Academy of Ballet/Tucson Regional Ballet Instructors
Anastasia Hamilton, Rehearsal Assistant & Instructor, began her study of ballet at the age of three with Academy of Ballet, where she also studied jazz and tap, and has been on staff as a teaching assistant. She has been accepted to summer programs with Ballet West in Utah, Burklyn Ballet Theatre in Vermont, Orlando Ballet School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Tulsa Ballet, and Houston Ballet Academy and Joffrey Ballet in New York on partial tuition scholarships. She was also accepted to summer and year around pre-professional programs on partial tuition scholarships with Alvin Ailey School in New York, Ballet Arizona in Phoenix and Balletmet in Columbus, Ohio. She has studied at several intensive summer workshops with Academy of Ballet and three summers on partial-tuition scholarship with Ballet Arizona and Balletmet.
Ms. Hamilton has dedicated ten and one-half seasons as a performing member of TRB’s Child, Junior Apprentice, Junior and Senior Companies. She is currently on staff with Academy of Ballet/Tucson Regional Ballet teaching ballet and modern. TRB is grateful to Ms. Hamilton for her expertise as an instructor and volunteer rehearsal assistant for A Southwest Nutcracker.
Jenna Johnson’s performing career began at 19 with Atlanta Ballet under Robert Barnett and John McFall, and with the Chautauqua Ballet Company under Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride performing in ballets by Kirk Peterson and George Balanchine. She then left for Europe to begin a two year residence as Guest Artist with the Romanian National Opera Ballet. Here in addition to the grand full length classical productions, she was chosen to dance soloist roles for contemporary choreographers Richard Wherlock, Alexa Mezincescu and Gigi Caciuleanu. Ms. Johnson was offered her first principal contract at the age of twenty-two with the Oleg Danovski Ballet Theater with whom she spent six years touring Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Scheherazade/Zobeida in Scheherazade, Myrta in Giselle, Mercedes in Don Quixote and the title role in Carmen. Upon her return to the United States, she expanded her repertoire to include works by Dwight Rhoden, Robert Moses and Christopher Wheeldon as well as classic roles such as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, Nikia in La Bayadere, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and the title roles in Giselle and Raymonda rounding off her career with Oakland Ballet and Ballet Tucson.
Jenna’s initial ballet instruction came from Yvonne Chouteau, a principal dancer of the Ballet Russes and one of the “Five Moons,” the five famed Native American ballerinas. Johnson’s early education also included Ballet Oklahoma’s professional school and the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts. Later as a full scholarship student of the Harid Conservatory, Ms. Johnson had the opportunity to study with two other “Moons”, Marjorie Tallchief, the first Native American to be named “première danseuse étoile” in the Paris Opera Ballet and her sister, Maria Tallchief, prima ballerina and star of the New York City Ballet. Here, Ms. Johnson was able to layer her early Balanchine training with methods of the Paris Opera and Vaganova schools. Summers she studied at the San Francisco Ballet School, the School of American Ballet and the Rock School for Dance Education.
Her nineteen years of teaching experience includes ballet technique for ages three to adult, variations, classical repertoire, Pilates, conditioning, stage makeup and dance history. She has been invited as a guest teacher to multiple schools throughout the US and as far as Cyprus and Kuwait. Students under her tutelage have gone on to successful careers at Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Ballet Bejart Lausanne.
Jennifer Martin began her formal training at the Northeast Atlanta Ballet in Georgia under the direction of Jennifer Gordon. Mrs. Gordon’s skilled guidance and generously compassionate teaching led Jennifer to discover her passion for performing and to pursue a career dancing professionally and teaching. During her training with the Northeast Atlanta Ballet Jennifer had the privilege of performing numerous full length ballets and contemporary works with roles including Aurora,
Cinderella, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Swanhilda. Upon high school graduation from The Paideia School and the Northeast Atlanta Ballet,
Jennifer attended Butler University where she graduated with honors with
a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Business. While at Butler
Jennifer danced roles such as the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty,
and the Arabian Soloist in The Nutcracker. Jennifer also had the
opportunity at Butler to study contemporary repertoire by Paul Taylor,
Nacho Duato and William Forsythe. Jennifer was a Dean List recipient
and received the Most Valuable Understudy Award and Most Improved Award
from Butler Ballet for her dance and academic achievements. After
graduating from Butler University, she immediately joined Nevada Ballet
Theatre as a trainee before being promoted into the company. At Nevada
Ballet Theatre Jennifer had the privilege of performing works such as
James Canfield’s premier of The Nutcracker and Danny Ezralow’s Read My
Hips. Jennifer currently dances with Ballet Tucson. In her time with
the company she has had the pleasure of performing both principal and
soloist roles. She has had the opportunity to perform a variety of
works and premiers from choreographers such as George Balanchine, Kiyon
Ross, Amanda Morgan, Cheiko Imada, and Daniel Precup to name a few. In
her off-time with Ballet Tucson Jennifer has enjoyed continuing her
education in both yoga and anatomy. Jennifer passionately believes
movement is one of the best medicines for the body and mind. She looks
forward to continuing to grow as an artist and sharing her passion for
dance with the next generation of dancers.
Daniel Precup is a graduate of the acclaimed Floria Capsali National High School of Dance in Bucharest, Romania. He joined the Oleg Danovski Ballet Theater at 18 and was able to work personally with Oleg Danovski, Gigi Caciuleanu and Germinal Casado. Rising to the rank of Principal Dancer, he was featured in the company’s many international tours in the role of the Mandarin in The Miraculous Mandarin, Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers, Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Siegfried in Swan Lake. He continued his career in the United States to dance with the Oakland Ballet and Ballet Tucson for whom he performed the role of Dracula in the ballet Dracula, Albrecht in Giselle, the Prince in Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty. He danced Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Cavalier and later, Herr Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker. Following his retirement to the position of Ballet Master and Choreographer, he has created works for the company to great audience response. His unique choreographic perspective can be seen in his Boler-O, Gemini, Mosaico, Steps, Love Songs, Carmina Burana, Carmen, Divertimento, Perseus and Andromeda, and The Lady of the Camellias.
As a teacher, Mr. Precup prides himself on inspiring the confidence and individual growth of each of his students. Former students have pursued careers with Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Ballet Bejart Lausanne. He teaches classes in Classical Ballet Technique, Variations, Pas de Deux, and Character Dance.
Alexis Salmen, Ballet Mistress, began her dance training at the Academy of Ballet at the age of seven. Over her decades with Academy of Ballet she has studied with Linda Walker, Carolyn Haatainen-Wallace, Gary McKenzie, Sheri Giller, Deborah Kenner, Jeffrey Hughes, & Pamela Reyman-Hughes. She has studied ballet at several intensive summer workshops with Academy of Ballet that included guest instructors Daniel Catanach and Anton Labuschagne. She was offered a partial tuition scholarship to Long
Beach Ballet summer program and a full tuition scholarship to State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara, California. Ms. Salmen was a member of Tucson Regional Ballet’s Senior Company from fall of 1997 through spring of 2002, and has participated in nineteen productions of A Southwest Nutcracker.
Ms. Salmen attended multiple Regional Dance America Festivals as a TRB Senior Company member. The festivals included week-long intensive workshops with multiple daily master classes in ballet, jazz, and other dance styles, as well as nutrition, terminology, and character dancing. Highlights of this instruction were choreology taught by Richard Holden and jazz taught by Alonzo King. She performed with TRB’s Senior Company for RDA adjudications from 1998 to 2002. Dances were set on her by Daniel Catanach, Anton Labuschagne, Jon Cristofori, & Carolyn Haatainen-Wallace. She also performed with TRB’s Senior Company at the invitational Festival Gala Night and two RDA Festivals.
Ms. Salmen began her training to become a dance teacher when she was a teaching assistant with Academy of Ballet from fall of 1994 through spring of 2002. She also stepped in as a substitute teacher for Academy of Ballet from the fall of 1999 through the spring of 2003. She returned to teaching for Academy of Ballet in March of 2016, teaching dancers three years old through advanced pointe. In the fall of 2018, Alexis took on the role of Rehearsal & Staging Assistant to Linda Walker, assisting in staging and rehearsals for A Southwest Nutcracker and TRB’s Spring Spectacular. In fall 2019 she accepted the further responsibility of Rehearsal & Staging Mistress for TRB. She is currently on staff at the Academy of Ballet/Tucson Regional Ballet teaching ballet, tap, jazz and conditioning at all levels. With TRB, Ms. Salmen is performing all duties of an Artistic Director and Ballet Mistress.
Geri Salmen, Wardrobe Director and Ballet Instructor, began her dance training at the age of fifteen. She studied with Zuleka’s School of Belly Dance, Fritschy’s Dance Academy, and Academy of Ballet, where she has performed in annual school recitals. She has performed in Tucson Regional Ballet’s production of A Southwest Nutcracker since its inception and is currently TRB’s Wardrobe Director. It was in the fall of 2002, when Mrs. Salmen began working as a teaching assistant with the younger children, that her natural abilities as an instructor were revealed. This revelation led to an invitation to be on staff at Academy of Ballet as an instructor. Mrs. Salmen brings more than two decades of experience to teaching beginning through intermediate ballet to children, teens, and adults.
Mrs. Salmen began learning to hand sew from her aunt at age ten. Her interest was inspired through sewing classes at Magee Junior and Sahuaro High Schools. Designing and tailoring costumes became a natural process. To start she designed and tailored her own belly dancing costumes and family and friend’s dresses and suits. She began designing and tailoring ballet, tap and jazz costumes for Academy of Ballet and Tucson Regional Ballet since the early 1990’s. Tucson Regional Ballet/Academy of Ballet is fortunate and grateful for her years of dedication and expertise.