D&D is proud to have had the opportunity to present various teachers and Ballet School Directors over the years at our Masterclasses in Barcelona, Panama, Tokyo and Osaka
Born in Amarillo Texas, USA, Amanda Bennett studied at the School of American Ballet in New York. Her first engagement was at the Ballet du Grand Théatre de Genéve under the Artistic Direction of George Balanchine. From 1978 to 1989 she was engaged as Principal Dancer with the Basler Ballett under the direction of Heinz Spoerli, and during the 1989-90 season performed with Pennsylvania Ballet. Amanda Bennett has worked as Ballet Mistress, Rehearsal Director and Choreographic Assistant for among others, The Feld Ballet in New York, Ballet du Grand Theatre de Genéve, Luzerner Ballett, Bern Ballett and Ballett Freiburg Pretty Ugly. Ms. Bennett is an Affiliate Teacher of the American Ballet Theatre National Curriculum, member of the ABT NTC Artistic Board of Examiners and co-founder of the Ballettschule Theater Basel, where she has been Director since 2001. During this time, she was instrumental in bringing the Swiss Federal Diploma for Dance to Basel. In 2015 Ms. Bennett was awarded the Heinz Spoerli Foundation Prize for her outstanding work as Director of the Ballettschule Theater Basel.
From 2012 to 2016 Amanda Bennett was the Artistic Director of the Prix de Lausanne. She is a respected Expert and Jury Member and at many international competitions and dance events.
Photo copyright of ABT
Director of the ABT School
Cynthia Harvey’s style marked her as one of the most versatile and valued artists. Harvey danced nearly every ballerina role with American Ballet Theatre and had the distinction of being invited by Sir Anthony Dowell to be a principal ballerina of The Royal Ballet-the first American dancer to have that honor. Harvey performed as a guest artist with Baryshnikov and Company, Nureyev and Friends and numerous internationally renowned ballet companies around the world before retiring from the stage in 1996.
On video, Harvey appears as Kitri opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov in his production of Don Quixote, in a variation from Paquita in Natalia Makarova’s The Ballerina and the “Waltz” variation in Les Sylphides, a variation from Paquita (American Ballet Theatre dances Petipa)and, in the documentary, Tchaikovsky’s Women for Britain’s Channel 4. She is a featured artist in the Fred Weisman’s documentary Ballet and Darcey Bussell’s Ballerina Heroines, featured on the BBC.
Co-author of Physics of Dance & the Pas de Deux, Harvey has been guest teacher for The Norwegian National Ballet Company, where beyond teaching and coaching, she helped re-stage a production of The Sleeping Beauty in 2008 and staged her own complete production of the ballet Giselle in 2009.
In October 2010, the premiere of her full-length production of The Sleeping Beauty for The Hong Kong Ballet was met with acclaim. She staged the Shades section from La Bayadère for The Royal Ballet of Flanders, and in December 2014, her production of Don Quixote, for Singapore Dance Theatre, was said by Dance Europe to be one of the best premieres of the year worldwide.
As a guest teacher and ballet mistress, Harvey has taught for American Ballet Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, The Royal Swedish Ballet and The Zürich Ballet, and she is a regular guest ballet mistress at the Semperöper Ballett, Dresden. She has also taught regularly at The Royal Ballet School in London, as well as the School for the Basel Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School and as Principal Guest teacher for the English National Ballet School.
As a sought after teacher and jury member, Harvey has appeared at several competitions, including the Rosetta Mauri, The Tanzolymp, the First International Competition in Sitges, Spain, and in 2013, for Dance World Cup Spain. Harvey is a long time attendee of he Prix de Lausanne, where she has taught, served as jury president and in 2016 will be the coach for the ladies.
Harvey has been on the board of DanceEast, the National Agency for Dance in England and was a prominent member of the committee that saw major ballet directors and ballet school directors from around the world gather to discuss issues relating to improving life for ballet companies and schools. She was standards assessor for The Council for Dance Education and Training in the U.K. until 2010. She is a member of the International Council of Dance. In early 2014, Miss Harvey formed “En Avant Foundation”, a non-profit foundation for mentoring and coaching ballet for prodigious young dancers.
Photo by David Herrero
Director of the Princess Grace Academy
In 1981, Luca Masala studied at the School of La Scala in Milan, then in 1986 at the School of American Ballet in New York, and finally in 1988 at the Princess Grace Academy of Classical Dance in Monaco. At the age of 17, he joined the Royal Ballet of Flanders then headed by Robert Denvers, where he remained for three years. He performed roles in ballets by Balanchine, Béjart, Nureyev, Tudor, Violette Verdy, Flindt, and others. Then he worked for a year with Pierre Lacotte at the Ballet National de Nancy where he played key roles in Lacotte’s choreographies and choreographies of Antonio Gades, José Limón, Jirí Kylián, Ulysses Dove, Balanchine… In 1992, he moved to the Wiesbaden Staatstheater in Germany under the direction of Ben van Cauwenbergh where he was involved in several works such as Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, the Nutcracker, and many abstract pieces. He also worked with Peter Schaufuss on his Sylphide. In 1995, he joined the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich under the direction of Konstanze Vernon as a guest soloist dancer. A month later, he became a member of the company. His repertoire included choreography by Hans van Manen, Jirí Kylián, John Neumeier, William Forsythe, Mats Ek, Patrice Bart, Yuri Vamos… He took part in numerous creations and video recordings. He danced in prestigious theatres such as the Kirov, La Scala in Milan, the San Carlo in Naples, and the Teatro Massimo in Palermo… In 2000, he left the Bavarian company for Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse, under the direction of Nanette Glushak. There he performed most of the main roles of the classical and contemporary repertoire and was often invited to dance in foreign companies. He began choreographing ballets such as: Sang mêlé, La lamentation du Christ, Les Sept Péchés capitaux and Nougaro.
At the end of his career, he became Maître de ballet for the Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse and assisted many choreographers, such as Nanette Glushak, Michel Rahn, Jacopo Godani, Mauricio Wainrot, Davide Bombana, Patrick Delcroix, and Twyla Tharp. He has been a guest teacher at the National Ballet of Canada, Stuttgart Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Ballet du Capitole, and Vienna Ballet. He created a group of ten dancers of the Ballet du Capitole (the Capitol Soloists) for whom he organized dancing evenings in Spain, Italy, and France. He was a choreographer and assistant to the director Pet Halmen for the creation of the opera Faust at the Opéra National de Paris (2010). In 2009, he was appointed Director of the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco. He was awarded the “Giuliana Penzi” prize for his career and the “Premio Roma 2011 Jia Ruskaja“. On 19 November 2011, he was appointed by HRH the Crown Prince to the rank of Knight of the Order of Cultural Merit.
Artistic Director of the Tanz Academie Zürich
Oliver Matz received his ballet training under the supervision of Professor Martin Puttke at the State Ballet School Berlin. He was appointed to principal dancer in 1985.
Oliver Matz’s many awards and honors include the Youth Art Award of the German Democratic Republic. In 1983, he won the bronze medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition and first prize at the National Ballet Competition of the German Democratic Republic. A year later, he won a gold medal at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition and in 1986 a gold medal at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson (USA). In 1999, his interpretation of Siegfried in Swan Lake was nominated for the Prix Benois de la Dance. He has received numerous critics’ choice awards for his interpretations of the leading parts in Wassiljew’s Macbeth, Cranko’s Onegin, and The Taming of the Shrew, as well as for one of his most acclaimed classical roles, Basilio in Don Quixote.
In recognition of his outstanding artistic achievements, he was appointed Berliner Kammertänzer by the Berlin Senator of Culture in 1995, the first dancer ever to receive this highest honour. For his lifetime achievement, he was appointed Honorary Member of the German State Opera in 2004.
Many guest appearances and gala events led him to all parts of the world, including performances with internationally renowned ballet companies like the American Ballet Theater in New York, the Bayerische Staatsballett, the Teatro Alla Scala in Milano, the Finnish National Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, the Royal Ballet London, the Stuttgarter Ballett, and the World Ballet Festival in Tokyo. He has danced with famous international ballerinas like Eva Evdokimova, Isabelle Guérin, Sylvie Guillem, Evelyn Hart, Margaret Illmann, Alessandra Ferri, Ludmilla Semenjaka, and Steffi Scherzer.
Managing Director of the Vienna State Ballet Academy
Christiana Stefanou has been the director of the Vienna State Opera Ballet Academy since August 2020. She has extensive dance pedagogical knowledge and decades of professional experience as a dancer, teacher, guest lecturer, ballet director and coach of many renowned artists. She completed her Master's degree in dance education at the University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
However, her career first led Christiana Stefanou to Munich, where she studied dance at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater and was subsequently engaged by the Bavarian State Ballet. There she worked as a dancer for many years and interpreted many of the great classical and modern solo roles. After her successful career on stage, Christiana Stefanou worked as ballet master for the Ballet of the Greek National Opera of Athens and became director of the company. At the same time, she began teaching at the State Ballet Academy of the Greek National Opera and at the School of Performing Arts Greece.
As a guest ballet master and dance teacher, she has worked with the most important companies in the world, among others the Dutch National Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballett am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg, Boston Ballet, English National Ballet, Bayerisches Staatsballett, National Ballet Romania, Czech National Ballet, Balletto dell’Opera di Roma, Ballett Theater Basel, at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Munich and at the San Francisco Bay Point Ballet School.
She is also in demand as a coach for many important ballerinas and dancers of our time such as Polina Semionova, Lucia Lacarra, Anna Tsygankova, Friedemann Vogel, Daniel Camargo as well as Paulo Arrais. Furthermore, she has been invited to restage the major classical ballets such as »Swan Lake«, »Don Quixote«, »Nutcracker« and »Giselle« with many major ballet institutions worldwide.
Director, John Cranko Schule
Born in Warsaw, Poland, received his ballet education at the State Ballet Academy in Warsaw where he also completed his pedagogical training with Leonid Zhdanov.
In 1977 he had his first engagement as a dancer at the Big Theater Warsaw and at the same time worked as a ballet teacher at the ballet school in Warsaw. From 1979 to 1984 Tadeusz Matacz was a Principal Dancer at the Big Theater Warsaw. From 1984 to 1992 he was a Soloist at the Badische State Theatre in Karlsruhe where he also took on pedagogical commitments as of 1988. From 1992 to 1998 Tadeusz Matacz was Ballet Master and Choreographer at the Badische State Theater in Karlsruhe. From 1990 to 1998 he also worked as a Guest Teacher with Ballet Frankfurt, Toulouse Ballet, the Big Theater Warsaw, and from 1997 to 1998 also with the Stuttgart Ballet. Since 1st January 1999, Tadeusz Matacz has been the Director of the John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart. He is regularly invited to be a juror at renowned international ballet competitions.
Professor at the Conservatório Internacional de Ballet e Dança Annarella Sanchez
Teacher and trainer of dancers with more than 42 years of experience.
Graduated from the Cuban School of Ballet in Havana Cuba in 1978
Her students have had successful careers with several international ballet companies. Since 2015 she has been a guest professor at the Conservatório Internacional de Ballet e Dança Annarella Sanchez in Leiria Portugal where she teaches classical dance and classical repertoire to internationally renowned students such as Antônio Casalinho, Margarita Fernandes, Francisco Gomes, among others. She is an expert in classical technique work for boys.
Alexander Santana Sánchez
Professor at the Conservatório Internacional de Ballet e Dança Annarella Sanchez
Was born on August 21, 1981, in Villa Clara, Santa Clara, Cuba.
He graduated from the Cuban National School of Ballet Fernando Alonso as a dancer and teacher. As a student, he was a gold medalist (1997), bronze (1998), and silver medalist (1999) at the International Ballet Competitions in Havana (Cuba).
He started his professional career as a dancer at the Ballet Company of Camaguey (Cuba) as a Soloist for two years. After he joined the National Ballet Company of Ecuador, where he was a Principal Dancer for four years, was Principal Dancer for the Municipal Ballet of Lima (Peru) for eight years, and also a Principal Dancer in the National Ballet Company of Peru for four years. During his career, he danced with Lorna Feijoó, Rolando Sarabia, Jaime Francisco, among others, and his repertoire included great classical dances such as Coppelia, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, La Fille Mal Gardée, Giselle, Harlequinade, Swan Lake, Grand Pas de Paquita, La Sylphide, Les Sylphides, Diana and Acteon, La Bayadére, among other choreographies from the Classical and Neoclassical repertoire.
When he concluded his career as a dancer, he began his teaching career at the National Ballet School of Cuba. He also worked in Ecuador as a founding professor at the Metropolitan School of Dance in Quito, and in Peru, where he was sub-director of the School of Ballet Crescendo in Lima and professor of the School of Ballet Rosie Schottland Ballet Clásico, also in Lima. He was also a teacher at the Provincial Ballet School Olga Alonso, Villa Clara, Cuba.
Over the past few years, he has had the opportunity to work with internationally renowned professors such as Fernando Alonso, Vladimir Issaev, Ramona de Sáa, Carlos Acosta, Raquel Aguero Mercado, Lourdes Arnau, Carlos Valcárcel, and Maina Gielgud. He won awards as a choreographer in national competitions in Cuba and, more recently, has trained students selected for the 49th Edition of the Prix de Lausanne in 2021. At the moment he’s a teacher of the Conservatório Internacional de Ballet e Dança Annarella Sanchez in Leiria, Portugal.
Professor at the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich.
Natalia was born in 1967 and studied at the Ballet Academy in Russia's Perm. She was a Soloist at the ballet in Perm, as well as at the Bonn Opera, and a second Soloist with the Dutch National Ballet.
Her main roles include Giselle, Coppelia, Les Sylphides, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, La Fille Mal Gardee, Paquita, Midsummer Night's Dream, Carmina Burana, Three Sisters, Romeo and Juliet, Eugene Onegin, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Spartacus.
In addition, she performed in many other ballets by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Krzysztof Pastor, Valery Panov, Youri Vamos, John Cranko, Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov, Hans van Manen, Rudi van Dantzig, Vladimir Vassiliev, Sir Frederick Ashton, Jerome Robbins, C. Wheeldon, A. Ratmansky, etc.
Since 2006 she has been working at the Dutch National Ballet as a balletmaster assisting choreographers.
She is a guest teacher and coach with the Polish National Ballet Warsaw, the Hungarian National Ballet Budapest, the National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam, the English National Ballet in London, and the New National Theatre in Tokyo Japan.