Faculty

2018 CLDI Faculty

Arionel Vargas: BALLET

International guest Artist and English National Ballet former Principal Dancer.

Arionel was born in Cuba. He trained with Laura Alonso at the National Ballet School of Cuba. His career began with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, here he danced a variety of the Balanchine repertoire including Serenade, Ballo della Regina, Allegro Brillante and Concerto Barocco. Whilst in Canada he was also noted for his roles in Jiří Kylián’s Symphony in D, John Neumeier’s Nutcracker, Rudi van Dantzig’s Romeo & Juliet and Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty by Galina Yordanova. Also David Nixon’s productions of Beauty & the Beast; Madame Butterfly.

Arionel joined English National Ballet as Principal in 2004 and has danced leading roles in all the major Classical repertoire, including Swan Lake; The Nutcracker;  The Sleeping Beauty; Nureyev’s Romeo & Juliet; and Giselle with Albrecht being one of his favourite roles. In 2007 he appeared as the Lead Gypsy Boy in Michael Corder’s The Snow Queen. He has also danced both Lescaut and Des Grieux in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon.

His achievements include winning the gold medal in Brazil’s International Ballet Competition in 1994 and winning gold in the New York International Ballet Competition in 1996.

He has appeared in Carlos Acosta and friends in Valencia, and at the London Coliseum. His guest appearances include galas in St Petersburg, USA,Spain and Japan, often performing with international ballet star Evelyn Hart. For Northern Ballet he has danced in David Nixon’s productions of Withering Heights. He performed Wayne Eagling’s Duet at the Prague International Festival with English National Ballet’s former prima ballerina, Daria Klimentová and in December 2009 he performed with Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro with Royal Ballet Principal Roberta Marques in The Nutcracker.

In 2011 Arionel appeared at the Opera House in Georgia in Giselle and Don Quixote and Makarova’s bayadère with Julio Boca Company in Uruguay.

Arionel starred in the motion picture Love Tomorrow, written and directed by Christopher Payne which was nominated at the Raindance Film Festival for Best UK Feature.

During the 2013-14 season he appeared in the Company’s new staging of Le Corsaire dancing the leading roles of both Conrad and Lankendem. Most recently Arionel appeared as Romeo in Derek Deane’s staging of Romeo & Juliet in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall and danced at the Dance Open Ballet Festival, St Petersburg.

Future roles will include Prince Siegfried in Deane’s Swan Lake and Franz in Coppelia. Recently guest with the Georgia Ballet and International Ballet festival in Miami. Mr Vargas recently guest with the Milwaukee Ballet the Nutcracker prince and Mirror Mirror production.

Justin Quandt: JAZZ

Justin is a graduate from  “The University of Arizona”, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance.  A multi-talented dancer and teacher, his training has taken him from USA, Europe, Central America and to Australia!

Justin has also spent his summers intensely studying in Chicago with the Gus Giordano and River North Jazz Dance Companies.  He performed with Tyra Banks on America’s Next Top Model, appeared on Dance Moms Season 6 and 7, was featured in Dance Spirit Magazine,   company member with the David Taylor Dance
Theatre, in Denver, Colorado.  Justin danced for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Productions and can be seen as a guest artist/choreographer for various companies and studios throughout the United States. He performed at the “Lido” in Paris, France
for almost 5 years!

Justin recently lived in Sydney, Australia where he taught throughout the city. He also adjudicated for Showcase, Eisedfod’s and taught on the Showcase Convention tour throughout Australia and New Zealand.

He currently resides in San Diego, where he is now teaching/choreographing throughout the city,
judging dance competitions, and teaching on convention tours from the west to the east coast!

Melanie Ricks: HIP HOP 

Melanie Ricks has been teaching dance for the last 8 years and is also the current in-game host at all Milwaukee Bucks home games. Melanie’s dance career began at the age of three. She is classically trained in a variety of styles, such as ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and hip hop to name a few. Melanie performed with the traveling dance company Kids Korps from ages 8-13 before joining the competition world and studying at North Shore Dance Studio in Mequon, WI. Melanie’s dance education was put to good use when she tried out for and made the Milwaukee Bucks dance team, then known as Energee!, at the age of 18.

Melanie danced professionally with the Milwaukee Bucks for four years before moving into her new role as in-game host. In addition to dancing for the Bucks, Melanie has performed with artists such as Chris Brown and Lupe Fiasco, and most recently performed at the Wisconsin Sports Awards.

2017 CLDI FACULTY

Thom Dancy: MODERN

Thom began his professional career with Milwaukee Ballet’s Studio Company (MBII) under the  direction of Michael Pink and Rolando Yanes. After two years as a company trainee, Thom worked as a company member with Grand Rapids Ballet, directed by former Prima Ballerina Patricia Barker.

Thom has worked for the past four seasons with The Big Muddy Dance Company, a new contemporary dance troupe now in its 6th season, under the direction of Brian Enos (former dancer with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and acclaimed choreographer).

Thom has danced soloist roles in works by Kate Skarpetowska, Robert Moses, Olivier Wevers, Josh Manculich, Penny Saunders, Robyn Mineko Williams, Brian Enos, Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Alex Sanchez, and Chris Bailey.

In his “off-season” Thom has worked for The MUNY, the largest Equity Regional Theater in the country, as both a dancer and audition assistant.

Sara Hoenes: ROCKETTES EXPERIENCE & MUSICAL THEATRE

Sara Hoenes is a native of Portland, Oregon where she received her training at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, and was awarded a position in the company at age 17.  After a year in the company, Sara attended the University of Arizona on full scholarship and graduated Suma Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance.  Sara’s professional career has included positions with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, James Sewell Ballet and The Steps Repertory Ensemble in New York.  Musical theater experience includes regional productions of The Producers, National Tour of Apassionata, and International Tour of Zorro The Musical.  Sara has also made industrial and commercial dance appearances.  Television appearances include The TV Land Awards with Liza Minelli, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks and A Very Murray Christmas.  For the past 4 years, Sara has appeared in The Christmas Spectacular as a Radio City Rockette.

Marc Petrocci: BODY CONDITIONING

Mr Petrocci is Artistic Associate at Summers Academy of Dance, school of the Berkshire Ballet Theatre, and is thrilled to be apart of the CLDI staff again teaching students the importance of properly conditioning the body for such a demanding and physical art form.

In May 2013 Mr. Petrocci retired from a 13 year performance career with Milwaukee Ballet, where he was a Leading Artist for the past 10 years. His favorite roles include James in La Sylphide, Bugle Boy in Company B, Mercutio in Michael Pink’s Romeo & Juliet and Puck in Bruce Wells’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In addition to these roles listed Petrocci had the distinct privileged to have the role of Peter Pancreated on him by Michael Pink for its world premiere in 2010, which he then had the pleasure of reprising in 2012, and broadcast nationally on PBS. He has also featured in works by Val Caniparoli, Maurice Causey, Alejandro Cerrudo, Brock Clawson, Mark Godden, Matthew Neenan, Lila York, John Utans, Trey McIntyre and many others. In 2005, Petrocci had the pleasure of dancing with the Trey McIntyre Project’s inaugural season, performing at the Vail International Dance Festival, the Aspen Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow, and was featured in the world premiere of Trey McIntyre’s ballet Hymn at the 13th annual Fire Island Dance Festival in 2007.

Mr. Petrocci received his formal ballet training under the direction of David Moroni at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Before graduating in 2002, Petrocci was awarded the prestigious Prince Edward Award, honoring his excellence and dedication to the balletic art form.

In his teaching Mr. Petrocci draws on a combination of his early training RWB in conjunction with the diverse group of choreographers, repetiteurs, and Master Teachers he has been exposed to over his career to serve as the foundation for his teaching. Petrocci focuses particularly on proper placement and anatomical understanding of a dancers body in combination with strong emphasis on developing a fluid and articulate Port de Bras. He is also known for having a keen eye for coaching aerial mechanics for both male and female students.

2016 CLDI FACULTY

Ania Hidalgo (Cuban: street dance and culture)

Ania Hidalgo began her training in the city of Holguín, Cuba and continued it at the National Ballet School in Havana under the guidance of Professor Ramona de Saa. In 2004, she was awarded the Gold Medal in the International Ballet Competition. That same year, she joined the Ballet Nacional de Cuba as a soloist, under the technical and artistic direction of Alicia Alonso. Her repertoire includes soloist roles in La Fille Mal GardéeCoppéliaGiselle, Swan Lake, Don QuixotePaquita, The NutcrackerThe Sleeping BeautyLa BayadéreScheherazade, and Prince Igor. Hidalgo has also performed works by contemporary creators, including Ballo della ReginaViolin Concerto, and Theme and Variations by George Balanchine, A Concert in Black and White by Jose Pares, Muñecos by Alberto Méndez, and Dionaea by Gustavo Herrera.  Hidalgo performed as a principal with Media City Ballet and a soloist at Los Angeles Ballet before joining Milwaukee Ballet, where she has performed as Mimi in Michael Pink’s La Bohème, Odile in Swan Lake, the title roles in Michael Pink’s Giselle and Cinderella, and appeared in the winning pieces from Genesis 2013 (Gabrielle Lamb’s Manifold) and 2015 (Garrett Smith’s Mortal Form). Hidalgo will be entering her 6th season with Milwaukee Ballet this coming fall.

Rachel Malehorn (Contact Improvisation and Composition)

Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Rachel Malehorn received her formal training at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and continued on to graduate from the prestigious Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Program. Since joining the Company, Malehorn has enjoyed performing works created by Val Caniparoli, Petr Zahradnícek, Mark Godden, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Jerry Opdenaker, Matthew Neenan, and Alejandro Cerrudo. She has also performed as a semi-finalist in Palm Desert for the Dancing Beneath the Stars Competition, participated in the Northwest Professional Dance Project, danced with Texture Contemporary Ballet, Terpsicorps Dance Project in Asheville, NC, and Traverse City Dance Project. Malehorn will be entering into her 11th season with the Company this fall.

Marc Petrocci (Vitruvius: full body strength and conditioning and Composition)

Mr Petrocci is excited to join  Summers Academy of Dance and Berkshire Ballet Theatre and Crystal Lake Dance Initiative faculty. This past May Mr. Petrocci retired from a 13 year performance career with Milwaukee Ballet, where he was a Leading Artist for the past 10 years.

His favorite roles include James in La Sylphide, Bugle Boy in Company B, Mercutio in Michael Pink’s Romeo & Juliet and Puck in Bruce Wells’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In addition to these roles listed Petrocci had the distinct privileged to have the role of Peter Pancreated on him by Michael Pink for its world premiere in 2010, which he then had the pleasure of reprising in 2012, and broadcast nationally on PBS. He has also featured in works by Val Caniparoli, Maurice Causey, Alejandro Cerrudo, Brock Clawson, Mark Godden, Matthew Neenan, Lila York, John Utans, Trey McIntyre and many others. In 2005, Petrocci had the pleasure of dancing with the Trey McIntyre Project’s inaugural season, performing at the Vail International Dance Festival, the Aspen Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow, and was featured in the world premiere of Trey McIntyre’s ballet Hymn at the 13th annual Fire Island Dance Festival in 2007.

Mr. Petrocci received his formal ballet training under the direction of David Moroni at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Before graduating in 2002, Petrocci was awarded the prestigious Prince Edward Award, honoring his excellence and dedication to the balletic art form.

In his teaching Mr. Petrocci draws on a combination of his early training RWB in conjunction with the diverse group of choreographers, repetiteurs, and Master Teachers he has been exposed to over his career to serve as the foundation for his teaching. Petrocci focuses particularly on proper placement and anatomical understanding of a dancers body in combination with strong emphasis on developing a fluid and articulate Port de Bras. He is also known for having a keen eye for coaching aerial mechanics for both male and female students.

He is now Artistic Associate at Summers Academy of Dance school of the Berkshire Ballet Theatre, and is thrilled to be apart of the CLDI staff again teaching students the importance of properly conditioning the body for such a demanding and physical art form.

Courtney Kramer Petrocci (Artistic Director)

Ms Petrocci, herself a native of Crystal Lake, is excited to return home to join Summers Academy of Dance and Berkshire Ballet Theatre and Crystal Lake Dance Initiative as their new Artistic Director. For the past 10 years she has been dancing professionally with the Milwaukee Ballet, where she was featured in many roles including Clara and the Snow Queen from Michael Pink’s The Nutcracker and Tiger Lily in Michael Pink’s world premiere production of Peter Pan, broadcasted nationally in 2014 on PBS. She has been privileged to have been featured in works choreographed by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins’, Vincente Nebrada, Marius Petipa, Alejandro Cerrudo andTrey McIntrye. She has had the unique pleasure to have had original pieces choreographed on her by Nelly Van Bommel, Mauro de Candia, Val Caniparoli, Maurice Causey, Simone Ferro, Mark Godden, James Gregg, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Matthew Neenan, Timothy O’Donnell and Lila York. Having worked with this very talented and diverse group of some of the worlds most prominent choreographers, Ms Petrocci brings with her a very diverse and refined level of performance knowledge in both classical ballet and contemporary genres.

Before embarking on her professional career Ms Petrocci attained her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Arizona. Her experiences there both prepared her for the successful career that followed but also instilled in her a deep desire to return to academia to complete her Master’s of Fine Arts in Dance. She was able to achieve this goal while dancing full time with Milwaukee Ballet through the Dance Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduating in August of 2015.

During her time with the Milwaukee Ballet Ms Petrocci was a firm believer that all dancers should take the time to prepare themselves for the transition to a career following their time on stage.  This lead her and fellow company members Rachel Malehorn and Marc Petrocci in conjunction with Randall D. Crocker, president and CEO of von Briesen and Roper, s.c. Milwaukee WI, to form the Milwaukee Dancers Fund, a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to aid Milwaukee Ballet Company dancers financially in their eventual career transition. She currently sits as Vice President of Operations of this charitable organization.

While Ms Petrocci has been teaching dance since 2000, she is regarded as being particularly skilled at preparing her students thoughtfully and meticulously for the demands classical pointe work places on a young artist. She also strongly emphasizes constructive corrections, individual body acceptance, understanding and using proper anatomical placement of the body, quality over quantity, a strong sense of performance and character development, and a positive studio environment where students feel comfortable to push beyond their comfort zones and find themselves through the art of dance.

Ms Petrocci retired from a 10 year performance career with Milwaukee Ballet in September 2015 after the birth of her and former Milwaukee Ballet Leading Artist Marc Petrocci’s daughter.