The Faculty

Hagop Kharatian

Artistic Director

Hagop Kharatian trained at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia and the Kirov Academy in Washington, DC with many renowned teachers including Konstantin Sergeyev, Natalya Dudinskaya, Alla Sizova and Roudolf Kharatian. He has worked as a principal dancer with the Washington Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Milwaukee Ballet, and as a guest principal dancer with many companies throughout the United States and Canada including Sarasota Ballet, Indiannapolis Ballet, Washington Ballet, Ballet Met, Los Angeles Classical Ballet and Les Ballets Classiques de Montreal. He has also appeared as principal guest artist in numerous festivals and galas and has been featured in programs such as “Suzanne Farrell Stages Balanchine” for the Kennedy Center’s 25th Anniversary Celebration and “Tribute to Kolpakova”, partnering such renowned ballerinas as Maria Calegari, Helene Alexopoulous and Leslie Browne. He has appeared on PBS in Alonzo King’s Map for the September 11th Relief fund and in a documentary about the making of Anna Karenina, and has been featured in Dance Magazine.

Mr. Kharatian has performed the main principal roles of the classical and contemporary repertoire in ballets including Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Giselle, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Coppelia, Cinderella, Le spectre de la rose, L’apres-midi d’un faune, Firebird; Balanchine’s Apollo, Prodigal Son, Theme and Variations, Monumentum/Movements, Valse Fantasie, Divertimento #15, Chaconne, Tzigane, and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue; Andre Prokovsky’s Anna Karenina, Fernand Nault’s Nutcracker and Carmina Burana, Anthony Tudor’s Pillar of Fire, Kurt Jooss’ Green Table, Nacho Duato’s Duende, William Forsythe’s Approximate Sonata, James Kudelka’s Desir, Choo San Goh’s Fives and Momentum, as well ballets by Mark Godden, Alonzo King, Nils Christe, Graham Lustig, Ohad Naharin, Margo Sappington, Roudolf Kharatian and many others.

He has also worked with such well-known directors, teachers and repetiteurs as Suzanne Farrell, Ib Anderson, Patricia Neary, Victoria Simon, Alla Osipenko, Vladilen Semyonov, Lupe Serrano, Maria Youskevitch, Oleg Vinogradov, Larry Rhodes, Gradimir Pankov and Martin Fredmann.

Mr. Kharatian has extensive experience as a ballet teacher and repetiteur, both nationally and internationally, with professional ballet companies and pre-professional schools and summer programs. From 1999 to 2009, he was principal guest teacher and repetiteur for ARKA Ballet in Washington, DC and since 2008 has been a guest teacher and coach with the National Ballet of Armenia. Some of the other schools and companies he has taught and coached include the Washington School of Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet School, Les Ballets Classiques de Montreal, Dance Art Center, Seiskaya Ballet Academy from where one of his students Cory Stearns is currently a Principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre. Since 2011, he has been working with Arizona School of Classical Ballet and teaching at many valley schools.

Irina Abramyan

Artistic Director

Irina Abramyan started her dance training at the State "Barekamutiun" Dance Academy in Yerevan, Armenia. After completing the program she became a company member of National Ballet of Armenia where she danced all the company's repertoire. In 2006 Ms. Abramyan traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia where she was Director Choreographer for "Nairi" Dance Company. She acted and performed in several movies for Dance Film Festivals. In 2008 Ms. Abramyan became a Director Choreographer at Orange Fitness's Dance department. In her duties was to teach and direct Contemporary, Ballet, Argentinean Tango, Hip Hop, Jazz, and International Dance program. She is also a Certified Pilates Instructor.

After arriving to the United States in 2010 she choreographed for Milwaukee Ballet II (student company) graduation program. While in Milwaukee, Ms. Abramyan also worked as a choreographer for Dance Arts Center's 2011 spring program.

Irina, her husband, and 2-years old daughter moved to Phoenix Arizona in 2012. For the past years, she was working at Southwest Classical Dance Institute, teaching and choreographing for several schools in the valley such as Arizona School of Classical Ballet, Center Point Dance, Dance Connection 2, Impact Dance, Studio 3, and Dance Republic to name a few. In March of 2014, Irina and Hagop took over ASCB and became the directors of the school.

Since 2015, Irina has had numerous wins with her choreographiy taking first overall at many competitions.  Also she has had many wins at the Youth America Grand Prix competition and have been invited to the New York City Finals multiple times. In 2017, her choreography 'Dle Yaman" took 1st place, as well as receiving the Judge's Choice Award for poetic vision at KAR Dance Competition. This same choreography has been recognized by YAGP and was invited to the New York City Finals in 2018. At the 2018 YAGP New York City finals she took multiple soloists to compete. At the 2018 Tallinn International Ballet Competition her choreography "The Beast in Me" won 3rd place,  the dancer was chosen to perform at the Gala and has been invited to the YAGP New York City Finals 2018. In 2019 she received "Best Choreography Award Winner at WBAC Grand Prix International Ballet Competition.

Sabina Valic

Preparatory Department

Sabina Valic began dancing at the age of 5 in her native Pula, Croatia. She pursued her love and passion for ballet and was later accepted to attend the formal School for Classical Ballet in Zagreb, Croatia.
Her dance education continued after moving to Arizona and her dance experience today spans from classical, contemporary, and character, to modern dance.
Some of her classical dancing roles include: Les Cygnets (“Swan Lake”), Sugar Plum (“Nutcracker”), Prelude (“Les Sylphides”, coached by Mr.George Zorich, principal dancer with Les Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo), “Leaves Are Fading”, as well as a variety of contemporary and modern pieces.
Ms. Valic had the joy and privilege to perform, among others, with the Croatian National Ballet Theater of Croatia, Arizona Opera, Fun House Movement Dance Company, Balalaika Orchestra, Flor de Liz Dance Ensemble, and the University of Arizona’s Dance Department.
Yumi La Rosa

Flamenco

Yumi la Rosa’s studied in Spain with well-known Flamenco artists such as Rafaela Carrasco, Juana Amaya, Belen Maya, Leonor Leal, Isabel Bayón, “La Truco”, and others.

Upon returning to Phoenix, Yumi La Rosa joined Viva Flamenco directed by Lydia Torea as a company dancer and later became a soloist with Mosaico Flamenco at Hyatt Scottsdale Resort.  She was also selected as a soloist with the prestigious touring group, Calo Flamenco, directed by Martin Gaxiola. Yumi was later invited to Mexico, India, and Singapore to teach Flamenco workshops and to perform. Currently, she is performing at Tapas Papa Frita Spanish restaurant in Scottsdale as a featured dancer.  

Yumi La Rosa has been teaching flamenco for all ages throughout the valley to introduce the art of Flamenco.  In 2009, she founded her own group, Yumi La Rosa Flamenco Dance and presented her very first dance production called Mujeres at Tempe Center for the Arts.  The production has been growing each year featuring invited artists from other dance disciplines in addition to her own group. Yumi created Mujeres to give the public an appreciation of other cultures in general and of the richness of Spanish culture in particular. 

Olga Tarasova

Ballet

Ms.Tarasova was born in Vladivostok (Far East Russia)

and received her ballet education from Voronezh State Academic Opera and Ballet School. After graduation she was invited to dance with the Krasnoyarsky Academic Opera and Ballet Theater (Russia) where she performed many solo and leading roles in a large number of well-known ballets such as “Swan Lake”, “Giselle”,

“Bayadere”, “Spartacus”, “Notre Dame De Paris” etc. While with Krasnoyarsky , Ms.Tarasova continued her studies by taking extensive instruction under world-renowned dancers and teachers from both the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballet Companies.

In 1986 Ms.Tarasova was invited to join the Kiev Theater of Classical Ballet in the Ukraine.

Her repertoire included “Romeo and Juliet”, “The Nutcracker”, “Thumbelina”, “Harlequinade” etc. She toured through out Russia and Europe performing in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Italy and France. 

In 1995, Ms. Tarasova was invited to dance in the United States bringing her unique style to the American audience. In 1998, Ms.Tarasova transitioned from a vast performance career to a full-time teaching career.

She has taught at both Bringham Young University and Boise State University as a guest teacher. Ms.Tarasova is an expert in the pedagogy in the Vaganova style of Classical Ballet Technique. A masterful instructor , she teaches Ballet Technique , Pointe and has staged many variations from Classical Ballet Repertoire. Ms.Tarasova is inspiring , quietly commanding , polite and thoughtful, a true world class artist. 

Arion Tanabe

Ballet

Arion Tanabe grew up in the Midwest, where he studied ballet, jazz, modern and character at the Judith Svalander School of Ballet northwest of Chicago. He began teaching ballet and modern courses at the school at age 15 and became an accompanist for ballet classes at age 17. While pursuing his dance education, Arion also studied piano with Dr. Kenneth Drake, Prof. Emeritus of the University of Illinois.
Beginning in 2003, Arion worked throughout the Midwest as a professional ballet dancer with Milwaukee Ballet II, Dayton Ballet and Grand Rapids Ballet, also teaching and accompanying at their associated schools. From 2009 to 2013, he worked as a freelance dancer and teacher at several Chicago suburban ballet studios and civic companies. As an accompanist, he played regularly for ballet classes at Visceral Dance Studio and Lou Conte Dance studio, in addition to occasional accompanying for the Hubbard Street Dance Company, Columbia University and Northwestern University.
In 2011, Arion combined his knowledge of music and dance to compose an original musical score for Montgomery Ballet, helping create the companyʼs ballet Esoteric Imagery, choreographed by Paul Gilliam.In 2013, he moved to the Phoenix area, where he continues to teach, accompany and work on musical projects. Studios at which he has taught include Bender Performing Arts, Artistic Motion Dance and the Yen Li Chen Ballet School. He also accompanies at the School of
Ballet Arizona and Arizona School of the Arts. 
Aaron Gilbert

Ballet

Aaron Gilbert began his training under the direction of Kelly Roth, Constance Stine and Madame Xenia Chlistova. His training continued with T.J. Maheras, Miguel Garcia, Nadja Langenhorst, Dominika Borovansky, Pegge Visicaro, Elina Mooney, Cliff Keuter, Kim Sonderegger, Gail Passey-Reed, and Kee Juan Han, among others. He danced professionally with Ballet Jude, Desert Dance Theatre, and Grounding Pointe Dance Company. During his tenure with Ballet Jude he had the opportunity to perform in numerous contemporary and classical ballets and worked one year as the company's rehearsal director. He also performed in various musicals and had the opportunity to choreograph a few musicals such as, Bye Bye Birdie and Little Shop of Horrors. After retiring from his professional dance career Aaron began teaching. He spent 13 years teaching dance at Corona del Sol High School, his final 7 as the Director of the dance program. Additionally, he has been teaching ballet and choreographing at various dance studios and ballet schools for the past 20 years. Aaron is also the founder and Artistic Director of the AGBalletProject. Many of his students have gone on to perform with international touring musicals, compete on So You Think You Can Dance, choreograph for SYTCD Ukraine, perform with Beyonce, perform on MTV Music Awards, perform with Gus Giardano Dance Chicago, San Francisco Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, City Ballet of San Diego and participate in many other artistic endeavors. His students have been accepted into training programs with the Washington School of Ballet, Miami City Ballet School, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, School of Ballet Austin, School of Ballet Arizona, Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Academy, Bolshoi Ballet School, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Tokyo the Academy, Boston Ballet School, Houston Ballet School, Ballet West Academy and the Joffrey Ballet School. He is thankful to have worked and continue working with so many wonderful and passionate young dance artists both as an educator and as a choreographer.Aaron Gilbert began his training under the direction of Kelly Roth, Constance Stine and Madame Xenia Chlistova. His training continued with T.J. Maheras, Miguel Garcia, Nadja Langenhorst, Dominika Borovansky, Pegge Visicaro, Elina Mooney, Cliff Keuter, Kim Sonderegger, Gail Passey-Reed, and Kee Juan Han, among others. He danced professionally with Ballet Jude, Desert Dance Theatre, and Grounding Pointe Dance Company. During his tenure with Ballet Jude he had the opportunity to perform in numerous contemporary and classical ballets and worked one year as the company's rehearsal director. He also performed in various musicals and had the opportunity to choreograph a few musicals such as, Bye Bye Birdie and Little Shop of Horrors. After retiring from his professional dance career Aaron began teaching. He spent 13 years teaching dance at Corona del Sol High School, his final 7 as the Director of the dance program. Additionally, he has been teaching ballet and choreographing at various dance studios and ballet schools for the past 20 years. Aaron is also the founder and Artistic Director of the AGBalletProject. Many of his students have gone on to perform with international touring musicals, compete on So You Think You Can Dance, choreograph for SYTCD Ukraine, perform with Beyonce, perform on MTV Music Awards, perform with Gus Giardano Dance Chicago, San Francisco Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, City Ballet of San Diego and participate in many other artistic endeavors. His students have been accepted into training programs with the Washington School of Ballet, Miami City Ballet School, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, School of Ballet Austin, School of Ballet Arizona, Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Academy, Bolshoi Ballet School, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Tokyo the Academy, Boston Ballet School, Houston Ballet School, Ballet West Academy and the Joffrey Ballet School. He is thankful to have worked and continue working with so many wonderful and passionate young dance artists both as an educator and as a choreographer.
Hodgie Jo

Hip-Hop/Jazz

As a young Korean immigrant of the 1970s, he faced bullying and prejudice throughout his public-school experience. After being removed from two high schools by his sophomore year, he found himself at Washington High, the near outskirts of Phoenix at the time. This was the late 1970s and hip-hop was just starting to permeate American culture. Love it or hate it, Hodgie was a dynamic early adapter. Blending these new moves with his martial arts training, his style became more and more theatrical, including performances with flaming nunchucks!

Today, Hodgie is investing his incredible talent in our kids. Nobody gets the kids moving like Hodgie! He’s funny, demanding and extremely certain that YOU can stick the move. The benefits for our kids are enormous: exercise, expression, education, teamwork and just good ol’ fashioned FUN! All of us at Neighborhood Ministries are looking forward to the fruits of Hodgie’s labor.  Currently he is the teen director of dance at Alice Cooper's The Rock Teen Center.

Brooklinn Hooser

Hip-Hop/Jazz

Brooklinn Hooser committed her life to the success of young performers at a young age. Growing up she trained under professionals such as Adrian R’Mante, Sean Nelson, Tanya Chisholm and Jillian Englund in dance, vocals and acting. As a young performer Brooklinn appeared as a Celebrity performer in China’s Got Talent. She is also recognized by both Disney and Foreigner as an elite performer. Brooklinn then began choreographing and took on the role of Assistant Director and Artistic Director at Arizona Idol. She has groomed, choreographed and has sent small groups through to America’s Got Talent for the  2020-2021 season. 

 

She is enthusiastic about training the new generation of performers and passing her passion of dance onto her students.

Susie Kennedy

Preparatory ballet/Tap

Started dance at 3yrs old.  Member of Delaware Regional Ballet Company, NERBA ,DMA, 1st runner-up Miss Jr. Dance of America, Scholarship to Harkness Ballet. Student teacher, Teacher Training at Kent State University, in N.Y.  Studied with Charles Kelley, Bob Audey, Betsy Hauge, Madame Darvash, Leo’s Dance,Broadway Dance center, Joffrey Dance. Taught at Astoria Dance Center,Forest hills dance, Family Focus, Rhinelander. Personal trainer. Two National commercials for AT&T and Columbia Records. MTV “Love is a Battlefield “ video with Pat Benatar.  In Phoenix: Naturally Women consultant and fitness instructor, Gotta Dance, My own Studio” 1st Positions Dance Academy “, Deer Valley Community Center, Beuf Community Center, AZDA, Legacy Ballet and now Arizona School of Classical Ballet.

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