Princeton Ballet School

Notable Alumni

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Alumni of Princeton Ballet School, such as Bebe Neuwirth, Jim Vincent, Phylllis Papa and Kraig Patterson. Alumni of Princeton Ballet School have gone on to dance with professional companies including:

Alvin Ailey American Dance Company
Miami City Ballet
American Ballet Theatre
American Repertory Ballet
Netherlands Dance Theater
Ballet West
Pacific Northwest Ballet
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co.
The Parsons Dance Company
Boston Ballet
Paul Taylor Dance Company
Colorado Ballet
Pennsylvania Ballet (now Philadelphia Ballet)
Pittsburgh Ballet Theater
Dance Theatre of Harlem
San Francisco Ballet
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
The Suzanne Farrell Ballet
Louisville Ballet
Oregon Ballet Theatre
The Washington Ballet
Twyla Tharp
Mark Morris Dance Company
New York Theatre Ballet
Martha Graham Dance Company
New York City Ballet
Kansas City Ballet
North Carolina Dance Theatre
Plus Broadway, TV and Movies

Bebe Neuwirth | Raised in Princeton, NJ, Ms. Neuwirth began her dance training at age five at Princeton Ballet School. Known for her work in both television and on stage, the actor/singer/dancer Bebe Neuwirth has been awarded two Emmy’s for her portrayal of Dr. Lilith Crane on Cheers, 2 Tony awards for her roles in Chicago and Sweet Charity, and the Astaire Award for Best Female Dancer for her role in Chicago. She appeared in the 2009 remake of Fame and appeared as Morticia Addams in The Addams Family musical on Broadway.

Jim Vincent | Studied at Princeton Ballet School, became the Artistic Director of Nederlans Dans Theatr in 2009. He previously served as the Artistic Director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago from 2000-2009, following an extensive career as a dancer, teacher, ballet master and choreographer. Vincent’s distinguished career as a professional dancer includes a 12-year tenure with Jiri Kylian’s Nederlans Dans Theatr, a guest appearance with Lar Lubovitch and two years with Nacho Duato’s Compañía Nacional de Danza in Spain. As a dancer, he worked with many choreographers including Kylian, Duato, Lubovitch, William Forsythe, Mats Ek, Hans van Manen, Christopher Bruce and Ohad Naharin.

Phyllis Papa | Began her dance studies at Royal Ballet Academy and became a charter member of the new Princeton Regional Ballet Company when she was just 13. She was a member and principal dancer of the Harkness Youth Ballet for two years, and then joined American Ballet Theatre in 1967. Papa was invited to audition for the Royal Danish Ballet, and became the first American to dance in that company and the only foreigner to be offered a lifetime contract. She was a principal ballerina with Stars of the American Ballet in New York, and eventually became Artistic Director of the group. Miss Papa currently directs the Atlantic City Ballet, where she has choreographed over 30 ballets, and and founded the ACBT Performing Arts Academy, its official school.

Kraig Patterson | Born in Trenton, NJ. He was inspired to pursue a career in dance after performing in high school musicals. His formal dance education began with a scholarship to Princeton Ballet School. Following further training at Juilliard School for the Performing Arts, where he received his B.F.A. in 1986, he danced with the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1987 until 1999. Kraig has also performed with Ohad Naharin. Neta Pulvermacher, and the White Oak Dance Project.

Dodie Pettit | Dodie Pettit, at age 12, was a Charter Member of the Regional Ballet Company founded in 1962, and then became a founding member in 1978. While a member of the company, Dodie performed in The Nutcracker for approximately 20 years, including nearly 10 years in the leading role of Sugar Plum. Other leading roles included Cinderella and Coppelia. In 2004, Dodie received their prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award along with Bebe Neuwirth and Carol Estey. Dodie was also a principal dancer with the Garden State Ballet for 3-years before moving to New York City which lead to a distinguished 15-year career on Broadway as an original member of The Phantom of the Opera, as well as appearing in the Tony Awarding-winning musicals CATS and Titanic. After a 6-year run as a ballerina, she transferred to The Phantom Raoul Company U.S. National Tour as Understudy to the lead role of “Christine Daae” which she performed with her late husband Kevin Gray, Broadway’s 5th Phantom. She also did a 4 year run on Broadway in CATS and appeared in the first National Touring Company of Titanic, as well as in numerous Regional productions. After being on the Dance Faculty of Rollins College in Florida and The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, Dodie currently sits on the Board of Directors of The Connecticut Dance School in Fairfield CT. Aside from her career in dance, Dodie is a BMI songwriter and arranger whose credits include songs on the Billboard Pop and Dance charts. She underscored Shel Silverstein’s Grammy Nominated “A Light in the Attic” album, and co-wrote a featured song for the film “Critters.” Over the years, Dodie has released 4-CD’s of her original songs and co-wrote a musical with her late husband Kevin Gray entitled “Dracula, the Covenant” ( Dodie has been married to Aztec Two-Step’s co-founder Rex Fowler since August of 2018 and is loving singing and playing in their new 5-piece band Aztec Two Step 2.0.

Michael Mindlin | Dance Supervisor for the Broadway production of Hamilton and the National Touring production of Aladdin | Michael’s choreography has been featured in productions of Gypsy (North Carolina Theatre), Xanadu (ReVision Theatre), Beauty and the Beast (Northern Stage), Awesomer and Awesomer (The Triad Theatre), All Hail The Queen (The Cutting Room) as well as several BC/EFA benefit concerts. As a performer, Michael has appeared on Broadway in Aladdin, Bring It On, Mamma Mia, 9 to 5, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Unity Phelan | Principal Dancer with New York City Ballet | Started her dance training in early childhood at Princeton Ballet School. At the age of 14, she became a student at School of American Ballet. She was an Apprentice to New York City Ballet for the 2012-2013 year, and joined the company the following year. That year, Dance Magazine featured her as one of the five up and comers in the NYCB corps. Pointe Magazine named her one of the ten most promising corps dancers in the United States.

Ashley Wegmann | Ballet Met, Atlanta Ballet

Sean Mahoney | ARB, then Paul Taylor Dance Company | Came to Princeton Ballet School at age eleven, after two years of study at Knecht’s Dance Academy. He was a member of PBS’s Professional Training Program, and performed in many Nutcracker performances and school shows (including Franz to his sister Erin’s Swanhilda in Coppelia). In high school, he was an apprentice to American Repertory Ballet and upon graduation was chosen to be one of the first members of Taylor 2. Next, he danced for David Parsons Company, appeared in The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, danced with Geoffry Doig-Marx, then returned to ARB under Grahman Lustig’s direction. He has now been a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company since 2004.

Sarah Hay | Started her dance training at Princeton Ballet School, and from here, went on to study at School of American Ballet and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theatre. She danced with North Carolina Dance Theater, then Pennsylvania Ballet, before moving to Germany to join the Dresden Semperoper Ballet and work with William Forsythe. She is the lead in the new TV series Flesh and Bone.

Penny Saunders | Choreographer | Saunders won the International Commissioning Project which launched her choreographic career, creating pieces for Hubbard Streets’ main and second company, Cincinnati Ballet, Whim W’Him, Oklahoma City Ballet, BalletX, Sacramento Ballet, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Diablo Ballet, Dayton Ballet, among others. Saunders is honored to be the Resident Choreographer at The Grand Rapids Ballet where she has created many new works including her first full-length work, The Happy Prince and Other Wilde Tales.

Christine Cox | Ballet X Co-Founder, Executive and Artistic Director

Samuel Pott | Martha Graham Company, Now founder and Artistic Director of Nimbus Dance