Guest Mentors

Meet Our 2017 Summer Intensive Guest Mentors!

Caroline Cavallo, Retired Royal Danish Ballet Principal Dancer

Caroline Cavallo is coming on board as an Atlanta Ballet Summer Intensive student mentor. Caroline began her ballet studies at Atlanta Ballet as a young girl and is thrilled to return to where it all started and share her many years of experience and training with the students this summer.

Stephen Pier, Dance Division Director of The Hartt School

Stephen Pier has performed throughout the world with the Royal Danish Ballet, the Hamburg Ballet, and the José Limón Company and as a guest artist. His repertoire spanned a vast range including the works of Petipa, Bournonville, Balanchine, Cranko, Kylian, Limón, and Neumeier. He created roles in original works for choreographers John Neumeier, Maurice Béjart, Kim Brandstrup, and Laura Dean. Critically acclaimed as “highly defined, a tour de force,” “ a dancer of tremendous taste and insight,” and “one of the most gifted dancers on the modern dance scene today.” Mr Pier went on to became internationally known as a teacher and coach for both Limón work and ballet. He taught for the Royal Danish Ballet’s company and school while serving as ballet master from 1990 -1996. He served on the faculty of the Juilliard School from 1996-2010, Alvin Ailey School, Martha Graham Center, Regional Dance America, and New York International Ballet Competition and for many notable companies in Europe, America, and Asia, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Bat Dor, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Introdans, Scapino Ballet, New National Theater Tokyo, and Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance. His students have danced in companies around the world, including The Royal Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Forsythe Company, Netherlands Dance Theater, Martha Graham Company, Lar Lubovitch, José Limón Dance Co., Mark Morris Dance Group, Doug Varone Dancers, Cullberg Ballet, Cedar Lake Ensemble, Alvin Ailey, and Bat Sheva.

In 2004, Mr. Pier began PierGroupDance to explore and collaborate with dancers and artists in various art forms. He has created over 40 works for the concert stage, opera, theater, and film. His work has been presented by The Hamburg Ballet (Ger.), Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Danish Theater, Royal Danish Opera, Bat Dor (Israel), The New National Theater (Japan), the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, The Di Capo Opera Company (NYC), Nilas Martins Dance Company, and the Dance on Film Festival at Lincoln Center. In 1998, he was selected to be part of Jacob’s Pillow Choreographer’s Project. He co-founded and directed the emerging choreographer’s workshop “Danses” at the Royal Danish Ballet 1990-1996.

Stephen was the artistic director of Juilliard’s innovative mentoring program from 2007 - 2010, and, in September 2008, he began a 3-year tenure as director of Visions and Voices: Altria/ABT Women’s Choreography Project at American Ballet Theater. In October of 2009, Mr Pier was recruited for the position of director of the dance division at The Hartt School, University of Hartford. For more information, visit Mr. Pier's website www.piergrp.org.
 

Viktor Plotnikov, Former Principal Dancer with Boston Ballet and Current Resident Choreographer with Festival Ballet

Born in Kharkov City, Ukraine, Plotnikov received his training at the Kiev-Ukraine School and the St. Petersburg Vaganova Ballet Academy. From 1987 to 1990, he was a soloist with Donetsk Ballet Company in the Ukraine. Plotnikov held principal dancer positions at Ballet Mississippi and Tulsa Ballet Theatre between 1990 and 1993, before joining Boston Ballet as a principal dancer in 1993, where he performed until 2006. He has danced major roles in extensive classical and contemporary ballets by many of the major choreographers, and he has toured extensively in Russia and the US.

In 1998, Plotnikov’s extensive performance career lead to choreographic inspiration. Since then Plotnikov has created a myriad of original works for numerous organizations and individuals, often to great acclaim. These include solos and duets performed at international gala performances and as part of international ballet competitions, with musical taste ranging from Brahms to Pink Floyd. From 2002 to 2005, he received rave reviews for his choreography and as co-director and co-producer of the choreographers’ showcase Raw Dance in collaboration with Boston Ballet and Boston Center for the Arts. He has since created original, commissioned works for companies including Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Pittsburg Ballet Theatre, Richmond Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, and the Bolshoi Theatre.

Awards include “Best Choreography” at the 2005 Helsinki International Ballet Competition and at the 2007 World Ballet Competition, Orlando; Outstanding Choreography Prize at the 2006 Youth American Grand Prix Competition; Second Prize winner of the 2007 International Choreographic Competition in Milwaukee; Best Choreography Award at the 2008 Ballet Competition in Perm, Russia; and Outstanding Choreographer Award at the 2009 Youth American Grand Prix.

In 2003, Festival Ballet Providence Artistic Director Mihailo Djuric commissioned Plotnikov to create an original version of Carmen, his first full-length ballet. That success lead to numerous ensuing commissioned works by the company, including The Widow’s Broom (2004, based on the story by Chris Van Allsburg, with original score by Novi Sad native Alexandra Vrebalov), Loof and Let Dime (2006), Viktorations (2006), Bre (2007), the overwhelming critically acclaimed Coma (2007), Cinderella (2007), Atom (2009), Sun Dust (2009), and Surrender (2010), Orchis (2013), and Sharps and Flats (2014). In 2010, Djuric named him Festival Ballet Providence resident choreographer.

Mr. Plotnikov is married to Boston Ballet’s Larissa Ponomarenko.
 

Larissa Ponomarenko, Former Principal Dancer and Current Ballet Master at Boston Ballet

Larissa Ponomarenko joined Boston Ballet’s artistic staff as ballet master in 2011 and is a graduate of Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg. After working with Donetsk Ballet in Ukraine, she danced with Mississippi Ballet and Tulsa Ballet before joining Boston Ballet as a principal dancer in 1993.

Ponomarenko danced with Boston Ballet for 18 years. Her versatile repertoire includes Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Kitri in Don Quixote, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Tatiana in Onegin, Kate in the Taming of the Shrew, the title roles in Giselle and Cinderella, Medora in Le Corsaire, Swanhilda in Coppélia, Nikiya in La Bayadère, and countless others. Ponomarenko has also performed a wide repertoire of George Balanchine’s works, including Symphony in C, Who Cares?, The Four Temperaments, Diamonds, Emeralds, Mozartiana, La Valse, Divertimento No. 15, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Serenade. She has danced works by John Cranko, Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato, Kenneth MacMillan, Antony Tudor, Paul Taylor, Mark Morris, Christopher Wheeldon, and Twyla Tharp, among others.

Over the years, Ponomarenko has worked closely with Boston Ballet Resident Choreographer Jorma Elo and has served as a muse for many of his ballets. She has also created roles in original works, including Rhyme, choreographed for her by her husband, Viktor Plotnikov.

Ponomarenko has appeared internationally in galas and as a guest artist with English National Ballet in London, NBA Ballet Company in Tokyo, Opera Theatre of Rome, and Teatro Comunale of Florence in Italy. She was nominated for the Benois de la Danse award in 2005 and is a recipient of the E. Virginia Williams Inspiration Award.

 

Julianne Spratlin, Retired Solist at San Francisco Ballet and Director/Owner of The Dance Training Center/San Francisco

Julianne Spratlin received her training at the Atlanta School of Ballet under the direction of Tom Pazik and Robert Barnett. She continued her studies at both the School of American Ballet and Boston Ballet. Ms. Spratlin danced with the Atlanta Ballet for eight years under the direction of John McFall. She performed principal roles in works by Balanchine, as well as the lead roles in many story ballets. She also worked with many contemporary choreographers and created roles in ballets by John McFall, Michael Pink, Lila York, David Parsons, Donald Byrd, and Stanton Welch.

In 2002, Ms. Spratlin joined the Joffrey Ballet. During her time there she danced a wide range of principal roles in the Joffrey repertoire to critical acclaim, including works by Ashton, Cranko, Balanchine, Kylian, Tharp, Joffrey and Arpino. In 2004, she was chosen as Chicagoan of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. In 2007, Ms. Spratlin joined the San Francisco Ballet, where she danced principal and soloist roles in ballets by Robbins, Taylor, and Balanchine and worked to create ballets with choreographers Caniparoli, Welch, Kudelka, Wheeldon, and Adam. In the spring of 2010, she was honored to be a guest artist with the Estonian National Ballet, performing with SFB principal Tiit Helimets. Ms. Spratlin joined the Milwaukee Ballet in 2010 as a principal dancer. Ms. Spratlin also had the great honor of being named one of 2011's "25 To Watch" by Dance Magazine and fellow artist Tiit Helimets.  

Ms. Spratlin began her teaching career at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education, teaching and coaching Pre­-professional Division students, many of whom went on to join Atlanta Ballet and other professional companies. During her time in Chicago, she taught at the Lou Conte Dance Studio of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. In San Francisco, Ms. Spratlin taught at The Ballet Studio since 2010 and became TBS sssociate artistic director.  

Sensing the need for a new kind of ballet school in San Francisco, Ms. Spratlin established the Dance Training Center/San Francisco in January of 2014.  A school with the highest quality of training, smaller classes, and a less competitive environment than some larger schools, DTC/SF strives to give individual attention to students in a healthy, positive atmosphere. DTC/SF is also a place where professional dancers and students from other ballet schools come to tune­up and work on their technique when recovering from injury. Ms. Spratlin regularly teaches company class for Smuin Ballet and has taught for Amy Seiwert's Imagery.  She was also thrilled to return to the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education in 2016 as a faculty member for both the Advanced and Professional Summer Intensives.