About Ballet Austin

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Company Dancers

Ian J. Bethany Jordan Moser
Paul Michael Bloodgood Preston Andrew Patterson
Michael Burfield Elise Pekarek
Orlando Julius Canova Oren Porterfield
Edward Carr Chelsea Renner
James Fuller Frank Shott
Ashley Lynn Brittany Strickland
Rebecca Johnson Christopher Swaim
Aara Krumpe Michelle Thompson
Anne Marie Melendez Jaime Lynn Witts
Grace Morton


Ian J. Bethany

Ian J. Bethany is from Long Island, NY. He began his dance training as a tap and jazz student at Robert Mann Dance Centre. He started ballet at the age of twelve 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 Academny 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. He has enjoyed performing featured roles in Nicolo Fonte's Lasting Imprint, Bradley Shelver's The Last Just, and in Stephen Mills' Carmina Burana, The Magic Flute, and The Nutcracker. He has also appeared in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Requiem for a Rose, and in George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante. Ian would like to thank Jesus Christ and his family for the support given each day.

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Paul Michael Bloodgood

Hailing from Seattle, Mr. Bloodgood began his training with Don Snyder at the L'Acadamie de Danse, and then continued on full scholarship with the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet and graduated from the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Mr. Bloodgood has performed with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, Terpsicorps, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, Ballet Austin, with tours to Europe, 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 Ivan in The Firebird, Young Warrior in The Rite of Spring, James in La Sylphide, Franz in Coppelia, Prince Charming in Cinderella, Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Le Chevalier in Liaisons, Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream, as well as a principal in George Balanchine's Episodes and Allegro Brillante, Antony Tudor's Sunflowers, and Choo-San Goh's Double Contrasts. Repertoire includes works by Twyla Tharp, Lynne Taylor-Corbet, Marius Petipa, Peter Pucci, Nicolo Fonte, Septime Weber, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and over forty-five original works including Stephen Mills, 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, Mr. Bloodgood 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, and over twenty-five independent films, some of which have toured the film festival circuit internationally. Mr. Bloodgood has a B.A. from SEU 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. Mr. Bloodgood is in post-production for his film directorial debut, feature-length documentary, In the Trenches of Rock and Roll. He thanks Jesus Christ, his wife, Anne and his family for their inspiration. Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmbloodgood.

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Michael Burfield

Michael is originally from Lubbock, TX where he studied at Ballet Lubbock under the direction of Yvonne Racz-Key. He also trained at the Lone Star Ballet with Edward R. Truitt. After graduating high school Michael went on to the Pacific Northwest Ballet on full scholarship as a Professional Division student. While at PNB Michael worked closely with Peter Boal, Nicholas Ade, Marjorie Thompson, Timothy Lynch, Marisa Albee and many others. While there he had the chance to perform in productions, such as Bruce Wells' Hansel & Gretel, George Balanchine's Chaconne and in new works created by Barry Kerollis, Seth Orza, Jonathan Porretta and his personal favorite Kiyon Gaines' 10: "Un" A-Frayed Edges. As a member of Ballet Austin II he enjoyed performing Thang Dao's Quiet Imprint and Stephen Mills' The Nutcracker, Red Roses, and The Magic Flute. He would like to send much love and thanks to his family and friends for always supporting him!

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Orlando Julius Canova
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 (SAB). 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 "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, and Frank Chavez. In addition, Orlando teaches dance at Ballet Austin Academy, The Butler Community School, Saint Mary's Hall, Austin City Ballet, and Alamo Heights High School.

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Edward Carr

Edward Carr is from Pittsburgh,PA. He received his first 12 years of ballet instruction at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. After graduating from high school, he continued training for two years at Canada's National Ballet School in Toronto under the instruction of Lindsay Fischer. Since joining the company, Edward has appeared in Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs, as Drosselmeyer and Arabian in Stephen Mills' The Nutcracker, as Claudius in Mills' Hamlet, in Nicolo Fonte's Left Unsaid, as well as in Mills' Angel of My Nature.

 


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James Fuller
James Fuller is from Irvine, California, 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. At graduation, he received the Suzanne Farrell Dance Prize for outstanding artistry in the field of dance and the David McCord Prize from Mather House for highest contribution to art and literature at Harvard. 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.

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Ashley Lynn

Ashley Lynn grew up in the Chicago area, where she trained under Ms. Sherry Moray. She began her career with the 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. Ms. Gilfix 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.

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Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca Johnson is originally from Ann Arbor, MI 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 enjoyed performing roles in Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs, George Balanchine's Serenade and Episodes, and in Stephen Mills' The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, and Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project. Recently, Ms Johnson has enjoyed performing the Dream Pas in Mills' Cinderella, and as the Snow Queen and Arabian in The Nutcracker.



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Aara Krumpe

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: the title roles in 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 Sylph in Bournonville's La Sylphide and 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 delightful boys, Leo and Lucas.

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Anne Marie Melendez

Anne Marie Melendez began her ballet training in Torrance, CA with Diane Lauridsen. Ms Melendez 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. Ms. Melendez 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..

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Grace Morton

Grace Morton is from Seattle, WA. 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. Grace also danced roles in the school of Oregon Ballet Theater's student showcase including George Balanchine's La Source, Divertimento No. 15, Kent Stowell's Copellai, and leading roles in Anne Mueller's Carnival of the Animals and Trey McIntyre's Curupira. 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.

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Jordan Moser

Jordan Moser is originally from Santa Ana, CA. He received his training at Academy of Dance under Merle Sepel and Rebeca Tsvkin where 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 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: 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.

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Preston Andrew Patterson
Preston Andrew Patterson is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Patterson began his training at the age of eight at Pioneer Valley Ballet, which was then located in Northampton, MA. Mr. Patterson continued his training at Ballethnic Academy of Dance under the instruction of Waverly T. Lucas, Nena Gilreath, Jose Rivera, and Ramazon Bapov. Mr. Patterson then went on to study at the North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA) with Melissa Hayden, Nina Danilova, and Christin Spizzo. He left NCSA to study at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School (RWBS) under the instruction of David Moroni, Bruce Monk, and Jorden Morris. He left RWBS to attend the School of American Ballet (SAB) on full scholarship. After SAB, Mr. Patterson took a year to study in the Post-Secondary Programme at the National Ballet of Canada.

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Elise Pekarek
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 in The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Paquita as well as perform in Dance Chicago for several years. Elise attended summer programs at Ballet Austin and Pacific Northwest Ballet. After high school she continued her training with Ballet Austin. 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 teaches classes for Ballet Austin's Butler Community School and Pilates studio.

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Oren Porterfield

Oren Porterfield is from Dallas, TX, where she trained with Tanju and Patricia Tuzer of Tuzer Dancenter. Subsequently she travelled to New York City each summer to participate in the American Ballet Theatre Workshop wherein she was awarded a national training scholarship. Oren continued her training under revered teacher Truman Finney as trainee and apprentice with Ballet Austin. As a professional Oren danced for two seasons as a member of Ohio Ballet and three seasons with Dayton Ballet where she had the pleasure of performing the featured roles of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, and Lucy Westenra in Dracula. Since returning to Austin she has been featured in Nicolo Fonte's Lasting Imprint and originated a role in Stephen Mills' Luminaria.


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Chelsea Renner

Chelsea Marie Renner, originally from Bozeman, MT, received her early training from Ann Bates of Montana Ballet and Campbell Midgley of Queen City Ballet. Since joining Ballet Austin's main company, Ms. Renner 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, Nelly van Bommel's Fanfarneta, and Gregory Dolbashian's views that never cease to keep me from myself. This past June Ms. Renner was honored to be taken to Washington, DC to perform Stephen Mills' Hush for Ballet Across America III at The Kennedy Center. 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.

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Frank Shott

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. Mr. Shott 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.

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Brittany Strickland
Brittany Strickland is from Winston-Salem, NC. 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. From there she continued her training with Ballet Austin. With Ballet Austin II she was privileged to perform 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.

 

 

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Christopher Swaim

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. Mr. Swaim 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 Community School, Ballet Austin Academy, and has guest taught across the country.

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Michelle Thompson

Michelle Thompson, originally from San Francisco, trained at San Francisco Ballet for nine years. During her two years with Ballet Austin II she studied with Truman Finney and was privileged to perform Ulysses Dove's Vespers. Now in her tenth season with Ballet Austin, Ms. Thompson has loved dancing in works by Mills (silence within silence, Red Roses, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, Angel of My Nature, Kai), Patterson (Free to Fly, Red Line, Liquid Eyes), Twyla Tharp, and Balanchine. She was thrilled to perform the role of Kitri in Don Quixote and Sugar Plum in The Nutcracker. She received the Austin Critics Table 2012 Best Dancer award for her performance in the New American Talent choreography of Gregory Dolbashian. When not dancing, Michelle teaches yoga at studios around Austin and enjoys time with her husband and son.


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Jaime Lynn Witts

Jaime Lynn Witts is originally from Bucks County, PA, 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. She continued her studies with Truman Finney in Ballet Austin's Trainee program before joining Ballet Austin II. Since joining the company, Ms. 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, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Gina Patterson. She enjoyed performing the principal role in George Balanchine's Allegro Brillante, Swanhilda in Coppelia, and Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, for which she earned her second Austin Critics Table Award. Ms. 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. When she is not dancing, Ms. Witts teaches at Ballet Austin Academy where she is the Curriculum Team Leader for Levels 4 and 5. When not dancing or teaching, Ms. Witts enjoys time with her husband and daughter, Evaline.



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