Eric Michael Otto was born and raised in Westchester, New York. He began dancing at the age of seven with the School of American Ballet in New York City. He has danced professionally with the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and BalletX.
He was an original cast member of Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away, performing the leading role of Sid. Mr. Otto was invited to join the cast of Tharp’s Movin’ Out where he starred in the Broadway and First National Tour companies as James. He has appeared on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera and toured with Twyla Tharp for her 50th Anniversary.
Mr. Otto has performed an extensive repertoire, including ballets by Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, John Cranko, Jiri Kylian, Kenneth MacMillan, and Jerome Robbins. He has danced roles created for him by Twyla Tharp, Paul Taylor, Lynne Taylor-Corbette and Matthew Neenan.
Most recently, Eric served as the Artistic Director of the Peoria Ballet in Illinois. He has also been a Ballet Master for BalletX in Philadelphia and taught on faculty at Ballet Academy East and Peridance in NYC. He is on guest faculty with The Rock School For Dance Education and the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago.
Erica Dankmeyer is a dancer and choreographer specializing in Modern and Contemporary dance. She earned her BA in Art History at Williams College and studied on scholarship in the Professional Trainee Program at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. As a Soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company (1996-2006), she performed extensively in the U.S and abroad in a wide array of Graham masterworks. She has served as régisseur of Martha Graham’s Steps in the Street.
Dankmeyer is the Artistic Director of Dankmeyer Dance Company, a collective founded to explore the creation and performance of new work, often in collaboration with live music. DDC presented two seasons at NYC’s Dancespace Project and has performed at Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out and beyond. Dankmeyer is also a founding member of 360º Dance Company, a company dedicated to reviving modern dance masterworks by choreographers such as Jane Dudley and Mary Anthony, and to performing vibrant, contemporary commissions. The company debuted in Oslo, Norway and performs annually in New York.
Ms. Dankmeyer is a faculty member of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance in New York City and has also taught Movement for Actors at the Neighborhood Playhouse School for the Performing Arts. She has been Artist-in-Residence at Jacksonville University in Jacksonville, Florida and at Williams College. She choreographed 5 works for the Williams College Dance Company prior to re-envisioning the company and founding CoDa (Contemporary Dance Ensemble), for which she is Artistic Director. At Williams, she teaches Fundamentals of Dance, Prelude and Revolt (the life and work of Martha Graham), Modern Masterworks, and Movement for Actors.
Janine Parker has been teaching for thirty years. She has had a long affiliation with the Boston Ballet School, as faculty member and Associate Principal and continues to teach in its Summer Dance Program. Previously, Parker ran the Children’s Dance Extension Division at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts, and was the Assistant Director for the school’s Summer Dance Workshop. In 2003 Parker moved out to Western Massachusetts, where she served as Artistic Director for Pioneer Valley Ballet. From 2007-2013, Parker was the founding director/teacher of The Ballet School at Bement, an afterschool program in Deerfield, MA. She has been a regular or guest faculty member/choreographer at various schools in the area, including Deerfield Academy and East Street Dance Center. In 2007 she joined the Williams College Dance Department and, as Artist-in-Residence, teaches several levels of ballet technique as well as history of and choreography from the ballet repertoire; she is a co-director of CoDa, the department’s contemporary dance ensemble. Parker danced with various ballet and modern companies in Massachusetts, and continued to perform character roles when she retired from dance. Since 1989 she has written about ballet and dance extensively, formerly for The Boston Phoenix and currently for The Boston Globe, The Berkshire Eagle, and The Arts Fuse. She co-wrote the memoir of her colleague Laura Young. The book — Boston Ballerina: A Dancer, A Company, An Era — was published by University Press of New England in November 2017.
Jonathan Riedel is the choreographer and Artistic Director of Riedel Dance Theater, founded in 2003. He has created works for the Limón Dance Company, the Purchase Dance Company, the Yard, Dance New York International, the Good Moves Consort, Agnes Scott College; and developed choreography and character movement for the video game, Godessia, produced by Artware. DanceView Times proclaimed his work “brilliant,” “profoundly moving,” and having “an ingenuity and timing that would make Petipa jealous.” His work has been performed at the Kennedy Center, the World Trade Center Plaza, The Egg, FringeNYC, the Downtown Dance Festival, and DanceNOW NYC. His solo The Angel was integrated into AHRC’s curriculum of dance for students with autism. A native of Rye, NY, he began dancing at the age of 17 and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College. He prospered in a career with the Limón Dance Company from 1996 to 2006, performing works by Doris Humphrey, Antony Tudor, Donald McKayle, Murray Louis, Jirí Kylián, Lar Lubovitch, and Doug Varone. He danced many of José Limón’s masterpieces including Chaconne, Orfeo, Psalm, There is a Time, and The Moor’s Pavane. Tobi Tobias of ArtsJournal declared him to be “surely one of the most fascinating dancers the company has harbored.” He recently earned an MFA in choreography at Purchase College.
Madeline Cantarella Culpo
Madeline Culpo is the Company’s Founder and Artistic Director. She was a member of the first dance class at the Julliard School, studying with such legendary teachers as Margaret Craske, Antony Tudor, Alfredo Corvino and Martha Graham. She studied extensively at Jacob’s Pillow and performed in Ted Shawn’s Mountain Whippoorwill. She served on the board of directors at the Pillow and was a faculty member there for five seasons. Ms. Culpo is a nationally recognized teacher of dance, having taught throughout the United States. In 1955, she opened the Cantarella School of Dance from which evolved into the Berkshire Ballet. Many of her have entered the world of professional ballet, dancing with internationally known companies; The Boston Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ohio Ballet and others. A recipient of three choreography fellowships from the NEA; she has choreographed many of the works in ABB’s extensive repertoire, including The Rockwell Suites, Nutcracker, and Mushabiuyyah. Ms. Culpo was featured in “Dance Magazine: in an article entitled “Great Starts American Teacher Series”- “A Tribute to Teachers Who Have Produced Outstanding Results.”
Mary Giannone Talmi
Mary Talmi holds a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and is co-founder and co-producer of Talmi Entertainment. She received two Choreography Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, an Achievement Award in Choreography from Massachusetts Council on the Arts and was selected for American Ballet Theatre’s Choreography Workshop under Mikhail Baryshnikov. She was the founder of Connecticut Dance Theatre, a modern dance repertory company which specialized in the reconstruction of the works of Doris Humphrey. As Associate Artistic Director of ABB, Ms. Talmi is directing the company’s Process and Performance initiative – an ongoing project to support the creation of new works in music and dance. She is currently working on Rockwell In Our Time, a collaboration with playwright Kevin McGerigle and composer Chris Culpo. Freedom from Want was featured at the Norman Rockwell Museum on September 8, 2018 as part of their Four Freedoms celebration.