WMYB Staff

Stephen Sanford
Artistic Director

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Artistic Director, WMYB and Studio Owner of Ada Dance Academy. Sanford trained at Southold School in South Bend, Indiana, North Carolina School of the Arts (trained under Melissa Hayden, Duncan Noble, and Warren Conover), Ballet Chicago Studio Company (mentored by Dan Duell and Patricia Blair), attended numerous summer courses including School of American Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Hartford Ballet. Sanford has had the opportunity to work with esteemed choreographers and teachers such as Kirk Peterson, Val Caniparoli, Suzanne Farrell, Daniel Duell, and Mario Radacovsky during his 14 seasons performing as a Principal Dancer with Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Sanford has performed as a guest artist for New York Theater Ballet, Toledo Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, St. Louis Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Geiger Ballet, and Southold Dance Theater. Alongside his performing career, he taught classical technique classes at Grand Rapids Ballet School for 14 years and he has been teaching master dance classes throughout the Midwest. Sanford is currently teaching classical technique classes at Ada Dance Academy. Stephen and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters Julia, Elaina, Lucy and two sons Andrew and Nathan.  This is Stephen’s 7th year leading the Artistic Direction for the West Michigan Youth Ballet. 

Laura Schwenk-Berman

Stager/Choreographer 

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Laura has been performing, teaching, choreographing, staging and rehearsing major works for over 42 years. She began her career dancing principal roles for Chicago Ballet, Garden State Ballet, Boston Repertory Ballet and spent seven years with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle where she performed as a soloist with Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov. She has toured as a guest artist throughout the United States and Asia.  From 1992-2010, Berman served as Ballet Mistress, Associate Artistic Director and Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. At that time, she conducted a major capital campaign to renovate the North Star Bus Terminal into the Grand Rapids Ballet Company’s current LEED certified Peter Martin Wege Theatre. She was also Director of the School at the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, establishing its curriculum, syllabus, faculty and performances while placing students in ballet companies around the world.  Currently, Berman is a free-lance artist who choreographs original works, stages full-length classical ballets and is an instructor and private coach. She has a master’s degree in Theatre from Northwestern University where she graduated with honors.

Heather Cassady
Costume Designer

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Heather graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Clothing and Textile Design with an emphasis in Fashion Design. She then began an 11-year career as a Costumer with the Walt Disney Company.  She was the Costumer for a variety of parades and stage shows in all four of the Walt Disney World Parks and many of their Resort Properties.  Some of her shows included the Remember The Magic Parade, SpectroMagic, Around the World with Mickey and Minnie, The Jungle Book, and several US tours and conventions.  She has been with the WMYB for 12 productions.

Joanne Jaglowski

Stager/Choreographer

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A Grand Rapids native, Jaglowski spent the majority of her early ballet education with former Joffrey artists Charthel Arthur and Robert Estner. Guest teachers and artists helped her fuel her determination, and various summer scholarship opportunities, including San Francisco Ballet School and Pacific Northwest Ballet School, helped launch her professional career with Cleveland San Jose Ballet. During these years, she performed at Chautauqua and on the Drew Carey Show. Jaglowski originated solos in The Dying Swan and Marilyn (both choreographed by Artistic Director Dennis Nahat. She was honored to work with ballet greats such as John Clifford, Donald MacKayle, Fleming Flindt, and Rudy VanDanzig.

Dan Arganbright
Stage Manager

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Stage Manager at WMYB.  Arganbright joined WMYB 8 years ago as a parent volunteer and now manages the technical responsibilities for WMYB stage productions.  Arganbright works full time at Amway Corporation