Sketch by Andy Warfel, Production Designer for The Nutcracker
Artistic Director Deanna Doty has actively sought collaboration with artists in designing and staging her ballets - scenic artists, lighting designers, musicians, painters, sculptors, choreographers, dancers, actors, photographers, and more. Below are a few highlights of contributing artists who have significantly impacted the quality of CU Ballet productions:
Tracy McCabe serves as producer for Champaign Urbana Ballet productions and assists the artistic director in designing the libretto and in staging theatrical choreography for story ballets such as The Nutcracker, Coppélia and Swan Lake. He has danced in Champaign Urbana Ballet and Springfield Ballet Company productions, and has appeared in musical and dramatic theater with Springfield Muni Opera, Springfield Theatre Centre and North Shore Theater of Wilmette in Illinois. His ballet training began at 19 years of age under Grace Lutrell Nanavati at Springfield Ballet Company and Robert Dicello at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; he later gained inspiration from the classical Vaganova instruction of Alejandro Alvarez, Deanna Doty and Fury Gold. While an impassioned balletomane, Mr. McCabe is a career academic professional working for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Tobey Jayne Martinez began her formal ballet training at the School of Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. At age 17, she was granted early admission into the University of Utah Challenge Program, which afforded her further ballet training at the collegiate level. The following year, Tobey attended the University of Utah on the William F. Christensen Scholarship, which she earned based on her academic achievement and artistic potential. During her collegiate years, Tobey was a member of the Utah Ballet Company and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in Ballet. She has instructed ballet in California, Illinois, Utah, and Virginia, familiarizing herself with a wide range of teaching styles and ballet techniques. Tobey joined the Champaign Ballet Academy staff in 2013 and is Ballet Mistress of Champaign Urbana Ballet.
Production designer Andy Warfel brings a refreshing energy and unique perspective to the development and execution of branded messaging and experience marketing environments. His process-driven working method has netted some of the most successful and emotionally resonant programs and properties for clients ranging from the world's most prominent brands, to neighborhood-focused specialty retailers and non-profit organizations like CU Ballet.
He has designed television shows for CBS, Discovery, E!, ESPN, Fox News, style. Channel, Time Warner, USA, and Viacom; corporate presentations, product launches, and press events for Aston Martin, Audi, Boeing, IBM, Jaguar, Microsoft, Pepsi, Pfizer and many more; concerts including Mariah Carey's Butterfly Pacific Rim Tour and the All Access Tour featuring Kid Capri, Doug E. Fresh and Da Brat, and private concerts with acts such as The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, and kd lang. His theatre designs have been seen on Broadway in Dream and in countless productions off Broadway and in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, and on National Tours.
Mr. Warfel earned his Masters degree in Set Design and Art Direction from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Design for Stage and Film in 1994. He has since developed and taught new coursework for graduate students in new materials and modern techniques of stagecraft. He was employed as an art director and senior production designer at Hotopp Associates in New York City and later joined cpr-group where he was named Partner and Chief Aesthetic Officer in the fall of 2000. Mr. Warfel relocated his family in 2002 to the prairie of central Illinois, where he continues to provide creative direction and environment design for corporate initiatives, press events, promotional tours, retail, museum, television, and theatrical projects.
Ian Hobson is a British-born musician of tremendous versatility who has earned a worldwide reputation as a pianist, conductor and teacher. A finalist in the 1977 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, he later took silver medals at the Artur Rubinstein and the Beethoven International Competitions. His international career as a pianist was launched in 1981 when he won First Prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition.
Hobson's training as a conductor began at Yale University where he worked with Otto Werner-Mueller. Subsequent studies with Gustav Meier, Daniel Lewis, Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa and Andre Previn took place at Aspen and at Tanglewood. Lorin Maazel twice invited Hobson to conduct the Cleveland Orchestra for their Young Conductors' Symposia.
Hobson founded and has served as Music Director of Sinfonia da Camera since 1984.