Deanna Doty Warfel, Director
Deanna Doty Warfel was born in Chicago, Illinois to ballet dancer Joan Marley Doty and graphic designer/photographer David Doty. She began her training at The Evanston School of Ballet and Ellis-Du Boulay in Chicago. At age sixteen she moved to train and subsequently dance under Harvey Hysell of New Orleans Ballet. Doty Warfel continued her career with Robert Ivy Ballet in South Carolina, the Lexington Ballet in Kentucky, and as a guest artist with Ballet Alaska, Mississippi Ballet and Piccolo Spolato Festival.
Throughout her years dancing, Doty Warfel enjoyed many opportunities to teach, and continued to do so when she moved to Champaign. In 1998, she opened the Champaign Ballet Academy and in the fall of the same year, founded the Champaign Urbana Ballet.
“I have spent decades dedicating myself to the establishment of a nationally recognized school and company right here in Champaign. It is an honor and privilege to make my living as an artist and teacher, and I feel lucky to be able to do it in a community like this. My hope is to be able to give back to our ballet families, and city, as much as they have given to me.”
Kevin Burnside, Adult Ballet and Conditioning
Kevin is a current dancer with Champaign Urbana Ballet and has performed in productions of The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake. Burnside studies with Deanna Doty at Champaign Ballet Academy and is a former dance major at the University of Illinois. While at the university, he danced in several roles within the department and was a member of a nationally ranked competitive dance team. He is the co-owner of I-Power School of Gymnastics, where he serves as head coach.
Janie Lee, Ballet Instructor
Janie Lee began her ballet journey at Champaign Ballet Academy in 2013. She joined Champaign Urbana Ballet as a Trainee in 2015 and was promoted to Senior Company in 2018. As a company member with CU Ballet, she performed as Clara, Ribbon Candy Lead, and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker; Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty; Little Swan in Swan Lake; and Diva the Crab in The Little Mermaid. She began teaching ballet at CBA under the direction of Deanna Doty and Tobey Martinez in 2021. Janie is a student at The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is majoring in Speech and Hearing Science. She plans to pursue a career working with children as a Speech Language Pathologist.
Oscar Lewis, Ballet Instructor
Oscar Allerton Lewis has been dancing with Champaign Ballet Academy since 2009. Through the years, he has performed with Champaign Urbana Ballet Company in an abundance of roles starting out in The Nutcracker as a Polichinelle, Mouse, and Soldier, and growing up to dance the roles of Fritz, The Nutcracker Prince, and Arabian Prince. Some of Oscar’s favorite roles in other productions include The Sleeping Beauty’s Blue Bird and Swan Lake’s Jester. If you asked his all-time favorite role, he is likely to say a Rat in The Nutcracker Battle! Oscar has been teaching and assisting ballet classes since middle school and enjoys working with all age groups to inspire their imaginations and talents. In 2023, Oscar directed many young dancers in Champaign Urbana Ballet’s original student production, Star Wars: Trials of the Force. Oscar loves the strength, art, and athleticism ballet brings to the studio classroom and the stage. He wishes to continue dancing and teaching for many years to come.
Ally Powell, Ballet Instructor
Ally began dancing at The Joffrey Ballet Academy of Chicago in 2009. In 2011, she joined the pre-Professional division of the Joffrey Ballet under the instruction of Karin Ellis-Wentz. During her time at the Joffrey Ballet, she performed in various ballet, contemporary, character, and modern performances. Her notable ballet performances included as a snow tree angel and soldier in The Nutcracker (2014 and 2016), Star Fairies from Cinderella, Entrance of the Shades from La Bayadere, Giselle Act 2 Dance of the Willis, Dolls from Coppélia, and Kitri in Don Quixote. During the summers, she also participated in summer intensive programs and classes at The Joffrey Ballet, A&A Ballet, and Visceral Dance. In 2022, Ally began studying Biochemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She plans to continue her education with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry upon graduation.
Tuli Bera, Guest Instructor
Tuli Bera (she/they) is a Bengali-American movement artist, choreographer, teaching artist, administrator and producer based in Chicago. Bera has collaborated and performed with various companies and individual artists: Aerial Dance Chicago, Ashwaty Chennat, Ayako Kato, Chris Knowlton, Cristal Sabbagh’s Freedom From and Freedom To, IS/LAND Performance Collaborative, Ishti Collective, Laksha Dantran, Mandala Arts, Paul Gialorenzo, Peter Doorman and Scott Rubin. Beyond performance, they support independent artists as a producer through the J e l l o Performance Series housed by Elastic Arts. They teach Ballet and Aerial Dance for all ages through Aerial Dance Chicago and as an independent teaching artist at various studios and arts institutions. Their own work has been presented in Chicago at Links Hall, Elastic Arts, The Edge Theater (Pivot Arts Festival), Steppenwolf1700 Theater and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Emily Buss, Guest Instructor
Emily Buss began dancing at the age of four, and started studying with Deanna Doty at the Champaign Ballet Academy when it first opened in 1998. She danced with the Champaign Urbana Ballet from its inaugural season in 1998 through 2004, where her repertory included Spanish and Arabian in The Nutcracker, Big Swan in Swan Lake, Medora in Le Corsaire, and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. After graduating from Wellesley College with degrees in Political Science and French (where she also studied at Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre in Cambridge, MA, and danced with Wellesley’s AscenDance Ballet Company), she returned to CU Ballet as Ballet Mistress, dancer, and instructor at Champaign Ballet Academy from 2008-2011. In 2011, Emily relocated to Washington, DC, where she received her Master’s Degree in European Studies, with a focus on Cultural Diplomacy, from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She has since worked at the Woodrow Wilson Center and Americans for the Arts. Since 2019, Emily has worked at the Embassy of Switzerland to the USA in Washington, DC, as Senior Public Diplomacy Project Manager, where her work entails creating cultural connections to Switzerland for U.S. audiences across disciplines, including film, theater, and dance. Emily continues to take classes at DC-area ballet schools, including The Washington School of Ballet, and since 2014, she has danced with Classical Repertory Dance Ensemble, for which she has also served as co-director since 2017.
Claire Daly, Guest Instructor
Claire joined the Champaign Ballet Academy in 2000. She performed in many productions with Champaign Urbana Ballet over the years. Her soloist roles include Clara and Sugarplum Fairy in the Nutcracker, Aurora and Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty, Swanhilda in Coppelia, and Pas de Trois in Paquita. She attended The Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory for their summer intensive training along with summer intensives taught by Nurlan Abougaliev. After leaving CU Ballet, she attended Parkland College then continued her degree at Lesley University College of Art and Design earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography. For the last few years Claire has photographed for the CU Ballet resulting in two books and both web and print publications. She has thoroughly enjoyed the creative collaboration that has developed and appreciates the opportunity to combine her love of ballet and photography. She is happy to be back in her hometown of Champaign where she works as an artist.
Taylor Feddersen, Guest Instructor
Taylor began ballet at the age of four under Deanna Doty at Champaign Ballet Academy. As a company dancer with Champaign Urbana Ballet, she danced the roles of Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Black Swan in Swan Lake, and Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. Taylor continued her ballet training with CAS Ballet Theatre School in Ann Arbor and Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. She has danced in over 100 ballet performances with Champaign Urbana Ballet and Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre. In addition, she has been a guest instructor at ACTS Manila, a ballet school and company in Manila, Philippines. Taylor is currently a computer science major at the University of Michigan.
Lauren Frost, Guest Instructor
Lauren entered Champaign Ballet Academy and joined Champaign Urbana Ballet as an Apprentice dancer in 2011. She advanced to Senior Company in the fall of 2013, and in 2018 was awarded a performance contract with CU Ballet. Lauren was recently promoted to Soloist, being only the third dancer to achieve this status with the company. Her repertoire includes Clara, Sugarplum Fairy, Rose Queen, Arabian Princess, Ice Fairy, Spanish, and Rose Bud in TheNutcracker; Odile in Swan Lake; Lilac Fairy and the Queen in The Sleeping Beauty; Fairy Godmother in Cinderella; a Friend and Swanhilda in Coppélia; and danced the role of Gamzatti in La Bayadère. In 2014, Lauren began teaching at Champaign Ballet Academy under the direction of Tobey Martinez. In 2018, she joined the staff of CU Ballet as Assistant to Artistic Director, Deanna Doty. After graduating with her Associates in Criminal Justice from Parkland College in the Spring of 2020, she has coninued her college career at Southern Illinois University Carbondale where she plans to graduate with her Bachelors in Psychology. Frost aspires to serve the public as a police officer after college.
Alexis Hedge, Guest Instructor
Alexis is from Champaign, IL., and started her training at Champaign Ballet Academy before continuing at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy. She joined Ballet Memphis in 2012 and has performed as Clara in the Nutcracker, Grace in Cinderella, and has been in Mark Godden’s A Distant Glimmer and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jennifer Archibald’s Glory, Matthew Neenan’s Darting Eyes, and Gabrielle Lamb’s I am A woman: Moult. She currently teaches ballet at NVS Dance and is a student at DePaul University studying Psychology.
Kathryn Hosier, Guest Instructor
Kathryn trained at the Champaign Ballet Academy and Canada’s National Ballet School. After dancing in such ballets as The Nutcracker (Clara), Le Corsaire and Swan Lake (Odile, Pas de Trois) at the Champaign Urbana Ballet, Kathryn moved to Canada to complete her training and join The National Ballet of Canada. She has received the Peter Dwyer Award as well as the Erik Bruhn Award, and is a second soloist with the company.
Isaac Lee, Guest Instructor
Lee first started dance at age 5 under Kim Burson at Dance Arts and performed in CU Ballet’s The Nutcracker since age 7. At age 12 he transitioned to Champaign Ballet Academy, the official school of CU Ballet, and under the director of Deanna Doty Warfel, performed in their productions of Coppélia, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty as Blue Bird, Swan Lake as Pas de Trois, and The Nutcracker as Cavalier. He attended Summer Intensive programs at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Ellison Ballet in New York. Lee also regularly taught academy classes as well as staged choreography, and was the 2020 recipient of the Bonnie Ziegler Award for Leadership. After graduating in 2020, Lee joined the Nashville Ballet under Nick Mullikin and Paul Vasterling as a Trainee for two seasons, and was promoted to Second Company for a third season. While there he performed in Vasterling’s The Nutcracker, Firebird, Peter Pan, and Cinderella, and worked with esteemed choreographers and stagers Maria Konrad, Anaïs Chalendard, Charlotte Boyd-Christensen, and Lucy McCauley. This will be Lee’s first season with Grand Rapids Ballet as an Apprentice.
Valerie Linsner, Guest Instructor
Valerie was born and raised in Champaign, IL where she trained at Champaign Ballet Academy and performed with Champaign Urbana Ballet. In 2017, she began dancing with Ballet 5:8 where she is a current Company Artist. Miss Linsner instructs at Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts and is co-director of their Pre-professional Division and Ensemble Program.
Tracy McCabe, Guest Instructor
Tracy has over two decades of classical ballet training and experience as an instructor, production and choreographic assistant to CBA and CU Ballet. His teachers and influencers include Fury Gold and Delores Lipinski of Chicago, IL, Grace Lutrell Nanavati of Springfield Ballet Company, and Robert DiCello and Philip Johnston of the University of Illinois, among others. He is an associate vice president at the University of Chicago and an avid supporter of Krannert Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Elijah Ochs, Guest Instructor
Elijah entered Champaign Ballet Academy and joined Champaign Urbana Ballet in 2006. He advanced to Apprentice in the fall of 2011, then to Senior Company in the fall of 2014, and in 2019 was awarded a performance contract with CU Ballet. His repertoire includes the Nutcracker, Cavalier, Rose King, and Arabian Prince among other roles in The Nutcracker; Prince Siegfried and Neapolitan in Swan Lake; Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty; Prince Charming and Spring in Cinderella; Cavalier and Harlequin in Coppélia; and danced the role of Golden Idol in La Bayadère. In 2016, Elijah began teaching at Champaign Ballet Academy under the direction of Tobey Martinez. In 2020, he joined the staff of CU Ballet as Assistant to Artistic Director, Deanna Doty. Elijah, a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, is studying Kinesiology and Spanish. He aspires to serve the public as a physical therapist.
Hailan Shanbhag, Guest Instructor
Hailan began her ballet education at Champaign Ballet Academy in 2002, and subsequently started performing with Champaign Urbana Ballet in 2009. While with CU Ballet she performed as: Rose Queen in The Nutcracker, Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Princess Florine in Sleeping Beauty and Nikiya in La Bayadère. Hailan began assisting with teaching at CBA in 2015 and teaching in 2016. In the summer of 2016, she directed CU Ballet’s third annual Student Production. She danced and worked with CU Ballet and CBA until graduating from high school in 2017. Hailan graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering in May of 2021. In the summer of 2021, she rejoined CBA’s teaching staff and acted as Assistant to the Artistic Director for the 2021-2022 season. Currently, she is a graduate student at UIUC performing research in wireless communications and sensing.
Alexandra Warwick, Guest Instructor
Alexandra Warwick (she/her) is a drama teacher at Campus Middle School for Girls and a lead instructor for a local pod school. She began her ballet training at Champaign Ballet Academy in 1998 and performed with Champaign Urbana Ballet from 2001-2010. During her time with the company, Alexandra danced a variety of roles including Clara in The Nutcracker, Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, Swanhilda in Coppélia and the title role in Cinderella. In her undergraduate years, Alexandra served as a ballet instructor and choreographer at Fairfield Art of Dance in Iowa, choreographing pieces for productions of The Nutcracker and The Wizard of Oz as well as staging selections from Coppélia and Paquita. Alexandra subsequently led a youth ballet program at Liberty Community Center in Manzini, eSwatini. This season, Alexandra has greatly enjoyed the opportunity to perform with Champaign Urbana Ballet again in their productions of The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.
Sally Kim, Office Manager
Sally graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in economics and post-baccalaureate studies in advanced accounting. Her professional work experiences include commercial banking portfolio management and credit analysis, retail business operations, and bilingual education. She currently serves as vice principal of Korean Language and Culture School in Champaign and volunteers with Champaign Urbana Ballet as the head costume fitter. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Sally also has a background in performing arts, having more than a decade of training in Korean traditional dance under the direction of Kim Eung Hwa, disciple of Human Cultural Asset No. 27, Han Young Sook. She is passionate for all genres of dance, especially in their cultivation of creativity and artistic expression.
Teacher Training Program
Eleanor Kraatz, Emma Rypka, Grace Williams-Kim, Ava Teague
Cate Feinen, Janaki Raj-Underhill, Annika Drasgow, Elizabeth Seong
Leo Lewis, Wes Shunk, Lydia Stevens, Shanley Davis
Claudia Lundsgaard, Daisy Lewis, Irene Kim