Karen Russo Burke
As a professional dancer for over 10 years with American Repertory Ballet, Karen has danced leading roles in ballets by dance icons Antony Tudor, Josй Limуn, Gerald Arpino, John Butler, and George Balanchine and current choreographers such as Septime Webre. Her artistic range identified her in classic roles such as Juliet and Swanhilda in the standard full-lengths. Karen also taught in the Princeton Ballet School for many years and was Rehearsal Assistant for their second company. Additionally, she taught at Rutgers University and Raritan Valley School.
Since moving to Dayton in 1994, Karen has taught many levels of dance at Dayton Ballet School. In 1997, she became coordinator of Dayton Ballet’s Outreach Program, DANCE POWER, directing and teaching inner-city children the art of dance. For twelve years, Karen directed the Dayton Ballet II Senior Company, where she choreographed many works for the pre-professional company that have been performed in and around the Dayton region.
As Ballet Mistress for the main company, Karen staged many ballets and choreographed over a dozen repertory pieces for Dayton Ballet, including Into the Blue, a well-received tribute in honor of the 100th anniversary of flight, and the magnificent Canyons. Her story ballets include the critically acclaimed A Streetcar Named Desire (to an original score) and a ballet version of Madame Butterfly titled The Butterfly Suite. In 2003, Karen co-choreographed for Dayton Ballet her first Nutcracker, with a cast of over 75 area children.
Karen became Artistic Director of Dayton Ballet in 2011. Since then she has choreographed an original full-length classical version of Cinderella and in 2013 brought to life an all-new Nutcracker for the Dayton Ballet. She has also been choreographing dances for Signature Events with Dayton Philharmonic and Dayton Opera. During the 2014–2015 season, Karen was fortunate to be able to work on a special project with the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance's Music Alive Composer-in-Residence, Dr. Stella Sung, on an original piece for both the Dayton Ballet and Dayton Philharmonic entitled Fate of Place.
In addition to the Dayton Ballet, Karen has also choreographed for American Repertory Ballet and has taught at Wright State University, University of Dayton, Stivers School for the Arts, and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Karen was awarded the Ohio Arts Council Excellence in Individual Creativity Award in 2006 and was honored in 2005 by American Repertory Ballet for her commitment and excellence in the field of dance. In 2010 she was honored by Dayton Business Journal for her professionalism in the arts community. Her extensive experience on stage gives her the perfect perspective to create new works of art that allow each of her dancers the opportunity to truly shine.