Teachers & Coaches



Principal Dancer and Ballet Teacher at School of Hamburg Ballet

was born in1970 Tomsk, Russia. 1981‐1989 Graduate from Leningrad Academic Choreographic School Vaganova directed by Konstantin Sergeyev (Class‐Ninel’ Kurgapkina).1989 ‐ Admitted to the Mariinsky Ballet Theatre as a soloist, directed by Oleg Vinogradov.

In 1992 she joined the HAMBURG BALLET as a soloist and was promoted to principal in 1994 ‐ 2014. John Neumeier created numerous roles and soli for her including: Penelope in „Odyssee“, Ophelia in „Hamlet“, Romola Nijinsky in „Nijinsky“ and Irina Nikolajewna Arkadina in „The Seagull”. Swedish choreograph Mats Ek created: „Opinion loosely grazing“, „Sleeping beauty“ Golden fairy. She also danced a wide‐ranging repertory.


Coach for William Forsthe ballets

Ana Catalina Roman was born in Madrid- Spain where she completed her dance studies at the «Real Conservatorio Superior». She continued her studies for two years at the »John Cranko Ballett-Akademie« in Stuttgart-Germany and has learned Ballet Pedagogic from Kathy Bennets.

Photo by Filip Van Roe


Principal Dancer of Ballet Flanders and Jury Member of Prix de Lausanne

Aki Saito was born in Morioka, Japan and began her ballet training in 1981. In 1990 she won the first prize at the Japanese Competition for Young Dancers and in 1991 was awarded a scholarship at The Prix de Lausanne which allowed her to train at the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp. She also won the gold medal at the Concours International de Danse in Houlgate, France and in 1994 joined the Royal Ballet of Flanders as a demi-soloist. In 1998 she was promoted to the rank of first soloist and in 2004 to the rank of principal dancer.  During that time, she danced the leading roles in the company’s repertoire, including The Sleeping Beauty, Onegin, Giselle, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, La Bayadère, and Don Quixote as well as a new version of Swan Lake created on her by Marcia Haydée. She also performed much of the company’s contemporary repertoire such as Theme and Variations, The Four Temperaments, Who Cares?,Divertimento No.15 (George Balanchine), Artefact, In the Middle Somewhat Elevated (William Forsythe), Sonate (Maurice Bejart), Forgotten Land (Jiří Kylián), Infra (Wayne McGregor), Chronicle(Martha Graham), The Grey Area (David Dowson), Lost by Last (Jorma Elo).

In 2014, The Royal Ballet of Flanders celebrated her and her partner Wim Vanlessen’s 20thanniversary with the company with a performance of Onegin, which was nominated as an “Outstanding Performance” by DANCE EUROPE in 2015. She was also a frequently invited guest artist to various international ballet companies and gala performances, including with Ballet de Santiago and Hong Kong Ballet, as well as in the Gala des Etoiles in Paris, Gala en Teatro Municipal, The Gala of Prix de Lausanne, Dance Salad in Houston, Texas, The Prague Ballet Gala, and The Aoyama Ballet Festival of Tokyo. She was also invited to dance at the international gala preceding the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.

In 2018 Aki danced Akram Khan’s Giselle as her farewell performance with the Royal Ballet of Flanders, earning her a nomination for “Dancer of The Year” by DANCE EUROPE.  Since that time, she has been a faculty member at the Royal Ballet School in Antwerp and an often-invited guest teacher at the Opera Ballet of Flanders and many other international ballet courses. Aki also holds a teaching degree from the Royal Conservatory Antwerp and has served as a jury member with the Prix de Lausanne in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2017, as well as the Prix Carpeaux in 2009, Victoire Ballet Competition, and the Japan Ballet Competition.

In 2016 she received the title of Ridder in de Leopoldsorde (The Order of Leopold), Belgium’s highest order of knighthood, for her outstanding work in the field of dance.

Photo by Ian Whalen


Principal Ballet Mistress Semperoper Ballett Dresden

Finishing up 18 full time seasons as Senior and Principal Ballet Master with Dresden’s Semperoper Ballett, where she has helped build and support the present company since 2006, Laura is jumping out to share all she’s learned with dancers around the world. In the past 24 years, she has staged William Forsythe Ballets in many leading companies as well as being an International Guest ballet teacher and coach.     During a 26 year performing career she was a dancer in Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt performing leads in ‘In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Artifact, 2nd Detail, and most notably in the original cast of ‘The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude', and 'Neue Suite’s Handel 1 & 3.     Beforehand as a Principal ballerina with Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Canada, she performed the main roles in many classical ballets such as Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Giselle & Myrta, Nutcracker (Luisa, Neumeier), along with neo-classical favourites Rudy van Danzig’s 3rd Song of Four Last Songs and Juliet in his Romeo and Juliet, and Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de deux.

At the age of 25 she achieved a childhood dream by attending the Varna International Ballet competition and receiving the top award.

Laura has also enjoyed experiencing acting and singing on stage, some film work and cartoon dubbing. Being an avid questioner of how to find different approaches for new experiences and outcomes, she has certifications in Gyrotonic & Gyokinesis, is a Zena Rommett floor-barre instructor, holds a German Theater Teacher's certificate based on Kiev Vaganova school syllabus, and a Yin Yoga teacher.         To keep a bit of adrenaline going after her stage career and to continue the questioning of how gravity affects, she’s become a Rescue Scuba Diver and was training to become a Glider plane pilot.

She loves collaborating with dancers to find their unique direction for themselves. It’s always possible to find the how if we know the why.



Muriel Romero is a dancer and choreographer and co-director of Instituto Stocos. Her work is currently focused on the investigation of generative choreographic structures and the incorporation of abstractions taken from other disciplines such as music or mathematics. She won several international prizes such as Moscow International Ballet Competition or Prix de la Fondation de Paris-Prix de Laussane.


Principal Dancer and Coach of John Neumeier ballets

Ivan Urban was born in Gomel, Belarus. He was educated at the Minsk Ballet School and The School of the Hamburg Ballet. Mr. Urban became a member of the Hamburg Ballet in 1994, was promoted to Soloist in 1997 and to Principal Dancer in 1998. He has danced principal roles in many ballets by John Neumeier including Odysseus in Odyssee, Hamlet in Hamlet, Armand Duval in Lady of the Camellias, King Ludwig in Illusions – like Swanlake, Eros in Bernstein Dances, Serge Diaghilev in Nijinsky, Kostya in The Seagull, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, and Stanley Kowalsky in A Streetcar Named Desire. Mr. Urban has also performed as an invited guest artist at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, or at the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich. Mr. Urban is ballet master since 2016 and also stages John Neumeier’s works.


Lead principal Dancer at the Compañía Nacional de Danza

He was born in Crotone, Italy. He graduated cum laude from the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma school in 2004. During this period, he received prestigious awards in Italy for young talents (Danza & Danza, Premio Positano, Premio Adriana Panni, Spoleto Danza, Danza in Fiera).

After his graduation, he began working at the Semperoper in Dresden under the direction of Vladimir Derevianko, dancing as a Soloist and Principal Dancer in most of the company's productions. In 2006, he returned to Italy to join the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence as a guest principal dancer until 2013, under the direction of Vladimir Derevianko and Francesco Ventriglia. During this period, he also worked as a guest principal dancer in some of the most prestigious theaters in Italy: Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Arena di Verona, and Teatro La Fenice in Venice.

His repertoire ranges from the most famous classical titles such as Don Quixote, Giselle, La Sylphide, La Fille mal Gardée, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, to works by the most prominent choreographers of our time such as: R. Petit (Arlesienne), M. Béjart, W. Forsythe (Steptext), J. Kylián (Sinfonietta and Petit Mort), S. Lynke (Transfigured Night), J. Neumeier (The Nutcracker, The Rite of Spring, Daphnis and Chloé, The Faun), G. Balanchine (The Four Temperaments and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux), A. Foniadakis (Les Noces and Selon Desir), F. Ventriglia (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Stabat Mater), U. Scholz (Voluntaries, Symphony in C), having danced as a partner of S. Guillem, A. Cojocaru, E. Abbagnato, E. Obraztsova, C. Fracci.

In 2012, his hometown named him an "Illustrious Citizen."

In September 2013, he joined the National Dance Company of Spain, under the artistic direction of José Carlos Martínez, as a Principal Dancer and as a Leading Figure since 2015. Since then, he has danced prominent roles in In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Herman Schmerman, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, Enemy in the Figure, and Artifact by William Forsythe, Casi-Casa by Mats Ek, Sonatas, Delibes Suite, Don Quixote and The Nutcracker by José Carlos Martínez, Allegro Brillante and Apollo by George Balanchine, Por Vos Muero, Remansos and White Darkness by N. Duato, In the Night by J. Robbins, Gods and Dogs and Bella Figura by J. Kylián, and Minus 16 by Ohad Naharin, Sinatra Suite by T. Tharp, and Le Jeune Homme et la Mort by R. Petit.

He was nominated for the Benois de la Danse Award in 2016 in the category of Best Dancer for his performance in L’Arlesienne by Roland Petit, which was especially well received by the public and international critics.


PhD in Dance Science

Head Physical therapist of the National Dance Company of Spain since 2001.

Professor and researcher of dance science at Conservatory of Dance in Madrid since 2013.

He has also collaborated with differents company’s like Royal Ballet London, Scapino Ballet, Dresden Frankfurt ballet, Kibbutz dance Company, Hoffesh Shechter, Jan Fabre, Ballet national de Marseille.

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