The Ballet Tech Foundation

Eliot Feld, Founder

Board of Directors

Philip E. Aarons

Patricia Crown

Laurel Durst

Jenny Gersten
Treasurer

Jilian Cahan Gersten
Chair

Bill Heinzen

Carol Zerbe Hurford
Vice Chair

Karen Levinson
Secretary

Mimi Lien

Rachel Moreno

Patricia Tuthill Pazner

Edgar Peterson

Trustees Emeriti

Cora Cahan

Gregory Hines
(in memoriam)

Howard Klein
(in memoriam)

LuEsther T. Mertz
(in memoriam)

Artistic Staff

Dionne Figgins
Artistic Director

212-777-7710
dfiggins@ballettech.org

Dionne D. Figgins began her career as a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, under the direction of Arthur Mitchell, dancing lead roles in Serenade, Four Temperaments, Agon, and Concerto Barocco, all by George Balanchine. She has also appeared as a guest artist with Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

Her Broadway credits include Hot Feet, Memphis, Leap of Faith (Assistant Choreographer) and Motown The Musical. Her regional theatre credits include Sophisticated Ladies,The Wiz, Ray Charles Live, Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Ovation Nominee, Chita Rivera Award nominee), Trip of Love, Chicago, and A Wonderful World. Film/TV credits include: Across the Universe, Walk Hard, The Princess and the Frog, Bolden, She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix), Starz dramas Flesh and Bone (Yasmine) and Power, Glee, House, and The Academy Awards, to name a few.

Ms. Figgins is the co-founder and Creative Director of Broadway Serves, a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage theater professionals in com-munity service opportunities locally, nationally, and abroad. During the pandemic, she turned her focus to teaching full time for her home studio of Jones-Haywood Dance School in Washington, DC. She also galvanized the theatre community in a series of conversations on Instagram called Pass the Mic Broadway, an initiative that sparked dialogue about social justice issues between Black and White female theatre makers. She is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.

Ashley Tuttle
Director of Faculty

212-777-7710, ext. 310
atuttle@ballettech.org

Ms. Tuttle was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join American Ballet Theatre at the age of 16.  Her career spanned 17 years with Ballet Theater reaching the rank of Principal dancer.  Ms. Tuttle is known for her pure classicism and vivid characterizations. While maintaining her career with A.B.T., Ms. Tuttle joined the acclaimed Twyla Tharp Dance Company in 2000.  During her time with T.T.D., Ms. Tharp created the hit Broadway show Movin’ Out and the role of Judy on Ms. Tuttle.  Her interpretation of this role earned her both TONY Award and Fred Astaire Dance Award nominations. As well as continuing her performing career, Ms. Tuttle teaches ballet at the Mark Morris Dance Group, Steps on Broadway, The School at Steps, Gibney Dance, and Barnard College. Ms. Tuttle was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Wofford College in the spring of 2011. She joined Ballet Tech’s faculty in 2016.

Cathy Rhodes
Director of Body Conditioning

Ms. Rhodes began her professional career with American Ballet Theatre at the age of 15. The company toured the United States and Europe under the direction of Lucia Chase and later Mikhail Baryshnikov.  Later she was offered a contract under John Neumeier with The Hamburg Staats Opera in Germany.  She holds her teaching certification from American Ballet Theatre and also holds certifications in fitness and yoga.  Ms. Rhodes joined Ballet Tech’s faculty in 1995 and taught full-time for 10 years.  She has since returned to teaching at BT and continues to audition children throughout New York City.

Tammi Shamblin
Director of Dance Academics

Originally from California, Tammi Shamblin began her dancing career after she found a local ballet studio in a phone book at the age of eight. She pursued her love of ballet while on scholarship at the University of Utah, where she received her BFA in Ballet with an emphasis in pedagogy and performing. After college she returned to Sacramento and danced with Sacramento Ballet and directed a youth ballet company. She moved to NYC in October of 2003 and began working with Deborah Lohse of ad Hoc Ballet and started her career teaching at Ballet Tech. She received her 500-hour certification in Pilates from Body Tonic in Brooklyn, NY.  She also has her RYT 200 Certification from Abhaya Yoga and continues to train with Abhaya founder, and former Ballet Tech Director, Tara Glazier. She has studied extensively in therapeutics and teaches a wide range of somatic-based activities for all levels. She is currently pursuing her passion for pedagogy as Ballet Tech’s Director of Dance Academics.

Michael Snipe
Rehearsal Director

Michael Snipe received his BFA from Juilliard in dance, with Choreographic Honors. He has performed with Ailey II, Battleworks Dance Company and the Parsons Dance Company. He has also performed in Swing! and Movin’ Out, both on Broadway and the National Tour. Mr. Snipe has taught at the Joffrey Ballet School, the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., Columbia College in Chicago, and is currently on faculty at the Alvin Ailey School. He joined Ballet Tech as a full-time faculty member in 2015.

Administrative Staff

Maggie Christ
Executive Director

212-777-7710, ext. 314
mchrist@ballettech.org

Elizabeth LaCause
Director of Development

212-777-7710, ext. 323
elacause@ballettech.org

Joe Gregori
Administrative Director

212-777-7710, ext. 306
jgregori@ballettech.org

Janel Cooke Rayome
Administrative Director

212-777-7710, ext. 304
jcooke@ballettech.org

Zoe Padden
Administrative Coordinator

212-777-7710, ext. 302
zpadden@ballettech.org

Debbie Mausner
Program Coordinator

212-777-7710, ext. 309
dmausner@ballettech.org

Darren Thomas
Program Coordinator

212-777-7710, ext. 305
dthomas@ballettech.org

Russell Murphy
Finance Manager

212-777-7710, ext. 321
rmurphy@ballettech.org

Joshua Palmer
People & Culture Manager

212-777-7710, ext. 322
jpalmer@ballettech.org

Andrew Ennis
Development Assistant

212-777-7710, ext. 316
aennis@ballettech.org

Jason Walters
Building Manager

212-777-7710, ext. 319
jwalters@ballettech.org

Israel Geronimo
Custodian

Alicia Rivas
Custodian

Marie Lascu
Archivist

Jennifer Marck Moran
Archivist

Faculty

Lanette Costas
Ballet, Conditioning

Lanette Costas is a graduate of New York’s LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts and received both a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from SUNY Purchase and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Hollins University/American Dance Festival. Ms. Costas was a 2018-2019 School of American Ballet National Visiting Fellow. As a Dance Educator, she has been successfully teaching Ballet and Horton technique for over a decade to students in grades 2-12. Her students have been accepted into and received scholarships to attend some of the best university dance programs and summer intensive programs around the country. She was on faculty for the University of the Arts Pre-College Summer Institute for 8 years and was recently a Resident Artist at Lawrence University.

Her professional concert dance credits include Ailey II, Donald Byrd/The Group, Elisa Monte Dance, Fred Benjamin Dance Company, and Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance. She was a featured dancer in Disney’s The Lion King. Additional theater credits include The Skylight Music Theatre’s production of Five Guys Named Moe (Choreographer), Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s Tin Pan Alley Rag (Dance Captain), and If This Hat Could Talk.  Ms. Costas performed for the television broadcast of CBS’ Kennedy Center Honors where she performed for President Clinton in honor of Judith Jamison. She also toured internationally as a soloist with the Spiritual Singers of Harlem and danced for the NBA team, New Jersey Nets. In collaboration with Margaret Paek, she has performed at the Danspace Project and in the installation BLEED at the Whitney Museum of American Art. During her career, she performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America.

Dionne Figgins
Ballet, Conditioning, Pointe, Repertory/Improv

212-777-7710
dfiggins@ballettech.org

Dionne D. Figgins began her career as a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, under the direction of Arthur Mitchell, dancing lead roles in Serenade, Four Temperaments, Agon, and Concerto Barocco, all by George Balanchine. She has also appeared as a guest artist with Complexions Contemporary Ballet.

Her Broadway credits include Hot Feet, Memphis, Leap of Faith (Assistant Choreographer) and Motown The Musical. Her regional theatre credits include Sophisticated Ladies, The Wiz, Ray Charles Live, Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Ovation Nominee, Chita Rivera Award nominee), Trip of Love, Chicago, and A Wonderful World. Film/TV credits include: Across the Universe, Walk Hard, The Princess and the Frog, Bolden, She’s Gotta Have It (Netflix), Starz dramas Flesh and Bone (Yasmine) and Power, Glee, House, and The Academy Awards, to name a few.

Ms. Figgins is the co-founder and Creative Director of Broadway Serves, a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage theater professionals in com-munity service opportunities locally, nationally, and abroad. During the pandemic, she turned her focus to teaching full time for her home studio of Jones-Haywood Dance School in Washington, DC. She also galvanized the theatre community in a series of conversations on Instagram called Pass the Mic Broadway, an initiative that sparked dialogue about social justice issues between Black and White female theatre makers. She is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.

Mary Lyn Graves
Creative Movement

Mary Lyn Graves is a dancer and teacher based in Brooklyn, NY. Her recent performance credits include the Mark Morris Dance Group, Joanna Kotze, Megan Williams, and collaborations with composer Caroline Davis. From 2012-2018, Mary Lyn was a member of Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City, UT, where she originated roles in over 25 new works and toured across the United States, France, South Korea, and Mongolia. She has also performed extensively with Molly Heller, Cheyla Chandler, and the Nikolais/Louis Foundation. As a teacher, Mary Lyn has led classes at numerous universities, festivals, and studios, including Ballet San Angelo, Wichita State University, Chosun University in South Korea, Mongolian State University of the Arts & Sciences, and the University of Oklahoma. Additionally, Mary Lyn has facilitated creative movement classes in schools, community centers, and youth shelters across the United States and internationally, specializing in working with elementary age children.

A sixth-generation Oklahoman, Mary Lyn was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She began her training at the Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education where she was also a member of Tulsa Ballet II. Mary Lyn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Oklahoma.

Curtis Holland
Tap

Curtis Holland was born in Miami, FL to parents Edwin and Gaile Holland. The youngest of three siblings, Curtis and his sisters grew up dancing in their parents’ dance studio, the Edwin Holland School of Dance. Under the tutelage of Edwin and Gaile, Curtis learned the core fundamentals of ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and basic acrobatics from the time he was three years old all the way up to his eighteenth year. After high school, Curtis auditioned for Season 10 of So You Think You Can Dance, advancing to the live show and ending up as one of the Top Fourteen dancers of the season. After the show, Curtis came to New York to pursue his dance career, and has since worked with many great minds of the art form, including performing in three Broadway shows: Shuffle Along, choreographed by Savion Glover and directed by George C. Wolfe; Mean Girls, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholas; and currently The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, choreographed by Warren Carlyle. Curtis’s passion for teaching dance dates back generations. “I love the thrill of seeing a concept finally click for a student,” he often states when speaking of his joy for sharing information with the next generation. Curtis’s future plans simply entail continuing to learn from the legends who came before him in order to share with the legends who will come after.

Robert La Fosse
Allegro, Ballet, Conditioning

Robert La Fosse received his early dance training at the Marsha Woody Academy of Dance in Beaumont, Texas. He continued his studies with David Howard at Harkness House and Stanley Williams at the School of American Ballet in New York City. He performed as a Principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet as well as many guest appearances in the United States, Europe and Japan. Dancing leading roles in many of the classical masterworks as well as roles created for him by some of the great American choreographers. He also starred in two Broadway shows, Dancin’ and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway for which he was nominated for a Tony award for best actor in a musical. In addition to his performing career, he is also an accomplished choreographer who has created over 75 works for ballet, opera, musical theater, film and television. He currently teaches ballet at Barnard College, Purchase College, NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Princeton University. In the past he has taught at the New York City Ballet, School of American Ballet, ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and summer intensives, The Juilliard School, Muhlenberg College, Northwestern University, Jacob’s Pillow and Step’s on Broadway.

Men Ca
Horton

The bio-kemet-cal essence of Men Ca is in his name: mata is energy from the nucleus of the ca’nscious atam. A practitioner of defining that which he does through that which he is (i.e. Men Ca), his absolute Art and Science is to be conscious at all times in all times. Thus, deepen the life force energy of love and understanding.

A third generation Lester Horton educator (educated by the unrivaled Dr. Elana Denise Anderson, who studied from James Truite), Men Ca resourcefully uses the technique as a medium for learners to actualize their Art & Science — Art, the Science of expressing; Science, the Art of knowing — aid their body to further activate the heart and mind. The Artist & Scientist.

Brian Reeder
Allegro, Ballet, Conditioning

Brian Reeder is the current year-round choreographer-in-residence for Manhattan Youth Ballet at Manhattan Movement Arts Center. As a choreographer, he has created or re-staged his work at ABT Studio Company, American Ballet Theatre, BalletNext, Colorado Ballet, Company C Contemporary Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, and The Washington Ballet. Reeder’s work has also been produced several times for Works & Process at the Guggenheim.

His professional career as a dancer was largely spent with American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt. He has been the recipient of several grants and fellowships including The Boomerang Foundation, The New York Choreographic Fellowship, and The Jerome Robbins Foundation for New Works. Reeder has been a guest teacher at Goucher College, Emory University, and The Juilliard School.

Cathy Rhodes
Ballet, Conditioning, Pointe, Feld Repertory

Ms. Rhodes began her professional career with American Ballet Theatre at the age of 15. The company toured the United States and Europe under the direction of Lucia Chase and later Mikhail Baryshnikov.  Later she was offered a contract under John Neumeier with The Hamburg Staats Opera in Germany.  She holds her teaching certification from American Ballet Theatre and also holds certifications in fitness and yoga.  Ms. Rhodes joined Ballet Tech’s faculty in 1995.

Sierra Sanders
Jazz

Born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey, Sierra is a passionate artist continuing the legacy of American Modern dance through Performance & Education. With training in West African Dance & Tap from a very young age, rhythmic movement is the very foundation of her love for the personification of sound through dance. A product of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Youth Artist Institute as well as Montclair State University, Ms. Sanders studied extensively in Horton and Limón . As a member of Graham 2, she received her Teacher’s Certification in the Graham Technique from the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. As an African American woman, she is honored to continue representation, share her artistry through performance and education in the American Modern Dance community.

Tammi Shamblin
Ballet, Conditioning

Originally from California, Tammi Shamblin began her dancing career after she found a local ballet studio in a phone book at the age of eight. She pursued her love of ballet while on scholarship at the University of Utah, where she received her BFA in Ballet with an emphasis in pedagogy and performing. After college she returned to Sacramento and danced with Sacramento Ballet and directed a youth ballet company. She moved to NYC in October of 2003 and began working with Deborah Lohse of ad Hoc Ballet and started her career teaching at Ballet Tech. She received her 500-hour certification in Pilates from Body Tonic in Brooklyn, NY.  She also has her RYT 200 Certification from Abhaya Yoga and continues to train with Abhaya founder, and former Ballet Tech Director, Tara Glazier. She has studied extensively in therapeutics and teaches a wide range of somatic-based activities for all levels. She is currently pursuing her passion for pedagogy as Ballet Tech’s Director of Dance Academics.

Michael Snipe
Allegro, Audition Prep, Ballet, Conditioning

Mr. Snipe received his BFA from The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy, and upon graduation, he was awarded the Héctor Zaraspe Prize for choreography. He performed with Ailey II, Parsons Dance, and The Irish Modern Dance Theatre. He made his Broadway debut in Movin’ Out before touring nationally and internationally with the show. He also toured with Swing! The Musical. Mr. Snipe has taught at the Kirov in DC, Columbia College in Chicago, Joffrey Ballet Academy, The Chicago High School for the Arts – ChiArts, Roosevelt University, and the Ailey Extension. He recently completed his Master’s in Behavioral Sciences at Mercy College. He joined Ballet Tech’s faculty in 2015.

Ashley Tuttle
Ballet, Conditioning, Pointe, Feld Repertory

Ms. Tuttle was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join American Ballet Theatre at the age of 16.  Her career spanned 17 years with Ballet Theater reaching the rank of Principal dancer.  Ms. Tuttle is known for her pure classicism and vivid characterizations. While maintaining her career with A.B.T., Ms. Tuttle joined the acclaimed Twyla Tharp Dance Company in 2000.  During her time with T.T.D., Ms. Tharp created the hit Broadway show Movin’ Out and the role of Judy on Ms. Tuttle.  Her interpretation of this role earned her both TONY Award and Fred Astaire Dance Award nominations. As well as continuing her performing career, Ms. Tuttle teaches ballet at the Mark Morris Dance Group, Steps on Broadway, The School at Steps, Gibney Dance, and Barnard College. Ms. Tuttle was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Wofford College in the spring of 2011. She joined Ballet Tech’s faculty in 2016.

Asia Yiu
Feld Repertory

Asia Yiu is a Ballet Tech alumna who began her schooling in ballet in 2009 with Ballet Tech’s beginner program. Asia learned and danced at Ballet Tech up until she graduated from the high school program in 2019. She is now enrolled at Baruch College and majors in Communication with a minor is Psychology. Asia also currently assists in ballet class for the elementary students at Ballet Tech. She has joined the Ballet Tech community in a new way. With her love for ballet, Asia is beyond delighted to be teaching the middle school students some Feld Repertory this school year.

Dance Class Assistants

Jaya Collins
Ballet Tech Alumna

Toni David
Ballet Tech Alumna

Lucy Hu
Ballet Tech Alumna

Michael Miles

Rashel Orellana
Ballet Tech Alumna

Zuzu Park-Stettner
Ballet Tech Alumna

Nilah Pettus

Janel Cooke Rayome

Rachel Thalman

Sofia Villa
Ballet Tech Alumna

Asia Yiu
Ballet Tech Alumna

Accompanists

Michael Cherry
Piano

John Epperson
Piano

Sorin Frisan
Piano

Barbara Gayny
Piano

Allan Greene
Piano

Ai Isshiki
Piano

Annie LeBeaux
Piano

George Lykogiannis
Percussion

Dmitry Polischuk
Piano

Jeremy Smith
Percussion

Mihoko Suzuki
Piano

The New York City Public School for Dance

Academic Faculty & Staff

Roy O’Neill
Principal

212-254-1803
roneill2@schools.nyc.gov

Mr. O’Neill was appointed Principal to Ballet Tech in 2009 after having served as the school’s fifth grade teacher for 8 years.  He received his B.A. in English Literature from UCLA and completed his teaching certification program at California State University, Dominguez Hills.  He began his teaching career in the Los Angeles Unified School District as an elementary school teacher before moving to New York in 2001

Jennifer Kaufman
Guidance Counselor

212-254-1803, ext. 7072
JKaufman10@schools.nyc.gov

Sherri Montgomery
Secretary

212-254-1803, ext 7022
smontgomery8@schools.nyc.gov

Meredith Lubben
Parent Coordinator

212-254-1803, ext. 7021
mlubben@schools.nyc.gov

Katrine Philippides
Social Worker

Jason Rivera
School Aide

212-254-1803, ext. 7023
jrivera101@schools.nyc.gov

Trayonna James
School Safety Officer

Academic Faculty

Amdad Arshad
Health & Physical Education

Alexandra Barbosa
Middle School Social Studies & ENL

212-254-1803
abarbosa2@schools.nyc.gov

 

Charlie Fabella, Jr.
Special Education

212-254-1803
cfabellajr@schools.nyc.gov

Mariana Fernandez
Spanish

212-254-1803
mfernan17@schools.nyc.gov

Ms. Fernandez joined Ballet Tech in 2003.  She has thirteen years of teaching experience.  Prior to Ballet Tech she taught at FDR High School and Gregorio Luperon High School. Ms. Fernandez has a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Spanish Education from Saint Thomas Aquinas College.  She earned her masters in Learning Technology from Mercy College.  Teaching is her passion!

Jeannie Herlihy
Middle School Science

212-254-1803
jherlih3@schools.nyc.gov

Ms. Herlihy joined the Ballet Tech staff in 2001 as the Middle School  Math and ELA teacher and continued on in 2002 with Math and Science.  She currently teaches Science and Health and holds a Permanent Certificate in Earth Science & General Science 7-12 Extension.  Ms. Herlihy has enjoyed serving the Ballet Tech community as a School Leadership Team member, Inquiry Team member, Class Adviser and Community Spirit Committee Chair.  After graduating from the University of Vermont in 1987 with a B.S. in Secondary Education – Earth Science major, Ms. Herlihy committed to working in and educating herself about every facet of New York City theatre for the next 15 years.  She has worked on stage, tech and crew, box office and as a house, stage and company manager on, off and off-off-Broadway.  She has been a member of ATPAM (Association of Theatrical Press Agents & Managers) since 1999 and has also studied voice, acting, poetry and playwriting.  She earned her Master of Science in Urban and Multicultural Education at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in 2009. Ms Herlihy loves being a life-long learner.  She continues to embrace and infuse in her teaching a love for science, the arts and athletics (especially being on a team!) through ongoing involvement with a variety of New York City based organizations including the Wildlife Conservation Society, AMNH, Central Park Conservancy, Gotham Writer’s Workshop, BCEFA, New York Road Runners, Big City and Gotham Volleyball.

Anastasiya Karpova
Special Education

Michelle Lum
5th Grade (501)

212-254-1803
mlum3@schools.nyc.gov

Ms. Lum joined Ballet Tech in 2009.  She brings experience teaching a broad range of students from around the world.  She holds a Bachelor degree in Education and English Literature, and a Masters in Literacy Education from Fordham University.  Ms. Lum strives to develop a love of both literature and writing in all her students!

Hassim Mohammed
Middle School Math

Richela Morgan
Teaching Artist, Visual Art

212-777-7710
rmorgan@ballettech.org

George Ramos
4th Grade (402)

Tamara Rubakha
4th Grade (401)

212-254-1803
trubakha@schools.nyc.gov

Ms. Rubakha joined Ballet Tech’s faculty in 2014. She has taught grades 2-12, and finds fourth grade to be her favorite.  Ms. Rubakha holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Psychology from Skidmore College and a Master’s in Mathematics Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.  Ms. Rubakha comes from the beautiful city of St. Petersburg.  She has two school-age children of her own, and loves being a parent and a teacher at the same time.

Cari Sobolewski
5th Grade (502)

212-254-1803
csobolewski@schools.nyc.gov

Ms. Sobolewski joined Ballet Tech in 2007 as interim fourth grade teacher, after graduating from SUNY New Paltz.  She spent the 2008-09 school year teaching fourth grade at PS 154 in Harlem, and is happy to be back at Ballet Tech teaching the fifth grade. Ms. Sobolewski received her B.S. in Nutrition from Lehman College.

Jared Van Zweeden
Middle School ELA

PROFESSIONAL PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL

Professional Performing Arts School Staff

Keith Ryan
Principal

Charles Vassallo
Assistant Principal & Director of Performing Arts

Teri Gindi
Parent Coordinator