Madeline Cantarella Culpo
Director-Founder and Artistic Director of the Albany Berkshire Ballet, is an alumna of the Juilliard School where she studied ballet with Margaret Craske, Antony Tudor and Alfredo Corvino and modern dance with Martha Graham. She is a nationally recognized teacher of dance, having taught throughout the United States, including at Jacob’s Pillow. She was featured in the November 1996 issue of “Dance Magazine” in an article entitled “Great Starts American Teachers Series” – “A Tribute To Teachers Who Have Produced Outstanding Results.” In addition, Mrs. Culpo has received three choreography fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Ballet Instructor, Ballet Mistress
Deirdre Duffin-Swindlehurst started dancing at age five under Madeline Cantarella Culpo and went on to be a principal dancer with Albany Berkshire Ballet. She joined the Pennsylvania Ballet in 1980, and rose to soloist in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Les Sylphides, and The Four Temperaments. Deirdre has appeared as a guest artist at Jacob’s Pillow and has toured the United States with Leonid and Valentina Koslov and with Cynthia Gregory and her “Celebration Tour.” Miss Dede teaches advanced levels of ballet and is Ballet Mistress to the Junior Company in Pittsfield, MA and Albany, NY.
Nancy Ropelewski King
Ballet Instructor, Ballet Mistress
Nancy Ropelewski King is a graduate of the Cantarella School. Mrs. King was a principal dancer and ballet mistress with the Albany Berkshire Ballet for many years. At Jacob’s Pillow she taught classes and also performed in Coppelia with the ABB. Her choreography “Peter and the Wolf” has been performed extensively throughout the Northeast. Mrs. King along with Artistic Director Madeline Cantarella Culpo choreographed the popular “Cinderella” and “Mother Goose” ballets.
Karyl Bell has been dancing since she was 3 years old. She studied at many different studios all around, Isabelle’s School of Dance, Eleanor’s School of Dance, Albany Academy of Ballet/Saratoga Ballet Academy, and Berkshire Ballet. Karyl is very diverse in different styles of dance such as tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop, ballroom and many others. She is a graduate of Dean College in Franklin, MA where she received a Bachelor Degree of the Arts with an emphasis in dance. During her studies she focused on movement, technique and working with people of all ages. She loves working with children and enjoys watching them succeed at their own pace.
Olivia Idella Wilber
Olivia studied dance through out the Berkshires, starting at Cantarella and then studying at several studios. While dancing through out the Berkshires Olivia has experienced Community Access to the Arts for 9 years, danced and taught at Saratoga Dance Flurry, Rhythms Center in Lenox and attended the LA Contemporary Dance Company Intensive. Olivia has recently graduated from Palladino School of Dance at Dean College with a B.A. in Dance and minor in Arts Management. While at Dean, Olivia studied Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Release technique, Contemporary, Contact and Horton along with Jazz both contemporary and classical. Olivia performed in a multitude of shows while at Dean, both in the company shows and in the student run productions. Olivia has performed pieces in classical ballet such as Amor in Don Quxiote, to contemporary pointe, jazz pieces and character pieces. Besides performances Olivia has spent time working with putting together a book about cultural dances and taught this 7th graders. She is certified at Kripalu as a yoga instructor.
Danielle Mitchell first received her dance training at Sally McDermott Dance Centers, south of Worcester, MA, where she studied Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical, Tap, and Modern. She danced with the studio’s Company competing regionally and nationally as a solo and group performer. Danielle was a member of the adult contemporary dance company, The Breakin’ Through Dance Company, located in Northern Connecticut. She was a company performer from the years of 2004 to 2007. She continued her love of dance at Westfield State College where she was a dance team member, choreographer, and solo performer. In 2008 she received her Bachelor of Science in Education in Special Education, and later moved to the Berkshires. Since she has been studying dance locally, as well as teaching middle school in Pittsfield.
Alison LaRocca is a graduate of the Cantarella School of Dance and performed with the Albany Berkshire Ballet in The Nutcracker and Carmina Burana. Ms. LaRocca received her bachelor’s degree in History from Williams College, where she was a member of the Williams College Dance Company. She also trained at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York City. Ms. LaRocca is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Albany Berkshire Ballet.