Ballet Fantastique


Meet the Coaches/Instructors

Ballet Fantastique's team of expert faculty members is respected, passionate, and proven.

The Academy of Ballet Fantastique's small team of highly-qualified faculty have backgrounds not only in professional performance and in the Vaganova method, but also in dance pedagogy—so they not only know how to dance, but are also experts in working with young dancers. All are university-trained, with a combined dozens of years of professional experience. They are deeply dedicated to each Ballet Fantastique student, and are also highly approachable as dancers and parents have questions or concerns throughout their training.

Donna

Photos: Monovita, Woden Photo

Donna Marisa Bontrager

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR + CHOREOGRAPHER-PRODUCER
COACH: ADVANCED BALLET, PROFESSIONAL DANCER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Ballet Fantastiqe's Canadian-born Artistic Director, Donna Marisa Bontrager, is a choreographer and expert master teacher in the Russian Vaganova Syllabus. In New York, Ms. Bontrager worked closely for many years with Vaganova pedagogy experts Karl Singleterry and Marvin Askew (Buffalo City Ballet) and Bernadine deMike (Royale Dance Theatre New York). In Eugene, Ms. Bontrager had the opportunity to observe Howard and Kathleen Epstein, directors of the former Conservatory of Classical Dance. It was an invaluable experience for her to watch Howard Epstein train young students in the Vaganova teaching method as set forth by his teacher, internationally-renowned John Barker, the author of The School of Classical Dance. Donna says of her experience, “Studying the extensive written materials of John Barker and Oleg Briansky (author of 100 Lessons in Classical Dance), as well as watching Howard and Kathleen teach for three years changed my life.” She adds, “I could not be doing what I'm doing now without them.” Mr. Barker and Mr. Briansky have been influential in bringing Vaganova's syllabus to Amererican teachers, dancers, and training academies. Ms. Bontrager's performance résumé embraces work with New York companies, including Empire State Ballet, Buffalo City Ballet, Royale Dance Theatre New York, and Festival Choir Ballet. In addition, she was one of ten dancers invited to perform as part of the international Feast of the Tabernacles in Jerusalem, Israel, and has been invited to join the World Congress on Dance.

Out of her many years of teaching and performance experience, Ms. Bontrager has developed the complete curriculum for The Academy of Ballet Fantastique, directly following the notated Vaganova Syllabus. She works closely with all Professional Training Division Academy of Ballet Fantastique students in their training, choreography, and performance.

Ms. Bontrager has overseen Ballet Fantastique repertoire and productions involving partnerships with choirs, opera, and soloist vocalists, symphony and chamber orchestras, literary and visual artists, and composers. Ms. Bontrager has choreographed, produced, and staged the entire critically acclaimed all-original Ballet Fantastique repertoire, including: The Odyssey: The Ballet (with live looping electric violinist Cullen Vance, premiere 2015); American Christmas Carol (with Halie Loren & band, premiere 2014); The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet (with the UO Gospel Choir, premiere 2014), Tales from the Floating World (with Portland Taiko and international koto player Mitsuki Dazai, premiere 2014); ZORRO (with the LA-based band Incendio and violinist-composer Kim Angelis, premiere 2013); Pride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet (with Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, premiere 2013); The Misadventures of Casanova (premiere 2013); Cirque de la Lune (with Betty and the Boy, Mood Area 52, and Troupe Carnivale, premiere 2011);Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet (with Shelley and Cal and the Agents of Unity, premiere 2012); Arabian Nights (premiere 2011);As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet (including on Ballet Fantastique's Italy tour in 2013; original premiere 2011); Tales of Beatrix Potter (premiere 2010); Love at the Cafe Terrace (with composer Jeremy DeKyle Schropp and 25-part orchestra; premiere 2009); Carnival of the Animals (including with Eugene Symphony, premiere 2008); Breakfast at Tiffany’s; A Novel Experience (with the Oregon Mozart Players). Under Ms. Bontrager's leadership, Ballet Fantastique has toured nationally and internationally. Ms. Bontrager's love of the arts also extends to her design work as a graduate of the University of Oregon's School of Architecture and in the creation of Ballet Fantastique's critically-acclaimed costumes.

Ms. Bontrager's students have earned prestigious placements in internationally acclaimed programs, including the Kirov Academy of Ballet year-round training program, City Ballet School of San Francisco (only Northwest student accepted), and the University of Utah (full scholarship).

Hannah

Photos: Woden Photo

Hannah Joy Bontrager

CHOREOGRAPHER-PRODUCER
COMPANY DANCER
COACH: ADVANCED BALLET, INTERMEDIATE BALLET

Hannah Joy Bontrager has studied the eight levels of the Vaganova Syllabus and Vaganova pedagogy with Donna Marisa Bontrager (Ballet Fantastique) while creating and performing works locally, and instructing classes at Ballet Fantastique for over fifteen years. In addition to spending two summers at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. under Artistic Director Oleg Vinogradov (also Artistic Director of the Kirov Ballet in Russia), she was one of five students invited internationally to join renowned Kirov prima ballerina Mme. Alla Sizova's advanced class.

Hannah graduated in 2003 from the Academy of Colorado Ballet's professional division under St. Petersburg Vaganova Academy graduate Inessa Pakri-Plekhanova, while concurrently training and performing with the company’s apprentices. In Fall 2006 she was invited by internationally-recognized master teacher Oleg Briansky to join the summer staff of his New York summer intensive program as a teacher and student mentor. Hannah graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa from the Robert D. Clark Honors College of the University of Oregon, where, as a full scholarship student, she earned concurrent degrees in Dance and English Literature and a minor in Community Arts through the graduate Arts Administration program. Her honors thesis, “Moving Education: Building an Integrated In-School Dance Curriculum for Elementary School Classrooms,” explored the challenges and opportunities of dance education under the No Child Left Behind Act.

In addition to her work as a principal dancer with the Ballet Fantastique professional contemporary chamber company since 2007, Hannah has performed as a guest dancer and/or contributing choreographer with a number of companies, including: Colorado Ballet Company, Manassas Ballet Theatre, Co-Art Dance Company, Traduza Dance Company, Rose Children's Theater, and the Staton Foundation. Hannah has also been privileged to be coached by Dina Fadayeva. Hannah has earned rave critical reviews in choreographic, soloist and principal roles for Ballet Fantastique, including: Cindy in Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet set in 1964 (with Shelley & Cal and the Agents of Unity, 2015 performances); Kalypso and Circe in The Odyssey: The Ballet (with live looping electric violinist Cullen Vance, premiere 2015); Christmas Future in American Christmas Carol (with Halie Loren & band, premiere 2014); The Spirit in The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet(with the UO Gospel Choir, premiere 2014), The Moon Princess in Tales from the Floating World(with Portland Taiko and international koto player Mitsuki Dazai, premiere 2014); Juliana de Romeo, the prissy heartthrob in ZORRO (with the LA-based band Incendio and violinist-composer Kim Angelis, premiere 2013); the flippant Lydia Bennette inPride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet (with Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, premiere 2013); Henriette, the feisty writer in The Misadventures of Casanova (premiere 2013); Simone, the Adventurous Dreamer in Cirque de la Lune (with Betty and the Boy, Mood Area 52, and Troupe Carnivale, premiere 2011); the Dancing Diva and Motorcycle Girl in Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet (with Shelley and Cal and the Agents of Unity, premiere 2012); Scheherazade in Arabian Nights (premiere 2011); Rosie, the lead in As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet (including on Ballet Fantastique's Italy tour in 2013; original premiere 2011); Peter Rabbit in Tales of Beatrix Potter (premiere 2010); Marguerite, the siren inLove at the Cafe Terrace (with composer Jeremy DeKyle Schropp and orchestra; premiere 2009); Aviary in Carnival of the Animals (including with Eugene Symphony, premiere 2008); the Nymph from Rusalka in “Song to the Moon”; and the Lover in “La Vie en Rose” (Visions d'Amour, premiere 2009).

Ashley

Ashley Blake Bontrager

COMPANY DANCER
COACH: ADVANCED BALLET, INTERMEDIATE BALLET, CONDITIONING

Ashley Bontrager has studied classical ballet since she was four years old, and trained at Buffalo City Ballet, the Conservatory of Classical Dance, Ballet Fantastique, and the University of Oregon. With the Ballet Fantastique chamber company, Ashley has performed many roles, including: the Muse and Princess Nausicaa in The Odyssey: The Ballet(with live looping electric violinist Cullen Vance, premiere 2015); Marilyn in American Christmas Carol (with Halie Loren & band, premiere 2014); Princess Cassandane in The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet (with the UO Gospel Choir, premiere 2014), the Tennyo/Celestial Maiden and Princess Taema in Tales from the Floating World (with Portland Taiko and international koto player Mitsuki Dazai, premiere 2014); Isabel de Romeo, the tomboy in ZORRO (with the LA-based band Incendio and violinist-composer Kim Angelis, premiere 2013); Lizzy Bennette, the bold lead inPride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet (with Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, premiere 2013); Angela Catterina Tosello, the priest's niece in The Misadventures of Casanova (premiere 2013); Chiara, the Alluring Lion Tamer in Cirque de la Lune (with Betty and the Boy, Mood Area 52, and Troupe Carnivale, premiere 2011); Stepsister Stasia in Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet (with Shelley and Cal and the Agents of Unity, premiere 2012 + 2015 performances); the Genie in "The Tale of the 7th Night," part of BFan's Arabian Nights (premiere 2011); Annie Oakley in As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet (including on Ballet Fantastique's Italy tour in 2013; original premiere 2011); the Fox in Tales of Beatrix Potter (premiere 2010); Wanda, the floozy in Love at the Cafe Terrace(with composer Jeremy DeKyle Schropp and orchestra; premiere 2009); Fossil in Carnival of the Animals (including with Eugene Symphony, premiere 2008); Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; A Novel Experience (with the Oregon Mozart Players); and live with dozens of groups at home and on tour, including the LA-based band Incendio and the nationally-acclaimed Trio Voronezh. Ashley has appeared in Ballet Fantastique chamber company concerts touring in venues across the Northwest.

In addition to her work with Ballet Fantastique, Ashley completed a Journalism-Broadcasting major at the University of Oregon in 2008 with specializations in both news and documentary.

The Academy of Ballet Fantastique, including classical and contemporary variations. She prioritizes artistry, personality, presentation, and a sense of confidence in the movement in each of her advanced students--and believes that strength and power through cross-training are invaluable to advanced dancers and aspiring professionals.

Amanda

Amanda Kay Coleman

COMPANY DANCER
COACH: YOUNG DANCER PROGRAM, BALLET, VARIATIONS

Amanda grew up in Eugene, training at the Eugene School of Ballet. As a student, she attended Regional Dance America Festivals both regionally and nationally. There, she was awarded the title “honor student” and consecutive scholarships to prestigious CRAFT of Choreography workshops. Amanda attended summer intensives on scholarship at prestigious schools such as Joffrey Ballet School NY, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Ballet Austin, and Portland Festival Ballet. At age 16, Amanda began her professional ballet career as an Apprentice with the Eugene Ballet Company. She spent two performance seasons with EBC, touring across the the Northwest performing Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Dracula, American in Paris, The Nutcracker, and original works by Toni Pimble and Gillmer Duran. Amanda first danced with Ballet Fantastique for the 2011 season, performing as the Macaw Bird in Northwest composer Charles Gurke's "Cincuenta Años de Soledad/50 Years of Solitude" in Ballet Fantastique's bossa/brasil (premiere 2011) and as CeCe in As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet (premiere 2011). Amanda then moved to Portland to study under the late John Magnus, where she performed roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop Fairy, Snow Queen, and Arabian in The Nutcracker, Fairy Queen in Hansel and Gretel, and original choreography by Les Watanabe. Amanda presented her own production of contemporary choreographic works, Chiaroscuro, with Emily Schultz, Amelia Unsicker, Melissa St. Clair, and Lavinia Magliocco. Amanda danced as a company member with Moxie Contemporary Ballet under Artistic Director Gina Candland. She performed the soloist role La Lune in the holiday production of Noel, and in "Water Wheel," "Brain Crane," and "Monsters" in A La Mode. In addition, Amanda performed original pieces by internationally-recognized choreographers such as Michele Oliva, Jourdan Epstein, Emery LeCrone, Doug Baum, Marie Zvosec, and Drew Jacoby. Amanda is very excited to reunite with Ballet Fantastique.

Amanda began her teaching career at The Academy of Ballet Fantastique, assisting Hannah Bontrager with the Young Dancers Program. In Portland, with Kim Smiley as her Mentor, Amanda began teaching young dancers with Ms. Smiley’s syllabus. The next year Amanda assisted Les Watanabe with Adult classes, observing dynamics of teaching from a new perspective. After two years, John Magnus promoted Amanda to being a Rehearsal Director for young students through Trainees for The Nutcracker. At Moxie Contemporary Ballet, Amanda taught a new syllabus established by Gina Candland and Laura Belle. There, Amanda gained experience teaching ballet age 2-adult. Amanda created choreography on MCB young students in holiday show Noel as well as Summerfest performances. Amanda has extensive experience teaching Mommy and Me, Pre-Ballet, Classical Ballet, Contemporary, Conditioning, Adult, Pointe, and more! Amanda's teaching style is warm, detail oriented, and emphasizes creativity through one-on-one attention with each student.

In addition to her work with Ballet Fantastique, Ashley completed a Journalism-Broadcasting major at the University of Oregon in 2008 with specializations in both news and documentary.

The Academy of Ballet Fantastique, including classical and contemporary variations. She prioritizes artistry, personality, presentation, and a sense of confidence in the movement in each of her advanced students--and believes that strength and power through cross-training are invaluable to advanced dancers and aspiring professionals.

Kendra

Kendra Elliott

COACH: YOUNG DANCER PROGRAM, BEGINNING BALLET, INTERMEDIATE BALLET, CONDITIONING, JAZZ, MODERN

Kendra Elliott started dancing at the age of three, training in the Vaganova Syllabus at Hosanna Dance Studio of Eugene, where she studied classical ballet, jazz, and contemporary technique, and had the privilege to be coached by Jennifer Knight Dills and Ballet Fantastique's Leanne Mizzoni. While at Hosanna Dance, Kendra danced in many soloist roles. She has also competed in many dance competitions in the state of Oregon, receiving an award for choreography and dance in her solo piece “Gravity.” From a young age, Kendra has participated in many performances, including as guest dancer in New Hope College’s debut of the Disney musical, Tarzan.

Kendra started as a teacher assistant in 2011, and continued as a lead teacher at the age of 18, coaching at various schools in the Eugene area. In addition, Kendra is currently pursuing a degree in English at the University of Oregon.

Kendra is one of The Academy of Ballet Fantastique's most sought-after coaches for her ever-patient attention to detail, creative choreography, and drive for perfection, especially for BFan's youngest dancers.

Leanne

Photos: Monovita, Mike Gilette

Leanne Michelle Mizzoni

COMPANY/ACADEMY MANAGER + DANCER
COACH: ADULT BALLET PROGRAM, ADVANCED BALLET, INTERMEDIATE BALLET,
CLASSICAL VARIATIONS

Leanne Mizzoni is a native of the DC metro area, where trained with Metropolitan Ballet and Virginia Ballet Company with Ballet Russes dancers Oleg Tupine and Tania Rousseau. Leanne has also studied at Virginia School of the Arts and Joffrey Ballet. She holds a BFA in Dance Pedagogy (cum laude). She has been trained under Peggy Lyman, Peter O’Brian, Hilda Morales and Susan Brooker. Leanne taught professionally for seven years in Connecticut and Virginia and was the children’s assistant for Kirk Peterson’s production of Nutcracker with American Ballet Theatre. Leanne’s students have gone on to internationally-recognized summer programs.

Leanne is also a professional dancer, and was a soloist with the Manassas Ballet Theatre for four years. There, she performed roles in many ballets including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Carmen, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Coppelia, and Dracula, as well as original contemporary ballets and the Russian folk ballet Markitenka. Leanne joined the Ballet Fantastique chamber company as a principal dancer in 2009, and has appeared at home and on Ballet Fantastique tour in a number of soloist roles with the company, including: Mercury in The Odyssey: The Ballet (with live looping electric violinist Cullen Vance, premiere 2015); Judy in American Christmas Carol (with Halie Loren & band, premiere 2014); Esther in The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet (with the UO Gospel Choir, premiere 2014), Miyuki, the samurai's daughter in Tales from the Floating World (with Portland Taiko and international koto player Mitsuki Dazai, premiere 2014); Light in the Night inZORRO (with the LA-based band Incendio and violinist-composer Kim Angelis, premiere 2013); Kitty Bennette, the raucous little sister inPride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet (with Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, premiere 2013); Faustina, the famous opera singer in The Misadventures of Casanova (premiere 2013); Estrella, the Lonesome Diva in Cirque de la Lune (with Betty and the Boy, Mood Area 52, and Troupe Carnivale, premiere 2011); the Sunnydale Fairy Godmother inCinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet (with Shelley and Cal and the Agents of Unity, premiere 2012 + 2015 performances); the Diamond Statue in Arabian Nights (premiere 2011); Cupid inAs You Like It: A Wild West Ballet (including on Ballet Fantastique's Italy tour in 2013; original premiere 2011); Squirrel Nutkin in Tales of Beatrix Potter (premiere 2010); Chloe, the waitress in Love at the Cafe Terrace (with composer Jeremy DeKyle Schropp and orchestra; premiere 2009); and many others.

Leanne's highly experienced teaching style is up-beat and down-to-business. Students praise her as one of the best teachers they've ever had.

Summer

Photos: Monovita, Mike Gilette

Summer Redwing Reed

COMPANY DANCER
COACH: BEGINNING BALLET, RISING STARS, ACRO-CONDITIONING

Summer is from New Salem, Pennsylvania. She began her ballet training locally, expanding to include studying privately with Mansur Kamaletdinov, former principal dancer and acting director of the Bolshoi Ballet and summer training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. In 2011, Summer joined Kentucky Ballet Theater(KBT) as a Trainee and advanced to Apprentice in 2013. While with KBT, she had the privilege of dancing many soloist roles, including those in Nisi Dominus andBoleros; Demon Queen in Dracula; Mercedes in Carmen; Canary Fairy in Sleeping Beauty; and Arabian, Nutcracker Doll, and Spanish in The Nutcracker. This past season, Summer danced with the Grand Rapids Ballet company under the direction of Patricia Barker. She was honored to have the opportunity perform several soloist roles, including Arabian in The Nutcracker, after being chosen to work closely with renowned choreographers, including Val Caniparoli, Sagi Gross, and Gina Patterson. Summer is very excited to be joining Ballet Fantastique and is looking forward to a great season!

Prior to her professional career, Summer had the opportunity to be a student teacher at a local dance studio, teaching and demonstrating various styles of dance. She later had the honor of being selected as a demonstrator in workshops instructed by acclaimed dancer, choreographer and judge, Albert Blaise Cataffi. Summer has had the pleasure of working as an instructor with the Kentucky Ballet Theatre Academy, teaching talented aspiring students in ballet strengthening and acrobatics. Throughout Summer's dancing career, she has continued teaching workshop classes focusing on ballet and contemporary techniques, secrets to competition success, effective stage makeup, and more. Also, she privately choreographs and coaches solo/duo pieces for regional competition students.

Now with Ballet Fantastique, Summer is excited to share her love for ballet with the audience and the academy students. In line with Ballet Fantastique's classic approach, Summer is committed to artistic brilliance as well as fostering the highest level of excellence in dance education and performance for everyone.

Anthony

Photos: Monovita, Mike Gilette

Anthony Rosario

COMPANY DANCER
COACH: BEGINNING BALLET, FLAMENCO, MEN'S CLASS

Anthony is a classically-trained dancer in the Russian Vaganova system. He graduated from the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in 2013, after which he received an offer to join the Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Company. There, he danced many soloist and principal roles in classical ballets includingRaymonda, The Nutcracker, Le Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, La Ventana (Auguste Bournonville), Harlequinade, and Don Quixote, among many others. Anthony's teaching experience includes ballet for children and adults, as well as Core Dynamic, Upper Body Work, Stretch & Conditioning, and Men’s Class. Anthony holds his Teacher’s Certificate from the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet.

Anthony is also a Flamenco dancer, and won 2nd place in the New York State Certamen Flamenco Competition in New York City at Lincoln Center. Anthony also had the great opportunity to go abroad to study Flamenco in Granada, Spain under two of the world's most respected Flamenco teachers, Rafaela Reyes (“La Repompa”), and Raquel Heredia “La Repompilla”).

Anthony is greatly looking forward to sharing his diverse backgrounds in both classical ballet and Spanish Flamenco with the students of Ballet Fantastique.

Martino

Photos: Monovita, Mike Gilette

Martino Sauter

COMPANY DANCER
COACH: INTERMEDIATE BALLET, PAS DE DEUX, ADULT BALLET PROGRAM, CONTEMPORARY BALLET

Martino started his training at the Conservatory of Dance and Theatre in Galax, Virginia under the direction of Barbara Johnson. Soon after that, Martino found his passion for dance and attended prestigious training programs at schools such as The Rock School for Dance Education, and The Joffrey Ballet, and Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts. While at Nutmeg, Martino trained under Eleanor D'Antuono, Victoria Mazzarelli, Kirk Peterson and Denise Limoli. Upon graduation from Nutmeg, he signed a contract with Ballet Metropolitan in Columbus, Ohio. Martino next joined MOMIX Dance Theatre. While with MOMIX, Martino performed all over the US and Europe. In his professional career, Martino has performed soloist and principal roles from many ballets and contemporary ballets.

Using his extensive knowledge of the Vaganava syllabus, Martino has taught at many schools, including: Eastern Connecticut Ballet, under the Direction of New York City Ballet dancer Gloria Govrin; Carolina Dance Center; and Parthenon Classical Arts Center. His teaching travels have also brought him to many places including Alabama, Connecticut, California, New York, and Maine. In 2014, Martino held "The Boys of Ballet Summer Intensive." Boys of Ballet is a online sensation created by Martino in 2012. Over the years, it has hosted many master classes across the US, with over eight different guest master teachers participating. Martino loves to bring positive energy and detail to his students. He looks forward to working with students at Ballet Fantastique!