PAOLA HARTLEY and ASTRIT ZEJNATI, principal dancers of Ballet Arizona, will appear as guest artists in the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet's production of The Nutcracker which will be performed on December 1 (Evening), and December 2 (Matinee), 2012 at the Riverview Theatre in Shreveport, Louisiana.
PAOLA HARTLEY was born in Bonn, Germany and grew up in South Africa and Chile where her parents danced with the PACT Ballet and Ballet de Santiago. In Chile Ms. Hartley studied with Karen Connolly and at the School of the Teatro Municipal. Ms. Hartley pursued her ballet studies in the United States at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under the guidance of Melissa Hayden, Duncan Noble, Gyula Pandi, Dianne Markham, and Trish Casey.
In 1993 Ms. Hartley joined Ballet de Santiago which was then under the direction of Marcia Haydee. In 1997 Ms. Hartley was promoted to the rank of soloist by Ballet de Santiago's artistic director, Ivan Nagy.
Ms. Hartley worked with many guest artists who appeared with Ballet de Santiago including Igor Zelensky, Jose Manuel Carreno, Maximiliano Guerra, Carlos Acosta, and Lauren Anderson.
Her repertoire included Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis in Giselle, Olga in John Cranko's Onegin, The Mad Lady in Ben Stevenson's Peer Gynt, The Countess in Ronald Hynd's The Devil To Pay, Spring and Autumn Fairies in Stevenson's Cinderella, the Sugar Plum Fairy in Stevenson's The Nutcracker, Mercedes in Don Quixote, and created the role of Stella in the world premiere of Mauricio Wainrot's A Streetcar Named Desire.
In 1998 Ms. Hartley joined Ballet Arizona rising to the rank of principal dancer. Ms. Hartley has continued to expand her repertoire to include Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the title role in Giselle, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanhilda in Coppelia, the title role in La Sylphide, Hermia and Helena in Ib Andersen's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Juliet in Andersen's Romeo and Juliet, the Sugar Plum Fairy in Andersen's production of The Nutcracker, and Kitri in Don Quixote.
Ms. Harley has danced with guest artists, Marcello Gomes (La Fille Mal Gardee Pas de Deux), Nikolaj Hubbe (Napoli), and Gael Lambiotte (Swan Lake).
Ms. Hartley has also danced principal roles in the Balanchine ballets, Agon, Allegro Brillante, Apollo (Terpsichore and Polyhymnia), Concerto Barocco, Divertimento No. 15, Duo Concertant, Serenade, Theme and Variations, Rubies, Stars and Stripes, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and The Four Temperaments, and in Jerome Robbins' In The Night. She has also danced principal roles in Alejandro Cerrudo's Off-Screen, and created a principal role in Ib Andersen's Symphonie Classique, and Andersen's Topia.
Ms. Hartley has received critical acclaim for her performances in contemporary works including principal roles in Kevin O'Day's HeliBlondeGroove, Paul Taylor's Company B, Julia Adam's Before, Twyla Tharp's Sinatra Suite and The Golden Section, and Dwight Rhoden's Ave Maria, and the world premieres of Rhoden's Scarlet Symphony, and Skinny Puzzle, and Moses Pendleton's Opus Cactus.
Ms. Hartley, partnered by Astrit Zejnati, performed at a Gala in Albania in 2005, and represented Ballet Arizona in the Miami International Dance Festival in 2006. In 2008 Ms. Hartley was featured in North Carolina's Manteo Summer Festival, as an alumna of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
During 2008 and 2009, Ms. Hartley performed with Novaballet, and is a popular teacher in the Phoenix, Arizona area.
In 2011 and 2012 Ms. Hartley was a guest faculty member for the Goh Ballet Academy's Summer Intensive in Vancouver, Canada.
ASTRIT ZEJNATI received his ballet training at the National School of Albania and at the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Zejnati has studied ballet under the guidance of Truman Finney and Lazaro Carreno.
Before joining Ballet Arizona as a principal dancer in 2003, Mr. Zejnati had been a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Albania, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Mr. Zejnati's repertoire includes principal roles in Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Esmeralda, Paquita, and principal roles in Lynne Taylor Corbett's Ballad of You & Me and Mercury, Hans van Manen's Five Tangos, Val Caniparoli's Lambarena, Nacho Duato's Rassemblement, Jerome Robbins' In The Night, and George Balanchine's Agon, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Apollo, Theme and Variations, Allegro Brillante, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, La Valse, Western Symphony, The Four Temperaments, Who Cares?, Episodes, and Jewels.