Faculty

Lori Ardis

Artistic Director

Swarthmore Ballet Theatre founder and artistic director Lori Ardis began performing as a dancer in 1940, in Washington D.C. She is a retired member of The American Guild of Musical Artists, the union for professional ballet dancers and opera singers. She has taught ballet since 1952. The Lori Ardis Ballet, a nonprofit educational organization has been giving dancers opportunities to perform since 1975.

Awards include:

  • Pennsylvania Arts Award for teaching Lia Cirio, currently Principal Dancer with the Boston Ballet
  • Philadelphia Fringe Festival Lifetime Achievement Award

Dancers trained by Lori Ardis have gone on to dance with professional companies including: Boston Ballet, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Chicago City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet and Laura Dean Dancers.

Photo right, Mrs. Ardis performing in 1952.

Amber Flynn

Amber began studying dance with her mother, Lori Ardis, at the age of three. She continued her ballet training at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and with the School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet.

Ms. Flynn studied modern dance with Lori Ardis (Graham, Horton, and Limon techniques); Rita Jones (Graham technique); Joan Kerr (Horton technique) and Susan Hess (Limon technique). She has taught ballet and modern dance at the Ballet Centre in Charlottesville Virginia for Louise Naughton, the University of Virginia as a substitute teacher for Nora Shattuck and the Swarthmore Ballet Theatre since it's founding 22 years ago.

Ms. Flynn studied with: Barbara Weisberger, Margarita De Saa, Madam Rosella, Yvonne Patterson, Lupe Serrano, Benjamin Harkarvy, Alexandra Danilova, John White, Robert Rodham, Violette Verdy, Gretchen Ward Warren, Cherie Noble, Royez Fernandez, Melissa Hayden, David Howard, Twyla Tharp and many other ballet, modern and jazz teachers.

Ray Lindsey

Composer

Ray Lindsey has played for dance companies all over the United States, including Kansas City Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and currently Pennsylvania Ballet.

Besides piano, he also plays mBira, violin, xylophone, guitar, harp, and various other instruments.

His styles range from classical to blues to jazz to African and other world music.

In addition to playing the works of other composers, he has composed many of his own pieces including numerous works for modern dance choreographers and the Lori Ardis Ballet Company.

Guest Teachers

Amy Aldridge

Principal Dancer, Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Amy Aldridge is a graduate of the North Carolina School for the Arts, where she received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence and had the privilege of studying with Alonzo King, Jacques d’Amboise, Melissa Hayden, and Arthur Mitchell. Ms. Aldridge began her dance training at the School of Richmond Ballet and continued with The School of American Ballet and the Boston Ballet School.

Ms. Aldridge rose through the ranks at Pennsylvania Ballet to a promotion to Principal Dancer in 2001. Ms. Aldridge has performed principal roles in numerous works, including The Taming of the Shrew, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Sleeping Beauty, La Fille mal gardée, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™, Square Dance, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, and Ballo della Regina. She has also performed featured roles in Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove and Nine Sinatra Songs (“That’s Life”); William Forsythe’s In the middle, somewhat elevated and The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude; Peter Martins’ Barber Violin Concerto; and George Balanchine’s Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Allegro Brillante, Theme and Variations, The Four Temperaments, Agon, Apollo, Serenade (Russian Girl), Valse Fantasie, Who Cares?, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, and Movements for Piano and Orchestra. In addition, Ms. Aldridge has created original roles for Dwight Rhoden’s 2x7, Trey McIntyre’s Plush and Cantilena, Matthew Neenan’s Keep and As It’s Going, and Jorma Elo’s Pulcinella.

Ms. Aldridge has appeared internationally as part of the Sintra Festival in Portugal, the Northwest Phalen Tanz Festival in Germany (with choreographer Kevin O’Day) and with the Stars of New York Ballet in London. In May 2004, she performed as a guest artist with New York City Ballet dancing Tarantella as part of the George Balanchine Centennial Celebrations. She has also appeared with BalletX in Neenan’s Broke Apart, Elo’s Scenes View 2, and at Jacob’s Pillow in Summer 2006.

Martha Chamberlain

Former Principal Dancer, Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

Martha Chamberlain began her dance training at age five at the Fellowship House in Media, Pennsylvania, where she was born and raised. She went on to study with Donna Muzio, Paul Klocke and Cherie Noble at West Chester's Dance Center and The School of American Ballet's Summer Program from 1985 to 1988. She is a graduate of Friends Select and The School of Pennsylvania Ballet.

Ms. Chamberlain joined Pennsylvania Ballet as an Apprentice in the fall of 1989 and was promoted to the Corps de Ballet three months later. She was promoted to Soloist in 1997 and to Principal after her premiere as Juliet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet in March 2000. Ms. Chamberlain has danced several leading roles including Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanhilda in Copp'lia, Myrtha in Giselle, Dewdrop and Sugarplum Fairy in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, and Helena and Divertissement pas de deux in A Midsummer Night's Dream. She has also had featured roles in George Balanchine's Ballo della Regina, The Four Temperaments, Agon, Western Symphony, Serenade, Apollo, and Rubiesfrom Jewels; Paul Taylor's Company B and Arden Court; and Christopher d'Amboise's Franklin Court. She has created roles for such choreographers as Trey McIntryre, Kevin O'Day, Jessica Lang, Jeffrey Gribler and Matthew Neenan. She has had the opportunity to dance internationally in Portugal, England, and Germany.

Ms. Chamberlain has designed costumes for Matthew Neenan's The Crossed Line, 11:11, As It's Going, Keep, and At the border as well as for choreographers such as Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Jorma Elo, Helen Pickett Zane Booker, and Meredith Rainey. Her jewelry has been sold in stores in Philadelphia and New York.

William DeGregory

Former Principal Dancer, Pennsylvania Ballet, Director of Pennsylvania Ballet II and head of the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

William DeGregory lives in New Jersey with his wife, Tamara Hadley. In 1975, when they were both principal dancers with Pennsylvania Ballet, Bill and Tammy were paired by the P.B.C. director Benjamin Harkarvy, to dance the greatest love stories ever composed They touched thousands of people who sensed their connection to each other in the resonance of every movement.

Bill joined Pennsylvania Ballet at age 18. His excellent technique, strong partnering skills, and winning stage presence quickly advanced him to Principal Dancer. Bill has danced most of the classical principal roles including: Siegfried in Swan Lake, James in La Sylphide, Franz in Coppélia, and many Balanchine ballets, including: Theme and Variations, Square Dance, Symphony in C, Cavalier in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Robert Weiss created the role of Nicholas for Bill in his full-length ballet, Winter Dreams. In September 1996, the legendary modern dance choreographer Merce Cunningham featured Bill in the world premiere of his acclaimed Arcade.

In February 2002, Bill DeGregory became Director of Pennsylvania Ballet's newly-formed training company, Pennsylvania Ballet II. He retired from performing at the end of the 2001-2002 season. With Pennsylvania Ballet II, the Company was able to greatly expand the scope and depth of its outreach effort through theatre and non-theatre-based performances at Philadelphia area schools and other small venues.

Julie Diana

Former Principal Dancer now Ballet Mistress, Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

Originally from Summit, NJ, Julie Diana began taking ballet at age seven with the New Jersey Ballet in West Orange, NJ where she trained for five years before moving on to study at The School of American Ballet for four years. Her training was also supplemented with summer intensives at the Joffrey Ballet School and the San Francisco Ballet School. Ms. Diana joined San Francisco Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1993, was promoted to Soloist in 1997 and to Principal in 2000. Her principal roles in the classical repertoire include the titles roles in Giselle and Romeo and Juliet, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Sugarplum Fairy and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Odette in Helgi Tomasson's Swan Lake, and Odette/Odile in Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake. Her leading roles in Balanchine ballets include Symphony in C, Concerto Barocco, Theme and Variations, Western Symphony, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Allegro Brillante, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Jewels, Symphony in Three Movements, Serenade, Apollo, Who Cares? and The Four Temperaments. She has performed Kenneth MacMillan's Elite Syncopations and as The Girl in The Invitation, in addition to Frederick Ashton's Thais Pas de Deux, Symphonic Variations, and as Lise in La Fille mal gardée.

Ms. Diana's contemporary repertoire includes, among others, Jerome Robbins' In the Night, Fanfare, Glass Pieces, and Afternoon of a Faun; William Forsythe's The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude and In the middle, somewhat elevated; Peter Martins' The Waltz Project; Christopher Wheeldon's Continuum, Polyphonia, Sea Pictures, and Rush; Nacho Duato's Without Words; Twyla Tharp'sNine Sinatra Songs and Push Comes to Shove; Matthew Neenan's 11:11, As It's Going, Carmina Burana, and Keep; and Mark Morris' A Garden, Sandpaper Ballet, and Pacific. She received the Isadora Duncan Award for her performances in Robbins' Dances at a Gathering and Kenneth MacMillan's The Invitation. Ms. Diana joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a Principal Dancer in September 2004 and was featured in the August 2006 issue ofDance Magazine. Ms. Diana has also performed throughout Spain with Angel Corella's Foundation and traveled to Beijing and Shanghai in 2006 to appear with Nilas Martins' Dance Company in Don Quixote and Peter Martins' A Fool For You. In January 2009, she danced the role of the Waltz Girl in Serenade with the New York City Ballet. Ms. Diana is married to Principal Dancer Zachary Hench. They have a daughter and a son.

Lauren Fadeley

Principal Dancer, Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

Lauren Fadeley was born in Orlando, Florida, where she began her dance training at age four. She trained at the Orlando Ballet School and the School of Performing Arts in Florida, along with summer intensives at The School of American Ballet. In 2000, after attending SAB for three consecutive summers, Ms. Fadeley moved to New York City at age 15 to study there full-time.

Once completing a year at SAB, Ms. Fadeley was invited by Peter Martins to join the New York City Ballet. While there, she performed in numerous works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, and Christopher Wheeldon. After two years with New York City Ballet, Ms. Fadeley decided to further her academic and dance education by attending Indiana University. While at IU, she performed principal roles in Serenade, Sonatine, The Nutcracker, Spring Waters, Cinderella, Who Cares?, Paquita, Napoli, and Allegro Brillante. In May 2007, she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance with an outside field in Kinesiology.

Since joining Pennsylvania Ballet in fall 2007, Ms. Fadeley has originated feature roles in Peter Quanz's Jupiter Symphony, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Reqium for a Rose, and Matthew Neenan's Pampeana, Keep, and At the border. She has also performed featured roles in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™ (Lead Marzipan, Sugarplum Fairy, and Dewdrop), The Four Temperaments (First Theme), Agon (Pas de Deux), Ballo della Regina, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Striptease Girl), Messiah, Kazimir's Colours, Cinderella (Summer Fairy), Octet for Strings, Five Tangos, La Sylphide, Barber Violin Concerto, N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, and In the middle, somewhat elevated. In March 2011, Ms. Fadeley premiered as Odette/Odile in Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake and in May 2012 she performed as Wendy in the company premiere of Trey McIntyre's Peter Pan. She was also one of fourteen Pennsylvania Ballet dancers who performed in the Academy Award-winning film Black Swan. Ms. Fadeley was promoted to Soloist for the 2011-2012 Season and is married to Principal Dancer Francis Veyette.

Ms. Fadeley was promoted to Principal Dancer for the 2012- 2013 Season.

Tamara Hadley

Former Principal Dancer and Ballet Mistress, Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

Born and raised in San Diego, CA, Tamara Hadley received her early training with the San Diego Ballet Company, which she joined at age 13. Ms. Hadley joined the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1975 and was promoted to Principal in 1977. Her repertoire includes all the major classical roles, including Swanilda in Coppélia, Giselle, the Sylph in La Sylphide, and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, as well as many of the most technically difficult Balanchine ballets including Concerto Barocco, Theme and Variations, Serenade, Allegro Brillante, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Agon, Prodigal Son, Who Cares? and Raymonda Variations.

Ms. Hadley has had many roles created for her by choreographers such as Richard Tanner, Lar Lubovitch, Robert Weiss, Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, Margo Sappington, and Lynn-Taylor Corbett. Peter Martins choreographed his Mozart Violin Concerto especially to showcase Ms. Hadley's strength and impeccably precise pointe work.

Ms. Hadley's guesting experiences have included an appearance with Rudolph Nureyev in Apollo and a gala evening with Alexander Goudanov. At Milwaukee Ballet, she and her husband and partner, William DeGregory, were the resident guest artists. As a couple, they toured with "Evening of Stars" to South America and China for several years, performed at the prestigious Jacob's Pillow, and appeared twice on the PBS Dance in America series.

Ms. Hadley retired as Principal Dancer in 1995 after 20 years with Pennsylvania Ballet. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband, Mr. DeGregory, former Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer and Pennsylvania Ballet II Director.

Zachary Hench

Principal Dancer and Ballet Master, Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

Zachary Hench was born in Loysville, PA, and began his training at age seven at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, where he studied for eight years. From there, he went on to train at the Kirov Academy in Washington, DC.

Mr. Hench became a member of Boston Ballet II in 1993 and was invited to join Boston Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1994. He was promoted to Soloist in 1996 and Principal in 1998. While there, he danced many principal classical roles including Siegfried in Swan Lake, Albrecht in Giselle, Conrad in Le Corsaire, Ivan in Christopher Wheeldon's The Firebird, Cavalier and Snow King in The Nutcracker, and featured roles in George Balanchine's Symphony in C, Serenade, Who Cares, Tarantella, Divertimento 15, and Valse Fantasie. He also danced leading roles in contemporary works such as Mark Morris' Malestrom, Merce Cunningham's Breakers, Christopher Wheeldon's Corybantic Ecstasies, Twyla Tharp's Waterbaby Bagatelles, Lila York's Celts and Ode to Joy, and Eliot Feld's Contrapose.

In 2000, Mr. Hench joined San Francisco Ballet as a Soloist, and was promoted to Principal in 2003. His repertoire of principal roles grew to include Albrecht in Helgi Tomasson's Giselle, Tomasson's Prism, Jerome Robbins' Fanfare, and Balanchine's Ballo della Regina, Allegro Brillante, and Diamonds and Emeralds in Jewels. His featured roles in contemporary ballets include Wheeldon'sContinuum and Polyphonia, Peter Martins' The Waltz Project, Robbins' Glass Pieces, Nacho Duato's Without Words, and Mark Morris' A Garden. He joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a Principal Dancer in April 2004 and danced the role of Siegfried in Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake in June 2004. Mr. Hench has also danced the lead role of Romeo in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, Colas in Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille mal gardée, Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince Charming in Ben Stevenson's Cinderella, James in La Sylphide, Dracula in Stevenson's Dracula and Oberon in George Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Additional contemporary ballets include Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room and Push Comes to Shove; Hans Van Mannen's Five Tangos; Jerome Robbins' In the Night; and Matthew Neenan's 11:11, As It's Going, Keep, Carmina Burana, and At the border. Mr. Hench has also performed throughout Spain with Angel Corella's Foundation and traveled to Beijing and Shanghai in 2006 to appear with Nilas Martins' Dance Company in Don Quixote and Peter Martins' A Fool For You. Mr. Hench is married to Principal Dancer Julie Diana. They have a daughter and a son.

James Ihde

Soloist Dancer, Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

A native of Kent, Ohio, James Ihde began his ballet training at the Dance Institute of the University of Akron, where he studied for eight years. In 1993, he came to Philadelphia for a summer session at The Rock School for Dance Education. Upon completion, he was invited to join Pennsylvania Ballet as an Apprentice for the 1993-1994 Season. In 1995, Mr. Ihde joined the Corps de Ballet and was promoted to Soloist in September 2003.

During the 1996-1997 Season, Mr. Ihde received rave reviews for his featured role in Lar Lubovitch's Waiting for the Sunrise. Since then, he has danced several feature roles in the classical repertoire including Paris in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, Ivan in James Kudelka's The Firebird, and the title role in Ben Stevenson's Dracula. In the contemporary repertoire, he has danced leading roles in Paul Taylor's Company B, Jerome Robbins' Interplay, Lar Lubovitch's Concert Six Twenty-Two, Margo Sappington's Rodin, Mis En Vie, Matthew Neenan's Penumbra, Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia, George Balanchine's Agon (Pas de Deux), the world premiere of Jorma Elo's Pulcinella, and the title role in Balanchine's Apollo.

Alexander 'Sasha' Iziliaev

Former Principal Dancer, Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

Born and raised in Sterlitamak, Russia, Alexander Iziliaev began his ballet training at age 11 at The Perm Ballet School. Upon graduating in 1992, he won the Moscow International Competition and the Perm Competition. That same year, he traveled to the United States and joined the Hartford Ballet. Immediately cast in principal roles, Mr. Iziliaev also originated many roles in Kirk Peterson ballets, and he continued his training with Truman Finney.

In 1995, Mr. Iziliaev was invited by Peter Martins to join the New York City Ballet. There, his extensive repertoire of featured roles included George Balanchine's Tarantella, Allegro Brillante, and The Four Temperaments; and Peter Martins Fearful Symmetries. Mr. Iziliaev also originated roles in Kevin O'Day's Badchonim and Richard Tanner's Schoenberg/Wuorinen Variations.

Mr. Iziliaev joined Pennsylvania Ballet in September 2000 as a Principal Dancer. His roles with the Company have included Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, Franz in Coppélia, Prince Charming in Cinderella, Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew, Prince Ivan in The Firebird, Frederick in Dracula, and James in La Sylphide. He has also danced principal roles in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™, Prodigal Son, Raymonda Variations, Agon, Serenade, and Western Symphony. Mr. Iziliaev has also performed in Paul Taylor's Arden Court, Lynne Taylor-Corbett's Great Galloping Gottschalk, and Christopher Wheeldon's Polyphonia and has made numerous international appearances in London, Paris, Scotland, Brazil, and throughout South America. Mr. Iziliaev is married to Principal Dancer Arantxa Ochoa, and they have a son. In addition to his performance career, Mr. Iziliaev is Pennsylvania Ballet's principal photographer and videographer, and photographer of most pictures on this site.

Riolama Lorenzo

Former Principal Dancer, Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

Originally from Havana, Cuba, Riolama Lorenzo began her ballet training at Martha Mahr School of Ballet in Miami, Fla. At age 14, Ms. Lorenzo was chosen to study at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Fla. In 1993, she was the recipient of the renowned Princess Grace Award and continued her dance training at New York City Ballet's prestigious School of American Ballet. While in attendance at the school, Ms. Lorenzo originated a role in Jerome Robbins' 2 & 3 Part Interventions for the 1994 Spring Workshop. The following autumn she became an apprentice with New York City Ballet and was then invited to join the Company in Spring 1995.

While dancing with New York City Ballet, Ms. Lorenzo appeared in countless works in the Company's vast repertoire, including ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, Robert LaFosse, Garth Fagan, Elliot Feld, and others. She danced principal roles in Balanchine's Jewels ("Emeralds"), A Midsummer Night's Dream, Union Jack, Serenade, Agon, Apollo and The Nutcracker; Robbins' Antique Epigraphs, The Concert ("Mad Ballerina"), Fancy Free, The Four Seasons ("Summer"), Glass Pieces, The Goldberg Variations, Les Noces and I'm Old Fashioned; and Martins' Swan Lake, ("Carabosse") and Fearful Symmetries. In addition, she originated roles in Robbins' West Side Story Suite and Brandenberg, and in Peter Martins' Concerti Armonici and Reliquary.

Ms. Lorenzo joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in September 2002 and was promoted to Soloist in September 2003. Her feature roles in the classical repertoire include the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, and the title role in James Kudelka's The Firebird. She also danced leading roles in Paul Taylor's Company B, Robbins' Fancy Free, Balanchine's Apollo, Martins' Fearful Symmetries, and Matthew Neenan's Le Travail and 11:11. In June 2004 she performed Odette-Odile in Christopher Wheeldon's critically acclaimed Swan Lake, a performance that The Philadelphia Inquirer called "glorious".

Pointe Magazine says "Lorenzo moves with a natural grace, and has amazing, fluid extensions that seem to reach to eternity. At 5'8", she's also an inspiration for other tall dancers."

Ms. Lorenzo is married and has a daughter and a son.

Arantxa Ochoa

Director, The School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and former Principal Dancer, Pennsylvania Ballet


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

Arantxa Ochoa was born in Valladolid, Spain, where she took her first artistic steps as a rhythmic gymnast. At the age of 12 she moved to Madrid to study at the Centro de Danza with Victor Ullate. Ms. Ochoa continued her studies at the Academie de Danse Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo. Three years later she came to the United States and studied at The School of American Ballet. Her renowned teachers include Stanley Williams, Truman Finney, Suky Schorer and Marika Besobrasova.

Ms. Ochoa spent three years at Hartford Ballet before joining Pennsylvania Ballet in 1996 as a member of the Corps de Ballet. She was promoted to Soloist in 1999 and to Principal in 2001.

Arantxa has danced many starring roles, including Odette-Odile in the world premiere of Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Swanilda in Coppélia, Lise in La Fille Mal Gardée, Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew, and the title roles in James Kudelka's The Firebird and Marius Petipa's Giselle. Her extensive repertoire of Balanchine ballets includes the leads in Apollo, Agon, Bugaku, Ballo Della Regina, Concerto Barocco, Divertimento 15, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Monumentum pro Gesualdo, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Prodigal Son, Raymonda Variations, Serenade, Theme and Variations, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, Western Symphony and Who Cares?.

Ms. Ochoa has also danced leading roles in Jerome Robbins' The Concert and In the Night; Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room and Sinatra Songs; Peter Martins' Fearful Symmetries and Waltz Project; and has originated many roles in works by Matthew Neenan and Kirk Peterson, among others.

Ms. Ochoa has had the opportunity to participate in many galas and festivals throughout Europe, including the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland, The Stars of the New York Ballet in London, the Sintra Festial in Portgual and in Northwest Phalen Tanz in Germany, and with the Chicago Ballet.

Francis Veyette

Principal Dancer, Pennsylvania Ballet and Director of Pennsylvania Ballet II


photograph © Alexander Iziliaev

Francis Veyette was born in California, he began his dance training at age 10 at Dance Arts in Visalia, CA. studying at Westside Ballet in Santa Monica and also took summer sessions at The School of American Ballet in New York City and The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia.

In 1997 Mr. Veyette began as an Apprentice with Pennsylvania Ballet and he then was promoted to the Corps de Ballet in September 1999 and performed the roles of Candy Cane and Tea in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker™, Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, and Titania's Cavalier in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Mr. Veyette danced with Kansas City Ballet 2003 to 2005. While there he performed the principal male in Balanchine's Square Dance and Theme and Variations, Cavalier and Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker, the Husband in Jerome Robbins' The Concert, the principal male in Paquita, and the Peasant pas de deux in Giselle.

Mr. Veyette appeared as a guest artist for Pennsylvania Ballet on several times during the 2004-2005 Season, then returned to the Company for the 2005-2006 Season as a member of the Corps de Ballet. He became a Soloist for the 2007-2008 Season and became Principal for the 2011-2012 Season. In 2011, he was Prince Siegfried in Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake and originated featured roles in the world premieres of Jorma Elo’s Pulcinella and Benjamin Millepied's This Part in Darkness. He also danced principal roles in the Pas de Deux in George Balanchine's Agon and Colas in Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille mal gardée. Matthew Neenan has created featured roles for Mr. Veyette in several ballets including 11:11, As It's Going, Penumbra, and Pampeana No. 2.

Mr. Veyette has also appeared as guest dancer with Massachusetts Youth Ballet, Westside Ballet and Festival Ballet Theatre. During the summers of 2002 and 2004, he danced in Japan appearing in Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux, Giselle, and Le Corsaire. He toured Spain the summer of 2012 partnering Principal Dancer Arantxa Ochoa.

Mr. Veyette has had the opportunity to work with cutting edge choreographers as a guest dancer with BalletX, and has created several of his own works over the years for both Shut Up and Dance and Kansas City Ballet's "In the Wings" program. Mr. Veyette is married to Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer Lauren Fadeley.

Robert Smythe

Well-known performer, playwright, director, actor and choreographer.