Mark Bush, Artistic Director
Mark Bush received his early training under Sylvia Simon in his home city of Evansville, Indiana and later studied on full scholarship at the prestigious National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois. He continued at the Southwest Ballet Center in Arlington, Texas under Bill Martin-Viscount and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.
Mr. Bush was hand selected by Richard Englund to join American Ballet Theatre’s Ballet Repertory, training under Ballet Masters Jeremy Blanton and Gretchen Warren, and participated in a choreographic workshop for Mikhail Baryshnikov. While dancing with Ballet Repertory, Bush received several invitations to continue in New York. After these and other invitations, Bush decided to join Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.
After a successful career dancing principal and soloist roles with Les Grands Ballet Canadiens and Ballet Austin, Mr. Bush also served as Ballet Master to Ballet Austin. Mr. Bush served as Artistic Director of The Ballet Center and Ballet Evansville, which he founded, and produced classic and original choreography to the area very successfully.
For five years Bush worked with and directed companies in the central Arkansas Region. His Nutcracker for Ballet Arkansas was met with critical acclaim. Under his direction, Arkansas Festival Ballet hosted summer workshops with world-renowned faculty including Gelsey Kirkland. In 2005-2006, as Artist in Residence, Mr. Bush choreographed and staged Something’s New as well as Snow White, a fairytale ballet. The following season, as Artistic Director, Mr. Bush presented Rep@theRep, a new cornerstone for AFB’s season, with critics hailing the work: “New artistic director makes his Mark.” In 2006, Mr. Bush’s choreography was featured at the RDA National Festival in Pittsburgh, PA. In June, he staged the fairytale ballet Cinderella, and later presented another Rep@theRep featuring Patricia Barker in Swan Lake Act II. In addition to his committed role at Arkansas Festival Ballet, Mr. Bush served as one of three Founding Judges for the Little Rock based THEA Foundation Performing Arts Scholarships program.
In the summer of 2006, Mr. Bush received the Governor’s Arts Award Individual Artist Fellowship from the Arkansas Art Council for his choreography. This illustrated and represented Bush’s commitment to the arts in central Arkansas.
In December 2009, Bush restaged his production of the Nutcracker in Evansville, Indiana to a very excited audience. After opening Evansville Ballet in January 2010, he brought Act II of Swan Lake and other original works to Evansville followed by Nutcracker, heralding a new standard of dance in the area. The world premiere of his Peter Pan in June 2011 furthered this new standard, and was proclaimed an artistic success. Last season he launched a regional tour for The School of Evansville Ballet’s summer intensive, Director’s Cut, with ads appearing in national dance magazines. He is a gifted teacher and talented choreographer working in the tri-state area, as well as being invited to guest teach in programs throughout the United States.
While audiences continue to grow for his Nutcracker, so does Evansville Ballet’s eclectic repertory. Such storybook classics as Snow White have been performed to enthusiastic crowds; the much anticipated “World Premiere” of his The Little Mermaid with the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestras in March of 2014, will include an original score composed by Brian St. John. The School of Evansville Ballet moved to a beautiful new three-studio facility in June 2013. This new site hosted the largest attended-to-date summer intensive, Director’s Cut. Evansville Ballet continues to be a part of, and chosen for, special local events such as cMoe’s Breakfast with the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the EPO Peppermint Pops concert. Evansville Ballet continues to flourish because of his attention to detail, artistic passion, and commitment to dance and our entire Tri-State community.
Allison McCoy, Ballet Mistress /Administrative Assistant
Allison McCoy (teacher/choreographer/dancer) is pleased to be welcomed to the Evansville Ballet staff. Miss McCoy is a certified and licensed Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) teacher and is excited to offer her PBT expertise to EB dancers.
Miss McCoy began her dance training in Chicago when she was very young. After moving to Owensboro, Kentucky, she began dancing under the direction of Joy Johnson and Karen Carothers. Throughout middle and high school, she was a member of the Owensboro Dance Theatre’s Company.
Realizing her love for ballet around the age of ten, Miss McCoy began training in the summers at: Lexington Ballet, Louisville Ballet, American Dance Festival, Columbia City Ballet and Governor’s School for the Arts. During this time, Miss McCoy was very fortunate to work with teachers such as Gelsey Kirkland, Patricia McBride, William Sterrett, Clark Reid, and Mark Bush to name a few. After graduation, she attended the University of Arizona as a dance major and member of the UA Dance Ensemble under the direction of Jory Hancock, until moving to Chicago to except a full year dance scholarship. Miss McCoy continued to work as a freelance professional dancer throughout Chicago.
Miss McCoy has been teaching ballet for the past twenty years. Her teaching experience includes: Johnson’s Dance Studio (Owensboro, KY, teacher), Owensboro Dance Theatre (Owensboro, KY, Assistant Artistic Director), Lehman’s School of Dance (Northfield, IL), Fisher Dance Center (Wilmette, IL), The Dancer’s Pointe (Louisville, KY) and LDF Ballet Academy where she choreographed and staged a full length Nutcracker (Lexington, KY, Artistic and Ballet Director). She was also a guest teacher for Columbia Dance (Vancouver, WA) and spent two summers with Mark Bush’s Director’s Cut.
Outreach has always been a passion for Miss McCoy. She has taught ballet throughout her career at The Boys/Girls Club, several community centers, retirement homes, camps for migrant workers, camps for emotionally disturbed youth and choreographed a flash mob for the United Way. She taught in the Owensboro Public Schools and Daviess County Schools as well as choreographed for their annual Fine Arts Festival.
Audrey Cook, Instructor / Assistant to the Director
Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Audrey Cook trained for 9 years at the Milwaukee Ballet School and Academy. While at MBSA, Audrey performed featured roles in Rolando Yanes’ The Nutcracker Suite and Don Quixote Suite. She also performed children’s roles in the world premiere of Michael Pink’s Peter Pan and Bruce Wells’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2013, Audrey was admitted to the Paris Opera Ballet School’s summer intensive program (the first-ever summer intensive for students of non-French birth.)
She has also trained during summers at The Houston Ballet School and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet School. In 2014, Audrey trained on full scholarship at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s summer intensive program and then was admitted to train year-round at the RWB School through 2016. While at RWB School, Audrey performed in numerous works including: Jordan Morris’ Deverell, Brett Taylor’s Bus Stop, and La Bayadere. In 2016, after fracturing her foot in multiple places and being advised by physicians that a professional ballet career was no longer possible, Audrey applied and was admitted to the University of Evansville, where she studies International Relations and French. Audrey is delighted to join the faculty of The School of Evansville Ballet and looks forward to sharing the love of her life (ballet!) with young artists.
Alexi Lewis, Instructor
Alexi Lewis is a senior at the University of Evansville, majoring in Theatre Performance. She grew up in Seattle, WA and started dancing at the age of 3.
Alexi studied ballet for 12 years and extended her training to other forms of dance including pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, ballroom, musical theatre dance. Upon graduating in the spring, she hopes to perform and continue teaching others to do what she loves.
Alexi is thrilled to be instructing the youngest dancers at The School of Evansville Ballet.
Loni Moore Prater, Guest Instructor
Lois Bartow, Accompanist
Lois Bartow joined Evansville Ballet in February 2010. Her love of the music and ballet has been enhanced by Evansville Ballet.
Having spent four years in voice training at the University of Evansville under Robert Rapp, and studying advanced keyboard training with Sylvia Olmstead and Eulalie, Lois went into private teaching, giving piano lessons at home.
She regularly attends piano teaching seminars at Indiana University and SIU in Carbondale. Her warm enthusiasm endears her to all who are associated with Evansville Ballet.