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 has served as Ballet Fantastique’s Executive Director since its inception in 2000. 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 Community Arts through the graduate Arts Administration program. Hannah has led a number of successful and innovative educational initiatives for Ballet Fantastique, including the EXPERIENCE DANCE! Project, the Art Together Collaborative, Passport to Dance, and Project DanceREACH. Under Hannah’s leadership, Ballet Fantastique has earned touring invitations on behalf of Ballet Fantastique both nationally and internationally; grant awards from major foundations; and tens of thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind corporate and individual support. Hannah has given professional presentations on behalf of Ballet Fantastique for many organizations. She is listed among the international Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals. Hannah also has extensive experience in print and web design, event planning, media relations, and oversees Ballet Fantastique’s thriving internship program.
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. In addition, she spent 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), and was one of five students invited internationally to join renowned Kirov prima ballerina Mme. Alla Sizova’s advanced class. Hannah spent the 2002-2003 concert season in Denver, under St. Petersburg Vaganova Academy graduate Inessa Pakri-Plekhanova, while concurrently training and performing with the company’s apprentices. Hannah has performed professionally with the Ballet Fantastique chamber company 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 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. As a dancer with the Ballet Fantastique chamber company, Hannah has earned rave critical reviews in soloist and principal roles, including: Scheherazade in Arabian Nights; Rosie, the lead in As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet; the Dancing Diva and Motorcycle Girl in Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet; “Tango Para Abel,” “Viheula,” and “Illumination” (with the LA-based band Incendio); Marguerite, the siren in Love at the Cafe Terrace; Aviary in Carnival of the Animals; the Nymph from Rusalka in “Song to the Moon”; the Lover in “La Vie en Rose”; and Peter Rabbit in Tales of Beatrix Potter.
Jeremy DeKyle Schropp is a Northwest-based composer. Jeremy's notable achievements include the composition of incidental music for “Where To Turelu,” a Kansas University Children’s Theater production, and a commissioned residency at New York University's Steinhardt School of Education. In October 2009, he worked with Ballet Fantastique at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in the world premiere of his chamber ballet inspired by Vincent Van Gogh, “Night at the Café Terrace.” The work, including 25-part string orchestra and a commissioned backdrop by painter Rob Adams, was featured in cover stories in both the Register-Guard and Eugene Weekly. Jeremy traveled to Germany in January of 2010 for a multi-city tour of his new work for oboe and organ with oboist Amy Goeser Kolb and organist Julia Brown. Jeremy also completed a highly successful interactive and interdisciplinary dance commission for nationally recognized choreographer Brad Garner, which premiered in winter 2010 at the Robinson Theater. Other work for Ballet Fantastique has included the performance of his three-part suite, Bulgarska Tantzova Suita, at Ballet Fantastique's String Theory with dancers Hannah Bontrager and Leanne Mizzoni and live saxophone, piano, and bass, and bluegrass and honkytonk piano for Ballet Fantastique's As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet, which he played live on stage.
Jeremy holds his PhD in Music Composition and Music Theory at the University of Oregon, where he has studied with David Crumb, Robert Kyr, Steve Larson, and Jack Boss. He also holds a concurrent MM in Intermedia Music Technology under Philip H. Knight Professor of Music Jeff Stolet, and was a Graduate Teaching Fellow in Music Theory throughout his tenure at the University. He came to Eugene, Oregon in 2004 from the University of Kansas, where he received his MM in Music Composition and studyied under Bryan Kip Haaheim. Though trained primarily as an “academic” instrumental and vocal composer, Jeremy has developed a persistent interest in collaborating with those involved in other artistic disciplines, as is evident in his work with Ballet Fantastique.