Bill Piner graduated from Butler University's prestigious dance program in 1982 and had a wide and varied professional performing career with companies such as Ballet Austin, the Hartford Ballet and Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana's only professional modern company. A member of Actor's Equity Association, Bill also enjoyed a career in musical theatre before retiring to direct Ballet Austin Academy. He has been teaching extensively since 1982, including seven years on faculty at Butler University's Jordan College Academy of Dance in Indianapolis. In 1992, Bill was appointed director of the Ballet Austin Academy. Under his direction the Academy has grown to become one of the largest classical ballet schools in the country.
In his role as pianist coordinator for Ballet Austin, Joshua Piper accompanies dance classes and manages accompanist schedules for the Ballet Austin Company, Ballet Austin Academy, and the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness. In addition to working for Ballet Austin, Joshua is also the pianist for the Tosca Tango Orchestra, works with the Vintage 15 jazz big band, is staff organist and pianist for Asbury United Methodist Church, plays for Royal Academy of Dance exams, and teaches a small group of piano students from kids to adults. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas.
Known for his innovative and collaborative choreographic projects, Stephen Mills has works in the repertoires of companies across the United States and around the world. From his inaugural season as Artistic Director in 2000, Mills attracted attention from around the United States with his world-premiere production of Hamlet, hailed by Dance Magazine as "...sleek and sophisticated." The Washington Post recognized Ballet Austin as "one of the nation’s best-kept ballet secrets" in 2004 after Ballet Austin performed Mills' world premiere of The Taming of the Shrew, commissioned by and performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The Company was first invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in January of 2002 with the Mills production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and at The Joyce Theater (NYC) in 2004. In 2005 after two years of extensive research, Mills led a community-wide human rights collaboration that culminated in the world premiere work Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. In 2006 Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project was awarded the Audrey & Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award by the Anti Defamation League. In September of 2013, the work made its international debut with a tour in three cities across Israel. Read More
Michelle Martin had her early dance training at the Alberta Ballet School and danced with the Alberta Ballet Company for four years before joining the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre (IBT) in 1982. While with IBT and, subsequently, the Hartford Ballet in Connecticut, she performed leading and soloist roles in Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and The Moor's Pavane as well as creating roles in many original works. Martin's teaching credits include guest-teaching engagements at schools and universities in Canada, South Carolina, Michigan, and throughout Indiana and Texas. She was on faculty at Butler University in Indianapolis for five years. Martin began her tenure with Ballet Austin in 1991 as a dancer with the Company and in 1992 she was appointed ballet mistress and curriculum director of the Academy. In 1999 she founded Ballet Austin II, Ballet Austin's apprentice program, providing professional development for the 10-member second company and designing educational programming for presentation in schools. Martin has served on the Texas Commission on the Arts advisory panel for Arts Education and is a recipient of the Austin Under Forty award for contributions in the area of the Arts and Entertainment. Martin was appointed associate artistic director of Ballet Austin in 2000.
With a business degree and a professional dance background Eugene Alvarez has found his perfect niche at Ballet Austin. While studying at the University of Texas, Austin he took a recreational ballet class with teacher and, at the time, Artistic Director of Austin Ballet Theater, Stanley Hall. Soon Eugene was supplementing his college studies and UT ballet classes with classes, rehearsals and performances at Austin Ballet Theater. After graduation, degree in hand and only a couple of years into his auditor job at UT, Eugene left the business world for a chance to dance professionally with Ballet Austin. He danced for seven seasons and rose through the ranks to dance principal roles with fellow company members at the time, Stephen Mills and Michelle Martin. Retired from ballet he held administrative positions with The Texas HIV Connection and Jackson/Ruiz Salon before being invited back to Ballet Austin by now Artistic Director, Stephen Mills. He's been the Company Manager position since the fall of 2002 and feels fortunate to be able to use his business background to support his love for the arts.
Allisyn Paino started her dance training in New York with Ali Pourfarrokh and Kaleria Fedicheva. She has performed principal roles with the Fedicheva Ballet Company, The Indianapolis Opera and Butler Ballet. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.F.A. from Butler University. Since joining Ballet Austin in 1996, Paino has performed works by many choreographers including Stephen Mills, George Balanchine, Dwight Rhoden, Thaddeus Davis, Twyla Tharp, and David Parsons. She has danced the roles of The Chosen One in Mills' The Rite of Spring; Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Painter in Cult of Color: Call to Color. In 2005, Paino had the honor of dancing the role of The Survivor in the award winning Light / the Holocaust & Humanity Project. In May of 2009 she retired from the stage dancing the lead role in Stephen Mills' Cinderella. Her teaching credits include being on faculty of the Ballet Austin Academy and working as guest faculty at Butler University. Since her retirement she has joined the Artistic Staff as the Rehearsal Director of Ballet Austin.
As director of audience engagement, sales and services, Julie leads the team responsible for engaging and serving Ballet Austin audiences through ticket sales and guest experience programming, while also overseeing traditional marketing activities, such as customer research, advertising, digital content creation and distribution, and public relations. Prior to joining Ballet Austin in July 2014, Julie served as vice president of public and media relations for Circuit of The Americas (COTA), home to the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX and variety of international sports and entertainment events, including MotoGP™, the Lone Star Le Mans, and X Games Austin. Her publicity campaign preceding COTA's grand opening and first F1® event in 2012 generated $191 million in media coverage internationally and helped earn COTA SportsBusiness Journal's "Sports Event of the Year" award.
Before moving to Austin, Julie served as vice president of corporate communications for Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) (NASDAQ: CHDN), in Louisville, KY, parent company of Churchill Downs Racetrack and its world-famous Kentucky Derby event. There Loignon managed strategic, financial, crisis and employee communications for the CDI's horse racing, online- and casino-gaming businesses, including media relations for the Kentucky Derby® and Kentucky Oaks®. Loignon also served as CDI's vice president of brand development and marketing, overseeing the Derby celebrity red carpet program, the Derby and Oaks websites and Derby Nation social media network. She was architect of the "Ladies First" marketing campaign, featuring the Kentucky Oaks "Pink Out," and developed content and promotions for NBC Universal’s national Derby and Oaks telecasts.
Julie started her professional career as a broadcast journalist, working as a television anchor, reporter and producer at WHAS-TV (ABC) in Louisville, KY, and at WANE-TV (CBS) in her hometown of Fort Wayne, Ind. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from DePauw University.
Bio coming soon!
As audience sales & services manager, Diana Lynn Gembinksi oversees the daily operation of Ballet Austin’s local and remote box offices including all season- and single-ticket sales. In addition, she contributes to marketing and sales initiatives to further enhance the audience experience.
Prior to joining the audience sales and services team in June 2017, Diana lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for 10 years. While in Silicon Valley, she served as managing director for Palo Alto Players, and also worked for the San Jose Downtown Association, American Musical Theatre of San Jose and The Retro Dome.
Earlier in her Austin career, Diana spent two years in the music industry working for Jerry Jeff Walker, and assistant-produced a CD and DVD. She also worked at ZACH Theatre in fundraising and spent six years at the Austin Theatre Alliance comprised of the Paramount and State Theatres. She managed the box office and established her last job there as events manager.
Diana is a magna cum laude graduate from St. Edward’s University in Austin with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts Administration.
As an audience services manager, Sarah Brazier is responsible for ticket transactions and ensuring audience satisfaction. She also facilitates day of performance box office sales as well as assists staff and volunteers at the theatre.
Sarah moved to Austin in 2013 to work in the film industry, where she held various jobs ranging from set dresser to accounting clerk to producer. She recived her Bachelor of Arts. from the University of Colorado in International Affairs and Communications.
Anne Marie Bloodgood is an audience content coordinator for Ballet Austin and is responsible for capturing, editing, and archiving photographs and video content related to Ballet Austin's productions. Anne was first a dancer with Ballet Austin for 13 years and has been photographing dance for 15 years. She utilizes her prior dance experience and knowledge of the art form to photograph and film rehearsals and performances to produce storytelling visual content that supports the activities of Ballet Austin's Audience Engagement, Sales & Services Team as well as being presented during productions at Ballet-o-mania!, Ballet Austin's interactive learning lounge.
Jordan Moser danced with Ballet Austin for 10 seasons before joining Ballet Austin's audience engagement, sales & services team as a content coordinator.
During his as a performer, Moser danced featured roles in Stephens Mills' Hamlet, Light: The Holocaust and Humanities Project, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. He has danced ballets from the Balanchine repertoire and works by choreographers such as Lar Lubavitch, Nicolo Fonte, Pontus Lidberg and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.
With his background in music and photography, Moser has found a new voice creating video content for Ballet Austin. Jordan has directed music videos for artist of the independent record labels Keeled Scales and Captured Tracks. He performed in Adam Torres' video Juniper Arms with his wife, Ballet Austin dancer Oren Porterfield.
Moser has composed original scores for dance works such as James Gregg's Boonflood and Nick Kepley's Queer Angels. He will be releasing his third studio albums of songs in 2018.
He is currently collaborating with artistic director Stephen Mills on the upcoming 2018 premiere Exit Wounds.
Moser has a Bachelors of Arts degree from St. Edward's University in the Humanities.
As Director of Ballet Austin’s Butler Center for Dance & Fitness Vicki helped design and develop programming that now offers dance and fitness classes to over 11,000 adults each year. Health, fitness, and overall wellness are a priority, and through classes, community-based programs, and BeWell Talks she helps promote the value of life-long health and well-being in the Austin community.
Vicki joined Ballet Austin in 1997. She has over 25 years of experience working in the field of Long Term Care, specifically in direct care as a Recreation Therapist, using therapeutic recreation as a treatment intervention to improve overall wellness. Vicki taught at Austin Community College for 13 years and worked with several non-profit organizations to develop and present workshops on lifelong health and wellbeing. Promoting physical activity and wellness to people of all ages continues to be one of her greatest interests and passions.
She holds current certifications as a Senior Fitness Instructor, a Youth Fitness Specialist, a Group Exercise Instructor, and in Advanced Sports Nutrition. She is also a certified Fitness Business Manager. Vicki developed curriculum for, and teaches the Better Balance & Movement Workshop, a falls prevention program for adults. In 2015 Vicki implemented the free BeWell Healthy Living Talks, and is a requested speaker at area businesses, organizations, and conferences such as the Austin Women’s Club, Austin’s Business Group on Health, DELL, St. David's Foundation, the Girls Empowerment Network We Are Girls Conference, and more. Her presentations are practical and inspirational, and are presented with humor and passion, motivating her audience to change their attitude, their mind, and their life.
Her advice is simple, "it's your life, your health, YOU are in control. Be active. Be resilient, Be well!"
Follow Vicki on Twitter @VickiBeActive Instagram Vicki_BeWell
Originally from the Ukraine, Vlada Sheber received her training in classical ballet from the State Classical Ballet College of Russia (Voronezh.) Vlada performed as a soloist in the Donetsk Ballet Theatre before immigrating to the United States. She was a company member with Ballet Austin from 1992-2003.
In 2002, Vlada received her diploma as a Certified Core Connections® Pilates Instructor from the Core Connections® Comprehensive Teacher Training Program at the Pilates Center of Austin. There she studied under Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle.
In 2007 Vlada was named Program Director for Ballet Austin’s Pilates Center, participating in both the original design of the Center and expansion in 2015.
In 2009, she attended a training under Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle and Michele Larsson providing insight and approaches into working with older clients. In 2010 Vlada attended the Pink Pilates Program training in Houston, Texas and became a certified Post-Rehabilitative Breast Cancer Exercise Specialist. Having worked with breast cancer survivors continuously since 2010, she further developed a specialized rehabilitative workout for breast cancer survivors to include humor and compassion; Ballet Austin’s Pink Pilates.
Vlada also has trained extensively in a physical therapy clinic under Allison Bennett (Women’s Health specialist) which expanded her knowledge of anatomy and Pilates rehabilitation. She has developed Pilates workouts specifically for osteoporosis, scoliosis, and chronic back pain.
In 2005 she was acknowledged as a "Pre-eminent Purveyor of Pilates" by Austin Monthly Magazine. In recognition of Ballet Austin's commitment to excellence, Ballet Austin’s Pilates Center has been chosen as “Best Pilates Studio in Austin” by Rare Magazine and Austin Fit Magazine. Vlada's knowledge and approach to her practice of Pilates make her a highly requested master Pilates instructor.
As senior manager of the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness and the Pilates Center, Stephanie is responsible for the day-to-day management of programs, operations, and customer experience. Her goal is to ensure the overall organizational effectiveness and efficiency of these areas, while optimizing the customer's experience.
Stephanie joined the Ballet Austin team in 2013 bringing with her over 10 years of hands-on experience in customer relations and project management. Prior to joining Ballet Austin, she performed similar duties for the Bullock Texas State History Museum and The University of Texas at Austin. She is a native Austinite and a proud supporter of the Texas Longhorns. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin.
Melody works on Wednesday and Friday evenings. As a member of the customer experience team, Melody is responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction of Ballet Austin customers who call or stop in for classes and information.
Jess works weekdays from 9am to 4pm. As a member of the customer experience team, Jess is responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction of Ballet Austin customers who call or stop in for classes and information.
Stacy works weekdays from 1pm to 5pm. As a member of the customer experience team, Stacy is responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction of Ballet Austin customers who call or stop in for classes and information.
Prior to joining Ballet Austin, Stacy worked with special needs students in the Eanes ISD, and as a caseworker for Big Brothers and Sisters in Dallas, Texas. She is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology.
Kristina works on Monday evenings. As a member of the customer experience team, Kristina is responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction of Ballet Austin customers who call or stop in for classes and information.
Monica works on Saturdays. As a member of the customer experience team, Monica is responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction of Ballet Austin customers who call or stop in for classes and information. Monica speaks spanish as well so can assist as needed. Monica habla español.
Michael works weekdays from 8am to 1pm. As a member of the customer experience team, Michael is responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction of Ballet Austin customers who call or stop in for classes and information.
Prior to joining Ballet Austin, Michael was a member of the house manager staff at Texas Performing Arts and also spent a number years in the criminal investigation field as an investigative aide.
Rachel works on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and on Saturdays and Sundays. As a member of the customer experience team, Rachel is responsible for ensuring customer satisfaction of Ballet Austin customers who call or stop in for classes and information. Monica speaks spanish as well so can assist as needed. Rachel habla español.
In his role as Pianist Coordinator for Ballet Austin, Joshua Piper accompanies dance classes and manages accompanist schedules for the Ballet Austin Company, Ballet Austin Academy, and the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness. In addition to working for Ballet Austin, Joshua is also the pianist for the Tosca Tango Orchestra, works with the Vintage 15 jazz big band, is staff organist and pianist for Asbury United Methodist Church, plays for Royal Academy of Dance exams, and teaches a small group of piano students ranging from children to adults. He holds a BA in Piano Performance from Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas.
As Ballet Austin's Community Education Director, Pei-San Brown is responsible for developing and implementing dance- and arts-based curricula and programs for Central Texas schools, providing professional development for teachers in dance education and arts-based teaching strategies, researching and preparing historical and contemporary information about ballet repertory for audience education, and helping to develop and implement Ballet Austin's Strategic Plan.
Pei-San is currently on faculty as a dance instructor at Ballet Austin's Butler Center for Dance & Fitness. She has danced with Disney Entertainment Arts (Los Angeles), Third Coast Jazz (Austin), Austin Musical Theatre (Austin), Halau Ho'ola Ka Mana O Hawai'i (Dallas and Houston), and as a featured dancer in the movie Miss Congeniality (2000). She taught undergraduate and graduate education courses at The University of Texas at Austin's College of Education and was the co-founder of an educational research firm. She has been involved in research funded by The Wallace Foundation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Institutes for Child and Human Development (NICHD), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Her publications include The Developmental Benefits of Playgrounds (2004), the CPSC's Age Determination Guidelines: Relating Children's Ages to Toy Characteristics and Play Behavior (2002), as well as numerous chapters and articles in the field of early childhood education.
Pei-San holds a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from The University of Texas at Austin, and has completed her doctoral course work in the same field. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Pedagogy and a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of California at Irvine. She has also holds the title of Kumu Hula, which is equivalent to a graduate degree in the study of hula.
Kylie joined Ballet Austin in 2016. As Community Education Associate, she administers programs serving the greater Austin community and local school districts. Her main duties include processing registrations for The Nutcracker School Shows, communicating with local educators about Ballet Austin Programs, helping to create content for audience education, facilitating audience engagement programs at the theater, and managing Night of Community and Community Donations.
Kylie is originally from Houston, Texas and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Texas Christian University. Upon graduating from TCU, Kylie moved to New York to work as the Operations Manager at Steps on Broadway. She is thrilled to be back home in Texas and working with the team at Ballet Austin.
As Director of Development for Ballet Austin since 2008, Christi is responsible for overseeing all contributed revenue for the organization. Prior to Ballet Austin, Christi was the Development Director at St. Gabriel's Catholic School, and managed the completion of a $5 million capital campaign. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Master's in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Music, all from the University of Texas at Austin. After her first undergraduate degree, Christi worked as a Process Engineer for Procter & Gamble, and following her graduate degree, was a Senior Consultant for Deloitte. Upon completion of her final degree in music, Christi worked for Texas Performing arts in Development. In 2013, Christi obtained the designation of Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). She is a 2009 graduate of Leadership Austin’s Essentials Class and is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, having chaired the 2013 Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon.
As manager of development & special events, Lauren Adams is responsible for corporate support and stewardship as well as event production for Fête, Ballet Austin's fall fundraiser, and multiple donor events throughout the season. She holds an M. Litt in Art History & Connoisseurship from the University of Glasgow through the Christie's Education, a Bachelor of Arts in Classic Civilization from Valaparaiso University, and studied abroad in England and Greece. Prior to Ballet Austin, Lauren worked for The Contemporary Austin as it manager of events and partnerships, where she helped to shape and grow events and community partnerships for the newly formed organization. Lauren is a board member for the Young Women's Alliance, volunteers with Austin Pets Alive!, and is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Austin's Emerge program, and is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Brooke Holmes joined Ballet Austin in 2004. As senior development manager, Brooke works with individual giving and stewardship and is the staff support for the Ballet Austin Foundation including all aspects of cultivation, solicitation and stewardship. Brooke also oversees the development administrator and database functionality for the development department.
Prior to her current position, Brooke also served as development administrator, development associate and senior development associate with Ballet Austin. In her role as development associate, she was the project manager for the $10.3 million capital campaign for the current home of Ballet Austin, the Butler Dance Education Center.
Brooke holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Southwestern University and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Lily Pipkin joined Ballet Austin’s Development department in 2017. As development administrator, she is primarily responsible for gift processing, database management, and tracking contributed revenue. Before coming to Ballet Austin, Lily worked in Development at the Paramount & Stateside Theatres, as an account manager at Lawyer’s Aide Service, and managed a database implementation project at The Nobelity Project.
Lily is a native Austinite and graduated with highest honors from the Plan II Honors program at the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and History, with a focus in Theatre and European Studies.
Maria Murphy-Mayberry joined Ballet Austin in 2013 and has worked as the grants manager for the organization since 2014. In this role, she manages the writing process for all grants, soliciting information and data from all Ballet Austin departments to prepare accurate and effective funding proposals and reports. She also researches potential new funding opportunities, maintains contact with foundation and government funders, and manages the timely submission of all funding proposals and reports.
Prior to her current position, Maria served as Ballet Austin’s Community Education Associate from 2013-2016 and as the organization's grants writer until November 2016. Maria is a native Austinite and holds a Master of Science in Arts Administration from Drexel University and a Bachelor of Arts with a focus in Dance from Bennington College.
Cookie Gregory Ruiz has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of strategic planning, organizational development and non-profit fundraising/management and has served as executive director of Ballet Austin since 1999. She holds the professional designation of Certified Fund Raising Executive (C.F.R.E.) by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Her community honors include Austin Business Journal’s "Profiles in Power" Award, Leadership Austin’s Polly Scallorn Community Trustee Award, Austin Community Foundation’s Beverly S. Sheffield Award for Excellence as a Nonprofit Executive, The American Red Cross "Clara Barton Medal of Honor," Volunteer of the Year for the Austin Independent School District, the Lone Star Girl Scout Council "Women of Distinction" Award, The Junior League of Austin’s Volunteer Extraordinaire Award and is a 2016 Austin Arts Hall of Fame inductee. Ruiz served as the citywide Chair of CreateAustin, a City Council appointee to ImagineAustin’s Citizen’s Advisory Task Force, and is a graduate of the Austin’s City Works Academy. As a graduate of Leadership Austin, she served four years on its board of directors.
Ruiz is president of the board of Texans for the Arts and serves on the boards of Dance/USA, the Performing Arts Alliance, the Mayor’s Better Austin Foundation, HousingWorks Austin, and is a member of the Austin Area Research Organization (AARO). She is also a fellow of the National Arts Strategies International Chief Executive Program.
As Executive Administrator Lital is responsible for providing administrative support to the Executive Director and project management of Ballet Austin’s tours in the U.S and internationally. Prior to Ballet Austin, Lital worked for the Jewish Federation of Greater Austin as Director of Outreach & Engagement and Partnership with Israel, where she helped grow the ties between Austin and the Western Galilee region in Israel and coordinated Ballet Austin’s Tour of Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project to Israel in 2013. As Director of Outreach & Engagement, she served as a first point of contact to newcomers to the community and managed the local chapter of a nation-wide literacy program.
Before moving to Austin in 2010, Lital managed strategic procurement projects for the Israeli Cable Company and served as project manager with high-tech and telecommunication companies.
She hold a B.A in Economics from the Tel-Aviv University
Gail Romney joined the staff of Ballet Austin in 1992 as development associate, became business manager in 1996, and is currently director of finance, where she manages and oversees all accounting, budget, audit, and human resources functions.
Gail has Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from the University of Utah. After a short career performing in New York, Texas, and Mexico City, she developed expertise in the area of arts administration and has more than 30 years experience in the area of nonprofit management and finance. Before coming to Austin, she worked in concert management for the Houston Symphony and was controller for the Houston Grand Opera.
Gail has been a moderator for various local organizations, served as a Peer Panelist for the City of Austin's Cultural Arts Division, and has been a guest speaker in the Economics Department at the University of Texas. She was most recently named the “Best CFO for a Nonprofit Organization” by the Austin Business Journal. She has served in numerous volunteer positions with civic organizations, and spent 20 years as an active member of the Junior Leagues of Houston and Austin
Emma Garcia De Alba joined the Ballet Austin staff in March 2017. As the accounting and HR assistant, her primary responsibilities are supporting the bookkeeping and assisting with human resources functions of the organization. This role entails, recording daily deposits, reconciling all bank accounts, completing payroll, preparing monthly cash flow reports for budget directors, and assisting with enhancements to company culture and development of employee engagement.
Prior to working at Ballet Austin, Emma started her career in property management gaining expertise in proper bookkeeping, budget reporting, payroll, and aided with administrating employee benefits. She worked up the ranks to property manager and successfully handled the day to day financials and operations.
In the past, Emma was a student in the upper-school division at Ballet Austin and volunteered in the Academy office. She is delighted to be back to help support and cultivate the arts community in Austin.
Tony Casati returned to Ballet Austin as director of operations in August 2015 and is responsible for oversight of the state-of-the-art Butler Dance Education Center, its day-to-day operations and use during special events. He joined Ballet Austin originally in 1994 as a company dancer where he rose quickly to regular appearances in principal roles. Among his favorite and most celebrated were as in the title role of Stephen Mills' original 1999 cast of Hamlet. Tony also danced lead roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet, Cult of Color: Call to Color, and Don Quixote to critical acclaim. He was privileged to collaborate with many notable choreographers, most especially Ballet Austin’s Stephen Mills, and also performed danced works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharpe, Septime Webre and many others.
Following 14 seasons of professional performing, guesting, and touring the world, Tony retired from full time dancing in 2008 and returned to school. In 2010 he graduated from St. Edwards University with a Bachelor of Arts and went into the field of construction management. Tony has married his love of presentational dance and his fascination for systems and project management by returning to Ballet Austin in this new position, which allows him to play a meaning role in an organization that has been such a significant part of his life.
Kent Pool moved from Houston to Austin in 2009. He joined Ballet Austin from The Contemporary Austin, where he served as the operations assistant for several years. Previously, Kent was an intelligence specialist in the United States Navy, an AmeriCorps crew-member in Alaska, a ranch-hand at an English dressage riding-facility, a sailor, a voice-actor, an avid literary and cinema enthusiast, and even a principle monster in Austin’s own House of Torment. No stranger to the stage, Kent has acted, directed, stage-managed and haunted the catwalks of multiple college and community theaters around Texas.
Bill Sheffield had previously served as stage manager for Ballet Austin in the late eighties and when the Company went to The Kennedy Center with A Midsummer Night's Dream. An Austin native, Bill also produces the summer musicals at Zilker Park, including the recent hits: Crazy for You, Into the Woods and the award-winning Big River. Bill formerly worked with the Austin Musical Theater, where he was stage manager for most of their recent productions. He has worked with many Austin arts groups, including Austin Lyric Opera, ZTP, Austin Shakespeare Festival, Slavin-Nadal Dance, ADE, ART, ZST, Tapestry, Roy Lozano Ballet Folklorico, and many others.
Alexey Korygin was born in Donetsk City, Ukraine. He earned a master's degree in Fine Arts from the Kiev State Ballet School of the Ukraine, and following his graduation in 1984, he danced with Donetsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater as a soloist and toured extensively throughout the USSR, Europe and United States.
In 1992 after auditioning in New York, Korygin joined and danced for four seasons with Ballet Austin. At the same time, he began designing and building costumes for the company. In 1996, Korygin finished his dancing career and assumed the position of Ballet Austin’s wardrobe master. His costumes can be seen in Stephen Mills My Wall of Names and Bolero, as well as Lambros Lambrou's Remembrances, Lady of the Camellias, Evolution of An Angel: Part II, Homecoming and Ulysses. He is also credited for his costumes in Ballet Austin's production of Fokine's Les Sylphides, Balanchine's Pas de Dix, the pas de deux from Le Corsaire, and the principal costumes for Ballet Austin's Swan Lake production.
In 1996, Ballet Austin unveiled a new production of The Nutcracker with costumes designed by Tommy Bourgeois; Korygin masterfully constructed and 40 of the new costumes, while also building all of the costumes for Not Afraid of the Dark-The Show that Glows!® in 2001. Additionally, Korygin has served as resident costume designer and co-designer for Ballet Austin’s New American Talent/Dance competition and has designed and co-designed costumes for 32 full-length and one-act ballets, while supervising costume construction and wardrobe operations for more than 100 Ballet Austin productions.
During the 2016/17 season, Korygin, who lives in Austin with his wife, Inga Lujerenko, and their son, Nikolay, will celebrate his 25th year with Ballet Austin.
Emily Cawood is in her lucky 13th season with Ballet Austin. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with focuses in acting and technical theater design from Abilene Christian University and feels very fortunate for the opportunity to have professional careers in both fields. She has also had the pleasure of designing costumes for Ballet Austin’s main company and many productions for Ballet Austin II; her favorites being Peter and the Wolf, Season of Innocence (associate designer), Greater Mass and Jennifer Hart’s Wavemakers (Austin Critics Table nomination). When not surrounded by tulle and pointe shoes, she can occasionally be found performing at Esther’s Follies, making people laugh with stand-up comedy or hosting special events for Alamo Drafthouse.
Residing in Austin, Tony Tucci has been resident lighting designer for Ballet Austin's repertory, for over 25 years and is also currently resident lighting designer/director for Ben Stevenson's Texas Ballet Theater and Bruce Wood Dance Project. Other companies: Mejia International Ballet, Washington Ballet, Houston Dance Salad, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Colorado Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet and Cirque Ziva, the Golden Dragon Acrobats. Past designs for UT Opera's include Turn of the Screw, Don Giovanni, La Curandera, Bastiene y Bastinne, Albert Herring. He's also donw work with Austin musicals such as Damn Yankees, Carousel, West Side Story, Annie, Gypsy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Music Man, Oklahoma, A Chorus Line, Carousel and Sound of Music.
Recipient of two B. Iden Payne Awards and Critics Table awards for lighting in Austin, Tony has also designed Charles Duggan's productions of Dames at Sea in San Francisco and at the Goodspeed Opera House. For 1996 Summer Olympics, he designed for the Cultural Olympiad, showcasing six national and international companies. His international works include National Ballet of Canada, Royal Danish Ballet, Winnipeg and Swedish Ballets, Hong Kong Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Ballet Contemporaneo de Caracas, Christopher Bruce's Kingdom-Geneva Ballet, Flemming Flindt's Caroline Mathilde and Lucifer's Daughter-Royal Danish Ballet.