Meet The Virtual Intensive Faculty
Maria Phegan has had an extensive international ballet career for twenty six years. She has performed with San Francisco Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Bayerisches Staatsballett (Bavarian State Ballet - Munich, Germany), Houston Ballet, New York City Opera, and the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. She has spent the last eleven years performing with the Metropolitan Opera while advocating for dancers as a dancer union delegate, a member of the AGMA Met Negotiating Committee, and on the AGMA Board of Governors for the past 6 years. Maria completed her 200-hour YTT at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in 2007 and holds a certification in Prenatal Yoga from YogaWorks. Additionally, she holds advanced certifications in children’s mindfulness, meditation, and yoga from Deep Play for Kids. Most recently, Maria is a teaching artist with Exhale to Inhale, a non-profit supporting survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence, after being awarded a scholarship for their trauma-informed yoga teacher training. Maria holds a B.A. in Political Science, with a focus on International Relations, from the School of General Studies at Columbia University.
Hailing from Ehime, Japan, Ayaka Kamei is a freelance dancer/teacher in NY and Japan.
Most recently, she finished her 2-year contract with the world tour with the Phantom of the Opera. She is a recipient of the Regional Cultural Award from the Ehime Cultural Association in 2017.
Following her early training at Tatewaki Hiroko Ballet School, she graduated from Northern Ballet School in England as well as SUNY Purchase, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a President Award for Achievement in the Conservatory of Dance. She was selected to study abroad at Codarts in the Netherlands and Springboard Danse Montréal as well.
She has danced with many companies including The Metropolitan Opera, MorDance, New York Theater Ballet, MEI-BE WHATever, AZOTH Dance Theatre and Ayako Takahashi/Ayalis in Motion. She has performed works by choreographers such as Balanchine, Cunningham, Tudor, Roy Assaf, Aszure Barton, Carolyn Choa, Dario Dinuzzi, John Heginbotham, Jessica Lang, Austin McCormick, Keith Michael, David Needham, Matthew Neenan, Alexei Ratmansky, Taryn Kaschock Russell, Bettijane Sills and Julie Taymor/Mark Dendy, among others.
Her choreographic experience includes works for Tatewaki Hiroko Ballet School, Newsteps Series and Shapeshifter Lab with NY Japanese Women Jazz Composers.
As a teaching artist, she has had the pleasure of teaching ballet, contemporary and yoga classes in Japan and New York at places such as SUNY Purchase, Gibney Dance, Chen Dance Center, Dance Project of Washington Heights, Artistry Dance Project, Hariyama Ballet, Tatewaki Hiroko Ballet School, Musashino University, and more. Being a versatile dancer, she takes a contemporary approach to the traditional forms and emphasizes the importance of musicality and fluidity. Dancing is a source of happiness for her, and she is delighted to share it with everybody.
Antuan Byers is a dancer, creative entrepreneur, and arts activist based in Lenapehoking (Manhattan, NY). He graduated cum laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program with honors in Dance, holds a Certificate of Fashion from the Parsons School of Design, and is an alumnus of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, under the direction of Lily Weiss. While training at Dallas Black Dance Theatre and Dallas Ballet Center, he furthered his training with Abraham.In.Motion, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Jacob’s Pillow, Northwest Dance Project, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Perry Mansfield, Point Park University, and Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE Dance Company, all with partial or full scholarship.
Antuan has been fortunate enough to dance alongside Grammy Award Winner, Erykah Badu, Tony Award Winners, Jennifer Holliday and Melba Moore, and Tony Award Nominee, Felicia P. Fields. He has been featured in New York Magazine, Dazed Digital, and Tribeca Film as a dancer in Erik Madigan-Heck’s “The Enemy,” choreographed by Elena Vazintaris, as well as Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine, Pointe Magazine, Tribeca Magazine, SoHo NYC Magazine, and Central Park West Magazine. In addition, Antuan performed as both a dancer and choreographer in the music video “Bury Me” by The Skins featuring D.R.A.M. Antuan has also cultivated brand partnerships with ASICS, Barney’s NY, Beats by Dr. Dre, Capezio, and Jaguar. Antuan is represented by Stetts Modeling Agency NYC.
Antuan has been a guest teacher and lecturer internationally at notable institutions such as Dallas Black Dance Theatre, DBDT: Encore!, Dallas Ballet Company, The Ailey School, The Washington Ballet and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, among others. He has also been on faculty in the Ailey School’s Junior Division as a teacher’s assistant for their boys program. He has assisted and demonstrated for many Jacob’s Pillow auditions as well as for master teacher’s such as Donna Wood-Sanders, Sarita Allen, and Milton Myers. In 2015, Antuan was selected to become an Ambassador for Joyce Theater in Chelsea, New York. He has also worked as a intern for Sidra Bell Dance New York, and a production intern for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater before being promoted to the position of Company Management Assistant. Antuan is currently Thought Partner to Bebe Miller as part of the newly launched Creative Administration and Research Program by the The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron.
After touring internationally with Ailey II, he returned to Lincoln Center to rejoin the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, where he is currently performing a repertory with works choreographed by Kim Brandstrup, Philippe Giraudeau, Lorin Latarro, Sue Lefton, Mark Morris, Alexei Ratmansky, Susan Stroman, and Christopher Wheeldon, among others. Antuan also performed with the Washington National Opera Ballet in their production of “Champion,” choreographed by Sean Curran. He has been a guest artist with KEIGWIN + Co. for the Park Avenue Armory’s 2015 Gala, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for both their Lincoln Center and City Center Opening Night Gala’s, and performed the solo work “Grey” by Kyle Abraham at New York City Center. Antuan was also an original performer in Nick Cave’s “The Let Go” at the Park Avenue Armory, choreographed by Francesca Harper, featuring Nona Hendryx. Antuan also toured internationally with Ailey II.
Antuan hosts The LLAB on the Pod de Deux podcast, a series on racial justice in the dance world, is a founding member of the Black Caucus at the American Guild of Music Artists, and is a steering committee member of the Dance Artists’ National Collective.
He is the proud Founder/CEO of Black Dance Change Makers.
Matthew Steffens is an international director, choreographer & performer based in NYC. His Broadway/Off Broadway credits include Doctor Zhivago, Promises Promises (w/Kristin Chenoweth & Sean Hayes), Women on the Verge (with Patti Lupone), Superhero & Queen of the Night (Drama Desk Award). He has danced, fought and flown in 18 operas at the Metropolitan Opera. He has directed/choreographed regionally throughout the country including The Kennedy Center, The Guthrie Theater and internationally on the original Chinese musical Princess Butterfly. Film/TV credits include The Last Five Years (with Anna Kendrick & Jeremy Jordan), Across the Universe, Smash, Black Box and more. He is looking forward to returning next season to the Met as well as continue work on The Visitor, off-Broadway at the Public Theater and the Broadway bound musical, The Outsiders.
Visit matthewsteffens.com for more info.
Wendy Reinert is a professional dancer and aerialist, life coach, personal trainer, world traveler, and amateur rock climber whose mission is to help dancers discover the human they are underneath the dancing. After earning a BFA from NYU-Tisch School of the Arts, for nearly 20 years she danced with dozens of companies both small (Peridance Ensemble, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers), and large (Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group), while working a myriad of non-dance jobs like personal assisting, catering, and managing a photography studio. She has been running a private personal training business for 15 years.
Her ever-surprising freelance career — including major successes, spirals of self-doubt, incredible opportunities, hundreds of rejections, crippling perfectionism and multiple (nearly career-ending) injuries — eventually led her to earn credentials as a Certified Professional Coach through the International Coach Federation. Wendy founded Being A Dancer in 2017 to provide the kind of emotional support to the dance community which she had always craved. Through group workshops and one-on-one coaching, she teaches emotional and logistical skills to help navigate the less-talked-about aspects of life as a dancer. Being A Dancer workshops have been presented at NYU-Tisch School of the Arts, The Juilliard School, Idyllwild Arts Academy, Marymount Manhattan College, and more. Wendy is the only life coach on faculty for the Conservatory program at Steps in NYC.
Lorin Latarro is currently choreographing Broadway’s MRS. DOUBTFIRE, ALMOST FAMOUS, The Public’s THE VISITOR, and Broadway bound THE OUTSIDERS, TOMMY, and LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE. Lorin choreographed Broadway and London’s WAITRESS and LA TRAVIATA at The Met Opera. Lorin is directing Candace Bushnell’s one woman show, IS THERE STILL SEX IN THE CITY.
Additional Broadway choreography includes Les Liaisons Dangereuse with Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber, and Waiting for Godot with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. Lorin is the Associate Choreographer of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and American Idiot. Additional choreography includes Rigoletto at The Met Opera, Huey Lewis’s Heart of Rock And Roll (Old Globe), Merrily We Roll Along (Roundabout), Chess (The Kennedy Center), Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 21 Chump Street for “This American Life” (Brooklyn Academy of Music), The Public Theater’s Twelfth Night and The Odyssey (Delacorte Theater), Queen of the Night which garnered a Drama Desk Award (Diamond Horseshoe), Assassins, Fanny, and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (City Center Encores!), Superhero (Second Stage), Beaches (Drury Lane Theatre), and A Christmas Carol (McCarter Theatre Center).
Lorin directed #DateMe at The Westside Theatre, A Taste Of Things To Come at Chicago On Broadway and The York.
Lorin performed in fourteen Broadway shows including Twyla Tharp’s Movin’ Out, Fosse, Swing!, Kiss Me Kate, A Chorus Line, and Man Of La Mancha. Lorin danced for Robert Wilson, Martha Graham, and Momix. Lorin has also worked with Pina Bausch, Jiri Kylian, Robert Battle, Frankie Manning, Pete Townsend, Green Day, Sara Bareilles, Melissa Etheridge, Cameron Crowe, and Charlize Theron.
Ms. Latarro holds a BFA from The Juilliard School where she is also an adjunct professor. She also holds a degree from NYU Tisch Film and Television Directing Fundamentals. She is a Drama Desk, Lortel, and Chita Rivera nominee. Lorin has traveled to India and Africa multiple times to work with The Gates Foundation in family health and planning. Lorin is the founder of ArtAmmmo.org Artists Against Gun Violence as seen in the NY Times, PBS, Rachel Maddow, BBC.
LORINLATARRO.COM for reels and reviews