Spring Seminar

The Vancouver Ballet Society has been presenting the Spring Seminar program for over 30 years with incredible success and achievement. The Seminar is a week-long workshop for dance students aged 11-18 years in the province of British Columbia. Students are selected to attend the Seminar via audition, based on dance technique, potential, and artistry.

Previous instructors include former Prima Ballerina of the American Ballet Theatre, Martine van Hamel; Artistic Director of the National Ballet of Canada Karen Kain; internationally renowned Canadian choreographers Peggy Baker & Peter Quanz; former Royal Winnipeg Ballet soloist Johnny Chang; Principal Ballerina with the Pacific Northwest Ballet Patricia Barker; and Canadian modern dancer, Margie Gillis. The Vancouver Ballet Society strives to bring the best teachers from around the globe!

The scholarships that are awarded at the presentation at the end of the week-long training, are chosen by the guest instructors and are comprised of funds that have been privately donated to the Vancouver Ballet Society specifically for scholarships, investments and fundraising by the Society. Former scholarship recipients include Heather Ogden (National Ballet of Canada); Nicole Ciapponi (San Francisco Ballet); Alex Wong (So You Think You Can Dance); Celine Gittens (Birmingham Royal Ballet); Nicole Caron and Tara Williamson (Alberta Ballet); Brianne Bland (Washington Ballet); Crystal Costa (English National Ballet); Jessica Edgley (Norwegian National Ballet); Christopher Gray (Houston Ballet); Taylor Gill (Ballet Jorgen Canada); Frances Chung (San Francisco Ballet). Other recipients go onto professional teaching careers, such as Fiona Smith, Goh Ballet Academy in Vancouver and Kerry Lynn Turner with the Victoria Academy of Ballet. Jillian Levey, a Ballet Society scholarship recipient in 2003 now owns her own company, Red Curtain Media, and creates audition DVDs for dancers.

2017 Faculty

Spring Seminar 2017 auditions will be held on January 15, 2017 and the seminar will run March 12-18, 2017.


Elena Glurjidze was born in Tbilisi, Georgia; as a young dancer she trained at the prestigious Vaganova Academy in St-Petersburg at age 12 as a pupil of the great Russian ballerina Lubov Kunakova who coached her throughout this period developing her into the ballerina she is today. In 2002 Elena joined English National Ballet as a Principal ballerina and was promoted in 2007 to Lead Principal ballerina.

In 2009 Karl Lagerfeld, Creative Director of Chanel, created a tutu for Fokine’s The Dancing Swan which he fitted exclusively for Elena at Chanel’s headquarters in Paris forming part of the Company’s tribute to The Ballets Russes staged at Sadler’s Wells. In 2011 British Fashion Designer Giles Deacon created a tutu based on the Black Swan which once again was exclusively designed and created for her.

Elena lives in London; she graduated from The Royal Ballet School Professional Dancers Teaching Course – Professional Classical Ballet Teacher and was invited to teach during The Royal Ballet Summer School as well as English National Ballet Summer School in July 2013. Her final performance with English National Ballet was as Odette/Odile in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake at the London Coliseum on 18 January 2015, the role she first danced with the Company in 2002. She continues to guest with companies internationally and is currently working towards staging her own production projects.


Colleen Thomas is a New York based choreographer and performing artist.  Her work as a choreographer and dancer has been presented internationally in Hong Kong, Estonia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, and Russia, and in New York at venues including Danspace Project, DTW, New York Live Arts, The Miller Theater, Danny K. Playhouse, The Harkness Center at the 92nd Street Y, and The Kumble Arts Center.  She has worked with renowned contemporary choreographers such as Nina Wiener Dance Company, Donald Byrd/The Group, Bebe Miller Dance Company, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company among others.  In 2003, she founded Colleen Thomas Dance where she serves as artistic director, executive director, choreographer, and performer.  She is also co-director, choreographer, and performer with Bill Young/Colleen Thomas & Co, and the co-director and co-curator of the LIT (loft into theater) series at 100 Grand, which supports innovative and experimental work by both emerging and established artists in an up-close and personal setting.She is currently an Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Dance at Barnard College of Columbia University.

2016 Faculty

Caroline Gruber was trained at the Royal Ballet School in London, England for 9 years, and upon graduation joined the Het Nationale Ballet in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she danced for 6 years.

Ms. Gruber danced with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet from 1988-2000. Since 2007 she has been teaching, coaching and setting repertoire in the Professional and Recreational Divisions of the RWB School. She also works extensively with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company, mainly assisting in the staging of classical repertoire such as Giselle, Swan Lake, Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.

Ori Flomin is an independent choreographer, dancer, dance and yoga instructor and a Shiatsu therapist based in New York City.

His choreography has been seen in NYC at Dance Theater Workshop, PS122, Movement Research at Judson Church, DanceMopolitan at Joes’ Pub, Dance New Amsterdam and internationally in Austria, Japan and Israel.

For four years he was the assistant to the artistic director of Stephen Petronio Dance Company for which he also danced from 1991-1999 as well as staging his work for different Schools and company’s around the world. He also had the pleasure to dance in the works of Neil Greenberg, Mollisa Fenely, Kevin Wynn, Michael Clark, Maria Hassabi, Chamecki/Lerner and most recently in Sweden with Helena Franzen.

He teaches dance and yoga as a guest artist for several companies and schools in Europe such as ImpulsTanz(Vienna), PARTS(Brussels) , SEAD (Salzburg), The Place(London), Culberg Ballet(Stockholm), National Ballet of Marseille and Sasha Waltz Company(Berlin), as well as teaching regularly at Dance New Amsterdam and Movement Research in New York City. He is also a part time faculty at Rutgers College, Barnard College and the New School.

Spring Seminar 2015
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2015 Faculty


Katharina Christl was born in Dresden (Germany) in 1979. From 1990 to 1996, she trains at the Palucca Schule – Hochschule für Tanz in Dresden.

Throughout her career and up to now, she improves her dancing with teachers such as Ori Flomin, Ted Stoffer, Libby Farr, Aaron Watkin, Laura Graham, Inaki Azpillaga, Mariah Maloney, Jason Beechey, Timothy Couchman, Keren Levi… As early as 1996, when she graduated, she appeared in many shows and performances of the theatre and dance throughout Germany.

Her collaboration with Frédéric Flamand started with the project “The Future of Work” for the Expo 2000 in Hanover. In January 2005, she followed Frédéric Flamand as a soloist to the Ballet National de Marseille (BNM). Since then, she has danced in almost every production he did and was also his choreographic assistant. In 2006, she worked on her own choreography – the solo “Manfred”. These and many other productions, are part of the repertoire of BNM and partially still on tour. Specializing in Dance, Architecture/ Dance, New Media Technology, Contemporary Dance and Improvisation, Katharina Christl taught as part of many international festivals, has been a guest instructor for various companies and guest lecturer in academies.

Interested in developing her teaching skills, she gives master-classes on the work of Frederic Flamand when on tour and to the trainees of the program D.A.N.C.E. At the ballet or within the context of special sessions, she is regularly invited to give contemporary lessons. In June, 2012, at the request of Michel Kelemenis, she created with him a duet “le sixième pas”, registered today on the repertoire of the BNM.



Internationally known choreographer Bruce Wells has created well over 100 ballets. His career as a dancer began under the direction of George Balanchine where he danced as a soloist with The New York City Ballet.

His choreographic career began in workshops that Mr. Balanchine coached in the early 1970’s. From there he became resident choreographer for the Connecticut Ballet from 1975 to 1979, choreographing his first full length production, Coppelia in 1976.  Following this from 1979 to 1989 Mr. Wells was resident chorographer for the Boston Ballet under the direction of E. Virginia Williams until her death in 1983 and Bruce Marks until 1989. Mr. Wells created over 20 works for Boston Ballet, which included The Nutcracker, La Fee Mal Gardee, Swan Lake, and his highly acclaimed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. From 1984 to 1989 he was also Associate Artistic Director for Boston Ballet.

Next he would join Patricia Wilde’s Pittsburgh Ballet Theater for six seasons as resident choreographer creating new productions of Romeo & Juliet, The Firebird and The Great Gatsby among others. Mr. Wells has created works for The Australian Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, The Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Atlanta Ballet, The Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Cincinnati Ballet, The Nashville Ballet, Tulsa Ballet Theater, Oregon Ballet Theater, Jacob’s Pillow, and many more.

For the past seventeen years Bruce Wells has been on the faculty of The Pacific Northwest Ballet formerly directed by Kent Stowell and Francia Russell, now under the direction of Peter Boal.  Mr. Wells first Children’s ballet for the Pacific Northwest Ballet School  was Snow White, followed by Hansel & Gretel and a production of Pinocchio. His production of Snow White has been staged for The Atlanta Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, City Ballet of San Francisco, & Boston Ballet. Pinocchio was restaged for Atlanta & Carolina Ballet & PNB.

A frequent guest teacher and free lance choreographer, his most recent assignment was as guest teacher for the Dutch National Ballet, in Amsterdam.


2014 Faculty

Frances Perez-Ball

Frances Perez-Ball trained at Julian E. Blanco School of Performing Arts in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Hartford Ballet School, Eglevsky Ballet, and Point Park College. Frances began her career with Ballet Teatro Municipal de San Juan . As a principal dancer with Ballet Municipal, she toured the United States and Latin America performing various roles in full-length ballets such as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanhilda in Coppelia, and Kitri in Don Quixote.

Frances joined Boston Ballet in 1995. Her performances with Boston Ballet include featured roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Giselle, Dracula, Onegin, Abdallah, Anna-Marie Holmes’ staging of La Bayadère, Laszlo Berdo’s Below Down Under, Christopher Wheeldon’s Corybantic Ecstasies and The Four Seasons, Balanchine’s Serenade, Theme and Variations, Ballo de la Regina, Symphony in C, Movements Pro Gesualto, and The Four Temperaments, Daniel Pelzig’s 1998 World Premiere set to music by George Gershwin, Nine Lives: Songs of Lyle Lovett, and Bachianas, Nacho Duato’s Without Words and Jardi Tancat, Lila York’s Ode to Joy and Celts, William Forsyth’s In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Paul Taylor’s Company B, Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly, as well as Ben Stevenson’s Dracula and Cleopatra.

In 2003 Frances was invited to join Houston Ballet under the direction of Stanton Welch and became a Soloist. There, she performed works by Mr. Welch including Divergence and In the Garden of Myrth, Serge Lafar’s Suite en Blanc, Trey MacIntyre’s Touched, and Balanchine’s La Valse among others. Frances was the recipient of the 1999 Copa International Capezio Award for her outstanding work in ballet. She has also been on the teaching staff of Boston Ballet School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Hope Stone, and the Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive. At present, Frances is on the teaching staff of the Upper School of Houston Ballet.


Gioconda Barbuto

Photo from Gioconda’s website.

Toronto born, Gioconda Barbuto began her training with Gladys Forrester and pursued her artistic development at the Banff Centre and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She danced with the Minnesota Dance Theatre before becoming a soloist with Les Grand Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. After 16 years with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Gioconda went on to pursue an independent career as dancer and choreographer. In 1996 she was nominated for the Kennedy Center Fellowship and was the recipient of the Clifford E. Lee choreography award. In 1998, she was invited by Jiri Kylian to join Nederlands Dans Theater III in The Hague, Holland, with a group of high calibre dancers, all over the age of forty. Gioconda is featured in two of Jiri Kylian’s Award winning films, Birth Day and Car Men. After 8 years with NDT III, Gioconda continues to dance and choreograph. She has performed independently with Fortier Danse, Margie Gillis Dance Foundation, Coleman/Lemieux & Co., Anik Bissonnette, Martino Muller and collaborated with Emily Molnar and Michael Slobodian in a full evening project. Gioconda’s works have been presented at Ballet Jorgen, Banff Festival Ballet, Danse Cite, Tangente, L’Agora de la danse, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, BJM Danse Montreal, Alberta Ballet, École supérieure de ballet du Québec, Minnesota Dance Theater, Northwest Dance Project, McKnight Fellowship Award, Bravo!FACT, CBC Canada/Films Piche Ferrari, Ballet Kelowna, Arts Umbrella Dance Company, You Dance/National Ballet of Canada, National Circus School and Ballet BC. Gioconda continues to share her passion for dance through her performances, choreographic works, movement workshops and coaching.

2013 Faculty

lesley telford

Lesley Telford was born in Vancouver, Canada. She finished her studies in Montréal at L’École Supérieur de Danse du Québec before joining the company Les Grands BalletsCanadiens in 1992 under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. She went on to dance with Nacho Duato´s Compañia Nacional de Danza in Madrid, Spain and was promoted to principal dancer in 1999. From 2001 until 2010, she danced with Netherlands Dans Theater 1 where she worked and created with choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, Crystal Pite, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, and Johan Inger, among others.

As a choreographer, she developed her work participating frequently in SWITCH, the annual Netherlands Dans Theater choreographic workshop. She was consequently invited to create a new work, Here but Gone, for the Netherlands Dans Theater 1 program: Upcoming Choreographers 2006. Since then, she has created for Hubbard Street Dance Company 2 in Chicago and Compañia Nacional de Danza 2 in Madrid, Spain. Her work has also been presented  in the CaDance Festival and Korzo Theatre in the Netherlands, the Banff Festival of the Arts in Canada, the Schmiede Festival in Austria and the Reina Sophia Museum in Spain.

Lesley is presently a freelance choreographer, performer and teacher. She has also recently completed a Master of Arts in Cultural Production at the joint program of the University of Salzburg and the Mozarteum and developed a thesis examining the museum as a performance space for dance.

sofiane_sylve_large (1)Sofiane Sylve was born in Nice, France, where she studied at the Académie de Dance. She danced with Germany’s Stadttheater, the Dutch National Ballet, and New York City Ballet prior to performing with San Francisco Ballet as a guest artist in 2007 and joining the Company as a principal dancer in 2009. Sylve has created roles in Wheeldon’s Ghosts and Zanella’s Underskin, among others. She has also performed lead roles in a variety of ballets, including Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and “Diamonds”; Caniparoli’s Ibsen’s House; Forsythe’s Artifact Suite and in the middle, somewhat elevated; MacMillan’s Winter Dreams; van Manen’s Two Pieces for Het (For Rachel); McGregor’s Chroma and Eden/Eden, Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons; Robbins’ In the Night; Tomasson’s The Fifth Season and Prism; and Tudor’s Jardin aux Lilas. Prior to joining the Company, she danced a variety of works by George Balanchine, Jorma Elo, William Forsythe, Hans van Manen, Wayne McGregor, Alexei Ratmansky, Jerome Robbins, Glen Tetley, and Christopher Wheeldon. Sylve has performed as a guest artist with numerous international companies.

2012 Faculty

The National Ballet's Roberto CampanellaRoberto Campanella was born and raised in Rome, Roberto Campanella trained at the Scuola Italiana di Danza Contemporanea. In 1985 Campanella joined the Compagnia Italiana di Danza Contemporanea and became a principal dancer. In 1993 he joined The National Ballet of Canada.

Campanella made his choreographic debut at the National Ballet’s 1995 Choreographic Workshop. He also choreographs a wide variety of commissioned works for galas abroad and numerous companies. He is now a sought-after guest teacher for companies such as The National Ballet of Canada and Stuttgart Ballet as well as companies in Italy, Korea and Japan.

Dominic Walsh Dance TheatreDominic Walsh was born in Elgin, Illinois in 1971 and started his training at an early age. He joined Houston Ballet in 1989 and in 1996 he became principal dancer. Walsh has danced throughout Asia, Europe, and North America receiving praise from international critics.

In May 2002, Walsh launched his contemporary ballet company, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. In May 2006, Walsh created Romeo & Juliet, his first full-length, multi-sensory production. In March 2007, Walsh premiered a new full-length Orfeo ed Euridice for New National Theatre, Tokyo to rave review.

2011 Faculty

Evelyn HartEvelyn Hart was born in 1956 in Ontario. She began her ballet training at the age of fourteen at the Dorothy Carter School of Dance Arts in London, Ontario. In 1973 she began studying with David Moroni at the Royal Winnipeg School Professional Division. She made her professional debut with the company in 1976. In 1978 she was promoted to Soloist and in 1979 to Principal Dancer. In addition to her work with Moroni, Evelyn Hart has been taught and coached by Dame Alicia Markova, Jorge Garcia, Natalia Zolotova, Vishna Popovic and Ludmila Bogomolova. With the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Evelyn has toured throughout North America, Europe and Asia. A popular guest artist, she has also appeared with numerous leading ballet companies on stages throughout the world.

Justin PeckJustin Peck, originally from Vancouver Canada, danced with Alberta Ballet and Ballet British Columbia after graduating from the National Ballet School of Canada. In 2003, he moved to New York City to join Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and later, the casts of Movin’ Out, Come Fly Away and Phantom of the Opera. Justin has performed at The Metropolitan Opera, The Kennedy Center, on Broadway, on national television and in feature films. He has performed the works of George Balanchine, Alonzo King, James Kudelka, Jiri Kylian, Crystal Pite, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon, and Ron De Jesús, amongst many others.

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