GRAND RAPIDS BALLET SCHOOL

Faculty & Administration

Grand Rapids Ballet School has long enjoyed a reputation for providing the highest quality of dance training . The School offers a complete curriculum designed to achieve a unified style. The distinguished and diverse faculty of thew GRBS is comprised of current and former dancers from the Grand Rapids Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, PNB, Slovak National Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Eliot Feld Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Luna Negra, St. Louis Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Ballet Chicago and the Romanian National Ballet.

James Cunningham

James Cunningham is originally from Little Hocking, Ohio. His early dance education began at age 10 from the Mid Ohio Valley Ballet Academy. In 2010, he graduated from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. While earning a BFA in dance on full scholarship, he was also able to begin his career as a professional dancer with Cincinnati Ballet in 2008. There, James performed roles such as Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mercutio from Romeo and Juliet, Country Boy from Fancy Free, Principal Pas de Deux from Rubies, Escamillo from Carmen, the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, and Kashchei from Firebird. James danced with Cincinnati Ballet for 11 seasons and was promoted to Soloist in 2016. Cunningham has worked with many choreographers; Adam Hougland, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Jennifer Archibald, Justin Peck, Ma Cong, Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, Trey McIntyre, Val Caniparoli, Nicolo Fonte, and Yuri Possokhov. In 2016 and 2017 James was selected to be a dancer for the National Choreographers Initiative. Beginning in 2014, James has taught year round for the Otto M. Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet. His choreography for Prohibition Condition was selected for Director’s Cut in 2016. That year he also created a ballet for the fall showcase at the University of Cincinnati. Chamber music groups in Cincinnati have commissioned him for short works that cater to site specific venues. James has also contributed choreography for an annual benefit concert in Columbus, OH. Proceeds go to the Central Ohio Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation. He has also created works for Cincinnati Ballet II. In 2017 he made a duet in collaboration with musician Brice Dessner that opened the Music Now Festival. His most recent solo work, Mercurial Impulses, appeared at the 2018 USAIBC for bronze medalist Chisako Oga.

Grand Rapids Ballet School Faculty

Jillian Gasper

Jillian grew up in Gowen, Michigan where she began her dance training at the age of 11. She was classically trained in Ballet through the Cecchetti method and in many dance styles including pointe work, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and hip-hop, as well as the opportunity to participate in competition teams. She is a 2011 graduate of Hope College where she earned a bachelors degree in dance with a focus on performance and choreography and a minor in psychology. During her time at Hope College, she performed and choreographed many original pieces. Post graduation she had the opportunity to travel to Buffalo, New York and take part in the Lehrer Dance summer intensive. She has been teaching at Grand Rapids Ballet since 2014 and she continues to share her passion for dance by teaching and choreographing at various locations.

Kate Matlack

Kate Matlack is a Registered Teacher and Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance as well as a Certified Instructor of Progressing Ballet Technique.  She danced professionally with Texas Ballet Theater and has performed internationally with TALK Dance Company and The Messiah Project. She served as administrator as well as full-time instructor of Texas Ballet Theater School for two years before taking on the directorship of Credo Dance Academy for eight years. In 2016, she relocated to Virginia and was adjunct faculty at Old Dominion University, The Governor’s School for the Arts, and Todd Rosenlieb Dance Company/Virginia Ballet Theatre.  In 2019, Ms. Matlack and her family moved to Grand Rapids, MI where she is currently based. Ms. Matlack began her dance training under the tutelage of Peggie Wallis, Registered Teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance. She completed the RAD’s Vocational Graded Exams with Distinction. In 2004, Ms. Matlack competed in the Youth America Grand Prix in New York, NY. In 2005, she continued her training at The Ailey School. She has trained extensively with Master Teacher and Choreographer, Steve Rooks, former Principal Dancer with Martha Graham Dance Company. In 2013, she completed the Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma with Distinction at The Royal Academy of Dance, London, UK. In her free time, Ms. Matlack enjoys spending time with her husband and their two children and curling up with a good Dorothy L. Sayers detective novel.

Grand Rapids Ballet School Faculty

Attila Mosolygo

Attila was born in Kisvarda, Hungary. He received his early training at the National Ballet Institute in Budapest. After moving to the United States, he joined the Joffrey Ballet School. He has performed as a guest artist with Mobile Ballet, Bravo Dance, Harrisburg Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Chicago and the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Attila spent sixteen years as a company dancer and eight years as a Ballet Master at Grand Rapids Ballet. As a company dancer, a few of his notable roles include The Prodigal Son in George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son, Max in Septime Webre’s Where The Wild Things Are, Charlie Chaplin in Gordon Peirce Schmidt’s Flickers, Tibalt in Mario Radacovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, and Melancholic in George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments. Attila became the Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet School Junior Company in 2011 and School Director in 2017.  For the Junior Company, Attila has choreographed Snow White, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, Carnival of the Animals, Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes, and The Wizard of Oz.

Grand Rapids Ballet School Faculty

Mindy Mosolygo

 Mindy has been teaching at the Grand Rapids Ballet School since 1996. She received her early training under the instruction of Charthel Arthur and Robert Estner at Grand Rapids Ballet School. Mindy danced professionally with Grand Rapids Ballet for 15 years before retiring in 2009. She was the company’s Ballet Mistress for 2 years before becoming the School Curriculum Coordinator in 2011. Mindy is married to Attila Mosolygo (School Director and Junior Company Director). They have a daughter, Vivian, and a son, Cameron.

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Claire Millard

Claire is from Alanson, Michigan. She studied year round with the New York City Ballet‘s academy, The School of American Ballet, for three years starting at age 15. In her graduating Workshop performances Claire danced the soloist role of the “Waltz Girl” in George Balanchine’s Walpurgisnaght Ballet. Claire then went on to study with the Boston Ballet‘s Trainee program, getting to perform with the main company’s Corps de Ballet in many full length works by such choreographers as Mikko Nissinen, Florence Clerc, Frederick Ashton and George Balanchine. Claire‘s summers were devoted to Suzanne Farrell’s ballet intensive at The Kennedy Center, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, spending five summers there as a student, and two summers as a chaperone. Upon studying with Ms. Farrell, Claire was offered a place in the Suzanne Farrell Ballet Company, where she performed at The Kennedy Center Opera House, and on tour, primarily dancing works by George Balanchine. Claire was a guest artist with Grand Rapids Ballet for The Nutcracker in 2015, and she has been teaching at Grand Rapids Ballet School since 2016.

Grand Rapids Ballet School Faculty

Yuka Oba

Yuka was born in Japan where she received her training from Hitomi Takeuchi Ballet School. In 2006, Yuka attended English National Ballet School in the UK where she also danced many soloist roles. Upon graduating, Mario Radacovsky invited Yuka to join the Slovak National Ballet where she danced a variety of roles. Yuka was then invited to join the Grand Rapids Ballet in 2011 where she has since danced principal roles in ballets by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Olivier Wevers, and Penny Saunders. Yuka has won many competitions in Japan including NBA All Japan Ballet Competition, Saitama All Japan Dance Competition, UB All Japan Ballet Union Competition, International Ballet Competition in Yokohama and others. In 2013, Yuka had the honor of performing Olivier Wever’s The Sofa at the Joyce Theatre in New York and reprised her role in Seattle, WA. Yuka performed Le Corsaire Pas de Deux in the gala at The National Theatre in Tokyo and the Pas de Deux from Le Carnaval de Venise in Fukushima. In 2014, Val Caniparoli choreographed Clara on Yuka for the world premiere of The Nutcracker. She also choreographed Tomorrow Never Comes on Grand Rapids Ballet for their MOVEMEDIA program in 2015.

Nicole Reehorst

Nicole is a dance artist and educator. She recently completed her MFA in dance at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, where she also instructed in the Department of Dance. Originally from Traverse City, Michigan, Nicole began her professional dance training at Interlochen Arts Academy under the direction of Cameron Basden. She continued at The University of Oklahoma’s School of Dance, earning a BFA in ballet performance with a minor in philosophy. There, she trained with Mary Margaret Holt, Clara Cravey-Stanley, Steve Brule, and Ilya Kozadayev and performed with Oklahoma Festival Ballet on multiple tours to Austria. Nicole danced with Nashville Ballet II for two seasons before pursuing her MFA, and continues to perform as a guest artist with Chavasse Dance & Performance and Arkansas Festival Ballet. Nicole’s choreography has been presented at Nashville Ballet, the University of Michigan, The University of Oklahoma, Interlochen Arts Camp, Joffrey Texas, and Michigan Youth Arts Festival. Nicole is also a certified yoga instructor specializing in mindfulness-based practices.

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Taryn Streasick

Taryn started dancing at a local studio in North Branch, Michigan at the age of seven where she studied ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical. In 2015 she received her bachelor of fine arts in psychology from Aquinas College where she was a member of the Aquinas College Dance Team. During her time on the team, she competed at a collegiate level in multiple styles of dance. She began volunteering with the Grand Rapids Ballet in 2012 as an assistant teacher in the Explorer Dance program. In 2013 she became a faculty member of Grand Rapids Ballet School and continued her work with the Explorer classes. Since then she has expanded her work into the Dance Immersion program where she shares her passion for ballet and dance to students at various local schools.

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Kara Taylor

Kara was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At the age of seven, she started taking ballet classes at Grand Rapids Ballet School under Chartel Arthur and Robert Estner. This began Kara’s development as a dancer, growing from being a member of the Junior Company to a professional career. Kara also found time to study with Joffery and Milwaukee Ballet. Kara began teaching at the here in 1998. In 2008, Kara retired from her professional career at Grand Rapids Ballet. She continues to express her love for ballet by teaching others to dance. Kara had such a wonderful experience with the school that she hopes to impart the same experience she had to the children she teaches.

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Jessica Winter-Troutwine

Jessica grew up studying at the Grand Rapids Ballet School and performed alongside the professional company as a member of the GRBS Sr. Company. She attended Grand Valley State University and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. As a member of GVSU’s Dance Ensemble, she performed soloist roles in works by many artists including Thang Dao of Thang Dao Dance Company, Patrick Corbin, Mary Beth Cabana of Ballet Tuscon, and Michael Philips of Rioult. While at Grand Valley, Jessica was also member of GVSU’s Laker Dance Team, which competes nationally. After college, she danced professionally as a member of MoreDances Contemporary Dance Co. (Detroit), The Dance Hall Twigs (Chicago), and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater (Chicago) before returning to Grand Rapids. Jessica has also been able to spread her love of dance through teaching. She has taught ballet, contemporary, jazz, and hip-hop styles at studios throughout Michigan and the Chicago area.

Adriana Wagenveld

Adriana is originally from Puerto Rico, and started her training at the age of 3 after her family moved to Illinois. She trained at two different studios over 12 years, and competed and placed in the Top 12 at YAGP, in both classical and contemporary categories. Adriana attended Grand Rapids Ballet’s Summer Intensive on scholarship in 2015. From there, former Artistic Director Patricia Barker invited her to join the Company. While dancing under Patricia, Adriana worked with many renowned choreographers such as Robyn Mineko Williams, Danielle Rowe, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Bruce Wells. She performed in several classical ballets, Balanchine’s Serenade being among her favorite. Under the direction of current Artistic Director James Sofranko, Adriana has had the honor of performing works such as Testimony by Resident Choreographer Penny Saunders, Trey McIntyre’s Wild Sweet Love, and Alejandro Cerrudo’s Extremely Close.

School Office

SarahJean Bos, School Administrative Director
Mindy Mosolygo, School Curriculum Coordinator
Mary-Ann CarpenterSchool Receptionist

Pianists

Ryan Blok
Mark Moran
Lonnie Ostrander