School Faculty
  Daniel Duell - Artistic Director, Founder

Founder and Artistic Director, Duell is a force in the development of American Classicism, and is passionate about the advancement of ballet technique in its purest and most energetic form. As a dancer with the New York City Ballet from 1972-1987, he was taught and coached daily by George Balanchine. Quickly rising through the ranks, Duell was promoted to Soloist in 1977, and then Principal Dancer in 1979. He performed a wide-ranging repertoire, dancing leading roles in the ballets of George Balanchine, Jerone Robbins, Peter Martins, and Jacques d'Ambois, among others, including multiple works that were created for him. A Ford Foundation Scholarship recipient from the age of 13, he trained with the Dayton Civic Ballet, then at The School of American Ballet, and at the age of 19 was invited to join NYCB. In addition to his fifteen years at NYCB, he was a featured guest artist for numerous companies nationwide and performed for several PBS Dance in America public television programs. Duell has been choreographing since 1980 and has created works for Ballet Chicago, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Dayton Ballet, Harkness Dance Theatre, The Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and The School of American Ballet. He also collaborated with WTTW Channel 11 in Chicago to design two programs; the first, an Emmy Award winning special (outstanding cultural programming) on Ballet Chicago, and the second entitled "Love in Four Acts," a program showcasing four Chicago choreographers selected by Duell. He was also awarded the 2000 Ruth Page Award from the Chicago Dance Community for the Artistic Direction of The Ballet Chicago Studio Company.

Duell is a frequent lecturer on ballet, music, and the arts, serves on several not-for-profit boards and advisory boards, and has been an adjudicator for the National Endowment for the Arts and The Illinois Arts Council. He is also a repetiteur for The George Balanchine Trust and stages ballets across the United States. He conducts master classes in both the United States and Europe, including teaching engagements at The School of American Ballet, Indiana University at Bloomington, The University of Iowa, and the Bulgarian National Dance Academy in Sophia, Bulgaria. In Spring 2011, Duell worked with the Royal Danish Ballet, teaching and coaching the company in preparation for its New York season. Duell taught again for The Royal Danish Ballet in preparation for the company's Spring 2012 Copenhagen performances of major Balanchine/Stravinsky ballets.

  Patricia Blair - Associate Artistic Director, School Director

Patricia Blair is highly committed to the training, artistic education, and personal well-being of young dancers. She began working with children when she was only 15 years old, and to this day, her love and respect of classical ballet and passing that on to young artists is one of her greatest passions. She was born in New York City, began studying ballet at the age of 7, and began her performing career at 17. While a student at North Carolina School of the Arts, she was chosen to dance the role of "Myrtha" in Giselle alongside principal dancers Svea Ekloff and ABT's Burton Taylor. In 1979 she joined the Eglevsky Ballet, under the direction of Edward Villella and then Michael Vernon. In 1984, while still dancing full time with the company, she became one of the organization's Ballet Mistresses, rehearsing the repertoire of George Balanchine, MIchael Vernon and guest choreographers. Throughout her years at Eglevsky Ballet, she was also an active teacher in NY, teaching classes for Eglevsky Ballet, Harkness House for Ballet Arts, Steps NY, and volunteering to teach at risk youth in churches and community centers. During off seasons, she performed as a guest artist developing new works with many NY choreographers, danced in musical theatre productions across the US and on Broadway, and briefly entered the LA move world with Pavanne for a Dying Princess, a solo dance film created especially for her. She came to Chicago in September 1987 upon the recommendation of Balanchine repetiteur Victoria Simon. She staged several ballets for Chicago City Ballet's fall season, after which Duell invited her to move to Chicago and join his artistic team. She was the Ballet Mistress for Ballet Chicago from 1987-1997, and was appointed Director of The School of Ballet Chicago in 1995. She also serves as Associate Artistic Director for the company.

In addition to her work with The School of Ballet Chicago and The Ballet Chicago Studio Company, Ms. Blair gives master classes throughout the region and has been a guest teacher for Pacific Northwest Ballet School in Seattle, Washington, Gem City Ballet in Dayton, Ohio, and in May 2007 had the honor of teaching at The School of American Ballet. Ms. Blair has a lifelong love for the ballets of George Balanchine, and appreciates both the privilege of having performed his ballets and the joy of passing them on to younger dancers. She has been responsible for a large body of repertoire at Ballet Chicago, and has staged Mr. Balanchine's Serenade and Allegro Brilliante for the St. Louis Ballet.
  Ted Seymour - Student, and Professional Divisions & Resident Choreographer

Ted was born in Dallas, Texas where he began his training at The Dallas Metropolitan Ballet. He later moved to Chicago to study with Dan Duell and Patricia Blair at the School of Ballet Chicago as a member of The Ballet Chicago Studio Company. Ted choreographed his first ballet for BCSC, Toccata for 5, in 2001. Later, Ted moved to New York to attend the School of American Ballet. While at SAB, Ted choreographed two ballets for the Student Choreographic Workshop and was invited by Peter Martins to create a new work for The New York Choreographic Institute. Upon leaving SAB, Ted joined Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, dancing for choreographers such as Edwar Liang, Nicolo Fonte, and Benoit-Swan Pouffer. Ted joined Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2007 where he has danced featured roles in Balanchine's Episodes, La Valse, and the Act II pas de deux from A Midsummer Night's Dream among others. He has been a faculty member since 2009, and last year was named Ballet Chicago's Resident Choreographer, choreographing for the company's mainstage performances and educational programs. Ted recently completed the critically acclaimed Creatures of Prometheus for the 2012 International Beethoven Fetival and Celestial Rites for Ballet Chicago's 25th Anniversary Season at the Harris Theater.

Susan Belles - Preparatory and Student Divisions

Susan Belles began her training in Rockford, IL with Rockford Dance Company. In Rockford she also attended Auburn Creative and Performing Arts High School where she helped manage productions. She has spent her summers at Blue Lake, Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theater and Carolina Ballet. Susan was also chosen to go on exchange, spending six weeks training with the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen. At the age of 17 Susan moved to Chicago to join the Ballet Chicago Studio Company. During her time with Ballet Chicago, Susan has had the privilege of performing many ballets including George Balanchine's Rubies, Serenade, Who Cares? and Swan Lake. Susan has been teaching throughout her dance career and is excited to have the opportunity to share her passion in the big city!


Olivia Hartzell - Preparatory, Student and Professional Divisions

Born in Boston, MA, Olivia Hartzell received her training with the Boston Ballet School and Trainee Program as a recipient of the Cathryn S. Keith scholarship for Outstanding Talent. She graduated from the Hamburg Ballet School under the direction of John Neumeier. Ms. Hartzell began her career with Ballet du Capitole Toulouse under Nanette Glushak and went on to join the Royal Ballet of Flanders. In 2014 she joined the Pennsylvania Ballet. She has performed numerous soloist and principal roles in the classical repertoire (La Bayadere, La Sylphide, La Fille Mal Gardee) as well as in works by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Jacopo Godani, Angelin Prejlocaj, Aleksander Ekman, to name a few.

  Brittany Hurst - Preparatory and Student Divisions

Brittany Hurst was born in Los Angeles, California where she began her training at the Pacific Dance Academy under Louise Mandel. While training at PDA she had the privilege of taking master classes from Sheila Rozann. She later attended summer intensives at Ballet Chicago. In 2010 she moved to Chicago, Illinois and joined Ballet Chicago's Studio Company. While a studio company member she had the opportunity and privilege of learning and performing Balanchine ballets. Some of which are Agon, Concerto Barocco, Divertimento No. 15, Serenade, Square Dance, Rubies, Who Cares?, Stars and Stripes, Swan Lake, and Walpurgischnat. She is very pleased and honored to have joined the Ballet Chicago faculty.
  Megan Wright Otto - Preparatory, Student and Professional Divisions

Megan is a Chicago native and alumni of Ballet Chicago who has danced professionally with the Los Angeles Ballet and the Saint Louis Ballet. In addition, she has performed with the San Diego Ballet and completed professional workshops with the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance as well as Alonzo King's Lines Ballet. Megan spent her summers studying at the School of American Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet School, and American Ballet Theater. Prior to joining the School of Ballet Chicago and the Ballet Chicago Studio Company, she trained at the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center. Megan received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from DePaul University.

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