Meredith Rainey began dancing at 15 in his hometown of Fort Lauderdale. In 1985, he became the first African American dancer of the Milwaukee Ballet. In 1987, he was invited to join the newly formed Pennsylvania-Milwaukee Ballet, when the collaboration ended, he remained with the Pennsylvania Ballet for 17 years—much of that time as a soloist—until his retirement in 2006. Among other awards and fellowships, Rainey has been the recipient of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship (1995 & 2002), the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Artist as Catalyst Grant (2001), the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2002), a finalist for the Pew Fellowship in the Arts (2003), and a Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Grant (2010). He has been commissioned to create works for Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, BalletX, Delaware Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, National Ballet De Cali, Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble, and institutions such as The University of the Arts, Drexel University, Stockton University, Georgian Court University, Goucher College, Swarthmore College, and Bryn Mawr College. His work has been performed in North and South America and throughout Spain. In 2009, Rainey founded and directed Carbon Dance Theatre, a contemporary ballet company in Philadelphia. In 2014 after deciding to concentrate on artistic projects, he closed the company and remained a sought-after teacher, mentor, and independent choreographer. In the fall of 2019, Rainey graduated with top honors as a member of the first cohort of candidates for the Master of Fine Arts in Dance from The University of the Arts. (Photo credit: Portia Jones)
Chicago-based choreographer, Stephanie Martinez, moves her audiences along a journey guided by the kinetic momentum of her award-winning works spanning over 12 years. With original creations for Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Charlotte Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Bruce Wood Dance, Nashville Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, BalletX, and Milwaukee Ballet, among others. Theatre credits include Chicago Shakespeare Theatre and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Martinez’s versatility expands the boundaries of contemporary ballet movement. Martinez has created over 70 ballets on companies and collegiate programs across the country. Martinez has received numerous grants for her work and is continually recognized for her work as a female artist of color. Dubbed “a chameleon” of choreography by the Chicago Tribune, Martinez’s psychologically revelatory works challenge the viewer’s notion of what is possible. Martinez is the founder and artistic director of PARA.MAR Dance Theatre in Chicago, IL established in July 2020. (Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg)
Olivia graduated from The Ailey School and Fordham University with a B.F.A. in Dance and English (2018). She currently dances with Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater and previously danced with Ballet Hispanico’s BHdos. She has performed works by Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Colby Damon, Graham Lustig, Riccardo de Nigris, Andrea Weber, and Kanji Segawa. She has performed at Lincoln Center and the historic Apollo Theater. Miranda has presented and performed choreographic works at Asbury Park Dance Festival, Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Dixon Place, Rider University, The Tank NYC, and Bell Works. Miranda has taught dance in New Jersey for over six years and is also a certified yoga instructor.
Isaac Petit began his training at the Paris Opera in 2012 before joining the National Conservatory of Paris in 2018 to study with Gil Isoart. While at the National Conservatory of Paris he had the opportunity to dance in Cunningham x 100, as well as in works by choreographers Julien Guerin and Boris Charmatz. His other credits include Trisha Brown x 100, the soloist in a production of Nureyev”s Swan Lake, and on tour with cellist Gaultier Capuçon.
Calvin Hilpert began his pre-professional training at age 12 with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, then at age 15, he subsequently transitioned his studies to the San Francisco Ballet School. Following his training, Hilpert joined the KUNST-STOFF dance company where he danced on multiple international tours. Ever in the pursuit of more knowledge, Hilpert decided to deepen his understanding of contemporary movement after receiving an invitation to study as a guest at the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz in Dresden, Germany. While at school in Dresden, he was scouted by a guest teacher to join the Saarländisches Staatstheater. During his time with the company, he had the pleasure of dancing works by acclaimed dance makers such as Stijn Celis, Marguerite Donlon, Bernard Baumgarten, and Fernando Hernando, among others, as well as creating a brand new work himself. After gaining this new perspective on dance, movement, and art-making, Hilpert returned to the KUNST-STOFF dance company as an Artistic Contributor where he collaborated on creating several works with the company’s Artistic Director, Yannis Adoniou. In addition to this collaboration, he had the opportunity to create multiple works on his own. Following the conclusion of his second stint with KUNST-STOFF, Hilpert accepted an invitation to join the Budapest Dance Theatre. In Budapest, he enjoyed performing various works by respected choreographers such as Jiří Pokorný, Rasa Hammadi, Béla Földi, and Alexandra Sághy.
Tomoya Suzuki was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, where he began his training at the age of 10. In 2019, at the age of 16, he moved to Philadelphia where he trained for three years at The Rock School for Dance Education. While at The Rock School, he performed the role of Cavalier in The Nutcracker as well as La Esmeralda and Justin Allen’s Above as Below. In the summer of 2022, he participated in the Princeton Ballet School Summer Intensive where he danced in Passacaglia, choreographed by Luis Napoles. He then joined ARB’s Trainee program, and quickly moved up to ARB2. Suzuki performed as the Nephew/ Nutcracker Prince, Soldier Doll, and Candy Cane in ARB’s The Nutcracker, Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg’s Giselle, Arthur Mitchell’s Holberg Suite, and Stiefel’s VARIANTS.
Born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia, Avery Snyder began her dance training at the Wilson School of Dance at the age of 3. When her interest in ballet grew into a passion for the art form, Snyder sought private training to refine her technique. She took 2 years of private lessons with Nicole Busse McGurn before attending the Charlottesville Ballet Academy in 2011. Snyder trained at the Charlottesville Ballet Academy until 2016 when she joined the professional company as a Trainee while she simultaneously completed her junior year of high school. In 2018, she attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts high school classical ballet program for her senior year. Snyder continued her training under the esteemed faculty of UNCSA at the collegiate level and graduated in May of 2021 with a BFA in classical ballet. Following her graduation from UNCSA, Snyder accepted a traineeship with American Repertory Ballet and was promoted to ARB2 in May of 2023. As a Trainee, she was given the opportunity to perform various soloist roles such as Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, and Moyna in Giselle. With ARB, Snyder has been given the opportunity to premiere Ethan Stiefel’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2022 and in Ethan Stiefel and Johann Kobborg’s Giselle.
Arthur Mitchell (Choreographer, Holberg Suite) was known around the world for creating and sustaining the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the internationally acclaimed ballet company he co-founded with Karel Shook in 1969. Following a brilliant career as a principal artist with the New York City Ballet, Mr. Mitchell dedicated his life to changing perceptions and advancing the art form of ballet through the first permanently established African American and racially diverse ballet company. Born in New York City in 1934, Mr. Mitchell began his dance
training at New York City’s High School of the Performing Arts, where he won the coveted annual dance award and subsequently a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet. In 1955, he became the first male African American to become a permanent member of a major ballet company when he joined New York City Ballet. Mr. Mitchell rose quickly to the rank of Principal Dancer during his fifteen-year career with New York City Ballet and electrified audiences with his performances in a broad spectrum of roles. Upon learning of the death of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and with financial assistance from Mrs. Alva B. Gimbel, the Ford Foundation and his own savings, Mr. Mitchell founded Dance Theatre of Harlem with his mentor and ballet instructor Karel Shook. With an illustrious career that has spanned over fifty years, Mr. Mitchell was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, a National Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the New York Living Landmark Award, the Handel Medallion, the NAACP Image Award, and more than a dozen honorary degrees.
Works Choreographed for American Repertory Ballet:
Amy Seiwert enjoyed a nineteen-year performing career dancing with the Smuin, Los Angeles Chamber, and Sacramento Ballets. As a dancer with Smuin Ballet, she became involved with the “Protégé Program,” where her choreography was mentored by the late Michael Smuin. She was Choreographer in Residence there upon her retirement from dancing in 2008 until 2018. Named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, her first full evening of choreography was named one of the “Top 10” dance events of 2007 by the SF Chronicle. Other awards include a Bay Area IZZIE Award for Outstanding Choreography and a “Goldie” from the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Her ballets have been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kennedy Center, and the Joyce Theater in New York City. Seiwert’s ballets are in the repertory of BalletX, Smuin Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Austin, BalletMet, Washington, Atlanta, Oakland, Colorado, Louisville, Cincinnati, Carolina, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, and American Repertory Ballets as well as Imagery, ODC/Dance, and AXIS Dance. Ms. Seiwert will be joining Smuin Contemporary Ballet as Associate Artistic Director for the 23/24 Season.
Ryoko Tanaka was born and raised in Wakayama Japan, where she began her training. In 2013, she was selected to be in the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II program, where she performed in Michael Pink’s Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker and Timothy O’ Donnell’s At World’s End as a soloist. In 2017, she joined the Trainee program at American Repertory Ballet and soon moved up to ARB2. In 2018, she was promoted to ARB. Since joining the company, Tanaka has performed the principal roles of Giselle in Giselle, Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Odette in Swan Lake (for Princeton Ballet School). She has also performed featured roles in Ethan Stiefel’s Wood Work and Overture, as well as Paul Taylor’s Airs, Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June, Amy Seiwert’s World, Interrupted, Caili Quan’s Circadia, Ja Malik’s Moving to Bach and multiple other roles. She made her debut as a choreographer creating a new contemporary piece Saudade for ARB digital season in 2021.
Works Choreographed for American Repertory Ballet: