of Sally's former students
have been awarded scholarships to professional ballet schools, college
dance programs and have received contracts from professional
companies. She assisted the State Board of Education in
formulating the new dance curriculum standards now being taught in New
Jersey public schools. Sally is excited to join IBA and share her
experience in teaching with our students.
Debra Austin received a scholarship to the School of American Ballet when she was 12. At 16, she was handpicked by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet. While at New York City Ballet, Debra danced many principal roles by both Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, one of which was filmed for a PBS television special, Live From Lincoln Center. She later joined the Zurich Ballet in Switzerland where she danced principal roles in works by all of the major choreographers. Ms. Austin toured with the company throughout Europe. After her return to the United States, she was invited to join Pennsylvania Ballet as a principal dancer where she danced roles in Swan Lake, Coppelia, A Midsummer's Night Dream, Giselle and La Sylphide. She went on to assist Lynne Taylor-Corbett in Ms. Taylor-Corbett's ballet The Dancing Princesses, and in Florida was a preliminary judge for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts
A woman of multiple talents and varied expertise, Sandra Balestracci is an administrator, artistic director, choreographer, producer and classical ballet instructor. In 1983, Ms. Balestracci retired from the professional stage and founded Williamsburg's Contemporary Ballet Theatre, which earned the recognition as the Virginian Peninsula's best dance company. In conjunction with CBT, she began the School of Contemporary Ballet Theatre. In September of 1996, she incorporated her school, becoming the dance division for the Eastern Virginia School for the Performing Arts. In 2000, she became Artistic Director of the Community Alliance for the Performing Arts/American Youth Ballet Company. Ms Balestracci has continued to maintain her high standards of excellence in dance education for over 25 years. In recognition she has been presented with the "Outstanding Teacher Award" at both the 2002 and the 2005 Youth America Grand Prix International Ballet Competition.
Her teaching experience encompasses over twenty five years of master classes, workshops, seminars at universities, schools for the performing arts, major dance conventions throughout the country, and at many ballet academies in New York City. In addition, she has served as an adjunct faculty member at Old Dominion University. Ms. Balestracci is the first teacher in the State of Virginia and second in the country to receive the distinction of being a "Registered Dance Educator" by the National Registry of Dance Educators. Acceptance to the Registry demonstrates and qualifies her as an instructor in the teaching of dance and recognizes her for following the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for the Safe Practice of Teaching Dance. Her vast experience and devotion to her art has created a great demand for her expertise, as a teacher.
Ms. Balestracci began her dance studies in Boston, Massachusetts and continued her formal dance training, in New York City, at the American Ballet Theatre School. She had the privilege of training under the direction of Professor Mario Ignisci, Ana Roje, Sulamith Messerer, Mme. Nemtchinova and Mme. Swoboda. As a guest ballerina, Ms Balestracci has toured extensively with concert ballet companies throughout the United States, Europe, and South America , and was principal ballerina with many of America's major opera companies, including the New York City Opera and San Francisco Opera.
Marin Boieru began his ballet training in Romania and later trained at the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad. Mr. Boieru came to Carolina Ballet after seven years as principal dancer for the Miami City Ballet under the direction of Edward Villella. He has performed as a principal for such companies as the Pennsylvania Ballet, Maurice Bejart's Ballet of the 20th Century, Roland Petit's Ballet Company of Marseilles, France and Opera of Bucharest. He is the winner of the gold medal at the prestigious Varna and Moscow Ballet competitions. Mr. Boieru starred as James in Peter Martin's PBS production of La Sylphide and as Albrecht on European television in the Romanian National Ballet's production of Giselle.
Maribel Modrono, a native of Cuba, was raised in Miami, Florida. Modrano trained at Ballet Etudes and the School of American Ballet as a scholarship student. She danced with the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet and was then invited by Edward Villella to join the Miami City Ballet. She has been favored to dance leading roles in Balanchine ballets including Jewels, Apollo, Square Dance, The Four Temperaments and Concerto Barocco. Maribel joined PBT in 1997 and received acclaim for her portrayals in Swan Lake as Odette/Odile, Madame Butterfly, Don Quixote as Kitri and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and as "Marie" in Terrence S. Orr's production of The Nutcracker.
A native of Chile, Mr. Muñoz was born into a family of dancers. Both of his parents were pioneers of the dance movement in Chile during the late 40's and 50's. With them, he traveled throughout South America and the Caribbean: first with Ballet de Concepción and later on with Ballet Municipal de Maracaibo and Ballet de la Universidad del Zulia, taking this art form to places where Ballet had rarely been seen before. Thanks to his parents' influence and under their tutelage, Roberto Muñoz began his career at a very early age.
His professional dancing career began at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater in 1972, where he was fortunate to work with Ballet Masters such as: Nicholas Petrov, Leonid Massine, Edward Caton, Vitale Fokine, Ruth Page, JohnTaras, John Butler, Frano Jelencic.
He later danced with Ballet Internacional de Caracas, under the direction of the late Vicente Nebrada and with Hartford Ballet, under the direction of Michael Uthoff, where he was introduced to the works of Alvin Ailley, Margot Sappington and Josñ Limon.
In 1980, the Venezuelan government appointed Mr. Muñoz as the Artistic Director of Ballet del Zulia, where he was in charge of both, the School and the Company.pany. His commitment as a teacher and coach takes strong hold and establishes during this period, thus leading the company to two thriving seasons with great critical and popular acclaim.
Back in the USA, Mr. Muñoz continued his teaching career at the Dance Department of Point Park College (Now University). There, he was appointed as the Director of the Conservatory of Dance and Music, where he created two very successful programs: the Pre-professional Division and the International Summer Dance Program, where students received intensive training in the classroom as well as in the performing arena.
Among the faculty Mr. Muñoz assembled were: Laura Alonso, Haidñe Gutiñrrez. Karen Brown, Eva Evdokimova, Wily Burmann, Alexander Filipov, Nicholas Petrov, John McFall, Josñ Molina, Michael Uthoff, Magda Aunon, Anthony Salatino,Kenneth Johnson, Barbara Sandonato.
Mr. Munoz was a faculty member at Point Park College for 13 years, teaching all levels of Ballet technique, Character Dance and Male Ballet Technique. During that time, Mr. Munoz also served as part time faculty at the PBT school and Company under the direction of Patricia Wilde.
Alumni of these programs are currently dancing or have danced at: Arizona Ballet, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Hubbart Street, Ballet Met, Ballet West, New York City Ballet, Ballet British Columbia, Pittsburgh Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, on Broadway and on tours across the USA and overseas.
Mr. Munoz was also a full time faculty member at the Baltimore School for the Performing Arts from 1995 to 1997 after which he returned to Pittsburgh to join PBT as Ballet Master.
Mr. Munoz has served as Panelist for the Ohio Arts Council and has been a Guest Teacher at: Atlanta Ballet, Annapolis Ballet Theater, Ballet Met, Boston Ballet, Canton Ballet, Mary Grove College (Detroit,MI), Houston Ballet, Prodanza in Havana Cuba, Ballet de Monterrey (Mexico), West Virginia Dance Festival, Nureyev International Dance Competition (Budapest, Hungary) and Jackson International Dance Competition, among others.
Finally, Roberto Muñoz, received the Harry Shualb "Award of Excellence" and the Edward Caton award for "Most Influential Teacher."
Mr. Muñoz has been Ballet Master for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater since 1997. On July 2004, he was appointed Director of the Pittsburgh Ballet theater School and Associate Ballet Master for the Company. He is also currently listed as Principal Character Dancer in the PBT Company's playbill.
He collaborates with artistic director Terrence Orr in re-staging full length Ballets like: Coppelia, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Giselle and, most recently, a brand new production of The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet.
He has assisted choreographers like: Kevin O'Day, Dwight Rhoden, Lisa De Ribere , Robert Hill and has rehearsed the Ballets of Glenn Tetley, Paul Taylor, Ben Stevenson, Daniel Pelzigh and George Balanchine.
Melinda Roy was born in Lafayette, Louisiana. She left home at age 12 to attend the School of American Ballet on scholarship. She completed her academic work at New York's Professional Children's School, and joined the corps of the New York City Ballet in 1978. She was promoted to the role of Soloist in 1984, and then to the rank of Principal Dancer in 1989.
During her tenure with the Company, she performed for audiences all over the world. Her most favorite repertoire included leading roles in George Balanchine's Apollo, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Divertimento No. 15, Jewels, Liebeslieder Waltzer, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Union Jack, and The Nutcracker, and in Jerome Robbins' The Concert, Fancy Free, The Four Seasons, Gershwin Concerto, Goldberg Variations, and Interplay.
Ms. Roy also originated roles in Peter Martin's Waltz Project, William Forseyth's Behind the China Dogs, and Miriam Mahdaviani's The Newcomers. She performed in China in 1980 with Jerome Robbins, as part of the government's first cultural exchange program. She has also toured worldwide with Stars of American Ballet.
Her television appearances include the Dance in America program Balanchine in America, Dance in America's Balanchine Celebration, and Live From Lincoln Center's telecast of Ray Charles in concert with the New York City Ballet. Ms. Roy also appeared in the film version of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker and Accent on the Off Beat with Winton Marsalis and was a spokesperson for QVC. In addition, she is the co-creator of the New York City Ballet Workout, published by William Morrow, 1996.
Ms. Roy retired from New York City Ballet in 1996. She moved to Sanibel, Florida in 2000 to found Gulfshore Ballet. In addition to her teaching responsibilities for Gulfshore Ballet, she has turned her choreographic skills to Broadway. Ms. Roy was Choreographer for the Broadway version of the movie Urban Cowboy, for which she was nominated for a Tony in April 2003. Her other choreographic credits include the Broadway hit show Master Harold and the Boys, starring Danny Glover, Paparazzi with Tommy Tune, and an Encores Series production of Can Can for New York's City Center starring Patty Lupone.
As the artistic leader of Gulfshore Ballet, Ms. Roy has, for the past six years, made it possible for audiences in the Fort Myers region, to see Stars of the New York City Ballet perform in a yearly fund raiser called Bravo Ballet. In the most resent of those events, some of her most advanced students danced with the NYCB on stage, as well as 48 young students that were auditioned from the three surrounding counties to be part of the cast and perform Jerome Robbins Circus Polka.
Melinda Roy and husband Roberto Muñoz are the founders and director of Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive, SSDI. A Ballet program that takes place in the month of June and July in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Ms. Roy also won the Angel of the Arts Award for best Teacher in 2005.
Hong Yang Rooth comes to Carolina Ballet from Beijing, China where she studied dance at the school of the Beijing Dance Academy as a child and then graduated from the Beijing Dance Academy in 1995. She immediately joined the National Ballet of China and was a principal dancer there before going to Toronto, Canada where she danced with Ballet Jörgen Canada.