TCFAF Welcomes Wexford Dance Academy

TCFAF welcomes members of Wexford Dance Academy from March 4th -10th for a week of dance education and training.   The Academy’s staff, headed by former ballerina Elizabeth Mackin Karas, will present an after school program of ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop, as well as creative movement.  The classes will be offered for children ages 3 and older at Stargazer Studio.  Elizabeth, a frequent visitor to Provo, is grateful for the privilege of teaching here and looks forward to a long term partnership.  The events begin with a Meet and Greet hosted by Barbara Pankhurst at Stargazer Villa on Saturday, March 5th at 1:00pm. For a schedule of workshops and classes being offered, please contact Barbara at bstrogatz@aol.com.

Elizabeth Mackin Karas is a Pittsburgh native who began her Ballet training under Mansur Kamaletdinov, the former director of the Bolshoi Ballet.  She continued her training during the summers at the School of American Ballet in New York City.  Her senior year of high school she was given a full scholarship apprentice position with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre under the guidance of Patricia Wilde.  In 1987, she joined the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet and toured Europe with Rudolph Nureyev highlighting Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival.  Elizabeth represented the United States in the Jackson International Ballet Competition and performed with her partner Talal, principal dancer of the Frankfurt Ballet. Capezio, impressed by her technical proficiency, approached her to lead a campaign endorsing their products in Dance magazine. In 1991, she joined the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and had her roles reviewed by such prominent publications as The Washington Post, The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Dance Magazine, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, and The San Jose Mercury News.  Tim Scholl of Ballet Review, noted dance historian, reviewed Elizabeth’s principal role is Giselle.  Professor Scholl wrote, “The peasant pas de deux provided the evening’s most pleasant surprise when Elizabeth burst onto the stage.  Elizabeth was a saucy peasant with a wonderful, individual style, an irrepressible bounce, and nicely articulated pointe work.”  In her eight years with the company, she performed various soloist and principal roles and toured throughout the United States, Europe, and the Far East, including Taipei, Taiwan for the International Dance Festival.  She was fortunate to come under the guidance of Janek Schergen, former ballet master of the Royal Swedish Ballet, Washington Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and current artistic director of Singapore Dance Theatre.  Mr. Schergen inspired Elizabeth as she transitioned from her career as a performer to her current passion of giving the art of Dance to her students.  Elizabeth has taught all ages and ability levels since retiring from performing.

Beth Robertshaw began her Dance training in Tulsa, Oklahoma at The Peggy Lanik Dance School.  After leaving Oklahoma, she trained under various professional Tap and Jazz artists, such as Brenda Buffalino of The American Tap Dance Orchestra, Chet Walker, Buster Brown, and Savion Glover.  Her choreography has received multiple regional and several national awards and she has been praised as a teacher of the highest caliber. Her gift as a teacher allows her to give her Tap and Jazz students exceptional training in a challenging and enjoyable class. As an instructor, she has developed, initiated, and taught several creative movement and pre-school dance programs.  Her abilities create an immediate joy of movement and appreciation of music in the very young dancer.

Michael Greer is a 2005 graduate of Point Park University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre.  He currently teaches acting, dance, and musical theatre.  Michael has performed with major theater companies in Pittsburgh as well as regional theaters throughout the country.  Mr. Greer has just completed a tour of Miss Saigon and is currently choreographing Crazy for You in Pittsburgh.  He has directed and choreographed a number of shows including Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and Seussical.  Favorite performance credits include West Side Story (Riff), Footloose (Willard), Beauty & the Beast (Gaston), The Full Monty (Keno) Copacabana, Joseph…, Les Miserables, A Musical Christmas Carol with Pittsburgh CLO, and Jesus Christ Superstar with Kansas City Starlight Theatre.  Michael is also the Amazing Spiderman for Marvel Comics and travels throughout the country for performances and meet and greets.

Naila Ansari comes to Pittsburgh from New York. She was a student in Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts program. Naila is an original company dancer for the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble (www.awcde.org). She has had the privilege of working and performing works with world renowned artists such as Robert Battle, Christopher Huggins, Crystal Frazier, Francesca Harper, Ann Reinking, Kate Skarpetowska, David Parsons, Jason McDole, Doug Bentz and Kiesha Lalama-White. Naila appeared as a lead dancer in the movie “Sorority Row.” She has worked Off –Broadway with Darrin Henson in “Dreams Do Travel.” Most recently Naila took part in the prestigious summer project Springboard Danse in Montreal, Quebec. There she had the honor of performing a new work by Louise Bedard. She also has a number of credits working with industrials and acting projects.

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