Artistic Staff and Dancers
Adam Schnell (Artistic Director/CEO) was born in Northwestern Vermont and began his dance training with Manon Pellman, Judith Karstens, and Shelly Ishmail (former members of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens). He graduated from Walnut Hill School for the Arts as a ballet major in 1999. At Walnut Hill he was trained by Samuel Kurkjian, Michael Owen, Tamara King, and Diane Arvanites. As a professional dancer he has performed with the Channel Islands Ballet, Omaha Theater Ballet, Sarasota Ballet of Florida, and Nevada Ballet Theater. He has performed as a guest artist with Southhold Dance Theater, Lone Star Ballet, and with the world famous Les Ballets Trockadero De Monte Carlo. In addition to soloist and principal roles in a large amount of the classical repertoire, he has performed in Neo-Classical and Contemporary works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Peter Anastos, Yves De Boutellier, Paul Vasterling, and Robert North. His dance and theater choreography has been seen all over the United States and he has served as resident choreographer for both the Omaha Theater Ballet and Sarasota Ballet of Florida. In 2009 he completed his BA from Empire State College with a double major in Arts Management and Dance Education. In 2014 he received his MS degree in Arts Administration from Drexel University. He has been teaching in the disciplines of both dance and theater for two decades and is a sought after master teacher throughout the country. Since moving to Vero Beach in the fall of 2009, he has served as director of dance education for Riverside Theatre. In December 2010 his “The Nutcracker: In Swingtime!” premiered to sold out audiences and critical acclaim. In its seven year run, the production became a beloved holiday tradition. In 2012, he introduced The Riverside Dance Festival, a program designed to pair the working dance artists of today with the aspiring dancers of tomorrow. Mr. Schnell is the Founding Artistic Director of Ballet Vero Beach. Vero’s first, and the region’s only, professional ballet company. He has choreographed more than one third of the company's repertoire including the much lauded Nutcracker on the Indian River.
Camilo A. Rodriguez (Ballet Master) was born in Mexico City and grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He began his ballet training at Ballets de San Juan and Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico. He continued his training on full scholarship in New York City at the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School. As a professional dancer he has appeared with the Eglevsky Ballet, Virginia Ballet Theatre, and danced several seasons in Mark Morris’s version of The Nutcracker: The Hard Nut. Mr. Rodriguez also toured internationally with Ballets Grandiva and the world famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. In these all male comedy ballet troupes, Mr. Rodriguez excelled in parody of not only contemporary masterworks but also the great Imperial and Romantic Ballets of the last two centuries. His many triumphs include a command performance at “The Royal Variety Show” in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Charles. Mr. Rodriguez excels in the teaching of Ballet and Modern technique and is also a well respected certified Pilates Instructor. Mr. Rodriguez also serves as ballet master for Ballet Vero Beach. His performances with the company have earned widespread critical acclaim, and his choreographic achievements have helped shape Ballet Vero Beach's artistic identity while pushing the art of dance forward.
Erin Alarcón, A native of New Jersey, received her dance training under Christine Taylor and Luba Gulyaeva of New Jersey Civic Youth Ballet. She earned her B.A. in dance performance at Mercyhurst College under the direction of Tauna Hunter. She has worked with a number of guest artists including Laura Alonso, Bruce Marks, Vivi Flindt, and Bill Evans. Ms. Alarcón has studied abroad with Valerie Valentine of the Dutch National Ballet, danced professionally with SoMar Dance Works and Ballet Concert, and has appeared as a guest artist with Iowa Dance Theater. She has performed the title roles in Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. With Ballet Vero Beach, Erin has been featured as the lead in Samuel Kurkjian’s Chopin Variations, and in ballets by George Balanchine, Peter Anastos, Marius Petipa, and Adam Schnell.
Rebecca Brenner is an Ohio native and former member of Rochester City Ballet. She received her ballet training from Columbus City Ballet School and University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She attended summer intensives with American Ballet Theatre in New York City, trained on merit scholarship at Orlando Ballet School in Florida, and participated in Youth American Grand Prix, competing twice in its New York City finals. She has performed Balanchine works including Walpurgisnacht Ballet, Valse-Fantaisie, Stars and Stripes, Raymonda Variations, and Serenade. At Rochester City Ballet, she appeared in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Serenade and the premiere of Jamey Leverett’s New York Cityscapes. With Ballet Nebraska, Rebecca has performed in Giselle, The Nutcracker, Paquita, and Cleopatra. At Ballet Vero Beach she has performed works by Adam Schnell, Marius Petipa, and Samuel Kurkjian.
Nora Carr is a native of Burnt Hills, New York. She holds a B.F.A in dance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Nora attended summer programs at American Ballet Theater, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Miami City Ballet.
Elena Carter is from Seattle, Washington. She was trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and holds a B.F.A in dance from the University of Arizona.
Matthew Carter 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. Mr. Carter 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, 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. Vero Beach audiences have fallen in love with his precise and energetic dancing. As a choreographer, Mr. Carter has premiered works with numerous schools and professional companies. He is the co-director of Motion41 Dance in Omaha, serves as ballet master for Ballet Nebraska, and continues to serve as a guest teacher for schools throughout the country.
Ryan Christopher hails from Golden, Colorado. He spent his early years as an athlete, then studied at Red Rocks Community College where he began dancing. Ryan trained with a full scholarship to The International Youth Ballet School under directors Mark & Sandra Carlson and at The Performing Arts Conservatory of Texas directed by H. Christopher Fairbank. He previously danced as a soloist with Ballet Ariel and Boulder Ballet. With Ballet Nebraska, Ryan has performed featured roles in Giselle, Paquita, Snow White, The Nutcracker, Cleopatra, and several works in Momentum including Charles Weidman’s On My Mother’s Side and Erika Overturff’s Go West! He has appeared as a guest artist throughout Colorado and around the United States. Ballet Vero Beach will recognize Ryan from his roles in Paquita and as ably matched counterpart to Ballet Master Camilo A. Rodriguez in Vasily Vainonen’s Flames of Paris.
Katherine Eppink is a graduate of the University of Utah where she earned a B.F.A. from the department of ballet. Katherine began her classical ballet training in Des Moines at Iowa Dance Theatre. She also danced on scholarship as a member of Utah Ballet, the resident performing company of University of Utah, where she performed lead roles in Serenade, Coppélia, Swan Lake, Ruslan and Ludmila, and The Nutcracker. Katherine spent summers training with Pacific Northwest Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet West, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Met, and Korean Ballet Theatre. With Ballet Vero Beach, Ms. Eppink has been featured in works by Samuel Kurkjian, Adam Schnell, and Camilo A. Rodriguez.
Claire Goodwillie began her ballet training at Omaha Theater Ballet School of Dance. She spent summers training with the renowned Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballet Austin. She also trained in Banff, Canada. Ms. Goodwillie appeared in numerous Omaha Theater Ballet productions as both a student and apprentice, including The Sleeping Beauty, The Firebird and Coppélia. With Ballet Nebraska, her featured roles include Rat Queen and Dew Drop Fairy in Erika Overturff’s The Nutcracker, Red Queen in Kennet Oberly’s Alice in Wonderland, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has performed several times with Opera Omaha and Omaha Symphony, and with Ballet Vero Beach she has been featured in works by Samuel Kurkjian, Camilo A. Rodriguez, Adam Schnell, George Balanchine, Peter Anastos, and Marius Petipa.
Alyssa Grimsley began her dance training at Western Arkansas Ballet in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She trained during summers at Joffrey Midwest, Ballet Austin, Tulsa Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet. Alyssa graduated summa cum laude with a B.F.A. in ballet performance from the University of Oklahoma, where she trained with Mary Margaret Holt, Clara Cravey, Steve Brule, Ilya Kozadayev, and Jeremy Lindberg. Alyssa toured with Oklahoma Festival Ballet at the Haydn’s Classical Music Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria and with Burklyn Ballet Theatre to perform at Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has performed in Ballet Nebraska productions of Giselle, Cleopatra, The Nutcracker, Paquita, On My Mother’s Side, and Go West! At Ballet Vero Beach, Alyssa has danced works by Marius Petipa, Samuel Kurkjian, and hilarious dual roles in Museum In Motion.
Alexandra Hoffman is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. She was trained by Ana Lobe and attended summer programs at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Nashville Ballet, and Louisville Ballet. Before joining Ballet Vero Beach, Ms. Hoffman was a trainee at Louisville Ballet.
Kogan Murphy of Chicago, Illinois, previously danced as a trainee with Joffrey Ballet. Ballet Vero Beach audiences will recognize Kogan from her performances in works by Matthew Carter and Camilo A. Rodriguez. Kogan has also excelled in the realm of scholarship competitions and recently won the title of Miss Douglas County and won best preliminary talent at the Miss Nebraska competition.
Erika Overturff is the founder of Ballet Nebraska, the region’s professional ballet company. Erika began her training in Iowa at the Academy of Ballet. 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. Vero Beach audiences have enjoyed her luminous and musical performances in works by Samuel Kurkjian and Marius Petipa.
Wyatt Payne is from Wichita, Kansas. He holds a B.F.A in Ballet Performance from Friends University. He attended summer programs at Oklahoma City Ballet and Next Generation Ballet.
Bret Samson is orriginally from Wisconsin. She began her dance training at Lake Shore Dance with Amy Aichele and Gwen Agee in Saukville, and Melissa Anderson and Rafael Delgado in Milwaukee, later continuing to dance at Steps on Broadway in New York City. She has danced with Milwaukee Ballet II, Madison Ballet and Omaha Theater Ballet. Bret has performed in works by noted choreographers including Harrison McEldowney, Oskar Antunez, Winthrop Corey, Kennet Oberly, and Jean-Paul Commélin. A founding member of Ballet Nebraska, Bret has performed as Arabian Princess in The Nutcracker, soloist in Mikhail Fokine’s The Dying Swan, Moyna in Giselle, and featured roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Alice in Wonderland, Cleopatra, and many works in Momentum. Bret has also performed with Opera Omaha and Omaha Symphony. With Ballet Vero Beach, Bret has been featured in works by Samuel Kurkjian and Camilo A. Rodriguez.
Katerina Schweitzer grew up in Vero Beach. Local audiences will remember Katerina’s performances as both Clara and The Sugar Rum Cherry in Adam Schnell’s The Nutcracker: In Swingtime! Prior to joining Ballet Vero Beach, Katerina danced with the Gelsey Kirkland Ballet.
Kelsey Schwenker, a Boulder native, began her classical ballet training with Ballet Nouveau of Colorado directed by Julia Wilkinson Manley. She attended summer intensives at Kansas City Ballet, Burklyn Ballet Theatre, Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop and Paul Taylor Dance Company. Ms. Schwenker received her B.F.A. in ballet performance, graduating summa cum laude, from the University of Oklahoma where she trained with Mary Margaret Holt, Donn Edwards, Steve Brule and Jeremy Lindberg. She has performed in notable works including Rodeo, Divertimento No. 5, The Firebird, Afternoon of a Faun and Les Biches. With Ballet Vero Beach, Kelsey has been featured in works by Samuel Kurkjian, Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Peter Anastos, Camilo A. Rodriguez, and Adam Schnell.
Amaris Sharratt began her training at Ballet Arts in Tucson, Arizona under the direction of Mary-Beth Cabana. She spent summers training on full scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Ballet Tucson. As a Marshall Thurber Scholarship recipient at Burklyn Ballet Theater, Amaris performed in Edinburgh, Scotland at Fringe Festival where she performed a featured role in Robert Royce’s Beauty and the Beast. She also performed with Milwaukee Ballet II, Houston Ballet, Nevada Ballet Theater, Ballet Tucson, Earthen Vessels, and Hopestone Dance Company. Her repertoire includes Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Amahl and the Night Visitors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella and other classical and contemporary works. Ms. Sharratt has performed in works by Chloé Watson, Marius Petipa, and Samuel Kurkjian with Ballet Vero Beach.
Rachel Smith was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts. She was trained at the Boston Ballet School and attended the graduate program at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. She previously danced as a trainee at Nashville Ballet.
Anders Southerland is from Seattle, Washington. His ballet training began as the result of a public school outreach class and was recruited into the prestigious school at Pacific Northwest Ballet. Prior to joining Ballet Vero Beach he was a member of Houston Ballet II and Milwaukee Ballet II.
Anna Swenson began her classical ballet training at Ballet Arts Academy of Spokane, Washington, where she performed in original works by choreographers Charles Askegard, Dodie Askegard and Deidre A. Kellogg. She studied during summers at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Joffrey Ballet’s Jazz and Contemporary program, and School of Alberta Ballet in Calgary, Canada. She joined the trainee program at School of Alberta Ballet in 2012, performing in Aram Manukyan’s The Nutcracker and in Yukichi Hattori’s Numbers. With Ballet Nebraska, Anna has performed in Giselle, Paquita, Snow White, The Nutcracker, Cleopatra, On My Mother’s Side, Go West!, and many roles in Momentum. Ballet Vero Beach audiences will recognize Anna for her portrayal of an affable docent in Museum In Motion.
Katie van der Mars began her training in classical ballet at Corvallis Academy of Ballet in Corvallis, Oregon. She trained during summers with Atlanta Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Ballet West. She is a graduate of the University of Utah where she received her B.F.A. in ballet performance. During her time in Salt Lake City, she performed as a 3-year member of the university’s resident company, Utah Ballet, where she danced in Giselle, La Bayadere, Paquita, the pas de deux from Scheherazade, The Nutcracker, Pas des Odalisques from Le Corsaire, The Firebird, Fokine’s Ruslan & Ludmilla, and many contemporary works. For Ballet Vero Beach, Katie has performed the lead in Samuel Kurkjian’s Debussy Suite, and Valse-Fantaisie.
Whitney Walsh was raised in Westlake Village, California and previously danced as a trainee with Joffrey Ballet. Ballet Vero Beach audiences have enjoyed Whitney’s energetic performances in works by Camilo A. Rodriguez, Matthew Carter, and Marius Petipa.
Sasha York originally from Chelyabinsk, Russia, trained at Paavola School of Dance in Flint, Michigan. He later returned to Russia, where he trained with Urey Urivich. Mr. York was accepted into the pre-professional program at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater where he performed in company productions of Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland. He has worked with many well-known choreographers such as Harrison McEldowney, Viktor Plotnikov and Septime Webre. With Ballet Vero Beach, Sasha has been featured as the principal male in Paquita, and in works by Adam Schnell and Camilo A. Rodriguez.