MFB Guest Choreographers 2019-2020
Katia Garza is a native of Piedras Negras Coahuila, Mexico and trained in Monterrey, Mexico in the Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza de Monterrey, graduating in 1995. After graduation, she joined Ballet de Monterrey and after six months was promoted to Soloist and a year later Principal Dancer, under the direction of Fernando Bujones. In 1997, she was invited by the Compania Nacional de Danza in Mexico City to dance the Black Swan in Swan Lake and also performed as a guest artist with Panama Ballet. In 1999, Katia won the silver medal in International Ballet Competition in Peru, the only medal awarded that year.
In 2000, Katia joined the Orlando Ballet as Principal dancer, a position she held for 14 years. Her repertoire as a principal character includes Don Quixote, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Fille Mal Gardee, Coppelia, Cinderella, Corsario, Flames of Paris, La Bayadere, Firebird, La Vivandiere, Esmeralda, Arlequinade, The Nutcracker, Sinatra Songs, Serenade, Who Cares, Upper Room, Festival Fantasy, and Tarantela. Katia represented Mexico in the Jazz World Congress in 2001 and was a finalist at the 2002 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS.
Katia has choreographed original full length ballets A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Little Mermaid. Mobile Ballet will premiere her new production of The Nutcracker in 2017 and Northwest Florida Ballet will premiere her Peter Pan in 2018. She has also choreographed numerous works for ballet companies throughout the United States and for neoclassical solos for Youth American Grand Prix students, including La Bayadere, Luca Bottleblue (Original Story), Paquita, Corsaire 2nd act, Don Quixote, Raymonda, La Esmeralda and Giselle.
Katia has worked as a choreographer and master teacher with numerous ballet companies and private students throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Japan, including Ballet de Monterrey (Mexico), Youth Ballet of Monterrey, ESMD, Tallahassee Ballet, Franceschi Arts Academy ( Puerto Rico), Orlando Ballet, Orlando Ballet 2, Orlando Ballet School, Northwest Florida Ballet, Jackson Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, Corpus Christi Concert Ballet, Midland Festival Ballet (Texas), Russian Academy (Sarasota), Studio 321 (Indiana), UNAM (Mexico), Company Taller Coreografico de la UNAM ( Mexico) and others. In 2013, she was chosen as one of the most successful Mexican choreographers and invited to return to Mexico and choreograph a ballet the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico which is now included as a repertory of the Taller Coreografico de la UNAM.
Born in Taipei, Taiwan. LeeWei Chao started his ballet training at age 15 with Ms. Xiao Lee, who brought from Russia the Vaganova ballet method to Taiwan. After dancing with Taipei City Ballet, Henry Yu Dance Company, He joined Singapore Dance Theater. In 1996 Mr. Chao joined Joffrey Ballet Concert Dancer in New York City, followed by his dancing career with Joffrey Ballet Chicago and Milwaukee Ballet Company. Mr. Chao started his choreography work while he was dancing with Milwaukee Ballet Company.
His works have been performed by Milwaukee Ballet Company, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Oklahoma City Ballet, New Mexico School of The Arts and among the others. In 2014 Mr. Chao received the National Choreography Recognition Award from Regional Dance America.
Mr. Chao has taught at Stanford University, National University of Taipei, Taiwan, ODC, San Francisco State University, San Francisco Dance Center, and the LINES BFA and training programs. He is currently teaching at Oregon Ballet.
Pearl Wamsley received her ballet training at Coleman Academy and Midland Festival Ballet and was a member of the Midland Festival Ballet company for 6 years. She received additional training from the Milwaukee Ballet and Burklyn Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive programs. She attended the National Choreography Intensive once as a dancer and three times as a choreographer.
In recent years she has received numerous awards for her choreography including the Monticello Award for Melodic Lines in 2012, the Natalie Skelton award for Ta Da in 2014, and the National Choreography Award for The Incredible Petes in 2017 and Collective Effervescence in 2019. Wamsley has created works for various companies including Abilene Ballet Theater, Allegro Ballet, Appalachian Ballet Company, Midland Festival Ballet, and Victoria Ballet Theater. A graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, she currently serves on the Communications team at Midland Bible Church.