Company

Ballet Nebraska’s talented professional dancers hail from around the nation and abroad, making the Midwest their home to share the excitement of dance with others. Through the company’s expressive performing artists, acclaimed choreographers, and skilled teachers, Ballet Nebraska plays a key role in the cultural vitality of the region.


Erika Overturff

Artistic Director & CEO

Artist Sponsor: Anne Thorne Weaver
Erika 8Erika Overturff is the founder of Ballet Nebraska, the region’s professional ballet company. Under her leadership as artistic director and CEO, Ballet Nebraska 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 Ballet Nebraska. 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, and Go West! Other featured works include Tropico, Party Animals, The Diner, and Ella. Erika also created Ballet Nebraska’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 Midlands Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Awards, honoring area entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals.


Matthew Carter

Ballet Master

Artist Sponsor: Union Pacific Foundation

Matthew 8Matthew 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. 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, and Puck in Oscar Antunez’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Also a choreographer, he has premiered original works with numerous schools and professional companies, including Bacchanale Variations, Signs of Life, Sadako, Poseidon, Transcription and Swan Lake for Ballet Nebraska. 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 Ballet Nebraska and returns for his eighth season as ballet master.

More about Matthew…

 

Artists


Erin Alarcón

Artist Sponsor: Deborah & Clyde Overturff

8 Erin AlarconHometown: 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; eighth season with Ballet Nebraska; founding company member.

More about Erin…


Rebecca Brenner

8 Becca BrennerHometown: Columbus, Ohio

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in dance from University of Cincinnati’s 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: 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; fourth season with Ballet Nebraska.


Ryan Christopher

8 Ryan ChristopherHometown: 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; fifth season with Ballet Nebraska

More about Ryan…


Katherine Eppink

Artist Sponsor: Herb and Carole Dewey
8 Katherine EppinkHometown: 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! and Ella

Additional Highlights: performed two world premieres in Seoul, South Korea; fourth season with Ballet Nebraska

More about Katherine…


Claire Goodwillie

8 Claire GoodwillieHometown: Omaha, Nebraska

Training & Experience: Omaha Theater Ballet School of Dance; 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: eighth season with Ballet Nebraska; founding company member

More about Claire…


Alyssa Grimsley

8 Alyssa GrimsleyHometown: 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: 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; fourth season with Ballet Nebraska


Alexandra Hoffman

8 Alexandra HoffmanHometown: 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: Ballerina Doll and Spanish in The Nutcracker; Little Swan in Swan Lake; roles in Cleopatra, Go West!, Bournonville Divertissements, and Transcription

Additional Highlight: third season with Ballet Nebraska


Wyatt Payne

wyatt2Hometown: 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: Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Snow King in The Nutcracker; pas de deux from Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, and The Firebird

Additional Highlight: first season with Ballet Nebraska
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Bret Samson

8 Bret SamsonHometown: 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: eighth season with Ballet Nebraska; founding company member

More about Bret…

Kelsey Schwenker

8 Kelsey SchwenkerHometown: 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 Lake, and DanceSport

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

More about Kelsey…


Amaris Sharratt

8 Amaris SharratHometown: 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: roles in Giselle, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Cleopatra, Go West!, Swan Lake, and Ella

Additional Highlights: performed in Edinburgh, Scotland as a scholarship recipient at Burklyn Ballet Theater; fourth season with Ballet Nebraska

Anders Southerland

anders2Hometown: 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: wide assortment of corps de ballet and character roles in main company productions and lead roles in second company repertoire

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


Anna Swenson

8 Anna SwensonHometown: 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: Arabian Princess in The Nutcracker; Big Swan in Swan Lake; soloist in Blackbird; roles in Party Animals, Giselle, Cleopatra, Go West!, and Ella

Additional Highlight: fifth season with Ballet Nebraska


Katie van der Mars

8 Katie van der MarsHometown: 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: lead in George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie; French soloist and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker; soloist in Les Odalisque, Swan Lake, and Bournonville Divertissements; featured roles in Party Animals, Giselle, The Diner!, Go West!, and Ella

Additional Highlight: sixth season with Ballet Nebraska

More about Katie…


Chloé Watson

Artist Sponsor: Herb and Carole Dewey
chloe2Hometown: Dallas, Texas

Training & Experience: B.F.A. in dance performance from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, State University of New York, cum laude; Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, high dance honors; Dallas Ballet Center; private study with Kim Abel; Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance on scholarship; studied under former Paris Opéra Ballet étoiles in Paris and under members of Compañia Nacional de Danza in Madrid

Featured Repertory: roles in Snow White, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Paquita, Cleopatra, Go West!, Swan Lake, and Ella

Additional Highlights: performed in George Balanchine’s Serenade at Jacob’s Pillow; presented her original works Temporary Dwelling in Ballet Nebraska’s New Works program and Ophelia on tour with Ballet Vero Beach; fifth season with Ballet Nebraska

More about Chloe…


Sasha York

Artist Sponsor: Omaha World-Herald

8 Sasha YorkHometown: Chelyabinsk, Russia

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

Featured Repertory: 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; eighth season with Ballet Nebraska; founding company member

More about Sasha…

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Apprentices


Nora Carr

8 Nora CarrHometown: 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

Summer Programs: American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet
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Elena Carter

elena2Hometown: 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

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Kogan Murphy

8 Kogan MurphyHometown: Chicago, Illinois

Training & Experience: Joffrey Ballet trainee; Ballet Theatre of Indiana; Judith Svalander School of Ballet; Miss Illinois talent scholarship; Miss Douglas County

Summer Programs: Joffrey Ballet

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Rachel Smith

rachel 2Hometown: Plymouth, Massachusetts

Training & Experience: Nashville Ballet trainee; Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre graduate program; Boston Ballet School

Summer Programs: Walnut Hill School of the Arts, Boston Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Nashville Ballet

 

Whitney Walsh

8 Whitney WalshHometown: Westlake Village, California

Training & Experience: Joffrey Ballet trainee; California Dance Theatre; Pacific Festival Ballet

Summer Programs: Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, and Kirov Academy of Ballet
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Trainees

emily2Emily Eisel

Hometown: Fairfax, Virginia

Training & Experience: Fairfax Ballet; Motion41 Dance, Ballet Nebraska II; Ballet Chicago Studio Company

Summer Programs: Motion41 Dance and Ballet Chicago

 

katerina2Katerina Schwietzer

Hometown: Vero Beach, Florida

Training & Experience: Space Coast Ballet Academy; Kirova Ballet Academy; private training by Heidi Khursandi; Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Academy Graduate; apprentice with Gelsey Kirkland Ballet

Summer Programs: American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Kirova Ballet Academy of Miami, Ballet Vero Beach, and Gelsey Kirkland Academy

 

 

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