Directors Meridith Benson and
Mario de la Nuez awarded
2018 YAGP "Best Teachers Award”
Meet our Directors
Meridith Benson, Director
Meridith began her professional career at the age of eleven. Since her auspicious debut at such an early age, she has performed with numerous major companies internationally, including Makarova and Company on Broadway, the Washington Ballet, America Ballet Theater II, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Lyric Opera of Chicago (Principal Guest Dancer), and The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Meridith also served as Associate Director and Prima Ballerina of Ballet Theater of Chicago. She is known for her artistry, versatility, technical virtuosity, and her exquisite extensions, a particular gift that is without parallel.
Mario de la Nuez, Director
Mario is a native of Havana, Cuba. As a child, he immigrated to the United States where he, his younger brother and, mother took up residence in New York City. There, he began his dance studies with the renowned teachers, Richard Thomas and Daniel Levans. Soon after completing his studies, he began a professional dance career that took him to all corners of the globe. Mario has danced throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. In January of 1995 he founded Ballet Theater of Chicago with his wife Meridith Benson. The company received great acclaim for its performances of a diverse repertory, ranging from , the avant garde to full length classics in Chicago and throughout the United States. Above all, Mario believes that Art, and Dance in particular, is one of man's greatest and most important gifts.