Andrew Rist: Artistic Director
Andrew’s interests have always been in the areas of teaching, directing & choreography. After dancing professionally for 14 years, Loyce Houlton encouraged Andrew to become Avocational Director of the Minnesota Dance Theater school (1986-87). In 1987, Andrew and his wife Cheryl took steps in a new direction and co-founded the Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota. In 1990, they co-founded Ballet Minnesota with Andrew as artistic director. Under his direction, Ballet Minnesota has developed a strong season including the Fall Concert, the annual Classic Nutcracker, The Youth Concert Series, The Minnesota Dance Festival (which features the restaging of a classical ballet each year) and the River Songs Summer Series. As a choreographer, Andrew prefers working with original scores. He has created works in collaboration with Robert E Hindel, Charlie Maguire (National Park Service “Singing Ranger”) and the rock group Mock Duck. His choreographic works include Pachelbel, At the Museum, the Classic Nutcracker, Italian Symphony, Black Dog Cafe, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (choreographed in 2008, received standing ovations to a sold out opening run) and many others. Andrew & Cheryl have two children – Heather and Richard. The newest addition to the Rist family is their granddaughter, Chloe, daughter of Richard and Becky.
In January 2010, Andrew’s first book was published “At The Museum: Adventures of the Ballerina Girls”
Cheryl Rist: Classical Restagings and Costume Design
Cheryl, a graduate of the Cornish School of Arts in Seattle, was the recipient of seven Arts Scholarships. Her teachers included Robert Joffrey, Loyce Houlton, Hanya Holm, Flemming Halby and Frank Bourman.
Cheryl began dancing with Sacramento Ballet under the direction of Jean-Paul Comelin (formerly Paris Opera Ballet). She danced as a principal with the Banff Festival, the Minnesota Dance Theater (under the direction of Loyce Houlton) and Ballet Minnesota.
Cheryl is a teacher in the school, and has a special gift for understanding the art of Classical Ballet. She is known for restaging excerpts and complete versions of many of the classic ballets for Ballet Minnesota, including Swan Lake, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides, the Flower Festival pas de deux, Coppelia and La Bayadere. In addition to all of this she designs and costumes all the works presented by Ballet Minnesota.
Although Cheryl is a sought-after designer, she concentrates her energies on CBA and Ballet Minnesota.
CURRENT COMPANY DANCERS
Aaron began dancing at Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota in the winter of 2003. In 2009 he enrolled at the St Paul Conservatory of Performing Arts where his focus was dance. He danced in classical works such as Don Quixote, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and the Nutcracker, and in works by Andrew Rist such as Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue, Elfan and Cinderella. He is featured in the book and ballet “Nightmare” written and choreographed by Andrew Rist. Aaron became a company member with Ballet Minnesota in August 2012.
Casey, originally from the Twin Cities, began his Classical Ballet training with the Metropolitan Ballet Academy. He received coaching and instruction from Tatiana Berenova, former Bolshoi Principal and Prima Ballerina. Casey also attended The Metropolitan Ballet International Summer Programs lead by Ramon Theiland and Tatiana Berenova .
After completing his training, he began dancing professionally with the Metropolitan Ballet Company. He has danced with several ballet companies in the Twin Cities area including: Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota, Cities Classical Dance Ensemble, Minneapolis Ballet Dancers and Continental Ballet Company. He was also a company member of the Ohio Dance Theatre.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Annie trained at Ballet Arts Minnesota under the direction of Bonnie Mathis and went on to join the Springboard Dance Company. She has attended training programs with the American Ballet Theatre and Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts. Annie went on to dance throughout college at UW-Madison and graduated with a BA in history. In 2011 she danced professionally with Madison Contemporary Vision Dance Company. Annie returned to Minneapolis in 2012 and danced with Cities Classical Dance Ensemble and Continental Ballet Company where she had the opportunity to dance the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, and the Arabian Princess and Flower Queen in The Nutcracker.
Celesta Brainard was born and raised in St. Paul, MN. She started her dance career at 4 years old at Classical Ballet Academy. That’s where her love of dance blossomed and she continued to train there for 13 years. During that time she also attended the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. Her family moved her senior year of high school to Duluth, MN where she had the opportunity to be a captain on the Duluth East Dance Team and dance competitively for a year at Madill Performing Arts Center. She has also spent various summers at several dance intensives including Nutmeg Conservatory and Alonzo King Lines Ballet. This past May she graduated from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a BA in Dance. Currently, she is the teaching throughout the Twin Cities and in Duluth, as well as dancing professionally and creating her works.