Montgomery Ballet Artistic Staff
Darren Christian McIntyre
Artistic Director/Resident Choreographer
Originally from Port Macquarie, NSW Australia, Darren McIntyre is a graduate of The Australian Ballet School receiving his Advanced Diploma of Dance in 1999.
Mr. McIntyre has toured extensively throughout the United States, Australia, Asia, Canada, Europe and South America, performing a wide range of both classical and contemporary works as a freelance artist and with such companies as the Milwaukee Ballet, the Australian Ballet’s Dancers Company, the Landestheater Detmold in Germany, the National Ballet of Ireland, and the Ajkun Ballet Theatre in New York City. This work experience has built a resume that includes the title roles in all of the traditional repertory ballets and has also featured him in works by George Balanchine, Anthony Tudor, Nacho Duato, David Dawson, Stanton Welch, Val Caniparoli, Salvatore Aiello, James Sutherland, Christopher Fleming, Stephen Mills, Edwaard Liang, Mark Godden, Michael Pink, Jessica Lang, Wan Chin Choong, and Gregor Thieler.
In May 2011, Mr. McIntyre completed his fourth season with the prestigious Milwaukee Ballet in Wisconsin where he continued to expand his artistic knowledge, passion, and commitment for dance. He then relocated to Chicago to continue his freelance performing career and founded the DManagement International Dance Agency, a presenting agency established to promote some of the world's finest artists to the performing arts industry.
Darren is the recipient of several scholarships including the Dame Peggy Van Praagh Award for Choreography, the Sir Robert Helpmann Bursary, and the Young Australian of The Year Arts Award.
As a special guest performer, Darren has danced at several international dance festivals in Italy, Greece, Australia, and Japan, and was invited to represent the USA at the 4th International Ballet Festival of Colombia in South America in June 2010. He is also the founder and artistic director of the Marianne McIntyre Memorial International Ballet Scholarship, a ballet festival held annually in memory of his mother, which fosters dance education through grants for young dancers to study in the USA, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Darren choreographed and premiered his own original ballet, What May Come, which was presented in 1999 at the Australian Ballet Centre in collaboration with the Anti-Cancer Council of Australia and raised valuable funds towards cancer research and awareness.
Mr. McIntyre was appointed Artistic Director of Montgomery Ballet in January 2012 and has brought to the company several innovative creations as well as maintaining the traditional classic repertory ballets. Since his arrival he has restaged his own versions of "SWAN LAKE", "GISELLE", "THE SLEEPING BEAUTY", "DON QUIXOYE" & "LE CORSAIRE". He has also brought in guest choreographers Timothy O'Donnell to restage "THE GAMES WE PLAY" and Adria Ferralli to create a world premiere "ALPHEOS ET ARETHUSA". As a resident choreographer with Montgomery Ballet, Mr. McIntyre created three world premieres "LIBERTY BELL", "BLACKBIRD" and "LIGHTS WILL GUIDE YOU HOME". He has also put together the productions of "BIRDS OF BALLET", "LOVE IS IN THE AIR" and created a new version of "THE NUTCRACKER" for the company which premiered in December, 2012 at The Davis Theatre with rave reviews.
Mr. McIntyre continues to travel the world as a Guest Teacher, Choreographer, Performer, Casting Agent & Adjudicator.
Mr. McIntyre is delighted to be in Montgomery, Sweet Home Alabama and looks forward to continue to take the Montgomery Ballet to new artistic heights. Additional information about Darren McIntyre can be found at www.darrenmcintyre.webs.com
"I strive to improve each day and my emotions explore and cascade to movement. Dance is my way to communicate to a diversity of cultures with no boundaries - it is a language interpreted and understood by all. I am still very young and have much to achieve, and I believe that I have only just started. I am very excited to be in my first season as Artistic Director at the Montgomery Ballet!" - Darren McIntyre.
Director of Development and External Relations
Whitney Griswold, Director of Development and External Relations, for the Montgomery Ballet, knew at an early age in life, that she wanted to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector. In addition to her family, Whitney credits her passion for service to growing up in the small town of Millbrook, Alabama, a community where hard work and helping your neighbor went hand in hand. After graduating from Stanhope Elmore High School, Whitney attended Auburn University to pursue her Undergraduate Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Business and Consumer Affairs. While completing her degree, Whitney served as the Special Projects Coordinator for the Women’s Philanthropy Board, a nonprofit organization housed in Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences. Through this role, Whitney gained experience in event planning, public relations and nonprofit management.
In 2010, Whitney was given the opportunity to develop the curriculum for and coordinate a weekly outreach program that would serve teens, ages 13 – 18, at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Lee County called REAL Cents REAL Change?. Through this unique learning series, participants were given the tools necessary to feel empowered through education, leadership and philanthropy. Teen participants learned the basic skills of financial management and how to maximize their philanthropic impact. For this work, Whitney was recognized as a Finalist for Auburn University’s Student Employee of the Year and a finalist for Mobilize.org’s Democracy 2.0 Summit: Exploring the Millennial Generations Return on Investment Award.
In 2011, Whitney put her career at Auburn University on hold to pursue an opportunity with the Atlanta based United Athletes Foundation (UAF), where she served as the Operations Manager and Special Events Coordinator. Through this role, Whitney was able to travel the country working with professional athletes and their respective foundations. Whitney worked with some of the most recognizable names in the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA.) During her time with the UAF, Whitney also served as a Communications Specialist for Zac Etheridge, a former Auburn University standout and current Assistant Coach at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who overcame the odds by returning to football following a life altering injury. Whitney helped Etheridge secure a watch deal, whose proceeds benefitted a nonprofit of special interest to Etheridge. She also helped him coordinate special events, media communication and personal appearances.
In 2012, Whitney returned to Auburn University to continue serving the Women’s Philanthropy Board as a Special Projects Coordinator.
In 2013, Whitney joined the Montgomery Ballet staff and is excited to be back home, making a positive impact in the River Region. When she isn’t on the clock, Whitney enjoys spending time with her family and friends, watching Auburn Tiger Football, being active outdoors and playing with her Yorkiepoo, Trigger Man. She is an advocate for Organ Donation and supports the Alabama Kidney Foundation, Big Brother Big Sister – Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program, Boys & Girls Clubs of Lee County, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) and Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity for Women. Whitney is a member of EMERGE, Women’s Club of Auburn and the Women’s Philanthropy Board.
Guest Ballet Mistress & Repetitur
Jennifer Grapes is a former Principal Ballerina, Master Instructor, the owner of the Hinsdale Dance Academy and the Artistic Director of the Hinsdale Ballet Theatre located in Hinsdale, IL. Ms. Grapes is an internationally traveled dancer, teacher, and choreographer. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Ms. Grapes grew up studying all forms of dance including ballet, modern/contemporary, jazz, and tap. She received her early training from Melissa Morris (Blue Springs Ballet), Yvonne Craig, Sharon Romine, Luba Gulyaeva, Michael Simms, and the Kansas City Ballet School as well as receiving scholarships to study at the Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Rock School. After high school, she was able to fine-tune her technique and artistry by studying extensively under the tutelage of former Milwaukee Ballet Principal, Paula Weber, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. There, she was able to also add Lester Horton’s and Martha Graham’s Modern technique to her technical repertoire.
Ms. Grapes started dancing professionally at the tender age of 19 with the Albany Berkshire Ballet whilst also working toward completing her college degree. Since then, Jennifer has seen much success all around the globe performing as a Principal Artist, master teacher, and adjudicator. Her professional career includes most of the title roles in the traditional ballet repertory and also other classical, neoclassical, and contemporary works by Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Antony Tudor, August Bournonville, Kevin “Iega” Jeff, Adam Houghland, Laura Dean, Margo Sappington, Stephen Mills, Salvatore Aiello, Stuart Sebastien, Mark Godden, Dermot Burke, Karen Russo, Gregory Robinson, and Michael Pink to name a few.
Ms. Grapes has danced for many elite professional companies such as the Milwaukee Ballet, Montgomery Ballet, Dayton Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Albany Berkshire Ballet, Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Atlantic Southeast Ballet, Lexington Ballet, and Wylliams/Henry Contemporary DANSE Theatre.
She has been a guest artist, master teacher, and adjudicator for several national and international dance festivals in Europe, Australia, and Canada and also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In 2006, she performed as the guest Principal Artist at the International Ballet Festival of Calabria (Italy) to rave reviews and in 2007; she portrayed the title roles in Carmen and Romeo and Juliet as well as Diana and Acteon and Karien, The Amazon (original creation) at the legendary Symphony Space and City Center on Broadway in NYC.
In 2008, she was selected to represent the Milwaukee Ballet at the Crossroads Ballet Festival in Kansas City, MO, where she danced one of her most popular roles, Black Swan Pas de Deux. Also in 2008, Jennifer toured throughout Australia’s east coast performing the leads in Paquita, The Sleeping Beauty, Alvin Ailey’s The River, as well as teaching several master classes and adjudicating the famous nationally acclaimed scholarship programs, Sydney Eistedfodd and the Marianne McIntyre Memorial International Scholarship Program. During her tenure with the Milwaukee Ballet she had several roles created for her in works such as Michael Pink’s Aubade, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Peter Pan, Nelly Van Bommel’s Gelem! Gelem!, Timothy O’Donnell’s The Games We Play, Mark Godden’s Wonder Wild, and Adam Houghland’s K413.
In 2011, Jennifer joined the Montgomery Ballet as a Principal Artist where she again danced the coveted role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. That same year Jennifer was appointed Ballet Mistress of DManagement Dance Agency (an international artist agency representing the finest artists, teachers, and choreographers.) and co-directed the agency’s first international dance workshop, Performing in Chicago. She won glowing praise for her restaging of Giselle, Don Quixote, and her very own original work, Black Swan.
In addition, Ms. Grapes has been featured in DANCEtrain magazine and photographed by former American Ballet Theatre star, Ted Kivitt and acclaimed dance photographer, Dani Brown. She is also a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and has also worked with Bloch and Bunheads of New York to create new product lines for dancers. She was also featured in the documentary film, The Waiting, by Tomosol Digital.
Juan Carlos Peñuela
Guest Ballet Master & Repetitur
A native of Cali, Colombia, Juan Carlos Peñuela began dancing at the age of 12 with Incolballet, a ballet-centered secondary school. After graduation, Mr. Peñuela was invited to join Colombia's National Company as a soloist, Ballet de Cali, by Artistic Director, Gloria Castro where he performed in a variety of leading roles in contemporary works as well as classical pieces.
Mr. Peñuela has also danced with the Ballet Arizona in Phoenix, Dance Theater of Harlem, Pennsylvania Ballet, Maximum Dance Ballet Gamon, Chamber Dance Project amount others.
In 2001 and 2002, Mr. Peñuela was selected to represent his native Colombia by performing in the Festival Internacional de Ballet de Miami, featuring dancers from more than a dozen countries worldwide.
Juan Carlos has been guest Ballet Master and Repetitur with Compania Colombiana de Ballet - Incolballet in Colombia, Chamber Dance Project, Lexington Ballet, The Ajkun Ballet Theatre in New York City, Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theatre, Ena Ballet Company in Japan and Earl Mosley's Institute of the Arts International Summer Intensive in Kent, CT.In 2011, he was invited to Malaysia where he was Guest Ballet master at their International festival, restaging Don Quixote and coaching artists from all over the world for their International Gala of the Stars.
Juan Carlos is currently ballet master of Ballet Hispanico Company in New York City as well senior ballet master for the school of dance with Ballet Hispanico. Mr. Penuela is part of the faculty of Joffrey Ballet School and Marymount Manhattan College.
Juan Carlos is delighted to be a frequent guest Ballet Master with The Montgomery Ballet Professional Company in Alabama and at the inaugural “Performing in America” International workshop, coaching and nurturing some of the world’s finest talents from major dance institutions who are accepted into the four week seminar held in America.
Juan Carlos received The American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum certification in 2011.
Wardrobe Mistress / Costume Designer
An accomplished graphic, scenic and fine artist, Seay Earehart has been designing sets for the past six seasons at the Montgomery Ballet. Originally from Beckley, West Virginia he graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a degree in Visual Communications and took additional independent studies with artisans he admired at Carnegie Mellon University before moving to Boston, Massachusetts. After working for four years as an award-winning graphic designer and editorial artist with Gannett Newspapers, he left to pursue his interests in acting and fine arts.
As an award-winning fine artist, his drawings and paintings can be found in over 200 corporate and private collections across the US including EXXON Corporation, Broadcast Music Industries, James Earl Jones, Reba McIntire, and the permanent collections of the states of West Virginia and Tennessee. He has received over 50 national and international awards.
In 1985, Seay began working as a scenic design artist under Master Scenic Designer, J.R. Wears, with Theater West Virginia. He later moved to Tennessee where he became a freelance designer working on music videos and films. In 1998, he moved to Alabama to be Scenic Charge Artist for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival where he also designed sets for two productions and taught children's acting classes and scenic workshops. He became a freelance designer in 2004 to pursue film and dance projects.
His most recent projects were as Scenic Specialist at the Alley Theater in Houston, Texas. For the Broadway musical preview of An American in Paris, he built and carved the 16 feet tall Twin Fountain for the finale. He also served as the paint foreman for the movie Mardi Gras, filmed in New Orleans, scenic artist for John Sayles' film The Honey Dripper, and scenic charge artist for the Alabama film, When I Find The Ocean. He has worked extensively with HBO, Disney, Broadcast Music Industries, Virginia Opera and Ballet, Kentucky Opera, West Virginia Dance Co., ABC, NBC, among several others.
Seay's most recent set designs for the Montgomery Ballet include Coppelia and Gloria. He has also performed as Mother Ginger in The Nutcracker.