Ilena Norton, Artistic and Executive Director, founded Ballet Ariel in 1998 and has directed and created ballets for the Ballet Ariel Company including Ballerina by Degas, Appalachian Spring, and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Under her leadership, Ballet Ariel performs their season concerts at the Cleo Parker Robinson Theatre, the Lakewood Cultural Center, the PACE Center and Schoolhouse Theatre, and the Pinnacle Events Center and D.L. Parsons Theatre. Ballet Ariel has also performed at the SCFD summerfest series at the Arvada Center for the Arts, the Passport to Culture series at the Lone Tree Arts Center, the Ballet Guild Showcase of Dance, the Mile High Dance Festival, the Cherry Hills winter series and on tour at the Tabor Opera House in Leadville, and with ArtCore in Casper, Wyoming. She studied and performed with Ballet Arts Theatre under Larry Boyette and Paul Fiorino, and has a Bachelors Degree from Stanford University and post-graduate education from Yale University and the University of Colorado in health and psychology. She has completed the graduate certificate program for nonprofit management at the University of Colorado.

Patricia Renzetti, Ballet Mistress, Patricia began her career with Ballet West of Salt Lake City, before moving to New York and then Europe. Patricia was the prima ballerina for the Colorado Ballet for twelve years, as well as a senior soloist in the London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet), principal with Scapino Ballet of Holland, the Iranian National Ballet, and the Tampa Ballet. She appeared as a guest ballerina with the Estonia National Ballet, the Israel Ballet and Teatro Communale in Florence, Italy. As the Academy Director for the Colorado Ballet, she began the second company, Colorado Ballet II. Patricia earned an MFA in Dance-Choreography at the University of Iowa, and an MA in Counseling Psychology at the University of Colorado in Denver. She also was Associate Director for Ballet Ariel in Denver for seven years, 2005-2011.

Oleg Dedogryuk, Rehearsal Director and Guest Artist, is a graduate of the Leningrad Vaganova Ballet Academy and has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Education. He was a principal dancer with the Leningrad Modern Ballet Theatre under Boris Eifman, the Boshoi Theatre Grigorovich Ballet, the Moscow Renaissance Ballet, The National Ballet Theatre in Yugoslavia, the City Ballet in San Diego, and he was a soloist with the Colorado Ballet. He has won prizes for best partner at the 7th International Competition in Moscow, and is Laureate from the International Nureyev’s Festival and the International Festival of Dance in Spoleto, Italy.

Gregory Gonzales, Resident Choreographer was a principal dancer for the Colorado Ballet from 1996-2004. He also danced with Ballet Pacifica, Ballet Arizona, Nevada Dance Theatre, and David Taylor Dance Theater. Major roles include the Preacher in Appalachian Springs, Dark Angel in Serenade, Pat Garrett in Billy the Kid, Head Wrangler in Rodeo, Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet, and Franz in Coppelia. Gregory graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance/Kinesiology from the University of Northern Colorado. He studied with Larry Boyette, James Clouser, Nadia Tikhanova, Cherie Noble and others. Gregory was a choreographer in residence at Colorado Ballet from 2002-2004. Gregory has choreographed Messengers, figs. of my im. for Ballet Ariel among others.

Peter Strand, Designer/Photographer has spent most of his life as a dancer in various companies around the United States including Ballet Ariel. He began his interest in photography while dancing on a cruise line overseas and over time it became the basis of his new career in Photography and Design. After receiving his associates in Multimedia Graphic Design he created his own business, PS Design Photography, and has done design and photography work for David Taylor Dance Theatre, David Taylor’s Zikr Dance Ensemble, DawsonWallace Dance Project, Ballet Ariel, New Mexico Dance Theatre, Colorado Youth Dance Ensemble, and Ormao Dance Company. He has also done significant work for Pikes Peak Community College, Crystal Peak Design, and Publishing Support.