Stephanie Murrish was born in Jackson, Mississipi. She grew up in New Orleans where she began her training with Harvey Hysell, Diane Carney, Gayle Parmelee, and studied privately for one year with Maestro Vincenzo Celli (the last student of the legendary Maestro Cechetti). She is an alumnus of the Nutmeg Ballet. As a result of the Prix de Lausanne, she was the first American to train on full scholarship at the Stedelijk Instituut voor Ballet, directed by Madame Jos Brabants in Antwerpen, Belgium with Maria Metchkarova from Kirov Ballet. As a student she had the opportunity to work with Madame Joy Newton from the Royal Ballet while performing the role of Princess Aurora in the Sleeping Beauty, as well as toured with the Royal Ballet of Flanders. She also received private coaching from Donna Bonasera, Xenia Kosorukov, Sasha Banderenko, and Bella Kovorskaya.
She was an apprentice with the New Orleans Ballet, has been a Soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet, Principal Ballerina with the Ballet de Santiago in Chile under the direction of Ivan Nagy, Charleston Ballet Theatre under the direction of Jill Eathorne-Bahr and Patricia Cantwell, and for eleven years she and her husband, Daniil Gaifullin were Principal couple with the Sarasota Ballet of Florida directed by Robert De Warren, Sasha Yapparov and coached by Pavel Fomin.
Ms. Murrish’s repertoire includes the principal roles in Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Chopiniana, Coppelia, Paquita, Raymonda, Walpurgis Night, Natalia Makarova’s La Bayadere, Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Four Last Songs, Chang Shu pas de deux, Robert De Warren’s Madame Butterfly, Firebird, Carmina Burana, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Echo and Narcissis, The Nutcracker, and Zal and Rudebah, Jill Eathorne-Bahr’s Dracula,and Snow White, Balanchine’s Apollo, Rubies, Serenade, and Four Temperaments set by either Victoria Simon and Elyse Borne,, Fleming Flindt’s The Lesson, Harold Lander’s Etudes, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto, Jimmy Gammonet’s Nous Sommes, Vadim Fedotov’s Romeo and Juliet, Forever Mine pas de deux, Christopher Fleming’s Rock Opus and Romeo and Juliet, John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, Vincente Nebrada’s Our Waltzes, Hilda Riveros’ Piaf, Ricardo Bustemante’s Dvorak American, Stephen Mill’s Naughty Ones, and Pavel Fomin’s Homage a Chopin. She has performed in various galas and tours within the USA and abroad.
She was a finalist in the New York International Ballet Competition, during which a documentary was made following her throughout the competition. It aired on the CBS show, “Dancing with a Dream” with Charles Kerault. She is in the edition of Who’s Who in Entertainment, received the award for “Artistic Achievement” from Personalities of America, competed in the USAIBC, Prix de Lausanne and is the 2007 recipient of the YAGP ‘Outstanding Choreographer’s Award’.
As former Artistic Directors of the Lone Star Ballet and owner’s of the Ballet Amarillo Academy, she and her husband have staged and choreographed ballets such as The Nutcracker with the Amarillo Symphony, Firebird, Paquita, Gala of Stars, Alice in Wonderland, Aurora’s Wedding, Swan Lake, and La Traviata with the Amarillo Opera as well as numerous outreach performances within the community.
She has also been guest teacher with various schools within the USA and was part of the guest teaching faculty at the 2010 International Dance School of the USA International Ballet Competition that is held every four years in Jackson, Ms.
In 2015, she was given the opportunity to choreograph “The March of the Presents” for the students in the Tulsa Ballet’s, The Nutcracker.
Ms. Murrish began her teaching career in 2004 while she still was performing. From 2010-2016 she served as a main faculty member and supervisor of the Open Division of the Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education.
In 2016, after a seven year absence from performing, she and her husband returned to the stage as quest artists, in performances of the Nutcracker in New Orleans and Fort Smith.
She is the former primary ballet mistress of the ballet class levels 3, 4, 5 and Co-Director with her husband of the Theatre Arts Ballet Competitive Program with Theatre Arts in Broken Arrow, OK.
For the past three years, their students received high prizes/scholarships from YAGP and ADCIBC. For the past two years (2018 and 2019) they have been recognized with the prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award from YAGP. Stephanie is also a Russian Pointe Program Teacher, 2018 & 2019.
She and her husband are now Artistic Directors/Owners of their new classical ballet training program,
Encore Ballet Conservatory in Tulsa, OK
She and Daniil, have a wonderful son named, Nikolas who is a freelance guest artist.
Daniil Gaifullin was born in Okha, on the island of Sakhalin, Russia. He is a graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia. His teacher was a former Soloist of Bolshoi Ballet Theatre, Vladimir Koshelev.
Through 8 years of training ballet and studying academics he performed school ballet repertoire, in addition to performing children roles in Don Quixote and Sleeping Beauty with the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre. Upon graduation in 1987 he toured to England with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.
Throughout his ballet career he was a Principal dancer (at age 18) with Donetsk Ballet Theatre in Ukraine, Ballet Mississippi, Charleston Ballet Theatre, Ballet de Santiago in Chile, and for 11 years he and his wife Stephanie Murrish, were the Principal ballet couple with Sarasota Ballet of Florida directed by Robert De Warren and coached by Pavel Fomin.
He has had the opportunity to work with V. Shumeikin, I. Nagy, S. Vikarev, T. Tichonova and Boris Eifman.
He was a competitor in 1987 Ukraine ballet competition, a non-competing partner in 1990 USA IBC, and Semifinalist in 1994 USA IBC in Jackson, Mississippi.
He has performed a wide variety of classical and contemporary ballets including selections of pas de deux, and some character leading roles in Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Chopiniana, Coppelia, La Fille Mal Gardée, Paquita, Raymonda, Prokovsky’s The Nutcracker andVespri, Cinderella, Walpurgis Night, Ocean and Pearls, Robert De Warren's The Nutcracker, Madame Butterfly, Alice in Wonderland, Firebird, Carmina Burana, Bolero, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Zal and Rudebah, Balanchine's Apollo, Serenade, Rubies, Tarantella pas de deux, Vadim Fedotov's Romeo and Juliet, Forever Mine pas de deux, Jimmy Gammonet's Nous Sommes, Christopher Flemming's Rock Opus,Romeo and Juliet, Fleming Flindt's The Lesson, Robert North's Troy Games, Vincente Nebrada's Our Waltzes, Harold Lander's Etudes, Natalia Makarova's La Bayadere, Hilda Riveros' Piaf, John Cranko'sRomeo and Juliet, Eifman 's Two Voices, Ricardo Bustemante's Dvorak American, Stephen Mills' Naughty Ones, Jill Eathorne-Bahr's Dracula, Pavel Fomin's Homage a Chopin, V.Shumeikin’s Franceska da Rimini.
He has performed in many galas and tours within the USA and abroad.
As former Artistic Directors of the Lone Star Ballet and owners of the Ballet Amarillo Academy, he and his wife have staged/choreographed ballets such as The Nutcracker, Paquita, Firebird, Gala of Stars, Aurora's Wedding, Swan Lake, Alice in Wonderland and La Traviata with the Amarillo Opera and numerous outreach performances within the community. He choreographed pieces for his students that competed in YAGP.
In 2003 he accompanied his wife to the 20th Anniversary gala of the N.Y.I.B.C., choreographing her solo "Forgotten Moment" which was reviewed as being exquisite. He has also guest taught for various schools in the USA and was part of the guest faculty in 2010 International Ballet School of the USA IBC that is held every 4 years in Jackson, Mississippi, in 2016 Principal guest artist with Illinois Dance Conservatory and after a seven year absence from the stage, he and his wife were guest artists in 2 productions of the ballet the Nutcracker.
From 2010-2016 he was one of the main faculty members for the Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education, as well as TB2 ballet master and rehearsal coach.
From 2016-2019 he was the primary ballet master of ballet levels 3, 4, 5 and Co-Director of the Theatre Arts Ballet Competitive Program at Theatre Arts. For the past 3 years, their students took high prizes/scholarships/recognition in the YAGP, WBC and ADCIBC. He and his wife have been recognized for the past two year, (2018 & 2019) with the prestigious Outstanding Teacher Award from the YAGP.
He and his wife are now Artistic Directors/Owners of their new classical ballet training program, Encore Ballet Conservatory in Tulsa,OK
He and his wife Stephanie reside in Tulsa and have a wonderful son, Nikolas.
I began to train ballet at the age of 22. Knowing it was at an age disadvantage I submerged myself in to all the ballet training I could get. For two years I trained in Southwestern College and Cuban Ballet School for many, many hours until my feet were strong enough to get on pointe. As I began to develop as a dancer jazz funk was introduced and ballet gave me a big advantage over many of the jazz dancers. After training for a year at Denz Dance studio they invited me to be a part of their teaching staff! I began to travel for better training opportunities with Great teachers in LA, New York, and Mexico City. Not being many opportunities to perform in Mexico I discovered I could teach little girls how to dance. I had been working as a Montessori teacher in a performing arts academy where nobody wanted to teach the little children. I stepped up to the plate and people still remember my work. I have a unique advantage with the little children. I understand their development stage and apply all dancing concept to their level maximizing their true potential. I love working with the little ones and prove how great they can really be! Falling in love with teaching I pursued a teaching certification that I got through Ballet Magnificat in 2008 allowing to conduct a special ministry of the Arts Ballet in 2010-2012 in San Diego until we moved to Tulsa, Ok.
Schools of dance attended:
Escuela Cubana de Ballet- Tijuana , Mx-Ballet Training
Southwestern College- San Diego-Ballet , Tap and Jazz
Denz Dance Studio- Tijuana, MX-Jazz Funk, Musical Theatre
Culture Shock San Diego, Hip Hop
Millennium Dance Complex-Los Angeles- Jazz Funk
Broadway Dance Center, New York-Musical theatre , Jazz Funk
Black Studio Mexico City-Jazz Funk
Ballet Magnificat , Jackson, MI -Ballet Teacher Training Certificate
Musical Theatre- Chicago, Godspell, Grease,
Children's Creative and Performing arts Academy
Preschool and Elementary Division 2001-2006
Denz Dance school- Jazz Funk 2003-2006
Momentum Arts Academy- 2010-2012 Ballet, Jazz
Choreographed musical for different churches and religious organizations.
Lexie Jo Sweeney
Lexie Jo Sweeney was born and raised in Arizona. She is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and creative artist. She received her BA in dance performance with a minor in art with high honors, Summa Cum Laude in May 2014 from Oral Roberts University. Since then, she remains in residence in Tulsa. She utilizes her degree and passion for dance by choreographing small dance works, often collaborating with other artists, filmmakers and creatives. In these collaborations, she creates, and often performs in, a tangible embodiment of the beauty and elegance that can be found in movement. She seeks to capture these moments of movement to share with others what is so often a fleeting visual experience. "There is nothing more fulfilling than creating art for the enjoyment of others to see again and again," she says.
In her spare time, she drinks coffee, reads The Lord of the Rings and spends time with her dogs, Ari-Joy and Starbuck.
Lexie Jo is trained and practices Laban Bartenieff modern movement technique. She has influences of Graham and Cunningham techniques, but primarily teaches Laban. She has performed with local dance companies, has been a presenting artist in the Exchange Choreography Festival for three years and serves on the board of the Oklahoma Dance Film Festival (OkDFF). She is currently dancing with Portico Dance Theatre.