Guest Choreographers

Maurice Causey - Patron

Maurice Causey is an American born European based artist. He began studying Ballet at the age of 15 in his hometown of Florence, Alabama. His training includes School of American Ballet, the American Ballet Theatre School, and the Joffrey Ballet in New York City.

Maurice was eight years a Principal Dancer with William Forsythe's Frankfurt Ballet. He also danced with the Cleveland Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and as Principal Dancer with the Gottenburg Ballet in Sweden.

Maurice has also been Ballet Master for both the Royal Sweden Ballet (2002-2003) and The Netherlands Dance Theatre I (2004-2010). He has choreographed original works for Major Companies such as; Netherlands Dance Theatre I, Northwestern Professional Dance Proect, Hubbard Street 2, Milwaukee Ballet, Company C, Stockholm 59 North, Augsburg Ballet, O Dance and Dance Company iMEE. Maurice has been a guest teacher for companies such as Cullberg Ballet, NDT I & II, Royal Swedish Ballet, Norweigan Institute of the Arts, HJS in Amsterdam and Wayne McGregors Random Dance-London.

Iratxe Ansa

Iratxe began her training in 1988 at the Conservatorio Superior de Musica de San Sebastian. In 1991 she joined Stuttgart Ballet under John Cranko Schule. Throughout her career Iratxe has worked with Basel Ballet, Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, the Compania Nacional de Danza, Lyon Opera Ballet, Wayne McGregor and Netherlands Dance Theatre.

Austinmer Dance Theatre is thrilled to have Iratxe working with them!


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As a choreographer Sagi Gross received a large international exposure and his choreographies have been presented in South Korea, USA, Australia, England, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria and Israel.  In 2015 - 2016 Gross's DanceFilm 'Silent Force' was presented at the prestigious Louvre Museum in Paris in combination with a live performance,  and during Cinedans Festival in EYE Film institute in Amsterdam. The creation Blind Sight which he created together with director Jeroen Fransen, was supported by The Dutch National Ballet. As well, Patricia Barker, artistic director of Grand Rapids Ballet in Michigan commissioned and presented two of his creations. In 2014, his piece 'One Charming Night' was commissioned with great success by Pori Dance Company in Finland.

In 2012, he has been selected to choreograph for English National Ballet dancers at the 'LAB' project in collaboration with DanceEast Jerwood in The UK. At the same year GrossDanceCompany was co-produced by Carolyn Carlson CCN Roubaix France.  In 2008 Gross was chosen to take part in ‘Siwic project’ in Dance House Zurich. He participated in The Hannover International Choreography Competition and at The British Sadler’s Wells theater's international competition 2010. 

Gross collaborated with international companies and academies (to name a few): Sydney Dance Company-PPY, Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Oldenburgisches Staatstheater, Staatstheater Braunschweig, Grand Rapids Ballet Michigan, Architanz in Tokyo, Royal Ballet School of Antwerpen, The National Conservatory of Lisbon Portugal, Dansateliers in Rotterdam, The Royal Ballet Conservatory in The Hague, Marameo-Tanzprobebühne in Berlin, Harmonic studio in Paris, Rietveld Art Academy in Amsterdam, Danza - L'AED in Livorno Italy, Busan Dance Academy in South Korea, Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt, Korzo Theater, Arte&Balleto Italy and many others.

He was educated at The Dutch National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam, Bat-Dor Dance Academy and Tellma Yellin High School for the Arts in Tel-Aviv. During his studies he won five scholarships for both choreography and dancing from the American-Israel Sharet Foundation. As a dancer he has worked with: Bat-Dor Dance Company, The Israeli Opera House, Dede Dance Company, The Netherlands Opera House in Amsterdam, De Dutch Don't Dance Division The Hague and Resextansa Company in Bari, Italy.


Image by Peter Mellekas

Spencer Gavin Hering born in Munich, Germany, is the son of two professional ballet dancers. With a life immersed in the arts, Spencer eventually, at the age of 16, began training with his mother Cecilia Hering in Redlands, California. After two years at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, he joined Ballet Pacifica in Irvine, California and has since danced as a principal artist with Maximum Dance Company/Ballet Gamonet, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Miami Contemporary Dance Company, State Street Ballet as a Principal, Hope Stone Dance Company as a company member and Island Moving Co. as a principal artist.

Mr. Hering currently dances as an principal artist and is a Co-Founding Director of iMEE Dance Company. His repertory includes principal roles by acclaimed choreographers that are both current and iconic: David Allan, George Balanchine, Maurice Causey, Anne Marie DeAngelo, Jimmy Gamonet, Choo-San Goh, Paola Georgudis, Jamie Hampton, Emily Johnson, Molly Lynch, Stephanie Martinez, Rick McCullough, Lindsey McGill, Michele Merola, Stephen Mills, Miki Ohlsen, Jerry Opdenaker, David Palmer, Yanis Pikieris, Peter Pucci, Andrea Dawn Shelley, William Soleau, Ray Sullivan, Robert Sund, Paul Vasterling, Raymond Van Mason, Dominic Walsh and Jane Weiner.

As a choreographer Mr. Hering has created original works for professional dance companies and festivals such as: State Street Ballet, E.magine Dance Ensemble, O Dance, Houston Met Dance, FestOval of Dance, Triple Focus, palcoscenico danza, Island Moving Co., the black box INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL THEATRE & DANCE, Festival Ballet Providence and iMEE in Santa Barbara, CA, Irvine, CA, Houston, TX, New York, NY, Newport, RI, Turin, Italy and Plovdiv, Bulgaria. He has participated in Residencies and created original works for the dance programs at Sam Houston State University and Salve Regina University (SRU.) His work Schone was presented by SRU at the American College Dance Association in Providence, RI and received much praise from a distinguished panel of adjudicators.

Mr. Hering has received many accolades for his dancing and choreography; including winning the "Outstanding Choreographer Award" for his work, Dichotomy at the Youth America Grand Prix Ballet Competition in Los Angeles, CA, awarded as a “Finalist” in the 17th Annual Choreography Festival in Palm Desert, CA for his works Elliptical Capture & Fibonacci and winning “Second Place”in the 17th Annual Choreography Festival for his work, Fibonacci. Mr. Hering was a Co-Founding member of the five week, summer dance festival, the Houston Dance Festival: HERE & NOW alongside iMEE Co-Director, Andrea Dawn Shelley, Light Designer, Jeremy Choate, Hope Stone Dance and NobleMotion Dance companies.

Mr. Hering's most recent honor came in the form of his appointment to serve as Island Moving Company's (IMC) Associate Artistic Director, Resident Choreographer and Ballet Master for their 2013-2014, 2014-2015 seasons in Newport, Rhode Island. During his time with IMC, Hering created eight original works including Brom Bones a evening length, site specific work based on Washington Irving’s classic tale “The legend of a sleepy Hollow” featuring an original score created in collaboration with Lewis Patzner & Sascha Jacobsen.

Spencer draws inspiration from limitless possibilities, as well as, boundaries. To bring curiosity, to cause wonderment and to provoke different thought – is his arts’ purpose. To share his love, his voice and his interpretation of the world, is ultimately what he wishes to reveal. Through his life experiences as a dancer, Spencer has found infinite inspiration from time shared with other dancers, choreographers and directors.

"We dance to actively engage, and inspire the audience's mental perspective, to grow and evolve. The art of dance is primal, universal and can be voiced through an unlimited amount of movement... Infinite Movement Ever Evolving," -S.G.Hering

Ashley Wright

Started dance classes at age 4 at Wendy Gibbs School of Ballet in Sydney. She began a professional career in 2006, joining Royal Ballet of Flanders at the age of 18 following graduation from the Australian Ballet School. In 2010 Ashley was promoted to demi-soloist with the company. She has danced works by choreographers such as William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Trisha Brown and Mats Ek and has been involved in numerous creations by choreographers including David Dawson, Jacopo Godaniand Lucy Guerin.

In 2009 she created her first piece Better Left Unsaid for the choreographic workshop of the Royal Ballet of Flanders. The piece won 2nd prize and the Audience Choice Award at the Copenhagen International Choreographic Competition later that year.

Ashley's second work Ominous Parallels (2010) featured in the Lebbeke International Dance Festival, Belgium. In 2011 she collaborated with freelance dancer Jim de Block to create Knee Deep Sleep, which was reworked in 2012 to become a finalist at the International Choreographic Competition in Hannover.

Thomas Bradley

Thomas originally comes from Cootamundra, where he received his early dance training in Jazz and Ballet. In 2008 Thomas moved to Melbourne to study at the VCA Secondary School. During this time he performed in CATS with Altona City Theatre and Project Four with Melbourne Ballet Company.

From 2009-2011 Thomas attended the New Zealand School of Dance attaining a Diploma of Dance Performance. In 2010 Thomas took his solo Manipulated Living to Tempo, New Zealand Festival of Dance where he was nominated for ‘Best Choreography by an Emerging Artist’, ‘Most Inspiring Performance’ and won ‘Best Performance by an Emerging Male Artist’. Thomas also featured as a soloist in the 2010 NZSD Graduation Season performing an excerpt of Michael Parmenter’s Rhapsody solo. Thomas returned to Tempo in 2011 with a new solo Seam, and an excerpt of his piece Shepherd, from the NZSD Choreographic Season.

In his final year at the NZSD, Thomas spent a short period with Australian Dance Theatre performing excerpts of Be Your Self.

Thomas joined Sydney Dance Company in 2012 as the recipient of the Sydney Dance Company Foxtel Scholarship. During his time with SDC, Thomas performed in Rafael Bonachela’s 2 One Another (2012-2014), The Land of Yes and the Land of No (2012), Project Rameau (2012), Emergence (2013), Les Illuminations (2013), 2 in D minor (2014) and Scattered Rhymes (2014).

Thomas was also a part of the collaboration with Kaldor Public Art Projects for the contemporary art exhibition 13 Rooms where Sydney Dance Company featured in Allora and Calzadilla’s Revolving Door (2013).

He has also performed in Larissa McGowan’s Fanatic (2012-2013) and Lisa Wilson’s Desire (2012) as part of Contemporary Women in the Spring Dance Festival 2012; Alexander Ekman’s Cacti (2013); Gabrielle Nankivell’s Wildebeest (2014) and Cass Mortimer Eipper’s Dogs and Baristas (2014) as part of SDC’s New Breed (2014); Jacopo Godani’s Raw Models (2014) and Adonis Foniadakis’s Parenthesis (2014).

Thomas is an independent performer and choreographer currently based in Sydney.


Birmingham Royal Ballet: 1996-2005
In 1996, I joined Birmingham Royal Ballet as a First Artist. I danced many leading roles with the company and worked with leading choreographers and coaches from England, Europe and America. I toured with the company both nationally and internationally during this time. I especially enjoyed working with leading choreographer and director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, David Bintley CBE. Some highlights of my career are dancing one of my first principal roles in David's full length ballet 'Far from the Madding Crowd' with former Principal dancer and soon to be Director of The Royal Ballet Kevin O'Hare and dancing with Chi Cao (principal dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet and lead star in the movie 'Mao's Last Dancer') also in one of David's one act ballets 'The Protecting Veil'. In 2002, after retiring as a dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet due to the birth of my first child, I was offered a position within the Communications Department of the company and was groomed as Press and PR Officer.

The Australian Ballet: 1992-1995
I joined The Australian Ballet in 1992 upon completion of my training at The Australian Ballet School. During my time in the company I was fortunate to work with Maina Gielgud AO who was Director of The Australian Ballet at that time. Maina staged her highly acclaimed 'Giselle' and 'The Sleeping Beauty' for the company which I thoroughly enjoyed performing both in Australia and overseas. I worked with many leading choreographers and guest teachers during this time, including Gelsey Kirkland and Jiri Kylian when he came to Australia to stage one of his famous ballets 'Forgotten Land'.

Since my return to Australia with my two sons and retiring from my ballet career in 2005, I have been freelance teaching in many schools around Sydney some of these schools include Ev & Bow, The Ballet Class, The Conlan College and Newtown Performing Arts Highschool. In 2005 I was asked and was honoured to adjudicate the McDonalds Ballet Scholarship at City of Sydney Eisteddfod and realised adjudicating had become another passion of mine.


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Lisa Maris McDonell is a dance Artist with a multi faceted practice which includes performance, choreography, dance education and dance therapy. Since graduating from the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 1996 Lisa has worked consistently as an independent dancer and choreographer, working with many of Australia’s leading Contemporary Dance Artists.

As a Choreographer, Lisa, has created numerous dance works for small groups as commissions and independent projects. She has also created a number of solo works for herself and other dancers, performed in theatres and festivals throughout Australia as well as in Europe and Asia.

As a Dance Educator Lisa has worked for the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts in the Dance and Musical Theatre Departments, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Sydney Dance Company Public Classes, NAISDA Dance College (Course Coordinator), Accessible Arts, Australian College of Physical Education and the full time dance course housed at Ireland’s Firkin Crane Choreographic Centre.

This year, Lisa completed both Responsive and Research Room residency through Sydney’s Critical Path. She was a recipient of a New Work Residency through Annandale Creative Arts Centre where she created the work Absolute Vertigo for four dancers. Also during 2014 Lisa’s work Five Kinds of Paradise was a NSW runner up in the Australian Institute of Classical Dance’s, Dance Creation competition. She is also currently developing a new work funded by Merrigong Theatre which consists of four solos for established artists, Ana Otero, Chylie Cooper, Vicki Van Hout and Robina Beard.