Gretchen Bernard-Newburger started on her life’s quest to dance at the age of four. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, she began her training with Rebecca Lentz, and at age twelve with the Giacobbe Academy of Dance. By the age of fourteen, she was a solo dancer of the Delta Festival Ballet of New Orleans. Thereafter, followed master studies and scholarships at the American Ballet Theatre School, Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, David Howard Dance Center in New York, San Francisco Ballet School, Houston Ballet Academy, and the Centre de Danse André Glegolsky in Paris. In 1979, she was awarded the bronze medal in the Junior Division at the USA’s First International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. From there, her career was graced with the extraordinary privilege of receiving invitations to join world-class companies as a soloist. She decided to join the National Ballet of Canada (1980-1985), followed by the London Festival Ballet (English National Ballet) (1985-1987), and the Zürcher Ballett (1987-1993).
During her performance career, Gretchen had the honor and privilege to have been coached and nurtured by the dance world’s finest artists such as Nikolas Beriozoff, Erik Bruhn, Richard Cragun, Alexander Grant, Marcia Haydée, Natalia Makarova, Rudolf Nureyev, Peter Schaufuss, Peter Wright, and, her last ballet director, Uwe Scholz. With her virtuosity, charm, and engagingly glamorous stage presence her career has embraced a rich and diverse repertoire. Gretchen performed soloist and principle roles in the major classics and full-length ballets and has been a favorite of many contemporary choreographers. She enjoyed guest engagements as principle ballerina in the USA, Canada, Italy, Slovakia, and Switzerland.
In October 1997 Gretchen Bernard-Newburger founded Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst (ART). ART now has over 500 students of dance and a staff of ten professional dance teachers. Website: www.art-kunst.ch
History of ART
In 1991 Gretchen Bernard-Newburger married and a year later gave birth to her son. These two events and her love of the art of dance led her to the decision to found her own school. In October 1997, under the name “Atelier Rainbow”, the school located in Switzerland took flight under the wings of USA born Ballerina Gretchen Bernard–Newburger. For the first five years, she alone taught all levels and up to 120 students a week. As the school expanded, additional professional staff was engaged.
Even as a young professional, artistic directors noticed Gretchen’s attention to detail and love of dance, encouraging her to take apprentice dancers under her creative wing for the purpose of learning new repertoire. These experiences led to a newfound love of teaching and choreography. Learning from some of the world’s finest dancers, dance teachers, and choreographers has provided her with a vast array of pedagogical technique plus a broad perspective for the art of dance. Gretchen exudes a contagiously optimistic approach in her teaching and choreography, bringing all of her professional experience, self-discipline, and knowledge to the students of her school. “Madame Gretchen” has the gift of inspiring and aiding young dancers, understanding fully through her lifelong experience in dance, how to nurture young talent. Madame Gretchen’s direction and pedagogical style are infused with three important qualities: artistic vision, knowledge of technical traditions, and most of all, a passion to share the art of dance.
Belinda Lo Giusto-Oetiker
Belinda Oetiker found her passion to dance at the Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst (ART) by attending ballet classes to enhance her Rhythmic Sport Gymnastics. This passion to dance soon took over her life and Belinda added extra classes at the Ballet School of the Opernhaus Zurich. To attain a professional contemporary dance theater education she then attended the Zürich Tanz Theater Schule (ZTTS) as well as the Choreo Dance Project (CDP). Her studies include: Classical Ballet, Modern/Contemporary Dance, Jazz, Hip Hop, Flamenco and voice.
She attended intensive studies in Italy, France, and in the USA, in New York City.
Belinda Oetiker has had the honor to work with such notable choreographers as: Samuel Meystre, Paula Lansley, Armin Wild, Mark Wuest, Frank Rutishauser, Ismael Ivo, Galina Gladkova, Giovi Minasi, Robin Lee Smith, Kjersti Müller-Sandstö, as well as various choreographies from her first three dance teachers and mentors: Gretchen Bernard-Newburger, Lesli Wiesner, and C. Enrico Musmeci.
Belinda teaches Classical Ballet, Modern/Contemporary Dance, Jazz, and Hip Hop and has been a member of the faculty of the ART since the spring of 2007.
Robin Lee Smith
Robin Lee Smith was born on the south coast of England in 1978, and developed his love for dance through early inspirations in gymnastics and martial arts. After completing his education at The Laban Centre London for Choreography and Dance, Robin was invited to join members of Transitions Dance Company London where he toured and gave class in many theatres and institutions throughout England. After further developing his skills in anatomy and working as a fitness coach and dance teacher, he left London to persue interests in Switzerland and Europe bringing with him an athletic and diverse modern style. Presently dancing for "Think Musicals Winterthur", Robin is also a freelance Choreographer and Performer.
Lesli Wiesner received her training in the United States. As a Principal Dancer with the Los Angeles Ballet, under the direction of John Clifford, she had the opportunity to learn and work in the Balanchine style, dancing many of the Balanchine ballets. Upon coming to Europe, she joined Les Ballets de Monte Carlo as a Soloist and the Zürich Ballet under the direction of Uwe Scholz. Later, branching out into Musical Theater, Lesli was in the original cast of the Hamburg production of "The Phantom of the Opera", as Dance Captain and "Cassandra" in both the Zürich and Eurotour productions of CATS, and again as Dance Captain in the Basel production of "The Phantom of the Opera." Lesli was Assistant Choreographer to Baayork Lee (Director/Choreographer) for the Arena Theater's German Tour production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and Assistant to Chet Walker (Director/Choreographer) for a Guest Workshop Project with Artists from Cirque du Soleil-Saltimbanco European Tour. In the Spring of 2005, she choreographed and directed the musical "Jump" – an original production conceived and written by Helmut Hälker, Director of the Swiss Textile College in Zürich. Lesli continues with travels to such places as Poland, Portugal, Sicily, Denmark, Japan, and Germany teaching ballet and musical dance in various workshops and was invited to the Royal Swedish Ballet and Ballett Augsburg as Guest Teacher. Currently, Lesli teaches in the Zürich area at the Zürich Tanz Theater Schule and at the Arena 225.
Marcia Do Coutto Scherrer
Marcia Do Coutto Scherrer was born in Brazil and began studying ballet with 4 years of age. With 8 years of age she was accepted into the ballet school of the Opera of Rio and by the age of 16 received her professional ballet dancer's diploma. By 18 years of age she was asked to join the Opera of Niteroi (Rio de Janeiro). Her classical repertoire includes roles in Swan Lake, Coppélia, La fille mal gardée. Marcia's biggest successes were made during this time appearing in musical theater and film productions. In Switzerland, Marcia is directress and soloist dancer of her own show dance group of 26 dancers who dance Brazilian folklore, Jazz and Hip Hop in Switzerland and abroad.
Leonie Hildebrand-Karl began studying ballet in the age of 4. She started with the Royal Academy of Dance School. At the age of 11 she moved to the Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst (ART) where she completed her education in Classical Ballet, Modern/Contemporary Dance, Hip Hop and absolved her Teachertraining. Leonie Hildebrand-Karl has had the honor of being educated by such notable dance teachers as: Gretchen Bernard-Newburger, Jemelle Reichert, Lesli Wiesner, Christine Jaroszewski, C. Enrico Musmeci, Robin Lee Smith, Julie Selwood, Giovi Minasi, Philippe Dick, and Feri Kostolnik (Tanzacademy Innsbruck/Österreich).
After 4 years of living abroad in Austria, Leonie Hildebrand-Karl has joined a member of the faculty of the ART since summer of 2011. She teaches Classical Ballet for infants, Jazz-Hip Hop and Hip Hop.
Angelika Ächter is a very versatile pedagogue. Beside her pedagogical studies in music, experimental dance formation and a master in dance culture she concluded her studies with a coach formation in GYROTONIC®.
Her instruction in Yoga Stretch is influenced by her many years of experience as personnel coach in GYROTONIC® and as GYROKINESIS® practitioner. The interaction of respiration and movement, body awareness, strength, mobility and co-ordination are located in the center of her instruction. Angelika teaches since 2012 in the ART and also gives private lessons in GYROTONIC®, for which a specific training device is available.
Since January 2014 she teaches dance history for dancers of the Youth and Sport High School. She is professional advisor of the Swiss Dance Archives and is a lecturer in dance history at the higher technical school for contemporary and urban stage dance in Zurich. Angelika Ächter has an extremely proficient knowledge of international as well as Swiss dance history.
After finishing his studies in Visual Art, Costume and Fashion Design, Nunzio Impellizzeri went on to further his skills in his passion for ballet and contemporary dance. In 2000 he began his dance career with Compagnia Zappalà Danza, directed by Roberto Zappalà in Sicily. He danced for choreographers like Enrico C. Musmeci, MDA production with Aurelio Gatti, Linda Magnifico, and appeared as a guest dancer on several dance festivals. In 2004 he started his international collaborations: in Spain with the Compañía Metros Dansa by Ramon Oller, in Austria and Switzerland as a soloist dancer for the Walk Tanztheater Projekt Peter Bichsel with Jacqueline Beck and Hanspeter Horner and in Germany for the Ballett-Theater Augsburg and Kempten directed by Jochen Heckmann.
Alongside his career as a professional dancer his passion for the art of choreography continued to grow. Nunzio Impellizzeri worked as a choreographer with the Theater Company Gruppo Iarba, the Genius Loci and Studio Ferrera in Italy. In Switzerland he created for Cinevox Dance Company and the Zürich Tanz-Theater-Schule. In 2009 he collaborated as a Co-choreographer with Gisela Rocha Dance Company and choreographed for the dance platform 12 Min. Max. at Tanzhaus, Zurich. In 2010 he created the dance production “Just begin… aber pünktlich!” for the Faa-zone Dance Company. In the same year he was selected as a choreographer in SiWiC 2010- (14 Swiss international Coaching Project Choreographers) directed by Reinhild Hoffmann. In 2011 he worked together with Giorgio Madia for Staatstheater Cottbus in Germany.
Nunzio was twice awarded as a choreographer to the international choreographic competition “Ballet-ex” in Rome; in 2012 with the piece “wait till six”, and in 2013 with the dance Solo “attending…for devotion”. IN 2013 he was selected as a choreographer for the project ChoreoLab ‘13 Zurich & Warsaw directed by Tanzhaus Zurich and Centrum W RUCHU Warsaw.
Presently Nunzio Impellizzeri lives in Zurich, and works on several projects as free-lance choreographer and teacher. He was a guest teacher of Iwanson International School of Contemporary Dance, Centrum W Ruchu, Ballettschule Theater Basel, Staatstheater Cottbus, Stadtheater St. Gallen, etc. (more info: www.nunziodance.com)
Giovi, born in Switzerland, originally Italian, first started attending Hip Hop classes in 1994. His strong passion and enthusiasm for dance and Hip Hop Culture soon brought the best out of him. Giovi taught his very 1st Hip Hop class one year after he began dancing. And again, one year later, he began teaching at two of the biggest dance schools in Zurich, Switzerland.
After his first stage show, which was in Austria, only three months after starting Hip Hop, the "performer" in Giovi awakened. He started performing everywhere, mainly within Hip Hop styles, but also in Jazz, Contemporary and later on in Lindy Hop pieces. His television experience includes Videoclips, TV Shows, Hip Hop documentaries and TV Commercials. Giovi danced in innumerable numbers of performances on stage as a background dancer, dancer model for NIKE und REEBOK, but also in all kinds of smaller shows like events or private parties. With the "Swoosh" Hip Hop dance group, founded in 1997, he performed, competed and won awards all over Switzerland including being eight times Swiss Hip Hop Champions.
Giovi's passion for teaching literally enveloped him. Since 1999, he has dedicated his entire energy to Hip Hop, specializing in the teaching of this style. While teaching classes, workshops und master classes all over Switzerland, he received invitations to teach in Italy, Poland, Liechtenstein and France.
Giovi's first twelve years working in the art of dance awakened the urge for more! In 2007 he left Switzerland to spend two years in London to enhance his own style, add more styles and spread the word of Hip Hop in his own way. Since his return to Switzerland in 2009, Giovi has been teaching Hip Hop and Locking classes for children from age 9 up to adults and for all levels of dance experience.
Basically, as Giovi says, he wishes to contribute in his own way to make the world a better place by sharing and spreading Love, Respect, Peace, Unity and enjoying oneself and others, all through the magic world of dance.
Maria "Jemelle" Suyat