GAIL CONGER trained early on in Southern Galifornia with Valerie Silver, a well- known and highly respected teacher, in Long Beach. She also studied with Michel Panaieff, Carmelita Maracchi, Oleg Tupine, and David Lichine. She spent five summers studying with New York City Ballet staff, who at that time summered in Los Angeles. Gail was invited to come to New York by Mr. Balanchine at that time. She later took classes at SAB and was asked to stay, but chose to go to San Francisco to continue her studies there. She apprenticed and performed in San Francisco.
Gail attended the University of Arizona, but left when an offer came to perform a wonderful pas de deux in Los Angeles. She was also a Theater Arts major at Cal State Long Beach but again left school to dance. Gail performed with the Theatre Arts Foundation, Los Angeles Civic Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet in a variety of ballets. She was taught and coached in the Lilac Fairy variations by Beryl Gray, who was performing that role in the Royal Ballet. Major roles danced include those in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Emperor's Nightingale, Four Seasons, Nutcracker Sugar Plum and others. Performing experiences also include Laurie in Oklahoma (the dance role), Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Anne Franck, for which she screen tested, and other dramatic roles.
Gail's teaching experience covers many years. She began teaching to pay for her own classes at a young age and continued to teach in most of the places she studied and worked. She was fortunate to work under wonderful directors and choreographers most of her life including: Ballet Oklahoma (Bryan Pitts), Ballet West and Christensen Academy (Wm. Christensen, Bruce Marks, Bene Arnold), San Francisco Ballet (Lew Christensen, Harald Christensen), Los Angeles Ballet (Michel Panaieff), Long Beach Academy of Ballet (Valerie Silver). She had her own studio twice in California and managed the ballet department in a large private school in Marin County, CA for many years. Gail has taught master classes, guest taught, and coached on many levels. Most of her affiliation has been with professional or company schools, but she has loved working with many wonderful independent studios as well! Gail and her husband have a large family of children and grandchildren and are very happy to be here in Raleigh.