Executive Director & Instructor (Upper School)
Sueann Townsend began ballet class as a child with instructor Dale Black and later with Toni Introvia. She graduated from the Interlochen Center for the Arts as a dance scholarship student receiving the Fine Arts Award in Dance upon graduation. Townsend continued her training at New York Conservatory of Dance where she studied with such prominent instructors as Vladimir Davidov, Hector Zaraspe, Ali Pourfarrokh, Sallie Wilson, Nicholas Orloff, Igor Youskevitch and Ramzi El-Edlibi. She has participated in modern dance residencies with Twyla Tharp, Bella Lewitzki, Daniel Nagrin, Laura Dean and Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.
Townsend has danced with Ballet Theatre Internationale, Ft. Worth Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Dance Theatre of Long Island, Ramzi El-Edlibi Dance Company, Louisville Ballet and Afterimages Repertory Dance Company. She has been featured as a guest artist with Nevada Ballet Theatre, Sayville Ballet, Albano Ballet, National Grand Opera Company, Kentucky Opera, Thoughtforms Dance Company and the American Music Festival. She has appeared at the Deutschen Oper Berlin, Staatsoper Leipzig, and Staatsoper Wien and spent one season as the featured ballerina in the Dino Kartsonakis Show in Branson, MO under the direction of R. L. Peterson.
As a serious, committed dancer, it is only natural that her astute study of the history, costumes and music of dance rank equal to physical training. Her study and knowledge in these areas are deep and comprehensive.
Since retiring from the stage, Townsend has devoted herself to teaching ballet technique with a special emphasis on the Classical Repertory.
Instructor (Pre-Training, Lower School, & Upper School)
Katherine Bervera received her training from Gail Giere Collins and Jana Fugate at Pioneer Valley Ballet (PVB) where her early training included extensive performing experience. At PVB she performed in Bournonville’s Napoli and Konservatoriet, as well as in works by Christopher D’Amboise, Frances Patrelle, Joseph Lacarro and the roles of Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker. As a student she received merit scholarships to summer programs at Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Boston Ballet.
Bervera began teaching in Berkley, California in 2000. She has taught at Amherst Ballet, Northeast American School of Dance, Pioneer Valley Ballet, East Street Dance Center and Northampton School of Dance. She completed Vaganova teacher training covering levels 1 through 3 with Rose Marie Flachs, artistic director of the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet. Bervera performed with Spectrum in Motion under director Olivia Llano Davis, Savage Jazz, Berkley Ballet Theater and independent choreographers including Patricia Banchik. She danced with the Lisa Leizman Dance company from 2003-2007.
Bervera founded and directed her own ballet school for ages 3 through 18, Academy of Ballet Arts, from 2005 through 2011. She directed and produced both a mini Nutcracker for several years at the Northampton Center for the Arts, as well as a full length Nutcracker performed at Amherst Regional High School. Bervera choreographed and directed annual spring performances including Peter and the Wolf. Her students performed for four years at the Academy of Music for the First Night Festival of Dance.
Chris received his Bachelors of Fine Art from SUNY:Purchase and is a professional freelance dancer. He trained in the the Vaganova Method and studied under ballet mistress Jacqueline Akhmedova. Chris’s repertoire includes Serenade, Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, La Bayadere, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Nutcracker, and many contemporary works. He first came “on board” Amherst Ballet when he created the role of Captain Belaye in the 2015 Amherst Ballet/Valley Light Opera production of Pineapple Poll. His specialty in ballet is jumping, partnering, and taking the stage with the infamous Bolshoi flare.
Instructor (Lower School)
Heather Reichgott trained at the Professional Dance Academy in Willow Grove, PA with Eva Szabo (formerly of the Hungarian National Ballet), at the Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania with Marilyn Budzynski, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Oakland Ballet, and at Ohio Dance Theatre. Her performance credits include five seasons with Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania and Ohio Dance Theatre. Reichgott’s choreography twice won choreographic competitions while she was at Dance Theatre of Pennsylvania.
Reichgott is an accomplished musician, teaching piano privately and accompanying for ballet classes through the Five Colleges. Her ballet class CD A Musical Feast for the Ballet Class is available through www.CDBaby.com.
Instructor (Modern, Conditioning, Pre-Training, & Creative Movement)/Administrative Assistant
Molly Stamell grew up in Western Massachusetts, and discovered her love of movement at an early age. She trainined extensively in all styles of dance throughout her middle and high school years, studying intensively at Gervais School of Performing Arts, Amherst Ballet Theatre Company, and Bates College Dance Festival.
Molly attended Concordia University in Montreal, where she majored in Contemporary Dance. She completed her B.F.A. thesis project in 2011 on healing and preventing dance injuries, the final portion of which was spent walking the Camino Pilgrimage Trail in France and Spain.
Molly is a 500-hour certified instructor in Embodyoga® through Yoga Center Amherst, and is currently enrolled at Goddard College as a M.F.A. candidate in Interdisciplinary Arts.
Molly teaches many styles of dance, yoga, fitness, conditioning, and injury prevention classes and has staged three full-length works for Amherst Ballet.
Josh Pearson graduated from Long Island University with a B.F.A. in acting. He continues to perform both nationally and internationally and loves every minute of it. He worked for the American University in Cairo and the Financial Times, giving him a wide range of experience that he brings to Amherst Ballet. Josh has a wife who grew up dancing in Western Mass and a young son that makes him laugh every day.