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Faculty Bios

GREGORY HANCOCK

is the Artistic Director for the internationally acclaimed Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and now also serves as the director for The Academy of GHDT. Through the Academy of GHDT, Mr. Hancock is able to pass on a legacy of work and training to young aspiring dancers. Mr. Hancock has taught dance for many years at numerous local dance institutions. He has trained numerous students over the years who have continued to dance professionally in companies throughout the world. He has also taught dance at “Daile” the national dance ensemble of Latvia in Riga, Latvia. Most recently, Mr. Hancock has taught modern dance in Mumbai, India at Expressions Modern Dance Company, the premiere modern dance company of Mumbai. Mr. Hancock’s unique choreography has been lauded internationally and he has received numerous honors for his work including Individual Artist Fellowships from the Indiana Arts Commission, Creative Renewal Fellowships from the Arts Council of Indianapolis and Lilly Endowment, fellowships from ArtsLink and the Citizen Exchange Council in NYC and was awarded Outstanding Choreographer at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in NYC. He has created an expansive repertoire of pieces for the professional company and has created choreography for companies throughout the USA and Europe.

KIRSTEN FERGER

danced professionally with American Ballet Theatre (ABT) under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov with training from Elena Tcherichova, Mikhail Baryshinkov, Jurgen Schneider, Georgina Parkinson and Susan Jones. She was a Principal Dancer with the American Festival Ballet under directors Stephen and Elizabeth Rowe-Wistrich of Stuttgart Ballet where Kirsten had the pleasure and opportunity to perform Holberg Suite choreographed by John Cranko, and performed several years with Indianapolis Ballet Theatre under the direction of George Verdak and Dace Dindonis. She also received private coaching from Irina Kolpakova while Ms. Kolpakova was with Ballet Internationale. Ms. Ferger, while on scholarship at the American Ballet Theatre School, trained with Patricia Wilde, Valentina Pereyslavik, Royes Fernandez, Daryl Grey, and Michael Maule. Additional training, while in New York City, includes Maggie Black, David Howard and Robert Denver. Ms. Ferger began her training in Indianapolis at the Jordan College of Music, S.I.D. with Colette Kaufman, Jack Copeland, Peggy Dorsey, and Rebecca Rutt and at Butler University with Karl Kaufman, Michele Jarvis, Teresa Ragucci-Chatelanie, Bud Kerwin and William Glen. Ms. Ferger received scholarships at American Ballet Theatre School and Butler University and awards which include Indiana Dance Alliance, Indiana State Arts and Letters Competition, and received honorable mention at the National Arts and Letters Competition in New York City. Ms. Ferger has taught for over 16 years beginning with the Academy of Ballet Theatre from 1993-1999. Kirsten started teaching company class for Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre in 2004 and continues to teach for GHDT and AGHDT staring with the opening of GHDT’s Academy in the fall of 2009.

CHRISTINE COLQUITT THACKER

received her B.A. in Dance Pedagogy from Butler University. She was a dancer with GHDT from 1998-2007, debuting in Out of Darkness. In 2000, Christine received an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Indiana Arts Commission. In 2003, she received a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis and Lilly Endowment. She was also awarded the prestigious Center for Leadership Development Award for Excellent Achievement in Arts and Theatre. She was a regular performer in National City’s Yuletide Celebration with the ISO. Christine was the Assistant Director of GHDT from May of 2003 through August of 2007. She was involved with the Student Dance Ensemble (now G2), and helped advise and direct The Nutcracker.
She was thrilled to have toured to Eastern Europe twice with GHDT, where she performed alongside the company for the Latvian Head of State at the 11th Annual International Baltic Ballet Festival. She was honored to have also performed the final Pas de Deux from The Hunchback of Notre Dame with her partner, Martin Casanova. As a dancer with GHDT, Christine performed in over 73 repertoire pieces. Currently, Ms. Colquitt Thacker is Community Outreach Teaching Artist in Residence for Clowes Memorial Hall and working with Martha Graham Company’s Artistic Director on Educational Outreach for the company’s residency. She has also taught ballet for numerous years, beginning in Northwest Ohio in 1990, and has taught modern, jazz and tap as well.

LAURA HEDGES-BYRAM

is originally from Chicago, Illinois where she received her early training from many prominent instructors including Ruth Page, Art Stone, Sybil Spalinger, and Walter Camryn. Summer studies including training with Robert Joffrey, Edward Villella, and Jacques d’Amboise. Ms. Byram holds a B.A. in dance performance from Butler University where she also pursued graduate studies in dance and business administration. While at Butler, Ms. Byram studied with, among others, George Verdak, Peggy Dorsey, William Glen, Colette Kaufman, Betty Gour, Bud Kerwin, and Rebecca Rutt. She performed with Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and the Butler Ballet where she performed various roles in ballets including Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, and The Nutcracker.

Ms. Byram currently serves as adjunct faculty for Butler University teaching Dance Majors. Her teaching areas of expertise include Teaching Analysis of the Classical Techniques, Ballet, Pointe, and Dance Teaching Practicum. Ms. Byram has been a company teaching for GHDT since 2010 and serves as advanced ballet/pointe instructor for the Academy of Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre.

Ms. Byram has over thirty years of teaching experience. She joined the faculty of the Jordan Academy of Dance at Butler University in 1985. In 2010-2011, she served the Academy as Associate Director and Artistic Director of the Jordan Dance Ensembles I & II. In addition, Laura served as Ballet Program Director for the Academy where she taught Ballet Technique and Pointe. Over the years, she choreographed more than thirty original works for the Jordan Dance Ensembles. While teaching at the Jordan Academy of Dance she developed and implemented their ballet curriculum based on methodologies from the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, Vaganova syllabus, and the Cecchetti syllabus. Ms. Byram has trained numerous students over the years who are currently dancing professionally with companies that, to name a few, include Nashville Ballet, Het National Ballet Netherlands, Netherlands Dance Theatre, Sarasota Ballet, Georgia Ballet, Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and Dance Kaleidoscope. In 1981, Ms. Byram developed and implemented, and taught various pilot programs in dance for the Indianapolis Public Schools elementary and middle schools. She then went on to serve the Center for the Performing and Visual Arts Magnet Program at Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis where, for sixteen years, she served as the Coordinator and Director for the Dance Department where she also taught ballet technique , pointe, dance history, injury prevention, and choreographed for their annual dance concerts. Ms. Byram has been a company teacher for Dance Kaleidoscope. She has also served as Curriculum Consultant for the Dance Department at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis.

Ms. Byram has the distinct honor of being awarded the Who’s Who Among American High School Teachers Award from 1996 through 1999. She has served on the Board of Directors for Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and the National Chapter of Sigma Rho Delta Honorary Dance Fraternity.