Guest Artists

Guest ArtistsChoreographersDancers

David Vega Chavez (Guest Choreographer), with numerous television, musical theater, motion picture, and dance credits, is a well known name in New Mexico. He has appeared and worked with the likes of Anne Bancroft, Mel Brooks, Sammy Davis Jr., John Travolta, Liza Minnelli, Juliet Prowse, Rachael Welch, Florence Henderson, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, The Osmonds, The Jackson Five, Larry Kert, George Chakiris, Ringo Starr, Sonny and Cher, Bruce Willis and, in 1984, a Royal Command Performance in Scotland.  He has created, directed and choreographed fourteen full-length ballets with over seventy smaller pieces, which have been performed as far away as South Africa, Australia, Canada, and Londons Covent Garden. With the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, he directed and choreographed Time and Again Barelas, the opera, West Side Story, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Petrouchka. With the J.D. Robb Foundation, David directed/choreographed the opera Little Jo.

Julie Cobble (Guest Soloist) joins Festival Ballet of Albuquerque from the Roxey Ballet of New Jersey where she performed the principal roles of Sugar Plum in the Nutcracker, Cinderella, Carmen, and in a new work, Rebirth by Ballet NY’s Brent Whitney. Before working with Roxey, Julia performed with Ballet Memphis and the Washington Ballet in Balanchine’s Serenade and Four Temperaments. She has toured internationally to Costa Rica with Alvaro Maldonado’s Ballet Internationale and to Albania and Italy to perform in Ajkun Ballet Theatre’s annual galas. She received most of her training from the Washington School of Ballet.

Sara de Luz grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She began her love affair with dance at the age of seven in a folk dance troupe. After years of training in jazz, tap, ballet and modern, she found in flamenco the true expression of her soul. Eva Encinias-Sandoval and Pablo Rodarte burned awesome flamenco technique into her being, while guitarist Eric Patterson taught her the secrets of flamenco music. Sara went on to study flamenco in Spain, and stays current with the latest moves when Spain comes to Albuquerque every year in the form of Festival Flamenco. A founding member of Alma Flamenca, Dance España, and Airdance New Mexico, she has performed with Teo Morca as well as other flamenco masters in the U.S. Sara currently teaches at Farfesha World Dance Studios and Dance Theatre Southwest. She may be reached by email at

Matthew Diamond (Guest Choreographer) performed for choreographers such as Louis Falco and Jose Limon. His career as a choreographer, both free-lance and for his dance company, DIAMOND brought his work to Jacobs Pillow, Carnegie Hall, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music as well as to Europe, Israel and the U.S. In an effort to expand his scope he focused his career primarily on directing, which has brought him an Oscar nomination, four Emmy Awards, three Directors Guild Awards and the Humanitas Award. He has directed many music specials as well as a long list of dramatic programming including numerous episodes of prime time television such as Desperate Housewives, Eureka and Ugly Betty.  He was nominated for an Academy Award and a Directors Guild Award for his feature documentary, Dancemaker, about the world of choreographer Paul Taylor. Among many honors the International Documentary Association named it Best Feature Film.

Krista King-Doherty (Guest Choreographer) is a nationally recognized teacher and choreographer. She received her training at Ballet la Jeunesse in Los Angeles, CA under Natalia Clare and with her mother, Kathie Fishback Anthony. As a student, Krista performed with The Joffrey Ballet at the Greek Theatre in CA. She has taught ballet, pointe, jazz, and contemporary dance at Fishback Studio of the Dance in NM for the past 15 years and is part of the Fishback family. Krista coaches for national dance competitions and has won numerous overall high score, technical and choreography awards. Since 2005, Krista has had students qualify in both solos and ensembles for the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. Her students have won the Youth Grand Prix award, the Hope Award, and overall awards in contemporary divisions at YAGP. Prior to returning to NM in 1995, Krista worked as an international fashion model in Europe, USA, Asia and Australia for 10 years.

Robbie Mackey (Guest Choreographer) began his career in the entertainment business at the young age of 4 as a dancer.  He has studied intense company dance in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta.  Over the years Robbie has taught thousands of young aspiring dancers all over the country as well as in Europe, Japan and China.  For the last 20 years, Robbie has choreographed and directed numerous live events including 2 Super Bowl Half-Time Shows starring New Kids on The Block, Patti La Belle and Tony Bennett; and countless television specials with such stars as Mariah Carey, Brian Setzer, Tom Hanks, Nell Carter, Rita Moreno, Sandi Patti, Betty White, Carol Channing, Michael Feinstein and Tommy Tune.  International television credits include the National Lottery Show for BBC in London, the Grand Opening of Disneyland Paris, the Grand Opening of Hong Kong Disneyland and the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris. Most recently, Robbie Co-Directed and choreographed “Illuscination” for Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Alla Nikitina (Guest Choreographer) was born in Ukraine and trained at the Donetsk School of Ballet, the St. Petersburg State Academy of the Arts in Russia. She founded the Rovesnik Dance Company in Kiev Ukraine in 1985. Her company’s numerous appearances ln Europe were a big success where she received high awards for excellence and mastership at national and international dance competitions and festivals, and was honored with the much sought after N. Uvitsky National Award for her work as a choreographer. In 1997, she moved to the United States and began to work as a full time member of the faculty atthe Hartford Ballet, HarrtSchool and BFA Dance Division of the University of Harford. She has choreographed more than 30 original works including The Snow Queen, Peter and the Wolf, and The Snow Maiden.

Tommy Panto (Guest Soloist), an Atlanta native, started dancing at the age of eleven and began his training with the Dance Theatre Southwest under the direction of Patricia Dickinson. At the age of 15 he moved to the east to train in a full time setting with the Baltimore School for the Arts and the School of American Ballet. After graduating Tommy moved to Los Angeles where he trained and studied with Marat Duakayev of the Kirov/Kirov Academy, and Patricia Neary of NYCB until his acceptance to Atlanta Ballet. Last season he had the pleasure of dancing Don Quixote in John McFall’s Don Quixote, the premier of John McFall’s Firebird, and Christopher Hampson’s Sinfonietta Giocosa.

John O. Perpener III (Guest Choreographer) holds a doctorate degree in performance studies from New York University, is a dancer and dance historian.  “Dr. Perpener’s contributions to the African Diaspora performativity and aesthetics as a scholar and stage dancer transcend genres of cultural and intellectual production,” said Akin Ogundiran, the chair of the UNCC African Studies Department.  Perpener also holds a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University. His performance career includes touring with the Harford Ballet Company, the Maryland Dance Theater and the D.C Black Repertory Dance Company. Additionally, he is the author of “African-American Concert Dance: The Harlem Renaissance and Beyond.”

Gabi Rojas (Guest Soloist), born and raised in the world of circus, has performed with her mother for Carter Circus, Pickle Family Circus, and Big Apple Circus. She studied at the New York School for Circus Arts, Albuquerque School for Circus Arts, Dance Theater of the Southwest, Dance Theater of Harlem, and University of New Mexico. In 2008, she was nominated by Dance Magazine for the ACDFA student performer of the year, and graduated from the University of New Mexico Summa Cum Laude with a dual degree in theater and dance. She was also selected to join the Cirque du Soliel performance roster.

Vladimir Stadnik (Guest Choreographer) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and was trained at the famous Vaganova Ballet Academy, St. Petersburg.  He was a soloist in the classical and character repertoire. He danced on tour in many theatres throughout Europe, U.S.A. and the Soviet Union. He has a bachelors degree in dance from the St. Petersburg University and later graduated from the State Conservatory named after Rimsky Korsakov with a Masters in Choreography. In 1999 he moved with his wife to Switzerland and was immediately engaged as a teacher of ballet and character. As well as teaching for the state music school, he was frequently invited as a guest teacher to France, Italy and Finland. In 2004, he was asked to be the principal of the ballet school in Tulsa, Oklahoma and in 2006 moved to New Mexico where he is Associate Albuquerque Artistic Director of NDI-NM.

tomlinsonMel A. Tomlinson, Thd., has traveled the world and appeared before Presidents and crowned Heads of State. He has been on the faculties of N. C. School of the Arts, Boston Ballets CITYDANCE, Boston Conservatory of Music, Harvard University,and UNC-Charlotte. He has worked with Ray Charles, Josephine Baker, George Balanchine, Maya Angelou, Agnes George DeMille, Arthur Mitchell, and Bill Cosby. He was a Guest Artist with North Carolina Dance Theatre (dancer & choreographer), a Principal Dancer with Agnes DeMilles Heritage Dance Theater, a member of Dance Theatre of Harlem, a Principal with Alvin Aileys American Dance Theatre, a guest with the Joffrey Ballet, and a member of the New York City Ballet by invitation from George Balanchine.  In 1991, NBC made a documentary on Tomlinson entitled With a Clear Voice.  He holds a doctorate for Christian Psychology and is presently a phlebotomist, pastor, ASL interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing, choreographer, and a motivational speaker.