Sasha Janes is Associate Professor of ballet at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
He was born in Perth, Australia, and received his formal dance training from the Australian Ballet School. He has danced professionally with West Australian Ballet, Australian Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, and Dayton Ballet, performing principal roles in works by Jiri Kylian, George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, Marius Petipa, Septime Webre, Anthony Tudor, Dwight Rhoden, Alonzo King, Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey, and many others.
At the invitation of Jean Pierre Bonnefoux and associate artistic director Patricia McBride, Janes joined Charlotte Ballet in 2003. In 2006, he was commissioned to choreograph his first ballet, Lascia la Spina, Cogli la Rosa, and has since choreographed several ballets for Charlotte Ballet, including Carmen, Dangerous Liaisons, We Danced Through Life, Last Lost Chance, Shelter, At First Sight, Loss, The Four Seasons, The Red Dress, Utopia, Playground Teasers, The Seed and the Soil, Chaconne, Queen, Sketches from Grace, and Rhapsodic Dances, which was performed as part of the Kennedy Center’s Ballet Across America series in June 2013. The Washington Post called Janes “a choreographer to watch.”
Janes was a participant in New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute and has been a guest choreographer for Richmond Ballet’s New Works Festival. He was a principal dancer with Charlotte Ballet for eight seasons before being named rehearsal director in 2007 then associate artistic director in 2012 and adding the title resident choreographer in 2013.
In fall 2016, Janes premiered his latest ballet, Saudade, for the Jacobs School of Music, where he served as guest faculty. In spring 2017, he premiered his newest work for Charlotte Ballet, inspired by Emily Bronte’s classic novel Wuthering Heights.
Principal Resident Coach
Born in France, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux joined the Paris Opera Ballet at age 14 and was named Danseur Etoile at 21. He has danced with the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballets and in 1970 became a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet under the direction of George Balanchine. In 1977, Bonnefoux joined the faculty of the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet, and began to realize his lifelong ambition of training young dancers. His final performance was in 1980, after which time, he dedicated himself to work as an artistic director, choreographer and teacher. Bonnefoux’s choreography includes works commissioned by the New York City Ballet, The Lincoln Center Institute, the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company, and the Pennsylvania Ballet. Bonnefoux has served as choreographer and ballet master for the Pittsburgh Ballet, as Chairman and Artistic Director of the Ballet Department in the School of Music at Indiana University. He joined the Charlotte Ballet and School of Charlotte Ballet in 1996 where he served as the President and Artistic Director until 2016.
Director of Ballet Studies and Principal Repetiteur
Former distinguished prima ballerina with the New York City Ballet. She has been celebrated as the outstanding American ballerina of our day and is a star of international stature. In 2014 she received one of the Kennedy Center Honors for her lifetime contributions and achievements in dance. Her career with the New York City Ballet spanned more than three decades and provided audiences with dazzling performances of some of the greatest masterpieces in dance. George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins created many of their master works for her. She is a teacher of technique and variations classes for both Festival and Workshop dancers and stages a Balanchine work every summer.
Associate Artistic Director
Maris Battaglia is the director and founder of the American Academy of Ballet. She received her training at George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City and has applied her SAB training across the country. She also taught in Latvia in 1990 for 3-weeks at the Regia Ballet School- the school that trained ballet superstar Mikhail Baryshnikov. Over 130 of her students have gone on to dance professionally in major ballet companies in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Broadway Stage. She is the Associate Director of the Chautauqua Institution’s School of Dance where she has taught since 1989. She served on the New York State Council of the Arts for an unprecedented four years and received the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County Award for Outstanding Arts Contributor in 2008. In 1997, she was the recipient of the Artist Excellence Award, which is presented to one outstanding dance teacher each year in the United States. In 1999, she was introduced into the Western New York Dance Hall of Fame.
Rebecca Carmazzi Janes
Rebecca Janes has been on faculty here at The Chautauqua Institution since her retirement from the stage. Janes’ career spanned in excess of 20 years, performing principal roles in repertoire and full-length ballets by George Balanchine, Alonzo King, Dwight Rhoden, Nacho Duato, Gerald Arpino, Marius Petipa, Septime Webre, Stephen Mills, Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Anthony Tudor, Lila York, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, and Sasha Janes. During her tenure as a principal dancer with Charlotte Ballet she feels honored to have been taught and coached by Patricia McBride.
Previously a senior member of the faculty at Charlotte Ballet and currently adjunct faculty at The Jacobs School of Music, ballet department. She is fully certified in Romana Pilates where she instructs privately from her home studio in Bloomington.
A native of Armenia, Sarkis Kaltakhtchian studied at the Choreographic Institute of Yerevan, where he graduated with honors. Thereafter, he joined the Armenian National Ballet. In 1989, Kaltakhtchian was invited to join Ballets Classique de Montreal. He also performed with Banff Festival of the Arts, Classical Ballet of Costa Rica, Ottowa Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet Theatre.
As a soloist and principal dancer, his repertory included the works of George Balanchine, Marius Petipa, Choo-San Goh, Alonzo King, Val Caniparoli, William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Nacho Duato and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. In July 1998, Kaltakhtchian performed for First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at the White House Millennium Council. Kaltakhtchian started teaching while still dancing, under the guidance of Maxim Martirosian, former Artistic Director of Bolshoi Ballet School.
After retiring from the stage in 2005, Kaltakhtchian became the Head Instructor for the Centre for Dance Education at Tulsa Ballet, and Director of Tulsa Ballet II. He has been a guest faculty with the Chautauqua Institution in New York since 2008. He joined the faculty of Charlotte Ballet Academy in 2010, and was named Artistic Vice Principal in 2014.
René Olivier’s professional career started in 1990 with the Natal Performing Arts Council, in South Africa. From there, she joined Alberta Ballet, in Canada for their 1998-1999 season. She joined Tulsa Ballet Theater in 1999. While a Soloist, she got the opportunity to teach for Tulsa Ballet Theater Center for Dance Education’s Preparatory Level. In 2010 she became a full time faculty member at Charlotte Ballet Academy. Ms. Olivier taught and choreographed for all Levels year round, as well as for their Summer Intensives. She acted as assistant repetiteur for visiting artist Valentina Kozlova, who set Corsaire, La Bayadere, Raymonda and Paquita, for Charlotte Ballet’s Summer Intensives. She got the opportunity to set Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s, Danses Brillantes on Charlotte Ballet Company, alongside Sarkis Kaltakhtchian. In addition, she became a adjunct faculty member at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte from 2012. Currently she is a faculty member at the Hartt Community School. She choreographed Carnival of the Animals for Level A, B & C, Division I. In 2019 she got invited to teach as adjunct faculty for The Hartt School Dance division.
Dancing offered Ms. Olivier the opportunity to perform in countries like China, India, Italy and Alaska. Some of her favorite roles included, the lead in George Balanchine’s Rubies and Serenade. Lady Capulet in Michael Smuin’s Romeo and Juliet. Titania in Mark Hawkins, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Featured roles in Jerome Robbin’s In the Night. Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra songs and Paul Taylor’s Black Tuesday. As well as Ma Cong’s Carmina Burana. She is the recipient of the 1997 FNB Vita Award, for her performances with The Playhouse Dance Company.
A Milwaukee native, Kara Wilkes is an educator, choreographer, dancer, visual artist, and filmmaker. Her expertise in classical and contemporary ballet is extensive and supported by her twenty-year career performing with Milwaukee Ballet Company, Ballet Victor Ullate, Charlotte Ballet and Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Kara has danced leading roles in works by Alonzo King, Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Nacho Duato, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Dwight Rhoden, George Balanchine, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and others. She has been named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine and one of “12 Standout Performances of 2015” by Pointe magazine; in 2016, she performed in the TEDWomen Conference in San Francisco. Kara has also served as Ballet Master for LINES and continues to teach workshops and répertoire for the organization. She has taught all levels of dance, including master classes for Duke University, University of Iowa, UC Santa Barbara, University of Georgia, and abroad in Dublin, Ireland. In 2019, Kara earned her MFA in Dance from Hollins University and has since been on faculty at Florida State University, Wake Forest University, Mills College, and Santa Clara University.
Kara is currently a Toulmin Choreography Fellow through NYU’s Center for Ballet and the Arts and National Sawdust. Most recently, she choreographed works for FSU, Traverse City Dance Project (New Voices Choreography Fellow), Texas Christian University, and the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Kara’s choreographic research investigates inherited trauma, addiction, and healing; it also focuses heavily on the Digital Age’s impacts on society and our planet…she embraces collaboration and experimentation. Kara is a movie enthusiast whose creations are often cinematic, offering non-linear narratives; viewers are exposed to various artistic mediums and theatrical elements, such as props, facial expressions, poetry/speech, singing, and gestures.
Michael Deeb Weaver is an accomplished dancer, actor, instructor, and choreographer based in Buffalo, NY. His experience as a performer ranges from concert dance to musical theatre to commercial work – and (almost) everything in between. He holds a BFA in Dance from the University at Buffalo, and is a faculty member at both UB and at Nazareth College, teaching jazz, tap, and musical theatre dance styles.
Michael’s performance credits have taken him all over the world, including National Tours of A Chorus Line (Mike), and Young Frankenstein the Musical (Swing). As a member of the Actors’ Equity Association, he has served as Dance Captain, Assistant Choreographer, and/or Assistant Director for productions of Kinky Boots, Thoroughly Modern Millie, My Fair Lady, Gypsy, Mame, and Young Frankenstein the Musical (West Coast regional premiere). Additional regional theatre credits include West Side Story, Hello, Dolly!, Saturday Night Fever, Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, A Chorus Line, Joseph…, and Beauty and the Beast. In addition to numerous industrials, Michael has performed for Celebrity Cruises and Six Flags. In 2017, he was part of the pre-Broadway choreography lab of Beetlejuice the Musical. These experiences have allowed him to work with notable directors and choreographers like Baz Luhrmann, Connor Gallagher, Baayork Lee, Jeff Whiting, Jeffry Denman, Marc Robin, and Susan Stroman.
Michael’s choreography has most recently been featured on the famous Las Vegas Strip as a part of Picturesque, a new burlesque tap revue. In 2021 he co-directed and choreographed for The Center in Motion, a filmed dance concert at the University at Buffalo’s Center for the Arts. He has also set choreography on UB’s Zodiaque Studio Dance Ensemble, and was a guest instructor at Montclair State University. Nationally, Michael has served as an instructor and adjudicator for dance conventions including Platinum National Dance Competition and Turn it Up Dance Challenge. Additionally, he has held positions as a faculty member and choreographer for award-winning dance studios across the country.