Collaborators

Julius Abrahams is a pianist of diverse interests.  After finishing graduate studies at The Juilliard School, he continues to work as staff pianist at the esteemed Juilliard’s Vocal Arts Institute since 2012.  He has appeared in numerous performances with the Brooklyn Art Song Society, Gil Morgenstern Reflection Series, and has been vocal coach/pianist for Bel Canto at Caramoor, Chautauqua Institute, OnSite Opera, NY Opera Exchange, and Classical Singing in New York.  Julius has been collaborating with Brooklyn Ballet since 2011. 

David Fernandez is a choreographer, dancer, and ballet teacher based in New York. His most acclaimed choreography, entitled “Five Variations on a Theme,” was created for New York City Ballet's principal dancer Joaquin De Luz. The work was performed as part of the “Kings of the Dance” program, premiering in the Ukraine in November 2008. David's other choreographies have been created for leading dancers from American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet. During David's dance career, he performed with Chicago's Boitsov Classical Ballet, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Ballet Theatre of Chicago, and in Indiana University's production of Don Quixote, directed by Susan Jones of American Ballet Theatre. David had the honor of performing alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov in “The Doctor and The Patient” at the 2004 Lincoln Center Festival. He currently teaches for Central Park Dance studios, the Long Island Ballet Theatre School, and at Westport's Academy of Ballet in Connecticut. He is happy to create new works at the Ballet Hispanico School of Dance for the Pre-Professional Repertory class and to be the Ballet Master at Brooklyn Ballet. David spends his summers teaching intensives at several ballet and contemporary companies in both the United States and Mexico.  David has been working with Brooklyn Ballet as an educator, dancer and now choreographer since 2004. www. davidferndance.com

Mike “Big Mike” Fields, Choreographer and Dancer, is a performing artist and teacher, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Specializing in hitting, animation, waving and isolations, he combines storytelling and comedic elements in his dancing. He was a member of Hip-Hop Connections, a group that brings educational performances to schools around the tri-state area. He has worked with artists such as Chaka Khan and Busta Rhymes, and he has performed at venues such as Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Brooklyn Museum, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Galapagos Art Space, Hip-Hop Theater Festival, and Dance Theatre Workshop, among others. He is currently a performer and collaborator with Brooklyn Ballet and is a faculty member at Takalaland Dance Studio in Flushing, Queens.  Mike has been a collaborator and dancer with Brooklyn Ballet since 2005.

Avram Finkelstein, Art Director, is an artist and writer from Brooklyn, NY. He is a founding member of the Silence=Death collective and the art collective, Gran Fury, with whom he has collaborated on public art projects for The Whitney Museum, The Venice Biennale, Artforum, LAMOCA, and The New Museum. His solo work has shown at The Whitney Museum, The Cooper Hewitt Museum and Kunsthalle Wien, and is in the permanent collections of MoMA, The Whitney, The New Museum, The Smithsonian and The Victoria and Albert Museum. He is Artist In Residence at The Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at NYU, has been invited to speak about art and collective cultural production by Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU, Parsons, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Arts and Labor working group of Occupy Wall Street, and been interviewed about art in public spaces by publications including The New York Times, Frieze, Artforum, and Bomb.  Avram is the Art Director for The Brooklyn Nutcracker.  

Julia K. Gleich divides her artistic energies between London and New York. She is Co-Founder of Norte Maar based in Brooklyn, NY where she is the director of CounterPointe and Dance at Socrates. Her choreography has been produced internationally. Her dance films have been screened in galleries and festivals in the US and Asia. Gleich’s choreography has been reviewed in The New York Times, Village Voice, The New Criterion, ArtNews, Brooklyn Rail and DanceInsider. Her original research on movement theories using Vectors was published in the Dynamic Body in Space. Julia is Head of Choreography at London Studio Centre, on the technique faculty of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (Ballet and Limon), and Artistic Director/ Choreographer of Gleich Dances. She was External Examiner for Hong Kong APA and was awarded the Distinguished Alumna medal for 2014 by the Ballet Department at the University of Utah where she received her MFA. Julia has been collaborating with Brooklyn Ballet since 2013.

Elana Herzog is an artist who uses material culture to consider aspects of ephemerality and entropy, pleasure and pain, attraction and repulsion. She has built a visual language that is both formal and evocative, and is increasingly focused on the relationship between technology and culture, the hand and the mind, the mind and the machine. Herzog finds and collects non-precious materials that are often second hand, discarded or cheaply mass produced. Herzog was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017. She is a lecturer at Yale University. This is Elanas first collaboration with Brooklyn Ballet.

Along with her studies of Theaterwissenschaft at Munich University and a doctoral dissertation on the history of dance notation systems, Claudia Jeschke was professionally trained in various dance forms. Deeply interested in theater she started with choreographing and performing as well as acting and directing – always with strong emphasis placed on issues of documentation, notation and archiving. Her respective academic and practical expertise allows her to approach dance heritage as well as current developments both 'in actu' on stage and in academic writing – for example in deciphering Vaclav Nijinsky’s dance notation system and restoring his ballet L’Apres Midi d’un Faune (with Ann Hutchinson Guest). As guest professor, she has taught in Europe, the USA (University of California at Riverside), Canada (University of Toronto), Asia (several universities in Tokyo and a lecture tour to China) and South America (universities of Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre), and she helped introduce dance studies as an academic discipline in German theater and dance departments such as Munich, Leipzig and Cologne. In 2004 she joined the faculty of the academic Department for Studies in the Fine Arts, Music, and Dance at Salzburg University as the then first and only professor of dance studies in Austria and became head of the Derra de Moroda Dance Archives (ddmarchiv.org). Her publications and performances focus on dance-historical and theoretical issues as well as on movement research and notation – and the discursive transfers between these fields and strategies of research. Spectres is her third collaboration with Brooklyn Ballet.

Leila Ligougne, LED Tutu Designer, is a New Yorker by adoption. She has lived in Quebec, Paris, London and New York getting inspired from the youngest of age. After studying in Paris, and having her clothing line in Canada, Leila spent most of her career getting a rich experience from collaborating with renowned architect Gaetano Pesce and working the two opposite ends of the fashion design and business spectrum alongside Catherine Malandrino and later as a Design Director at Victoria’s Secret. Most, recently, she started “Ligougne Studio” consulting in the fashion industry and started an eponymous collection of summer dresses and cover-ups. Ligougne is always dabbling with art and she is now also pursuing her interest in forward computational fashion. Leila is one of the designers for Brooklyn Ballets 'The Brooklyn Nutcracker'.

Belinda McGuire (Dancer, Choreographer), originally from Toronto, graduated from The Juilliard School (BFA 2006). Through Belinda McGuire Dance Projects, she performs primarily solo work, choreographs and engages in collaboration and production. McGuire was nominated for the 2013 Dora Award for Outstanding Performance (The Heist Project), was recognized by the 2007 Susan Braun Award of The Dance Films Association, and has taken part in choreographic residencies at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts (Nova Scotia, 2014), Espace Marie Chouinard (Montreal, 2013), The International Choreographic Arts Centre Amsterdam (2010), and the Bessie Schonberg Residency at the Yard (Martha’s Vineyard, 2008). Her choreography has been presented across North America, including the Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal (Nova Scotia, 2015), Juilliard in Aiken Festival (South Carolina, 2015), Dance Ontario Weekend (Toronto, 2014 and 2015), at Festival de la Ciudad Merida (Mexico, 2009), the Canada Dance Festival (Ottawa, 2002), and in New York City on the stages of the Peter Jay Sharp Theater and Alice Tully Hall, and Joyce Soho. She has danced with The Jose Limon Dance Company, Gallim Dance, Doug Varone and Dancers and The Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre. She teaches and choreographs as a guest artist for The Limon Institute, New York University/Tisch and The Juilliard School, the New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble, for CCDT (Toronto), Ecole de Danse Contemporaine de Montreal, New Dialect (Nashville) and for various other schools and universities across North and Central America. As a producer, Belinda launched her one-woman show The Desert Island Project in New York City and Toronto (autumn, 2008) and The Heist Project in NYC (December 2011) and in Toronto (March 2013). Through these solo endeavors, she has commissioned new work from Kate Alton, Andrea Miller, Sylvain Emard, Sharon B. Moore, Idan Sharabi, Zoe Scofield and has collaborated with Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten.

Sylvia Nolan, Costume Designer, is Resident Costume Designer at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where she has been working for over 14 years. She is at the head of the main costume shop: here, the staff makes or modifies costumes and accessories for 28 productions, put on during the 33 weeks of a theater season. She also has a passion for ballet: she permanently works for the New York Theatre Ballet and has been collaborating with internationally renowned choreographers, such as Martha Connerton, Matthew Neenan and Benoit-Swan Pouffer.  Sylvia is the costume designer for Brooklyn Ballet's Nutcracker.

Matthew Olwell has been performing and teaching as a dancer and percussionist at festivals and theaters across North America and Europe since 1996. He was immersed in a world of music, dance and theater from an early age, traveling with his family’s wooden-flute making business. He has studied with some of the finest teachers in percussive dance, including Baakari Wilder, Donny Golden, Eileen Carson, and The Fiddle Puppets.  In 2010 Matthew was accepted to the first ever tap program at Jacob’s Pillow, where he studied with, among others, Harold Cromer, Derick K. Grant and Dianne Walker. Matthew danced for nine years with the Maryland-based Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, with whom he performed in Riverdance. In 2006 he co-founded Good Foot Dance Company, and he has performed with the likes of Lunasa, Tim O’Brien, Eileen Ivers, Matapat, David Munnelly, Corey Harris, Liz Carroll, and Bassekou Kouyate.In the summer of 2014, Matthew performed in Russia on a U. S. State Department Arts Envoy tour with The Meaning of Buck Dance. Other recent projects include a guest appearance with Anam (a new performance piece co-produced by Ireland’s National Folk Theatre and The Dublin Dance Festival), and CyberTrad, Matthew’s debut solo album, which blends wooden flute and Human Beatbox with Irish and Breton music, and of which the Irish Echo said, “Outstanding… Olwell is an artist with a keen vision.” Matthew also performs regularly as a member of Maivish with Jaige trudel and Adam Broome.  This is Matthew's second performance with Brooklyn Ballet.

Lynn Parkerson began her career as a choreographer while living in Munich, Germany. Ms. Parkerson’s choreography has been presented at many prominent international events and venues, including the Munich Theater Festival, Frankfurt’s Theatre am Turm, the Florence International Festival of Dance, Moers New Jazz Festival, Jazz Festival Baden-Baden and An Appalachian Summer Arts Festival in Boone, NC, among others.  In New York City, she presented annual dance programs—notably the popular ballet series To the Pointe—as Director of Dance at Holy Trinity from 1991-2001. Her work has been supported by grants from the Harkness Foundation for Dance, Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation and Con Edison. In 2002 Lynn Parkerson founded Brooklyn Ballet and currently serves as its Artistic Director.  Her ballet studies began as a child with Barbara Bounds in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She later danced with the Boston and Chicago Ballets, performing in many Nutcrackers and Balanchine ballets. In New York City, Ms. Parkerson was a trainee at the Harkness House for Ballet Arts, and on scholarship at the Merce Cunningham School.  In recognition of her exceptional leadership contributions to Brooklyn’s cultural community, Ms. Parkerson received the Betty Smith Arts Award as part of the Women’s “Herstory” Induction Ceremony and Reception on March 22, 2007. Each year, the awards are given to six outstanding Brooklyn women. In November 2006 she received the Paul Robeson Award for Artistic Excellence and Community Service.

Malcolm Parson is a native of New Orleans. He has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center as a part of Paquito D’Rivera’s “Bird With Strings” and as a featured artist at Blue Note Jazz Club’s “Late Night Groove Series.” He has shared the stage with legends such as Ron Carter, Dave Liebman, Christian Howes, Burt Bacharach, Terri Lynn Carrignton, Eugene Friesen and Patrice Rushen, among others. Born into a musical family, Mr. Parson began his study of violin at age eight before moving to the cello that same year. He received his first personal violin as a recipient of the Louis Armstrong Foundation Inc. “Golden Horn Award” that recognized and awarded talented aspiring young musicians. Upon relocating to Atlanta, Georgia, he was selected to participate in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) “Talent Development Program,” which allowed him to study with ASO’s Karen Freer. Through this opportunity, he was awarded his first personal cello from The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS), won the Atlanta Community Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition and was a featured soloist at the National Black Arts Festival “Classics From The Next Generation” and Andre Watts’ “5oth Birthday Celebration.” In 2007, Mr. Parson received a Presidential Scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music as well as a scholarship award from the Atlanta Federation of Musicians, Local 148-462. Mr. Parson has performed with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a Grammy-winning old-time string band from Durham, North Carolina and is currently a member of the Turtle Island Quartet. Malcom has composed 5 original scores for Brooklyn Ballet.

Cornelia Thomsen grew up in the former eastern part of Germany where she attended numerous art camps from an early age. She worked as a porcelain painter at the Meissen Porcelain Company in Meissen, Saxony. After the reunification of Germany she moved to the Frankfurt area and attended the University of Art and Design in Offenbach/Main where she earned her BA and MFA. In 2006, she moved to New York with her husband and three children, where they opened a gallery for Japanese Art. Her work focuses on the recent history of Germany, abstract painting and color theory, and the study of nature in different media. She is represented by Leslie Feely Fine Art in New York. Cornelia has designed 3 works for Brooklyn Ballet.

Nick Vermeer, Technologist, is a maker and hardware hacker who enjoys working at the nexus of technology and art. As a member of NYCResistor he has worked on projects for RedBull Creation, Hackerspace challenges, and most recently, Brooklyn Ballet.