Faculty

photo Slawomir Wozniak

Artistic Director

Slawomir Woźniak was born on 2 November 1967. In 1977-1986, he attended the Poznań ballet school. He gained his first stage experience partnering artists of Teatr Wielki in Poznań in performances of Cinderella. Slawomir Woźniak’s professional debut took place in 1986 at the Wroclaw Opera where he danced the Prince in Cinderella choreographed by Teresa Kujawa. Wroclaw Opera House Director recognized his talent and invited him to work at that theatre right after school. He was employed there in 1986-1988.

It was in Wroclaw that he met his future wife, also a soloist of ballet company of Wroclaw Opera. Their performance in Swan Lake left an unforgettable impression on all those who had a chance to see it. In 1988 he became a soloist and in 1989 the principal dancer of Teatr Wielki in Łódź. His first premiere there was also Cinderella. Irine Fokine, who prepared the spectacle, invited him to the USA where he appeared in The Nutcracker. On the stage in Łódź, he performed leading parts in classical and modern ballets. Among others, he danced John in Lorca Massine’s, Zorba the Greek, the role which gained him the admiration of the audience in Łódź and Warsaw. It also brought him the nomination of the French magazine Danse for “Revelation of the Year 1992”.

In 1991 he joined the ballet of the National Opera in Warsaw as a first soloist. From 2000-2011 he was a principal dancer with the company. In Warsaw he performed all leading male parts and also gave guest performances at many theaters in Poland and abroad. He was a Guest Artist with Bulgarian National Ballet, Greek National Ballet, Arena Di Verona Ballet and many others. In 2000 Slawomir Woźniak graduated from the Ballet Pedagogy at the Frederic Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw. For many years he had conducted dance courses for young Americans during Summer Intensive programs.

Together with his American partner Kathleen Arcierci, he won a bronze medal at the Third International Ballet Competition in New York in 1990. In 1993 Mr. Woźniak won a bronze medal at the First International Ballet Competition in Nagoya, Japan. Slawomir Woźniak was also a Jury Member for Polish International Ballet Competition in Gdansk, Poland.

 

For the last several years he has also created many choreographies for Ballet, Opera and Drama theatres. His choreographic works include:

  • “Only Love…” Polish National Ballet, Warsaw, Poland – 2002
  • “Comix-Comedy” Polish National Ballet, Warsaw, Poland – 2005
  • “The Nutcracker” full production for Poznan Opera House, Poland – 2006 and Ballet & Friends in Phoenix, AZ – 2007
  • “Peacock and the Maiden” Poznan Opera House, Poland – 2007
  • “Copellia” Poznan Opera House, Poland -2009
  • … and many more.
     
photo Irena Wozniak

Ballet Mistress

Irena Woźniak started her ballet training at the age of eleven in Gdansk, Poland, at the State Ballet School. At age sixteen, while Irena was still a student, she was asked to dance with the Professionals in Opera Baltycke’s, production of Snow White. Irena had the opportunity to train under some of the world’s most esteemed Dancers and Teachers including; Nathalie Bessmertnova, Yuri Grigorovich, Cynthia Harvey, Pierre Lacotte, Natalia Makarova, Lorca Massine, and Irek Mukhamedov, all of whom inspired Irena with an incredible passion for ballet. Irena graduated with high honors after performing and touring in many concerts and galas throughout Europe.

After graduating, Irena received the position of soloist at Wroclaw Opera House in Poland. It was there that she met her husband, Slawomir, as they performed leading roles together, such as Cinderella, Swan Lake and Giselle. Their performance in Swan Lake left an unforgettable impression on all those who were fortunate enough to see it. Irena performed in a host of other ballets including: La Gitana, D’Artagnan and The Three Musketeers, Chopiniana – Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and The Nutcracker.

In 1988 Irena joined the Teatr Wielki in Lodz, Poland, along with Slawomir, where they both performed in all of the company’s Repertories and Tours throughout Europe. A few years later, in 1991, Irena joined the Warsaw National Opera House as soloist and she danced with the company until her retirement which brought her to the Valley of the Sun. She moved to Phoenix in 2007 with her husband, while her two sons, Slawomir Jr. and Michal, were training on full scholarships in New York City at American Ballet Theatre.

Since living in Phoenix, Irena has trained hundreds of young dancers at Master Ballet Academy, the studio she owns and operates with her husband Slawomir. Since 2007 her accomplishments as a ballet instructor include training her students for international ballet competitions in Berlin, China, San Diego, Florida, and New York in which they have placed with medals and scholarships. Irena instills in each of her students, her love for ballet, and she passes along her own training and performance experiences. Irena inspires her students with her passion, attention to detail, knowledge of classical ballet, and understanding of expression. All of these qualities make Irena one of the most sought after Instructors in Phoenix.

     
photo Albert Blaise Cattafi

Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz

Director and Choreographer ALBERT BLAISE CATTAFI was happily born to parents Albert Sr. and Geraldine in 1985 and has upheld that same vivacious demeanor ever since. Raised in northern New Jersey of Italian descent, his artistic journey began at the age of five while watching his sister Eléna attend dance lessons.

Ten years after his first dance class, Cattafi began training at the world renowned Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, simultaneously continuing his studies in all dance forms at a studio in New Jersey, For Dancers Only. This well rounded understanding of movement would prove to be beneficial throughout his career. Upon high school graduation, Cattafi won the prestigious title of Mr. Dance of America and shortly after, he was honored to receive a full scholarship into the dance program at Montclair State University; he attended for only 48 hours when he departed to begin his professional life. (Don’t worry; his mother has since forgiven him.)

In the years following, Cattafi enjoyed an illustrious performance career appearing in several episodes of Saturday Night Live, as a guest artist on So You Think You Can Dance, and was featured in an international Coke Zero Commercial. He has performed on the Video Music Awards for Florence and the Machine, and on the American Music Awards with Kelly Clarkson. Known for his technical prowess and artistry, Cattafi was an original member of both internationally recognized dance companies, Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance, and LA based company Shaping Sound. To great acclaim, he has worked with Tony Award winning directors Des McAnuff as the first human to ever play Toto in The Wiz, and Jerry Mitchell in Peepshow, featured with Holly Madison and Spice Girl Mel B. No stranger to the flashing lights of Las Vegas, Cattafi later returned as a member of Cirque Du Soleil in The Beatles LOVE. He was The Walrus.

Choreographically, Albert Blaise was the assistant choreographer on Franco Dragone’s INDIA. He has assisted some of the country’s top choreographers, including Emmy Award winner, Mia Michaels, and Broadway ’s Tony Award winning, Sergio Trujillo. A lover of theater, Cattafi was happy to assist in the production of several major Broadway shows including Spiderman, Billy Elliot, Tarzan, and Flash Dance. As a choreographer, he has set work for John Legend, Cirque Du Soleil, recording artist Nikhil Korula, and the film Opid with music by Sigur Ros. In 2015, Albert premiered his first full length contemporary ballet, String Of Thoughts, on the Phoenix Ballet at the Lodz International Ballet Festival in Poland.

Currently Albert Blaise Cattafi is a faculty member of Los Angeles based dance convention, L.A. Dance Magic, and is the Resident Choreographer for Phoenix Ballet.

     
photo Krista King-Doherty

Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz, Ballet

Krista King-Doherty is an internationally recognized and award winning teacher and choreographer. She received her training at Ballet la Jeunesse in Los Angeles, CA and with her mother, Kathie Fishback Anthony. Krista worked as a fashion model in Europe, USA, Asia and Australia modeling for top designers in magazines, on runways and television for a decade prior to returning to her roots of dance. For over 20 years, she has taught ballet, pointe, jazz, and contemporary dance. Krista coaches and choreographs for national and international level competitors, acquiring numerous overall high score, technical and choreography awards. For the past 12 years, Krista's students have qualified in both the solo and ensemble divisions for the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. Her students and choreography have repeatedly won the Youth Grand Prix award, the Hope Award, and overall awards at YAGP. In 2012 and 2014, her student and daughter, Juliet Doherty, won the Gold Medal in the Junior Women’s and Senior Women’s Division at the YAGP Finals. Juliet performed in the “Stars of Tomorrow Gala” at Lincoln Center with a piece Krista choreographed. Her work has won top awards, recognized at World Ballet Competition, ADC/IBC, Vail International Dance Festival, the Beijing International Ballet and Choreography Competition, Varna International Ballet Competition, “Gala de Danza” in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and Cancun International Ballet Festival. Her students have been awarded scholarships to programs including San Francisco Ballet School, Houston Ballet Academy, The Ailey School, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and several universities. Krista’s students are performing on Broadway, with the Radio City Rockettes, and with professional dance companies in the USA and abroad. Krista is currently on faculty at Master Ballet Academy in Arizona, and is a nationally sought after guest teacher and choreographer.

     
photo Teddy Forance - Guest Master Teacher

Teddy Forance grew up training at his family's Dance studio the Hackworth School of Performing Arts in Easthampton, MA. Teddy's professional career has afforded him the opportunity to perform with MadonnaJanet Jackson, Florence & The Machine, UsherLady GagaCarrie UnderwoodKelly Clarkson, Maxwell, Cirque Du Soleil, Blake SheltonKylie Minogue & PINK. Teddy has performed on on the AMA's, The OSCARS, EMMYS, VMA's, GMA, and he has co-choreographed two Shaping Sound pieces on DWTS and three performances on ELLEN! He is the co-founder of www.clistudios.com an online dance program with members from around the world! 

     
photo Zherlin Ndudi

Ballet, Partnering, Variations

Zherlin began his ballet training at the Private School of Vadim Pisarev and continued at the Heinz-Bosl-Foundation in Germany. Zherlin has enjoyed competing internationally and has received over a dozen awards for his talent. Zherlin has performed as a soloist with Donetsk Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Aalto Ballett Theater, and Orlando Ballet (USA). Zherlin has danced principal roles in Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker, and La Bayadere and soloist roles in Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and Spartacus.

Zherlin’s George Balanchine repertoire includes Square Dance, Pas de Dix, Jewels, Bouree Fantasque, Ballet Imperial, Symphony in C, and La Valse. Mr. Ndudi joined Ballet Arizona in 2010 and he has danced soloist and principal roles in Symphonie Classique, Topia, Cinderella, and Balanchine’s repertoire. Since 2013 he teaches and performs for Master Ballet Academy.

     
photo Michal Wozniak

Ballet, Boys Variation, Partnering, Stretch & Strength

Michal began his training in gymnastics at age 7, and began his ballet training when he was 10 at the State School of Ballet in Warsaw, Poland. As a student, Michal was invited to perform in ballets and operas at the Great Theatre in Warsaw, and in 2004 was awarded first place in the ballet competition there. In 2006 Michal accepted a full scholarship to study at The School of American Ballet in New York City where he trained for 2 years. Michal continued studying on full scholarship at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre.

Since joining Ballet Arizona in 2009, Michal has been featured in Swan Lake, George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Petipa’s Raymonda, and Ib Andersen’s The Sleeping Beauty. Michal danced the principal role in George Balanchine’s Prodigal Son and Ib Andersen’s Mosiak. Michal toured with Ballet Arizona to perform Andersen’s Diversions at The Kennedy Center, Balanchine’s “Rubies” (from Jewels) at The Chicago Dancing Festival and Andersen’s Play at The Joyce Theatre in New York City.

 

     
photo Slawek Wozniak

Ballet, Boys Variation, Partnering, Stretch & Strength

Slawomir was born into a ballet family: His father was Principal Dancer of the Ballet of the Polish National Opera in Warsaw. At age 11, Slawomir began his studies on scholarship at the State School of Ballet in Warsaw, Poland. While at the school he performed in many productions in the national opera house. In 2005 Slawomir won Second Place in the National Ballet Competition in Gdansk, and went on to represent Poland in the International Ballet Competition in Nagoya, Japan.

In 2006 Slawomir accepted a full scholarship to study at The School of American Ballet in New York City where he trained for 2 years. Slawomir joined Ballet Arizona in 2008 and has danced soloist roles in Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperments, and Ib Andersen’s Romeo and Juliet and Swan Lake. Slawomir has also performed in Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Sleeping Beauty (Blue Bird), Play, Twyla Tharp’s The Golden Section and Petipa’s Raymonda. Slawomir performed in Andersen’s premiere of Diversions at the Kennedy Center in D.C., Balanchine’s “Rubies” (from Jewels) at The Chicago Dancing Festival and Andersen’s Play at The Joyce Theatre in New York City.

     
photo Kurtis Sprung

Ballet, Contemporary, Lyrical

Kurtis Sprung is the current Mr. Dance of America 2015 and represents Chapter 8 of Western NY. He has trained for eighteen years under the direction of Mara and Marlene Merritt, Tom Ralabate and San Francisco Ballet member Bill Gentes. Kurtis is also in his last semester of obtaining his B.F.A in Dance at the University at Buffalo. His passion stems through the connectivity of free flow and technical movement. He has appeared in Music Videos under Matthew Tseng and Anthony Garguila and has taught countless master classes at Dance Masters of America and regional studios across the country during his Summer Studio Tour. He plans to join the Bad Boys of Ballet on their European tour of Rock The Ballet and hopes in the future to have his own company to tour with.

     
photo Grand Prix Intensive Teachers
     
  Eva Nys Photography

 

  • Option 1 (Audition Package): 20 minutes -  $65 – First we will get the perfect headshot, then spend 10-15 minutes working to get your best arabesque image for your upcoming auditions. You will be able to see your images the same day and chose which one of each you would like. There will be the opportunity to purchase more images than the two included in $65 session fee during the choosing process.

 

  • Option 2 (Standard Dance Mini Session): 20 minutes - $115 – The full 20 minutes will be spent creating fun and unique images showing off your child’s strongest traits and aspect of dance that excite them. These can be taken on one of the backdrops or around the grounds of the hotel. I will choose 7-8 of the best images from the session to edit and send to you

 

  • Option 3 (Audition Package + Dance Images): 40 minutes - $165 - We will begin by taking a variety of headshots, from which you get to choose 2 with the ability to purchase more the day of. Then we move on to get your best arabesque picture for your auditions (you will get the chance to look at these image the same day and choose the one you would like). The rest of the time 10-20 min will be spent taking fun ballet and dance pictures from which I will choose 7-8 of your best images to edit and send along with the other images (the only images you will be able to view the day of are the audition ones).

 

  • Option 4 (Dance Session): 40 minutes - $200 - The full 40 minutes will be spent creating fun and unique images showing off your child’s strongest traits and aspect of dance that excite them. These can be taken on one of the backdrops or around the grounds of the hotel. I will choose 14-16 of the best images from the session to edit and send to you.

 

 

  • Option 5 (Audition Package + Dance Images): 1 hour - $245 - We will begin by taking a variety of headshots, from which you get to choose 2 with the ability to purchase more the day of. Then we move on to get your best arabesque picture for your auditions (you will get the chance to look at these image the same day and choose the one you would like). The rest of the time 40 min will be spent taking fun ballet and dance pictures from which I will choose 14-16 of your best images to edit and send along with the other images (the only images you will be able to view the day of are the audition ones).

 

 

  • Option 6 (Dance Session): 1 hour - $300 - The full hour will be spent creating fun and unique images showing off your child’s strongest traits and aspect of dance that excite them. These can be taken on one of the backdrops or around the grounds of the hotel. I will choose 23-25 of the best images from the session to edit and send to you.  $15 per extra headshot/arabesque shot beyond what is given.  *Note: The reason these sessions are cheaper is because you get less images from the cost of the session, but have the opportunity to purchase more of the audition ones. 

 

Invoices for extra images will be sent the same day as the session and are expected to be paid within 24 hours.