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ACADEMY OF NEVADA BALLET THEATRE

History & Philosophy

Faculty & Staff 

History
Founded in 1979, the Academy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization guided by a commitment to excellence in classical ballet tradition.
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Philosophy
The Academy believes that dance education is an ongoing process and continues throughout a dancer's career. Students whose lives lead to non-dance careers garner invaluable skills of discipline, dedication, poise and a life-long appreciation for the arts.
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Our Facility
Housed in a 36,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, the Academy was built by JMA Architects with money donated from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation on land donated by The Howard Hughes Corporation. Encompassing seven dance studios, it is indisputably one of the finest dance facilities in the nation. It is home to over 400 students, the professional company of Nevada Ballet Theatre as well as artistic staff, faculty and administrative staff.
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Academy Classes
Offering training in many forms of dance with classes for students 18 months of age through adult, the Academy provides the highest standard of artistic education taught by distinguished and world-renowned instructors.

Classes include: Ballet levels 1 – 8, Pointe, Variations, Contemporary, Character and Jazz (part of the Pre-Professional program); Me & Mum, Me on my Own, First Steps, Movement & Music, Pre-Ballet 1, 2 and 3, Boys Ballet, Character, Theater Dance, Jazz, Tap, Jazz/Tap combo and adult classes such as Absolute Beginner and Intermediate/Advanced. Click here for current class schedule.
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Academy Programs

Programs include: The Pre-Professional Program, Children's Program, Dance Program, Open Program, Adult Program and Summer Program. Click here for descriptions on our programs.

 

ACADEMY OF NEVADA BALLET THEATRE
Academy Faculty & Staff

Monique Meunier & Nilas Martins
Academy Co-Directors

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Monique Meunier
Born in Hollywood, CA of Cuban and Ecuadorian descent, Ms. Meunier received a full scholarship at the age of 15 to attend the acclaimed School of American Ballet, where she trained with some of the world’s most celebrated dancers including Suki Schorer, Violette Verdy and Kay Mazzo. One year later, she was asked to join the New York City Ballet (NYCB) and in 1997, she was promoted to the rank of Soloist and subsequently, Principal Dancer in 1998. During her time at NYCB, she danced numerous ballets by Balanchine, Robbins and Forsythe and her dancing was once described as “commanding, lucid and exalted” by The New York Times.  In 2002, she joined American Ballet Theatre (ABT) where she performed full-length ballets such as Le Corsaire, Raymonda and Swan Lake. In 2007, Ms. Meunier joined Complexions Contemporary Ballet under the direction of Dwight Rhoden. In addition to her career as a professional dancer, she served as rehearsal director for Karole Armitage’s company, Armitage Gone Dance and staged Balanchine ballets as a repetiteur for The Balanchine Trust. Her extensive teaching resume includes instructing and mentoring students of all ages and levels. Fluent in both English and Spanish, her choreographic credits comprise premiere works for the Lake Placid Performing Arts Center and The Columbia Collaborative and she has taught at colleges and universities around the world including Columbia University, Goucher College and the Bejing Institute. In 2010, Ms. Meunier was appointed Ballet Mistress of The Washington Ballet and in 2011, she became Ballet Master of the company’s Trainee Program and a full-time instructor at The Washington School of Ballet.

Nilas Martins
Born in Copenhagen, Mr. Martins received his early dance training at the Royal Danish Ballet School in Denmark. As a student, he performed with the Royal Danish Ballet in works such as John Neumeier’s Romeo and Juliet, August Bournonville’s Konservatoriet, A Folk Tale, Napoli and Glen Tetley’s Firebird. In 1984, he moved to New York City and enrolled at the School of American Ballet and in September 1986, he became a member of New York City Ballet (NYCB) where he was promoted to the rank of soloist and subsequently rose to the rank of Principal Dancer in 1993. While at NYCB, Mr. Martins danced numerous lead roles and worked closely with choreographers including John Alleyne, Lynn Taylor Corbett, Boris Eifman, William Forsythe, Peter Martins, Trey McIntyre, Kevin O’Day, Susan Stroman and Richard Tanner. His film credits include “Live from Lincoln Center” (broadcast of Ray Charles in Concert), “The Nutcracker” (released in 1993 by Warner Brothers) and “Dance in America” telecast of “Dinner with Balanchine” where he danced the role of Apollo with Paris Opera Ballet star ballerina, Isabel Guerin. In addition, Mr. Martins was featured in “Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100” where he performed “The Man I Love” from Balanchine’s Who Cares? featuring Wynton Marsalis. Mr. Martins has been lauded for his deep knowledge of both the Danish and Balanchine pedagogy and in addition to his skills as a dancer, instructor, choreographer and coach, he gained programming and management experience leading his own company, The Nilas Martins Dance Company, which toured around the world. It was during this time that he was described in the press as “a warm, dynamic, and engaging artist, bursting with passion for dance, for opera, for his new dance company and for New York City Ballet….” After an acclaimed twenty-four year dance career, Martins was accepted as one of ten fellows into the renowned DeVos Institute for Arts Management at The Kennedy Center under the direction of Michael Kaiser. As a repetiteur for The Balanchine Trust as well as guest teacher and choreographer for companies, universities and festivals around the world, Martins brings programming management skills, institutional marketing and organizational leadership experience to Las Vegas. He also continues to teach master classes to students in Maryland and Washington.

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Cynthia Gregory
Artistic Coach

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Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre Faculty         


Anna Lantz
Born in Sweden, Miss Lantz started her ballet training at a young age at the Storan in Goteborg. Her family immigrated to California when she was 12 where she continued her training. In 1981, she returned to Europe to attend The Royal Ballet School (RBS) in London, England and graduated in 1984 from the RBS Teacher Training Course as Head Student with the highest honor, making her one of only five instructors in the United States to possess the following ballet pedagogy qualifications: The RBS Three-Year Teachers Diploma, (Ballet, Character, Flamenco, National Dancing, Music, Child Psychology, Anatomy, History), Imperial Society for Teachers of Dance (ISTD) Cecchetti Associate Teaching Diploma and the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Teaching Diploma. Upon graduating from RBS, Miss Lantz was offered a full-time position at the John Cranko School in Stuttgart, Germany, where she trained and taught the Vaganova Method for five years.  

Prior to joining the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre in 2009 as Academy Principal, Miss Lantz was the Children's Ballet Mistress and Head of Elementary Programs at Boston Ballet School, the largest school of its kind in North America. She has choreographed several full-length children's ballets and has guest taught at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. In 2007, Miss Lantz was appointed Assistant Choreographer for Disney's 2007 number one box office hit, the movie The Game Plan featuring The Rock, Dwayne Johnson.  Miss Lantz has been lauded for her unique ability to instruct students of all ages and levels. In the spring of 2013, Miss Lantz transitioned into her most recent role as an instructor with the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre, where she instructs children ages 7 to 18.  

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Shara Bergal
 
Shara Bergal is from Chicago where she received her training with Stone-Camryn, Larry Long (Ruth Page Foundation), and the School of Chicago City Ballet (Maria Tallchief). She was the recipient of ballet scholarships at the Interlochen Arts Academy and was an apprentice at the Boston Ballet under the direction of E. Virginia Williams, and later Violette Verdy. Shara studied further in NYC at the School of American Ballet, and with Wilhelm Burmann, Robert Denvers, Floris Alexander and David Howard.  Her studies also took her to Paris, where she trained under Gilbert Mayer of the Pairs Opera Ballet and Gerard Wilk (Ballet of the 20th Century, Bejart). Shara has danced with professional companies in Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, Innsbruck, and St. Poelten, Austria, and has worked extensively in Vienna and throughout Western Europe.  Shara eagerly draws on her diverse background to instill an enthusiasm for all forms of dance in her students. 

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Marcus Bugler

Having a dance knowledge covering a wide range of techniques, Marcus Bugler teaches master classes, gives workshops, adjudicates and choreographs in dance schools, camps and conventions across the country; notably University of Nevada Las Vegas, Lindenwood University, and Utica College as guest faculty.  He has taught ballroom dance at Dance Charisma in Las Vegas and has been a guest instructor at the Chatauqua Summer Arts Festival, Marin Ballet, Ballet School of Stamford, Steps, Broadway Dance Center, Eastern Virginia School of Performing Arts, Ballet Tennessee, Miss Linda’s School of Dance, Sawnee Ballet School, Festival Dance Camp at UGA, Exclusively Ballet, Balletfest, Dancentre South, South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory, Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre, West Coast Dance Explosion, Dance Educators of America and the Academy and professional company of Nevada Ballet Theatre.

Marcus has been a dancer with the Muny Opera in St. Louis; the Harkness Youth Dancers (performing at the White House), The Harkness Ballet, with whom he toured all over Europe, Joffrey II, the Eglevsky Ballet, and the New York Metropolitan Opera where he was a dancer, Dance Captain, Ballet Rehearsal Assistant, and finally Repetiteur in 2001.  In 2003 he joined the artistic management team of Cirque du Soleil, opening the production of Zumanity: the other side of Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas.  Before joining Cirque, he was invited, in 2003 and again in 2008, to Japan to choreograph the dances for the Ongaku-Juku production of the opera Die Fledermaus, and in 2007 for the Saito-Kinen Matsumoto production of Queen of Spades; all conducted by the brilliant Seiji Ozawa.  He was also brought in as a guest artist of the Chicago Lyric Opera twice; first as Assistant Choreographer to re-stage the dances in the opera The Great Gatsby, and in 2006, as Choreographer for Robert Carsen’s production of the opera Orfeo.

Marcus teaches privately and internationally and is on staff as dance instructor for the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre as well as guest teacher for the for the dancers of the Cirque production of Viva Elvis. His recent performances on stage include Stepsister and Herr Drosselmeyer in Peter Anastos’ ballets Cinderella and Nutcracker for NBT, and the Widow Simone and Dr. Coppelius in The Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre's presentations of La Fille Mal Gardee and Coppelia.

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Dianna Crossman

Dianna Crossman started dancing at the age of three at her Grandmother’s studio in New Jersey. She advanced her formal training at the Princeton School of Ballet and the New Jersey Ballet School and danced with the Princeton Regional Ballet Company where she danced roles in The Nutcracker from Child to Snowflake to Spanish Hot Chocolate.

At the age of 12 Dianna was accepted into George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet in New York City. A year later she was awarded a full scholarship to Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts, where she studied Ballet, Variations, Bournonville, Modern, Pedagogy, etc. After graduating she returned to New Jersey to perform with the Princeton Ballet Company. On a whim she flew to Las Vegas and within 24 hours landed a spot in Don Arden’s Jubilee.  After two years and a lot of costume changes, Dianna decided to hit the road and accepted a job with the International Producer Bill Lloyd traveling to Athens, Greece. The next stop was “Sono Momentaneamente a Broadway,” an Italian musical in which she was a classical soloist.

Dianna spent the next ten years performing throughout Europe and Asia as a featured dancer in shows such as The Lido in Paris,The Crystal Room in Tokyo, and Masquerade in Mexico. She even sailed around the world performing on the Royal Viking Sky.
Dianna has appeared as a dancer in national commercials, TV Shows, movies and music videos. She has choreographed for major Industrial shows such as Kodak, Coca-Cola and Nike. Dianna has a loving husband Jim and two beautiful children and is thrilled to be working with the dedicated students at Nevada Ballet Theatre.

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Gene Lubas

Gene Lubas is a show business “lifer.” With over 25 years of experience, Gene has contributed his time and talent to the arts and entertainment industry all over the world. After receiving a full dance scholarship to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Gene began a performing career which led him to study dance in Europe, performing with several dance companies, regional theatres, cruise ships and various Broadway shows, including the North American touring productions of the 50th Anniversary of Oklahoma!, 42nd Street, and The Will Rogers Follies to name a few. Gene was also fortunate to live and perform overseas in the first European Tour of the Broadway show 42nd Street. Upon his retirement as a performer, he was offered a production assistant position where he trained for stage management, casting many shows including The Osmond Second Generation Tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Grease with Chubby Checker and Frankie Avalon,and Smokey Joe’s Café with Gladys Knight. During this time, he also taught tap, character and musical theatre as well as directing and choreographing shows along the East Coast and Canada. In 2000, he joined the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil. Since then, he has worked on four different Cirque du Soleil productions, holding various positions including general stage manager for the touring show Alegría during its Asia-Pacific Tour of New Zealand, Australia and Singapore. Upon returning to America, he moved to Las Vegas and began his career with the resident Cirque du Soleil shows on the Las Vegas Strip, starting as general stage manager for the water spectacular, O”, then artistic director for Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil and most recently as Artistic Director for Viva ELVIS. As an artistic consultant for Cirque du Soleil, Gene has created performances for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, America’s Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance among others. He has been in a 21 year relationship with his life partner Jerry and together they are the proud fathers of twin boys, Harrison and Wilson. He finds that mentoring and sharing his experiences with young performers gives him the most gratification.

 

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Sara Orrells

Sara Orrells (nee Jordan), was born in Scarborough, UK where she attended Susan Richard’s Ballet School. She was admitted to the Northern Ballet Schoolin Manchester, UK, where she graduated with their accredited diploma, qualified to teach in a variety of styles of dance. She then taught in local schools both in Italy and England before embarking on a career as a showgirl. After several years working as a bluebell with the renowned Lido in Paris, France both as soloist and principal, she came to Las Vegas to work inJubilee! in Bally’s casino and hotel. It was while working there that Sara first became involved with the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre. There she became involved in teaching the Royal Academy of Dance method to the younger generation, and assisting with the Outreach programs. She worked for the Academy for four years before returning to England to marry and have her son. Sara is happy to be back at the Academy where she can once again help children discover the joy of dance.

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Margaret Rampey

Margaret Rampey received her BFA in Ballet from North Carolina School of the Arts.  She also holds certification as a teacher of Kundalini Yoga, and is a Reiki Master.  Margaret has pursued intensive studies in other mind/body awareness and therapeutic techniques, including Alexander Technique, Zena Rommett’s floor barre, release technique, and massage therapy.  All of these experiences have helped create a well-rounded approach to Pilates philosophy and technique, with equal ability to meet the needs of students of all levels. She is a Polestar Pilates Instructor, certified in Pilates fitness and rehabilitation since 1998. Margaret is a professional dancer, singer, songwriter, and actress for whom Pilates was instrumental in her recovery from various injuries, including back, knee, and shoulder.  Whether you are a professional couch surfer, serious dancer or athlete, or somewhere in between, Pilates can help!  And it’s a lot of fun, too!

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Monika Rostomian

Monika began teaching ballet at Nevada Ballet Theatre in 2001 .She came to the Academy from Russia where she received her training in the Vaganova method at the St. Petersburg (Kirov) Ballet Academy under the tutelage of famed prima ballerina Natalia Dudinskaya. She has performed throughout Europe, Asia and North and South America as soloist with many ballet companies, including Moscow Festival Ballet and Ballet of Russia. During her career she had also served as a ballet mistress and choreographer. Monika later graduated from the Moscow State Institute of Theatrical Art and was awarded its coveted teaching diploma. Her teaching skills encompass all levels of ballet and character dance, ranging from five year old beginner to advanced-professionals. She also qualifies in special training for figure skaters and in dance therapy for the psychological rehabilitation of children. Monika is dedicated to the highest standards of excellence in every aspect of her teaching.

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Inge Saarsalu

Inge Saarsalu is from Tallinn, Estonia.  She graduated from the Tallinn Choreographic School and then danced as a soloist and principal with the Estonia National Opera, eventually rising to the rank of prima ballerina.  Inge spent one year working with the Kirov Theater Ballet in Russia.  She was a third prize winner at the 1976 National Ballet Competition in Moscow and is the recipient of a People’s Choice Award of Estonia.  Ingo taught at the Tallinn Ballet Academy for 8 years and was a repetiteur for the Estonia Theater Ballet, where she worked with all levels of students on both classical and contemporary repertoire. Inge also spent several seasons with the company and as a faculty member with the Joseph and Loretta Law Academy of Colorado Ballet.

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Sue Stigler

Sue Stigler began training in ballet, tap and jazz as a young child in Orange County, California.  She studied under Christine Shaffer, Suzie Cable, Kristin Potts and Crystal Chambers along with attending various conventions throughout the United States. Sue had the opportunity to compete in numerous local, regional and national dance competitions and worked in the Entertainment Department at Disneyland.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Fullerton, as a Communications major and Dance minor.  As an instructor, Sue has specialized in teaching the very young students the joy of dance. She brings many years of teaching experience in both Orange County and in Las Vegas. Sue is thrilled to work with the students of the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre and share her love of ballet, tap and jazz.

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Academy Administration
Monique Meunier
Academy Co-Director

Nilas Martins
Academy Co-Director

Shannon Cangey
Academy Coordinator

Mary Sarnecchia
Receptionist
ext 223

Taylor Harris
Receptionist

Vicenta Mendoza
Receptionist

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