Elizabeth DeFanti is the Artistic Director of Montana Ballet Company (MBC) and Director of MBC’s Academy.
Most recently this summer, Ms. DeFanti was accepted to and attended the prestigious Cross Threads Teacher’s Program at the world-renowned Paris Opera Ballet School. Her choreography, in collaboration with American contemporary classical composer and conductor Eric Funk and fellow choreographer Amy Lynn Stoddart, was featured on the Main Stage Collaborative performance at the 37th Annual Sweet Pea Festival.
Ms. DeFanti danced professionally for the Festival Ballet of Rhode Island where she was noted for her principal roles in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Eaters of Darkness. She was also a member of the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet where she danced soloist roles and received critical acclaim for her portrayal of “Maria” in The Nutcracker. Throughout her career, Ms. DeFanti danced a wide repertory including works by Anton Dolin, Kenneth MacMillan, Arthur Mitchell and George Balanchine, among others.
She made guest appearances with the Mobile Ballet, the Sea Coast Ballet in New Hampshire, and with the Worcester Youth Ballet. She performed in Charleston, South Carolina’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival where she received praise for her portrayal of “Kitri” in the wedding pas de deux of Don Quixote and “Juliet” in the balcony pas de deux of Romeo and Juliet. She also appeared as a principal dancer in two nationally broadcast television commercials.
Ms. DeFanti brings to the Academy a wealth of knowledge about training dancers in the classical style. Ms. DeFanti herself, began her classical dance training at Festival Ballet with her parents, Christine Hennessy and Winthrop Corey, and additionally spent summers studying at the National Ballet School in Toronto and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. Following her career as a dancer, Ms. DeFanti returned to Rhode Island and assumed the role of Artistic Director of Festival Ballet. She also assumed ownership of The Dance Center, School of Festival Ballet, taught extensively in the school and served as Adjunct Faculty for Rhode Island College’s Dance Department, where she specialized in ballet technique.
In addition to her artistic background, Ms. DeFanti has expertise in educating dancers about psychological aspects of dance and performing. She graduated with honors from Brown University with a degree in Psychology. She also holds both a Master of Arts and Masters of Education in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University’s Teachers College, and had the privilege of working as a primary therapist in the department of psychiatry at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Ms. DeFanti now resides in Bozeman with her husband and two children and is delighted to be a part of the dance community here.