Anthony Jones | School Director
A native of Minneapolis, Anthony began his early ballet studies at the Minnesota Dance Theatre followed by professional training at the National Ballet School in Toronto and ultimately the School of American Ballet, in New York, where he studied under Stanley Williams, Andrei Kramarevsky and Richard Rapp. He joined Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet in 1990 and was promoted to soloist in 1993. At PNB he performed a broad repertory that included the works of Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, August Bournonville, Glen Tetley and Kent Stowell, among others. After his preforming career, he attended New York University and eventually became director of The Huntington Ballet Theatre in Long Island, NY, and worked as an acquisitions associate at the Frick Collection in New York City. In 2010 he joined the faculty of the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden (The Palucca School and University of Dance) in Dresden, Germany, as a teacher for classical ballet. In August 2013 he was appointed School Director of the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre.
Anthony Jones | School Director
James Holstad | School Administrator
Lisa Sundstrom | OBT2 Program Director / Senior Faculty Member
Rachel Närhi| West Linn Branch Manager
Colleen Hanlon| School Registrar & Children’s Coordinator
Anthony Jones | Ballet
Natasha Bar | Ballet
Elise Legere | Ballet
Olivia Pyne | Ballet
Alison Roper | Ballet
Kembe Staley | Ballet
Members of OBT Company & Staff
Teaching Faculty Biographies
Natasha Bar was born in Odessa, Ukraine. She was trained in the classical tradition of Odessa State Choreographic Academy and continued her studies with legendary teachers Julius Placht, Elena Tchernishova, and Marina Shamsheva. Natasha went on to dance professionally with the Odessa Ballet Company for 15 years. During her career she worked with world renowned choreographers Leonid Lavrovsky, Oleg Vinogradov, Igor Tchernishov, and Nina Fedorova. As a soloist with the company she performed leading roles in classical and contemporary ballets and toured internationally.
Since she moved to the U.S., Natasha Bar has established a reputation as a well-known teacher, choreographer and coach in both traditional Vaganova and contemporary American styles. Natasha was on the faculty of the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia for 15 years, both as a teacher and as the official International Competition Coach. While at the Rock School, Natasha coached the winners of international competitions in Moscow, Jackson, Greece, Paris, and the Youth America GrandPrix in New York City.
In 2008 Natasha was honored with the Outstanding Teacher Award by Youth American Grand Prix. Many of Natasha’s students are professionally employed by major dance companies including New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Royal Danish Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and Alvin Ailey. Natasha was featured in the MTV series “Made” and in the feature film NY Export: Opus Jazz, which aired on PBS and stars New York City Ballet dancers. Natasha’s daughter, Ellen Bar, enjoyed a 13 year career as a soloist with New York City Ballet.
Elise’s dance training began at one of only two Denishawn studios in the country. One of her first professional performances was at Jacob’s Pillow for Ted Shawn’s anniversary tribute in 1972. After graduating from Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts in Natick, Massachusetts, Elise studied under scholarship with the School of Hartford Ballet. She went on to receive her BS in dance at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, studying with Melissa Hayden and Elizabeth Carroll. Elise moved to New York City in 1978 and studied with David Howard, Lawrence Rhodes, and Maggie Black.
Elise’s professional career began with Garden State Ballet in 1978 where she spent three years, dancing several solo roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy in their Nutcracker. After marrying and moving to Boston, her career continued with Boston Repertory Ballet and New England Ballet, before moving on to Hartford Ballet. Elise moved with her family to Portland in 1986 where she danced with Ballet Oregon under the direction of Dennis Spaight.
During Elise’s career, she performed ballets from notable choreographers such as George Balanchine, Lew Christensen, William Dollar, Peter Anastos, and Peter Martins. Elise has been in the faculty of Oregon Ballet Theatre since 1998.
Olivia Pyne began her ballet training at Stites Studio of Dance under the direction of Christine Hamel. She went on to study at Mt. Hood Ballet Academy under the direction of Debbie Pierce. Olivia came to The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre as a student in 2008 during Damara Bennett’s tenure as School Director, and was soon promoted to the position of teacher’s assistant. In 2009, Olivia joined the SOBT faculty as a lower division and adult instructor. In addition to teaching she has also been a rehearsal assistant for SOBT students for works that include Con Amore, Peter and the Wolf, The Nutcracker, Circus Polka, and Coppelia. Miss Pyne has also appeared in Oregon Ballet Theatre’s productions of Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker.
Kembe was born and raised in Portland and received her first serious ballet education from Mary Cain, and then Jacqueline Schumacher of the Portland Ballet School. During her years of training in Portland, she was privileged to study with many well known master teachers: Fleming Halby, Melissa Hayden, Charles Bennett, and John Marshall, to name a few. Performance opportunities in classical dance, in Portland, were limited in the 70’s and early 80’s, so Kembe turned her attention to musical theatre where she either danced, or played trumpet in the orchestra.
Her background includes eight years of piano studies and ten years of instrumental study and performance. Kembe is married and has three children, a grown son, and two teenage daughters. She has taught for Oregon Ballet Theatre since 1990.
Lisa Sundstrom received her early training in her hometown of Astoria, Oregon and at The Marin Ballet in San Rafael, California. At fifteen, she gained the attention of international star and American Ballet Theatre Director, Mikhail Baryshnikov, when she won a full scholarship and stipend to ABT School in New York City. After completing the school program, Ms. Sundstrom toured the US with ABT II. There, she made her New York debut at the Joyce Theater performing Lucille Grahn— famous 19th Century Danish ballerina, coached by Robert Joffrey for his revival of the ballet Pas de Déesses. After seeing her performance, Mr. Baryshnikov invited her to join ABT, where she gained knowledge of the great classical and romantic ballets as well as modern and contemporary styles. Ms. Sundstrom joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a soloist and was quickly promoted to principal dancer, dancing many of George Balanchine’s acclaimed ballets. After eight seasons, she rejoined American Ballet Theatre and toured worldwide performing featured roles.
Ms. Sundstrom has danced the leading roles in: Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Cinderella, Lilac Garden, The Nutcracker, Prodigal Son, La Sonnabula, Agon, Concerto Borocco and Allegro Brilliante in addition to numerous other ballets. She has worked with choreographers Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Sir Anthony Tudor, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, James Kudelka and Peter Martins and been coached by ballerinas Gelsey Kirkland, Suzanne Farrell, Natalia Makarova and Irina Kolpakova. As a guest artist, Ms. Sundstrom has performed with various companies including Oregon Ballet Theatre, Diablo Ballet and Lines Contemporary Ballet. She has been interviewed for radio, been featured in Dance Magazine and appeared on PBS “Dance in America” in Les Sylphides, Paquita and Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove with American Ballet Theatre and in the role of Effie in Peter Martins’ La Sylphide with Pennsylvania Ballet.
After retiring from the stage, Ms. Sundstrom taught full time at The Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and as an adjunct professor at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She then moved to her home state of Oregon, where she directed Portland Festival Ballet, restaging The Nutcracker and presenting her ballet, La Bella Luna, at Regional Dance America. She has been a guest teacher for Ballet Academy East in New York City, Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle, PA, Nutmeg Ballet in Torrington, CT, Berkeley Ballet Theatre in Berkeley, CA, Marin Ballet in San Rafael, CA and many other schools around the country. She has also taught abroad at Ballettakademien in Stockholm, Sweden and Studio Architanz in Tokyo, Japan. Passionate about sharing her knowledge, Ms. Sundstrom is committed to helping dancers of all levels reach their highest potential.