Adam W. McKinney

Artistic Director

Adam W. McKinney has a diverse and accomplished background in arts leadership across the globe, having served as an arts organization director, tenured professor, choreographer, dancer, educator and activist. McKinney was most recently an Associate Professor of Dance in Ballet with tenure in the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University. There he taught courses in classical ballet, modern dance and choreography. He was the Co-Director/Co-Founder of DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization committed to healing through the arts and dialogue. Previously, he was the inaugural Dance Department Chair at New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe.

He has danced with some of the world’s preeminent dance companies, including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Béjart Ballet Lausanne (Switzerland), Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet Company.

McKinney has led dance work with diverse populations across the U.S. and North America, and in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. A leader who is committed to making ballet and dance accessible to all, he served as a U.S. Embassy Culture Connect Envoy to South Africa through the U.S. State Department. McKinney has created community social justice and awareness projects including the interactive Fort Worth Lynching Tour: Honoring the Memory of Mr. Fred Rouse and “The Borders Project” at the Mexico/U.S. and Palestine/Israel borders. He was also honored with the NYU President’s Service Award for his dance work with populations who struggle with heroin addiction.

McKinney was named one of the most influential African Americans in Milwaukee by St. Vincent DePaul. He holds a BFA in Dance Performance with high honors with a focus on classical ballet from Butler University and an MA in Dance Studies with concentrations in Race and Trauma theories from the Gallatin School at New York University.

Nicholas Dragga

Executive Director

Nicholas Dragga Is the Executive Director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and previously served as the Executive Director of Ballet Lubbock where he focused on program design, development and the branding of the organization. During his tenure Ballet Lubbock’s budget has more than quintupled, net assets have grown from $700,000 to over $12 million and the organization moved into its new $10 million facility as part of the $154 million Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences.

Nicholas is energized by collaborations and the creative process and highlights the Ballet Lubbock Company’s music and choreographic commissions. Ballet Lubbock has enjoyed transformative financial successes, but Nicholas is most proud of Ballet Lubbock’s community and program growth which includes a 400-student academy, community engagement programming that reaches over 600 students each week, and adaptive dance and arts in medicine initiatives that reach all ages and abilities. Nicholas strongly believes there is no excellence without community. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Performance and Composition from Texas Tech University and a Master of Science Degree in Arts Administration from Drexel University.

Lauren Carlini

Director of Human Resources

Lauren Carlini (she/her) is a Pittsburgh native with a background in business operations and people management. Lauren is a Duquesne University graduate. Prior to joining the PBT team, Lauren worked for her family’s business. She enjoys volunteering her time in her neighborhood, at her son’s school and as a board member of the Valley Points YMCA. In addition to overseeing the human resources functions at PBT, Lauren leads the team engagement committee and the Equity Project Transformation Team Subcommittee on Recruitment and Hiring, and is a member of the safety committee. Her favorite thing about working at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre is working alongside the most talented people in Pittsburgh. She says, “Everyone– the admin team, the faculty, the dancers, of course– is so impressive. We have an excellent team and I am so grateful to be a part of it.”

April Berry

Director of Education

April Berry is a dance director, master teacher, educator and former internationally-acclaimed dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Berry has been actively involved in the field of dance education and community engagement for more than 30 years. She has created award‐winning community programs as Director of Community Engagement and Education for Kansas City Ballet, as Director of Education and Community Outreach for North Carolina Dance Theatre (now Charlotte Ballet) and as Director of Education and Community Programs at BalletMet Columbus.

Ms. Berry has been a dance faculty member at Kansas City Ballet, Charlotte Ballet and BalletMet Columbus, and has served as adjunct faculty in the Department of Dance at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her teaching experience includes serving as a guest instructor and lecturer at various universities and dance institutions and as a teaching artist representing several ballet organizations in various school systems around the country.

Berry has presented at various conferences, including the Dance/USA Conference in Philadelphia, National Dance Education (NDEO) Conferences, International Association for Blacks in Dance (IABD) Conferences and the Collegium for African American Dance (CADD) Conference at Duke University. She authored “Building Bridges for Ballet’s Future” for Dance/USA’s online journal From the Green Room, has served on grants panels for the Missouri Arts Council, North Carolina Arts Council and the Arts & Science Council in Charlotte and was the Founding chair of Dance USA’s Community Engagement and Education Directors Affinity Group.

Berry’s professional training in ballet began in New York at the former National Academy of Ballet and Theatre Arts and at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Subsequently, Berry studied modern dance techniques and jazz dance at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center (now the Ailey School) in New York and traveled to Cuba to study Caribbean folkloric and popular dance forms at the Escuela Nacional des Arts (National School of the Arts). A former principal dance artist with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT), Berry worked under the direction of Founding Artistic Director Alvin Ailey and Artistic Director Emerita Judith Jamison. Berry is featured in numerous dance books and several AAADT videos, performed on two televised Kennedy Center Honors Programs and served as a guest artist with several ballet companies, including the Teatro La Scala Ballet in Milan, Italy.

Lou Castelli

Director of Marketing

Lou Castelli comes to Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre with extensive experience in performing arts administration in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. He spent ten years in various roles on the marketing team of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where he managed the campaign launching Marvin Hamlisch as the orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor. He then became Marketing Director at Pittsburgh Public Theater, where he oversaw the company’s move to the O’Reilly Theater. He spent more than 20 years at The Public, and most recently served as the theater’s Managing Director from 2018 through 2022. Lou was born and raised in Pittsburgh and has a large extended family. He graduated from Central Catholic High School in Oakland and Allegheny College in Meadville, with a degree in Communication Arts.

David Hammond

Director of Development

Pittsburgh native David Hammond comes to Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre from Austin, Texas, where he has served that community as Director of Development at KMFA 89.5,  Austin’s classical radio station. Since 2013, David has led a team of volunteers and professionals in raising over $22 million to support KMFA’s daily mission and a $10.5 million capital campaign to build its new home.  David joined KMFA after a decade of fundraising experience with Conspirare, Austin Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) and received his bachelor’s degree in music business from PennWest Clarion.

Kristin McLain

Costume Director

Kristin McLain brings with her a lifetime of sewing experience, having learned from her mom starting in middle school. She began her time at PBT in 2016 with the building of PBT’s brand new Giselle. Staying on as a part time stitcher, then full time First Hand, and currently Costume Director, she’s work on many of PBT’s costumes old and new. Other prior experience includes study in Costume Design and Construction at the University of Pittsburgh, and various freelance design and construction work for a number of companies throughout the city. Additionally, Kristin is a versatile, visual artist and craftsperson, focusing on fiber arts, sculpting and watercolor paintings.

Raymond Rodriguez

Dean of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School

Raymond Rodriguez is the Dean of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. He began his dance journey at the age of six, attended the High School of Performing Arts in Manhattan and trained in classical ballet at the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) School on a full scholarship. Rodriguez later joined ABT as an apprentice before joining the Cleveland Ballet (Ballet San Jose), where he became a principal dancer and later took on the roles of rehearsal assistant, répétiteur, regisseur, principal ballet master, associate artistic director and managing director.

In 2016, Rodriguez relocated to Chicago to join the Joffrey Ballet as Head of the Studio Company and Ballet Trainee Program.  In 2019 he was promoted to Academy Director.  Under his leadership, the Joffrey Academy of Dance enjoyed many accomplishments, including the expansion of new studio space and presence in the South Loop neighborhood, a newly created Contemporary Ballet Trainee Program, the launch of Rita Finds Home -a new family-friendly ballet and the creation of the BIPOC Academy Committee (BAC) to help parents and school leaders better support students of color. His tenure saw many Academy students promoted into the Joffrey Ballet Company and others who accepted contracts with ballet companies worldwide.

Throughout his career as a principal dancer, he performed many diverse and challenging roles and successfully staged numerous ballet productions worldwide. He has appeared in various films and television shows and he is a current judge and Master Teacher for the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP). Rodriguez also serves on the advisory board of the national dance publication Pointe Magazine and served as co-chair of Dance/USA’s school director’s affinity group.

Rodriguez is an ABT-certified teacher and an international guest instructor. In 2018, Rodriguez earned an MFA in Dance from Hollins University. He is the founding co-artistic director of Pointe of Departure, Cleveland’s classical ballet company. Some of the awards he has won include an Isadora Duncan Award (Izzie), Crain’s Chicago Business Notable LGBTQ Executive and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture’s Outstanding Achievement in the Arts award.