Septime Webre is the Artistic Director of Hong Kong Ballet and the Washington, D.C.-based S&R Foundation which launched Halcyon Stage in 2017, a new interdisciplinary performance and dialogue series. From 1999 until 2016, Webre served as the Artistic Director of the Washington Ballet and from 1993 to 1999 was the Artistic Director of the American Repertory Ballet based in Princeton, New Jersey.
During his tenure at The Washington Ballet, the institution enjoyed unprecedented growth in the scope and quality of its work on stage, its school grew from 325 students to 1,500 students, and the organization developed impactful community engagement initiatives including the award-winning Dance DC and TWB@THE ARC, both of which he founded. Webre launched an array of artistic initiatives for the Ballet including The American Experience, which developed great works of literature into full-length ballets, including The Great Gatsby and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, among others. He also developed partnerships with many colleague arts institutions in the Washington, D.C. area, including collaborating with Imagination Stage on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in 2012 and The Little Mermaid in 2016.
As a choreographer, Webre’s works appear in the repertoires of ballet companies throughout North America, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Colorado Ballet, Ballet West, Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Austin, Ballet Memphis, Milwaukee Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, and many others. He has served on the boards of Dance/USA and Dance Metro DC and his work has received numerous honors, grants and awards. He holds a degree in History/Pre-Law from the University of Texas at Austin, and is the seventh son of a large, boisterous Cuban-American family.
Composer-violinist Matthew Pierce is celebrated for his new classical scores commissioned by major American ballet companies. He has written ballet scores for Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Ohio Ballet, Ballet Met, Cincinnati Ballet, Miami Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Ballet Hawaii, Post Ballet, Ballet Coeur d’Alene, Colorado Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, New York City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Ballet Austin and the San Francisco Ballet. Night, a full orchestra score set to a Chagall-inspired dreamscape ballet has been seen at the Opera Garnier in Paris, Covent Garden in London and City Center in New York. Sarah Kaufman of the Washington Post called his 2012 score for Washington Ballet’s Alice (in wonderland), “The cherry on top: Pierce’s visionary result, a shimmering landscape that weaves together bits of our own world — Asian, Middle Eastern, pop riffs, jazz — with a contemporary edge and a spirit of discovery. And, yes, wonder.”
Michael B. Raiford is a scenic and costume designer based in Austin, Texas. In Austin, his work has appeared at Ballet Austin including world premieres of Exit Wounds (costume and set), Belle Redux (costume set and video direction), Mozart Project (scenic design), Magic Flute (scenic and puppet design). Also in Austin: Austin Lyric Opera, ZACH Theatre and the Rude Mechanicals. Raiford’s work has also been seen at Opera Boston, Central City Opera (Colorado), The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, South Coast Repertory, Cleveland Playhouse, Geva Theatre Center, Playmakers Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Ford’s Theatre (Washington, D.C.), New Victory Theatre (New York), Merrimack Repertory Theatre, The Lyric Theatre (Oklahoma City), and Actors Theatre of Louisville where he designed 20 productions including 12 world premieres for Humana Festival of New American Plays.
Raiford’s most recent adventure: Director of Blast: The Music of Disney, Tokyo and National Tour of Japan. He is a creative consultant/director in: architecture, advertising, and, yes, marching band/DCI and WGI. Education: M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, where he taught for 10 years. Other: Member of United Scenic Artists.
“Architect of the body in extreme movement”, Liz Vandal’s costumes reach the ultimate goal: “Equilibrium between esthetics and technique”, aesthetics as beautiful as it is functional. Vandal started her career as a fashion designer. Self-taught, she entered the universe of clothing more than 25 years ago. From dazzling beginnings she brought her originality to the rigorous domains of dance, circus, cinema and special projects, building a company of excellency. Great partnerships link her with numerous choreographers and dance companies around the world: Edouard Lock; Compagnie Marie Chouinard; Margie Gillis; José Navas; Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal; Le Ballet National du Canada; The Washington Ballet; Mannheim Theater; Stuttgart Ballet (Germany), l’Opéra de Paris; Göteborg Theater (Sweden), Hong Kong Ballet.
She explores all domains of show business, from creating costumes for The Backstreet Boys’ Black ‘n Blue Tour, to films including The Lathe of Heaven directed by Philip Haas and La Turbulence des fluides by Quebec director Manon Briand. In the circus world, Vandal designed flamboyant insect costumes for OVO, the 25th Cirque du Soleil show, CIRKOPOLIS, a Cirque Éloize creation and the opening duo for Les 7 doigts de la main’s new creation, Tryptique. Collaborating with multi-national IGT (International Gaming Technology) in Las Vegas, Vandal created AVATAR costumes approved by Jon Landau and 20th Century Fox.
As a consultant, Vandal offers her services to Sportswear multinational Oxylane to develop avant-garde products. As the company continued to expand, an incomparable opportunity led Vandal’s creativity to Azerbaijan for the first European games in 2015, where she designed an incredible 3,000 costumes for the closing ceremony. Since 2017, Cirque du Soleil has floated onto the sea on cruise ship Meraviglia with Vandal’s costumes dressing up two shows: Viaggio and Sonor. Vandal’s creativity has no boundaries!
Trad Burns has been designing scenery and lighting professionally since 1989 for theatre, dance, and amusement parks. Recent designs include the world premiere of Romeo + Juliet choreographed by Adam Hougland for Louisville Ballet, Peter and the Wolf, choreographed by Ma Cong for Tulsa Ballet, and world premiere works for Stephanie Martinez, Robert Colby Damon, Jennifer Archibald and Matthew Neenan. Burns has had the privilege of designing world premiere ballets for such notable choreographers as Trey McIntyre, Val Caniparoli, James Kudelka, Edwaard Liang, Adam Hougland, Garrett Smith, Jessica Lang, Alejandro Cerrudo, Donald Byrd, Jodie Gates, Gina Patterson, Amy Seiwert, Ma Cong, Andrea Schermoly, Jennifer Archibald, Penny Saunders, Septime Webre, Devon Carney, Victoria Morgan, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Robert Curran, Serkan Usta, and Sarah Slipper.
Over the years, his dance lighting has been seen at American Ballet Theatre, the National Ballet of Canada, Atlanta Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, BalletMet, Louisville Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Pittsburg Ballet Theatre, Hubbard Street, and 18 seasons with Cincinnati Ballet. This is Burn’s fourth season with Kansas City Ballet. His work has also been seen at New York Theatre Workshop (NYC), The Public Theatre (NYC), La Mama ETC (NYC), HERE (NYC), Classic Stage Company (NYC), North Shore Music Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Cleveland Public Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Cedar Point, Valleyfair, Knott’s Berry Farm, Kings Island, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Japan, Disney Sea, Disney Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, Universal Studios Florida and Japan, Woodstock Ice Productions and The Family of Charles M. Schulz.
Aaron Rhyne’s designs include, on Broadway: Anastasia (Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award), A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Drama Desk Award), Bonnie and Clyde. In ballet: The Sun Also Rises (Washington Ballet). In opera: The Ghosts of Versailles (LA Opera), La Traviata (Wolftrap), Florencia en el Amazonas (Florida Grand, Opera Colorado, Utah Opera). Off Broadway: This Ain’t No Disco (Atlantic), Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey (Westside), Bootycandy (Playwrights Horizons), Appropriate (Signature), Water By the Spoonful, Lonely, I’m Not, The Blue Flower, All New People (Second Stage), Wild With Happy (The Public, Drama Desk Nomination), Graceland (Lincoln Center). Regional venues include: Arena Stage, Asolo Rep, Berkley Rep, Ford’s Theatre, Geffen Playhouse, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, La Jolla Playhouse, The Old Globe, Washington Ballet, Williamstown, Shakespeare Theatre.
Nicholas Mahon is an Emmy-nominated puppet and theatrical designer based in New York City specializing in performer interactive pieces and character creation. Since 2004, he has worked on projects for Michael Curry Design, Walt Disney Entertainment, Universal Studios, The Jim Henson Company, Blue Man Group and many more. Most recent projects include Sesame Street Television (2013–present), Mother Of The Nation (Abu Dhabi 2016), Islamic Solidarity Games Opening Ceremony (Baku 2017) and 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony (Pyeonchang). His work on the Baku 2015 European Games Opening Ceremony as Scenic Designer was nominated for a Daytime Emmy.
Philippe Larouche is a Winnipeg-based dancer, choreographer and international stager from Laval, Québec. An emerging choreographer, Larouche has been commissioned to create two new works for Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB). His neo-classical work For Bye and About premiered last May, and brand-new contemporary work Next of Kin premiered in March to the music of The Bros. Landreth, who joined the dancers on stage. His duet Better Together was also performed by RWB dancers at the Canada Games in July 2017.
A versatile dancer, Larouche performed with Red Sky Performance in Backbone at Canadian Stage in Toronto, as well as in Adizokan with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Fall 2017. He took the stage with them again this winter for the European tour of Backbone. He also performed Freya Olafson’s CPA [Consistent Partial Attention] as part of Les Jeux de la Francophonie in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in July 2017.
Larouche is a stager for Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story, which he staged on Orlando Ballet, and for The Wizard of Oz, which has been performed by Colorado Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and its Canadian premiere with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.