Producer, Director & Choreographer: Elizabeth Fernandez
Elizabeth Fernandez graduated with honors from the University of Northern Colorado where she received degrees in Dance Teaching/Movement Analysis and Dance Kinesiology. While at UNC, Elizabeth was a member of the University of Northern Colorado Dance Theatre and Colorado Dance Theatre. With these companies, she performed in many ballets and was ballet mistress for both these companies. While at UNC in 1996 and 1997; Elizabeth received the Department of Dance Award because of her involvement and contribution to the department.
After graduating, she moved back to Cody, Wyoming where she co-founded Rocky Mountain School of the Arts in 1997 and non-profit Rocky Mountain Dance Theatre in 1998 in Cody, Wyoming, with her mother Cynthia Kaelberer.
Under Elizabeth’s direction, RMSA and RMDT trains students of all ages in the art of dance and theatre, focusing on building dancers with a strong and diversified foundation, emphasizing technical training and performing. The cornerstone of RMSA is the significance placed on each dancer’s individuality, and how each person’s distinctive contributions build alliance with others, self-confidence, perspective, and discipline. RMSA dancers have gone on to train with the Joffrey School of Ballet, Houston Ballet School, Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, and Rhapsody James.
Elizabeth is an experienced choreographer who has choreographed and produced several short works in ballet, contemporary, and musical theatre genres. For over twenty-two years she has produced RMDT’s annual Nutcracker Ballet, which has become a yearly holiday tradition for the area. In 2008, she choreographed the musical Once on This Island for The University of West Florida. In 2016, she brought her own original musical Wild West Spectacular to stage, attracting tourists from all over the world during its summer season in Cody, Wyoming. In 2019, she was one of four guest choreographers hired to set a piece for the University of West Florida Theatre Department's end of year UWF Dance Ensemble performance.
Throughout the years, Elizabeth has received dance training from such names as Jeffrey Rockland, Sandra Minton, Robert Barnett, Christina Monroe, Cherie Noble, Katherine Kramer, and David Taylor. Elizabeth attended The Russian American Foundation’s Bolshoi’s Ballet Teachers Certification program. In the summer of 2018, she graduated from their highest level, and received her teacher certification from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in New York.
In 2019, Elizabeth was featured as one of the Women in Wyoming: Portraits & Interviews of women who shape the West. This project has become an Exhibition and is featured at Buffalo Bill’s Center for the West in Cody, Wyoming until August 2020.
Still performing, Elizabeth continues to take classes in New York at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, Alvin Ailey, and master classes throughout the United States.
Assistant Director & Choreographer: Brittany Schneider
Brittany, a former Rocky Mountain Dance Theatre student, is the Assistant Director of the Wild West Spectacular Show and choreographed the tap numbers. She also supports the artist vision of Rocky Mountain Dance Theatre by contributing to the choreography of the Spring Production and is a tap, hip hop, and jazz instructor in our summer intensive.
Brittany is a highly experienced dancer and teacher, having performed and trained for over fifteen years with Rocky Mountain School of the Arts. During her time at Rocky Mountain Dance Theatre, Brittany performed the role of Sugar Plum Fairy a role typically performed by a professional ballerina, with professional male dancer, Michael Cook. Brittany has had the opportunity to take classes in New York City on nine different occasions and learn from artists including the following: Leslie Feliciano, Ade Chike, Chio, Charles Renato, and Lane Napper.
Set Designer: Casey Kearns
Casey designed the set for the Wild West Show. As RMDT's Technical Director for over 10 years, he also brings his expertise every year to our Nutcracker, Spring Ballet, and Spring Production performances. He currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Theatre Design and Technology at University of Indianapolis. He previously served for 12 years as Associate Professor of Scenic Design and Resident Scenic Designer at the University of Wyoming (UW).
His design credits include Scenic Designs for Chicago, Hello Dolly, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Dead Man Walking, Rabbit Hole, Marat Sade among many others. Costume Designs credits include the Laramie Project, Angels in America, and Grand Hotel. Lighting Design credits include Measure for Measure, Picasso at the Lapine Agile, Laundry and Bourbon, 1959 Pink Thunderbird, and others. He has designed for the Post Playhouse, Utah Musical Theatre, Snowy Range Summer Theatre, The Morgan Stock Theatre Company, Rocky Mountain School of the Arts, Little Theatre of the Rockies, The Black Hills Playhouse, and Kansas Summer Theatre and Candlelight Dinner Playhouse.
Casey is actively involved with United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and currently serves as the Associate Commissioner for the Scene Design and Technology Commission and as Chair of the Rocky Mountain Regional Section of USITT. He earned his MFA in Scenography from the University of Kansas and his BA from Chadron State College in Theatre and Speech Communication. Casey has previously taught at the University of Northern Colorado and the Ohio State University – Lima prior to his arrival at UW. Casey thoroughly enjoys volunteering at Ark Regional Services Cooper Center for the Creative Arts Program assisting individuals with developmental disabilities in providing technical support and design consultation as they develop fully supported theatre performances. www.caseykearns.com
Lighting Designer: Charles Houghton
Charles has been with Rocky Mountain Dance Theatre since the beginning. He designed the lighting for our first Nutcracker performance in 1998, and continues to bring professional lighting to the show every year. He has also been lighting the Spring Production and Spring Ballet for the last 10 years, and now designed the lighting for our Wild West Show.
Charles joined the University of West Florida in 2005 and is currently the Department Chair and Professor of Design. Prior to joining the University of West Florida, Charles was the Assistant Dean of the College of Performing and Visual Arts of the University of Northern Colorado. Houghton currently teaches the following courses: Technical Theatre, Drafting, Lighting Design, Scene Design and Stage Management. Over the course of his career, Charles has lit over 100 performances with such names as: Manon Lescaut, The Pirates of Penzance Mystery of Edwin, Drood La Boheme, A Christmas Carol, Psycho Beach Party, WertherBeauty Queen of Leenane Laundry & Bourbon/Lone Star Madama Butterfly, La Cenerentola, Floyd CollinsCarmen.
Musical Accompaniment: Cynthia Kaelberer
Cynthia Kaelberer has taught piano privately for more than 40 years; the last 20 of which she has taught at Rocky Mountain School of the Arts. She co-founded Rocky Mountain School of the Arts with her daughter, Elizabeth Fernandez, in 1996. Over the years she taught music at Wapiti School for three years and has been on the faculty of the Montana Music Institute since 2003. She sat on the Park County School District No. 6 Board for 4 years and was a member of the NCOC Board (which is affiliated with Northwest College and the community orchestra and chorus). Cynthia has been an active member of the Music Teachers National Association since 1977. She has served as the Competitions Chair for the Northwest Division of MTNA for 2 terms and has been an officer in every capacity at the state level (WMTA). To add to her repertoire, Cynthia has been an organist at her church for over 40 years and in 2018 she became the accompanist for RMDT's Wild West Spectacular the Musical during their summer seasons.
Cynthia was born and raised in Wyoming and Montana. Her husband, Robert Kaelberer passed away in 2018 after a long battle with cancer. Robert was a huge supporter of the studio.
Elizabeth Fernandez, Amy Hollon, Cynthia Kaelberer,
and Richard Morell