Founder and Director Mr. Jean-Hugues Feray, a native of France, began his dance training at nine years of age. The following year, he auditioned for the Paris Opera Ballet School at the Paris Opera Ballet where he was one of six boys chosen out of the 250 that applied for admission. Jean-Hugues studied with the school for 5 years and went on to attend the National Conservatory of Paris. He graduated from the conservatory with a first prize in Ballet awarded by a unanimous jury decision. This was the highest Ballet Award a student could receive, enabling Jean-Hugues to choose from several contract offers in European Companies.
THE TEACHING STAFF
Liana Damiano (Ballet, Jazz, Tap) has been dancing since she was three years old and grew up with tap as her main technique in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As a child, Liana participated in tap and jazz competitions receiving high recognition. She continued her tapping in West Palm Beach, Florida under the excellent instruction of Kelly Kinard-Zeltmann, where Liana advanced quickly in her tap skills.
Liana began her intensive ballet training with Joan Miller at Palm Beach Ballet Center in West Palm Beach. She received incredible training from Lorena Jimenez, Kurt Putzig, Tracy Mozingo, Stacey Downs, Dennis Wayne, and other notable staff. While at Palm Beach Ballet Center, Liana performed in full length ballets such as La Bayadere, Don Quixote, A Christmas Carol, and Sleeping Beauty with her favorite performing role as the Bluebird pas de deux with James Applewhite from the National Ballet of Canada.
As a former student of Bak and Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Liana continued dancing with exceptional training in ballet, modern, jazz, and contemporary under the direction of wonderful choreographers and teachers such as Jean-Hugues Feray, Jan Hanniford, Martha Satinoff, Maria Konrad, Billy Bell, Margo Sappington, and many more associated with both schools. While in high school, Liana was selected to perform with The Palm Beach Opera’s The Tales of Hoffmann on the main stage of the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.
Liana continued her passion for dance during her attendance at the University of Florida by joining Floridance, a student run dance organization. Floridance gave Liana the opportunity to choreograph on herself and others, teach classes, and learn about the lighting and staging side of putting on a performance. She also danced at Pofahl Dance Sstudio, associated with Dance Alive National Ballet, under the instruction of Ulises Daza.
In May 2018, Liana graduated from UF with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a minor in dance.
Yumelia Garcia (Guest Artist in Residence - Ballet), after retiring from Joffrey Ballet in 2014, Garcia has not let the grass grow under her feet. A recent graduate with honors in Communication from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she continues to make guest performances, from Florida to Alaska. Ms. Garcia continues her close collaboration with the Jacksonville Symphony this holiday season as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, after stunning performances in Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella during Jacksonville’s 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
Ms. Garcia was included in the Chicago Sun-Times best performances of the year 2015, for Day of the Gypsy at the Harris Theater, a ballet created by Gordon Pierce Schmidt. She recently worked in New York with Kathryn Posin Dance Company and Meredith Monk in a commissioned ballet for the Harkness Dance Festival in Manhattan. Yumelia has taught for Joffrey Ballet’s teaching workshop in San Antonio, TX, Joffrey Academy in Chicago and continues to teach and coach in ballet schools across the country, from Buffalo, NY, to Los Angeles, CA.
Yumelia Garcia was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where she received her professional training at the Escuela de Ballet Gustavo Franklin (Vaganova school). Graduating with honors, Vicente Nebrada invited her to join the National Ballet of Caracas at the tender age of 15, and promoted her to soloist one year later. Ms. Garcia began her U.S. career with Heinz Pohl at Ohio Ballet, and soon thereafter she joined Milwaukee Ballet and became principal dancer. In her tenure with Milwaukee Ballet, Kathryn Posin created Scheherazade on Garcia, and she performed the classical principal roles of Kitri in Don Quixote, Giselle, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, and Carmen, a breath-taking performance elevating Garcia to a Milwaukee favorite. Garcia later moved on to Ballet Florida, where she was featured in contemporary and classical works, including Cleopatra, by Ben Stevenson. In 2009, Ms. Garcia was invited by Ashley Wheater to join Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, where she hit the stage to critical acclaim in principal roles such as Valencienne in The Merry Widow and the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Most notably, her performance in Ashton’s Cinderella was featured in Point Magazine as one of the “Best Performances of the Year 2010,” and the Chicago Tribune included her as one of the best dancers of the year for 2010 and 2011.
Yumelia Garcia's remarkable versatility, technical prowess, and intensity have given her extensive experience with works by choreographers that include Alonzo King, Choo San Goh, David Parsons, Jean Paul Comelin, Mark Godden, George Balanchine, Trey McIntyre, Jimmy Gamonet, Christopher Wheeldon, Lar Lubovitch, Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor, Robert Joffrey and Val Caniparoli.
Idael German (Ballet), a native of Cuba graduated from the National School of Ballet in Havana. The following year he joined the Ballet Santiago de Cuba. In 1991, he was invited to join the Ballet Nacional Founder and Director Mr. Jean-Hugues Ferayde Caracas in Venezuela under the direction of Vicente Nebrada where he was a principal dancer. He also danced in Italy with Ballet Teatro de Torino.
In 2000, Idael joined Ballet Florida under the Artistic Direction of Marie Hale. For nine seasons, he performed works by leading and celebrated choreographers, and has brought life to many roles from Marie Hale’s The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Spring Waters which are among his favorites.
Mr. German was also a resident artist with Ballet Palm Beach. He is a well known teacher throughout the area and dances as a guest artist.
Jan Hanniford (Ballet - Guest Teacher) was a principal dancer with Joffrey Ballet, Premiere Ballerina in A.T.E.R. Balletto, Italy, and Netherlands Dance Theatre.
26 years ago, Huntington Ballet Theatre was founded Jan Hanniford, who envisioned a chamber sized ballet company comprised of professional dancers and students dancers capable of dancing with noted professionals. She became known as a gifted choreographer. Her production of The Nutcracker was heralded by Newsday as one of the "best in the area," and which the company still performs to this day.
For many years, she was the Dean of Dance at Dreyfoos School of the Arts. There she taught, and thoughtfully guided students as they became professional dancers and teachers.
Melody Kline (Jazz, Tap)
Melody Kline, originally from Staten Island, NY and now residing in South Florida, is an accomplished tap dancer who started shuffling at age three. Beginning at Chickie’s Dance Studio, her mother’s school, Melody found the love of dance that stayed with her and continued through high school while attending the famous High School of Performing Arts in NYC, for which she traveled 2 hours each way
When she relocated to PA in 1976, she started her own dance school, Melody’s Dance Studio, in the beautiful Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, which she ran for over 37 years. While directing the studio, teaching and raising a family, Melody continued her dance studies in NYC at both Steps and Broadway Dance Center, studying with some of the best in the dance world, including Paul Draper, Bob Audi, Frank Hatchet, Charles Kelly, Sheila Barker, Don Farnsworth and Germaine Salsberg. In Pennsylvania, Melody studied with Nicole Hockenberry and Shelley Oilver and became a member of the company, T.A.P. – Teach All People, where she performed for many tap venues and festivals, including the Third Coast Rhythm Project in San Antonio, TX as well as the first of many T.A.P. concerts, where she shared the stage with master tap dancers, LaVaighn Robinson & Dr. James “Buster” Brown. She was also a founding member of Tap Ties, performing choreography from Nicole Hockenberry, Shelley Oliver and Germaine Salsberg, to name a few.
For the last four years, Melody has held adult tap classes of her own and has subbed at various studios in the South Florida area.
Olivier Pardina (Ballet) a native of France, was inspired by his father and begins training under his watchful eyes before moving to Paris to continue his studies with the Master Teachers of the Paris Opera. At age sixteen, after replacing (at the last minute) an injured Principal Dancer at an International Dance Gala, he is promoted to Principal Dancer with the Nice Opera House (France). At age twenty, he won the first prize in a National Ballet Competition organized by the French television and he was offered a contract by celebrated choreographer Maurice Bejart. Between the ages of sixteen and thirty two, Pardina performed as Principal Dancer with various prominent European Ballet Companies and toured extensively as a guest artist, and as ambassador of the French culture abroad.
During his years as Principal, Pardina performed around the world the leading roles of the Grand Ballets of the repertory as well as contemporary pieces. He wass chosen by renowned choreographers to perform their work; amongst so many others: Birgit Cullberg in the Ballet Miss Julie alternating with Rudolf Nuryev’s and Hans Van Manen in the Ballets Songs without words, Five Tangos and Septet Extra. During a tribute to French choreographers, he was chosen by Serge Lifar to perform his production of Suite en Blanc and by Marcia Haydee to perform a filmed production of Serge Lifar’s Phedra. He was invited by the RAI, the Italian TV channel, he performed in a film production of Romeo and Juliet with the Roma Opera House and he was selected by Moses Pendleton, creator of the Momix and Pilobolus Dance companies to perform his world premier creation of the role Pulcinella.
During the final years of his stage career while performing with the Nancy Opera House, Rudolf Nuryev’s selected him as his understudy and to take over several of his roles. Pardina received a standing ovation after replacing him at the Coven Garden in London in the role ofPetrouchka during a tour of the show “Hommage a Diaghilev”.
As a recipient of the teaching degree awarded by the French government, he was called upon by Rosella Hightower to evaluate the level of the National Conservatory of Dance. He was later appointed as Artistic director and Principal Teacher of the school of the Nice Opera Ballet.
In 1991 after years of performing on stage, Pardina moved to Florida and dedicates his full time to nurture the next generation of dancers where he was a teacher with the Harid Conservatory for many years. His students have won major prizes at national and international Dance competitions. Many of his students are now Principal Dancers with renowned Ballet Companies in the United States and overseas. Mr. Pardina is still very active as a jury member, and as a guest teacher for national and international Ballet competitions notably for the New York City’s finals of the Youth America Grand Prix. Amongst his many guest appearances he taught at the Rock School in Philadelphia, the Orlando Ballet School, the San Francisco Ballet School, and he was invited by American Ballet Theatre, the Teatro de Rio de Janeiro and the Cordoba Ballet Company (Argentina) to teach the company dancers.
In 2013, Olivier Pardina was appointed Principal Teacher of the Pre-Professional division of the Miami City Ballet School.
Risselle Alexandra Portuondo (Contemporary, Modern, Neo-Classical) began her dance training in West Palm Beach, Florida at The Academy of Ballet Florida, and boasts a history of 21 years of dancing. She graduated from The Boston Conservatory in 2014 where she received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance. She has performed along with the professional company of Ballet Florida in works to include Marie Hale's The Nutcracker. She has also performed as Violeta's consciousness in Palm Beach Opera's rendition of La Traviata.
Throughout the years she has intensively studied Ballet (Vaganova, Cecchetti), Modern (Graham, Horton, Paul Taylor, Cunningham, Limon), Laban technique, Release Technique, Improvisation, Jazz, and Tap.
While in Boston, Risselle performed in Jose Limon’s Psalm, Tommy Neblett’s La Giornatta Homicida (Deadly Day), Cathy Young’s Zero Cool, Twyla Tharp’s Eight Jelly Rolls, Francesca Harper’s A Root in Liberty, Karole Armitage’s Rave, Doug Elkins The Night Before Luxemburg, and in Billy Rogan's and Tracy Mozingo’s Reflections.
Risselle is also a Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, and Zumba teacher. Before Risselle left for Spain to dance she taught at Paris Ballet and Dance, Palm Beach Dance, Rhythm Gymnastics, and Ballet Atlantica. This year she will be teaching dance at several schools including The Kings Academy and Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Martha Satinoff (Ballet) trained in Oklahoma, began her career as an apprentice with the Hartford Ballet, and went on to dance with the Maryland Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Eglevsky Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and Princeton Ballet. She worked with Frederic Franklin, Edward Villella, Natalia Makarova, Dermot Burke, Finis Jung and performed in works by Balanchine, McMillan, Tudor, Ailey, and John Butler. She directed the Charleston Civic Ballet School while dancing with her husband’s company, DanceSouth.
After her performing career, Ms. Satinoff earned her degree in education from Edinboro University. Combining her experience as a performer, ballet teacher, and general educator, Ms. Satinoff is currently the head of the dance department at Bak Middle School of the Arts. Ms. Satinoff’s classes are influenced by her work with great teachers and choreographers along with the repertory she danced.
Her ballet classes emphasize the tradition and customs of ballet while using imagery, dynamics, and joy of movement. She enables her students to develop strong technique with musicality, a sense of line, andBe prepared It's going to be a great summer! pride in being a part of dance as an art form. She continues to further her studies by attending workshops at IADMS, FDA, and currently serves on the board of FDEO.
Martha Purl Satinoff is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 7 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Emily Schubert(Progressing Ballet Technique, Ballet, Rehearsal Assistant) began teaching in 1999 at Schubert School of Dance Arts, under the tutelage of Deanna Schubert. Ms. Schubert has taught all levels of classical ballet and jazz. Her classes are known for choreographical combinations and versatile movements. She enjoys each student's individual progression and feels privileged to be able to further the art. As a dancer, Ms. Schubert's musical sensitivity and graceful style are noticed by all.
She started her ballet training at the age of seven with Deanna Schubert and continued at Schubert School of Dance Arts where she also studied jazz technique with Rhonda Thullen. For three summers she studied with John White, Margarita de Saa, and Melinda Pendleton at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet. She auditioned for and was accepted into prestigious summer programs at the Princeton Ballet and the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C. At fifteen, she was accepted to and attended American Ballet Theatre's Summer Intensive where she took classes with many well-known teachers. Ms. Schubert has attended John White's Vaganova Seminar.
She has performed many roles her most notable role is the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. As a choreographer, Ms. Schubert has demonstrated expertise across the whole spectrum of dance theater.
Adding to her vast experience, Ms. Schubert is a certified instructor in Progressing Ballet Technique.
Abigail Simon (Guest Artist In Residence - Ballet) began her early ballet studies began at Ballet Hispanico, and the West Side Academy of Ballet in Santa Monica. She trained at The School of American Ballet as well as programs in Kaatsbaan and Chautauqua, the Royal Ballet in London and the Joffrey Program in New York.
She has performed with American Ballet Theatre prior to dancing for ten years with Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet in principal roles including The Merry Widow, Tarantella, Night, Kettentanz, Reflections, and many other featured roles. Simon has worked with such renowned choreographers as Wayne McGregor, Christopher Wheeldon, and Benjamin Millepied.
After performing as an actress off-Broadway at the La Mama Theatre in Stig Dalager's Count the Hours, she was invited on Broadway to perform a specially choreographed solo by Gillian Lynne celebrating Phantom of the Opera as Broadway’s longest running show. In 2014, Abigail signed as an Ambassador/Capezio artist and now routinely models internationally, and is recognized as an international guest speaker, teacher and ballet coach.
This past spring Abigal Simon reprised the role of Louise to critical acclaim in Houston Grand Opera’s production of Carousel directed by Rob Ashford. She appeared in the 2014 season with the Lyric Opera as a principal dancer in Capriccio with Renee Flemming. In recent years, she has performed throughout America in more than 30 productions of The Nutcracker as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Other recent roles include Juliet in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (Vienna).
Stefanie Wolfington (Ballet) is a graduate from Arizona State University, with degrees in Dance, Education Grades K-12, and Special Education. She has danced both nationally and internationally, and has 20 years of experience teaching students of all ages.
Originally from Philadelphia, Stefanie began her well-rounded dance training in ballet, tap, and jazz at the age of 4. Her earliest years of dance took place at the Cowanova School of Dance, under the talented Florence Cowanova and influential Anne Barbara Romano. As her love of classical ballet became her primary focus, she joined the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, where she spent her adolescent and formative years training under world renowned Master teachers: Cuban Prima Ballerina Margarita De Saa, and American soloist, and published author John White.
She was awarded First Place Gold Medal in Calabria, Italy at The Ionian Sea Competition, voted “Most Ggraceful” in 1996.
Throughout her professional career, Stefanie has performed at The Academy of Music, The Kimmel Center, Symphony Hall, Lincoln Center (and many other of the world’s prestigious venues) in various roles including leads in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Swan Lake, and The Sleeping Beauty (her personal favorite-Bluebird Variation.)
In 2014 Stefanie attended Bryn Mawr College to complete John White’s pedagogy courses. This is only offered to a select group of instructors throughout the country using the Vaganova method.
In 2015 Stefanie attended the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York, as a Guest Teacher and Judge, along with the Legendary Master Ramona De Saa (Director of the National School of Cuba). Shortly thereafter, Stefanie left the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet family (where she also sat on the advisory board of directors), and relocated to Florida where she became the director of ballet at Palm Beach Dance Academy.
Most recently, Ramona De Saa, Director and Committee President, personally invited Stefanie and her daughter to Cuba to participate in Cuba’s Annual Gala and International Ballet Program (for both teachers and students), held in April of 2017 at the famed Teatro Nacional Sala Avellaneda, and Ballet Nacional De Cuba. While in Cuba, Stefanie was selected to participate in a Master Workshop given by Ramiro Guerra (in Cuba known as the father of dance). She was awarded a diploma of excellence and proudly earned her certifications in the following: Ballet, Pointe, Repertoire, Physical Preparation, Modern, Folk/Character Dance, and Technical Judge.
Over the years, she choreographed and coached audition pieces and collaborated with Merida Alonso that led to students’ acceptance into the some of the most prestigious art schools in the the world including Dreyfoss School of the Arts.
With her vast education, along with her incredible performance and teaching experience, Mrs. Wolfington is a well-known and respected choreographer, instructor and coach.
THE ADMINISTRATION STAFF
Karen Manucy - (Administrative Director)
Joseph J. Bucheck III (Marketing Materials, Administrator, Posters, Cards, Program Guides, Photography, Rehearsal Assistant, Administrative Assistant) has over 40 plus years in dance, entertainment, and the theatre industry. While his vast professional experience includes a prominent career on the stage, he has worked behind the scenes as a professional I.A.T.S.E Stagehand. Depending on the the need of the show, as a stagehand, he could be called upon in different departments such as a truck loader, electrician, rigger, in the props department, and in wardrobe – mainly as a dresser for both women, and men. He as worked with countless internationally renowned ballet companies, rock and country music concerts, National Broadway Tours, cabaret style concert acts, symphony orchestras, operas, ice shows, industrial shows, and even circuses!
For over 35 years years while at Ballet Florida, he was the Resident Company Character Actor. There, he also served as Company Tour Manager, Director of Marketing, and simultaneously as the Director of Audience Services. He worked very closely with the Development Department during many fundraising projects and membership drives. For a several years, he was asked to serve as the Administrator for Academy of Ballet Florida to help build the school. When he returned to his duties of Director of Audience Services, he always stayed closely connected, and continually to worked with the Academy and its students until the year, and the day it closed.
Over the past few decades, as a graphic artist, his work has appeared in local, national and international publications. He has designed dozens of websites, and presently works closely with other arts organizations either as a consultant, and/or on their websites, and printed and other marketing materials.
From the founding days of the school, Paris Ballet and Dance has continued to utilize all his incredible experience, knowledge, skills and talents as a designer, photographer, ticketing coordinator, stagehand and of course, as a seasoned performer.
His passion and devotion for dance and performing is incredible -- and he loves sharing it! His advice is always "spot on" and to the point. With his comforting smiles, warm sense of humor, understanding and caring demeanor, he has the well-deserved honor of being loved, and deeply trusted by both students, and their parents. He considers all the students his "own." He constantly cares about them and is concerned for their safety and well being. While being honest and direct, he treats students with the respect and compassion they deserve.
All these attributes and knowledge are required of a great ballet school such as Paris Ballet and Dance, and Paris Ballet Conservatory!
… See performance bio
Please, meet the many incredibly talented and renowned guest artists who have appeared with Paris Ballet and Dance - right now!
FACULTY & STAFF