Season 13 Company

American Midwest Ballet’s talented professional dancers hail from around the nation and abroad. The company plays a key role in the cultural vitality of the region, inspiring people through its expressive performing artists, acclaimed choreographers, skilled teachers, and stunning productions.

Erika Overturff, Artistic director & CEO

Erika Overturff is the founder of American Midwest Ballet, the region’s professional ballet company. Under her leadership as artistic director and CEO, American Midwest Ballet enriches the area through an exciting array of professional dance performances and a strong commitment to cultural education and community engagement.

Erika began her training in Iowa at the Academy of Ballet, studying at summer programs including North Carolina School of the Arts, American Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and the Kirov Academy. Following early high school graduation as valedictorian, Erika earned her B.F.A. in ballet performance and teaching from the University of Utah, which she attended on a full scholarship. She graduated cum laude in just three years and was chosen outstanding senior by the ballet department faculty.

Erika went on to dance with Montgomery Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Omaha Theater Ballet, and American Midwest Ballet. She has performed principal and soloist roles in a wide range of classical and contemporary repertoire. Audiences have enjoyed Erika’s performances in roles such as Eileen in Swing, Swing, Swing!, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lucy in Dracula, Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, Myrtha in Giselle, the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz, and roles in Ann Reinking’s In the Style of Bob Fosse and Harrison McEldowney’s Call It Off. Erika has also been a faculty member and guest teacher for schools around the United States.

As a choreographer, Erika has received critical praise for her work. She served as répétitrice for Montgomery Ballet and resident choreographer for Omaha Theater Ballet. She has worked on several collaborations with Opera Omaha, created an all-new production of Peter and the Wolf with the Omaha Symphony, and regularly creates new works for American Midwest Ballet. As part of the company’s ongoing collaboration with Joslyn Art Museum, Erika has choreographed original ballets inspired by museum artwork or exhibitions, including Connemara, Cleopatra, Go West!, Appalachian Song, and The Bee’s Knees.Other featured works include Tropico, Party Animals, The Diner, Ella, Sweet and Low-Down, and Rhapsody in Blue. Erika also created American Midwest Ballet’s lively and entertaining version of the holiday favorite The Nutcracker, which has premiered to enthusiastic audiences both at home and on tour. For her vision and achievements, Erika was named a recipient of the Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Awards, honoring area entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals.

Erin Alarcón, Ballet Master

Erin Alarcón began her dance training with Christine Taylor at North Jersey School of Dance Arts in Hackettstown, NJ where she was also a member of New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet under the direction of Luba Gulyaeva. Erin went on to graduate magna cum laude with a B.A. in dance performance from Mercyhurst University Dance Department under the direction of Tauna Hunter. During her time there she performed both principal and soloist roles, as well as choreographed several works for the dance department. In addition to her classes and performances, Erin spent two years teaching the open ballet classes at Mercyhurst University. During the summers she studied with Eglevsky Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. She has been coached by many wonderful artists including Laura Alonso, Bruce Marks, Vivi Flindt, and Bill Evans. Erin had the opportunity to study dance abroad with Valerie Valentine of the Dutch National Ballet, where she worked directly with Ms. Valentine, as well as Maurice Causey, then Ballet Master for Netherlands Dance Theater.

Erin danced professionally with SoMar Dance Works and Ballet Concert, and has appeared as a guest artist with Iowa Dance Theater performing the title role of Cinderella. With American Midwest Ballet, she has performed the principal roles in Giselle, Swan Lake, The Wizard of Oz, and Alice in Wonderland, for which she won the Omaha Entertainment Award for Best Featured Dancer. In Erika Overturff’s The Nutcracker, Erin has danced the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop Fairy and Snow Queen. Erin has choreographed several works for American Midwest Ballet, including the full-length ballet The Wizard of Oz. Erin served as Operations Manager for the company for seven years and has taught master classes and workshops throughout the Midwest. A founding company member, this is Erin’s first season as Ballet Master for the company.

Artists
MARSALIS ANDERSON-CLAUSELL

Hometown: Roswell, Georgia

Training & Experience: Trained in classical ballet at Metropolitan Ballet Theater under the tutelage of prima ballerina Maniya Barredo for 10 seasons and trained in classical and contemporary dance with Atlanta Ballet; summer intensives at Orlando Ballet with Oliver Munoz, Nashville Ballet; national choreography including South Eastern Regional Ballet Association [SERBA] American and Canadian with Robert Barnett and the late John Magnus; Ballet Pensacola, two seasons as a soloist and three seasons as a principal dancer

Featured Repertory: Dracula in Dracula; Lion and Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz; Snow Pas, Cavalier, and other roles in The Nutcracker; Prince in Snow White; Pas de Trois in Paquita; Jafar in Aladdin. Guesting: Mobile Ballet, Peter Pan

Additional Highlights: An identical twin – member of the Twins Day Festival; first season with American Midwest Ballet

Rebecca Brenner

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in dance from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; Columbus City Ballet School, merit scholarship at Orlando Ballet School; summer program at American Ballet Theater; member of Rochester City Ballet

Featured Repertory: Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Little Swan and Neapolitan variation in Swan Lake; roles in French Songs, The Wizard of Oz, Giselle, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Cleopatra, and Go West!

Additional Highlights: participated in Youth America Grand Prix New York City finals; ninth season with American Midwest Ballet

Nora Carr
Artist Sponsors: Herb & Carole Dewey

Hometown: Burnt Hills, New York

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in dance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; Akjun Ballet Theatre; Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet; Northeast Ballet Artist; summer programs at American Ballet Theater, Miami City Ballet, Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive, CPYB; scholarship recipient at New York Summer School of the Arts

Featured Repertory: roles in The Wizard of Oz, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, French Songs, Group Therapy, Appalachian Song, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Additional Highlight: seventh season with American Midwest Ballet

Elena Carter

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in dance and B.A. in mathematics from the University of Arizona; Pacific Northwest Ballet School; summer programs at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Perry Mansfield, Ballet Austin, Los Angeles Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and Pacific Northwest Ballet

Featured Repertory: roles in The Wizard of Oz, The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Death and the Maiden, In the Style of Bob Fosse, and Appalachian Song

Additional Highlights: selected to train with Pacific Northwest Ballet at the age of eight on full scholarship through a public outreach program; sixth season with American Midwest Ballet

Ryan Christopher

Hometown: Golden, Colorado

Training & Experience: International Youth Ballet School and Performing Arts Conservatory of Texas summer program; professional dancer with Ballet Ariel and Boulder Ballet; guest artist throughout the United States

Featured Repertory: soloist in Paquita; pas de trois in Swan Lake; pas de six in Giselle; pas de deux in French Songs; Snow King and Cavalier in The Nutcracker; Wizard in The Wizard of Oz; featured roles in On My Mother’s Side and Go West!

Additional Highlights: former baseball and football athlete; professional costume and prop designer; tenth season with American Midwest Ballet 

Fredrick Davis
Photo: Rachel Neville

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Training & Experience: Trained on full scholarship with Ballet Tennessee; worked with Arthur Mitchell at Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble; promoted to company member under the direction of Virginia Johnson; guest artist for Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Ballet Tucson, Dance Theatre of Harlem, San Jose Dance Theatre, New Jersey Ballet Company, and Connecticut Ballet; guest choreographer for Neville Dance Theatre

Featured Repertory: Balanchine’s Agon, Alvin Ailey’s The Lark Ascending, Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven

Additional Highlights: Featured in the award-winning PBS documentary From the Streets to the Stage: the Journey of Fredrick Davis, sharing the story of his life beginning as a homeless child on the street and transcending to be a world-class ballet dancer; U.S. Ambassador for Dance Theatre of Harlem in Jamaica, St. Thomas, and Honduras; performances at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, the Donald McKayle honors performance in Irvine, California, and the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C.; second season with American Midwest Ballet

Claire Goodwillie

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

Training & Experience: Omaha Theater Ballet School; summer programs at Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballet Austin; apprentice with Omaha Theater Ballet

Featured Repertory: title role in Cleopatra; Rat Queen and Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker; Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; featured roles in Sadako, Party Animals, Giselle, The Diner, and Go West!; Edgar L. Page’s A Slow Drag

Additional Highlights:  thirteenth season with American Midwest Ballet; founding company member

Alexandra Hoffman

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Training & Experience: Ana Lobe of Cleveland San Jose Ballet; summer programs at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Nashville Ballet, and Louisville Ballet; trainee with Louisville Ballet

Featured Repertory:  Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker; Gift of Wisdom in The Wizard of Oz;  Maiden in Death and the Maiden; Fee in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Little Swan in Swan Lake; roles in Group Therapy, Cleopatra, Go West!, Bournonville Divertissements, and Transcription

Additional Highlight: eighth season with American Midwest Ballet

JACK KADZIS

Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

Training & Experience: Trained with the Boston Ballet School; apprentice with Sarasota Ballet; dancer with Milwaukee Ballet II; summer programs at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet

Featured Repertory:  Roles in Micheal Pink’s The Nutcracker, Coppélia and Beauty and the Beast, Sir Frederick Ashton’s Illuminations & The Dream, George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations & Diamonds, Jerome Robbins’ The Concert

Additional Highlight: first season with American Midwest Ballet

Leah Kressin

Hometown: Carlsbad, California

Training & Experience: Bachelor of Arts in dance from California State University Long Beach; San Elijo Dance and Music Academy on merit scholarship, City Ballet of San Diego, San Diego Ballet Collective; master classes with Gelsey Kirkland, David Howard, Susan Jaffe, Abbie Seifel, Desmond Richardson, Lawrence Rosenberg, Ivan Vargas; summer programs with American Ballet Theatre, Escuela Internacional de Flamenco Manolete

Featured Repertory: Roles in The Nutcracker, The Bee’s Knees, and Swing, Swing, Swing!

Additional Highlight: second season with American Midwest Ballet

Richard Marks

Hometown: Waukee, Iowa

Training & Experience: Milwaukee Ballet II; Westside Dance Academy; The Pointe Academy

Featured Repertory: Frank Chaves’ Habaneras; Russian in The Nutcracker; Rustic in Bruce Wells’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Dark Angel in George Balanchine’s Serenade; Vicor in Michael Pink’s Dracula

Additional Highlight: fourth season with American Midwest Ballet

Kelanie Murphy

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in dance performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Madison Ballet, Minnesota Ballet; performed with Kansas City Ballet, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Judith Svalander School of Ballet; summer programs at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Kansas City Ballet

Featured Repertory: Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker; roles in French Songs, The Wizard of Oz, and Habaneras; Ann Reinking and Dylis Croman’s staging of Bob Fosse’s Trumpet Solo from ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’

Additional  Highlight: fifth season with American Midwest Ballet

Kogan Murphy

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Training & Experience: Joffrey Ballet trainee; Ballet Theatre of Indiana, Judith Svalander School of Ballet; Joffrey Ballet summer program

Featured Repertory: lead in Rhapsody in Blue; Spanish and French in The Nutcracker; Little Swan in Swan Lake; roles in The Wizard of Oz, Giselle, Appalachian Song, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Additional Highlights: Miss Illinois talent scholarship and Miss Douglas County; eighth season with American Midwest Ballet

Katerina Schweitzer
Artist Sponsors: Herb & Carole Dewey

Hometown: Vero Beach, Florida

Training & Experience: apprentice with Gelsey Kirkland Ballet; Space Coast Ballet Academy; Kirova Ballet Academy of Miami; private training by Heidi Khursandi; Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Academy graduate; summer programs at American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Vero Beach, Kirova Ballet Academy of Miami, and Gelsey Kirkland Academy

Featured Repertory: Spanish in The Nutcracker; roles in Death and the Maiden, Group Therapy, The Wizard of Oz, Appalachian Song, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Habaneras; Ray Mercer’s Ghost Light

Additional Highlight: sixth season with American Midwest Ballet

Amaris Sharratt

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

Training & Experience: Ballet Arts Tucson; summer programs at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Ballet Tucson on full scholarship; performed with Milwaukee Ballet II, Houston Ballet, Nevada Ballet Theater, Ballet Tucson, Earthen Vessels, and Hopestone Dance Company

Featured Repertory: Poppy Queen and Gift of Courage in The Wizard of Oz; lead in French Songs; Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Arabian and Chinese soloist in The Nutcracker; roles in Giselle, Paquita, Cleopatra, Go West!, Swan Lake, and Ella; Sandra Organ Solis’ Pearl

Additional Highlights: performed in Edinburgh, Scotland as a scholarship recipient at Burklyn Ballet Theater; ninth season with American Midwest Ballet


Victor Smith

Hometown: Brisbane, Australia

Training & Experience: Diploma of Dance, Queensland Conservatoire of Ballet, Brisbane; Royal Academy of Dance, Advanced 2 exam, with distinction; Cecchetti, Advanced 1 exam, with honors; Boston Ballet School (trainee); Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Academy, studio company; Joffrey Ballet School, performance company; Baltimore Ballet; Charlottesville Ballet, principal; Ballet Theater of Maryland, soloist; US International Ballet, principal

Featured Repertory: Male lead in Gerald Arpino’s Light Rain, Kettentanz, and Birthday Variations; Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet; Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Additional Highlights: second season with American Midwest Ballet


Anna Swenson

Hometown: Spokane, Washington

Training & Experience: Ballet Arts Academy; trainee program at school of Alberta Ballet; summer programs at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Joffrey Ballet’s Jazz and Contemporary program, and School of Alberta Ballet

Featured Repertory: Emerald Queen in The Wizard of Oz; Snow Queen and Arabian Princess in The Nutcracker; Big Swan in Swan Lake; featured roles in Blackbird, Appalachian Song, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Seneca Montgomery’s Order in the Chaos

Additional Highlight: tenth season with American Midwest Ballet

Whitney Walsh

Hometown: Westlake Village, California

Training & Experience: Joffrey Ballet trainee; guest artist at Pacific Festival Ballet; California Dance Theatre; summer programs at Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre New York, Houston Ballet, and Kirov Academy of Ballet

Featured Repertory: Porcelain Doll and Spanish in The Nutcracker; Little Swan in Swan Lake; roles in Connemara, In the Style of Bob Fosse, One in Three, Transcription, Ella, The Diner, Go West!, Appalachian Song, and Giselle

Additional Highlights: performed several world premieres in Joffrey Ballet’s Winning Works; ninth season with American Midwest Ballet

Apprentice
ERICA LOHMAN

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (summa cum laude, with honors); performed with De La Dance Company, Kansas City Ballet, Wylliams Henry Contemporary Dance Company, and Albany Berkshire Ballet

Summer Programs: Kansas City Ballet, Carolina Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet

Additional Highlights: Performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland

TRAINEE
CASEY KELLEY

Hometown: Elkhorn, Nebraska

Training & Experience: Ballet Nebraska II, American Midwest Ballet Junior Company, Omaha Academy of Ballet, Omaha Dance Project, One For All Musical Theater (Guest Artist)

Summer Programs: Ballet West, American Midwest Ballet, Motion 41 Dance

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