ERIK J SANBORN - Founder/Artistic Director
Erik Sanborn, Founder/Artistic Director of METROPOLITAN BALLET, has been teaching in the fine arts of music and ballet for nearly 30 years. He trained in ballet with Nancy Bielsky, David Howard, Wihelm Burmann, Farbrice Hauralt, Bonnie Mathis, Lirena Branitsky and Tatian Berenova. His careers have taken him to 26 countries and his directorship has included choreographing several works including The Nutcracker, Paloma, Swan Lake, Amadeus the Ballet, Dracula and Sleeping Beauty. Erik has performed several principal roles including the Nutcracker Prince and Sugar Plum Cavalier, Arabian Prince, Snow Cavalier, Blue Bird Pas de Deux, Head Rancher in Rodeo, Prince Florimund in Sleeping Beauty, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Fall Pas de Deux in Cinderella and the male lead in CAAM’s Butterfly Lovers by world renown Chinese Choreographer, Shen Pei. Erik brings his enthusiasm and gift for teaching, choreography and artistic direction to MBA. He dedicates his career and life to the fine arts in honor of his late daughter Anna.
LIRENA BRANITSKI - Premier Instructor
Lirena Branitski was born and trained in the former Soviet Union. M. Branitski was first soloist of the Kiev State Theatre of Opera and Ballet and a frequent guest performer on the stage of the famed Bolshoi Theatre. She became a touring member of the Bolshoi Theatre concurrently with renowned ballet dancer Mikhail Barishnikov. She has performed on stages throughout Europe, Canada and South America. M. Branitski has a vast performance repertoire of soloist and principal roles in both classical and contemporary ballets. She has performed under all the master Russian choreographers, including the world-renowned Peter Gusev, Vakhtang Tchabukiani, Raisa Struchkova, and Alexander Lapauri. After emigrating to USA in 1980 M.Branitski was teaching at her own school as well at Minnesota Dance Theater. From 1989 to 2006 M.Branitski was teaching and choreographed at Ballet Arts Minnesota. In addition to teaching ballet and character classes at the Dance Institute, M. Branitski has choreographed for student performances. At Minnesota Dance Theatre & the Dance Institute, she teaches technique class, and coaches company dancers in classical repertoire. Her direct link to Russian classical ballet technique, repertoire and character dance is a rare privilege for Minnesota Dance Theatre & the Dance Institute. In 2009, M. Branitski was appointed School Principal of the Dance Institute. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Special Citation at the 2012 SAGE Awards.
WYNNE WREDE - Instructor
Wynne Wrede is a company apprentice with the Metropolitan Ballet and has performed in several classical ballets, including the Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and many more. She has trained with many instructors around the Twin Cities, including Tatiana Berenova, and has was featured in the Washington Ballet and the Milwaukee Ballet summer programs. Wynne is excited to bring her knowledge of dance and artistry to the students at En Pointe. She hopes to inspire all dancers to work their hardest and never be afraid to express themselves.
HARUNA ASANUMA - Instructor
Haruna has been trained in classical ballet and in a broad range of contemporary dance styles. At the American Dance Festival she trained under Jimena Paz and Mark Haim in contemporary dance, as well as African Dance Theatre, under Sherone Price. Haruna also studied in London with the Laban Conservatoire of Contemporary Dance, where she studied under Sonia Rafferty, Jamie DryBourgh, Emma Redding, Glenn Wilkinson, Julia Gleich, and Hagit Yakira. She has been professionally trained in Release, Limon, and Cunningham techniques, as well as classical ballet and contemporary jazz. At Laban, she performed a work by Gary Lambert, titled Movement for Boxes, 7 Minutes with Marcel, Broken Hard Drive, Human Slinky. She also worked with choreographer Marianna Batelli and performed in the Prospettiva Danza Teatro Competition in Padova, Italy. Haruna also studied at the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance, where she worked with guest choreographer Tom Pritchard, among others, and toured with the SSCD graduate company. She received her BA (Hons) Dance Completion Award.
REBECCA RICE - Instructor
Rebecca is a professional company dancer at Metropolitan Ballet. Classically trained in ballet by former professional dancer, Gregoriy Illyevskiy, she has performed in several classics such as Romeo & Juliet, Nutcracker, Coppelia, Midsummer Nights Dream, and Giselle. These are a few favorites out of many she has performed. Also trained in tap, jazz, and lyrical, she has been teaching these various styles of dance to students of all ages for many years. Her goal as an instructor at En Pointe is to help and encourage dancers to enjoy the beautiful intricacies of classical ballet technique, while developing the disciplines necessary to succeed.