Rebekah von Rathonyi
A native of Rochester, New York, Ms. von Rathonyi, her husband Joshua, and their children, have called Peoria home for over eighteen years. She began her dance training at the age of 8 with the Botsford/Orcutt School of Dance, the sister school to the American Ballet Theater, under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov. She studied under Luba Guleava and Maria Moglivesky, both graduates of the Kirov Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet. After her initial training, she studied ballet at the Draper Center for Dance Education, school to the Rochester City Ballet, under Timothy Draper and Sally Steppnes. As a young dancer, she received full scholarships to National Ballet School in Toronto Canada, Pittsburgh Ballet School, and Boston Ballet School. At fourteen years of age, Ms. von Rathonyi joined Compania Nacional de Danzá in Mexico City under the direction of Fernando Alonzo, husband to renowned Cuban ballerina, Alicia Alonzo. In 1994, she was accepted into the year-round apprentice/trainee program at The Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. She enjoyed her time with the company, performing in many of Pennsylvania Ballet's productions, including several of George Balanchine's ballets. Upon returning to New York, Ms. von Rathonyi joined Rochester City Ballet as a principal dancer performing numerous principal roles in Nutcracker, Cinderella, Don Quixote, Firebird, and Gaite Parisian. At this time, Artistic Director Timothy Draper suggested she start teaching ballet, thus began her extensive teaching career.
Ms. von Rathonyi served as Acting Artistic Director to the Flower City Ballet for two years. During this time, she raised student enrollment, began an inner city scholarship program for underprivileged children and helped produce a full length Nutcracker and Spring production. She was invited to join the Rochester City School of the Arts public high school as an Artistic Consultant. While teaching dance to grades 9-12, she formulated a curriculum which included classical ballet technique, pointe, dance history, and music theory.
Ms. von Rathonyi served as the Academy Director to the Peoria Ballet for almost ten years, she also served as Interim Artistic Director for two years. She performed principal roles in Nutcracker, Firebird, Giselle, Dracula, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cinderella, Romeo & Juliet, and the Principal female in Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie. Ms. von Rathonyi raised the caliber of the Academy by instituting a pre-professional training program for the aspiring dancer and instituted a full class syllabus and curriculum for all levels of ballet. In 2010, she directed Peoria Ballet’s collaboration performance of “Youthful Fusion” with the Central Illinois Youth Symphony. Her students competed in the Youth America Grand Prix International ballet competition, in which many of them placed in the top 12.
Ms. von Rathonyi attended the prestigous teacher training program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Canada, where she focused on studying the Vagonova and Checchetti syllabus. She is an alumna of The Rock School for Dance Education and feels fortunate to have served as their Artistic Coordinator and a Faculty member.
Rebekah holds a special place in her heart for the Peoria community. She has enjoyed participating in local events including CASA's annual "Dancing with the stars", Luthy Botanical Garden's "I Love Luthy", IGNITE Peoria, Relay for Life, Frolic with the Fairies, and choreographed Cornstock Theater's 2011 production of "Cats". She is honored to be a 2006 recipient of Peoria's 40 Leaders Under 40 award.