Katarina Svetlova ǀ School Director
Originally from Germany, Katarina Svetlova received her classical ballet training primarily from Haydee Gutierrez in Florida, and continued with Haydee at The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre in 1994. She also studied at the John Cranko School in Stuttgart and The Princess Grace Academy in Monte-Carlo. Katarina started her professional career at the age of 15 at Oregon Ballet Theatre, under the direction of James Canfield. During her 7 years at OBT she danced in many works by James Canfield, George Balanchine, Peter Martins, Trey McIntyre, Josie Mosley and others.
In 2002 she accepted a contract as Principal Ballerina in one of Germany’s leading Ballet companies, Deutsche Oper Am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Germany. There she enjoyed success and public and press acclaim dancing principal roles in many classical ballets, including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet. She was privileged to work closely with international choreographers including John Neuemeier (Sylvia), Mats Ek, Hans Von Manen, Youri Vamos, and many others, and had several principal roles/world premieres created on her to international acclaim.
Katarina’s teaching career began early alongside her professional career with Oregon Ballet Theater in 1996 and she has been teaching children of all ages across the Portland/Vancouver area for over 20 years, including Oregon Ballet Theater School and her own studio – Dance From the Heart PDX. She has taught ballet in Portland area Elementary schools for 11 years and was involved with OBT outreach in this capacity as well. Katarina is a desired guest teacher across the Nation and is excited to join OBT as School Director. It is Katarina Svetlova’s mission and passion to amplify OBT School efforts to increase diversity and teach ballet in a supportive, positive and encouraging manner to dancers of all levels, while continuing to maintain the integrity of classical technique.
Dominic Walsh ǀ OBT2 Program Director & Principal Instructor
Dominic Walsh was born in Elgin, Illinois and started his training with Lisa Boehm, Frank Boehm, Warren Conover, and Larry Long in Chicago. He joined Houston Ballet in 1989, and was promoted to Principal Dancer by 1996. Walsh danced throughout Asia, Europe, and North America and performed all the major classics. Ben Stevenson created numerous roles for him including Marc Antony in Cleopatra.
In 1998, Walsh created Flames of Eros on Houston Ballet. This work won the Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography. He created three more works for Houston Ballet. In 2002, while still a Principal Dancer and Choreographer with the Company, he founded Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. The company’s roster included works by Walsh, Mats Ek, Jiří Kylián, Mauro Bigonzetti, and Matthew Bourne.
In 2004, Walsh left Houston Ballet to pursue Dominic Walsh Dance Theater full-time. He won a second Choo-San Goh Award in 2007 and received a 2008 Princess Grace Award, both for The Trilogy: Wolfgang Amadeaus Mozart. In 2012, he was inducted into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame.
Walsh continues to receive commissions to set and create works nationally and internationally. He served as the Resident Choreographer for Sarasota Ballet of Florida. In addition to his travels throughout the U.S. and abroad, he is a guest teacher and coach for both companies and academies and stages the works of his longtime mentor, Ben Stevenson. The Carl Jung Center has shown interest in Walsh’s creative process and he has given lectures at Houston’s Jung Center.
He has written for various publications on dance, and was a regular columnist for Origin Magazine. Walsh made his film debut as a co-director at the Brussels Short Film Festival in Spring 2015 with Malta Kano, TX. That same year, he became a proud father and closed DWDT after 12 seasons. In 2018 Walsh was Costume Designer for Stevenson’s Cinderella with the National Ballet of China.
Katarina Svetlova | School Director
James Holstad | School Administrator
William Benjamin | School Registrar
Colleen Hanlon| OBT2 School Performance Coordinator
Irina Golberg was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She fell in love with piano at 6 years old and was accepted to and subsequently graduated from a youth music school. After that, she attended a four-year music college and then, a five-year music conservatory, graduating with honors. Her musical career began as a music teacher at the youth music school. In 1995, she came to Portland, OR with her family and in April 1997, she started working at OBT as Principal Accompanist. After her 25th season with the company, she still loves her job and considers OBT to be her family and second home.
Naama Friedman, Ray McKean, Corin Parker, Alec Pemberton, Jeremy Reinhold, Tiffany Sanford, David Saffert | Accompanists
Zachary began his formative dance training with the legendary Ballet Russe dancer George Zoritch in his native Tucson, Arizona, and continued at The National Ballet School in Toronto, Ontario. Throughout his 25+ year performing career, he performed as a soloist and principal dancer with Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ballet Arizona, Minnesota Dance Theatre, and Ballet West. As a member of Portland’s own Bodyvox for more than a decade, he toured widely, performing in Germany, Italy, India and Japan. He also served as the director of Bodyvox 2 for 4 years. Zachary has been on the faculty of Columbia Dance, New Vision and daVinci Arts Middle school, and is a current member of faculties of The Portland Ballet, Open Space, OBT and BodyVox. Zachary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance from St Mary’s College, where he graduated with honors. He is a frequent guest teacher for schools and Summer Intensives both in Portland and throughout the country.
A native Oregonian, Kasandra began her career as a teaching artist of dance in 1972 after growing up with ballet training in Astoria and Portland. Since that time she performed internationally with San Francisco, CA based Margaret Jenkins Dance Co, developed her own dance company, Henry Harris Green, and toured nationally as an Artist in Schools funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. In the Bay area she taught at MJDC studios and Marin Ballet among others. She received a BA in Dance from Mills College- Oakland, CA, and an MA in Contemplative Education from Naropa University- Boulder, CO. Locally she has received two awards from Young Audiences honoring her commitment to arts integration in the Portland Metro community, and received Oregon Dance Education Organization’s esteemed Lifetime Achievement Award. Ms. Gruener helped start the Northwest Teaching Artist Network and was instrumental in initiating and developing Regional Arts and Culture Council’s The Right Brain Initiative, representing RBI at a national conference held at John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington D.C.
After 29 years as a teaching artist and arts administrator with Oregon Ballet Theatre, Ms. Gruener retired from her position as the DIrector of Education Outreach (now titled Education and Community Engagement) in 2020. During her tenure with OBT she engaged with a full range of students, educators and families. Her work occurred in therapeutic care centers, Head Start centers, public and private schools, after school programs, college settings, and educator conferences. During that time she created performances for student audiences, wrote curriculum study guides for classroom teachers, and mentored a staff of teaching artists who provided dance residencies in schools, primarily Pre-k-5, that aligned with national standards for dance in education and arts integration with school curricula. This work impacted over 30,000 people annually. Kasandra believes that the lifelong study of and participation with dance benefits all humans, allowing each learner the opportunity to integrate one’s body, mind and emotional spirit into a balanced, creative, and powerful whole.
Elizabeth began studying ballet at the age of seven at the Princeton Ballet School and continued in New York at the School of American Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, and with Maggie Black, David Howard and Choo San Goh. She was one of the first recipients to win the Presidential Scholar in the Arts award, one of five dancers nationwide, performing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC as part of the awards ceremony. She went on to dance as a principal with Princeton Ballet (now American Repertory Ballet), The Washington Ballet, and Oregon Ballet Theatre, dancing in works by choreographers George Balanchine, Choo San Goh, Paul Taylor, Bebe Miller, James Canfield, and Val Caniparoli. Her repertoire includes the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Swanilda in Coppelia, Lise in La Fille Mal Gardee, as well as dancing the principal roles in Balanchine’s Serenade, Tarantella, Scotch Symphony, Concerto Barocco, Square Dance and Valse Fantasie, and creating the role of Juliet in James Canfield’s Romeo and Juliet. As a dancer, she toured throughout the Far East, China, and South America.
Elizabeth has taught at the Northwest Academy, Bodyvox and as a freelance teacher in the Portland area and is currently on the faculty of Oregon Ballet Theatre as well as The Portland Ballet, where she teaches curriculum classes and assists in staging and rehearsals for the youth company.
Josie Moseley has captivated audiences for more than 35 years with her solo performances and group pieces set on various artists and companies worldwide. As a teacher and choreographer, she explores movement that is expansive, passionate, and humanistic. White Bird brought her company to the stage for the first time with sold-out performances. Josie was greatly honored to create a work, under a commission, for the Martha Graham Dance Company. Dance Magazine recognized her as one of the “100 most influential choreographers of 2010.” Josie’s work has been funded by numerous foundations, individuals, presenters, and public organizations. She has created many works for some of Portland’s most respected dance companies and dance artists. Her work continues to be performed both nationally and internationally. Josie’s teaching career has included serving on the faculties of Reed College, University of Portland, University of California Berkeley, Mills College, Shawl Anderson, Oregon Ballet Theatre, The Portland Ballet and BodyVox.
Davida Haas-Oglesbee began her ballet training in Milan, Italy at the age of 8. She danced professionally with the Houston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theater, and The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Mrs. Oglesbee danced such notable rolls as Clara/Marie in the The Nutcracker, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and the Peasant Pas de Deux in Giselle. She has worked with choreographers such as Ben Stevenson, Gerald Arpino, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Donald Byrd and Josie Moseley.
Jeff George trained with Ballet Arts of Minnesota and Broadway Dance Center in New York. He performed on the East Coast Tour of Sesame Street Live and then moved on to travel the world for the next six years performing on various Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line ships. Jeff now lives in Portland and has taught at a number of studios in the city including Artists Repertory Theater, Bodyvox, Polaris Dance Theater, Northwest Academy, Bridgetown Conservatory, The Multnomah Athletic Club, MVP, Elite Dance Studio and soon to add Broadway Rose theater to the list. Jeff has performed with many PDX companies, such as Bodyvox, Polaris, Dancing People, SubRosa, Broadway Rose, Triangle Theater, Artist Repertory Theater, Lakewood Theater, Pixiedust & Do Jump, where he got to join the company on Broadway. Jeff has choreographed many productions such as “Drowsy Chaperone” with OR City HS, “Othello” with PAC, ”Urinetown” with Stumptown Stages which earned a PAMTA nomination for outstanding choreography, “Made To Dance In Burning Buildings” with Shaking the Tree Theater, which earned a Drammy award for outstanding choreography, “You My Love” with Shaking the Tree Theater, “All Together Now, a Netflix film. Cabaret with Stumptowns stages and most recently Mean Girls with Sunset Theater.
Corina Gill accepted her first professional contract with San Diego Ballet at 17 years old. She went on to dance with Ballet Tech, Ballet Pacifica and State Street Ballet. She joined Los Angeles Ballet at its launch in where she was personally coached by co-directors Colleen Neary and Thordal Christensen. Her repertoire includes the principal roles in: Bournonville’s La Sylphide and Napoli, Balanchine’s Agon and Stravinsky Violin Concerto. She was featured in Pointe Magazine and The Los Angeles Times described her in Balanchine’s Rubies as “positively radiant, untroubled by every hazard in the galvanic pas de deux and solos” In 2009, Ms. Gill joined Boston Ballet. She was featured in Pointe Magazine’s “Dancer Spotlight” and promoted to second soloist. She worked closely with Jorma Elo, dancing principal roles is several of his ballets, including the premier of Sharper Side of Dark, created on her alongside 5 other principal dancers. She worked personally with William Forsythe and was a part of his 2019 creation and premiere of Playlist. She toured internationally, enjoying a wide repertoire by incredible choreographers including Jiri Kylian, Alexander Ekman, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Christopher Wheeldon, Helen Pickett, Harold Landers, Leonid Yakobson, Norbert Vesak, Mikko Nissinen, Val Caniparoli, Jose Martinez, John Neumeier and John Cranko. Ms. Gill has taught company classes, master classes, directed rehearsals and coached for YAGP at institutions throughout the United States and internationally. She was on the faculty at both Boston Ballet School and Harvard University before moving to the Portland area. She is on faculty at Northwest Dance Project and Sultanov Ballet Academy.
finished her training at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre with Haydée Gutierrez.
While in the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, Cait began dancing with Oregon Ballet
Theatre under the direction of James Canfield in the company’s classical productions
of Coppélia, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Giselle, and Swan Lake. Cait went on
to become a founding member of Bouand Dance Company with Artistic Director Alexandrous Ballard. Cait has worked in film, commercials, and musical theater and
currently teaches, choreographs, and privately coaches in and around the Portland