Mr. Sultanov was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. He trained at Vaganova Ballet Academy and at age 17, joined the Kirov ballet where he danced a classical repertoire. Artur has also performed with Eifman Ballet as a Soloist. In 2000 he moved to San Francisco to join Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet. There, he worked closely with Mr. King on creating original contemporary ballets. In 2003 Artur joined Oregon Ballet Theatre. His principal roles at OBT include the Prince in Swan Lake, Ivan in Firebird, and the Cavalier in the Nutcracker, among others. Artur was a guest artist with Trey McIntyre Project, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and California Ballet Company where he performed the role of Romeo in their version of Romeo and Juliet. He has been featured on OPB as an emerging artist in Portland (http://www.opb.org/programs/artbeat/segments/view/200). Mr. Sultanov has worked and performed with a tribe of pigmies from Central Africa in the project called “People of the Forest”. He has appeared at numerous festivals such as the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, the Chicago Dancing Festival and Fall For Arts- the most prestigious festival of contemporary dance in New York City. Mr. Sultanov has performed on the stages of the Metropolitan Opera House, Kennedy Center, Bolshoi Ballet Theatre, and the Mariisnky Theatre in his native city of St. Petersburg. In addition to being an accomplished dancer, Mr. Sultanov has also taught extensively throughout his professional career. In the past eight years, Mr. Sultanov has taught and choreographed for the school of Oregon Ballet Theatre and Lines Contemporary Ballet School of San Francisco. His vast experience also includes holding master workshops in the Portland Metro Area, Seaside, OR, Vancouver and Tacoma, Washington. Artur Sultanov is excited to be a part of the Portland dance community and is looking forward to inspiring a new generation of dancers.
Vanessa Thiessen is originally from Portland, OR. She trained at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, with James Canfield, and continued on to dance for Oregon Ballet Theatre from 1995-2003. At OBT she danced leading roles in Gissele and Romeo and Juliet. After moving to San Francisco in 2003, she danced with Smuin Ballet, ODC Dance, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, Opera Parallele and Tanya Bello’s Project b. In 2010, she began teaching for ODC Dance, which lead to teaching ODC master classes across the US and in Indonesia, Burma, Thailand and China. For the past 5 years, she has also been teaching ODC repertory class at San Francisco State University. After moving back to Portland this year, Vanessa now splits her time between San Francisco and Portland dancing. teaching and choreographing. Currently in SF, she dances with Post:Ballet, teaches at ODC/School and is a creative collaborator for Choreographer KT Nelson. Currently in Portland, she dances with Skinner/Kirk Dance Ensemble and teaches ballet, jazz and modern classes for BodyVox. Vanessa is thrilled to be joining the faculty at Sultanov Russian Ballet Academy.
Rick Gonzales, Ballet Instructor/Choreographer
Rick is a former Principle and Soloist Dancer with the Washington Ballet, The Boston Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Nashville City Ballet and Miami Ballet Company. He has also danced on Broadway and through out Europe, in Productions of Cat’s, West Side Story, Victor Victoria and Miss Saigon to name a few.
For the past three years Rick has worked as the ballet master and resident choreographer of City Ballet of Los Angeles. His career has taken him all over the world to work as ballet master and to teach for many companies and schools all across the country as well as abroad. He teaches ballet at all levels as well as pointe class, men’s class, variations and pas de deux classes. He also coaches dancers at all levels from beginner to principles.
Clairen Kearney is native to the Portland Oregon area. She started her ballet training at the age of six under Janis Waddle at Joy of Praise Dance Studio. At age 11 she continued ballet at On Your Toes Studios in Clackamas under Kelsey Neumann. Then at 13 she started training under Jacquie Kunzman at the Clackamas Youth Ballet and joined the company at age 14. It was at CYB where she began to train for teaching. She performed lead roles in CYB’s productions, such as Snow Queen in the Nutcracker and Laurie in Oklahoma. Teaching is a joy for her and this last year Clairen became owner and director of On Your Toes Studios. Besides teaching at the Sultanov Russian Ballet Academy she continues her own training under Artur Sultanov.
Alicia Cutaia earned her BFA with honors from Point Park University with a double major in Classical Ballet and Jazz. Her previous training included scholarships at Hubbard Street Dance, North Carolina Dance Theater, and River North Dance Company. She has worked with and performed pieces by many renowned choreographers, including Lauren Edson, Jamey Hampton, Ron De Jesus, Gina Patterson, Lar Lubovitch, Louis Falco, Michael Foley, Keisha Lalama-White, Joel Hall, Lou Conte, Daniel Gwirtzman, Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Daniel Ezralow, Choo-San Goh, Alan Hineline, Harrison McEldowney, Kevin O’Day, Frances Patrelle, David Storey, Margo Sappington, Christian Holder and Bianca Sapetto. Ms. Cutaia previously worked as Rehearsal Director, Costume Manager and Dancer with Eisenhower Dance, Dancer with Hubbard Street Dance and Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago.vShe also enjoys teaching and setting choreography nationally. Her choreography has been showcased at many choreographic festivals such as the Jazz Dance World Congress “Leo’s Choreography Competitive Event”, the “Maggie Allesee New Choreography Award”, “Michigan Youth Arts Festival”, “Dance Chicago”, Harvest Contemporary Dance Festival, Kaleidoscope Dance Festival, Midwest Rad Festival and the “NSAL Mid-Michigan Chapter.” Her work “Impact” was recently set on Eisenhower Dance. Her choreography for competition studios have won many National awards. Some of Ms. Cutaia’s teaching credits include the Lou Conte Dance Studio, Oakland University, American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theater of Harlem and the Eisenhower Center for Dance. A number of Ms. Cutaia’s students have been accepted on scholarship to many prestigious summer and college dance programs.
Kasha Watts, Ballet Instructor
Kasha Watts teaches ballet at our Lake Oswego Studio. She has taught ballet technique to all levels from creative movement and pre-ballet through pre-professional and adults. Kasha’s early training began in Ridgefield, CT where she trained with Patricia Schuster and danced with the Ridgefield Civic Ballet. During her early training she attended Boston Ballet Summer Program, Joffrey Ballet Summer Program, as well as Chautauqua Summer Intensive. She later attended the University of Utah, on scholarship, where she earned her B.F.A. in Ballet. After graduating, Kasha danced professionally with Ballet New England under Artistic Director, Mihailo Djuric. It was at the School of Ballet New England where Kasha began teaching. She went on to teach all ages and levels at Prodigy Dance Studio (Salt Lake City, UT), Festival Ballet Providence (Providence, RI), Rumford Dance Theatre (Rumford, RI), Heritage Ballet (Lincoln, RI) and she currently runs the elementary ballet programs at Multnomah Arts Center and Southwest Community Center in Portland. Kasha’s philosophy for teaching pre-schoolers is to be animated, fun, and to always keep them moving. For older students she likes to keep class fun yet more informative while instilling proper technique, terminology, and ballet class etiquette. Kasha resides in Tualatin with her husband, Preston and two sons, Sam and Zak. She is very excited to be working with the dancers at Sultanov Russian Ballet Academy, LO.