Faculty

Anastasia Babayeva

Ms. Babayeva trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia. She is a former Soloist of the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre, and was a Principal Dancer with both Chicago Ballet and Richmond Ballet. Work with the Bolshoi included appearances throughout Europe, Japan, Egypt, Australia, and the United States.

Ms. Babayeva studied under N. Zolotova, M. Lavrovskiy, S. Golovkina, M. Kondratieva, and N. Korelskaya, revered artists and instructors of the Bolshoi Ballet, as well as under U.S. Artists M. Burn, M. Youskevich, and Kirk Peterson of American Ballet Theater. Ms. Babayeva joined the MBA faculty in 2006.

Caroline Broullan

Ms. Broullan began her training in Doylestown, PA at Budzynski Studios. She continued her studies at North Carolina School of the Arts, City Ballet School in San Francisco, both the pre-professional year program and Summer Session, Steps on Broadway – Summer Session, and the Centre De Dance Choreart in Brussels, Belgium. Ms. Broullan performs with Dance Theatre of PA in both soloist and principal roles. She has also performed with Philadelphia Civic Ballet and Choreart. Ms. Broullan has been a member of the MBA faculty since 1997.

Denise Somrack D’Angelo

Ms. D’Angelo, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, trained at the Willoughby School of Fine Arts with Janice and Raymond Smith. After graduation, she came to Philadelphia on full scholarship to study with Lupe Serrano at the School of Pennsylvania Ballet. Ms. D’Angelo served as an apprentice for one year, then went on to dance professionally with Pennsylvania Ballet from 1980-88, rising to the rank of soloist. Her favorite roles were from the classic ballets, Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, and The Nutcracker and also the Balanchine ballets, Jewels, Western Symphony, Who Cares, Serenade, and Theme and Variations. Ms. D’Angelo has been married since 1982 to Drew D’Angelo. They have two children. She has been teaching at the Metropolitan Ballet Academy since 1997.

Denis Gronostayskiy

Mr. Gronostayskiy is a graduate of the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow Russia and acclaimed as Artist of Distinction in the United States. Gronostayskiy was Principal Artist with the Moscow Renaissance Ballet in Russia, Philadelphia Ballet Theatre, the Richmond Ballet, VA, International Ballet Classique. He danced professionally throughout Europe, Japan and the US.

Denis has performed principal roles in Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Coppelia, Nutcracker, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, and many more, as well as Balanchine productions and modern and contemporary works of choreographers such a Kirk Peterson, J. Butler, Malcolm Burn, V. Nebrada, C. Connor and others. He continues to perform as principal artist in galas and productions throughout the US.

In 2001, he co-founded the Academy of International Ballet and Performing Arts & the International Ballet Classique, a ballet company, presenting a number of full length ballets, including Coppelia, Nutcracker, Giselle, Walpurgis Night, Swan Lake Act II, Paquita and numerous mixed repertory performances throughout the Delaware Valley and on tour. Mr. Gronostayskiy joined the MBA faculty in 2010 and leads classes in  MBA’s upper division, Pre-professional program and the  Boys’ Scholarship Program .

Alexander Iziliaev

Mr. Iziliaev was born and raised in Sterlitamak, Russia, and 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, he 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 and Frederick in Dracula. He has also danced principal roles in George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, Raymonda Variations, Agon, Serenade, The Nutcracker and Western Symphony. Mr. Iziliaev has also performed in Paul Taylor’s Arden Court, and Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Great Galloping Gottschalk; and has made numerous international appearances in London, Paris, Scotland, Brazil and throughout South America. Mr. Iziliaev joined  the MBA faculty in September 2009 , leading classes in   MBA’s upper divisions, Pre-professional program and  Boys’ Scholarship Program .   Mr. Iziliaev also performed the role of Dr. Coppelius in Metropolitan Ballet Company’s  premiere of  Coppelia last season (2011-12).

Jae Hoon Lim

Mr. Lim, a native of South Korea, moved to the U.S. in 1995 after attending Korea University as a physical education major. He started his dance career in San Diego with San Diego Dance Theatre under the direction of Jean Isaacs. He has since danced with Koresh Dance Company, Shapiro and Smith Dance, Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Chicago Civic Ballet, Brandywine Ballet, and River North Chicago Dance Company. Jae Hoon’s education includes a BFA in Ballet Performance from The University of the Arts, training at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet. He has taught modern, jazz, ballet and partnering at schools such as Northwestern University in Chicago, Sarasota Ballet Academy, Hubbard Street Dance Center, Brandywine Ballet and Koresh Dance Studio. Mr. Lim joined the MBA faculty in 2010 as an instructor for modern dance

Elizabeth Seader

Ms. Seader has been a member of the Metropolitan Ballet Academy faculty since 2001. Ms. Seader trained at Budzinski Studios, North Carolina School of the Arts, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Rock School, and the New York State Summer Program at Saratoga Springs with New York City Ballet and Nashville Ballet. She performed regionally as a principal dancer with Dance Theater of Pennsylvania.

Natalya Zeiger

Ms. Zeiger is a graduate of the Moscow Academy of the Bolshoi Theater and a former soloist with the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Company. As a member of the Bolshoi, Ms. Zeiger worked with such European masters as Roland Petit, Maurice Bejart, Alberto Alonso and Yuri Grigorovitch. Her many leading roles include Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Raymonda, and La Bayadere. Ms. Zeiger has served as part of the MBA faculty since  2001.  She also serves Metropolitan Ballet Company as a teacher, repetiteur and coach.

Guest Faculty and Choreographers:

Elena Comendador (Costume Designer)

Ms. Comendador has an extensive background in dance as a performer and teacher. After retiring from the stage she turned to costume design for dance companies. Her costumes can be seen in Ailey II’s repertoire, which includes Francesca Harper’s Sensory Feast, Troy Powell’s How Small a Thought, Nathan Trice’s Prayer in Discord, Jessica Lang’s Splendid Isolation II, Darrell Moultrie’s Aspects of a Vibe and Celestial Landscapes and Stephane Boko’s Fragile. She was also commissioned to design ABT II’s Veiled Calling, and Colorado Ballet’s From Foreign Lands and People and De Profundis, all choreographed by Jessica Lang. Most recently she worked with Montgomery Ballet’s Carmen/Lost and How Far is 2 Far, both by director, Elie Lazar; and for Philadanco’s From Dawn ‘til Dusk by Christopher Huggins. Her classical ballet designs include MBC’s Children’s Mazurka from Paquita as well as The Nutcracker, Coppelia, and Giselle for Connecticut Ballet. In addition, her whimsical designs for young dancers can be seen in MBC’s productions of Graduation Ball and Kanji Segawa’s Hansel & Gretel and Peter Pan as well as Connecticut Ballet’s Babar, choreographed by Jessica Lang. Other companies she has designed for are New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble, ZigZag Ballet, Nathan Trice Rituals, Kevin Wynn Collective, Footprints and Genesis, among others. Her costumes can be seen in galas around the world in Jessica Lang’s Splendid Isolation III performed by American Ballet Theater principal dancers, Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky. Most recently she collaborated with Jessica Lang and Morphoses Dance Company in the Works and Process at the Guggenheim Museum.

Ms. Comendador received her BA from Columbia University and has an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. She is currently on the faculty of The Ailey School and Marymount Manhattan College. Ms.Comendador’s beautiful designs have been enjoyed by all at MBC since 2006.

Christine Cox

Ms. Cox began her ballet training with the Pennsylvania Ballet School and continued at the Philadelphia High School for the Performing Arts, spending summer sessions at the Joffrey and San Francisco Ballet schools. After high school, she danced with Balletmet in Columbus, Ohio for five years before moving to New York. There, Christine danced as a guest artist with Ballet Hispanico and performed for President George H.W. Bush at the Ford Theatre. She then spent one year with America Repertory Ballet Theatre before joining Pennsylvania Ballet in 1993. in June 2006 she left the Pennsylvania Ballet after 13 year career to focus her energy on BalletX, teaching, and choreography.

Christine has premiered works by a number of gifted choreographers, including Ib Anderson, Rennie Harris, James Kudelka, John McFall, Trey McIntyre, Matthew Neenan, Kevin O’Day, David Parsons, Kirk Peterson, and Christopher Wheeldon. Some of her featured roles include Rum and Coca-Cola in Paul Taylor’s Company B; Vortex in Alvin Ailey’s The River; Choleric in George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments; Eve in Margo Sappington’s Rodin, Mis En Vie; the Cowgirl in Agnus DeMille’s Rodeo; and one of the principal females in Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free and The Concert.

Christine co-founded Phrenic New Ballet in 2000 and choreographed several works for the company as well as for Shut Up and Dance, an annual AIDS benefit presented by the Dancers of Pennsylvania Ballet. She has been awarded fellowship grants from the Independence Foundation and The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for her choreography.

In 2004 Christine co-founded BalletX with her long time collaborator Matthew Neenan. They have received critical acclaim and most recently were invited to perform at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. In May of 2006, she staged Mr. Neenan’s 11:11 on Pennsylvania Ballet and rehearsed the company for the New York premiere at The City Center. She has received two Rocky Awards for outstanding achievement in the arts and also works as Assistant Rehearsal Director for the children in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.

Ms. Cox joined the MBA faculty in 2006 and since 2011 has been a part of MBA’s permanent guest faculty.

William DeGregory

Mr. DeGregory, a native of New Hampshire, began to study ballet at the age of 10. When he was 13 he went to the National Academy of Dance in Champaign, Illinois, where he studied for 4 years. In 1974 he performed as one of a select group of dancers from the Academy at the International Festival of Young Performing Artists in Scotland. Mr. DeGregory joined Pennsylvania Ballet in 1975, at the age of 18. He was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1979. Mr. DeGregory has danced most of the great classical male roles in such productions as Swan Lake, La Sylphide, Coppelia and Giselle, as well as many of the Balanchine ballets. He has also originated roles in many new works including the role of Nicholas for Robert Weiss’ full-length ballet Winter Dreams. He was featured in the legendary modern dance choreographer Merce Cunningham’s world premiere of his acclaimed Arcade. Mr. DeGregory is currently Artistic Director of Pennsylvania Ballet 2. He resides in New Jersey with his wife, former Pennsylvania Ballet Principal Dancer and current Ballet Mistress, Tamara Hadley. Mr. DeGregory  led classes in the Boys’ Scholarship Program at the Metropolitan Ballet Academy  from its inception in 1999 through 2012. He currently serves as a guest faculty member and as an artistic adviser for the Boys’ Program.

Christopher J. Frey, (Lighting Designer)

Mr. Frey is based in Philadelphia, PA. Chris’ design work can be seen in and around the city of Philadelphia. While his work mainly consists of lighting for theater and dance, he has also designed live music events and art installations. Most recently, he has worked with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Arden Theater Company, and the Curtis Institute of Music- Opera Theatre. Chris is a recent graduate of the University of the Arts – Theater Design and Technology program, with a BFA in Lighting Design. Mr. Frey joined MBC’s production team in 2010.

Jessica Gattinella (Repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, Serenade, Valse Fantaisie)

Born in San Rafael, California and raised in Philadelphia, Jessica Gattinella began her dance training at the age of six with the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. During her 13 years there, Ms. Gattinella had the privilege of studying under Nina Fedorova, Gloria Govrin, Olga Kostritsky, Adam Luders, and Yvonne Patterson. She furthered her training by attending summer programs at the School of American Ballet and New York State Summer School of the Arts in Saratoga Springs, New York.

As a Trainee with Pennsylvania Ballet, she performed such ballets as Paquita, Rubies, Stars and Stripes, The Four Temperaments, Christopher d’Amboise’s Just One of Those Things, as well as George Balanchine’s Swan Lake at The Kennedy Center in 1994. After graduating Cum Laude from Philadelphia’s Friends Select School in 1995, Ms. Gattinella joined Pennsylvania Ballet as an apprentice in 1996 and was promoted to Corps de Ballet in 1998. During her ten year career, she performed in over twenty of George Balanchine’s ballets, with featured roles in Agon, The Nutcracker, Raymonda Variations, Theme and Variations, and Who Cares? Ms. Gattinella also danced featured roles in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, Margo Sappington’s Rodin, Mis En Vie, Paul Taylor’s Arden Court, Kevin O’Day’s Quartet for IV, and Matthew Neenan’s Le Travail and 11:11.

In 2006, Ms. Gattinella retired from the stage to start a family and she and her husband are now the proud parents of a son, Taggart. She began staging ballets for the George Balanchine Trust in 2008 and has taught for Pennsylvania Ballet’s Outreach Program and Brandywine Ballet in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Robin Preiss Glasser (Special Guest and Illustrator, Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly)

Ms. Glasser has had two successful careers, the first as a ballet dancer and the second as an award-winning children’s book illustrator. After an 11-year career as soloist with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Robin returned to school at age 30 to receive her BFA from Parsons The New School for Design. Among the noted authors and personalities for whom Robin has illustrated best-selling children’s books are Judith Viorst, radio star Garrison Keillor, poet Elizabeth Garton Scanlon, and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York. Robin received an ALA Notable Book Award for You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum with author Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman, and collaborated on three books with the former vice president’s wife, Lynne Cheney (America, A Patriotic Primer; A is for Abigail; and Our 50 States), which together sold more than 1 million copies. In 2006 Robin was paired with author Jane O’Connor for the now classic Fancy Nancy, which stayed on the New York Times Bestseller List for 99 weeks and has been translated into 17 languages, including Hungarian and Hebrew. More than 20 Fancy Nancy titles are now in print with over 6 million copies sold. The Fancy Nancy ™ brand includes more than 30 licenses for dolls, toys, accessories, bed linens, clothes, and more. Robin lives in Irvine, California, with husband, attorney Robert Berman, children Sasha and Benjamin, and dog Boo.

Jessica Lang  (Choreographer)

Ms. Lang is a graduate of The Juilliard School with a BFA (’97) in dance. Prior to graduating, Ms. Lang became a member of Twyla Tharp’s company “THARP!” where she performed in major dance festivals around the world. She also worked with Ms. Tharp in her Diabelli Project that premiered in Palermo, Italy in 1998. A noted choreographer, Jessica Lang’s choreography has been performed around the U.S. and toured abroad including Japan, Mexico, and South Africa. She has created work on companies including American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company, New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, Colorado Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Washington Ballet, Saint Louis Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Phrenic New Ballet, and Ballet de Monterey in Mexico. She has also choreographed on The Juilliard Dance Ensemble, The Ailey School / Fordham BFA Program, Princeton University, Texas Christian University and commercially for BMW International Industrials. Ms. Lang has been a visiting instructor in modern since 2001. Four of Ms. Lang’s beautiful works are in the Metropolitan Ballet Company repertoire.

Mary LeGere (Choreographer, Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly)

Ms. LeGere began her dance training at age nine. At 17 she was awarded a scholarship to study at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. In 1982 she joined the Pennsylvania Ballet, and became a soloist in 1986. Her studies included work with Benjamin Harkarvy and Lupe Serrano. Working under the Artistic Direction of Benjamin Harkarvy and later Robert Weiss her roles included soloist and principle roles in many Balanchine ballets including Symphony In C, Tarantella, Steadfast Tin Soldier, and Concerto Barocco, as well as Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. Additionally she worked with choreographers Lynn Taylor Corbett, Merce Cunningham, Peter Martins and Paul Taylor. In 1990 she retired with an acclaimed performance of Myrta in Giselle. Ms. LeGere joined the faculty of Raleigh School of Ballet in 1990, and served as Artistic Director of Carolina Ballet during its transition to a professional company. Choosing to no longer direct Carolina Ballet, Ms. LeGere is once again directing the reestablished Raleigh Dance Theatre, where she continues to uphold the tradition of high standards and excellence.

Ms. LeGere has choreographed several works for Raleigh Dance Theatre that have been chosen to be performed at the RDA/SERBA annual festival. She recently was honored with the 2006–2007 North Carolina Dance Alliance Annual Award. This prestigious award honors individuals who have made significant life time contributions to the growth and development of dance in NC. Ms. LeGere is also co-director of The Raleigh School of Ballet and lives in Durham with her husband and two children.

Sarah Mettin (Choreographer & Repetiteur )

Ms. Mettin is an alumna of MBA and a graduate of the Dance Conservatory at SUNY Purchase as a Performance Major. While at the Conservatory, Sarah studied with Kazuko Hirabayashi, Stephanie Tooman, Richard Cook, Rosanna Seravalli, Megan Williams, Kevin Wynn, Ted Kivett, and Nelly Van Bommel, and has performed works by Bill T. Jones, Merce Cunningham, Jose Limon, and Arantxa Sagardoy, among others. Sarah has also had the opportunity to perform and study abroad. She spent a semester in the Netherlands at Rotterdamse Dansacademie, where she studied with Derrick Brown, Antien van Mierlo, Loic Perela, Andreas Kuck, Iqbal Khawaja and Neel Verdoorn, and most recently worked in Spain. Her additional summer studies have included Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet, Hofesh Shechter, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paul Taylor, Doug Varone and Dancers, Dance New York International, Parsons, and River North Chicago. Sarah is extremely excited to return to Metropolitan as a choreographer and always looks forward to working with the newest generation of young company dancers. Sarah was selected for the Regional Dance America/ Northeast Emerging Choreographer Award for her first work for MBC, Free Standing (2011). Her second work, Fend, entered the company repertoire in 2012. Ms. Mettin also staged Mr. Segawa’s ballet Toward the Light last season and will stage Mr. Segawa’s Peter Pan this season.

Andrew Pap

Mr. Pap has been involved in every aspect of dance, as a dancer, teacher, choreographer and company director. For 14 years he was a soloist with the Romanian State Ballet. After leaving Romania he performed and taught in Switzerland and Italy. In 1970, Mr. Pap came to the United States and after teaching for a year in New York, moved to Philadelphia. Currently he is a professor and chairman of the Ballet department at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Mr. Pap’s teaching experience is extensive and includes Harlem School of the Arts, Saratoga Ballet Center, Pennsylvania Ballet, and Alvin Ailey School, where he was the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts award as artist in residence. From 1985 to 1995 Mr. Pap held the title of artistic director for the Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, where he was the recipient of awards from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts. He has choreographed for Pennsylvania Ballet, NBC-TV, Philadelphia Opera Co., Philadelphia Orchestra, University of the Arts, Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Mantua Opera Co. of Italy, Walnut Street Theatre Co. and the Arden Theater Co. Mr. Pap served on the faculty at Metropolitan Ballet Academy 1997 -2011. He currently visits as a guest instructor, ballet master and coach. MBC is proud to include his beautiful ballet Marcello as part of our repertoire.

Kanji Segawa (Choreographer)

Mr. Segawa is originally from Kanagawa, Japan. He began his modern dance training with his mother, Erika Akoh and studied ballet with Kan Horiuchi at Unique Ballet Theatre in Tokyo. In 1997,Segawa came to the U.S. under the Japanese Government Artist Fellowship to train at The Ailey School. Mr. Segawa is currently a member of The Ailey Company. He was a member of Battleworks Dance Company (Artistic Director, Robert Battle) from 2002-2010. Segawa has also been working with choreographer Mark Morris since 2004 repeatedly appearing in Mr. Morris’ full evening productions. Most recently, he performed “Cease Your Funning”, a world premiere piece by Mr. Morris, touring in the production Off Kilter in Scotland, UK. Segawa is a former member of Ailey II and has worked with Jennifer Muller/The Works, Aszure and Artists (Artistic Director, Aszure Barton) and Morphoses for choreographer Jessica Lang. Segawa has taught and choreographed for American Ballet Theatre (NYC Summer Intensive, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School), The Ailey School, among others. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Choreography Award for Youth America Grand Prix in Philadelphia in 2009 & 2012.

Mr. Segawa has created six original works for MBC since he began visiting in 2002, including Viva (2010), Hansel & Gretel (2009), Sakamoto Suite (2009), Eternal Space (2007), Peter Pan (2007) and Toward the Light (2006).

Katarzyna Skarpetowska (Choreographer and Guest Faculty)

Ms. Skarpetowska is a native of Warsaw, Poland. She is an alumna of the NYC High School of Performing Arts and received a BFA from The Juilliard School in May 1999 under Artistic Director Benjamin Harkarvy.  In 1992, at age 15, she was the youngest cast member of the Broadway show, METRO, directed and choreographed by Janusz Jozefowicz.  She was a member of The Parsons Dance Company from 1999 until 2006, The Battleworks Dance Company from 2006 until 2008 and since 2007 she has been working for The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company.  Kate also appears as a guest artist with The Buglisi Dance Theater since 2009.  She has had the privilege of setting the works of Lar Lubovitch, David Parsons and Robert Battle in the United States and abroad.  In addition, her own choreography has been performed by various universities, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Hubbard Street 2 and the Parsons Dance Company.  In 2007, she was one of two featured dancers during the Glimmerglass Opera Festival and in 2008 she toured Italy with WHY BE EXTRAORDINARY IF YOU CAN BE YOURSELF, a show by Daniel Ezralow.  In 2009, she co-designed and co-directed Romeo and Juliet for The Gunter Theater in Greenville, SC. Skarpetowska is also a freelance teacher holding workshops throughout the world.  She resides in New York City.Two of Ms. Skarpetowska’s ballets reside in the MBC repertoire.  Folk Tales entered the Metropolitan Ballet Company repertoire in October 2006. Take Me had its company premiere in 2010.