Guest Choreographers

Denise Somrack D’Angelo 

Denise Somrack D’Angelo (MBA Faculty/ Choreographer) began her ballet training in Cleveland, Ohio at age 3 and studied with Janice and Raymond Smith from age 11 through 17 at The Willoughby School of Fine Arts (Fine Arts Association).  At age 17 she was awarded a full scholarship to study at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet under the direction of Lupe Serrano.  In 1982 she joined the Pennsylvania Ballet with Barbara Weisberger and Benjamin Harkarvy as directors, and became a soloist in 1987 under the direction of Robert Weiss.  Ms. D’Angelo danced many soloist and principal roles in the classical and Balanchine repertoire such as Snow Queen and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Myrta in Giselle, Prayer in Coppelia as well as principal roles in Who Cares, Western Symphony and Rubies.  Additionally, she worked with many noted choreographers including Robert Weiss, Peter Martins, Richard Tanner, Benjamin Harkarvy, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. She retired in 1988.

A member of Metropolitan Ballet Academy’s faculty since 1997, Ms. D’Angelo has choreographed several works for the company, including Divertimento in F major, K. 138 (2012), Holberg Suite (2013) and Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker (2013). Ms. D’Angelo was co-choreographer for MBC’s highly successful world premiere production of Cinderella (2010) and her work Evening Song was selected for performance at the Regional Dance America Festival (2010).

Carlos dos Santos, Jr.

Carlos dos Santos, Jr. (Choreographer) is a recognized dancer, choreographer and teacher.
He has performed as a principal dancer with major Brazilian and U.S. dance companies, including Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, Complexions, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (US); Grupo Salto, Bale Folclorico da Bahia, Bale Teatro Castro Alves, and DanceBrazil (Brazil), where he also served as a rehearsal director.

Mr. Dos Santos’ choreographic credits include works for Colorado Ballet, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, American Dance Festival, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and DanceBrazil, as well as his own solo performances around the world.

Mr. Dos Santos has taught at dance festivals, schools and universities around the world, including the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, The Ailey School, Steps on Broadway, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance School, and International Summer Institute, DanceBrazil, Academy of Colorado Ballet, Youth America Grand Prix Ballet and Contemporary Dance Competition for Students, as well as master classes in the U.S., Italy, Switzerland, Egypt, Israel, Turkey, Czech Republic, Argentina and Brazil. Mr. Dos Santos often serves as a guest instructor for Metropolitan Ballet Academy’s Summer Intensive. He created Games, a contemporary world premiere for MBC, in 2012.

Tommie-Waheed Evans

Tommie-Waheed Evans (Choreographer) was born in Los Angeles, CA and began his training with Michelle Blossom at the Dance Connection and Andrea Calomee at Hamilton High School in Los Angeles. Under the guidance of Karen McDonald, he was awarded a fellowship at the Ailey School in New York City. Mr. Evans has worked and performed for Matthew Rushing, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Debbie Allen, Thaddeus Davis, and has assisted Troy O’Neil Powell. He has danced with Lula Washington Dance Theater, the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO!) and Complexions Contemporary Ballet, working with amazing choreographers such as Dwight Rhoden, Alonzo King, George Faison, Louis Johnson, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Ronald K. Brown, Rennie Harris and Milton Myers.

As a choreographer his work has been presented in the Danco on Danco Showcase (Philly Fringe Festival), The Garden State Dance Festival, D/2 (PHILADANCO’s Second Company), Smoke, Liles and Jade (directed by Zane Booker) & Philadelphia Dance Boom Festival. Mr. Evans has been commissioned to create works for Grace Dance Theater, Cleveland’s Verb Ballet, Straight to the Pointe Dance Company, Lula Washington YDE, Greene + Medcalf Movement Project and Eleone Dance Theatre.

Mr. Evans has taught on the faculties of Lula Washington Dance Theater, The Dance Connection Dance Academy, Dance Arts in Philadelphia, The Pointe Dance Studio, and Cleveland School of the Arts (guest) and as company teacher for Jazzantiqua and PHILADANCO! He currently serves on the faculty at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and is the recipient of the Howard Gilman Fellowship Award at Jacksonville University for a MFA in Choreography. MBC’s repertoire includes two commissioned contemporary works by Mr. Evans: Rush Hour (2014) and Night Run (2015).

Jessica Lang

Jessica Lang (Choreographer) is a choreographer and the artistic director of Jessica Lang Dance. Hailed as „a master of visual composition” by Dance Magazine, Lang seamlessly incorporates striking design elements and transforms classical ballet language into artfully crafted, emotionally engaging contemporary works. Since 1999, Lang has created more than 90 works on companies worldwide including Birmingham Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Japan at the New National Theatre Tokyo, Joffrey Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Ballet San Jose, Richmond Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ailey II, ABT II, Hubbard Street 2, and New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, among many others. American Ballet Theatre has presented her work at the Metropolitan Opera House, and she has received commissions from the Dallas Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum for its Works and Process series. For opera, Lang received outstanding acclaim for her directorial debut and choreography of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at the 2013 Glimmerglass Opera Festival.

Lang is a New York City Center Fellow for 2015 and the recipient of a prestigious 2014 Bessie Award. Her ballet Lyric Pieces, commissioned and performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet earned a nomination for a coveted 2013 Manchester Theatre Award in the UK. Lang has received numerous grants for her work on ballet companies from organizations including the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the NEA, and the Choo San Goh Foundation. Her receipt of a 2010 Joyce Theater Artist Residency supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation helped launch her own company, Jessica Lang Dance (JLD) in 2011.

Lang’s work has also been performed by numerous educational institutions including The Juilliard School, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, The Ailey/Fordham BFA Program, Marymount Manhattan College, SUNY Purchase College, Southern Methodist University, Princeton University, University of Richmond, and Point Park University, among others. She is a teaching artist for American Ballet Theatre’s Make A Ballet program and was a founding faculty member of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (JKO) School. With her strong belief in the importance of education, Lang recently developed her own methodology called LANGuage, a unique creative curriculum that teaches individuals from all populations to cultivate the habit of creative thinking through exercise. Four of Ms. Lang’s beautiful works are in the Metropolitan Ballet Company repertoire: Petite Morceaux (2002), Gloria (2003), Sorrow’s Cycle (2003), and Touch of Your Voice (2004). Lang, a graduate of The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy, is a former member of Twyla Tharp’s company, THARP!

Mary LeGere

 Mary LeGere (Choreographer) began her dance training at age nine and at age 17 was awarded a scholarship to study at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet where her studies included work with Benjamin Harkarvy and Lupe Serrano.  In 1982, she joined the Pennsylvania Ballet and rising to the rank of soloist in 1986.  Working under the Artistic Direction of Benjamin Harkarvy and later Robert Weiss, her soloist and principal roles included Balanchine’s 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 The Raleigh School of Ballet in 1990, and served as Artistic Director of Carolina Ballet, guiding its transition to a professional company. Ms. LeGere is currently co-director of The Raleigh School of Ballet, as well as director of its performing company, Raleigh Dance Theatre, where she continues to uphold a long tradition of high standards and excellence. Ms LeGere 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 has choreographed several children’s ballets inspired by fellow Pennsylvania Ballet colleague Robin Preiss Glasser’s wonderful illustrations. MBC is pleased to include two of these in our repertoire: Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly (MBC Premiere 2009) and Tea for Ruby (MBC Premiere 2015).

Sarah Mettin

Sarah Mettin (MBA Faculty/ Choreographer) is an alumna of Metropolitan Ballet Company, and graduated cum laude from SUNY Purchase Dance Conservatory in 2011, with additional studies in Rotterdam, Netherlands at Codarts (Rotterdamse Dans Academie).  She has had the opportunity to perform in works by many choreographers including Twyla Tharp, Bill T. Jones, Merce Cunningham, Jose Limon, Kate Weare, Takehiro Ueyama, Kanji Segawa, Jessica Lang, Jonathan Royse Windham, and Arantxa Sagardoy.

Ms. Mettin created her first work, Talk of Interference, in the Netherlands in 2009 and in 2011 founded her company,  Mettin Movement. Mettin Movement was proud to appear at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Inside /Out (July 2015). Ms. Mettin choreographed a work on dance artist Samantha Figgins (Alvin Ailey), and in 2013, was invited to return to her alma mater to set a senior repertory solo– a very meaningful recognition of her choreographic abilities by the professors at SUNY Purchase College.  The solo was awarded the Dean’s Choice, and won her the invitation to set a full-length work on Purchase Dance Company for the 2014-2015 season.

Ms. Mettin has created eight original works for MBC.  Her first work for MBC, Free Standing (2011), won the Regional Dance America Festival Monticello Award, a full scholarship to study under Janis Brenner (The Juilliard School) at the National Choreography Conference. Her other works for MBC  include Deep Down Basic Whatever There Is (2017), A Winged Victory (2016), Two Wills (2015), Coalesce (2015), Fractals (2014), Fieldwork (2013), and Fend (2012).  Her solo, Time Passing, created for MBC Boys’ Scholarship student, Daniel Shevelev was selected for the 2014 Youth America Grand Prix Outstanding Choreography Award in Philadelphia.  Ms. Mettin joined the faculty of Metropolitan Ballet Academy in 2013 and has also served as Ballet Mistress , assisting with the staging of works by both Kanji Segawa (Alvin Ailey) and Tommie-Waheed Evans (Philadanco). She is currently pursuing an MS in Arts Management from Drexel.

Damani Pompey

(Choreographer) is a native of Brooklyn, NY. He graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Dance in 2008 with The Stephanie Silverman Award and graduated Cum Laude from the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance as an Adopt-a-Dancer in 2012. Pompey is currently a freelance choreographer, dancer, and lighting designer based in NYC.

Mr. Pompey has appeared as a guest artist with MBC since 2013. Mr. Pompey created Tarnish, his first commissioned choreographic work for MBC, in 2015.

 Kanji Segawa

(Choreographer) is currently a member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater under the direction of Robert Battle. Mr. Segawa began his modern dance training with his mother, Erika Akoh, and studied ballet with Kan and Ju Horiuchi at Unique Ballet Theatre in Tokyo, Japan.  In 1997, Mr. Segawa came to the U.S. under the Japanese Government Artist Fellowship to train at The Ailey School.  Mr. Segawa is a former member of Ailey II from 2000-2002 and Robert Battle’s Battleworks Dance Company from 2002-2010. He worked extensively with choreographer Mark Morris from 2004-2011, repeatedly appearing in Mr. Morris’s various productions, including as a principal dancer in John Adams’ Nixon in China at Metropolitan Opera.  He has also worked with Jennifer Muller/The Works, Aszure Barton’s Aszure and Artists and Jessica Lang Dance. Mr. Segawa has taught and choreographed for American Ballet Theatre (NYC Summer Intensive, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School), The Ailey School (The Ailey/Fordham B.F.A Program, Certificate Program and Ailey Camp), Metropolitan Ballet Academy, Texas Christian University, Brown University, Long Island University, University of Richmond and Booker T. Washington School of the Arts among others. He is a recipient of the Outstanding Choreography Award for Youth America Grand Prix in Philadelphia in 2009, 2012 and 2013.

Mr. Segawa has choreographed seven original works for MBC since he began visiting in 2002: Highland Bliss (2014), Viva (2011), Hansel & Gretel (2009), Sakamoto Suite (2009), Eternal Space (2007), Peter Pan (2007) and Toward the Light (2006).

Katarzyna Skarpetowska 

(Choreographer) 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 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. Ms. Skarpetowska was a member of The Parsons Dance Company from 1999 until 2006 where she performed lead roles in the company’s repertory including the iconic CAUGHT. From 2007 until 2014, she danced for The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company performing at many reputable venues such as New York City’s City Center, Washington DC’s Kennedy Center and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater. Over the years, she repeatedly appeared as a guest artist first with The Battleworks Dance Company and then The Buglisi Dance Theater and in 2007, she was one of two featured dancers during the Glimmerglass Opera Festival. In 2008 she toured Italy with WHY BE EXTRAORDINARY IF YOU CAN BE YOURSELF, a show by Daniel Ezralow. Skarpetowska has had the privilege of setting the works of Lar Lubovitch, David Parsons and Robert Battle in the United States and abroad. Her choreography has been performed by Richmond Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Theater II, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Parsons Dance, Buglisi Dance Theater, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Big Muddy Dance Company, Hubbard Street 2, Patricia Kenny Dance Collection, and various universities. 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. Ms. Skarpetowska has been on the faculty of the American Dance Festival, Key West Modern Dance, Greenville Fine Arts Center, NJDTE and Peridance among others. She resides in New York City.

Ms. Skarpetowska has visited MBC as a guest instructor and choreographer since 2006.

She has staged two of her highly athletic works on the company to date: Folk Tales (MBC Premiere 2006) & Take Me (MBC Premiere 2010). www.skarpetowska.com

Jennifer Clagett Sommers

(Choreographer) holds an MFA in Dance, Performance and Choreography from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She has performed with Laura Dean Musicians and Dancers, Street Signs Center for Literature and Performance, and the Albany Berkshire Ballet, where she also served as Ballet Mistress.  Her dance honors include a scholarship to Jacob’s Pillow Choreography Workshop, a Durham Arts Council Emerging Artist Grant, and a Lake Region Arts Council grant in support of new work.  From 2000-2005, she served as the Associate Director of Raleigh Dance Theatre (a Southeastern Regional Ballet Association Honor Company) and on the faculty of Meredith College. From 2005-2008, she served on the faculty of the University of Minnesota Morris and taught both dance and interdisciplinary courses. She relocated to Houston in 2008 and launched a dance program at KIPP Sharpstown College Prep.  She joined the Houston Ballet Education Outreach department in 2010 and is currently serving as Outreach Coordinator and Curriculum Specialist, teaching dance and dance integration classes to students and teachers throughout Houston and greater Harris County. She also teaches for Houston Ballet Academy, and has served on the faculty of and choreographed for the University of Houston.

MBC is delighted to include five of Ms. Sommers’ imaginative ballets for children in our repertoire: Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, (MBC Premiere 2004), Alice in Wonderland (MBC Premiere 2005), The Rainbow Fish (MBC Premiere 2006), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (MBC Premiere 2008), and The Little Engine That Could (MBC Premiere 2015).

 Francis Veyette

A California native, began his dance training at age 10 at Dance Arts in Visalia, CA. He also studied at Westside Ballet in Santa Monica and took summer sessions at The School of American Ballet in New York City and The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. Mr. Veyette joined Pennsylvania Ballet as an Apprentice in 1997 and was promoted to the Corps de Ballet in September 1999. In 2003, Mr. Veyette joined Kansas City Ballet under the artistic direction of William Whitener, where he danced for two seasons. He returned to the Pennsylvania Ballet in 2005, was promoted to Soloist in 2007, and to Principal Dancer in 2011. Mr. Veyette choreographed Trying Round for MBC in 2009.

Ashley Walton

(Choreographer), a native of Dayton, Ohio began her training at Dayton Ballet and South Dayton School of Dance. She received additional training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, The Rock School, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, International Summer Dance, National Choreography Intensive, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Ms. Walton attended Point Park University, under the direction of Susan Stowe, where she worked with faculty and guest choreographers Darla Hoover, Margo Sappington, Christian Holder, Alan Hineline, Ron de Jesus, Doug Varone, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, and Ron Tassone. The highlight of her time at Point Park University was earning the opportunity to perform at Kennedy Center, where she was awarded Northeast Performer of the Year. Ms. Walton danced professionally with both Atlanta Ballet and Dayton Ballet, and had the opportunity to perform principal roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Alan Hineline’s Thresholds, William Whitener’s Caprice, and Stuart Sebastian’s Dracula. During the 2009 Regional Dance America Northeast Festival, Ms. Walton received the Monticello Award for Best Emerging Choreographer and the Barbara Weisberger Award for Best Choreography for her piece Aloft. During the 2010 and 2011 RDA festivals she earned both the Project Tier Award, as well as the National Choreographic Award two years in a row for her pieces Sudden Impulse and Guerriere. Distinguished adjudicators chose four of her ballets to be presented at the 2012 National Festival in Montreal, Quebec. Since then, Ms. Walton has been granted five additional National Choreographic Awards for her work throughout the Northeast and Pacific regions. Her work has also been performed by Sacramento Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet Academy, Dayton Dance Conservatory, and Northern Cincinnati Youth Ballet. In 2014, she was a faculty member at the prestigious International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. Ms. Walton staged her joyful contemporary ballet, Aloft, for MBC in 2013.