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Upcoming Performance: The Sleeping Beauty Oct 17 / Oct 19 877-828-9200 ext.1

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Fort Worth Faculty & Staff

Faculty


Ben Stevenson, O.B.E.
Artistic Director


Kathryn Warakomsky
Principal  


Click on any name below to show or hide their bio


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.

Josie Baldree

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.

Ashley Bomm

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.

Carrie Cheng

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. Cheng 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 is an instructor of ballet for Texas Ballet Theater School in Fort Worth, associate director of the Gayle Corkery School of Ballet and is the director of ballet at Fort Worth Country Day. She received a National Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teachers Award in 2005-2006 and teacher of the year for Texas Ballet Theater 2012-2013. Carrie Cheng 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.

Li Chou Cheng

Mr. Cheng was born in Shanghai, China. He started his professional training at the age of thirteen at the Beijing Dance Academy, the first national dance school in China with Russian Vaganova Ballet syllabus. In 1961 he joined the Beijing Central Ballet and in 1970 he served as a company ballet master and rehearsal director. After immigrating to the United States in 1980 he held position as Assistant Professor at the University of Utah and Arizona State University for seven years. In 1988, he was invited by Bruce Marks to join Boston Ballet as a Principal teacher for both the Boston Ballet Company and the school. Mr. Cheng has been as the Ballet Master in residence at TCU since 1990 and currently he is still working at the Texas Christian University as a Professor of Professional Practice in Ballet and Modern Dance. In addition Mr. Cheng is also ballet instructor at Texas Ballet Theater School in Fort Worth. Mr. Cheng is in demand nationwide as a master teacher. He has frequently worked with many ballet companies and their summer dance programs such as Pittsburgh Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet West, Ballet Met, Ballet Austin, Indianapolis Ballet, Eugene Ballet, Ballet Oregon, Lexington Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts and Walnut Hill School of Arts. His international teaching experience includes the National Ballet School of Canada, Mexico 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 for the America College Dance Festival Association and the America Regional Ballet Festival. He has been an adjudicator for the Southeast Regional Ballet Competition. He received the Larry White Dance Educator Award from Dance Council in 2007.

Nicole Von Enck

Nicole Von Enck will be starting her 5th season as a company dancer at Texas Ballet Theater. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, she began her professional training at the Royal School of Ballet. In 2008, she joined North Carolina Dance Theatre as an Apprentice for 2 years, and after attending Texas Ballet Theater School in the summer of 2010, joined TBT. In the summer of 2011, Nicole became licensed Zumba Instructor. Nicole has taught ballet and Zumba at several programs including Royal School of Ballet, The Dance Centre, Cleveland Ballet Conservatory, The Training Center, the Creative Movement Center, and Texas Ballet Theater School.

 

 

Mary Jarrard

Originally from Macon, Georgia, Mary Priestly Jarrard began her training at Dance Arts Studio under the direction of Jean Evans Weaver and Alice Sheridan. She spent her summers training at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Boston Ballet, Washington Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and on scholarship with Nashville Ballet. She has also studied with Karen Burns Weaver, John Mark Owen, Pavel Rotaru and the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. While in high school, Mary Priestly performed with the Middle Georgia Youth Ballet and Nutcracker of Middle Georgia. She continued her training at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honors in dance performance and was a company member of the Butler Ballet performing featured roles by choreographers Michelle Jarvis, Tong Wong, Marek Cholewa, Derek Reid, and Stephan Laurent.  After graduation, Mary Priestly was invited to join Nashville Ballet II where she performed in works such as Paul Vasterling’s Nashville Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty , Paquita, Romeo and Juliet and many outreach productions throughout Tennessee.  Most recently as a full time faculty member of the School of Nashville Ballet, she was responsible for coordinating and conducting interactive community outreaches in addition to setting and rehearsing the youth cast for Nutcracker as well as the upper levels of the academy for the annual spring performance.

Heather Kotelenets

A native of Flower Mound, Texas, Heather Kotelenets began her training at Ballet Conservatory in Flower Mound and Texas Ballet Theater School in Dallas. She was offered a full scholarship to Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, where she graduated. Heather is a First Soloist in the Texas Ballet Theater company and has been dancing professionally since 2005.  Performing for 10 years with Texas Ballet Theater, she has danced Principal roles including “Cinderella” in Cinderella and “Snow Queen” and "Sugar Plum" in The Nutcracker . For two years she taught ballet in Flower Mound and began teaching at the Texas Ballet Theater School last year. She looks forward to working with the talented dancers in the school! 

Krista Langford

Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Krista Jennings Langford moved to Fort Worth to study Dance and English at Texas Christian University, and in 2008, she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance and a BA in Writing. While at TCU, she received the Jerry Bywaters Cochran Scholarship for excellence in Modern Dance. A freelance performer, choreographer, and dance educator, she currently performs with imPULSE Dance Project and wild goose chase and teaches ballet and contemporary/modern for Kids Who Care, Arlington Classical Ballet Academy, and Texas Ballet Theater School. She is also a co-founding director of FurtherDance Fort Worth, a non-profit organization which seeks to foster community, professional development, and service within the Fort Worth contemporary dance landscape.

Leticia Oliveira

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.

Diana Peters

In her third season as a company dancer with Texas Ballet Theater, Diana Peters began her professional training at The Ballet School of Stamford near her home town of Riverside, CT. At age 13, she was accepted to study at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, where she had the opportunity to work with international teachers year-round. After graduating The National Ballet School with honors, Diana spent one year in their Post-Secondary Program before joining Tulsa Ballet II where she danced for two seasons. Diana has attended summer programs at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Kaatsbaan, NBS and has received scholarships for three summers at Chautauqua School of Dance, where in 2011, she earned an award for her choreography in the Student Workshop.

Merideth Tullous

Merideth Tullous is a Texas native and an alumnus of 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 spent the past 9 years in New York City working with Ballet Tech, Eliot Feld's NYC School for Dance where she was a Beginner Ballet teacher, Auditions Selector, and Program Coordinator for their city scholarship program. Merideth also worked in marketing for several years specializing in small-business promotion and was promoted to Director of Marketing before she left to focus all of her time on the arts. She recently moved back to Texas and now works for Texas Ballet Theater as the CityDance Outreach Program Manager, in addition to teaching in the Texas Ballet Theater School and Texas Ballet Theater Adult Program.

Ashanti Williams

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.

 

 

Staff

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 Tullous is a Texas native and an alumnus of 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 spent the past 9 years in New York City working with Ballet Tech, Eliot Feld's NYC School for Dance where she was a Beginner Ballet teacher, Auditions Selector, and Program Coordinator for their city scholarship program. Merideth also worked in marketing for several years specializing in small-business promotion and was promoted to Director of Marketing before she left to focus all of her time on the arts. She recently moved back to Texas and now works for Texas Ballet Theater as the CityDance Outreach Program Manager, in addition to teaching in the Texas Ballet Theater School and Texas Ballet Theater Adult Program.