SLK Ballet Past &
Guest Faculty

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LARISSA PONOMARENKO

Classical Ballet, Guest Master Teacher

Larissa Ponomarenko is a former principal dancer of Boston Ballet, who joined the Company in 1993 and had been it’s leading ballerina for 18-years. Her vast and incredibly versatile repertoire ranged from classical & neoclassical productions to modern & contemporary works, included principal, title and lead roles in ballets by M. Petipa, A. Bournonville, J. Cranko, F. Ashton, K. MacMillan, G. Balanchine, A. Tudor, P. Taylor, J. Kudelka, B. Stevenson, S. Welsch, V. Caniparolli.  As well as J. Kyllian, N. Duato, Twyla Tharp, M. Morris, L. Monte, M. Corder, B. Wells, M. Pink, and L. Berdo.

 

Larissa originated roles in works by C. Wheeldon, H. Pickett, S. Baynes, D. Pelzig, V. Plotnikov, and became the muse for Boston Ballet resident choreographer Yorma Elo, creating roles that involved speaking and singing on stage.

 

Besides Boston Ballet, Larissa’s coaching career as a guest Master Teacher presented  her an opportunity to travel and teach for institutions like Washington Ballet, Harvard University, and Yale University. Larissa had been a part of International Masterclass Workshops in Prague, Czech Republic; Essen and Dresde, Germany and Palermo, Italy.

 

Born in Odessa, Ukraine, Larissa started ballet training in her home city under Vladimir Issaev, who dramatically changed her life by writing a letter of recommendation on Larissa’s behalf and advising her to audition for Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia. After being accepted, Larissa spent 8-years living and studying ballet in Saint Petersburg, receiving top training from highly distinguished teachers including N. Kurgapkina, T. Borovikova,  I.Gensler, O. Sokolov, L. Komisarova, K. Sergeev, N. Serebrennikov, N. Dudinskaya, M. Daukaev, N. Yananis, T. Shmyrova, V. Korneev. During which time Larissa performed on the stage of Mariinsky Theatre (then Kirov), as she was regularly used in all Kirov Ballet classical productions that involved children. She was chosen to represent the school, performing in major cities around the world.

 

In 1989 Larissa graduated under legendary N. Kurgapkina and for her graduation performance was honored to dance pas de deux from Giselle with Kirov ballet principal dancer Marat Doukaev.

 

Larissa’s first company work was at Donetsk Ballet, Ukraine, where she performed Giselle as a lead with partner Vadim Pisarev. She also met her future husband Viktor Plotnikov. Prior to joining Boston Ballet, Larissa and Viktor have worked for Mississippi Ballet and Tulsa Ballet.

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CATHERINE BATCHELLER

Classical Ballet, Choreographer, Guest Master Teacher

Catherine Batcheller’s international career as a principal dancer spanned the San Francisco Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet and the Birmingham Royal Ballet where she worked with some of the 20th century’s most significant choreographers of our time including Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Maurice Bejart, Sir Peter Wright, Hans Van Manen, David Bintely, Stanton Welch, James Kudelka and Wayne McGregor, as well as dancing principal roles in works by John Cranko, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Sir Frederick Ashton.

Catherine has worked as a guest teacher and choreographer, working with such schools and companies as Alberta Ballet School, Atlanta Ballet, Belhaven University, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Boston Ballet, Portland Ballet, San Fransisco Ballet, Indiana University, Texas Christian University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Walnut School for the Arts and SLK Ballet School.

From 2010-2016, she served as Dean of the Cincinnati Ballet’s Otto M. Budig Academy for six years where she directed both the year round program and their international Summer Intensive, and also taught as adjunct faculty at Cincinnati College of Music. Prior to her work with Cincinnati Ballet, she was the Artistic Director at Ballet Conservatory of South Texas.

 

In 2001, Catherine co-founded and co-directed Configuration Dance, a project based company that showcased contemporary and classical ballets as well as commissioned works from established and emerging choreographers. It celebrated the diversity in dance by bringing different artists from different backgrounds together to dance in a variety of styles of work. In 2004 she founded and directed the school for Configuration Dance.

 

Catherine holds a M.A. in Dance in Education and the Community from Birmingham University, England.

More information visit catherinebatcheller.com

VICTOR PLOTNIKOV  

Classical Ballet, Pas de Deux, Choreography, Guest Master Teacher

Born in Ukraine, Victor Plotnikov received his training at the Kiev’s National Ballet Academy, the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russsia and private teaching from Theodor Popescu and Svetlana Kolyvanova.  From 1987 to 1990, he was a soloist with Donetsk Ballet Company in the Ukraine. Plotnikov held Guest artist positions at Ballet Mississippi and Tulsa Ballet Theatre between 1990 and 1993, before joining Boston Ballet as a principal dancer in 1993, where he performed until 2006.  He has danced major roles in extensive classical and contemporary ballets by many of the major choreographers, and has toured extensively in Russia and the United States.

 

In 1998 Plotnikov’s extensive performance career lead to choreographic inspiration.  He has since created original, commissioned works for companies including Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Pittsburg Ballet Theatre, Richmond Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, First State Ballet Theatre, Festival Ballet Providence, Atlanta Ballet, and Kansas City Ballet.

 

From 2002 to 2005, he received rave reviews for his choreography and as co-director and co-producer of the choreographer’s showcase Raw Dance in collaboration with Boston Ballet and Boston Center for the Arts.

 

Plotnikov has created a myriad of original works for numerous organizations and individuals, often to great acclaim.  These include solos and duets performed at International Gala Performances and as part of international ballet competitions, with musical taste ranging from Brahms to Pink Floyd.

 

Awards include “Best Choreography” at Helsinki International Ballet Competition, World Ballet Competition, Orlando; Outstanding Choreography at Youth American Grand Prix; Beijing International Ballet Competition; Perm International Ballet Competition, Russia.

ROGER JANSEN

Classical Ballet, Pas de Deux, Repertoire 

Born in the Netherlands, Roger Jansen graduated from the Royal Conservatory in the Hague in 1989. He continued his studies at the Vaganova (Kirov) Ballet Academy in Russia. In 1990, he joined the Dutch National Ballet as aspirant under the directorship of Rudi van Dantzig and was promoted to Grand Sujet in 1995 by Wayne Eagling who was responsible for pushing Roger to the next level.

 

Roger’s repertoire includes demi-soloist roles in "Swan Lake", "Giselle", "La Sylphide", "Nutcracker", "Romeo and Juliette", "Sleeping Beauty" and "Cinderella”, as well as ballets from George Balanchine including: "Symphony in Three Movements", "Agon", "Episodes", "Four Temperaments", "La Valse", "Jewels" and "Brahms Schoenberg Quartet".

 

However, Roger’s passion for dance excelled most in contemporary works from Hans van Manen, Rudi van Dantzig, Tour van Schaik, Krzysztof Pastor, Ted Brandsen, William Forsyhthe, Twyla Tharp, Eduard Locke, and Wayne Eagling.  Roger finished his professional career in 2003 after thirteen years with the Dutch National Ballet, and went on to fulfill his lifelong dream by joining the famous cabaret "Lido de Paris" in Paris.

 

He continues to teach classical ballet back home in the Netherlands while he continues to expand his teaching engagements in the United States.

REBECCA RICE

Modern & Contemporary, Choreography, Master Guest Teacher

Rebecca Rice is an award winning choreographer, respected teacher and the artistic director/choreographer of Rebecca Rice Dance, a noted modern dance company in Boston. Her professional company has been presented in Massachusetts by the Boston Ballet, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Bank of America Celebrity Series, The Boston Pops, World Music and her choreography has been commissioned by various organizations such as the Samruk Ballet Company in Kazakhstan, Pont Aven School in France, Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland and in New York City with the American Dance Guild. Rebecca Rice Dance made its New York City debut in 2006 to high acclaim.

 

As resident choreographer and teacher of modern dance at the Boston Ballet for almost two decades, Rebecca created works on the company and school and was faculty of modern dance, choreography, ballet and creative process. Under Bruce Marks and Anna-Marie Holmes, she created numerous works on BBII as well as organized Boston Ballet's first choreography workshops, "Studio 7 @ Boston Ballet."

 

As a performer, Rebecca worked professionally with various artists and companies throughout the United States including the Dance Alloy in Pittsburgh, Gerri Houlihan, Stephen Pelton, Bill Evans and Marianne Goldberg. Rebecca grew up studying and performing the work of modern dance pioneers Ted Shawn, Ruth St. Denis and Doris Humphrey with her grandmother, Marion Rice.

 

Rebecca graduated with honors in modern dance from the University of Utah where she worked with Bill Evans, Ron Ruby, Ririe-Woodbury and the Utah Repertory Dance Theatre. In New York City she trained with Viola Farber as well as studied at the Jose Limon and Ailey Schools. 

 

Rebecca recently traveled to Kazakhstan where she was invited by the US State Department to be a "Cultural Envoy". She choreographed a new work, "Uplift" on the Samruk Dance Company as well as presented master classes and lectures on American contemporary modern dance.  Some of the students she trained in modern and choreography while at the Boston Ballet include Sarah Lamb, Principal-Royal Ballet, James Whiteside; Principal-American Ballet Theater and Nao Kazusaki, Soloist-Houston Ballet, as well as Isadora Wolfe of Johannes Wieland Co, Coco Karol and Julie Fiorenza of Jessica Lange Company.  

 

Rebecca set many premiere pieces of original choreography on Sara Knight, including "Mirage","Indigo","Russes Suite" and "Bach Dances".

JILLIAN DAVIS

Classical Ballet, Contemporary

Jillian Davis is a Kutztown, PA native, and began her ballet training at the age of 3. She studied extensively with Risa Kaplowitz and Susan Jaffe at Princeton Dance and Theater Studio in Princeton, NJ. Jillian has attended San Francisco Ballet, School of American Ballet, as well as Pacific Northwest Ballet and LINES Ballet, both on scholarship. In 2013, she developed the “Jillian Davis Dance Project”, her choreography commissioned by Missouri Valley College. Her piece, “Tiel”, was featured at Jennifer Muller’s Hatched Series and was selected as a finalist for Rider University’s Emerging Choreographers Showcase.

Jillian has been a company member with Complexions since 2014. She has been part of several Dwight Rhoden world premieres, including Headspace, Strum, Gutter Glitter, Star Dust, Bach 25, Woke, Love Rocks, and a world-premiere solo, Elegy. She has also performed installation works by Desmond Richardson and an excerpt of Approximate Sonata by William Forsthye. Jillian is entering her eighth season with Complexions.

Along with being a dancer with Complexions, Jillian is part of the core faculty for Complexions Dance Academy, teaching at intensives and master classes around the world. She also frequents as a guest teacher and choreographer with schools around the country, including SLK Ballet, Berks Ballet Theater, Princeton Dance and Theater Studio, Missouri Valley College, among other schools.

More information visit IG @Jillange93 

ABBEY KOWALEC

Musical Theater

Originally from a small town in Connecticut, Abbey began dancing at the young of three. Training in all disciplines, with a concentration in classical ballet, she attended various studios and summer intensives, including SLK Ballet, ABT, Alvin Ailey, and the Rockettes Summer Intensive. Following high school she attended Marymount Manhattan College and received her BFA in Dance with a double concentration in Ballet and Modern Dance.

 

Following graduation, Abbey acquired her first professional job as a Knicks City Dancer performing at Madison Square Garden. While a part of KCD she was able to work with world-renowned choreographers, such as Mandy Moore, Val Chmerkovskiy, Bobby Newberry, Tracey Shibatta, and Ashley Everett. As a part of the Knicks she also performed in numerous halftime performances with varying musical artists, such as T-Pain and Ashanti. In Fall of 2019 Abbey began her first season as a Radio City Rockette for the iconic Christmas Spectacular and looks forward to the upcoming season ahead.

 

Outside of professional dance, Abbey is also a fitness-instructor and model for Bella Agency, where she has booked commercials for Kay Jewelers and Fox's Fosse Verdon series. 

LEANNE KING

Contemporary, Choreography

Leanne King trained at the Arts Educational School in London.  She has both choreographed for and performed with many small companies and has choreographer credits in television and film. Leanne teaches Contemporary to Central’s first year students and oversees second year choreography including the collaborative choreographic project (Design for Dance) with Central St Martin’s School of Art & Design. She continues to work on external performance projects for the school, including linking Central School of Ballet students with Crystal Pite and Kidd Pivot, culminating in the performance of award winning Polaris on the Sadler’s Wells stage.

 

More recently Leanne has seen a collaboration of student dancers with The National Centre of Circus Arts and the Australian troupe Circa in sell out site specific performances in East London. Leanne has both national and international teaching/choreographic credits to her name and having taught at The Royal Academy of Dance, Arts Educational School and the Royal Ballet School, Leanne is now Course Development Co-ordinator for the Senior School at Central and also continues to teach open classes at Danceworks.

Leanne's credits include the conception and choreography for production company Fait Accompli for the London 2012 Olympics, a sell-out season at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and a one-off performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Leanne has coached and choreographed for two students at the Central school of Ballet throughout their journey to the contemporary category finals of BBC Young Dancer 2015.

 

Most recently Leanne has conceived and created a work with students from Central School of Ballet and two young dancers in a collaboration with Bristol Children’s Hospital, discovering how dance and movement can help in the rehabilitation from neuro surgery and major neuro trauma.

RAZVAN STOIAN

Ballroom, Argentinian Tango, Salsa, Merengue

Razvan Stoian hails from Constanta, Romania, and graduated from the Caragiale Academy of Theatrical Arts and Cinematography winning the “Best Choreography” and “Best Interpretation” awards. Prior to joining Battery Dance in 2016, he danced internationally with Tangaj Dance Company including appearances at the Battery Dance Festival in New York in 2014, and collaborative performances with Battery Dancers in Romania the same year. His choreography has been presented annually in Battery Dance Festivals up through 2020 where, in addition to his work for the company, “Icarus”, his collaboration with Romanian dancer Ana Maria Lucaciu was commissioned by the Romanian Cultural Institute.

 

Stoian has also performed with Gigi Caciuleanu Romania Dance Company at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London; and is a champion ballroom dancer, winning competitions in Austria, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Turkey and elsewhere. Since the pandemic in March, 2020, he has taught hundreds of ballroom classes on Battery Dance TV and Battery Dance’s YouTube Channel.  He has toured internationally with Battery Dance in Germany, South Korea and Sri Lanka.