The Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Conservatory

The Conservatory of LVCDT explores, preserves, and celebrates the American culture through excellence in dance. Our mission is to train and educate outstanding versatile dancers in Classical Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap and Choreography for The Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater and other top international dance companies, and in doing so set the standards in dance training, nationally and internationally.

The mission unfolds in the work of the professional Company, the Conservatory, and Education & Outreach programs. Together, these divisions celebrate the dynamic aesthetics of the American Diaspora, building new avenues of cultural dialogue and sharing the joy of dance with all communities. The Conservatory offers a very carefully structured dance curriculum, aligned with challenging choreographic works and performance opportunities, giving the students the best possible education to equip them for a career in the world of dance.

Our Goals Are To:

  • Provide, in a caring environment, Dance training of the highest possible caliber, offering all students of the Conservatory a positive learning experience which is constantly monitored for potential improvement.
  • Achieve recognized accreditation for the vocational curriculum.
  • Offer students as many performing opportunities as possible.
  • Ensure that the students have close practical and artistic access to companies such as Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem and several other companies in NYC, Pennsylvania, California and Europe.
  • Expand the international exposure of the students of the School by participating in international competitions and festivals.
  • Develop new state of the art purpose built facilities which will enhance the teaching and learning opportunities for the students.
  • Conduct an extensive Audition and Outreach program.

Conservatory Directors

Bernard H. Gaddis

Bernard H. Gaddis

Founder/Artistic Director, Conservatory Director

Bernard Gaddis' dance studies began in Philadelphia at the High School for Performing Arts, under the tutelage of Ms. Althea Leslie, Judy Oruska, & David Kloss. He received numerous awards and scholarships while in high school, including a full scholarship to the prestigious Governor's School for the performing Arts. Mr. Gaddis has also received scholarships to the Pennsylvania Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Princeton Ballet, & The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Bernard's first professional dance experience was with The Philadelphia Dance Co. (Philadanco) at the age of fifteen being the youngest male to ever join the co. quickly became a principal dancer in his second year. Mr. Gaddis also became the Founder, Artistic Director & Choreographer of Philadanco's second performing company D2. The company is in its fourteenth year and is still growing strong. Bernard has received numerous awards for his role as Artistic Director & Choreographer including the prestigious award for Men Making a Difference in the city of Philadelphia presented to him by Senator Chakka Fattah.

After leaving Philadelphia, Bernard traveled to New York City where he became the Principal Dancer with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater under the artistic directorship of the renowned dancer and choreographer Ms. Judith Jamison. He spent seven years as a principal dancer with the company performing such works as Revelations, Memoria, Episodes, A Hymn for Alvin Ailey, and many other famous ballets. Bernard has traveled throughout the world and has performed for the Queen of England, Nelson Mandela and the former President of the United States Bill Clinton & and has performed in famous theaters such as the Paris Opera House, Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Opera house, The Kennedy Center Theater, The Lincoln Center Theater, The Tivoli Theater Copenhagen, The Bolshoi Theater, among the few. Bernard also Joined the La cast of The Broadway Musical The Lion King as a lead Dancer and chorus singer where he work with renowned director Julie Tamour. Mr., Gaddis is currently a Principal Dancer & Choreographer for Cirque Du Soleil's Las Vegas shows Zumanity and Mystere. Bernard has successfully produced directed and choreographed two sold out Benefit concerts (Dance for Life 1 and II) raising money for Women's Breast Cancer and Children living with HIV and Aids, in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Mr. Gaddis is currently the Event Coordinator and Artistic Director for a Los Angeles based Entertainment co. (Cienega Entertainment Group) Bernard has performed with various companies as a Guest artist, such as Oakland Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, The Koresh Dance co. The Pennsylvania Ballet and the Paris Company Zingaro.

Bernard has had the privilege of having ballets created and remounted on him by renowned choreographers such as Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, Talley Beatty, Ulysses' Dove, Jerome Robins, Donald Mc Kayle, Garth Fagan, Geoffrey Holder, Gene Hill Sagan, Lester Horton, Lynn Taylor Corbett, Brenda Way, Lar Lubovitch, Hans Van Manen, Jawole Willa Jo Pillar, Ronald K. Brown, Milton Myers, Dwight Roden, Katherine Dunham, Billy Wilson, Elisa Monte and Pearl Primus. Bernard has been taught by some of the most famous teachers in the world teachers such as Ms. Marion Cujett, Ms. Delores Brown, Ms. Sandra Fortune, Maurice Bejart, and Katharine Dunham. Jose Mier, Frank Hatchett & Jimmy Truitt. Mr. Gaddis abilities extend into Modeling and Television being a Guest Artist for The young & the Restless, a repeat guest for The Jay Leno Show, The Lady of soul Awards, Home & Garden TV. Arsenio Hall, The Sinbad Show, and featured Artist for The Glaad Awards. His Modeling Credits shows he has worked with some of the top photographers of our time. Jack Mitchell, Howard Schatz, Scott Ashton, Andrew Eccles, Marc Bapitse, Lois Greenfield, Bernard has been in top magazines British GQ, ZINK, Essence, Time, News Week, Dance Magazine, Dancer Magazine, & Vogue. Mr. Gaddis has also had the privilege to be the AGMA union representative for the Alvin AILEY dance theater. His duties were to negotiate The Artist Contracts for the years 1998-2000 also fundraising and grant writing for Philadanco's Second Co. Mr. Gaddis has also been published for his photography in The International Library of Photography for his photo dancers "Bodies in Motion" Mr. Gaddis is also a Master Teacher in Horton, Ballet, Dunham, & African, and has given Lectures at various Universities and Colleges around the United States.

Donald Williams

Donald Williams

Ballet Master & Associate Conservatory Director

Mr. Williams studied with Larry Long of the Ruth Page Foundation, then accepted a scholarship to Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York City and subsequently joined the DTH company. He became a principal dance in 1983 and ended a 27-year company career as Premier Danseur in 2004.

As a principal guest artist, Mr. Williams has performed with London’s Royal Ballet at Covent Garden, the International Ballet Festival in Cuba, partnered Cynthia Gregory in the Gala of Stars in Bilbao, Spain, and starred in many international galas. He has worked with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Dances Patrelle and Fugate/Bahiri Ballet NY, creating critically acclaimed, original roles with them as well.

Mr. Williams made his film debut in The Cotton Club and starred in the Emmy-nominated A Streetcar Named Desire, which was broadcast over the PBS series Dance in America, as well as the Peabody Award winning Firebird, which was broadcast over PBS in the Kennedy Center Tonight Series. He was also featured in the Motown 30th Anniversary Special.

In 1998, Mr. Williams made his Broadway debut in the Tony-Award-winning musical Ragtime. In 2000, he was principal guest artist in the New York City Ballet/Dance Theatre of Harlem collaboration for their Diamond Project, dancing the principal roles in Robert Garland and Robert LaFosse’s Tributary and Balanchine’s Agon. He was featured in the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera, and most recently with Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular.