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From Studio to Stage: 2013 Faculty

Ángel Corella

Artistic Director

Ángel Corella is currently the Artistic Director and principal dancer of Barcelona Ballet, as well as a former principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre.  He has been honored with the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse award for his performance of Jerome Robbins’ Other Dancer with Julie Kent, and has also been bestowed the National Award of Spain.

Corella was born and raised in Madrid and began his training with Karemia Moreno and Victor Ullate.  He began winning dance awards at a young age; his first prizes included the First Prize in the National Ballet Competition of Spain in 1991, and the Grand Prix and Gold Medal at the Concours International de Danse de Paris three years later.

When the world-renowned, Russian ballerina Natalia Makarova saw the young Corella in competition, she contacted the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and recommended that he be auditioned for the company.  He was accepted into ABT as a soloist in April 1995.  The following August, Corella was promoted to the rank of principal dancer.

Ángel Corella has performed as a guest artist with The Royal Ballet in London, the La Scala Ballet in Milan, the New York City Ballet, the Australian Ballet, the Ballet of Tokyo, the Asami Maki Ballet, Ballet Contemporaneo de Caracas, and the National Ballet of Chile. In March 2008, Corella made his debut with the Kirov Ballet at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, dancing the role of Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake.

Corella has performed in numerous festivals, galas, and special performances around the world, including The Kings of the Dance which premiered in February 2006 at the Orange Country Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA, immediately followed by an East Coast premiere at City Center.  He performed alongside dancers Gudrun Bojesen of The Royal Danish Ballet; Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg of The Royal Ballet, London; Ethan Stiefel of ABT; and Nikolay Tsiskaridze of the Bolshoi Ballet.  In 2007, Kings of the Dance toured to Russia with performances in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Perm, Russia. The next year, Ángel Corella was the sole returning original cast member to perform it at the Mariinsky Festival.  Prior to 2008, he toured Spain extensively with his own company Ángel Corella & Stars of the American Ballet.  He is now the Artistic Director of Barcelona Ballet.

In recent years, Corella has danced for Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the President of the United States. He has performed all of the classics; some of his most famous roles including Conrad, Ali the Slave, and Birbanto in Le Corsaire, Basilio in Don Quixote, and Franz in Coppélia.  Ángel Corella has received critical acclaim for his technique, musicality, and for his sensitive, dramatic interpretations of roles in ballets by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, specifically in Romeo and Juliet and more recently, Manon.  Corella has had the opportunity to partner many well-known ballerinas including Alessandra Ferri, Xiomara Reyes, Julie Kent, Gillian Murphy, Diana Vishneva, Alina Cojocara, and Paloma Herrera, among others. 

Corella has also made multiple television appearances, including Kennedy Center Honors in 1996, Sesame Street in 1998, Charlie Rose in 2001, a presentation of documentary film Born To Be Wild – The Leading Men Of American Ballet Theatre in 2000, and Emmy Award-winning PBS presentation of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, with Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes in 2005.  His awards include National Ballet Competition of Spain - First prize, May 1991; Concours International de Danse de Paris - Grand Prix / Gold Medal, December 1994; Prix Benois de la Danse, 200; National Award of Spain, 2003; Dance Europe Magazine Dancer of the Year Award, 2007; Leonid Massine Award, 2008; and International Medal of Arts, Madrid, Spain, 2009.


Samantha Dunster

Dance Chair, Hartt School Community Division

Before coming to Hartt in 2011, Ms. Dunster served as Assistant to the Artistic Director/Ballet Mistress of Orlando Ballet (Florida) and taught at the Orlando Ballet School.

Samantha Dunster began her professional training with Cristina Pora in Toronto, Canada. At the age of 17, she 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. She earned her teaching diploma based on the Cuban Ballet training method.

Dunster has danced and taught in countries around the world such as Sweden, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, as well as in the United States. In 1996, she accepted the position of artistic director and principal dancer of Bale da Ilha in Brazil, where she mounted numerous full evening ballets. By 2000, she became ballet mistress of Orlando Ballet under the direction of Fernando Bujones. Dunster re-choreographed La Fille Mal Gardee in 2001 and her invitation to set La Fille Mal Gardee on the National Ballet of Korea came two years later. In 2004, she was commissioned by Orlando Ballet to create a world premiere production of Camelot. In 2007, she accepted the role of assistant to the artistic director of Orlando Ballet under the direction of Bruce Marks. The following year, the pair staged the full-length Don Quixote together. Dunster also has staged several of Bruce Marks' works, including Lark Ascending, for Louisville Ballet. In 2010, Dunster served as the Canadian judge for the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.


Jill Henderson

Hartt Community Division Dance Faculty, Composition

Prior to moving to the USA in 1992, Jill Henderson lived and worked in the UK where she was a pioneer in the world of dance in public education. During her UK career, she taught, choreographed, and advised in a wide variety of educational contexts, including K-12 dance programs; teacher preparation and in-service; arts curriculum development and adult and community education. From 1989 to 1992, she was director of the education program for the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet (which became The Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1990).

In the US, from 1993 to 1996, Jill was the Arts Coordinator for the creation and writing of Connecticut State Department of Education’s Guide to Program Development in the Arts K-12, including the Arts Standards for CT. 1996-2004, Jill was the Administrative Director for MetaArts, Inc. and the Judy Dworin Performance Ensemble.

As a dance educator in CT, Jill has taught at Central Connecticut State University; Trinity College, Hartford; University of Hartford and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. She currently teaches dance composition in the Hartt School Community Division Dance Department. She is a founder member of the Connecticut Dance Alliance and has just completed three years as its President.

As a teacher of dance composition, Jill nurtures her students as creative artists in the firm belief that all children are choreographers. In her classes creativity and imagination are encouraged with a strong emphasis on purposeful collaboration and thoughtful discussion.

Jill is also a mixed media collage artist exhibiting in local and regional galleries.


Vicente Hernandez

Preparacion Fisica

Founder of Preparacion Fisica for the Cuban National Ballet School, Vicente Hernandez was born in Villa Clara, Cuba.  As a child, he studied gymnastics and later became a member of the Cuban National Gymnastics Team.   After retirement from gymnastics, Mr. Hernandez studied and received his Masters in Sports Training with the Physical Cultural Superior Institute in Cuba, and in 1984 founded the Physical Preparation Curriculum for the Cuban National Ballet School.  During this time, he trained students in the school including currently world renowned artists:  Carlos Acosta, Jose Manuel Carreño and Xiomara Reyes.  Due to the amazing results of his curriculum, Principal Dancers of the National Ballet of Cuba began to work privately with him as a trainer.  Prima Ballerina Absolute, Alicia Alonso worked with him for two months to increase her strength.    In 1989, he collaborated with the Cuballets of Centro Pro-Danza and traveled to Brazil and Sweden.  During this time, he worked with Principal Dancers of the Royal Swedish Ballet Company.  In 1987, working directly with Ramona De Saa, the director of the Cuban National Ballet School, he created and coordinated the Physical Preparation Methodology for dancers.  This enhanced his program so that others could study his methods.  In 1991, he participated in the Pan American Games Sports Medicine Congress where he collaborated with ballet schools from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela and Peru.  That year, he also presented his work in the 3rd International Artistic Teaching Congress.  In 1993, he worked for two months with the City Ballet Company of Sao Paolo, Brazil as well as working as the Physical Preparation Trainer for the Paula Castro School of Ballet.  In 1994, he launched his book, The Physical Conditioning for Dancers and Athletes in Vitoria, ES, Brazil.  During his time in Brazil he rehabilitated and trained Renata Pavan, a member of American Ballet Theatre and also prepared dancers for International Ballet Competitions including principal dancer, Eddy Tovar formerly with Texas Ballet Theater and Amilcar Moret, a member of Hamburg Ballet.  In 2008, he trained dancers of Orlando Ballet and Orlando Ballet 2 and worked with the students of the Milwaukee Ballet School.  Mr. Hernandez also holds licenses for Quiro Acupuncture, Japanese Chiropractor, Electrical Therapy, Fitoterapia and Aikido. 


Susannah Marchese

Hartt Community Division Dance Faculty, Ballet

Born and raised in New York, Susannah Marchese began her ballet training with Leda and Andre Eglevsky. She apprenticed with the Eglevsky Ballet and returned later as a principal dancer. After spending several years with Ballet Omaha, Susannah returned to the East Coast to join Hartford Ballet in 1990 under the directorship of Michael Uthoff. She followed that with a few years on the road with Phantom Of The Opera, she performed on Broadway, at Radio City Music Hall, New York City Opera, and with James Sewell Ballet. Susannah spent last year teaching ballet at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and is currently owner and instructor at PHIT Pilates Studio. Susannah lives in Hartford and is mother to Ava and Nola and is very excited to be on faculty at The Hartt School community division.


Debra Collins Ryder

Associate Professor of Dance, The Hartt School

Debra Collins Ryder joined the Hartt Dance faculty in January 2006. She has been a principal ballet teacher for both the Hartt Community and College Dance Divisions, where she also teaches Dance History and supervises student teaching internships. Prior to teaching at the Hartt School, she co-directed and helped develop the Eastern Connecticut Ballet, where she choreographed several works of critical acclaim. She was a principal dancer with the Hartford Ballet for many years, where she performed and was featured in many full length ballets. A versatile dancer, she was also featured in numerous modern and neo-classical works by Balanchine, Pilobolus, and many others. While in the company, she also acted as ballet mistress. She graduated with honors from Virginia Intermont College with a degree in Ballet and Ballet Teaching, and was on full scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet. A native of Philadelphia, she presently makes her home in Farmington with her husband and son.


Katie Stevinson-Nollet

Associate Professor of Dance, The Hartt School

Katie Stevinson-Nollet is the Artistic Director of Full Force Dance Theatre, the resident Dance Company at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford. She is also an associate professor in The Hartt School Dance Division teaching all levels of modern technique, composition, and dance history. Her professional experiences as a performer and choreographer have taken her across the US and abroad. As a dancer Katie performed with San Diego Dance Theatre, Isaacs McCaleb and Dancers, Carolyn Dorfman and Dancers, multiple independent choreographers, and her own work in Full Force. As a choreographer Ms. Stevinson-Nollet focuses her interests in collaboration and the exploration of the human condition. Her work has been presented at numerous venues and festivals including Sushi Performance Gallery in San Diego, The Florida Dance Festival, the International Arts Festival in New Haven, Trinity College in Hartford, the Kaleidoscope Festival in Los Angeles, and various sites throughout New York City. In June 2007, Katie returned to New York with Full Force Dance Theatre for three performances at the Joyce SoHo. Katie holds a B.A. degree in dance from San Diego State University, an M.F.A. degree in dance from the University of Michigan, and a certificate from the London Contemporary School of Dance.


Eddy Tovar

Hartt Community Division Dance Faculty, Ballet

A native of Cuba, Eddy Tovar began his dance training at the National Ballet School in Havana. Prior to joining The Hartt Community Division, Mr. Tovar was a Principal Dancer with Texas Ballet Theater for three years and Orlando Ballet for nine. He has also been resident guest artist with the Los Angeles Ballet and made guest appearances with several other ballet companies throughout the United States. Internationally, Mr. Tovar has performed in ballet galas in Japan, Canada, Argentina and Latvia. He was the recipient of several gold medals for dance competitions in Argentina, Brazil and Cuba. In 2008, he appeared on the television program “So You Think You Can Dance” performing the principal role in George Balanchine’s Who Cares? Some of Mr. Tovar's favorite classical roles have included Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, and the Prince in The Sleeping Beauty. He has also enjoyed performing works by George Balanchine, Val Caniporoli and Twyla Tharpe. Mr. Tovar is married and is the proud father of a beautiful little girl.


For more information, contact the Hartt Community Division office at (860) 768-6000 or dancedesk@hartford.edu

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