Aspen Santa Fe Ballet School - Faculty

Gisela Genschow, School Director

Ms. Genschow is the director and principal teacher of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet School in Santa Fe. A native of Hamburg, Germany she trained with the Hamburg State Opera under Peter van Dyk and Victor Gsovsky. She danced professionally with the Hamburg State Opera, Ballet de Wallonie, Opera de Lyon, Ballet Theatre Contemporain, Ballet du Rhins, and Tanzforum Koln. Throughout her career she toured Europe performing classical ballets as well as contemporary works. She had the opportunity to directly work with George Balanchine as well as numerous other renowned choreographers such as Pierre Lacotte and Lois Falco. After moving to the United States, Ms. Genschow was a faculty member of Fort Worth Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre under company director Patricia Wilde and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. In 1992, she moved to Santa Fe and took over the directorship of Santa Fe Dance Foundation, now The School of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

Karen Brettschneider, Early Childhood Training, School Administrator

Karen was born in Elgin, IL and began training with Lisa Boehm, former prima ballerina of the Deutsches Opernhaus, Berlin, Germany and the Stadt Theater, Berne, Switzerland. She began ballet at the age of six and in her teens added jazz under the tutelage of Frank Boehm. Karen appeared numerous times in the Elgin Area Performing Arts Nutcracker production, achieving soloist in 1989 and, in later years, serving as rehearsal assistant. She also trained at the Ruth Page Foundation (Chicago) under the direction of Larry Long, at the Lou Conte Dance Studio (Chicago), North Carolina School of the Arts, and Yorkshire Ballet Seminars, England where she had the good fortune to study under Sir Anton Dolin. Karen attended Barat College of DePaul University graduating cum laude with a B.A. in Performing Arts Dance. After graduating, Karen danced for several years with Zephyr Dance Ensemble but soon realized teaching was her true passion. She brings to ASFB 20 years of teaching experience in Chicago and it's suburbs. She has continued her studies at numerous teacher training courses and studios and regards the following teachers as most influential; Fury Gold, Birute Barodicaite, Warren Conover, Clare Carmichael, Robert Atwood, Russell Saltzbach, and Pamela Johnson Tanis. Choreography credits include numerous works for the North Suburban Dance Company, a company she founded and directed; Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella for the Barat College Children's Theater Department; and the North Shore Nutcracker which she also performed in as a soloist and coached several roles. She is happy to be joining the teaching faculty at ASFB and looks forward to instilling her love of dance in its young students.

Audrey Derell

Audrey Derell, Jazz

Audrey Derell has studied dance in its myriad forms since childhood. She trained and performed with the Finnish National Ballet and Ballet Celeste of San Francisco. She was a scholarship student at the Brussels Opera Ballet under Maurice Béjart. In Seville, Spain, where she attended college, she studied flamenco. At UNM, she studied the techniques of Cunningham, Graham and Limon.

Ms. Derell is certified by the International Dance Exercise Association, the National Dance Institute-NM, and is a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. She was a private studio owner and director of Charisma Dance Company in Santa Fe for 19 years. She is currently a Gyrotonic® trainer in Santa Fe, and is a dance portrait photographer.

After a hiatus from the studio, Audrey is elated to be teaching the young dancers at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet School.

Shannon Elliott

Shannon Elliott, Jazz

Shannon Elliott (M.A. in Dance, York University; B.S. in Dance Management, Oklahoma City University; NASM-CPT) has been working in the professional dance world for the past 20 years as a performer, teacher, choreographer, director and arts administrator. She began her performing career with the touring company, River North Dance Chicago, and other professional credits include Music Theatre of Wichita, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Inside/Out, and several independent works. Her commercial experience includes TV, film, industrials, print, and various live events. In an administrative capacity, Shannon served as Office Manager at Hubbard Street, Artistic Program Producer at NDI-NM, and Director of Dance and Assistant Chair of Performing Arts at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, where she created a new dance major. Shannon was also a Rehearsal Director/Choreographer for Royal Caribbean International, where she taught choreography to dancers, singers, acrobats, and aerialists from around the world to be performed on cruise ships. Her favorite project was the original Broadway musical, CATS, on one of RCI’s largest ships, Oasis of the Seas. Shannon is excited to have transitioned into the field of health and wellness this past year, earning her personal training and group fitness certifications and teaching Dance for PD® classes for seniors and those living with Parkinson’s disease. She also works for the Parkinson and Movement Disorder Alliance as its Community Engagement Manager for the state of New Mexico.

joan Lombardi

Joan Lombardi, Modern

Following 15 years of professional performing for many renowned choreographers such as Pina Bausch, Robert Butler, Robert Joffrey, Donya Feuer, Phyllis Lambert, Alwin Nickolais, Paul Sanasardo and Anna Sokolow, Joan Lombardi established the Joan Lombardi Dance Company in 1976 to concentrate on her own distinctive approach to choreography. Ms Lombardi has taught nationally at both the university and professional levels. Her company has performed at all the New York dance/theatre venues and across the U.S. She has been honored with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts, among others. Joan moved to Santa Fe in 2007 and continues to teach and choreograph.