Dianna Cuatto is in her sixteenth season as the Artistic Director of Ballet Theatre of Maryland. She originally choreographed A Midsummer Night's Dream (returning to the stage in October 2018), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, An American Southwest Carmen, Beauty and the Beast, Tango Dramatico, Scarlet Letter, and Excalibur, among others. Previously, she spent four seasons as the Ballet Mistress with the Richmond Ballet and taught ballet and jazz in their school of dance. She was also Artistic Director/Choreographer/School Director of the Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre in Colorado where many alumni went on to pursue professional careers in such companies as San Francisco Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Hubbard Street, San Diego Ballet, Ballet Nouveau and Richmond Ballet. Prior to that, Ms. Cuatto taught classical ballet at San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Sacramento Ballet, New Orleans Ballet Theatre and Oklahoma Ballet. In addition, she has taught at the University of Oklahoma, University of Utah, California State University at Sacramento, and at several high schools for the performing arts.
Nicole Kelsch is originally from Dallas, PA where she trained with Peter and Kristin Degnan at Ballet Northeast. She graduated with a B.A. in Ballet from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. After graduation, she danced professionally with Columbia City Ballet, Atlanta Festival Ballet and Connecticut Ballet. This is Nicole's eleventh season with Ballet Theatre of Maryland where she has been featured as Clara and the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the Firebird in The Firebird, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, as a Principal in Antony Tudor's Continuo, the Principal Couple in Italian Syphonette, Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Magdalena in An American Southwest Carmen. In 2015, she danced Cinderella, a role she treasures having had the opportunity to perform, at Maryland Hall and the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore. In addition, Nicole enjoys working as a rehearsal assistant, the BTM School Principal, and as a member of the BTM faculty. This is her eleventh season as a member of the BTM faculty and seventh season as the BTM School Principal. Nicole teaches all levels of ballet and jazz.
Emily Brennan is originally from Chesapeake, VA. She began her ballet training at Virginia Ballet Theatre, where she also was a student teaching assistant to Patricia Sorrell. In high school, she continued her ballet training at Ballet Virginia International under Janina Michalski Bove and Suzanne Lownsbury Long. Her modern training was directed by Lydia Roberts Coco. After graduating high school, she performed with Nashville Ballet's second company. She participated in children’s community outreaches and led creative movement story-time performances. Emily joined the Ballet Theatre of Maryland in 2012 as an Apprentice, was promoted to Demi-Soloist in 2013, Soloist in 2016, and Principal in 2017. This is Emily's fifth year teaching for the Ballet Theatre of Maryland.
Elizabeth Calvert is a native of northern New Jersey. She began her training at the Branchville Dance Centre under Nancy Volpe, whom she later assisted with teaching. After high school, Elizabeth continued her dance studies at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA where she received a BA in dance performance with a concentration in ballet. While at Point Park, she was able to further her training in ballet, classical and contemporary jazz, and modern. Upon graduating in December of 2015, she joined Ballet Theatre of Maryland as an apprentice and was promoted to demi-soloist in 2018. This is her third season teaching in the school.
Kaitlin Alter was born and raised in Urbandale, Iowa where she trained in the Pre-Professional Program at Capital City Dance Center under the direction of Melissa and Emery Uyehara. Kaitlin began her professional career with the Montgomery Ballet in Montgomery, Alabama where she danced from 2013-2015. She had the pleasure of dancing a variety of both classical and contemporary repertoire. Some of her favorite roles include: Nymph in The Sleeping Beauty, Gypsy in Don Quixote, as well as both Clara and The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. During her time in Montgomery, she also enjoyed teaching on faculty for the Montgomery Ballet School, as well as the Centre for Performing Arts in Prattville, Alabama. Kaitlin enjoyed teaching creative movement through advanced ballet, jazz, and all levels of tap within the Montgomery Ballet School. This is Kaitlin's fourth season with Ballet Theatre of Maryland, and her third year on faculty with BTM. Kaitlin strives to attain a strong focus on classical ballet technique and discipline from her students, while at the same time cultivating artistry and individuality within each child to allow them to reach their full potential. In addition to ballet, she also has a passion for tap dancing and enjoys instructing all levels of tap within the school. She is looking forward to a wonderful year on the BTM faculty!
Karissa Kralik was raised on Long Island, New York where she trained with Valia Seiskaya until 2010 in Vaganova-based ballet and character techniques. Karissa attended University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Education with a Musical Theater Minor in 2014. There she continued her training under faculty including Christine Cox (BalletX), Eva Szabo, Andrew Pap, Anne White (PA Ballet), and Scott Jovovich (Joffrey Ballet). Karissa studied Modern techniques including Horton with Kim Bears-Bailey (Philadanco) and Graham with Jennifer Binford-Johnson (Martha Graham Dance Company), as well as varied styles of Jazz with Wayne St. David and Donald Lunsford (Philadanco). Karissa joined Ballet Theatre of Maryland as an Apprentice in 2016 and was promoted to Demi-Soloist in 2017.
Sarah Macdonald is originally from Portland, Oregon, where she trained at Portland Festival Ballet and the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre. After high school, Sarah studied at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Ballet Austin. Sarah joined the Ballet Theatre of Maryland in 2013 and is currently a demi-soloist with the company.
Upon returning from Cinevox Dance Company, Mark began teaching at the National Theatre Ballet School in Australia. During this time he received his certification for Personal Training from the Australian Institute of Fitness. Since moving to the United States, Mark has guest taught and adjudicated for numerous schools and companies. Highlights include: Atlantic City Ballet company auditions at Ailey Studios in Manhattan, company class at Montgomery Ballet, Montgomery Ballet School, the Montgomery Ballet’s Youth Company auditions, master classes with Galveston Ballet, adjudicating for the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Houston and most recently the Summer Program with the Ballet Theatre of Maryland.