Emilio Calcagno

Dance Director Opera du Grand Avignon Theater- France


Emilio Calcagno is trained at the International Center Rosella Hightower in Cannes, at the Center International de Formation Supérieure in Nice, and at the Center National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers, under the direction of Joëlle Bouvier and Régis Obadia. He has a long career as a dancer: from 1995 to 2004 with the Ballet Preljocaj on the most important stages such as Joyce Theater in New York, Bolshoi in Moscow, the Sydney Opera, the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, etc. From 2004 to 2006 he has been in charge of the pedagogical activities of the Ballet Preljocaj – CCN d’Aix-en-Provence, collaborating with prestigious national and international institutions. Choreographer and creator of numerous international choreographies as well as for his Cie ECO. He is also a holder of the DE – state diploma for dance teaching. Emilio Calcagno is regularly invited internationally both as a teacher and as a choreographer and often participates in international juries of dance competitions such as Scenario Pubblico – Catania, CNSM – Lyon, Center National de la Danse – Pantin, Center Chorégraphique de Tunis, Teatro di Pisa, etc). Since 2001 he has assumed the role of Director of Dance at Opera Grand Avignon in France.

Ricardo Fernando

Artistic Director Augsburg Ballet and Choreographer – Germany



Ricardo Fernando is winner of the “Recognition Award” of the German Dance Prize 2015. Born in Brazil, he got a contract at the Ballet in the Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro then moved to Europe in 1987 and danced in Austria, Holland, Japan, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. As a Guest Choreographer he worked in Japan, Austria, Holland, Switzerland, Brazil, Italy, Germany, and Turkey. In 1993 he started his Career as Ballet Director and Chief Choreographer: Theater Bremerhaven, Germany, Ballet Company of the Theater Chemnitz, Theater Pforzheim, Regensburg, Theater Hagen. Since 2017, Ricardo Fernando is the Ballet Director and Chief Choreographer of the Augsburg State Ballet. In the past 37 Years Ricardo Fernando  has created over more than 100 different choreographies from Classical Ballet to Contemporary Dance pieces, among them are Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, the Nutcracker, Bolero, Carmina Burana, Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Petrushka, Le Sacre du Printemps, Les Noces, The Fire Bird, Nacht, Six Breaths and many more. He has choreographed must of the important musicals like Grease, Hair, West Side Story, Cabaret, Jesus Christ Super Star, Evita, The Rocky Horror Show, Kiss me Kate, Chicago, etc. He is often invited as Guest Jury for Ballet and Contemporary Dance Competitions in Japan, Italy, and Germany. He also gives ballet masterclasses in many countries.

Aja Jung

Artistic Director Belgrade Dance Festival – Serbia


Aja Jung graduated from the class of ballet pedagogue Marija Janković at the State Ballet School of Belgrade in Serbia. In 1989 she has received a full scholarship for Joffrey Ballet School in New York. Between 1989 and 1992 she was simultaneously included in the programs of the Joffrey Ballet School, Neubert Ballet Institute in Carnegie Hall, and Broadway Dance Center in New York (USA). The return to Europe brings her a role in the Starlight Express musical in Bochum, Germany. Upon her return in Belgrade, she begins her career as a freelance dancer and choreographer, producing four full-evening works: Ophelia in the Mirror, Moi, La Meduse, Zelle, The Josephine Baker’s Story. With this productions, she presented herself on important festivals and stages around the world: from New York to Toronto, from Paris to Moscow, from Mexico City to Edinburgh. As a dancer and choreographer, she received several important awards all over the world.  She is the founder and director of the Belgrade Dance Festival since 2003, defined by the German magazine BalletTanz as “the most representative manifestation of the old continent”. Aja Jung is the director of the National Dance Foundation, established in 2009 by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Serbia. The Foundation has launched the first private Ballet School, collaborating with well-known ballet schools and institutions from Italy, Russia, China, and Cuba, and bringing the best teachers from abroad. The Foundation has produced several works signed by contemporary choreographers like Dana Ruttenberg, Miloš IsailovićStaša Zurovac, Paolo Mangiola, Itsik Galili, etc. The Foundation continuously organizes workshops, seminars, and master courses of foreign educators. She was awarded the Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature in 2016 by the French Minister of Culture, and was awarded the highest Italian national decoration in the field of culture, the Order of the Italian Star.

Valentina Marini

Director Spellbound Contemporary Ballet Rome – Italy



A dance expert, Valentina Marini works mainly as a curator and programmer. She is the Director of Spellbound Contemporary Ballet, a leading institution in Italy. She is the coordinator on behalf of MIUR (Ministry for University and Research) in partnership with the Flavio Vespasiano Foundation of Rieti of the project “Dance and/is culture – a bridge between Italy and Israel”, in collaboration with Batsheva Dance Company of Tel Aviv in 2011. Often invited as a jury member in international choreographic competitions like the Copenhagen Choreographic Competition, Perspective Danza Award, Choreographic Competition 10 Sentidos, Vivo D’Arte/Romaeuropa-MAECI. Valentina is also the agent of Emanuel Gat Dance since 2016. From 2011 to 2014, she was an artistic consultant for dance and responsible for foreign relations for Milano Danza Expo; for Daf Dance Arts Faculty since 2011; an artistic consultant for the dance sector at the Carcano Theater in Milan for the 2015/16 season. In 2017 she was the curator of the project In Movimento at the Eliseo Theater in Rome. Since 2018 she has been covering the of Artistic and General Director of the International Out-of-Program Festival in Rome. From 2020 she takes on the co-direction of the Teatro Biblioteca Quarticciolo in Rome together with G. Andriani and A. Pirillo. She has been responsible for the dance programming since 2017 at the same theater. She is also invited as a guest lecturer to hold cultural management classes (La Sapienza University in Rome, Accademia Teatro alla Scala in Milan). Active for long time in the field of cultural policies, from 2011 to 2012 she has been the coordinator of the dance table at the Agis Lazio Regional Union, and since 2010 she has been vice-president of AIDAP in the context of Federvivo AGIS – a trade association of which Valentina has assumed the presidency in 2019.

Mira Helenius Martinsson

Artistic Director Skanes Dansteater – Sweden




Mira Helenius Martinsson is CEO and Artistic Director of Skånes Dansteater in Sweden. She has a background as a dancer, pedagogue, producer and was the Artistic Director of Norrdans between 2007 and 2018. She is originally from Tampere in Finland but moved to Sweden in 1998 to be a dancer in the dance company Norrdans in Härnösand. Mira is well-connected in Swedish, Scandinavian and international networks of dancers, choreographers, organisations and creatives. She is a board member of Kulturbryggan (part of the Swedish Arts Grants Committee), Dansalliansen and Dansens Hus. She has also been a board member of The Royal Swedish Opera (2011–2018), special advisor for Kulturbryggan (2015–2017), developer, project coordinator and expert in the creation of the regional arts plan for Västernorrland. Mira has also a degree in engineering from the Tampere University of Technology.

Claire Bayliss Nagar

Artistic Director Israel Ballet – Israel


Claire Bayliss Nagar attended The Royal Ballet School, London – Lower and Upper schools, from 1974 and graduated in 1981. Professional experience with The National Ballet of Portugal, Lisbon, The Michael Clark Company in London, and also London’s Ballet Imperial, Balletto di Roma, Balletto del Sole, Compagnia Teatro Koros, and Arena di Verona as assistant to the choreographer Massimo Moricone. She spent 7 years in Ballets De Monte Carlo as a demi-soloist working with many choreographers like J.C. Maillot, Nacho Duato, R. Zanella, J. Neumier, U. Shultz, J. Allayne, K. Armitage,  W. Forsythe, and performed many Balanchine e Fokine ballets. Joined the Israel Ballet Company in 1997 as Principal dancer and performed the lead role in several creations and many Balanchine ballets. During this period she taught ballet classes to the Batsheva Dance Companies, at the Tel Aviv Dance Center, and various schools around the country. She joined the Batsheva Dance Company under the Artistic Direction of Ohad Naharin as Rehearsal Director, in 2007 became Co-Director of the Ensemble Batsheva and in 2012 became Director of the Batsheva Ensemble. Claire then returned to the Israel Ballet as a Company Manager, Ballet Mistress, and teacher in the Israel Ballet School and as a Promoted Artistic Director of The Israel Ballet Company and school. Claire is currently one of the most popular classical ballet teachers in Israel, teaching master classes and summer courses for the top schools in the country, judging in many dance competitions, and also teaching to dance companies that visit Tel Aviv on tour.