Hernan Justo, Artistic Director
Hernan 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.
Kristine Galemmo, Rehearsal Assistant
Kristine 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 Rector, Stage Manager
Mary Allye Purtle, Wardrobe Supervisor
Lisa Larocque, Wardrobe
Karl Trump, Company Photographer
Martin Gonzalo Justo Bernardez
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.
Originally from Springfield, Illinois and now in her fourth year as a professional company member at Carolina Ballet Theater. 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 an instructor in her school for over seven years. At age 13, she auditioned and was accepted into the Springfield Ballet Company, working with teachers and choreographers such as Julie Tice, Herman Payne, Adam Sage and Shamil Yagudin. Meghan was a Company member for 10 years with SBC under artist director Julie Ratz and still has the opportunity to travels home often to teach and perform with them.
While young, Meghan traveled to compete in classical ballet and contemporary styles several times in Chicago, and New York. Impaired by all things dance she wanted to move into the professional performance aspect of dance she focused her efforts on technique over competition and started to travel and guest in South Carolina. When offered her first opportunity of a company contract in 2013 she relocated to start her professional career at Carolina Ballet Theater under Hernan Justo and Anita Pacylowski- Justo. Last year she was honored to dance for Carlos Agudelo and Lona Gomez as a company member with Ballet Spartanburg but has decided that CBT is her home for now. Always hoping to be able to dance of as long as time allows her she can’t wait to see what new experiences and relationships this year will bring.
Laura Morris is a company dancer with Carolina Ballet Theatre and is in her seventh season working with the company. Laura was a trainee with the company for three seasons and was hired as a company dancer after that. During that time she has danced various roles such as Clara, Snow Princess and Arabian soloist in The Nutcracker: Once Upon a Time in Greenville, as well as the lead roles of Shanti in Jungle Book and Liz the Outcast Girl in School of Hard Rocks. She has also danced in several contemporary projects for Recovery 2016 and Home/body: Converse College with Naina Dewan Dance Company.
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, one of the Four Little Swans in Swan Lake, and her own choreography for their presentation at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Herman Cornejo, Guest, Winter
Herman 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 Orchestra, Glow – 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.
Skylar Brandt, Guest, Winter
Skylar Brandt was born in Purchase, New York and began her training at the age of six with teachers Diana White and Christian Claessens at Scarsdale Ballet Studio. She also studied with Valentina Kozlova, Fabrice Herrault, and Susan Jaffe. She attended the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre from 2005-2009 under the direction of Franco De Vita. Brandt spent five summers at ABT’s New York Summer Intensive, was a National Training Scholar from 2006-2009 and also received the Bender Foundation Scholarship in 2009.
Brandt was a silver medalist at Youth America Grand Prix in 2004 and 2008. As a student, Brandt was invited to dance for the Antony Tudor Centennial Celebration at the Juilliard School. In 2007, she choreographed and performed in a DVD for Capezio’s national campaign.
Brandt joined ABT II (now the ABT Studio Company) in 2009 where her repertoire included Medora in Le Corsaire, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and leading roles in works by Aszure Barton’s, Jodie Gates, Edwaard Liang and Jessica Lang. She also danced George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Jerome Robbins’ Interplay.
Brandt became an apprentice with the main Company in November 2010 and joined the corps de ballet in June 2011. She was appointed a Soloist in August 2015.
Brandt regularly performs in international galas.
Brandt was awarded a 2013 Princess Grace Foundation-USA Dance Fellowship. That same year, she was featured in the film Ballet’s Greatest Hits.
Ms. Brandt’s performances with American Ballet Theatre are sponsored by Dr. Joan Taub Ades.
Tevfik Vatansever, Guest, Fall/Winter/Spring
Tevfik Bayram Vatansever, born in Williamsburg, Virginia, began his dance training at the age of sixteen with the Hilton Head Dance Theatre under John and Karena Brock-Carlyle. He was later invited by Stanislav Issaev to train at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. He went on to win silver in men’s senior classical ballet at YAGP Atlanta, 2013, and compete in the semi-finals of the 4th International Istanbul Ballet Competition 2014. Some of Tevfik’s favorite roles he has portrayed include; James from La Sylphide, Sugar Plum Cavalier in Nutcracker, Ali in Le Corsair, and Kashchei the Immortal in The Firebird. Most recently, Tevfik performed Flames of Paris and Swan Lake pas de trois for Yoko Kasai Ballet Studio’s gala performance in Fujinomiya, Japan. Additionally, he has worked with Nashville Ballet, Charleston City Ballet and has studied with teachers from ABT, Royal Danish Ballet, Deutsche Oper Ballet, Moscow Classical Ballet, and Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre. Currently, he is pursuing an economics degree as a full time student at the University of South Carolina while performing throughout the season.