Arlene Minkhorst | Director of Education
Arlene Minkhorst graduated from the National Ballet School of Canada (NBS) and from Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School (RWB School). She performed in numerous productions with the RWB Company before directing her energies to teaching full-time.
Ms. Minkhorst joined the RWB School faculty in 1979, and in July 2004, she took over the Directorship of the RWB School from Founding Director, David Moroni, C.M.
Ms. Minkhorst taught all levels of ballet and pointe technique, repertoire classes, conducted rehearsals for performances, and taught teachers in the RWB School Professional Division Teacher Training Program. She toured Manitoba and neighboring provinces with Concert Hour Ballet, the School’s performing group, and presented lectures about dance and dance training in Manitoba public schools.
Understanding the importance of providing integrated academic and dance training for young people who wish to study dance intensely, she implemented a supportive academic/dance structure with Winnipeg middle schools and high schools for the RWB School. In 2008, she established a highly successful partnership with the Collegiate at The U of Winnipeg that continues to inform the present model of the Ballet Academic Program for the RWB School. Her work also led to the U of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Education recognizing the work completed by graduates of the RWB School Teacher Program, allowing them to designate dance as a teachable minor.
In the late 1990s, Ms. Minkhorst oversaw the restructuring of the Recreational Division. She facilitated the creation of specifically designed programs to encourage boys to participate in dance. This program continues to be highly successful and now provides dance instruction to up to 250 boys each year.
In 2016, Ms. Minkhorst embraced a new strategic partnership with Canada’s National Ballet School and Physical and Health Education Canada, entitled Sharing Dance. Sharing Dance a national, community outreach initiative, offers free dance programs for all Canadians to get healthy, active and artistically engaged. Ms. Minkhorst’s commitment to this program helped to support over 40,000 Canadians sharing dance in 2018.
Ms. Minkhorst joined Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education (TBCDE) during the 2018-2019 school year and is delighted to be working with the talented students and staff of Tulsa Ballet.
At TBCDE, Ms. Minkhorst teaches classical ballet and pointe technique, runs pedagogy workshops for faculty, rehearses students for performances, and acts as a host for TBII Hardesty Family Foundation Children’s Series performances. Since arriving in Tulsa, Ms. Minkhorst established a daytime training program for students in the senior levels of the Intensive Program and launched a Trainee Program. Already, the Trainee program has graduated dancers who have taken their place in second companies and companies across the US. She also led the research and application process to have the Trainee Program and TBII recognized as vocational programs by the Oklahoma Board of Private Vocational Schools. In 2021 she established the Performance Ensembles to provide CDE students with the opportunity to work with choreographers and develop their learning and performance skills.
In the 2021-22 Season, TBCDE initiated Project Create, a new music and dance outreach program for Tulsa elementary schools, celebrating creativity and performance. TBCDE also embraced the Sharing Dance program with Canada’s National Ballet School, becoming the first international partnership in the program.
Throughout her professional career, Ms. Minkhorst has pursued opportunities to further her own knowledge and travelled to observe classes, performances and operations at other internationally recognized ballet schools, including the Royal Ballet School, London, the Paris Opera Ballet School, France, and the Cuban Ballet School, Cuba.
Ms. Minkhorst has accepted engagements to work as a guest teacher and adjudicator for dance festivals and dance competitions around the world. She has been a member of the jury for the Youth America Grand Prix, ADC/IBC, and UBC in the US, the Japan Grand Prix, the Prix de Lausanne and Tanzolymp in Europe and has been a guest teacher at Jacob’s Pillow.
Lauren Richter | School Principal
Lauren Richter Henry began her ballet training in Southern California in 1996. In 2006, she moved to New York City to continue her training at ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and worked privately with Prima Ballerina Assoluta Eva Evdokimova. During this time, Lauren was awarded a scholarship through YAGP to continue her studies in Monte-Carlo at the Princess Grace Academy of Classical Dance under the direction of Marika Besobrasova. Lauren received her first professional contract with the Prague State Opera Ballet in the Czech Republic and then moved on to dance with the Bucharest National Ballet in Romania.
Lauren is certified in Levels 1-8 through the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Teacher Training Program. She founded her own school, Richter Academy of Classical Dance, in Southern California from 2015-2021 and has taught on Faculty at San Francisco Ballet School for the 2019-2020 and 2022-2023 seasons. Lauren has judged internationally for the Concurso Internacional Latinamerica Danza Argentina and staged her version of the Nutcracker for the Ballet Parque del Conocimiento Argentina. She was honored to be awarded YAGP’s Outstanding Teacher Award in 2021.
In addition to ballet, Lauren is a certified Pilates instructor with a dance specialization through BASI Pilates, and she loves to use Pilates to help her dancers reach their fullest potential.
Julie Marquet | Faculty
Julie was born in Perpignan, France. She started her dance education at the age of five at the Ecole de Danse Classique Pascale Pavageau in Perpignan. In 2001 she continued her training at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Danse de Marseille and graduated in 2005. After graduation she danced at the Opéra Municipal de Marseille in the Corps de Ballet. Julie was a Corps de Ballet member of the Stuttgart Ballet from 2006 – 2015. Her repertoire includes La Sylphide (Schaufuss), Othello (Neumeier), Romeo and Juliet (Cranko), Swan Lake (Cranko), among many others. She joined Tulsa Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet for two seasons from 2015-2017, and retired the following year to join our full-time TBCDE Faculty and raise a family with husband and Principal Dancer Arman Zazyan.
Carla López Ponlla | Faculty
Born in A Coruña, Spain, Carla trained at the Professional Conservatory of Dance with Luciano Gómez and Carmen Ponlla. She danced with Ballet Carmen Roche, Zürich Junior Ballet, Víctor Ullate Ballet and Barcelona Ballet, where she performed Soloist roles under the artistic direction of Ángel Corella. Carla won first prize in the National Dance Competitions of Zaragoza, Torrelavega and A Coruña (Spain) before joining Tulsa Ballet in 2012 as a member of the Corps de Ballet. Her repertoire with the company includes There, Below (Kudelka), Classical Symphony (Possokhov), One/End/One (Elo), Company B (Taylor), Uniko/Juxtaposed (Cong), Blue Bird Pas de Deux (Angelini), Bolero (Fonte) and In The Middle, Somewhat Elevated (Forsythe), and Infra (McGregor), among others. In 2016, Ms. López retired from the company in order to join our full-time TBCDE Faculty.
Beatrice Sebelin | Faculty
Beatrice graduated from the school of the Teatro all Scala in 2002. She then joined the Teatro all Scala Company, where she danced from 2002-2003, and later danced with the Compagnia Neoclassica di San Remo del Teatro Ariston and Compagnia Nazionale Italiana of Rome. She joined Tulsa Ballet in 2008 from Balletto di Milano, and was promoted to Soloist in 2013, where she performed until retirement in 2016. She has performed works by Nacho Duato, Paul Taylor, Christopher Wheeldon, Jorma Elo, Wayne McGregor, Edwaard Liang, Val Caniparoli, Adam Hougland, Nicolo Fonte, Alejandro Cerrudo, William Forsythe and Ben Stevenson. Her repertoire includes The Sleeping Beauty, Excelsior Ballet, Notre Dame de Paris, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Rooster, Gnawa, Company B and The Nutcracker.
Amy Parker | Faculty
Amy Parker, originally from Chesapeake, VA began her dance training at the Academie de
Ballet. She furthered her studies at the Virginia Ballet Theatre and attended the Universal
Ballet Academy (presently Kirov Academy of Washington DC) summer intensive. Ms. Parker was a trainee with Ballet Magnificat!, later dancing professionally with Light Of The World Ballet and Arrows International. She served these companies in various roles such as Ballet Mistress, Directors’ Assistant, Administrator, and Booking Coordinator, guest teaching for events such as Project Dance. She has performed many original works by Jeff and Natalie Lewis, Ashley Rollinson, Hannah Beaver, Juri Sebastian Voborsky, and Tobin James, touring nations including the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka, Peru, Israel, Costa Rica, Honduras, Japan, Malaysia, and the USA. In 2020, Ms. Parker worked with The Promise at the Texas Amphitheater, later returning for The Promise Of Passover, serving as Choreographer, Dance Captain, and Dancer. Ms. Parker has taught ballet throughout the Oklahoma City Metro area since 2015, and is passionate to see her students achieve their highest potential as artists.