Faculty

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Sharee Lane

Sharee Lane was a soloist dancer and staff member with Ballet West, and the School Director of the Ballet West Conservatory.  Currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Dance at the University of Utah, she teaches ballet technique, advanced principles of teaching, and co-directs, as well as choreographs for the Department’s Performing Dance [Read More]

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Shaun Boyle

Shaun Boyle has performed with both classical ballet and contemporary dance companies including BalletMet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance, and The Dario Vaccaro Dance Project amongst others. She has also performed in projects such as David Dorfman’s ‘Underground’ at the BAM Nextwave Festival and recently in one of the London 2012 Olympic Torch [Read More]

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程思 Cheng Si (Lyn)

程思 Cheng Si (Lyn) – received her early training in ballet at Shenyang College of Music in China, then studied at the Beijing Dance Academy Ballet Department from 1999 to 2006.  She received her bachelor’s degree in 2003 and her master’s degree in 2006.  During her years as a student she appeared in many performances [Read More]

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Sara Parker

Teaching Assistant – Sara earned her B.S. in Dance from University of Oregon in Eugene, OR where she was awarded the Lotta Carll scholarship for artistic growth and development. While living in Eugene, Sara toured with the University of Oregon Repertory Dance Company (UORDC) as well as locally with Ballet Fantastique and Dance Northwest.   Upon [Read More]

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Richard Wacko

Professor - Richard Wacko earned an MFA from the University of Utah, a B. Admin from Athabasca University and a Diploma in Marketing Management from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.  Early studies began at the Ukrainian National Federal School of Dance and continued at the Alberta Ballet School.  He received private instruction with Maria Bokor at [Read More]

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Melonie Buchanan Murray

Associate Professor – Melonie Buchanan Murray holds a BFA in Ballet from Friends University (Wichita, KS), an MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine (UCI), and is currently pursuing a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. At UCI, which she attended on a full fellowship, she studied with the legendary Donald McKayle and [Read More]

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Jay Kim

Assistant Professor -  Professor Kim’s career as a professional dancer includes having been awarded a total of 9 medals in international dance competitions, including 2 Grand Prix and 7 Gold Medals earning the top placing medals in Ballet, Modern, and Korean Folk Dance categories from 1989 ‐1998. His professional dancing career spans across 12 years [Read More]

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Maureen Laird

Associate Professor  (Currently on Sabbatical)- Maureen Laird received her early training at Point Park College and the Pennsylvania Ballet School. She continued her studies at David Howard’s School and Melissa Hayden’s Studio in New York and then went on to study at the University of Utah. Maureen performed with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet El [Read More]

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Conrad Ludlow

Associate Professor (retired) - Conrad Ludlow had an illustrious twenty-year career as a principal dancer with both San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet, where he was especially known for his skill in partnering. He established exciting partnerships with such well-known ballerinas as Violette Verdy, Melissa Hayden, Maria Tallchief, Allegra Kent, Suzanne Farrell, and Patricia [Read More]

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Rob Wood

Associate Professor Lecturer - Rob Wood has directed the music program in the Ballet Department for the last twelve years. He is currentlyAssistant Professor Lecturer in the Department of Modern Dance as well. Rob’s professional music-for-dance career spans 30 years having worked closely with many professional dancers, teachers, and directors. This includes recording ballet CD’s with [Read More]

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Maggie Wright-Tesch

Associate Professor Lecturer - Maggie Wright Tesch danced her entire 18-year career with Ballet West, 12 as a Principal Artist. During her career she performed the leading roles in the classics The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and Swan Lake as well as all the full lengths in the repertoire. She worked with and was coached by noted [Read More]

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Calvin Kitten

Assistant Professor Lecturer - Calvin Kitten began his dance training at the California Ballet School in San Diego and furthered his training at the Tbilisi Choreographic Institute in Soviet Georgia and also at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York.  Calvin was then invited to join the Joffrey Ballet, and danced with them, both in New [Read More]

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Michael Bearden

Visiting Assistant Professor – Michael Bearden received his early training at the Academy of Ballet Arkansas and then became a student in the University of Utah Ballet Department. From there, he was hired by Ballet West where he had a distinguished fourteen year career. Michael Joined Ballet West in 1999, was promoted to Soloist in 2004, [Read More]

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Annie Breneman

  Adjunct Assistant Professor – Annie Breneman received most of her early ballet training from Joan Miller’s Palm Beach Ballet Center, Florida. She graduated from Alexander Dreyfoos School of the Arts High School, in Florida. She received a scholarship to attend the University of Utah, and later graduated with a BFA in Ballet, with a Performing [Read More]

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Brenda Butcher

Adjunct Assistant Professor – Brenda graduated from the University of Utah in 2004 with a BFA in Modern Dance and a minor in Health Promotion and Education. Since that time she has received certification from the Aerobic and Fitness Association of America (mat pilates, group fitness, youth aerobics), from Streamline Bodyworks (pilates) and in Zumba Fitness.  [Read More]

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Sarah Franco

Adjunct Assistant Professor - Sarah Franco Adjunct Assistant Professor– Sarah Franco teaches the Kinesiology course (Ballet 4400).  She graduated from BYU with a BA in Ballet Performance in 2004 and received her MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah in 2007.  While in the Modern Dance Department Sarah was the Teaching Assistant for Pamela [Read More]

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Kimberly Ballard

Adjunct Assistant Professor - Kimberly received her BFA in Ballet with emphases in Performance, Teaching, and Character Dance in December of 2009 and her MFA in Ballet Performance in December 2011 from the University of Utah.   Kimberly began her dance education in southern California at the Looking Glass Studio of Performing Arts and The School [Read More]

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Cati Snarr

Adjunct Professor – Cati Snarr began her career at 15, dancing with Ballet West at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. During her ballet career she has danced many roles including,Myrtha in Giselle and Swanilda in Coppelia.  She is versatile in Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap and Musical Theatre and has both worked and appeared in TV and film. [Read More]

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Lisa Hoyt

Adjunct Assistant Professor - Originally from Salt Lake City, Lisa Hoyt began her serious dance training at Christiansen School of Dance where she began performing with the International Folk-Ballet.  At the age of twelve Ms. Hoyt started studying with Ballet West Conservatory/Academy.   As a Willam Christensen scholarship recipient, Lisa received her BFA in Ballet, with a [Read More]

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Allison Farnsworth

Adjunct Assistant Professor – Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Allison Farnsworth received her ballet training and began teaching at Ballet Memphis School, where she performed with the Ballet Memphis Junior Company. She also attended summer programs at Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts and Kansas City Ballet. She received her B.A. in Dance from Brigham Young University, [Read More]

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Lena May-Fraser

Lena has over three years experience as a general academic advisor and specialized in pre-medicine advising at Montana State University. She has coordinated an introductory psychology course, supervised graduate teaching assistants, and taught the first-year seminar for incoming students. Lena has also served as an academic counselor for TRiO – Student Support Services and coordinated [Read More]

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Kira Jones

Kira has over three years experience teaching, advising, and counseling students. She has worked with the University of Utah Housing and Residential Education, University Writing Center, University Tutoring Services and the Utah Daily Chronicle while she was a student. Since graduating from the University of Utah, Kira obtained a Master’s Degree in Communication from the [Read More]

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Glenda Staples

Administrative Officer -     Glenda serves both the Ballet and Modern Dance Departments. Her primary assignment is the finances of both departments. One philosophy of life she has is, “Challenges in life are often hard, but we are all given tools and abilities to overcome what, at first, seems impossible.” Glenda has a special insight [Read More]

Sara Francis

Sara Francis

  Sara was born and raised here in Utah. She attended the University of Utah and received her BFA in Film Studies in 2009. When she’s not at the nearest movie theater, she also enjoys photography, traveling, and spending time with her family. She hopes one day to make her mark on the film industry. [Read More]

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Bené Arnold

Distinguished Professor Emerita     Bené received her B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the Department of Ballet, and her B.S. in elementary education and Masters of Education in special education (teaching the deaf as her specialty) from the University of Utah. In 1963 Bené was asked by Willam F. Christensen to be the ballet mistress for [Read More]

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Barbara Hamblin

Professor Emeritus -   Barbara Hamblin was a charter member of the Utah Civic Ballet and principal ballerina with Ballet West from 1964 to 1972.  She received her early training from Edna Howell in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Her principal teachers in Utah were Willam Christensen, Mattlyn Gavers, Gordon Paxman and Bené Arnold.  Barbara met with critical [Read More]

Cole Adams

Cole Adams

Associate Professor Lecturer, Production Director and Lighting Design -   B.F.A. Utah State University. Cole serves as the Production Director and Lighting Designer for the Marriott Center for Dance. This is his fourth year at the University of Utah’s renowned Ballet and Modern Dance programs. Credits at the University of Utah include Spring and Fall productions [Read More]

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Steve Rasmussen

Associate Professor Lecturer, Costume Shop Director -   Steve has a BS from the University of Utah in Clothing ad Textiles, with an emphasis in textile soft sculpture. He has had several art shows in local galleries and has done theater costuming for the Salt Lake Acting Company, Dance Theater Coalition, and Theater Works West [Read More]

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Isaac Taylor

Technical and Lighting Designer – In 2009 Isaac graduated form Utah State University with a BFA in Theater Design with an Emphasis in Lighting and Technical Theater.  He has extensive experience in technical theater and theatre design having worked with Repertory Dance Theatre, Hale Center Theatre, and Dark Horse Theatre Company, to name a few.  Most [Read More]

Ben Sandberg

Benjamin Sandberg

Audio-Visual Specialist Ben received his BA in Film & Media Arts at the University of Utah.  During his student days he worked as a videographer with the Departments of Ballet and Modern Dance, recording many of our performances.  He also worked with the Department of Theatre filming, editing and producing promotional videos as well as [Read More]

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Pinja Fristrom

Theatrical Costume Technician Pinja (peen-ya) holds an Associates of Applied Science in Fashion Design, from Salt Lake Community College, where she won a School Design Competition and received glowing reports from the faculty.  She also has experience working as a seamstress for Shabby Apple, an on-line retailer that specializes in vintage and retro attire. She [Read More]

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Elizabeth Banzuzi Diansongi

Theatrical Costume Technician -   Elizabeth has worked in the MCD Costume shop for six years. She helps create beautiful costumes for both the Ballet and Modern Departments. She is well known for her pleasant personality and meticulous eye for detail.   801-581-5072

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Vilena Barekyan

Principal Accompanist In 1977, Vilena graduated from Baku Conservatory where she received her Masters degree from the Piano Department. In 1988 she moved to  Moscow, Russia where she attended many competitions and performed as an accompanist. In 1998 she moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2004,  Vilena was hired by the University of Utah [Read More]

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Svetlana Vasilenko

Associate Principal Accompanist   In 1961, Svetlana received her Associates Degree in Musical Theory/Composition/Improvisation at the College of Music. She then went on to study at the Glinka Conservatory from 1963 to 1972 where she earned both her Bachelors and Masters Degree of Art in Composition/Musical Theory. She has researched, composed, and developed repertoire of [Read More]

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Kimball Whitaker

Accompanist   Kimball began playing the piano for the U of U Ballet and Modern Dance in the fall of 2009. Kimball received his B.S. in Family Studies and Human Development, which got him started in a career of software testing and development. For over 15 years he worked on various programs and devices, including [Read More]

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Adam Sklute

Ballet West Artistic Director   Adam Sklute was named Artistic Director of Ballet West in March of 2007.  Prior to that time, he was with The Joffrey Ballet for nearly 25 years.  Beginning as a dancer under Robert Joffrey in the 1980’s, Sklute was one of the last two artists Joffrey personally chose for his [Read More]

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Pamela Robinson-Harris

Ballet West Interim Artistic Director    Pamela Robinson-Harris has served as Ballet Mistress for the Company for nearly 11 years.  Her vast ballet career began with the Cleveland Ballet, where she danced for three years before joining the State of Alabama Ballet in 1982, followed by Ballet Mississippi.   Pamela joined Ballet West in 1985 [Read More]

Bruce-Caldwell

Bruce Caldwell

Ballet West Ballet Master   Bruce Caldwell, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, began his early ballet training in 1961 from Bené Arnold and later from Willam F. Christensen.  He first appeared on stage in Salt Lake City in Kingsbury Hall with the University Theater Ballet as a child in The Nutcracker in 1962.  Joining Ballet [Read More]

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Peter Christie

Peter’s career with Ballet West spans 30 years. He joined the artistic staff in 1998 after a 16-year career as a corps member and, later, a soloist with the Company. During his ballet career, Peter was especially noted for his character roles. He currently serves as Director of Educational Programs and Ballet West Academy, and [Read More]

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Jan Clark-Fugit

Jan Clark-Fugit received her formation at the National Ballet in Washington D.C. and at the age of 14, joined the Denver Civic Ballet’s junior company under the direction of American Ballet Theatre’s Enrique Martinez. She later became a member of Ballet Colorado and was promoted to Principal dancer. Performing leading roles in classical and contemporary [Read More]

Jeff Rogers

Jeff Rogers

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Christopher Ruud

Born: San Francisco, California   Joined Ballet West: 1998 Promoted to Soloist: 2001 Promoted to Principal: 2004   Training: San Francisco Ballet School, University of Utah Department of Ballet   Current Repertoire: “Oberon” in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream; “Siegfried” in Adam Sklute’s 2010 newly conceived and produced Swan Lake; Fourth Campaign in Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, a lead role in Balanchine’s Serenade, and “Melancholic” in [Read More]

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Jane Wood Smith

Born in Washington, D.C., Jane received her formative ballet training at the Washington School of Ballet, in Washington, D.C., most notably with Mary Day, Alice Bralove, and Julio de Bittencourt.  At 15, she was invited to perform with the Grand Theatre de Genève, in Geneva, Switzerland under the direction of Patricia Neary and George Balanchine. [Read More]