Faculty and Staff

Richard Wherlock – Director Ballett Basel

Born in Bristol GB. Dance education: Ballet Rambert School, London. First engagement as a dancer: Ballet Rambert. From 1991 – 1996 Ballet Director in Theater Hagen followed by three years as director of the Lucern Ballet before becoming the artistic director and choreographer of the Berlin Ballet and the Komischen Oper Berlin. In 2001 Mr. Wherlock was appointed Director and head choreographer of Ballett Basel, and in 2004 took over the directorship of the festival "basel tanzt“.

As choreographer he has worked with, among others, the following companies: Tanzforum Köln, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Finnish Dance Theatre Helsinki, Ballettstaatstheater Braunschweig, Rumänisches National Ballet, The Icelandic Ballet, Ballet National de Nancy et de Lorraine, Ballet National de Marseille, Ballet de l’Opéra de Nice, aalto ballett theater essen, "Europa Danse“ (UNESCO), Ballett der Deutschen Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf, Singapore Dance Theatre und Ballet Contemporaneo del Teatro San Martin / Argentina. He additionally created a ballet evening for "Les Etoiles de l’Opéra National de Paris“.

Mr. Wherlock created choreography for Claude Lelouch’s film "Hasards ou Coincidences“. It was presented at the 1998 Venice film Biennale as well as the film festivals in Montréal and Chicago. For his dance film "Passengers“ – produced by Swiss Television, he was awarded the “Prix Italia 2000”. His latest film, “One Bullet Left” – also produced by Swiss television, was awarded the “Rose d’Or” at the International Festival for Television Entertainment in 2003. In 1999 he was nominated for the international dance award, “Benois de la Danse”. Mr. Wherlock has a special interest in promoting and supporting the next generation of young gifted dancers. He has been a member of the jury for many international dance competitions.

Amanda Bennett – Director Ballettschule Theater Basel

Born: Texas, USA. Dance education: School of American Ballet, New York. Engagements: Ballet du Grand Théater de Genéve, Director Patricia Neary and Artistic Director George Balanchine; 1978 – 1989 Principal Dancer Basler Ballett, Director Heinz Sporeli; 1989 – 1990 Pennsylvania Ballet. Ms. Bennett has worked as guest teacher, ballet mistress and choreographic assistant for, among others: The Feld Ballet N.Y., Ballet du Grand Theater de Genéve, Luzerner Ballett, Bern Ballett and Ballet Freiburg Pretty Ugly. She has been on the jury of many international competitions including The McDonalds Performing Arts Challenge, Sydney Australia (2007) and the Prix de Lausanne (2009). She is an accredited teacher of the American Ballet Theater National Training Curriculum. In 2012 she assumed the Artistic Directorship of the Prix de Lausanne. Ms. Bennett has been the director of the Ballettschule Theater Basel and teacher for Ballett Basel since 2001. She was instrumental in bringing the EFZ to Basel. In June 2015 she received the Heinz Spoerli Foundation Prize for her outstanding achievement as director of the Ballettschule Theater Basel.

Julie Christie Wherlock

Director - Junior Professional School

Born: Great Britain. Education: The Royal Ballet School, London. Attained The Royal Academy of Dancing Solo Seal; Solo engagements with the Hessen State Theater Wiesbaden and Principal Soloist with Tanz Forum Cologne. Ms. Christie Wherlock attended the Royal Academy of Dancing teaching course and is an accredited teacher of the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum. She has worked as a guest company and school teacher as well as being a jury member at international competitions. Ms Christie Wherlock has been a member of the teaching staff at Ballettschule Theater Basel since 2001 and teaches the Danse Suisse classes for talented young students.

Cinthia Labaronne - Ballet

Born: Buenos Aires, Argentina. Education: Colon Theatre's Institute of Art in Buenos Aires.Competitions: the First Latino American Ballet Contest in Buenos Aires, Gold Medal; the First Ballet and Choreography Constest of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Gold Medal; Varna, Revelation Award 1990 and The Encouragement Award 1992 Engagements and career highlights: Ballet Argentino (Director: Julio Bocca) At the age of sixteen, she became a member of the Colon Theatre Ballet Company. In 1993, she was invited by Rudolf Nureyev to join the "Nureyev Farewell Tour" - Nureyev's last tour before leaving the stage. "Every now and then but not very often, a young ballerina breaks into the stage just to remind us that audiences have to be appealed to" (Rudolf Nureyev, 1992 Australia Farewell Tour) Jeune Ballet de France (Director Robert Berthier)1993 – Invited to dance with Maximiliano Guerra in his performances at the Theatre de Colon and the Municipal Theater in Buenos Aries.1994 - selected by the choreographer Pierre Lacotte for the title role in his work "La Sylphide" with Maximiliano Guerra as partner at the Theater de Colon.1995 – Invited by Pierre Lacotte to join the Ballet National de Nancy as principal dancer. 2011 – Invited by Richard Wherlock to join Ballett Basel.Ms. Labaronne has performed every major role in the classical repertoire and has toured extensively throughout Europe, South America and Cuba and has preformed in some of the world’s greatest theaters such as the Theatre de Colon in Buenos Aries and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. She has performed works of : Lacotte, Bournonville, Petipa, Spada, Nureyev, Balanchine, Fokine, Kylian, Wherlock, Delente, Duboc, Pietragalla, Malandain, Redha, Brumachon, Cachulianau, Prejlocaj, Flamand .She joined the staff of BTB in 2013.

Francois Petit - Ballet

Born: France. Education: Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. 2006-2016 Ballet Master Opernhaus, Zürich.One of the main Ballet Masters for the Zürich Ballet, assisting both Heinz Spoerli and later Christian Spuck in all of their creations. He has worked with some of the most important Choregraphers of today (Mac Gregor, Lee, Lightfoot, Kylian, etc…).

2001–2016 Main Ballet Master Junior Ballet Zürich. The Junior Ballet Zürich was created by Heinz Spoerli in 2001. 1997 – 2002 Teacher Schweizerisches Ballet Berufsschule.1996 – 2006 Principal Dancer Zürich Ballet.Toured with the Zürich Ballet to more than 45 countries. Principal roles in, among others, Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty… G.Balanchine, W.Forsythe, J.Kilian,Mat Ek, H.Van Manen… Appeared as Guest in many different companies in Europe and abroad and participated in many International Galas, such as Melnikoff’s Gala des Etoiles over four continents.1996 nominated best rising Dancer by German press.1993 – 1996 Principal Dancer Deutsche Oper am Rhein.Hired by Heinz Spoerli as a First Soloist at age 20 to create the role of Puck in his „Midsummer Night`s Dream“. This was the start of a long collaboration with Heinz Spoerli.1991 – 1993 Demi Soloist Konijnklijk Ballet van Vlaanderen.Director: Robert Denvers 1990 – Prize winner at the Varna and Paris Competitions. 1991 – Prize winner Osaka Competition.1991-1993 Prize winner Luxemburg Competition. He joined the staff of BTB in August 2016.

Selatin Kara - Modern

Modern Teacher at the John Cranko School, Stuttgart. Guest Teacher: Rudra Bejart Lausanne, Akademie des Tanzes Mannheim, Rotterdam Dance Academy, University Mimar Sinan Istanbul, Ballett Akademie Hochschule für Musik und Theater München, Edge Performing Arts Center Los Angeles, Iwanson international School of Contemporary Dance München, Choreographer: Stuttgart Ballet (Noverre Gesellschaft), Rudra Bejart Ballet, Gauthier Dance, Dance Theatre Munich, Grand Prix de’euros vision, Opera "Manon“ Staatstheater Berlin, "So You Think You Can Dance“, German Idol, Popstar Turkey, 1.st German Musical Movie "Rock It!, over 200 TV Episodes for "SAlles was zählt“-RTL which he was nominated for Outstanding TV Choreography at the World Dance Awards in Los Angeles, Member: Television Academy Los Angeles, International Dance Council – CID-UNESCO. He joined the staff of BTB in August 2015.

Silvia Rossetto – Ballet

Born in Padua, Italy. In 1987 she graduated with distinction from the Centro Studi Danza Classica in Padua. In her hometown she gained her first Stage- experience as a soloist with the Veneto Balletto along with Luciana Savignano, Marco Pierin and Vladimir Derevianko.

She additionally preformed with: 1988 with the Company Theatre Turin in Giselle along side Rudolf Noureyev and Evelyne Desutter; 1989 in Europe Ballet with Michael Denard, Philippe Tressera, Robert Richemont and Alain Marty; 1991 in Theatre La Fenice di Venezia as Principal Dancer with Natalia Georgevna Spizina, and Jeffrey Cooley; 1992 as a member of the Rome Opera Ballet with Elisabetta Teraburst, Zarko Prebil, Derek Deen and Roland Petit; 1993-1999 at the Oldenburg State Theatre as soloist with Ingrid Collett, Carlos Orta, Ralf Dörner, Cristina Hovat, and Antonio Gomes. In 1996 she created her first choreography. She has taught in Bad Krozingen, Bad Säckingen, Padua, Mantua and Genova. She obtained her Diploma as Ballet Pedagogue in 2011. She joined the BTB teaching staff in 2013.

Armando Braswell - Modern

Born: New York. Education: Laguardia High School of the Performing Arts, NY. The Juilliard School, NY. Engagements: Ballet Theater Munich; founding member of Gauthier Dance, Stuttgart; currently a soloist with Ballett Basel. Armando’s choreographic creations have been featured in numerous festivals and competitions throughout Europe as well as on television. From 2011- 2013 Armando was invited to Kiev, Ukraine as a guest choreographer for Танцюють всі!, the Ukraine version of the television show “So You Think You Can Dance”. In 2013 Armando choreographed and performed in a music video for Eliane Müller, Season two’s winner of the television show “Die grössten Schweizer Talente”. In 2013 he began guest teaching for BTB and became a permanent member of the faculty in 2014.

Cédric Anselme-Mathieu

Cédric Anselme-Mathieu was born in France and received his dance education at the Chorégraphique Colombat in Orange. He has danced with the Jeune Ballet de France, Europa Danse and the Ballett der Deutschen Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. Cédric Anselme-Mathieu has been a member of Ballett Basel since 2001. He has been teaching for BTB since 2009.

Thomas Kolbe

Born in Germany. He received his ballet education at the Staatlichen Musikhochschule Müchen (Heinz Bosl Stiftung) from 1989 – 1996. From 1996 – 2001 he was a member of the Ballet der Deutschen Oper am Rhein under the direction of Yuri Vamos and from 2001 – 2008 preformed with Ballett Basel under the direction of Richard Wherlock. Thomas Kolbe began teaching the Adult / Teenager classes at the Ballettschule Theater Basel in 2007 and since 2008 has worked as Stage Manager for Theater Basel.

Adrienne Telemaque Ceccarelli - Pilates

Education: High School of Performing Arts, New York; New York University, Bachelors Degree of Science, 1982. A former professional Ballet and Broadway Musical Theater dancer, she pursued a career in Physical Therapy after sustaining an injury while dancing with San Francisco Ballet. Adrienne started and owned for 13 years “A Physical Therapy Alternative Inc.”, the first private physical Therapy practice in Santa Monica, California that specialized in combining PILATES with traditional Physical Therapy. Adrienne works privately in Basel using the Pilates Reformer machine to treat dancers and patients with orthopedic spine and joint injuries. She began teaching Anatomy and Nutrition for BTB in 2014 and since August 2015 has been responsible for all Pilates classes.

Simone Merkli - Dance History and Profession Related Subjects

Born: Basel, SwitzerlandAfter many years of studying ballet in Munich and Basel, Simone Merkli started the dance related sport of Rhythmic Gymnastics. She won many Swiss National titles and in 2001 participated in the European Championships in Geneva. At the age of 15 Simone returned to ballet and successfully graduated from the professional training program at the Ballettschule Theater Basel. She simultaneously attended the Sport Gymnasium Bäumlihof where she graduated with her Swiss Matura Diploma. Following her graduation, she received a contract to the Friedrichstadt-Palast, Europe’s largest Revue Theater in Berlin. After preforming professionally for a year in Berlin, Simone returned to Switzerland where she pursued her dance career on a part time basis and studied Sport and Communications at the University of Basel. After successfully completing her studies she returned to Berlin and worked for several months in the Press Department of the Friedrichstadt-Palast. In 2013 she returned to Switzerland and worked for 3 years as Project Manager for Sports Promotion in Bernand continued to teach dance. In 2016 Simone completed her teachers Diploma for Zuna Yoga in Bali (Yoga Alliance® Certifications RYT 200®) and has since worked as a Yoga Teacher all over Switzerland. In August 2016 she began teaching Dance History and Professional Related Subjects to professional dance students at the HWS-Huber Widemann Schule.

Antonino Riolo – Pianist

Born: Sicily, Italy. Studied in Messina and graduated with highest honors with diplomas in piano and chamber music. His teachers included Bruno Mezzena, Maria Ioppolo, Roberto Bianco and Michele Marvulli. Mr. Riolo has a wide and varied repetoire including barock, classical, romantic and contemporary compositions. He has been a member of the SONOS Quartett (Basel) for the last 10 years.

Mr. Riolo has worked for the last 30 years as pianist for the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome. He additionally works regulary in Rome with the Accademia Italiana del Flauto and is often the accompanist for renown Master Courses through out the world.

Tonino Riolo has also played for several films including „Ballata Bianca“ from Stefano Odoardi and „Il regista di Matrimoni“ and „Vincere“ from Marco Bellocchio.Since 2008 he has worked as pianist at the Ballettschule Theater Basel as well as accompanist for the flute class of Felix Renggli at the Musikhochschule, Basel.

Bruno Raco - Pianist

Born in Italy, he started his musical studies at the age of eleven in Savona, Italy, and graduated from the Conservatory. He has worked as classical pianist and accompanist since 1999 in Italy and abroad. In Germany he studied electronic sound design for musical purposes for two years. He joined the staff of BTB in 2012 and works as freelancer composer as well as pianist for ballet competitions and workshops.

Angiola Maria Grolla – Pianist

Born: Thiene (Vincenza) Italy. Education: Konservatorium A. Buzzolla in Adria (Rovigo) Italy with the pianist and teacher Righini Federica. Masterclasses with world famous pianists such as Aldo Ciccolini, Piernarciso Masi, Marcella Crudeli, Alan Weiss and the Spanish concert artist Eulalia Solè with whom she studied for two years with in Barcelona.

Scholarships and prizes include: 2006 Scholarship to the Conservatory A. Buzzolla in Adria (Rovigo) Italy - CEP (Centro Estudios Pianisticos) Scholarship of the Catalan city Barcelona. 2007 First prize at the International Competition "Associazione Musicale Valeria Martina” in Bari and at the National Competition “Napolinova” (Naples). 2011 Second prize at the National Competition "Premio Crescendo"in Florence.

She has accompanied classical ballet workshops of many well know teachers such as Frederic Olivieri (Director Ballet Academy director of La Scala Theatre in Milan), Luca Masala (Director of"Princess Grace" Academy in Monte Carlo), Alessandro Molin (former Principal Dancer of "London Festival Ballet") and Gloria Grigolato (former etoile of the Lipsia Ballet) among others. Ms. Grolla regularly plays during RAD exams (Royal Academy of Dance) in London and until July 2015 was pianist at the “Buonarroti” High School in Verona. ßSince 2006 she has additionally dedicated some of her time to teaching. Ms. Grolla joined the BTB staff in August 2015.

Nadine Gautschi - Administration

Born in Basel, is an economist and has worked for Ernst&Young, Syngenta and WBZ. After spending time abroad and having 3 children - She is now our BTB Office Assistant and happy to help with all administrative questions.

Monika Linge - Head of Student Housing

Diploma as Industrial Clerk. Ms. Linge has worked, among others, for the following companies: Technische Textilien Lörrach AG, Vitrashop Weil/Rhein, Wybert GmbH Lörrach, Dr. Osypka GmbH Rheinfelden-Herten and Tex4Tec Lörrach GmbH Lörrach-Brombach.Ms. Linge has been Head of Student Housing since February 2013.

Ursula Keller Imhof

Principal HWS

Ursula Keller holds diplomas in Psychology FH, in Movement Education GDS/IfB, and is a registered Movement Analyst RBA. She majored in Operational Economy at the Hochschule Für Wirtschaft FHNW.

Sandro Penta – Expert for Youth and Sport Development


Educational Department Basel-Stadt

Sandro Penta – Sandro Penta is director of multiple sport programs at many private schools (VSP), Mental Development Trainer for Eishockey, Sports Manager for Teambasel4olympia and Director of Talent Development and Professional Sports Promotion Basel Stadt.

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