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CityDance International Intensive 


July 25th – August 5th | Ages 9-20

CityDance at Strathmore, Whittle OR Online

The CityDance International Intensive brings together a talented and exciting lineup of American artists who work internationally as well as international guests who have experience producing their work online. This intensive serves to ignite a young dancer’s creativity and accelerate his or her technical and artistic trajectory.

Dancers train across classical ballet and contemporary techniques while working with Dance professionals  from the International  arena. Alex Neoral, Artistic Director of Focus Cia De Dança of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Elizabeth Gahl, a dancer with the Compagnie José Montalvo in Paris, France and choreographer of her own Compagnie Elizabeth Gahl will each share their rich and robust experience and choreography from their vast professional dance repertoire.

In addition, Vladimir Angelov, Executive Director of the International Choreographers’ Organization and Networking Services (ICONS) will share his methodology in choreographic explorations towards new student-created works.

Classical repertoire includes variations for advanced students led by Nijinsky prize awardee, and Conservatory Ballet Master Stanislav Issaev, Artistic Director Lorraine Spiegler. In-house CityDance Teaching Faculty/Artists including Caroline Rocher, Keith Lamelle Thomas, Therese Gahl, Lara Segrillo and Olga Aru.

CityDance Teaching Artists/Faculty Diana Amalfitano, Ignite Artist, Sarah J. Ewing and Choreographer-In-Residence, Robert J. Priore will present new works in the livestream showing with an in-theatre audience on Friday, August 6th and the following week on Friday, August 13th, both showings are at 4pm.

Intensive Faculty and Guest Teaching Artists

Week 1:

Ballet Teachers: Caroline Rocher • Keith Thomas • Olga Aru • Stanislav Issaev • Therese Gahl • Lara Segrillo

Contemporary Teachers: Alexe Neoral • Caroline Rocher • Elizabeth Gahl • Sarah J. Ewing

Week 2:

Ballet Teachers: Caroline Rocher • Keith Thomas • Olga Aru • Stanislav Issaev • Therese Gahl • Lara Segrillo

Contemporary Teachers: Alex Neoral • Aranza Lara • Diana Amalfitano • Robert J. Priore • Sarah J. Ewing • Vladimir Angelov

Learn more here.

Guest Artists

Alex Neoral, Artistic Director of Focus Cia de Dança

Founded in 1997, brilliant contemporary dance company Focus Cia De Dança embodies a movement that builds art and meaning about the daily lives of the people in its home city of Rio de Janeiro. The company has performed more than 270 presentations in 50 cities around the world.. Led by Alex Neoral, the company delights audiences with innovative and technical choreography performed with precision and a poetic depth.
Alex Neoral, who had an artistic residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts – Paris in 2017, began his dance training in 1994. In Rio de Janeiro, he was a company member with Deborah Colker Dance Company, Cia Nós da Dança, and Grupo Tápias e Cia Vacilou Dançado, among others.

In 1997, he founded Focus Cia De Dança where he began researching his first choreographic works. In 2000, the company presented its first evening-length show, VÉRTICE. As a contemporary dance teacher, he has taught guest classes in Washington, DC and Italy, as well as classes and workshops throughout Brazil. He has set numerous works as a guest choreographer including PATHWAYS for the CityDance Ensemble in Washington, DC, and choreographed for the Bolshoi Theater, São Paulo Cia of Dance, and Rio’s yearly carnival celebrations.

Elizabeth Gahl

Elizabeth Gahl, born in Washington, DC, is currently a dancer with the Compagnie José Montalvo in Paris, France and choreographer of her own Compagnie Elizabeth Gahl. Alumni of the Washington School of Ballet, Elizabeth has been a teacher and choreographer on faculty at WSB and the CityDance School & Conservatory. She danced with CityDance Ensemble, performing repertory pieces from choreographers as diverse as Paul Taylor, Sophie Maslow, Kate Weare, Alex Neoral, Christopher K. Morgan and Paul Emerson. She was a founding member and rehearsal director for Christopher K. Morgan & Artists. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Pre-medicine from Georgetown University and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the American University of Paris.

Vladimir Angelov, Founder and Executive Director of the International Consortium for Advancement in Choreography (ICONS)

Vladimir Angelov is the Founder and Executive Director of the International Consortium for Advancement in Choreography (ICONS). ICONS is a global network for choreographers of all levels of experience, nationalities, and genres.They offer a cloud-based platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, inspiration, and debate. Dance ICONS is based in Washington, D.C., and serves choreographers the world over.

CityDance faculty:

Lorraine Spiegler, Founding Artistic Director, CityDance School & Conservatory

Lorraine Spiegler has over 25 years of experience in the dance field as an educator, director and choreographer, and she holds a Bachelors in Dance (1979, cum laude) and two Masters in Dance and Arts Management (1991) from American University. She began her studies at the Washington School of Ballet under the direction of Mary Day, who became a lifelong mentor. She later became Artistic Director of Theatre Dance, Inc., a school and company in the Caribbean founded by Atti van den Berg Bermudez, who danced with Kurt Jooss, and set up her first international dance exchange project between Theatre Dance and Bennington College in Vermont. Ms. Spiegler was a full-time faculty member for the Washington Ballet under Mary Day from 1991 to 2001 and also became the co-founder of The Washington Ballet’s DanceDC Program, serving as the organization’s first Director of Education and Outreach from 1999 to 2001. She worked as the Dance Director/choreographer of “Music that Moves” for the National Symphony Orchestra and the Kennedy Center in 1999 and 2003. Lorraine Spiegler is the recipient of the 2013 Dance Metro DC Award for “Excellence in Education” for her role in the founding and development of CityDance Conservatory. Ms. Spiegler’s central focus remains the identification and nurturing of dance talent and the pursuit of excellence in training, education, choreography and performance.

Stanislav Issaev, Ballet Master, CityDance Conservatory

Stanislav is a two-time international gold medalist at the Varna and National Soviet Ballet Competitions and a recipient of the Nijinsky Prize in Paris and People’s Artist of Russia title. He also enjoyed a long and illustrious career as a principal dancer with the Moscow State Classical Ballet.  During the two decades of his performing career, Stanislav partnered many famous and highly respected ballerinas including Ekaterina Maximova, the Prima Ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre.

After moving to the United States, Stanislav presided over the dance department at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts for more than a decade, followed by two years spent as Ballet Master for the Men’s Program at the Kirov Academy of Washington D.C. Stanislav’s reputation as an esteemed teacher rivals that of his career as a dancer. His students have gone on to become medalists in international ballet competitions worldwide and earn positions in the world’s most elite ballet and contemporary dance companies. In addition, he has been named Outstanding Teacher by Youth America Grand Prix International Ballet Competition in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2019.

Robert J. Priore, CityDance Choreographer-In-Residence

Robert J. Priore is the Choreographer-In-Residence for the CityDance Conservatory program as well as an Ignite Artist. Robert received a BFA in Dance from Point Park University. Since 2010, he has been teaching Contemporary Jazz at the highest levels of the School & Conservatory, and his Choreographer-In-Residence works are directly linked to his mission of creating signature pieces for the Conservatory.

Priore is very proud to be a founding member of 2011 DC-based Company | E, where he has had the honor of dancing works by Ohad Naharin, Andrea Miller, Sharon Eyal, Rachel Erdos, Roni Koresh, Marco Cantalupo and Thomas Noone. In 2015, Robert was a recipient of the John F. Kennedy Center Local Dance Commissioning Project and created a special work, Speak Easy for the artists of Company | E. Speak Easy has been on the road, presented in collaboration with Company | E, in Russia, Azerbaijan, Cuba and most recently in Ukraine.

PrioreDance, Robert’s professional company, was founded in the fall of 2016. In January of 2017, Robert traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he facilitated a workshop at La Fábrica, and set and presented work for local professionals. In April of 2017, Robert traveled to Holguin, Cuba to set an original work on the dancers of CoDanza. He returned to Holguin in the fall with PrioreDance company member, Abby Leithart, to premiere his work Casita with CoDanza at the Vladimir Malakhov Grand Prix, where the piece won the audience choice award. In July of 2018, PrioreDance was chosen to perform Casita at the Inside/Out Program Theatre during the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Summer Festival. That same fall, Robert and five dancers returned once again to Holguin to present excerpts of Robert’s Cirque De Nuit for the Vladimir Malakhov Grand Prix performance.

In 2016, 2017 and 2018 Robert also was named an outstanding fellow in the arts in his home of the District of Columbia. In November of 2019, Robert presented a new work at the Dance Gallery Festival in New York City, being named one of the three Level-Up commissioned choreographers. From 2016 to 2020, Robert was named an outstanding fellow in his home of the District of Columbia. In tandem, Robert was the recipient of several project grants from 2018 to 2020 to create evening length works for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Most recently, Robert was commissioned to create a work for the Mark Twain Prize Award Ceremony which was nationally televised on PBS in November of 2018. In 2019, Robert was awarded the prestigious Pola Nirenska Award for outstanding contribution to art in the District of Columbia.

Keith Lamelle Thomas

Keith Lamelle Thomas, is a graduate of The Baltimore School for The Arts. After graduating, Mr. Thomas received a full scholarship to Dance Theater of Harlem. He worked his way up the ranks to become a principal dancer. Mr. Thomas then went on to have a wonderful career on Broadway and film. Doing such shows and movies as: Ragtime, Red Shoes, Jellys’ Last Jam, Harlem Song and Black and Blue. Movies: Malcolm X, Stompin at the Savoy, and The Producers, to name a few. Mr. Thomas was an adjunct professor at Towson University, and Director of their Childrens’ Dance Division. He has had the pleasure of teaching, choreographing, assisting and consulting many seasoned and up and coming artists. Mr. Thomas is very grateful to become a part of the CityDance faculty. What a blessing!

Caroline Rocher, CityDance Conservatory Faculty

Caroline Rocher trained at the Conservatoire de Montpellier in France with

Madame Claparède and later graduated from the Rudra Béjart art school in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 1998, she moved to America to study at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York. In 1999, Mrs. Rocher joined The Dance Theatre of Harlem under the mentorship of Arthur Mitchell and was promoted to the rank of Principal dancer the following year. Her professional career extends internationally as she danced with the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich, Germany, the Lyon Opera Ballet in France, and Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet in San Francisco.

Sarah J. Ewing, CityDance Ignite Artist

Sarah J. Ewing is an Australian born dancer and choreographer, a CityDance Ignite Artist, and the Director of S. J. Ewing & Dancers. Sarah has a close relationship with the School and Conservatory as an esteemed Faculty member and choreographer. Ewing often creates new works on Conservatory dancers, which she presents alongside her Company’s works, and also casts current students and numerous alumni in her professional productions.

In 2019 Ms. Ewing was one of the first artists commissioned by the Kennedy Center to create an original work for its newly expanded campus, the REACH. She also toured a new work, Analog OnSite, to New Zealand’s premier alternative arts festival, The Arcade Festival, and toured twice to Detroit. She presented a new full-length work, Gallery, at FlashDC. The work was re-presented by CulturalDC and CityDance at Source Theater in September for Cultural DC’s 20th anniversary season. Sarah was selected to choreograph for Maryland Lyric Opera’s new production of Thais, which premiered at the Kay Theater at the Clarice Performing Arts Center in January 2020.

Her Company,  S. J. Ewing & Dancers, has presented throughout DC at The Kennedy Center, Dupont Underground, Dance Place, Atlas Performing Arts Center, and in site-specific installations at Bread for the City, 2M Apartment Building, Flash nightclub, and The Warehouse. The Company has toured across the US to Green Space (NYC), Boston Contemporary Dance Festival (MA), White Wave Dance Festival (NYC), Ailey Citigroup Theater (NYC), Your Move JC (NJ), Dance Gallery Festival (TX), CityDance Studio Theater at Strathmore (MD) and twice to the Detroit City Dance Festival (MI). In the 2018-2019 season, the Company had residencies in Michigan at Cranbrook School and Lightbox Theater.

Therese Gahl, CityDance Conservatory Faculty

Therese Gahl received the crux of her dance training from the Washington School of Ballet under the tutelage of Mary Day. When she was a young student, one of her many influential instructors in the program included Lorraine Spiegler. In 2007, she became a member of Ballet West II in Salt Lake City. She graduated with cum laude honors from George Mason University, where she received a Bachelor of the Arts in Psychology. In 2011 she started working at CityDance and has had many roles in the institution and has since expanded to teaching classes in ballet, pointe, modern and jazz. She has recently worked with a number of the Conservatory students in presenting her choreographic work at Sidney Harman Hall and the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC. In 2017, she completed her diploma certification for Dance ICON Smart USA Method, International Consortium for Advancement in Choreography, founded by Vladimir Angelov. This fall she will be setting her own choreographic works at such institutions including Towson University and Georgetown University. In addition, she is a performing artist with Shu Chen Cuff’s Gin Dance Company and Stephanie Droycott’s Motion X Dance. She is looking forward to another great year as part of CityDance School & Conservatory.

Olga Aru, CityDance Conservatory Faculty

Olga Aru graduated from Kiev State Ballet Academy, Ukraine – ballet and dance pedagogy. International ballet competition diploma winner “Dance Without Borders” – Kiev National Opera, Ukraine.

She was mentored by Varvara Potapova, Honored Artist of Ukraine. Since graduation she has worked and guested with numerous international ballet companies such as Imperial Russian Ballet – Moscow Russia, Silesian State Opera – Bytom Poland, Cairo National Opera House – Cairo Egypt, Les Ballet Persans – Stockholm Sweden, Aleph Company – Rome Italy, Virginia National Ballet – Virginia USA. Her leading and soloist roles include Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Night Walpurgis, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Tut Ankh Amon, Turquoise Land, La Femme and Heart of Snow Queen. Olga was a touring soloist, Youth Cast Audition Director and Assistant Choreographer in Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker production in North America.

Starting Summer 2018 Ms. Aru launched her independent Summer Intensive Program which she brought into eight cities nationwide – AruSi.

As a choreographer Olga re-launches Aru Dell’Arte March 2020 and dedicates it to digital dance projects to reflect times we are living in. Her short film created during the lockdown was featured and became a finalist in several international film festivals.
Her recent contemporary work of Mozart’s “Requiem” was performed and live-streamed at Anacostia Arts December 2020, Washington, DC.

Since 2013 Ms. Aru became a member of CID – UNESCO. Her research work “Dance on the Edge of Century” also known as “Modern Dance For Different Generations” was represented at 37th CID Dance Congress in Athens, Greece 2013.

Diana Amalfitano
Conservatory Rehearsal Repetiteur & CityDance School & Conservatory Faculty

Diana Amalfitano, a dancer from the Washington DC area, initially came to CityDance through the after school DARE Dance Program. After being identified as a talented young student she became one of the first to graduate the nascent Conservatory program under Lorraine Spiegler in 2011. Diana continued her education, receiving her BFA in Dance Performance with a concentration in Arts Management from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance in 2015. After graduating, Diana joined DC based Company E with whom she has toured nationally and internationally performing teaching and choreographing.

Productions with Company E at the Kennedy Center include: Four Seasons (The Family Theatre 2017), (In)security (Millennium Stage 2017), The Jungle Book (The Family Theatre 2017), I Never Dreamed it Could be Like This (Theatre Lab 2018), and Voyagers (The Family Theatre 2019). Productions at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in DC include Speakeasy (2018), Memphis Sky (2018), and Voyagers (2019). Outside of DC, Company E toured Robert J. Priore’s work Dialogue of a Portrait at the Joyce Theatre in 2017 and Casita at the Richmond Dance festival at Dogtown Dance Theatre in 2019. Most recently, learning and performing Young Blood by Spanish choreographer Arnau Perez, performed at the Spanish Cultural Center and the Embassy of Australia.

International tours with Company E through the State Department include trips to Azerbaijan in 2016, touring Speakeasy by Robert J. Priore, to Baku and Ganja. Jerusalem and Ramallah in 2016, touring Butterflies Burden choreographed by Company E dancers. This work was inspired by the poetry of famed Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, dancing alongside local Palestinian company Sarab Dance. Cuba, visiting Havana, Matanzas, and Holguin, touring Speak Easy and Casita by Robert J. Priore. In addition we danced alongside cuban company Codanza, as well as performing excerpts of Proximidad by the cuban Retazos Repertory Company in 2016. England, visiting Sunderland, teaching and choreographing on the Sunderland College Dancers under Zoe Bellamy as part of a video project in 2017. Lastly, Ukraine in 2017 touring Speakeasy.

Diana has been a company member of  Robert J. Priore ’s Dance Company, Priore Dance, since 2015.  Performances include: Divided We Stand in 2015 on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. Casita performing at numbers venues including New York City at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center for the Dance Gallery Festival in 2016, at Sidney Harman Hall in the Velocity Dance Festival in 2017, at Jacobs Pillow on the Inside Out stage in 2018, and at the Grier School Dance Gala under Jocelyn Hrzic in 2019. Performing Trois in 2017 at the Richmond Dance Festival at the Dogtown Dance Theatre and at CityDance Studio Blackbox Theatre. Priore’s work Cirque de Nuit premiered at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in 2018 and toured to Holguin, Cuba as guests for the Vladimir Malakhov Grad Prix. Diana also performed at the Kennedy Center for the Mark Twain Comedy Award Show which was televised on PBS, dancing alongside comedy stars Abbi Jacobson and Illana Glazer from Broad City in 2018. Diana has been a dancer with S. J. EWING & DANCERS since 2017. She has performed Analog in Detroit at the Detroit City Dance Festival, and at the Dance Metro DC Showcase at Dance Place in 2017. Performing her latest work, Gallery, at the Source Theatre in 2019. Most recently, performing alongside the Maryland Lyric Opera in their production of Thais at the Clarice Theater at UMD in 2020.

Diana is a member of CityDance School and Conservatory Faculty and teaches modern and jazz year round. She also choreographs for the Conservatory and is the Repetiteur, working closely with rehearsing and restaging pieces from internal and guest choreographers, including those of national and international stature–Ronen Koresh, Herve Koubi, and Alex Neroal, to name a few.

Diana was recognized for her hard work in the field and was interviewed in a Dance Magazine article (2017) written by Ali Castro called What it takes to Thrive as a Freelance Dancer- In Any City.

Diana is grateful for the opportunity to dance, and dedicates her performance career to her mother Diane, in honor of her guidance, dedication, support and love.