Gelsey Kirkland

Gelsey Kirkland received her early training at the School of American Ballet, gaining early stage experience dancing children’s roles in Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Harlequinade. She graduated to the New York City Ballet in 1968, was promoted to soloist in 1970 and principal dancer in 1972. While in the New York City Ballet she performed a variety of leading roles in their repertory, including Concerto Barocco, The Cage, Irish Fantasy, Symphony in C, La Source, Theme and Variations, Tarantella, Harlequinade, The Nutcracker and Dances at a Gathering.

Her desire to master roles in full-length works coincided with Baryshnikov’s defection and invitation to dance with him at American Ballet Theatre, which she joined in 1974 as principal dancer. Teachers most influential in her development as a classical artist include Stanley Williams, Maggie Black, David Howard, actress and mime Pilar Garcia and dramaturge Greg Lawrence.

Ms. Kirkland received worldwide acclaim for her performances in the classical repertory: the title role in Giselle, Kitri in Don Quixote, Clara in The Nutcracker, Swanhilda in Coppélia, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, the sylph in La Sylphide, Lise in La Fille Mal Gardée, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in The Kingdom of the Shades, the Mazurka and pas de deux in Les Sylphides, and the sleepwalker in La Sonnambula.

Major choreographers have been inspired to create new works for her; namely, a production of Firebird by George Balanchine when she was seventeen, several ballets by Jerome Robbins, and Antony Tudor’s The Leaves are Fading and The Tiller in the Fields. Ms. Kirkland’s guest appearances with leading companies are notably the critically acclaimed performances of The Sleeping Beauty and MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet with The Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, and in Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet with The Stuttgart Ballet. On the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s 60th Birthday Gala at Covent Garden she performed the balcony pas de deux with Anthony Dowell. Her appearances on American and British television include Live from Lincoln Center and the film version of Baryshnikov’s The Nutcracker. Retirement from the stage in 1986 marked Ms. Kirkland’s transition into teaching and coaching in institutions such as American Ballet Theatre, The Royal Ballet School, English National Ballet, and The Australian Ballet. In the 1990’s she was Professor of Dance at Adelphi University in New York. In 2002-2005 she taught at the Victorian College of the Arts and was director of the ballet program at Danceworld 301. Ms. Kirkland studied the Vaganova Method at the Victorian College of the Arts. She continued intensive teacher training under Nina Osipyan. In 2006-2008 she collaborated with Kevin McKenzie and Michael Chernov in the staging and additional choreography for The Sleeping Beauty for American Ballet Theatre, as well as appearing as the Fairy Carabosse in that production.

Gelsey Kirkland and Greg Lawrence are the authors of her first autobiography Dancing On My Grave published in 1986, her second autobiography titled The Shape Of Love published in 1990, and a children’s book called The Little Ballerina and Her Dancing Horse published in 1993.

Michael Chernov

Michael Chernov received his early ballet and theatre training at the National Ballet and Theatre School in Melbourne, Australia. He has worked with classical ballet companies nationally and internationally. From 1987 to 1994 Mr. Chernov worked as an actor performing Off–Broadway and in regional theatre with the Hartford Stage Company and the Alonso Theatre Company in plays by Sophocles, Shakespeare, Shaw and Coward, working under the direction of Tony Award winning directors Vivian Matalon and Brian Murray. In 1992 he studied theatre directing at T. Schreiber Studios in New York and has directed plays by Anton Chekov and Horton Foote, including directing the actor Leonid Satinovsky from Russia’s prestigious Moscow Arts Theatre in Chekov’s The Bear. In 2003 Mr. Chernov received his Graduate Ballet Teacher’s Diploma (Vaganova Method) at the Victorian College of the Arts, and in 2006 completed a Master of Arts Administration at the University RMIT, Melbourne Australia. He taught classical ballet at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2004 and 2005, and at Danceworld in Melbourne, Australia where he was co-director of the ballet program with his wife Gelsey Kirkland. He has taught at Steps on Broadway, Peridance Studios and Ballet Hispanico in New York and in summer programs throughout the U.S. From 2006-7 Mr. Chernov worked in collaboration with Gelsey Kirkland and Kevin McKenzie on the staging and choreography for The Sleeping Beauty at American Ballet Theatre.

Marina Bogdanova

Ballet 5 & Ballet 6
Ms. Marina received her training at Russia’s Prestigious Perm Ballet Academy and received valuable private classes with legendary prima ballerina Ekaterina Maksimova and Ekaterina Chernyshov. She was a principal dancer with the Russian National Ballet Company and the Ballet Theatre of Moscow and earned the title of Honored Artist of the Russian Federation. Ms. Marina earned the title of Honored Artist of the Russian Federation. She has worked as Ballet Mistress at the New Jersey School of Ballet and Pedagogue of Choreography at the Joffrey School of Ballet.

Hayley Descavich

Pre-Ballet 1 & Pre-Ballet 2
Ms. Hayley began her training at Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, Massachusetts, where she studied under Ann Sorvino. She graduated from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, with a BFA in Ballet Pedagogy. She has performed works by Shannon Gillen and Charlotte Griffen, and she was affiliated with Cirque du Soleil. In 2014 Hayley started a contemporary dance company DC2. DC2 has performed across New York and Massachusetts, as well as at the Fringe Festival in Scotland. Her choreography has been showcased in music videos and local film. Hayley’s teaching experience includes directing the Sorvino Dance Intensive at Stoneleigh-Burnham School, as well as instructing at The Hartt School Community Division, The Dance Gallery and Joffrey Ballet School. She has taught ballet workshops in Massachusetts, Minnesota and Scotland. Hayley is Pilates and CPR-certified and has actively volunteered in local theater for children. 

Stephanie Godino

Pre-Ballet 1, Pre-Ballet 2, Ballet 1 & Ballet 2
Ms. Stephanie was born and raised in New York City. She is trained in Classical Ballet from Margaret Craske, V. Pereyslavec and at the Joffrey Ballet School, where she studied Character Dance from Andrei Kulyk and Basil Thompson. Ms. Stephanie has danced with companies including Kansas City Ballet; New York Theater Ballet; Joffrey 2 Dancers; “Lotte Goslar’s Pantomime Circus”; The Metropolitan Opera Ballet and New York City Opera Ballet. She has taught ballet for the children and teens at the Joffrey Ballet School, Broadway Dance Center and Peridance. Most recently she was an adjunct professor at Molloy College teaching ballet in the theater arts department for the CAP 21 musical theater program. Ms. Stephanie currently teaches in the Open/Adult division at the Joffrey Ballet school in NY City. She holds a BA Theater and Dance from Empire State College at SUNY.

Mariam Yilmaz

Ballet 3, Ballet 4 & Ballet 5/6
Ms. Mariam received her training at the Kiev State Ballet Academy in Kiev, Ukraine and Vakhtang Chabukiani Ballet Academy and Choreographic School of Tbilisi, in Tbilisi Georgia. She danced professionally with the Tblisi State Opera and Ballet Theatre in Georgia and later trained as a ballet teacher and choreographer at Georgia State University and Bulgarian National Ballet Academy of Pedagogy. She has over 10 years of experience as a ballet teacher, having been on faculty with Antalya State Conservatory, Department of Stage Arts, Ballet Department; Yilmaz International Ballet School in Turkey, Hariyama Ballet School in New York and Orlando Russian Ballet.