Master Class in Ballet | Photo©Erin Baiano

Mission Statement

Art Without Borders, Inc. is a not-for-profit (pending 501(c)(3)  status) organization with a mission to inspire and expand students’ and educators’ imaginations through the arts and through cultural experiences. AWB aims to provide opportunities for engagement with the arts on multiple platforms to diverse audiences, both domestically and internationally.


Iskritsa Ognianova is a multilingual Arts & Culture executive with a regional focus on North America and Europe.

She has held executive roles in business development, fundraising, sales, integrated marketing and brand alliance campaigns, education, project management, media relations and broadcasting, special events, international tourism and cultural heritage management. Ms. Ognianova worked most recently at The Nederlander Organization, Carnegie Hall, New York Musical Festival, Discovery Times Square Museum, The Arthur Miller Journal and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts – New York City Opera and New York City Ballet.

Raised in an opera theater family, she fell in love with the arts, theater and music, and graduated in Musical Theater Performance from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) New York after completing a Master’s in International Tourism from the University of Barcelona, Spain. Always eager to learn about all aspects of the arts and culture industry, she joined the nonprofit management graduate program at Columbia University, Ivy League. Other educational credits include Jazz voice performance from the Berklee College of Music, LICEU Conservatory Barcelona, Spain.

Iskritsa has a strong interest in international affairs and diplomacy. She is a polyglot, certified in English, Russian, Spanish and Bulgarian, and has also studied German, Italian, Catalan, and French.

Advisory Committee


Ask la Cour is a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Originally from Copenhagen, Denmark he studied at The Royal Danish Ballet School for 8 years until he became a member of the company at age 16. While there he performed many featured roles in the Bournonville repertoire and became proficient in the Bournonville technique. Other accomplishments at The Royal Danish Ballet were his portrayal of Lenski in John Cranko’s Onegin.

Ask la Cour is a principal dancer with New York City Ballet. Originally from Copenhagen, Denmark he studied at The Royal Danish Ballet School for 8 years until he became a member of the company at age 16. While there he performed many featured roles in the Bournonville repertoire and became proficient in the Bournonville technique. Other accomplishments at The Royal Danish Ballet were his portrayal of Lenski in John Cranko’s Onegin.

Following his desire to expand his artistic horizon, Ask came to NYC in the Fall of 2002 after an invitation from New York City Ballet’s Ballet Master in Chief, Peter Martins. He enjoyed learning the depths of Balanchine’s repertoire, his most favorite being the Neoclassical ballets, The Four Temperaments, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Monumentum and Movements to more classical pieces including, Diamonds from Jewels, and Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2. He also had the pleasure to work with choreographers including Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Benjamin Millepied and Lauren Lovette. His dance career has brought him around the globe where he has had the pleasure of performing in some of the biggest cultural institutions.


Douglas Denoff is a five-time Tony Nominated Broadway producer, writer and entrepreneur. He has won the Drama Desk Award as a producer and television’s Emmy Award, and, in 2012 received his first Grammy nomination. Through his company Sutton Square Entertainment, his passion is to develop and produce original new musicals and plays that can be successful on Broadway, and in regional theatres and touring companies for decades; shows that can become new classics in the world of theatre.

He is currently represented on Broadway as a co-producer of Slave Play, written by Jeremy O. Harris.

He co-produced the Broadway production of Sea Wall/A Life starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge which recouped its full capitalization in only a 9-week Broadway run.

He is a co-producer of the revival of Steven Sondheim’s Company, starring Patti Lupone and Katrina Lenk which begins performances on March 2, 2020. He is also a co-producer of Diana, The Musical, which also begins performances March 2, 2020.

In 2018-2019 co-produced the hit musical Pretty Woman, starring Samantha Barks, Andy Karl, Orfeh, Eric Anderson and Jason Danieley. The show, directed by Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots) ran one year on Broadway and has productions in German, London and a north-American tour.

He received his fifth Tony nomination as a co-producer of the 2018 Broadway revival of Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song at the Hayes Theatre starring Michael Urie and Mercedes Ruehl, and the limited engagement in 2018 of the compelling new play American Son starring Kerry Washington, Stephen Pasquale, Eugene Lee and Jeremy Jordan was adapted as a film for Netflix. Both plays are New York Times Critics’ Picks.

For upcoming seasons on Broadway, Denoff will also co-produce the new musical Marie, The Little Dancer, directed by Susan Stroman, starring NYC Ballet Principal Tiler Peck and Terrence Mann.

Denoff was represented on Broadway in 2017-2018 as a co-producer of John Leguizamo’s Latin History For Morons, for which he received his 4th Tony nomination and which recouped its investment in 14.5 weeks. The production earned Denoff his 4th Tony nomination for Best Play and Mr. Leguizamo was also awarded a Special Tony Award for his body of work. Latin History for Morons was filmed for Netflix and is continuing a North American tour.

Leading the slate of productions Denoff has on his agenda as lead producer is Dance! Broadway Showstoppers, directed by Tony-winner Christopher Gattelli, The musical is a celebration of Broadway’s greatest choreography – a joyous…sexy…thrilling combination of Broadway’s best dancers and its finest musicians. The dance numbers are recreated as they were originally intended by dancers from the original productions.

Also on his agenda is is the hilarious revival of The Pirates of Penzance; the first Broadway revival of the beloved musical since 1982. The production, directed by John Rando and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse, received rave reviews during its sold-out run at Barrington Stages in the summer of 2016 and now comes to Broadway with an all-star cast headed by Will Swenson as The Pirate King.

Denoff was represented in the 2016-2016 season on Broadway as a co-producer of the hit Revival of Fiddler On The Roof for which he received his third Tony nomination, he also co-produced David Mamet’s China Doll starring Al Pacino which recouped its full investment before the end of its 15-week limited run.

Denoff received his second Tony nomination as a co-producer of the 2012 hit musical Nice Work If You Can Get It starring Matthew Broderick & Kelli O’Hara.

Denoff received his first Tony nomination in 2008 as a producer of 39 Steps, the hit comedy which ran over three years and 1135 performances on Broadway; Denoff was lead producer on the hit 2015-2016 off-Broadway revival of 39 Steps and he plans to move the show back to Broadway in 2020-2021 season.

Off-Broadway, Denoff was a lead producer of the critically-acclaimed play Clever Little Lies by two-time Tony winner Joe DiPietro, which starred Emmy, Grammy and Golden Globe winner Marlo Thomas. He also was lead producer of Handle With Care, the romantic comedy by Emmy®-nominated author Jason Odell Williams, starring the legendary Tony®-nominee Carol Lawrence, directed by Karen Carpenter (Love, Loss, and What I Wore). Mr. Denoff resides in New York City. He is a Member of The Broadway League (www.broadwayleague.com ), The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences ( www.emmys.org ), and The Recording Academy (www.grammys.org).


Maria di Dia (Theater Manager) brings a robust passion for the creative process and over 40 years of upper-level management. She has served in a managing role for more than 300 theatrical ventures. She continues to work on new projects from concept to completion and all the steps along the way.


David Garfinkle  is a Producer/CEO of Hello Entertainment, theatrical production company; Co-Chairman of film distribution and marketing joint venture with MyTheatre affiliate of Dentsu; founder and managing Partner of The Entertainment and Intellectual Property Group (“EIP”) law firm. Educated at Duke University and Boston University School of Law.

Hello co-productions: A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Musical), On the Town (Tony Award Nominee for Best Revival; Astaire Award Winner Best Choreographer and Male Lead), and the a Capella musical In Transit, directed by three time Tony Award winner Kathleen Marshall (Nice Work if You Can Get It), co written by Academy Award Winner Kristen Lopez (Frozen) and arranged by Deke Sharon (Pitch Perfect films); The Realistic Joneses (Drama Desk Award Best Ensemble, with Michael C. Hall, Toni Collette, Tracey Letts, Marisa Tomei).

Hello originating productions: Spider-Man Turn off the Dark (Music/lyrics by Bono and Edge of U2; Julie Taymor (Lion King, director)) – Broadway; Ghost the Musical – West End, Broadway, UK Tour, US Tour, Korea, Italy, Germany, China, Russia, Australia, France, Brazil, Japan, Hungary, Scandinavia, others; American Dance Machine — Joyce Theater in New York — planning Broadway move; The Immigrant (Drama Desk Nominations: Best Book and Orchestrations), Anne and Emmett (co-produced with former Secretary of Defense William Cohen; and written by Janet Langhart Cohen); three-time Tony Award winner Hinton Battle’s live stage productions of Love Lies and Hinton Battle: Largely Live. EIP clients have included Oprah Winfrey and OWN, Paramount Pictures, E! Entertainment Television, Telepictures division of Warner Brothers, Hinton Battle, the estates of Mahalia Jackson, Tammy Wynette and Charles Stepney (writer for Earth, Wind and Fire), and many other producers, directors, conductors, choreographers, actors, designers and recording artists in various media. Production counsel on numerous film, television and theatrical productions.

Adjunct Professor Positions: Duke University’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Arts and Entrepreneurship), Duke’s Leadership in the Arts Semester in New York City; Columbia College Film School (Chicago and Los Angeles programs). Mentor: StudioDuke. Assists teaching entertainment law at Duke Law School. Teaches regularly for Theater Resources Unlimited, a training organization for Broadway and off-Broadway producers.

Boards (current and prior): The American Dance Machine for the 21st Century, the Chicago International Film Festival, the Broadway Theater Institute, The New York Musical Theater Festival and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Full Tony voting member of the Broadway League. Prior chair of the Entertainment Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association.


David Henry Hwang (Playwright) is a Tony Award® winner and three-time nominee, a three-time Obie Award winner, and a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama. In addition to M. Butterfly, his works includes the plays Chinglish, Yellow Face, Golden Child, Kung Fu, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author) and Disney’s Tarzan. He also updated the libretto for the 2002 revival of Flower Drum Song.

America’s most-produced living opera librettist, Hwang premiered his new opera, Dream of the Red Chamber (co-authored with Bright Sheng), at San Francisco Opera last fall. Hwang has been honored with the 2011 PEN/Laura Pels Award for a Master American Dramatist, the 2012 Inge Award, the 2012 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright “Mimi” Award, a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, and the 2015 IPSA Distinguished Artist Award. He has also been a long-time board member of Young Playwrights Inc. and the Lark Play Development Center.

Hwang was recently the Residency One Playwright at New York’s Signature Theatre, and currently serves as Head of Playwriting at Columbia University School of the Arts. He is currently a writer/producer for the Golden Globe-winning TV series, “The Affair,” and was recently named Chair of the American Theatre Wing.


Nancy Koltes (Designer) is a pioneer in introducing luxury linens to the American Market.

Ms. Koltes was the first to combine an American sensibility with Italian craftsmanship. The result is a luxurious collection in the finest natural fibers that captures the warmth and spirit of the American lifestyle. She is fluent in Italian and French, and passionate about Ballet and Theater Arts.

Nancy Koltes was honored to provide fine linens to Barack and Michelle Obama, including the White House.

She also serves as an Advisory Board member to the Dartmouth Club of New York and previously advised the Shelter Island Yacht Club for 12 years.

Ms. Koltes transcribed the French diplomatic correspondence of President John Adams, featured by PBS in “Adams Chronicles” – a collaboration with the Massachusetts Historical Society. She also transcribed correspondence of the Marquis de Lafayette, later published by Princeton University Press.

Ms. Koltes holds a degree in French and Fine Arts from Wells College, Aurora, NY with one year program at the Sorbonne & L’Ecole du Louvre, Paris with a focus on Fine Arts and French language.


Derek McLane (Scenic Designer) has designed over 350 productions on Broadway, off-Broadway, international and regional, and television. A few of his award winning designs include:

TONY AWARD Best Scenic Design of a Play 2009 33 VARIATIONS
ART DIRECTORS GUILD AWARD 2014 + 2015 The 86th & 87th OSCARS
TONY AWARD NOMINATION Best Scenic Design/Musical 2010 RAGTIME


SELECTED CREDITS: BROADWAY: Moulin Rouge!, A Soldier’s Play, American Son, The Parisian Woman, Children of a Lesser God, The Price, Noises Off, Fully Committed, Beautiful, Gigi, China Doll, Anything Goes, The Heiress, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Best Man, Follies, How to Succeed In Business Without Even Trying, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Million Dollar Quartet, Ragtime, 33 Variations The Pajama Game, I Am My Own Wife. OFF-BROADWAY: Merrily We Roll Along, The True, Jerry Spring the Opera, If I Forget, The Whirligig, Into The Woods, Love, Love, Love, Sweet Charity, Evening at the Talk House, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Buried Child, The Spoils, Sticks and Bones, The Last Five Years, A Lie of the Mind, Ruined, Hurlyburly. TELEVISION: He designed the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 Academy Awards as well as the NBC LIVE! Musicals The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The WIZ & HAIRSPRAY. AWARDS: Winner of 1997 + 2004 OBIE Awards, 2004, 2005, 2007 Lortel Awards; 2009 Tony Award, 2011 Drama Desk Award, 2015, 2016 Art Directors Guild Award, 2014 + 2017 Emmy Award.


Jeffrey Saver (Composer – Music Director) composed the musicals Dodsworth (starring Hal Linden & Dee Hoty) and Time After Time with collaborator Stephen Cole. Composed music for the documentary film In My Hands (directed/produced by Ann Reinking). He has written and arranged special material for: Chita Rivera, Christine Baranski, Rosie O’Donnell, Dorothy Loudon, Joel Grey, Bebe Neuwirth and many others.

As a music director and pianist, his Broadway credits include Allegiance, (starring Lea Salonga and George Takei), End Of The Rainbow (Broadway and LA productions), Sister Act, Chicago, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Into The Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, The Secret Garden, The Rink, and A Chorus Line. Off Broadway: Milk And Honey, A World To Win: the songs of Sheldon Harnick (both at the York Theatre), The Fantasticks, Lucky Stiff. Tours: Dancin’ (U.S. and Japan), A Chorus Line (Paris).

Regional: Annie, Sweeney Todd (with George Hearn and Judy Kaye) and Can-Can at Paper Mill Playhouse; Merrily We Roll Along and A Wonderful Life at Arena Stage; Arthur at the Goodspeed Opera House. Also served as musical supervisor of a benefit concert for The Actor’s Fund of A Wonderful Life (starring Brian Stokes Mitchell, Judy Kuhn, and David Hyde-Pierce). Cast albums include: Time After Time/Dodsworth – New Songs from New Musicals (featuring Judy Blazer, Christian Borle, Liz Callaway and Walter Charles, available on Original Cast Records OC 6128); Chicago (both Broadway & Soundtrack); Kiss of the Spider Woman (with Vanessa Williams); Lucky Stiff. He is a graduate of the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he subsequently taught in the musical theatre department. Additionally, he taught at Point Park University as a music director and teaching artist-in-residence. Jeff is an honored to be a founding member of NewArts (formerly the 12/14 Foundation) in Newtown, CT where he music directed From Broadway With Love; A Benefit Concert For Sandy Hook (broadcast on PBS), Seussical, the world premiere of A Rockin’ Midsummer Night’s Dream, Liberty Smith, School Of Rock, The Wizard Of Oz, and Joseph…Dreamcoat.

This past spring included a production of Grand Hotel for Encores at City Center. Recently conducted a production of next to normal at UNCSA in Winston-Salem, NC., and a production of 42nd Street at Southern Utah University. Just music directed Freaky Friday at North Shore Music Theatre this past summer. Most recently, he music directed The Threepenny Opera at UC Davis in Davis, CA where he was the Granada Artist-in-Residence. Earlier this spring he music directed a concert of Sheldon Harnick’s work (featuring Sheldon Harnick, Rebecca Luker, Liz Callaway, and Karen Ziemba), and upcoming is a production of Candide which he will conduct at Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee, WI.


Violist Katarzyna Bryla-Weiss was born into a family of musicians and has gone on to earn more than two dozen prizes and awards in the United States, France and her native Poland.  Katarzyna regularly performs with orchestras, chamber groups, and as a soloist in an international career that has taken her across four continents. In 2019 she became a member of St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, the artistic core of Orchestra of St. Luke’s.

Katarzyna is currently a member of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, New York City Ballet Orchestra, New York Pops Orchestra, and regularly appears with New York City Opera.  She was a soloist with the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra in their tour of China in 2010, and was soloist for the noted Maazel/Vilar Conducting Competition in Cracow in 2001.

Katarzyna has performed in numerous renowned music festivals: Classical Tahoe, Napa Valley Music Festival, Central Vermont Music Festival, Music@Menlo, Cactus Pear Music Festival, Bach Dancing and Dynamite, Singapore Sun Music Festival, Las Palmas Music Festival in Grand Canary Island Spain and many others.

Her teachers include Christian Tetzlaff, David Cerutti, Herbert Greenberg, Hongang Li, Jadwiga Kaliszewska, and her father Bartosz Bryla.

Katarzyna lives in Brooklyn with her husband flutist David Weiss.