Ballet Fantastique's Canadian-born Artistic Director, Donna Marisa Bontrager, is a choreographer, designer, and expert master teacher in the Vaganova Syllabus. Ms. Bontrager's performance résumé embraces work with New York companies, including Empire State Ballet, Buffalo City Ballet, Royale Dance Theatre New York, and Festival Choir Ballet. She was one of ten dancers invited to perform as part of the international Feast of the Tabernacles in Jerusalem, Israel, and has been invited to join the World Congress on Dance. In New York, Ms. Bontrager worked closely for many years with Vaganova pedagogy experts Karl Singleterry and Marvin Askew (Buffalo City Ballet) and Bernadine deMike (Royale Dance Theatre New York). Ms. Bontrager has overseen Ballet Fantastique repertoire and productions involving partnerships with choirs, opera, and soloist vocalists, symphony and chamber orchestras, literary and visual artists, and composers. Ms. Bontrager has choreographed, produced, and staged the entire critically acclaimed all-original Ballet Fantastique repertoire, including over 69 original works since 2003, 14 full-length contemporary narrative ballets since 2011, and 21 consecutive productions with live music.
Original full-length ballets include: Scarlet Flower: Beauty & the Beast Retold (with Trio Voronezh, premiere 2016); Dragon & the Night Queen: Celtic Stories (with Gerry Rempel Ensemble and Eliot Grasso, premiere 2016); The Odyssey (with live looping electric violinist-composer Cullen Vance, premiere 2015); An American Christmas Carol (with Halie Loren, premiere 2015); Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet (with the UO Gospel Singers, premiere 2014); Tales from the Floating World (with Portland Taiko and Mitsuki Dazai, premiere 2014); the first-ever authorized ballet version of ZORRO (with the LA-based band Incendio and virtuoso violinist-composer Kim Angelis, premiere 2013); Pride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet (with Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, premiere 2013); The Misadventures of Casanova (premiere 2012); Cirque de la Lune (with Betty & the Boy, Troupe Carnivale, and Mood Area 52, premiere 2012); Incendio (with Incendio, premiere 2011); Arabian Nights (premiere 2011); Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet set in 1964 (with Shelley & Cal and the Agents of Unity, premiere 2012); bossa/brasil (with Jessi Marquez, premiere 2011); As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet (with composer Jeremy DeKyle Schropp, premiere 2012); String Theory (premiere 2011); Tales of Beatrix Potter (premiere 2010); Visions dAmour: 10 Ballets in Paris (with 25-part orchestra; premiere 2010), and many others. She has also led Ballet Fantastique's creation of commissioned work for Eugene Symphony (Carnival of the Animals and Polovtsian Dances) and the Oregon Mozart Players (Glazunov's Four Novelettes). Under Ms. Bontrager's leadership, Ballet Fantastique has toured across the Northwest (including the Oregon Coast, Seattle, Portland, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival). Ms. Bontrager also oversaw BFan's sold out, critically-acclaimed international debut at the Palariviera Theater as the first US dance company invited to perform in San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy. Ms. Bontrager's love of the arts also extends to her design work as an alumna of the University of Oregon's School of Architecture and in the detailed design of Ballet Fantastique's critically-acclaimed costumes.
Ms. Bontrager has also developed the complete curriculum for The Academy of Ballet Fantastique and works closely with advanced Ballet Fantastique students in their training and performance.
Hannah Bontrager is Ballet Fantastique's Executive Director and also serves as Co-Choreographer Producer and as a dancer in the Company. Hannah graduated summa cum laude and phi beta kappa in 2007 from the Robert D. Clark Honors College of the University of Oregon where, as a full scholarship student, she earned concurrent degrees in Dance and English Literature and a minor in Arts Administration, as well as the American Association of University Women Award, the Dance Achievement Award, and the Dean's Award for Service.. Under Hannah’s leadership, Ballet Fantastique has earned touring invitations on behalf of Ballet Fantastique nationally and internationally; grant awards from major foundations; and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind corporate and individual support. She has overseen both strategic and stunning organizational growth at rates of 25-30% growth per year for each of the past five seasons. Hannah also has extensive experience in print and web design, event planning, media relations, and oversees Ballet Fantastique’s thriving internship program. Hannah has given professional presentations on behalf of Ballet Fantastique for many organizations, and is listed among the international Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals. Hannah also leads a number of educational initiatives for Ballet Fantastique, including Passport to Dance and The EXPERIENCE DANCE! Project.
Also a trained professional dancer, choreographer, and performer, Hannah studied the eight levels of the Vaganova Syllabus and Vaganova pedagogy with her mother, Donna Marisa Bontrager, while creating and performing works locally. She also spent two summers at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. under Artistic Director Oleg Vinogradov (also Artistic Director of Russia's Kirov Ballet), and was one of five students invited internationally to join renowned Kirov prima ballerina Mme. Alla Sizova’s advanced class. Hannah spent one season in Denver with coach Inessa Pakri-Plekhanova, concurrently performing with Colorado Ballet Company. Hannah has performed professionally with Ballet Fantastique since its inception, and has also appeared in soloist roles for a number of other companies across the country, including Manassas Ballet Theatre in the Washington, DC metro area (Sugar Plum Fairy, Nutcracker and the lead in Vivandière/Markitenka). Donna and Hannah have collaborated to produce bold cross-disciplinary Ballet Fantastique collaborations including: Scarlet Flower: Beauty & the Beast Retold; Dragon & the Night Queen: Celtic Stories; The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet; Tales from the Floating World; ZORRO; Pride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet; The Misadventures of Casanova; Cirque de la Lune; Incendio; Arabian Nights; Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet set in 1964; bossa/brasil; String Theory; Tales of Beatrix Potter (A Ballet); Visions dAmour: 10 Ballets in Paris; Danse en Rouge: Variations in Red; and Tchaikovsky to Tango.
As a dancer with Ballet Fantastique, Hannah has earned rave critical reviews in soloist and principal roles, including: The Spectre of the Rose in Scarlet Flower: Beauty & the Beast Retold; Rhiannon, the Night Queen in Dragon & the Night Queen; Cindy in Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet; Christmas Future An American Christmas Carol; Henriette, the fiery writer in The Misadventures of Casanova; Simone, the Dreamer in Cirque de la Lune; Scheherazade in Arabian Nights; Rosie/Rosalind in As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet (including on tour to San Benedetto, Italy); and Marguerite, the siren in Love at the Cafe Terrace.
Mr. Rempel is a composer, the leader of Gerry Rempel Ensemble and Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, a member of numerous jazz, soul, and blues groups in Eugene, and a music teacher at Northwest Christian University and Lane Community College. Also part of the award-winning University of Oregon Gospel Choir Band, Mr. Rempel accompanied the UO Gospel choir on their 2013 China tour.
As a resident composer, arranger, musician, and Music Director for Ballet Fantastique, Mr. Rempel composed and performed several pieces in Ballet Fantastique's String Theory (premiere 2010, Hult Center). Mr. Rempel's nine-piece group, Gerry Rempel Jazz Syndicate, arranged and performed the music for Ballet Fantastique’s roaring 20’s Parisian Pride and Prejudice (premiere 2013, Hult Center; encore performances in 2016). As the University of Oregon Gospel Choir Band, Mr. Rempel also served as Music Director and played guitars for Ballet Fantastique's premiere of The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet (premiere 2014, Hult Center). Mr. Rempel then spearheaded the collaboration with internationally acclaimed Irish uilleann piper and composer Eliot Grasso for Ballet Fantastique's premiere of Dragon & the Night Queen: Celtic Stories (premiere 2016, Florence Events Center + Hult Center); Mr. Rempel\s seven-part Ensemble for the Dragon production (Gerry Rempel Ensemble) included acoustic and electric guitars, bouzouki, uilleann pipes, flute, whistle, fiddle, keyboard, accordion, recorder, acoustic and electric percussion, acoustic and electric bass, and vocals sung in five languages. Music arrangements included varied combinations of material, both contemporary and ancient, that draw from Celtic and other “world” music, including an infiltration of rock elements.
Mr. Rempel has also composed a number of original works for Ballet Fantastique, including two works for String Theory (premiere 2011, Hult Center), Pride & Prejudice: A Parisian Jazz Ballet (premiere 2013, Hult Center), “The Fall of Vashti” and “Haman” forThe Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet (premiere 2014, Hult Center; encore performances in 2016), and "Serena and the Dragon" for Dragon & the Night Queen: Celtic Stories (premiere 2016, Florence Events Center + Hult Center). For more information about Mr. Rempel's upcoming musical projects and performances, please visit www.gerryrempel.com.