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Artistic Staff

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Stephanie Brent - Executive & Co-Artistic Director

Born in Oroville, California, Stephanie Brent started her dance career at age three with the Stars National Dance Team in Monterey, California. Ms. Stephanie danced competitively for six years where she collected multiple titles and awards. She went on to study under Ms. Lucy Cederleaf at the Dance Ballet 2 in Roseville, California. Ms, Stephanie continued her dance education at the Roseville Academy of Dance in Roseville, California. Her studies have included ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, modern, tap, character dance, ballroom, musical theatre, and hip hop. She has performed in countless shows. Her favorites were Giselle, Wizard of Oz, and Swan Lake. She danced in The Nutcracker with the San Francisco Ballet and Sacramento Ballet. She also performed in Disneyland, California for several years. Ms. Stephanie has taught dance worldwide, including: Dance Gallery 2, Roseville, California; Yokota Dance Company, Tokyo, Japan; and in Germany where she was the studio director at the Grace Academy of Dance in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Ms. Stephanie has trained dancers that have gone on to So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Next Best Dance Crew, and have choreographed for World of Dance. She has a Bachelors of Arts in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on child development and English language acquisition and minors in child development and English as a second language, as well as, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University Sacramento. Ms. Stephanie became the Executive/Co-Artistic Director of the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy in 2019 after being Academy Principal. As Director, the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy placed multiple times in the NUVO dance competition and sent students off to prestigious dance programs and colleges. Ms. Stephanie has choreographed many pieces that have been repeatedly performed in the Anchorage Ballet’s repertoire. She is the co-creator of the Dance with Me and Bitty Bear Ballet curriculum for the Academy and an active member of the DSOA Inner Circle.

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Ryan Martin - Co-Artistic Director & Ballet Master

With a career expanding over 28 years, Mr. Ryan Martin has more than 25 years of experience as a professional ballet and contemporary dancer. He graduated from two prestigious ballet schools, the National Ballet of Canada and Mr. Ryan was the first American male dancer ever to be accepted into the Kirov School - now known as the Vaganova Ballet Academy. Ryan has danced with companies in Russia, Germany and the United States (Tulsa Ballet, Charleston Ballet Theatre, BalletMet, and Milwaukee Ballet) and worked closely with celebrated artists and choreographers. He has performed principal and solo roles in the classical repertoire as well as working with important choreographers of the 20th century. His own choreography is a reflection of his dynamic experiences and includes original works in both classical and contemporary styles. Mr. Ryan became the Co-Artistic Director and Ballet Master of the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy in 2020.

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Tara Brooker - Assistant Director

Originally from Florida, Ms. Tara Brooker’s love of ballet started at age four. Ms. Tara studied ballet, jazz, and tap at The Dance Academy in Tampa, Florida. In addition, she was lucky to attend two high schools that offered excellent dance programs. She also studied ballet at Sell’s Broadway Company under Chris Sell. After high school, she was a teacher assistant in Riverview, Florida. Ms. Tara moved to Oklahoma in 2005 with her husband and two kids, where she continued her dance education and began teaching ballet.  She has performed in Chicago, Anchorage Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker and with The Gemini Dance Band for five years. She has studied under Courtland Weaver, Michelle Katcher, and many others. Since joining the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy in 2018, Ms. Tara has choreographed many pieces and is the co-creator of the Dance with Me and Bitty Bear Ballet curriculum for the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy. Ms. Tara is also an active member of the National Dance Education Organization.

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Alice Bassler Sullivan - Ballet Mistress

Born and raised in Alaska, Alice Bassler Sullivan began her dance training in Anchorage, studying with Lynda Lorimer and Steve Primis. In 1975, Ms. Sullivan earned a BFA from the University of Utah Ballet Department, graduating magna cum laude, while performing with Ballet West. She danced with the First Chamber Dance Company, and five seasons with the Minnesota Ballet. Alice returned to Alaska in 1982 and led Alaska Dance Theatre in unprecedented achievements through June 2009 as its Founding Artistic Director. In recognition of her outstanding leadership within the community, Ms. Sullivan was named a finalist in the BP Women of Achievement Award and the Athena Awards. In 2010, Ms. Sullivan was awarded the Lorene Harrison Lifetime Achievement Award by the Mayor’s Arts Award. Sullivan was also honored with a Rasmuson Individual Artist award in 2013.

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Kathryn Gabel - Instructor

Kathryn Gabel began her ballet career at the Lake Erie Ballet Academy at the age of four. Ms. Kathryn spent the next five years training under Statia Sublette, founder of the Lake Erie Ballet, Youngstown Civic Ballet, Buffalo Ballet, and Head of Chautauqua Dance Department. Ms. Kathryn had her first opportunity to perform at the age of six in the annual Lake Erie Ballet’s Performance of The Nutcracker as a party child. At age 10, Ms. Kathryn enrolled in the Sylvia Clay Ballet Academy. She continued to study in Haverhill, Massachusetts, during the week and took Saturday classes with Boston Ballet. Wherever Ms. Kathryn lived, she always managed to find a ballet class to take. After having her two sons, she enrolled in an adult class and began teaching at Pacific School of Dance. Ms. Kathryn spent the next 20 years working with Connie Hogge, a Eugene Ballet Academy Instructor; Christine Rader of Ballet West: Mary Paula, the former owner of Petaluma School of Ballet; and Joan Sanders-Seidel, a Master Program Instructor at the North Carolina School for the Arts. In addition, Ms. Kathryn rehearsed the Party Scene and Waltz of the Flowers for the Eugene Ballet Coos Bay performance of The Nutcracker for 18 years.

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Amy Black - Instructor

Originally from Oklahoma, Ms. Amy Black started studying ballet and jazz at the age of five. Ms. Amy has studied at the La Mesa Dance Academy, Dance Works of Enid, and the Broadway Bound Academy of Dance. She has done summer intensive with the Washington Ballet and the Paris Opera Ballet. She has trained under Trey Pickett, Cecelia Jarmillo, and Debby Alllen and has worked with the New Mexico Ballet Company and Ballet Repertoire Theatre of New Mexico. She began teaching ballet in 2017. She also trains as a figure skater. Ms. Amy relocated to Anchorage, Alaska in the spring of 2021 and is proud to be a part of Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy.

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James Ackermann - Instructor

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Mr. James Ackermann has been dancing since he was five years old. He started his dance study in Ballet, Jazz, and Tap, later adding Musical Theatre, Hip Hop, and Contemporary to his repertoire. Mr. James has trained under Ms. Celia Aramillo and Ms. Jennifer Boren, and developed a strong sense of technique while dancing in companies like Festival Ballet. Musical Theatre is his passion and he has been featured in shows such as Footloose, West Side Story, and Chorus Line. Mr. James started teaching multiple genres of dance in 2010 and has performed in over 70 Musicals, he is excited to pass his passion on to the next generation.

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Kiara Bringhurst - Instructor

Born in Utah, Ms. Kiara Bringhurst’s love of ballet started at the age of seven when she took lessons in her friend’s basement. With her dad in the military, her family moved around the west and eventually ended up in Alaska. She didn’t pick up her dancing dream again for ten years, dancing at the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy. She has been with the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy since January of 2021 studying under Ms. Kathryn Gabel. She graduated from Chugiak High School and Family Partnership Charter School with a dual enrollment in May of 2021. Ms Kiara has been studying dance at the Brigham Young University-Idaho with plans to graduate with a major in Family Studies and a minor in Dance.

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Shannon Wellmann - Instructor

Ms. Shannon Wellmann is a born and raised Alaskan. The Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy has been her second home since the age of three. She has had instruction in the Vaganova ballet technique from Mr. Ryan Martin and Ms. Holly Steadman. She splits her ballet education between Anchorage and New York City. Ms. Shannon has also been trained in the French ballet technique under the direction of Mr. Francois Perron at the French Academie of Ballet. She has studied contemporary dance and choreography from Mr. Juan Rodriguez, Instructor for the Broadway Dance Center and the Juilliard School.  She has completed several summer intensives, including: American Ballet Theatre and America’s National Ballet Company. She has studied under Mr. Sascha Radetsky, Mr. Ethan Brown, and Ms. Hollie Wright. Shannon has danced in many Anchorage Ballet productions. She has been cast in several featured roles in the Nutcracker, including the Snow Queen, Caribou Doll, Soldier Doll, and the Chinese Empress. She was featured as a soloist in Chopiniana in 2021. Her many other performances have included Aurora and the Northern Lights, Stars and Stripes, and Coppelia.


Charlotte Letner - Instructor

Born in Tennessee, Charlotte Letner is a graduate of Chugiak High School. Her education includes the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division Teachers’ Program Intensive. She has undergone extensive education under Holly Steadman and Stephanie Brent at the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy in the levels of Dance with Me, Creative Movement, Bitty Bear Ballet, and Pre Ballet. Ms. Charlotte is a specialist in early childhood education. Since 2003, Ms. Charlotte has worked in the early childhood education field as  a Lead Preschool Teacher at the Sunshine Schools and as a private childcare provider. She joined the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy in 2017.

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Mary Claire Letourneau - Instructor

Ms. Mary Claire Letourneau was born in Seattle, Washington. She took her first ballet class at St. Philomena’s in kindergarten performing as a bunny in Hansel & Gretel. She studied at Barbara's School of Dance in Anchorage, Alaska. Ms. Mary Claire has studied lyrical, jazz, tap, hip hop, ballet, improv, and theater. She taught  jazz and hip hop at the New City Dance Company in Burien, Washington. Ms. Mary Claire has been active in the Anchorage Community Theater. She has played the White Witch in the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; the Russian Maid in Silver Thaw; and performed various readings in the Vagina Monologues. She was awarded a Fine Arts Award for oil paints at University of Anchorage, Alaska. She is currently completing her elementary teaching credential.

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Avery Canale - Instructor

Born in Fort Worth, Texas Avery Canale started dancing at age four at Act One Ballet Studio. Mx. Avery has studied Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and Contemporary dance. Mx. Avery is also an accomplished figure skater and continues to train under the director of Ms. Lisa Henry. Mx. Avery studied at the North Central Ballet Studio and the Nytex Ice Rink under Ms. Jennifer Anderson and Ms. Beth Zeoli. Mx. Avery has earned several first place awards at regional and district Color Guard competitions under the direction of Ms. Lara Rogers. Mx. Avery has undergone extensive education under Ms. Stephanie Brent and Ms. Tara Brooker at the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy in the levels of Bitty Bear Ballet and Pre-Ballet.

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Layla Brent - Teaching Apprentice

Originally from California, Ms. Layla Brent started her dancing journey at age five at the Grace Studio of Dance in Kaiserslautern, Germany under the Direction of Ms. Jenny Doyle and Mr. Sobir Utabaev. She relocated to Anchorage and the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy at age seven where she joined the Pre-Professional Program at age 10. She has studied Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, Contemporary, Lyrical, Tap, and Character Dance. Ms. Layla has trained under Mr. Ryan Martin, Ms. Holly Steadman, Ms. Stephanie Brent, Ms. Michelle Katcher, Mr. Colby Damon, Ms. Victoria Jaini, and Mr. James Kirby Rodgers. She attended Sacramento Ballet Senior Summer Intensive in 2022 under the direction of Mr. Jorge Laico and Mr. Anthony Krutzkamp on a merit scholarship. Ms. Layla has performed in Anchorage Ballet’s productions of Coppelia, Carnival of the Animals, Chopiniana, Dracula, Stars and Stripes, The Ugly Duckling, Sleeping Beauty Fairies as the Lilac Fairy, and in The Nutcracker as the Dew Drop, a Harlequin Doll, and Chocolate Dance. She has competed at Youth America Grand Prix Semi - Finals twice, once in San Francisco and once in Seattle. Ms. Layla has placed several times at NUVO Anchorage and in 2021, she was awarded NUVO Junior Break Out Artist. From 2018 - 2022, Ms. Layla was a Teaching Assistant at the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy. She also has a Teaching Certification from the International Dance Teacher Association and a Certification in Toddler and Preschool Dance from Once Upon a Ballet.

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Madison Kohler - Teaching Apprentice

Ms. Madison Kohler was born in Anchorage, Alaska and started dancing at age four at the Children's Dance Theatre. She started her formal dance training at the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy at age eight and joined ACBA’s Pre-Professional Program in 2018. She then went on to study at the Kirov Academy of Washington D.C. under the direction of Ms. Joan Boada. She also attended Los Angeles Ballet Summer Intensive in 2022 under Ms. Colleen Neary and Mr. Thordal Christensen. Ms. Maddie has studied Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, and Character Dance. She has been extensively trained by Mr. Ryan Martin, Ms. Stephanie Brent, Mr. Runqiao Du, and Ms. Michelle Katcher. Ms. Maddie has performed as Marie in Anchorage Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. She has also danced in the ballet’s Coppelia and Carnival of the Animals. In 2021, Ms. Maddie received third place and a DJ’s Pick award at NUVO Anchorage. She also competed at Youth America Grand Prix Semi - Finals in Seattle in 2020 and 2021.

Teaching Assistants


Ms. Kinley Kohler

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Ms. Araceli Ardern

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Ms. Julia Wagner

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Ms. Lia Zender

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Guest Artists

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Jessica Lopes - Guest Artist

Brazilian born Jessica Lopes began her ballet training in 2014 at Escola de Dança Alice Arja, where she trained until joining Miami City Ballet’s Pre-Professional Program for their 2015-16 season where, upon completion of the program, she received a Certificate of Graduation. After her time in Miami, Jessica returned to Brazil and joined Cia de Ballet de Rio de Janeiro as a Corps de Ballet member.


Jessica returned to the states in 2017 to compete in the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition and later to join the Milwaukee Ballet 2 Program where she spent two seasons training and performing alongside the company, featured in Corps de Ballet roles throughout these two seasons, and receiving soloist casting in Bruce Wells’ “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. She has had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers during her travels and training including; Aleix Mane Saez, Kathy Posin, Pam Tanowitz, Gerard Ebitz, and many more.

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Isaac Sharratt - Guest Artist

Isaac Sharratt began his ballet training in Tucson, AZ, training first at Tucson Regional Ballet and then moving his training to Ballet Tucson in 2004. He was awarded scholarships to attend several summer intensive programs including; San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet. Where he trained under world class dancers and instructors including; Jorge Esquivel, Peter Boal, Claudio Muños, Parrish Maynard, Bruce Wells, Sonia Dawkins, and many more.


Mr. Sharratt rose from Ballet Tucson’s academy into the company at the age of 16, where he spent three more years with Ballet Tucson as a company member, affording him the privilege of learning and performing works from the Tudor Foundation, as well as being given the opportunity to train under world class instructors and dancers. He performed the lead in Anthony Tudor’s “Little Improvisations”, as well as performing Tudor’s “Continuo”. He worked closely with ballet superstars John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow, as well as renowned Jeffery Graham Hughs, Pamela Raymond, and Lawrence Peck.


He moved from Ballet Tucson in 2008 to join the Milwaukee Ballet’s second company trainee program, spending only one year in the program before being asked into the company. During his ten years with Milwaukee Ballet, Mr. Sharratt was cast in several world premier full length ballets by Michael Pink, doing lead roles in many, and playing the title role in Michael Pink’s “Beauty and the Beast”. Over his time in Milwaukee Mr. Sharratt was cast in many world premiers and restagings and has had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers such as; Trey McIntyre, Mauro de Candia, Val Caniparoli, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Mark Godden, Amy Seiwert, Septime Webber, Matthew Neenan, and many more.

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Brian Guerrero - Guest Artist

Began his training at “The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School” in 2012. Brian participated in YAGP and was awarded 3rd place in classical and 1st place in pas de duex category. He continued his study of dance an graduated in 2020. During his time there he had the opportunity to perform roles such as Cavalier in “The Nutcracker”and the lead in Grand Pas Classique. Since then Brian has performed in numerous dance festivals in Cuba, The Festival Internacional de Ballet de Costa Rica, and performed with the Youth Ballet Company Panama. Brian has now joined The Minnesota Ballet as a company member. 

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Executive Director - Stephanie Brent

Artistic Directors - Stephanie Brent & Ryan Martin

Assistant Director - Tara Brooker

Ballet Master - Ryan Martin

Ballet Mistress - Alice Bassler Sullivan

Instructor - Kathryn Gabel 

Instructor - Amy Black

Instructor - James Ackermann

Instructor - Shannon Wellmann

Instructor - Charlotte Letner

Instructor - Kiara Bringhurst

Instructor - Avery Canale

Instructor - Mary Claire Letourneau

Teacher Apprentice - Layla Brent

Teacher Apprentice - Madison Kohler


Technical Director - Eric Lizer

Stage Manager - Sarah Dion

Sound - Rick Miller

Lighting Design - Eric Lizer

Costume Design - Stephanie Brent & Tara Brooker

Videographer - Chris Cupp

Photographer - Chris Cupp & Jason Kohler

Light Board Operator - Eric Lizer

Lead Fly Operator  - Peter Pogage

Academy Administrator - Jocelyn Schendel

Administrative Assistant - Lydia Schock

Administrative Assistant - Ava Cintula

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Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy

Board of Directors


Sam Fortier ● President

Marvin Adams ● Vice-President

Lynn Murphy ● Secretary/Treasurer

Nicole Cusack ● Member

Camille Kohler ● Member

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Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy


Gold Patron


Anonymous • Atwood Foundation★ • Garold Gardner Scholarship Foundation★ • Manning Family Foundation★ • Rasmuson Foundation • YK Key Investments • Anonymous • Municipality of Anchorage • Holy Cross Parish • Mr. Matthew Rodarte


Silver Patron  

$2,500 - $4,999

Alaska State Council on the Arts • Anonymous • National Endowment for the Arts★


Bronze Patron

$1,500 - $2,499

Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Adams • Anonymous • The Edward Barrington Family★ • Mr. Ray Huot • Mr. Brandon and Stephanie Brent • William and Diane Finnegan★ • In memory of Capt. Richard Fodor★ • Mr. and Mrs. Joe Libal★ • Drs. Scott and Kitty Wellmann



$750 - $1,499

Alaskan Memories • Mr. and Mrs. Dave Cloninger • Mr. Stephen Williams • Jens’ Restaurant • Jonathon A. Katcher and Kate Michaels★•  Mr. and Mrs. Joe Libal★ • Ms. Juliana Osinchuk★ • Mr. David Kolesky and Mrs. Barbara DeMarco  • Brad and Michelle Johnson•  Jason and Camille Kohler  • Matson Navigation Company



$250 - $749

Alaska Memories • Ms. Annette Alfonsi • Anonymous • Network for Good • Alyeska Pipeline Service Company★ • Ms. Patricia Curl • Ms. Marisa Gathman • Mr. Vladimir Coon • In Memory of Lt. Col Ray A. Lammon, Jr.★ • Ms. Diane Primis • Mr. Theodore and Sara Kim • Ms. Nicole Cusak


Corps de Ballet

Up to $249

Anonymous • Mr. Pedro Aurelio • Ms. Alayna D. Cuddy ★  • Ms. Heather Dorman • Mrs. Lela Embry • Mr. Peter Erickson • Ms. Mary Fitzgerald • Kroger • Ms. Barbara Hanson • In Memory of Mr. Kenny Kankanton★ • Mr. Carl Persson★ • Mrs. Alice Sullivan★ • Major and Mrs. Gerald Taft  • Mr. Courtland Weaver • Ms. Maureen Wilson • Amazon Smile • Pick.Click.Give • Mr. John Coon • Anonymous • Ms. Rae Anderson • Mr. Jimmy Bigelow • Ms. Marie Crosley★ • Mr. Michael Dennis • Ms. Jennifer Euler • Fathom Graphics★ • Mr. Colin Fike • Mr. Joe Franz • Tony and Karen Gardner • Mr. Christopher Gatch • Mr. Terrence Kell • Madison and Kinley Kohler • Mr. Judidiah Long • Mr. Phillip Mitchell • Mrs. Janna Preston • Mr. Russ Reno • Ms. Layla Brent  • Mrs. Joyce Rinder • Ms. Laura Stamm • Mr. William Theuer • Maj. Martha  Wilde • Mrs. Kathryn Gabel • Devin and Farida Hickey • Mrs. Lynn Murphy • Jason Polchinski  • Brennon  Land


★Denotes 10 years of contribution

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