Over the years, the faculty of the School of Dance has trained thousands of versatile dancers who fill the ranks of dance companies worldwide. The faculty of distinguished dance professionals works individually and collectively with students to provide a strong technical foundation and a total dance environment of performance experience and creative opportunities. Dance students receive personal advice and attention from their instructors. Members of the highly qualified faculty choreograph, stage works and assist guest artists in preparing students for more than 40 performances a year. This sharing of the creative process, combined with the best in traditional and contemporary training, represents a strong commitment to the development of students’ artistic and personal growth.
Susan Jaffe, Dean of Dance
Declared by the New York Times as “America’s Quintessential American Ballerina” Susan Jaffe was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre for 20 years, a career which began in 1980. Prominent in the international dance scene as well, her European engagements included performances with The Royal Ballet, The Kirov Ballet, The Stuttgart Ballet, The Munich State Opera Ballet, La Scala Ballet in Milan, The Vienna State Opera Ballet, The Royal Danish Ballet, The Royal Swedish Ballet, and The English National Ballet. Ms. Jaffe’s versatility as a dancer allowed her to tackle a large range of choreographic works which included her acclaimed interpretations of the classics like Swan Lake, as well as the dramatic works of John Cranko, Antony Tudor, Agnes de Mille and Kenneth MacMillian. She also worked with and danced the works of many prominent choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Twyla Tharp, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Lar Lubovitch, Nacho Duato, Glen Tetley, James Kudelka, Roland Petit, David Parsons, Mark Morris, Merce Cunningham, Ronald Hynd, Frederick Ashton, Ulysses Dove and Lynn Taylor Corbett.
In 2003, Ms. Jaffe co-founded the Princeton Dance & Theatre Studio in Princeton, New Jersey. In 2004 Ms. Jaffe expanded into choreography. Her original creations for the school include a full-length version of “The Nutcracker,” “Pop Sonata,” "Ballet Studies," "Tarantella," "Glass Cuts," "Carnival of the Animals," and the “Cancan.” In 2005 Ms. Jaffe co-founded DanceVision Inc. a not for profit outreach and Youth Company in Princeton New Jersey.
Ms. Jaffe choreographed contemporary works for Texas Christian University in 2008 and 2012, and Princeton University in 2010. Her works for professional companies include: Lemon Spongecake Contemporary Ballet, Meditations UnCaged, Configurations Dance Theater, Novem Pas de Deux, Velez Pas de Deux, and Royenne Pas de Deux. In the 2009 Gala for Youth America Grand Prix Sognato Pas de Deux was created for Isabella Boylston and Blaine Hoven of American Ballet Theatre. The year 2011 brought We Insist for the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School of American Ballet Theater, a ballet later performed by the Studio Company of ABT in their 2011-12 season, along side of the new A Tango Pas de Deux. On the opening night 2012 gala of American Ballet Theatre, Ms. Jaffe created Blue Pas de Deux for Veronika Part and Thomas Forster. In the spring of 2013 Ms. Jaffe choreographed a newly envisioned Polovtsian Dances for UNCSA, which was performed in Chapel Hill for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Rite of Spring. In September 2013 Ms. Jaffe will choreograph a new ballet for Company C Contemporary Ballet Company.
Ms. Jaffe’s written publications include Becoming a Ballerina, a children’s book published in 2003.
On December 18th 2010, she received an Honorary Doctorate from Texas Christian University.
Ms. Jaffe taught corporate lectures on Excellence in conjunction with Duke Corporate Education for Lehman Brothers, and PriceWaterHouseCoopers.
She joined the roster of American Ballet Theatre once again as a Ballet Master from 2010-2012 until her appointment as Dean of Dance of UNCSA in August of 2012.
Brenda Daniels, Associate Dean
Brenda Daniels holds the Betsy Friday Distinguished Professorship in Contemporary Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She joined the faculty at UNCSA in 1995, became the Assistant Dean for Contemporary Dance in 2004, Interim Dean in 2011, and Associate Dean in 2012. She received the UNCSA Teaching Excellence Award in 1999 and again in 2008. Ms. Daniels is also on the summer faculty of the American Dance Festival. She was artistic director of her own company, Brenda Daniels Dance Company, from 1985-1995. The company presented annual seasons in New York, and toured in the United States and Europe. Ms. Daniels is a recipient of choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her choreography has been commissioned by Lincoln Center, The Joyce Theater, St. Mark’s Church, and theatres throughout Germany and the Netherlands. Performance credits include Ton Simons and Dancers, Mel Wong, Ellen Cornfield, Shelley Lee, Douglas Dunn, William Douglas, Bill Young, and the Palindrome Dance Company. Teaching credits include the Merce Cunningham Studio (1985-1995), Purchase College, Hollins University, UNC-Greensboro, Wake Forest University, Harvard Summer Dance Center, Cornish College, Texas Christian University, Stephens College, Sam Houston State University, Connecticut College, California State University at Long Beach, Vassar, Brigham Young, and the Rotterdam Dance Academy. Brenda Daniels has earned a B.F.A. in Dance from Purchase College and an M.F.A. in Dance from Hollins University. Ms. Daniels joined UNCSA School of Dance in 1995.
Jared Redick, Assistant Dean, Ballet
Jared Redick was raised in Reston, Virginia where he began his ballet training with his mother Julia Redick at Conservatory Ballet. He studied at (University of) North Carolina School of the Arts, Mikhail
Baryshnikov’s School of Classical Ballet and the School of American Ballet. Mr. Redick began his performance career with San Francisco Ballet and danced with Texas Ballet Theater, Miami City Ballet and The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, before joining Boston Ballet where he danced for seven years as a soloist. With Boston Ballet, Mr. Redick was featured in works including John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, Onegin and The Taming of the Shrew, Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, Rubies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty, Jorma Elo’s Plan to B, and Sir Frederick Ashton’s La
Fille Mal Gardee. Following his retirement in 2009, Redick continued his work with Boston Ballet as Principal of Boston Ballet School’s South Shore studio in Norwell, MA. Mr. Redick has extensive teaching experience with Boston Ballet School, Orlando Ballet School, Yale University, Syracuse University Summer Dance Intensive, and Suzanne Farrell’s Cedar Island Program. In January 2011, Mr. Redick was appointed Artistic Director of New Haven Ballet and he was appointed Associate Fellow of Pierson College Yale University
in 2012. He is also the recipient of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts award for exceptional artistic achievement. Mr. Redick joined UNCSA School of Dance in 2013.
Sean Sullivan, Assistant Dean, Contemporary
Sean Sullivan has been a faculty member of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts Contemporary Dance Program since 1998. A former dancer with the Limón Dance Company from 1991 – 1996, Sean continues to serve the Limón Institute as a teacher and reconstructor of Limón repertory. For the UNCSA School of Dance, he has staged and directed José Limón’s masterworks The Unsung, A Choreographic Offering, and Concerto Grosso, and has choreographed 10 of his own dances. He has twice received the UNCSA Excellence in Teaching Award, and in 2010 received a UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. Sean has been an active participant in UNCSA’s shared governance as a member of the Faculty Council for 6 years, and as the Chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee for 4 years. For the North Carolina community, Sean has served the North Carolina Arts Council as a dance panelist and site evaluator. He was a board member and vice-president of the North Carolina Dance Alliance for 4 years. Sean holds a BFA from California State University at Long Beach, and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. He has been married to his beautiful wife B.J. since 1995. Together they have a lovely 4-year-old daughter named Lennon. Mr. Sullivan joined UNCSA School of Dance in 1998.
Trish Casey, Contemporary
A graduate of (University of) North Carolina School of the Arts (BFA) and New York University/Tisch School of the Arts (MFA). She danced with the companies of Pauline Koner, Don Redlich and Marcia Plevin. Her teaching credits span universities, conservatories, companies and dance organizations in the United States and Australia. She has directed creativity-based workshops for dance educators, choreographers and professional dancers in New Mexico, Texas and North Carolina. Special projects include “A Dance Gathering” in Dallas, Texas, which continues to serve as an annual event, hosting professionals’ work from around the country and most recently “Thinking, Making, Doing Together” , a choreographic intensive for dance artists in collaboration with members of the Bill T./Arnie Zane Dance Company. Surrendering in a Champion’s World, a dance film, choreographed and co-directed by Ms. Casey, received an award at the RiverRun International Film Festival in 2003 and was an entry in the 2004 Santa Fe Film Festival. In 1997 and 2005, Ms. Casey was the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award at UNCSA. In May of 2005, she was the recipient of the distinguished UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence. She has studied Body-Mind Centering with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Ideo-kinesis with Andre Bernard and continued professional development in the area of Neuromuscular Anatomy with Irene Dowd. She is currently working on certification in Healing Touch. Ms. Casey joined UNCSA School of Dance in 1989.
Fanchon Cordell, Ballet
Fanchon Cordell grew up in North Palm Beach, Fla., where she studied under Joan Miller. At the age of 18, she moved to New York City, where she received a full traineeship at Harkness Ballet and studied under David Howard and Maria Vegh. She began her professional career with Ballet Repertory Company and Eglevsky Ballet. As a member of American Ballet Theatre, she performed soloist roles in such ballets as Swan Lake, Giselle and Concerto and has worked with choreographers Balanchine, Baryshnikov, de Mille, Tetley, Tudor, and Tharp. Ms. Cordell has received an UNCSA Excellence in Teaching Award and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Wake Forest University. Ms. Cordell joined UNCSA School of Dance in 1983.
Dayna Fox, Ballet
From 1977 through 1985, Dayna Fox was a featured dancer with the North Carolina Dance Theater, having performed extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe including appearances at The Kennedy Center; Brooklyn Academy of Music; the American Dance Festival; the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C.; and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. During her tenure, Ms. Fox performed soloist and principal roles in an eclectic repertoire including such works as Aiello’s Piano Concerto #1; Balanchine’s Pas de Dix, Allegro Brilliant, and Scotch Symphony; Bournonville’s Napoli; Driver’s Resettings; and Nebrada’s Pentimento. Ms. Fox holds a BFA in Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and currently serves as the director of the School of Dance’s Preparatory Program, a position she has held since 1989. Ms. Fox joined UNCSA School of Dance Ballet Faculty in 2008.
Laura Martin, Ballet
Laura Martin was trained primarily at The Washington School of Ballet under the direction of Mary Day, with summer training at The Joffrey School, and The Chautauqua Institute. She went on to join The Washington Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, where she danced the works of choreographers such as Balanchine, Tudor, DeMille, Tharp, Taylor, and Graham, as well as most of the classical ballets. Following ABT, she was invited to join the Broadway cast of the Phantom of the Opera. She has taught at many studios around the country, including Princeton Dance and Theater Studio, Ballet Academy East, The Washington School of Ballet, Piedmont School of Music and Dance, and at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In addition to teaching ballet, she is a certified yoga teacher at the 200-hour level. Mrs. Martin joined UNCSA School of Dance in 2010.
Frank Smith, Ballet
Born in Hamlet, N.C., Frank Smith studied at UNCSA from 1965-69. Awarded a full scholarship to the School of American Ballet, where studied with Andre Eglevsky, Alexandra Danilova and Stanley Williams. Joined American Ballet Theatre in 1970, dancing leading roles in ballets by de Mille, Tudor, Robbins, Balanchine, Baryshnikov, and Makarova. Promoted to the rank of soloist in 1976 and remained with American Ballet Theatre until 1983. Has been acclaimed for performances of roles such as Pat Garrett in Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid and as Hilarion in the American Ballet Theatre’s Giselle. Performed many principal character roles in the full-length classical ballets. Appeared in the film THE TURNING POINT and has done numerous television specials. Mr. Smith is a 2008 recipient of UNCSA’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Mr. Smith joined UNCSA School of Dance in 1983.
Misha Tchoupakov, Ballet
Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, Mr. Tchoupakov graduated from the famous Bolshoi Ballet Academy. For 9 years, he had danced with the Bolshoi Ballet, during which time he performed full repertory of the theatre, including soloist parts in ballets such as Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Spartacus, Swan Lake, Sketches, Raymonda, Don Quixote, Golden Age, and many others. Among his teachers are Asaf Messerer and Boris Akimov. Mr. Tchoupakov is also a graduate of the Moscow State Academy of Choreography. He received his M.F.A. in Ballet Pedagogy and Choreography under the tutelage of Professor Peter Pestov.
Since 1990, Mr. Tchoupakov has been residing in the US. He has performed with the following companies in US and Europe: Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Los Angeles Classical Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, and San Francisco Opera Ballet. He spent six years with Colorado Ballet performing diverse classical and contemporary repertoire, including ballets by George Balanchine, Choo San Gogh, Alvin Ailey, Christopher Wheeldon, and Frederick Ashton. He has also served as a Ballet Master and Répétiteur for Colorado Ballet and was on the faculty of the Academy of Colorado Ballet.
Mr. Tchoupakov taught for the Houston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, David Taylor Dance Theatre, State Street Ballet, Ballet Arlington, Guangzhou Ballet of China, Sibiu Ballet Theatre in Romania, Galili Dance in the Netherlands and Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has been a guest teacher in Brazil, Japan, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, and Great Britain, and appeared as guest lecturer at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, UK, Colorado College, and Wyoming State University. For three years, he was on the faculty of the University of Utah Department of Ballet as Assistant Professor Lecturer, where he taught classes in ballet technique, men’s variations, pas de deux, and character dance, as well as served on graduate committees and participated actively in recruitment.
Mr. Tchoupakov serves as a judge and master teacher for Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition in US, Japan and France, Sibiu International Ballet and Contemporary Dance Competition in Romania, Ryukyushimpo Ballet Competition in Okinawa, Japan and Festival de Dança Joinville in Paulínia Grand Prix Brazil as well as other international dance competitions. His choreographic credits include staging the all-Goleizovsky program for Ballet Arlington, TX, and Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., as well as choreography for Opera Colorado’s Eugene Onegin, La Traviata, and Don Giovanni, and annual Grand Défilé for Youth America Grand Prix Competition Gala in New York. Mr. Tchoupakov has also choreographed for a Midland Music Makers Opera company in Birmingham, UK and co-produced Coppelia at the Elmhurst School for Dance. He taught for the Royal Ballet School and English National Ballet School in London and was on the faculty of the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s official school, the Elmhurst School for Dance in Birmingham, UK. Mr. Tchoupakov’s students are now performing with such companies as Royal Ballet, ABT, San Francisco Ballet, English National Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Houston Ballet, The Polish National Ballet, Northern Ballet, Norwegian Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Singapore Dance Theater, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Berlin State Opera Ballet etc. Chehon Wespi-Tchopp, season 9 winner of So You Think You Can Dance, was a student of Mr. Tchoupakov for 3 years in Birmingham, UK. Mr. Tchoupakov successfully organized tours to Japan for Elmhurst School for Dance, Los Angeles Ballet Academy, Utah Ballet. He is an official representative and appointed trustee of the Kasyan Goleizovsky Foundation. Mr. Tchoupakov joined UNCSA School of Dance in 2013.
Abigail Yager, Contemporary
Abigail Yager was a member of the Trisha Brown Company from 1995–2002 during which time she also served as Ms. Brown’s musical assistant. She has also danced in the companies of Donna Uchizono, Sungsoo Ahn, Joanna Mendl Shaw, Emma Diamond, and Robin Becker among others. As a reconstructor of Ms. Brown’s choregoraphy, she has worked with Candoco (London, England), Lyon Opera Ballet (Lyon, France), at La Monnaie National Opera of Belgium (Brussels, Belgium), Le Festival International d’Art Lyrique (Aix-en-Provence, France), and has directed educational projects at the Taipei National University of the Arts, The Theatre Academy Helsinki, The Five College Dance Department, The Ohio State University, the American Dance Festival and at P.A.R.T.S. Ms. Yager has taught at universities, festivals, and studios worldwide, including the Kyoto International Dance Festival, Independent Dance at Siobhan Davies Studios, Le Centre Choréographique National de Rennes et de Bretagne, and the Irish World Academy of Music. She served as Guest Professor at Taipei National University of the Arts from 2010-2012 and 2003-2005, Visiting Associate Professor at The Ohio State University from 2006-2010, Guest Professor at Korean National University of the Arts from 2005-2006, and has been on the faculty at the American Dance Festival since 2003. Ms. Yager’s movement practice is directly informed by her studies of the Alexander Technique, Klein Technique and Qi Gong. Ms. Yager earned a B.A. in Compositional Studies: Theory and Practice from Mount Holyoke College graduating Magna Cum Laude, and a M.F.A in Dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival. Ms. Yager joined UNCSA School of Dance in 2012.
Ming-Lung Yang, Contemporary
Ming-Lung Yang is a native of Taiwan. He earned his B.A. in Dance from Chinese Culture University and his M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Yang was a member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company from 1994-1999 and has danced professionally with Henry Yu and Dancers, Ku and Dancers, Hilary Easton, Wally Cardona, and was a founding member of Dance Forum Taipei. Mr. Yang was Choreographer in Residence of Dance Forum Taipei Dance Company from 1999-2005 and served as Artistic Director from 2002-2005. His choreography has been presented by numerous venues across Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Dance Theatre Workshop, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Foundation, Taipei Theatre (New York), Little Asia Dance Exchange Network (Hong Kong, Melbourne, Taipei, Tokyo), Crown Art Theatre (Taipei), Rencontres Choréographiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis (Seoul), Pusan International Dance Festival, Het Muziektheater (Amsterdam), Bernese Dance Days International Festival (Bern), and Tropentheater (Amsterdam). Mr. Yang served as an Assistant Professor of Taipei National University of the Arts from 1999-2005, a Guest Professor at the Choreography Department of Korean National University of Arts from 2005-2006 and a Visiting Associate Professor in the Dance Department at the Ohio State University from 2006-2010. He is currently teaching at Taipei National University of the Arts as an Assistant Professor and has been teaching at the American Dance Festival since 2000. Mr. Yang joined UNCSA School of Dance in 2012.
Jennet Zerbe, Ballet
Jennet Zerbe brings both studied regard and intuitive understanding of classical ballet to her students. She shares an artistic viewpoint and a developed, intellectual perspective in the classroom. Zerbe believes careful, thorough training will yield incisive, versatile dancers for the stage today.
Zerbe danced for eight years with American Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov, appearing in all of the classical ballets in ABT’s repertoire. What Anna Kisselgoff called Zerbe’s “fleet nuanced dancing” earned her considerable notice and lasting praise. Her roles included the Lilac Fairy in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty, and Dance of the Big Swans in Baryshnikov’s Swan Lake. She danced many neoclassical ballets by George Balanchine, including the first principal couple in Bourrée Fantasque, as well as the postmodern choreography of Merce Cunningham: appearing in his Duets on the PBS series “Dance in America.”
Zerbe began her ballet training in the Cecchetti method with Olga Fricker and Sheila Darby in Los Angeles. She continued her work with Margaret Craske in New York City, and then attended The Royal Ballet School in London, where she studied under Nancy Kilgour, Richard Glasstone, and Julia Farron among others. As a professional, she trained with Gilbert Mayer of the Paris Opera Ballet, and was coached by Georgina Parkinson of the Royal Ballet, and Elena Tchernichova from the Kirov. After ABT, Zerbe earned her B.A. from Wellesley College with honors. Zerbe participated in the launch of the teacher training program at the JKO School at ABT, and is an ABT® Certified Teacher for all levels. She continued her training under Murray and Nancy Kilgour at the School of Alberta Ballet. Zerbe proudly carries these pedagogical giants into her teaching at every opportunity.
Eric Schwartz, Music Director
Eric Schwartz has studied composition and piano at the Cleveland Institute of Music, New York University, and both the Interlochen and Aspen summer music festivals. His music has been performed on five continents, at venues ranging from Merkin Concert Hall in New York City and the BMW Edge Theatre in Melbourne, Australia, to universities, coffee shops, gas stations, and bars of all shapes and sizes. He has received awards and grants from Meet the Composer, ASCAP, The Society for New Music, The Puffin Foundation, The Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and The Ohio Federation of College Music Clubs. Mr. Schwartz has served on the faculties of New York University, the Lucy Moses Music School, the Henry Street Settlement, and most recently the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he serves as Music Director for the School of Dance. He has worked as a dance musician for a vast array of schools and companies including The Limon School, Mark Morris Dance Group, Hunter College, New York University's Tisch School, and many, many others. He was formerly a resident composer for the Los Angeles-based Tonoi contemporary music ensemble, the Minnesota-based Renegade Ensemble, and New York City’s Vox Novus. His debut CD, 24 Ways of Looking at a Piano, named one of the top classical CDs of 2005 by All Music Guide, is available from Centaur Records. His second solo album, OYOU, available from CD Baby. His music is also available on Signum Classics, Capstone Records, Trace Label, and a host of others, and is published by Staunch Music (U.K.) and Lovebird Music (U.S.).Mr. Schwartz joined UNCSA School of Dance in 2011. http://www.ericschwartzcomposer.com
Kathryn E. Grillo, Director of Dance Costume
Kathy has been a Costume Designer/Draper for the UNCSA School of Dance since 1996 when she began building costumes for their then new Nutcracker. Her work at UNCSA has included designs for the ballets Raymonda, Don Quixote, Rubies, Valse Fantasie, and The Nutcracker as well as numerous contemporary pieces by both faculty and guest choreographers. She has designed for the American Dance Festival, Carolina Ballet, NC Dance Theatre, American Ballet Theatre Studio, Ballet Tennessee, Ballet Spartanburg and Duke University. Before joining the Dance Department, Kathryn was a guest Costume Designer/ Draper/Faculty in UNCSA’s Design and Production department for 18 years, starting in 1984. Since 1991, she has also been the Resident Costume Designer/Coordinator for Piedmont Opera, designing costumes for Turandot, The Light in the Piazza, Les Contes d’Hoffman, La Boheme and others. She has designed for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Virginia Opera and Opera Tampa, and she coordinated Opera Carolina’s costumes for four seasons. Grillo holds a BA cum laude in Theatre Arts from Cornell University and an MFA in Costume Design from Carnegie Mellon University. Mrs. Grillo Joined UNCSA School of Dance in 2003.