Company

American Midwest Ballet’s talented professional dancers hail from around the nation and abroad. The company inspires people through its expressive performing artists, acclaimed choreographers, skilled teachers, and stunning productions.

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Erika Overturff

Artistic Director & CEO
Artist Sponsor: Anne Thorne Weaver

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 outreach programming.

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, and Omaha Theater 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, and Myrtha in Giselle. 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 for Momentum, Erika has choreographed original ballets inspired by museum artwork or exhibitions, including Connemara, Cleopatra, Go West!, and Appalachian Song. Other featured works include Tropico, Party Animals, The Diner, and Ella. 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.


Matthew Lovegood

Ballet Master
Artist Sponsor:  Omaha World-Herald

Matthew Lovegood began his training in Pennsylvania with Sharon Filone at the Lake Erie Ballet School and Sandra Barnett at Little’s Dance Studio. He went on to study on full scholarship at North Carolina School of the Arts, Miami City Ballet School, and the Chautauqua Festival Dancers. Matthew has danced professionally with Ohio Ballet, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Lake Erie Ballet, and Omaha Theater Ballet. He has performed numerous leading roles within the classical repertoire, including Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, Franz in Coppelia, and Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet, as well as in works by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Donald Byrd, Heinz Poll, Laura Dean, Luis Montero, and many others. He has also performed as a Guest Artist with Hawaii Ballet Theatre, Neglia Ballet Artists, and Ballet Tucson.

Area audiences have enjoyed Matthew in roles such as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Albrecht in Giselle, Cavalier in The Nutcracker, White Rabbit in Kennet Oberly’s Alice In Wonderland, the Asp in Erika Overturff’s Cleopatra, Puck in Oscar Antunez’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the leading role in Ann Reinking’s staging of In the Style of Bob Fosse.. Also a choreographer, he has premiered works with numerous schools and professional companies, including Bacchanale Variations, Signs of Life, Sadako, Poseidon, Transcription, Caprice and Swan Lake for American Midwest Ballet. Matthew is the co-director of Motion41 Dance in Omaha and continues to serve as a guest teacher for schools throughout the country. Matthew is a founding member of American Midwest Ballet and returns for his ninth season as ballet master. More about Matthew.

Artists

Erin Alarcón

Artist Sponsor: Deborah and Clyde Overturff

Hometown:
Hackettstown, New Jersey

Training & Experience: B.A. in dance from Mercyhurst University, magna cum laude; New Jersey School of Dance Arts; summer programs at Eglevsky Ballet and Joffrey Ballet; professional performances with SoMar Dance Works and Ballet Concert; guest artist with Iowa Dance Theater

Featured Repertory: Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker; Odette in Swan Lake; title roles in Giselle and Alice in Wonderland; featured roles in Tropico, Party Animals, The Diner, DanceSport, and Ella.

Additional Highlights: choreographed One in Three, featured in Momentum to rave reviews; ninth season with American Midwest Ballet; founding company member

More about Erin…

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 Giselle, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Cleopatra, and Go West!

Additional Highlights: participated in Youth American Grand Prix New York City finals; costume assistant; fifth season with American Midwest Ballet

More about Rebecca…

Nora Carr

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 Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Appalachian Song, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Additional Highlight: third season with American Midwest Ballet

More about Nora…

Ryan Christopher

Hometown: Golden, Colorado

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

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

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

More about Ryan…

Katherine Eppink

Artist Sponsor: Herb and Carole Dewey

Hometown: Des Moines, Iowa

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in ballet from the University of Utah and scholarship member of Utah Ballet; Iowa Ballet Academy; guest artist at Iowa Dance Theatre; summer programs at Pacific Northwest Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet on full scholarship, Ballet West, Nashville Ballet, and Ballet Met

Featured Repertory: Spanish and Ballerina Doll in The Nutcracker; soloist in Bournonville Divertissements; featured roles in Go West!,  Ella, and Appalachian Song

Additional Highlights: performed two world premieres in Seoul, South Korea; fifth season with American Midwest Ballet

More about Katherine…

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 in The Nutcracker; Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; featured roles in Sadako, Party Animals, Giselle, The Diner, and Go West!

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

More about Claire…

Alyssa Grimsley

Hometown: Fort Smith, Arkansas

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in ballet performance from the University of Oklahoma, summa cum laude; Western Arkansas Ballet; summer programs at Joffrey Midwest, Ballet Austin, Tulsa Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet

Featured Repertory: Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Big Swan in Swan Lake, Spanish in The Nutcracker; roles in Giselle, Paquita, Go West!, and Ella

Additional Highlights:  toured with Oklahoma Festival Ballet to Eisenstadt, Austria and with Burklyn Ballet Theatre to Edinburgh, Scotland; fifth season with American Midwest Ballet

More about Alyssa…

Alexandra Hoffmann

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:  Dew Drop Fairy and Ballerina Doll in The Nutcracker, Fee in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Little Swan in Swan Lake; roles in Cleopatra, Go West!, Bournonville Divertissements, and Transcription

Additional Highlight: fourth season with American Midwest Ballet

More about Alexandra…

Cameron Miller

Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in dance performance and choreography with emphasis in ballet and modern from the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Kansas City Ballet School and Summer Intensive

Featured Repertory: Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, White Swan pas de deux, Cavalier and Snow King in The Nutcracker

Additional Highlights: selected to perform a pas de deux in the 73rd Annual International Choreographers Showcase in Guatemala, as well as at ArtsKC and the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts; first 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: Spanish in The Nutcracker; Little Swan in Swan Lake; roles in Giselle, Appalachian Song, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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

More about Kogan…

Wyatt Payne

Hometown: Wichita, Kansas

Training & Experience: B.F.A in ballet performance from Friends University; Rogers Ballet; summer programs at Next Generation Ballet and Oklahoma City Ballet

Featured Repertory: Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Nutcracker and Arabian in The Nutcracker; roles in Appalachian Song and Bricolage

Additional Highlight: second season with American Midwest Ballet

More about Wyatt

Bret Samson

Artist Sponsor: Herb and Carole Dewey

Hometown: Saukville, Wisconsin

Training & Experience: Lake Shore Dance; Steps on Broadway; performed with Milwaukee Ballet II, Madison Ballet, and Omaha Theater Ballet

Featured Repertory: Arabian Princess and Chinese soloist in The Nutcracker; soloist in Mikhail Fokine’s The Dying Swan; featured roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sadako, Alice in Wonderland, Giselle, and Ella

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

More about Bret…

Katerina Schweitzer

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: roles in The Nutcracker, Appalachian Song, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Additional Highlight: second season with American Midwest Ballet

Kelsey Schwenker

Artist Sponsor: Polina and Bob Schlott

H
ometown: Boulder, Colorado

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in ballet from the University of Oklahoma, summa cum laude; Ballet Nouveau Colorado; summer programs at Kansas City Ballet, Burklyn Ballet Theatre, Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop, and Paul Taylor Dance Company

Featured Repertory: lead roles in Alice in Wonderland, Poseidon, and Flower Festival Pas de Deux; Dew Drop Fairy and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker; featured roles in Giselle, The Diner, Go West!, Swan LakeDanceSport, and In the Style of Bob Fosse  

Additional Highlights: rehearsal director for Repertory Ensemble, the company’s youth performance group; ninth season with American Midwest Ballet; founding company member

More about Kelsey…

Amaris Sharratt

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

Training & Experience: Ballet Arts; 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: Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Chinese soloist in The Nutcracker; roles in Giselle, Paquita, Cleopatra, Go West!, Swan Lake, and Ella

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

More about Amaris…

Rachel Smith

Hometown: Plymouth, Massachusetts

Training & Experience: Nashville Ballet trainee; Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre graduate program; Boston Ballet School, South Shore Ballet Theatre, The Brookline Ballet School; summer programs at Walnut Hill School of the Arts, Boston Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Nashville Ballet

Featured Repertory: roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, In the Style of Bob Fosse, and Appalachian Song

Additional Highlights: placed in top 12 at Youth American Grand Prix in 2011 and 2012; third season with American Midwest Ballet

More about Rachel…

Anders Southerland

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Training & Experience: trained under teachers  Peter Boal, Bruce Wells, and Le Yin of Pacific Northwest Ballet; member of Houston Ballet II and Milwaukee Ballet II

Featured Repertory: Snow King and Thistle in The Nutcracker; Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; featured roles in Appalachian Song, Bricolage, and Caprice

Additional Highlights: selected to train with Pacific Northwest Ballet at age eight through a public outreach program; 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: 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

Additional Highlight: sixth season with American Midwest Ballet

More about Anna…

Katie van der Mars

Artist Sponsor: Sharon McGill

Hometown: Corvallis, Oregon

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in ballet performance from the University of Utah and member of Utah Ballet; Corvallis Academy of Ballet; summer programs at Atlanta Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Ballet West

Featured Repertory: Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; lead in George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie; Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker; soloist in Les Odalisques, Swan Lake, Bournonville Divertissements, Party Animals, and Bluebird and Princess Florine pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty

Additional Highlight: seventh season with American Midwest Ballet     

More about Katie…

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: Little Swan in Swan Lake, Spanish in The Nutcracker; roles in 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 the Joffrey Ballet’s Winning Works; fifth season with American Midwest Ballet

More about Whitney…

Sasha York

Artist Sponsor: Houck Transit Advertising

Hometown: Chelyabinsk, Russia

Training & Experience: Paavola School of Dance; pre-professional program at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater; member of Omaha Theater Ballet

Featured Repertory: Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; title role in Dracula; Marc Antony in Cleopatra; Snow King and Russian soloist in The Nutcracker; Rothbart in Swan Lake; lead roles in Swing Swing Swing!, Paquita, DanceSport, Call it Off, On My Mother’s Side, and Go West!

Additional Highlights: featured guest artist in ballet productions throughout the United States; ninth season with American Midwest Ballet; founding company member     

More about Sasha…

Apprentices

Elena Carter

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Training & Experience: B.F.A in dance from the University of Arizona; Pacific Northwest Ballet School

Summer Programs: Pacific Northwest Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Perry Mansfield, Ballet Austin, Los Angeles Ballet, and Ballet Chicago

Kelanie Murphy


Hometown: Crystal Lake, Illinois

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

Summer Programs: Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Kansas City Ballet

Trainees

Remmi Hartmann



Hometown:
 Omaha, Nebraska

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in dance performance and choreography with emphasis in ballet and modern from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance

Summer Programs: American Ballet Theatre, Next Generation Ballet on scholarship, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Oklahoma City Ballet on scholarship

Madeline Koesters


Hometown:
 Omaha, Nebraska

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in dance performance and choreography with emphasis in ballet and modern from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri – Kansas City; founding member of Ballet Nebraska II; Creighton Dance Company; Omaha Theater Ballet School; performed with Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet and Omaha Symphony; Young Artist Award; choreography featured in Omaha Dance Project

Summer Programs: Kansas City Ballet