THE CREATIVE TEAM
Director of Academy of Dance, Santa Ana, CA
President of American Pacific Ballet Company
Co Founder of International Dance Acclaim Faculty of California State University (CSUF) Dance Department
Merle Sepel’s experience as an international judge began in 1993 when she was appointed as one of only 180 examiners worldwide for the Royal Academy of Dance (an international examining body with a presence in 25 countries). In 2007 she was appointed as a judge for the American Academy of Ballet’s Performance Awards under the directorship of Mignon Furman.
Merle’s early and extensive ballet training was with Mignon Furman in South Africa. She went on to become a graduate and licentiate of the Royal Academy of Dance in London, and an Associate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD). Her in-depth study placed special emphasis on anatomy as it pertains to the safety of young bodies in dance training. Additional studies included Ballet, Pedagogy, Notation, Character, Jazz, Modern, Spanish, Costume Design, Choreography and Dance History.
She has taught ballet for in excess of two decades, initially in South Africa and then the U.S. where she opened the Academy of Dance. She has trained numerous dancers, many of whom went on to pursue careers with professional dance companies such as Austin Ballet, Texas Ballet Theater, BalletX, Sacramento Ballet, California Ballet as well as to major in dance at distinguished universities.
In 1997 she founded the American Pacific Ballet Company, a nonprofit group whose mission is to bring dance to the community and provide performing opportunities and a training ground for aspiring dancers.
Merle worked for Mignon Furman for many years as a faculty member of the American Academy of Ballet’s Summer School of Excellence where she taught each year and was responsible for the teachers training course.
She is on faculty at California State University (CSUF) where she began teaching in 2005.
She has developed and published The Enchanted Doorway Adventures in Dance© series of 5 dance training programs for young children that encourage creativity while teaching the basics in an age-appropriate and safe manner. Since the inception, the programs have been successfully taught in South Africa, Israel, Mexico, Singapore, Greece, England, Holland, Portugal and Switzerland as well as throughout the U.S.
Composer, Producer, Musician
Brian is an award winning composer who has worked in the Pop Music business as well as extensively in the advertising industry in South Africa.
Since coming to America he has developed skills as a ballet and modern dance accompanist and is a well-known pianist / percussionist playing for classes in Southern California.
Brian still composes and produces audio. He co-scripted, composed, recorded and produced the CDs on these projects.