Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Artistic Director

JP Bonnefoux headshot 2018

Born in France, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux joined the Paris Opera Ballet at age 14 and was named Danseur Etoile at 21. He has danced with the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballets and in 1970 became a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine. In 1977, Bonnefoux joined the faculty of the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet, and began to realize his lifelong ambition of training young dancers. His final performance was in 1980, after which time, he dedicated himself to work as an artistic director, choreographer and teacher. Bonnefoux's choreography includes works commissioned by the New York City Ballet, The Lincoln Center Institute, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company, and the Pennsylvania Ballet. Bonnefoux has served as choreographer and ballet master for the Pittsburgh Ballet, as Chairman and Artistic Director of the Ballet Department in the School of Music at Indiana University. He joined the Charlotte Ballet and School of Charlotte Ballet in 1996 where he served as the President and Artistic Director until 2016.

Patricia McBride

Patricia McBride

Director of Ballet Studies and Master Teacher - Former distinguished prima ballerina with the New York City Ballet. She has been celebrated as the outstanding American ballerina of our day and is a star of international stature. In 2014 she received one of the Kennedy Center Honors for her lifetime contributions and achievements in dance. Her career with the New York City Ballet spanned more than three decades and provided audiences with dazzling performances of some of the greatest masterpieces in dance. George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins created many of their master works for her. She is a teacher of technique and variations classes for both Festival and Workshop dancers. She stages a Balanchine work every summer.

Sasha Janes

Sasha Janes

Director of Contemporary Studies – He was born in Perth, Australia, and received his formal dance training from the Australian Ballet School. He has danced professionally with West Australian Ballet, Australian Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, and Dayton Ballet, performing principal roles in works by Jiri Kylian, George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, Marius Petipa, Septime Webre, Anthony Tudor, Dwight Rhoden, Alonzo King, Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey, and many others.

At the invitation of Jean Pierre Bonnefoux and associate artistic director Patricia McBride, Janes joined Charlotte Ballet in 2003. In 2006, he was commissioned to choreograph his first ballet, Lascia la Spina, Cogli la Rosa, and has since choreographed several ballets for Charlotte Ballet, including Carmen, Dangerous Liaisons, We Danced Through Life, Last Lost Chance, Shelter, At First Sight, Loss, The Four Seasons, The Red Dress, Utopia, Playground Teasers, The Seed and the Soil, Chaconne, Queen, Sketches from Grace, and Rhapsodic Dances, which was performed as part of the Kennedy Center’s Ballet Across America series in June 2013. The Washington Post called Janes “a choreographer to watch.”

Janes was a participant in New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute and has been a guest choreographer for Richmond Ballet’s New Works Festival. He was a principal dancer with Charlotte Ballet for eight seasons before being named rehearsal director in 2007 then associate artistic director in 2012 and adding the title resident choreographer in 2013. Janes is currently Associate Professor of ballet at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Maris Battaglia

MarisBattaglia2015Maris Battaglia is the director and founder of the American Academy of Ballet. She received her training at George Balanchine's School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City and has applied her SAB training across the country. She also taught in Latvia in 1990 for 3-weeks at the Regia Ballet School- the school that trained ballet superstar Mikhail Baryshnikov. Over 130 of her students have gone on to dance professionally in major ballet companies in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Broadway Stage. She served on the New York State Council of the Arts for an unprecedented four years and received the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County Award for Outstanding Arts Contributor in 2008. In 1997, she was the recipient of the Artist Excellence Award, which is presented to one outstanding dance teacher each year in the United States. In 1999, she was introduced into the Western New York Dance Hall of Fame.

Rebecca Carmazzi Janes

rebecca janes

Resident Faculty – Rebecca was born in Urbana, Ohio where she began her training with her Mom, Cindy Carmazzi. She also trained with the Dayton Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Jacksonville Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Ballet Met. In her junior year of High School, she was offered a contract with Dayton Ballet where she performed for nine years as a principal dancer. In 1999 she was awarded the Josie Award, for the Most Outstanding Female Performer of the year. Rebecca also worked with Chautauqua Festival Ballet and Ballet Met before joining Charlotte Ballet in 2002 as a principal dancer. During her career she has enjoyed dancing in numerous full length ballets such as Juliet in Septime Webre's as well as Jean Pierre Bonnefoux's Romeo and Juliet, Ophelia in Stephen Mills Hamlet, Odile and Odette in Swan Lake, Alice in Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella in Cinderella, Lucy in Dracula, Clara and Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker, Desdemona in Othello, and the Marquis de Mertuil in Dangerous Liaisons. She also performed in repertoire ballets by George Balanchine, Lila York, Anthony Tudor, Alonzo King, Alvin Ailey, Nacho Duato, Twyla Tharp, Dwight Rhoden, Salvatore Aiello, Mark Diamond, Sasha Janes, Nicolo Fonte, Dermot Burke, Mark Godden, Christian Holder, and Uri Sands. Since retiring to be with her three children in 2012, Rebecca has been enjoying teaching for the Charlotte Ballet Academy, Dance Davidson, Piedmont School of Music and Dance, and Open Door Studios.

Mark Diamond

Mark Diamond

Resident Faculty – Mark Diamond was a soloist in the Hamburg Ballet in Germany under John Neumeier, a principal dancer with the Milwaukee Ballet Company, and was a member of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the Tamburitzans Slavic Folk ensemble.

Mr. Diamond has choreographed and taught extensively for ballet companies in Europe, Japan and the U.S. He has choreographed more than 45 ballets for Chautauqua Dance since 1988. He works full time for Charlotte Ballet as director of Charlotte Ballet 2 and as teacher and choreographer for the main company and for the Academy. Before joining Charlotte Ballet, Diamond was resident choreographer for the Cincinnati Opera, founded Ballet Artists Cincinnati and received grants from the Ohio Arts Council, the New England Foundation for the Arts and others. He trained with Edward Caton and attended Duquesne University and Point Park College (BA), where he studied music, history and dance.

Sarkis Kaltakchian

Kaltaktchian headshot 2019

A native of Armenia, Sarkis Kaltakhtchian studied at the Choreographic Institute of Yerevan, where he graduated with honors. Thereafter, he joined the Armenian National Ballet. In 1989, Kaltakhtchian was invited to join Ballets Classique de Montreal. He also performed with Banff Festival of the Arts, Classical Ballet of Costa Rica, Ottowa Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet Theatre.

As a soloist and principal dancer, his repertory included the works of George Balanchine, Marius Petipa, Choo-San Goh, Alonzo King, Val Caniparoli, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Nacho Duato and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. In July 1998, Kaltakhtchian performed for First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House Millennium Council. Kaltakhtchian started teaching while still dancing, under the guidance of Maxim Martirosian, former Artistic Director of Bolshoi Ballet School.

After retiring from the stage in 2005, Kaltakhtchian became the Head Instructor for the Centre for Dance Education at Tulsa Ballet, and Director of Tulsa Ballet II. He has been a guest faculty with the Chautauqua Institution in New York since 2008. He joined the faculty of Charlotte Ballet Academy in 2010, and was named Artistic Vice Principal in 2014. He is currently on faculty at The Hartt School Community Division University of Hartford.

Rachael Humphrey Leonard


Resident Hip Hop – Originally from Buffalo NY, where she studied dance for 15 years at the American Academy of Ballet with Maris Battaglia, Rachael is a 2010 graduate of SUNY Potsdam/Packer Dance, Configuration Dance Theater and Danny Grossman Dance Company. She is currently a member of Lehrer Dance and teaches Hip Hop.

Glenda Lucena


Ballet (resident faculty and Répétiteur) – Glenda Lucena is a former principal dancer and later assistant to the artistic director and ballet mistress of Ballet Metropolitano de Caracas, the Ballet Nacional de Venezeula. Following that, she worked with Ballet Fundacion Arte Nuevo in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, where she served not only as a ballet mistress but also the artistic director. Lucena went on to serve as the academic di vrector for the Choreographic Center for the Arts and the Arts Foundation in Barquisimeto.

Lucena was invited in 1994 to join the artistic staff of Miami City Ballet. Initially teaching for both the Miami City Ballet Company and the School, after three years she was promoted to ballet mistress for the Company. Lucena continued to teach classes but also rehearsed and coached the Company, whose repertoire includes many of George Balanchine's works.

The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music has invited Lucena as a guest faculty member since 2004 to teach classes and serve as ballet mistress for Indiana University Ballet Theater's (IUBT) performances of George Balanchine's Sonatine, Victor Gsovsky's Grand Pas Classique, Marius Petipa's Paquita, Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, and Violette Verdy's ballet Variations for Eight. IUBT performed her original choreography Winds from the South, with music of Ernesto Lecuona,
Lucena had many guest engagements as a professional teacher around the United States and abroad, most notably being invited as a guest teacher at The Royal Ballet School in London. In the summers, Lucena is on faculty at the Chautauqua Institution, where she serves as ballet mistress for the Dance Program and teaches, rehearses, and coaches many young, talented ballet students. Lucena continues as a guest teacher throughout the United States. 

Michael Vernon


Ballet (Resident Choreographer & Faculty) – Michael Vernon started dancing at the Nesta Brooking School of Ballet in London before studying at the Royal Ballet School in London with such legendary teachers as Dame Ninette de Valois and Leonide Massine. He performed with the Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera Ballet, and the London Festival Ballet before moving to New York in 1976 to join the Eglevsky Ballet as ballet master and resident choreographer. He retained those positions under the directorship of the famed Edward Villella, and himself became artistic director of the Long Island-based company in 1989. He remained in that position until 1996.

Vernon choreographed numerous ballets for the Eglevsky Ballet, in addition to ballets for many professional companies in the United States and worldwide, such as BalletMet of Columbus, Ohio, and North Carolina Dance Theatre. Mikhail Baryshnikov commissioned him to choreograph the highly successful pas de deux In a Country Garden for American Ballet Theatre (ABT). His solo S'Wonderful was danced by ABT principal Cynthia Harvey in the presence of President and Mrs. Reagan and shown nationwide on CBS television. He also served as assistant choreographer on Ken Russell's movie Valentino, starring Rudolph Nureyev and Leslie Caron.

Vernon has taught at Steps on Broadway (New York City) since 1980, working with dancers from New York City Ballet, ABT, and many other high-profile companies. He is an integral part of the Manhattan Dance Project, which brings New York-style master classes to all regions of the United States. He has been involved with the Ballet Program of the Chautauqua Institute since 1996 and is Artistic Director for the Ballet School of Stamford (Conn). In addition, he is permanent guest teacher at the Manhattan Youth Ballet and has had a long association with Ballet Hawaii. He taught for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and its school for 18 years.

Vernon has been company teacher for American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has guest taught in companies all over the world, including the West Australian Ballet, the National Ballet of China, the Hong Kong Ballet, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, Berlin Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, and the Norwegian Ballet. He has been a guest teacher for The Juilliard School and The Joffrey School, and recently joined the panel of judges for the Youth America Grand Prix regional semi-finals. 

Vernon currently serves as Chair of the Department of Ballet at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

2019 Guest Faculty

Daniel Ulbricht

Daniel Ulbricht

Daniel Ulbricht was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, and began his dance training at the age of 11 at the Judith Lee Johnson Studio of Dance, studying with Lenny Holmes. He also studied at Les Jeunes Danseurs with Javier Dubraq and attended the Chautauqua Summer Dance Program, training with Jean Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride. In 1999, Mr. Ulbricht was invited by the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, to continue his training during their Winter Program. As a student at SAB, Mr. Ulbricht performed with New York City Ballet as a Jester in Peter Martins' The Sleeping Beauty. In December 2000, he became an apprentice with New York City Ballet and in November 2001 he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. In January 2005, Mr. Ulbricht was promoted to the rank of soloist and principal dancer in May 2007.

Grant Cooper, orchestral music director and principal conductor
Kazuko Adachi, Alexandria Ball, Sebastian Birch, Arkady Figlin, David Morse, Nataliya Pinelis, pianists
Janice Wells, managing director
A. Christina Giannini, costume designer
Jennifer Propst, lighting designer