Patricia Hoffman, Founder and Artisitc Director, Principal Teacher. Ms. Hoffman founded Ballet Society of Colorado Springs in September of 1997. Before moving to Colorado Springs, she was the founder and Director of La Jolla Festival Ballet and Dance Center in Southern California for 10 years. Ms. Hoffman began her studies in Monterey, California, with Patricia Wester. At age 16, she began studying full time with England's Ballet Rambert. She received her MFA in classical ballet from U.S. International University where she also later joined the faculty. Ms. Hoffman performed principal roles created for her with Ballet International and San Diego Ballet. She also directed and taught in London, at the San Diego Ballet School, and the USIU Conservatory of the Arts.
Hanna Atencio (Ballet and Worship Dance Faculty) began her ballet training in her hometown Nuremberg, Germany, under Oleg Usenko and Violetta Dubak. For her last three years of training she moved to Berlin to study at the State Ballet School under Ursula Leesch and Edna Azevedo. During her last year of school she was invited to dance with Ballet Dortmund as a guest artist in Swan Lake. Upon graduation she received a contract at the Landesbuehnen Saxonia. In 2006, Hanna moved to Jackson, MS, to be a trainee with Ballet Magnificat!. After two years she was promoted to dance with the Ballet Magnificat! Omega company where she performed and taught throughout the United States as well as internationally in Canada, Israel, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Kosovo, Macedonia, France and Italy. In September 2011 Hanna married Luke Atencio. They are now living in Colorado Springs.
Ahita Ardalan Bergman (Permanent Guest Faculty) Ballet Mistress, San Diego Ballet, has performed with Paris Opera Ballet where she danced throughout Europe and the USA. She taught with the Conservatoire de Region de Paris and later became Stage Manager and assistant choreographer for the Ballet de Monte Carlo. In 1991, Mr. Roland Petit asked her to join Ballet National Mareille as his Artistic Assistant and Stage Manager. She now serves as Ballet Mistress for San Diego Ballet and teaches at the school.
Jessica Collier has an extensive background in dance, specifically ballet, pointe and lyrical worship. She played the leading role as Clara in the Colorado Youth Ballet Nutcracker in 2010 and 2011 and danced in the Thorn and Wonderland productions at New Life Church for 7 years. Jessica is a sought after teacher with 8 years of teaching experience at several local schools. She teaches all age groups but her specialty is preschool and elementary children. Her passion is to share her love of dance and the joy and excitement of performing with the next generation by teaching them dance fundamentals, building their self confidence, and inspiring them to pursue their dreams.
Caitlin Hoffman (Ballet Faculty) began her dance studies at Ballet Society of Colorado Springs and continued there until completing her training at Canada's National Ballet School. Upon graduating from NBS, Caitlin danced professionally with Tulsa Ballet. While at Tulsa Ballet and NBS, Caitlin performed in many ballets including Swan Lake, La Sylphide, The Nutcracker, Balanchine's Serenade, as well as many contemporary works. Caitlin currently owns her own business, Ballerina Boutique, and is a faculty member of Ballet Society. Caitlin enjoys offering her firsthand experience in the ballet world to her students and customers.
Lawrence Jackson (Permanent Guest Faculty Modern and Jazz) is a graduate of both the University of Southern Mississippi where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Florida State University where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree. Lawrence has studied with many prominent dance professionals including Donald McKayle, Mary Hinkson, Cleo Parker Robinson, Suzanne Farrell, Dan Wagoner, Joel Hall, and others. Professionally, he devoted several years as a principal dancer with the internationally-known modern dance company, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble. He has also performed as a guest artist in a variety of venues: on the concert stage, PBS television programs, industrials, dinner theatres, and summer dance intensives. In addition, he has also choreographed over 30 original works for the concert stage. As an instructor, he has taught and continues to guest teach and choreograph at various universities, academies and summer workshops throughout the U.S. and abroad. His professional training background of ballet, modern, jazz, and African are reflected in his choreography and classes. Lawrence is a faculty member at the University of Wyoming, where he teaches all levels of Modern, Jazz, Repertory, Dance Composition, Partnering and has recently created a course on African American Dance Studies. His current interest of study is researching the relationship between sociology and dance.
April M. Longo is originally from Johnson City, TN and is new to the Colorado Springs area. She most recently danced professionally with The Florida Ballet, performing principal roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker, Tatiana in Florida Ballet's Urban Dream and soloist roles in Paquita, Fairest of Them All, and other Florida Ballet exclusives. She has also danced professionally with Tulsa Ballet, under direction of Marcello Angelini, performing Balanchine's Serenade, as well as Swan Lake, Pas de Quatre, Les Sylphides, and contemporary choreography by Tulsa Ballet's Ma Cong. Prior to that, she danced with Kentucky Ballet Theatre, directed by Norbe Risco and earned her dual undergraduate degree on scholarship from Radford University in Virginia, with a B.F.A in Dance and a B.B.A in Business Management, graduating Summa Cum Laude in both.
Donna Lorrig (Media Relations Specialist) Has three daughters who have danced at Ballet Society over the past 15 years. Her oldest daughter, Merry, started dancing at age 12, danced at Ballet Society for five years, earned a dance scholarship to attend Belhaven College, in Jackson, MS, and went on to dance with Ballet Magnificat!. Diana, has danced at Ballet Society since she was 9 years old and still dances at Ballet Society when she can; and SarahRose, has been dancing at Ballet Society since she was 3 years old. Donna has appreciated all of the wonderful experiences her daughters have enjoyed at Ballet Society. She created and maintains the Colorado Youth Ballet Website, Facebook pages for Ballet Society, the Youth Ballet, and Praise Dance Ensemble. She also assists in creating documents, fliers, and press releases. She attended Middle Tennessee State University as an Art Major and enjoys the creative process.
Hillary MacPhee is currently on leave as she pursues missions training with YWAM. (Ballet, Tap and Worship Dance Faculty; Praise! Dance Ensemble Director) has studied classical ballet for 10 years, and has taught for the last four years. She has received the first place award in Esther Geoffrey's Young Dancer's Competition in 2006, 2007, and 2010, as well as placing as being a finalist in the Denver Ballet Guild in 2008 and 2009. Her performances with Ballet Society include the title roles in Peter and the Wolfand and The Firebird, as well as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Spanish in The Nutcracker, Carobosse in Sleeping Beauty, a Stepsister in Cinderella, and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In 2009, she portrayed the title role in Jane Austen's Emma, presented by We Bow Together: Youth Theatre. She joined Sunrise Players in their productions of Messenger University's, Fiddler on the Roof as the oldest daughter Tzeitel, and Godspell as Sonia. Hillary graduated from high school in 2009, and is now studying part-time at the School of Worship. She uses her passion of worship in the Sunrise youth band Matchbox as a lead vocalist and guitarist. She also writes fiction, and is working on publishing her first novel.
Maria Linn Phillips (Contemporary Dance Faculty) holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. Her extensive dance training background consists of ballet, jazz and modern, with an emphasis on contemporary-modern technique. While at CSULB, she had the chance to train under Rebecca Wright (ABT), Victoria Koenig (Los Angeles Chamber Ballet/Inland Pacific Ballet), Jeff Slayton (Merce Cunningham Dance Company), Gloria Newman (Newman Dance Company), Holly Schiffer (Jose Limon Dance Company), and Susan McLain-Smith (Martha Graham Company). Ms. Phillips has performed in numerous venues within the Southern California region, including the Crystal Cathedral and the Entertainment Division of Disneyland. She has also performed with Ormao Dance Company in Colorado Springs and is currently in her seventh year of teaching at Ballet Society of Colorado Springs. Maria fully enjoys sharing her passion of dance with her students.
Tasha Redder (Jazz) originally from Phoenix, AZ, began her dance training at age 14 at her high school under the direction of Patti Gregersen and Jaime Thompson. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance, specializing in choreography, from Arizona State University under the direction of Elina Mooney, Karen Schupp and Cynthia Roses-Thema. She has studied independently in Jazz under Jeremy Miller and Classical Ballet under Lori Sylvestri. Tasha has been teaching Jazz, Modern and Contemporary dance for eleven years. She runs a fun and disciplined classroom, where students are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves as technicians and discover themselves as artists. Tasha and her husband Matt have lived in Colorado Springs for six years and have two children, Maddox and Lily.
Amy Schaefer (Ballet Faculty) danced with Ballet Emmanuel, a full-time, Christian ballet company located in Colorado Springs. At the age of three, Amy began dancing at the Kansas Dance Academy and then moved to study dance intensively with Ms. Sharon Rogers at Rogers Ballet, Inc. In 2007, she graduated from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in ballet. While at Friends she had the privilege of working with choreographers such as Dominic Walsh, Shawn Stevens, Francisco Martinez and Melonie Buchanan and performed as a soloist in Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, Les Sylphides, the Nutcracker and many other classical and contemporary works. After graduation, she danced with the Wichita Ballet Theatre, was the conference coordinator for the Central Region's American College Dance Festival, and taught ballet for Friends University and Rogers Ballet, Inc.
Stacy Smith was trained in New York. Her professional performing career included time with the Baltimore Ballet, Ballet Nuevo Mundo de Caracas, Ballet Internacional de Caracas, Ballet Florida, and the David Taylor Dance Theatre. Stacy has taught and directed community outreach programs throughout her career. Upon retiring from performing professionally, she created and directed Cresson Dance, a nonprofit educational and performing dance program based in Cripple Creek, CO. There, she also choreographed for Thin Air Theatre Company. She is also a certified yoga instructor, offering classes in Cripple Creek, Woodland Park, and Colorado Springs.
Martha Wirth trained in Modern dance under Joanne Emmons who was a former student of Jose Limon. She has worked with dance companies and studios around Colorado choreographing, performing, and teaching, as well as lecturing, performing alongside recording artist Shannon Wexleberg, and directing the Thorn in Denver.
Nina Miller (Accompanist) Nina Miller has 23 years of piano teaching experience in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tokyo, Japan, and Colorado Springs. She graduated from the Music College of Mussorgsky and the St. Petersburg's State Conservatory in Russia. She has performed internationally in Russia, Italy, Finland, Portugal, Japan and in the USA. Nina is a member of the Music Teacher National Association. (MTNA). For more information on Piano lessons with Nina click here.