Patricia Hoffman, Founder and Artisitc Director, Principal Teacher. Ms. Hoffman founded Ballet Society of Colorado Springs in September of 1997. Before moving to Colorado Springs, she was the founder and Director of La Jolla Festival Ballet and Dance Center in Southern California for 10 years. Ms. Hoffman began her studies in Monterey, California, with Patricia Wester. At age 16, she began studying full time with England's Ballet Rambert. She received her MFA in classical ballet from U.S. International University where she also later joined the faculty. Ms. Hoffman performed principal roles created for her with Ballet International and San Diego Ballet. She also directed and taught in London, at the San Diego Ballet School, and the USIU Conservatory of the Arts.
Hanna Atencio (Ballet and Worship Dance Faculty) began her ballet training in her hometown Nuremberg, Germany, under Oleg Usenko and Violetta Dubak. For her last three years of training she moved to Berlin to study at the State Ballet School under Ursula Leesch and Edna Azevedo. During her last year of school she was invited to dance with Ballet Dortmund as a guest artist in Swan Lake. Upon graduation she received a contract at the Landesbuehnen Saxonia. In 2006, Hanna moved to Jackson, MS, to be a trainee with Ballet Magnificat!. After two years she was promoted to dance with the Ballet Magnificat! Omega company where she performed and taught throughout the United States as well as internationally in Canada, Israel, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Kosovo, Macedonia, France and Italy. In September 2011 Hanna married Luke Atencio. They are now living in Colorado Springs.
Kelsey Burke from Colorado Springs, CO grew up in the Rocky Mountains training extensively in multiple styles. She is an award winner for multiple ballet and jazz competitions within Colorado, and has trained at various intensives including Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Ballet Austin, and River North Dance Chicago. Ms. Burke was a scholarship student and received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Dance with a minor in Business from the prestigious University of Arizona. During her tenor with the University she had her choreography showcased in their spring faculty performance, as well as their world renown Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase. She performed multiple leading roles in their faculty shows, many of which were Balanchine Ballets, and received the Maria C. Mandel Memorial Scholarship for her excellence in ballet. Aside from the UofA, Ms. Burke was also a full time teacher throughout her 4 years in Arizona. She taught and choreographed for a local school, and later became the Assistant Director. After graduating, she moved to Austin, TX where she performed with their professional ballet company, Ballet Austin. She also taught and choreographed for two of the local dance studios, where her choreography was awarded, and many of her students went on to study at other prestigious college dance programs. She also choreographed for a television show on ABC Family during her time in Texas. Ms. Burke later moved on to teaching at Tiffany's Dance Academy in California. For two and half years she taught kids ages 2-18 in many different styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary and lyrical. She also taught many of Tiffany's renown Twinkle Star Dance classes, and has choreographed an extensive amount for that program in which other studios around the world subscribe to. She will be teaching at the Twinkle Star Dance user conference in PA this August, and is happy to help bring the children's program to Ballet Society. Ms. Burke is an experienced teacher/choreographer/dancer who is full of life, maintains perseverance through her work, and is an acclaimed artist. She is excited to be working with all of the talented students and faculty at Ballet Society of Colorado Springs, and is thrilled to be back in her home town.
Jessica Collier has an extensive background in dance, specifically ballet, pointe and lyrical worship. She played the leading role as Clara in the Colorado Youth Ballet Nutcracker in 2010 and 2011 and danced in the Thorn and Wonderland productions at New Life Church for 7 years. Jessica is a sought after teacher with 8 years of teaching experience at several local schools. She teaches all age groups but her specialty is preschool and elementary children. Her passion is to share her love of dance and the joy and excitement of performing with the next generation by teaching them dance fundamentals, building their self confidence, and inspiring them to pursue their dreams.
Jennifer Hocking was a company member of the Permian Civic Ballet and a dance major at the University of Oklahoma. She has performed throughout northern Texas appearing as a soloist with Lake Cities Ballet Theatre and Dancers’ Theatre at Brookhaven College. She performed the Sugar Plum Fairy as a guest artist with Festival Ballet of North Central Texas.
Caitlin Hoffman (Ballet Faculty) began her dance studies at Ballet Society of Colorado Springs and continued there until completing her training at Canada's National Ballet School. Upon graduating from NBS, Caitlin danced professionally with Tulsa Ballet. While at Tulsa Ballet and NBS, Caitlin performed in many ballets including Swan Lake, La Sylphide, The Nutcracker, Balanchine's Serenade, as well as many contemporary works. Caitlin currently owns her own business, Ballerina Boutique, and is a faculty member of Ballet Society. Caitlin enjoys offering her firsthand experience in the ballet world to her students and customers.
Laci Landry, originally from Michigan, started dancing at age 6. She began focusing on her classical and modern training when she transferred to the Flint School of Performing Arts in 2000. While there, Laci performed in many contemporary and classical ballets under the direction of Karen Mills Jennings with lead roles in The Firebird, The Nutcracker, and works by Darrell Grand Moultrie. She also performed and traveled with the school's pre-professional company, Flint Youth Ballet, to many parts of the US as well as Europe. After graduating high school, Laci moved to New York to study at SUNY Purchase in the dance conservatory where she worked towards her BFA with a concentration in ballet and modern performance. While there, she performed in George Balanchine's Four Temperaments and did freelance work with Lane Gifford & Co. After 2 years, Laci moved to Colorado Springs to join Ballet Emmanuel (a professional, Christian, ballet company) and was with the company for 5 years performing, touring, and teaching. Laci was married summer 2010 to Nathan Landry.
April M. Longo is originally from Johnson City, TN and is new to the Colorado Springs area. She most recently danced professionally with The Florida Ballet, performing principal roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, Tatiana in Florida Ballet's Urban Dream and soloist roles in Paquita, Fairest of Them All, and other Florida Ballet exclusives. She has also danced professionally with Tulsa Ballet, under direction of Marcello Angelini, performing Balanchine's Serenade, as well as Swan Lake, Pas de Quatre, Les Sylphides, and contemporary choreography by Tulsa Ballet's Ma Cong. Prior to that, she danced with Kentucky Ballet Theatre, directed by Norbe Risco and earned her dual undergraduate degree on scholarship from Radford University in Virginia, with a B.F.A in Dance and a B.B.A in Business Management, graduating Summa Cum Laude in both.
Donna Lorrig (Media Relations Specialist) Has three daughters who have danced at Ballet Society over the past 15 years. Her oldest daughter, Merry, started dancing at age 12, danced at Ballet Society for five years, earned a dance scholarship to attend Belhaven College, in Jackson, MS, and went on to dance with Ballet Magnificat!. Diana, has danced at Ballet Society since she was 9 years old and still dances at Ballet Society when she can; and SarahRose, has been dancing at Ballet Society since she was 3 years old. Donna has appreciated all of the wonderful experiences her daughters have enjoyed at Ballet Society. She created and maintains the Colorado Youth Ballet Website, Facebook pages for Ballet Society, the Youth Ballet, and Praise Dance Ensemble. She also assists in creating documents, fliers, and press releases. She attended Middle Tennessee State University as an Art Major and enjoys the creative process.
Erin Merkley began her dance training at the age of 5, and started competing shortly thereafter. Her main focus was in the percussive dance styles-Tap, Irish and Clogging. She competed all across the United States. From 1999 through 2007 she was awarded the title of "Overall Champion" and took 1st at Nationals. During Erin's freshman year in college, she joined Lost Marbles Theatrical Company In Fort Collins where she became the lead choreographer from 2009 till 2014. In 2010 she received the Best Choreographer Award. During that time, she also taught ballroom dance classes at Olive Tree Schools and planned all of their social dance events. She is so thrilled to now be living in Colorado Springs with her husband James, and is excited to teach and encourage students in their love of dance.
Robin Moore former Owner/Director of Robin's Danceworks and Founder and President of the Pikes Peak Performance Company, has been teaching the joy of dance to students of all ages for the past 33 years. Under her direction, her students are working professionals in the industry, succeeding in Professional Companies, Universities, and Stage Shows. Former students have gone on to develop their own companies and dance studios. Robin's work has won numerous Outstanding Choreography awards as well as producing many national titles. Her love for stage performance has been seen in productions of Oklahoma, Little Shop of Horrors, Honk, Annie, Seussical, and Fiddler on the Roof. Establishing the Pikes Peak Performance Company in 2000 has enabled her to link her talents with our community. This non-profit dance company has raised over $100,000.00 for local children's charities. Providing an outlet for dancers to use their talents to give to others has been her greatest professional accomplishment. Robin is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, with a degree in Elementary Education. While teaching and directing are her professional passions, her husband Mike and her daughters, Michaela and Madison, are her joy and inspiration.
Hillary Moseley is currently on leave as she pursues missions training with YWAM. (Ballet, Tap and Worship Dance Faculty; Praise Dance Ensemble Director) has studied classical ballet for 10 years, and has taught for the last four years. She has received the first place award in Esther Geoffrey's Young Dancer's Competition in 2006, 2007, and 2010, as well as placing as being a finalist in the Denver Ballet Guild in 2008 and 2009. Her performances with Ballet Society include the title roles in Peter and the Wolfand and The Firebird, as well as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Spanish in The Nutcracker, Carobosse in Sleeping Beauty, a Stepsister in Cinderella, and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Brittany Nunes , choreographer, modern and contemporary dancer, was born in Miami, FL, receiving her early training at the age of 3 at Miami Dance Theater School. At 6 years old she continued her training for the ensuing eleven years at the Patricia Penenori Dance Center (PPDC). Ms. Nunes was also a member of the PPDC in-house dance company, allowing her to compete on several occasions in dance competitions at both regional and national levels. She won a first place gold award for her modern dance solo, "Kiss from a Rose", along with numerous platinum and gold awards for the company's modern dance ensemble pieces. From 2004 to 2005 Ms. Nunes studied ballet and pointe at the Mencia-Pikieris School of Dance under the tutelage of Ms. Marielena Mencia, who in 1986 was the founding principal ballerina of the Miami City Ballet, and her husband, Mr. Yanis Pikieris who was the recipient of the silver medal at the first Jackson International Ballet Competition in 1979 and later the first western recipient of the prestigious gold medal at Moscow's International Ballet Competition in 1981. Ms. Nunes graduated in 2005 from Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, the only Mega-Magnet high school in the southeastern United States, where she was a student in their Visual and Performing Arts Academy. While in high school, she trained at summer dance intensives with the Alvin Ailey School of Dance in New York City and Ballet Magnificat in Jackson, MS. During her college years at Belhaven University, Jackson, MS she attended college festivals hosted by the American College Dance Festival (ACDF) at the University of Mississippi, Oxford and the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. She also choreographed and performed in several Belhaven University dance performances and in Doxa, a student-led organization involved in community outreach. In 2009 Ms. Nunes graduated on the Dean's List from Belhaven University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance. She began teaching Ballet and Hip-Hop at Xpress Dance Company, Madison, MS and has choreographed for TALK Dance Company a contemporary dance company based in Jackson, MS founded and directed by Stephen Wynne, where she has created works including, "Uncentered Hearts". In 2010 she choreographed various sections in "Handle's Messiah" under TDC and her choreography was performed in Moscow and St. Petersburg Russia with the Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Nunes has continued to choreograph for Belhaven University for their dance ensemble, dance ministry, two senior project solos and was an adjunct professor of Jazz dance at Hinds Community College. She performed with TDC for two seasons performing "Giselle", "You and Me", "12:24", and "In the Eyes of".
Cheri Orr began her formal dance training at age 9 in Fort Worth, Texas, studying ballet, tap, jazz, worship, and modern dance and performing with Danse Vivant, Corkery Youth Ballet, and in muscial theatre productions. She earned her BA in Dance from Belhaven University in 2000 and danced with Ballet Magnificat! II and Belhaven Dance Ensemble while in Mississippi. In Colorado Springs, Cheri performed with Ormao Dance Company for 3 years and has taught ballet, modern dance, creative movement, and Pilates for various dance studios, schools, churches, daycares, corporate offices, Memorial Healthlink, and the YMCA since 2001. She also homeschools her 4 young children. Cheri's desire is to engage hearts, from the very young to the far off and untouched, through the beauty and power of dance to awaken and heal, coming into close connection with their Creator. Some of her most rewarding experiences have been teaching orphans in Romania, dancing with special needs adults in SC, unlocking preschoolers to the beauty and creativity of movement, giving adults the opportunity to worship through grace and expression, and leading preteens into the depths of dance technique to empower them to pursue professional careers.
Amy Schaefer (Ballet Faculty) danced with Ballet Emmanuel, a full-time, Christian ballet company located in Colorado Springs. At the age of three, Amy began dancing at the Kansas Dance Academy and then moved to study dance intensively with Ms. Sharon Rogers at Rogers Ballet, Inc. In 2007, she graduated from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ballet. While at Friends she had the privilege of working with choreographers such as Dominic Walsh, Shawn Stevens, Francisco Martinez and Melonie Buchanan and performed as a soloist in Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, Les Sylphides, the Nutcracker and many other classical and contemporary works. After graduation, she danced with the Wichita Ballet Theatre, was the conference coordinator for the Central Region's American College Dance Festival, and taught ballet for Friends University and Rogers Ballet, Inc.
Martha Wirth trained in Modern dance under Joanne Emmons who was a former student of Jose Limon. She has worked with dance companies and studios around Colorado choreographing, performing, and teaching, as well as lecturing, performing alongside recording artist Shannon Wexleberg, and directing the Thorn in Denver.
Nina Miller (Accompanist) Nina Miller has 23 years of piano teaching experience in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tokyo, Japan, and Colorado Springs. She graduated from the Music College of Mussorgsky and the St. Petersburg's State Conservatory in Russia. She has performed internationally in Russia, Italy, Finland, Portugal, Japan and in the USA. Nina is a member of the Music Teacher National Association. (MTNA). For more information on Piano lessons with Nina click here.
Permanent Guest Faculty
Ahita Ardalan Bergman (Permanent Guest Faculty) Ballet Mistress, San Diego Ballet, has performed with Paris Opera Ballet where she danced throughout Europe and the USA. She taught with the Conservatoire de Region de Paris and later became Stage Manager and assistant choreographer for the Ballet de Monte Carlo. In 1991, Mr. Roland Petit asked her to join Ballet National Mareille as his Artistic Assistant and Stage Manager. She now serves as Ballet Mistress for San Diego Ballet and teaches at the school.
Lawrence Jackson (Permanent Guest Faculty Modern and Jazz) is a graduate of both the University of Southern Mississippi where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Florida State University where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree. Lawrence has studied with many prominent dance professionals including Donald McKayle, Mary Hinkson, Cleo Parker Robinson, Suzanne Farrell, Dan Wagoner, Joel Hall, and others. Professionally, he devoted several years as a principal dancer with the internationally-known modern dance company, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. He has also performed as a guest artist in a variety of venues: on the concert stage, PBS television programs, industrials, dinner theatres, and summer dance intensives. In addition, he has also choreographed over 30 original works for the concert stage. As an instructor, he has taught and continues to guest teach and choreograph at various universities, academies and summer workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad. His professional training background of ballet, modern, jazz, and African are reflected in his choreography and classes. Lawrence is a faculty member at the University of Wyoming, where he teaches all levels of Modern, Jazz, Repertory, Dance Composition, Partnering and has recently created a course on African American Dance Studies. His current interest of study is researching the relationship between sociology and dance.
Maria Linn Phillips (Contemporary Dance Faculty) holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. Her extensive dance training background consists of ballet, jazz and modern, with an emphasis on contemporary-modern technique. While at CSULB, she had the chance to train under Rebecca Wright (ABT), Victoria Koenig (Los Angeles Chamber Ballet/Inland Pacific Ballet), Jeff Slayton (Merce Cunningham Dance Company), Gloria Newman (Newman Dance Company), Holly Schiffer (Jose Limon Dance Company), and Susan McLain-Smith (Martha Graham Company). Ms. Phillips has performed in numerous venues within the Southern California region, including the Crystal Cathedral and the Entertainment Division of Disneyland. She has also performed with Ormao Dance Company in Colorado Springs and is currently in her seventh year of teaching at Ballet Society of Colorado Springs. Maria fully enjoys sharing her passion of dance with her students.
Robert Sher-Machherndl, a native of Vienna Austria, has worked as principal dancer, choreographer, master-teacher and artistic director. He has been granted the privilege of the US Visa type, "Alien of Extraordinary Ability" allowing him permanent residence in the US. Robert worked with and danced the works of Rudolf Nureyev, Jiri Kylian, Hans van Manen, Ulysses Dove, George Balanchine, Sir Fredrick Ashton, Rudi van Dantzig, John Neumeier, Ed Wubbe, Ben Stevenson, Maurice Bejart and John Cranko. As principal dancer, he performed leading roles for Dutch National Ballet and Bavarian State Ballet to include Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Onegin; Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Nuages, Apollo; Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Serenade; Symphony in C,Diamonds, Concerto Barocco, Agon, La Valse, Divertimento No. 15 (Mozart), Hammerklavier, Grosse Fuge and Bad Blood. He also danced with Nederlands Dance Theater. Robert partnered ballerina Jolinda Menendez of American Ballet Theater and Evelyn Hart of Royal Winnipeg Ballet and was featured in the documentary Moment of Light with Evelyn Hart. Robert appeared on the cover of Dance Magazine while performing with Bavarian State Ballet at Lincoln Center. Robert was co-director of Salzburg Ballet and assistant to the artistic director Ed Wubbe at Scapino Ballet. He taught at Ballet Rambert and for the Matthew Bourne production of Swan Lake. His work was featured in Young Choreographers Workshops at Bavarian State Ballet and Scapino Ballet, Salzburg Ballet, Colorado University at Boulder, Colorado State University; Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and Ballet Nouveau Colorado Since founding Lemon Sponge Cake his full-evening works include UnCut, Point, PlastikPaket, StrangeLands, LoveCrimes, AustriaPop, Where Is The Love, AustriaPop Vol 2, Vertigo, Le Ballet Star; TigerLilly, Anilla, Mozart 250, Alien Nation, Leopoldstadt 22, Project Peace, Gala 2007, I Am Happy For This Moment, This Moment Is Your Life, I Trust You To Kill Me, A Strange Land, Liquid-Space, Vertical Migration and Bach 260. The work has been performed at the Alvin Ailey Theater, New York . The Santa Fe Dance Festival, New Mexico . The National Performing Arts Convention, Denver . The Dance on Camera Festival, New York . The Chautauqua Summer Series, Colorado . The Newman Center for the Performing Arts, Denver . The Alexander Theater, Helsinki and various festivals throughout the United States. Robert Sher-Machherndl is a four-time winner of the New York Ballet Builders choreography award and has recently been featured on MTV's Emmy awarding reality TV series MADE.