Staff of Harford Ballet Company
The Harford Ballet Company is fortunate to have a great administrative and artistic team led by Executive and Artistic Director Barclay Gibbs. HBC strives to provide dancers with a professional training and performing experience that is unparalleled in the region. In addition to an experienced core staff, the company also attracts guest professionals to choreograph new works and teach master classes and workshops in dance. This gives HBC dancers a chance to work with accomplished professionals and offers dancers a wider view of the profession. Below is a listing of the current staff and previous guest artists who have worked with the company.
Barclay Gibbs- Artistic Director
Barclay Gibbs has come to the Harford Ballet Company from the dance department at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins. Barclay received her early dance training at the Peabody Preparatory, Towson University, the Baltimore School for the Arts, and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She performed professionally with Ballet British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and with Charleston Ballet Theater in South Carolina. Barclay has performed in works by leading choreographers such as George Balanchine and Paul Taylor and has danced in the Nutcracker with the Moscow Ballet. Barclay is an associate of the Royal Academy of Dance having completed her Advanced Ballet and Solo Seal RAD examinations. After attending Towson University as a dance major, Barclay has taught and choreographed ballet and modern dance at schools throughout the area including the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Towson University’s Children’s Dance Division, Baltimore Ballet, and the Peabody Preparatory. Barclay joined HBC in 2008 and is the current Artistic Director of the Dance Conservatory of Maryland and the Harford Ballet Company.
Kait Weber - Managing Director
Kait Kenny Weber received her early dance training at The Dance Center, the official school of the Brandywine Ballet. She went on to train at the Washington Ballet, Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts and Wilmington Academy of Dance. Kait is a graduate of Towson University where she earned her BA in Mass Communications as well as pursued the Dance Performance major, graduating Cum Laude. While an honors scholarship recipient at Towson, she performed with the Towson University Dance Company and performed lead roles in the Nutcracker as well as several other classical and contemporary works. She also performed with the Baltimore Ballet in various productions and taught ballet, modern and jazz at the school for five years. After graduation, Kait pursued her communications career, working as an account executive for advertising and public relations agencies in Baltimore.
Shana O'Brien - Resident Choreographer
Shana O’Brien has been a faculty member at DCM since 2002, teaching ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance. A graduate of Goucher College with a degree in dance performance and choreography, Shana has performed in works set by dance professionals such as Steven Mills of Ballet Austin, Rachel Berman, formerly of Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Christopher d’Amboise, both former principals with New York City Ballet. She has presented choreography in many diverse venues including the American College Dance Festival, the Maryland Council for Dance Choreographer’s Showcase, and the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition. In addition to her training at DCM, Shana has studied under Marilyn Gaston at the Ballet Academy of Baltimore, Laura Dolid of the Sudbrook Arts Center, and at the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. She has experience performing in such varied settings as the Nutcracker at the Lyric Opera House, musicals in regional dinner theater, and competitions held by Dance Masters of America.
Linda O'Brien - Rehearsal Mistress
Linda O’Brien is a professional instructor and award winning choreographer and has been teaching in the Maryland area since 1987. An active member of Dance Masters of America, she received her teaching certification in Ballet, Jazz and Tap in 1996, and continues to further her education through DMA’s Teacher’s Training Program. Over the past twelve years, she has acted as Assistant Director, Artistic Advisor and Ballet Mistress for the Harford Ballet Company. Linda is a faculty member at the Community Colleges of Baltimore County, where in addition to teaching Ballet, Jazz, and Dance Appreciation she also acts as Associate Director of their resident company. A lifelong student, Linda has studied extensively in Maryland and New York under many renowned teachers including Tom Ralabate, Tracy Navarro and jazz legend, Frank Hatchett. Many of her older students have been awarded dance scholarships and are currently performing throughout the United States in stage and theater productions.
Melinda Howe - Guest Choreographer
Melinda Howe has served on the faculty of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet for more than 25 years, where she began her own training under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. She received her BFA from The North Carolina School of the Arts and then returned to Carlisle to work with Ms. Weary. Her growth as a teacher led her to choreograph, and her ballets Vivaldi, Epsprit and Blue Moon Waltz have been shown at the Northeast Regional Festivals for Dance. In 2000, Andante won her the prestigious Monticello Award for Choreography. At CPYB, along with her teaching, she assists with the five week Summer Program and the Teachers Workshop. She is proud of the many students she has helped train over the years and you can see the current future professionals in her ballets in the June Series.
Maeghan McHale - Guest Choreographer
Laura Halm - Guest Master Teach
Catherine Horta-Hayden - Guest Master Teacher
Catherine Horta-Hayden is an Associate Professor of Dance in Towson University’s Department of Dance. Mrs. Horta-Hayden received her Master in Fine Arts from Florida State University. She came to Towson University in 2000 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dance teaching all levels of the Ballet technique, pointe, variations, Ballet Repertory, and Modern technique. She was awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor in 2006. Mrs. Horta-Hayden also served as the Artistic Director of the Towson University Dance Company coordinating residencies by renowned International Artists during her time as faculty in the Department of Dance. Mrs. Horta-Hayden also served as Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs at Towson University from 2007-2010. The Division of Academic Affairs has more than 1,025 FTE faculty, 300 staff and administrators and eight colleges. In this capacity, Mrs. Horta-Hayden was responsible for the administration of internal and external academic proposals for the institution, represented the Division of Academic Affairs in institutional initiatives and oversaw all aspects of Towson University off campus programs and articulation agreements with Community Colleges, including programs at four satellite locations. She lead the partnership to create the first Towson University Harford Campus, which will provide students in Harford and Cecil Counties, as well as military and their families affected by the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC), the opportunity to obtain four-year college degrees from Towson University in Harford County. Mrs. Horta-Hayden has performed extensively in Florida, Maryland, Washington D.C and Boston. She was invited to research the pedagogy of the National Ballet School of Cuba and taught at the Lizt Alfonso Cuban Dance Company while in Havana. She has created and restaged numerous works and has taught Master classes throughout Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. She most recently has been invited to serve on the Board of Trustees for WYPR 88.1 Maryland’s NPR news station. She is also the proud wife of Eduardo Hayden and mother of Alessandra and Jonathan Hayden.
Barbara Sandonato - Guest Master Teacher
Barbara Sandonato, the celebrated leading dancer now nationally esteemed master teacher, performed with extraordinary verve and dramatic flair, and her roles ranged from the traditional bravura showpieces to the Romantic realm, and from the exquisite but often relentless demands of a Balanchine ballet to the works of modernists like Limon and Butler. Ms. Sandonato was the first dancer to join Barbara Weisberger at the Pennsylvania Ballet as it formed in 1962. She remained a Principal Dancer with that company until 1977, except for a one-year stint with the National Ballet of Canada where, as a principal, she performed with Rudolf Nureyev. Most recently, in great demand as a teacher, Ms. Sandonato served as Artist-in-Residence and adjunct professor of Ballet at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City. She has taught at other reputable schools including Ballet Academy East in New York City and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Ms. Sandonato now runs her own school, the Barbara Sandonato School of Ballet in Philadelphia, PA