Staff

Director

Gretchen Bernard-Newburger

Gretchen Newburger

Gretchen Bernard-Newburger started on her life’s quest to dance at the age of four. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Gretchen began her training with Rebecca Lentz, and at age twelve with the Giacobbe Academy of Dance. By the age of fourteen, Gretchen was a solo dancer of the Delta Festival Ballet of New Orleans. Thereafter followed master studies and scholarships at the American Ballett Theater School, Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, the 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 Gretchen 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. Gretchen decided to join the National Ballet of Canada 1980, followed by the London Festival Ballet (English National Ballet) 1985, and the Zürcher Ballett 1987.

During her performance career, Gretchen had the honor and priviledge 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 Gretchen’s virtuosity charm and engagingly glamorous stage presence her career has embraced a rich and diverse repertoire. Gretchen has performed soloist and principal roles in the major classics and full-length ballets and has been a favorite of many contemporary choreographers. Gretchen enjoyed guest engagements as principal ballerina in the USA, Canada, Italy, Slovakia and Switzerland.

In October 1997, Gretchen Bernard-Newburger founded Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst in Rüschlikon near Zurich.

Official Youth & Sport Switzerland Instructor.

 

Contemporary, Modern Dance

Robin Lee Smith

Robin Lee Smith

After Robin Lee Smith got the black belt in karate, he started acting and movement theatre at the age of 15. He graduated in the performing arts and was then accepted at Laban Centre in London, where he graduated with a Bachelor Honours Degree in Dance Theatre and a Master's Degree in Choreography and Dance. He toured with the Transitions Dance Company and later trained as a personal trainer. He continued to work intensively on his own choreographies and with numerous companies before moving to Switzerland in 2003. He continued his work as a choreographer for companies and schools, as well as fitness training. Robin Lee Smith concentrates mainly on his own style of modern teaching technique, but continues to dance in various projects, musicals and his own works. To date he has been seen in over 1500 performances in Switzerland.

Robin's hours are based on the idea of dance form, the connection between dancer and audience and the possibility to create a dynamic change through postponement and a clear use of direction and space. He follows a technique based on release.

Official Youth & Sport Switzerland Instructor.

Classical Ballet / Musical Theater / Pilates

Lesli Wiesner

Lesli Wiesner

Lesli Wiesner, an American, 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 Assistant Dance Captain and Ballet Girl. Following this was an engagement 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 also had the opportunity to assist Director/Choreographers Baayork Lee and Chet Walker on various European productions.

Lesli travels internationally as a Guest Teacher for ballet and musical dance workshops and is a Certified Pilates Instructor teaching in the Zürich area. As well as her work at ART, Lesli is on the Ballet Faculty at Tanzwerk101 for the Grundausbildung Bühnentanz ZTTS and Höhere Fachschule für Zeitgenössischen & Urbanen Bühnentanz in Zürich and is an official Youth & Sport Switzerland Instructor.

Pre-Ballet, Adult Ballet, Tap

Marcia Do Coutto Scherrer

Marcia Do Coutto Scerrer

Marcia Do Coutto Scherrer began ballet lessons at the age of four. Already at the age of 8 she was accepted into the ballet school of the opera of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. At the age of 16 she received her professional diploma as a professional ballet dancer. At the age of 18 she was accepted into the ensemble of the Opera of Niteroi (Rio de Janeiro). Her repertoire included ballet classics like "Swan Lake", "Coppélia" and "La fille mal gardée". She celebrated her greatest successes in different musicals and film productions at the same time. In Switzerland she leads a 26-person Brasil folklore ensemble and a show group with which she performs in Switzerland and abroad in Brasil/Jazz/Hip Hop/Folklore. With a lot of enthusiasm and temperament she now teaches at Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst.

Official Youth & Sport Switzerland Instructor.

Pre Ballet, Adult Ballet

Leonie Hildebrand-Karl

Leonie Hildebrand-Karl

Leonie Hildebrand-Karl started ballet lessons at the age of 4, among others at the Royal Academy of Dance. At the age of 11 she changed to Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst (ART). Here she completed her training in classical dance, modern/contemporary dance and hip hop as well as dance pedagogy. In summer 2015 she danced in the opera Elektra at the Zurich Opera House. Leonie Hildebrand-Karl has had the honor of several renowned dance teachers such as Gretchen Bernard-Newburger, Jemelle Reichert, Lesli Wiesner, Christine Jaroszewski, C. Enrico Musmeci, Robin Lee Smith, Julie Selwood, Giovi Minasi, Philippe Dick, Feri Kostolnik (Tanzacademy Innsbruck/Austria). After her 4-year stay abroad in Austria, she joined the ART teaching team in summer 2011. She now teaches classical ballet for the youngest at Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst as well as ballet for adults.

Official Youth & Sport Switzerland Instructor

GYROTONIC®, Yoga-Stretch, Dance History

Angelika Ächter

Angelika Ächter

In addition to a degree in music pedagogy, an experimental dance education and a master's degree in dance culture, she has completed a training as a trainer in GYROTONIC®.

Her teaching in Yoga-Stretch lives from her many years of experience as a personal coach in GYROTONIC® and as a GYROKINESIS® practitioner. The interplay of breathing and movement, body alignment, strength, mobility and coordination are the focus of her teaching. Angelika has been teaching at ART since 2012 and also gives individual lessons in GYROTONIC®, for which a specific training device is available. Since January 2014 she has been teaching the art and sport students of the ART Junior Program Gyrotonic and Dance History. As a research assistant at the Swiss Dance Archive and as a lecturer in dance history at the basic stage dance training course and the Höhere Fachschule für Zeitgenössischen und Urbanen Bühnentanz in Zurich, she is very familiar with international and Swiss dance history.

Official Youth & Sport Switzerland Instructor.

Hip-Hop

Giovi Minasi

Giovi Minasi

The joy and passion for dancing brought Giovi Minasi to Hip Hop in 1994. Already after three months his dancing career began and after one year he became a dance teacher. In the following years he was booked for workshops in Italy, Poland, France and Liechtenstein, besides the countless, very popular workshops in Switzerland.

With the hip hop group "Swoosh" he won the title at eight Swiss championships and the vice European champion title in Rome. He performed at numerous events such as fashion and hair styling shows, concerts, party events, TV documentaries and shows for "Nike", "Reebok" and "Calida" to name but a few. As a background dancer he was on the biggest stages in Switzerland and also as a dancer/choreographer for various singers/video clips and even in "Swatch" commercials.

During a two-year stay in London he taught at a Performing Arts School, a London Women's Prison and various dance schools. Since 2004 he has been running his own annual dance camps in Locarno and Sicily and since 2013 he has been a partner in the "M and M" dance school in Bassersdorf.

Official Youth & Sport Switzerland Instructor.

Hip-Hop

Michael Bredy "Mr. Noodles"

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Michael Bredy taught himself hip hop and learned the moves from other street dancers on New York's streets. He was a member of the MOPTOP Family, a group formed in Brooklyn. This gave him the opportunity to learn the hip hop culture and history where he was born. "A natural talent, he learned everything from the streets and other street dancers." Soon he was noticed and he got roles in movies and TV shows. Michael danced in various companies in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He discovered his love for House in the 90s.

To build a career, Michael studied at a New York university and graduated with an Art Major. During his studies he continued to perform in clubs and at parties. Dance continued to dominate his life. When he came to Europe he was given the opportunity to teach and choreograph. Since 2015 he has been a member of the ART teaching team and is the official Youth & Sport instructor.

Hip-Hop

Maria Navat AKA Jemelle

Maria Navat AKA Jemelle

Jemelle is originally from Washington DC, USA. She started dancing and singing at the age of 4, with PACAS a cultural performing arts society. She is skilled/ trained in different styles of dance and performing arts. This lead her at a very young age to perform, teach, and work around the world. Eventually, she made her way to Switzerland in the year 2004. She has worked for various artists, production companies, movies, music videos and schools. In 2010, Jemelle was blessed with the birth of her child and has since devoted her professional dance expertise to being a full time teacher.

“I was blessed with the opportunities I received during my professional career as a dancer and will always be grateful for the experiences and lessons learned. Now my passion is to pass on that knowledge by teaching the next generation of dancers/ performers. I love teaching. I love watching my students ‘letting go’ and ‘being in the moment’ with the music. I have been with ART since 2006 and continue to watch students grow creatively as artists, not just as dancers, and this is breathtaking.”

Official Youth & Sport Switzerland Instructor.

Classical Ballet

Maria Eugenia Segarra Cañamares "Maru"

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

María Eugenia Segarra Cañamares began her ballet education at the age of 5 years in her hometown Cuenca (Spain). At the age of 15 she came to the Víctor Ullate Dance School in Madrid. There she completed her education with masters like Víctor Ullate, Assaf Messerer, Hanneke Berlhge, Robert Fisher, José Parés, Menia Martínez, Irina Milovan, Aurora Bosch and Karemia Moreno for classical ballet, Teresa Nieto, Hanne Samson and Benjamin Felirsdal for Modern/Contemporary Dance, and Antonia Martínez for Spanish Dance. From 1988 to 1995 she worked as teacher and ballet mistress of the ballet company Víctor Ullate Ballet-Comunidad de Madrid. In 1996 she passed the master examination at the Conservatory of Dance (María de Ávila) CSDMA in Madrid and then joined the Víctor Ullate Dance School as a ballet teacher. She has taught all levels of classical ballet and has been also responsible for the international ballet workshops of this Madrid dance school.

From 2003 to 2010 she taught ballet at the Carmen Roche Scaena School of Dance and Performing Arts and at the Arte 369 Ballet School (both in Madrid). At the same time, she also worked as a ballet master with the Carmen Roche Ballet Company and the Arte 369 Company (under the direction of María Giménez).

Following her successful participation in the official music and dance faculty selection process of the Autonomous Community of Madrid CAM, she was admitted to the teaching staff of the Fortea Professional Dance Conservatory in 2010. Since 2012 she has been a ballet teacher at the Royal Professional Dance Conservatory Mariemma in Madrid.

As a guest lecturer she is invited to ballet workshops and training courses. She has prepared selected students for international dance competitions such as the Prix de Lausanne and Eurovision and has also taken part in Spanish (Granada, Santander, Mérida) and international (La Habana, Torino, Reggio nell'Emilia) competitions. Download María's CV

Classical Ballet

Christina Henderson

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Christina Henderson was born in Zurich to South African parents. At the age of 5 she started taking lessons at Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst and discovered a passion for dance.

Her main focus being ballet, she has also taken classes in modern, jazz and hip hop. Over the years she became interested in teaching and found ART with teachers like Gretchen and Lesli to be the perfect place to learn from. For the past two years Christina has been trained and coached by Mme Gretchen to be a dance teacher and has just qualified as a Jugend & Sport Leiter for children and youth.

Hip Hop

Ilona Kannewurf

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Ever since Ilona was a young girl, she has loved dancing while following the beat of the music and expressing herself through movement. With time, dancing, music and the passion to express herself have accompanied her more and more. In 2009, she graduated as a dancer from Zürich Tanz Theater Schule in Zurich.

With her rucksack packed and a hunger for more she decided to travel to New York to learn more at the renowned dance schools Alvin Ailey Dance, Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center and to educated herself. She also took company classes with the Lynn Barr Dance Theatre.

The impulse for more lead her to London, where she toured the country with the Nycoloptic Dance Theatre Company and discovered her love for contemporary dance in collaboration with different expression styles like acting and medias such as film. Furthermore, she was a dancer for the Star Parivaar UK tour and performed in different video clips. She unifies the commercial and the contemporary dance worlds in her career.

Back in Switzerland, she had the honour to work with different choreographers and directors and danced at the Opera House Zürich, Schauspielhaus Zürich and on national and international contemporary as well as commercial stages. She had the chance to combine the language of the body with speech during her acting debut at Schauspielhaus Zürich. Encouraged by so many different influences and experiences she discovered her passion for lyrical poetry and started to perform her poems through dance and acting, which she calls lyrical dance performances. Here, she found her very own form of expression as all her various talents are united.

Ilona does combine all those different influences during her dance lessons and teaches with passion. She works as a dancer, choreographer, actress and dance teacher. She teaches enthusiastically and supports her students without forgetting the fun factor.

Hip Hop

Boris Da Costa

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Boris da Costa was born in 1998. He discovered dance when he was four. It started with some African dance moves that he learned through his parents. A couple of years later, his siblings took over his parents’ position as dance teachers. Back then they taught him the trendiest hip-hop dances but as time passed neither parents nor siblings had time for him anymore. Therefore, he learned through the Internet until his friends recommended him to take classes in his village at the age of 15.

Since 2016 he and a friend of his have been leading a crew called “True Balance Crew” and he’s been trying to take as many workshops as he can. Finally, he’s been officially teaching with this friend of his since they completed the J+S instruction in dance and further education in Hip-Hop in 2017.

Contemporary, Modern

Klaudia Snios

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Born and raised in Poland, After ten years of professional rhythmic gymnastics training in Poland and Ukraine and several titles of Champion, she decided to finish her career. Shortly after dance appeared in her life.

She studied on a Bachelor Contemporary Stage Dance Program of Anton Bruckner Privatuniversität in Linz, Austria and is trained in jazz, modern and contemporary dances. Currently, Klaudia is performing, teaching and choreographing around Europe. Her credits include among others Focus Dance Crew, Bregenzer Festspiele, Himmel auf Erden, Naway Company, Stadlerrail, Nespresso. She is involved in collaborating with musicians: Casey Jason Crosby, Gilbert Gabriel, Simeon Lenoir and Elisabeth Susler. She is Co-choreographer of FOCUS crew (finalist of Die grössten Schweizer Talente 2016). Klaudia currently is a guest teacher for GAB ZTTS, Zürich; HF Bühnentanz Zürich; Easter School of Tanz Akademie Zürich. She coaches her students in solos, duos, small formations competitions such as IDO Jazz/Showdance World Cup and World Championships, IDO Polish Jazz/Showdance Nationals, and Swiss Jazz/modern IDO Nationals.

Official Youth & Sport Switzerland Instructor.

Contemporary, Jazz

Simone Bucher

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Simone Bucher started dancing jazz dance as a child at a dance school in Zug. Later she intensified her training and followed it with Hip Hop, Modern, Contemporary and Ballet. She completed her training as a stage dancer at the Zurich Tanz-Theater Schule (ZTTS) and then studied dance pedagogy at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) for two years.

This was followed by stays abroad, where she expanded her repertoire at renowned schools, especially in New York, and expanded her professionalism. She attended intensive programs and workshops with renowned lecturers at home and abroad. In addition, she danced and choreographed for various stage projects, videos, TV show (DGST). Simone teaches Jazz Dance at various dance schools (Tanzwerk101 in Zurich) as well as training centres. She has been a member of the ART teaching team since 2016.

Official Youth & Sport Switzerland Instructor.

Classical Ballet, Jazz, Pilates

Francesca Waldvogel

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Francesca discovered her passion for dancing in the studio Rainbow Tanzkunst ART, where she also completed her dance education with ballet, modern, jazz and hip hop. She was trained by Gretchen Bernard- Newburger, Lesli Wiesner, Brigitte Restle Oesch, Belinda Lo Giusto-Oetiker, Paula Lansley, Robin Smith, Luciano Di Natale, and Jemelle Navat. Numerous intensive programs abroad followed, such as Joffrey Ballet LA and Broadway Dance Center New York, where she discovered her love for musicals. At Tanzwerk101 in Zurich she continued her education with the teachers Jochen Heckmann, Nadine Sieber, Anja Schilling, Sabine Schindler, Laura Atwood, and others. In addition, she studied singing with Stefania Tommasi. She has been a Pilates Matwork Instructor since 2016. With her own project "Pictures awaken to life" - a combination of music, dance and painting, she won the 1st prize for the best Matura thesis in Zurich in 2016. With the group FOCUS she reached the final "Die Grössten Schweizer Talente". Numerous engagements at home and abroad followed. In 2017 she was accepted in New York for the Professional Semester at the Broadway Dance Center, where she worked with renowned choreographers.

Official Head of Youth and Sport Switzerland.

Guest Teacher

Yann Aubert

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Yann began his dance training at the Conservatoire de Genève (1980-1985) and studied from 1985-86 at the Heinz Bosl Foundation in Munich and from 1986-87 at the Ecole de Danse de l'Opéra de Paris. He graduated from the Ecole de Danse de Genève in 1988. He was then a dancer at the Ballet Junior de Genève (1987-988), the Béjart Ballet (1988-1989) and the Stuttgart Ballet (1989-1997).

Since 1998 he organizes concerts and tours, especially for the Mercan Dede/Secret Tribe Band (tours in Europe e.g. Paléo, Montreux Jazz, Jazz à Vienne). In 2000 he founded his own agency "Yann Aubert Agency".

As a dance teacher Yann taught at the Conservatoire de Sion (2004-2005) and at the Centre Régional de Gymnastique Rythmique de Genève (2004-2010). He also taught the Swiss National Rhythmic Gymnastics Team (RG) and the Swiss National Gymnastics Team (KTF) from 2005-2008, participating in various European and World Championships. In 2007, Yann graduated as "Trainer Competitive Sports Swiss Olympic with Federal Diploma" (BBT) and as "Expert Youth + Sport" (BASPO). Between 2008 and 2012 he worked as manager of the Swiss dance prize Foofwa d'Imobilité.

Since 2013 Yann has been a freelance lecturer, among other things for professional trainer training at the Swiss Federal College of Sport in Magglingen. He has been EFZ's chief dance expert since 2014 and Danse Suisse's vice-president since 2016.

Director of Administration

Susanna Olgiatti

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Susanna Olgiati has been a member of the ART team since mid-May 2015. When asked about her responsibilities at ART, she answers: "Everything but dancing".

After completing her training as a tourism clerk, she worked for American Express in the business travel sector for several years. This activity along with her interest in foreign languages and cultures has led her to various longer stays and travels abroad. She lived in the Engadine for 15 years and worked as a management secretary in the luxury hotel industry. She is the mother of two grown daughters and lives with her family in Central Switzerland, where she worked for several years in administration and human resources for a healthcare company.

Susanna Olgiati contributes her versatile and service-oriented know-how as well as her many years of experience to the management of the Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst office and administration.

Official Youth and Sport Switzerland Coach.

Secretary and "Allrounder"

Daniele Tassone

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Daniele Tassone attended his first ballet lesson at his local music school at the age of 4. After that he briefly attended the ballet school of the Zurich Opera House. In 2009 he began taking dance lessons with Mme Gretchen at Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst. During his commercial apprenticeship he danced daily in the Atelier Rainbow Dance Art to fulfill his dream of one day working as a dancer.

In the 2017/2018 season, Daniele was a member of the swiss junior company "Cinevox" in Schaffhausen. Due to a personal change of interest, this was his first and last season on the stage of a company.

Today Daniele can be found in the secretary and sometimes as a substitute teacher in the Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst. Daniele knows the dance school more than enough as a dancer and secretary.

Assistant to Gretchen Bernard Newburger

Karla Beesemyer

Michael Bredy AKA Noodles

Karla Beesemyer is a former professional ballet dancer with engagements in the National Ballet of Canada, the Stuttgart Ballet and Zürich Ballet at the Opera House of Zürich.

Upon finishing her career Karla became a holistic body-oriented therapist. Her education includes diplomas in Ortho-Bionomy(a gentle form of bodywork based on Osteopathy), in Energy Healing and personal development from Snowlion Center School after a 4 year intense personal and professional study, and in deep psychology from The Center of Intentional Living after a 3 year study based on attachment theory and early childhood wounding.

She is an authorized Continuum Movement Teacher and is in a Masters Degree program for Expressive Arts Coaching and Consulting at the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland. As of 2018 Karla joined the staff of Atelier Rainbow Tanzkunst as assistant to Gretchen Bernard Newburger.