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New Mexico Dance Collaborative

  • Taos Center for the Arts 133 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte Taos, NM, 87571 United States (map)


Students Tickets: “New Mexico Dance Collaborative”
Audience Tickets:
“Mechanical Nature: Movement VII”
Audience Tickets: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”




SATURDAY, March 31

4:00 – 6:00 P.M.

7:00 P.M. 
BALLET TAOS presents


SUNDAY, March 31

10:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

2:00 P.M.


Ballet Taos, Athena Dunleavy, Photography by Jack Mitchell.jpg


Students participating in the New Mexico Dance Collaborative will have a registration fee of $100.00 which includes both ONSTAGE MASTERCLASSES, admission to both performances, and entrance in the YOUNG DANCER’S SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITION. Space is limited. New Mexico Dance Collaborative will accept forty students on a first come first serve basis. Please call Megan Yackovich, Coordinator to register today, 575.779.9128.

Ballet Taos, Photography by Jack Mitchell.jpg



(FREE to all students 19 years and younger)

The intent of “A New Mexico Dance Collaborative” is to bring high quality dance to the community of Taos and provide opportunities for young dancers from the region to further their training. The weekend at the Taos Center for the Arts consists of a series of masterclasses from internationally acclaimed teachers, contemporary and classical dance performances, and a scholarship competition for aspiring dancers from New Mexico.

We are exceedingly fortunate to have Mark Carlson, director of International Youth Ballet, and Jefferson Baum, formerly with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, as master teachers for the first annual New Mexico Dance Collaborative. We hope to continue to use this event as a platform to advertise the exceptional teaching talent that this region has to offer and expose students to training that they may not otherwise have access to. Our chosen master teachers for this year’s edition of NMDC make an ideal pair as they come from completely different backgrounds but have both achieved great success in their careers as dancers and teachers. The events of the weekend will begin with Mr. Baum’s masterclass on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Carlson will teach the following morning. Both masterclasses will be held onstage at the Taos Center for the Arts and will be open for public viewing. Although the masterclasses are open to all intermediate and advanced level dancers, ages 10 – 19 years, students from New Mexico who participate will have the opportunity to compete for scholarships that can be used for summer training. Two full tuition scholarships to Ballet Taos’ summer intensive with Jefferson Baum, Jock Soto of New York City Ballet, and Mark Carlson, will be awarded in addition to two $250.00 cash scholarships. A panel of judges who are experts in the fields of classical dance and pedagogy will observe Mr. Baum’s masterclass and evaluate competitors. Judges will consider each competitor’s technique but their main selection criteria will be personal drive, work ethic, and willingness to apply corrections. NMDC believes these qualities to be absolutely essential in any aspiring professional. Winners will be invited to present a short solo at an award ceremony later that evening.

The weekend will also feature two mixed bill performances at the TCA. The first performance will consist of a short awards ceremony followed by an abridged restaging of Ballet Taos’ highly popular work Mechanical Nature: Movement VII conceptualized and choreographed by Megan Yackovich and CJ Bernal.This show will feature local student performers alongside guest artist Zac Bigbee who will be joining us from Chicago. Mr. Bigbee has also added an original work entitled Discourse to the Mechanical Nature suite which features original music by ethnomusicologist Meg York. This show emphasizes collaborative eclecticism as it was choreographed collectively with the dancers and features video and multimedia components arranged by Kate Martin. The contemporary movement vocabulary and strong political themes of Mechanical Nature provide a sharp contrast for International Youth Ballet’s whimsical production of Shakespeare’s classic comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The elaborate and poetic style of the original play are brought to life in movement by the exceptional students of International Ballet School and guest artists Andrew Thompson as Nick Bottom and Harold Mendez as Puck. The second half of the afternoon will feature two short contemporary ballets, Tabula Rasa and Spiegel Im Spiegl, masterfully choreographed by Mark Carlson to the music of renowned Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. The student performers of International Youth Ballet are among the best classical dancers in their age group and regularly go on to huge success in the U.S. and abroad. This show is a unique opportunity for local viewers to see these gifted pre-professionals before they step onto the great stages of the world to begin their careers. 

Ballet Taos, Zac Bigbee, Photography by Daviel Taveras.jpg
Ballet Taos, Zac Bigbee & CJ Bernal, Photography by Megan Yackovich.jpg


International Youth Ballet 

The International Ballet School is a small school where we know everyone and value each of them. Our school is focused on an international level of training enabling our students to dance anywhere in the world. Our students have received full scholarships to major ballet academies across the country including ABT, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Julliard to name only a few. Internationally our students have gone on to dance and study at such prestigious institutions as The National Ballet of Canada, The Princess Grace Academy of Monaco, and The Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Our students have consistently won and placed in both YAGP Regionals and the New York Finals. They are also among the few Americans to be invited to participate in the prestigious Prix De Lausanne.  

International Youth Ballet, Director Mark Carlson.jpeg
International Youth Ballet, Director Mark Carlson.png

Taos Arts Council 

The Taos Arts Council is a non-profit organization working to ensure that Taos County has a vibrant, vital and active arts environment. The mission of the TAC is to promote awareness, understanding, appreciation and development of all of the Creative Arts (literary, visual, tactile, musical, performing, etc.) in order to enhance the quality of life in our Northern New Mexico area. 

Taos Center for the Arts 

The Taos Center for the Arts provides and supports a wide range of cultural, artistic and educational activities enhancing the quality of life and reflecting the diverse community of Northern New Mexico. The Taos Center for the Arts is the premier community cultural organization, offering a wide and diverse selection of visual, media, and performing arts serving Northern New Mexico. 

Ballet Taos 

Ballet Taos is a 501c3 arts organization, fiscally sponsored by The Taos Arts Council, serving Northern New Mexico communities. Our company is three faceted; the professional company, the academy, and our outreach initiative, Project Relevé. Each facet supports, educates, and inspires the next. We use dance as an instrument to impress upon our students a sense of purpose, a lifelong love of learning, and a thoughtful, compassionate way of being. Our professional company promotes innovation, collaboration and diversity through original performance of classical and contemporary dance designed to move audiences. Our academy provides quality dance education rooted in classical tradition that prepares students for higher education or professional careers in dance and the arts. Our outreach program, Project Relevé, exists to ensure the future of dance in our community by instilling an appreciation for the arts through progressive initiatives in the public schools and classes open to all ages and abilities. 



Megan Yackovich 

Megan Yackovich, is the founder of Ballet Taos, a professional contemporary ballet company and training academy located in beautiful Taos, NM. During her successful career as a professional ballet dancer, which began at the age of seventeen, Megan concentrated on the restaging of classical ballets for professional companies across the United States. It was through this work that she discovered her passion for teaching young, aspiring dancers. After retiring from the stage, she served as the Artistic Director of The Peak Ballet Theatre and The Peak Ballet Theatre II (PBT II) for ten years. Her students have enjoyed the success of receiving recognition, acceptance to and scholarships from professional ballet companies, year-round schools and summer intensives worldwide. Most notably, ABT’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School; NYCB’s School of American Ballet; The National Ballet School of Canada; The Harid Conservatory; North Carolina School for the Arts; The Royal Ballet School (upper and lower divisions); Boston Ballet School; San Francisco Ballet School; Bolshoi Ballet Academy; The Pacific Northwest Ballet School; Pennsylvania Ballet; & Ballet West. Her students have also received awards, scholarships and top placement at The Denver Ballet Guild, The Esther Geoffrey’s Young Dancers Ballet Scholarship Competition, and Youth America Grand Prix Scholarship Competition.


Jefferson Baum 

Jefferson Baum performed with Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet de Monte Carlo (Monaco) and as a principal with Ballet Arizona, Milwaukee Ballet, Santa Fe Opera and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet of NYC. He performed on tours of North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. He also toured China with Los Angeles Ballet, Russia with Stars of American Ballet and Spain and Portugal performing alongside Rudolf Nureyev. His students have gone on to professional careers with major companies including Pacific Northwest Ballet, National Ballet of Washington, Momix of NYC, Dutch National Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and most recently Boston Ballet and the New York City Ballet. While in NYC Mr. Baum was invited to join the faculty of the prestigious "Steps on Broadway" where he taught Professionals to children's classes… and Adult Beginner Ballet. One of his favorite classes was his adult class. The students were there because they wanted to be there, were passionate about ballet and worked hard. They also appreciated the humor in his teaching.


Mark Carlson 

Mark Carlson was born in Oswego, Kansas. He grew up in Fullerton California and studied with Paul Petroff and Nana Gollner at the School of Imperial Russian Ballet. Mr. Carlson danced with the Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Canada, the Stora Teatern and Malmo Stadsteatern in Sweden,  the Badische Staat Theatern in Germany, as well as the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium. Mr. Carlson has taught for the Academie voor Klassiche Russiche Ballet in Belgium and the Stockholms Universitiet in Sweden as well as being Ballet Master for the Norrskoping Ballet in Sweden.  He has enjoyed a long career as a professional ballet dancer for over 20 years,  dancing soloist and principal roles throughout Europe.   After moving back to the United States, Mr. Carlson worked as the Associate Artistic Director of the Colorado Ballet Two as well as company teacher for the Colorado Ballet.   He founded the International Ballet School in Colorado Springs in 1997.  Mr. Carlson has been teaching for over 40 years throughout the United States and Europe. Mr. Carlson has won Outstanding teacher four times, outstanding choreographer twice, and Outstanding School ten times at the Youth America Grand Prix in Denver, Colorado.  He has coached students for the prestigious Prix de Lausanne and the U.S.A. International Ballet Competition where his students have won numerous scholarships and company traineeships.


Meg York 

Meg York grew up off-grid near the Village of Los Lunas, New Mexico surrounded by the sounds of Mexican, Spanish, Native American, and Jewish music. Meg has a Performance Degree from the University of New Mexico in Clarinet, Flute and Flamenco Accompaniment, She directs the international music and dance event Tarab Retreat. Meg York plays styles from the Balkans through Andalucia including Turkish, Arabic and Persian traditions.


Harold Mendez 

Harrold Mendez, formally a student of Mark Carlson, currently dances at the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School. He has won gold at the World Ballet Competition in Florida and reached the top five in this year’s Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland.


Andrew Thompson 

Andrew Thompson worked as a principal dancer at Colorado Ballet in Denver. He also served as répétiteur for Colorado Ballet, a position in which he was responsible for running rehearsals and staging choreography.


Zac Bigbee  

Zac Bigbee was born and raised in Taos New Mexico. He discovered of classical dance at the end of high school. Since then he has trained across the U.S. and abroad. He now performs in Chicago with cocodāco and in Denver with Zikr Dance Ensemble.


Kate Martin 

Kate Martin is a veteran actor and aerialist working on lyra and fabric and has fostered a lifelong relationship with dance. She currently works in film in digital media, specifically for the arts. 

Earlier Event: March 8
Discourse - Disco
Later Event: March 30
Mechanical Nature: Movement VII