Laura McCarthy, DFCCA, is a Permanent Examiner, past Scholarship Chair and Recording Secretary of the National Executive Board of the Cecchetti Council of America. She holds her Teacher’s Diploma Fellow Certification, and in 2007, received the prestigious Sylvia Hamer Scholarship award to study ballet abroad. Laura trained and performed at Boston Ballet under E. Virginia Williams. She received her teacher training in the Cecchetti Method with Nancy Giles, FCCA, and Marjorie Randazzo, DFCCA. Other significant influences in her training have been Arlene Ashton Hay, Margaret Craske, and Anthony Randazzo, as well as Master teachers at the Cecchetti International Teacher Seminars.After moving to Florida in 2016, Laura became the Chairperson of the CCA Florida Committee, and is currently coaching teachers in the Florida area. Laura continues to teach at Teacher Refreshers, Ballet Seminars, Workshops, and at the Cecchetti International Summer School programs held in Holland, MI. Most recently, Laura collaborated with Leslie Wood, FCCA, to produce four Teacher Training DVDs for the Cecchetti Council of America. These DVDs follow closely the 2009 CCA Teacher Reference Guide for levels I-IV. It was a work to be shared with others that have a passion to teach and carry on the method of Maestro Cecchetti.
Melissa Allen Bowman began her classical ballet training at age six with Lois Ellyn, formerly of New York City Ballet, and at age 11 began training with Stanley Holden and Margaret Graham Hills, both from The Royal Ballet in London. At age fifteen, she was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join the corps de ballet of American Ballet Theatre, where she danced for seven years. During that time, Bowman began her own ballet company the Emerson Dance Theatre, which featured up-and-coming ABT dancers. From 1981-1988, Bowman also appeared in several of ABT’s Great Performances in America. In 1988, she moved to Europe to join the Bern Ballet in Switzerland and then the Zurich Ballet with Uwe Scholz. In 1990, she followed Scholz to Leipzig, Germany, where she danced many soloist and principal roles and became his associate director. Bowman returned to the United States in 1999 to join the staff of the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, where in 2000 she became resident choreographer and associate director. Since 2001, Bowman has taught at ABT Summer Intensive in Detroit and, in 2007, became an advisor to ABT’s National Training Curriculum committee. In 2004, she established, with her husband Richard, Danse Conservatory and California Danse Theatre Youth Ballet and served as the Artistic Director for five years. Ms. Bowman was preciously the Assistant Principal of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT as well as Artistic Director of Summer Intensives.
Jennifer Ramos, M.Ed. was born in the beautiful border town El Paso, TX. Her background is a mix of world dance, yoga, theater arts, musical theater, exercise science, business administration, fitness, and vocal performance. At age 15, she won the city-wide Shakira “Hips Don’t Lie” contest and had the opportunity to meet and dance on-stage at her Oral Fixation Tour in El Paso, Texas. In her hometown, she performed at the Hyundai Sunbowl during half-time shows with artists such as Rihanna, Baby Bash, and Diamond Rio. At 18, Jen studied at Santa Monica College working towards an associate of arts degree in dance performance and mass communications. Her works in California include Synapse Dance Theater Contemporary Dance Ensemble, Global Motion World Dance Company, and performing at the ACDFA. Jen’s musical studies continued with a music scholarship at Angelo State University in San Angelo, TX. There she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus of Communications, Kinesiology, and Music in 2014. She received her 200 RYT Yoga Therapy & has a 200 E-RYT Yoga Teacher certifications from Paramanand Ashram in Indore, India. Jen graduated from Angelo State University with a Master of Education in Coaching, Sport, Recreation, & Fitness Administration. Along her yogic journey, she’s had the opportunity of presenting at state conferences, teaching abroad in Europe and India, teaching as an adjunct professor at Angelo State University, hosting outdoor yoga retreats, creating exercise programs for geriatrics, training collegiate athletes, and most recently working with Olympic athletes on our USA national team at Auburn University. Currently, you can find her teaching yoga, fitness, and dance classes for all ages, or dancing professionally with Chamacos Dance Company.
Whitley Green, daughter, student, teacher, and performing artist is passionate about using dance to create safe spaces for self discovery and exploration, ultimately guiding participants to unique self-expression and creative leadership. Ms. Green currently teaches at her alma mater, as the first Hip Hop professor in the University of North Texas Dance & Theater Department and serves as a substitute in the Dallas Independent School District. She is honored by the privilege to learn, lead, and serve through the Fine Arts as a life practice.
Allen Kinzie, has been a Ballet Master / Teacher and Choreographer for the past thirty years. Some of the works he has created have been,“Coppelia”, “A Midsummer NIght’s Dream”, “Appalachian Spring”, “Scenes de Ballet”, and “Trauma into Light” to name a few. His ballets have been performed in Europe, Mexico and the United States and he continues to create works that are technically challenging, innovative and musically sensitive. As a dancer, Mr. Kinzie performed with Dallas Ballet, Chicago City Ballet, Ballet Theatre Francais de Nancy, Balletdu Nord, and the Boston Ballet. Mr. Kinzie toured extensively and performed with Rudolph Nureyev in his productions of Don Quixote and Swan Lake to fifteen foreign countries.
Although choreographing with an emphasis on contemporary composers and movement invention is a passion, Mr. Kinzie is an accomplished Master Teacher and has taught at Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts, the Boston Ballet School, Southern Methodist University, Texas Christian University and the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Kinzie is a specialist in teaching classical male dancers in technique and partnering. He has worn many hats in the world of ballet from dancer to ballet master to pedagogue to director. His work is demanding and relevant with the passion to continually push the limits of dance art.
Catherine Garratt Fothergill a native of Birmingham, Alabama, Catherine trained at the Alabama Dance Academy, and Alabama Ballet Center for Dance before completing her studies with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under Marcia Dale Weary. Catherine joined the Louisville Ballet, and shortly thereafter, the Alabama Ballet. Catherine danced leading roles in the all of the paramount classical ballets, and in numerous works by esteemed choreographers Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Agnes De Mille, Frank Staff, Jirí Kylián, Twyla Tharp, and Antony Tudor, among others.For several months of the year, Catherine travels throughout the United States and abroad as a sought after guest instructor, repetiteur and ballet mistress. Catherine has taught for esteemed organizations of classical ballet, professional ballet companies, and semi-professional academies. She has taught multiple levels of the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus and has passed numerous students with distinction. Catherine frequently assists in the staging of works for Japan Ballet Association, Balleteatro Nacional de Puerto Rico, and Les Ballets de France. Within Japan, Catherine has served as a guest instructor and ballet mistress for the Takako Classical Ballet, Chida Toshiko Ballet, and Hiroko Masuya Classic Ballet, and was a ballet mistress for the 37th annual Zendo Ballet Festival. She is a frequent guest instructor for the Cecchetti Council of America.
Michael Fothergill began his training in central Iowa, and furthered his dance education as a full-scholarship recipient of the Milwaukee Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, and the School of American Ballet. Following an early graduation from high school, Michael accepted an invitation to train extensively with American Ballet Theatre. During this tenure, Michael instructed at Steps on Broadway and the Peridance Capezio Center, and subsequently accepted prominent appointments as a principal dancer in companies across the United States and abroad. Michael has danced the male leads in the classical staples, as well as in works by Ashton, Balanchine, Baryshnikov, De Mille, Dow, Duato, Fokine, Fosse, Kylian, Massine, Prokovsky, Robbins, Tharp, and Tudor, among others.As an educator, Michael frequently travels across the United States, Canada, Japan, and France. He is a frequent guest instructor for the Cecchetti Council of America where is is the founding Artistic Director of the Enhanced Men’s Training Program. Michael recently completed his fourth year on the faculty of Samford University, located in Birmingham, AL. This year marks Michael’s return appointment to the distinguished panel of judges at Japan Ballet Association’s Hokkaido Ballet Competition. Michael has recently been appointed the Executive and Artistic Director of Ballet Arkansas after a 7 year stint as principal dancer and choreographer with the Alabama Ballet.
The SW Committee CCA welcomes Franco Baleto to their Fall 2018 workshop in Bentonville, Arkansas. Franco Baleto has been a street dancer his entire life. Born in Dallas, Texas, Franco grew up break-dancing and competing in talent shows and battles. Following in the footsteps of Barry YoungBlood, Franco began dancing with GDDS six years ago. He strives to encourage his students to open up and feel the music. Gathering attention with his showshopping mohawk, Franco enters a room and never leaves a stranger. He credits his performance with the “American Idols Live” in Branson, Missouri as one of the most inspiring moments of his life. In addition to teaching Hip Hop and performing, Franco works as a volunteer for the Fort Smith Girls and Boys Club and is currently an instructor at Grace DeWitt Dance Studio.
“Born into a family of Musicians and Artists, Riddhika has always been passionate about Performing Arts. Taking her passion, seriously when she started training in Bharatnatyam in Kolkata at age 6. Her hunger for versatility lead her to taking classes at The Shiamak Davar’s Dance School in Delhi. She started training professionally at The Danceworks (founded by Ashley Lobo), expanding to styles such as Jazz, Contemporary, Ballet, Hip-Hop and various Social Dance Styles under teachers from all over the world. As part of the school’s repertoire, she taught Jazz / Contemporary to children and adults. When she moved to the US, she joined Dance Identity (founded by Shaira Bhan) based in Sunnyvale California. She performed extensively around the US with the school and also instructed various dance classes. She went back to India to participate in the dance reality show ‘Dance India Dance season 3’ and was among the Top 14 contestants. Giving her the opportunity to work closely with ace Bollywood choreographer, Geeta Kapur on many projects and television shows.
After moving to Texas in 2016, she founded and established Dance Space, which offers dance and fitness classes. The school believes in providing professional training to both new and experienced dancers, inspiring them to discover the artist within. While providing a fun and an affirming environment that fosters dedication, discipline and a life-long passion for dance.
Dance is more than just movements created by the body, it is the connection one establishes with everything else around. Through teaching, Riddhika intends to pass on her experiences and knowledge as well as motivate individuals to embrace Dance as a passion and lifestyle beyond a hobby. Ultimately, her objective is to enable dancers to reach their goals and dreams by creating a space where they feel accomplished and fulfilled. “
Rubén Gerding, a native of Kentucky, received his early training from the Louisville Ballet. He received his MFA in Classical & Contemporary Dance from Texas Christian University and his BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of Oklahoma.
Rubén danced for three seasons with the Eugene Ballet under director Toni Pimble and four years under director Ben Stevenson at Texas Ballet Theater. He also danced in Casa Manaña musical theatre productions Damn Yankees and Beauty and the Beast and performed with Ballet Concerto, Metropolitan Classical Ballet, Bruce Wood Dance Project, Avant Chamber Ballet, and other North Texas dance companies.
Rubén taught Advanced Ballet at Booker T. High School for the Performing and Visuals Arts in Dallas, TX. He has been faculty for the University of Oklahoma Summerwind Youth Ballet and the Southwest Committee of the Cecchetti Council of America. Gerding has choreographed for universities in North Texas and Missouri and regional ballet schools associated with Regional Dance America: Southwest. He performed his own work Hungarian Dance for Two with fellow dancer Lea Zablocki at the Plano Dance Festival in Plano, TX.
Rubén is currently Assistant Professor of Dance at Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau, MO.
Alex Brooks grew up dancing in the Dallas community and has been heavily influenced by those around her. As a student at Dance Industry, she was given a chance to teach and choreograph solos for her younger peers and that is where she found her love for teaching. She’s trained at prestigious summer intensives including Hubbard Street Dance Summer Intensive, San Francisco Conservatory, and The Soul Escape Company Intensive. She attended Marymount Manhattan and decided that her path would be different than others and was ready to dive into the world of teaching and choreographing. She continues to train and most recently performed as a company member in the 2017 SoulEscape Performance. Alex is so content to be sharing her love of dance with any and everyone.