NICOLE MATHIS-BERMAN is a choreographer, performer, producer, and educator. Her creative process is based on restorative (healing) practices with the intention to bridge the gap between the physical and nonphysical to create curative environments. She is the founder and the director of White Crane Dance Theatre with the vision to create ongoing multimedia events, site-specifics, concerts, lecture demonstrations, installations, and workshops that embrace humanity by enriching and contributing to the well-being of individuals and their communities.
A native of Santa Monica, CA, Nicole began her training at Westside School of Ballet and started dancing professionally at the age of seventeen with Pacific American Ballet Theater (PABT). She spent years training in the Vaganova style of ballet, touring with PABT nationally and internationally while dancing in soloist and principal roles in traditional and original ballets. She continued her Vaganova training with Marat Dukayev, Nadia Kalmonovskaya, and Ninel Kurgapina. Next, she obtained a BFA in Dance and Choreography from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA and upon graduation she joined a neoclassical dance company La Danserie under the direction of former Paris Opera Ballet Premiere Danseur Patrick Franz. She danced, choreographed, and taught for La Danserie for a decade while also performing as a freelance, guest artist or company member for: Media City Ballet, City Ballet of Los Angeles, The Ballet Collective, Louise Reichlin and Dancers, San Pedro City Ballet, Wenta Ballet of Los Angeles, Ballet Pacifica, The Crystal Cathedral, Pasadena Dance Theatre, Venice Visionary Performing Arts, Golden West Ballet, Star Dancer, and Ballet Theatre International. In addition to her ballet and modern background, Nicole is knowledgeable of cultural dances. She is a member of Halau Hula Ohoaloha, and also performs with Stefanya’s Bellydance company Mosaique.
During her professional dance career, Nicole established a profession in teaching and choreographing. She has taught and choreographed for approximately 20 different dance programs nationally as a faculty member or a professional guest artist. She holds an MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University where she studied with Alonzo King, Founder and Director of Lines Ballet, an M.ED specializing in cross-cultural diverse learning and a Teaching Credential in Physical Education from National University, CA. Nicole’s choreography credits include choreographing original works for White Crane Dance Theatre, La Danserie, Venice Visionary Performing Arts, Catherine Round's Annual California Hospital Dance Benefit, and she was a Finalist at the “Dance Under the Stars” Choreography Festival 2011. She is a National Artist Teacher Fellowship recipient 2013 where she was funded to attend the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, ME to study with world renowned Dance Artists: Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer, Stephen Kopolwitz, Bebe Miller, and Doug Varone. In 2016 she was nominated and recognized with the Outstanding Arts School Alumni Award through the non-profit association Arts School’s Network (ASN) and in 2018 received the Honored Teachers Award for making positive impacts on her students’ lives. She is also the Director of the Cultural Dance Department at Millikan Performing Arts Magnet School in Sherman Oaks, CA and has choreographed numerous pieces for her students throughout her career.
TATIANA A’VIRMOND is a choreographer, dancer, ballet teacher, and yoga instructor. She began her dance career in Brazil at the prestigious Guaira Ballet Company. From there she competed and successfully won a Gold Medal from the National Ballet Competition and a Silver Medal from the Latin American Dance Competition. Tatiana has danced nationally and internationally with Ballet Hispanico of New York, Dance Brazil and Connecticut Ballet. During her time in San Francisco, California, Tatiana was a principal dancer with Theater Ballet of San Francisco, Western Ballet, Mark Foehringer Dance Project, and also directed and danced in the production of Dance Through Time 500 Years of Dance. Since her move to Burbank from San Francisco, she has choreographed and danced for La Danserie where the artistic direction was led by Patrick Frantz. She currently teaches ballet and yoga in the southern California area and also freelance dances as a with Pacific Ballet Dance Theater, and California Contemporary Ballet. This is her first season with White Crane Dance Theater.
RUTH FENTROY, born in British Columbia, Canada, trained with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet of Canada, a former soloist with the Cairo Opera Ballet, Egypt and continues to perform nationally and internationally as a Freelance and Guest Artist with local and renowned US companies, most recently performing in the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. She has appeared in film and television and performed in several musical theatre productions and is a recognized inspiring teacher whose students have not only successfully progressed to the finals of Youth America Grand Prix –YAGP in New York, NY but have gone on to pre-professional programs and signed professional contracts with Boston Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet West, San Francisco Ballet, School of American Ballet, American Ballet Theater (ABT), Royal Ballet.
As a choreographer she has won awards and accolades for creating new original works and restaging ballets. For the past couple of years has traveled to adjudicate students for their Ballet Exams in Cairo, Egypt and judge dance competition's. As a hobby she is known for creating dance attire from skirts to tutus.
Ruth has had the pleasure of performing Ms Nicole’s works for several years and feels blessed to continue her journey through this healing arts form of movement ‘from the inside out’ ~Mirroring the Inside~
HEATHER LIPSON BELL (AGMA, AEA, SDC) works nationally and internationally on both stage & screen and specializes in outreach & special needs programs. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Boston Conservatory. She has appeared with the New York & Angeles Philharmonics; Los Angeles, Dallas, Palm Beach & Boston Lyric Opera companies; Boston & South Dakota Symphony Orchestras, Pasadena Symphony & Pops; at the Hollywood Bowl; and with City Ballet of Los Angeles, Helios Dance Theatre, La Danserie, South Bay Civic Light Opera, Cabrillo Music Theatre and Odyssey Dance Theatre. Her film credits include Academy Award winners The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and West Bank Story. She is currently founder & creative director of Performing Arts For All featured in the award-winning short documentary FREEZE! Try Again; Director of Education of MUSE/IQUE; Assistant Director/Guest Teaching Artist with LA Opera education department; and a Wharton Performance certified flexibility technician. Heather is thrilled to be working with White Crane Dance Theater!
KIM MICHENAR trained in Houston, TX, with Boston Ballet Prima Ballerina Durine Alinova, Gilbert Rome, Ballet Russe Great Frederic Franklin and Anne and Nick Polajenko of Houston Dance Center, also at Houston Ballet and the Joffrey Ballet School. She danced with North Houston Dance Theater, Greater Houston Civic Ballet, Berkshire Ballet, LA Cuban Ballet and is excited to be part of the White Crane Dance Theatre.
IMANI FOREMAN is a Dance Major at AMDA College of the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, CA. Along with her focus on performing, Imani teaches at New Christ Memorial Church and guest choreographs for Pacoima Performing Arts Magnet Middle School. She was a full scholarship recipient for the Idyllwild Arts Academy’s dance intensive in 2016 and attended the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s summer program in New York City, New York in 2017. She was Dance Captain and lead dancer for the Cesar Chavez Dance Company at Art Theatre Entertainment Performing Arts Magnet High School in San Fernando, CA where she also performed leading roles in dance concerts, dance competitions, and dance festivals.