Speakers

Speakers and Performers Will Include:

Bruno AugustoBruno Augusto

Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre; Co-Founder of Arts & Above

Bruno is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Arts & Above. As an art maker, performer, and educator, his body of work consists primarily of dance, music, poetry, and film. Bruno’s works have been presented in the Washington DC metro area, New York City, and the bay area of San Francisco. Internationally his works have been presented in Cuba, Portugal, Germany, Angola, and Algeria. He has been a professional dancer for 21 years; performing in Cuba, Angola, and throughout the United States, while touring Africa and Europe. His formal training includes classical Ballet, modern dance, and contemporary movement techniques as well as acting and music composition. Mr. Augusto holds a diploma from the National School of the Arts in Havana, Cuba, a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Towson University in dance performance and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in dance performance and choreography.

Dirk BadenhorstDirk Badenhorst

CEO and Founder
Biennial South African International Ballet Competition

Dirk Badenhorst is a South African dancer and dance therapist. He holds a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy, a Teacher’s Diploma in Dance and Movement Therapy, and a M.B.A. He studied at the University of Cape Town's Dance School and has danced with South Africa's CAPAB Ballet and PACT Ballet. Badenhorst has performed in Spain at the José and Helena Montoya Spanish Dance Company and at Austria's Danza Lorca. In 2001, Badenhorst combined his interests in dance administration and youth development to become a founding member of the South African Ballet Theatre, the first independent, professional ballet company in South Africa. He has spent decades strengthening global connections between dancers, dance academies, and youth; and he continues to push the boundaries of dance locally and internationally. He is a qualified practitioner in dance and movement therapy and has worked to provide services to the Unica School for Autistic Children, Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital and the New Hope School for the Mentally and Physical Handicapped. Bandenhorst is also the CEO and founder of the biennial South African International Ballet Competition.

Seth BodnarSeth Bodnar

President
The University of Montana

Before coming to the University of Montana, Mr. Bodnar was a senior executive at the General Electric Company, where he was responsible for long-term strategy and business transformation at GE Transportation, a global company with over 10,000 employees and approximately $5 billion in revenue.  Previously, he was President of GE Transportation’s Digital Solutions business and was GE Transportation’s first-ever Chief Digital Officer. In this capacity, he merged multiple teams from across GE – along with two acquired companies – into an integrated business with approximately 1,500 employees around the world.  By implementing a rigorous operating process and a cohesive, mission-driven strategy, he and his team dramatically improved the business’s operational performance, launched innovative new products, and enabled double-digit growth.

Seth graduated first in his class from West Point, received both the Rhodes and Truman scholarships, and earned two masters degrees from the University of Oxford. He served as an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, where he taught economics, published research on economic development in conflict areas, mentored cadets applying for post-graduate scholarships, and led field training courses on leadership. Seth continues to serve as an Army Reserve officer and a visiting faculty member at West Point, and he is a board member of The Positivity Project, a non-profit organization focused on character education.

Prior to his time on the faculty at West Point, Seth had a distinguished military career, serving in the 101st Airborne Division and the US Army’s First Special Forces Group.  As a member of the Army’s elite Green Berets, he commanded a Special Forces detachment on multiple deployments around the world and later served as a special assistant to the Commanding General in Iraq. As a result of his collaborative leadership style and his ability to lead teams through uncertainty and change, he received numerous awards and was promoted early to the rank of Major.

MaryAnn BonjorniMaryAnn Bonjorni

Artist and Professor of Drawing
The University of Montana

MaryAnn Bonjorni has long since been interested in the West and Western society, especially through personal investigations into family and place. In the past, she has supported herself by farming, commercial fishing, bartending and working as a ranch hand—and has literally and figuratively sweated out any romantic notions she once held about “western-ness.” Bonjorni’s work as an artist seeks to link the characteristics of solace amidst a beautiful environment with economic stress, injury, death and beating the odds. She trained under the influence of late Modernism, practicing within the linguistic chatter of Post Modernism, with much of her work emphasizing process and signing. She works primarily through drawing, but also explores with paining constructions, installations and working with specific sites. Recently, Bonjorni has lectured about the role of arts in STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and the increasing popularity of STEAM, seeing the naturally coupled world of art and science. 

Pegy BousounisPanagiota Peggy Bousounis

Founder, Director, Teacher and Choreographer
Centro de Artes Escénicas de Panamá

Panagiota Peggy Bousounis studied ballet, tap, jazz and flamenco at the Academia de Danzas Ileana de Sola y Josefina Nicoletti, and immediately thereafter entered into teaching. She taught in Body Language, by Nicoletti, and has performed in more than 15 theatrical montages. Bousounis is also a folk dancer and general manager in Ballet Folclórico Panamá Danzas Hoy, by Armando Julio. She is an active member of the Asociacion Amigos del Ballet Nacional. Currently she is the general manager of Centro de Artes Escénicas de Panamá, which she founded. 

Charlene CampbellCharlene Campbell

Artistic Director
Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre

Born in Chicago, Charlene Campbell began her ballet studies with her mother, Elisabeth Gillette Campbell, going on to train at the National Academy of Arts and later at the American Ballet Theatre, where she became a member of the faculty as assistant to Director Patricia Wilde. Ms. Campbell’s career has continued uninterrupted since 1976, during which time she danced at Radio City Music Hall, worked as choreographer for Chicago’s “Light Opera Works,” spent seven years as Ballet Mistress for the Hubbard Street Dance Company, and served as a leading dancer or choreographer for hundreds of ballets, operas, night club acts, and industrials. Ms. Campbell has continued to coach, teach, and choreograph all over the world at institutions including the Broadway Dance Center in New York City, the Balletto di Roma, and at the Korper Choreographic Institute in Naples.

In 1998, Ms. Campbell opened Rocky Mountain Ballet Theatre (RMBT) in Missoula, Montana. RMBT has over 50 original ballets in its repertoire and began touring internationally in 2002. RMBT dancers were in the 2001 film The Flying Dutchman, which was shot in Darby, MT, and danced in the productions “Kismet” and “Candide” with Light Opera Works in Chicago. Prior to the 2008 Olympics, Ms. Campbell led an RMBT delegation of 46 Montanans to Beijing, Guilin, Yangshou, Shanghai, and Suzhou, China as part of a two-year project which produced the “Montana” program. Ms. Campbell also proctored master classes at the National Ballet of China. Following the tour, Ms. Campbell accepted an invitation to return to China in October 2008 to participate in the Beijing Dance Academy International Ballet Competition as a master teacher and coach.

Rafael ChaconRafael Chacon

Ph.D., Professor of Art History and Criticism
The University of Montana

Serving as a professor of Art History and Criticism at the University of Montana since 1994, Rafael Chacon has written on many topics, including Renaissance and baroque art in Europe and the Americas. Chacon’s work takes a look at the role of art in past and present societies, and his passion for education has led him to become a featured lecturer around the world. He remains active in educating global and non-traditional audiences about art and culture and was named one of ten “Five-Star Smithsonian Journey Experts” in 2014.

Alina Ciceo

Alina Ciceo

Owner/Artistic Director & Choreographer
JUMP IN Dance Company, Cluj Napoca (Romania)

Alina Ciceo won first place in duets with her dance partner, Radu Domsa, at the Vienna International Ballet Experience (VIBE) USA 2017 in Missoula, MT and at VIBE International 2016 in Vienna, Austria. She currently is the artistic director and owner of JUMP IN Dance Company in Romania. She is also a teacher at School of Choreography "Octavian Stroia" for the National Olympiad of Choreography. Alina has been performing, competing and teaching students across Europe since 2000.  She is a graduate of Gheorghe Dima Music Academy (Romania) and Babes Bolyai University.   

Diana HolshueDiana Holshue

Co-Founder and Board Member
She Action Sports Association (SheASA)

Diana is the co-founder and board member of She Action Sports Association (SheASA). She is also the Director of Branch Operations and Regional Outreach with 35 years of experience at the Helena Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. In her support of the Ninth Federal Reserve Bank’s Center for Indian Country Development, she facilitates a National Native Homebuyer Readiness workgroup and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Native Financial Education Coalition.

Diana serves on the Advisory Board for the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Montana. She holds degrees in Accounting and Business with emphasis in Economics and Finance from Carroll College in Helena. She is inactive CPA candidate and a member of both the Montana Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of certified Public Accountants. She completed Stonier Graduate School of Banking with honors distinction.

Tessa HolshueTessa Holshue

Executive Director and Co-Founder
She Action Sports Association (SheASA)

Tessa is the executive director and co-founder of She Action Sports Association (SheASA) a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower women while increasing their enjoyment and confidence in action sports. In her role, she works to increase access and participation by females in action sports programs through research, education, training and cultivating a supportive community. She strives to eliminate social stigmas, and highlight positive role models for women athletes.

Tessa is a four time silver medalist in Slopestyle and Rail Jam competitions including the 2017 USSA Junior National Championships, and the 2016 and 2017 USASA National Championships. She is a 2017 graduate of Windells Academy where she traveled across the United States and in New Zealand training and competing. In the spring of 2018, Tessa is planning to attend Carroll College in Helena Montana studying business and entrepreneurship.

Erica Rose JeffreyErica Rose Jeffrey

Director of Dance, Parkinson's Austrailia
Director, Peace and Conflict Studies Institute Austrailia

Dr. Erica Rose Jeffrey believes in the power of movement is connected to positive social change. Originally from Missoula, Montana, Jeffrey studied dance at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School before joining Ballet Internationale. After dancing professionally for several years, she attended Indiana University as a Wells Scholar and graduated with degrees in Ballet and Mediation & Conflict Resolution. Since 2001, she has been working to connect dance, empathy and peace and she has worked internationally as a performer, choreographer, educator, arts leader and facilitator. Jeffrey was also the first dancer to be selected as a Rotary World Peace Fellow, which led her to complete a master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland. Jeffrey’s Ph.D. work built upon her belief in the power of movement, investigating the connections of dance, empathy and peace at Queensland University of Technology. She is currently the director for Dance for Parkinson’s Australia and is also the director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Institute Australia. 

Abraham KimAbraham Kim

Executive Director
Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center

Dr. Abraham Kim is in his fourth year serving as Director of the Maureen & Mike Mansfield Center, an organization based out of the University of Montana that is dedicated to enhancing mutual understanding between the United States and East Asia through study, dialogue, and cultural exchange. Prior the Mansfield Center, Dr. Kim served as Vice President & interim President of the Korea Economic Institute (KEI) of America in Washington, DC. Dr. Kim previously also served as principal Korea analyst & research manager of government services at Eurasia Group, where he managed a group of analysts as they engaged in research projects regarding international trade, political stability in emerging markets, the political implications of the financial crisis, and the global pandemic crisis.

Lesole MaineLesole Z. Maine

Artistic Director, Dancer, Teacher and Choreographer
Lesole’s Dance Project

Lesole Z. Maine was born in Sebokeng, South Africa, a small township, just outside of Johannesburg. A place of rich cultural diversity, Sebokeng inspired Maine’s love for dance and his appreciation for the many ethnic customs surrounding him. During Apartheid, Maine studied Ballroom and Latin American Dance, receiving several community awards for outstanding performances in competition. In 1996 he began studying with Moving Into Dance Mophatong (MID), where he trained in Contemporary, Jazz, Afro-fusion, Modern, Ballet, Jive, Hip-Hop, and Traditional African dance. After graduating, Maine was offered a position as a dancer and teacher with MID. He performed with group for 5 years, in pieces by such acclaimed artists as Vincent Sekwati Koko Mantsoe, Gregory Maqoma and Themba Nkabinde. He has also worked with internationally recognized choreographers and companies and has toured around the world. In 2002, he moved to the United States where he continues to contribute to many performing arts projects.

Zac MaineLesole "Zac" Maine II

Junior Company Member
Lesole’s Dance Project

Lesole Z. Maine, II, son of LDP’s Artistic Director, Lesole Maine, is an elementary student in the Montgomery County Public School system. His first trip to South Africa was just five months after he was born in 2003 and he has traveled back to his father’s hometown of Sebokeng every summer. Zac practices drumming with LDP on Saturdays and had his first performance with the company in 2012 at the Maryland Traditions Folk Life Festival in Baltimore, and his first time on the stage for the Freedom of Expression’s 6th Annual Celebration of South Africa’s Youth Day and the American Juneteenth program.

Caridad MartinezCaridad Martinez

Faculty
Ballet Hispanico

Caridad Martinez, a former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Cuba, has performed in many of the world's greatest theaters, including Scala de Milano, the Champs Elysses Theatre in Paris, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Beaux Arts Theater in Mexico City, and the Mariinsky (formerly Kirov) Theater in Saint Petersburg. A graduate of Cuba’s National Ballet School, she also studied at the Superior Institute of Art in Cuba. While Martinez lived in Mexico, she spearheaded a nine-year campaign to bring Cuban-based training to Mexican youth. She succeeded in this by founding and serving as artistic director of the Cuban School of Ballet- Veracruz for 13 years. Martinez has also served as the artistic director and choreographer of The Havana Ballet Theater Company, as guest teacher and choreographer for the Beau Art Schools in Mexico, and as conservatory director and teacher at Brooklyn Ballet. She has choreographed for movies, television, ballet and modern dance companies, and Martinez is happy to bring the Cuban methodology to the Ballet Hispánico School of Dance.

Merritt MooreMerritt Moore

Ph.D., Quantum Physics
Professional Ballerina

Dr. Merritt Moore is a ballet dancer and quantum physicist, jumping from lab shoes and goggles to pointe shoes and tutus. She has danced as a member of the Zurich Ballet, Boston Ballet, English National Ballet and London Contemporary Ballet Theatre, and graduated with honors in physics from Harvard University. Moore recently received her Ph.D. in Quantum Optics from Oxford University and hopes to inspire more young women to study science by showing them that there are no standard personalities or paths for doing so. She believes the arts and sciences are not mutually exclusive and Moore has been working hard to juggle them both, encouraging other students to do the same. Moore was one of Glamour Magazines “Top Ten College Women in 2010”, was awarded Harvard’s prestigious Michael von Clemm Fellowship, and has won Oxford’s TEDx “Dance Your PhD” competition in the physics category.

Andile NdlovuAndile Ndlovu

The Washington Ballet

Andile Ndlovu of Johannesburg, South Africa, is in his eigth season with The Washington Ballet, after dancing one season with TWB’s Studio Company. Ndlovu began his training in Latin American and ballroom dance at the age of ten. At 15, he began training in ballet under Martin Schöenberg, director of Ballet Theatre Afrikan. In 2007, Ndlovu performed with South African Ballet Theatre, performing the lead in Don Quixote and the Jester in Swan Lake, among other roles. He went on to dance with Cape Town City Ballet and tied for First Place in the contemporary category of the 2008 South African International Ballet Competition. Since then Ndlovu went on to win awards on and off the stage for choreography and dancing in international ballet competitions as well. Ndlovu was part of the 15-year anniversary tour of Step Afrika! as a guest artist, performed his collaborative choreography solo with Gregory Vuyani Maqoma in Beyond Skin. He also choreographed Guardian of the Pool, which was performed by The Washington Ballet Studio Company.

Patric PalkensPatric Palkens

Principal Dancer
Boston Ballet

Born in Boston, Patric Palkens began his training at age 4 at his mother's studio. Studying primarily jazz, tap, and hip hop, Palkens competed in many competitions across the United States. He was introduced to ballet through a scholarship to train with the Municipal Theatre Ballet School in Santiago, Chile, after which he trained with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and Orlando Ballet II. 

Upon joining Orlando Ballet, Palkens performed in many premieres by Artistic Director Robert Hill. He joined Cincinnati Ballet in 2011 and quickly rose through the ranks to soloist after just a few short months. Following a last-minute stand in - and wildly successful- performance as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Palkens was promoted to senior soloist.

At age 25, Palkens left Cincinnati Ballet to dance with Salzburg Ballet at the Salzburg State Theater in Austria. He returned to Cincinnati Ballet the following year as a principal dancer, and joined Boston Ballet as an artist of the Company in 2017.

Enrique CanteroEnrique Perez-Cancio Cantero

EPC Dance Company

Enrique studied ballet, theatre, plastic arts, photography, illumination, set design, and directing in the CEDART Center of Artistic Education, Queretaro, Mexico. For two and a half years he studied in the CENADAD National Center of Contemporary Dance in Mexico, where he studied the Graham technique, and independently studied techniques and styles including Alexander, Horton, Limon, and Cunningham, as well as chorographical bases. In 2007 he formed part of the Youth "Company" of Classic Ballet of Catalunyia, in Barcelona, Spain. Here he danced a classic repertoire as well as different famous choreographs such as Rodolfo Castellanos, Jean Emile (CND, NDT), Roger C. Jeffrey (Whit Oak Dance Project), Juan Borona, Stephane Boko (Cirque du Soleil), Zane Booker (NDT), among others. One year later he directed Cia. Catalan de Dansa, with 12 ballerinas and 16 musicians. Later he formed EPC DANCE COMPANY and left Spain, touring different countries in Europe and America and presenting the company in a variety of festivals. He organized auditions for CODARTS Conservatory of the Arts of Rotterdam in Spain, opening the possibility for students to receive scholarships to attend the University of Holland. In 2012 he began to work with Annarella Sanchez, who invited Enrique to act as a guest choreographer in her private academy in Portugal, where he kept on as a local teacher. Annarella Sanchez is the professor for intermediate and advanced Classic Ballet at The Academy of Ballet and Dance, where she also choreographs contemporary pieces, boosts the classic repertoire, and prepares National and International contests. He also collaborated in the carrying out the Leiria Dance Competition and Dance World Cup Portugal. Among the prizes he won during his time collaborating with Annarella Sanchez was his emphasis in preparing various winning alumni in Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP), both as finalists as well as semi-finalists, Tanz Olympof Berlin, and diverse national and international competitions. As a choreographer, beginning in 2000, he has created more than 600 pieces. Among them include 8 complete ballets of his own creation, 28 pieces of medium duration, a variety of solos and duets, as well a large number of short pieces (no more than 5 minutes), all of which were presented in theatres and backed up by audiovisual material and/or paper. There does not exist an exact calculation of his works that were left out of production.

Bob SeidenschwarzBob Seidenschwarz

President Emeritus
Montana World Affairs Council

Robert Seidenschwarz, a University of Montana alum, began his professional career as a registered representative at I.D.S. Financial Services in 1982. In the spring of 1987, he left I.D.S. to become one of the original founders of the predecessor firm to S.G. Long & Co. He is a licensed financial advisor specializing in retirement and estate planning for individuals and businesses. For 13 years, Seidenschwarz served as Chairman of the Board for the Montana World Affairs Council. He is an advocate for international education and is active in all aspects of program development with the Council; Seidenschwarz has developed extensive professional and personal relationships in many sectors of industry in Montana, including foreign affairs and the energy industry.  He is often heard on KVGO Talk Back Radio as a guest speaker on topics affecting Montanans.

Astrid ShermanAstrid Sherman

Artistic Director
CatchingART Contemporary Ballet Theater & Pro Arté Centre Professional Training School

After graduating from Pretoria Technikon School for the Performing Arts in South Africa and training in Johannesburg, Astrid Sherman went on to dance professionally with the NAPAC Ballet Company in Durban, South Africa. Sherman’s work transitions fluidly between traditional ballet, modern, and neoclassical dance. Her passion to dance and to empower others through movement prompted her to pursue advanced studies where she was awarded the highly regarded, internationally recognized, advanced level teaching qualification of “Fellowship” from the Imperial Society for Teachers of Dance (ISTD). In 2003, she co-opened the Pro Arté Centre in North Vancouver, Canada, which has evolved into a major dance center. Recognizing the need to fully equip the new generation of performing artists, Sherman introduced CatchingART Contemporary Ballet Theatre in 2012, to prepare emerging artists for a future in dance through a diversity of technical training opportunities and experiences. She has also co-presented research at the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS) Conferences and had a paper published in the Dance Medicine and Science Journal in 2014.

Leslie StevensLeslie Stevens

Actress, Librettist, Dance educator and choreographer
Former soloist with Hubbard Street Dance - Chicago

Leslie danced as a soloist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago for five seasons, the Dayton Ballet for two seasons and kicked her way around the Broadway scene for more than a decade with appearances in LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, VICTOR/VICTORIA and TWELVE DREAMS at Lincoln Center. She has danced, acted and sung her way through 25 years of professional theatre and has danced as principal/soloist in 16 operas with LA Opera.

She choreographs for the award-winning 3D Theatricals in Orange County, CA; productions include INTO THE WOODS, SIDE SHOW, THE FULL MONTY, HELLO DOLLY & a re-imagined and original OKLAHOMA.  This season she made her choreographic debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the LA Philharmonic’s main stage production of NIXON IN CHINA. 

She has developed movement/dance for ROMEO & JULIET, MUCH ADO… and the premiere of RED BARN with the Independent Shakespeare Company – an L.A. favorite. Leslie has an ongoing relationship with several Universities in the Los Angeles area. She is a Guest Teacher of musical theatre repertoire for UCLA and UC Irvine. She is part of the Ballet Faculty and choreographer at AMDA LA and has been Guest Choreographer for CSUN.  CSUN productions include CABARET, RAGTIME & SWEENEY TODD with Director, Ken Sawyer and SPRING AWAKENING with Director, Garry Lennon. For LA Opera, Leslie created dance and movement for the original production of THE PLAY OF DANIEL with Director, Eli Villanueva, performed at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (downtown LA). A special occasion was to work with younger performers, choreographing and collaborating on THE SECRET GARDEN for Beverly Hills High School with Musical Director, Joel Pressman.

Also, a professional actor on stage and film, Leslie’s work is listed on www.imdb.com with clips and trailers available.