Dancers

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    Celebrate the Ballet’s 50th Anniversary in the 2015-16 Season!

    We want to hear from former company members, guest artists, students, staff/board members, and supporters.

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    50th Anniversary Gala Performance

    SAVE the DATE
    Gala Performance at DECC Symphony Hall

    Saturday, October 24, 2015, at 7 p.m.
    Don’t miss the 50th Anniversary Gala Performance. The Ballet brings back such celebrated works as Swan Lake pas de deux, excerpts from Nancy Gibson’s Savannah and Gilbert Reed’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Looks to the future with a new Robert Gardner work. Wraps up the evening with the Allen Fields’ rousing Rough Cut Swing with the North Shore Big Band playing live.

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  • 2015-2016 company dancers

    Michael Agudelo

    From Spartanburg, South Carolina, Michael began studying at Ballet Spartanburg. He studied at the Harid Conservatory and at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts under the guidance of Stanislav Issaev, Varna Gold Medalist. As a Trainee, Michael danced in Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker. As a member of Milwaukee Ballet II he danced in Milwaukee Ballet’s productions of Michael Pink’s Nutcracker, Dracula and Peter Pan. He won Second Place in Youth America Grand Prix 2010 Regionals and was selected as a finalist for YAGP New York. Now in his third season with the Minnesota Ballet, Michael has danced such roles as Renfield in Dracula, Russian and Spanish dancer in The “Manhattan” Nutcracker, and Pyotr in Firebird. The News Tribune praised his “sharply articulated performance” as Harlequin in Harlequinade Pas de Deux.

     

     

     

    Suzie Baer

    A Stillwater, Minnesota, native, Suzie trained at a local studio before joining the School of the Minnesota Ballet in 2003. She has also studied at the Joffrey Midwest Workshop, and on scholarship at Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet and Point Park University. A company member of the Minnesota Ballet since 2009, she has danced such roles as Dew Drop Fairy and the grown-up Clara in The “Manhattan” Nutcracker, the Greedy One in Three Virgins and a Devil, and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has also danced in the pas de deux of Penelope Freeh’s Flying Over Greenland and in the pas de trois of Ms. Freeh’s Two Andantes. She delights in dancing in menacing roles: Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty, Vampiress in Dracula, and the one-eyed monster Cyclops in Firebird.
     

     

     

     

     Alana Gergerich

    Alana is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she trained with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School in its Schenley High School and graduate program. While in the graduate program, Alana performed and toured with the dancers of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in productions including Coppélia, La Sylphide, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. She also performed with the Omaha Theater Ballet in Nebraska for the 08–09 season. In 2011 Alana graduated magna cum laude from Point Park University, in Pittsburgh, with a B.A. in Ballet Performance. During her time at the university Alana had the opportunity to perform in many great works, including George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie and Gerald Arpino’s Light Rain. Now in her third season with the Minnesota Ballet, she has danced such roles as Miss Ina Wells in Dracula, grown-up Clara and Arabian Princess in The “Manhattan” Nutcracker, Natasha in Firebird, and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

     

     

     

    Sam Neale

    Australian born and raised, Sam began his training at the Atelier School for Classical Ballet under Joanne Neale before being accepted on scholarship into The McDonald College, where he was also a member of Premier State Ballet. Sam stayed there for two years under Josephine Jason and Allan Cross. Sam then spent the summers of 2009 and 2010 at Milwaukee Ballet Summer Intensive, then was accepted into Milwaukee Ballet II, where he danced 2010–2012. Sam’s repertoire includes Sleeping Beauty’s “Blue Bird,” Paquita, Diana and Acteon, Salvatore Aiello’s Clowns and Others, Jiri Kylian’s Symphony in D, Nicole Teague & Isaac Sharratt’s There’s This. While in MBII he also performed with Milwaukee Ballet in Michael Pink’s Nutcracker, Esmeralda, Coppélia, Dracula, Peter Pan, Mauro de Candia’s Something I Had in Mind and Lila York’s Celts. Now in his third season with Minnesota Ballet, he has danced such roles as Werewolf in Dracula, Toreador in The “Manhattan” Nutcracker, Kostchei in Firebird, and the Pirate Conrad in Le Corsaire Pas de Trois.

     

    Jefferson Paynejefferson

    Jefferson grew up in Boston, where beginning at age four he studied at the Boston Ballet in its Classical Ballet Program, Pre-Professional Program, and as a Trainee, earning the Dierdre Miles Burger Scholarship 2011–14. He also studied in summer programs at the Houston Ballet, Orlando Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. For the Boston Ballet, he danced his first role in Mikko Nissinen’s Nutcracker as a Baby Mouse, later Party Boy, Fritz, Soldier, and Big Mouse; and he also performed as Peter in Jarred Redick’s Peter and the Wolf. For the Boston Ballet he has danced in La Bayadère, The Sleeping Beauty, George Balanchine’s Coppélia, August Bournonville’s La Sylphide, Igor Burlak’s men’s piece in Next Generation, and Alla Nikitina’s Ukranian Hopak. Jefferson has also performed with Anna Myer and Dancers in the premiere of her Penumbra at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and served as guest artist with the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre as Basilio in the Act III Pas de Deux of Don Quixote, staged by Cynthia Gregory. This is his first season with the Minnesota Ballet.

     

    Emily Reed

    From Monee, Illinois, Emily began dancing when she was three. She studied at Faubourg School of Ballet and then the Ruth Page Center of the Arts, where she trained under beloved ballet master Larry Long and was also a member of Civic Ballet of Chicago. Emily was one of the first trainees for Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, where she danced with the company in Paquita at the Joffrey Gala. She spent 2010–12 in the Milwaukee Ballet II program, where her main teachers were Mireille Favarel, Rolando Yanes, and Karl von Rabenau. Some of Emily’s favorite dances she performed with MBII include Diana and Acteon, Pas de Quatre, Tarantella, Clowns and Others, and Mauro de Candia’s Something I Had In Mind. While in MBII, she also performed with Milwaukee Ballet in Michael Pink’s Esmeralda, Nutcracker, Coppélia, Dracula, Peter Pan and in Lila York’s Celts. Emily attended summer intensives at Boston Dance Lab, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Kaatsbaan, Orlando Ballet, BalletMet, and Milwaukee Ballet. Now in her third season with Minnesota Ballet, she has danced such roles as Lucy in Dracula, Sugar Plum Fairy in The “Manhattan” Nutcracker, Svetlana in Firebird, and Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. For her portrayal of Columbine in Harlequinade Pas de Deux, the News Tribune praised her “pristine lines that are the signature part of her style as a dancer.”

    Catherine Wootten

    A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Catherine trained under the direction of Melissa and Emery Uyehara at Capital City Dance Center. During summer intensives, she trained with John Magnus and Judy Rice at Joffrey Midwest; Rochelle Zide-Booth at Boston Ballet; Kee Juan Han, Carlos Varcarcel, and CeCe Farha at Washington Ballet; Leslie Browne at American Ballet Theatre; and Nadia Thompson at Milwaukee Ballet. Catherine has performed as a soloist with the Des Moines Symphony. Her favorite roles include Kitri in Don Quixote, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, and Gamzatti in La Bayadère. A company member of the Minnesota Ballet since 2011, she has danced such roles as Columbine in Harlequinade Pas de Deux, Yelena in Firebird, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and in the Flames of Paris Pas de Deux. She has especially enjoyed dancing the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Ice Fairy inThe “Manhattan” Nutcracker, a role the News Tribune praised for “her adept display of high-speed turns.”

     

     

     

    Nikolaus Wourms

    A native of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Nikolaus began studying ballet at the Academy of Dance in Dickinson, North Dakota, then studied at the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids. He also studied at the Cecchetti Council of America’s summer program in Holland, Michigan. A graduate of the School of the Minnesota Ballet, Nikolaus is in his tenth season with the Minnesota Ballet. He has danced such roles as the Prince and Cavalier in The “Manhattan” Nutcracker, Von Rothbart in Swan Lake Act II, Prince in Sleeping Beauty, Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Count in Dracula, and in George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie. His role as the Devil in Agnes de Mille’s Three Virgins and a Devil won the praise: “While already a powerful performer, Wourms’ characterization as a rude, arrogant, smarmy Beelzebub displayed his theatrical potency.” Nikolaus received a Fellowship Initiative Grant from the New York Choreographic Institute, an affiliate of the New York City Ballet, to develop a work for the Minnesota Ballet, which was performed in a studio presentation March 2013.

     

    Madeleine Surges, Senior Apprentice

    Madeleine began studying ballet in Reno, Nevada, at age three and joined the School of the Minnesota Ballet when she was four. She has studied with American Ballet Theatre at age thirteen, earned scholarships to Joffrey in New York City, The Rock School in Philadelphia, the Milwaukee Ballet at the Pre-Professional Tech Six level, and the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago. In the pre-professional program at the Minnesota Ballet, she has danced with the Corps de Ballet, appearing in numerous productions including Csárdás in Coppélia, “Waltz of the Snowflakes” and “Waltz of the Flowers” in The “Manhattan” Nutcracker, and Fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As an apprentice for the 2013–14 season, she performed such roles as Arabian dancer in The “Manhattan” Nutcracker, and in “Waltz” in Barber•isms before being promoted to Senior Apprentice for the 2014–15 season.

     

     

    Naomi Doty, Apprenticenaomi

    Naomi began her dance training in California at Riverside Ballet Arts under the guidance of Glenda Carhart. As a student she performed the roles of Snow Queen, Arabian, Spanish dancer, “Flowers” soloist and “Snow” corps member in David Allan’s Nutcracker. She has also performed Sleeping Beauty variations: Lilac Fairy, Bluebird, Golden Vine, and George Balanchine’s Tarantella solo for Riverside Ballet Art’s In Studio Concert; and for the Ballet’s Art Walk, the roles of Carmen, Titania and Aurora. She has also performed modern works by Sofia Carreras and contemporary works by Jessica Adams. Naomi was awarded a scholarship to Texas Ballet Theater for the Summer Intensive with Ben Stevenson. Additional training includes summer workshops with Katrina Killian from School of American Ballet. Naomi was invited to the Anaheim Dance Festival to take master classes with Darci Kistler and Edward Villella. As a supplemental dancer in spring 2014 for the Minnesota Ballet, Naomi danced as Peaseblossom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
     

    Joining the 2015–16 Company

     

    Brigid Duffin

    Brigid began her training in Philadelphia under the direction of Barbara Sandonato, a direct student of George Balanchine and the first principal dancer of the Pennsylvania Ballet. While studying with Miss Sandonato, Brigid performed corps de ballet roles with the Pennsylvania Ballet in its production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. As a student, Brigid attended summer programs at the School of American Ballet, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, and the San Francisco Ballet School, where she was then offered a coveted position in its year round program. During her training at the San Francisco Ballet School, she performed alongside the company in such ballets as Coppélia and The Nutcracker. After completing her training at San Francisco Ballet School, Ms. Duffin joined the Sarasota Ballet, where she performed a diverse repertoire. In addition to dancing in two world premieres created on the company, Brigid also performed in treasured works by the great choreographers Sir Frederick Ashton, Antony Tudor, and George Balanchine. In the year prior to joining the Minnesota Ballet for its 50th Anniversary Season, Brigid worked in New York City as a freelance artist and as a member of Exit 12 Dance Company, where she was given several opportunities to tour on both the East and West Coasts.

    Andrew Erickson

    Andrew was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He began his training with Birute Barodicaite in Chicago. He later attended Ballet Chicago, under the direction of Patricia Blair and Daniel Duell, where he was the recipient of a full scholarship. Mr. Erickson danced previously in the Madison Ballet company for two seasons and has appeared as a featured solo dancer with Chicago Folks Operetta in Madame Pompadour. His credits include Grand Pas Classique, “White Swan” Pas de Deux from Swan Lake, Balanchine’s Divertimento 15 and Who Cares?, Spanish and Chinese soloists in The Nutcracker, Ashman soloist in Cinderella, Gamache in Don Quixote, W. Earle Smith’s Groovy and Nuoto, Dracula, and Nikki Hefko’s Mandolin Amble. This is Mr. Erickson’s first season with Minnesota Ballet.

    Marta Kelly

    Marta began dancing at age three and in 2004 started her formal ballet training with Magaly Suarez in Pompano Beach, Florida. Marta then studied for five years at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, where she performed in many works by George Balanchine. Her instructors included Marcia Dale Weary, Leslie Hench, Lazlo Berdo, Rafael Gregorian, Barbara Weisberger, Michelle Lucci, and her partnering mentor, Richard Cook. At the age of 14, Marta was invited to participate in EDAS [European Dance Arts Salzburg], in Valencia, Spain, under the director Fernando Coelho. This program became her introduction to the modern styles of Nacho Duato, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and Trey McIntyre. In 2011 Marta was named New Artist at the Patel Conservatory by Director Peter Stark, where she performed as Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, set in Imperial Russia; the principal role in Christopher Fleming’s Cafe Music; and the principal ballet role in the opera Aida, Maestro Anton Coppola conducting. In 2012 Marta joined Milwaukee Ballet II, under Director Rolando Yanes, where she performed in Michael Pink’s Nutcracker, Swan Lake, La Bohème, and the principal role in Majisimo. Marta then accepted a traineeship with the Louisville Ballet, under Bruce Simpson, and in 2014 she performed in Giselle, the Paquita Pas De Trois, Spring Waters, Square Dance, Serenade in Suite en Blanc, and Marie in Val Caniparoli’s Nutcracker, under Director Robert Curran. Marta enjoys choreographing; several of her work have been chosen to be performed in showcases.

    David Turnell

    David is from Dallas, Texas, where he began his training at Dallas Ballet Center, with Judy and Brent Klopfenstein and Thom Clower. David then trained at at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School in the High School Program, where worked with Dennis Marshall and Marjorie Grundvig. He later trained in the Conservatory at the Atlanta Ballet, where he worked with John Mcfall and Orlando Molina and performed in Michael Pink’s Dracula and as soloist in Donald Mahler’s Cinderella. David also trained in Tampa, Florida, with Peter Stark at Next Generation Ballet, performing in Paul Taylor’s Company B, as the Snow King in The Nutcracker and principal roles in Gushing Preludes and Blue Danube Suite. He then became a trainee with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, where he performed in works by Christopher Wheeldon, Gerald Arpino, and Alexei Kremnev. David has also worked with José Carreño, Jason Fowler, and John Magnus and has guested with many schools and companies in soloist and principal roles including Ballet Des Moines and Dallas Ballet Company. This is David’s first season with Minnesota Ballet.
     

    New 2015–16 Junior Apprentices

    Sarah Gresik
    From Bolingbrook, Illinois, Sarah studied at the Hinsdale [Illinois] Dance Academy; the Salt Creek Ballet [Westmont, Illinois], under Zhanna Dubrovskaya and Sergey Kozadayev; and Dance Dimensions [Bolingbrook], under Van Collins. She also studied at summer intensives of the Salt Creek Ballet, Montgomery [Alabama] Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet. She has danced in The Nutcracker of Ballet Légere [River Forest, Illinois] Giselle and Swan Lake Act II of the Hinsdale Ballet Theatre, and Don Quixote of the Montgomery Ballet. She competed in the Youth America Grand Prix, placing in the top twelve of the classical division. Most recently she danced on tour with the Albany Berkshire Ballet’s Nutcracker, as a mirliton, Spanish dancer, and in the corps de ballet for “Waltz of the Snowflakes” and “Waltz of the Flowers.”
     
    Isabelle Orke
    Isabelle is from Rochester, Minnesota, where she began her dance training at Allegro School of Dance and Music. In March 2013, Isabelle performed with the Children’s Dance Theater in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, choreographed and directed by Allen Fields. She began her training under Fields in the Spring of 2013, later joining Allen Fields Classical Ballet and Training and performing in Fields’ Romantic Evening of Classical Ballet and Music. Isabelle also toured with the Minnesota Ballet’s The “Manhattan” Nutcracker during the 2013 season, cast as a doll. Isabelle traveled with Allen Fields Classical Ballet and Training during the Summer of 2014 to New York City. She trained at Steps on Broadway, where she took classes with Nancy Bielski, Elena Kunikova, and Lisa Lockwood. Isabelle also trained privately while at Steps on Broadway under Wilhelm Burmann and Victoria Simon, one of George Balanchine’s dancers. During Isabelle’s senior year of high school, she traveled back and forth from Rochester to New York City to rejoin her trainer, Allen Fields, at Ballet Academy East, where she took classes with him, Ginger Thatcher, Peter Brandenhoff and Espen Giljane.