Professional dancers Sarkis Kaltakhtchian and René Olivier are joining The Hartt School Community Division (HCD) dance faculty this fall, under the direction of Chair of Dance Carol Roderick. Kaltakhtchian will be teaching students in HCD’s Classical Ballet program.
“I am so pleased to welcome Sarkis and René to our exceptional dance faculty team,” says HCD Director Noah Blocker-Glynn. “They bring a wealth of educational, artistic, and performance experience that complements our school and our standard of teaching excellence.In addition to being gifted artists and teachers, Sarkis and René are genuinely two of nicest people I have met.”
Kaltakhtchian and Olivier join HCD from the Charlotte Ballet Academy. Both have taught students who have gone on to train at prestigious schools such as the Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Royal Ballet, and National Ballet of Canada, as well as students who have joined top-notch dance companies such as the Charlotte Ballet, Tulsa Ballet Theater, Hong Kong Ballet, and Colorado Ballet.
“Their transition from performers into teaching and coaching positions afforded many lucky students the opportunity to benefit from their experience and knowledge,” says Roderick, who worked with Kaltakhtchian and Olivier at the Tulsa Ballet Theater when she was on faculty and they were performers. “From the beginning, it was apparent that they are both great dancers and wonderful people. In time, I also became aware of their great skills, abilities, and profound dedication to the art form. It is an honor and a privilege for me to have the good fortune to work with them again and welcome them to faculty of The Hartt Community Division.”
About Sarkis Kaltakhtchian
A native of Armenia, Kaltakhtchian began dancing at nine years old. He studied in the Vaganova method at the Choreographic Institute of Yerevan, where he graduated with honors, then joined the Armenian National Ballet. In 1989, Kaltakhtchian was invited to join Ballets Classique de Montreal. He also performed with Banff Festival of the Arts, Classical Ballet of Costa Rica, Ottowa Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet Theatre.
Kaltakhtchian retired from the stage in 2005, becoming a faculty member and administrator at the Centre for Dance Education at Tulsa Ballet and Tulsa Ballet II, and a guest faculty teacher with the Chautauqua Institution in New York before joining the faculty of Charlotte Ballet Academy in 2010, where he was named artistic vice principal in 2014 .
About René Olivier
Olivier started her career in South Africa in 1990 with Natal Performing Arts Council Ballet Company, later renamed The Playhouse Dance Company. In 1991, she received the "Most Promising Dancer" award from Friends of the Playhouse Dance Company, and in 1997 she was awarded the First National Bank Vita award for her performances with the Playhouse Dance Company. In 1998 she joined Alberta Ballet in Calgary, Canada, and from 1999–2009, she was a soloist with Tulsa Ballet Theater. She transitioned from professional dancer to teacher in 2009, joining the faculty of the Charlotte Ballet in 2010.
Oliver began dancing at age four, when her mother took her to her first ballet class. Her career as a professional dancer blossomed, earning her the opportunity to perform in an array of memorable featured and principal roles, including a performance for former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela. Olivier encourages her serious students to reflect on their passion. “When we are immersed in intense training and rigorous hours towards achieving our dreams, we can sometimes get so wrapped up in all the aspects of our dancing that needs improvement; this reality is what drives us, but it can also steal away the love that we have for dance,” says Olivier. “I sometimes remind students to think about why they started dancing in the first place. Always, go back to that place.”
About Dance Classes
HCD dance classes are held in the spacious studios of the Mort and Irma Handel Performing Arts Center (HPAC) in Hartford, Conn., close by the University of Hartford’s main campus. Classes are offered for students ages 3 through adult and are taught by an experienced and knowledgeable professional faculty. The program includes pre-K dance classes; youth classes in classical ballet, hip hop, jazz, and tap; and recreational ballet, jazz, and tap for teens and adults.
For more information about HCD dance programs, visit hartford.edu/hcd/dance, call 860.768.6000, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.