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Meet the Staff

Artistic & Production Staff


Bruce Simpson | Artistic Director & Interim Executive Director

Bruce Simpson joined the Louisville Ballet in 2002, bringing with him over 30 years of experience in the international ballet world. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Mr. Simpson studied at the Scottish Ballet School, making his professional debut with Scottish Opera. Upon joining the Wuppertal Dance Company, he toured throughout Germany and Belgium. In 1970 he joined South Africa’s State Theatre Ballet (previously known as the Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal), which became his home for the next 30 years.

After his promotion to principal dancer in 1975, he performed an extensive repertory, specializing in the great classical roles, including Swan LakeRomeo and JulietThe Sleeping BeautyGiselle,La Fille Mal GardéeA Midsummer Night’s DreamCinderella and La Sylphide. He danced leading roles in The Three MusketeersAnna Karenina and Soft Blue Shadows by André Prokovsky; The Merry WidowRosalinda and Papillon by Ronald Hynd; Don Quixote by Rudolf Nureyev; and The Taming of the Shrew by John Cranko.

Appointed Ballet Master in 1983 and Senior Ballet Master in 1985, Mr. Simpson continued to perform with State Theatre Ballet until his retirement from the stage in 1998. He was also répetiteur, teacher and coach, refining productions of the Company’s repertoire of over 60 ballets. He has worked with some of the greatest dancers of our time, including Natalia Makarova, Sir Anthony Dowell, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Ivan Nagy and Sir Frederick Ashton.

Mr. Simpson has been a guest of the major dance companies and schools throughout the world. In 2000 he was invited to lead the Texas Ballet Theater, where he was commissioned to create new productions of The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Mr. Simpson was the jury co-chair at the 2006 USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Miss.

Harald Uwe Kern | Senior Ballet Master

Born in Vienna, Austria, Mr. Kern studied with the Ballet School of the Vienna State Opera and at the Academie de la Danse de Princess Grace, Monte Carlo.

He has received many awards, including the Rudolf Nureyev Scholarship Award, the Paris International Dance Competition – prix d’interpretation and an Award for Artistic Achievement from the New York International Ballet Competition.

Mr. Kern has performed as a soloist and principal dancer with the Vienna State Opera Ballet, Basel Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Internationale and Charleston Ballet Theater. He has danced leading roles in most of the major classical and romantic ballets and won critical acclaim for his interpretation of roles in ballets by Sir Frederick Ashton, Cranko, Massine, Nureyev, Neumeier, Spörli, Balanchine, Kilian and many more.

Under the guidance of Irina Kolpakova and Vladilen Semyonov, he became a teacher and coach. He has been the Associate Artistic Director of the Channel Islands Ballet (California) and a guest instructor with schools, colleges and companies around the USA, Europe and Japan.

Mikelle Bruzina | Ballet Mistress

Born in Lexington, Mikelle Bruzina is a graduate of The Royal Winnipeg Ballet and joined the Louisville Ballet in 1995 as a member of the corps de ballet. She was promoted to soloist in 1998, first soloist in 2000, and, in 2004, was promoted to principal. This marks her fourth season as Ballet Mistress following her retirement after 15 years of dancing with the company.

As a dancer, Ms. Bruzina was recognized for her diversity in classical ballet as well as modern and contemporary ballets. Her full-length repertoire includes all the classics as well as Magic Flute,Anna KareninaThree MusketeersThe Great Gatsby and Beauty and the Beast. Other featured roles include ballets by George Balanchine, Choo-San Goh, Paul Taylor and Anthony Tudor. She has had the privilege of working with choreographers such as Alun Jones, Val Caniparoli, Mark Godden, Adam Hougland, David Parsons, Helen Pickett, Andre Prokovsky, Domy Reiter-Soffer and Ben Stevenson.

As a choreographer, her works for the Louisville Ballet include GloriaHarmony of Contrasts, Life Rhythmscontinuum and Sansei, which was presented as part of the 60th Anniversary Celebration with original score by Ben Sollee. She has also created ballets for Memphis Ballet, Boca Ballet Theatre and Ballet Under the Stars inLexington.

Ms. Bruzina began teaching inJapanin 1991 under the guidance of Emi Okajima, and has extensive experience teaching ballet and pointe technique as well as rehearsing and coaching young dancers. She joined the staff of the Louisville Ballet School in 2008, teaching intermediate and advanced levels.


Elena Filmore-Diehl | Director, Louisville Ballet School

Elena Fillmore-Diehl, a native of Fallon, Nevada, began her dance training with a neighborhood dance studio at the age of 13 in Aurora, CO. While in high school, Ms. Diehl studied as an apprentice with the Colorado Ballet under the direction of Martin Fredmann. As a full scholarship student attending the University of Arizona, she had the privilege of studying with such distinguished instructors as George Zorich, Melissa Lowe, Jory Hancock, Michael Williams, Amy Ernst, Susan Quinn and Sam Watson. She also enjoyed the opportunity to perform internationally with Quinn-Williams Jazz at the Jazz Dance World Congress in Chicago, IL (1994), Washington DC (1995), Nagoya Japan (1996) and Phoenix, AZ (1998) and also with the University of Arizona Dance Ensemble at the International Theatre School Festival in Amsterdam, Holland (1997) and the American College Dance Festival in Laramie, WY (1998). As a graduate student at the University of Arizona, Ms. Diehl received the 2000-2001 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.  Ms. Diehl graduated with honors from the University of Arizona, receiving both her B.F.A. in Dance and M.F.A. in Theatre Arts. She has danced professionally with the Louisville Ballet, BalletMet (Columbus, Ohio), Colorado Ballet and, most recently, as a member of Moving Collective in Louisville, KY. Ms. Diehl has also performed with La JAZDANZ in Shreveport, LA and the musical theatre production Space Dream (Berlin, Germany).  She has been a guest faculty member with the Kentucky’s Governor’s School of the Arts, Boca Ballet Theatre, and Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet.  Named Director of the Louisville Ballet School in 2009, Ms. Diehl is thrilled to share her love of dance with children and their parents, and to students young and young at heart.


Michael Harris | Director of Operations

Michael Harris, a native of Tennessee, is in his 24th season as Director of Operations. As such, he directs and manages all aspects of the production departments. He is also responsible for theatrical scheduling, music and repertory licenses, guest artist contracts, production rentals, and production and operations budget control. In addition, he serves as facilities manager for the Company and school locations and oversees the management of the scene shop and warehouse facilities.

Prior to his current position, Mr. Harris was Production Manager for nine seasons. Before employment with the Louisville Ballet, he served as production manager for several independent feature films, stage manager for Iroquois Amphitheater, and chief electrician at the Amphitheater and Stage One. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with degrees in English and journalism.


Michael T. Ford | Lighting Designer/Production Stage Manager

Michael is a native of Louisville and a graduate of Bellarmine University. He began working with the Louisville Ballet in 1974 and became Lighting Designer and Production Stage Manager in 1978. In addition to his work with Louisville Ballet, he was Production Manager of Iroquois Amphitheatre and designer and/or production manager for Sphere One Dance Company, Louisville Children’s Theatre, Miss Kentucky Pageant, and Metroversity Summer Theatre. Michael was resident Lighting Designer for the Corning Glass Center in Corning, New York for several seasons where he received an IA union card.. He has been guest designer for North Carolina Dance Theatre as well as American Ballet Theatre at the Met. Most recently Michael was guest Designer for Cincinnati and Tulsa ballets. His design for Adam Hougland’s Cold Virtues is currently being toured by the Smuin Ballet in California.

Michael has designed for such notable choreographers as Erik Bruhn, Choo-San Goh, Bruce Marks, Lynn Taylor Corbett, Robert Gladstein, Ron Cunnigham, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Adam Hougland, Val Caniparoli, Andre Prokovsky and former artistic director Alun Jones, with whom he collaborated on 60 new ballets. He has been fortunate to have worked with dancers such as Margot Fontain, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Galena Samsova, Helen Starr, Patricia McBride, Wendy Whelan and the Panov’s.

Michael has designed several KET productions including the Emmy Award-winning Lucy. In the corporate world Michael has designed for Intel, KFC, State of Kentucky, State of Kansas, 21C Museum, Churchill Downs and the Louisville Slugger museum. Michael would like to thank Janet and Warwick Musson for their support in his work.


Dan Fedie | Costume Master

A native of Wisconsin, Dan Fedie celebrates his 24th year as Costume Master. He earned his B.S. in speech and theatre from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse and an M.F.A. in costume design from the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana. Design credits include A Time To RememberGloriaIf ya ain’t right, git right!upon your held-out hand; and CONTINUUM for the Louisville Ballet. Mr. Fedie has also designed for Stage One, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and 1900 productions in Chicago.


Leslie K. Oberhausen | Stage Manager

The 2012-13 season marks Leslie’s seventh with the Louisville Ballet. She began her career over 25 years ago as a stage management intern at Actors Theatre of Louisville and has been working professionally in the Louisville area ever since. For 13 years she was the Production Stage Manager for Stage One: Louisville’s Family Theatre, touring regionally as well as to New York City and Off-Broadway. Other local credits include the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Derby Dinner Playhouse, Music Theatre Louisville, Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Kentucky Center. Leslie also teaches stage management classes at the University of Louisville.


Ron Riall | Technical Director

Ron Riall grew up in Southern Indiana where he pursued his interest in the arts and theatre. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in technical theatre from Indiana State University. After college, Mr. Riall joined the facility and taught theatre classes at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College (Ind.). In 1987 he accepted a position as prop master/designer with Actors Theatre of Louisville where he spent the next eleven years. His work covered more than 150 shows, including A Trip to Bountiful, Peter Pan and The Seagull. For over ten years, Mr. Riall worked commercially, designing events for groups including the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, Brown-Forman Corporation, Dismas Charities and Churchill Downs. Mr. Riall joined the Louisville Ballet in 2008 as Technical Director supervising scenic elements for all productions and creating new sets/props for The Brown-Forman Nutcracker and Rite of Spring.

 Administrative & Louisville Ballet School Staff

Cara Hicks
General Manager

Alyson Klinglesmith
Group Sales Manager
Kristine Orms
School Administrator
C. F. Callihan II
Director of Development
Melanie Horn
Patron Services Manager
Emily Bond Van Bogaert
School Coordinator
Lora Limeberry
Director of Finance 
Kelsey Thompson
Patron Services Assistant
Jenny LaWall
Director of Education and Outreach
Sara Wheeldon
Office Administrator
© 2014 Louisville Ballet