Samantha Dunster: Assistant Director Pennsylvania Ballet

Image: Cristina Pora School production Copelia- 1989

Samantha began her ballet training with Cristina Pora from the age of 9. By the age of 17, Samantha traveled to Havana, Cuba, to train with the National Ballet of Cuba. She continued dancing with the company of Centro Pro-Danza under the direction of Laura Alonso, where she also worked as regisseur and ballet mistress. In 1996 Samantha accepted the position of Artistic Director and Principal Dancer of Bale da Ilha in Brazil and by 2000 became Ballet Mistress of Orlando Ballet. Under the direction of the late Fernando Bujones, Samantha re-choreographed La Fille Mal Gardee for the Orlando Ballet Company.

In 2004, she was commissioned by Orlando Ballet to create a World Premiere production of Camelot. By 2007 she accepted the role of Assistant to the Artistic Director of Orlando Ballet, under the direction of Bruce Marks. Together they staged the full-length Don Quixote in 2008.

In 2011, Samantha became Chair/Artistic Director of the Hartt School Community Division Dance Department at the University of Hartford. She founded the pre-professional company, HartWorks and created the Summer Ballet Intensive Program ‘From Studio to Stage’, which has attracted Guest Artistic Directors such as Bruce Marks, Laura Alonso and Angel Corella.

Samantha has danced and taught in countries all over the world such as Sweden, Argentina and Brazil. In 2003, she set her staging of La Fille Mal Gardee for the National Ballet of Korea and for the NBA Ballet Company in Tokyo, Japan in 2009. She has also staged several of Bruce Marks works including Lark Ascendng for Louisville Ballet. In 2010, Samantha served as the Canadian judge for the International Ballet Competition Jackson, Missisippi. Samantha began her tenure as Ballet Mistress at Pensylvania Ballet in November 2014 and was appointed Assistant Director in November 2015.


Alisia Pobega

Image: Cristina Pora School production Les Sylphide

Alisia Pobega completed her dance training in Montréal at L’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec. In 2000, under the direction of Gradimir Pankov, Alisia joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens as a member of the corps de ballet. In 2002, she was promoted to demi-soloist. Alisia has danced over 12 years with Les Grands Ballets and performed in ballets by Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Didy Veldman, Stijn Celis, Kim Brandstrup, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, George Balanchine, Fernand Nault, Antony Tudor, Michel Fokine, Peter Quanz, Stephan Thoss, Marco Goecke, Christian Spuck, Mauro Bigonzetti and Mats Ek. Currently an independent artist and co-artistic director of Liberame performance & films.


Leslie Parker

Leslie was awarded a full Scholarship to the Professional Apprenticeship Program, Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. During her studies at the Kirov Academy, Leslie performed with The Kirov Ballet Company from St. Petersburg, Russia, in their production of “Nutcracker” as they were touring the USA. Leslie has since performed with Ballet Iowa, Des Moines, Iowa, Ballett des Sudthuringischeur Staatstheater, Meiningen, Germany and Staatstheater Ballet Company, Hanover, Germany. Leslie’s love of movement has evolved into a career as studio director and owner at Mindful Movement Center– a Pilates and yoga studio in Toronto.

Christine dancing

Christine Auchincloss Fehr

After her years of training at Cristina Pora’s, she completed her professional dance training at L’Ecole Superieur de Dance du Quebec, Montreal. She danced professionally with Panda Dance Theatre, Albano Ballet Company, Empire State Ballet and International Ballet Rotaro. She toured and performed internationally in such ballets as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, and many others.

Christine is the former teacher at Atlanta Ballet; Highland Centre for Ballet Arts, Wesleyan’s Collage Midsummer Macon, Savanah Arts Academy, Nevada Ballet Academy (USA) and the former Director of Curriculum Development at Hardinge Bllet Centre (USA). Presently Christine is on the Dance Faculty at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas.

Andre Claude

Andre Claude Kaltenrieder

Andre Claude continued his professional training at the Quinte Ballet School and The National Ballet School of Canada. In 1989 Andre joined International Ballet Rotaru and was featured in such ballets as Pavel Rotaru’s Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake. He then joined Ballet Dallas, under the direction of Thom Clower and performed works by George Skibine, Tom Clouser, Peter Anastos, Fernando Bujones and others. Later Andre joined the Tulsa Ballet Theatre directed by Marcello Angellini and by 1999, he joined Fort Worth Dallas Ballet, now known as Texas Ballet Theatre. He performed works by George Ballanchine, Stanton Welch, Bruce Marks, Bruce Simpson and Ben Stevenson. Andre flourished with Texas Ballet Theatre artistically and was featured in many Soloist, Principal and Character roles. In 2006 Andre retired from the stage.  Andre transitioned from the performing arts world with the help of the great non-profit group Career Transition for Dancers, and followed his desire for engineering and aesthetic design. He became a Manager of a leading edge Heat Ventilation and Air Conditioning company,based out of Southlake, Texas.

Nancy Marie

Nancy-Marie Wttewaall-Riegler

Nancy-Marie continued her training at Canada’s National Ballet School and went on to operate her own studio The GP Dancer’s Academy in Grand Prairie, Alberta for over 25 years. She is a Registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance and holds her Advanced and Teachers Certificates. She is also a Practical Teaching Supervisor with the RAD. Her past credits include being the local children’s ballet mistress for the Alberta Ballet’s Grande Prairie production of The Nutcracker, co-choreographer for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1995 Canada Winter Games and 2000 Alberta Summer Games. Former students have trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and Canada’s National Ballet School, Professional Teacher Training Program as well as performed on cruise ships and with companies in Europe.


Kathleen Baillie

From a young age Kathleen has attended several professional Ballet programs throughout North America including Canada’s National Ballet School – Full-Time Program, Professional Division, Quinte Ballet School – Summer Intensive, Kirov Academy; Washington D.C. – Three Consecutive Summer Intensives and École Supérieure de Ballet du Québec – Full-Time Program, Professional Division.

She then continued her training as a student apprentice under the direction of Laura Alonso at Ballet Classico de la Habana; Havana, Cuba and was selected as the youngest participant in the inaugural Alicia Alonso International Dance Competition – Havana, Cuba. Kathleen has also attended the post-graduate program – professional division at The Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

In 2002, she choreographed and performed an original pas de deux for the World Youth Day celebrations held in Toronto, Ontario. Performed for his Holiness, Pope John Paul II and to an audience of over 800,000 on the main Downsview stage. Kathleen toured and performed Soloist and Corps de Ballet roles with Ontario Ballet Theatre’s production of The Nutcracker across Ontario.


Andrea Spaziani

Photo credit: Valery Gore Photography

Andrea is an independent contemporary choreographer and performer based in Toronto, Canada, an Honours BFA graduate in Dance from Ryerson University and a candidate for a Masters Degree in Fine Art and New Media. She Has performed with notable Canadian artists such as Meagan O’Shea, Heidi Strauss, Emmanuel Jouthe (Montreal), D.A. Hoskins, David Earle, Michael Trent, Alias Dance Project, Alicia Grant (Germany/Canada), visual artist Brendan Fernandes (US), composer Christopher Willes, Juno nominee Peter Katz, and Juno recipient Christopher Mills.

In 2012 she was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to attend the ImpulsTanz festival in Vienna, Austria, where she had the privilege of studying and performing with Marten Spangberg (Sweden) and published an article in Spangberg’s The Swedish Dance History, Volume 4.

Andrea’s choreographic interests surround perception, transforming the ordinary, and the collective co-production of meaning through shared experiences of the body. Some of her recent works have been presented at the Toronto Dance Community Love-In’s PS: We are all here, TEDx Waterloo, Dancemakers TWObyFOUR Festival of Duets, and Hub 14’s Under a Paper Moon. She also launched an online participatory project at

In 2013 and ‘14, Andrea was invited to develop her work at residencies at Toronto’s Dancemakers, and Hub 14. She has taught workshops for Dancemakers, The Toronto Dance Community Love-In, youth companies Pivotal Motion Dance Theatre and YMI Dancing, Turning Pointe Academy of Dance, and The Durham District School Board Artsmarts program. Is currently touring The Love Project by Meagan O’Shea throughout Ontario schools as a part of Prologue to the Performing Arts.


Elaina Pawelka

Studied for a year in Montreal with Ecole Superieure De Ballet Du Quebec. Semi-finalist at the 2005 Genee International Ballet Competition in London, England. Graduate of both the Central School of Ballet in London and the University of Kent in Centerbury, where she earned an Honours BA in Professional Dance and Performance.

Danced and toured internationally with the Isreal Ballet. Performed on tour with Illo Tempore Ballet Company Schlote Productions in the operetta Das Land des Lachelns in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Performed with Neglia Ballet Artists in Buffalo in their production of Giselle, Swanlake and Serenade.

Krystina Csik

Krystina Csick

Completed an apprenticeship at Kirov Academy of Ballet, Washington D.C. During this time she toured throughout the United States with the Marinski Ballet. Krystina went on to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from York University and completed the New York City Fitness and Movement Program. Currently she is the Artistic Director of Rendevous Runway, Toronto – an exercise program combining dance, fitness and glamor.


Ida Gerasolo

Ida is a graduate of York University’s Dance, Honours Program with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She continue her training at Canada’s National Ballet School, Professional Teacher Training Program where she Graduated and received ASCS-CICB, RAD-RTS certifications. Presently Ida is the Ownner/Artistic Director of I.D.A. International Dance Academy.


Elizabeth O’Keefe

Elizabeth trained at George Brown College, Professional Dance Program in Toronto. She also attended the Broadway Dance Centre in New York City, NY. Elizabeth performed as Guest Artist with Hamilton Dance Company and performed as Soloist and Corps de Ballet with Ontario Ballet Theatre. In 2008 Elizabeth was selected to perform for the IOC Toronto Olympic bid. Elizabeth is an Associate Member, Canadian Dance Teachers Association.


Nicole Forten

Nicole is a graduate of George Brown College Performance Studies Program Her focus was Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop and Musical Theatre. Nicole studied under Che Chun and has performed works by choreographers such as Bengt Jorgen, Annie Wood, Sonia Jackson and Kathleen Rea. Prior to her graduation, Nicole was rehearsal assistant for Ballet Jorgen Canada’s Nutcracker Youth Cast for Toronto, Guelph and Waterloo.

Previously, Nicole attended ballet intensive programs at The Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C and trained with distinguished Ballerina Alla Sizova and Yelena Vinogradova Deputy Artistic Director.

As a member of The Dance Company, Nicole performed in a variety of corporate functions, charity events and various brand ambassador roles. Film/Television experience under direction of L.A choreographer and Academy Award Winner, Ramon Del Barrio and has participated and performed at the FFIDA Festival for Dance with Dance Fuzion and Combustion Jazz Company director Annie Wood.


Elizabeth Ostil

Elizabeth was accepted to and successfully completed the Emerging Dance Critics Program During the 2015-2016 ballet season where she was invited to watch, critique, and publish her thoughts on performances by The National Ballet of Canada.  Elizabeth is currently a teacher with the Peel District School Board.

In 2011, while simultaneously pursuing her love for ballet, Elizabeth graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literature from McMaster University. In 2013, she went on to earn her Bachelor of Education degree from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.


Clare Bastable

Clare is graduated Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, Triple Threat collage program, Toronto. She continuied on-camera training at the Professional Actors Lab, Toronto and starred in Black Fawn Films’ The Drownsmen and attended its world premier at the Fantasia Film Festival, Montreal. She is actively working in Canadian film and television.

Olivia Stiernholm

Olivia Stiernholm

Olivia is enrolled in the full-time Professional Training Program at School of Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT). TDT is affiliated with York University allowing students to work towards The York-School of Toronto Dance Theatre Consecutive Honours B.F.A. Olivia is training for a professional career in modern/contemporary dance, including contemporary ballet.


Sophia Lajkosz

Sophia is currently working towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Ryerson University. She has successfully attended professional summer ballet intensive programs at, Quinte Ballet School, American Ballet Theatre, Alberta Ballet, and The Kirov Academy in Washington, DC. Sophia is training for a professional career in dance.



Lara Paraschiv

Lara has been accepted and is attending the Bolshoi Ballet Academy – Professional Traineeship Program in Moscow, Russia from September 2016 to June 2017. Previously, Lara attended the Royal Danish Ballet Summer Intensive – Elite Advanced Program in Copenhagen, Denmark with Full Scholarship.


Anita Ivic

Anita started dancing ballet at a very young age and had the experience as a student, performing with artist Robert Desrosiers in the productions of “Pinocchio”,”Snow White” and “Sliding Doors.” She also performed as a student in the Nutcracker productions of the Kiev Ballet and Royal Winnipeg Ballet as the companies were touring in Ontario. Anita performed in many productions with the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble.

As a teenager Anita attended professional summer Ballet intensives at L’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec. She received her BFA in Dance, from Ryerson University, Toronto, where she also had the opportunity to work with Toronto choreographers Heidi Strauss and D.A. Hoskins.

As a young student she started complimenting her dance training with Pilates which would later shape her current career. In 2008, Anita founded Imprint Pilates in downtown Toronto, specializing in private and semi-private training and integrated health services. In 2011, she opened her 2nd studio incorporating Yoga as well.

Anita’s love of movement continues to grow and inspire her to help others reach their mind body movement goals and prove that the body is meant to move and continue to evolve and be challenged.