MICHAEL BURFIELD studied at Ballet Lubbock and Lone Star Ballet. In the summers, he attended several programs on full scholarships, including Kansas City Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet School, Carolina Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. After graduating high school, Burfield returned to Pacific Northwest Ballet on full scholarship as a professional division student.
In 2010, Burfield joined Ballet Austin’s second company and was quickly promoted to the organization’s main company the following season. There, he spent three years working closely with artists such as Stephen Mills and Michelle Martin and had the honor of working on Mills’s Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. In addition to touring the work in Miami and across Israel in Akko, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Burfield was also selected to perform a section of the project at the Kennedy Center during Ballet Across America. Burfield also had to the opportunity to work with world-renowned choreographer Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa and toured her piece Requiem for a Rose to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Passionate about the organization’s diverse repertoire, Burfield made the move to Sarasota Ballet in 2014 as a coryphee member under the direction of Iain Webb. Some of Burfield’s highlights there include performing Dicken in Will Tuckett’s The Secret Garden, George Balanchine’s Jewels and Stars & Stripes, Rudolf Nureyev’s Raymond Act III, Christopher Bruce’s Sargent Early’s Dream, Paul Taylor’s Company B, Christopher Wheeldon’s The American, Sir Peter Wright’s Summertide, Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto, Dominic Walsh’s Wolfgang for Webb, and Anthony Tudor’s Continuo. In 2018, Burfield joined Nashville Ballet.
CARA COPELAND danced with the New York City Ballet for several years. She now lives in Austin, Texas where she is a certified Pilates instructor and teaches exercise and therapeutic movement.
SHELLEY CUMMINS After leaving Ballet Lubbock, Shelley received a full dance scholarship to the University of Arizona and danced professionally with Ballet Arts alongside her studies. Her last year of school she attended University of London and Ballet Rambert Conservatory in England. Later she moved to New York City for a freelance contemporary ballet career dancing with Battery Dance, Balinese American Dance Theater fusing Balinese dance with ballet, New American Ballet, Alice Farley Dance Theater as well as performing in musicals: Phantom of the Opera, On Your Toes and South Pacific. She directed a pre-professional dance company for high school students at State University of NY at Purchase for three years and was an educational teaching artist for New York City Ballet for two years. Shelley went on to pursue a career in yoga as a founding member of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Department as well as easing anxiety through dance with Alzheimer patients at the Sara Neuman Center. Shelley also taught dance to emotionally challenged children for two years at Weill Cornell Mental Hospital. Currently Shelley teaches yoga and meditation at the University of California San Francisco. She is the author of The Ecstasy of Practice and Peaceful Journey A Yogi’s Travel Kit.
KATERINA DELAWYER is a graduate of Texas Christian University and recipient of the Nordan Fine Arts. She has danced with Central Illinois Ballet Company and is presently dancing with the Tallahassee Ballet. She also works on Lighting and design.
DEBORAH DE FARIAS
DEBORAH DE FARIAS is a Ballet Lubbock alumnus and a former Ballet Lubbock instructor. Deborah has trained with Ballet Lubbock, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Ballet Dalal Achcar, Petite Danse, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, and Texas Ballet Theatre. She is continuing her training at Ballet Hispánico as part of the inaugural Pa’lante Scholars Program.
EMILY HEMMINGS FARR
EMILY HEMMINGS FARR was the recipient of the Ballet Lubbock Gugi Award and a graduate of Texas Tech University. She has danced with Louisville Ballet Company. She is a professional film and theatre actor, dancer, choreographer, yoga and dance instructor living in Austin, TX and teaches musical theatre at the Zach Theatre Performing Arts School.
JEMMA GAINES is the 2019 recipient of the Suzanne Aker Award and 2020 recipient of the Yvonne Racz Key Award. While at Ballet Lubbock, she trained during her summers at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, Ballet West, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. Jemma is currently pursuing a neuroscience major and Russian minor at Dickinson College, where she continues her ballet training in the pre-professional division of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet through Dickinson’s CPYB certificate program.
EMMA GRAY began her ballet training at Ballet Lubbock under the instruction of Yvonne Racz Key. She has attended summer intensive training at Jillana Ballet in Taos, Houston Ballet, Ballet West, School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Emma has trained under the instruction of former PNB principal dancer Deborah Hadley in Seattle and is currently attending the Pacific Northwest Ballet School.
ELIZABETH GILLASPY (MFA) currently serves as Director and Professor for the TCU School for Classical & Contemporary Dance. As an artist/educator, she teaches all levels of studio-based courses as well as choreographing regionally, nationally, and internationally. She is Past President for CORPS de Ballet International and received the National Dance Association’s College/University Dance Educator of Year Award as well as the TCU Deans’ Teaching Excellence Award.
BRYNN HUNT is a Lubbock native and trained at Ballet Lubbock. She has attended the Jillana summer intensive and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s teacher training course in the summer of 2020. She has been teaching ballet at Ballet Lubbock since August of 2015 and has taught Creative Movement through Level 6. She is currently attending Texas Tech University and is majoring in Kinesiology with a minor in dance. Brynn is assisting developing the Ballet Lubbock curriculum to include Functional Anatomy for the younger levels.
KEVIN HOCKENBERRY is the founding member and Artistic Director of Emote Dance Theater. He is former dancer with Company C Contemporary Ballet, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, Nashville In Motion and Ballet Austin. He has received his MFA in Dance from Saint Mary’s College of California in Creative Practice program with a Certificate in Dance Management.
NATALIA JOHNSON was the first recipient of the Ballet Lubbock Gugi award. She is Artistic Director of NaTalia Johnson Conservatory in Sacramento California. She has danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Urban Ballet Theater, Ballet Noir, Renaissance Ballet and Collage Dance Collective.
JULIA KERN is an Yvonne Racz award recipient, 2017. She is presently dancing in the Professional training division of LINES Dance Company in San Francisco.
JENNIFER LAMBERTS has been a professional dancer with several companies including Hubard Street. She has performed in the Broadway productions of Guys and Dolls and DREAM.
ANGELA LEE is the 2014 recipient of the Ballet Lubbock Gugi Award and is a dance major and scholarship recipient in the Dance Department at the University of Utah.
MADISON LINDGREN graduated from Ballet Lubbock in 2017 and continued her dance education at the University of Utah and the Alonzo King LINES Ballet BFA Program at Dominican University. She began her professional career in 2021 as a guest artist with Gregory Dawson, former Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer and founder of dawsondancesf. Madison is presently a trainee in the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program, where she has had the opportunity to work with renowned teachers and artists such as Maurya Kerr, Brett Conway, FLOCK, Sidra Bell, Robert Moses, and Carmen Rozestraten.
BETHANY LOWRIE was a recipient of the Ballet Lubbock Gugi Award and Suzanne Aker Award in 2012. She has danced with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and now dances with both the Suzanne Farrell Ballet in Wash, DC and the Avant Chamber Ballet in Dallas. Bethany has performed as Ballet Lubbock’s Nutcracker guest artist “Sugar Plum Fairy”
SIDNEY LOFTIN began her training at Ballet Lubbock with Yvonne Racz Key performing lead roles in multiple classical and contemporary works. Throughout her adolescent career she trained in intensives at Colorado Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Loftin continued her dance education at Texas Tech University where she received her Bachelors of Arts in Dance graduating Summa Cum Laude. At Texas Tech University she trained intensely while choreographing, performing lead roles in musicals like Grease and Phantom of The Opera, and studying pedagogy and dance aesthetics. Sidney moved to Dallas in 2019 where she began performing with the Allen Americans Ice Angels under the direction of Stephanie Dibiase from 2019-2021. Loftin is now performing with the Dallas Maverick’s D-Town Dance Crew. Sidney Loftin’s choreography has won first place at multiple competitions and she continues to choreograph and teach all ages in ballet, jazz, contemporary, and jazz funk at The Dallas Conservatory and Centre for Dance. Sidney Loftin’s other accomplishments include her performing with Todrick Hall in 2015 and TEXAS Outdoor Musical in 2017.
ANNIE MARTIN graduated from Ballet Lubbock in 2015 after attending summer intensives at San Francisco Ballet, the School of American Ballet, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, among many others. She moved to Pittsburgh to train at PBT full time and continued on scholarship as a Graduate Trainee. During that time, she performed numerous corps de ballet roles with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Company in classical and contemporary productions that included Alice in Wonderland, The Nutcracker, Dracula, Giselle, and Romeo and Juliet, among others. She also performed various principal roles in outreach performances of Serenade, The Nutcracker, and other contemporary works. During this time, she attended the University of Pittsburgh on full academic scholarship. In 2019, she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Writing, full program honors, and a minor in Philosophy. She is currently an M.F.A. candidate in Writing at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is 2019-2020 and 2022 Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Graduate Fellow, as well as an instructor in the English Department.
LACI RATLIFF MCCREARY
LACI RATLIFF MCCREARY was a Ballet Lubbock Gugi award recipient and served as Ballet Lubbock’s resident Ballet Mistress for three years. She lives in Amarillo, Texas where she now teaches ballet and dance conditioning to students ranging from elementary to high school age. She is certified in Pilates and Group Fitness and also teaches a fitness class known as Barre Sculpt.
JAMY MEEK is a dancer and performer originally from Lubbock, Texas who has travelled extensively throughout the United States and Europe. He has performed works by Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato, Danny Ezralow, Marguerite Donlon, William Forsythe and Twyla Tharp among countless others.
He performed for several years with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago then continued with Nederlands Dans Theater for three years. He has developed an understanding and gained experience in the different approaches to dancing works created by European and American master choreographers, as well as being able to enlighten audiences with a relaxed approach of humor and character work. He is also an experienced teacher and coach and has taught master classes in ballet and jazz throughout the United States.
He holds a BFA in dance performance from Oklahoma City University where he performed in various musicals including Oklahoma!(dream Curly), Guys and Dolls, and Anything Goes.
SYDNEY MORA, native to Lubbock, trained with Yvonne Racz Key in Ballet Lubbock. She graduated from Lubbock High School. She currently works as an instructor for the Universal Dance Association and The Dallas Conservatory. She is now attending Southern Methodist University where she is pursuing a B. F. A. in Dance Performance with a minor in Musical Theatre.
KRISTI SCHULTZ O’BRIEN
KRISTI SCHULTZ O’BRIEN performed with Jeune Ballet International de Cannes, Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians, Lucinda Childs Dance Company, and Wendy Peron Dance Company. She currently performs traditional and contemporary flamenco with her group of dancers and musicians, Toma Que Toma, in Virginia.
KRISTIN DOUTHIT RICHARDS
KRISTIN DOUTHIT RICHARDS is a Ballet Lubbock Gugi Award recipient and a graduate, cum laude, from Marymount University. She has taugh in Austin, Texas and Florida and has performed with Royal Caribbean International and Royal Caribbean Cruises. She is the co-founder and Programming Director of Miami Dance Collective in Miami, Florida.
JOEY RODRIGUEZ attended TTU and studied voice under Dr. Rebecca Hays and Karl Dent. His credits includeThe Fairy Queen (Lysander) with Gramercy Opera, and Don Giovanni (Masetto) with the New York Lyric Opera Theater. Other New York credits include Sweet Charity and Promises Promises with the Transport Group Theatre Company. He has also been a repeat Baritone Soloist for the Westchester Oratorio Society. Joey has also spent time as an associate choral director for the Inspirit Ensemble at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in New York City. Being a former company member at Ballet Lubbock. Joey’s other credits include Annie Get Your Gun! with Westchester Broadway Theater (Sitting Bull Understudy), KRiEp: The Grusical (Det. Caccia), The Full Monty (Ethan), The Wild Party (Phil D’Armano), and a soloist in Bock Stock. Joey has most recently performed Sweeney Todd (Adolfo Pirelli) at the Wallace Theater. He is a returning guest artist with Ballet Lubbock as Drosselmeyer in the annual production of The Nutcracker
JEFF SMITH is based in New York City, a member of Actor’s Equity, and represented on both coasts by CLA Talent Management. He has performed with West Side Story National Tour, several Off-Broadway productions, Regional Theater groups and has been featured in numerous cast albums and workshops.
THEO SPENCER received his ballet training at Ballet Lubbock with Yvonne Racz Key. He is presently a student at Oklahoma City University, studying dance performance and costume design. He has performed in the outdoor musical production of Texas!
NISA WARD is a voiceover actor currently residing in Los Angeles, California where she lends her vocal talents to film, television, animation, video games, and radio commercials. She recently joined the cast of Dreamworks’ Trollstopia as the Funk Troll “R”. Some of her other television and film credits include The Endgame, Star Trek: Voyager, The Fate and the Furious, and Academy Award winning Greenbook. Her commercial clients include AT&T, Wells Fargo, Toyota, and Lexus. Nisa has also appeared in on-camera commercials for Campbell’s Soup, Bud Lite, and Credit Karma just to name a few. In her spare time, she enjoys making music as a singer, songwriter, and producer. She looks forward to growing her repertoire as an actor and expanding her ventures as a creator. During her time at Ballet Lubbock, she was honored to teach beginning and intermediate ballet classes as well as to dance such roles as The Nutcracker‘s Snow Queen, Dew Drop, and Arabian Princess. After Ballet Lubbock, she went on to study at Alvin Ailey in New York City.
ZANE WINDERS began his formal training at Ballet Lubbock and was accepted to the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. Upon graduating from the Kirov Academy, he joined Ballet Arizona’s Studio Company where he spent two years performing with the school and company. Zane has made guest appearances with Ballet Lubbock, the Yen-Li Chen Ballet School, and Colorado Conservatory of Dance. He is currently a Company Dancer with the First State Ballet Theatre.
BASHAUN WILLIAMS is a native of Lubbock, Texas. He started dancing at the age of 16 with Ballet Lubbock, under the Artistic Direction of Yvonne Racz Key. Bashaun attended University of Utah on a full academic and artistic merit scholarship. He was a member of the resident performing company, Utah Ballet graduated with Honors
Bashaun was offered a contract to join the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, where he danced for an entire decade! As a member of the company, he toured extensively throughout the United States, Africa, France, Japan, Mongolia & South Korea to perform and teach master classes. He has performed the works of many renowned choreographers such as Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, Stevan Novakovich, Edward Truitt, Val Caniparoli, Rick Tija, Johannes Weiland, Bill T. Jones, Adam Barruch, Charlotte Boye-Christensen, Doug Varone, Yin Yue, Raja Feather Kelly and Daniel Charon, among others. Bashaun has taught master classes universities such as Georgia University, The University of Utah, Utah Valley University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, Brenau University, & Loyola Marymount University. He has set choreography and teaching creative movement classes in over 100 Utah schools and Universities.
Bashaun is currently a freelance dance artist based in Salt Lake City.