Summer Faculty
  Daniel Duell
Founder and Artistic Director, Ballet Chicago
Repetiteur, The George Balanchine Trust

Ballet Chicago Artistic Director Daniel Duell is a force in the development of American Classicism, and is passionate about the advancement of ballet technique in its purest and most energetic form. As a dancer with the New York City Ballet from 1972-1987, he was taught and coached daily by George Balanchine. Quickly rising through the ranks, Duell was promoted to Soloist in 1977, and then Principal Dancer in 1979. He performed a wide-ranging repertoire, dancing leading roles in the ballets of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins, and Jacques d'Ambois, among others, including multiple works that were created for him. A Ford Foundation Scholarship recipient from the age of 13, he trained with the Dayton Civic Ballet, then at The School of American Ballet, and at the age of 19 was invited to join NYCB. In addition to his fifteen years at NYCB, he was a featured guest artist for numerous companies nationwide and performed for several PBS Dance in America public television programs. Duell has been choreographing since 1980 and has created works for Ballet Chicago, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Dayton Ballet, Harkness Dance Theatre, The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and The School of American Ballet. He also collaborated with WTTW Channel 11 in Chicago to design two programs; the first, an Emmy Award winning special (outstanding cultural programming) on Ballet Chicago, and the second entitled "Love in Four Acts," a program showcasing four Chicago choreographers selected by Duell. He was also awarded the 2000 Ruth Page Award from the Chicago Dance Community for the Artistic Direction of The Ballet Chicago Studio Company. 

Duell is a frequent lecturer on ballet, music, and the arts, serves on several not-for-profit boards and advisory boards, and has been an adjudicator for the National Endowment for the Arts and The Illinois Arts Council. He is also a repetiteur for The George Balanchine Trust and stages ballets across the United States. He conducts master classes in both the United States and Europe, including repeated teaching engagements at The School of American Ballet, Indiana University at Bloomington, The University of Iowa, and the Bulgarian National Dance Academy in Sophia, Bulgaria. In Spring 2011, Duell worked with the Royal Danish Ballet, teaching and coaching the company in preparation for its New York season. Duell returned to The Royal Danish Ballet in Spring 2012 in preparation for the company's Copenhagen performances of Balanchine/Stravinsky masterworks.

  Patricia Blair
Associate Artistic Director and School Director, Ballet Chicago
Repetiteur, The George Balanchine Trust

Patricia Blair was born in New York City, began studying ballet at the age of 7, and launched her professional performing career at the age of 17. She trained in many schools including North Carolina School of the Arts and Harkness House for Ballet Arts, but attributes her summer at the School of American Ballet with igniting her love for and commitment to the Balanchine Technique®. A fun fact - while a student at North Carolina School of the Arts, she was chosen to dance the role of "Myrtha" in Giselle alongside principal dancers Svea Ekloff (Grande Théåtre de Genéve) and American Ballet Theatre’s Burton Taylor – a true honor. After leaving NCSA, she returned to NYC, studied with David Howard and Nanette Charisse, and subsequently joined the Eglevsky Ballet under the direction of NYCB former principal, Edward Villella. Six years later, while still dancing full time with the company, she became one of the organization's Ballet Masters.

Ms. Blair performed as a guest artist developing new works with numerous NY choreographers, danced in musical theatre productions across the US and on Broadway, and briefly entered the LA motion picture world with Pavanne for a Dying Princess, a solo dance film created especially for her.

Ms. Blair is highly committed to the artistic education and personal well-being of young dancers. She began working with children when she was only 15 years old, and to this day, her love and respect of classical ballet and passing that on to young artists is one of her greatest passions. She was an active teacher in New York City at both Harkness House for Ballet Arts and Steps NY. Additionally, she volunteered to teach at-risk youth in churches and community centers.

She came to Chicago in September 1987, at the invitation of former NYCB Principal dancer Daniel Duell, to stage ballets for Chicago City Ballet's fall season. After working together for only three weeks, Duell invited her to relocate to Chicago and join his artistic team. From 1988-1997, she was Ballet Master for the newly established Ballet Chicago. For a brief period, she even filled in as the organization’s Interim Executive Director. In 1995 Duell and Blair formed The School of Ballet Chicago where she serves as School Director and Associate Artistic Director of the Ballet Chicago Studio Company. In addition to her work with Ballet Chicago, she has been a guest teacher for the Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle, the National Dance Institute and New Mexico School of the Arts in Santa Fe, and Indiana University in Bloomington. She has also had the honor of teaching at The School of American Ballet in New York City.

Ms. Blair has a lifelong love for the ballets of George Balanchine, and values both the privilege of having performed so many of them, as well as the joy of passing them on to today’s dancers. As a repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust, she is responsible for staging and maintaining a large body of work for Ballet Chicago. She has also staged Mr. Balanchine’s ballets for St. Louis Ballet, Indiana University Bloomington, and most recently, Huntsville Ballet.
  Ted Seymour
Resident Choreographer, Ballet Chicago

Ted was born in Dallas, Texas where he began his training at The Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. He later moved to Chicago to study with Daniel Duell and Patricia Blair at the School of Ballet Chicago as a member of The Ballet Chicago Studio Company. Ted choreographed his first ballet for BCSC, Toccata for 5, in 2001.
Later, Ted moved to New York to attend the School of American Ballet. While at SAB, Ted choreographed two ballets for the Student Choreographic Workshop and was invited by Peter Martins to create a new work for The New York Choreographic Institute. Upon leaving SAB, Ted joined Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, dancing for choreographers such as Edward Liang, Nicolo Fonte, and Benoit-Swan Pouffer. Ted joined Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2007 where he has danced featured roles in Balanchine’s Episodes, La Valse, and the Act II pas de deux from A Midsummer Night’s Dream among others.

He has been a faculty member since 2009, and was named Ballet Chicago’s Resident Choreographer, choreographing for the company’s mainstage performances and educational programs. Ted choreographed the critically acclaimed Creatures of Prometheus for the 2012 International Beethoven Festival, Celestial Rites for Ballet Chicago’s 25th Anniversary Season at The Harris Theater in 2013, Intermezzi for Ballet Chicago’s 2014 Spring Repertory Season at The Harris Theater, Danzon! for 2015 and Secrets de Printemps for 2016.
  Paul Boos
Repetiteur, The George Balanchine Trust

Born in Sioux Falls, SD, Mr. Boos relocated himself to NYC at 15 to study dance as a scholarship student, first at the Harkness House, then American Ballet Theater School, and finally the School of American Ballet. After dancing principal roles in Balanchine’s Symphony in C and Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering as part of SAB’s graduation workshop performance, Mr. Boos was invited by Mr. Balanchine to join New York City Ballet, at the age of 18. Mr. Boos went on to dance with NYCB for 13 years before he launched into the international scene as a teacher. His first engagement came from the Royal Danish Ballet, where he taught company classes for 3 years, concurrently, he was a full-time faculty member of the National School for Modern Dance, also in Copenhagen. He has been invited to teach at the Royal Ballet School in London, Paris Opera, La Scala, Het National in Amsterdam, and Tokyo Ballet. In 1992, Mr. Boos was entrusted by the George Balanchine Trust to become a sanctioned rèpètiteur. Since then he has gone on to stage ballets at the Bolshoi, Paris Opera, Maryinsky, La Scala, Joffrey, and others.  Mr. Boos frequently teaches ballet at Steps on Broadway in New York City, his home city. The George Balanchine Foundation named Mr. Boos Project Associate for its Interpreters Archive (IA) in 2016. Here he directs the filming of principal dancers who worked closely with Balanchine, coaching roles they danced either as originators or as successors. This is Mr. Boos’ third summer teaching for Ballet Chicago’s Advanced Intensive.
  Brittany Hurst
Faculty Member, Ballet Chicago

Brittany Hurst was born in Los Angeles, California where she began her training at the Pacific Dance Academy under Louise Mandel. While training at PDA she had the privilege of taking master classes from Sheila Rozann. She later attended summer intensives at Ballet Chicago. In 2010 she moved to Chicago, Illinois and joined Ballet Chicago's Studio Company. While a studio company member she had the opportunity and privilege of learning and performing Balanchine ballets. Some of which are Agon, Concerto Barocco, Divertimento No. 15, Serenade, Square Dance, Rubies, Who Cares?, Stars and Stripes, Swan Lake, and Walpurgischnat. She is very pleased and honored to have joined the Ballet Chicago faculty.
  Simone Messmer
Principal, Miami City Ballet

Born in Minneapolis, Minn., Simone Messmer began studying dance at the age of nine at Ballet Arts Minnesota. At 14, she continued her training at The HARID Conservatory in Boca Raton, Fla., and was awarded the Jeannot B. Cerrone Award for Excellence in Dance. At 16, she resumed her training at Ballet Arts Minnesota under the direction of Bonnie Mathis. Ms. Messmer participated in American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive Program in 2001 and joined the ABT Studio Company in that same year. Ms. Messmer danced with ABT for over a decade, rising to the rank of soloist in 2010. While in the company, Messmer originated major roles in new works by Alexei Ratmansky such as Firebird, Symphony #9On the Dnieper, as well as works by Christopher Wheeldon and Benjamin Millepied. Her extraordinary range extends from Twyla Tharp’s Baker’s Dozen to Giselle’s Myrtha. Ms. Messmer was awarded the Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship in 2010.

Her other repertoire with ABT included The Bright StreamLe CorsaireRaymondaBallo della ReginaBirthday OfferingCompany BDrink to Me Only With Thine EyesIn The Upper RoomOvergrown PathPetite MortSinfonietta, and Within You Without You: A Tribute to George Harrison. Ms. Messmer joined San Francisco Ballet in 2013 performing principal roles in Balanchine’s Agon, and Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, and Ratmansky’s From Foreign Lands and Chamber Symphony. Other major roles included “The Man I Love” in Balanchine’s Who Cares?, The Firebird in Passokov’s The Firebird, and appearances in works by Mark Morris and Liam Scarlett. Ms. Messmer first came to Ballet Chicago is 2012 dancing Balanchine’s Sugarplum Pas de Deux with Ted Seymour in Ballet Chicago’s Nutcracker. She has returned numerous times to coach our dancers in preparation for both Nutcracker and Spring Rep performances. Ms. Messmer is a devotee of Gyrotonic® and Gryrokenesis® Methods. The Gyrokinesis Method is a movement method that addresses the entire body, opening energy pathways, stimulating the nervous system, increasing range of motion and creating functional strength through rhythmic, flowing movement sequences. It is an original and unique method, which coordinates movement, breath and mental focus Ms. Messmer credits much of her strength and abilities to having incorporated this unique, holistic system into her daily regiment, and she is very excited to share her knowledge with Ballet Chicago’s students.

Ms. Messmer is currently a principal dancer with Miami City Ballet. We are delighted to welcome her to our faculty this summer.
  Megan Wright Otto
Faculty Member, Ballet Chicago
Faculty Member, Chicago High School for the Arts

Megan is a Chicago native and alumni of Ballet Chicago who holds a B.A. in psychology from DePaul University. She has danced professionally with the Los Angeles Ballet and the Saint Louis Ballet. In addition, she has performed with the San Diego Ballet and completed professional workshops with the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and Alonzo King's Lines Ballet. Megan spent her summers studying at the School of American Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet School, and American Ballet Theater. Prior to joining the Ballet Chicago Studio Company, she trained at the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center. Megan is also a faculty member at the Chicago High School for the Arts, and performs regularly at the iO Theater.
  Briana Robinson
Company Member, Thodos Dance Chicago

A native of Gary, Indiana, Briana Robinson began dancing at her church at a young age. Her formal dance training began at the age of eleven, at the Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts, under the direction of Larry Brewer and Michal Davis. Her passion for dance and choreography grew as she began creating her own solos for various dance team competitions throughout middle school and high school. In 2013, Briana graduated and received her BFA degree from The Juilliard School in New York City. While at Juilliard, her self-choreographed solo, Learn by Heart, was chosen to be performed in the dance division's Choreographic Honors performance. Choreographic Honors highlights exceptional student created works from throughout the school year. After graduating, Briana became one of the dance captains in Julie Taymor's production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream in Brooklyn, NY. She premiered her second professional choreographic work, Uncovering, in the summer of 2016 at the Athenaeum Theatre, as part of Thodos Dance Chicago's New Dances choreography initiative. Briana is very thankful to have had the opportunity to reset Uncovering, in 2017, as it was chosen to join the company repertoire of Thodos Dance Chicago. Briana was a company member with Thodos Dance Chicago for 3 seasons. She greatly appreciates every opportunity she's had to perform, choreograph, and teach in her hometown and in the surrounding Chicago area. Ms. Robinson is looking forward to continually sharing her passion for movement.


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