Nelle Shipman (June 26-30, 2017)

Nell Shipman has a B.F.A. in Dance Performance with High Honors from Butler University. Nell has performed and shown choreography in Portland, New York, Chicago, Boulder, Indianapolis and Tbilisi, The Republic of Georgia. She has taught for studios throughout the country, including Regional Dance America's Mid-States Festival in St. Louis, Missouri and Kansas Regional Ballet's Summer Intensive. With Portland Ballet, Nell has performed in numerous productions. She has also appeared as a guest artist with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, The Good Theater, 2008 Best of Broadway, PORTopera as both dancer and choreographer and with Ballet Conservatory of South Texas. Her choreography for Portland Ballet includes The Victorian Nutcracker, Jack the Ripper, Halloween Spooktacular, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, Dance for the Cure, Spoke of the Wheel, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and works for the 2004-2008 Portland Dances! Choreographers showcase. Nell's additional work with sister organizations in Maine includes Bowdoin College: Triumph of Aphrodite and Les Noces, and the 2006, 2008 and 2011 Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ Halloween Concert.

Slava Mesropov (July 3-8, 2017)

Mr. Mesropov is a graduate of the Baku Academy of Ballet in Azerbaijan. His professional career includes dancing as a soloist with the Azerbaijan Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet, Moscow Festival Ballet, Ballet South and the Colorado Ballet. His Vaganova teaching background includes Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, the Royal Institute and Ballet Theater of Maryland, the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Baltimore School for the Arts.





Amy Wilson (2017)

Amy Wilson graduated from Wichita State University with a BFA in Dance, with an emphasis on modern, ballet, and jazz. Amy moved from NYC to Grand Rapids, MI in 2001, ultimately founding Dance in the Annex, a contemporary dance collective. DITA regularly hosts Master Classes and produces two ongoing, large-scale concerts featuring original works by DITA and Guest Artists. "Salmagundi" (Fall) and "Trip The Light" (Spring) involves nearly 50 musicians, performers, choreographers, technical engineers and volunteers. In addition to master classes, performances and site-specific work, Wilson has added dance-on-camera productions to the DITA repertoire - the DITA portfolio now includes many high-quality, original works. Amy has worked as an adjunct professor of dance and guest choreographer and instructor at Grand Valley State University, Zeeland High School, balletmore, ADCFA (American College Dance Festival Association) and several dance studios in West Michigan. She has set pieces for Grand Rapids Symphony Women’s Committee, Moms Bloom, UICA NoshNight, OddBall, RadFest hosted by Wellspring/Cori Terry and Dancers in Kalamazoo, MI., TEDx Grand Rapids and SiTE:LAB. Most recently DITA was awarded the Time Based Juror Award for their piece respirador (breather) at ArtPrize 2014. Amy was recently awarded the ArtPrize 2015 Fellowship for Emerging Curators.

Martin Fredmann

Guest teacher June 15-19, 2015

Martin Fredmann is an internationally recognized director, choreographer and teacher. He is a former artistic director of the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C. and has worked with the Colorado Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York City, Maryland Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. Internationally, he was Maestro Di Ballo for Teatro Comunale (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino) in Florence, Italy; company teacher for London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet); ballet master and principal dancer of Dortmund Ballet in West Germany; and principal dancer of Scapino Ballet in Holland. He has taught for the Australian Ballet, Tokyo City Ballet, Bat Dor Dance Company in Israel, Berlin Ballet, Central Ballet of China, Hong Kong Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theater, Royal Swedish Ballet, National Ballet of Korea, Culberg Ballet of Sweden and Cloud Gate Dance Theater summer school in Taipei, Taiwan, and throughout Japan. As a choreographer, Mr. Fredmann works in many idioms including re-staging the classics. In May 1991, he was invited to Tallinn, Estonia, to create a new ballet, THE LAST SONGS, for the Estonian National Opera. Mr. Fredmann is a recipient of the 1996 Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the 1999 Dance Magazine Award and was the recipient of the 1999 Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Award in recognition of significant and unique contributions in the field of Arts and Humanities.


Carole Alexis

Director, Ballet des Amériques

Guest teacher June 22-26, 2015

Carole Alexis’ work as a choreographer is deeply informed by her multicultural and intercontinental background and training on the one hand, and her interdisciplinary approach to performance on the other. In New York City, for example, she has choreographed and performed – both as a singer and a dancer – at the River to River Festival, the Festival de la Francophonie, at Carnegie Hall and at Lincoln Center with artists such as Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Kathy Engel, Michael Ratner, The Mighty Sparrow, Susan Sarandon.

Taking her cue from a thought of Aimé Césaire, in 2011, Carole Alexis launched Ballet des Amériques, a new venture in dance training, education and performance intended to give a voice to the world’s various traditions of dance on the basis of classical ballet training, while self-consciously situating itself in the context of the Americas. The young company has already performed her most recent choreography at the Festival de Fort-de-France in Martinique, the Journée Internationale de la Francophonie at Florence Gould Hall, the Kate Wildish NYC Festival of Dance Schools and at the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck.

Aesthetically and technically, the tradition of classical ballet broadly conceived to include its modern and contemporary successors offers Carole Alexis the broad range of language and richness of vocabulary that is well-suited as a basis for a choreography that is genuinely open to the world and all of its traditions: “I always find myself traveling between cultures, genres and techniques, engaged in a constant dialogue,” she explains. And indeed, the elements of her choreography as well as the multi-ethnic and multicultural composition of her Ballet des Amériques dance company give credence to this approach. Having grown up and received her training and education in France, the Caribbean and Africa, Carole Alexis at a young age chose the Béjart school to obtain the kind of formation that would form a solid basis from which to receive, appropriate and develop a rich variety of traditions and influences in music, dance and the performing arts in general.

From a classical basis and drawing on multifarious influences, Carole Alexis creates works that spark our curiosity, that question and explore, yet that always give pride of place to the sheer physicality and visceral character of dance. Mme. Alexis’ approach to dance, performance and choreography was informed early on by the teachings of the three founders of the Negritude movement, Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor, and Léon-Gontran Damas. She believes that art expresses the infinite possibilities of humanity, a kind of universal consciousness, and that it should be a platform for cultural action leading to a reflection on the possibilities of social change.

As an honors graduate of the Mudra School created by Maurice Béjart, Léopold Sédard Senghor and UNESCO, Carole Alexis excelled in all varieties of dance. She has toured in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, dancing as a soloist, ensemble member and freelancer in many companies and productions including: Rick Odums Dance Company – Artistic Director: Rick Odums; Compagnie Du Corail, Soloist – Directors: Jean-Paul Césaire and Suzi Maniry; Les Ballets Jazz de Paris, Soloist – Artistic Director: Mervyn Francis; Moise Dance Company, Soloist – Artistic Director: Moise; Claire Tallia, Soloist – Artistic Director: Claire Tallia; Compagnie Irene Tassembedo.
Carole Alexis studied with: Maurice Béjart, ballet and choreographic intensives; Nikoloz Makhateli, ballet; Bertrand Pie, ballet; Jorge Lefèbre, Director of the Royal Ballet of Wallonie, ballet and choreographic work; Solange Golovine, ballet; Jaqueline Fyneart, barre au sol; Larrio Ekson, modern dance and choreographic intensives; Julien Jouga, music; Goris Théâtre; Doudou NDiaye Rose, percussion; Jacqueline Rayet, Opéra de Paris, ballet; Savitri Nair, Bharata Natyam; Rick Odums, jazz and modern jazz; Peter Goss, Modern Jose Limon based; Jay Allen Augen, ballet; Andrej Glekovski, ballet; Yuriko Kikuchi, Director of the Martha Graham Company; Bruce Taylor, modern dance, modern jazz and choreographic work; Jean-Claude Zadith, ballet, Barre au sol, modern dance and choreographic work; Nina Valery, ballet; Germaine Acogny, African dance and choreographic work; Ray Phillips, modern Graham technique; Jaqueline Scott Lemoine, theater; Jean-Claude Lamorandière, contemporary and Afro-Caribbean dance.

During her studies, Carole Alexis won numerous merit scholarships and the First Prize of Minolta Danse pour l’image. Her image has graced several magazine covers and she has been featured in many newspaper articles and magazines including the Encyclopédie de la Femme Antillaise. A documentary entitled Come Dance With Me, directed by Jean-Paul Césaire, portrays the early career of Carole Alexis when she was discovered by Aimé Césaire.


Marek Cholewa

Director, Butler University School of Dance   

Guest teacher June 29-July 3, 2015

Marek Cholewa, Professor of Dance, began his studies at the National School of Ballet in Poznan, Poland. He achieved the rank of a Soloist with the National Ballet of Poland and performed as a guest artist with the Polski Teatr Tanca-Balet Poznanski in Poznan, Poland. In 1978 he was sent by the Ministry of Culture in Poland, on full scholarship to study at the world renowned Rimsky-Korsakov Music State Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia. While in Russia, he was able to refine and polish his ballet technique and learn classical repertoire at the Mariinsky Theatre. He obtained his master’s degree from the Rimsky-Korsakov Music State Conservatory as a Répétiteur/Choreographer in 1982. That same year he was invited by Dame Margot Fonteyn to join the National Ballet of Panama where he was Assistant Artistic Director/Master Teacher/ Choreographer. For the past 20 years, he has worked as a guest Artistic Director/Choreographer in Panama by staging, choreographing and directing many ballet productions such as;The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, La Vivandière, La Esmeralda, Simfonia Simple, La Simfonia de una Vida. Mr. Cholewa works have been shown throughout the United States, Central and South America, and Europe. He has staged famous ballets in the classical repertoire such as; Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Paquita, La Vivandière, La Esmeralda, Le Corsaire. As a master teacher, Mr. Cholewa has taught for international dance programs in Denmark, Russia, Panama, Taiwan and Poland. In the United States he has taught for Boston Ballet Company, Boston Ballet’s summer dance programs, Indianapolis Ballet Theatre and a number of regional ballet schools and dance companies in St. Louis, MO, Chicago, IL, New Orleans, LA, Richmond, VA, and Fort Wayne, IN. Mr. Cholewa’s areas of special expertise are the full Vaganova syllabus and XIXth century classical ballet repertory learned in St. Petersburg, Russia. At present he holds the position of Professor of Dance at Butler University, and has the honor of being named a Fulbright Scholar for 2002-2003.


Lauren Ader

Guest teacher

Lauren Ader began her dance training in Colorado, where she worked with Nikoloz Makhateli.  Moving to New York, she continued her training at the Gelsey Kirland Academy where she worked with Gelsey Kirkland, Lyubov Fominich, Rinat Imaev and Yaroslay Fadeyey.  As a member of the Studio Company, she performed under the direction of Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov, performing soloist roles in The Nutcracker, Copelia, Paquita, The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayader, La Sylphide, and La Corsaire.   Lauren has taught both ballet and tap for the past ten years in Colorado and the Chicago area.   She has also danced both tap and ballet professionally and is currently is the Lead Artist with Ballet 5:8 in Chicago.