MCB School Faculty


Miami City Ballet School’s artistic staff and faculty is composed of nationally and internationally renowned directors and teachers who have trained and worked with some of the greatest teachers, choreographers and directors in dance history.

The faculty imparts the knowledge and experience they have received throughout their prolific careers from such masters as Alexandra Danilova, Stanley Williams, Suki Schorer and Patricia Wilde, as well as George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Rudolf Nureyev, Glen Tetly, John Neumeier and John Cranko.

Each faculty member is well-versed in teaching and implementing the MCBS syllabus at all levels. They meet monthly with School Director Darleen Callaghan to discuss each student’s progress and to ensure each child’s training is meeting the syllabus standards. Our Pilates, Floor-Barre, and Gyrotonics™ teachers are certified in their respective fields and have years of practical experience.


School Director
Darleen Callaghan

Chairman
Lourdes Lopez

 

Principal Faculty
Geta Constantinescu
Gerard Ebitz
Olivier Pardina
Maria Torija

 

Faculty
Mariana Alvarez Brake
Kareen Pauld Camargo
Montse Cosin
Valia Gonzalez
Kris Kramer
Rafi Maldonado-López
Elizabeth Malm
Jennifer Manino
Maribel Modrono
Julie Pappas Smith
DeAnn Petruschke
Emily Ricca
Roberto Rodriguez

Biographies

Darleen Callaghan
School Director
Darleen Callaghan began her dance training with the Stone-Camryn School of Ballet in Chicago where she performed as a child with the New York City Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and the Stone-Camryn Ballet. She was then awarded scholarships for further study at the American Ballet Theatre School and the School of American Ballet in New York City. As a student at SAB, she had the privilege of performing with Jacques D’Amboise & Friends, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux-Patricia McBride & Company, and at the White House for the President at a NATO Summit Dinner.

Callaghan became a principal dancer with the North Carolina Dance Theatre performing a variety of roles in both classical and contemporary works. She joined the company for two European tours, performances at the Spoleto Festivals in America and Italy, and extensive yearly tours throughout the United States.

Upon retiring from the stage, Callaghan honed her skills as a teacher, choreographer and arts administrator. She was invited by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride to direct the North Carolina Dance Theatre School of Dance under their artistic leadership. She successfully built the School into a nationally-recognized professional training ground for students from around the United States, Europe, Japan and South America.

Callaghan was named School Director of Miami City Ballet School in March 2013. Together with Artistic Director, Lourdes Lopez, she is committed to creating a truly holistic training experience for students through a comprehensive and challenging new syllabus, supplemental strength training and wellness program, and exciting new performance opportunities.

Lourdes Lopez
Chairman
Read more about Lourdes Lopez here.

Principal Faculty

Geta Constantinescu
Geta Constantinescu was born in Romania. She performed numerous principal and soloist roles with the Company of State Opera and Ballet in Timisoara. In 1970, while touring in Italy, she defected to the West. She performed as a guest artist all over Europe and America. Ms. Constantinescu began her teaching career in New York. She was Ballet Mistress with Ballet Arizona, Manhattan Ballet of New York, Universal Ballet in Seoul, and the Hong Kong Ballet. She was also Lecturer with the Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong.

While touring the United States with the Hong Kong Ballet, she was invited by Linda Villella to become a principal teacher at the Miami City Ballet School. Ms. Constantinescu has staged the third act of Sleeping Beauty and the pas de trios from the first act of Swan Lake for Miami City Ballet company, and with Edward Villella, mounted the full-length production of Don Quixote. For advanced students at Miami City Ballet School, Ms. Constantinescu produced her own production of Cinderella, and with her colleague Rafi Maldonado, created the original ballet Carnival of the Animals, both of which were performed to high acclaim at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

Ms. Constantinescu is a master trainer in the Gyrotonic® Technique.

Gerard Ebitz

Gerard Ebitz was trained at the Miami Conservatory, the School of American Ballet in New York, and the National Ballet School in Toronto. He danced professionally with the New York City Ballet and was a founding member of Miami City Ballet. He was a principal dancer with the Zurich Opera Ballet and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

As a teacher and choreographer, he has worked with the Carlisle Project and was commissioned to choreograph a work on the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. The National Choreographic Plan has recognized his work and he was awarded a 1992-1993 and 1997-1998 Individual Choreographic Fellowship from the State of Florida. Mr. Ebitz was the Artistic Director of Ballet Randolph from 1990-1993. He choreographed for Rochester City Ballet; Ballet Jorgen in Toronto, Canada; Santa Fe Dance Foundation in New Mexico; and Tsoying Performing Arts High School in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

In Florida, his work has been performed by Dance Alive! in Gainesville, and at the Douglas Anderson School for the Performing Arts in Jacksonville. In Miami, he choreographed for Freddick Bratcher & Company, Juegos del Arte, Acme Acting Company, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, and solo artist Rosario Suarez. In addition, he had the pleasure of staging and choreographing for various directors through Miami-Dade College. From 2000 to 2013, he taught and choreographed for the North Carolina Dance Theatre Summer Program in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In recent years, he has taught at the Ballet School in Savannah, Georgia, the University of Miami Theatre Department, and the Miami City Ballet School. In 2006, Mr. Ebitz was a recipient of a Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship grant for study in Budapest at the National Hungarian Dance Academy. He has been on the Dance Department faculty at the New World School of the Arts in Miami since 1988.

Olivier Pardina
Olivier Pardina is a principal Instructor in the Pre-Professional Division, teaching students at the Advanced Levels. A former Artistic Director and Principal Teacher at the Nice Opera Ballet School, Pardina has lived in the United States since 1991. He taught at The HARID Conservatory for 20 years and has taught master classes throughout the world. He has been a guest teacher at American Ballet Theatre and the Youth American Grand Prix, the world’s largest student ballet competition. He is also an active adjudicator and representative for MCBS at YAGP. Besides guest teaching at ABT, he has been invited to teach at San Francisco Ballet, Orlando Ballet, The Rock School and in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and European countries as well. His students have won major prizes at both national and international dance competitions and many are now principal dancers at some of the top ballet companies in the United States and Europe.

A native of France, Pardina began his ballet training at age 10. His training included master teachers from the Paris Opera Ballet. The Nice Opera Ballet offered the 16 year old Pardina his first professional position and promoted him to the rank of Principal Dancer by the end of his first year. Pardina has toured with Rudolph Nureyev and worked closely with him as his understudy while working for the Nancy Ballet Theatre. He also danced and toured the world with major French ballet companies. Among his breakthrough roles, was his portrayal of Petrouchka, in Hommage a Diaghilev. He also received critical acclaim for his performances in Serge Lifar’s Phedra, Moses Pendleton’s Pulcinella, Birgit Cullberg’s Miss Julie and Hans Van Manen’s Songs Without Words, Five Tangos, and Septet Extra.

Maria Torija
Maria Torija was born in Madrid, Spain and began her dance studies at the Ballet School of Lola De Avila, one of the ballet world’s most renowned teachers, and at the Real Conservatorio de Arte Dramático y Danza. She received a Fulbright Scholarship to train for three years at the School of American Ballet with such distinguished teachers as Suki Schorer, Kay Mazzo, Stanley Williams, Alexandra Danilova, Antonina Tumkovsky and Susan Pilarre. She also studied during summer programs at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba with Laura Alonso, Aurora Bosch and Jorge Esquivél and at a Bournonville Seminar in Copenhagen with Vivi Flindt, Johnny Eliasen and Eva Evdokimova.

Ms. Torija danced professionally for 20 years with the Deutsche Oper/Staatsballett Berlin, the largest ballet company in Germany, under the directorship of Gert Reinholm, Peter Schaufuss, Ray Barra, Richard Cragun, Sylviane Bayard and Vladimir Malakhov. Her repertoire included all of the classics, Giselle, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, La Sylphide, La Bayadere, Paquita, Les Sylphides, and many more. She has performed soloist and principal roles in over 13 of Mr. Balanchine’s ballets, including Apollo, Serenade, Symphony in C, Concerto Barocco, The Four Temperaments, Allegro Brillante, and Agon, among others. She has worked with most of the major choreographers of the 20th and 21st Centuries including Glenn Tetley, Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, Maurice Bejart, Kenneth MacMillan, Rudolph Nureyev and others.

Upon retiring from the stage, Ms. Torija began her studies to become a classical ballet teacher. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Ballet Training, graduating summa cum laude, from the Ministerio de Educación en España and her Master’s Degree in Performing Arts, also summa cum laude, from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid. She went on to complete her Doctorate Degree in Art History, also graduating summa cum laude, with her thesis focusing on The Art of Ballet: From Marius Petipa to George Balanchine.

Ms. Torija has taught company classes at the Deutsche Oper Berlin Ballett for many years and has been a faculty member at the Palucca School of Professional Dance in Dresden, Germany. She has also taught in numerous private dance schools in Berlin as well as in Hong Kong, Madrid, Barcelona and La Rochelle, France. Ms. Torija will be joining the faculty at Miami City Ballet School this summer, teaching and staging ballets in the Pre-Professional Division and upper levels of the School as well as leading classes in dance history.

 

Faculty

Mariana Alvarez Brake

Mariana Alvarez Brake studied at the School of American Ballet in New York City, began her professional career at the age of 18 at the National Ballet of Washington D.C., and rounded out her career dancing for the San Francisco Ballet and Ballet Internacional de Caracas.

After retiring, she launched her teaching career. Over the next three decades, she taught at many of Miami’s best-known ballet schools and organizations including New World School of the Arts, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, Ballet Concerto Company, Momentum Dance Company, Magda Aunon School of Ballet, Florida International University, American Ballet Theatre National Audition Tour, Florida Dance Masters, and the High School Festival Conference Workshop.

In 2007, she was honored with the awards of Outstanding Teacher from both the Youth America Grand Prix Competition and the American Ballet Competition. Ms. Alvarez Brake has choreographed and staged many ballets in the South Florida area. Her work Abstract Impressions was performed at the Florida Dance Festival in 2001. Her piece Chopin: Images received a 1984 choreographic award from the Association of Critics and Commentators for the Theatrical, Classical, and Literary Art-ACCA.

As a dancer, teacher and choreographer, Ms. Alvarez Brake brings three highly specialized skills to the dance studio and has earned a reputation for teaching her dancers how best to meld solid technique with soaring artistry.

Kareen Pauld Camargo

Kareen Pauld Camargo was born in Haiti, and came to the United States at the age of two. She grew up in New York, where she trained at the American Ballet Theater School, School of American Ballet, The Dance Theatre of Harlem School and Workshop Ensemble, as well as attending the High School of Performing Arts. While a member of the DTH Ensemble, she had the honor of performing the dancing sections in Gershwins “Porgy and Bess” at The Metropolitan Theater Opera House in New York. She performed with The Dance Theatre of Harlem Company for several years, dancing works by Arthur Mitchell, George Balanchine, B. Nijiinska, Agnes de Mille, Geoffrey Holder, and many others.

Ms. Camargo moved to South Florida to join Miami City Ballet in 1990. She was a featured dancer in such ballets as Balanchine’s Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Raymonda Variations, Scotch Symphony, Four Temperaments and Agon; Jimmy Gamonet’s Transtangos; Lynn Taylor-Corbett’s Mystery of the Dancing Princesses, and Paul Taylor’s Three Epitaphs, Company B and Esplanade. After retiring from the stage, Ms. Camargo taught ballet at Miami City Ballet School from 1998-2006, and returned to the faculty in 2013. She was rehearsal and ballet mistress for the children in Miami City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ in 2005.

Ms. Camargo joined the adjunct faculty of New World School of The Arts in 2009, where she currently teaches ballet in the Musical Theater Department. In 2011, she joined the staff of The Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, where she served the community of Miami Gardens, FL for three years as outreach coordinator and ballet instructor. She has been staging and rehearsing The Thomas Armour Youth Ballets production of The Nutcracker since 2008. Ms. Camargo has also enjoyed teaching as guest faculty at The Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Summer Intensive in New York and Detroit, and at The Tallahassee Ballet.

Montse Cosin (Pilates)

Montse Cosin has been teaching Pilates since 1991 and holds mat and equipment certifications with STOTT PILATES, Peak Pilates, Integrated Balance Pilates and Julian Littleford Body Conditioning, and is a PMA-CPT instructor.

She has given Pilates specific courses, kinesiology & dance seminars to professional and amateur dancers and Pilates instructors in Mexico, Europe and the United States. She was Pilates presenter in the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 PMA conferences. She has also presented in several international Pilates conferences. Ms. Cosin is Master instructor trainer & international curriculum coordinator for Integrated Balance, LLC.

She is an ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) associated classical ballet teacher with more than 30 years of international experience. She is also a Gyrotonic® teacher and Yoga and Gyrokinesis practitioner. A graduated student on biochemistry and molecular biology from the University Autonoma of Madrid, Spain; she has a Ph.D. on Molecular Mechanisms of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Valia Gonzalez

Valia Gonzalez was born and raised in Havana, Cuba where she began her dance career at the age of 9 at The National School of Ballet. Upon her graduation as a professional ballerina, she entered the Ballet Nacional de Cuba under the direction of Alicia Alonso where she danced as a soloist for six years. As part of the Company, she participated in numerous tours around the world as well as took part in the well-recognized bi-annual celebrations of the International Ballet Festival in Havana. In 1997, Ms. Gonzalez joined the Compañia Nacional de Danza of Mexico as a first soloist.

Her extensive performance experience includes principal roles of the Classical repertoire such as Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Giselle and Coppélia. She has worked with notable ballet masters and choreographers such as Alicia Alonso, Asari Plizetski, Loipa Araujo, Stanton Welch, Josefina Mendez, Aurora Bosch, David Howard, and Fernando Bujones to name a few. In 2002, Ms. Gonzalez arrived to United States and trained with Miami City Ballet where she learned the Balanchine style; she later joined Ballet Florida for three seasons in which she had the chance to work first hand with Stanton Welch in his production of Dracula.

Valia Gonzalez has performed at Miami Ballet Festival with Cuban Classical Ballet and Brazarte Dance Company. She joined the faculty at Miami City Ballet School in 2013, teaching Ballet and European Character Dances.

Kris Kramer

Kris Kramer was born in upstate New York, where she began her training at the Saugerties Ballet Center and later attended the Albany Dance Institute, under the direction of former New York City Ballet dancer, David Otto. During the summers, she studied at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Chatauqua Dance Institute. Kris joined Miami City Ballet in 2001, after being a scholarship student at Miami City Ballet School and apprenticing with the Company for a year. During her six years with MCB, she was featured in ballets such as Giselle, Edward Villella’s “THE QUICK-STEP: Unspeakable Jazz Must Go!”, and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, among others.

Rafi Maldonado-López (Jazz)

Rafi Maldonado-López is a faculty member of New World School of the Arts, where he teaches ballet and advanced Jazz for Music Theatre, and Movement in the Drama track. He has worked as a guest teacher across the Midwest as well as St. Petersburg, Russia, for the resident dance company of the famed Music Hall. He began his dance training in San Juan, Puerto Rico with Ballet Concierto and Ballet de San Juan, and later continued his studies under scholarship at Joffrey Ballet School and the Boston Conservatory.

He performed contemporary works with Boston Dance Company, Minnesota Dance Theater, Ballet of the Dolls, Ballet Arts of Minnesota, as well as various commercial video works. Most recently he has choreographed for Anything Goes, Carousel, and Guys and Dolls, and has just been awarded a choreography commission for a new original Broadway musical: Palladium. Mr. Maldonado-Lopez is head of the Jazz department of MCB School since 2004.

Elizabeth Malm (Jazz)

Elizabeth Malm is a multi-talented dancer, teacher and choreographer. She began her training in the New World School of the Arts Dance Department. She has danced for Mia Michaels, Ballet Theater of Miami, Momentum Dance Company and Brazarte Dance Company.

Ms. Malm has also worked in the music video industry where she has danced and choreographed for top artists including Lenny Kravitz, Ricky Martin, Jay-Z, P Diddy, Beastie Boys, Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction, Lil’Romeo, Baha Men, Carlos Ponce, Tito Puente, Kevens, Celia Cruz and Iron and Wine. Her choreography has been featured on MTV, BET, CBS, FOX, HTV, Telemundo and Univision. Some of her commercial credits include: Virgin Mobile featuring Missy Elliot, Samsung “Stomp”, Bud Light for Super Bowl featuring Cedric the Entertainer, Bacardi, Lays Potato Chips featuring Chayanne, Telefonica “Movie Star”, Herbal Essence, Pollo Tropical “That’s the Way”, Orbit Gum “Lifeguard” and the “Truth” Anti-smoking campaign. She has also choreographed half-time shows for the Miami HEAT.

Since 2003, Ms. Malm has shared her time between Miami City Ballet and New World School of the Arts teaching in their Jazz and Musical Theater Departments. At New World in 2008 her work was featured in the musical “The Pajama Game” and in 2011 she choreographed the rock musical “Spring Awakening”. In 2009 she was assistant director/ choreographer for Miami City Ballet’s Lounge 2200 “Open Barre” Dance Series. In 2012 Ms. Malm was a guest teacher and choreographer for the Entreatos Internacional De Dança in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Jennifer Manino

Jennifer Manino is a graduate of The HARID Conservatory in Boca Raton, FL. While studying at HARID, she was chosen to perform in The Nutcracker with the Moscow Ballet. Upon graduation, she became a trainee with the Joffery Ballet School and then joined Columbia City Ballet where she performed soloist and principal roles. Her extensive professional career continued with The Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York City for eight consecutive seasons.

Ms. Manino was also a founding member of American Contemporary Ballet, which is now based in California. Ms. Manino studied at renowned schools, such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet and Boston Ballet. In addition, Ms. Manino graduated from New York University receiving a Bachelor of Science. Before moving to South Florida she taught at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.

Maribel Modrono

Maribel Modrono was born in Cuba and grew up in Miami, FL. She began her studies in South Florida, and then received a scholarship with the School of American Ballet. She soon began her professional career at the age of 18 with Ft. Worth Ballet. Moving back home to Miami, after the invitation of Edward Villella, she joined Miami City Ballet and was swiftly promoted to Principal Dancer. To expand her repertoire, she later accepted an offer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Throughout her extensive career she received high acclaim for her dancing in many of the famous George Balanchine ballets and the great classical ballets. This opened many new opportunities dancing for some of the leading choreographers of today. With her passion towards health and fitness she became a certified Pilates Instructor and later received her certification as a Core Fusion Teacher. Her dream is to share her knowledge of dance with the dreams of the next generation.

Julie Pappas Smith (Broadway Jazz and Zena Rommett Floor-Barre®)

Julie Pappas Smith received her BFA from the Boston Conservatory of Music majoring in Musical Theatre. Julie’s professional career spans the globe, touring with Broadway Equity Tours: A Chorus Line, Beauty and the Beast, Showboat, under the direction and choreographed by the incredible talents: Harold Prince, Susan Stroman, Baayork Lee, Robert Roth. Off-Broadway and regional roles included: Cats, Kiss of the Spider Woman, South Pacific, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, and 42nd Street. As a vocalist, Julie was featured at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World and has worked for Carnival and Norwegian Cruise lines. She studied with the Marblehead School of Ballet, Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway.

Ms. Smith studied Zena Rommett Floor-Barre® under the careful eyes of the world-renowned Zena Rommett. She was guided and taught by Zena for over 18 years and has been a mentor and master Zena Rommett Floor-Barre® instructor teaching the technique for over 10 years. Julie is honored to be a part of Miami City Ballet School and wishes to bring longevity, strength and good health to every dancer.

DeAnn Petruschke

DeAnn Petruschke began training at the School of Cleveland Ballet under the tutelage of Daniel Job and Roni Mahler. She continued her training at the School of American Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and the Milwaukee Ballet Schools. During Ms. Petruschkes’ ballet career she danced as a soloist and in the corps de ballet for Ballet Arizona, Cleveland Ballet, San Jose Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, Grand Rapids Ballet and Ballet Gamonet.

While performing with the Grand Rapids Ballet, she joined the school faculty. Ms. Petruschke has continued her teaching career as faculty and guest instructor at schools in Michigan, Ohio and South Florida, where she has been a faculty member at the Miami City Ballet since June 2012.

Emily Ricca

Emily Ricca (Pilates) began her ballet studies in Springfield, Mo., where she was invited at a young age, to be part of the Missouri State University Ballet program. After Ms. Ricca graduated from Virginia School of the Arts, she joined Ballets de San Juan where she worked with Ricardo Melendez and Ana Maria Castañon.

Ms. Ricca danced with Florida Dance Theatre for three seasons as a principal dancer and worked as a ballet teacher in the Company’s school. She has also danced as a soloist and guest artist with Boca Ballet Theatre, Vero Classical Ballet, Florida Arts and Dance Company, Wellington Ballet, and Springfield Ballet.

She has taught for Vero Classical Ballet, Florida Arts and Dance Company, Indian River Charter High School and Miami City Ballet School where she recently completed their Fellowship Teacher Training Program.

Ms. Ricca is the founder and director of Romance Project, an international educational program, giving presentations at schools and other venues combining live dance and music performance with history.

She is also a certified Pilates instructor and is currently teaching at SoBe Pilates, The Jewish Community Center and 6th Street Dance Studio.

Roberto Rodriguez

Roberto Rodriguez began his dance training with Ballets de San Juan in Puerto Rico and studied at the School of American Ballet in New York. He worked for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, returning to Ballets de San Juan where he performed many classical lead male roles specializing in George Balanchine’s choreographies. Mr. Rodríguez holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and in Theater and Dance Education from the University of Puerto Rico. For the last 28 years, he has been teaching ballet, theater, pantomime & creative movement.

He is currently a Florida State Department of Education certified teacher. He has worked as a Dance Consultant for the M-DCPS, and also an adjunct teacher for the New World School of the Arts, Theater Division. He is currently the Artistic Dance Director for the Miami Arts Charter School Dance Department and also a member of the ballet faculty of the Miami City Ballet School.