In the 1970’s and 80’s, JoAnn Barkes danced some of ballet’s most coveted roles as a principal dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and a soloist with The National Ballet of Canada With these prominent companies, JoAnn danced in many of the 50 states, Canada, and Europe. She has worked with some of the most celebrated people in the ballet world including: Frederic Franklin, Leonide Massine, John Butler, Patricia Wilde, and Erik Bruhn. JoAnn created the role of Juliet in Lorenzo Monreal’s Romeo and Juliet for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. In 1979, she won a bronze medal in the senior women’s division of the First International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.
Since arriving in Michiana, JoAnn Barkes has been active as a teacher, choreographer and coach. She served as ballet mistress, later co-artistic director at Southold Dance Theater during a period of rapid growth for that organization. JoAnn’s students were accepted to summer ballet programs such as Boston Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet School, and San Francisco Ballet School. Two of her students were accepted to the Suzanne Farrell Summer Dance Program at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (which only accepts 32 students per session). In 1998, JoAnn worked with Maestro Tsung Yeh on stage for the symphony’s school shows educating children on music and dance.
Tom Barkes has been the Director of Business Affairs of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, University of Notre Dame since 2005. He has worked at Notre Dame for the past 24 years, first as the manager of Washington Hall before moving to the performing arts center after its construction. Tom began studying dance in college as a way to augment his skills as a wrestler and football player. In the second semester of his senior year, he was accepted at the Joffrey Ballet School where he earned his final college credits studying ballet with Francoise Martinet, Basil Thompson, Dorothy Lister and Meredith Baylis. While on scholarship at the Joffrey, Tom danced with the Joffrey Concert Group, the school’s company. After two years in the school, Ohio Ballet awarded him a contract. Tours with Ohio Ballet took him to 40 states and Europe. From Ohio Ballet, Tom moved back to New York where he auditioned for and was awarded a contract by Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. After retiring from ballet, Tom earned a Masters in Theatre Management at the University of Michigan and a Masters in Business at the University of Notre Dame. Tom has taught ballet for the Ohio Ballet Institute, the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre at Notre Dame, and for Southold Dance Theater. Tom often serves on the Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist Panel for Dance.
Shakurah Grumbacher was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but spent many of her early years traveling. Ms. Grumbacher began dancing at the age of six. She was soon awarded a scholarship to the Acting Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco, California. While attending A.C.T., she studied dance, acting and improvisational movement. Ms. Grumbacher attended Rockford College where she was a dance major. There she expanded her arts experience by participating in several plays, singing in the Women’s Choir and performing in the Arts Department Showcase. While in Rockford, Ms. Grumbacher was a Rockford Lightning Silver Streak, a cheerleader for a semi-pro basketball team. After leaving Rockford, Ms. Grumbacher moved to Chicago where she taught hip-hop, jazz and modern. In 2003, Ms. Grumbacher relocated to Indiana where she headed up Penn High School’s Marching Band Movement Program, where she led the color guard to their first state title. For the past three years, Ms. Grumbacher has been working with John Glenn’s High School Color Guard and teaching dance.
Michele Kriner received her Bachelor of Science in education from Ball State University and her Master of Fine Arts in dance performance from the University of Iowa. She was on faculty in Ball State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance and served as ballet mistress and modern faculty at the Anderson Young Ballet Theatre before coming to South Bend in 2007 to teach at Saint Mary’s College Program in Dance and Clay High School Magnet for the Visual and Performing Arts. She is a founding member of the Charlotte Adams Dance Company with whom she has performed in New York, Arizona, and around the United States. She has served as guest teacher, choreographer, and performer at University of Iowa, Illinois State University, American College Dance Festivals, and regional dance studios for the past 10 years.
Susan Margetts began her career as a child model in New York City. She appeared in numerous print ads as well as commercials and runway shows. Ms. Margetts continued to model until her acceptance into the Joffrey Ballet at the age of eleven. She studied and performed with the Joffery II in New York City for two years. Ms. Margetts left the Joffery Ballet and accepted a scholarship to the School of American Ballet in New York City at the Lincoln Center. During her Time with the American Ballet she studied under such renowned teachers as Alexandra Danilova, Muriel Stewart, Suki Shore and Suzanne Farrell. Ms. Margetts was a principal dancer with the New Jersey Dance Theatre Guild for five years. Her performances include The Nutcracker, Dance of the Hours, an original ballet by the late Harry Asmus called “Rhoda Roda”, as well as many classics. Ms. Margetts has also appeared on and off Broadway in many musicals which led her to several television specials in New York and Miami. For many years now Susan has been passing on her knowledge to students in South Bend, New York, New Jersey and California.
Michelle Pierce is thrilled to be teaching ballet at Southold Dance Theatre where her dancing career and passion for this art form began. She knows that ballet is hard work but through enthusiasm and dedication, wonderful surprises and accomplishments can be achieved. Michelle received a dance scholarship to Indiana State University where she studied Tap, Modern, Ballroom, Ballet, Jazz, and Hip-hop. Michelle has participated iin several performances, her favorite being The Carnival of the Animals where the flamingopart was choreographed for her. Ms. Pierce is employed with the South Bend School Corporation and she also teaches ballet at Perley Fine Arts Academy in their after school program.
Gail Spitzer has been involved in the Health/Fitness field since 1986 when she began teaching aerobics and dance for the local YMCA in Cedar Rapids, IA. In 1991, she became an ACE certified personal trainer, and in 1998 she completed her Bachelors Degree in Liberal Studies and Dance at the University of Iowa. Gail has practiced yoga and Pilates for 8 years, often weaving yoga postures and concepts into other types of workouts. In 1999, she decided to make the transition away from the gym and into the yoga studio on a full-time basis. Since then, she has earned teacher certifications both yoga and Pilates and has studied with many of today’s top yoga masters including Angela Farmer, Rodney Yee, Erich Schiffmann, Shiva Rae and Doug Swenson. In the spring of 2006, Gail completed a Masters Degree in Wholistic Nutrition with Clayton College of Natural Health.