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Conservatory of Performing Arts

Peter Merz

Associate Professor

Peter Merz

Contact information

Education

  • M.B.A., Point Park University
  • B.F.A., Theatre Design and Production, University of Cincinnati

Courses Taught

  • Ballet Technique
  • Dance Composition
  • Male Technique
  • Pointe Technique

Background

Peter Merz choreographed his first ballet for Dayton Ballet II at the age of 12, beginning a lifelong fascination with dance-making. In addition to studying at the School of the Dayton Ballet, Merz studied at the San Francisco Ballet School, The Washington Ballet and the Burklyn Ballet School. He danced with the Louisville Ballet and the Cincinnati Ballet, and also taught in the Cincinnati Ballet’s Academy and at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati. In 2002, Merz served as the artistic administrator for the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Miss. In 2004, Merz joined the faculty of Point Park, where he is an associate professor of dance and head of ballet.

His most recent premiere, Magnificat, is the 10th ballet he has made for the Gem City Ballet of Dayton, Ohio. He has also created ballets for Point Park University, International Summer Dance, the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet, the Greater York Youth Ballet and the Classical Ballet of Herndon Virginia.

He makes his home in Pittsburgh with his wife, Cynthia Ridler, who is also a ballet teacher, and their children, Lucy and Henry.

Curriculum Vitae


Selected artistic works

Choreography

  • The Togethercoloured Instant, Charlottesville Ballet, 2012
  • Happenstance, Greater York Youth Ballet, 2010 and 2012
  • Breath of Joy, Gem City Ballet, 2012
  • All the Beautiful Things of the Earth, Conservatory Dance Company, 2012
  • Au, Youth America Grand Prix and Conservatory Dance Company, 2004, 2011 and 2012
  • Solstice, Youth America Grand Prix Ensemble, 2004, 2006 and 2011
  • Fuga, Conservatory Dance Company, 2006 and 2010
  • Effervessence, Conservatory Dance Company, 2010

Guest instructor

  • The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet
  • The School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati
  • The Creative and Performing Arts School of Pittsburgh
  • The Greater York Youth Ballet
  • The Laurel Youth Ballet
  • Pittsburgh Youth Ballet

Research interests

  • Kinesiology and dance anatomy focusing on ballet technique
  • Costume design and construction for ballet
  • Live video manipulation for dance performances

Selected awards and honors

  • Outstanding Choreographer, Philadelphia YAGP semifinals
  • Reflects, selected for inclusion in the West Virginia Dance Festival