Artistic Team

Company Leadership

Hernan Justo, Artistic Director

hernan justo artistic teamHernan Justo has served as Carolina Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director since 2000 and is involved in all aspects of the company: from teaching classes, coaching, teaching afterschool dance and outreach classes to creating original works. He began dancing in 1974 at the Instituto Superior de Arte Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He joined the ballet Estable del Teatro Colón in 1982 and was then invited to perform with the Ballet del Teatro Argentino de la Plata two years later. In 1988, his career took him to the Ballet de Santiago, Chile, where he performed ballets by John Cranko, Ben Stevenson, Ronald Hynd and Andree Prokovski among others. After three years, Hernan joined the Ballet Clásico de Cámara in Caracas, Venezuela, under the direction of Nina Novak, formerly prima ballerina of Les Ballet Russe de Montecarlo. In 1992, Justo participated in the XV International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria, one of the most prestigious and rigorous competitions in professional ballet, in which he and his partner won the “Best Couple” award. Justo was later featured in two gala performances, dancing Black Swan Pas de Deux. He has also won the distinction of “Best Classical Interpretation” at the Prix Volinine in Paris, France, in 1993. Justo became a principal dancer with the North Carolina Dance Theatre in 1994 under the artistic direction of the late Salvatore Aiello, with whom Hernan performed many of his ballets such as Clowns and Other, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Turn of the Screw and Rite of Spring. Later, under the artistic direction of the renowned Jean Pierre Bonnefoux, Patricia McBride and Jerri Kumery, all artists affiliated with New York City ballet, Hernan added to his repertoire several Balanchine masterpieces for which he was critically acclaimed by Dance Magazine and The New York Times. In 2000, he was invited to become Artistic Director of Carolina Ballet Theatre by its founder Barbara Selvy. His latest original work, Arriving in Indigo City, is a collaborative effort of music and dance that premiered at CBT’s 30th anniversary gala in March 2003. To this day it continues to fill seats as a huge part of Greenville’s Artisphere Festival.

Adair KempfAssociate Artistic Director

adair keller artistic team

Adair Kempf, from Greenville, SC, started dancing with Barbara Selvy at 7 years old and continued her training with Linda O’Brien Thompson and Mariaelana Ruiz. She attended the South Carolina Governor’s School for high school under the direction of Stanislav Issaev. During the summers, Adair studied on scholarship, at such schools as, The Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet, and Boston Ballet. She Graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University in 2007. While there, she traveled to Poland and Russia to study dance, under the supervision of Marek Cholewa. She also performed the leading role of Swanhilda, in Butler Ballet’s “Coppelia”, for her graduation performance. In 2007 Adair joined Charleston Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Jill Bahr, for 1 season as a member of the company. In 2008, Adair returned to Greenville to join Carolina Ballet Theatre, and begin teaching with DanceArts Greenville. Adair  performed such roles for CBT as, Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker”, Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty”, Myrtha in “Giselle”, and many contemporary pieces by Francesca Genovese and Hernan Justo. She was also fortunate enough to be able to work with Alonzo King and Dwight Rhoden during her time with CBT. Adair is now Associate Artistic Director for DanceArts Greenville, where she teaches ballet throughout all levels of the school, and ballet, pointe, and variations to the upper divisions. She is also Youth America Grand Prix Coordinator, and takes several students yearly to the prestigious dance competition.

Adair is excited to begin her third year as Associate Artistic Director for Carolina Ballet Theatre.

Kristine GalemmoRehearsal Assistant

kristine-galemmoKristine Galemmo is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a B.F.A. in Dance, where she studied ballet with Francoise Martinet and Alicia Brown and Modern dance from David Berkey, Elana King, and Susan Dickson. Kristine was a member of the Dance faculty at the University of Iowa. She also studied and taught the Vaganova ballet technique for the Young Dancers Talented and Gifted Program affiliated with the University. After moving to Columbia, SC, Kristine was part of the Dance Faculty for Columbia College, taught for Columbia Ballet School and Director of the Junior and Apprentice Company for Carolina Ballet; Columbia, SC. Kristine assisted in revising of the South Carolina Framework for Dance Education and was a teacher for Richland One Talented and Gifted Program. She has also taught for Raleigh School of Ballet Pre-Professional Division. After moving to Cincinnati in 1997, Kristine was on staff with the The Cincinnati Ballet for over 5 years. She taught their Advanced Pre Professional Division along with their young dancers program. Kristine also taught for Ballet Theatre Midwest where she taught all levels in their program. Kristine has taken many classes in Dance Pedagogy, studied the Cecchetti and Vaganova method and given numerous master classes throughout her teaching career. She looks forward to serving and developing the talented dancers of the DanceArts Greenville as an instructor and directing DanceArts Youth Company this season.

Erica Wesselman, Ballet Repertoire

Erica is a native of Springfield, Illinois, where she began dancing at the age of 3 under direction from Grace Nanavatti. She then joined the Springfield Ballet Company in 1999 under the direction of Julie Ratz and performed many leading and soloist roles including Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Odette in Swan Lake and Princess Flourine in The Sleeping Beauty. In 2005, Erica moved to Greenville, SC to start her professional training and career with Carolina Ballet Theatre under artistic direction from Hernan Justo. She has performed in many leading and soloist roles in both classical and contemporary ballets set by Hernan Justo and resident choreographer Francesca Genovese. These include Sugar Plum Fairy and Clara in The Nutcracker, Carabosse and Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Ambrosia in Francesca Genovese’s The Ribbon, Eva Peron in Hernan Justo’s The Chestnut of your Eyes erased and the wife of a military soldier in He Never Came Back. Other ballets include Tangofusion, Le Corsaire, Giselle, True Blue, Down Home, Cinderella, Pulling the Strings, Virginia’s Mine, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Paquita, Raymonda and Celebration of Women. Erica also had the extreme privilege of working with and performing Alonzo King’s “Map” and Dwight Roden’s “Beetlejuice”.
Erica has been a dance instructor for the past 10 years and started teaching for DAG in 2007. After recently moving to North Carolina to work with Piedmont School of Music and Dance for 2 seasons, she is now coming back “home” and is beyond thrilled to be teaching back at DAG! Erica teaches all styles of dance but this season at DAG will be teaching ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and working with the DAYCO students!! She looks forward to a fun and very exciting year ahead!!

Joni Baker Young, Production Director

Erica Rector, Stage Manager

Mary Allye Purtle, Wardrobe Supervisor

Lisa Larocque, Wardrobe

Karl Trump, Company Photographer


Company Dancers

Martin Gonzalo Justo Bernardez

martin-bernardez-thumb

Martin is from Caracas, Venezuela, and began dancing in 1999. He trained with Quinte Ballet School in Canada and School of Carolina Ballet Theatre. He has toured throughout Uruguay with CBT and has recently traveled and performed as a guest in Fujinomia, Japan, dancing pas de deux from Giselle, La Bayadere, and Swan Lake. Some of his signature roles are the charming young Nutcracker Prince in Hernan Justo’s The Nutcracker, the Mad Scientist in Madeline Jazz’s Super Heroes, and the male soloist in A Tango for Angelina. Martin performed works by renowned contemporary choreographers such as Dwight Rhoden’s Beatle Juice, and Alonzo King’s Map. Martin most recently was with Boulder Ballet for 2 years. We welcome him back to CBT.

Meghan Loman

Originally from Springfield, Illinois and now a company member at Ballet Spartanburg. She began her training in Illinois, at Dance Arts Studio where she took classes under owner and mentor Grace Luttrell Nanavati and was privileged to become one of her instructors for nearly seven years. At age 13, she auditioned and was accepted into the Springfield Ballet Company and was a Company member and soloist for 10 years with artist director Julie Ratz. Meghan traveled to compete in classical ballet and contemporary styles several times, in 2004, 2005, and 2007 she went to Chicago and then the New York City Finals for Youth America Grand Prix. Continuing to perform in Illinois and guest in South Carolina she then relocated in 2013 to start her professional career at Carolina Ballet Theater under Hernan Justo and Anita Pacylowski-Justo.

Laura Mortimer

laura-mortimerLaura Mortimer is in her 2nd season as a company dancer with Carolina Ballet Theatre, and previously danced as a trainee with the company for three seasons. She has been featured in various soloist roles including the Arabian soloist, a Snow Princess and a Bridesmaid in The Nutcracker, Once Upon a Time in Greenville. Laura recently danced as a guest artist with Naina Dewan Dance Company in the film Do or Dye, by Caleb Suttles.

Laura started her ballet training at the age of eleven, studying with Maryland School of Ballet and Modern Dance where she also studied jazz, modern, and choreography. She continued to dance at Baltimore Ballet School where she trained with Artistic Director Cem Catbas, Bat Udval, and various guest teachers. She also attended training intensives at Goucher College, Carolina Ballet Theatre, and North Carolina Dance Theatre.

Laura became an apprentice with Baltimore Ballet Company in the fall of 2011 and was promoted to a full company member status the following spring. She danced various solo roles as a company member such as Spanish and Marzipan in The Nutcracker, as well as her own choreography for their presentation at the Baltimore Museum of Art.


Season Dancers

Herman Cornejo, Guest, Winter

herman-cornejoHerman Cornejo was born in Mercedes, San Luis, Argentina and began his ballet studies at the age of eight at the Instituto Superior de Arte at Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires.  In 1995 when he was fourteen he received a scholarship from the School of American Ballet, the dance school of New York City Ballet. On his return to Buenos Aires he was invited to join Julio Bocca’s Ballet Argentino.

At the age of 16, Cornejo was the Gold Medal winner of the VIII International Dance Competition in Moscow (1997), the youngest dancer ever in the history of the competition.  Upon his return from Moscow Cornejo was then promoted to principal dancer with Ballet Argentino, alternating with Julio Bocca in all the principal roles in the repertoire during the company’s worldwide tours.  In 1999 he joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet, was promoted to Soloist in August 2000 and to Principal Dancer in August 2003.

His roles with the Company include Solor and the Bronze Idol in La Bayadère, the Red Cowboy in Billy the Kid, Pyotr in The Bright Stream, the fourth movement in Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, the Jester in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, Franz in Coppélia, Conrad, Ali, Lankendem and Birbanto in Le Corsaire, It Was Spring in Dim Lustre, Basilio and the lead gypsy in Don Quixote, Puck in The Dream, the first sailor in Fancy Free, Colas and Alain in La Fille mal gardée, Ivan in Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird, the Peruvian in Gaîté Parisienne,Albrecht and the peasant pas de deux in Giselle, The Profiteer in The Green Table, The Man in HereAfter (Heaven), the Joker in Jeu de Cartes, Lescaut in Manon, the Lead Pontevedrian Dancer and the Maitre D’ in The Merry Widow, the Nutcracker-Prince and the Cavalier in Kevin McKenzie’s The Nutcracker, the Nutcracker-Prince in Alexei Ratmansky’sThe Nutcracker, Cassio in Othello, Petrouchka in Petrouchka, the Piper in The Pied Piper, the Son in Prodigal Son, Abderakman and Bernard in Raymonda, Romeo and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Prince Désiré and the Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, the Rose in Le Spectre de la Rose, Prince Siegfried, Benno and the Neapolitan dance in Swan Lake, James and Gurn in La Sylphide, Aminta and Eros in Sylvia, the third movement in Symphony in C, Hortensio in The Taming of the Shrew, The Boy in Whipped Cream, Le Grand Pas de Deux, Sinatra Suite, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Theme and Variations and roles in Amazed in Burning Dreams, Ballo della Regina, Baroque Game, Black Tuesday, The Brahms-Haydn Variations, Brief Fling, Clear, Company B, Diversion of Angels, Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, Gong, In The Upper Room, Jabula, Marimba, Mozartiana, Overgrown Path, Petite Mort, Sinfonietta, and workwithinwork.

Cornejo created the role of Fortune in HereAfter, Rabbit in Rabbit and Rogue and Caliban in The Tempest, and leading roles in The Brahms-Haydn Variations, C. to C. (Close to Chuck),Concerto No. 1 for Piano and OrchestraGlow – Stop, Pretty Good Year, Serenade after Plato’s Symposium, Seven Sonatas, Symphony #9 and I Dig Love in Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison.

Cornejo is also a principal dancer of Corella Ballet Castilla y León in Spain and made his debut with the company in September 2008 at Teatro Real de Madrid.  His repertoire with Corella includes Solor in La Bayadère, Siegfried in Swan Lake, Henry in Christopher Wheeldon’s VIII, the second couple in Wheeldon’s DGV, and the third movement in Angel Corella’s String Sextet.  He has made numerous guest appearances around the world including performing as a principal guest dancer with Ballet del Teatro Argentino de La Plata, Compañia de Danza Comtemporánea de Cuba, Boston Ballet, New York City Ballet and Sapporo Ballet.

As a young dancer, Cornejo was a first prize winner at several major competitions in South America.  Other awards and citations include the 2000 Peace Messenger prize from UNESCO, the 2005 nomination for best dancer for the Benois de la Danse, in 2010 the Mr. Expressivity prize at the 9th International Ballet Festival “Dance Open” in St. Petersburg, where he performed his first work of choreography, Tango y yo, with the music Fuga y Misterio by Astor Piazzolla and, in 2013, a Bessie Award for outstanding performer.

Mr. Cornejo’s performances with American Ballet Theatre are sponsored by Sheila Grant.

Erica Cornejo, Guest, Winter

ercia-cornejoAt age nine, Erica was accepted into the school of the Ballet del Teatro Colon; she became an apprentice to the company five years later and a full company member soon thereafter. Seven years later, she joined Julio Bocca’s company, and toured the world dancing everything from Balanchine to classical excerpts to tangos. Her great influences during the Bocca years were ballet mistress Lidia Segni, along with Raul Candal and Vasily Tupin, teachers and principal dancers who emphasized Russian technique.

In 1998, Erica came to New York to dance at the Metropolitan Opera House at a special celebration of Argentina. Even then-President Clinton was in the audience. The following week she auditioned for American Ballet Theatre and won a contract with the Studio Company; a mere four months later, she joined the senior company.

The first spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House was grueling, as it is for all corps members, because they must dance in almost every piece. For Erica, there was the added challenge of adjusting to working in such a big company, of living far from home, and of learning English. It was all made easier by the presence of her brother, fellow company member, and frequent partner, Herman, now a Principal Dancer. By the following spring, she had been singled out and chosen for soloist roles in La Bayadere, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, and Paul Taylor’s Airs.

Success built upon success; over subsequent seasons she was cast in works by Neumeier, Graham, Tippet, and Tharp. She danced the spitfire role of the Gypsy in Don Quixote, an expressive leading part in Taylor’s Depression-era piece, Black Tuesday, a principal role in Mark Morris’ Asiatically evocativeGong, the premiere of Kirk Peterson’s Amazed in Burning Dreams, and the Autumn variation in Cinderella. And on opening night of the 2001 City Center season, her coquettish, sparkling allegro brought down the house in Eliot Feld’s Variations on America, danced with Angel Corella. Later that season, she displayed her versatility as an actress and comedienne in Agnes de Mille’sRodeo.

Erica loved the challenge of ABT’s diverse repertoire; she relished learning different styles. She found Graham the biggest challenge in that regard – “it’s uncomfortable,” she said – but enjoyed adapting to the Taylor style. Rodeo was a different – but fun – challenge, with lots of mime and detail to remember. She is clearly at ease being a soubrette; she’s a natural allegro dancer who can handle repeated entrechat six in what is essentially a man’s variation in the Pas de Trois of Swan Lake, but she loves the lyrical roles too. When asked what she would like to dance she says “everything.”

In 2006 Erica left ABT to join Boston Ballet as a Principal Dancer, and to be with her husband, Carlos Molina, who is also a Principal there. She has triumphed as Giselle, as Kitri in Don Quixote, as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, in Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Ballo Della Regina, The Four Temperaments, and Who Cares?, and in works by Caniparolli, Wheeldon, and Nissinen. She will soon add Juliet, among other roles, to her repertoire. The company’s celebrated revival of Bournonville’s La Sylphide allowed Erica to express her talents as an actress, as a virtuosic but delicate allegro dancer, and as a superb interpreter of Bournonville’s particular style. The Boston Globe wrote: “Cornejo has done more than master the Bournonville style… the hummingbird bourees and shuddering beats… The ending is predictable, and could be sentimental, but in Cornejo’s hands it echoes with pathos….” The New York Times called her performance “bewitching.

Peter Base, Winter

peter base artistic teamPeter Base is from Westlake, Ohio, and began dancing in 1993. He trained with Greenville Ballet and the Fine Arts Center of Greenville. Peter attended South Carolina Governor’s School summer program, Orlando Ballet summer program, Nashville Ballet summer program, and Brevard Ballet Theatre. His primary dance roles include The Nutcracker, Chinese and Russian variations, Twilight pas de trois, and Happy-Snow White, and the Air element from Anita Pacylowsk-Justo’s Mahabhuta. He has been featured in Hernan Justo’s We the People as the legendary Clark Kent. Peter enjoys teaching the Boy’s Class at School of Carolina Ballet Theatre. He joined CBT in 2009.

Matt Harvey, Fall/Winter/Spring

matthew harvey artistic teamMatthew Harvey, 23, began his dance training at the age of nine. He studied at Repertory Dance Theatre in Allentown, Pennsylvania, under the direction of Jennifer Haltzman Tracy and Trinette Singleton. He attended Summer Dance Intensives on scholarship at Joffrey Ballet School and Chautauqua Institute. Matthew danced as a trainee at the North Carolina Dance Theatre School from 2006 to 2007. His career highlights so far include dancing in Alonzo King’s Map and Hernan Justo’s We the People as the Martin Luther King, Jr. solo. Matthew has also been featured as a guest artist in Maryland, Florida, and various cities across South America. Matthew has also been choreographing since 2006, including works for the Dance Spirit Magazine Competition and the Youth American Grand Prix. Matthew is a favorite jazz teacher at School of Carolina Ballet Theatre.

Madeline Jazz Harvey, Fall/Winter/Spring

madeline jazz harvey artistic teamMadeline Jazz began her training at North Carolina Dance Theatre School. She became an apprentice with the company at age 14. She also studied at Chautauqua Institute, Complexions and The Julliard School in New York. She has been choreographing professionally since 2005. In 2007, she received the New York Choreographic Institute Fellowship Award. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. She has served on the faculties of North Carolina Dance Theatre School, School of Carolina Ballet Theatre, and Davidson College. She joined Carolina Ballet Theatre in 2010 and has helped develop curricula for various community outreach programs. Among her favorite dancing roles are those of Giselle, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, and various contemporary works.

Francesca Genovese, Winter

francesca ann genovese artistic teamFrancesca Genovese is from Rochester, New York, and began dancing in 1991. She trained with the Deborah McKay School of Dance, the American Academy of Ballet, and on full Scholarship at the Garth Fagan School. Her primary dance roles include the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, the Black Swan in Swan Lake, Nikya in La Bayadere and the Solo in Alonzo King’s MAP. Francesca has been asked to perform as a guest artist in Springfield Ballet Company’s performances of Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. In 2007, she was asked to perform with Configurations Dance Theater, under the Artistic Direction of Joe Cipolla; performing in both Buffalo, New York, and New York City. Francesca has also become an accomplished choreographer. She has choreographed several pieces for CBT, including Just About, Virginia’s Mine, and The Ribbon. Since 2007 she has been invited to share her choreography with the Springfield Ballet Company in Springfield, Illinois. She joined CBT in 2004 and has been one of the company’s Resident Choreographers since 2009.

Christopher Collins, Winter

christopher-collinsMr. Collins received his training from the Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education, on scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet School, Hubbard Street Dance summer intensive, and Point Park University. He has performed with Gelsey Kirkland and the Joffrey Ballet School, as Arabian, Russian, Fritz, and Snow King, in their performances of The Nutcracker, and with Ballet for Young Audiences in New York City. Mr. Collins has performed various roles with Rochester City Ballet including the Nutcracker Prince, Magical Doll, Lead Spanish, and Italian Ice in The Nutcracker, the Dance Master in Cinderella, and roles in Jamey Leverett’s 4Play and the world premiere of InCantation.

Jessica Tretter, Winter

A Rochester, New York native, Jessica Tretter trained at the Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education, and jessica-tretterthe Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy under full scholarship. She also attended the School of American Ballet summer intensive, under full scholarship, and American Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive in New York City. Ms. Tretter was a member of Houston Ballet II, performing lead roles in Stanton Welch’s Blue and Bruiser with additional performance opportunities in the Houston Ballet’s productions of Romeo and Juliet and Raymonda. Later joining the Houston Ballet, she performed in The Nutcracker, Dracula, Giselle, Don Quixote, Onegin, Madame Butterfly, Coppelia, Carnival of the Animals, Western Symphony (Balanchine), and as one of the four Little Swans for the world premiere of Mr. Welch’s Swan Lake. Joining Ballet San Antonio, she danced in The Nutcracker and as a featured dancer in La Valse Sentimentale and Suzaki Dances. With the Rochester City Ballet she has danced as the Christmas Spirit, Harlequin, Dew Drop, and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, the Spring Fairy and Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, the Most Beautiful Maiden in Firebird, the Cat and the Duck in Peter and the Wolf, the Waltz Girl in Balanchine’s Serenade, and in Ms. Leverett’s How to Break a Heart, Push & Pull, 4Play, and Bravo! Coloradoand Hoedown with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. Tretter was the Chosen Virgin in the world premiere of Jamey Leverett’s The Blood Countess. In summer 2014, she performed in New York City with Ballet Next.