2015 National Ballet Forum Faculty

MelissaAndersonMelissa Anderson joined DanceWorks Milwaukee in 2002 and has had enjoyed every step on this creative, expressive, and kinetic journey. She has performed in Soloist and Principal roles with companies as diverse as the Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Teatro Municipal de San Juan, Southern Ballet Theatre, and the Icelandic National Ballet, among others. Melissa’s early dance training was the Central Wisconsin School of Ballet in Wausau, Wi. She continued her studies at the Chicago City Ballet School, the Ruth Page Foundation and was a trainee with the Milwaukee Ballet and the direction of Ted Kivitt. Some of Melissa’s acclaimed roles include the dramatic title role in Donald Mahler’s The Little Mermaid, the dual role of Clara/Sugar Plum Fairy The Nutcracker, the lively French ballerina in Anthony Tudor’s Gala Performance, the virtuosi Rye and Wheat variations from Michael Smuin’s The Tempest, the playful Swanhilda in Coppelia, Cerrito in Robert Joffrey’s Pas De Deeses and the athletic pas de deux by Asaf Messerer Spring Waters and the adorable shepherdess Doll in Lisa de Ribere’s The Nutcracker.

VictoriaBarlowVictoria Barlow began her training in Rockford, IL with Janet Quilici, Ken Van Heidecke, and Joy Xu, former principal of the Shanghai ballet. During her tenure with the Rockford Dance Company, she danced soloist and principal roles and toured China, performing at the International Ballet in Bejing. She was a member of Bryant Ballet for six seasons as well as Chicago Ballet for two. As a freelance artist, Victoria has been seen in numerous productions of the Nutcracker throughout Chicagoland. She is currently in her sixth year on faculty at Dance Center Evanston and celebrating sixteen years of teaching for Dancecenter North, where she is also head of the ballet department. Her guest teaching credits include Thodos Dance Chicago and Midwest Cecchetti Council Workshops.

ValentinaBarsukovaValentina Barsukova received her Vaganova ballet training in the Ukraine beginning with the Kharkov Ballet School and graduating from Kiev Academy of Ballet. She danced professionally with the Kharkov Ballet Theatre performing in productionsincluding Sleeping Beauty, La Sylphide, Sone of the Forest, Carmen, Don Quixote, and Nutcracker. During her time as a professional dancer, Valentina furthered her studies receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Choreography and a Master’s Degree in engineering. In 1994, Valentina moved to the United States and taught for Geiger Classical Ballet Academy, and Big City Dance Center. She then taught for Juliana’s Academy of Dance staging and choreographing ballet productions including Chipollino, Doctor Dolittle and Cinderella. Her students have been accepted into residential programs—Bolshoi Ballet Academy; Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, DC; Joffrey Academy of Dance and Canada’s National Ballet School. Valentina is extremely proud of the students she’s fostered and who have gone on to work professionally in companies including Stanislavsky Theatre (Moscow), Miami City Ballet (Miami), and Complexions Contemporary Ballet (New York).

JulieCartierJulie Cartier began dancing at the age of 2, receiving most of his training at the Legein Dance Academy of Performing Arts and conventions around the New England Area. During his time at University of Buffalo, Richard performed and choreographed for the university's Zodiaque Dance Company (dir. Tom Ralabate) as well as the Zodiaque Studio Ensemble and Young Choreographers Showcases. He has apprenticed with the Lehrerdance Company, was a guest principal of the Configurations Dance Theatre, and has performed with the Pick of the Crop dance company. He has also established himself as a teacher, joining the faculty of several dance education organizations including Dance Masters of America and the Interdanza organization of Mexico. Richard participates in international hip-hop battles and has professionally busked (street performed) on street corners around the world.

BrandonKoepsellBrandon Koepsell is a native of Detroit, MI where he began his training at the age of 7 at the Turning Pointe School for the Performing Arts. After high school, he spent time performing with Companie Coline in Istre, France, where he was able to perform in several historic theaters throughout the south of France. Brandon also spent time training in Los Angeles and assisting choreographer Denise Leitner. He recently worked as the assistant choreographer on the movie set of “Oz, the Great and Powerful” where he was able to work with director Sam Raimi and actors James Franco and Mila Kunis. Brandon’s true passion is teaching and has been training and choreographing for students of all ages for the past 7 years in the areas of ballet, contemporary jazz and partnering.

JoshManculichJosh Manculich, from Windber, PA, graduated as valedictorian in 2005 and went on to pursue dance and psychology studies at Point Park University. While there, Josh was a recipient of the Conservatory’s Outstanding Graduate Award for his artistic involvement in the Pittsburgh community. He had the opportunity to perform works by Douglas Bentz, Jennifer Keller, Kiesha Lalama-White, Peter LeBreton Merz, Whitney Moncrief, Caroline Skjorshammer, and Paul Sutherland.

Joshua’s performance credits include The Pillow Project, an innovative Pittsburgh-based company under the direction of Pearl Ann Porter and JMT-JLS Productions, under the direction of The A.W.A.R.D. Show! winners Jessica Miller Tomlinson (2009) and Jacqueline Stewart (2010). While in Chicago, he danced five seasons with Thodos Dance Chicago, performed with Chicago Repertory Ballet, and in the summer of 2012, was fortunate to be a founding performance member of Pursuit Productions, an up-and-coming dance theater force, under the direction of Ahmad Simmons and Kacie Smith.

Josh’s “the rate at which i am” was toured internationally with DanceWorks Chicago - being one of six finalists in the DanceMoves Choreography Competition. This past year, in collaboration with Jacqueline Stewart, their duet “A Forgotten Rhyme” was chosen to showcase in NYC as a part of the Dance Gallery series. Other choreography ventures include, Dancing in the Parks, Western Michigan University, Piel Morena Contemporary Dance, Thodos Dance Chicago, as well as creating pieces for several Chicagoland studios. Josh has been a guest teacher for Chicago National Association Dance Masters and has taught masterclasses throughout the United States. Josh is currently pursuing his Masters of Fine Arts in Dance at the Ohio State as a recipient of the Susan Huntington Dean’s Distinguished University Fellowship.

TyneShillingfordTyne Shillingford began her dance training in Tulsa, OK and has studied on scholarship at The Ailey School and Broadway Dance Center in New York City. In 2007, Ms. Shillingford graduated with departmental honors from Webster University in St. Louis, MO with a BFA in Dance. Upon graduation, she moved to Chicago, IL where she performed with several companies and as a freelance artist. Tyne serves as the Assistant Artistic Director/ choreographer/ company member of Chicago Verge Dance Theatre. Her professional choreography has been featured at Chicago Freelance Dance and EXCHANGE Festival in Tulsa, OK where her piece Mind of Darkness received an Honorable Mention as one of the “Best of the Festival.” As an educator, Ms. Shillingford has over ten years of teaching experience, training dancers and creating award-winning choreography in ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, tap and hip-hop. Tyne currently resides in Tulsa, OK and serves as the head of the dance department at Holland Hall School.