LISA SLAGLE began performing in Musical Theatre at the age of 5 in her hometown of Ft. Worth, Texas, where she was regularly cast in Casa Manana’s Summer Musicals, most notably as “Baby June” in Gypsy. She began her professional dancing career at the age of 11 when she appeared as a solo dancer in the Elvis Presley movie, “Clambake”. Her ballet training continued in southern California with Anna Cheselka, Sallie Whalen, and George Zoritch, and later in Houston with James Clouser and Eugene Collins. Upon graduation from high school she was offered a position with the Joffrey Ballet in New York, where she stayed until 1979. While there she had the opportunity to perform leading roles in ballets by choreographers Agnes de Mille, Gerald Arpino, Frederick Ashton, August Bournonville and Twyla Tharp. In the 1980’s she performed as a Soloist with the Ballet du Grande Theatre de Geneve in Switzerland, under the direction of Oscar Araiz, and as a Principal Dancer with Tulsa Ballet Theatre under the direction of Roman Jasinski and Moscelyn Larkin.
Upon her retirement, she started teaching ballet in the Dallas, Texas area, and in 1999 became the founding director of the Ballet Academy of Texas, located in the Dallas suburb of Coppell. The school has since received “Outstanding School” awards from the Youth America Grand Prix organization in the Southwest regional trials for 6 out of 10 years, as well as the “Outstanding Teacher” award for Ms. Slagle in 2006, 2016, and 2017. She is also the founding director of the pre-professional company, Ballet Ensemble of Texas, which was an Honor Company with the Regional Dance of America organization for 13 years. Many of her students are now dancing professionally both nationally and internationally in such companies as American Ballet Theatre, Oklahoma City Ballet, Ballet West, and Colorado Ballet.
Ms. Slagle is on the Advisory Board for American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum, and has been a master teacher since 2007 for ABT’s various Summer Intensive workshops, teaching ballet, pointe, variations, and character . In 2014 she was invited to be a master teacher for ballet and character classes for the International Ballet Competition School in Jackson, Mississippi . In 2016 she had the pleasure of being a master teacher for the Regional Dance of America Northeast Festival in Erie, Pennsylvania. She has also been a master teacher as well as staged her choreography for such noted national schools as the Orlando Ballet School, Washington School of Ballet, and the Interlochen School of the Arts.
Festival Faculty and Musicians
Cornelius Carter (Modern Dance)
Cornelius Carter is Director of Dance at The University of Alabama, and Artistic Director of the Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre. Carter has been awarded the National Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year award by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in Washington, D.C. He has received the award for the 2001-2002 Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award by the Alabama Alumni Association. Mr. Carter’s additional teaching credits include: American Ballet Theatre, American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival and Harvard Summer Dance Festival.
He has served as Guest Rehearsal Director for Dance Brazil in Bahia, Brazil. He also teaches and choreographs for the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive Program (2001- present) and debuted his work with Broadway Dance Center in New York in 2013. Carter spent this past summer abroad teaching master classes and setting choreography in Italy at the Ballet to di Civitavecchia and in China at the Liaoning Ballet. He recently presented work at the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He was also appointed faculty member at Broadway Dance.
Erica Cornejo (Ballet)
Erica Cornejo from Argentina. At age 14, she won a gold medal at the Second International Ballet Competition in Argentina and was immediately invited to join Julio Bocca’s Ballet Argentino. Cornejo joined American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company in 1998 and later that year became a member of ABT’s corps de ballet and was promoted to soloist in 2002. In 2006 Erica joined Boston Ballet as a Principal Dancer. Cornejo had been honored as a Messenger of Peace by Unesco. She also received a medal of honor from the U.S. chapter of Institute Belgraniano as one of Argentina’s leading dancers. Cornejo has been featured on the cover of Pointe Magazine and Dance Magazine. In 1998 Erica and her brother, Herman Cornejo, were invited as guest artists to dance at a special tribute held at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York honoring both President Bill Clinton and Argentinean President Carlos Menem. In 2005, Erica danced for President George Bush at the White House. Erica has taught at the Boston Ballet Summer Programs as well as for many others. She is a certified teacher by the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum for the levels Primary to III. Miss Cornejo is the co-founder Artistic director of “INTEGRARTE “ a Dance Art Movement Center in Boston – USA, married to former Boston Ballet principal dancer Carlos Molina and is the sister of ABT principal dancer Herman Cornejo.
Dierdre Miles Burger (Ballet)
A native of Massachusetts, Dierdre Miles Burger became an apprentice with Boston Ballet at age fourteen and joined the Corps de Ballet in 1974. From 1978 until 1982 Ms. Miles Burger danced in New York City and with Houston Ballet before returning to Boston Ballet in 1983. During her career she danced countless principal roles in the classical and contemporary ballet repertory but was most known for her portrayal of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and the Principal Stomper in Twyla Tharp’s Brief Fling. In June of 1993 Ms. Miles Burger retired from performing and joined Boston Ballet’s Artistic Staff. In September 2002 Ms. Miles Burger was appointed Principal of Boston Ballet School and was also on the faculty of The Boston Conservatory from 1991 until 2001. Ms. Miles Burger became an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum and was later appointed to the prestigious Board of Examiners for the curriculum. In July 2010 she was appointed Director of Orlando Ballet School. Under her leadership Orlando Ballet School has grown and developed programming, most notably the Orlando Ballet School Academy which develops young dancers for profession careers. Reaching out to the community she has instituted several programs for children with special needs including Adaptive Dance for students with Down Syndrome, Come Dance With Us for children with physical challenges and Kids Beating Cancer for children recovering from cancer. In 2014 Orlando Ballet School was awarded “Outstanding School” at Youth America Grand Prix NY Finals and was named a “Certified School” of America Ballet Theatre.
Carlos Molina (Ballet)
Carlos Molina was born in Cali, Colombia. He started his studies at the age of 10 at the Instituto Colombiano de Ballet Clasico “Incolballet” in Cali, where he obtained his Certificate as a Professional Dancer after 8 years of training. He also trained at the Houston Ballet Academy in Texas for one year. In 1992 Carlos joined The Ballet de Cali Company in Cali-Colombia, where he danced as part of the Corp de Ballet. In 1994 he joined the Hartford Ballet in CT USA as a Principal Dancer and danced with the company for 4 years. Carlos is the Winner of the first Igor Youskevitch Award given at the New York International Ballet Competition in 1996. During the 1997-1998 season, while still with the Hartford Ballet, Carlos also danced with American Ballet Theatre in NY. In 1998 he joined American Ballet Theatre full time, promoted to soloist in 2001. In 2004 Carlos joined the Boston Ballet as a principal dancer where he danced for 6 years. Mr. Molina has been a freelance principal dancer since 2010.
Carlos is a Certified Ballet Teacher by the American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum since 2008-2009 and is also a Certified Gyrotonic Instructor. Mr. Molina is the co-founder Artistic director of “INTEGRARTE “ a Dance Art Movement Center in Boston – USA, married to Boston Ballet principal dancer Erica Cornejo
Jeannette Neill is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Jeannette Neill Dance Studio that has served as a supportive and encouraging training ground for aspiring dancers since 1979. She is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Boston Youth Moves, as well as one of the Artistic Directors of the Boston Summer Dance Festival 2001-2007. In addition to her work at Boston Youth Moves and her own studio, she has taught at the Boston Conservatory Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts, as well as Harvard and Boston Universities. She is an internationally respected educator, dancer and choreographer whose work has taken her around the globe, to the Milan Opera Company in Paterno, Italy; Danschuset in Goteborg, Sweden; the A/C Studio in Tokyo, Japan; the Jazz Tap Festival in Monterrey, Mexico; as well as Broadway Dance Center in new York City.
Additionally, Jeannette has choreographer commercially for companies that include ABC-TV, Digital, IBM, PUMA, SKYR, Bose, Hasbro, Citicorp and The Jeannette Neill Dancers. She has also performed as a guest artist for various stage productions including New Directions in Tap, starring Gregory Hines and JAZZ DANCE: The Danny Buraczeski Dance Company and was featured in Pal Joey under the direction of Thommie Walsh at the Huntington Theatre.
Ms. Neill was also the first person in the performing arts ever to be recognized by the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston when, in 2000, they honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. More recently Boston Dance Alliance presented her with their 2008 Dance Champion Award and OrigiNation awarded her with a Lifetime Achievement Award 2017.
Stephen Pier (Ballet)
Stephen Pier has performed throughout the world with the Royal Danish Ballet, the Hamburg Ballet, The José Limón Company and as a guest artist. He taught for the Royal Danish Ballet’s company and school while serving as ballet master from 1990 -1996. He served on the faculty of the Juilliard School from 1996-2010, Alvin Ailey School, Martha Graham Center, Regional Dance America, New York International Ballet Competition and for many notable companies in Europe, America and Asia including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Bat Dor, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Introdans, Scapino Ballet, New National Theater Tokyo, and Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance.
In 2004 Mr. Pier began PierGroupDance to explore and collaborate with dancers and artists in various art forms. He has created over 40 works for the concert stage, opera, theater, and film. His work has been presented by The Hamburg Ballet (Ger.), Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Danish Theater, Royal Danish Opera, Bat Dor (Israel), The New National Theater (Japan), the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, The Di Capo Opera Company (NYC), Nilas Martins Dance Company, and the Dance on Film Festival at Lincoln Center. In 1998 he was selected to be part of Jacob’s Pillow Choreographer’s Project. He co-founded and directed the choreographer’s workshop, “Danses”, at the Royal Danish Ballet 1990-1996. Stephen was the Artistic Director of Juilliard’s innovative Mentoring Program from 2007 – 2010 and in September 2008 he began a 3-year tenure as director of Visions and Voices: Altria/ABT Women’s Choreography Project at American Ballet Theater. In October of 2009, Mr. Pier was recruited for the position of Director of the Dance Division at The Hartt School, University of Hartford.
Margaret Tracey (Ballet)
Born in Pueblo, Colorado, in 1982, she was accepted as a student at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet (NYCB). At SAB, she was the recipient of an Atlantic Richfield Foundation scholarship (1982-85) as well as the Princess Grace Foundation award (1985-86). In 1986, Tracey joined NYCB corps de ballet, launching a celebrated 16-year stage career. A principal dancer from 1991 until her 2002 retirement, she excelled in the Balanchine repertoire, appearing frequently in such core works as Apollo, Ballo della Regina, Concerto Barocco, Coppelia, Serenade, Symphony in C, Vienna Waltzes, Western Symphony, and Who Cares? among others. She was also featured in a range of Robbins’ ballets, including Afternoon of a Faun, The Four Seasons, and The Goldberg Variations, and created a role in the choreographer’s Ives, Songs (1988). She originated roles in works by Richard Tanner, William Forsythe, Ib Anderson, Trey McIntyre and NYCB Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins, including his Les Petits Riens, Fearful Symmetries, Zakouski and his production of The Sleeping Beauty, in which she appeared both as Princess Aurora and Princess Florine. With NYCB, Tracy toured Europe and Asia, appeared in the PBS “Live from Lincoln Center” series, and danced the Marzipan Shepherdess in the 1993 film of Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. As a stager, she has set Martins, Zakouski on the Royal Danish Ballet and Bavarian State Ballet and his Fearful Symmetries on Pennsylvania Ballet. In addition, during her tenure with Boston Ballet she has stage a number of Balanchine works including Concerto Barocco and Symphony in C for the Company, and Scherzo a la Russe, Scotch Symphony and Raymonda Variations.
Margaret Tracey joined the faculty of Boston Ballet School in 2005 and was appointed Director 2007. Profiled in a 2009 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine and recognized by the Jerome Robbins Foundation in 2011, she has been instrumental in designing a curriculum that emphasizes comprehensive ballet training and overall excellence along with a well-rounded approach to dance study. Her stature in the dance world has brought BBS extraordinary access to the study and performance of choreography by both George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins.
A celebrated figure in dance accompaniment around the world, Steven Mitchell has accompanied and performed for some of the most recognized dance organizations. He is currently the ballet rehearsal pianist for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Steven holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Houghton College, NY, a Master of Music in Piano Performance and a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX. It was in Dallas where Steven was introduced to ballet by the illustrious teacher, Thom Clower, at Ballet Dallas. He held positions at the Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education and at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. In New York City he has played at the major ballet schools including: Ballet Academy East, School of American Ballet, Broadway Dance Center, and Steps on Broadway. He was class pianist for the Columbia Pictures film Center Stage, his music can be heard in the film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and was heard in the ballet class scenes of the Starz tv series, Flesh and Bone.
His music for ballet class can be found at www.danceables.com.
Josu Gallastegui is widely viewed as one of the country’s leading ballet pianists, known for the excitement, imagination, and impeccable musical judgment he brings to class. Born in Bilbao, in the Basque Region of Spain, Gallastegui has won the acclaim of teachers and performers throughout the dance world. “Josu Gallastegui is a wonderful pianist,” says Cynthia Gregory — “I think he is the best around.” Allegra Kent considers herself “lucky to be in class when Gallastegui is the pianist.” The late Woytek Lowski, ballet master for the London Festival Ballet, said that “having Gallastegui play for class is a unique and joyful experience.” Since coming to the United States in 1980, Gallastegui has worked with major dance companies and schools including: American Ballet Theater, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Dance Theater of Harlem, and School of American Ballet, and with outstanding performers and choreographers including: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Alexandra Danilova, Sylvie Guillem, Rudolf Nureyev, David Parsons, Anna Sokolow, Ross Stretton and Twyla Tharp.
In addition to his work as a ballet pianist, Gallastegui performs frequently as a soloist and accompanist. Reviewers have called him “an excellent musician — technically superior, sensitive, and expressive,” and praised the “great precision, sensitivity, and transparent quality” of his style. He has performed at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, Carnegie Recital Hall, CAMI Hall, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union. Composer Aram Khachaturian, attending one of Gallastegui’s Moscow performances, praised him as a “very sensitive pianist and extraordinary accompanist.”