Director of Community Engagement
Charmaine Hunter began her formal dance training at the Hartford Ballet School under the leadership of then Artistic Director Michael Uthoff and teacher Truman Finney. Through the support of Michael Uthoff, Charmaine moved to New York City to study with Arthur Mitchell Artistic Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem while continuing her formal education at the Professional Children’s School.
She rose through the ranks quickly from corp-de-ballet eventually becoming one of the company’s leading ballerinas and finally as the company’s Ballet Mistress. She electrified audiences with her performances in a broad spectrum of roles. During her 25 year career with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, she had opportunities to affect the arts in the U.S. and abroad launching programs specifically for young people with little to no access to the arts.
During her tenure at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Miss Hunter was invited to serve as Ballet Mistress and principal teacher at the Jones-Haywood School of Dance in Washington D.C. the country’s first ballet school founded by two African American women, Doris Jones and Claire Haywood.
These two women were the pioneers in creating a platform for people of color to train and compete on an international level. Ms. Hunter relocated to Las Vegas Nevada after being offered the position of Casting director and talent scout with the Cirque du Soleil. She served as the company’s talent scout for dance as well as Dance Master for the artists in the productions on the Las Vegas Strip. She was also overseeing the classes and training of dance artists on the production of ‘A New Day’ at the Coliseum in Caesars Palace which featured Celine Dion. Charmaine then Co- founded the Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater with fellow dancer Bernard Gaddis formerly of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. LVCDT is a multi-cultural institution that attracts professional dancers and students from around the world.
After the launch of Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater (LVCDT), Ms. Hunter was appointed the position as teaching artist with Disney Musicals in Schools with Disney Theatricals and Wolf-trap Early Childhood Education through the arts with The Smith Center of Performing Arts. She traveled nationally training classroom teachers on various methods used to incorporate dance in early childhood curriculum and expanding on the STEAM programs. Charmaine has returned to the professional concert dance world after accepting a full-time faculty position as Upper School Principal and co-director with Texas Ballet Theater under the guidance and leadership of Ben Stevenson O.B.E. Director Emeritus of Houston Ballet. Ms. Hunter then moved home to Orlando Florida to be with her family. She accepted a position with the Orlando Ballet as Director of Community Engagement under the Artistic Direction of Robert Hill and Director of Schools Phillip Broomhead.
Dandara Veiga is originally from Brazil where she began her dance training at Projeto Social Primeiros Passos, before training as a scholarship student at Escola de danca Ballerina. She also studied at Studio Margarita Fernandez in Argentina, Opus Ballet in Italy, and Annarella Academia de Ballet e Danca in Portugal. Dandara continued her training as a scholarship student at The Ailey School in 2016/2017. She has participated in dance festivals around the world and received scholarships from San Francisco Ballet and Ballet West. She has performed for the Vibe Competition, Assamblé International, Harlem Arts Festival, and the Ailey Spirit Gala. She has had the opportunity to work with artists Charla Gen, Robert Battle, Caridad Martinez, Claudia Zaccari, Jean Emille, Ray Mercer, Raul Candal, and Melanie Futorian. This is Dandara’s 4th season with Ballet Hispánico.
Tyra Bradford is an African American dance educator and choreographer originally from Dallas, Texas. Her early years of dance training began at Dallas Black Dance Theatre, W. E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. During her time at Booker T. Washington HSPVA she performed works by Camille Brown, Milicent Johnnie, Bridget L. Moore, and Andy Noble. She is trained in Afro-Modern, ballet, contemporary, Dunham technique, Horton technique, improvisation, jazz, modern, and West African dance. She is a recent graduate from Texas Tech University where she received a Bachelors of Arts in Dance as well as Sociology.
As a student at Texas Tech University, her work was chosen to represent the TTU dance program at the South Central Region of American Dance College Association. She was also awarded research funding by The Center for Active Learning and Undergraduate Engagement to work with Ali Duffy on a choreography project. In 2016, Tyra studied abroad at the University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland where she studied jazz dance, marketing, and management. In the fall of 2016, Tyra was appointed as head instructor of the WTDR Dance Company and in 2017 became the Artistic Director. In 2019, Tyra created and developed the dance program at Dunbar College Preparatory Academy for the first time in school history, making it the second middle school in Lubbock Independent School District to have a dance program. Within the same year, she revamped the Marvelous Matador Pom Squad at Estacado High School after the dissolution of the organization in 1997. In 2020, she established a dance program at Estacado HS separate from the Pom Squad. She recruited and maintained the capped amount of 15 students in the first year.
Founder and Artistic Director
Contemporary West Dance Theatre
Founder and Artistic Director of Contemporary West Dance Theatre (CWDT) formerly, The Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater (LVCDT) Mr. Gaddis’ dance studies began in Philadelphia at the High School for the Performing Arts, where he received numerous awards and scholarships; including a full scholarship to the prestigious Governor’s School for the performing Arts, a school for gifted dance students.
Mr. Gaddis has also received scholarships to Pennsylvania Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Princeton Ballet, & The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Bernard’s first professional dance experience was with the Philadelphia dance company “Philadanco” under the direction of the renowned Joan Myers Brown. Bernard also studied and trained in the Horton modern technique under the tutelage of Mr. James Truitte, a first generation member and dancer with the Lester Horton Company and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Bernard studied under Mr. Truitte as well as Ms. Althea Leslie and Faye Snow both protege of Mr. Truitte’s. to become a master teacher in the Horton technique. Bernard has since been a certified Master Horton and Ballet teacher that has been teaching for the past twenty years both nationally and internationally to many dancers in Universities and Professional companies. While as a member of The Philadelphia Dance Company, Bernard became the Co-Founder, Artistic Director and Choreographer for Philadanco’s second performing company D2.
Bernard has received numerous awards for his role as Artistic Director & Choreographer, most notably the prestigious award for Men Making a Difference in the city of Philadelphia presented to him by Senator Chakka Fattah and the Living the Dream award for community leadership and helping solidify the arts here in Las Vegas. A principal dancer with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Bernard danced under the Directorship of the renowned Judith Jamison and danced iconic works such as Revelations, Memoria, Episodes, and A Hymn for Alvin Ailey and many other ballets. Bernard has performed for World-renowned dignitaries such as Nelson Mandela and the former President of the United States Bill Clinton. Bernard was best known for dancing roles such as Revelation’s Sinner Man, Wade in The Water and Ulysses Dove’s Bad Blood to name a few. Later, Bernard joined the L.A. cast of The Broadway Musical The Lion King as a principal dancer and chorus singer where he work with acclaimed director Julie Tamour. While in L.A., Mr. Gaddis was Event Coordinator and Artistic Director for Cienega Entertainment Group. Mr. Gaddis is formerly a Principal Dancer for Cirque Du Soleil’s Las Vegas shows: Zumanity and Mystere. Bernard has successfully produced, directed, and choreographed “Dance for Life 1 and II” where the performance raised money for women’s breast cancer and children living with HIV and AIDS. Bernard has performed with many companies as a Guest artist, such as, Oakland Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, The Koresh Dance Company, Pennsylvania Ballet, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Philadanco, Leja Dance Theater and the Paris company Zingaro.
Omar Rivéra is originally from Los Angeles, CA. After moving to Dallas, Texas, Rivéra trained at Prodigy Dance & Performing Arts Centre under the direction of Camille Billelo. He graduated from the prestigious Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, and was a part of HSPVA’s dance ensembles Repertoire Dance Company I & II, where he performed a variety of works by choreographers such as Robert Battle and Desmond Richardson. Rivéra was a scholarship student at the University of Arizona-School of Dance and graduated with a BFA in Dance in 2018. Rivéra was one of eight men selected to perform at The Joyce Theater for the José Limón International Dance Festival, and danced works by guest artists including Christopher Wheeldon’s The American, Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Boiling Point, and Bella Lewitzky’s Meta4, among others. This is Omar’s 3rd season with Ballet Hispánico. During his time at Ballet Hispánico, Rivéra has danced works by world renown choreographers including Anabelle Lopez Ochoa, Tania Perez Salas, & Gustavo Ramirez Sansano.
Artist-in-Residence and Associate Professor of Dance
Abilene Christian University
Lily Balogh is a NYC native who received her training at the School of American Ballet, as well as summers with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Hungarian National Ballet, amongst others. She has danced professionally with New York City Ballet, Ballet Next, Ballets with a Twist, Moxie Contemporary Ballet, and Royal Ballet of Flanders, as well as freelance work and guestings in the US, Canada and internationally. She is currently artist-in-residence and Associate Professor of Dance at Abilene Christian University. Lily also teaches for Ballet Institute New York, Ballet Together, and Lynch Dance Institute, and has choreographed for stage and film. She is a certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor, and is passionate about helping young dancers achieve healthy, long careers. Other styles of dance Lily teaches include Graham, Limón, Horton, Broadway and hoofer tap, and jazz. Lily looks forward to working with Ballet Lubbock’s talented students!
Lacey is an instructor at Doxa Dance in Amarillo Texas. She graduated cum laude with a BFA from the University of Utah where she was on scholarship and a performing member of the Utah ballet company and the Utah character dance ensemble. Her professional performing experience includes Aspen Santa Fe dance company’s Nutcracker, and touring Saint Petersburg, Russia and Seoul, South Korea with the Utah Character Dance Ensemble. Laci is certified in Progressing Ballet Technique. She is a Ballet Lubbock graduate and served as Ballet Lubbock mistress for 3 years
KAREN ELLA CHAMBERS
Karen Ella began dancing at Ballet Lubbock in 2007 when she was six years old. In 2012, she went to the Kirov Academy of Ballet Summer Intensive in Washington D.C. and was invited to their year-round program. After three years in D.C., Karen Ella was invited to study in Stuttgart, Germany at the John Cranko School. In 2018, she moved to New York to finish her schooling at the Ellison Ballet Pre-Professional Training Program. After graduating, Karen Ella received a professional contract with the Slovenian National Ballet and will be joining the company in 2021.
Universal Dance Association/The Dallas Conservatory
Sydney Mora is a scholarship student at Southern Methodist University. She is pursuing her B.F.A. in Dance Performance with minors in Musical Theatre and English. She is a Ballet Lubbock graduate and 2019 recipient of the Yvonne Racz award. She has attended the Hubbard Street Summer intensive and is an instructor for the Universal Dance Association and The Dallas Conservatory.