International Ballet Intensive


Dancer Feet

Guest Faculty

Laura Alonso, Classical Ballet
Pro Danza, Cuba


Ms. Alonso, daughter of world famous ballerina Alicia Alonso and renowned teacher and coach Fernando Alonso, is herself known as a teacher, coach and an expert at staging the well-known classics. For seven years she served as the personal coach and teacher for international prima ballerina assoluta, Alicia Alonso. Dance Theatre of Harlem Artistic Director,former prima ballerina and former editor of Pointe magazine, Virginia Johnson, calls her an, “international master teacher extrordinare.”

Ms. Alonso was honored with an award as the best coach at the Jackson International Ballet Competition in 1990. Her student, Jose Manuel Carreno, won the Grand Prix de Ville, the highest award possible. Ms. Alonso has served as coach, jury member and teacher at the Jackson IBC and as jury member of the Concours International de Dance de Paris, France, the Alicia Alonso International Ballet Competition and other competitions around the world. A teacher of world-class experience, Ms. Alonso has taught for professional ballet companies all over the world.

Ms. Alonso’s 25-year performing career with Ballet National de Cuba included soloist work in all of the traditional classics. Today she travels around the world teaching and staging the classics for pre - professional as well as professional companies such as London’s Royal Ballet School and The Royal Danish.

Diana White, Classical Ballet
Master Teacher and Répetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust

Diana White began ballet lessons when she was four years old in Park Ridge, Illinois and made her professional debut with the New York City Ballet at age ten as a bug in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago. That experience set her on a lifetime course of studying, performing, staging, and coaching Balanchine’s works.

When Diana was fourteen, she auditioned for Maria Tallchief’s newly formed Lyric Opera of Chicago Ballet and was accepted as its youngest member. Tallchief, as she shaped the new company, gave daily class and used her own Balanchine repertoire to teach and coach her dancers. Among the roles Diana learned were excerpts from Symphony in C, Allegro Brillante, Apollo, Concerto Barocco, the Four Temperaments, the Grand Pas de Deux from the Nutcracker, Orpheus, and Sylvia Pas de Deux.

In 1975, Balanchine came to Chicago to choreograph the Lyric Opera’s production of Gluck’s Orfeo. In 1976, he invited Diana to study at the School of American Ballet on scholarship. In 1977, she became an apprentice to the New York City Ballet, and one year later, at age eighteen, she entered the company.

During her twenty-year career at NYCB Diana worked directly with Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. She danced corps de ballet, soloist, and principal roles in over fifty Balanchine and twenty Robbins ballets. Her repertoire included principal roles in Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Episodes, the Firebird, the Four Temperaments, Liebeslieder Walzer, Orpheus, the Nutcracker, Rubies, Serenade, Tchaikovsky Suite #3, Variations Pour une Porte et un Soupir, Vienna Waltzes, and Western Symphony, as well as Robbins’ Antique Epigraphs, the Cage, the Concert, Dances at a Gathering, Fancy Free, the Four Seasons, Glass Pieces, the Goldberg Variations, Ives Songs, Moves, and Watermill. In addition to her work with both masters, she was mentored and coached by Suzanne Farrell, Violette Verdy, and Karin Von Aroldingen. The year she was promoted to soloist, she originated a principal role in Peter Martins’ The Waltz Project.

Several years before retiring from the stage, Diana, encouraged by Suzanne Farrell, began to teach. She co-founded the Scarsdale Ballet Studio in 1992, giving classes on her days off from the company. She continues as the studio’s artistic director and has been on the faculty of the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase. As a teacher, Diana has utilized her intimate knowledge of the Balanchine repertoire to help develop dancers, staging his works on advanced students in annual productions at her own school and elsewhere. Several of her former students are now dancing professionally in companies such as American Ballet Theater, San Francisco Ballet, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. She is also a jurist and master teacher for the Youth America Grand Prix.

The process of passing on Balanchine’s choreography, aesthetic, technique, musicality, and philosophy to her own students fuelled Diana’s passion to work with dancers around the world. Since 2004, as a Balanchine Repetiteur, she has staged ballets on professional companies and schools from the United States to New Zealand, most recently at the West Australian Ballet, the Bulgarian National Ballet, Ballet West, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Ballet Nacional de Argentina, the Matsumoto Ballet in Nagoya, Japan and the Korea National University of the Arts.

Diana has a deep understanding of the classical ballet traditions that shaped Balanchine. She has great respect for the dancers, artistic directors, teachers, and coaches of today who dedicate themselves to the preservation and continuation of ballet as a vital part of our culture. She is thrilled and honored to be an ambassador of George Balanchine’s incomparable legacy.

John Welker, Classical Ballet
A founding member and Dancer, Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre

John received his first professional dance contract at the age of 16. Over the course of his 25-year dance career, 22 of which were as a principal dancer with the Atlanta Ballet, he has danced many of the principal roles in the classical and contemporary dance repertoire: including Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Albrecht in Giselle, Everyman in James Kudelka’s Four Seasons, Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas, and Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16 to name a few. While sustaining a busy dance career, John Founded and Directed Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi, a public contemporary dance initiative beginning in 2010, which commissioned 35 new works over the course of its seven-year history. John recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Dance from Kennesaw State University’s College of the Arts. In the fall of ’17, John will attend KSU’s executive MBA business program with the desire to cultivate a deeper appreciation and knowledge towards the business side of the arts.

Antoaneta Alexieva, Character Dance
Former Principal, National Music Theatre, Bulgaria


Antoaneta Alexieva graduated fromthe National Ballet School (NUTI) in the class of Lyubov Fominih and Emilia Kirova. Ms. Aleksieva earned her Batchelor of Arts degree in Ballet Directing at the New Bulgarian University in the class of Margarita Arnaudova, and Ballet Pedagogy at the National Academy of music "Pantcho Vladiguerov" in the class of Kalina Bogoeva. She Specialized in Jazz dance with Benjamin Feliksdal (Belgium); Graham technique and Afro-Jazz with Ime Dalberg (Netherlands) and Flamenco with Jose Luis Molina (Spain).

In 1989, she became a laureate of the National Ballet competition "Anastas Petrov"and won an award for best performance in modern choreography.

In 1997, Antoaneta won the competition for a young choreographers "Margarita Arnaudova" with the choreography of her ballet "Embers” music by Alexander Yosifov. She continues to choreograph ballets, musicals, and countless operettas and operas.

In 2012, Ms. Aleksieva was awarded the"Crystal lyre" for directing and choreography of the ballet "Crossroads of passion," and five "Crystal lyre” awards in the category “directors team" for the performances of "Don Quixote", “Count Von Luxembourg,” "Službogonci," and "Concerto."

Since 1998, she is a pedagoge and professor at the National School of Dance Arts (NUTI), Sofia, Bulgaria.

Stevan Novakovich, Jazz

Stevan Novakovich launched his dance career at the age of six with the Yugoslavian national folk company and subsequently received his training at the Vaganova-based Ballet Academy in Novi Sad. Upon arriving in the United States in 1993, he trained at the Ballet West Conservatory, Broadway Dance Center, and Alvin Ailey School of American Dance. He has performed with Ballet West, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, New York City Opera, Alwin Nikolais Dance Theatre, and Luminario Ballet of Los Angeles, to name but few.

Mr. Novakovich has worked with several luminaries in the world of dance including choreographers Stephen Koester, Daniel Ezralow, Bill T. Jones, and Doug Varone. He has received numerous honors including the Performer of Great Merit Award, Olympiad Award Winner, Governor's Award, and Honorary Achievement Award in Dance Performance.

Through the U.S. State Department, he had the privilege of serving as a cultural ambassador from the United States. During this period, he taught and performed in all four corners of the world. He has been a frequent guest instructor at various American universities (including Tisch School of the Arts) as well as academic institutions abroad. Mr. Novakovich has been and still continues to work as a guest teacher at numerous international dance festivals including the Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. Due to his versatility as a performer, Mr. Novakovich is well recognized for teaching master classes and workshops as well as setting the original choreography that range from classical & contemporary ballet, to modern dance and work for film.

He earned a BFA in ballet from the University of Utah and an MFA in choreography and professional performance from the California State University, Long Beach.

His present day focus is honing his teaching methods and aesthetic philosophies and producing his own choreographic body of works. He is also working on establishing a non-profit organization S.O.D.A. (Society Of Dependent Artists) that will promote the collaborative approach to commissioning, exchanging and marketing dance/ performance art.

Stevan Novakovich is a twenty-first century choreographer. He is acknowledged and admired for his eclectic choreographic palette, inventive approach, unique interpretations, and mastery of traditions that underlie his work. Combining high technical prowess, curiosity and attention to details with a distinctive contemporary/modern movement style, Novakovich's inventions are infused with both intense complexity and mesmerizing simplicity. Even as his choreographic styles shift from Neoclassical to Surreal, this artist chooses to transcend the boundaries of Modernism, and his work remains individual and distinctive.

Subjected to the misfortunes of the war in his home country of Yugoslavia, Novakovich immigrated to United States in young adulthood. Here he continues to explore the core essence of human experience at large.

Emily Cook Harrison, Nutritionist
Former Soloist, Atlanta Ballet

Emily is a registered dietitian (RD) and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition from Georgia State University. Her master’s thesis research was on elite level ballet dancers and energy balance and the relationship to injuries. She completed her dietetic internship through GSU and has completed additional training in several areas of nutrition. She has experience providing nutrition counseling for people with diverse needs including athletic performance, weight management, wellness, food allergies/ intolerances, celiac disease, and eating disorders. She has worked with hundreds of dancers to encourage healthy eating and positive body image. She is a public speaker who has done nutrition workshops and food demos for leading dance schools and universities. She is also an experienced writer who regularly contributes to print and online dance publications as well as frequently being an expert source in nutrition for journalists.

Emily received her dance training at the Rotaru Ballet School and Boston Ballet School. She danced professionally with Boston Ballet II and Ballet Internationale in Indianapolis, IN where she worked with legendary Kirov dancers Eldar Aliev and Irina Kolpakova. She also danced for Emmy award winning choreographer Michael Smuin in his San Francisco company. Emily then joined the Atlanta Ballet where she danced leading roles in addition to being a faculty member with the NASD accredited Centre for Dance Education. She ran the Centre for Dance Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles at AB for 6 years and now runs her private practice Dancer Nutrition LLC . Emily is also the mother of two children and understands the unique challenges parents face when it comes to feeding children, especially ones with food allergies.

Anna Akmuradova, Pianist