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Meridith Benson 


Meridith Benson began her professional career at the age of eleven. Since her auspicious debut at such an early age, she has performed internationally with numerous major ballet companies, including Makarova and Company on Broadway, the Washington Ballet, American Ballet Theatre II, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Lyric Opera of Chicago (Principal Guest Dancer), and The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago.
Meridith has seen the world performing on the world’s most famous stages. She has danced the title roles in nearly all of the classic ballet repertoire including GiselleSwan LakeSleeping BeautyRomeo and Juliet; John Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew; Paul Taylor’s Aureole; George Balanchine’s DivertimentoThe Four TemperamentsConcerto BaroccoApollo, and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux; and Gerald Arpino’s

Light Rain and Round of Angels.
Due to Meridith’s versatility in styles, she has been able work with the world's greatest choreographers and directors both from the past and the present, ranging from Frederick Franklin, Ivan Nagy, Natalia Makarova, Fernando Bujones, Gerald Arpino, Suzzane Farrel, and Robert Joffrey to today's Dwight Rhoden, Val Caniparoli, and Desmond Richardson. She is known for her artistry, versatility, technical virtuosity, dramatic expression, and exquisite extensions, a particular gift that is without parallel.
Meridith has served as Associate Director and Prima Ballerina of Ballet Theater of Chicago. As a teacher, she continues to inspire her students through her passion for dance. Meridith taught at the School for Creative and Performing Arts for ten years and is currently an adjunct professor at University of Cininnati's College-Conservatory of Music, along with teaching, coaching, choreographing, and directing her dancers at de la Arts. In her personal life, Meridith shares four beautiful children with her husband Mario de la Nuez, where being a mother is her most challenging and rewarding job.


Mario de la Nuez


Mario is a native of Havana, Cuba. As a child, he immigrated to the United States where he, his younger brother, and mother took up residence in New York City. There, he began his dance studies with the renowned teachers, Richard Thomas and Daniel Levans at the New York School of Ballet. Soon after completing his studies, he began a professional dance career that took him throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has danced with US Terpsichore, N.Y.; Peri Dance NY; Ballet Binghamton; Ballet West; Tulsa Ballet Theater; Dance Theater of Harlem; Ballet Chicago; Cincinnati Ballet; and Ballet Theater of Chicago. Mario has performed in video, television, musical theater and opera as a dancer, choreographer, and director. In January of 1995, he founded Ballet Theater of Chicago with his wife, Meridith Benson. The company received great acclaim for its performances of a diverse repertory, ranging from the avant garde to full-length classics in Chicago and throughout the United States.

We believe that dance, first and foremost, should be fun and inspiring. This emphasis is useful whether one is pursuing a professional career in dance, or trying to fulfill a lifetime dream of expressing oneself through movement. The road to achieve this can be exhilarating, mysterious, and difficult, yet extremely fulfilling. Above all, Mario believes that Art, and Dance in particular, is one of man's greatest and most important gifts.


Amy Harold 

Ballet Instructor for Ballet 3, Ballet 4, and Int/Adv Ballet

Amy began dancing at the age of three, and has been in love with dance ever since. The life skills and lessons it has afforded her are invaluable, and she hopes to impart these experiences to her students in the tradition of passing down and upholding the intricacies of the art form from one generation to the next. Amy received her early training in Newburg, NY at Powers Dance Arts Centre, continued in Atlanta, GA at Gwinnett Ballet Theatre, and then earned her Bachelor of Science in Education specializing in Dance from the University of Georgia. In her 19 years of teaching, Amy has taught all age and ability levels from three through adult, and above all, she is passionate about developing self-motivated, disciplined, confident, and technically adept dancers.


Alexandra Douglass

Ballet Instructor for Ballet 3, Ballet 4, Int/Adv Ballet, and Contemporary

Alexandra loves teaching the students of de la Dance Center to develop their dancing through the enjoyment of hard work and discipline in both technique and artistry. She teaches Pilates in addition to academy classes, which allows the dancers to understand their bodies outside the studio as well as inside the studio. She believes that by keeping the body strong, flexible, and, most importantly, balanced, dancers can maintain their ultimate tool for their craft. Unifying and training the entire body, mind, and spirit help dancers to achieve their fullest potential.

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Alexandra trained in ballet and a variety of contemporary styles. She studied at the Louisville Ballet School, Youth Performing Arts High School, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, University of Louisville Dance Theatre, Thodos Dance Chicago, Ballet Black, Danceworks London, and Pineapple London. Alexandra is Resident Choreographer for De La Dance Company and performs with the Company as a Solo Artist as well. Alexandra also holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Administration from the University of Louisville. She completed her comprehensive Pilates training through Power Pilates.


Pat Rozow

Ballet Instructor for Int/Adv Ballet and Adult Ballet

Patricia was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Glen Rock, NJ. She began her dance training at the age of 11 at the Irene Fokine School of Ballet in Ridgewood, NJ. She was very fortunate to study under the tutelage of Irene, niece of Michael Fokine, Madam Alexander Fedorava, her Mother, and Leon Fokine, her brother.

After high school, Patricia auditioned for the Ballet Company of Radio City Music Hall and was accepted but chose to take a job offer as a trainee with the Rebecca Harkness Ballet, NY, NY.

Feeling that education was vital, Patricia decided to attend Butler University Dance Department on a full scholarship. While there, she worked with former Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo dancers, William Verdack and George Glenn.

Upon graduating from college, Patricia was accepted into Ballet West, directed by Willam Christenson, in Salt Lake City, Utah. At Ballet West, she moved from being in the corps de ballet to being a principal dancer in 18 months. From Ballet West, she joined the Cincinnati Ballet under the direction of David McClain. As a principal dancer with Cincinnati Ballet she worked extensively with Frederick Franklin, CBE.

Patricia is known for her principal roles in classical and Balanchine ballets.

Upon retirement from the stage to start a family, Patricia began teaching at Cincinnati’s School for Creative and Performing Arts. She was the chair of the Dance Department and Co-Director of the SCPA Dance Ensemble. There she passed on her passion for dance as an art form for 35 years and truly believes that dance can teach you the necessary life skills to be successful in any chosen career.

Patricia resides with her husband Michael in Cincinnati and has two wonderful children, Sara and Michael, a lovely daughter-in-law, Erica, and a budding ballerina granddaughter, Scarlett.


Beverly Strelau

Ballet Instructor for Ballet 1, Ballet 2, and Adult Ballet

Beverly began teaching dance as a teenager in her hometown studio in Maryland, which offered ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics, in addition to performing locally in the school’s ensemble.

She went on to perform jazz in New York City as a Phil Black Dancer. After moving to Cincinnati, Bev joined the Anneliese Von Oettingen Ballet Company, taught for the AVO school, and directed the AVO Kinderballet.

Bev owned and operated her own Academy of Dance in Madeira and co-directed the dance department of Hyde Park Gymnastics before joining the teaching staff of de la Dance Center in 2007.

Bev continues to appear in character roles in De La Dance Company’s productions and helps choreograph and rehearse the children’s casts.


Mary Kamp

Ballet Instructor for Ballet 1

Mary Kamp is a teaching artist in Ballet, Character, Jazz and Tap, in addition to being a dancer, choreographer, movement specialist, and Liturgical & Sacred Dance Workshop Leader. Her professional career spans nearly four decades, and she has performed throughout the United States and abroad. She brings a maturity and wisdom to her presentations of dance on stage and in worship services, sacred celebrations, concerts, and workshops. Currently, Mary is a Ballet instructor at de la Dance Center. In 1999, The Dance Ministry of Kennedy Heights Presbyterian Church was formed and has offered liturgical dance in worship settings for many denominations in Ohio and Kentucky. 

In July 2009, Mary was named an Artist-in-Residence, joining the Clinical Pastoral Care Department at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Facilitating Sacred Dance in a clinical setting allows patients to explore movement, music, and written word, by developing dances and movement sequences which serve as pathways to expression of thoughts and feelings. This program was funded in part by grants from The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

Dance for PD® was introduced to Cincinnati dancers and instructors at a demonstration class held at de la Dance Center in September 2011. After completing training, Mary, Nancy Fountain, and Kate Stark formed Dancing with Parkinson’s Cincinnati which offers weekly classes. This ground-breaking program, initially formed with Mark Morris Dance Group of NYC, has grown to offer more than 300 classes in 25 countries world-wide. Participants are empowered to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating, and creative.

A Sacred Dance Guild member since 1999, Mary is currently serving on the Executive Board as Co-Director of Resources. Considering the Covid-19 Pandemic, the SDG held its first online festival “Virtually There…A Sacred Dance Experience” with 21 presenters from four continents and workshops available in ten different time zones.


Juanita Araque-Feil

Instructor for Dance FUNdamentals 1 and 2 and Intro to Ballet 1

Juanita discovered her love of dance at the very young age of three. Her mother was a dancer and teacher herself, and in time, she was able to grow her love for dance. Being from a large family with six children, dance was Juanita's way of letting her energy out and expressing herself with movement. Her dance teaching philosophy is that all dance forms have beauty, grace, and awareness of space and self, along with history and discipline that can help in all aspects of life. Her goal is to nurture a curiosity and passion for dance in students so that they can succeed anywhere life takes them.

As a child, Juanita’s eagerness to learn everything about dance was a priority, and one way of doing that was helping her mother as an assistant and demonstrator for her Ballet and Jazz classes. Her mother was also a teacher for Louisville Ballet School’s Outreach/ Satellite dance programs where Juanita would assist. By the time Juanita started her professional dance career, she was involved in performing in Outreach programs throughout Louisville’s public schools. After joining Fort Wayne Ballet in 2012, Juanita became a faculty member for the school, teaching Ballet for ages three through adults, Beginning Tap for children, and Flamenco for middle school-aged students. She was also involved in Outreach Programs, including conducting classes throughout Fort Wayne’s public schools. 

During the summer, when Juanita was not dancing, she taught Ballet and Jazz for a children's ice skating summer program. She also was a Pacific Northwest Ballet Summer Dorm Counselor in Seattle, Washington from 2014 to 2018. She assisted in managing middle and high school-aged students, including international students, and helped with their daily needs while at the summer program. In that time, Juanita joined de la Dance Center’s faculty, and since 2015, she has taught ballet to all ages, focusing on the youngest group of dancers. She has also taught Advance Contemporary and Beginning Tap for children.


 After starting ballet at a small dance studio in Louisville, Kentucky, Juanita joined the Louisville Ballet School as a scholarship student at the age of seven. While dancing with the school, she also danced in the Louisville Ballet Company productions of The Nutcracker in the assortment of children's roles, including the lead role of Clara at the age of eight. Along with being an extra in productions of Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Romeo and Juliet. From the ages of seven to eleven years old, Juanita also trained with Ballet Espanol, a local flamenco dance company in Louisville, Kentucky. During that time she joined the touring flamenco company called “Las Guapitas” and toured in festivals across Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. By the time Juanita was eleven, she joined Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble, which focused on a professional dance career training path. With Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble, once a year she would participate in SERBA (Southeast Regional Ballet Association), a dance conference with master classes, performances, and an audition class for summer intensive scholarship. From 2004 to 2010, Juanita was awarded scholarships from Dance Collective (NC), Alabama Dance Theater (AL), Jordan Academy, Butler University (IN), Joffrey Ballet School (NY), Craft of Choreography, Pacific Northwest Ballet (WA), and a $1,000 cash award towards her summer intensive of choice. While training with the school, Juanita was trained in a wide variety of ballet styles: Cecchetti, RAD, Vaganova, and Balanchine. She also trained in other styles of dance including Modern Dance (Graham, Horton), Safety Release Techniques, Jazz, and Tap.


Professional Career

At the age of 17, Juanita acquired a trainee position with the Louisville Ballet Company.  In order to dance with the company full-time, she completed her high school senior year online. In her time dancing from 2009 to 2012 as a Trainee, she worked with world-renowned choreographers like Val Caniparoli’s in his The Seasons, which was a collaboration with Pacific Northwest Ballet, and a brand new production of The Nutcracker, as well as Adam Houghland’s Rite of Spring and the world premiere for Louisville Ballet’s 60th Anniversary Unyielding Radiance. From 2012 to 2015, Juanita danced as a corps de ballet dancer and later soloist dancer with Fort Wayne Ballet. While there she performed classical ballets such as Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, and The Nutcracker, along with excerpts from La Bayadere and Le Corsaire. She also performed contemporary works of Carmina Burana, A Tribute to Fosse, and Mazurkas by Jose Limon in addition to many original works by David Ingram. In 2015, Juanita joined De La Dance Company as a Solo Artist and was later promoted to Principal Artist, a position she continues to hold. With De La Dance Company, Juanita has danced classical ballets Giselle, Cinderella, La Sylphide, Coppélia, and The Nutcracker, Jazzed Up! along with excerpts of Paquita, La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Don QuixoteLes Slyphide, and Swan Lake. Additionally, she has performed original Contemporary works by Mario de la Nuez, Alexandra Douglass, Diane Germaine, and Andre Megerdichian.

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Meredith Evans

Instructor for Dance FUNdamentals 1 and 2 and Intro to Ballet 1


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