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Artistic Staff

Christine CoxChristine Cox
Founder, Artistic and Executive Director

Christine Cox began her training with the Pennsylvania Ballet School and continued at the Philadelphia High School for the Performing Arts, spending summer sessions at the Joffrey and San Francisco Ballet schools. After high school, she danced with BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio for five years before moving to New York. There she danced as a guest artist with Ballet Hispanico and performed for President George H.W. Bush at Ford’s Theatre. Christine then spent one year with American Repertory Ballet before joining Pennsylvania Ballet from 1993 to 2006.

Christine has premiered works by a number of gifted choreographers, including Ib Anderson, Rennie Harris, James Kudelka, John McFall, Trey McIntyre, Matthew Neenan, Kevin O'Day, David Parsons, Kirk Peterson, and Christopher Wheeldon. Some of her featured roles include Rum and Coca Cola in Paul Taylor's Company B, Vortex in Alvin Ailey's The River; Choleric in George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments, Eve in Margo Sappington's Rodin, Mis En Vie the Cowgirl in Agnes DeMille's Rodeo, and principal female roles in Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free and The Concert.

Prior to retiring as a full-time company member in 2006, Christine staged Matthew Neenan's 11:11 on Pennsylvania Ballet and rehearsed the company for the premiere at New York City Center. For ten years, she served as the rehearsal assistant of the children’s corps for Pennsylvania Ballet’s annual production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Christine continues to teach and choreograph at University of the Arts. For her work as a performer, choreographer, and educator, Christine has been recognized with two Rocky Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, as well as fellowships from the Independence Foundation (2002) and Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (2006 and 2008).

In 2005, Christine co-founded BalletX with Matthew Neenan and has become a respected arts leader in the city of Philadelphia. She has served on review panels for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and sits on the Advisory Committee for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Pennsylvania Ballet.


Matthew NeenanMatthew Neenan
Founder

Matthew Neenan began his dance training at the Boston Ballet School and with noted teachers Nan C. Keating and Jacqueline Cronsberg. He later attended the LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts and the School of American Ballet in New York. From 1994-2007, Matthew danced with the Pennsylvania Ballet where he danced numerous principal roles in works by George Balanchine, John Cranko, Paul Taylor, Peter Martins, Val Caniparoli, Jorma Elo, Lila York, Meredith Rainey, Christopher Wheeldon and Jerome Robbins. In October 2007, Matthew was named Choreographer in Residenceat the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Matthew’s choreography has been featured and performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet (totaling 13 commissions), BalletX, The Washington Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Milwaukee Ballet, Juilliard Dance, New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, Sacramento Ballet, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Indiana University, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts (NYC), among others. He has received numerous awards and grants for his choreography from the National Endowment of the Arts, Dance Advance funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Choo San Goh Foundation, and the Independence Foundation. In 2006, Matthew received the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute’s Fellowship Initiative Award. Matthew’s “Carmina Burana”, “As It’s Going”, and “11:11” was performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet at New York City Center in 2006 & 2007.  In 2008, he received a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. This marks his fourth time receiving the PCA fellowship. In October 2009, Matthew was the grand-prize winner of Sacramento Ballet’s Capital Choreography Competition and was also the first recipient of the Jerome Robbins NEW Program Fellowship for his work At the border for Pennsylvania Ballet.

In 2005, Matthew co-founded BalletX with fellow dancer Christine Cox. BalletX had its world premiere at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival in September 2005 and is now the resident dance company at the prestigious Wilma Theatre. BalletX has toured and performed Neenan’s choreography in New York City at The Skirball Center, Symphony Space and Central Park Summerstage, Vail International Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, The Cerritos Center, Laguna Dance Festival, Spring to Dance Festival in St.Louis, and internationally in Cali, Colombia and Seoul, Korea.


Tara KeatingTara Keating
Associate Artistic Director

Tara Keating began her training at the age of seven at the Pioneer Valley Ballet in Northampton, Massachusetts. She then attended the Juilliard School, under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy, where she received a BFA in dance. While there, she was awarded the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship and the Most Outstanding Dance Major award from the National Dance Association. She has danced professionally with American Repertory Ballet, “Tharp!” and as a soloist with the Pennsylvania Ballet. Throughout her career she has originated roles in world premieres by such renowned choreographers as Jorma Elo, Jodie Gates, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Trey McIntyre, Matthew Neenan, Helen Pickett, Septime Webre, and Christopher Wheeldon, among others.

In 2005, she became a founding member of BalletX, and danced in nearly every performance until her retirement in 2012. She has staged numerous ballets on BalletX, and has set Neenan’s work on Pennsylvania Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Nevada Ballet Theatre, SUNY at Purchase College and Bucknell University. Tara was the Producing Director in 2006 and 2007 for Shut Up and Dance, an annual benefit for MANNA, created by the Dancers of Pennsylvania Ballet. She was also the recipient of a 2002 City Paper Choice Award. She is on faculty at The University of the Arts, Philadelphia Dance Academy and is a guest teacher at various schools in the region. Tara served as BalletX’s Artistic Coordinator and Ballet Mistress from 2011 to 2013, and was named Associate Artistic Director in February 2014.


Colby Damon Colby Damon
Lead Teaching Artist, Dance eXchange

Colby Damon received his training at the Richmond Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Virginia School of the Arts. He has danced professionally with Sacramento Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Group, Amy Seiwert'sIm'ig-ery, Northwest Dance Project, AviScher and Dancers, and Thang Dao Dance Company, among others, and has appeared in choreographic projects with Luca Veggetti and John Selya. In 2008 he joined BalletX, and has since been featured in over 15 world premieres. Colby is a student of Chinese language, energy work, and martial arts, is pursuing his BA in Dance through the New York LEAP program, and is active in the fight against Hydraulic Fracturing within the state of Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. In the summer of 2014, Colby retired from dancing with BalletX. He is now the Lead Teaching Artist for BalletX’s afterschool dance education program Dance eXchange.