About Colorado Conservatory of Dance
Colorado Conservatory of Dance serves more than 400 students per year and is committed to every student regardless of age, ability, aspiration, or socio-economic status. Under the guidance of Julia Wilkinson Manley since 2002, the school is highly respected for providing a nurturing and professional environment for students from pre-school through adult.
CCD students regularly win top honors at area ballet competitions and gain entry into some of the nation's most respected college dance programs and summer intensives. CCD provides its students with high-quality performance experiences that include a year-end Gala performance and CCD’s annual production of The Nutcracker, which brings students together with the professional company. The school's Student Company gives upper level students a pre-professional company experience that includes community education performances and culminates in an annual production at the end of each school year. The School of CCD also provides a summer intensive program and summer classes.
CCD has developed its own teaching syllabus. Our syllabus is based on a mixture of the English RAD system, the Italian Cecchetti method, and the French system (the first syllabus made for ballet). We teach a "neutral" technique that builds a great deal of strength and versatility, so that our student dancers will be able to adapt to any diversity they encounter in the professional dance world. In our more advanced levels, students study Pilates, Modern dance, Jazz, and Composition (another word for choreography), as well as their regular ballet and pointe classes. These classes work together to build kinesthetically healthy, diverse dancers.
The Colorado Conservatory of Dance provides the highest quality dance education in both classical and contemporary styles. Colorado Conservatory of Dance uses dance to foster community, create positive influence and inspire the individual.
The Colorado Conservatory of Dance will be a responsible and stable national model of excellence in dance education, health & wellness, and non-profit management.
With direction, purpose, and intent, the Colorado Conservatory of Dance creates a healthy and generous environment where students, parents and community members are nurtured and encouraged to develop their most creative and fulfilled selves. We responsibly pursue our mission with high standards and high expectations. We value mentorship and partnership, and we believe that dance should be available and accessible to all.
Formerly known as Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Colorado Conservatory of Dance was founded in 1992 to fill a need for quality ballet training and educational dance programs in Denver's north metro community. The National Guild for Community Arts Education certified these quality programs in 1999. As the organization grew, the public’s desire and need for accessible dance performances became apparent and drove the school, then known as BNC, to establish a professional company in 2002 with a small group of dancers presenting performances at local theaters. Later that year, the Colorado State House of Representatives recognized BNC with a resolution for its contributions to the state through professional performances, educational programs and community involvement. In 2003, CCD implemented its ongoing Title I Elementary Partnership Program, which helps high-need schools strengthen core curricula through the integration of dance. Our Community Education Programs now reach over 15,000 individuals each year throughout Adams, Broomfield, Jefferson, Boulder and Denver Counties.
Julia Wilkinson Manley - CEO & Artistic Director
Julia Wilkinson Manley began her training with Cristina Munro (London Festival Ballet, Eliot Feld) in Corpus Christi, Texas. Julia attended the Boston Ballet Centre for Dance Education and the Houston Ballet Academy. At the University of Oklahoma, she earned a BFA in ballet pedagogy and danced soloist roles in Balanchine’s Serenade, Miguel Terekhov’s Four Moons, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker as Sugar Plum Fairy, as well as numerous solo roles choreographed for her by Mary Margaret Holt (Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet). She toured with Ballet Ireland under the direction of Günther Falüsy, and performed with David Taylor Dance Theatre and Ballet Nouveau Colorado. Her choreographic work has been performed by numerous companies, including Corpus Christi Ballet, David Taylor Dance Theatre and Ballet Nouveau Colorado.
In 2009, she served on the committee to rewrite the Colorado Academic Standards for Dance for the Colorado Department of Education and is currently the Mountain Chapter Chair of the National Guild of Community Arts Education.
Danny Ryan - Associate Artistic Director
Danny Ryan began his professional training with Rafael Delgado in his hometown of Milwaukee (WI) before moving to New York City to further his studies with teacher and mentor John Magnus at the Joffrey Ballet School. He then went on to enjoy a career with the Louisville Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater and Wonderbound. At home in both classical and contemporary techniques, Mr. Ryan’s repertoire includes works by Ben Stevenson O.B.E., George Balanchine, Val Caniparoli, Twyla Tharp, Trey McIntyre and Agnes de Mille, in addition to world premieres by Adam Hougland, Graham Lustig, Lauri Stallings and Garrett Ammon. In the spring of 2013, Danny was invited by John Malashock, Artistic Director of Malashock Dance, to perform the title role of Chagall: A New Dance Musical, which the company workshopped and performed at the La Jolla Playhouse in California. Mr. Ryan has also appeared as a guest artist in England, Canada and throughout the United States. Mr. Ryan has taught and choreographed extensively across the country with the Kansas City Ballet School, Texas Ballet Theater School, Portland Festival Ballet and the Louisiana Delta Ballet. Danny now also serves on the Dance Faculty for the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, reaching students from 45 Alaskan Communities, 20 states, and 3 countries. Danny gratefully acknowledges all who have influenced his dance and teaching career, specifically John Magnus, Rafael Delgado, Ben Stevenson O.B.E. and Adam McKinney.
Julianna (Juls) Bicki began her training with the International Ballet School, before continuing on to train with Zamuel Ballet School, Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts, and Ballet Society of Colorado Springs. While attending Walnut Hill on full scholarship, Ms. Bicki had the honor of performing at Carnegie Hall in 2008. She has twice won first place at the annual Esther Geoffrey Young Dancers Competition, and has won both fourth and fifth place at the Denver Ballet Guild Competition. Professionally, Julianna has danced with Texas Ballet Theater under the directorship of Ben Stevenson O.B.E., Colorado Jazz Dance Company, Ballet Frontier (Texas), Owen/Cox Dance Group (Kansas City, MO), Napoles Dance Theater (San Francisco), and Arc Dance Company (Seattle). She is currently a dancer with the Boulder Ballet and directs the ballet program at Kemper Dance Academy in Colorado Springs.
Elona's dance training is nationwide. She has trained with Alvin Ailey Summer Program, Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop, Milwaukee Ballet School, David Taylor Dance Theatre, and many others. Elona received her B.F.A. in Dance Studies at the Missouri State University. Elona has taught throughout the Denver metro area. This is Elona's fifth season with the School of CCD.
Colby began his dance training in Fargo, ND at 15. He attended summer programs on full scholarship with Milwaukee Ballet, Boston Ballet, Queen City Ballet, and River North Chicago Dance Company. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Arizona in 2008 with a BFA in dance. Since graduating, Colby has danced professionally at Ballet Nouveau Colorado and Wonderbound for 7 seasons. He has also been a principle artist with Central City Opera, and has worked with choreographers such as Ma Cong, Mark Godden, Alex Ketley, Maurya Kerr, and Danny Pelzig. Colby is excited to join the Colorado Conservatory of Dance faculty this year.
Camcie began her dance training in 1980 with Mme Halina Lutomski (Elmira, NY) where she studied ballet and ethnic dance. From 1991-2002 she studied under Master Rafael Grigorian. She additionally studied under Danita Schiff and Richard Lee and at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under Marcia Dale Weary. From 1995-2002, Camcie was the principal ballerina in the Rafael Grigorian Ballet Theatre (Binghamton, NY) and danced with Ballet Nouveau Colorado from 2002-2006. She appeared in the principal roles of many ballets, including Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Baba Yaga, Cipollino, and The Nutcracker and was featured in the off-Broadway production of Mark Twain – The Musical. Camcie has been teaching ballet and character dance since 1991, and was Assistant Director and Choreographer for the Rafael Grigorian Ballet Theatre for eight years. She holds a BA in Russian Studies from CU Boulder and she has her Pilates teaching certificate from the prestigious Pilates Center of Boulder.
Patrick Mueller grew up in Lakewood, Colorado and studied dance, theatre, and visual arts at Pomona College in Claremont, CA. He recently earned an MFA in Dance at the Hollins University / American Dance Festival shared program. Patrick has been a company member with Troika Ranch Dance Theatre (New York), Ben J. Riepe Company (Germany), and Mancopy Danse Kompagni (Denmark), touring extensively through out North America, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2008 he founded Control Group Productions, a dance-theatre company that creates innovative new works and also regularly presents other local and touring artists. Control Group’s 2010 Demolition Queens received strong popular and critical attention and was remounted several times by various local events presenters. Salon Romantik, opus 1: Wanderers in the Sea of Fog (2012) toured to North Carolina for performances at the American Dance Festival.
Karen's passion for dance/movement has kept her happily in the dance scene since she was a little girl. She studied ballet with Evelyn LeMone, Wilson Morelli, Yasuki Sasa, Margaret Craske, Antony Tudor, El Gabriel and Larry Rosenberg and modern with Betty Jones, Viola Farber, Jeff Slayton. She earned a BA in dance from UCLA, an MA from Ohio State University where her focus was modern and dance history. Karen has taught various levels of ballet and modern at Univ. of Nebraska (Omaha), University of Hawaii, Brooklyn College, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Cal State University Long Beach, American Dance, San Luis Obispo, as well as summer dance intensives in Sun Valley, ID and Anaheim Ballet, CA. Before moving to Colorado in 2007, Karen was a professor at Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA where for 24 years she taught ballet, modern, and was Dance Department Chair for 17 years. Karen is a certified Pilates and GYROTONIC® instructor and has her own studio Jasper Peak Pilates in Lafayette.
Meredith trained with Chamberlain School of the Performing Arts and attended summer programs on full scholarship at School of American Ballet, Houston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballet Austin. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the celebrated Jacob’s School of Music at Indiana University, where she earned a B.S. in Ballet Performance and an Outside Field in Comparative Literature. In college, under the guidance of Violette Verde and Julie Kent, Meredith performed noted roles such as Choleric in George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments and the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. She joined Ballet Nouveau Colorado and was quickly nominated for the prestigious Princess Grace Award. As a founding member of Wonderbound, Ms. Strathmeyer danced leading roles in Garrett Ammon’s and tomorrow came, Love of My Life, Moulin Rouge, Bang Bang, An Occasional Dream and Winter as well as world premiere works by Ma Cong, Maurya Kerr, Alex Ketley, Amy Seiwert, Lauri Stallings and Sarah Tallman. Ms. Strathmeyer has premiered several original works as a founding choreographer and dancer for the Denver based Industrial Project (2011, 2013, 2014), as well as pieces for Colorado Conservatory of Dance, Belliston Academy and Sangre de Cristo Arts Center. Meredith is also a certified Pilates Instructor through PMA and Stott Pilates, and offers privates through the Karen Shanley Pilates Studio. This is her ninth year teaching at the school, and she is so pleased to be a part of CCD’s incredible dance community.
Heather has been dancing since the age of 3 and at 15 began dancing professionally with Chambers Ballet Company under the artistic direction of Russell Chambers. Heather has also been a guest artist with Commonwealth Civic Ballet, City Ballet Cooperative and Margot Parson's Dance Company. While performing, teaching dance classes and directing the student company she graduated from Bridgewater State College with a BA in Special Physical Education with a concentration in motor development. Heather moved to Colorado in 1999 to attend Naropa University where she received an MA in Somatic Psychology and she is currently a registered dance movement therapist. Heather began teaching at Ballet Nouveau Colorado in 2011 and has been involved in the planning and implementing of the Ballet Expressions program which provides outreach and movement education to children with physical and developmental disabilities. Heather is also excited to be participating in Project: Generations, an outreach program that will be bringing movement education and cross generational artistic collaboration to older adults in the community.
Garrett Ammon is an acclaimed choreographer who began his tenure as artistic director of Ballet Nouveau Colorado (BNC) in 2007. Since that time, BNC has garnered national attention and praise for its daring work, including being named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" (2009). Ammon was also recently honored as a Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Livingston Fellow (2011).
Dawn Fay was named Associate Artistic Director of Ballet Nouveau Colorado in 2007. Her acclaimed professional career spanned more than twenty years and included being named one of Dance Magazine’s "25 to Watch" for 2007. Fay is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts. She began her professional career at Ballet Oklahoma and went on to dance with Miami City Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders and Ballet Memphis.
Julia Meng was born and raised in California and has been dancing from a very young age. She trained under Maria Vegh (Harkness House NYC) as well as at the Joffrey Ballet and American Repertory Ballet before accepting an apprenticeship with the Colorado Ballet in 1998. Julia has also danced with David Taylor Dance Theater (Dawson Wallace Dance Project), Boulder Ballet, Apex Contemporary Ballet, guest artist Oklahoma Ballet, but spent the majority of her career at Ballet Nouveau Colorado. She has had the pleasure to work with many contemporary choreographers including Garrett Ammon, Alex Kettley, Laurie Stallings, Amy Siewert, Sarah Tallman, and Robert Mills. Julia has also created work for Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Industrial Project, and Dance Found. She recently retired from her performing career to spend more time with her growing family.
Director/Owner SSDI Ballet Inc.
Former Executive Director and Ballet Master Gulfshore Ballet, Fort Myers, Florida
Former Ballet Master and Principal Teacher, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Director, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School
Mr. Munoz has been teaching and coaching young dancers for 30 years both in the USA and abroad. Before his tenure with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Mr. Munoz was Director of the Conservatory of Dance and Music Point Park College University. There he created two very successful programs for young aspiring dancers, The Pre-Professional Division and International Summer Dance Program. During this time he assembled an impressive faculty of world-renowned Master Teachers, including Laura Alonso, Magda Aunon, Haidee Gutierrez, Karen Brown and Eva Evdokimova. Mr. Munoz’ former students are recognized for their high level of professionalism as well as their artistic and technical achievements and most have gone on to successful careers with major companies across the U.S.
As a principal dancer with Houston Ballet under Ben Stevenson O.B.E. for over a decade, Dominic Walsh danced all around the globe and received national and international praise for his interpretations of both classical and contemporary roles. He has danced all the classics such as Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo & Juliet, and Manon and appeared with major starts, including Nina Ananiashivili and Alessandra Ferri. Walsh burst onto the choreographic scene when he won the Choo-San Goh Award in 1998. He won a second Choo-San Goh Award in 2007 and received a 2008 Princess Grace Award. In 2012 he was inducted into the Fox Valley, Il Hall of Fame. He has staged and/or created works in Tokyo, Naples, Italy, Chicago, Nashville, Sarasota, London, and New York, and also served as Resident Choreographer of Sarasota Ballet of Florida. He won “audience choice” for Ballet Austin’s 2010 New American Talent Choreographic Competition and was a winner of Hubbard Street 2’s 2010 Choreographic Competition. In 2002, Walsh founded Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. The company holds the repertoire of Jiri Kylian, Mats Ek, Matthew Bourne, Mauro Bigonzetti and Walsh, and recently made their Joyce Theater debut in August 2013 with great success. Walsh is regularly invited to work with companies and academies throughout the world as a guest teacher and coach for both classical and contemporary classes and repertoire.
Julia Wilkinson Manley, CEO & Artistic Director
Danny Ryan, Associate Artistic Director
Juls Bicki, Lead Faculty & Front Desk Supervisor
Kristen Manning, Conservatory Manager
Rachel Long, Communications Coordinator
Sue Sakai, Costume Supervisor
Lisa Beauchamp, Board Treasurer
Heather Drake, Board Member
Billy Long, Board Vice Chairman
Les Madson, Board Member
Joleen Polk, Board Secretary
Cindy Ward, Board Chairperson
Brad Warkins, Board Member
President, The Banff Centre
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Colorado Conservatory of Dance has been providing exceptional community programming and education since 1992. Our community programs reach over 14,000 individuals each year, and include full-time partnerships with four Title I elementary schools and extensive lecture demonstrations throughout the season.
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