His professional dancing career began in 1972 at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater (PBT), where he worked with several ballet masters. He later danced with Ballet Internacional de Caracas and Hartford Ballet. In 1980, the Venezuelan government appointed Muñoz as the Artistic Director of Ballet del Zulia, where he led the school and the company for two seasons. After returning to the U.S., Muñoz continued his teaching career in the Dance Department of Point Park College (now University) as the Director of the Conservatory of Dance and Music. A faculty member at Point Park College for 13 years, Muñoz taught all levels of ballet technique, character dance and male ballet technique. Additionally, he created two very successful programs: the Pre-professional Division and the International Summer Dance Program. During that time, he also served as part-time faculty at the PBT school and company. Muñoz served as a full-time faculty member at the Baltimore School for the Performing Arts from 1995 to 1997. In 1997, Muñoz became Ballet Master for the PBT and in 2004, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School appointed him director. He continued his work as Ballet Master for the company and worked as a principal character dancer for the company. Following his tenure at PBT, Muñoz became Executive Director of The Gulfshore Ballet, in Fort Myers, FL. He and wife also founded and directed two summer dance intensives: Saratoga Springs Dance Intensive (SSDI) in Saratoga Springs, NY and Vail Valley Dance Intensive (VVDI) in Vail CO.
Giana Jigarhan, Ballet Instructor, is a graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and received a Masters Degree in Ballet Instruction, Choreography and Stage Production from the prestigious Moscow University of Theatre Arts having studied with Prof. Marina Semyonova, one of the most successful student of Vaganova, legend of Russian and World Ballet. She also trained for two years as a Ballet Instructor and Choreographer at the Bolshoi Theater and is a member of the Russian Professional Art Association. Ms. Jigarhan was a soloist ballet dancer for fourteen years with the Novosibirsk Ballet Theater, National Ballet Theater (Kirghizia). Her repertoire included the most famous classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Cinderella, Giselle, La Bayadere, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, La Corsaire, as well as ballets by the most prestigious modern Russian choreographers. In the former USSR, Asia and Europe, Ms. Jigarhan’s choreographic credits include ballets Paquita, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Raymonda, Bakhiana Brasiliana by Villa Lobos, numerous concert pieses and dances for operas Aida and Rigoletto. She has coached both students and artists for ballet competitions and performances. Ms. Jigarhan has taught ballet and coached at many well known institutions including: Moscow Musical Theater, the Polish National Ballet School, Polish National Ballet Theatre, Asami Maki Ballet Company in Japan, Star Dance Ballet, Japan; Prague National Theater, National Theater of Korea, Universal Ballet Company in Korea, EWHA University Dance Department in Korea, Washington School of Ballet, Kirov Ballet Academy, Tulsa Ballet, Towson University, Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, the Peabody Institute Dance Department at Johns Hopkins University, where she choreographed an original version of the full length ballet Coppelia. Currently she is working at Academy of Colorado Ballet, official school of Colorado Ballet Company, as a Principal Ballet Instructor.
Igor Vassine was born in Tallinn, Estonia. He retired as a principal dancer with Colorado Ballet in 2011, after completing his 17th year with the Company. He graduated from the Tallinn Ballet School of Estonian National Ballet, where he was also a principal dancer and was a finalist in the Helsinki International Competition in Finland in 1990. He has performed as a guest artist in Japan and also appeared on the cover of Dance Magazine in 1997. He has performed all major classical roles including those in Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and La Sylphide, and was seen as Oberon in Christopher Wheeldon's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Basilio in Don Quixote, Franz in Coppelia, Prince Charming in Cinderella and danced in Colorado Ballet's performance of Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs.
Julie studied Dance Education at Arizona State University and the University of Idaho where she earned a B.S. in Dance in 2005. She studied modern, ballet and jazz dance technique through an internship/scholarship program at Broadway Dance Center in New York City with Bill Hastings, Kat Wildish and others. She has studied and danced with Bill Evans, a world renowned modern and tap dancer, since 2003. In 2009, Julie completed the Bill Evans Dance Technique Certification Program. Julie currently performs with the jazz and modern company, Louder Than Words Dance Theater in Denver, and teaches for various studios and outreach programs in the Denver metro area.
Jennifer Bakane is from North Carolina and studied ballet, jazz, modern, tap and musical theatre. She has a B.A. in Theatre from Meredith College and trained in classical dance at Infinity Ballet Conservatory under the direction of Debra Sayles-Senchak, Lori Christman-Bourtasenkov and Timour Bourtasenkov. Upon graduation, she became the Dance Director at Cardinal Gibbons High School and joined the faculty of Infinity Ballet Conservatory and The Ballet School of Chapel Hill. Ms. Bakane has been a dancer and choreographer for performing troupes in North Carolina and Colorado, including performances in Cabaret, Follies, The Goodbye Girl, Cinderella, Nutcracker, Paquita, and La Vivandière among other independent works, and she continues to dance locally. Ms. Bakane currently serves as a Youth Programs Specialist for the City of Lakewood.
Ellen Barlow, from Valparaiso, Indiana, trained with the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance in Chicago, Illinois, and continued on scholarship under the late Petrus Bosman, David Keener, and Martha Faesi at the Virginia School of the Arts. She graduated Magna cum Laude in May 2011 from the celebrated Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University under Michael Vernon, Violette Verdy, Jacques and Virginia Cesbron, and Guo Ping Wang, where she was the recipient of a Music Faculty Scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance and an Outside Field in English. Ellen has danced with North Carolina Dance Theatre as an apprentice, Tulsa Ballet II, and, most recently, the Dawson/Wallace Dance Project. Ellen’s performance highlights include Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Serenade, Allegro Brillante, and Who Cares?, several productions of The Nutcracker, and Paul Taylor’s Cloven Kingdom. She has attended numerous summer intensives including Atlanta Ballet, Washington School of Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Joffrey Midwest Workshop, and Orlando Ballet. Ellen currently performs with 7dancers and teaches at various studios in the Denver metro area.
Dana Benton is from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and joined Colorado Ballet in 2001. She is currently a Soloist at Colorado Ballet. She trained at The National Ballet School in Toronto and the Hamburg Ballet School in Germany. She was awarded the Peter Dwyer Scholarship for Excellence in Dance in 2000. Her many roles over the years have included Belle in Beauty and The Beast, Cow Girl in Rodeo, Swanilda in Coppelia, Ave Maria Pas de Deux, Clara in The Nutcracker, Tinker Bell in Peter Pan, Flower Girl and Cupid in Don Quixote, Diamond Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Peasant Pas de Deux in Giselle, Pink and Aqua in Bruch Violin Concerto, Gulnara in Le Corsaire, Hermia and Peaseblossom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Flames of Paris Pas de Deux, Bomb Squad in The Upper Room and Lead Souvenir Lady in The Great Galloping Gottschalk. Ms. Benton has been teaching for the Colorado Ballet Academy for several years.
Kristi Capps is from North Carolina. Her ballet training includes the School of American Ballet, Harid Conservatory and North Carolina School of the Arts.While at NCSA, she was chosen to study and perform with the Hungarian State Ballet School in Budapest, Hungary. Upon her graduation, she was a member of the Atlanta Ballet for three seasons and then joined Cincinnati Ballet in 1996, where she rose quickly through the ranks to Principal. As a guest artist, she performed with many ballet companies and galas such as the International Ballet Festival of Miami, International Dance Festival in Vail, Colorado and Stars of American Ballet in Spain. Ms. Capps also danced as a Principal with the Chautauqua Ballet Company in New York under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. In 2007, she performed original works by Luca Veggetti at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum “Works in Process” series and in 2008, she performed the leading role in George Balanchine’s Chaconne with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Ms. Capps maintained a faculty position with the Otto M. Budig Academy of the Cincinnati Ballet. She held guest faculty positions at Midwest Ballet Theater, The Eric Kunzel School of Creative and Performing Arts and Northern Cincinnati Youth Ballet. She has also been a guest teacher at numerous ballet schools, colleges, and conservatories.
April Charmaine is the founder and artistic director of Sol Vida Dance!, a Denver based, Fusion Dance Studio. In addition to running her own company, she frequently serves as a guest artist, specializing in dances of the African and Latin diasporas, modern, jazz, musical theatre and creative movement. She has taught for Colorado Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Denver School of the Arts and serves as the resident choreographer for East High School and Rocky Mountain Children’s Choir. Her teaching style gives youth and adults the confidence to feel good in their bodies and express themselves wholly with profound joy.
Cara Cooper is from Jackson Hole, Wyoming and joined Colorado Ballet in 2005, where she is a member of the Corps de Ballet. She was awarded the Florence Rustin Award for Excellence. During the 2007-2008 season Ms. Cooper danced with the English National Ballet in London, England. Ms. Cooper has performed several leading roles including Rum and Cola in Paul Taylor’s Company B, Arabian in The Nutcracker, the Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, Flower Girl and Gypsie Queen in Don Quixote, Brown Woman in Celts and the Haughty Stepsister in Cinderella. In 2009, Ms. Cooper was invited to perform in the Gala Performance for the New York International Ballet Competition in the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Diana Fantano-Hoffman, originally from Huntington, New York, graduated from The Julliard School where she earned her BFA in Dance. She performed with several ballet and modern dance companies in New York and Virginia including Eglevsky Ballet, Contemporary Ballet Theater, Ballet Long Island and Zawacki Dance, and has worked with world-renowned artists Anna Sokolow, Anthony Tudor, Alexandra Danilova, Melissa Haydon, Edward Villella, Hector Zaraspe and David Parsons, among others. Ms. Fantano-Hoffman has performed principal roles in Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Flower Festival in Genzano, Stars and Stripes and Serenade, as well as many modern and contemporary works. She had the pleasure of representing the United States in the International Festival of Dance Academies held in Hong Kong and Taiwan in 1986. She also appeared on the Live from Lincoln Center PBS Broadcast of Juilliard at 80, and is an award recipient of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Talent Search.
Danielle Garrison is a Cum Laude and High Distinction graduate of the University of Illinois, with a B.A. in Philosophy and a Concentration in Dance. While in college, she founded and directed a dance company at the University of Illinois called "DARforPEACE", which raised money that was donated to Genocide Intervention Network. Danielle has been a Teaching Artist for the Joffrey Ballet since 2008, under the direction of Pierre Lockett. Danielle has danced, choreographed and taught for Aerial Dance Chicago, under the direction of Chloe Jensen. In 2009, she became Artistic Director of ADC's apprentice company, ADC2, and Assistant Director of the main company in 2010. Danielle is currently dancing with Frequent Flyers Productions in Boulder and is excited to be teaching for the Colorado Ballet.
Rachel is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant. She received her certification to teach STOTT PILATES ® Essential, Intermediate and Advanced matwork in 2003. She has been a dancer the majority of her life, and integrates over 10 years of eclectic exercise experience into her teaching to create a safe, personalized and professional workout program for each client.
Certified STOTT PILATES® Instructor: http://www.wix.com/rgarrity/personal-touch-pilates
Wellness Educator and Marketing Executive: http://livetotalwellness.com/rgarrity
Candess Giyan is a native of Denver, Colorado. She moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1996 where she spent many years growing up and figuring out that her heart lies in the art of movement. During this time she danced with several local dance companies, taught movement classes for the Atlanta community, received an individual artist grant, achieved yoga certification and co-founded and co-directed Zoetic Dance Ensemble. Since her return home, Ms. Giyan has performed and collaborated with several local movement companies such as Ascential Dance, Control Group, Fresh Blood and Daughter Cells (an experiential movement company that she co-directs with her sister Kaila June). Ms. Giyan is now teaching dance and yoga for Colorado Ballet's Department of Education and Outreach, Creative Dance Inc; The Logan School and A Living Arts Center.
Page Jenkins graduated from the University of Colorado in 2009 with a B.A. in Dance. She is currently dancing with 3rd Law Dance/Theater, Interweave Dance Theatre, Louder Than Words Dancetheatre and New Breed Dance Company. Page teaches for Colorado Ballet’s Dance Renaissance Program, the Denver School of the Arts and is the Assistant Artistic Director of Colorado Youth Dance Theatre.
Alyse Johnson is originally form Detroit Michigan, and grew up in Long Grove, Illinois. She was first introduced to concert dance through Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, in Chicago Illinois. She has participated in the Bates Dance Festival (2006), American Dance Festival (2007), and Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute (2010), She is currently a member of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance 2, and is a teaching artist in the Denver Matropolitain area. She has had the pleasure of working with esteemed choreographers such as Camille Brown, Zane Booker, Hope Boykin, Frank Chavez, Kevin Iega Jeff, Gary Abbott and many more. She is excited to join the talanted faculty at Colorado Ballet.
Born in Cork, Ireland, Tracy began to dance at the age of 5 with Ballet Theatre Ireland. From the age of 11, she trained at The Royal Ballet School where she graduated from in 2007. Throughout her professional training, Tracy was awarded the Stanley Pickering Scholarship. In 2006, she was a winner of the Ursula Moreton choreographic competition and a finalist of the Young British Dancer of the Year. She also featured in BBC's The Culture Show, representing the training of future British Ballet Stars. During her graduate year, Tracy performed with the Royal Ballet in various ballets and joined them on their 2007 International tour to Mexico and the USA. Upon graduating, Tracy joined the English National Ballet as an Artist where she performed various Corps de Ballet roles and toured to Beijing, China. From 2008 to 2012, Tracy was a member of the Barcelona Ballet (previously Corella Ballet) under the direction of Angel Corella. Her repertoire included 2nd movement principal in Angel Corella's String Sextet, 3rd principal couple in Christopher Wheeldon's DGV, Tall Pas D'Action and 3rd Shade variation in Natalia Makarova's La Bayadere, Pas de Trois and Big Swans in Swan Lake, Crossover in Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room, 3rd girl in Jerome Robbin's Fancy Free, and friend variations in both Raymonda and Paquita. Tracy has created roles in Russell Ducker's Epimitheus, which was performed at the New York City Center in 2010, as well as the solo Sospiri, also by Ducker in 2010. Tracy has modeled for Wear Moi's 2011 dance catalog and both El Petit Ballet's and Intermezzo's 2013 dance catalogs. She also designs and makes her own line of ballet skirts under the name Tulips by Tracy for dancers all over the world. Tracy joined Colorado Ballet in January 2013.
Stephanie Koltiska was born and raised in Sheridan, Wyoming. She received a B.F.A. in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts. In 2004, Ms. Koltiska join the modern dance company Motion Lab. In 2006, she joined the Robert Moses Kin and performed a solo in the world premiere of Draft. Ms. Koltiska completed her Masters of Fine Art studies at Purchase College in New York, in 2010. During her time in New York City, she was given the opportunity to work with world-renown choreographers such as Carmen deLavallade, Regina Larkin, Riedel Dance Theatre, Lauren Grant, LisaRace and Nicole Wolcott. Ms. Koltiska joined Kim Robards Dance Company in 2010, and is currently a performer with Apex Contemporary Dance Company. She is also a faculty member at the Colorado Ballet Academy, and also serves as the Dance Coordinator for Colorado Ballet.
Maria Mosina was born in Moscow and graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia. Upon graduation, Ms. Mosina join the Bolshoi Ballet Grigorovich Company and (immediately) was chosen for principal roles. Mosina had toured the world appearing on all major European, American, African and Asian stages. Ms. Mosina performed leading roles in all major productions as a member of the Company, as well as a guest artist with many other festivals, galas, and companies. Among the most memorable ones are the International Arts Festival in Spoletto, Italy, Gala Performance in Memory of Nureyev in Ufa, and Fernando Bujones Gala in Miami, Florida. She also proudly possesses a commemorative diploma for appearing in the Royal Variety Performance before Her Majesty the Queen of England. Ms. Mosina was invited by Colorado Ballet to join as a leading principal dancer. In the last 17 years, Ms. Mosina performed all major parts in classical productions such as Clara and Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Sylphide in La Sylphide, Odette-Odille in Swan Lake, Aurora and Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle in Giselle, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Kitri in Don Quixote, Talioni in Pas de Quatre, The Dying Swan, Le Spectre de La Rose and pas de deux from Le Corsaire, Talisman, Paquita, Les Sylphides. Ms. Mosina also had the chance to show her talent in neoclassical, modern and contemporary choreographed master pieces such as Balanchine’s Apollo, Rubies, Theme and Variations, Western Symphony, Serenade, Concerto Barocco, Stars and Stripes and Who Cares?, as well as Christopher Weeldon’s A Midsummer Night's Dream, Peter Pucci’s Size Nine Spirit (as seen on PBS). She has also performed Alvin Ailey’s River, Martha Graham’s monumental Appalachian Spring, Agnes de Mille's Rodeo, Paul Taylor's Company B, F.Ashton's Facade, Antony Tudor's Leaves are Fading and Echoing of Trumpets, Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs and In The Upper Room, Michael Pink's Dracula and Hunchback of Notre Dame, S.Welch's Of Blessed Memory, Martin Fredmann's Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, A Little Love, Mon Dieu, Sechertorte, Silent Woods and Dreamspace ( as seen on PBS), Vebre's Where the Wild Things Are, Clark Tippet's Bruch Violin Concerto No.1, Lynn Taylor-Corbett's Great Galloping Gottschalk and many more.
Carolina Pahde is from Bogota, Colombia and studied dance at the Hochschule fur Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany. She has a B.A. in Performing Dance and a B.A. in Dance Pedagogy. Ms. Pahde received a M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Michigan. Ms. Pahde has taught classical ballet, modern, jazz, tap, character dance and has taught at various schools including the Ballet School Voges and the Kreismusikschule in Germany, the Ballarte Escuela de Ballet and the Academia de Danza María Sanford in Colombia and the University of Michigan, Dance Department and Dance Gallery Studio. She also served as Studio Director. Ms. Pahde has also performed and choreographed for different companies and dance schools in Colombia, Germany, the Hannover National Opera House, the Lübeck National Opera House in Germany and the Ballet Al Parque Festival in Colombia.
Heather Prokhnitski is from Norfolk, Virginia and received her early dance training from the Old Dominion University Ballet School. She was a full-scholarship student at the Kirov Academy in Washington D.C., and studied for a year at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia. For three summers, she was invited by the North Carolina School of the Arts to study in Budapest, Hungary at the Hungarian State Ballet School. Mrs. Prokhnitski danced with Colorado Ballet for 10 seasons as a Soloist with the company. She danced many leading roles including the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, the Lilac fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, the Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, the Dryad Queen in Don Quixote and Lucy in Dracula. Mrs. Prokhnitski was also a featured dancer in Taisiya Korobeynikova's Elysium, Jessica Lang's From Foreign Lands and People, Darrell Moultrie's Vital Sensations and many other works by contemporary choreographers. Mrs. Prokhnitski began teaching at the Colorado Ballet Academy in 2008 and serves as the Academy Nutcracker Director for Colorado Ballet’s annual production of The Nutcracker, rehearsing and staging all students selected to perform in the production. In addition to creating the Colorado Ballet Academy’s Intermediate Ballet Intensive, Mrs. Prokhnitski has taught several summers in the Summer Intensive for Ballet Virginia International as well as been a guest teacher for the Youth America Grand Prix workshops in Denver.
Stephanie Purnell is a 2012 graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder with a B.A. in dance and an emphasis in teaching. A native of Colorado, Stephanie has danced and trained throughout Colorado, California and Utah. She is currently performing with the Schiff Dance Collective. Stephanie teaches at the Academy of the Colorado Ballet, the Colorado Ballet’s Dance Renaissance Program, and Elite Dance Academy.
Kristi Siciliano is a Colorado native and started dancing at birth. She studied ballet extensively at Colorado Ballet Academy and later apprenticed with both Colorado Ballet and David Taylor Dance Theatre. She has also performed in modern dance companies in the Denver/Boulder area including Evolving Doors Dance Project, Moraporvida and Hannah Kahn Dance Company. She has taught classes and workshops for various outreach programs and Colorado Ballet’s Dance Renaissance program. Currently, she studies mathematics and teaches ballet and modern at Colorado Ballet Academy.
Caitlin Sikora grew up in Ellicott City, Maryland, where she trained in ballet with Slava Mesropov and Olga Tozyiakova at Ballet Royale Institute of Maryland. Sikora graduated cum laude from Univeristy of California, Irvine in June 2009 with a BA in Dance and a BS in Physics. During her studies at UC Irvine, she trained with Jodie Gates, Loretta Livington, and Lisa Naugle, to name a few, and performed works by William Forsythe, Caleb Mitchell, and many others. Sikora attended summer intensives at San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, where she performed works by Alex Ketley and Ohad Naharin, and Northwest Dance Project, where she worked with Helene Blackburn and Robert Moses. Since moving to Denver in 2011, Sikora has performed with Winifred Harris’s Between Lines Dance Company, Meredith Black, and International Youth Ballet. She is currently a member of the Hannah Kahn Dance Company. She also performs and produces her own choreography under the name Poor Richard Dance.
Strang received her BFA in Dance with an emphasis in education from Arizona State University, where she also obtained her secondary teaching certificate. Strang’s research on dance education has been presented at the National Dance Education Organization conference and published in Dance Magazine and academic dance education journals. She is a regular presenter for Denver Public School’s Professional Development programs, implementing curriculum that incorporates the State dance standards. She is also an alumna of the dance programming office at the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C., where she helped produce performances for dance professionals from around the world. Most recently, she joined the Board of Dance and the Child International (DaCI). Strang is a co-founder and artistic director of Elevation Dance, a Boulder-based children’s dance company, where she provides intensive dance training, unique performance opportunities, and original choreography. Strang has also been commissioned to set work on Anne Green Gilbert’s Kaleidoscope dance company and the dancers of Colorado Ballet. She has also produced or performed in numerous professional dance shows in Colorado, California, and Arizona.
Sharon Wehner is originally from San Jose, California. She trained with Jody White and David Roxander, San Jose Dance Theatre, San Francisco Ballet and San Jose/Cleveland Ballet. Ms. Wehner joined Colorado Ballet in 1996 and was promoted to Principal in 1999, and in the last 15 years, has performed many lead roles with the Company. These include Kitri in Don Quixote, Giselle in Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Medora in Le Corsaire, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppelia, Mina in Dracula, Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, the Principal couple in Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes and Rubies, Antony Tudor’s Leaves are Fading, and Twyla Tharpe’s In The Upper Room. She has been honored to have solos and pas de deaux created on her by choreographers Edwaard Liang, Mathew Neenan, Christopher Wheeldon, Darrel Grand Moultrie, Dwight Rhoden, Jessica Lang, Brian Reeder and Toru Shimazaki. In addition to Colorado Ballet, Ms. Wehner has also performed with The Washington Ballet, Oakland Ballet and Amy Seiwert’s Imagery. She has also been a guest artist at the Vail International Dance Festival, and in Japan in the Aoyama Ballet Festival, and the National Ballet of Japan’s Golden Ballet Co-star.