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2021 Jury

World Ballet Competition 2021 Finals: The Jury

Watch the World Ballet Competition from June 21-25 in person at the Orange County Convention Center's Linda Chapin Theater (Buy Tickets) or watch live online by clicking here.


American Ballet Theatre/Principal Dancer
Of Purchase, New York, Skylar Brandt began her training with teachers Diana White and Christian Claessens at Scarsdale Ballet Studio. She also studied with Valentina Kozlova, Fabrice Herrault, Susan Jaffe, Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky. She attended the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Franco De Vita, was a National Training Scholar and also received the Bender Foundation Scholarship. Brandt was a silver medalist at Youth America Grand Prix in 2004 and 2008. Brandt joined the ABT Studio Company in 2009, became an apprentice with the main Company in 2010 and joined the corps de ballet in 2011. She was appointed a Soloist in 2015 and a Principal Dancer in 2020. Brandt was awarded a 2013 Princess Grace Foundation-USA Dance Fellowship. That same year, she was featured in the film Ballet’s Greatest Hits. In 2018, Brandt was the recipient of an unprecedented Special Jury Award for her performances on the Russian television show “Big Ballet.”


International Ballet Master
A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, Zhanna Dubrovskaya trained at the famed Vaganova Ballet Academy and graduated with honors in 1968. She studied with the renowned O. Yordan and V. Kostrovitskaya. For more than 20 years, Madame Dubrovskaya was a soloist with the Choreographic Miniatures Company, led by L. Yacobson, and the Maly Theatre of Opera and Ballet (St. Petersburg State Ballet). She has performed throughout the world, extensively in Europe and Asia. Madame Dubrovskaya holds a master’s degree in teaching, coaching and choreographing from the St. Petersburg Ballet Academy. In 1991, she became a Principal Teacher and Ballet Mistress at the Colorado Ballet Academy and Company. In 1998, she assumed the position of Artistic Director of the Salt Creek Ballet School and Company. She is internationally respected for her preservation of the purity, musicality and aesthetics of the Russian classical ballet technique and traditions.


Pennsylvania Ballet/Assistant Director
Samantha Dunster trained under direction of Cristina Pora in Toronto and at the National Ballet of Cuba. In 1996, she joined Bale da Ilha in Brazil as Artistic Director and Principal Dancer. In 2000, Dunster became Ballet Mistress of Orlando Ballet and Assistant to the Artistic Director in 2007. She accepted the position of Chair/Artistic Director of the Hartt School Community Division Dance Department at the University of Hartford in 2011 where she founded the Pre-Professional Company, HarttWorks and the Summer Intensive ‘From Studio to Stage'. Dunster began her tenure as Ballet Mistress at Pennsylvania Ballet in November 2014 and was appointed Assistant Director in November 2015.


American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School/Master Teacher
Robert La Fosse was invited by Jerome Robbins to join the New York City Ballet in 1986 as a principal dancer after a nine-year career with American Ballet Theatre where he danced leading roles in many of the full-length classics. For the Broadway stage, Mr. La Fosse starred in Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, for which he received a 1989 Tony Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. In addition to his performing career, Mr. La Fosse is also an established choreographer who has created over 100 works for ballet, opera, musical theater, film and television. He currently teaches at American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School.



Graz Ballet, Westchester Ballet/Director
Jean Logrea trained at the Choreographic Institute in Cluj, Romania before joining the Cluj Opera House as both a principal dancer and instructor for the affiliate school. For nine years he was entrusted with a class of especially talented students, all of whom are now dancing internationally with major companies. He was a principal dancer with the Graz Opera House for seven years before becoming the Co-Director of the Logrea Dance Academy in Ossining, NY and the Co-Artistic Director of Westchester Ballet Company.



Ballet International/Director
Evie Peña-Shives began studying dance with Danish ballerina Grethe Sullivan and earned her formal ballet training with the Harkness Ballet School in New York City. She forged a ballet career dancing professionally with several companies, including Milwaukee Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Ballet Austin, and Tulsa Ballet Theatre. In 2012 she was honored with the Patron of the Arts Award from Chicago’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel. She has been on faculty with several dance institutions including the School of Ballet Chicago and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Shives holds a Master’s Degree in Education from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from Chatham College in Pittsburgh, PA. She is a life-long educator that has also worked in journalism and public relations. She taught at the Walt Disney Magnet School in Chicago, an institution that embraced her passion for the arts. Evie Peña--Shives resides in Texas where she continues to teach for the Austin Independent School District.

TV Personality & Host
Catrinel Sandu studied at the Choreography High School, “Dinu Lipatti” and obtained her masters in Choreography from the National University of Theatre and Film "I.L. Caragiale", both in Bucharest, Romania. She danced professionally for over 20 years, including time with the Romanian National Opera and the ballet company Orion. During her career in Romania’s mainstream media, Catrinel was the choreographer for many popular TV shows, and competed in “Dansez pentru tine” (Dancing with the Stars). She also judged TV dance shows such as “Yes, We Can Dance” and professional ballet competitions in Romania. She is currently co-director of Turning Pointe Ballet Company from Manatee School For the Arts.


Ballet International/Founder and Director
Willy Shives has been recognized as one of the most charismatic dancers of his time and declared by the New York Times as “an astounding dancer.” He danced his way into an enduring and award-winning professional career that included companies in New York, Chicago, Austin, Tulsa, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh. Shives held a brilliant 16-year tenure with the Joffrey Ballet, first as a leading dancer before moving into the role of ballet master. He was named Chicagoan of the Year in 2003 and continues to receive recognition for his artistry. He is a coach and répétiteur, serving both the Gerald Arpino Foundation and Antony Tudor Trust. Shives has created over a dozen original works and reconstructed and restaged several full-length ballets. He directed the ballet in San Antonio from 2015 to 2018 and is the founder and director of Ballet International.


Pennsylvania Ballet/Director of Pennsylvania Ballet II
Eddy Tovar trained at the National Ballet School in Havana. He began his professional career in Brazil at the Bale do Estado de Goias before joining the Orlando Ballet under the direction of Bruce Marks and the late Fernando Bujones. Eddy rose through the ranks of Orlando Ballet to that of principal dancer, while also serving as the resident guest artist of the Los Angeles Ballet. He retired from the stage after dancing for Texas Ballet Theater as a principal dancer, under the direction of Ben Stevenson. Eddy has performed principal roles in virtually every full-length classic ballet, including roles in works by George Balanchine and Twyla Tharp. As well, he has won numerous medals in competitions all around the world and appeared as a guest on the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance”. Eddy is currently the artistic coordinator and ballet master for PBII. He is married and has a daughter.


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