Andrea Pell is a native of New York and received her professional training in New York and in Budapest, Hungary.
In 1975, she joined The Berlin Ballet in Germany and worked with major dancers and choreographers including Rudolph Nureyev, Eva Evdokimova, Hans van Manen, Moses Pendleton, Valery Panov, John Neumeier, and Roland Petite, during her fourteen-year tenure with the company.
After dancing she studied movement notation at The Benesh Institute of Choreology in London, and was awarded the title of F.I. Chor. upon presentation of her score of a commissioned ballet for Atlanta Ballet.
In 1990, Andrea was invited by Atlanta Ballet's artistic director of thirty-two years, Mr. Robert Barnett, to oversee the Atlanta School of Ballet and Atlanta Ballet II. She was artistic director of the school until 1997, and spent one additional year as principal of the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education's satellite school when John McFall assumed directorship of Atlanta Ballet. She also worked with The Pilates Studio at Atlanta Ballet, and was guest-teacher and coach with several Atlanta-based companies.
In 1999, Singapore Dance Theatre invited Andrea as guest ballet-mistress. During her time with the company she work alongside choreographers including, Stanton Welch, Jean Paul Comelin, and Janeck Schergen, and coached medal winners for the Japan Ballet Competition. She was also guest teacher for The Australian Ballet National Ballet of China. Upon returning to the United States Andrea joined the Dance Department of the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in 2000. In January 2010 she accepted an invitation by Maniya Barredo to join the faculty of Metropolitan Ballet Theatre where she directed the Trainee Program and was the school's Ballet Mistress.
Mrs. Pamela McCray danced professionally with San Francisco Ballet Company. She received her early training with the San Francisco Ballet School and San Francisco Conservatory of Ballet and was accepted as an apprentice to the San Francisco Theatre at age 15. She performed with American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company.
In addition to her duties as Owner/Director of Staunton Academy of Ballet, Mrs. McCray has served as an Adjunct instructor of Ballet at Mary Baldwin College and Stuart Hall. Mrs. McCray is the founder and artistic director of the Shenandoah Civic Dance Company, which has annually presented the “Nutcracker” to the area since 1983. In addition to the “Nutcracker”, Mrs. McCray has choreographed and staged many full-length ballets such as Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Coppelia, The Wizard of Oz, Peter and the Wolf, La Fille Mal Gardee, Happily Ever After, The Swan Princess and Cinderella. Mrs. McCray has been a panel member for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Dance Program and is a certified, registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD). Mrs. McCray has also served adjudicator for the American Academy of Ballet’s Performance Awards, under the direction of Mignon Furman. In this position, she travelled throughout the world serving as a judge for the “Performance Awards” for the American Academy.
Former dance students of “Miss. Pam” have gone on to study at Virginia School of the Arts, Richmond Ballet, Washington School of Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, American Ballet Theater Summer Program, Joffrey Ballet School, Point Park College, Radford University’s Dance Theatre, Butler University’s Ballet and the University of Utah. Several students have performed professionally with the Richmond Ballet, Washington Ballet, Charlottesville Ballet, Virginia Ballet Theatre and the Atlanta Ballet Companies. Mrs. McCray has been very pleased that many of her students have been given special awards of merit and honor for their achievements in dance, including nomination and acceptance to the Governor’s School of Virginia and West Virginia, scholarships to Royal Academy of Dancing Summer School at Vassar, American Academy of Ballet, Virginia School of the Arts, the Richmond Ballet, Ballet Magnificant and North Carolina School of the Arts.
Buford School of Ballet is committed to the highest standards of excellence and performance by offering Master classes and year round training. We are honored to host our Master teachers, Andrea Pell, Pamala McCray, and Nicolas Pacana throughout the year.
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Nicolas Pacaña is Artistic Director of Atlanta Festival Ballet Company and Atlanta Festival Ballet School. He teaches and choreographs for the company and the school and often performs principal roles with the company as well. Mr. Pacaña began dancing under Fe Sala Viliarica of Cebu City in the Philippines. After studying on scholarship with Patricia Stander in Los Angeles, he made his professional debut with the Honolulu City Ballet. In 1976, Mr. Pacaña joined The Boston Ballet as soloist and quickly rose to the rank of Principal Dancer. He became recognized among the finest classical danseurs.
Highlights of Mr. Pacaña's career with The Boston Ballet include Colas in La Fille Mal Gardee during a 12 week tour in China, the Middle East and Europe; his debut as Albrecht in Giselle for which he won critical acclaim; a tour of Europe with Rudolph Nureyev and The Boston Ballet that included such cities as Brussels, Milan, Rome, Sicily and London; and his performances of Espada and the Gypsy Boy in Don Quixote.
Mr. Pacaña joined the Atlanta Ballet in 1982 as a principal dancer and became well known for his interpretations of Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty; Taverna in Carmina Burana, and lead roles in Balanchine ballets such as Tarantella, Raymonda Variations and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. He established himself as the lead danseur for the Atlanta Ballet for 11 years, while charming and fascinating audiences with his technical and artistic talents. In 1987, he was called upon to replace an injured Mikhail Baryshnikov in the Don Quixote Pas de Deux with only four hours notice during Baryshnikov's Atlanta tour. Mr. Pacaña has performed and taught all over the world. In 1985, he returned to the Philippines to perform with the Philippine Ballet Theatre at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Pacaña has had the distinguished pleasure to work with the following directors and choreographers: Ben Stevenson (former director of The Houston Ballet), Sara Caldwell (former director of the Boston Opera), Yasuki Sasa from Japan, Violette Verdy (former director of Paris Opera and Boston Ballet), Choo San Go (former resident choreographer of the Washington Ballet), Glenn Tetley, Lynn Taylor Corbett, Michael Lavrosky (The Bolshoi Ballet), Pierre Locatte (Paris Opera Ballet), Tom Pazik, Bruce Wells, Dennis Nahat, Eric Cruz, Gener Carringal, Bronson (Denmark), Robert Barnet (Director Emeritus The Atlanta Ballet), Virginia Williams (founding director Boston Ballet).
In 1993, Mr. Pacaña traveled again to the Philippines to teach and choreograph in his home country. In 1994, he returned to the U.S. and was named as Co-Artistic Director of Atlanta Festival Ballet and Atlanta Festival Ballet School. Mr. Pacaña has been prolific in developing stunning new ballets for the company. His Paganini was chosen to close the GALA at the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association Conference in 1994 and received stunning reviews. His ballet’s such as Peter Pan, The Beauty & the Beast, The Little Mermaid, and Tchaikovsky have been commissioned around the world.
In 2001, Mr. Pacaña was invited by his former director and teacher Fe Sala Villarica to return to the Philippines to guest dance and choreograph. Since that time he has returned annually to stage productions of repertory programs as well as The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland and The Nutcracker for Balletcenter in Cebu, The Royeca Schools of Ballet, Davao City, Tagum City and General Santos City.
In 2006, Mr. Pacaña was named Co-Artistic Director with Gregory Aaron, of Balletcenter Cebu, located in Cebu City, Philippines. The same year, Mr. Pacaña and Mr. Aaron introduced the International Summer Series in Cebu, which attracted students from all over the Philippines. Mr. Pacaña continues to direct Atlanta Festival Ballet. He remains in great demand as a guest artist and teacher. His reputation as an outstanding choreographer continues to grow throughout the southeast and the world.
- 12 year summer intensive guest teacher with Buford School of Ballet
- Guest Choreographer for Georgia Christian Dance Theatre
- Guest dancer with Georgia Christian Dance Theatre and Buford School of Ballet in Star of Wonder as the Snow Cavalier
- Guest choreographer for Georgia Christian Dance Theatre