Our Wonderful Staff
Robin Conrad Sturm began her training at the Washington School of the Ballet and is a graduate of the Academy of the Washington School of the Ballet. She was a full scholarship student at the American Ballet Theatre School and the School of American Ballet in New York City. She received a soloist contract with the Hanover Opera Ballet in Germany and was a principal dancer with the Washington Ballet, of which she was a founding member. As a principle dancer with the Washington Ballet, Ms. Sturm originated many lead roles in the ballets of famed choreographer Choo San Goh, including “Introducing”, “Fives”, and “Synonyms.” She performed principal roles in many other ballets, including Heinz Claus’s “Carmina Burana,” Balanchine’s “Serenade,” and Goh’s “Octet.” She also appeared as a soloist in Jerome Hines’s opera, “I Am the Way,” at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
Robert Sturm holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theater from Indiana University and a Masters Degree in Performing Arts/Dance from American University, where he was awarded “Most Outstanding Graduate” by the Washington Performing Arts Society. He has appeared as a guest soloist with the Washington Ballet and was a principle dancer with Choreo 18, as well as one of the company’s choreographers. Mr. Sturm choreographed the Washington, DC and Russian premieres of Jerome Hines’s opera, “I Am the Way,” performed at the George Mason Center for the Arts and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. He also directed the world premiere of Patrick Kavanaugh’s, “The Last Supper,” presented at the Washington Folger Shakespeare Theater. Mr. Sturm has choreographed numerous works for various modern dance companies and also a CBS television special. As a Co-Director of the Asaph Dance Ensemble, his choreographed versions of the Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Psalms”, Bach’s “Magnificat”, Mozart’s “Requiem,” Kavanaugh’s “Song of Songs” and others have all premiered at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
Susan Shumaker joined the NVDA staff in the fall of 1998. Receiving her B.A. in Communications from James Madison University, she performed in both JMU dance and theatre. Now possessing over 30 years of dance experience, her resume includes teaching at The Loudoun School of Ballet and Foxcroft Academy as well as dancing at Busch Gardens and performing dramatic and musical roles in community theatre. Mrs. Shumaker also works with elite team gymnasts on improving dance elements in their style. In addition to directing and choreographing a Prince William County high school musical, Mrs. Shumaker has a long history of developing and directing children’s traveling theatre groups in Loudoun County. Over the past 20 years she has not only performed in numerous ASAPH Ensemble and Loudoun Ballet Company productions but also served as director, choreographer and repetiteur. Mrs. Shumaker loves to teach and nurture students to attain the best of their capabilities while developing from within the love and joy of movement.
Ms. Pflepsen’s life passion has been dance since her first lesson at the age of three. By the age of 12 she was a student teacher at the Bretton Woods School of Dance. While still in high school she began studying dance at Marygrove College in Detroit. Carrie went on to earn her B.A. in Dance from Michigan State University. While in college she performed with the M.S.U. Repertory Dance Company and the M.S.U. Lecture Demonstration Dance Ensemble. She taught M.S.U. Orchesis Ballet Classes and Dance for Gymnasts at the M.S.U. Summer Sports Camp. She spent intensive summers of study in New York City and at York University in Toronto, Canada. Carrie was a member of the Michigan Dance Association and an executive board member of the Greater Lansing Area Dance Council. While in Lansing she performed professionally with Happendance, Michigan’s oldest contemporary dance company. With the Happendance Lecture Demonstration Team she extensively toured Michigan public schools performing and teaching workshops for the Michigan Dance Association’s MDIS Program (Michigan Dancers in Schools).
STEPHEN BARANOVICS began dancing at the age of twelve in New Orleans under Gale Parmelee. He continued his training at Harkness School of Ballet and The Washington School of Ballet, later performing professionally with the National Ballet of Washington, the Houston Ballet, Basel Ballet in Switzerland and the Dutch National Ballet. After retiring from the stage, Mr. Baranovics graduated from American University and worked for America’s Most Wanted. He now devotes his time to teaching dance as a member of The Washington School of Ballet faculty and using his talents in photography to portrait children, dancers and other artists. His photography has appeared on national television, in dance publications and in The Washington Post, where he has received two awards.