Ben Stevenson, O.B.E.
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Tim O'Keefe - Associate Artistic Director
A native Houstonian, Mr. O'Keefe was awarded a scholarship to Houston Ballet Academy in 1981, joined the Company one year later, was promoted to Soloist in 1985, and was named a Principal Dancer in 1995. In March 1997 Houston Ballet Artistic Director Ben Stevenson created the title role of Dracula for Mr. O'Keefe. He has performed this role across the globe, winning praise from critics in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Toronto. In March 2000 he danced "Caesar" and "Alcebiades" in the world premiere of Mr. Stevenson's Cleopatra . Favorite parts in other works by Mr. Stevenson include the title role in Peer Gynt ; "Lorenzo" and the "Lead Matador" in Don Quixote ; "Father Frost" in The Snow Maiden ; Evening Pas De Deux with Naomi Glass; and "Ugly Stepsister" in Cinderella . Other favorite roles include "Monsieur G.M." in Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Manon ; "Danilo" in Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow ; "Pan" in Glen Tetley's Daphnis and Chloe ; the "Head Mistress" in Graduation Ball ; "Madge" in La Syphide ; and "Hilarion" in Giselle . He has also performed roles in works by Jiri Kylian, Christopher Bruce, Paul Taylor, James Kudelka, Trey McIntyre, Sean Kelly, and Lila York. Mr. O'Keefe has choreographed two works for Houston Ballet's Cullen Contemporary Series, Fascinating Evening and Uncommon Valor ; as well as two works for Houston Ballet Academy, Leaves and Shostakovich Suite . He has also choreographed Love Thing and Ragtime Dance for the Texas Ballet Theater. Last year Mr. O'Keefe choreographed Peter and the Wolf for a joint collaboration with TBT II and Children's Education Program Performing Arts Fort Worth performed at Bass Hall with the Fort Worth Symphony. This is Mr. O'Keefe's twelfth season.
Li Anlin - Assistant Artistic Director
Mr. Li was born in Nanjing, China. At the age of 13 he went to Beijing to study at the Beijing Dance Academy and graduated in 1979 to the Young Dancers Company. He first met and worked with Ben Stevenson while he was a student at the Academy there. In 1982 he joined the Central Ballet of China (now the National Ballet of China) as a Soloist and danced in many cities in China, Thailand and Hong Kong. In 1985 he was invited by Ivan Nagy to join Ballet de Santiago as a Soloist and was soon promoted to Principal Dancer. In 1989 Mr. Stevenson invited him to join Houston Ballet as a Soloist. During his twenty-one year career as a dancer Mr. Li was featured in many of Mr. Stevenson's ballets including The Sleeping Beauty , Coppélia , Cinderella , The Nutcracker , Dracula , Three Preludes , Four Last Songs , "L" , Swan Lake , Peer Gynt , Cleopatra and Don Quixote among others. He also danced in ballets by Sir Kenneth MacMillan ( Elite Syncopations , Manon , and Gloria ); Ronald Hynd ( Papillon , The Merry Widow , Rosalinda ) John Cranko ( Romeo & Juliet , The Taming of the Shrew ); George Balanchine ( Serenade , Agon , Theme and Variations , The Four Temperaments ); Vicente Nebrada ( Coppélia , Doble Corchea ), André Prokovsky ( Anna Karenina , The Three Musketeers ), Jiri Kylian ( Sinfonietta ), Christopher Bruce ( Cruel Garden , Journey ) and many others. In 2000 Mr. Li was named Ballet Master for Houston Ballet and helped set and rehearse many of Mr. Stevenson's ballets. He also assisted Mr. Stevenson in the creation of The Fountain of Tears in Beijing and now stages and rehearses Mr. Stevenson's ballets with other ballet companies around the world. In 2003 Mr. Stevenson invited him to Texas Ballet Theater as Ballet Master and in 2005 was named Assistant to the Artistic Director. This is Mr. Li's eleventh season with the company.
Anna Donovan - Principal Ballet Master
A native of Ireland, Ms. Donovan joined Texas Ballet Theater in 2000. At the age of ten, Ms. Donovan won a scholarship to train at the Royal Ballet School in England. From there, she went to Elmhurst Ballet School where she passed all the Royal Academy Examinations with Honors. After performing in Kaiserslautern, Germany, she joined the Irish National Ballet in 1973 and was rapidly promoted to Principal Dancer. During her sixteen-year tenure with INB, she toured extensively in Ireland, Europe and the United States and was recognized for her dramatic abilities and technical prowess. Ms. Donovan has worked with many notable choreographers including Sir Anton Dolin, John Gilpin, Hans Brennaa, Peter Darrell, and Domy Reiter-Soffer. She also had works created for her, one of which, The Playboy of the Western World , was a collaborative production with the traditional Irish music group The Chieftains. This production toured Ireland and was also presented in France, at Sadlers Wells, London and City Center Theater, New York. In 1989, she focused her energies toward teaching and was instrumental in establishing the Professional Dance Diploma Course in Dublin. She joined the staff of Ballet Dallas in 1991 serving as Principal Ballet Mistress/Repetiteur and instructor of the Dallas Conservatory of Ballet. While with Ballet Dallas, she collaborated with Lorraine Graves (Dance Theatre of Harlem), Fernando Bujones, James Clouser, Vivi Flint, and Peter Anastos. Ms. Donovan taught at Booker T Washington School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Dallas for four years and has been invited by many organizations nationwide as a guest instructor. She was nominated and is included in The Who's Who of Teachers in America 2000, 2001, and 2005.
Angelyn Fulton is a native of Seattle, Washington and received her primary training from Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She has also trained with San Francisco Ballet School, Hartford Ballet School and Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet School. Her professional career began with the Nashville Ballet. Since then Angelyn has danced with Ballet Concerto, Fort Worth-Dallas Ballet, Corpus Christi Ballet and Southeast Alabama Dance Company as a guest artist. Ms. Fulton has been teaching for 15 years. She has taught for Margo Dean's School of Ballet, Munro Ballet Studio, Enterprise School of Dance, Dothan School of Dance, Classic Step's, Clarksville Dance Force, Vanderbilt University, All American Ballet School, and The School of Nashville Ballet. Angelyn Fulton is an ABT® Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum
Ashanti Williams is a very proud graduate of the Texas Christian University School for Classical and Contemporary Dance where she received a BFA degree in Modern Dance in May of 2008. While at TCU she was also a member of the TCU Showgirls Dance Team and All-Girls Pom Squad. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Ashanti received her early training in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical and hip hop from Kitty Carter's Dance Factory. Ashanti has taught for many years throughout the DFW metroplex, in which she specializes in jazz and contemporary dance. Additionally, she has worked as a rehearsal director for the TCU Dance Department, spent a year overseas teaching dance in Singapore and has taught modern dance for the Texas Ballet Theater Junior and Senior Intensives. Currently, she teaches jazz and modern dance for Texas Ballet Theater Fort Worth School.
Carrie Cheng was born in Miami, Florida and started her training with Thomas Armour of the Miami Conservatory. She continued her training under Dulce Anaya and the Jacksonville Ballet Theater. She earned a BFA in Ballet from the University of Utah with a full four year scholarship. She has danced professionally with numerous companies including the Utah Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Boston, North Atlantic Ballet and Ballet Concerto and has made guest artist appearances throughout the United States, Mexico and Taiwan. She has been a guest teacher for summer ballet programs such as Texas Ballet Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and Ballet Theatre of Boston. Internationally, she has taught in Taiwan and Macau, China. Carrie has been adjunct ballet faculty at Texas Christian University, Tarrant County College and served on the Board of Directors for the Dance Council of North Texas. She has been on the faculty at Fort Worth Country Day since 1996 and is currently the Director of Ballet. She received a National Honor Roll's Outstanding American Teachers Award in 2005-2006.
Originally from Metamora, Illinois, Erin Reece started her training at Peoria Ballet in Illinois and moved to Houston to train at Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy on scholarship. She previously performed as a trainee with Ballet Florida before joining Texas Ballet Theater in 2005. While she was with the Company, Ms. Reece enjoyed performing Clara in The Nutcracker , Urchins in Ben Stevenson's Romeo and Juliet and Dracula . One of her favorite roles was the Spanish Princess in Ben Stevenson's Swan Lake . Ms. Reece just graduated from TCU where she studied to become an Elementary school teacher.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Leticia Oliveira began her training at the age of seven at the school of Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janerio. Beginning her professional career at 16, she has danced with Teatro Municipal Theater of Rio Janeiro, as well as Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and Houston Ballet, where she was a Principal Dancer. Her seventh season begins with an impressive list of accomplishments, including an award for "Best Bravura Dancer" by the Houston Chronicle , "25 to Watch" in Dance Magazine and "Best Dancer of 2007" by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . She has also appeared in international galas around the world, including Canada, Cuba and Japan. Ms. Oliveira's principal roles include Ben Stevenson’s Don Quixote , Romeo and Juliet , Dracula , Giselle , Cleopatra , Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardee , Anthony Tudor’s Lilac Garden , James Kudelka's Firebird , Fleming Flindt's The Lesson , William Forsythe’s In the Middle , Somewhat Elevated , John Cranko's Onegin and Taming of the Shrew , Gerald Arpino's Confetti , Jiri Kylian's Forgotten Land and Balanchine's The Four Temperaments , Square Dance and Theme and Variations . Ms. Oliveira is married to Company member Carl Coomer. At the end of last season, Leticia and Carl welcomed the birth of their first child, Tiago Jon Coomer.
A professional dancer and teacher for 20 years, Nicole began her ballet training in Dallas, Texas with Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. At the age of 16 she was asked to join Hartford Ballet in Hartford, Connecticut where she spent eight years dancing many principal and soloist roles in ballets by George Balanchine, Choo San Gogh, Jean Grande Maitre, Graham Lustig, Anthony Tudor and the company's artistic director Kirk Peterson. While with Hartford Ballet, Nicole was offered a scholarship to the prestigious Benesh Institute of Choreology in London England and is now a certified Benesh notator, having notated ballets for Kirk Peterson. In 2000, after returning to her hometown of Dallas from London, Mrs. Buyskes began dancing with Texas Ballet Theater under the direction of Ben Stevenson as well as teaching in the Texas Ballet Theater School. While with TBT she enjoyed dancing in such ballets as Cinderella , Peer Gynt , Swan Lake , Serenade and The Nutcracker . Since retiring from the ballet in 2006, Nicole has performed in and choreographed several musical theater productions including West Side Story , Oklahoma , Huckleberry Finn (choreographer), and Disney's Beauty and the Beast with Ft. Worth's Casa Manana, and has traveled around the country staging the ballets of Kirk Peterson on professional companies.
Hannah Requa began her dance training in high school at Canyon Concert Ballet in Fort Collins, CO. She quickly joined the company and studied under David Keener, David Taylor, Lorita Travaglia and Judy Bejarano. She attended various summer programs including Kansas City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Colorado Ballet, Same Planet Different World and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She graduated Magne Cum Laude from Texas Christian University with a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance. While at TCU, she performed works by Li-Chou Cheng, Elizabeth Gillapsy, Loretta Livingston, Susan Douglas Roberts, Edisa Weeks and Jane Weiner. Most recently, Hannah spent two years in Chicago studying under partial scholarship at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago through the Lou Conte Dance Studio. She performed for several companies including DiPr, Project606 Dance Company, and Tapestry, as well as starting her own collaborative company Newfangled. She was also able to participate in numerous projects around the city including Going Dutch, Dance Chance Chicago, Dance Chance Redux, Inaside Dance Chicago and Chicago Freelance Dance. Hannah is excited to be back in Fort Worth as the Ballet faculty member at Arlington Heights High School, teaching at TBT and performing with ImPulse Dance and Wild Goose Chase.
Rachael Coad began her dance training at a young age under Nancy Sample in her hometown: Leesburg, Virginia. During her high school years Rachael trained at the Virginia School of the Arts under Petrus Bosman, Martha Faesi, and Lisa Thomas. While at VSA, she worked with many guest choreographers such as Kathy Brenner, Jennifer Medina, and Keelan Whitmore. She has also attended various summer programs, including Ballet Austin, Ballet Magnificat!, and Alonzo Kingís LINES Ballet on partial scholarship. She most recently received her BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance from Texas Christian University, where she was a TCU Nordan Fine Arts Scholarship holder. While at TCU, she performed in works by choreographers including Li-Chou Cheng, Elizabeth Gillaspy, Loretta Livingston, Susan Douglas Roberts, and Kanji Segawa. The highlight of Rachael's performance career thus far was having the opportunity to perform Jessica Lang's Confessions in the American College Dance Festival Association National Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Rachael also has a passion for reaching youth through dance and was blessed to spend the summer of 2008 serving as an intern at Moving In the Spirit, a youth development dance program for children and teens in Atlanta, Georgia. This year, she is excited to continue performing with Epiphany DanceArts (Plano, TX) for a second season, and is thrilled to be teaching at Texas Ballet Theater's Fort Worth school after a fun year of teaching in the public schools through TBT's CityDance Outreach Program.
Josie is from Michigan and began her dance training at the Flint School of Performing Arts under the direction of Karen Mills Jennings. She came to Texas to attend Texas Christian University as a Nordan Fine Arts Scholar. During her college career Josie studied with TCU faculty and other dance artists, including the late, Fernando Bujones. She performed featured roles in works by Fernando Bujones, Jin-Wen-Yu, and Elizabeth Gillaspy. In 2006, Josie graduated with a BFA in Ballet and Modern dance. Since graduation, she has taught at numerous dance studios in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, including as an adjunct faculty member at TCU, and has performed for several local companies. Currently, Josie is teaching for Texas Ballet Theater's CityDance outreach program and is very excited to be a part of Texas Ballet Theater School.
Domingo Estrada Jr.
Domingo Estrada, Jr. (Victoria, TX) acquired a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Ballet and Modern Dance from Texas Christian University. As a youth, Domingo was involved in sports and Martial Arts, receiving his black belt in Tae Kwon Do by the age of ten. His passion for dance evolved while dancing folklórico at his church, Our Lady of Sorrows. In high school, he and a few friends cultivated EMULATE, a pop/hip-hop dance crew, leading him to become the first Male Dance Captain of the Memorial High School Dance/Drill Team. He began basic technique training with Victoria Ballet Theatre (2001–2003) under the direction of Debbe Busby. Domingo chose dance as a career in 2003, studying under TCU faculty, multiple guest artists, and had the privilege of working with the late Fernando Bujones, TCUs Choreographer in Residence from 1995 to 2005. Estrada studied at TCU earning a Nordan Fine Arts Scholarship. While at the university, in 2005, Estrada was awarded a Jerry Bywaters Cochran Scholarship through The Dance Council of North Texas. His studies include attending/performing at the American Dance Festival in the summers 2005 - 2008, having the honor of performing Skylight , a classic work by choreographer Laura Dean. In 2006, he was overjoyed to have participated and performed in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland with TCU alumnus and now New York-based choreographer Leslie Scott and company, BODYart Dance. Upon graduation, Domingo moved to New york and worked with choreographers Leslie Scott, BODYart Dance; Mary Seidman, Mary Seidman & Dancers; TCU alumnus Christian von Howard, Von Howard Project; and Lydia Johnson, Lydia Johnson Dance. Estrada debuted with the Mark Morris Dance Group in 2007 and became a company member in 2009, touring and performing nationally and internationally. He feels blessed to have performed in prominent solo roles and, along with the Dance Group, been featured in Time Out New York and Dance Magazine . Recently retired from the company, Estrada continues to pursue and expand his artistic journey. Domingo would like to thank God, his family and all who support his passion.
Li Chou Cheng
Li-Chou Cheng was born in Shanghai, China. He started his professional training when he was 13 at the Beijing Dance Academy, the first national dance school in China built by Chinese government with Vaganova syllabus under Pyter Gushchev, the former artistic director of the Kirov Ballet’s direction. At the age of 19 he joined the Beijing Central Ballet (the National Ballet of China) as a soloist. He also served as a Ballet Master and rehearsal director for the company from 1970 until he left. After immigrating to the United States in 1980 he held the position as Assistant Professor at the University of Utah and Arizona State University for six years. In 1988, he was invited by Bruce Marks to join Boston Ballet as a Principal Teacher for both the Boston Ballet Company and Boston Ballet Academy.
Mr. Cheng was the Ballet Master in Residence at TCU from 1990-2005 at which time he was promoted to Professor of Professional Practice in Ballet and Modern Dance. In demand nationwide as a master teacher, he has frequently worked with many ballet companies and their summer dance programs. These programs include Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet West, Ballet Met, Ballet Austin, Indianapolis Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Ballet Oregon, North Carolina School of the Arts, Walnut Hill School of Arts, University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin and Bucknell University. His international teaching experience includes the National Ballet of Canada, Mexico’s National Institute of Arts, Taipei National University of Arts, Taiwan Cloud Gate Dance Company, Taipei Dance Forum and Pen-Wa School of Ballet in Macau. He was invited as a Master teacher work for both the America College Dance Festival Association and the America Regional Ballet Festival.
Mr. Cheng’s choreographic works have been staged for TCU and other professional school summer dance programs; He has also restaged classical ballets and pas de deux as well. He has been an adjudicator for the Southeast Regional Ballet Competition and was served as the member of the Grant Panelist for Ft. Worth Arts Council in 2001-2004. He received the Larry White Dance Educator Award from the Dance Council in 2007.
Ashley Bomm - Summer Coordinator
Ashley Bomm, originally from Medway, MA, began her ballet training at the Boston Ballet School. She studied there for 7 years under the direction of Laura Young and Tamara King. She came to Texas in 2009 to study ballet at Texas Christian University. During her college career Ashley trained with TCU faculty and guests artists including John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow. She has performed in George Balanchine works, restaged by Michele Gifford, including Serenade and Elegie , and was featured as a soloist in Le Corsaire . She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet and a minor in Arts Administration. Ashley hopes to continue dancing and performing as well as pursue a career in teaching and arts administration. This is her first year working with Texas Ballet Theater as the Summer Coordinator and she is very excited to be a part of the school.
Ashley Friedman -School Administrator
Ashley Friedman is a graduate of Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies and minor in Arts Administration. Her dance training includes Atlanta Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Magnificat!, Boston Ballet and Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance. She entered TCU as a Ballet Major with hopes of having a career as a professional dancer, but sustained a foot injury that prevented her from continuing on that path. While at TCU, Ashley was Assistant Manager and Choreographer for Calling in Action Dance and the Administrative Assistant of Circle Theatre in Sundance Square. Ashley is thrilled to combine her organizational skills, business knowledge and friendly personality with her love of dance as she joins the Texas Ballet Theater staff as the School Administrator and Adult Ballet teacher.
Merideth Tullous - CityDance Outreach Program Manager
Merideth is a Texas native and attended Texas Christian University, graduating with a BFA in Ballet. During her college career Merideth studied with TCU faculty and other dance artists, including the late, Fernando Bujones. Merideth has spent the past 10 years in the NYC area working with Ballet Tech, Eliot Feld's NYC School for Dance where she was a Beginner Ballet teacher and Program Coordinator for their city scholarship program. Merideth also worked in marketing for many years and specializes in small-business promotion. She recently moved back to Texas and now works for Texas Ballet Theater as the City Dance Manager and also teaches in the City Dance Program.