Pamela Taylor-Tongg, Artistic Director
Artistic Director Pamela Taylor-Tongg began her early training in Chicago. She subsequently studied with Martha Mahrin Florida and the American Ballet Center in New York.
Ms. Tongg enjoyed a ten-year association with the Atlanta Ballet from 1975 to 1985 as a Soloist, Ballet Mistress and Director of the apprenticeship program, which prepared young dancers for professional careers. She credits much of her training to Atlanta Ballet’s Artistic Director Emeritus Robert Barnett.
Ms. Taylor-Tongg moved to Hawaii in 1985 and joined Ballet Hawaii. Under her guidance, Ballet Hawaii has grown from a handful of students to an average of more than 400. In 2010, Ms. Taylor Tongg was given the Outstanding Teacher Award at the Youth American Grand Prix competition. In addition, she received certificates of appreciation from the City and County of Honolulu and the State House of Representatives for her outstanding contributions to Hawaii and Honolulu’s cultural presentations.
As a result of Ms. Taylor-Tongg’s leadership, internationally acclaimed guest artists and master teachers travel to Hawaii to participate in Ballet Hawaii productions and training programs. In 2012, she was appointed to the Mayor’s Commission on Culture and the Arts as a dance expert.
Regina Ahlgren performed as a professional dancer for more than 18 years. She has worked in regional theater, first national tours and on Broadway. She has spent many years teaching all forms of dance and is excited to join the teachers at Ballet Hawaii.
Yvonne Borree’s interest in dance developed very early, due in large part to the influence of her mother, Susan Borree, who danced with Jerome Robbins’ Ballets: U.S.A., New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. Ms. Borree was raised in Norfolk, Virginia, where she began her dance training at the Tidewater Ballet Association when she was five years old. She attended summer sessions at the School of American Ballet for three years and was invited to enter SAB full-time in 1985. In 1987, she became an apprentice with New York City Ballet and was invited to join the corps de ballet in 1988. She was promoted to the rank of soloist in 1993 and to principal in 1997. She retired from performing in June 2010.
Ms. Borree performed featured roles in numerous ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins during her 22 year career with New York City Ballet. Among them are Balancine’s Apollo, Coppélia(Swanilda), Donizetti Variations, Duo Concertant, The Four Temperaments,George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (Sugarplum Fairy and Dewdrop),Square Dance, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements, Union Jack, and Western Symphony; Jerome Robbins’ The Concert, Dances at a Gathering, The Four Seasons, The Goldberg Variations, In the Night, and Mother Goose; and Peter Martins’ A Fool For You, The Sleeping Beauty (Princess Aurora) and Swan Lake. During the Company’s 1992 spring season, Ms. Borree was chosen by Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins to dance with guest artist Mikhail Baryshnikov in George Balanchine’s Duo Concertant.
Ms. Borree originated roles in Mr. Martins’ Ash, The Chairman Dances,Delight of the Muses, Fearful Symmetries, Jazz (Six Syncopated Movements), Quartet for Strings, Sinfonia, The Sleeping Beauty (the White Cat), Slonimsky’s Earbox, Stabat Mater, and Thou Swell. Featured roles were also created for Ms. Borree by Robert La Fosse (Danses de Cour), Miriam Mahdaviani (Correlazione), and Christopher Wheeldon (Carnival of the Animals).
Daphne Hargrove began her training at the School of American Ballet. In 1993 she performed with the New York City Ballet in its Balanchine celebration. The following year, Hargrove graduated from the High School of Performing Arts and joined the Miami City Ballet where she performed various soloist and principal roles. During this time, she performed in Washington D.C at the Kennedy Center Honors for President Clinton and other distinguished guests.
In 1998, Hargrove left Miami to become a founding member and principal dancer with Carolina Ballet. During the next four years in North Carolina, she created many principal roles in world-premiere ballets by renowned choreographers such as Lynn Taylor-Corbett and Robert Weill, as well as being featured in many classic works. Her repertoire includes Balachine’s Rubies, Conncerto Barocco, Who Cares, and Steadfast Tin Soldier, Anthony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Jose Limon’s Moor’s Pavane, and Peter Martin’s Valse Triste. Hargrove has been living in Honolulu for many years and has become an avid photographer and has performed in many of Ballet Hawaii’s productions.
Willie Dean Ige received his early ballet training with Rhonda Kimura from 1969 to 1971. From 1975 to 77, he studied with Professor of Ballet Yasuki Sasa at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he developed his skills and appreciation for ballet, and danced the principal roles in Paquita, Ocean and Pearl, and Firebird.
Mr. Ige joined Honolulu City Ballet in 1977, first as an apprentice then as a company member in 1978. In 1980, he co-founded the Hawaii Ballet Theater with Charlys and Dennis Ing, where he co-directed and co-choreographed the company’s early repertoire including the Hawaiian version of well-known classical stories such as the Ka Manu Ahi (The Firebird), Pekelo & Pua’a (Peter and the Wolf), and La Boutique Fantasque (Toyshop Fantasy).
Mr. Ige traveled to Japan where he danced the principal roles in Les Sylphide (1985) and La Sylphide (1987) at Shinjuku Bunka Theater in Tokyo. During this time, he also instructed students in dance at Iolani School. He also travelled and studied in New York with Wilhelm Burmann of Steps on Broadway, David Howard of the Harkness School of Ballet, Vladmir Dokoudovsky New York Conservatory of Dance/Ballet School, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and School.
In 1988, he began working with the Friends of the Ballet and Ballet Hawaii under the direction of Pamela Taylor-Tongg. While working with Ballet Hawaii, he danced the featured role in an original ballet choreographed by Mathew Wright with music by Takashi Koshi titled Urashima Taro. He was also featured in Sonya Arova’s Giselle, Tom Paizak’s Carmen and Romeo & Juliet. Mr. Ige continues to perform Ballet Hawaii’s annual Nutcracker.
Micki was born in Pusan City, South Korea and adopted by American parents. She grew up in upstate New York where she began her ballet studies with the Ithaca Ballet. She attended and is a graduate of The Kirov Academy of Ballet where she studied with Jacqueline Achmedowa and Alla Sizova. Micki began her pre-professional career under the instruction of Truman Finney in Ballet Austin’s trainee program. She danced professionally with the Louisville Ballet in Kentucky and Ballet Black in London, England. While in the UK, she performed as a guest artist in Wales with Ballet Russe’s Swan Lake. In 2007 Micki moved to Honolulu, HI where she has been dancing with Ballet Hawaii and Onium Ballet Project.
Micki is an experienced registered 200 hour yoga teacher, Ayurvedic Health Educator, and formerly certified Foundation I, Level I GYROTONIC(R) instructor. She has taught ballet classes for the Ithaca Ballet, Chambersburg Ballet Theatre, Tri-Coastal Ballet, Gateway Ballet, and the Boston Conservatory. Micki was the dance director at Sacred Hearts Academy in Honolulu, HI from 2008-2016 where she developed and led the dance program for students in grades 7-12, directed various performances, and choreographed a full-length version of The Nutcracker.
She currently teaches with Ballet Hawaii.
Elisabeth Kurashige received her early training at Ballet Hawaii, under artistic director Pamela Taylor-Tongg, where she performed in works choreographed by Peter Rockford Espiritu, Minou Lallemand and Marie Takazawa.
In 2015, Ms. Kurashige graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a Minor in Psychology from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Belhaven, she had the privilege of working with choreographers Ryan Corriston, Randall Flinn, Dorrell Martin, Caleb Mitchell, Cynthia Newland, Stephanie Powell and Laura Morton-Zebert, performing in various pieces, including Donald McKayle’s historical work, Songs of the Disinherited.
Additionally, she has furthered her training at workshops with Ad Deum Dance Company and Doug Varone and Dancers, as well as at the 2012 American Dance Festival, where she gained practical experience in technical theater as a stagecraft apprentice. Ms. Kurashige hopes to pursue a Master of Arts in Dance/Movement Therapy, blending her love for dance with a desire to integrate the arts into our society as a practically and aesthetically valuable means of reaching local communities.
Minou Lallemand graduated from the New York High School of Performing Arts and the Joffrey Ballet School. She has danced solo and principal roles with Ballet Arizona, American Repertory Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Eglevsky Ballet, Sacramento Ballet and Ballet Hawaii, and performed with The Phantom of the Opera national tour and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.
Currently, Ms. Lallemand teaches for Ballet Hawaii, Queen Emma Ballet, Pacific Youth Ballet and Drill Team Hawaii, and has been a guest teacher at the Virginia School of the Arts. Ms. Lallemad has also created works for Ballet Arizona, the New Choreographer’s on Point Workshop, Chamber Music Hawaii. She is the Artistic Director of the Onium Ballet Project.
Mareva Minerbi’s very first performance was with Ballet Hawai‘i in The Nutcracker at age four, which set forth her passion for the performing arts. She holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Hawai‘i where she was awarded the Graduate Teaching Fellowship from 2013-2015. She holds a BFA from the University of Iowa and has taught at their Youth Ballet from 2009-2011. She has danced in Italy and the United States with Compania d’Opera Italiana, Duarte Dance Works, Poetic Rebound Performance Co., Diana Carter and Dances and Dancers In Company.
She has worked with choreographers including Joe Goode, Tim Miller, Jennifer Kayle, Chris Masters, Lucas Crandall, Deanna Carter, Amy Schiffner, Armando Duarte, Kara Miller, Eloy Barrigan, Charlotte Adams and Cheryl Flaharty. She danced in Hawai‘i State Ballet Junior Company under the direction of John Landovsky and studied at Mid-Pacific Institutes’ School of the Arts. Mareva also enjoys theatre and has performed in local productions of Big Love and La Strada. She sang backup vocals for the reggae band Public Property that opened for bands including Steel Pulse and Toots and The Maytals.
Mareva is currently a Lecturer in Dance at Kapi‘olani Community College and is directing Saint Francis School’s musical. She is also a certified yoga instructor. Mareva looks forward to sharing her passion in dance at Ballet Hawai‘i.