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 30,000 individuals each year throughout Adams, Broomfield, Jefferson, Boulder and Denver Counties.
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.
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Kristi Capps began dancing at the age of nine. Her ballet training includes the School of American Ballet, Harid Conservatory, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the Hungarian State Ballet School in Budapest, Hungary. Kristi danced with Atlanta Ballet for three seasons, and in 1996, joined Cincinnati Ballet. As a principal dancer, Kristi delighted audiences in many lead roles including Swanhilda in Coppelia, Kitri in Don Quixote, Giselle in Giselle, and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. As a guest artist, she performed with many ballet companies and galas such as the International Ballet Festival of Miami, Florida, International Dance Festival in Vail, Colorado, and Stars of American Ballet in Spain. She has held guest faculty positions at Midwest Ballet Theater, The Eric Kunzel School of Creative and Performing Arts, and Northern Cincinnati Youth Ballet.
Ariel Dewitt was born and raised in Denver. At the age of 9 she began to study Ballet at Ballet Denver Academy. Denver was her home for ten years under the instruction of Rieke Maria Love and Lee Regensberger. She was accepted into the BFA Music Theatre Program at Metropolitan State University of Denver and was part of many department musicals including Cabaret, The Wizard of Oz, Parade, and played the role of Cassie in A Chorus Line. She is currently pursuing a BA in Theatre with a Dance minor from MSU. This is her third season dancing with Life/Art Dance Ensemble and her choreography will appear in their modern dance showcase in 1213. Ariel has also choreographed for Curtains Up Theatre Company for their 1212 productions of Fiddler on the Roof and The Music Man.
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.
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.
Mary Grimes is a Bay Area native, having grown up just north of San Francisco. After graduating from Scripps College in southern California with her BA in Dance, Mary returned to the Bay Area to choreograph and teach dance full time. Mary has had the opportunity to work with many internationally recognized choreographers, including Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, Molissa Fenley, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Shinichi Iova-Koga. She has also had her choreographic work presented at festivals across the country. In 2011, Mary graduated from Mills College with her Master's of Fine Arts in Dance (Performance & Choreography) where she spent much time focusing on developing an outreach program for the performing company. Mary also spends time working as a dance writer - her articles can be found in national publications such as Dance Studio Life magazine.
Diana Fantano Hoffman, originally from Huntington, New York, graduated from The Julliard School where she earned her BFA in Dance. Diana performed with several ballet and modern dance companies in New York and Virginia including Eglevsky Ballet, Contemporary Ballet Theater, Ballet Long Island and Zawacki Dance, and has worked with world-renowned artists Anna Sokolow, Anthony Tudor, Alexandra Danilova, Melissa Haydon, Edward Villella, Hector Zaraspe and David Parsons, among others. She has performed principal roles in Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Flower Festival in Genzano, Stars and Stripes and Serenade, as well as many modern and contemporary works. Diana had the pleasure of representing the United States in the International Festival of Dance Academies held in Hong Kong and Taiwan in 1986. She also appeared on the Live from Lincoln Center PBS Broadcast of Juilliard at 80, and is an award recipient of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Talent Search.
Megan trained at Sangre de Cristo Ballet Theatre under the direction of Dianna Cuatto, and graduated with honors from the University of Oklahoma in 2001 with a BFA in Ballet Performance. Prior to BNC, she danced with Corpus Christi Ballet for two years and then City Ballet of San Diego for four years. Key roles include Russian Girl in George Balanchine's Serenade, and lead roles in Apollo, Carmen and Romeo & Juliet. In 2006, Megan was involved in X International, a competition for choreographers and dancers in Moscow and NYC. Since joining BNC, Megan has performed in Garrett Ammon's Moulin Rouge, and tomorrow came, and An Occasional Dream. Megan has also performed in Ma Cong's Passion, There and Jennifer Hart's 25 Things. She plays the electric bass guitar and enjoys gardening, photography and animals. This is Megan's fifth season teaching with the School of CCD.
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 Joffery 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.
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.
Ms. Alexandra Niemeyer is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and studied at Ballet Arts Minnesota under the direction of Bonnie Mathis and Lirena Branitski. Ms. Niemeyer has spent summers training at Complexions Dance Company, Alonzo King’s LINES ballet, Boston Conservatory and New York University’s Tisch Dance. Ms. Niemeyer graduated with a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Oklahoma’s ballet pedagogy program. She performed in many productions including Rodeo as the Ranchowner’s Daughter, Balanchine’s Divertimento no. 15, Firebird, Ben Stevenson’s Sentimientos and new contemporary and modern works. After college, she joined Continental Ballet Company in Bloomington, Minnesota, where she performed soloist work in Cinderella, Nutcracker, Paquita, Les Sylphides and Swan Lake. Her Graduate work has brought many opportunities on stage in Carmina Burana, Graduation Ball, The Nutcracker, and Cinderella in the classroom teaching Understanding Dance, and behind the scenes as dance captain to Hugh Wooldridge in The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Ms. Niemeyer graduated this May as a Foundation Fellow with her Masters of Fine Arts in Dance.
Ali grew up in Tulsa, OK where she began ballet at the age of three. Growing up, she realized she wanted to pursue a professional ballet career and began training at the prestigious Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education under Melanie Nasser Jean-Richard, Sarkis Kaltachian, and Luidmilla Polonskya. Ali attended Tulsa Ballet’s Pointe to the Future summer intensive, Joffrey Ballet’s intensive in San Antonio, the University of Oklahoma’s SummerWind Youth Ballet, and received scholarships to attend both Quartz Mountain and Ballet Nouveau Colorado. Ali decided to further her education and received her BFA in Ballet Performance and her minor in Health and Exercise Science from the University of Oklahoma in May 2012. While at OU, Ali performed under the directorship of Mary Margaret Holt. She was in several original works as well as classics such as Sleeping Beauty, Graduation Ball, Les Biches, and The Nutcracker. Ali danced professionally with the Oklahoma City Ballet for the 2012-2013 season under the directorship of Robert Mills. She enjoyed dancing in The Nutcracker, Paris Rouge, Napoli Pas de Trois, and Swan Lake.
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.
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.
Sean Watson received his training from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, where he earned a BFA in Dance. After graduating from Cornish, Sean performed with Milwaukee Ballet II for 2 seasons, and in the MainStage productions of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Graduation Ball, Dracula, Scheherazade, and an excerpt of Bournonville's Conservatoire. After his 2 seasons with Milwaukee Ballet, Sean joined Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago's second company, and then continued to train on scholarship at the Lou Conte Dance Studio, home of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Sean danced with BNC for 4 seasons in works by BNC's Garrett Ammon as well as guest choreographers Alex Ketley, Maurya Kerr, Lauri Stallings, Ma Cong, Jennifer Hart, and Mark Godden. He now is back in CO teaching here at the Colorado Conservatory of Dance, and studying massage at Boulder College of Massage Therapy.
Sarah Wenzel began her dance training at Butler University’s Jordan College Academy of Dance in her hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. In high school, she furthered her training at the Virginia School of the Arts and Washington School of Ballet before finding her way to Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet in San Francisco, where she spent 7 years. She spent summers training at Boston Ballet, Washington Ballet, LINES Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Ballett Dortmund in Germany. She graduated summa cum laude from the LINES/Dominican University BFA program studying under Alonzo King, Marina Hotchkiss, Maurya Kerr, and Shirin Keyani-Rose, among others. At LINES, she was fortunate enough to perform the work of many notable choreographers including Maurya Kerr, Kara Davis, Arturo Fernandez, Gregory Dawson, Yannis Adoniou, Christian Burns, and Amanda K. Miller. She has also performed with project agora, Mudita Arts, and Amelia Eisen in San Francisco. She is a certified GYROTONIC(R) trainer and currently is pursuing her J.D. at the University of Colorado Law School.
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 Wilkinson Manley, CEO & Artistic Director
Julia Meng, Associate Director
Mary Grimes, Community Education Manager
Jeri Johnson, Development Manager
Kayanne Klipka, Office Manager
Alexandra Niemeyer, Lead Faculty
Patrick Mueller, Program & Production Coordinator
Ali Prochaska, School Support Coordinator
President, The Banff Centre
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Administrative & Operations Manager (posted July 20, 2014): Administrative Operations Manager
Ballet & Jazz Teacher (posted July 20, 2014): Ballet Jazz Teacher
Community Education Teacher (posted Aug. 15, 2014): Comm Ed 2014-15
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