Grand Premier Master Teachers



photo Natalia Bashkatova

Grand Premier Invitational Ballet Mistress (All Programs)

Natalia has more than 25  years of experience in the entertainment industry, and is a highly talented artist. Born in Russia, Natalia trained at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow and Bolshoi Ballet University. She became a principal dancer for the prestigious Bolshoi Theater Grigorovich Ballet from 1989-1994 and immediately after was a guest principal dancer with the New York City Ballet. 

Her repertoire included many title roles in the great classics including Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake among many others. Awards include "Best Ballerina of the Festival" at the 1992 Spoleto International Arts Festival held in Spoleto, Italy. She has toured worldwide to countries including Holland, Greece, Egypt, Hong Kong, France, and Belgium among many others. 

After moving to the United States, she joined  Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas as a lead dancer in Mystere. In 1998, she moved to Orlando to perform in Cirque du Soleil's "La Nouba" where she currently performs. She has been featured in numerous television commercials, interviews, and videos with Cirque du Soleil. 

Natalia is founder of ARTASTAR ARTIST MANAGEMENT and PRODUCTION company, which supports the dancers from the foreign countries. One of the directions of her company is to support young talented dancers of the new  ballet generation in giving gthem an opportunity to be selected and be a part of the new production on stage with the most recent world known ballet dancers. 


• Principal Dancer, Bolshoi Ballet,1989-1994

• Guest Ballet Dancer, New York City Ballet, Ruth Page The Nutcracker Production, Philadelphia Ballet Theatre , 1994-1997

Principal Dancer, Cirque Du Soleil Mystere, 1997-1998; La Nouba, 1998- present

Ballet Teacher, Central Florida Ballet 2014- present

Head of Judges, World Ballet Competition, 2015

Judge, World Ballet Competition, Orlando FL, 2014-2016, 2019

Judge, YAGP 

• Choreographer, Show Case Collaboration between Orlando Ballet and Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba 2013-2015


Bolshoi Ballet Academy , Moscow Russia  1980-1989 ( High School Diploma for the performing art )

Bolshoi Ballet University , Moscow Russia 1989-1993 ( Bachelor Degree  for the performing art and choreography)


• 25 years of professional experience as a ballet dancer

• Choreography for World Ballet Competition, Orlando Ballet and Cirque Du Soleil

• Judge for World Ballet Competition 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019

• Head of Judge for World Ballet Competition 2015

• Judge for YAGP semi finals 2017

• 10 years of master ballet classes at Cirque Du Soleil La Nouba • Ballet Master Classes for YAGP and WBC 

• 4 years Ballet Master, Point and Variation Teacher for Central Florida Ballet Academy


photo Nicole Ferguson

Nicole Ferguson is a licensed physical therapist working in Orlando, Florida for the past 15+ years. She is also a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, an Emergency Medical Technician, and Pilates instructor. She has extensive experience working with elitelevel athletes of various disciplines.


Nicole graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Miami University and soon after received her Master of Science in Physical Therapy from Regis University in Denver, Colorado.


Nicole began working for Cirque Du Soleil’s production of La Nouba in 2004 and continued there for 14 years until the show’s closure in December of 2017. While at La Nouba, Nicole gained experience designing return to work programs for the injured and post-partum performer. Currently, she is working as a fly-in physical therapist for the company’s touring show division.


Nicole has also been part of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sports Medicine Volunteer Program and helped rehabilitate Paralympic and Olympic athletes in swimming, wrestling, and shooting at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


In 2018 she partnered with Samantha Oft to start their private physical therapy practice called Next Level Physiotherapy and Performance, in order to provide the one-on-one attentive care that they believe everyone deserves.


“Practice what you preach” is a motto Nicole lives by. She leadsa healthy, active lifestyle and often familiarizes herself with the demands of her clients’ sports by participating in them. She is a mother of a girl who loves dance and therefore has become passionate to share her knowledge in rehabilitation and performance training to the dance community.

photo Darius Hickman

Darius is currently dancing for singer Melanie Martinez’ K-12 tour through March 2020.  Prior to that Darius was on tour with SYTYCD after finishing Season 14 as a Top 6 Finalist for FOX’s SYTYCD.  

Some of the most memorable dancers on So You Think You Can Dance move you not only because of their talents, but because of their journeys to the stage. After the Season 14 premiere, Darius Hickman on So You Think You Can Dance is perhaps the dancer you'll be left thinking about the most. That's because during the Los Angeles auditions in the June 12 episode, Darius proves how powerful dance can be in uplifting the human spirit. This 18-year-old Floridian is one to watch for the rest of the season and the adversity that he has already faced in his young life is just another reason to root for this dancer. - bustle.com

photo Alexey Kulpin

Grand Premier Ballet Master: GPI Technique and Performance Boot Camp 

Alexey Kulpin is a graduate of the Institute of Culture and Art in St. Petersburg, Russia. He holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ballet pedagogy and choreography. In 1998, he was the Grand Prix winner at the Muse of St. Petersburg Ballet Competition. As a professional dancer, Mr. Kulpin has performed soloist and principal roles in both classical and contemporary ballets in Russia, Israel, and the United States. He danced professionally with St. Petersburg State Opera Ballet, St. Petersburg State Male Theatre by Mihailovsky, Ballet Israel, City Ballet of San Diego, Grand Rapids Ballet, Charleston Ballet Theater, Stars of St. Petersburg Municipal Theater of Music and Dance, and Krasnoyarsk Dance Ensemble. His roles included Basilio in Don Quixote; James in La Sylphide; Prince Ivan in Firebird; Spirit of the Rose in Le Spectre de la RoseSwan Lake Pas de Trois; and the male leads in Tarentella and Maurice Bejart’s Trik Trak.

Mr. Kulpin specializes in teaching classical ballet, male and female variations, and character dance. His teaching career includes the Ballet Israel School, City Ballet of San Diego, Grand Rapids Ballet, and Charleston Ballet Company, where he taught company classes and served as director of the Charleston Ballet Young Artists Group. Most recently, he served as principal ballet teacher for Northern California Dance Conservatory. He has staged classical variations and choreographed solos for performance and ballet competitions, including Youth America Grand Prix. Mr. Kulpin joined The HARID Conservatory’s faculty in August, 2016. He remains active as a guest teacher and a ballet-competition judge.

photo Bruce Marks

Grand Premier Ballet Master: GPI Technique and Performance Boot Camp



Bruce Marks is a legendary American dancer, a choreographer, coach, teacher and a tireless advocate for the dance art form. Born in New York City, Mr. Marks began training at the age of 13, and became one of the most celebrated male dancers of his time, performing with major companies around the globe, including American Ballet Theatre, Metropolitan Opera, and the Royal Danish Ballet among many others. He then became the Artistic Director of Ballet West, and the Artistic Director of the Boston Ballet. A patriarch of the ballet competition movement, Mr. Marks has been the Chairman of the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS, Nagoya International Ballet Competition, and the Beijing International Ballet Competition, as well as an honored member of the jury at all major global international ballet competitions. Mr. Marks received the Lifetime Achievement honor from YAGP in 2017.


American Ballet Theatre


In 1961, again at the suggestion of Tudor, Marks joined The American Ballet Theatre. He soon became one of the most respected and versatile of ABT's male contingent, excelling in both modern and classical ballets, and was quickly promoted to principal dancer. He created one of the leading roles in the American premiere of Harald Lander’s Etudes as well as the leading role of Prince Siegfried in ABT's first full-length production of Swan Lake.[4] In 1968 Marks performed the role of Hilarion in the American Ballet Theatre's film of Giselle.


The Royal Danish Ballet


After twice appearing as guest artist with the company, Marks was invited to become the first American principal dancer of The Royal Danish Ballet.,[5] He made his debut as such in May, 1971 at the Danish Ballet and Music Festival dancing Paul Taylor's Aureole. It was the first time a modern trained artist had done the work in Copenhagen and he received rave reviews. The next evening he danced the role of James in the 19th century Danish classic, La Sylphide, by August Bournonville and astounded with his versatility.

Marks ended his performing career in 1976 in Denmark taking on his first artistic directorship with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah.


At Ballet West


By 1976, Marks became Co-Artistic Director of Ballet West at the invitation of its founder, Willam Christensen.[6] Following Christensen's retirement in 1978, Marks was named Artistic Director. The company flourished under Marks's direction, and his distinctive stamp was made with the addition of new works to the company's repertory from Bournonville and Balanchine to the 19th century master works as well as modern dance classics.

In 1985, Marks and Toni Lander recreated and staged the “lost” 1855 Bournonville ballet,Abdallah for Ballet West, to great acclaim.[3] The production had its East Coast premiere at Washington's Kennedy Center, on May 1, 1985, and the critics raved. "Abdallah is a triumph!” cheered the Boston Globe. The Wall Street Journal declared, “That it communicates such broad meanings and does so, moreover, with such effortless charm, is the great achievement of Bruce Marks.” In 1986, Marks staged Abdallah for the Royal Danish Ballet, the company for whom the work was originally created, and in 1990, he brought the production to Boston Ballet.[3]


At Boston Ballet


Marks then assumed the position of Artistic Director of Boston Ballet[7] When he was appointed Artistic Director and CEO (combining the jobs was a first in the world of ballet), he eradicated the company's debt which was then 50% of the budget. During his tenure, the Company's annual budget and attendance tripled. Under his dynamic leadership, Boston Ballet achieved international acclaim and built a reputation for performing authentic versions of the classics and for encouraging daring modern works. In 1991, in Boston's South End, Marks opened a new facility that continues to be one of the country's leading centers for dance and dance education. His time in Boston had many highlights: an unprecedented American/Soviet production of Swan Lake; the company's 1990 debut at Washington's Kennedy Center; a 1991 five-city tour of Spain; and in 1993, to inaugurate its 30th season, a highly acclaimed version of The Sleeping Beauty. Following a second Kennedy Center engagement in March 1994, Boston Ballet became the first American company to perform John Cranko’s Onegin. In 1995, Marks added Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew to the company's repertory, followed in 1997 by Michael Corder’s award-winning Cinderella.[3] Marks mounted the world's most popular production of The Nutcracker. Continuing to add to Boston's repertory, he brought the oldest existing version of Coppélia from The Royal Danish Ballet plus a traditional Russian production of Giselle, staged by Anna-Marie Holmes and coached by Natalia Dudinskaya of the Kirov Ballet.

Encouraging young American choreographers was one of Marks's major thrusts as Director. As such, he commissioned works by Danny Buraczeski, Bill T. Jones, Ralph Lemon, Monica Levy, Susan Marshall, Bebe Miller, Daniel Pelzig and Lila York. He also added works by Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharp.

In July 1998, Marks stepped down from his post at Boston Ballet to become Artistic Director Emeritus.


As Chairman of the Jury: USA International Ballet Competition


In 1989, Marks was chosen to succeed the late Robert Joffrey as Chairman of the International Jury of the USA International Ballet Competition held in Jackson Mississippi, a position he held through 2010. He served as the American judge at the international competitions in Helsinki, Nagoya, Moscow, and Seoul as well as at the 1994 Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland[2] and chairman of the 2012 Jury, 4th Beijing International Invitational Competition for Dance Schools.

photo Maria Mosina

Grand Premier Ballet Mistress: GPI Technique and Performance Boot Camp 

Maria Mosina was born in Moscow and graduated from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Russia. Upon graduation, Maria joined the Bolshoi Ballet Grigorovich Company and immediately was chosen for principal roles.  She toured the world appearing on all major European, American, African and Asian stages. In 1995, Maria was invited by Colorado Ballet to join as a leading principal dancer.  She performed all major parts in classical productions and also had the chance to show her talent in neoclassical, modern and contemporary choreographed master pieces.  Maria was a featured dancer on the cover of Dance Magazine and has been featured in other magazine articles.  She holds a bachelor's degree in methodology and pedagogy from the Moscow State Academy of Choreography.  She is also an active ballet instructor throughout the United States.  She participated as a master teacher and judge for the Youth American Grand Prix.  Maria performed leading roles in all major productions as a member of the Company, as well as a guest artist with many other festivals, galas, and companies.  After 21 seasons as a principal dancer with Colorado Ballet, she retired at the end of the 2016/2017 season.  She has now joined the artistic staff of the company.

photo Victor Smalley

GPI Premier Contemporary Master 


Victor is the artistic director and owner of Stars Dance Company, one of the top dance studios in the United States. Before opening Stars, Victor was a Top 12 finalist on Season 6 of FOX's So You Think You Can Dance. Along with his business partner Angel Armas, Victor has trained and developed some of the top young dancers in America over the last ten years. These dancers have gone on to be winners at at the top dance competitions in the world, featured on numerous national and international television shows, and students at some of the world's top dance institutions. Victor has also trained SYTYCD winner Ricky Ubeda and SYTYCD finalists Derek Piquette, Daniela Avanzini, and Logan Hernandez, and NBC's World of Dance competitors Diana Pombo, Nick Daniels, and Vivian Ruiz. In 2012, Victor and his studio were featured on the Life Time TV Show Dance Mom’s Miami.  STARS has now grown to include dance convention, Liberate The Artist, and Non-Profit organization STARS for Artists.  Victor brings his love for dance and artistry around the world, having taught over 750 Master Classes in 43 states and 4 countries.   



photo Olga Tarasova

Summer Intensive - Theater and Performance Ballet Mistress

Ms. Tarasova was born in Vladivostok (Far East Russia) and received her ballet education from Voronezh State Academic Opera and Ballet School. After graduation she was invited to dance with the Krasnoyarsky Academic Opera and Ballet Theater (Russia) where she performed many solo and leading roles in a large number of well-known ballets such as “Swan Lake,” “Giselle,” “Bayadere,” “Spartacus,” ”Notre Dame de Paris,” etc. While with Krasnoyarsky, Ms. Tarasova continued her studies by taking extensive instruction under world-renowned dancers and teachers from both the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballet Companies.In 1986, Ms. Tarasova was invited to join the Kiev Theater of Classical Ballet in the Ukraine. Her repertoire included “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Nutcracker,” “Thumbelina,” “Harlinquinade,” etc.

She toured throughout Russia and Europe performing in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Italy and France.In 1995, Ms. Tarasova was invited to dance in the United States, bringing her unique style to the American audience.In 1998, Ms. Tarasova transitioned from a vast performance career to a full-time teaching career. She has taught at both Brigham Young University and Boise State University as a guest teacher.Ms. Tarasova is an expert in the pedagogy of the Vaganova style of classical ballet technique. A masterful instructor, she teaches Ballet Technique, Pointe, and has staged many variations from Classical Ballet repertoire. Ms. Tarasova is inspiring, quietly commanding, polite and thoughtful: a truly world class artist.



photo Josie Walsh

Summer Intensive: Theater and Performance Ballet Mistress

"Ballet Red"  

Josie is the Artistic Director / Choreographer of BalletRED, the Joffrey Ballet School summer intensives LA, NYC, SF, The Industry Dance Academy Ballet program and Project Protégé.  Josie has danced professionally with the Joffrey Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre and the Zurich Ballet in Switzerland where she began her choreographic career. Moving on to several freelance projects throughout Europe before returning to Los Angeles where she integrated this vast background into the commercial as well as concert dance world. Known as the “Renegade” ballerina for her cutting edge hybrid style of edgy classical and contemporary ballet fusion, Josie is infamous for transcending boundaries and setting new trends. Josie was named 25 to watch by Dance Magazine, awarded the “Outstanding Choreography” award at the Youth American Grand Prix, NBC World of Dance choreographer Season 2 for “Avery and Marcus” and honored with the endorsement from the Los Angeles Times as “Faces to Watch” for her work as Artistic Director/Choreographer of Ballet RED.


photo Jorge Barani

Summer Intensvie: Premier Ballet Master - Grand Premier Invitational 

"Ballet Barani"

Jorge was Born in Matanzas, Cuba and graduated from the National School of Art Ballet in Havana, Cuba. In 2010, he joined the Ballet de Monterrey Company in Mexico. Barani came to the United States in August 2012. He was invited to the final YAGP gala in New York, dancing with Maria Kochetkova from San Francisco Ballet.

In 2013, he won two Gold Medals at the World Ballet Competition USA and joined the Kentucky Ballet Theatre in 2014, as a Principal Dancer. He has danced leading roles in Peter Pan, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Paquita, La Sylphide, Le Corsaire, Harlequinade, Don Quixote, Paris Flames, Talisman, Diana and Actaeon, Laurencia, and contemporary and neoclassical works.

In 2015, Barani won the Silver Medal at The Korea International Ballet Competition, in 2016 he won the Gold Medal at Vienna International Ballet Competition and the Silver Medal at Varna International Ballet Competition. Barani has also been invited to dance in international galas in Europe, Asia, Canada, and Mexico.

photo Andrew Brader

Summer Intensive: GPI Premier Contemporary Master


Andrew Brader was born and raised in New Orleans, LA, and began his training with Karen Hebert and at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts with Jan Miller and Miguel Lopez. He attended The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, FL, on full scholarship and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, also studying privately with Susan Jaffe. He was invited to join ABT as an apprentice, dancing with the company at The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, and then joined the Houston Ballet performing in ballets by Stanton Welch, Ben Stevenson, John Cranko, Kenneth MacMillan and George Balanchine. He danced with the Los Angeles Ballet for four seasons performing principal roles in George Balanchine's Agon, The Four Temperaments, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Serenade, Kammermuzik No.2, Lar Lubovich's The Evangelist,Bournonville's Napoli Pas de Six and original works by Josie Walsh, Sonya Tayeh, Olivier Wevers, and Melissa Barak's Scrying presented as the first dance installation performed at NYC's Modern Museum of Art. Andrew was a Lester Horton Award nominee for Outstanding Achievement in Performance and winner of the Habich Corey Award for Emerging Choreographer. He spent two seasons with BalletMet Columbus before joining Stadt Theater Chemnitz as a Soloist in Chemnitz, Germany.  Andrew danced with Complexions Contemporary Ballet from 2014-2018 under the direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson and has taught for Complexions’ intensives, as well as Joffrey Ballet School summer intensives. Andrew has performed on the stages of The Metropolitan Opera House NYC, The Kennedy Center DC, The Music Center Los Angeles, The Tel-Aviv Opera House Israel, The Odessa Opera Ukraine, The Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg and The Kremlin Palace Moscow, Russia. He’s danced alongside international dance stars in the galas of Laguna Dance Festival, World Ballet Competition, City Dance Gala DC, The Golden Swan Gala, and The Monterrey International Ballet Gala Mexico. Andrew has appeared in music videos for Jill Scott and music legend Nile Rodgers and has also worked as a model for Los Angeles Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, and New York Men’s Fashion Week.


photo Michael Waldrop

Summer Intensive: GPI Premier Contemporary Master


Michael Waldrop was born in Los Angeles, California. He has toured the world, performing with Ballett des Theater Koblenz, State Street Ballet, and Pasadena Dance Theatre, as well as guest performances with Odyssey Dance Theatre, Seamless Dance Theater and the Covent Garden Dance Company’s international gala, Ballet in the Park. During this time, he performed in the classical and contemporary works of Peter Chu, Andreas Heise, Daniel Ezralow, Steffen Fuchs, Bella Lewitzky, Cathy Marston, Ihsan Rustem, Tom Ruud, William Soleau, Uwe Scholz, and Josie Walsh.


From the world of concert dance to the commercial industry, Michael has also appeared in film, television, print, and stage productions including the feature film Underground Comedy, ABC’s Bunheads, Nickelodeon’s Fresh Beat Band, and the Emmy Award winning opening routine of the Jerry Lewis Telethon. Other credits include the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, industrials for Disney and MAC Cosmetics, performances at Downtown Los Angeles’ Music Center and the Getty Museum for the Dance Camera West Film Festival, the American Choreography Awards, and a feature in an edition of Life Magazine.


Michael has created original works for Theater Koblenz and the Joffrey Ballet School, as well as commissioned presentations for Marymount Manhattan College, APEX at Peridance Capezio Center, the Joffrey Ballet School, and the School of State Street Ballet. His work has been shown throughout the United States, Canada, Japan, and Germany, emphasizing dynamic, extension, and flow through a classical and contemporary vocabulary.

photo Rhi Lee Photography

 Rhi" Lee is a visual artist.  In her vibrant and creative photos, Rhi captures dancers and their fluidity of 

movement.  She strives to create remarkable photos in various environments that showcase how dance feels.  


She composes her stylized imagery from a rich background in the arts with over ten years experience as a professional photographer.  Training as a dancer and growing up with the guidance of her musician family - she has an individualized ability to bring melodic movement to life through visual creation.  Combining an artful upbringing with dedicated dancers allows her to craft extraordinary portraiture highlighting a particular dancer's strengths and abilities.  


Rhi has worked with dancers, choreographers and dance brands across the country in both outdoor locations and in studio.  She currently shoots with the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue in Dallas.  Past on-location shoots include: Alaska, Aspen, Austin, Boulder, Cabo, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Del Mar, Denver, Estes Park, Hawaii, Houston, 

Jackson Hole, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Memphis, Miami, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Palos Verdes, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, Seattle, Syracuse and Washington D.C.  This photographer shares a special visual story with you - the dance shared between the collaboration of artists.   

photo Grand Premier Master Teachers

2019 Grand Premier Invitational Theater and Performance 

2019 Grand Premier Invitational Technique and Performance Boot Camp