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2016 Judges

Please click on the Judge's picture to view their biography.

ELAINE KUDO   Copy  GENNADI NEDVIGIN   Copy MARIANNA TCHERKASSKY   Copy

ELAINE KUDO

WASHINGTON BALLET

GENNADI NEDVIGIN

ATLANTA BALLET

MARIANNA TCHERKASSKY

PITTSBURGH BALLET THEATRE

 BRIAN YOO   Copy  Natalya Bashkatova   Copy  ROLANDO SARABIA   Copy

BRIAN YOO

UNIVERSAL BALLET

NATALYA BASHKATOVA

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

ROLANDO SARABIA

WASHINGTON BALLET

 Debra Austin   Copy PASHA KAMBALOV   Copy  LUBA GULYAEVA   Copy

DEBRA AUSTIN

CAROLINA BALLET

PASHA KAMBALOV

FIRST STATE BALLET THEATRE

LUBA GULYAEVA

NEW JERSEY BALLET

MARIN BOIERU   Copy ELEUSA LOURENZONI   Copy Christopher Sellars

MARIN BOIERU

CAROLINA BALLET

ELEUSA LOURENZONI

INTERNATIONAL MASTER TEACHER & CHOREOGRAPHER

CHRISTOPHER SELLARS

BALLET WEST

 JEAN LOGREA   Copy  MARINA STOLYAR   Copy  RODNEY RIVERA   Copy

JEAN LOGREA

WESTCHESTER BALLET

MARINA STOLYAR

INTERNATIONAL GUEST PERFORMER

RODNEY RIVERA

BALLET BRIO

 RAYMOND RODRIGUEZ   Copy KRISTINA KAMBALOV   Copy WILLY SHIVES COPY 

RAYMOND RODRIGUEZ

SILICON VALLEY BALLET

KRISTINA KAMBALOV

CAROLINA BALLET

WILLY SHIVES

BALLET SAN ANTONIO

DEBRA AUSTIN - USA

Carolina Ballet/Ballet Master
Debra Austin   CopyDebra Austin received a scholarship to the School of American Ballet when she was 12. At 16, she was handpicked by George Balanchine to join the New York City Ballet. While at New York City Ballet, Debra danced many principal roles by both Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, one of which was filmed for a PBS television special, Live From Lincoln Center. She later joined the Zurich Ballet in Switzerland where she danced principal roles in works by all of the major choreographers. Ms. Austin toured with the company throughout Europe. After her return to the United States, she was invited to join Pennsylvania Ballet as a principal dancer where she danced roles in Swan Lake, Coppelia, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Giselle and La Sylphide. She went on to assist Lynne Taylor-Corbett in Ms. Taylor-Corbett’s ballet The Dancing Princesses, and in Florida was a preliminary judge for the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts.

 

NATAYLA BASHKATOVA – RUSSIA
Cirque du Soleil/Previously Bolshoi Theater Grigorovich Ballet, Principal Dancer
Born in Russia, Bashkatova trained at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow and Bolshoi Ballet University. She became a principal dancer for the prestigious Bolshoi Theater Grigorovich Ballet from 1989-1994 and immediately after was a guest principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. Her repertoire included many title roles in the great classics including Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake among many others. Awards include "Best Ballerina of the Festival" at the 1992 SpoletoInternational Arts Festival held in Spoleto, Italy. She has toured worldwide to countries including Holland, Greece, Egypt, Hong Kong, France, and Belgium among many others. After moving to the United States, she joined the Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas as a lead dancer in Mystere. In 1998, she moved to Orlando to perform in Cirque du Soleil's "La Nouba" where she currently performs. She has been featured in numerous television commercials, interviews, and videos with Cirque du Soleil.

 

MARIN BOIERU - ROMANIA

Carolina Ballet/Ballet Master

MARIN BOIERU   CopyMarin Boieru began his ballet training in Romania and later trained at the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad. Mr. Boieru came to Carolina Ballet after seven years as principal dancer for the Miami City Ballet under the direction of Edward Villella. He has performed as a principal for such companies as the Pennsylvania Ballet, Maurice Bejart’s Ballet of the 20th Century, Roland Petit’s Ballet Company of Marseilles, France and Opera of Bucharest. He is the winner of the gold medal at the prestigious Varna and Moscow Ballet competitions. Mr. Boieru starred as James in Peter Martin’s PBS production of La Sylphide and as Albrecht on European television in the Romanian National Ballet’s production of Giselle.

 

 

LUBA GULYAEVA - RUSSIA
New Jersey Ballet/Ballet Mistress
LUBA GULYAEVA   CopyA graduate of the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Leningrad, Ms. Gulyaeva joined the Kirov Ballet in 1972, dancing featured roles in Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, La Bayadere and Don Quixote. In the 1980s, she was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join the staff of American Ballet Theatre where she taught company class and coached the dancers. She also taught all levels at the ABT School. Additional teaching credits include the Australian Ballet in Melbourne, the School of American Ballet in New York, and seminars at numerous universities in the U.S. Ms. Gulyaeva’s students have gone on to dance with ABT, NYCB, Kirov, San Francisco, North West Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Royal Ballet, American Repertory Company, Broadway (The Music Man and Oklahoma) and SAB. She has coached for American Ballet Theater throughout her life. She is so skilled and respected that Mikhail Baryshnikov continues to call upon her talents to help coach and train his dancers.

 

KRISTINA KAMBALOV - USA
First State Ballet Theatre/School Director
Kristina KambalovKristina Kambalov was born in Evansville, Indiana and, at the age of nine, began studying ballet with Jean Allenby. She continued her studies at North Carolina School of the Arts and at the Joffrey Ballet School and danced with Ballet Theatre Pennsylvania and Russian Ballet Theater of Delaware. In 1999, Ms. Kambalov co-founded First State Ballet Theatre. Under her direction, the School of First State Ballet Theatre has built an extraordinary record of achievement. Students of the school have attended and received scholarships to some of the most prestigious ballet schools in the world and have been accepted to compete in Prix de Lausanne, World Ballet Competition, American Ballet Competition, and Youth American Grand Prix. Students of the school have gone to dance with Festival Ballet of Rhode Island, Alabama Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, and First State Ballet Theatre. In 2007, FSBT students were invited to perform at the 50th Anniversary Gala di Danza in Italy's Spoleto Festival die Du Mondi. In 2006, Ms. Kambalov received the Wilmingtonian Award for outstanding contributions to the quality of life in Wilmington.

 

PASHA KAMBALOV - RUSSIA
First State Ballet Theater/Artistic Director
Kambalov HRPasha Kambalov is a graduate of the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia under the direction of Konstantin Sergeyev, class of V.S. Zimin. During his career he danced with Donetsk Ballet in the Ukraine and Komi Republic State Opera and Ballet in Russia, touring extensively throughout the USSR, the United States and Europe. In the United States, he danced with Russian Ballet Theater under the direction of Honored Artist of Russia Lev Assaouliak. Kambalov is the founding Artistic Director of First State Ballet Theatre, Delaware’s only professional ballet company. Under his directorship the company has performed great classical ballets includingGiselle,The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Don Quixote, and Swan Lakeand contemporary works including Viktor Plotnikov’s Pinnochio and Alex Buckner’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Kambalov helped to establish residency for the company and the school of First State Ballet Theatre at the historic Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Delaware and has successfully built artistic partnerships with The Delaware Symphony Orchestra, Opera Delaware, The Grand Opera House and the City of Wilmington. He was awarded the 2005-06 Teacher Recognition Certificate from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. In the same year, he was awarded the Wilmingtonian Award for outstanding contributions to the quality of life in Wilmington.

ELAINE KUDO – JAPAN
Washington Ballet/Ballet Master
Raised in New York City, Ms. Kudo studied at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School, the School of American Ballet and was a scholarship student at the American Ballet Theatre School. Ms. Kudo was a member of American Ballet Theatre from 1975 – 1989, promoted to soloist in 1981. She danced soloist and principal roles in a wide range of works mostly in the contemporary repertory. She has had the honor of working with choreographers Anthony Tudor, Jerome Robbins, Glen Tetley, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Eugene Loring and Sir. Kenneth MacMillan on featured roles in their ballets, and has had roles created for her by Twyla Tharp, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Chu San Gogh, and David Gordon. Ms. Kudo has performed at the Spoleto Festival in Italy in a group assembled to recreate the Jerome Robbins Company Ballet USA. She also toured extensively during the summer seasons as a member of Baryshnikov & Co. from 1983 – 1986, and was Mr. Baryshnikov’s partner in “Sinatra Suite” and “Push Comes to Shove” in the award winning PBS Great Performances special “Baryshnikov by Tharp”. In 1990 Ms, Kudo began staging the works of Twyla Tharp, both nationally and abroad. She along with partner Buddy Balough founded & directed Theatre Arts Dance America – a school located in Verona, New Jersey from 1997 to 2010. In addition to teaching at TADA, Ms. Kudo was on the faculty of the American Ballet Theatre summer intensive program from 1998 – 2003 and Jacob’s Pillow – Contemporary Traditions in July 2007 and recently guest teacher at Princeton Ballet, Jeoffry School and STEPS on Broadway. She has held the position of ballet master at the New Jersey Ballet 1994-97 & American Repertory Ballet 1997-2003 & is currently ballet master for The Washington Ballet since 2011.

JEAN LOGREA – ROMANIA
Graz Ballet, Westchester Ballet/Director
jeanlogreaLogrea came to the United States from Austria, where for seven years he was a principal with the Graz Opera House ballet company. Trained at the Choreographic Institute in Cluj (Romania) in Classical Ballet, Character, and Folk Dance, he was a principal at the Opera House Cluj, as well as a teacher at the affiliated school for nine years. There he was entrusted with a class of especially talented students, all of whom are now dancing internationally with major companies. He toured extensively throughout Europe and the USSR in such major roles as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, the Jester in Swan Lake, the pas de deux from Le Corsaire, and the Rocker in The Miraculous Mandarin. Jean is the Co-Director of the Logrea Dance Academy in Ossining, NY and he is the Co-Artistic Director of Westchester Ballet Company.

 

ELEUSA LOURENZONI - BRAZIL
International Master Teacher and Choreographer
ELEUSA LOURENZONI   CopyEleusa Lourenzoni studied at the Royal Academy of Dance in London and Municipal Ballet School in São Paulo, Brazil. She received a graduate degree in the History of Art, with specialty in ballet terminology and dance history. She performed with Municipal Theater Ballet São Paulo, Maria Olenewa Ballet, Ballet of the City São Paulo, and Victor Aukstin Company in Brazil. Ms. Lourenzoni actively participates as a master ballet teacher and juror in major festivals, and has choreographed works in Brazil, United States and Argentina. During her career she worked with renowned dance masters including Holly Cravel and Tina Stuart in London; Ismael Guiser and Ricardo Ordonez in Argentina, Yoko Okada (Japan), Halina Biernascka (Polond), Ielê Bitencourt (France); Joshey Leon, Jane Blauth, and Victor Aukstin in Brazil. She is the recipient of the Gala Ismael Guiser and Dance Personality Award in Brazil and has several works in Class Videos for Baby Class, Ballet Children and Pointe Technique. Eleusa Lourenzoni devotes most of her time to the study, teaching and dissemination of the art of dance.

GENNADI NEDVIGIN - RUSSIA
Atlanta Ballet/Artistic Director
Gennadi NedviginBorn in Russia, Nedvigin trained at the Bolshoi School and danced with Le Jeune Ballet de France and Moscow Renaissance Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a soloist in 1997. He was promoted to principal dancer in 2000. Nedvigin’s major roles include Albrecht in Tomasson’s Giselle, Nutcracker Prince in Tomasson’s Nutcracker, Mercutio in Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet, Prince Desiré in Tomasson’s The Sleeping Beauty, Basilio in Tomasson/Possokhov’s Don Quixote, Franz in Balanchine’s Coppélia, amd Lensky in Cranko’s Onegin. In 2015, Nedvigin staged Possokhov’s Classical Symphony for Atlanta Ballet and Romanian National Ballet and guest taught Company class at SF Ballet. Nedvigin’s honors include an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Best Ensemble Performance in Forsythe’s The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude in 2001, and he tied for the Erik Bruhn Prize at the 5th International Ballet Competition in 1999. He received a Special Jury Prize at the International Ballet Competition in Osaka, Japan, in 1995. He was nominated for the Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Best Ensemble Performance in Possokhov’s Classical Symphony during the 2010 Repertory Season.

RODNEY RIVERA - PUERTO RICO
Ballet Brio/Artistic Director
RODNEY RIVERA   CopyRecognized dance figure of Puerto Rico (PR), Rivera's ballet teachers included Vladimir Issaev, Carlota Carrera, and Silvia Marichal. He later finished his studies on scholarship at Point Park University. In 1994, he became the first male Puerto Rican to participate in the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Rivera has performed leading roles in many traditional classical works as well as countless world premieres dancing in major theatres around the world including Taiwan, Cuba, Haiti, Egypt, Japan, USA, Mexico, Spain and Italy. In 1999, he joined Ballet Brio of Bayamon invited by Elisabette Calero who encouraged him to continue growing as a choreographer. His prolific career as a choreographer include collaborations with Ballets de San Juan, Zig Zag Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Ballet Municipal of San Juan, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, Hermanos Cepeda Foundation, and Balleteatro Nacional of Puerto Rico. In 2006, his piece titled "Donde estan?" won the Gold Medal at the Argentina International Dance Competition. In 2010, The Puertorrican Institute of Culture recognized him as the best choreographer of the year for his enormous contribution to dance in Puerto Rico. That same year, he became the artistic director at Ballet Brio. Under his direction, Ballet Brio has become one of the main contemporary dance companies in Puerto Rico and Latin America.

RAYMOND RODRIGUEZ - PUERTO RICO
Silicon Valley Ballet/Managing Director
Raymond RodriguezRaymond Rodriguez attended the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan, and at the same trained at the American Ballet Theatre School on full scholarship. He joined Cleveland Ballet (which became Silicon Valley Ballet) in 1981 as a Principal Dancer, and during his tenure with the company held the positions of Rehearsal Assistant, Repetiteur, Regisseur, Principal Ballet Master and Associate Artistic Director. He was named Managing Director in 2015. Mr. Rodriguez performed at the Anniversary Gala for the Queen of Denmark's Silver Anniversary and toured South America with Ballerina Cynthia Gregory. He has performed, assisted and remounted works by Flemming Flindt, most notably The Toreador where he performed the title role at its company premiere and staged the work for the 2008/2009 Season, for which he won an Isadora Duncan Award. He has appeared in films such as RENT and The Smurfs and his television credits include ABC's Dancing with the Stars coaching football legend Jerry Rice, ABC's iThe Drew Carey Show, PBS broadcast of Emmy nominated Blue Suede Shoes and Scandinavian television broadcast of Lucifer's Daughter.

ROLANDO SARABIA - CUBA
Washington Ballet/Principal Dancer
Rolando Sarabia is a Cuban ballet dancer of international acclaim who has danced with companies throughout the world including the Cuban National Ballet, the Houston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre as a guest artist in 2011. He is often compared to the young Mikhail Baryshnikov and has been called the “Cuban Nijinsky” by The New York Times. Sarabia grew up among ballet dancers, his father a dancer with the Cuban National Ballet. He was trained by his father, Alicia Alonso, Lázaro Carreño and Magaly Suarez at the National Ballet School in Havana. He has performed with renowned dancers including Maya Plisetskaya, Patrick Dupont, Farouk Ruzimatov, Alicia Alonso and Tamara Rojo among others. Sarabia is the recipient of the Prix Benois de la Danse, Grand Prix 1998 Varna IBC, Grand Prix 1998 Concours International de Danse de Paris, Gold Medal 1998 Jackson IBC and Gold Medal 1998 Japan IBC. Sarabia has joined the Washington Ballet as principal dancer for the 2016-17 Season.

CHRISTOPHER SELLARS - USA
First Soloist of Ballet West/ Interim Director of Ballet West II

 Christopher SellarsChristopher Sellars began his training under his parents at Orange County Dance Center in Huntington Beach, California. After eight years he went to The Rock School for Dance Education where he spent a year furthering his training. He landed his first job with Ballet West II in 2005. In 2006 he joined Ballet West where he quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to First Soloist in 2013. Throughout his career, Mr. Sellars has performed many Soloist and Principle roles along with working with critically acclaimed choreographers like Val Caniparoli, Nicolo Fonte, and Helen Pickett. Some of his most notable roles were the lead in George Balachine's "Prodigal Son," Mercutio in John Cranko's "Romeo & Juliet," and many successful years of Sugar Plum Cavelier in Willam Christensen's "The Nutcracker." In addition to dancing, Adam Sklute appointed him the Interim Artistic Director of Ballet West II for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 seasons. Christopher Sellars has also choreographed through many outlets, including most recently creating a piece for Ballet West's "Innovations." Over the years, he has coached, choreographed, and directed students from all over the United States.

WILLY SHIVES - USA
Ballet San Antonio/Artistic Director
WILLY SHIVES COPYRecognized as one of the most charismatic dancers of his time, Willy Shives was named Artistic Director of Ballet San Antonio in December of 2015, after brilliant 16 year tenure with the Joffrey Ballet. Declared by the New York Times as “an astounding dancer”, Shives’ dance career can be described as extraordinary. Willy Shives grew up in Texas and studied with his mentor Nikita Talin. Shives received a prestigious Ford Foundation scholarship that led him to train at the School of American Ballet in New York City.  Shives then danced his way into an enduring and award-winning professional career that included stints with companies in New York, Austin, Tulsa, Milwaukee, Minnesota and Pittsburgh.  In 1999, Shives was elevated to the status of Premiere Danseur when he joined the Joffrey Ballet. He was the recipient of the 2004 Natalie Skelton Legacy Award.  The Chicago Tribune named him “Chicagoan of the Year” and he was named as one of "Chicago Theatre's 50 Leading Characters."  Shives is a repetiteur for both the Antony Tudor Trust and the Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey Foundation.  He is featured in several dance films including the documentary about the Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance directed by Bob Hercules. Shives lives with his wife, a former dancer, and they have two daughters.

MARINA STOLYAR - RUSSIA
International Guest Performer & Master Pianist
MARINA STOLYAR   CopyOriginally from Moscow, Russia, Marina Stolyar received her Bachelor’s degree from the prestigious Gnessin Music College in Moscow and her Master’s degree from the Gorky State Conservatory. Since her early teenage years she has worked with well­known Russian actors, singers and directors in Moscow Theaters and television programs. After her arrival in the United States in 1991, she continued her career as a solo performer and musical director. A significant portion of her career has been dedicated to ballet: as a master pianist for classes and performances as well as teaching music to dancers and teachers. She has worked at various major ballet competitions and programs in the USA, such as the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Youth America Grand Prix in New York, The Harid Conservatory, many regional festivals and workshops. For the last several years she has been the pianist for World Ballet Competition and also serving on the Jury. She has also released several audio CD’s for ballet class.

MARIANNA TCHERKASSKY - USA
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre/Ballet Mistress
Marianna TcherkasskyMarianna Tcherkassky was brought up in Kensington, Maryland, and is of Russian and Japanese descent. She began her training with her mother, Lillian Oka Tcherkassky, and continued her studies at Mary Day’s Academy of the Washington School of Ballet and on full scholarship at the School of American Ballet in New York. She joined American Ballet Theatre in 1970, and was elevated to principal dancer in 1976. She has been recognized as one of the world’s leading ballerinas, and was reviewed as “one of the greatest Giselles that American ballet produced” by Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times. Since Miss Tcherkassky’s retirement from the stage in 1996, she has taught extensively, and in 1997 she received a Golden Ring Award honoring artistic excellence from the Asian-American Arts Foundation in San Francisco. On June 11, 1999, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts from the University of Cincinnati. She is married to PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr.

BRIAN YOO - SOUTH KOREA
Universal Ballet/Artistic Director
Brian YooBorn in Jilin, China, Brian Yoo graduated from Jilin Arts School and afterwards studied dance pedagogy at Beijing Dance Academy. After graduation he taught at his alma mater in Beijing and later joined Universal Ballet as a soloist. In 1995, he became ballet master and choreographer at the Guangzhou Ballet in China and moved to the National Ballet of China in Beijing in 1997. Dancers who prepared under his coaching have won gold and silver medals in the international ballet competitions in Varna, Paris and elsewhere. In 1999, Bingxian rejoined Universal Ballet as Ballet Master, and was promoted to Assistant Artistic Director in 2000, and Artistic Director in 2009. For a number of years he also served as the Director of the ballet department of Sun Hwa Arts Middle and High School. While at Universal Ballet, he choreographed several ballets for the company, most recently the new full-length Korean ballet, The Love of Chunhyung, which premiered in 2007. 

 

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