Anna Beke

Anna Beke studied theater studies, modern German literature and philosophy at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich and stage dance at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln. After her studies, she worked in dramaturgy and education at the Bavarian State Ballet from 2006-2017. Today, she is a lecturer in dance history at the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Theater Munich, where she is part of the curatorial leadership team of the symposium Dance Education in Transition. Since 2018, Beke has been a research assistant at the Chair of Art Education at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt: here she curated the exhibition Bauhaus für alle! (Jewish Museum Franconia) in 2021 and is currently responsible as editor for the publication Bauhaus im Kontext – Erinnerungskultur. Kollaboration. Kritisches Denken (kopaed, 2023). In addition, Beke is a lecturer at the Institute for Theater Studies at the LMU Munich and appears as a juror: a. o. Förderpreis Tanz der Landeshauptstadt München 2022. In addition to her work as a dramaturg (dance-festival dance first / Fürstenfeldbruck) and dance journalist (, Bayerisches Junior Ballett München), she works as an expert for funding programs of the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland e. V. Anna Beke has repeatedly served as choreographic director of educational formats for the Bavarian State Ballet, the Bavarian State Opera, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and the Munich Residence Theater.


Prof. Jan Broeckx

Prof. Jan Broeckxhas been the Institute Director of the Ballet-Academy at the Munich University of Music and Performing Arts since October 2010. Born in Belgium, he trained at the Royal Ballet School in Antwerp and won the Prix de Lausanne in 1978 at the age of 17.This was followed by several contracts as first soloist: From 1978 to 1986 with the Ballet of Flanders, from 1981 to 1985 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and then with the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich. He was also considered an internationally sought-after guest dancer, among others at the London Festival Ballet, La Scala Milan and Het Nationale Ballet Amsterdam, and danced at gala events such as the World Ballet Festival Tokyo, the Gala des Étoiles in Montréal and the Nijinsky Gala in Hamburg.Roland Petit asked him to join the Ballet National de Marseille in 1982, first as a guest, later as Danseur Étoile. Jan Broeckx interpreted numerous roles in Petit's ballets and studied Petit's works worldwide in theatres such as the Paris Opera, La Scala in Milan and the Bolshoi Ballet. Together with Petit, he founded the École National Supérieur de Danse Marseille.
His international reputation as a dancer, teacher and choreographic assistant makes him a sought-after guest at competitions. Work for film and television, as a ballet master (a. o. La Scala Milan, Zurich Opera House) and teaching activities complement the work of Jan Broeckx, who was named “Artist of the Year” in Munich in 1985. In terms of choreography and dance, he has worked alongside Petit with Rudolf Nureyev, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Hans van Manen, Rudi van Dantzig, Peter Schaufuss and Jiří Kylián, among others, and has danced alongside world stars such as Alessandra Ferri, Altinai Asylmuratova, Lucia Lacarra and Zizi Jeanmaire.


Claudia Feest

Claudia Feest was co-founder and from 2006-2021 board member of the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland (German Dance Association / DTD) – with a focus on dance education/dance pedagogy/dance mediation, production structures and artist support as well as ethics and health in professional dance. She is a graduate biologist, breath and movement pedagogue, breath and body therapist, former dancer, choreographer, co-founder of the Tanzfabrik Berlin and was its artistic director until the end of 2003. Claudia Feest was the initiator and artistic director of TanzNacht Berlin and Tanz made in Berlin until 2004. From 2003 to 2007 she was the second chair of the Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung (Association for Dance Research, gtf). Since 2004 she has been teaching elementary breathing, movement and body awareness at various universities as well as freelancing at home and abroad. In 2006/07 she was coordinator for the Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz (Interuniversity Centre for Dance Berlin) HZT – Pilot Project Tanzplan Berlin in the Senate for Science, Research and Culture Berlin. In 2016/17 she chaired the dance commission for the reorientation of higher education of dance in North-Rhine Westfalia. Since 2014 Claudia Feest has been a member of the Board of Trustees Tanztreffen der Jugend and 2017-2021 she was a board member of Aktion Tanz – Bundesverband Tanz in Bildung und Gesellschaft. In 2018/19 she participated as a member of the Round Table Dance Berlin and since October 2020 she is part of the steering group for the TanzArchiv Berlin. Since 2007, she has served on juries for dance and performing arts in Berlin and at the national level.


Michael Freundt

Michael Freundt studied theatre science, philosophy and dance science at the theatre academy Hans Otto and the university of Leipzig. He worked as a freelance journalist and critic, among others for zitty, Wochenpost, Theater der Zeit and Berliner Zeitung. He belonged to the directors‘ team of numerous independent theatre projects and worked for euro-scene Leipzig from 1997 till 2002. After his collaboration on productions in the genres of theatre, dance and ancient music Michael Freundt became deputy managing director of Internationales Theater Institut (ITI) – Zentrum Deutschland at the beginning of 2003. Since 2004, Michael Freundt has been involved in the meetings of Ständige Konferenz Tanz (Steady Conference Dance, SK Tanz), he coordinated its development into a registered association, and in March 2006 was named managing/excecutive director of SK Tanz, now called Dachverband Tanz Deutschland (German Dance Association).


David Russo

David Russo is a dancer, choreographer and dance teacher. After his training at the John Cranko School in Stuttgart, he was a solo dancer in Saarbrücken and Munich. Still dancing in the company, he has been regularly creating his own works and organizing collaborative evenings with dance professionals and transdisciplinary performances in the Munich independent scene. Since the beginning of September 2010, he is part of the teaching stuff at the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Theatre Munich (HMTM). In 2019 he found the initiative TanzQuelle, a project to promote and support the Munich's dance professionals. In December 2021 he was elected from the German Dance Association (Dachverband Tanz Deutschland e. V.) to be part of the ethics committee.



Prof. Dr. Andrea Sangiorgio

Andrea Sangiorgio is Professor of Elementary Music Education at the University of Music and Theatre Munich (HMTM). He is also head of Institute IV for artistic-pedagogical study programmes, a member of the doctoral committee, the AG Personalentwicklung (working group personal development) and the AG Respekt! (working group Respect!) As Dean of Studies, he is, among other things, the commissioner for the Ballet-Academy and works on its conceptual and pedagogical further development; for example, he coordinated the writing of the Ballet Academy‘s Pedagogical Concept from 2019 to 2020. He received his PhD in Education from the University of Exeter (UK, 2016) with a research study on the creative interactions in musical group work of five-seven year old children. Sangiorgio completed his piano studies (1999) and master‘s degree in ethnomusicology (2006) in Italy; his studies in music and movement education, on the other hand, at the Orff Institute of the University Mozarteum Salzburg (1997). He worked as a music school teacher and director in Rome, his hometown, until 2015. Since 2018 he is vice president of the International Orff-Schulwerk Forum Salzburg and is internationally active in teacher training on the topics: Elementary music and movement pedagogy, ensemble playing with Orff and percussion instruments, group improvisation and musical creativity, cognitive-psychological aspects of musical learning. Sangiorgio is the author of numerous articles and publications on the topics of musical creativity and elementary music education.


Speakers, Workshop Leaders, Panel Guests and Moderators:


Prof. Dr. Peer Abilgaard

Prof. Dr. med. Peer Abilgaard is a specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy, as well as a qualified singing and instrumental teacher. He studied medicine at the Universities of Cologne, Bonn and Paris, and singing and trumpet at the Cologne University of Music and Dance. Abilgaard is head of the Department of Mental Health and Preventive Medicine at the Evangelische Kliniken Gelsenkirchen – previously he was head of the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics at the SANA Clinics in Duisburg. Additionally, Abilgaard is a professor of musician's medicine at the University of Music and Dance in Cologne, where he is also the director of the Peter Oswald Institute. Peer Abilgaard is also a lecturer at the WISL and the APP Cologne. As an author, Abilgaard deals with resilience- and dignity-oriented approaches in psychotherapy, the significance of non-verbal psychotherapy (especially music therapy) and an ego-strengthening music pedagogy. Opera engagements have taken the countertenor as a guest soloist to the Staatstheater Darmstadt and the opera houses in Halle, Altenburg/Gera and Bonn.


Dr. Fiona Bannon

Dr. Fiona Bannon is an Associate Professor in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, University of Leeds, UK. Before moving to Leeds she was Head of Department Scarborough School of Arts, University of Hull where she worked with colleagues exploring education through arts including Dance Theatre, Music and Fine Art.
Fiona recently completed here second term as Chair of DanceHE (UK), the representative body for dance in the tertiary education sector in the UK and continues to work with World Dance Alliance as Chair of the fledgling European Chapter.
As an experienced academic leader and manager Fiona Bannon promotes an ethos of practice in dance that seeks to ensure equality, diversity, and inclusion. Recent publications include Considering Ethics in Dance, Theatre and Performance, 2018. With a research, scholarship and teaching specialism that include collaborative practice, aesthetic education and development, relational ethics, practice-led research and improvisation, Bannon continues to explore the transforming effects of experiences found moving as a practice of ethics. Research interests include, socially engaged arts practice, alongside the generation of knowledge in and through integrative art making, ethics and collaboration, social choreography and collaborative well-being.


Carollina Bastos

The Brazilian dancer Carollina Bastos was trained at the Ballet-Academy of the University of Music and Theatre Munich, where she already gained stage experience at the matinees of the Heinz-Bosl-Foundation at the National Theatre. At the beginning of the 2016/17 season, she joined the ensemble of the Bavarian Junior Ballet Munich as an intern. Since the 2018/19 season, she has danced as a member of the corps de ballet at the Bavarian State Ballet, where she has made a variety of role debuts in works from the classical repertoire as well as in new creations, such as the part of Betty in Alexey Kaydanovskiy's „Cecil Hotel“, Olympia in John Neumeier's „Lady of the Camellias“ or as Swanilda's friend in Roland Petit's „Coppélia“. Throughout her career, Carollina Bastos has received various prizes and awards for her performances in a number of international ballet competitions, such as first Place at the Seoul International Ballet Competition (2013) or first Place at the Festival Internacional de Dança de Cabo Frio (2018 / 2013). Most recently, she was awarded the Bavarian Arts Promotion Prize in 2021 for her outstanding artistic work in classical and contemporary ballet productions.


Prof. Jason Beechey

Jason Beechey has been the Rector of the Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden since 2006. Having trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg and the School of American Ballet in New York, he danced as a soloist for the London City Ballet and then fifteen years with Charleroi/Danses in Belgium. Parallel to this, he was the Pedagogical Director for the Choreographic Centre of the Federation Wallonia-Brussels, founded and ran his own studio, The Loft, and was the creator/coordinator of the D.A.N.C.E. Program under the Artistic Direction of Frédéric Flamand, William Forsythe, Wayne McGregor and Angelin Preljocaj. Joining the Prix de Lausanne as a member of the Artistic Committee in 2009, he continues his involvement there and is also a regular jury member for the Youth America Grand Prix.



Johannes Bergmann

Johannes Bergmann was a member of the ballet school and youth dance theatre at the Theater Bielefeld. After graduating from high school and doing his community service, one season he took part at TheaterTotal in Bochum and then studied theatre at the Ruhr University Bochum and musicology at the Folkwang Hochschule Essen and Freie Universität Berlin, specialising in music and dance theatre. He worked as an assistant director and stage manager at the theatres in Dortmund, Münster and Magdeburg. Parallel to his Master's degree in Management of Culture and Non-Profit Organisations at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, he worked as assistant dance theatre dramaturg at the Staatstheater Kassel (dance director Johannes Wieland). After graduating, he moved to the Stadttheater Gießen/Tanzcompagnie Gießen as a dance dramaturge, where he shortly afterwards became personal assistant of ballet director Tarek Assam through whom him supported the Bundesdeutsche Ballett- und Tanztheaterdirektor*innen Konferenz (Federal German Conference of Ballet and Dance Theatre Directors / BBTK). In 2021, he took over the project management of the support programme DIS-TANZ-START for dance graduates within the framework of NEUSTART KULTUR, an initiative of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, a cooperatively conceived programme for dancers in transition from training to work.


Felix Berner

Felix Berner completed his dance education at the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen and graduated with the dance prize of the Josef and Else Classen Foundation. As a dancer he worked with a number of international choreographers such as Pina Bausch, Ann van den Broek, Sharon Eyal, Tero Saarinen, Club Guy & Roni, Jan Pusch and many others. His work as a choreographer has taken him to the Residenztheater in Munich, Staatstheater Oldenburg, Staatstheater Mainz, Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Staatstheater Darmstadt and Theater der Jungen Welt in Leipzig. His work with professional dancers and experts of everyday life has been awarded many times and got invited to various festivals. In addition to teaching assignments at various universities, he gives further training throughout Germany on the subject of dance education, is a jury member for Tanztreffen der Jugend of the Berliner Festspiele and is on the management team for the Dance Congress 2022.


Margrit Bischof

As a dance researcher and dance lecturer Margrit Bischof is committed to a multifaceted networking of research, education and art in dance. At the University of Bern, she participated in the development and establishment of a department for equality. She conceived the university continuing education program DAS/MAS TanzKultur and was its director of studies from 2002 to 2015. This brought her into contact with various guest lecturers and different dance cultures. She was First Chair of the Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung gtf (Association for Dance Research) from 2015 to 2019 and has been a board member of the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland e. V. (German Dance Association, DTD) since 2018. She actively participated in the Ethics Working Group and together with a team laid the foundations for the installation of the Ethics Committee. She is currently a member of the Ethics Committee and liaison to the DTD.


Severin Brunhuber

Severin Brunhuber was born in Ingolstadt in 1998 and emigrated to Romania with his family when he was five. He attended German school in Bucharest until he moved to Bacauin the north-east of Romania in 2009. There he attended the choreography department of the art school and in autumn 2017 he passed the A-level as well as a professional diploma as a stage dancer and choreographer. He completed the last two years of his training in Romania as an external student, as he began his studies parallel at the Munich Ballet Academy in 2015, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 2018. He was a scholarship holder of the German National Academic Foundation and won various awards. In the 2018/19 season, Severin Brunhuber was an ensemble member of the Bavarian Junior Ballet Munich and also a volunteer with the Bavarian State Ballet before joining the corps de ballet of the main company at the beginning of the 2019/20 season. Since then, Severin Brunhuber has appeared in numerous roles with the Bavarian State Ballet, for example in Sharon Eyal's „Bedroom Folk“ and David Dawson's „Affairs of the heart“.


Anneli Chasemore

Anneli Chasemore trained as a dancer at the Elmhurst Ballet School and English National Ballet School and performed with companies including Scottish Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, Ballet Victor Ullatte, Madrid as well as well as the Ballet of the Oper Halle and Mainfrankentheater Würzburg, Germany. In the middle of her career, Chasemore suffered a serious accident which threatened to stop her dancing. At this time, she was introduced to the Gyrotonic method, and after several months of using it as a form of intense rehabilitation post surgery, she was able to return to performing. The experience led her to train as a gyrotonic trainer and to start working with dancers and in the area of injury prevention. Subsequently, Anneli Chasemore completed the professional dancers teaching diploma, PDTd, London and studied for an MSc Dance Science at Trinity Laban, London. Chasemore is now a lecturer for dance-science on the Professional Dancer´s Postgraduate Teaching Diploma, RAD Berlin, as well as being a guest lecturer for several vocational schools. Together with Soraya Bruno she founded the new Dancer health and support department at the Staatsballett Berlin. The aim of the department is to support company dancers in all areas concerning injury prevention and performance enhancement. Together they manage the Dance Science delivery of the Staatsballett`s new Enhance Mentorship programme, funded by DIS-TANZ-START. She also guest teaches for various ballet companies (with a focus on alignment/injury prevention in class).


Dr. phil. Mariama Diagne

Mariama Diagne (Dr. phil.), is a dance scholar and trained dancer (Dance Theatre of Harlem, New York City). Since 2022, she works at the Collaborative Research Center 1512, Intervening Arts at Freie Universität Berlin/FU Berlin. Her current project Decolonizing Interventions in Choreographies of the Diaspora sets its focus on re-readings of European art, theory and cultural history and negotiates them with perspectives from the African Diaspora. She studied theater and media, as well as musicology and dance studies in Bayreuth and Berlin and received her PhD (FU Berlin) in 2018. Her thesis Schweres Schweben. Qualities of gravitas in Pina Bausch's dance opera Orpheus and Eurydice (transcript 2019) was awarded the Tiburtius Prize of the Berlin Universities and the Tanzwissenschaftspreis NRW. In research and teaching, she worked at the Institute for Theater Studies (FU Berlin, 2012-2020) and at the Institute for Cultural Management and Gender Studies (mdw. University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, 2020-2021). Outside of academia, she has accompanied projects of the Pina Bausch Foundation, written for magazines, and works with arts professionals on postcolonial perspectives, including Ballhaus Naunynstraße. Since September 2019, she has headed the board of the Gesellschaft für Tanzforschung (gtf, Association for Dance Research) (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), based in Berlin.


Jean-Yves Esquerre

Jean-Yves Esquerreis founder and director of the European School of Ballet in Amsterdam. He studied dance with Monique Malo in France and with Mudra in Brussels. During his career he danced with Les Ballets du XXème Siècle, Hamburg Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. In 1986 Esquerre became ballet master of Le Ballet du Louvre and in 1987 he was appointed director of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo.From 1993 Esquerre developed a programme of therapeutic dance exercises designed for injury prevention and post-surgery rehabilitation. He worked as a guest ballet master for renowned companies such as the Paris Opera Ballet or La Scala de Milano. He has also served as juror / chairman for several international ballet competitions such as Prix de Lausanne or the Youth America Grand Prix.
Between 2007 and 2010, Esquerre worked in various capacities for San Francisco Ballet, including coach, school faculty member and, from 2008, Assistant to the Artistic director. During this time, he developed a Teacher Training Program, among other things, as Trainee Program Director. Since 2010, Esquerre was entrusted by the Government of Canada with the evaluation of Canadian ballet schools and has repeatedly worked as a choreographer for Béjart Ballet Lausanne, the Royal Ballet School and the English National Ballet School. He is Former Artistic Director (2014-18) of the Dutch National Ballet Academy. Here he introduced his successful Dutch National Trainee Program in 2015, which was expanded in 2018 and eventually resulted in the founding of the European School of Ballet (ESB).


Anna Esser

Parallel to her high school graduation, Anna Esser completed her Bachelor of Arts degree at the Ballet-Academy the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich. After that she danced with Alberta Ballet II. She graduated from the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf with a Master of Science in Psychology. She is currently completing her further training as a psychological psychotherapist and works as a psychologist at the LVR hospital in Essen. On a self-employed basis, she teaches the Gyrotonic® method at the Ballett am Rhein, among other places. Since 2021, she has been part of the pedagogical concept of the Munich Ballet Academy in psychological workshops for dance students. In 2013, she received a scholarship from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation) through the artist promotion and has since been supported on her further educational path. From December 2022 she will be researching stress factors and psychological interventions in dance cohorts as a research associate at the University of Duisburg Essen.


Marc Geifes

Marc Geifeswas trained at the Munich Ballet-Academy from 1988 to 1992. After graduating, he danced for six years under Konstanze Vernon and then for six years under Ivan Liška at the Bavarian State Ballet. During this time, he danced solo and character roles in both the classical and modern repertoire in ballets by, among others, Frederic Ashton, Ray Barra, John Cranko, Mats EK, William Forsythe, Jacopo Godani, Jiří Kylian, John Neumeier, Saburo Teshigawara and Hans van Manen. After his dance career, he studied physiotherapy in Amsterdam and graduated with a Bachelor of Health in 2007. From 2007 to 2010 he worked as a physiotherapist in Arnhem, where he cared for the dance company Introdans and the students of the Artez School of Dance, among others. From 2010 to 2020 he looked after the dancers of the Bavarian State Ballet and the Bavarian State Orchestra.
Since 2020, Marc Geifes has been teaching dance medicine at the HMTM Ballet Academy. It is his concern to give the future dancers an understanding of their bodies so that they can open up the possibility of personal responsibility and prevention as well as access to their own potential. He also teaches dance-specific basics to the teachers at the Ballet Academy in regular further training courses and acts as a link between the students and lecturers.


Simone Geiger Liebreich

Simone Geiger Liebreich teaches since 2010 at the ballet-academy at the University of music and performing arts in Munich. Also here she studied 8 years of classical ballet. She worked as a demi soloist at the ballet at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf and at the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich. From 2000 till 2006 she was a member of the Nederlands Dans Theater in the Netherlands. Geiger Liebreich teaches classical ballet, pointework, repertoire (classical and contemporary), pilates and works as a choreographic assistant and ballet master.




Osiel Gouneo

Born in Matanzas (Cuba) in 1990, Osiel Gouneo began his training in 2005 at the National Ballet School Cuba in Havana. He joined the Cuban National Ballet in 2008 and was appointed First Soloist just three years later. Osiel Gouneo was then engaged by the Norwegian National Ballet for three years and has been dancing as First Soloist with the Bavarian State Ballet since the 2016/2017 season. In the course of his career he has already been a guest at major international houses, including the London Coliseum, the Bolshoi Theatre Moscow, the Lincoln Center in New York, the Paris Opera and the National Theatre Japan in Tokyo. In June 2021, he danced Romeo in „Romeo and Juliet“ by Rudolf Nureyev at the Paris Opera Ballet. He has mastered a large repertoire of classical pieces and has already made his debut with the Bavarian State Ballet in numerous roles, such as the soloist in „Symphony in C“ or in the title role of „Spartacus“. Osiel Gouneo is also the winner of various awards, such as the gold medal at the international ballet competition in Beijing, a silver medal at the international ballet competition in Varna or as the winner of the Cuban Dance Grand Prix. In addition, the dancer was honoured as a newcomer to the international dance scene at the annual Positano Prize.


Prof. Nik Haffner

Nik Haffner has been artistic director of the Interuniversity Centre for Dance Berlin (HZT) since 2012. HZT is the joint responsibility of the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) and the University of Performing Arts Ernst Busch Berlin (HfS) in cooperation with TanzRaumBerlin, a network of the professional dance scene. As dancer-choreographer Nik Haffner develops projects together with Christina Ciupke and Mart Kangro, among others. He was a dancer with William Forsythe at Ballett Frankfurt 1994 -2000 and worked with Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion on their online score „Seven Duets“ as part of in 2012-13. He is a member of the advisory board for Tanzkongress Deutschland.



Prof. Dieter Heitkamp

In 2001 Dieter Heitkamp was appointed professor for contemporary dance at the Frankfurt University for Music and Performing Arts. He is director of the dance department, member of the Hessian Theater Academy and the International Theater Institute. From 2006 to 2015 he was part of the board of directors of Tanzlabor_21, and from 2007 to 2014 he was one of the speakers AK|T education conference dance and artistic director of the 3rd Biennale Dance Education 2012 in Frankfurt am Main.
From 1978-98 he worked at Tanzfabrik Berlin as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and organizer and until 1995 also one of the artistic directors. During this time he created 18 full-length pieces for the Tanzfabrik Berlin. Other choreographies were created for the Frankfurt Ballet, for theater productions at the FVB Berlin (Peter Palitzsch, Holger Schultze), for dance and documentary films and TV as well as choreography and stage design for “Le Disperazioni del Signor Pulcinella” by Hans Werner Henze (Berlin State Opera). His choreographies have been shown throughout Germany, in 13 European countries, Canada, the USA, Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Vietnam, Russia and Latvia. He was a guest lecturer at many German universities and internationally, including France, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Israel, Japan, China and Vietnam. Dieter Heitkamp began his dance training in 1977 in contact improvisation, improvisation and performance, various modern, contemporary, release and alignment oriented techniques as well as body mind centering and other body awareness methods.


Maximiliane Hierdeis

Already a soloist with the Ballet Nationale de Marseille Roland Petit, Maximiliane Hierdeis is a teacher at the Ballet-Academy of the University of Music and Theatre Munich. It is there that she also pursued her education as a classical dancer under Konstanze Vernon and Michel de Lutry. Before her cooperation with Roland Petit, her career path led her from the Deutsche Oper Berlin via Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich. After her active dance career, Maximiliane discovered her passion to educate children and she returned in 2006 to Ballet-Academy Munich, appointed by Konstanze Vernon. In addition, she graduated in 2010 from the Masters of Ballet Educational Sciences with Prof. Alexander Ursuliak (University of Music and Theatre Munich). Her Pilates diploma and her qualification with Dr. Liane Simmel and Eric Franclin in regards to anatomical sciences for children in ballet, round off her portfolio as educationalist for children. She pays special attention to a holistic perspective and the particular needs of children and wants to spark their passion for dancing and the art of ballet.


Prof. Natalia Hoffmann-Sitnikova

Born in Russia, Natalia Hoffmann-Sitnikova studied at Perm Ballet Academy. She graduated in 1985 and joined Perm Ballet Theater (Russia). There she was promoted to soloist in 1987. In 1992 she moved to Germany and joined Bonn Opera and Ballet Theater. Between 1997 and 2012 she was a soloist with Dutch National Ballet. Among others she danced the main parts in "Giselle", "Coppélia", "Cinderella", "Midsummer Night's Dream", "Romeo and Juliet", "Sleeping Beauty”, "Les Sylphides", "La Fille Mal Gardee" and "Paquita". She interpretated numerous choreographies by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Jerome Robbins, John Cranko, Sir Frederick Ashton, Hans van Mannen, Rudy van Dantzig, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, David Dawson, Kristof Pastor and others. While still working as a dancer Natalia Hoffmann-Sitnikova was also teaching classes and repertoire to both soloists and corps de ballet and assisting in diverse new choreographic works at Het National Ballet and abroad. Since 2012 Hoffmann is teaching at Ballet Academy at University of Music and Performing Art Munich and was named professor. She is teaching also internationally, for example at English National Ballet London, Polish National Ballet Warsaw, Hungarian National Ballet Budapest, Het National Ballet and National Ballet Academy Amsterdam, Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theater Vilnius and The National Ballet of Japan Tokyo. She is also invited as juror and teacher at renowned international ballet competitions and master classes.


Gigi Hyatt

Gigi Hyatt received her training in Berlin, Germany with Tatiana Gsovsky and in Munich with Konstanze Vernon at the Heinz-Bosl-Stiftung. In 1980 she was a finalist at the Prix de Lausanne. In 1982, Gigi Hyatt won the Gold in the Junior Division of The Jackson International Ballet Competition and in the same year joined the Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier. In 1984 she was honored with the Wilhelm Oberdorfer Award and in 1985 was named ‘Best Young Dancer’ by Ballett International magazine. In her first season, Gigi Hyatt was promoted to demi-soloist and in 1986 became principal dancer. Gigi Hyatt was fortunate to dance in many ballets choreographed by John Neumeier and created numerous roles such as Desdemona in „Othello“, Solveig in „Peer Gynt“, Viola in „Vivaldi or What You Will“ and „Cinderella“. In 1997, ending her career on stage, she moved to the USA, where she first became ballet mistress and teacher at The Georgia Ballet and School and in 2004 assumed the position of Artistic Director. Gigi Hyatt returned to Hamburg in 2013 to accept the position of Pedagogical Principal and Deputy Director of The School of The Hamburg Ballet.


Prof. Dr. Claudia Jeschke

Along with her theatre studies at Munich University and a doctoral dissertation on the history of dance notation systems, Claudia Jeschke was professionally trained in various dance forms. Her academic respectively practical expertise allows her to approach dancing both ‚in actu‘ on stage and in academic writing – e. g. in deciphering Vaclav Nijinsky’s dance notation system and restoring his ballet „L’Après-midi d’un Faune“ (together with Ann Hutchinson Guest). She introduced dance studies as an academic discipline in German speaking theater and dance departments such as Munich, Leipzig (where she finished her habilitation), Cologne and Salzburg (where she also was head of the Derra de Moroda Dance Archives). As a guest professor Claudia Jeschke lectured (and still lectures) in Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, China as well as in Brasil. Her extensive body of publications focuses on dance historical and theoretical topics as well as on movement praxeology and notation – and the multiple transfers between these fields of research (e. g. in exhibitions, television programs and recently in a series of lecture performances on the heterochronicity of dance history and historiography). In 2019 Claudia Jeschke received the Tanzpreis der Stadt München (Dance Prize of the City of Munich).


Paulina Kalvelage

Paulina Kalvelage was born in Munich. At the age of ten, she began her professional training at the Ballet-Academy of the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, which she successfully completed in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. During her ballet studies she danced in numerous matinees of the Heinz-Bosl-Foundation as well as in children’s roles in performances of the Bavarian State Ballet. Additionally, she was active as a student representative in the last three years of her training. Parallel to her dance activities, she achieved her A-levels in 2021 as the conclusion of her school education at the Evening Grammar School München. For the current season 2022/2023 Paulina Kalvelage is employed as a dancer at the Staatsballett Berlin, funded by DIS-TANZ-START.



Violetta Keller

Violetta Keller is a Principal Dancer with the Finnish National Ballet. She started ballet at the age of three and a half. Later she joined the ‘Ballett Meister Schule’ in Siegen, Germany, and won the touring cup of Maya Plisetskaya. When she was 13 years old she won a scholarship for professional studies at the Ballet Academy University of Music and Performing Arts Munich. In 2018 Violetta Keller received her first contract with the Finnish National Ballet’s Junior Company. Already in her second year she was asked to join the main company. Since then she has been interpretating big roles on stage like Odette and Odile in „Swan Lake”, Medora in „Le Corsaire”, or Aurora in „Sleeping beauty” by Javier Torres in 2021 – for which she received a promotion to first Soloist. Later that year, Violetta danced the part of Clara in „Nutcracker” and won the Young Dancer Award 2021 by the Outi and Jan Vapaavuoren Foundation. In May 2022 she was promoted to Principal Dancer of the Finnish National Ballet.


Prof. Dr. Antje Klinge

Prof. Dr Antje Klinge is Professor of Sports Education and Sports Didactics at the Faculty of Sports Science at the Ruhr University in Bochum with a focus on learning and education in the medium of the body, movement, sport and dance. She was a founding member and board member of the Bundesverband Tanz in Schulen e. V. (today Aktion Tanz. Bundesverband für Tanz in Bildung und Gesellschaft; 2005-17), member of the board of trustees of Tanzplan Deutschland (2011-14) and member of the expert council of the Council for Cultural Education e. V. (2012-21). Since 2021, she has been a member of the Ethics Committee of the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland (German Dance Association).



Gerda König

Gerda König studied psychology at the University of Cologne. After working with the Mobiaki ensemble and the Paradox Dance Company, she founded the DIN A 13 tanzcompany in 1995, one of the few mixed-abled dance ensembles in the world. Since then, as artistic director, she has staged productions that have appeared at many international dance festivals. Her work is characterized by the vision of using the quality of movement of ‚other bodies‘ in order to develop new aesthetic approaches for contemporary dance. In a continuous artistic confrontation with cultural realities and political conditions, she pursues a choreographic research approach that gives her choreographies an unmistakable signature. Since 2005 she has created co-productions with international artists in Africa, South America, Asia and the USA, in collaboration with the Goethe Institute. Together with Gitta Roser, she initiated the M.A.D.E. programme in 2019, the first professional artistic further education programme for dance students and dance professionals with and without physical disabilities in Germany. The UNIque@dance project, also initiated by her and Gitta Roser and led and co-conceived by Dr. Gustavo Fijalkow, is intended to create pioneering paths and conditions for opening up universities to enable students with non-normative bodies to professionalise in dance since 2022. For her artistic and cultural-political work, she was honored with the Federal Cross of Merit in 2021.


Chloé Lopez Gomez

The dancer Chloé Lopes Gomes began her professional ballet training at the École Nationale Supérieure de Danse de Paris. There she studied until 2011 and then continued her training at the renowned Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow. After graduating in 2015, she was initially engaged by the Ballet de l'Opéra de Nice as a stagiaire before moving to the Béjart Ballet in Lausanne. There she rose to soloist and danced various roles from the company‘s repertoire. In 2018, Chloé Lopes Gomes moved to Germany and continued her career with the Staatsballett Berlin, where she performed in a variety of classical and contemporary ballets, including William Forsythe's „The Second Detail“, George Balanchine's „Theme and Variations“ and Sharon Eyal's „Strong“, to name but a few. Since 2022, Chloé Lopes Gomes has been working freelance with choreographer Wayne McGregor, following her belief that artists can and should make a meaningful contribution to the overall health, development and well-being of our society.


Julian MacKay

At the age of eleven, Julian MacKay left his native Montana (USA) to dance at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow. Upon graduation, he became the first American to receive a full Russian diploma. While in school, he won medals at five international ballet competitions, including the Prix de Lausanne, IBC Istanbul, YAGP, Sochi Young Ballet of the World and Beijing International Ballet Competition. At the age of 17, the dancer made his professional debut as Siegfried in „Swan Lake“ with the Russian State Ballet, after which Russian dance critics hailed him as a young ‚Apollo‘. At the same age, MacKay joined the Royal Ballet in London, and a little later he accepted Mikhail Messerer's personal invitation to the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. At the age of 19, Julian MacKay was promoted to First Soloist of the company after a rousing performance in „Flames of Paris“ and celebrated worldwide as a guest artist. In 2020, Julian MacKay continued his international career at San Francisco Ballet.
Parallel to his dancing career, Julian MacKay completed a Bachelor's degree as a teacher, ballet master and choreographer at the renowned GITIS University in Moscow. As successful model, he has appeared on the covers of numerous glossy magazines such as Teen Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. MacKay is also CEO of MACKAY PRODUCTIONS, an international arts production company he co-founded with his brother Nicholas MacKay. Julian MacKay has been dancing as First Soloist with the Bavarian State Ballet since the 2022/23 season.


Tadeusz Matacz

Tadeusz Matacz, born in Warsaw, Poland, has received his ballet education at the State Ballet Academy in Warsaw where he has also completed his pedagogical training with Leonid Zhdanov. In 1977 he had his first engagement as a dancer at the Big Theater Warsaw and at the same time worked as a ballet teacher at the ballet school in Warsaw. From 1979 to 1984 Tadeusz Matacz was a principal dancer at the Big Theater Warsaw. From 1984 to 1992 he was a soloist at the Badische State Theater in Karlsruhe where he also took on pedagogical commitments as of 1988. From 1992 to 1998 Tadeusz Matacz was ballet master and choreographer at the Badische State Theater in Karlsruhe. From 1990 to 1998 he also worked as a guest teacher with Ballet Frankfurt, Toulouse Ballet, the Big Theater Warsaw and from 1997 to 1998 also with the Stuttgart Ballet. Since 1st January 1999 Tadeusz Matacz has been the Director of the John Cranko School in Stuttgart. He is regulary invited as a juror at renowned international ballet competitions.


Ernst Meisner

Ernst Meisner from The Netherlands is not only a choreographer but has also been the artistic coordinator of the Dutch National Ballet Junior Company since its founding in 2013 and the artistic director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy since 2018.
Ernst Meisner was a finalist in the Eurovision Young Dancers Competition in 1999, was awarded the Incentive Award of the Stichting Dansersfonds'79 in the same year and received its Special Award in 2021. He was a dancer with the Royal Ballet (2000-10) and Dutch National Ballet (2010-13). During this time he began rehearsing and creating several works for a Royal Ballet choreography workshop as well as numerous pieces for Dutch National Ballet. In early 2013, he created the work „Study in Six“ to music by Jude Vaclavik for the New York Choreographic Institute. He has also developed choreography for dance films by Crystal Ballet and continues to create GameOven Studios‘ dance app „Bounden“. In recent years, Dutch National Ballet and its Junior Company have presented nine of Meisner's creations, including „Embers“ (2013), „Merge“ (2016) and „Prometheus“ (2020/2021). Together with Marco Gerris of ISH Dance Collective, he also created the acclaimed hiphop-meets-ballet productions „Narnia: The lion, the witch and the wardrobe“ (2015) and „GRIMM“ (2018). In the current season, Dutch National Ballet and ISH will perform the world premiere of „Dorian“, the third joint production by choreographers Ernst Meisner and Marco Gerris.


Dr. Dora Meyer

Dora Meyer is the performance nutritionist at the Ballet Academy of the University of Music and Theatre Munich. She holds a MSc. in public health, a MSc. in nutrition and biomedicine, and a PhD in nutrition. In addition to teaching at the ballet academy, Dr. Meyer is a postdoctoral researcher in nutritional medicine at the Technical University in Munich. Her role at the ballet academy is to teach students the knowledge and skills to be able to make food choices that support their health, wellbeing, growth and performance. Dora Meyer offers nutrition workshops and cooking classes throughout the academic year and meets regularly with the students to develop and optimize personalized nutrition plans. 



Prof. Agnès Noltenius

Prof. Agnès Nolteniuswas born in Freiburg im Breisgau and has a German and French nationality. She trained for eight years at the Paris Opera Ballet School before beginning her career as a dancer with the Ballet du Rhin in Strasbourg, where she interpreted the great roles of the classical repertoire as first soloist and performed alongside dance legends such as Rudolf Nureyev and Maia Plissetskaia.  After meeting William Forsythe, she joined the ensemble of the Ballett Frankfurt in 1989, to which she remained loyal for over 13 years. Holder of the French State Diploma in Dance Pedagogy, Noltenius is regularly invited as a guest teacher of classical ballet, repertoire and expert in William Forsythe‘s Improvisation Technologies at universities and companies worldwide. She has been William Forsythe‘s choreographic assistant for several years and has been given responsibility for the realisation of some of his most significant pieces – in 2003 she published DETAIL-FORSYTHE. Noltenius has also worked as a choreographer for various ballet companies and holds a diploma in Pilates pedagogy. Since October 2019, she has been director and professor of dance at the State University of Music and Performing Arts in Mannheim.


Frédéric Olivieri

Frédéric Olivieriwas born in Nice and graduated from the local dance conservatory. In 1977 he won first prize at the Prix de Lausanne and subsequently entered the Paris Opera Ballet School. In 1978 he was engaged by the Paris Opera Ballet, where he became a soloist under Rudolf Nureyev in 1981. In 1985 he participated in the creation of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo and was given the position of Étoile. In 1993, Olivieri became first soloist with the Hamburg Ballet, where he later ended his highly successful dancing career. As a dancer, Frédéric Olivieri has interpreted all the major roles of the classical, neoclassical and contemporary repertoire and has participated in creations dedicated to him. Olivieri has received several awards, including the Léonide Massine Prize in 1986, the title of Knight of the Order of Cultural Merit of Monaco in 1992 and Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2005.
In 1996, Olivieri‘s new experience began as ballet master and choreographic assistant to the MaggioDanza troupe, and from 2000 as its artistic director. Frédéric Olivieri also worked as ballet master with the Zurich Ballet and the ballet company of the Teatro alla Scala, where he served as director from 2002 to 2007. Since 2003, Olivieri has continued to lead the dance department of the Teatro alla Scala Academy and since October 2006 he has also been the director of the Ballet School at La Scala. From October 2016 to December 2020, he was once again entrusted with the direction of the Teatro alla Scala ballet company, before returning to the dance department of the Academy of La Scala in Milan.


Élisabeth Platel

Élisabeth Platel, who won first prize at the Paris Conservatoire, entered the Paris Opera Ballet School in 1975 and became a member of the corps de ballet the following year at the age of 17. In 1978 she was appointed a Sujet and won the silver medal at the Varna competition. The following year Platel was promoted to Première Danseuse and was appointed Étoile at the end of her first performance of „Giselle“ on 23 December 1981. She went on to dance the entire Paris Opera repertoire: from „Sleeping Beauty“ to „Noces“, from „Song of the Earth“ to „Nutcracker“, as well as choreographies created especially for the company, such as „Life“ (Maurice Béjart), „Vaslav“ (John Neumeier), „Swan Lake“ (Rudolf Nureyev) or „In the Night“ (Jerome Robbins). Guest performances brought her to the world's greatest stages. In 1983 she received the West End Theaters Award (London), in 1998 and 1999 the Léonide Massine Prize and in 1999 the Prix Benois de la danse. She has been appointed Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, Officer of the French Legion of Honour and Officer of the National Order of Merit by the French government. In addition to her international teaching activities as a guest lecturer, she has also been a consultant for the production of films and worked on the restaging of several ballets. In September 2004, she became director of the Paris Opera Ballet School. Since then, Elisabeth Platel has been regularly invited as a high-ranking member to symposia and training programmes, but also as a jury member to international competitions. She contributed to the preservation of the repertoire of the Paris Opera Ballet School, which she enriched with works such as the Pas-de-six in „Napoli“ (August Bournonville) and „Piège de Lumière“ (John Taras).


Mark Pogolski

Mark Pogolski first studied composition at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg with Prof. Sergej Slonimski. He continued his studies with Prof. Dieter Acker at the University of Music and Theatre Munich (HMTM) until he graduated. At the same time, he completed his studies at the Nuremberg-Augsburg Academy of Music, majoring in piano. In 2001, Pogolski was awarded the composition promotion prize of the Junge Philharmonie Brandenburg; in 2002, he received the 1st prize of the international Alfred Schnittke composition competition in Moscow. In collaboration with the choreographer Kirill Melnikov, Pogolski has composed numerous stage scores, including „Cinderella“, „Nosferatu“, „Sommernachtstraum alle bavarese“, „Gradus ad parnassum“ (in cooperation with Prof. Bernd Redmann) and „ALPassioni“. In 2015 he was composer in residence at the International Conductors Masterclass El Escorial in Spain. With violinist Sabrina Zimmermann, Pogolski has made a name for himself internationally as a member of the Zimmermann Ensemble for Silent Film Music. With the ensemble he was invited to film festivals in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Great Britain, the Czech Republic and China. In 2014, Pogolski took over the musical direction of the chamber opera Wertheriade with performances at the Esterhazy Palace and Auditorio Nacional de Musica in Madrid. In 2017 he conducted the contemporary premiere of the original version of Carlo Coccia's opera „Caterina di Guisa“. Since 2009 Mark Pogolski has been musical director of the Ballet Academy, HMTM, where he also teaches music theory and improvisation, as well as directing the VOLTA Ensemble.


Friedrich Pohl

Friedrich Pohl is a dancer, cultural activist and, since 2018, a law student at Humboldt University in Berlin. He received his BA in Performing Dance at the Rotterdam Dance Academy Codarts. His active stage work was with Tanz Luzerner Theater, Ballett Dortmund and finally as a solo member of the Ballett am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg under the direction of Martin Schläpfer. In addition to Schläpfer‘s choreographies, he has danced in pieces by Kurt Jooss, Felix Landerer, Jerome Robbins, Hans van Manen, Mauro Bigonzetti, Nacho Duato, Jiří Kylián and William Forsythe, among others. He has been studying law full-time since 2018. He completed the university focus of the first law exam in the field of German and European intellectual property law and, in particular, German and European competition law. He is a research assistant at the chancery Laaser, which specialises in the art and creative scene.
Since 2015, he has been volunteering for dance professionals in Germany. He is co-founder of the association dancersconnect, which he led until 2021. Since 2019, he has been a member of the GDBA's (trade union for theatre artists) Dance Group Council for the Berlin regional association, which he chaired until May 2022. During this time, he was a member of the GDBA's collective bargaining committee and involved in the conception of internal union think tanks on the envisaged tarif contract NV Bühne reform.


Christopher Powney

Christopher Powney has danced with Northern Ballet, English National Ballet and Rambert Dance Company. He performed and created many roles and worked with numerous prominent choreographers and artists, among them Christopher Gable, Lynn Seymour, Frederick Franklin, Ivan Nagy, Rudolf Nureyev, Glen Tetley, Christopher Bruce and Jiří Kylián. During his dancing career, Christopher began to turn his focus toward teaching and qualified with The Royal Ballet School’s Professional Dancers Teachers’ Course. He was Assistant Artistic Director of Central School of Ballet’s graduate touring company and in 2000 he helped coordinate and performed at a Gala to celebrate the life and work of Christopher Gable CBE. In 2000 he joined the faculty of The Royal Ballet School at the invitation of Gailene Stock, teaching 2nd Year boys at the Upper School. He then moved abroad in 2006 to take up the position of Graduate Teacher with the dance department of the Royal Conservatoire, The Hague. In September 2010 Christopher was appointed Artistic Director of the Dutch National Ballet Academy. Throughout this period, he helped to establish The Dutch National Ballet Junior Company and founded the Amsterdam International Summer School. Christopher teaches internationally and participates as a jury member at many international competitions including the Prix de Lausanne and Youth America Grand Prix. In 2022 he became a member of the Windsor Leadership Alumni network. Christopher returned to The Royal Ballet School and took up the post of Artistic Director in September 2014. In 2022 he was made Artistic Director and CEO.


Sabrina Sadowska

Sabrina Sadowska received her training as a dancer and ballet teacher in her hometown of Basel. Engagements as a dancer followed in Trier, Bremerhaven, Halle and Copenhagen. Numerous invitations as a ballet teacher took her to the State Ballet School in Warsaw, the Ballet School of the Leipzig Opera, the Palucca University of Dance in Dresden, the Polish Dance Theatre, the Aalto Theatre in Essen and the National Theatre in Brno. As a member of the management, she worked as ballet master from 1997 and as deputy ballet director at Ballett Vorpommern from 1999. From 2001 to 2016 she was curator of the newcomer festival Tanztendenzen in Greifswald, and from 2004 to 2013 she was a jury member and jury president for dance scholarships from 'Migroskulturprozent' in Switzerland. In 2013 she completed a part-time degree in theatre and music management at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. In 2013/2014 she moved to Chemnitz, initially as Ballet Operations Director and 1st Ballet Mistress. There she founded and directs the festival TANZ | MODERNE | TANZ – International Platform for Contemporary Dance. One of her special concerns is the professional re-entry of dancers after their dance career. Sabrina Sadowska is the founder and chairperson of the Stiftung TANZ (TANZ Foundation - Transition Centre Germany). In 2016, she received the Medal of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. She has been ballet director at the Chemnitz Theatre since 2017.


Martin Schläpfer

Martin Schläpfer began his career – after training with Marianne Fuchs in St. Gallen and at the Royal Ballet School in London – in 1977 as a dancer in Heinz Spoerli‘s Basel Ballet, and for one season he danced with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. He returned to the stage as a dancer for Hans van Manen‘s „The Old Man and Me“ and the world premiere „Alltag“ in 2012 and 2014. Since 2020/21 he has led the Vienna State Ballet as ballet director and chief choreographer. His previous companies – the Bern Ballet (1994-99), ballettmainz (1999-09) as well as Ballett am Rhein (2009-20) – he shaped into distinctive companies in a very short time. Ballett am Rhein has been voted »Company of the Year« four times by the magazine tanz and has also thrilled audiences at guest performances in Europe, Israel, Taiwan, Japan and Oman. Martin Schläpfer‘s choreographic oeuvre comprises almost 80 works, which have been danced by his ensembles, but also by the ballet companies in Munich, Amsterdam, Stuttgart and Zurich. With the school Dance Place, founded in Basel in 1990, he created a basis for his dance pedagogical work, which has accompanied him as ballet director ever since and also led him to Canada's National Ballet School in 2017. Martin Schläpfer‘s numerous awards include the Prix de Lausanne (1977) as »Best Swiss Dancer«, the Art Prize of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate (2002), the Spoerli Foundation Dance Prize (2003), the Prix Benois de la Danse (2006), Der Faust (2009 and 2012), the Swiss Dance Prize (2013), the Taglioni – European Ballet Award (2013), the Music Prize of the City of Duisburg (2015) and the Great St. Gallen Culture Prize (2019). The magazine tanz named him »Choreographer of the Year« in 2010, followed by the same award by Die Deutsche Bühne in 2018 and 2019. Since 2017, Martin Schläpfer has been a member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts. In 2018 he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.


Dr. med. Liane Simmel

Dr. Liane Simmel is a sports medical doctor, osteopath and sports psychology coach. For more than three decades she has been working as a dancer and rehearsal director, today she runs her own dance medicine practice in Munich. As director of the Institute for Dance Medicine Fit for Dance, her focus lies on the prevention and therapy of dance injuries. Liane Simmel lectures dance medicine at the Palucca University of Dance Dresden and the Zurich University of the Arts. For more than 10 years she built up the dance medical care at the Ballet-Academy of the University of Music and Theater in Munich. Throughout Europe, she works as a lecturer and supervisor for health in dance. As a founding member and long-standing board member of e.V., the German organization for dance medicine, she has had a decisive influence on its development. Her books Dance Medicine in Practice and Nutrition for Dancers have been published in different languages and have become standard literature. For her pioneering work in dance medicine, she was awarded the recognition prize of the German Dance Award.


Mavis Staines

Visionary dance educator Mavis Staines has revolutionized the way dance is taught, performed, witnessed and shared across Canada and around the world. Over her 30-years as Artistic Director of Canada’s National Ballet School (NBS), she has cemented the School’s reputation as a champion of excellence, access, and inclusion in dance. Staines received her ballet training at NBS. Upon graduation, she danced as a first soloist with the National Ballet of Canada and the Dutch National Ballet until an accident cut short her performance career. She enrolled in NBS‘ Teaching Training Program, joining NBS‘ Artistic Faculty in 1982. She was appointed Artistic Director in 1989. Staines‘ approach to the holistic wellbeing of students in NBS‘ Professional Ballet Program sparked an international conversation about progressive approaches in classical ballet training. Her enthusiasm for technology in the arts and cross-disciplinary collaboration put Canada and NBS on the map of global leaders in ballet. Staines also championed the establishment and growth of NBS‘ community-engagement initiatives that encompass the widest range of community programs of any ballet school in the world. Mavis Staines is a recipient of the 2019 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, a Member of the Order of Canada, and a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.


Christiana Stefanou

Christiana Stefanou has been the director of the Vienna State Opera Ballet Academy since August 2020. She has extensive dance pedagogical knowledge and decades of professional experience as a dancer, teacher, guest lecturer, ballet director and coach of many renowned artists. She completed her Master's degree in Dance Education at the University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. First, however, she completed her dance studies at the University of Music and Theatre in Munich and was subsequently engaged by the Bavarian State Ballet. There she worked for many years as a dancer and interpreted numerous classical and modern solo roles. After her successful stage career, Christiana Stefanou worked as ballet master for the Ballet of the Greek National Opera in Athens, which she eventually took over as director. At the same time she began teaching at the State Ballet Academy of the Greek National Opera and at the School of Performing Arts Greece. As a guest ballet master and dance teacher, she has worked with many of the world's major companies, including Het Nationale Ballet Amsterdam, Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballett am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg, Boston Ballet, English National Ballet, Bayerisches Staatballett, as well as at the University of Music and Theatre in Munich and San Francisco Bay Point Ballet School. She is a sought-after coach for many of the most important dancers of our time. She has also been responsible for rehearsals of the great classical ballets such as „Swan Lake“, „Don Quixote“, „Nutcracker“ and „Giselle“ at many ballet institutes worldwide.


Bianca Teixeira

The dancer Bianca Teixeira comes from Brazil and is a soloist in the ensemble of the Bavarian State Ballet. Her awards include the silver medal at the final of the Youth America Grand Prix and the honour as »best classical dancer« at the Festival de Dança de Joinville in Brazil in 2014. She completed her formal dance training at the Ballet-Academy of the University of Music and Theatre Munich in 2016. She danced her first season with the Bavarian Junior Ballet and already took on solo roles there before moving to Warsaw to join the Polish National Ballet – here she rose to demi-soloist within the company. In 2019, Bianca Teixeira moved to San Francisco Ballet, where she performed in numerous productions such as „The Nutcracker“, „Romeo and Juliet“, „A Midsummer Night's Dream“, „Etudes“, „Sandpaper Ballet“, „Cinderella“ and „Blake Works“. At the beginning of the 2021/2022 season, she was engaged as a soloist at the Bavarian State Ballet, where she has since made many other role debuts, including Clementine in Christopher Wheeldon's „Cinderella“ and Helena in John Neumeier's „A Midsummer Night's Dream“.


Javier Torres

Javier Torres completed his studies as a classical dancer in 1984, and in 1988 he graduated as a dance teacher of the Cuban method both from the National School of Ballet in Mexico City. In 1988, Torres was awarded a scholarship by the Ballet International Foundation (Germany) that allowed him to continue his dance formation in Europe. In 1989 he moved to Finland to work for the Helsinki Dance Company and in 1991 he joined the Finnish National Ballet, where he performed as soloist until 2008. As a choreographer Javier Torres has created more than 35 works, for different ballet companies. Among his most important works are his three full-length traditional ballets: „The Sleeping Beauty“(2008), „The Beauty and the Beast(2014) and „La Bayadère“ (2014). Based on his more than 20 years research to improve ballet pedagogy, Javier Torres leads seminars and gives lectures at international dance symposiums, professional ballet companies and schools. Since 2001 Javier Torres works as a freelance teacher and coach for professional ballet companies and schools, among others: The Stuttgart Ballet, The Lyon Opera Ballet, The Czech National Ballet, The Netherlands Dans Theatre. Since August 2022 Javier Torres acts as the Artistic Director of the Finnish National Ballet.


Shale Wagman

Shale Wagman is from Canada and trained in Toronto and in Monte Carlo at the Académie Princesse Grace. He has received numerous awards, including the first prize at the Prix de Lausanne, the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation award for artistry in 2018 and the youth American Grand Prix (2014). He was the youngest guest ever invited to perform in a principal role (James in ´”La Sylphide)” at the Mariinsky. He has performed in gala performances, including the International Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg Dance Open (2019) and the Gala de Danza in Los Cabos, Mexico. His first engagement was with the English National Ballet. Some of the roles he performed while in London were Pas de trois and Neapolitan Pas de deux in “Swan Lake” by Derek Deane, Beggar Chief in “Manon” by Kenneth Macmillan, Chinese, Spanish, Freddie in Wayne Eagling's “Nutcracker”,Annabelle Lopez Ochoa (“Frida”), Autumn and Summer soloist Christopher Wheeldon (“Cinderella”) and “Grand Pas Classique” by Victor Gsovsky. Since 2015, Shale Wagman has repeatedly choreographed, including works for the Académie Princesse Grace, Les Rencontres Philosophiques de Monaco and the Gala de Danza, Mexico. He has been engaged by the Bayerisches Staatsballett since spring 2021. Some of his roles include Franz in “Coppélia” and the Principal Couple in “Rubies” by Balanchine. He was promoted to First soloist for the 2022/23 season.


Bettina Wagner-Bergelt

Bettina Wagner-Bergelt was most recently artistic director and managing director of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. She currently works as a freelance curator for various interdisciplinary projects. From 2000 to 2016 she was Deputy Director of the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich and Head Dramaturg there from 1990 to 2016. She significantly shaped the company's international reputation as an innovative, open and contemporary-oriented company and, together with Ivan Liška and Wolfgang Oberender, built up a unique international repertoire of modern and avant-garde works in Munich until 2016. She discovered and promoted numerous choreographers for major stages, most recently Aszure Barton and Richard Siegal. With the educational programme CAMPUS Staatsballett, which she developed, as well as the dance festival for young audiences THINK BIG! (together with Simone Schulte-Aladag), Bettina Wagner-Bergelt initiated a standard-setting interdisciplinary education programme for dance and ballet in Munich. In 1987 she had already founded DANCE – International Dance Festival of the City of Munich, which she curated four times. She also directed the NEW DANCE Festival of the Bavarian State Opera in the 1990s. In addition, she is active in numerous political bodies such as the Round of Intendants in the German Stage Association, the Dachverband Tanz Deutschland, the BBTK and the BLZT. Bettina Wagner-Bergelt has received the Dance Prize of the City of Munich, the Irène Lejeune Dance Prize and the Chevalier de l`ordre des arts et des lettres award.


Stanisław Węgrzyn

The Polish dancer Stanisław Węgrzyn was born in Krakow in 1998. There he received his first dance training at the State Ballet School before moving to Warsaw for two years to continue his ballet training. In 2014 he completed his studies at the Ballet-Academy of the University of Music and Theatre in Munich. After graduating, he was offered a contract by the Royal Ballet in London, where he has worked ever since. Węgrzyn‘s repertoire includes a wide range of roles as well as productions by renowned choreographers such as Christopher Wheeldon, Kenneth MacMillan or Crystal Pite. In the course of his promising career, Stanisław Węgrzyn has received various awards for his skills at international ballet competitions, such as the silver medal at the Youth America Grand Prix or the successful participation as a finalist at the Prix de Lausanne (2017). In addition, Węgrzyn has begun to establish himself as a choreographer, creating challenging pieces in recent years and presenting them as part of the Draft Works at the Royal Opera House Coventgarden.


Doreen Windolf

Doreen Windolf trained as a classical stage dancer at the State Ballet School Berlin. She then danced with the State Ballet Berlin under the direction of Vladimir Malakhov. Already during her dancing career she trained as a dance teacher and has been working as a ballet teacher at the State Ballet School Berlin since 2014. In February 2021, Doreen Windolf was commissioned to take over as acting head of the stage dance department at the State Ballet and Artistic School Berlin. Since then, she has been invited to international ballet competitions as a juror.
As the responsible head of stage dance at the State Ballet and Artistic School Berlin, Doreen Windolf's primary goal is to train young people to become mature and creative dancers, while reconciling the performance requirements of the profession with the protection of health.



Samuel Wuersten

Samuel Wuersten’s life in dance is multifaceted. He enjoyed a diversified career as a contemporary repertory dancer, created self-produced as well as commissioned work as a choreographer and is a sought-after teacher of contemporary dance around the world. He is the artistic and executive director of the renowned Holland Dance Festival, as well as the artistic director of the Bachelor and Master Dance programs at Zurich Arts University in Switzerland, which he helped develop from scratch. For twenty years he was affiliated with Codarts Rotterdam, first as director of its dance programs and later as member of the arts university’s executive board. He regularly serves as a jury member and consultant to various dance and arts organizations. He currently advises the Ballet Academy of the Vienna State Opera. For over a decade, he was the artistic co-director of the Steps International Dance Festival in Switzerland as well as a member of the artistic committee and the official contemporary dance teacher of the Prix de Lausanne. From 2013 to 2018, he has been curating the international CONTEXTDiana Vishneva festival in Moscow and St Petersburg. Samuel Wuersten was born and raised in Gstaad, Switzerland. He started his dance studies with Michaela Pavlin in Bern and had his formal dance training at the Hamburg Ballet School as well as at Codarts Arts University Rotterdam (formerly Rotterdam Dance Academy). He is currently based in the Netherlands.