DIANA WHITE was born in Park Ridge, Illinois and began her ballet training with local instructors when she was four years old. At fourteen, she became a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Ballet, then under the direction of Maria Tallchief. There, she was seen by George Balanchine, who awarded her a scholarship to the School of American Ballet. He invited her to join the New York City Ballet one year later. During her twenty-year career at NYCB she worked closely with Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Her repertoire included principal roles in works by both masters, including Balanchine’s Apollo, The Four Temperaments, Western Symphony, Serenade, Liebeslieder Walzer, and Jewels, as well as Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, The Cage, Goldberg Variations, Moves, a ballet in silence which was revived in 1987 especially for her, and many more. The year she was promoted to soloist, Peter Martins created a principal role for her in his ballet The Waltz Project. Ms. White toured internationally with NYCB and as a guest artist with other companies. She has appeared several times on public television’s Live From Lincoln Center, and Great Performances.
In 1992, while still performing with the New York City Ballet, she co-founded the Scarsdale Ballet Studio with former partner, Christian Claessens. In addition to teaching and coaching, Ms. White has choreographed several ballets for her students including the Carousel Waltz, which was performed at the Westchester Philharmonic’s 20th Anniversary Gala. From 1998 to 2001 and again in 2010 she was on the faculty of the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College. She is a master teacher and judge for the Youth America Grand Prix, a competition which awards scholarships to major international ballet schools, and is also a faculty member of Dance New York International, a summer program in Paris and Madrid directed by Kazuko Hirabayashi. As a repetiteur with the George Balanchine Trust, Ms. White stages his works worldwide. She is the author of a children’s book, Ballerina Dreams,published by Scholastic.
CARMEN BANU was selected at a young age from many candidates to study ballet at the National Choreographic Institute in Bucharest, Romania. Upon graduation nine years later, she became a member of the National Opera Company, where she performed in all of the classics, including Swan Lake, La Bayadere, and Coppelia. Her most notable roles were as Kitri in Don Quixote, and as Giselle, in the title role. Ms. Banu continued her career in television and musical theater, performing many dance styles throughout Europe and Asia. As a teacher and coach, Ms. Banu taught ballet in Romanian public schools, and eventually became a choreographer for the Romanian National Gymnastics Team. In America she has taught Ballet, Ballroom, Character, Latin, and many other styles. In addition to her full time teaching schedule, she coaches award-winning Scarsdale Ballet students in the Youth American Grand Prix ballet competition.
INDAH WALSH, received an MFA in Dance from Tisch in May 2014 and founded Indah Walsh Dance Company (IWDC). The company has performed in Ithaca, NY, the Warwick Summer Arts Festival, American Dance Guild Bare Bones Festival, and was commissioned to create a new work by LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in September 2014.
Having grown up traveling and living overseas, Indah has danced in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysai, Indonesia, Thailand, the US, and holds a B.F.A. in dance from SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. Dhe has performed works by Kendra Portier, Monica Bill Barnes, Bill T. Jones, Kate Hutter, and Sean Curran. Ms. Walsh has showcased choreographic work since 2008 at venues and festivals including LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Dixon Place, Spoke the Hub, Dance New Amsterdam, Movement Research, the Hatch Series, The American Dance Guild Festival, Fertile Ground, the Amalgamate Artist Series, and Triskelion Arts. Her work has also been featured in California at the Dance and Movement Workshop for Educators as well as Backhausdance Platform Production. Ms. Walsh has taught and choreographed works for high schools, colleges, and dance conventions in Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and California. Since 2008, Ms. Walsh has been a featured guest artist at Nevada Union High School, Taipei American School, Singapore American School, Dance and Movement Workshop for Educators, Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asia Schools Cultural Convention, Southwestern College, and NYU Tisch School of the Arts. www.indahwalshdancecompany.com
GINA BUGATTI began her training in Westchester, NY continuing on to The National Academy of Ballet and then to Harkness House NYC becoming a member of The Harkness Ballet Co. She also danced with The Joffrey II Co. She was then invited to dance as Principal dancer with the Ballet de Caracas and Ballet Nuevo Mundo where she toured nationally and internationally and worked directly with choreographers such as Alvin Ailey, John Butler, Hans Van Manen, Judith Jamisson, Elisa Monte and Carlos Orta. She later became Rehearsal Director and Assistant to Artistic Director, Zhandra Rodriguez (Principal Dancer, ABT). She was Rehearsal Director/Ballet Mistress and Artistic Associate Director with Tina Ramirez of Ballet Hispanico as well as Ballet Mistress for the Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo, with both for fifteen years. She has been on faculty at Peridance Center, taught for Valentina Kozlova’s Conservatory NYC, master classes at Skidmore College, and teaches at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. She completed a Teacher Training course with David Howard and the Foundation Teacher Training for Gyrotonic Expansion System. Her own teachers include Thalia Mara, Jose Pares, Jose Pares, David Howard, Ben Stevenson, Finis Jhung, Maggie Black, Willie Burman, Melissa Hayden, and Lawrence Rhodes to name only a few. She has been teaching ballet at the professional level for over thirty years.
KIMBERLY GIANNELLI, who continues to dance professionally, began her ballet training at the Scarsdale Ballet Studio and has performed featured roles in many Studio performances. She has continued her studies with some of the most prominent teachers in the New York area. Ms. Giannelli has danced in many venues in New York, such as Lincoln Center, Riverside Church, the Downtown Dance Festival, and Bryant Park, appearing with several companies, including Eidolon Ballet, Ballet Deviare, Gleich Dances, Classics Dance Theater, and Ballets With a Twist. She was featured on PBS for her work in the Tribeca Arts Festival with choreographer Pedro Ruiz in his piece, Pasajes de Amor. Ms. Giannelli has been teaching ballet, creative movement, and contemporary dance at the Studio and elsewhere in the New York area for many years. Ms. Giannelli also works in the marketing department at the New York City Ballet, where she has developed and launched a new program “the Assemblé Project” which makes ballet performances and tickets more accessible to young dance students. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Manhattanville College. To learn more about Ms. Giannelli’s latest projects, you may visit her website: kimberlygiannelli.com.
ELIZABETH KAWALEK has been a faculty member of SBS for the last six years. She began her intensive ballet training at Scarsdale Ballet Studio under the direction of Diana White. While continuing to perform along side her SBS peers, Ms. Kawalek also began to assist in teaching Creative Ballet classes and the Summer Intensive, developing a strong interest in teaching and studio administration. In 2010, she earned a certificate in the Leap ‘N Learn creative dance syllabus, which utilizes child psychology in dance education. In 2014, she became certified in the American Ballet Theatre curriculum for ages 3-10. Ms. Kawalek also serves as Administrative Director at the studio and assists in organizing the programs and end-of-year recitals. Ms. Kawalek holds a BA in History from Fordham University and is currently in the process of earning her Masters Non-Profit Administration from Baruch College.
SIMEON KAZANTSEV was born in Russia and attended the famous Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, where he successfully completed his dance training in 8 years. Upon graduation, he joined the Stanislavsky Ballet, one of Moscow’s leading companies. He toured internationally with that troupe, dancing solo roles in such classics as Giselle, Swan Lake, La Esmeralda, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, and the Nutcracker, as well as performing prominent roles in contemporary ballets. At the same time, he attended the Bolshoi Ballet Academy College, where he earned a BA in Pedagogy and Dancing and became an assistant to the late Professor Alexander Bondarenko, who was a leading authority on ballet technique and coach to many principal dancers of the Bolshoi Theater. In 2003, Mr. Kazantsev came to the United States to join the Boston Ballet. In America, he discovered that his real passion was teaching. He loves to teach at every level, and does so nearly every day at SBS. He enjoys choreographing and rehearsing dances for Studio performances, as well as occasionally dancing the lead male roles. He also teaches weekly adult classes in Manhattan.
RENEE LAVERDIERE trained at The National Academy of Arts and was a scholarship student at the Joffrey School in New York City. She danced under the direction of Edward Villella at the Eglevsky Ballet as well as in the New Jersey Ballet and the New World Ballet. She has been teaching in Manhattan and Westchester for the last fifteen years.
MARIA POSEY, Master Teacher of Creative Ballet, was a member of the corps de ballet at Radio City Music Hall, the Kansas City Opera, and the Philadelphia Opera. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Education and a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Development. She has taught at the Studio since 1992.
ROSEMARY SAUR started dancing at the age of 7 years and was accepted into the Conservatory Bush Davies School by the age of 11, where she studied under the guidance of Noreen Bush. Her professional experience took her to Tel Aviv, Israel, where Ms. Saur performed with the Israeli Classical Ballet and later with the remowned modern company, Bat Dor. After returning to England she completed a teaching diploma at the Imperial Society of Teacher’s of Dancing in Bedford, before accepting a teaching position in Mainz, Germany. She also performed as a dancer at the Mainz State Theater. In 2010 Ms. Saur completed the Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma (P.D.T.D.) at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, England. She has been teaching at SBS since 2008.
ELLEN SHEA trained at the School of American Ballet for six years and performed numerous children’s roles with the New York City Ballet. At 15, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux awarded her full scholarship to the Chautauqua Institute, where she danced lead roles with the Chautauqua Festival Ballet. She also performed with the Ballet Theatre of Boston while completing her undergraduate and graduate Architecture degrees at MIT. In 2005 Ms. Shea joined the faculty at the Scarsdale Ballet Studio. For Scarsdale Ballet’s Concertdance she staged Chopiniana (2010) and created new choreography for Swan Lake(2011). In her classroom, Ms. Shea draws on her knowledge of the visual arts, design, and physics to teach the mechanics of classical ballet technique, and to develop musical and artistic awareness in young dancers.
FRONDA SOBEL was a member of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. She also appeared with the Bolshoi Ballet, the Royal Ballet, and on the television series, Omnibus, under choreographer, Agnes De Mille. She has choreographed ten musicals and has extensive experience teaching all levels of jazz and ballet in Westchester.
ABI STAFFORD is a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and an international guest artist. Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, she began her dance training at the age of six with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. Ms. Stafford entered the School of American Ballet full time in the fall of 1998. She was invited to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in November 1999 and joined the corps de ballet in January 2000. She was promoted to the rank of soloist in January 2002 and principal dancer in December 2007. Ms. Stafford has performed principal roles in many works by George Balanchine, including Concerto Barocco, Divertimento No. 15, Episodes, Emeralds, Square Dance, Symphony in C, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and Who Cares?She has also performed featured roles in works by choreographers such as Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, and many more.