* Photos taken at the Minnesota Dance Festival
Colleette Illarde: (2004-05: 16-17th MDF)
A Chicago native, Colette Marie Illarde began ballet training with Edward Parish. She also trained at the Boitsov School of Classical Ballet and danced on scholarship with the Joel Hall Jazz Dance company.
In 1991, she discovered flamenco with Dame Libby Komaiko and the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, and danced for five years with the company.
Since relocating to Minneapolis, she has performed with groups "Rincon del Flamenco", "Zorongo Flamenco", "Trio Flamenco" and Ballet Minnesota. She formed her own group "FUEGO Flamenco" along with guitarist Scott Mateo Davies, and has produced many works including: "Simply Flamenco", "Splotches of Spain" and "Caravan: From Cairo to Cordoba"
Colette is a sought-after performer, instructor and cultural arts presenter. Incorporating her academic background in social work and elementary education, she has a deep commitment to youth and community empowerment through the arts. She served on the Ordway Theater's Cultural Advisory Committee and is a founding member of Flamenco Minnesota. She is the Artistic Liaison for the City of Minneapolis‚ MOSAIC: Celebrating Cultural Diversity through the Arts.
She has received numerous awards for her dance from institutions including the Jerome Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, St Paul Companies, COMPAS, and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. In 2006 she was awarded the McKnight Fellowship for dance.
She travels to Spain often, continually experiencing the richness of flamenco art and culture. Her many dedicated talents are an asset to the art form she has made her life path.
For more information, please visit www.fuegoflamenco.com (updated: April 2009)
Julie Jacobson : (2009: 21st MDF)
< Co-Founder & Co-Artistic Director: Beyond Ballroom Dance Company > Julie is a United States professional Nine Dance Champion and has been teaching ballroom dance in the Twin Cities for over 16 years. She performed "Some People's Lives" on MDF21 with Jay Larson. (updated: April 2009)
* Photos taken at the Minnesota Dance Festival. Photograher: Dave Trayers
Jason Jacobs : (2007: 19th MDF) Jason began tap dancing at the age of nine in Pittsford, NY. A Member of the Louisville Ballet at the age of 18, he continued on to dance with the North Carolina Dance Theater, Chautauqua Ballet and the Complexions Contemporary Ballet. He has had the pleasure of touring internationally and working with many of today's young and innovatice choreographers. In September 2006, Jason moved to Minnesota, dancing with TUDance. In August Jason will leave for Europe where he has a job in Germany. Jason performed the pas de trois & Spanish in Ballet Minnesota's 'Swan lake'
(posted: July 2007)
Matt Jenson (2003-04: MDF15, MDF16) As a freelance choreographer, Matt has created dances for the University of Minnesota Dance Program, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Mankato State University, the Perpich Center for the Arts High School and the Weisman Art Museum. Matt choreographed some of the main stage productions at the Children's Theatre, Minneapolis (the largest children's theatre company in the nation). He has also worked with Outward Spiral Theatre Company and the Universtiy of Minnesota Opera. In 2002, Matt gathered a group of choreographers together and started the Best Feet Forward Festival, a collectively run modern dance festival that as of 2006, was entering into it's fourth year.MattI taught dance at the Children's Theatre (8 - 12 year olds) and the University of Minnesota Dance Program (Modern Dance 1 and 2). (updated: March 2009)
Maryann Johnson: (2003: 15th MDF) Performed in Ballet Minnesota's 'Coppelia. Maryann Johnson is a founding member of Ballet of The Dolls and has danced multiple roles in over 30 original works by Myron Johnson. She has also performed with Children;s Theater, Minnesota Opera, St Paul City Ballet under the direction of Jo Savino, Andahazy Ballet Company and Duluth Ballet. She is currently teaching for Classical Ballet Academy and also works as a physical therapist for OSI.
Myron Johnson: (1989: 2nd MDF) Myron is artistic director of "Ballet of the Dolls", a company he founded in the 1980's. His works are not only musical and intriguing but have a stong sense of purpose and dynamics which sets him apart as a gifted choreographer. (updated: July 2007)
* Photos not taken at the Minnesota Dance Festival
Andrei Jouravleva: (2009: 21st MDF) Andrei, a principal with the New Jersery Ballet, will dance the lead of Solar in Ballet Minnesota's full length production of "La Bayadere" May 8-10, 2009.
Bio from New Jersey Ballet Company page: Andrei studied at the Perm Academy in Russia and went on to become a principal dancer in the Perm State Ballet. He won silver and bronze medals in international competitions in Japan and Russia. Andrei toured internationally dancing the role of Espada in Don Quixote with American Ballet Theatre principal Nina Ananiashvili. He joined NJB as a principal dancer in 1994, and toured China with Stars of American Ballet in 1997. Among his signature roles are Meditation (from Thais) and Reflections. A much in demand guest artist, Mr. Jouravlev recently appeared as Albrecht in California Ballet’s 40th anniversary season production of Giselle. (updated: March 2009)
* Photos taken at the Minnesota Dance Festival. Swan Lake Photo: Dave Trayers
Oksana Konobeyeva: (13th - 21th MDF) After graduating from the Novosibirsk Ballet School (Russia), Oksana won First Prize at the Vaganova Ballet Competition in St Petersburg, Russia. In 1990 Ms Konobeyeva joined the Y. Grigorovich Ballet - Bolshoi Theater. Some of the soloist and principal roles she perfromed included Odette-Odile in "Swan Lake", Aurora and Princess Florine in "Sleeping Beauty" and many others. In 1994 she joined the Moscow Renaissance Ballet where her repetoire included "Pas de Quatre", "Tailsman" and "Paquita". In 1996 she won The First Prize and a Gold Medal at the International Ballet Competition in Luxembourg. In the same year Oksana joined American Ballet Theater where she was promoted to soloist in 1996. Besides perfroming the classics, she has performed in new works by Twyla Tharp, John Neumeier and Robert Hill. Some of her teachers included: M Lavrovsky, R. Karelskaya, L Ribinkina & N Fedeychev from the Bolshoi Theater. Oksana has performed principal roles with Ballet Minnesota in "La Bayadere", "Swan Lake", "Giselle" and "Don Quixote" on the Minnesota Dance Festival (updated: March 2009)
Jay Larson : (2009: 21st MDF)
< Founding member of Beyond Ballroom Dance Company >
is a U.S. professional Nine Dance Champion, 3 time North American Rhythm finalist and 3 time North American Nine Dance Champion. He is also co-owner of the Classic Ballroom in Plymouth. He performed "Some People's Lives" with Julie Jacobson; and "Love Stinks" with Deanne Michales on MDF21. (updated: April 2009)
Justin Leaf : (2007: 19th MDF) Justin will begin his 7th year with the James Sewell Ballet in August of 2007. Previously, he has danced with the Julliard Dance Ensemble, Netherlands Dance Theater and Pacific Northwest Ballet. He recieved his dance training at Goucher College, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and the Julliard school where he recieved his BFA in 2001. Last year, Justin created 'Broadway Bound...and Gagged', a cabaret show with Brooke Murphy for performance at Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater in Minneapolis. (updated: July 2007)
* Don Quixote Photos taken at the Minnesota Dance Festival
Jim Lieberthal (1998: 10th MDF, MDF16. 2004.Don Quixote & MDF 21) Jim is an independent choreograher who has an ability to create unsual movement, Jim has also created works for people in wheelchairs. Jim presented his classic solo work "Albatross".
* Swan Lake Photos taken at the Minnesota Dance Festival. All photos: Dave Trayers
Nicholas Lincoln : (2006 & 2007: 18th & 19th MDF) Nicholas performed in the corps de ballet and soloist roles for Grand Rapids Ballet, Dayton Ballet and Cleveland / San Jose Ballet. He is currently a company member iwth James Sewell Ballet. Nicholas performed in Giselle on MDF18 and was the Jester in Swan Lake on MDF 19.
Lisa McKhann: (Ressl Dance Company: 2001: 13th MDF) Lisa McKhann began dancing in Christina Mohn dances with a variety of Minnesota dance companies: Ressl Dance! (since 1992), John Munger's Third Rabbit Dance Ensemble, and the American Heritage Dance Company formed by Maria Busciano which performs works by Isadora Duncan. Lisa studied at the School of the Minnesota Ballet for eight years, performing in The Nutcracker, Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppelia, and contemporary works. This summer (2001) she will be performing in the annual Fringe Festival in Minneapolis with modern choreographer Ray Terrill and in "Dances on the Lakewalk." (updated: May 2001)
Deanne Michael: (2009: 21st MDF / 2004: MDF16)
< Founding member of Beyond Ballroom Dance Company >
Deanne Michael- co founder and Director of BBDC. She has been a professional ballroom dance teacher and competitor for 20 years. She is a United States Rising Star Theater Arts champion and U.S. Cabaret finalist. She has been a featured dancer on Championship Ballroom Dancing aired on PBS. She performed "Love Stinks" with Jay Larson MDF21 (updated: April 2009)
Deborah Elias Morse: (Zorongo Flamenco: 2003: 5th MDF)
Debra has studied Flamenco dance since 1994 under the guidance of Susana di Palma. She has also studied in Spain, taking classes with Flamenco masters Merche Esmeralda, La Tati, Ciro and Antonio Reyes. She is a founding member of Majas and has danced with Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre in Garden of Names, Kathak Flamenco: United Rhythm-Passion, First I Dream, La Virtud Negra, and Soul y Flamenco. Besides these theatre works, Ms Morse performs traditional Flamenco in a variety of venues in and around the Twin Cities, as well as in K-12 schools as part of the St Paul Chamber Orchestra Cultural Partners Program. (updated: April 2003)
Rita Mitra Mustaphi ( Artistic Director/Founder: Katha Dance Theatre
April 2005: MDF 17 "Shahi Mehfil- The Royal Concert" )
Bio taken from the Katha Dance Theatre Company page Artistic director, choreographer and dancer, Rita Mitra Mustaphi has been teaching and performing dance in the Twin Cities since 1978. A graduate of Rabindra Bharati University of Performing Arts in Calcutta, India she is a disciple of the living legend Pandit Birju Maharaj in Kathak style of Indian classical dance. Mustaphi, in her 27 years of professional dance, has choreographed more than 50 new works and performed locally, nationally and internationally.
Her selected awards include several McKnight Fellowships for choreography, dancer fellowships, and cultural collaboration awards from Minnesota State Arts Board and leadership award from the Council of Asian Pacific Minnesotans. In 1994, Mustaphi was the company member of the Guthrie Theatre in Minnesota and has performed as a troupe member of Pandit Birju Maharaj at Carnegie Hall, New York. Her choreographic credits include innovative productions such as: Naari – the Women, Sufism Remembered, Dots and Feathers, The Ramayana Project, Sister India, Souls Lament, Chandalika – the Untouchable Maiden, Living Tapestry, Unveiling, Mehfil-e-Darbar - The Royal Concert, The Courtesans – Ornaments of the Royal Court, Mother Daughter On the Border, Temple to Court, Black Candle, The Hungry Stones. She performed at the prestigious international Kathak Dance Festival, New Delhi, India in 2003 organized by the Kathak Kendra, the National Institute of Kathak dance in India. Her presentation of Sudha’s Story, a poetry enactment was reviewed by India Today, the newsmagazine as 'A poetry in motion - the piece de resistance’. Hindustan Times in India writes 'From Minnesota with magic in her steps she creates a spirit that sets her apart at the festival’. Mustaphi is also a roster artist for Minnesota State Arts Board, COMPAS and Young Audiences of Minnesota, the organizations that promote global education of multicultural arts. (updated: April 2009)
Kerry Parker : (Kanopy Dance Company: 2009: 21st MDF)
Bio taken from Kanopy Dance Company Bios 2009:
Kerry Parker, ( Principal Dancer, Kanopy Dance Company: ballet facuty ) was born in St.Paul, Minnesota. Kerry's early years were spent training at Minnesota Dance Theater and Pacific Northwest Ballet School and at the summer courses of the Milwaukee Ballet and School of American Ballet. She danced with Minnesota Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet and The Vienna State Opera Ballet. After a brief hiatus from the dance world she moved to New York where she studied dance with Zvi Gotheiner, Jackie Villamel, Christine Wright and Jeremy Nelson. While in New York she also studied yoga with Peter Rizzo and Gyrotonics with Jurgen Bamburger. Kerry freelanced with Avila/Weeks Dance, Arianne Anthony & Company and Ancient of Days Dance Theater before returning to the Midwest to dance with Ballet of the Dolls, Jennifer Hart, Bonnie Mathis, and the Vroom Vroom Group. She taught ballet at the University of Idaho for the past several years. She has been performing her own work since 2005 and has presented at University of Idaho, Washington State University, American College Dance Festival and On The Boards in Seattle. (updated: April 2009)
Toni Pierce-Sands: (2003: 15th MDF, performed in "Chaaya" co-choeographed by Uri Sands and Aparna Ramaswamy) A Minnesota native, Toni has performed with the MInnesota Dance Theatre, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre - where she was a featured soloist in such signature pieces as 'Revelations' and 'Cry', Tanz Forum (Germany) and Company Rick Odums (Paris). She has also appeared in the Twin Cities as a guest performer with Ragamala Music and Dance Theatre, Shapiro and Smith Dance, Stuart Pimsler Dance Theater, and Robin Steihm's Dancing People Company. Her command of the Horton technique has led her to teaching posts throughout the United States and Europe. She returned to Minnesota five years ago and currently teaches in the University of Minnesota Department of Theater Arts and Dance, as well as in the St Paul and Minneapolis Public Schools. Toni Pierce-Sands is also rehearsal director for the University Dance Theatre (updated: June 2003)