- Written by Eli Remington
Erich Yetter began his ballet training in Texas under Ingeborg Heuser (Staatsoper Berlin), and later with Fernando Schaffenburg (Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo) at Texas Christian University, and at the Houston Ballet Academy under Ben Stevenson, O.B.E. (Royal Ballet). He studied in New York City with David Howard and Maggie Black and Marjorie Mussman, and subsequently danced as a principal danced in London with Dance For Everyone, and also in Cork, Ireland with The Irish National Ballet. Upon returning to the states Yetter performed with Ballet Memphis in Tennessee for twelve years, after which he retired from the stage. During this time, he finished a Bachelor of Music cum laude from the University of Texas at El Paso.
After Memphis, Yetter served ten years as Artistic Director of Peoria Ballet in Illinois, working with international guest artists and building that company's national reputation. After earning a Master's of Science in Higher Education from Kaplan University in Chicago, Yetter accepted a position as Visiting Faculty Lecturer in Ballet at The University of Akron, where he taught Advanced and Intermediate Ballet technique, Pointe technique, Ballet History, and a general education course for non-majors entitled Viewing Dance. He also wrote articles for the Chronicle of Higher Education including an extensive interview with Jennifer Homans, who wrote the bestselling book on ballet history, Apollo's Angels.
Yetter has choreographed and directed over 70 works, from full-length ballets to small chamber dances. In addition, he has collaborated with and created movement for theaters, opera companies and symphony orchestras. As a dancer, he performed standard classical ballet repertoire as well as ballets by contemporary choreographers such as George Balanchine, Domy Reiter-Soffer, James Clouser and Trey McIntyre. In 1999 Yetter was awarded the Tennessee Commission for the Arts Individual Fellowship for Choreography and subsequently his dance work, Asturias, was featured at the American Choreographer's Showcase in Guatemala. For seven years he adjudicated on the Dance Grant Panel of the Illinois Arts Council, as well as the 2009 Federal Arts Jobs Preservation Grant Panel, dispersing government stimulus funds. In 2010, Yetter received a Challenge America Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for his production of Romeo and Juliet.
In addition to teaching ballet at Case Western Reserve University, Yetter serves on the ballet faculty for Cleveland School of the Arts and the Board of Directors of OhioDance. He has taught master classes for VERB Ballets, The American College Dance Festival, Ohio Northern University, Youngstown State University Dance Festival and the Dance Institute at the University of Akron. He lives in Akron with his wife, Mary Ragna Yetter, and their three children Evan, Clara and Jacob.