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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Olivia Moran holds a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College in N.Y.C. with a minor in Arts Administration and has been instructing Dance Education for 20 years in Berkshire County. In 2013 she founded Freedom Dance where she was the Artistic Director and Lead Educator. Within these four years, she produced dozens of community workshops, performances and Dance Concerts showcasing a variety of forms of dance with the inclusion of live music and musical artists. After graduating college in 2002, she began to focus on Dance Education and spent 15 years as a Lead Instructor at Berkshire Dance Theatre where she was the faculty coordinator for their young children’s program. She also founded “move with me” a program to increase coordination skills in young children and taught in area pre-schools as a guest teacher for their enrichment programs. She also began the areas first “Youth Drum Group” exposing young children to African Inspired music, instruments and Dance. She has taught community engagement classes at Jacob’s Pillow and is passionate about teaching children of all levels and abilities. She began her training at the age of 10 at Berkshire Dance Theatre and went on to study with some of the best instructors in the country while residing in New York City including Classical Ballet with Virginia Johnson, Edward Ellison and Finis Jhung. She has performed original works choreographed by Jose Limon, and worked with Chet Walker on a Broadway inspired Jazz piece. Olivia studied Classical Modern with teachers from the Graham school, Alvin Ailey and the Limon Institute including Milton Myers, Joyce Herring, Elena Comendador and Maxine Steinman. She has taught a variety of classes from Classical Ballet, Creative Dance, Pointe & Variations, Tap, Jazz, Modern, Music Appreciation, Yoga, Pilates and a variety of Fitness and Yoga classes at Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, Frog Lotus Yoga and area community centers and schools. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor and Massage Therapist and is trained in Thai Yoga Massage. Her students have gone on to participate in some of the most prestigious programs in the country and work as professionals in the dance world as teachers, performers, movement therapists and professional dancers. She continues to attend training courses in dance education at Jacob’s Pillow where she also participates in community events, classes, workshops and performances. This is Olivia’s first season with Cantarella School of Dance and is excited to offer Tap, Jazz, Lyrical and Contemporary Dance and Drum.
Ballet – Modern – Choreography
Chuck holds a BFA in dance from Purchase College and a MFA in Dance from Smith College. Growing up in Adams, he discovered a passion for dance that was insatiable and soon left to study at the American Dance Festival, Purchase College and with David Howard in NYC. He danced with Mel Wong, Concert Dance Company of Boston and the Boston Repertory Ballet, as well as with several independent choreographers. Chuck has had an ongoing relationship with the Albany Berkshire Ballet since 1974. His teaching includes but is not limited to Smith, Hampshire, and Williams College, MCLA, The Pioneer Valley Ballet, Amherst Ballet Theater, the Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts in Natick and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Chuck also co-directed Friends In Dance with Janice Paquette whom he married; he currently works in the Art Department at Williams College.