Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre offers select dance majors increased performance opportunities in classical and contemporary ballet on campus and through regional touring and lecture demonstrations. They have appeared in Cleveland with Ballet Magnificat! and at the Benedum Theatre in Pittsburg with Bodiography Contemporary Ballet and LaRoche College. The company currently boasts a selection of 9 dance majors and is directed by Mercyhurst University professors Tauna Hunter and Michael Gleason.
Rachel Bauer '14
Rachel Bauer began here dance training at a small studio in her hometown of Williamsport PA and continued her training under the private coaching of Erin Stiefel Inch. She has attended several summer programs with several prestigious schools and companies including, the American Academy of Ballet, Boston Ballet School, Orlando Ballet School and The Carolina Ballet. She is currently a senior dance major at Mercyhurst University where she is performing in her second season with Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre.
Maggie Doherty '14
Maggie grew up in Frederick, MD and studied ballet under the direction of Joyce Morrison at Frederick School of Classical Ballet for 9 years. There she had the opportunity to perform multiple roles including Dewdrop in The Nutcracker and the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. She is currently a sophomore at Mercyhurst University majoring in Dance and Early Childhood Education. Maggie has appeared in multiple performances with the Mercyhurst Dance Department including Raw Edges XIV and Viva la Danse. Recently she had the privilege to perform in La Fille Mal Gardee as a Gossip Girl and a Friend. Maggie is enjoying her second season with Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre.
Esmae Gold '16
Esmae Gold, currently a sophomore at Mercyhurst University, is from Petoskey, Michigan. She began studying dance at the age of ten at the Crooked Tree Arts Center, taking classes in ballet, modern, and jazz. Esmae has attended summer programs at American Ballet Theatre, Oklahoma City Ballet, Gelsey Kirkland Academy, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Grand Rapids Ballet, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and Bay View. During her senior year of high school, Esmae trained full-time at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in New York City. She has participated in the American College Dance Festival East Central Conference and competed at the Youth America Grand Prix Semi-Finals. A member of Nu Delta Alpha, Esmae is working toward obtaining a B.A. in dance. With the goal of dancing professionally, Esmae is excited to be performing in her first season with Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre.
Emily McAveney '14
Emily was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and began her training with Donna Muzio and Nancy Page at The Dance Center, the official school of the Brandywine Ballet. She spent three years performing with the Brandywine Ballet Theatre before continuing her dance education at Mercyhurst University. Emily has performed in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Paquita, Antony Tudor’s Little Improvisations, Tomm Ruud’s Mobile, Matthew Neenan’s The Last Glass, Alex Ketley’s Silt, and George Balanchine’s Valse-Fantaisie, Serenade, and Concerto Barocco. She has originated roles in new works by choreographers such as Nancy Page, Meredith Rainey, Tauna Hunter, Michael Gleason, Noelle Partusch, Melissa Bobick, and Sarah Grace, among others. She recently had the opportunity to perform the lead role of Lisé in Bruce Marks and Samantha Dunster’s La Fille mal Gardée. Emily has also competed in the Youth America Grand Prix Competition in Chicago and New York City, and has attended summer programs with BalletX, American Ballet Theatre, and Brandywine Ballet. She is currently in her senior year as a dance major at Mercyhurst University, and performs as a member of Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre and The Mercyhurst Dancers. Emily is grateful to all of her dance teachers, family, and friends for fueling her love for dance and enabling her to pursue her goals.
Alexandra Orenstein '14
Alex is from Kernersville, North Carolina began her ballet training at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in the Preparatory Program under the direction of Susan McCullough. She continued her training at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts graduating from their High School program. She has attended summer programs including Miami City Ballet, Bill T. Jones, University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Alexandra’s classical ballet repertoire includes Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Raymonda, La Bayadère, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. While performing with Lake Erie Ballet, The Mercyhurst Dancers, Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre and Liturgical Dance Ensemble, Alexandra continues her training as a senior at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA pursuing a BA in Dance with a minor in Accounting. She is appearing for the first time as a member of Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre.
Chelsea Robicheau '15
Chelsea has been dancing for 16 years. Her training began at the Lebanon Ballet School in New Hampshire and at the North Carolina School of the Arts. Upon graduation she entered the Boston Ballet Trainee Program, where she performed in the Boston Ballet Night of Stars Gala as well as the company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Chelsea has attended summer programs at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, School of American Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Boston Ballet Summer Dance Program, and Orlando Ballet School. Her repertoire includes classical works such as Coppelia, Raymonda, Don Quixote, Ethan Stiefel’s The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Bournonville’s Konservatoriet. Chelsea is currently a junior at Mercyhurst University working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and this is her first season with Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre.
Tiffani Thomas '14
Tiffani was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She spent most of her time training at the Lancaster School of Ballet where she studied under Carolyn Trythall, Viktor Yeliohin, and Matthew Metro. She attended Pennsylvania’s Governor’s School for the Arts summer program for dance and theater and the Kansas City Ballet’s five-week summer intensive. She toured Europe with Tauna Hunter, Michael Gleason, Solveig Santillano, Mark Santillano, and five other Mercyhurst dancers as a part of Young! Tanzsommer. Tiffani performed with the Mercyhurst Ballet Theater, The Mercyhurst Dancers, and the Liturgical Dance Ensemble dancing in works by esteemed choreographers Lisa de Ribere, Bruce Marks, and Samantha Dunster. She has been featured in solo roles in Anthony Tudor’s Viva Vivaldi, Lisa de Ribere’s primere, Eye of the Wind and Les Patineurs. She is appearing in her second season with Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre.
Kathryn Tokar '15
Kathryn is a junior dance major at Mercyhurst University, is a native of Lakewood, Ohio. She received her early training at the Beck Center for the Arts, in Lakewood, under the direction of Melanie Szucs, and later trained at the School of Ohio Dance Theatre in Oberlin, Ohio, under the direction of Nancy Brenstuhl, Denise Gula, and Janet Strukely (’04). There she danced frequently with the professional company annually in The Nutcracker and mixed repertoire performances. She has attended summer programs with Cincinnati Ballet, Ohio Dance Theatre, and American Ballet Theatre (NYC Collegiate), where she studied with artists such as Victoria Morgan, Daniel Ulbricht, Deirdre Carberry, Melissa Bowman, Raymond Lukens, and Ethan Brown. Kathryn has also served as a resident assistant at the ABT Austin Summer Intensive and performed twice in Cincinnati Ballet’s touring Nutcracker performances in Cleveland as a young student. In addition to her current training under the Mercyhurst Dance Department faculty, Kathryn studies with Courtney Laves-Mearini at Cleveland City Dance over the summers. Kathryn also serves as treasurer for Mercyhurst’s Circle K club, a Kiwanis service organization. She is a member of Nu Delta Alpha and an Honors student, and she plans to graduate with a minor in biology in addition to a B.A. in dance with a performance concentration. Kathryn hopes to dance with a professional ballet company after graduation and to later attend graduate school to pursue a career in podiatry. She is very excited to perform in her first season with Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre.
Elisabeth Wilson '15
Elisabeth is originally from Amherst, New Hampshire, received the majority of her dance training from Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater under Patricia Lavoie and Classical Ballet Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota under Andrew and Cheryl Rist. Her classical repertoire includes The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, Pas de Quatre, La Bayadere, Giselle, and Swan Lake. She has also performed other contemporary works including those choreographed by George Balanchine, Lisa de Ribere, Gerard Arpino, Jeremy Collins, Lynn Cote, Patricia Lavoie, Douglas Davis, Tauna Hunter, and more. She received the majority of her early performing experience with the Regional Dance America dance festivals where she received several scholarships including the Barbara Weisberger Founders Award for Excellence in a Classical Ballet Performance and an invitation to attend the Craft of Choreography Conference in Seattle, Washington. Elisabeth is currently a senior at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania where she is pursuing Bachelor of Arts degrees in Dance and History. As a founding member of Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre she is performing for a third season MBT, an in-residence company under the direction of Tauna Hunter and Michael Gleason at Mercyhurst University.
(Please excuse us as we work on updating our website with more amazing pictures and videos as well as a complete compilation of biographies of featured dancers)