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 created for Ballet Fantastique in collaboration with Hannah Bontrager include: Aladdin: A Rock Opera Ballet (with Satin Love Orchestra, premiere 2017); Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (with Oregon Mozart Players + international cellist DaXun Zhang, premiere 2017); 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 2013); Cirque de la Lune (with Betty & the Boy, Troupe Carnivale, and Mood Area 52, premiere 2012); Cinderella: A Rock Opera Ballet set in 1964 (with Shelley & Cal and the Agents of Unity, premiere 2012); Arabian Nights (premiere 2012); Incendio (with Incendio, premiere 2011); As You Like It: A Wild West Ballet (with composer Jeremy DeKyle Schropp, premiere 2011); bossa/brasil (with Jessi Marquez, premiere 2011); String Theory (premiere 2011); Tales of Beatrix Potter (premiere 2008); Visions dAmour: 10 Ballets in Paris (with 25-part orchestra; premiere 2009), 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). Full list of Ms. Bontrager's repertoire for Ballet Fantastique
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.
—Portland Monthly Magazine