Joseph Nygren Cox is a native Austinite and one of the founding partners of Capital City Ballet. He was Co-Director of the Slavin Nadal School of Ballet from 2016 – 2020 and continues serving as an Adjunct Professor of Dance with Austin Community College. Mr. Cox trained for ten years and danced professionally with Eugene Slavin and Alexandra Nadal at Ballet Austin/Austin Civic Ballet. Additionally, he performed with Cincinnati Ballet, Dayton Ballet, and most notably as a principal dancer with the Louisville Ballet. Over his twenty-five year performing career, Mr. Cox grew intimately familiar with the classical ballet canon and numerous masterworks of the 20th century, and he worked closely with some of the great icons in the dance world, including Sir Frederic Franklin, Suzanne Farrell, Nicholas “Papa” Beriosoff, Andre Prokovsky, and Wendy Whelan.
Previously, Mr. Cox taught ballet technique and dance history as Professor of Dance at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and served as a guest ballet master for Ballet Arkansas. He has also directed the second company of the Cincinnati Ballet (CBII), was on the faculty of the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, and served as ballet master for productions with the Cincinnati Opera and The Carnegie Theatre of Northern Kentucky. He has staged works for international choreographers Val Caniparoli of the San Francisco Ballet and Christopher Fleming of the New York City Ballet. Mr. Cox and his wife, Kimberly Nygren Cox, were the founding directors of the Crossing Lines Project, a team of professional performers dedicated to sharing dance with student artists from around the state of Kentucky. His international credits include performing and teaching engagements in Cuba and Alberta, Canada.
Mr. Cox is a choreographer whose work has been seen on the stages of the Louisville Ballet, the Cincinnati Ballet, the Dayton Ballet, Louisville’s Moving Collective, Austin Contemporary Ballet, and in other venues. Mr. Cox holds an M.F.A. in Dance from The University of Iowa and has earned numerous honors for his artistic accomplishments, including the 2009 Kentucky Arts Council “Al Smith” Fellowship for Choreography, the 2011 Iowa Arts Fellowship, and a Governor’s commission as a Kentucky Colonel.
Kimberly Nygren Cox most recently served as Co-Director of the Slavin Nadal School of Ballet. She has had an extensive career as a professional dancer and choreographer, and has over 20 years of experience teaching classical ballet. She performed with the Milwaukee Ballet and the Louisville Ballet where she became a Soloist. Mrs. Cox danced an eclectic repertoire ranging from purely classical to dramatic contemporary roles, and was critically acclaimed in Dance Magazine for her roles in Antony Tudor’s Little Improvisations and Judgment of Paris. She has worked with notable artists including Elysee Borne, Donald Mahler, Sallie Wilson, Judith Fugate, Janek Schergen, Domi Reiter-Sofer, Nicolaj Hubbe, and Wendy Whelan. Mrs. Cox’s performing career has taken her around the United States and Cuba.
Mrs. Cox has been on the faculty of the Louisville Ballet School where she studied the Vaganova Method with Denise Schultze and Louis Godfrey. She served as the Director of both the Ballet Arkansas Preparatory Program, and the 2015 Ballet Arkansas Summer Intensive. She has been a guest teacher at numerous Summer Intensives around the country and is the ballet instructor at the International Music Camp at the Peace Gardens. Along with teaching ballet, Mrs. Cox holds several fitness certifications including Pilates, Yoga, and Progressing Ballet Technique.
In recognition of her creative accomplishments, Mrs. Cox was awarded the 2011 Kentucky Arts Council "Al Smith" Fellowship for Choreography. She has created works for the Louisville Ballet, Moving Collective, Radio Disney Dancers, and Louisville's World AIDS Day Memorial. Her adjudicated work for the Louisville Ballet Youth Ensemble was chosen to be performed at the 2011 Southeastern Regional Ballet Association (SERBA) Festival.
Lori Bodine Benold
A former professional dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, Lori Bodine Benold has been teaching ballet for over 35 years, developing excellent technique and artistry in hundreds of dancers, from their balletic beginnings to their debuts as professional dancers, and beyond. When Bodine moved to Austin in 2015, Alexandra Nadal invited her to share the teaching responsibility for the most advanced students at the Slavin Nadal School of Ballet. Bodine founded Ballet Arts of Austin in 2016, and as Artistic Director, she fostered a welcoming and nurturing environment while creating performance opportunities of high caliber, including an annual Nutcracker which was performed with the Central Texas Philharmonic in 2019.
Bodine received her first formal dance training at Roquemore Ballet Arts in Corpus Christi, Texas, and performed with the Corpus Christi Ballet Theatre and in Regional Dance America Southwest Festivals. At age 15, Robert Joffrey personally awarded her full scholarships to attend the summer workshops he taught in San Antonio and New York City. Bodine also studied at the School of American Ballet in NYC and at San Francisco Ballet School, where she was invited to stay year-round at the age of 17. Bodine became one of the few students in the school's history to be offered a professional contract with the San Francisco Ballet directly, skipping the usually-required apprenticeship.
During her tenure with San Francisco Ballet, Bodine toured throughout the United States and Scotland, performing in renowned works by George Balanchine, Lew Christensen and Michael Smuin. She subsequently returned to Texas as a Resident Artist for the Corpus Christi Ballet, where she performed Principal roles in both ballet and modern genres. Bodine has choreographed numerous works that have been featured on Gala evenings at Regional Dance America Southwest Festivals. She currently serves as an Adjudicator for Regional Dance America and is scheduled to be the Adjudicator for Southwest division in the Spring of 2021.
Bodine’s dance career led her to study and work under many ballet greats including Eric Bruhn, Alexandra Danilova, David Howard, Robert Joffrey, Nathalie Krassovska, Alexander Minz, Marcia Russell, Suki Schorer, and Anatole Vilzak. These legendary influences serve as inspirations in her own teaching today.
Emily Karnes is an accomplished artist and teacher with significant education and experience in dance. She received her early classical ballet training with Rebecca Miller Stalcup, Dennis Poole, Mark Bush, Melinda Tobian, and Laura Hood Babcock, at Arkansas Academy of Dance. She has also attended intensive programs at the Joffrey Ballet and with Doug Varone and Dancers. Ms. Karnes holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where she studied closely with Slavin-Nadal School of Ballet Director, Joseph Cox, as well as Nancy Happel, Rhythm McCarthy, Stephanie Thibeault, and Stephen Stone. In addition to dance technique and performance, her studies included dance pedagogy, dance history, movement analysis, and choreography. In recognition of her academic and artistic excellence, Ms. Karnes was awarded a full scholarship to study dance at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy in 2012.
Before joining the Slavin-Nadal School of Ballet faculty, Ms. Karnes was an instructor at Arkansas Academy of Dance for five years, where she taught all youth levels of ballet. She was also a resident company member of the affiliated Arkansas Festival Ballet for eight years, performing a number of roles including Dew Drop Fairy, Clara, Sugar Plum Fairy, and Grand Pas De Deux in The Nutcracker, as well as Alice in Alice in Wonderland, Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, and Tinker Bell in Peter Pan. Her local performance credits include work by Celina Chapin in Austin’s Frontera Fest and with Lisa Nicks’ Band of Wild Ponies.
As one of Mr. Cox’s former students, and a highly qualified ballet teacher who has eagerly trained to teach the Slavin-Nadal youth curriculum, Ms. Karnes offers excellent ballet instruction that is consistent with the quality and standards of Capital City Ballet.