Program Faculty

Program Faculty

William Whitener
William Whitener 

William Whitener performed worldwide and on Broadway with The Joffrey Ballet, Twyla Tharp Dance, Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, New York City Opera and Martha Clarke’s Garden of Earthly Delights. He choreographed over sixty dances for Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Ballet Hispanico, Seattle Repertory Theater, Seattle Opera and John Curry’s Ice Theatre. He has also created dances for stage and television for Ann Reinking, Tommy Tune, Bill Irwin and Faith Prince and staged the debut of American Ballroom Theater at The Kennedy Center and BAM. Mr. Whitener has set Twyla Tharp’s ballets in the U.S and France and assisted Mr. Robbins with pre-production for Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. He served as Artistic Director for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal and Kansas City Ballet. He was an evaluator for the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, a jury member of Benois de la Danse and has served on a variety of panels including the NEA and Pew Charitable Trust Fund. He has taught ballet, modern dance and composition at Harvard University Summer Dance, Cornish College of the Arts, University of Washington, Pacific Northwest Ballet and was the Director of Dance at Concord Academy.

Meg Paul
Meg Paul

Meg Paul brings a wealth of significant professional experience in ballet and Broadway performance, as well as in teaching at the national level and has worked closely with important dance pioneers and choreographers in the field; from the repertoire and artistic direction of Gerald Arpino and Robert Joffrey, to works by Sir Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Dwight Rhoden, and Alonzo King. Her thirty-year career encompasses a wide range of national and international experience in performance, choreography, directing, teaching, program development, community engagement, and arts management.

From 1983-1994 she was a principal dancer with the world- renowned Joffrey Ballet, including vast national and international touring credits with the company. For Twyla Tharp’s Tony award-winning Broadway musical, Movin’ Out, she served as dance captain and lead performer from 2001-2005. Her extensive credentials are of the highest caliber and her awards include The Princess Grace Award, winner of The International Dance Competition of the Americas, Detroit Renaissance Hero Award, Sue Nine Endowment for Faculty Achievement Award, and the Copperfoot Award.

Co-founder of World Arts Inc., Ms. Paul’s New York City based performing arts agency celebrated a decade of representing and producing tours for national and international companies including Nacho Duato’s Compania Nacional De Danza, Les Ballets De Monte Carlo, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Les Grand Ballets Canadian, Dance Cuba, Les Ballets Africains, The Washington Ballet, and more.

Ms. Paul has choreographed dozens of original dance works at the collegiate level and for professional dance companies. Her piece, seed, made for the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dancewas selected for the National American College Dance Association gala performance at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., 2015.

“Through a deeply layered movement vocabulary that was executed with power, grace, and artistry, the choreography evoked The Rite of Spring, and felt like a fabulous update to the classic dance after the master work’s recent centenary, while being a wholly new and interesting piece of dance in its own right.”- ACDA East Central Adjudicators

Especially successful bridging her many years in the professional realm with her outstanding work in higher education dance, Ms. Paul has taught a wide range at the university level since 2007. Since her full-time appointment in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance in 2010, Ms. Paul has curated and directed the department’s highly successful Detroit Complexions Summer Intensive and the department’s Dance Workshop company. Currently, Ms. Paul is Director of Dance for the department and serves as the BFA advisor and coordinator of dance recruitment and ballet curriculum.

She has developed considerable connections in the Detroit metropolitan dance community and has curated and directed National City Stars of Ballet and Broadway, which engaged hundreds of local performers and pre-professionals to train and perform with ballet and Broadway professionals. For her work on National City Stars of Ballet and Broadway, Meg was honored as a Detroit Renaissance Hero by the Detroit Free Press.

Ms. Paul is ballet master for the Complexions Contemporary Ballet and teaches master classes around the nation for numerous summer intensives. She is curator and director of Detroit Music Hall’s annual 313 Choreography Expo; which highlights Detroit’s collaborative and creative impact with other major cities, and fosters artistic collaborations, dance education, and community engagement. 313 Choreography Expo is also an incubator and career launch pad for many local Detroit artists and companies.

Valerie Madonia
Valerie Madonia

Valerie Madonia started her training with Maris Battaglia at the American Academy of Ballet in Buffalo, NY and continued at the National Ballet School of Canada graduating in 1979. While at the National she was a recipient of the prestigious Peter Dwyer Award for Dance Excellence. She danced professionally for more than 20 years first with the National Ballet of Canada from 1979-1981 (under the direction of Alexander Grant), at American Ballet Theatre 1981-1986 (under Mikhail Baryshnikov) and at the Joffrey Ballet 1987-1997 (under Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino).

She began as a member of the corps de ballet and eventually established herself as a leading ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet. Madonia had the honor of dancing with Alonzo Kings Lines Ballet, Armitage Gone! Dance, Complexions Dance, Inc., Configuration Ballet as a company member and as a guest artist with Alaska Dance Theatre, Russian Ballet Theatre, Lemon Sponge Cake Contemporary Ballet, Vilar Center, and at Le Gala des Etoiles numerous times in Montreal and Greece. She performed the role of the Princess in Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival in 2001 and with the New York Philharmonic in 2005, conducted by Alan Gilbert and accompanied by Pinkus Zuckerman. In 1995, Madonia began organizing performances to tour Southwestern Colorado with other professional dancers and established her own project based company, Alpine Dance, Inc. from 1994-2001. Madonia appeared in six PBS Dance in America Specials and is featured in four dance books, most prominently in, Classical Ballet Technique, by G.W. Warren.

In 1997, Madonia helped produce and direct a 5 year performance residency between the Joffrey Ballet and the Telluride Society for Performing Arts. In 2002 she produced the Washington Ballet, Momix and Rythmec summer residencies in Telluride as well.

She has been teaching for 21 years, served on the faculty at the New School University in NYC from 2000- 2003, taught for the Joffrey Ballet School from 1996- 2004 and directed the Joffrey School South Workshop in Georgia from 2003-2010. She teaches biannually in Yokohama, Japan and is frequently a master teacher at The Four Corners Dance Experience and for the Regional Dance America Festivals. She is an adjudicator and master teacher for the Youth American Grand Prix. Madonia has been a guest teacher for The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Alaska Dance Theatre, Louisiana Delta Ballet, Colorado Ballet and Boulder Ballet.

She founded the Telluride Dance Academy in 1998, served as the Artistic Director and a teacher at the Academy from 2006-2010. From 2011-2013, she began teaching and directing the newly formed Palm Arts Dance. She currently serves on the Palm Arts Board of Directors. Her choreographic credits include a full length Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Polar Express, Appalachian Spring, solo works for the NYC Dance Now Festival, and for dancers in Colorado Ballet, Ballet West, Dayton Ballet and Boulder Ballet.. Ms. Madonia was the Academy Director, Summer Intensive Director, Pre Professional Division Founder and Director at Colorado Ballet from 2013-2017.

Brian McSween
Brian McSween

Brian McSween was born and raised in Charlotte, NC where he began dancing in ballet, tap and jazz at the Charlotte City Ballet. He attended the Joffrey Ballet School for two summers before being accepted into the school, and the Joffrey Concert Dancers under full scholarship. He worked seasonally with Joffrey, ABT, and Grand Rapids Ballet before joining Aspen Ballet Company full time. After two years he returned to the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago where he performed varied roles throughout the repertoire. Brian has also worked with Complexions: A Concept in Dance, has taught around the country and has choreographed for Charlotte City Ballet. He was seen in the Robert Altman film “The Company”, and was the advanced ballet instructor for ChiArts, Chicago’s performing arts high school.

Tyler Gilstrap
Tyler Gilstrap

Tyler Gilstrap (Danville, VA) earned her BFA in Dance from Southern Methodist University.  She was a founding member of Battleworks Dance Company (2001-2010), under the direction of Robert Battle.  In 2014, she was the associate choreographer for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.  She was also the assistant choreographer for the film; ‘Love And Other Drugs’ and for the Italian San Remo TV Award.  She has choreographed music videos for such artist as Andrew McMahon, Son Lux, Skyes, FireHorse and SENIT.  In 2012, she started her own performance group called TunanuT.  TunanuT has created and performed for such events as the Panorama Music festival , Big Data 2015 tour, (Un)Scene art show, Ballroom Marfa, The Feast, and The Windmill Factory.  As a dancer, she has been featured in such films as ‘Across the Universe’,  ‘The Wackness,’ and the Italian TV show ‘Amici.’  She has been a guest artist with the Bavarian State Opera, Irish Modern Dance Theater, Azure Barton, New York Theater Ballet, Corbin Dances, and Amy Marshall Dance Company.  As a teacher, Tyler has taught improv, contemporary, and modern dance in Russia, Romania, Germany, Hungary, Italy and throughout the USA.  She also has been on faculty at Montclair State University, Joffrey Ballet School and Peridance Capezio. www.tylergilstrap.com