Jenifer Ringer is a native of Summerville South Carolina and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Fordham University with a Bachelor degree in English. Jenifer was promoted to principal dancer of the New York City Ballet in 2000 and originated roles in new works by numerous choreographers including Jerome Robbins, Alexi Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon and Peter Martins. She has performed in the world’s choreographic masterpieces including the major works of George Balanchine and has inhabited the prima ballerina roles of legendary works including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Coppélia.
In addition to her dancing career, Ms. Ringer has led the New York State Summer School for the Arts annual summer session since 2006, directed the artistic elements of the New York City Ballet Dancer’s Choice performance at Lincoln Center in 2010 and co-hosted New York City Ballet’s Dance with the Dancers fundraising event in 2002.
Ms, Ringer has been celebrated multiple times on the covers of Dance Magazine and Pointe Magazine and is the recipient of the prestigious Dance Magazine Award, the Jerome Robbins Award, and the Dance Teacher Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award.
Betsy Cooper is Professor and Chair of the Department of Dance, California State University, Long Beach. Cooper was Dean of The Hartt School, University of Hartford, from 2016-2018. She worked at the University of Washington, the state’s flagship campus, from 2001-2015, first directing its Dance Department and then serving as Divisional Dean of Arts in the College of Arts & Sciences. Prior to university teaching and administration, Cooper performed with classical and contemporary companies nationally and abroad, including Nationaltheater Mannheim, Matthew Nash Music & Dance, San Francisco Opera Ballet, Makarova & Company and Connecticut Ballet. For seven seasons, Cooper was a member of the Seattle Dance Project, premiering in works by Edward Liang, Hilde Koch, Heidi Vierthaler, Molissa Fenley (with whom she continues to perform), and other renown choreographers. Her choreography has been commissioned by Seattle Dance Project, Connecticut Ballet, Bucknell University, Western Washington University, and Arc Dance Company, where she was the resident choreographer from 2007-2011. Cooper’s scholarly research probes at the intersections of dance, politics, and censorship of the body in mid-20th century concert dance and the Hollywood film industry. She holds an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Washington, a B.A., cum laude, in Archeological Studies from Yale University, and is the recipient of a 2004 Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Washington.
Audrey Baran is a dance performer, maker, and educator based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She holds a BA in Dance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a MFA in Dance from Hollins University. As the founder and artistic director of Baran Dance and the apprentice company, BD2, Audrey is dedicated to broadening perceptions and accessibility of contemporary dance in the Southeast. She has presented work through the National Dance Educators Organization Conference, Bill Evans Somatic Dance Conference, North Carolina Dance Festival, Tobacco Road Dance Productions, Triangle Dance Project, Ladyfest CLT, Charlotte Dance Festival and numerous self-produced productions. Audrey is the 2019 UNCC Department of Dance Distinguished Alum, an inaugural recipient of the Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts and Science Council, and has received awards and nominations for her work from the Movies by Movers Festival, the Charlotte Emerging Dance Awards, and the Carolina Arts & Theatre Awards. She is an Adjunct Lecturer in Dance at UNC Charlotte and on the teaching faculty of Charlotte Ballet Academy. Audrey is also a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500-hour level, and thrives on sharing her love of movement and mindfulness throughout the Queen City and beyond.