2018 INSTRUCTORS

Additional instructors announced each week on the Open Doors Facebook page!

Analia Alegre-Femenias Weber is a dancer, improvisational artists and choreographer who hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She obtained her BFA in dance from New World School of the Arts and her MFA in choreography from University of Iowa. As a dancer and an architect of movement Analía looks for opportunities to bring dance to reinvented spaces for audiences to witness the endless possibilities of how art can transform the world around us. Her choreographic work has been presented in renowned spaces like 100 Grand and Judson Church in New York City as well as in Chicago, Tennessee, Miami, New Hampshire, Minneapolis, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Throughout her career Analía has performed for Robert Battle, Bill  Young, Donald McKayle, David Dorfman, Jennifer Kayle, Charlotte Adams among others. She resides in Fort Collins, Colorado where she dances with Impact Dance Company. Outside of dance Analía teaches Pilates to anybody that is looking to move better and is the owner and designer of Zochil Jewelry. She is honored to be back at Open Doors Dance Festival for another summer filled with dance.

Analia Alegre-Femenias Weber
Week 3

Autumn Eckman received her ballet training from the Houston Ballet Academy. In her performance career, Autumn had the privilege to work for companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theatre, Lucky Plush Productions, Ron De Jesus Dance and the State Street Ballet. From 2009-2014 she served as Assistant Artistic Director of Giordano Dance Chicago and Director of its second company, Giordano II. As Giordano’s Resident Choreographer, she created nine original works for the company including JOLT which was recognized by Dance Magazine as a top choreographic pick of 2012. Autumn has also served as Artist-In-Residence for State Street Ballet and choreographed for companies and organizations including DanceWorks Chicago, Visceral Dance Chicago, Big Muddy Dance Co., Wylliams-Henry Dance Company, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Kalamazoo Michigan’s Aesthetic Research and Education Program, Western Michigan University, Stephens College, Washington & Lee University, Grand Valley State University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (2013 Choreographic Fellowship recipient). Autumn is currently an artistic collaborator of The Cambrians- a global dance production network based out of Chicago. She is an Iowa Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa where she received an MFA in Choreography and is currently a Visiting Professor of Dance at the University of Arizona.

Autumn Eckman
Week 4

Lloyd Knight was born in England and reared in Miami. He has a BFA from the New World School of the Arts under Artistic Director Daniel Lewis.

Lloyd joined the Martha Graham Company in 2005, was promoted to soloist in 2009, and promoted to Principal in 2014. He has had ballets choreographed on him by Nacho Duato twice, Andonis Foniadakis, Larry Keigwin, Doug Varone, Lar Lubovitch, Klye Abraham, Liz Gerring, Michelle Dorrance, Anne Bogart, Pontus Linberg and Mats Ek.

Dance Magazine named Lloyd as one of the Top 25 Dancers to Watch in 2010. He partnered with New York City Ballet Principal Wendy Whelan in Ms. Graham's Moon Duet, and also is partnering American Ballet Theatre's Misty Copeland in a Graham duet from Letter to the World. Most recently he was selected as Best Performer of 2015 by Dance Magazine.

Lloyd Knight
Week 1

Marlayna Locklear hails from Milwaukee,WI. She began her training at the age of 12 at city ballet theatre and went on to graduate from Milwaukee High School of the Arts and University of the Arts In Philadelphia, PA with a BFA in  Ballet and Jazz. Marlayna was one of the founding members of The Milwaukee Dance Connection and has gone on to dance with Eleone Dance Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dallas Black Dance Theatre II ,  Deeply Rooted and Dayton Contemporary Dance company where she served as the company jazz and contemporary instructor as well as resident choreographer for DCDC II.  She has performed works by Christopher Huggins, Dwight Rhoden, Ron Brown, Donald Byrd, Diane McIntyre and Ray Mercer to name a few. She also has worked with members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Momix, Martha Graham Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Milwaukee Ballet, Philadanco, Koresh, Full Circle Dance Company and members of seasons 1 & 2 of So you think you can dance. 

Marlayna is a freelance artist and teaches and choreographs at Universities around the nation. She is also the founder and director of Indurance Dance Intensive. She most recently finished filming the James Franco Film "Blood Heist" and studying abroad in Italy with VIVO Ballet. Marlayna will head to Bulgaria in the Spring to work with South African choreographer Fana Tshabalala  on the INDUMBA project.

Marlayna Locklear
Week 3

Marjorie Thompson trained at the School of American Ballet and while still a student, had the honor of traveling with New York City Ballet to perform Stars and Stripes for JFK’s 1st inaugural anniversary.   At 15 she became a member of the company under Balanchine’s direction and danced with New York City Ballet at the opening of the State Theatre at Lincoln Center. The opening ballet was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, restaged for the new theatre. In addition to US, Canadian and European tours,  performing in the premiers of Variations, Pas de Deux and Divertissement, Metastaseis and Pithoprakta, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Harlequinade and Don Quixote, and over 40 ballets a season from the vast Balanchine repertoire, Marjorie performed in televised broadcasts of Balanchine’s Four Temperaments and the film version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

While still in her teens, Mr. Balanchine invited Marjorie to teach Company class for New York City Ballet. She went on to serve on the faculty of the School of American Ballet, Eliot Feld Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet and at the Grand Theatre in Geneva Switzerland, direct the School of Minnesota Dance Theatre, and direct the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School.

Before moving to Seattle and joining the faculty of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Marjorie received certification in Pilates in 1995. In 1996 she joined the faculty of Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 1997, she added on to her faculty responsibilities and became PNB’s Director of Therapy and Conditioning. In 1998, PNB opened its Pilates facility to subscribers and trustees, and PNBConditioning under Marjorie’s direction became an ongoing arm of PNB, offering supplemental Pilates training to the Dancers, Professional Division Students, Summer Course students, PNB School students and the public.

Marjorie created and produced two videos for PNB: danceWorks! starring Kari Anderson and featuring Ariana Lallone, Jeff Stanton and Maria Chapman; and Patricia Barker on Pointe Shoes.

Marjorie continues to be fascinated by ballet technique and besotted with Balanchine’s vision, teachings and choreography.

“Ballet is significant and the greatest honor in my life has been to spend my career sharing what Mr. Balanchine taught me.”

Marjorie Thompson
Ballet Week

Brandon Cournay is originally from Walled Lake, Michigan and received his BFA from The Juilliard School. As a freelance artist, Cournay has performed in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, The Chase Brock Experience, Schoen Movement Company, Dance Heginbotham, and Morphoses. TV/Film/industrial credits include PBS’ Great PerformancesMusical Chairs (HBO), Puma, Sesame Street, and Target. He has been the Associate Choreographer for My Fair Lady (Bay Street), The Wildness (Off-Broadway), Coriolanus (Off-Broadway), and I Am Anne Hutchinson/I Am Harvey Milk. After dancing with the company for seven years, Cournay continued on to become Associate Artistic Director of KEIGWIN + COMPANY. He joined MMDG as an apprentice in 2018.

Brandon Cournay
Week 1

Douglas Gillespie is a Brooklyn-based Artist, passionate in the making, teaching and embodying of dance as an art form. Gillespie is an avid dance maker, choreographing group works for Moving Current Dance Collective, Doug Varone DEVICES, and Sarasota Contemporary Dance. He has also created his own student commissions for Hillsborough Community College, Cleveland State University, University of Florida, and Santa Fe College; two of these works have premiered at American College Dance Association. In 2015 Gillespie created his first solo project Echo for Assembly Dance Theatre in Taipei, Taiwan. This project had its U.S. debut in 2016. Gillespie is an originating member and has been a creative contributor throughout Kate Weare Company’s first decade, currently serving as Guest Artist. In this role, he teaches on behalf of the company and assists on commissions. Gillespie also teaches at colleges and dance centers around the world, most recently at The Juilliard School, NYU Tisch Summer Program, Mark Morris Dance Group, and National Taiwan University of the Arts. He is on faculty at Gibney Dance Center in New York. Gillespie has performed in Punchdrunk Emursive’s Sleep No More and Third Rail Projects’ Then She Fell. Gillespie was born in San Diego, California, raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and received his BFA in Dance from Florida State University in 2005.

Douglas Gillespie
Week 2

Michel Kouakou is a choreographer and dancer originally from the Ivory Coast. He is the founder and director of Daara Dance. Michel received his MFA in Dance from Hollins University. He is the recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Dance (2012), a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for research in dance (2012), winner of a New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Fellowship (2008), and winner of the U.S. Japan Fellowship (2008) to conduct six months of research in Tokyo and Kyoto. In 2008 he was nominated for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and in 2010 and was a finalist in The A.W.A.R.D. Show in New York City and Los Angeles. Mr. Kouakou moved to New York in 2004 and subsequently to Los Angeles, where he was a lecturer at UCLA from 2009-2016. Michel is now an Assistant professor at the University of Minnesota The Twins City. He maintains an active touring and teaching schedule across the globe and continues to pursue his long-term goal of building an “artistic bridge” between his origins in the Ivory Coast and the US.

Michel Kouakou
Week 1

Louie Marin began his training at Independence High School in San Jose, CA; where he trained with Gary Masters and performed with the Jose Limon Dance Company. He then moved to Miami, FL where he attended the University of Florida New World School of the Arts, under the direction of Daniel Lewis, on full scholarship. He received his B.F.A. with High Honors in 2005. Mr. Marin was a scholarship student of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance and Jennifer Muller/The Works School. He has performed with Dance Now! Miami, Freddik Bratcher and Co., Sasha Soreff Dance Theater, Amanda Selwyn Dance Theater, Paskal Rekoert/ Flexicurve, and Graham II.

Louie has taught regionally and nationally and is known for classes that explore the power, breath and speed of Dorfman technique and the demands of her repertory. Louie is also a certified Pilates Mat and Apparatus Instructor. He received his certification from The Lab in Brooklyn, NY, under the direction of Master teacher Lawson Harris. He loves sharing his passion for Pilates; especially with other dancers. He is the resident Pilates Instructor for NJ SummerDance at Kean University in Union, NJ, and has taught Pilates at the Brandeis Institute of Music and Arts (BIMA) in Waltham, MA. Louie believes that Pilates is the Technique to the Technique; there must be a balance of strength and flexibility in order to achieve maximum stability and grace. Mr. Marin joined Carolyn Dorfman Dance in 2009.

Louie Marin
Week 3

  Wendy Whelan  began her dance training at the age of 3 and went on to spend 30 years with New York City Ballet, with 23 of those years as principal dancer. She has danced virtually every major Balanchine role and worked closely with Jerome Robbins on many of his ballets. She originated leading roles in works by such notable choreographers as William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, Alexei Ratmansky, and Christopher Wheeldon. Wendy has been a guest artist with The Royal Ballet and the Kirov Ballet and has performed on nearly every major stage across the globe. She received the Dance Magazine Award in 2007, and in 2009 was given a Doctorate of Arts, honoris causa, from Bellarmine University. In 2011, she received both The Jerome Robbins Award and a Bessie Award for her Sustained Achievement in Performance.     Since 2013, Wendy has been developing her own independent projects including  Restless Creature  and  Some Of A Thousand Words  both co-produced by The Joyce Theater Productions,  Whelan/Watson Other Stories  co-produced by London's Royal Opera House and  Hagoromo , self-produced for the 2015 BAM Next Wave Festival.  Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan  was released in movie theaters across the country last summer. The film recently won the Chita Rivera Award for Best Dance Documentary. It's available on iTunes and Amazon. 

Wendy Whelan began her dance training at the age of 3 and went on to spend 30 years with New York City Ballet, with 23 of those years as principal dancer. She has danced virtually every major Balanchine role and worked closely with Jerome Robbins on many of his ballets. She originated leading roles in works by such notable choreographers as William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, Alexei Ratmansky, and Christopher Wheeldon. Wendy has been a guest artist with The Royal Ballet and the Kirov Ballet and has performed on nearly every major stage across the globe. She received the Dance Magazine Award in 2007, and in 2009 was given a Doctorate of Arts, honoris causa, from Bellarmine University. In 2011, she received both The Jerome Robbins Award and a Bessie Award for her Sustained Achievement in Performance. 
 

Since 2013, Wendy has been developing her own independent projects including Restless Creature and Some Of A Thousand Words both co-produced by The Joyce Theater Productions, Whelan/Watson Other Stories co-produced by London's Royal Opera House and Hagoromo, self-produced for the 2015 BAM Next Wave Festival. Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan was released in movie theaters across the country last summer. The film recently won the Chita Rivera Award for Best Dance Documentary. It's available on iTunes and Amazon. 

Wendy Whelan
Ballet Week

Born and raised in New York City, Gregory Dolbashian made his professional stage debut at the age of eight with the Glimmerglass Opera Company and in the Philip Glass/Robert Wilson world tour of Einstein on the Beach. Gregory received his dance training at the Alvin Ailey School, before graduating cum laude from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Awards include the Bessie Schoenberg Residency at The Yard, winner of Northwest Dance Project’s Pretty Creatives Competition and the Hubbard Street 2 International Choreographic Competition, second place in Ballet Austin’s New American Talent competition, and the audience prize at DanceNOW at Joe’s Pub in 2014 and again in 2017. Company commissions include Atlanta Ballet, TU Dance in Minnesota, Zenon Dance Company, Ballet Austin, LA Contemporary Dance Company, Hubbard Street 2, City Dance Ensemble in D.C., Dark Circles Contemporary Dance in Dallas, and Northwest Dance Project in Portland, Oregon. Gregory has also received commissions from ADF as a featured choreographer in the Footprints Program and has also created multiple works for principals and soloists at American Ballet Theatre, including Jeffrey Cirio, Daniil Simkin, and Hee Seo, all premiering at the Joyce Theater and Great Mountains Music Festival in Soul, Korea. College commissions include SUNY Purchase, Fordham/Ailey, LIU, NYU Tisch, and the Juilliard School. He debuted his own company, the DASH Ensemble, in December 2010 at Joyce SoHo. The company has gone on to perform at the Skirball Center, New York Live Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, Riverside Theater, Dance at Bryant Park, Summer Stage Central Park, the Joyce Theater, the Agnes Varis Lab for Performance at Gibney 890, the Dimenna Center for Music at Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Sheen Center, NYU’s Jack Crystal Theater, and the Guggenheim Works and Process Series. The company has also been on tour throughout various cities in the U. S. and abroad, including Pennsylvania presented by DanceNOW, North Carolina presented by UNC Wilmington, and most recently California competing in The McCallum Choreographic Competition. The DASH also premiered DAYWALKING, a film at New York’s Tribeca Cinemas in collaboration with fashion film director Charlie Wan. Gregory also teaches workshops and intensives all over the country at universities, companies, and competitive studios. As a soloist and performer, Gregory’s solo work was presented at American Dance Festival in his one man show Awkward Magic. In addition to his choreography, Gregory, alongside Loni Landon, is the co-founder of The Playground, a choreographic initiative that was recognized as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2013.

Gregory Dolbashian
Week 4

Ramona Kelley is from Berkeley, CA where she began her training at Berkeley Ballet Theater. She went on to earn a BFA in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she performed in works by William Forsyth and Ronald K Brown. Ramona danced the principal role of ‘Betsy’ in the touring production of Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away and went on to dance with the Tharp company creating new roles in addition to performing repertory works. She is a principal guest artist with Oakland Ballet where she has danced works by Graham Lustig, Jose Limon, and Robert Moses. Ramona has also performed with Minnesota Dance Theatre, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance, Claudia Schreier and Co, Post:Ballet, Sidra Bell, and Phantom of the Opera (25th Anniversary Tour) among others. She has has taught master classes in Tharp technique across the country and is on the summer ballet faculty at NYU’s Tisch Dance.

Ramona Kelley
Week 2

Born in Chicago, Illinois.  Joseph Kudra began his training at the age of nine at the American Dance Center under the direction of Jack and Kathleen Villari.  He has worked with River North Chicago Dance Company, DanceWorks Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theatre, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, BODYTRAFFIC, Ate9 Dance Company, and most recently with Aszure Barton & Artists.  Kudra has performed works by choreographers such as Danielle Agami, Aszure Barton, Robert Battle, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Alexander Ekman, Andonis Foniadakias, Emanuel Gat, Johan Inger, Jiri Kylian, Anton Lachky, Arthur Pita, Crystal Pite, Victor Quijada, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Hofesh Shechter, Richard Siegel, and Jo Stromgren.  Joseph joined Eastman - Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the Royal Ballet Flanders in 2017.

Joseph Kudra
Week 2

  Grace Snider  began her ballet training at age six at the School of Colorado Ballet in Denver. She continued her training at the American Ballet School in San Diego before being accepted in Houston Ballet Academy on full scholarship in 1990. After two years of training in the academy, Grace was invited to join Houston Ballet by Ben Stevenson at age 16; making her the youngest company dancer in Houston Ballet's 50-year history. In 1997, Grace joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, where she danced for two seasons before retiring from her performing career in 1999. Grace began teaching ballet at Pittsburgh Youth Ballet under the direction of Jean Gedeon. She then moved to Iowa and accepted a teaching position with the University of Iowa Dance Forum in 2001. Grace was promoted to lead instructor for advanced levels in 2002, and then to Director of UI Youth Ballet program in 2003.  She joined the Nolte Academy of Dance in 2007, bringing her impeccable training and proven ability to bring ballet students along to the highest classical standards.  In addition to her position on the Nolte faculty, Grace has worked as a rehearsal assistant with the Balanchine Trust, and Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, and enjoys guest teaching engagements with the Houston Ballet.

Grace Snider began her ballet training at age six at the School of Colorado Ballet in Denver. She continued her training at the American Ballet School in San Diego before being accepted in Houston Ballet Academy on full scholarship in 1990. After two years of training in the academy, Grace was invited to join Houston Ballet by Ben Stevenson at age 16; making her the youngest company dancer in Houston Ballet's 50-year history. In 1997, Grace joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, where she danced for two seasons before retiring from her performing career in 1999. Grace began teaching ballet at Pittsburgh Youth Ballet under the direction of Jean Gedeon. She then moved to Iowa and accepted a teaching position with the University of Iowa Dance Forum in 2001. Grace was promoted to lead instructor for advanced levels in 2002, and then to Director of UI Youth Ballet program in 2003.  She joined the Nolte Academy of Dance in 2007, bringing her impeccable training and proven ability to bring ballet students along to the highest classical standards.  In addition to her position on the Nolte faculty, Grace has worked as a rehearsal assistant with the Balanchine Trust, and Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, and enjoys guest teaching engagements with the Houston Ballet.

Grace Snider
Weeks 1-4 & Ballet Week