Ian J. Bethany is from Long Island, N.Y. He started dancing as a tap and jazz student at Robert Mann Dance Centre. He started ballet at the age of 12 at Tap to Pointe Dance Center. Ian then went on to train at the Frank Ohman School of Ballet, at the School of Ballet Chicago with Daniel Duell and Patricia Blair, at Ballet Academy East with Darla Hoover and Francis Patrelle, and then as a full scholarship student in the Professional Division of Pacific Northwest Ballet School with Peter Boal, Elaine Bauer, Marjorie Thompson, Bruce Wells, and Nicholas Ade. With Ballet Austin, Ian has enjoyed performing in George Balanchine’s Agon and Allegro Brillante, Nicolo Fonte’s Lasting Imprint, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Requiem for a Rose, Gabrielle Lamb’s Dovetail, Bradley Shelver’s The Last Just, Stephen Mills’ Carmina Burana, The Magic Flute, and The Nutcracker, and the Bluebird Pas de Deux in The Sleeping Beauty. Ian has performed with project-based company Performa/Dance, has sung with the Austin Opera, was seen as Dream Curly in Zilker Theatre Production’s presentation of Oklahoma!, and does numerous juggling gigs around Austin. He also teaches in the Ballet Austin Academy. Ian would like to thank Jesus Christ, his wife, Grace, and his family for the support they give him each day.
Hailing from Seattle, Paul Michael Bloodgood began his training with Don Snyder at the L'Acadamie de Danse, and then continued on full scholarship with the Pacific Northwest Ballet School with summers under the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet. Now in his 17th professional season, Paul Michael has performed with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, Terpsicorps, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and Ballet Austin, with tour highlights to Europe, Israel, Puerto Rico, the Kennedy Center, The Joyce Theater, and Hawaii. Professionally, he has had the privilege of principal roles such as Hamlet in Hamlet, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Albrecht in Giselle, Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Ivan in The Firebird, Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty, Young Warrior in The Rite of Spring, James in La Sylphide, Franz in Coppelia, Prince Charming in Cinderella, Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Le Chevalier in Liaisons, as well as a principal in George Balanchine's Episodes, Allegro Brillante, and Agon, Antony Tudor's Sunflowers, and Choo-San Goh's Double Contrasts. Paul was one of two dancers to originate the role of The Beast in Stephen Mills' Belle Redux / A Tale of Beauty & The Beast. Past repertoire includes works by choreographersTwyla Tharp, Lynne Taylor-Corbet, Marius Petipa, Peter Pucci, Nicolo Fonte, Septime Weber, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and more than original works including Dwight Rhoden, Kent Stowell, Anne Marie DeAngelo, Jacques Heim, Paul Vasterling, David Allan, Gina Patterson and Thaddeus Davis among others.
A three-time Austin Critics Table Award recipient, Paul Michael is a union member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA, appearing in film, music videos and television, with work in director Michael Bay's Transformers, Forest Whitaker's First Daughter, Richard Linklater's Bernie, and more than 25 independent films, some of which have toured the international film festival circuit. Paul Michael has a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Edwards University and holds the rank of pum dan in Tukong Moosul martial arts under Grand Master Yi (Sin City). He runs a photography and film production company, Bloodygood Pictures, with his wife and fellow company dancer, Anne. His studio band, Floating Pockets, released an album entitled Panacean Vacancy currently on iTunes/Amazon/Spotify/Pandora Radio and other distributors. Paul is in post-production for his film directorial debut, feature-length documentary, Trenches of Rock. He thanks God, his wife, Anne, and his family for their inspiration. Twitter: @paulmbloodgood Instagram: @bloodgood
Orlando Julius Canova began his ballet training in Southern California with Lawrence and Sarma Rosenberg at the Anaheim Ballet School. At age 16 he moved to New York City to train at the School of American Ballet. There, he received a full tuition merit scholarship and was sponsored by Debbie Allen. Orlando furthered his ballet training with Miami City Ballet School. In 2001, Orlando became an Arpino Apprentice with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and in 2003 he joined as a full company member. While at Joffrey, Orlando played the part of apprentice in Robert Altman's movie, The Company.
At Ballet Austin Orlando has danced lead roles in The Nutcracker, Cult of Color: Call to Color, Truth & Beauty: The Bach Project, Romeo & Juliet, Nine Sinatra Songs, silence within silence and The Magic Flute. He has worked with such choreographers as Stephen Mills, Twyla Tharp, KT Nelson, Dominic Walsh, Nicolo Fonte, Sonya Delwaide, Toni Bravo, Michelle Thompson, Reginald Harris, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Orlando has also had the pleasure of dancing for Molly Lynch’s National Choreographers Initiative in 2012 and 2013. There he worked with Darrell Moultrie, Melissa Barak, Val Caniparoli, Frank Chavez, Kitty McNamee, and Susan McCullough. In addition, Orlando teaches dance at the Ballet Austin Academy, the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness, Saint Mary’s Hall, Austin City Ballet, and Alamo Heights High School.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Penn., Edward received his first 12 years of ballet training at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School. After graduating high school, he continued his training at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto under the instruction of Lindsay Fischer. While there, Edward performed works by James Kudelka, Toer van Schayk, and Rudi van Dantzig. Since joining Ballet Austin, he has been featured in Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs, Bradley Shelver’s The Last Just, Nicolo Fonte's Left Unsaid and Lasting Imprint, originated roles in Stephen Mills' Angel of My Nature, Though the Earth Gives Way, and Belle Redux / A Tale of Beauty & the Beast, and has portrayed Claudius in Mills' Hamlet and Tybalt in Mills’ Romeo & Juliet. He has appeared as Drosselmeyer in every performance of Mills’ The Nutcracker since 2009. When not dancing with Ballet Austin, Edward teaches in the Ballet Austin Academy and works with local choreographers such as Jennifer Hart.
James Fuller is from Irvine, Calif., and was trained at Ballet Pacifica Conservatory. In 2004, James received a Youth America Grand Prix scholarship to study at the Boston Ballet School, where he completed his final year of training. James apprenticed with Oregon Ballet Theatre for a year before enrolling at Harvard University. At Harvard, James performed works by choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, George Balanchine, and Alvin Ailey. In the summers, James studied modern dance with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, American Dance Festival, and Beijing LDTX. James directed the Harvard Ballet Company in 2009 and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Philosophy, a secondary field in dramatic arts, and a language citation in Urdu-Hindi. Since joining Ballet Austin, James has performed in original works by Stephen Mills, including Luminaria and Though the Earth Gives Way, danced in Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, performed with the National Choreographers Initiative, and choreographed for Houston City Dance.
Oliver Greene-Cramer is originally from Marlboro, Vt. He received his early training at the Brattleboro School of Dance and Burklyn Ballet Theatre. He graduated from SUNY Purchase College cum laude with a BFA in Dance - Ballet Concentration and was given the award for Outstanding Senior in Modern Dance. While at Purchase he danced works by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Lar Lubovitch, Nicolo Fonte, John Heginbotham, and premiered works by Ori Flomin and Jonathan Riedel. In 2012 he was honored to join Purchase on a tour to Taipei to perform Dvorak Serenade by Lar Lubovitch. Immediately after graduation Oliver joined the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. Since joining Ballet Austin he has performed works by Stephen Mills, Jimmy Orrante, Jennifer Hart, and Nelly van Bommel. Oliver also works with Performa/Dance, an Austin company directed by Jennifer Hart and Edward Carr.
Rebecca Johnson is originally from Ann Arbor, Mich., where she received her early training from Marjorie Randazzo. From there she attended Virginia School of the Arts, as well as summer programs at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Charleston Ballet Theater, and Ballet Austin. She has danced roles in Stephen Mills' Carbon53, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, Liminal Glam, Hamlet, and Wolftanzt among others, as well as works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Amy Seiwert, and Jimmy Orrante. Rebecca has also enjoyed dancing the role of Myrtha in Giselle, Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In 2014, Rebecca received an Austin Critic's Table Award for Outstanding Dancer.
Aara Krumpe is originally from Corpus Christi, Texas. She received her early training from Nancy Sulik and studied for three years at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School under David Holladay. Since joining Ballet Austin, Aara has enjoyed dancing in many Stephen Mills ballets, including the title roles in Belle Redux / ATale of Beauty & The Beast, Romeo & Juliet, The Firebird, and The Taming of the Shrew, as well as Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Gertrude in Hamlet, Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, and The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. She has also danced the principal roles in the classics Swan Lake, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Bournonville's La Sylphide as well as Dark Angel in Balanchine's Serenade. In 2007 and 2011, she was recognized with Outstanding Dancer awards by the Austin Critics' Table. Aara is most thankful for the opportunity to perform the role of the Survivor in Mills' Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. Aara and her husband, Ambrose, are the proud parents of two wonderful boys, Leo and Lucas.
Anne Marie Melendez began her ballet training in Torrance, Calif., with Diane Lauridsen. Anne Marie has previously performed with the South Bay Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, Nevada Ballet Theatre, and Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance appearing in works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Marius Petipa, Nicolo Fonte, David Parsons, Ron Cunningham, Val Caniparoli, Choo-San Goh, Thaddeus Davis, William Whitener, Ann Marie DeAngelo, Thang Dao, Gina Patterson, Heather Maloy, Salvatore Aiello, and Stephen Mills. Her favorite roles include Ophelia in Hamlet, Tsarevna in The Firebird, Effie in La Sylphide, Cupid in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, an Evil Stepsister in Cinderella, and one of Kitri’s friends and Cupid in Don Quixote. She has been proud to represent Ballet Austin on tour to the Kennedy Center and The Joyce Theatre. Anne Marie is also a recent graduate of St. Edward’s University. She would like to thank Jesus Christ, her husband, Paul Michael, and her family for their endless love and support.
Grace Morton is from Seattle, Wash. She received her early training from Vivian Little and Mary Reardon, school directors of Dance Fremont. In 2010 she began training under the direction of Damara Bennett in Oregon Ballet Theater's professional division. She had the chance to tour to Korea and performed in company productions of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker and Nicolo Fonte's world premiere of Petrushka. As a member of Ballet Austin II, she enjoyed performing featured roles in Stephen Mills' Luminaria, Jennifer Hart's Wavemakers, and Nelly Van Bommel's Snow White. After joining the company, Grace has performed roles in classical ballets such as French in Stephen Mills' The Nutcracker, Puss 'n Boots in The Sleeping Beauty, and Four Little Swans in Swan Lake. She has also had the pleasure to appear in George Balanchine's Agon, Stephen Mills' One/the body’s grace, Gabriel Lamb's Dovetail, James Gregg's The Space Between, and Jennifer Hart's To Here. Grace has danced in project-based company Performa/Dance, and appeared in Zilker Theatre Production's presentation of Oklahoma! as Dream Laurie. She is also a teacher in the Ballet Austin Academy.
Jordan Moser is originally from Santa Ana, Calif. He received his training at Academy of Dance under Merle Sepel and Rebeca Tsvkin where he earned distinction in Advanced 2 RAD examination. He has danced with Los Angeles Dance Theater and performed in Beijing, China. He has also been a guest artist in Japan. Since joining Ballet Austin, he has been featured in Stephen Mills’ Cinderella as Master of Ceremonies, The Taming of the Shrew, Carmina Burana, and Light / The Holocaust Humanity Project. Jordan has been featured in classical roles, such as Peasant Pas de Deux from Giselle, Allegro Brillante and La Sylphide. He has performed in many contemporary ballets, namely, Dominic Walsh's The Whistling, Nicolo Fonte's Left Unsaid and Lasting Imprint, Loni Landon's Wild Card and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Requiem for a Rose. He is currently studying Humanities at St. Edward's University.
Jordan is also an active Austin musician who has had the opportunity to accompany renowned singer Khann Ly in the world premiere of Thang Dao's Quiet Imprint and has had two ballets, Path You Came Here By and Hiding Places created to his own compositions by Michelle Thompson. He would like to thank his parents for their love and support and his teachers for their generosity, support and inspiration over the years.
Originally from Roseville, Calif., Kevin Murdock-Waters began his training at Hawkins School of Performing Arts. He then went on to train at the San Francisco Ballet School where he performed roles in multiple main company ballets, including John Cranko's Onegin, Rudolf Nureyev's Raymonda, Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella and Helgi Tomasson's The Nutcracker and Romeo & Juliet. During the San Francisco Ballet student showcase, Kevin performed the second movement principal in George Balanchine's Western Symphony. With Ballet Austin II, he enjoyed performing as Hansel in Nelly van Bommel's Hansel and Gretel, the judge in Nick Kepley's Season of Innocence, and in Stephen Mills' Belle Redux / A Tale of Beauty & The Beast.
Preston Andrew Patterson was born in Atlanta, Ga., and began his dance studies at the Ballethnic Academy of Dance. At age 17 he attended the School of American Ballet and later the National Ballet School of Canada. As a member of Ballet Austin, Preston Patterson has had the privilege of performing in Stephen Mills’ Wolftanzt, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, Belle Redux / A Tale of Beauty & The Beast, George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, the Peasant Pas de Deux from Giselle, and the Blue Bird in Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty.
Elise Pekarek is originally from the Chicago area and began her early ballet training with the Judith Svalander School of Ballet. With the school's performing company, she had the opportunity to dance leading roles as well as perform in Dance Chicago for several years. Elise attended summer programs at Ballet Austin and Pacific Northwest Ballet. She continued her training with Ballet Austin as a trainee and then as a member of Ballet Austin II. As an apprentice, Elise was privileged to perform Stephen Mills' Touch, Carmina Burana, and Red Roses as well as Thang Dao's Quiet Imprint. Since joining the company, she has been honored to perform the role of the Rose Girl in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Requiem for a Rose in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as well as in Austin. She also has enjoyed performing the first pas de trios in George Balanchine's Agon and The Rose in Stephen Mills' Belle Redux / A Tale of Beauty & The Beast. In 2014, Elise completed her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration through Columbia College of Missouri. She also teaches classes for Ballet Austin's Butler Center for Dance & Fitness and Pilates Center.
Oren Porterfield hails from Dallas, Texas, where she trained with Tanju and Patricia Tuzer of Tuzer Dancenter. She continued to study under revered master teacher Truman Finney as a trainee and an apprentice with Ballet Austin. Oren has danced with Ohio Ballet and Dayton Ballet where she had the pleasure of performing the featured roles of Blanche DuBois in Karen Russo Burke's A Streetcar Named Desire and as Lucy Westenra in Stewart Sebastian's Dracula. Oren has been a guest artist with Verb Ballets, Motion Dance Theatre, and Performa Dance. Since returning to Austin, she has been featured in works by Nicolo Fonte, Annabelle Lopez Achoa, Loni Landon, Jennifer Hart, and James Gregg as well as in director Stephen Mills’ Angel of my Nature, Luminaria, and One/the body’s grace. Oren has recently enjoyed the role of Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty, and the iconic pas de deux in George Balanchine's Agon.
Chelsea Marie Renner, originally from Bozeman, Mont., received her early training from Ann Bates of Montana Ballet and Campbell Midgley of Queen City Ballet. Since joining Ballet Austin's main company, Chelsea has enjoyed performing in Stephen Mills' Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, The Magic Flute, Kai, Hamlet, and as Waltz soloist in The Nutcracker, along with Nicolo Fonte's Lasting Imprint, and works by Nelly van Bommel, Gregory Dolbashian, Gabrielle Lamb and Jimmy Orrante. In June of 2013, Chelsea was honored to travel to Washington, D.C., to perform Stephen Mills' Hush for Ballet Across America III at The Kennedy Center, and in September of that year joined the company in Israel for a three-city tour of Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. Chelsea was the first recipient of the Sarah and Ernest Butler Scholarship in 2006. She also teaches in the Ballet Austin Academy. Chelsea would like to thank her husband Aaron, her parents, and her grandparents for their endless love and support. On April 14, 2015, Aaron and Chelsea welcomed their first child, Landon Jay Katz, into the world. He is the light in their eyes and the love in their hearts and they feel so blessed to have him. Chelsea is excited to be returning to the stage this season and to have an amazing son to share it with.
Ashley Lynn Sherman grew up in the Chicago area, where she trained with Ms. Sherry Moray. She spent four years with Alabama Ballet before joining Ballet Austin. With the company, Ashley has had the honor of premiering many works by Stephen Mills and performing in Italy, Slovenia, The Joyce Theater, and the Kennedy Center, where she was featured in Balanchine's Episodes with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet. She has enjoyed dancing principal roles in Don Quixote, Hamlet, Swan Lake, Coppelia, La Sylphide, The Magic Flute, and Romeo & Juliet. Ashley has been featured in works by Thang Dao, Mats Ek, Nicolo Fonte, Gina Patterson, Dwight Rhoden, and Twyla Tharp and has made guest appearances with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. In 2009, Ashley received an Austin Critic's Table Award for Outstanding Dancer. Ashley is a graduate of St. Edward's University and is on faculty with the Ballet Austin Academy and a yoga instructor at Dharma Yoga.
Frank Shott is a native of Vestal, NY. He trained in Pittsburgh, Houston and Seattle prior to joining Kansas City Ballet. After four seasons with KCB, he jumped at the opportunity to join Ballet Austin where he has had the fortune of performing a variety of principal and soloist roles. These include Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Basilio in Don Quixote, Siegfried in Swan Lake, Albrecht in Giselle, and Peter in Peter Pan. He also had the rare opportunity to dance the role of Petruchio opposite his wife in the role of Kate for Mr. Mills' The Taming of the Shrew. He is particularly proud to have been a part of the creation of Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. Frank has also been featured on PBS performing the title role in Stephen Mills' Hamlet. Frank has traveled the nation teaching the fencing for Hamlet as well as choreographing the duels in Mr. Mills' Romeo & Juliet. When not dancing, Frank continues his education and enjoys every single moment he has with his beautiful wife and daughter.
Brittany Strickland is originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. She attended the North Carolina School of the Arts (now the University of NCSA) from 2001-2007 where she trained under Melissa Hayden, Nina Danilova, and Kee-Juan Han. With NCSA, Brittany was privileged to perform George Balanchine’s Serenade at the Hollywood Bowl as well as performing featured roles in The Nutcracker, La Fille mal Gardee, La Sonnambula and Jardin Anime. Following graduation she continued her training with Ballet Austin under full scholarship. With Ballet Austin II she was privileged to perform featured roles in works such as Thang Dao’s Quiet Imprint and Stephen Mills’ Touch as well as performing with the company in Mills’ Coppelia and his world premiere of The Firebird. Since joining the company, she has enjoyed performing in works such as Mills' The Taming of the Shrew, The Nutcracker, Carmina Burana, and Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. In her free time, Brittany also teaches in the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness.
Christopher Swaim is originally from Bryant, AR, where he began his training with Kirt and Linda Hathaway at the Academy of Ballet Arkansas. He then went on to graduate with distinction from the University of Oklahoma with a B.F.A. in Ballet Pedagogy. Chirstopher has danced principal roles in The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, The Nutcracker and Valse Fantaisie, and has been featured in works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Stephen Mills, Thaddeus Davis, Amy Seiwert, James Clouser, Miguel Terekhov, Septime Webre, Nelly Van Bommel, Loni Landon, Bradley Shelver, Sidra Bell, Gina Patterson, Nicolo Fonte, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Ben Stevenson. He has also performed at the 2010 San Francisco International Arts Festival as a guest with Amy Seiwert's company Imagery, at the Kennedy Center in 2008 with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet and again in 2013 with Ballet Across America III, with Ballet Arkansas as a guest in 2012, and at the 2011 Festival des Arts de Saint- Sauveur. Mr. Swaim teaches in the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness, Ballet Austin Academy, and has guest taught across the country.
Cassia Wilson completed her formal and pre-professional training at the Dallas Ballet Center and Company under the direction of Brent and Judy Klopfenstein. There she performed lead roles in The Nutcracker and Le Corsaire and in works by Jason Fowler and Thom Clower. She also received professional training with Kim Able. Cassia is the recipient of the 2009 Natalie Skelton Scholarship by the Dance Council of North Texas, the 2010 Outstanding Student - RDASW, the 2010 Lynn Kubinec Heart of a Dancer Scholarship, and three Guild Merit Scholarships. She attended summer intensives at the School of American Ballet, Ballet Magnificat!, and Nashville Ballet, and was offered a full-tuition scholarship to Pacific Northwest Ballet. Cassia was a member of Nashville Ballet II before joining Ballet Austin.
Jaime Lynn Witts is originally from Bucks County, Penn., where she received most of her training from Maxim Ponomarenko, Oleg Briansky, and Mireille Briane. She attended summer programs at CPYB, Boston Ballet, and Ballet Austin. There, she continued her studies with Truman Finney in Ballet Austin's Trainee program before joining Ballet Austin II. Since joining the company, Witts has performed in works by numerous choreographers including Stephen Mills, Thaddeus Davis, KT Nelson, Nicolo Fonte, Sidra Bell, Viktor Kabaniaev, Nelly van Bommel, Loni Landon, Jennifer Hart, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Gabrielle Lamb and Gina Patterson. She has enjoyed performing principal roles in George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante and Agon,Swanhilda in Coppelia, Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty and Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, for which she earned her second Austin Critics Table Award. Most recently she has made her premier as the title role in Mills’ The Firebird. Witts has also had the honor of performing the role of The Survivor in Mills' Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project in Austin and on tour in Miami and Israel. When she is not dancing, Witts enjoys spending her time off with her husband and daughter, Evaline.
Originally from Shreveport, La., Bailey Anglin began her training at Carol Anglin Dancenter where she was a member of Louisiana Dance Theatre. She furthered her education by studying at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. Upon graduation, Bailey accepted a traineeship with the Richmond Ballet. She has attended numerous summer intensives including Kirov Academy of Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet Academy Lincoln Center, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Richmond Ballet and Ballet Austin.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Abby Chen started her training at the San Francisco Ballet School under the artistic direction of Helgi Tomasson. She continued her studies with merit scholarship at City Ballet School in San Francisco with Galina Alexandrova. There Abby performed many leading roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Kitri in Don Quixote, and Myrtha in Giselle, as well as a featured role in Yuri Zhukov’s With Time We Go. Abby spent a year in the Butler Fellowship program before being promoted to Ballet Austin II. During her year as a Fellow, she enjoyed roles in Mills' The Nutcracker, danced the lead couple in Raymonda Pas de Dix and a soloist role in Jennifer Hart's Strange Toys.
Nicole Del Bene is originally from Stormville, N.Y. She began her early training at Pinewood School of Dance. In May 2015, Nicole graduated Magna Cum Laude, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, Ballet Concentration from SUNY Purchase. As a scholarship student, Nicole danced works by George Balanchine, Nicolo Fonte, Matthew Neenan, Jessica Lang, Bettijane Sills and premiered work by Claire Porter and Taryn Kashock Russell. In the fall of 2013, Nicole was chosen by the Conservatory of Dance faculty to attend the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts under the tutelage of Ou Lu, Stella Lau and Zhao Min Hua. She has also studied dance at Vassar College under the guidance of John Meehan and Steve Rooks.
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, and raised in Atlanta, Ga., Constance Doyle trained until age 17 under Gigi Hyatt and Janusz Mazon. She attended the summer programs of American Ballet Theatre in New York City, Boston Ballet, The School of American Ballet (SAB) where she danced for two summers under full scholarship, and The Chautauqua Institute. At 17 she was invited to study year-round at SAB where she trained for two years with Kay Mazzo, Susan Pilarre, Suki Schorer, Darci Kistler, and Peter Martins. While at SAB, Constance was thrilled to perform George Balanchine's Serenade, Western Symphony and Valse Fantaisie during the school's workshop performances which were featured in a 2015 PBS Live from Lincoln Center national broadcast. She was repeatedly invited to dance in the annual New York Choreographic Institute and to participate as both dancer and choreographer in SAB's Student Choreographic Workshop. She is thankful to her parents, whose love and sacrifices made her career possible, and she dances to glorify God and magnify His beauty.
Brian Heil was born in San Diego, Calif., and is excited to begin his second year as an apprentice with Ballet Austin II. Brian received his early training at the San Diego Academy of Ballet under Max and Sylvia Tchernychev. In May 2014, he graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where he trained under John Meehan. Some of Brian's favorite roles include George Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Polonius in Stephen Mills' Hamlet.
Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Paul Martin trained in Des Moines and Kansas City before joining Ballet Austin II. He studied under Albert Adams and Elizabeth Harano Adams from early youth to 2014. He then trained at Kansas City Ballet School until 2015. Paul has appeared in many Iowa Dance Theatre performances including The Nutcracker, Peter Pan, and The Gilded Bat.
Originally from White Plains, N.Y., Taylor began her training at Logrea Dance Academy. At the age of 15 she began attending the Ellison Ballet Professional Training Program where she trained with Edward Ellison and Erin Forrest for two years. Prior to becoming a Butler Fellow, Taylor was a trainee with The Washington Ballet for the 2013-14 season.
Originally from Danbury, Conn., Kristen began her professional ballet training at New Jersey School of Ballet at the age of 11 and was later accepted into the Miami City Ballet School. She attended the Harid Conservatory for four years training under Victoria Schneider, Olivier Pardina, and Svetlana Osiyeva. There she also received the Fred Lieberman Award of Excellence. In 2012, Kristen was accepted into the Trainee Program at Joffrey Ballet Academy in Chicago. With the Joffrey Ballet, she danced alongside the main company in productions such as Stanton Welch's La Bayadère, Gerald Arpino's The Nutcracker, and Krzysztof Pastor's Romeo & Juliet.
A proud Michigander, Abby is very excited to join Ballet Austin II. Her early training in ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop was with the Taylor Dance Program and Ballet Americana under the direction of Joy Squire, Patricia Squire Lorenz, Leif Lorenz, and Julie Phillips. Upon graduating high school as valedictorian, her love for ballet took her to Dayton, Ohio, where she danced with the Dayton Ballet for four seasons. Among the many featured roles she was honored to perform with them, a few of her favorites include, Snow Queen in Karen Russo Burke's The Nutcracker, Gerald Arpino's Reflections, Stephen Mills' Red Roses and Five Flights Up, Jessica Lang's From Foreign Lands and People, and Amy Seiwart's Chasing Ghosts. Abby would like to thank her family and friends for their continuous love and support.
Rodolfo Tandazo was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of 15 he began his dance training at the Charlotte Ballet Academy where he was taught and coached by Patricia McBride. After attending the 2013 Summer Course at the Miami City Ballet School, Rodolfo was invited to continue his training during the winter term under a full scholarship. As a student, he performed principal roles in George Balanchine's Western Symphony (first movement), Tarantella, and the Waltz Boy in Serenade.
Mercedes Anchondo-Corral was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and began her training at Ballet Austin. She trained with Ballet Austin until the age of 12 and then moved to Seattle, Wash., and studied at Pacific Northwest Ballet. After two years in Seattle, Mercedes moved to Carlisle, Penn., where she trained under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She danced at CPYB for four years before returning to Ballet Austin as a Butler Fellow for the 2015-16 season. During her time at CPYB Mercedes had the pleasure of performing Alan Hineline's Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Hansel and Gretel and Cinderella in addition to Laszlo Berdo's Carnival of the Animals. Mercedes also had the opportunity to perform George Balanchine's Raymonda Variations, The Nutcracker, performing the role of Lead Spanish, and Emeralds, dancing alongside New York City Ballet company members.
Ana Boyd began studying dance at age three at Pointe Dance Centre in Panama. From 2011 to 2013 she continued her studies at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia, where she graduated as a professional ballerina and choreographer. She was the first Panamanian to graduate from this prestigious academy. Since 2007, she has been involved with the National Ballet of Panama in Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, performing such roles as Bluebird, Red Riding Hood, Clara, Colombina, Dewdrop, and Snowflake. She also performed the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. With the Bolshoi Ballet Academy she performed in the pas de deux from Le Corsaire, Paquita, Diana and Action, La Fille Mal Gardée, Talisman, and La Bayadère, and the pas de trois from Swan Lake, as well as a principal role in Emeralds.
Originally from Torrance, Calif., Kimberly's early classical ballet training was primarily at the Lauridsen Ballet Centre where she trained for six years under the direction of Diane Lauridsen. As a high school sophomore, Kimberly continued training at the Maple Conservatory of Dance in Irvine, Calif., under the instruction of Charles Maple, Kristin Hakala, and Patrick Frantz. At the Maple Conservatory, she enjoyed performing several roles including the Lead Arabian, Lead Mirliton, and the Snow Queen in Maple's The Nutcracker, the lead in Maple's Latcho Drom, and the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. She has attended summer programs at The Washington School of Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and Ballet Austin prior to joining the Butler Fellowship Program. Kimberly is honored and excited to advance her training as a second year Fellow and grow as an artist wherever her career takes her.
Originally from Rehoboth Beach, Del., Sara Jane Clem began her ballet training at the late age of fourteen with Sussex Dance Academy. In 2012, Sara had the opportunity to move to Moscow, Russia, to dance at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. The following year she decided to continue her dance training at Ballet Academy East (BAE) under the direction of Darla Hoover. In her two years at BAE, Sara Jane had the privilege of performing many new works, including leading roles in Matthew Neenan's The Near Future, Margo Sappington's The Lake, and Lisa Di Ribere's Now and Then. Sara Jane is very excited to begin her first season with Ballet Austin in the Butler Fellowship Program.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Banks received her early training at the Alabama Ballet School where she danced corps de ballet roles with the Alabama Ballet Company in George Balanchine's the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Coppélia. In 2012, Banks attended Next Generation Ballet, under the direction of Peter Stark, where she danced the lead role of Cinderella in NGB's performance of Cinderella Lite and also performed lead Shepherdess in the Imperial Nutcracker. In 2013, Banks attended The Miami City Ballet School in the Pre-Professional/Ensemble Division where she danced the Cinderella pas de deux from Sleeping Beauty and George Balanchine's Serenade. The following year Banks attended The University of Arizona's School of Dance and was honored to receive the Arizona Excellence Award and the Fine Arts Tuition Scholarship. At the University of Arizona Banks performed George Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Ben Stevenson's Four Last Songs.
Originally from Huntington Beach, Calif., Katie Crelin received her early training from Marnell Himes-Ushijima at Huntington Academy of Dance. In 2006, she enrolled in Ballet Austin's Academy and studied there through high school. This season Katie continues her training as a Butler Fellow at Ballet Austin.
Lynette Garcia is a second-year Butler Fellow who is originally from Seattle, Wash., where she trained at Turning Pointe Dance Centre with Tricia Volk. Prior to joining the Ballet Austin Butler Fellowship Program she attended summer intensives with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Ballet Austin. Since becoming a Fellow she has performed in Stephen Mills' The Firebird and The Nutcracker.
Kayla Hallmas is from Carlisle, Penn. She trained with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary for twelve years before becoming a Butler Fellow with Ballet Austin. While with CPYB, Kayla performed roles in various storybook ballets including Laszlo Berdo's Carnival of the Animals, Snow White and Peter Pan as well as Alan Hineline's Cinderella, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Sleeping Beauty and Hansel and Gretel. She also performed soloist roles in Kiyon Gaines' 4 in Five and Jeffrey Cirio's 7 Ways of Departure. Kayla was privileged to dance in several Balanchine works which include Allegro Brillante, Serenade, Who Cares?, Walpurgisnacht, Raymonda Variations, and Divertimeto No.15, along with principal roles in Emeralds and Valse Fantaisie. While training with CPYB she performed Balanchine's The Nutcracker for 12 years that concluded by performing principal roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian Coffee and Lead Marzipan.
Originally from Jacksonville, Fla., Jake Howard trained in the Ballet Austin Academy for three years before being invited to join the Butler Fellowship Program. He received his early dance training from Linda Jenkins, Laurie Byrd, and Carlos Miller at the Florida Ballet Conservatory, and also attended Douglas Anderson School of the Arts as a dance major. Past summer programs include Orlando Ballet, School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet Austin. During his first season as a Butler Fellow he enjoyed performing roles in Stephen Mills' The Firebird, The Nutcracker, and Belle Redux / A Tale of Beauty & the Beast, as well as Jennifer Hart's Strange Toys and Nick Kepley's Greater Mass.
Originally from San Diego, Calif., Noel's initial ballet training took place at San Elijo Dance and Music Academy under Ben and Lauri-Michelle Houk. In 2011, he was invited by Michael Owen to attend Walnut Hill School for the Arts and skip the eighth grade. Noel spent his four years of high school at Walnut Hill, a boarding school outside of Boston. He furthered his studies at the summer programs of The Rock School, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The School of American Ballet, and Houston Ballet. In 2015, Noel attended the summer program of Ballet Austin where he was invited to join the Butler Fellowship Program.
Originally from Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Sarah Lewis received her early training at Saratoga Ballet Academy under David and Christine Otto. In 2014 she moved to Carlisle, Penn., to attend Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. There she danced in roles such as Flowers and Snow in Balanchine's The Nutcracker. She has also danced in various pieces in CPYB's June Series and other productions such as Alan Hineline's Sleepy Hollow and Cinderella.
Originally from the Chicago area, Madeline Mass began her training at the Judith Svalander School of Ballet under the direction of Judith Svalander, Julie Hirsch and Greg Begley. While there she had the opportunity to perform leading roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Cinderella. Before joining the Butler Fellowship Program, Madeline attended Ballet Austin's summer intensive in 2013 and 2014 and was a competitor in the 2014 Youth American Grand Prix.
Originally from Seabrook, Texas, Jessica Ramm trained at the Houston Ballet Academy for six years. During her training Jessica had the opportunity to perform in The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, and Paquita, among numerous other ballets. Jessica trained at Boston Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, and Ballet Austin summer intensives. She has also received training from Texas Ballet Theater School. Jessica danced professionally with Coastal City Ballet in Vancouver and last season as an apprentice with Oklahoma City Ballet. With Coastal City Ballet, she performed featured roles including soloist Sylph in Les Sylphides, Gretel in Irene Schneider's Hansel and Gretel, and Summer Fairy in Irene Schneider's Cinderella. This past season with Oklahoma City Ballet she performed fairy corps in Jacob Sparso's Cinderella, Snowflakes, Marzipan, and Flower Corps in Robert Mill's The Nutcracker, and Juliet's Friend in Robert Mill's Romeo and Juliet.
Known for his innovative and collaborative choreographic projects, Stephen Mills has works in the repertoires of companies across the United States and around the world. From his inaugural season as Artistic Director in 2000, Mills attracted attention from around the United States with his world-premiere production of Hamlet, hailed by Dance Magazine as "...sleek and sophisticated." The Washington Post recognized Ballet Austin as "one of the nation’s best-kept ballet secrets" in 2004 after Ballet Austin performed Mills' world premiere of The Taming of the Shrew, commissioned by and performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The Company was first invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in January of 2002 with the Mills production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and at The Joyce Theater (NYC) in 2004. In 2005 after two years of extensive research, Mills led a community-wide human rights collaboration that culminated in the world premiere work Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. In 2006 Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project was awarded the Audrey & Raymond Maislin Humanitarian Award by the Anti Defamation League. In September of 2013, the work made its international debut with a tour in three cities across Israel. Read More
Michelle Martin had her early dance training at the Alberta Ballet School and danced with the Alberta Ballet Company for four years before joining the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre (IBT) in 1982. While with IBT and, subsequently, the Hartford Ballet in Connecticut, she performed leading and soloist roles in Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and The Moor's Pavane as well as creating roles in many original works. Martin's teaching credits include guest-teaching engagements at schools and universities in Canada, South Carolina, Michigan, and throughout Indiana and Texas. She was on faculty at Butler University in Indianapolis for five years. Martin began her tenure with Ballet Austin in 1991 as a dancer with the Company and in 1992 she was appointed ballet mistress and curriculum director of the Academy. In 1999 she founded Ballet Austin II, Ballet Austin's apprentice program, providing professional development for the 10-member second company and designing educational programming for presentation in schools. Martin has served on the Texas Commission on the Arts advisory panel for Arts Education and is a recipient of the Austin Under Forty award for contributions in the area of the Arts and Entertainment. Martin was appointed associate artistic director of Ballet Austin in 2000.
With a business degree and a professional dance background Eugene Alvarez has found his perfect niche at Ballet Austin. While studying at the University of Texas, Austin he took a recreational ballet class with teacher and, at the time, Artistic Director of Austin Ballet Theater, Stanley Hall. Soon Eugene was supplementing his college studies and UT ballet classes with classes, rehearsals and performances at Austin Ballet Theater. After graduation, degree in hand and only a couple of years into his auditor job at UT, Eugene left the business world for a chance to dance professionally with Ballet Austin. He danced for seven seasons and rose through the ranks to dance principal roles with fellow company members at the time, Stephen Mills and Michelle Martin. Retired from ballet he held administrative positions with The Texas HIV Connection and Jackson/Ruiz Salon before being invited back to Ballet Austin by now Artistic Director, Stephen Mills. He's been the Company Manager position since the fall of 2002 and feels fortunate to be able to use his business background to support his love for the arts.
Allisyn Paino started her dance training in New York with Ali Pourfarrokh and Kaleria Fedicheva. She has performed principal roles with the Fedicheva Ballet Company, The Indianapolis Opera and Butler Ballet. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.F.A. from Butler University. Since joining Ballet Austin in 1996, Paino has performed works by many choreographers including Stephen Mills, George Balanchine, Dwight Rhoden, Thaddeus Davis, Twyla Tharp, and David Parsons. She has danced the roles of The Chosen One in Mills' The Rite of Spring; Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Painter in Cult of Color: Call to Color. In 2005, Paino had the honor of dancing the role of The Survivor in the award winning Light / the Holocaust & Humanity Project. In May of 2009 she retired from the stage dancing the lead role in Stephen Mills' Cinderella. Her teaching credits include being on faculty of the Ballet Austin Academy and working as guest faculty at Butler University. Since her retirement she has joined the Artistic Staff as the Rehearsal Director of Ballet Austin.
Bill Sheffield had previously served as stage manager for Ballet Austin in the late eighties and when the Company went to The Kennedy Center with A Midsummer Night's Dream. An Austin native, Bill also produces the summer musicals at Zilker Park, including the recent hits: Crazy for You, Into the Woods and the award-winning Big River. Bill formerly worked with the Austin Musical Theater, where he was stage manager for most of their recent productions. He has worked with many Austin arts groups, including Austin Lyric Opera, ZTP, Austin Shakespeare Festival, Slavin-Nadal Dance, ADE, ART, ZST, Tapestry, Roy Lozano Ballet Folklorico, and many others.
Alexey Korygin was born in Donetsk City, Ukraine. He earned a master's degree in Fine Arts from the Kiev State Ballet School of the Ukraine. In 1984, he became a soloist with the Donetsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater. After dancing for four seasons with Ballet Austin, Alexey began designing and building costumes for the company. His costumes can be seen in Stephen Mills My Wall of Names and Bolero as well as Lambros Lambrou's Remembrances, Lady of the Camellias, Evolution of An Angel: Part II, Homecoming and Ulysses. He is also credited for his costumes in Ballet Austin's production of Fokine's Les Sylphides, Balanchine's Pas de Dix, the pas de deux from Le Corsaire, and the principal costumes for Ballet Austin's Swan Lake production.
In 1996, Ballet Austin unveiled a new production of The Nutcracker for which the costumes were designed by Tommy Bourgeois and most costumes were masterfully constructed by Alexey. In 2001, he built the costumes for Not Afraid of the Dark-The Show that Glows!
Emily Cawood is in her lucky 13th season with Ballet Austin. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with focuses in acting and technical theater design from Abilene Christian University and feels very fortunate for the opportunity to have professional careers in both fields. She has also had the pleasure of designing costumes for Ballet Austin’s main company and many productions for Ballet Austin II; her favorites being Peter and the Wolf, Season of Innocence (associate designer), Greater Mass and Jennifer Hart’s Wavemakers (Austin Critics Table nomination). When not surrounded by tulle and pointe shoes, she can occasionally be found performing at Esther’s Follies, making people laugh with stand-up comedy or hosting special events for Alamo Drafthouse.
Residing in Austin, Tony Tucci has been resident lighting designer for Ballet Austin's repertory, for over 25 years and is also currently resident lighting designer/director for Ben Stevenson's Texas Ballet Theater and Bruce Wood Dance Project. Other companies: Mejia International Ballet, Washington Ballet, Houston Dance Salad, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Colorado Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet and Cirque Ziva, the Golden Dragon Acrobats. Past designs for UT Opera's include Turn of the Screw, Don Giovanni, La Curandera, Bastiene y Bastinne, Albert Herring. He's also donw work with Austin musicals such as Damn Yankees, Carousel, West Side Story, Annie, Gypsy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Music Man, Oklahoma, A Chorus Line, Carousel and Sound of Music.
Recipient of two B. Iden Payne Awards and Critics Table awards for lighting in Austin, Tony has also designed Charles Duggan's productions of Dames at Sea in San Francisco and at the Goodspeed Opera House. For 1996 Summer Olympics, he designed for the Cultural Olympiad, showcasing six national and international companies. His international works include National Ballet of Canada, Royal Danish Ballet, Winnipeg and Swedish Ballets, Hong Kong Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Ballet Contemporaneo de Caracas, Christopher Bruce's Kingdom-Geneva Ballet, Flemming Flindt's Caroline Mathilde and Lucifer's Daughter-Royal Danish Ballet.