Verb Ballets presents Three Ladies of Dance Masterclass Workshop with Roni Mahler, Laura Alonso, and Aseelah Shareef 

CLEVELAND, OH - Verb Ballets is excited to offer the Three Ladies of Dance Masterclass Workshop on Saturday, March 25, 2017 at the Verb Ballets Studio in Shaker Heights. Classes will be taught by esteemed dance professionals Roni Mahler, Laura Alonso, and Aseelah Shareef. This program includes classes in ballet, classical variations and Horton based modern dance. These classes are recommended for all students ages 12+ and are open to all dancers who would like to attend from local studios, colleges or the community. Verb Ballets expands opportunities for bright and talented dance students in Northeast Ohio with masterclasses to help young dancers grow. 
 
Roni Mahler 
Technique 10:00-11:30am 

Roni Mahler is a former ballerina who danced principal roles with American Ballet Theater and The National Ballet of Washington (D.C). She had a long tenure with the Cleveland San Jose Ballet Company as its Ballet Mistress. She was a former faculty member at the Juilliard and the Joffrey Schools and has taught at The Alvin Ailey School, Ballet Academy East, and Ballet Tech. Mahler is the recipient of the 2003 President's Award from the Dance Masters of America, the 1992 the Dance Educators of America Award and the 1994 Artistic Achievement Award from the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters.    
Laura Alonso  
Classical Variations Noon-1:00pm  

Ms. Alonso had a 25-year career performing with Ballet National de Cuba including soloist work in all of the traditional classics. This master class is part of Laura Alonso's two month residency with Verb Ballets through The Cleveland Foundation's Creative Fusion: Cuba Edition.  During her residency she will train Verb dancers, host master classes in the community and stage select repertoire from the classical ballet repertoire. 
 
Aseelah Shareef 
Horton-Based Modern Dance 1:30-2:45pm  

Aseelah Shareef is a dancer, educator, and arts/non-profit administrator. Her dance training began at the Palm Beach County School of the Arts in Florida and then she went on to study at the prestigious Alvin Ailey Summer Dance Program. She has performed with Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre and Step Afrika! She maintains her dance training through the Lester Horton technique and West African dance study. 
 
Cost is $75 for the full day and includes 3 masterclasses, snacks and ticket to the evening performance of Verb Ballets at the Breen Center. Open to all dancers ages 12+ who would like to attend from local studios, colleges or community.  Limited space is available! Register quickly at http://verbballets.org or by calling 216-397-3757. Pre-registration is required. For questions please contact Desmond Davis, Coordinator of Education & Outreach at ddavis@verbballets.org. 
 
Teacher Biographies 
 
Laura Alonso 
Laura Alonso, daughter of world famous ballerina Alicia Alonso and renowned teacher and coach Fernando Alonso, is herself known as a teacher, coach and an expert at staging the well-known classics. For seven years she served as the personal coach and teacher for international prima ballerina assoluta, Alicia Alonso. Dance Theatre of Harlem artistic director, former prima ballerina and former editor of Pointe magazine, Virginia Johnson, calls her an, “international master teacher extrordinare.”  
 
Ms. Alonso’s 25 year performing career with Ballet National de Cuba included soloist work in all of the traditional classics. Today she travels around the world teaching and staging the classics for pre-professional as well as professional companies such as London’s Royal Ballet School and The Royal Danish Ballet.  
 
Although born in the United States, Alonso is a resident of Havana where she has an international dance school, Centro Pro Danza, which welcomes 1,500 students, and a professional performing company, The Ballet Classic of Havana.  
 
A teacher of world-class experience, Ms. Alonso has taught Ms. Alonso has taught for professional ballet companies all over the world including Cuban National Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet, the Australian Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, the Tokyo Ballet, the Toronto Ballet, the Alberta Ballet. She was a member of the faculty at the Regional Dance America's National Festival in 1997 as well as at the RDA/NE Festival 1998 and the RDA/SE 1999. For seven years, she served as the personal coach for international ballerina Alicia Alonso.  
 
Ms. Alonso was honored with an award as the best coach at the Jackson International Ballet Competition in 1990. Her student, Jose Manuel Carreno, won the Grand Prix de Ville, the highest award possible. Ms. Alonso has served as coach, jury member and teacher at the Jackson IBC and as jury member of the Concours International de Dance de Paris, France, the Alicia Alonso International Ballet Competition and other competitions around the world.  

Along with her expertise in working with professionals and aspiring professionals, Ms. Alonso is extremely gifted at working with young dancers of all ages and experiences. She is willing to instruct anyone who wants to learn and has transformed students in just a few classes. Alonso's mission is to bring the highest quality dance to students everywhere. 
 
Roni Mahler 
Roni Mahler is a former ballerina, trained by the renowned Madame Maria Yurieva Swoboda in her native New York City. She performed principal roles with American Ballet Theatre and the National Ballet of Washington (D.C.), after beginning her career as a teenager with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Ms. Mahler is currently the Artistic Associate of Dennis Nahat's Ballet San Jose in California, where she continues to perform caractère roles. Her New York City teaching credits include The Alvin Ailey School, Ballet Academy East, Ballet Tech,The Joffrey School and Juilliard. 
 
Ms. Mahler's extensive repertoire has included Myrta, Queen of the Wilis, in Giselle; Swanilda in Coppelia, Odette/Odile in the full-length Swan Lake, the Flower Girl in Gaite Parisienne, the Female Matchmaker in Les Noces, the Elder Sister in Pillar of Fire, Emilia in The Moor's Pavane and, more recently, The Countess in District Storyville. Juliet's Nurse and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet and Her Stepmother in Fall River Legend. She has also danced leads in Les Sylphides, Raymonda, The Four Temperaments and Serenade. 
 
Following appearances as a guest artist with Australia's Sydney Festival Ballet and at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Roni Mahler spent six years as director of Dance at Kansas State University (1974-1980.) She initiated their Dance degree program, co-founded and co-directed the KSU Dance Workshop, received an Outstanding Teaching Award in 1975 and was selected as an Outstanding Young Woman of America for the year 1978. She is the creator of a series of educational recordings and manuals devoted to ballet technique, as well as a program entitled "Ballet Movement For the Athlete" which she eventually customized for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League. 
 
In 1988, Ms. Mahler choreographed for Cynthia Gregory and Fernando Bujones at New York's City Center. She subsequently served as Artistic Advisor for Ms. Gregory and Company during their 1992 Taiwan tour. 
 
Roni Mahler is the recipient of the 2003 President's Award from the Dance Masters of America, the 1992 the Dance Educators of America Award and the 1994 Artistic Achievement Award from the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. In 1996, she received the first annual Roni Mahler Award, established by Kansas State University and presented each year to honor outstanding effort on behalf of dance in the Manhattan community. In 1999, the University named a new ballet facility the Roni Mahler Studio. 
 
Ms. Mahler is the creator of three ballet instruction videos: "How To Improve Your Ballet Technique," "How To Improve Your Pirouettes" and "How To Improve Your Pointe Technique." Her fitness video entitled "Stretch It!" improves flexibility and range of motion. 
 
Since 1993, Roni Mahler has been an annual instructor at the acclaimed Rancho La Puerta Spa in Tecate, Mexico, where she is the guest presenter each year for its Ballet Weeks. She also taught ballet for Syracuse University's Tepper Semester in New York City and continues to offer master classes and seminars in this country and abroad. In 1996, she served as Guest Teacher-In-Residence for the inaugural semester of the School of Ballet San Jose. 
 
Aseelah Shareef 
Aseelah Shareef is a dancer, educator, and arts/non-profit administrator. Her dance training began at the Palm Beach County School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL, during which time her artistic study led her to the prestigious Alvin Ailey Summer Dance Program. She has performed with Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre (2002-03) under the leadership of Cleveland son, Michael Medcalf, and experienced the world one stage at a time with Washington DC based, Step Afrika! (2007- 2014). Aseelah is currently working as Director of Programs at Karamu House, Inc. Her additional experience includes former Dance Director of Cleveland School of the Arts, Project Manager for Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Department of Arts Education, Adjunct Professor of Dance at Cuyahoga Community College and dance master-teaching artist for the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning - formerly Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio. She maintains her dance training through the Lester Horton technique (modern) and West African dance study. Aseelah is a graduate of The Florida State University, receiving a MA in Arts Administration and a BS in Exercise Science. Aseelah Shareef is a dancer, educator, and arts/non-profit administrator. Her dance training began at the Palm Beach County School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, FL, during which time her artistic study led her to the prestigious Alvin Ailey Summer Dance Program. She has performed with Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre (2002-03) under the leadership of Cleveland son, Michael Medcalf, and experienced the world one stage at a time with Washington DC based, Step Afrika! (2007- 2014). Aseelah is currently working as Director of Programs at Karamu House, Inc. Her additional experience includes former Dance Director of Cleveland School of the Arts, Project Manager for Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Department of Arts Education, Adjunct Professor of Dance at Cuyahoga Community College and dance master-teaching artist for the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning - formerly Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio. She maintains her dance training through the Lester Horton technique (modern) and West African dance study. Aseelah is a graduate of The Florida State University, receiving a MA in Arts Administration and a BS in Exercise Science. 

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