Meridith Benson began her professional career at the age of eleven. Since her auspicious debut at such an early age, she has performed with numerous major ballet companies internationally, including: Makarova and Company on Broadway, the Washington Ballet, America Ballet Theater 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 Giselle, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet; John Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew; Paul Taylor’s Aureole, Balanchine’s Divertimento, The Four Temperaments, Concerto Barocco, Apollo 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 worlds’ greatest choreographers/directors both from the past to the pre- sent, ranging from Frederick Franklin, Ivan Nagy, Natalia Makarova, Fernando Bujones, Gerald Arpino, Suzanne Farrell, Robert Joffrey to todays Dwight Rhoden, Val Caniparoli and Desmond Richardson. She is known for her artistry, versatility, technical virtuosity, dramatic expression and her exquisite extensions, a particular gift that is without parallel.
As a director 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 Cincinnati Conservatory for Music, along with teaching, coaching, choreographing and directing her dancers at de la Arts.
In her personal life, Meridith shares four beautiful children with 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.
Ballet Instructor for Ballet 2 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 with her students in the tradition of passing down and upholding the intricacies of an 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, is passionate about developing self- motivated, disciplined, confident, and technically adept dancers.
Ballet Instructor for Int/Adv Ballet
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 the academy classes which provides the ability to help dancers understand their body outside the studio as well as inside the studio. She believes that 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 of DE LA Dance Company and performs with the Company as well. Alexandra also holds a BS degree in Business Management and Administration from the University of Louisville. She completed her comprehensive pilates training through Power Pilates.
Ballet Instructor for Int/Adv Ballet
Patricia was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Glen Rock, NJ. She began her dance training at the age of 11at 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 choose 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. There she worked with former Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo dancers, William Verdack and George Glenn.
Upon graduating from collage Patricia was accepted into Ballet West directed by Willam Christenson, Salt Lake City, Utah. There she moved from the corps to principal dancer in 18 months. From Ballet West she joined the Cincinnati Ballet under the direction of David McClain. As a principle dancer with CB 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 2 wonderful children, Sara and Michael, a lovely daughter-in-law, Erica and a budding ballerina grand daughter, Scarlett.
Ballet Instructor for Intro to Ballet 1 and Beg/Int Adult Ballet
Beverly began teaching dance as a teenager in her hometown studio in Maryland which offered ballet, tap, jazz, and acrobatics and performed 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 Dela Dance Center in 2007.
Beverly appears in character roles of Dela Dance Company’s productions and helps choreograph and rehearse the children’s casts.
Ballet Instructor for Intro to Ballet 1 and Ballet 1
Mary Kamp, Cincinnati, OH is a teaching artist in Ballet, Character, Jazz and Tap, a Dancer, Choreographer, Movement Specialist, and Liturgical & Sacred Dance Workshop Leader. Her professional career spans nearly four decades performing throughout the United States and abroad She brings a maturity and wisdom to her presentations of dance on stage, 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, where patients explored movement, music and written word developing dances and movement sequences which served as pathways to expression of thoughts and feelings. This program was in part funded 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 is planning a first, ONLINE FESTIVAL “Virtually There…A Sacred Dance Experience”, with twenty-one presenters from four continents, with workshops available in ten different time zones. This is an exciting challenge after planning SDG Festivals previously held on university and college campuses, like dance this requires using all your senses.
Instructor for Dance FUNdamentals 1 and 2
Juanita discovered her love of dance at a very young age of 3. Her mother was a dancer and teacher herself and in the time she was able to grow her love for dance. Being from a large family for 6 kids, dance is her way of letting her energy out and expressing herself with movement. Her dance teaching philosophy is that all dance forms have beauty, grace, awareness of space and self, along with history and discipline that can help out in all aspects of life. Her goal is to nature that curiosity and passion for dance in students so they can succeed anywhere life takes them.
As a kid 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 also help 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 Juanita became a faculty member for the school teaching Ballet for 3 year olds- adults, Beginning tap for children, and Flamenco to middle school aged students. She was also involved in performing in Outreach Programs along with conducting classes throughout Fort Wayne’s public schools. While Juanita was not dancing during her off season (Summer) Juanita taught ballet and Jazz for a childerns’ Ice skating summer program for 1 summer in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She also was a Pacific Northwest Ballet Summer Dorm Counselor in Seattle, Washington from 2014-2018. Mangaing middle-high school aged students along with International students with their daily needs while at the summer program. In the time Juanita joined de la Dance Center’s faculty since 2015 she has taught all ages in ballet from adults to children, but specifically the youngest group of dancers ages 3-9. She has also taught Advance Contemporary dance and beginning tap for children. When Juanita is not at the Studio dancing with the Company or teaching, she has a part time job teaching at a local Montessori preschool and after school program called Educational Arts Center, in Mount Washington. Where she teaches preschool education, dance, spanish, knitting, and sewing.
After starting ballet with a small dance studio in Louisville, Kentucky she joined the Louisville Ballet School as a scholarship student at age 7. While dancing with the school she also was able to dance in the Louisville Ballet Company productions of The Nutcracker in the assortment of children roles including the lead role of Clara at the age of 8. Along with being an extra in the productions of Cinderella, Alice and Wonderland, and Romeo and Juliet. While she was training in ballet, from the age of 7-11 years old, she 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 11 she joined Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble where it focused on a more professional dance training career 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 2004-2010 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 summer intensive of choice. While training with the school, Juanita was trained in a wide variety of ballet styles: Cecchetti (Italian), Royal (English), Vaganova(Russian) and Balanchine (American). She also trained in other styles of dance including Modern Dance: Graham, Horton, and Safety Release Techniques, Jazz, and Tap.
At the age of 17, Juanita joined as a Trainee Position with Louisville Ballet Company. In order for her to dance with the company full time she completed her high school senior year online. In the time dancing from 2009-2012 as a Trainee she worked with world renowned choreographers like Val Caniparoli’s “The Seasons” which was a collaboration piece with Pacific Northwest Ballet and a brand new production of “The Nutcracker”. As well as Adam Houghland’s “Rite of Spring” and world premiere for Louisville Ballet’s 60th Anniversary “Unyielding Radiance”. From 2012-2015 Juanita joined crops de ballet dancer and later soloist dancer with Fort Wayne Ballet. While dancing there she got to perform classical ballets of Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Nutcracker, along with excerpts from La Bayadere and Le Corsaire. She also performed contemporary works of Carmina Burana, A Tribute to Fosse, Mazurkas by Jose Limon and many original works by David Ingram. From 2015 to present day Juanita joined De La Dance Company as a Soloist dancer to Principal dancer. Juanita has danced classical ballets Giselle, Cinderella, La Slyphide, Nutcracker along with excerpts of Paquita, La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, and Les Slyphide. Along with original Contemporary works by Mario de la Nuez, Alexandra Brannon, Dianae Germaine, and Andre Megerdichian.
Ballet Instructor for Ballet 2
Morgan began dancing at 7 years old when she received a scholarship to the Cincinnati Ballet Academy. She continued to train with Cincinnati Ballet for 10 years and performed in company productions of “The Nutcracker,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Bolero,” and “Beauty and the Beast” as well as academy productions of “La Bayadere,” “Don Quixote,” and Balanchine’s “Walpurgisnacht.” She has also attended summer intensive programs at Kansas City Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Louisville Ballet and Nashville Ballet. Since joining DE LA Dance Company in 2018 Morgan has performed corps de ballet roles such as Snow and Flowers in “The Nutcracker Jazzed Up,” Friends in “Coppelia,” Shades corps in “La Bayadere,” and Sylphs corps in “La Sylphide.” She has also performed larger roles as a Shades soloist in “La Bayadere,” an Arabian and Spanish dancer in “The Nutcracker Jazzed Up,” and as the White Cat in “Sleeping Beauty.” Morgan is also a certified Barre instructor and teaches group fitness classes at gyms in the area. She is very excited to be joining de la’s teaching staff this year and sharing her love for dance with her students.