Ballet Fantastique'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). 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. 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.
For the Ballet Fantastique contemporary chamber company, 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 overseen the choreography, production, and staging of the entire critically acclaimed all-original Ballet Fantastique repertoire, including: Ballet Fantastique collaborations with Betty and the Boy, Troupe Carnivale, and Mood Area 52 (Cirque de la Lune), the LA-based band Incendio (Incendio), Shelley and Cal James and the Agents of Unity Band (Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet), Oregon Mozart Players (Glazunov's Four Novelettes), Trio Voronezh (Tchaikovsky to Tango and Danse en Rouge: Variations in Red), violinist Matthew Fuller (String Theory), pianist John Jantzi (Visions d'Amour: 10 Ballets in Paris), Jessie Marquez and her band (Bossa/Brasil), and with Ballet Fantastique Resident Composer Jeremy DeKyle Schropp (Love at the Cafe Terrace, “Bulgarska Tantzova Suita,” and As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet)—to name just a few.
Under Ms. Bontrager's leadership, Ballet Fantastique has toured across the Northwest and made consecutive performance appearances at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Ms. Bontrager's love of the arts also extends to her design work as an alumna of the University of Oregon's School of Architecture and in the creation of Ballet Fantastique's critically-acclaimed costumes.
Out of her many years of teaching and performance experience and as Artistic Director of The Academy of Ballet Fantastique, Ms. Bontrager has developed the complete curriculum for The Academy of Ballet Fantastique, directly following the notated Vaganova Syllabus. She works closely with Academy of Ballet Fantastique Professional Division students in their training, choreography, and performance.
Hannah Bontrager is Ballet Fantastique's Executive Director and also serves as Co-Choreographer Producer and as a dancer in the Company. Hannah graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa in 2007 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 Arts Administration. Under Hannah’s leadership, Ballet Fantastique has earned touring invitations on behalf of Ballet Fantastique nationally and internationally; grant awards from major foundations; and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind corporate and individual support. She has overseen both strategic and stunning organizational growth at rates of 25-30% growth per year for each of the past five seasons. Hannah also has extensive experience in print and web design, event planning, media relations, and oversees Ballet Fantastique’s thriving internship program. Hannah has given professional presentations on behalf of Ballet Fantastique for many organizations, and is listed among the international Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals. Hannah also leads a number of educational initiatives for Ballet Fantastique, including Passport to Dance and The EXPERIENCE DANCE! Project.
Also a trained professional dancer, choreographer, and performer, Hannah studied the eight levels of the Vaganova Syllabus and Vaganova pedagogy with her mother, Donna Marisa Bontrager, while creating and performing works locally. She also spent two summers at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. under Artistic Director Oleg Vinogradov (also Artistic Director of Russia's Kirov Ballet), and was one of five students invited internationally to join renowned Kirov prima ballerina Mme. Alla Sizova’s advanced class. Hannah spent one season in Denver with coach Inessa Pakri-Plekhanova, concurrently performing with Colorado Ballet Company. Hannah has performed professionally with Ballet Fantastique since its inception, and has also appeared in soloist roles for a number of other companies across the country, including Manassas Ballet Theatre in the Washington, DC metro area (Sugar Plum Fairy, Nutcracker and the lead in Vivandière/Markitenka). Donna and Hannah have collaborated to produce bold cross-disciplinary Ballet Fantastique collaborations including: Scarlet Flower: Beauty & the Beast Retold; Dragon & the Night Queen: Celtic Stories; The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet; Tales from the Floating World; ZORRO; Pride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet; The Misadventures of Casanova; Cirque de la Lune; Incendio; Arabian Nights; Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet set in 1964; bossa/brasil; String Theory; Tales of Beatrix Potter (A Ballet); Visions dAmour: 10 Ballets in Paris; Danse en Rouge: Variations in Red; and Tchaikovsky to Tango.
As a dancer with Ballet Fantastique, Hannah has earned rave critical reviews in soloist and principal roles, including: The Spectre of the Rose in Scarlet Flower: Beauty & the Beast Retold; Rhiannon, the Night Queen in Dragon & the Night Queen; Cindy in Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet; Christmas Future An American Christmas Carol; Henriette, the fiery writer in The Misadventures of Casanova; Simone, the Dreamer in Cirque de la Lune; Scheherazade in Arabian Nights; Rosie/Rosalind in As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet (including on tour to San Benedetto, Italy); and Marguerite, the siren in Love at the Cafe Terrace.
Mr. Rempel is a composer, the leader of Gerry Rempel Ensemble and Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, a member of numerous jazz, soul, and blues groups in Eugene, and a music teacher at Northwest Christian University and Lane Community College. Also part of the award-winning University of Oregon Gospel Choir Band, Mr. Rempel accompanied the UO Gospel choir on their 2013 China tour.
As a resident composer, arranger, musician, and Music Director for Ballet Fantastique, Mr. Rempel composed and performed several pieces in Ballet Fantastique's String Theory (premiere 2010, Hult Center). Mr. Rempel\s nine-piece group, Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, arranged and performed the music for the premiere of Ballet Fantastique’s roaring 20’s Parisian Pride and Prejudice (premiere 2013, Hult Center). As the University of Oregon Gospel Choir Band, Mr. Rempel also served as Music Director and played guitars for Ballet Fantastique\s premiere of The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet (premiere 2014, Hult Center). Mr. Rempel then spearheaded the collaboration with internationally acclaimed Irish uilleann piper and composer Eliot Grasso for Ballet Fantastique\s premiere of Dragon & the Night Queen: Celtic Stories (premiere 2016, Florence Events Center + Hult Center); Mr. Rempel\s seven-part Ensemble for the Dragon production (Gerry Rempel Ensemble) included acoustic and electric guitars, bouzouki, uilleann pipes, flute, whistle, fiddle, keyboard, accordion, recorder, acoustic and electric percussion, acoustic and electric bass, and vocals sung in five languages. Music arrangements included varied combinations of material, both contemporary and ancient, that draw from Celtic and other “world” music, including an infiltration of rock elements.
Mr. Rempel has also composed a number of original works for Ballet Fantastique, including two works for String Theory (premiere 2011, Hult Center), Pride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet (premiere 2013, Hult Center), “The Fall of Vashti” and “Haman” forThe Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet (premiere 2014, Hult Center), and "Serena and the Dragon" for Dragon & the Night Queen: Celtic Stories (premiere 2016, Florence Events Center + Hult Center). For more information about Mr. Rempel\s upcoming musical projects and performances, please visit www.gerryrempel.com.