Laura Schwenk-Berman is an Artistic Associate of RPM Productions and has been performing, teaching, choreographing, staging and rehearsing works for over 30 years. She began her performing career dancing principal roles with the Garden State Ballet, the Chicago Ballet, the Boston Repertory Ballet and for seven years with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. While with Pacific Northwest Ballet Ms. Berman performed with Mikhail Baryshnikov as part of the Pacific Northwest Ballet/Baryshnikov tour and danced in the film: “Nutcracker: The Motion Picture” directed by Carol Ballard, designed by Maurice Sendak. Ms. Berman has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. As a guest artist she has performed with the Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, Momenta! Performing Arts Company, Joan Lombardi Dance Company, Rondo Dance Theatre, The Pierce Group, and with American Repertory Dance Company helping to recreate the early works of American modern dance pioneer Doris Humphrey from labanotated scores.
Ms. Berman served as the ballet mistress, Interim Artistic Director, and Associate Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company from 1992-2010. During that time she conducted two capital campaigns to build beautiful new studios, offices and rehearsal space, as well as a state-of-the-art, LEED certified, 300 seat theatre of the company’s own. She also served as Director of the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company from 1998-2010 establishing the school’s curriculum, syllabus, faculty, staff, and performances, with her students going on to major ballet companies around the world, including New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Ballet of Antwerp in Brussels.
Ms. Berman has choreographed works for Momenta! Performing Arts Company, Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble, Northwestern University Dance Ensemble, the Cecchetti Council of America, and the Grand Rapids Ballet Junior and Senior Companies. She has collaborated on numerous works with choreographer Gordon Peirce Schmidt and regularly assists him in staging and rehearsing his over 60 original works. She also stages full-length classical ballets.
Ms. Berman has taught dance at a wide array of institutions including the University of Washington, Northwestern University, Columbia College, Hope College, Loretta Heights College, Hubbard Street Dance Company, Chicago Academy for the Performing Arts, Oak Park Academy of Movement and Music, the Cecchetti Council of America, the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company and its professional company. She is also a private instructor and coach.
Ms. Berman has a Bachelor of Science degree from Skidmore College and a Masters degree in Theatre from Northwestern University where she graduated with honors.