Alice Bassler Sullivan, Founding Director Eagle River Ballet, and Guest Instructor
Born and raised in Alaska, Alice Bassler Sullivan began her dance training in Anchorage, studying with Lynda Lorimer and Steve Primis. In 1975 Ms. Sullivan earned a BFA from the prestigious University of Utah Ballet Department, graduating magna cum laude, while performing with Ballet West. She danced professionally in Seattle as apprentice with the First Chamber Dance Company, and five seasons with Minnesota Ballet. She was a ballet accompanist for the University of Utah Ballet Department and the Department of Continuing Education, and for the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington.
Alice returned to Alaska in 1982 and led Alaska Dance Theatre in unprecedented achievements through June 2009 as its Founding Artistic Director. Under her stewardship, ADT received the Mayor’s Youth Arts Award in 2004 and the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Arts Organization in 2005. In these years, she choreographed numerous works and collaborated with all the major arts organizations statewide. In recognition of her outstanding leadership within the community, Ms. Sullivan was named a finalist in the BP Women of Achievement Award and the Athena Awards. Alice has devoted nearly fifty years to her career as performer, teacher, choreographer and arts administrator. She has groomed dancers and mentored faculty who have joined prestigious programs and dance companies nationwide. In 2007, the in-house theatre at ADT was named the Alice Bassler Sullivan Theatre to honor her legacy.
In 2010, Ms. Sullivan was awarded the Lorene Harrison Lifetime Achievement Award by the Mayor’s Arts Award. Sullivan was also recently honored with a Rasmuson Individual Artist award in 2013. She teaches and choreographs for various programs in Anchorage and around the state as director of Alice Bassler Sullivan DanceArts Alaska including the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. Sullivan has served as adjunct professor for the UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, and currently teaches at The Alaska Club Eagle River, and as guest instructor for the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy and Studio Pulse. In the September of 2011 she founded Eagle River Ballet north of Anchorage to serve the Eagle River community. After ten years with Eagle River Ballet, in 2021, the directorship was passed on to Heather McEwen, who has been side-by-side growing the studio in the community of Eagle River for ten years! New projects, guest teaching and private clients will continue to keep her dance card full. She is grateful to her family for their unfailing support, and to all the dancers, colleagues, students, musicians, choreographers, and designers who have shaped her career as artist and educator.
Abby Keller, Instructor
Abby began her dance education in Anchorage with Karen Grotts at the age of three. She later trained with Alice Bassler Sullivan and Courtland Weaver at Alaska Dance Theatre (ADT), where she was a member of the student company for three years. During this time she performed work by K. T. Nelson, Courtland Weaver, Alice Bassler Sullivan, and numerous other choreographers. She continued her training at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival as well as Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet Summer Program.
After high school graduation, Abby continued her dance training at New Mexico State University where she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Dance. Her training includes diverse styles of dance that vary from Flamenco to Ballet in various levels. During her four years at New Mexico State University, she studied abroad in Spain for a month-long intensive in 2014, and participated in the American College Dance Association. Abby also performed professionally with Literacy Through Movement (LTM) for four seasons while in Las Cruces.
Abby has several years experience in instruction as a Teacher’s Candidate with ADT, Tap Dance Instructor with Las Cruces School of Dance and Music, and Movement Instructor for LTM. Abby enjoys the opportunity to teach dance to various levels and ages of students. She looks forward to sharing her passion for dance with future generations of Alaskan dancers.
Briana Sullivan, Guest and Substitute Instructor
Briana began her ballet training at the age of three at Alaska Dance Theatre, where she trained under the directorship of Alice Bassler Sullivan and other faculty. Briana continued intensive training in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Washington, participated in dance workshops, and studied with many visiting artists. She furthered her passion for dance graduating Magna Cum Laude from Merychurst College, earning a B.A. in Dance Performance along with a B.A. in Criminal Justice. As a Dean’s List Scholar, a member of National Honor Societies Alpha Phi Sigma and Nu Delta Alpha, she maintained her dual focus and demanding rehearsal schedule. With the Mercyhurst dancers she appeared in performances of Serenade, Coppelia, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swan Lake Act II, Crouching Tutu Hidden Drag Queen, Gift of Balance, Suburban Suite, and Giselle Must Die. She annually attended the American College Dance Festival Northeast, representing the Mercyhurst Dancers. Briana has worked with guest artists and instructors Tauna Hunter, Christine Hay, Judith Fugate, Troy Powell, Sharon Randolph, Madame Nathalie Grassovska, Elizabeth Nesi, Laura Alonzo, Jeffery Hughes, Mark Santillano, Laura Moore, Cornelius Carter, Gesel Mason, and Peter Christie, and numerous guest artists.
Briana continued her training, taking classes from Salt Lake City to New York. She performed for Royal Caribbean, International as a dancer in the Revue Cast aboard the Monarch of the Seas, and The Grandeur of the Seas, and as a Guest Alumni for Alaska Dance Theatre while in Alaska. Her teaching experience began in high school when she was invited to teach for her peers, and continued by teaching fellow cast-members on Royal Caribbean. She was also asked to teach various classes at Alaska Dance Theatre, Eagle River Ballet, Alice Bassler Sullivan DanceArts Alaska, Telluride Palm Dance, and Stretch and Tone at The Alaska Club. Briana currently practices Forrest and Ashtanga yoga, mat Pilates, and is an avid outdoors enthusiast–making it her priority to train outside daily. She enjoys teaching all ages and looks forward to working with the Eagle River community.
Andrea Nelson, Guest and Substitute Instructor
Andrea began her training at Clytie Adams School of Ballet from age 3 – 11, while performing children’s roles in The Nutcracker, Anna Karenina, Arcadia, and Midsummer Nights Dream with Ballet West and the University of Utah. At age 12 she studied on full scholarship at The School of American Ballet. She continued as a scholarship student at the School of Ballet West and later at the Ballet West Conservatory training with Sharee Lane, Bene Arnold, Atilla Ficzere, and the late Willam F. Christensen. She toured as Clara in Ballet West’s Nutcracker around the country and to Anchorage for two years. At age 14, she was accepted into the University of Utah’s Ballet Department concurrent program with a departmental scholarship, performing with Utah Ballet, and was also invited to join Ballet West as one of its members. During her four years at Ballet West she worked with choreographers such as Ben Stevensen, James Canfield, Micheal Smuin, Val Caniparoli, Andre Prokovsky, and Paul Taylor. She performed leading roles in Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Lady of the Camelias, Cinderella, and Company B. In 1995 she joined The Aalto Ballett Theatre in Essen, Germany under the directorship of Martin Puttke. There she performed works by Birgit Scherzer, Daniela Kurz, John Cranko, Ramon Oller, Nacho Duato, Maryse Delente, and Maurice Bejart. She performed principal roles in Sonate a Trois, El Canto de Despida, Sols a Soles, and Jardi Tancat.
Andrea returned to Utah and began teaching at Clytie Adams School of Ballet and continuing her studies at the University of Utah. During this time she attended workshops with Olaf Hoefer of the Stadt Opera School in Berlin, as well as David Howard. While teaching she also staged and rehearsed Clytie Adams’ Nutcracker for four years and was a guest artist as the Sugar Plum Fairy, additionally hosting summer workshops for students.
In 2001 Andrea graduated with a BFA with the University of Utah in Ballet with a Teaching Emphasis. While moving around the country as a military spouse, she has taught with Clopper’s Mill Dance School in Germantown, Maryland, and the Ballet Arts School in San Antonio, Texas. She has enjoyed teaching students of all ages and levels and seeing their growth. Two years ago she was lucky enough to move to Alaska with her husband and five children. As a family they are thoroughly enjoying the outdoors and wonderful people here.
Molissa Udevitz, Guest Instructor
Molissa began her dance training at age three, starting at the Alaska Moving Arts Center and then at Alaska Dance Theatre. While in ADT’s pre-professional program, Molissa studied under Alice Bassler Sullivan and other faculty, performed with their company, and served as a teaching assistant. Molissa attended several summer dance intensives including the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, Summer Dance Lab in Walla Walla, Washington, and the White Mountain Summer Dance Festival in Bronxsville, New York.
Molissa was accepted to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Linehan Artist Scholar program and graduated with a B.A. in Dance and a B.A. in Environmental Studies. She focused on modern dance and composition in college and performed in numerous Dance Department performances. At UMBC, Molissa choreographed several dance pieces, and her senior project was selected for performance at the 2015 American College Dance Festival Association Mid-Atlantic conference.
As an Anchorage artist, Molissa continues training, choreographing, and performing. Inspired by a week-long workshop, Dance on Land, in California, Molissa is interested in exploring improvisation scores in non-traditional spaces and how this can connect people to place. She choreographed an outdoor site-specific work for the 2018 international Earth Matters on Stage Symposium, hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage. Molissa also performed in Pulse Dance Company’s premiere of Nutcracker Redux.
Molissa’s professional career as an educator has included working as a naturalist and assistant director for a California residential outdoor school and as an interpretation intern for Alaska’s Lake Clark National Park. Molissa now works in the Anchorage Museum’s Education Department, where she develops and leads a variety of interdisciplinary programs for youth and the general public. She looks forward to bringing her teaching experience back to the dance studio.