Luiza Boaventura started to study ballet at age seven in Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, at the Classical School of Uberlândia, under the direction of Guiomar Boaventura. She graduated in 2005, and in 2009 also graduated with a degree in Law from Universidad Federal Uberlândia, Brazil. Among the prizes she received are Award Revelation in the Dance Festival of Triangulo, Mineiro-Uberlândia, silver medal at the Joinville International Dance Competition, the biggest dance festival in South America, bronze medal in the Thirteenth Passo de Arte Indaiatuba, and silver medal in Passo de Arte Minas. Luiza also represented Brazil at the Ninth International Ballet Competition in Moscow. In 2005 and 2008-2009, she danced with the Vórtice Ballet Company of Brazil and with Sesiminas Dance Company in 2006.

From 2010 to 2013 Luiza danced with Dance Alive National Ballet of Florida, where she has performed in The Phantom of the Opera as Young Christine, Rite of Spring, Carmina Burana, Robin Hood, Grand Pas de Deux from Flames of Paris and Le Corsaire and in The Nutcracker as Sugar Plum.

She also performed with at Gulf Coast Ballet Theatre in Biloxi, MS, Civic Ballet of Volusia County, Jacksonville Ballet Theatre, Grupo Mineiro de Dancas Classicas of Brazil, and Classical Ballet of Tampa as a Guest artist.

This is Luiza’s first season with the Alabama Ballet.


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Kyle James Coleman started dancing in his hometown of Sidney, Ohio when he was 15 years old. During this time, he began studying in summer intensive dance programs with the North Carolina Dance Theater and Ballet Chicago. Upon graduating high school, Kyle decided to pursue a higher education while he continued his ballet training. After being accepted at The University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), Kyle had the opportunity to do various roles under his professors Deirdre Carberry, Jiang Qi, Shellie Cash, and Suzette Boyer-Webb. These works include George Balanchine’s Pas de Dix, Pas de Trois from Swan Lake, Albrecht in Giselle, and Bournonville’s Flower Festival. Additionally, he has had the privilege of performing in The Storyteller by Twyla Tharp, a restaging of La Sylphide by Vivi Flindt, and Jirí Kylián's Sechs Tänze. Kyle would like to thank his family for their continued love and support, as well as Jiang Qi for being patient and encouraging.

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Gillian Connor, a native of Columbia, SC started her dance training at the age of five. After graduating high school, Gillian moved to Carlisle, PA to train at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under Marcia Dale Weary. After three years she joined Nashville Ballet's second company. In 2011 she moved to Birmingham, AL to dance as an apprentice with Alabama Ballet. In 2013 she was named a company member.

Sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Francis H. Crockard, Jr.

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Elijah Crispen is excited to be back for his third season with the Alabama Ballet. Elijah began his training with Elaine Willingham before being accepted into the dance program at ASFA. He continued his training with the Alabama Ballet school. He has appeared in Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliante and Chinese in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, Roger Van Fleteren’s unRAVELed and 1 and 5, and La Sylphide. He has also been seen in Swan Lake, Alice in Wonderland and The Sleeping Beauty. Elijah is grateful for the opportunity to continue pursuing his passion. 

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Alana Czernobil, a Chicago native, has trained with the San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Hungarian National Ballet of Budapest, Hungary, American Ballet Theatre and Suzanne Farrell. Alana is a graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied under the tutelage of the legendary Balanchine Ballerina, Melissa Hayden. While attending NCSA, she performed roles in Giselle, Coppelia, George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, Symphonie Concertante and Symphony in C. Before joining the Alabama Ballet in 2006, she danced professionally with the contemporary ballet company Cedar Lake Ensemble II. Since joining the Alabama Ballet, Alana’s featured roles include Queen Myrta in Giselle, “That’s Life” in Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, Dew Drop and Hot Chocolate Principal in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, Flower Girl in Don Quixote, Diamond Fairy and Fairy of Temperament in The Sleeping Beauty, and  Russian Corps in George Balanchine’s Serenade. She has performed soloist roles in La Sylphide: A Witch’s Revenge, Paquita, Graduation Ball, and Van Fleteren’s Coppelia and Cinderella. Other repertoire includes Jirí Kylián's Sechs Tänze, George Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliante, Twyla Tharp’s Baker’s Dozen, George Balanchine’s Stars & Stripes, Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Michael Fothergill’s Laid to Wrest, and Van Fleteren’s Death and the Maiden, Messin’ with Mozart, Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, Dracula, Of One Voice, and Jekyll and Hyde. Alana currently attends the University of Alabama at Birmingham as a psychology major with an exercise science minor. She is a faculty member at Encore Performance Company and NS Dance. Alana is delighted to begin her eighth season with the Alabama Ballet.

Sponsored by Champion Sports Medicine

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Ariana Czernobil, a Chicago native began her training with Larry Long at the Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance and later graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts under the direction of Ethan Stiefel. As a student she performed leading roles in Paquita, Les Patineurs, and Symphonie Concerante. She also performed Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen Pas de Deux in Ethan Stiefle’s original production of The Nutcracker, which was televised on North Carolina Public Broadcast.  Since joining the Alabama Ballet in 2011, her featured roles include Alice in Roger Van Fleteren’s Alice in Wonderland, Puss in Boots in the The Sleeping Beauty, and the third Pas de Deux couple in Roger Van Fleteren’s Be Major. Other roles Ariana has performed have included the Generosity Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, and Marzipan Corps and Demi Soloist Flower in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Ariana currently attends University of Alabama at Birmingham as an exercise science major and is on faculty at Encore Performance Company and The Pointe Dance Arts. 

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Rostislav Dzabraev graduated in 2004 from the State Classical Ballet Academy in Ufa- Russia, the training school of ballet legend Rudolph Nureyev. In 2001/2002 he danced with the Mariinsky Theatre as a trainee where he took private training with Petrov Igor, teacher and rehearsal coach at the Mariinsky Theater. Dzabraev has been the recipient of numerous awards at national and international dance competitions including first place at the International Festival of Moscow, The Rudolph Nureyev Ballet Competition, where he was a finalist, and also grand prix at Pearl Krima award.

From 2004-2007, he performed extensively with Ufa Ballet the Saint Petersburg Ballet and has toured throughout Russia, Egypt, Finland, Canada, North America and Bermuda. In 2007 he joined Kingsport Ballet in Tennessee as ballet master and principal dancer, and in 2009 joined Dance Alive National Ballet of Florida, becoming ballet master in 2011.  

Dzabraev also performed with Ermitage Theater of St. Petersburg, International Ballet, Gulf Coast Ballet and Classical Ballet of Tampa as a guest artist.

He has performed leading roles in La Bayadere, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, Dracula, Flames of Paris, La Fille Mal Gardée, Gopak, Paquita, The Prince and Robin Hood.

This is his first season with the Alabama Ballet.

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Trevor Felixbrod, a native of New York, trained at Ballet Academy East in New York City for seven years, performing roles in ballets such as George Balanchine’s Divertimento No. 25, The Sleeping Beauty and Bournonville’s Napoli. He also received training from Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet during that time. Trevor joined Boston Ballet’s second company in 2010, where he performed in Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote and Etudes. Trevor also won his 2012-2013 fantasy football league. This is his second season with the Alabama Ballet.

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Alexander Forck Alexander Forck began his training at the Saint Louis Ballet under the direction of Gen Horiuchi.  From 1997 until 2007  he trained under the instruction of Ellan Costanza, Lisa Wolfsberger, and Micheal Newton and performed such ballets as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Giselle, Dennis Nahats Brahms Quartet, George Balanchine’s Serenade and multiple original works by Mr. Horiuchi.  In 2007 he attended the School of American Ballet under the instruction of Jock Soto, Sean Lavery, Adre Kramarevsky and current New York City Ballet Principals Daniel Ulbricht and Jonathan Stafford. He joined the Los Angeles Ballet in 2008 and has spent four seasons as a Company Dancer.

With the Los Angeles Ballet, Alexander has performed roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Giselle, two original works by Josie Walsh and an original piece by Travis Wall.  He has performed multiple Balanchine ballets including Serenade, Prodigal Son, Ballet Imperial, Violin Concerto, and Kammermusik #2.  Alex has also danced in St. Louis Ballet’s Cinderella and Santa Barbara Festival Ballet’s The Nutcracker as a guest artist.

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Michael Fothergill began dancing in Des Moines, Iowa, continuing his training as a full-scholarship recipient with the Milwaukee Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. From 2002, Michael has performed with the New Jersey Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Nuevo de Mexico, Ballet Contemporaneo de Mexico, City Ballet of San Diego, Charleston Ballet Theatre, and across the E.U. and Japan as a principal guest artist. He has danced the male leads in much of the classical repertoire and in works by an array of contemporary visionaries. Michael has originated roles in ballets by multiple choreographers, most notably Simon Dow and Nacho Duato. During his time with Alabama Ballet, some of Michael's principal highlights include leads in Giselle, Swan Lake, La Sylphide, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker,  Balanchine’s Serenade and Allegro Brillante, Antony Tudor's Lilac Garden, Agnes de Mille's  The Other and Dracula by Alabama Ballet's Roger Van Fleteren.  An active choreographer, Michael's works have been performed across the U.S. and internationally. Last season, Michael created Weighted Rhetoric and Laid to Wrest for the Alabama Ballet, both to popular acclaim. 

Michael is in his fourth year on the faculty of Samford University, where he instructs advanced ballet, and is excited to begin his fourth season with the Alabama Ballet.

Sponsored by Donna and Steve Christian.

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Samantha Hope Galler, a native of Bedford, Massachusetts, graduated from Bedford High School as a National Honor Society Member in 2007. She received her training as a merit scholarship student from The Ballet Academy, Inc., under the direction of Frances Cavicchio Kotelly. A Highlight included performing the Blue Bird Pas de Deux from The Sleeping Beauty with members of Boston Ballet II. Samantha was also a member of the Northeast Youth Ballet for six seasons under Denise Cecere. She continued training with Boston Ballet on scholarship, recieveing the 2007 PAO Merit Trainee Scholarship. While at Boston Ballet, she performed Balanchine’s Midsummer Night’s Dream as a corps member and was chosen by Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen to perform demi soloist roles such as Marzipan Shepherdess and Sugar Plum Attendant in The Nutcracker. In 2006, she received the NFAA Honorable Mention Award in Ballet, placing her in the top five percent of participating high school seniors.

Samantha attended the Boston Ballet Summer Intensive for six summers. Highlights included dancing the lead female in Balanchine’s Who Cares? and Allegro Brillante She attended Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet for three summers, training under Marcia Dale Weary. In the summer of 2012, she trained at the Boston Conservatory in the Forsythe and Nikolais/Louis Modern and Improvisation Techniques.

Samantha danced with Cincinnati Ballet, after being chosen as one of three women selected from worldwide auditions, during the 2008-2009 season and received the Albano Trainee Fellowship. In Cincinnati, Samantha performed in Dracula, Septime Webre’s Peter Pan, Val Caniparoli’s The Nutcracker and Victoria Morgan’s Bolero.

Samantha became an apprentice with the Alabama Ballet in 2009 and was promoted to company member in 2010. Since joining Alabama Ballet, she fulfilled a professional dream by performing the dual roles of Odette/Odile in the 2012 production of Swan Lake. Samantha has also performed various principal and soloist roles including George Balanchine’s Tarantella, Roger Van Fleteren’s Romancing Rachmaninoff,  Jirí Kylián's Sechs Tänze, Lilac Fairy, Serenity Fairy and Jewel in The Sleeping Beauty, Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian, Lead Marzipan in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, the title role in La Sylphide, Tiger Lily in Van Fleteren’s Alice in Wonderland, Pas de Trois and Big Swan in Swan Lake, Paquita, Myrtha and Moyna in Giselle, Mercedes and Dryad Queen in Don Quixote, Dark Angel in George Balanchine’s Serenade, and Van Fleteren’s Shostakovich. She appeared in the Alabama Ballet Choreography Showcase in Weighted Rhetoric by Michael Fothergill and Beauty in Thanatos by Kendia Bennett. Samantha would like to thank her family and Frances Caviccio Kotelly for their love and support.

Sponsored by Mary and Braxton Goodrich


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Elizabeth Gamble, a Birmingham native, is happy to return for her fourth season as a company member. She began her early training with Angela Walker and was accepted as an apprentice from the Alabama Ballet School where she now teaches. She also teaches for the Alabama Ballet Tappers. Elizabeth has appeared as Bluebird and Puss and Boots in Sleeping Beauty, Spring Fairy in Cinderella, Amore’ in Don Quixote, and lead Marzipan in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.  She has also performed as Play with Fire Girl in Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, Lusty in Agnes DeMille’s Three Virgins and a Devil, and in Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden. Other repertoire include Van Fleteren’s unRAVELed, Messin’ with Mozart, and Of One Voice, Russian Corps in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Little Swan in Swan Lake, Soloist in Paquita and Peasant Pas in Giselle. She has performed in Michael Fothergill’s Laid to Wrest, George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes and Allegro Brillante, and in Jirí Kylián's Sechs Tänze. Elizabeth is thankful to her mom for her love and support so she can do what she loves every day.


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Catherine Garratt, a Birmingham native, began her training at the Alabama Dance Academy. She continued with the Alabama Ballet Center for Dance before moving to the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet to study under Marcia Dale Weary.

Following a year with Louisville Ballet, Catherine joined the Alabama Ballet in 2007, where she has performed Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, the title roles in Paquita and Snow White; Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop, Lead Marzipan, and Lead Hot Chocolate in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker; Effie in La Sylphide; Myrtha and Moyna in Giselle; Pas de Trois, Big Swan, and Lead Czardas in Swan Lake; Mercedes and Queen of the Dryads in Don Quixote; and Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. Other repertoire includes Jirí Kylián's Sechs Tänze, George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Serenade, The Mistress in Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Agnes De Mille’s Three Virgins and a Devil, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs and Baker’s Dozen, Michael Fothergill’s Weighted Rhetoric and Laid to Wrest, Roger Van Fleteren’s 1 and 5, Be Major, Messin’ with Mozart, Of One Voice, Alice in Wonderland, Dracula, Romeo and Juliet, Coppelia, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Raymonda, Carnival in Venice, and Graduation Ball.

Catherine is on faculty at the Alabama Ballet Royal Academy of Dance and is the Director of Outreach for the XL Program at the Pointe Dance Arts.Catherine graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in December 2012.

Sponsored by Dianne Drummond


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Noah Hart, a Georgia Native, began his training with Atlanta Ballet and Houston Ballet. Noah graduated from the Houston Ballet Academy and joined the company for three seasons, performing works from Ben Stevenson, Paul Taylor and Trey McIntyre. With Alabama Ballet, Noah has performed principal roles in Swan Lake, Paquita, Cionderella, Le Corsaire, Coppelia, Dracula, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, La Sylphide, The Sleeping Beauty and George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante. He has also been seen in Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs and Baker’s Dozen, Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden and Agnes de Mille’s The Other. He would like to thank his wonderful wife for all her love and support.

Sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Michael Sansbury


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Nukri Mamistvalov, a native of the Republic of Georgia, began his training at age 13 at Olga Kresin’s ballet school in Philadelphia and continued at the First State Theater. Nukri has attended the Harid Conservatory, Milwaukee Ballet and Richmond Ballet summer intensives. Nukri has danced with the Richmond Ballet as an apprentice and as a company member with the First State Ballet. Nurki has danced Basilio in Don Quixote, Don Jose in Carmen, Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, Albrecht in Giselle and in Jirí Kylián's Sechs Tänze. Nukri is excited to be starting his fourth season with the Alabama Ballet.

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Kelli Murdock-Sylestine, a Birmingham native, began her dance training with Angela Tower Walker and later graduated from the Alabama Ballet School. She also trained at the American Ballet Theatre in New York and Austin, and with the Orlando Ballet. Since joining the Alabama Ballet in 2005, Kelli has been featured in roles such as Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Nancy in La Sylphide, Lead Marzipan in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Zulna in Giselle, Flower Girl in Don Quixote and Russian Corps in George Balanchine’s Serenade. Other featured roles include San Lake, Jirí Kylián's Sechs Tänze, Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Stars and Stripes, Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Michael Fothergill’s Weighted Rhetoric, Septime Webre’s Where the Wild Things Are, Graduation Ball, and Roger Van Fleteren’s Be Major, Of One Voice, Messin’ With Mozart, Romeo and Juliet, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, Dracula and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.

In 2007 Kelli was a guest artist with the New Orleans Ballet Theatre performing in Les Sylphides and Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco. Kelli is on faculty at the Alabama Ballet School and gives thanks to God for blessing her with the gift of dance. Kelli is thankful for the love and support of her husband, as well as friends and family.

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David Odenwelder is from Haverhill, Massachusetts. He began studying ballet, tap, and jazz at The Dance Works and New England Civic Ballet. Continuing his training, David attended the University of Cincinnati, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a B.F.A in Ballet Performance in June of 2011. At Alabama Ballet, David’s performances include Gurn in La Sylphide: A Witch’s Revenge, Soldier Doll and Mouse King in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, the Youth in Agnes de Mille’s Three Virgins and a Devil, and Puss’n’Boots in Sleeping Beauty. He has also been seen in Jirí Kylián’s Sechs Tänze, Anthony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Michael Fothergill's Laid to Wrest and numerous works by Roger Van Fleteren. Other repertoire David has performed include the Principal Male in George Balanchine’s Pas de Dix set by Fredrick Franklin, Heinz Poll’s Schubert Waltzes and Eight by Benny Goodman, Bonobo by Penny Saunders, and Lickety-Split by Alejandra Cerrudo. Prior to joining Alabama Ballet, David performed and toured with Cincinnati Ballet and Neos Dance Theatre.This will be David’s fourth season with Alabama Ballet.

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Chinatsu Owada was born in Tokyo and raised in Sapporo, Japan where she studied under Noriko Koizumi, and is a graduate of the Houston Ballet Academy. Chinatsu joined the Alabama Ballet in 2002. Her repertoire with the company includes Giselle in Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop and Arabian Coffee in George Balanchine’s the Nutcracker, The Sylph in La Sylphide, Princess Aurora and Princess Florine in The Sleeping Beauty, Caroline in Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Ruby Tuesday in Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, The Maiden in Agnes De Mille’s final work The Other, Waltz Girl in Balanchine’s Serenade and principal couple in Allegro Brilliante. Chinatsu has also been seen in Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, Baker’s Dozen, Jirí Kylián’s Sechs Tänzeand solos in numerous works of resident choreographer Roger Van Fleteren. She has performed as a member of Birmingham-based modern dance company Southern Dance Works directed by Teri Weksler, a founding member of Mark Morris Dance Group, for a few seasons, and has worked with Germaul Barnes and Reggie Wilson. She also has worked as a member of Dominic Walsh Dance Theater. Chinatsu is a faculty member at the Alabama Ballet School.

Sponsored by Andrews Sports Medicine


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Alynn Piccirillo Raised in Allen Texas, Alynn began formal Ballet training at Chamberlain Ballet, followed by Texas Ballet Theater School under the guidance of Joyce Seaborne-Bader and Lyndette Galen. She was also the youngest student to receive private instruction from Russian Ballerina Madame Natalie Krassovska.

After moving to New York Alynn studied at Dance Design with Aggie Kimple and Helen McLennon, New Paltz Ballet with Peter and Lisa Naumann, and private coaching from NYCB Dancer Jennifer Fuchs-Hart. Her Summer Intensives included Chautauqua Institute, American Academy of Ballet, Kaatsban, CPYB, & Ajkun Ballet. She has trained at ABT, Orlando Ballet (where she performed the Cameo Pas de Deux), and School of American Ballet under the Direction of Peter Martins and Kay Mazzo. Through the years Alynn has been fortunate to have three remarkable women as her mentors. They are Joyce Seaborne-Bader, Natalie Krassovska and Patricia McBride. Each had a meaningful and lasting impact on Alynn, and they will always be important to her.

Alynn was a top 12 Finalist at Youth American Grand Prix, has passed all of her RAD exams with distinction and is a member of the Royal Academy of Dance. She is also a member of the School of American Ballet Alumni Association.

Prior to joining Alabama Ballet, Alynn spent three seasons dancing with North Carolina Dance Theatre under the Directorship of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride. While with NCDT she performed in classical and contemporary Ballets, by respected Choreographers, including George Balanchine’s Serenade, La Sonnambula, Jewels, & Who Cares; the world premiere of Dwight Rhoden’s Othello, and many others.

In 2008 Alynn was excited to join Alabama Ballet as an Apprentice, and since then has appeared in every Company production. Some of her favorite roles have been in Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Lilac Garden, Alice in Wonderland (Caterpillar), Be Major (Pas de Deux), and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker (Arabian Coffee). Alynn is looking forward to the 2012-2013 season, as well as continuing her other position as a member of the Faculty at ABCD. She enjoys passing on her love of dance to her students.

Grateful to her previous Instructors, Directors and Mentors, Alynn would like to thank them all for their part in making her the dancer she is today. Finally, none of this would be possible without the love and support of her friends and family. She truly loves & appreciates them for believing in her and for allowing her to live her dream.

Sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Garrison

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Olivia Marie Powell was born and raised in the Boston area. She attended the Boston Ballet School for thirteen years where she had many opportunities to dance in Boston Ballet's productions includingThe NutcrackerandA Mid Summer Night's Dream. In January of 2012 she received her BFA from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with First Class Honours. During her time in Hong Kong she performed with the Hong Kong Ballet in Cynthia Harvey's staging ofThe Sleeping Beauty. Prior to her education in Hong Kong, Olivia began her undergraduate studies at New York University's Tisch School for the Performing Arts, where she gained a strong background in Modern and Contemporary dance. She was fortunate to study and work with many influential choreographers and professors in the Contemporary and Modern dance community such as James Martin, Gus Solomons Jr., Cherylyn Lavagnino and Linda Tarnay. This is Olivia's second season with The Alabama Ballet. Last season, she performed in La Sylphide, as Dew Drop in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, Princess Florine and The Diamond Fairy inThe Sleeping Beauty, George Balanchine'sTarantella, and Jirí Kylián’s Sechs Tänze. She is very excited to return to the Alabama Ballet as a company member.

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Frederick Lee Rocas was born and raised in Manila, Philippines, and learned his basics in ballet during his formative years at Ballet Manila. Deciding to concentrate in artistic gymnastics instead, he became a member of the Philippine National Team and represented the country in various competitions abroad. He holds a bronze medal from the 2005 South East Asia Games held in Manila. He continued his ballet training, accepting a scholarship offered by Academy One School of Ballet and Arts. In the span of two years, he won the award for Most Outstanding Male Performer in the 2008 Association of Ballet Academies Dance Cup. He won a scholarship to study in Australia in 2008, and another for a summer workshop in Hong Kong, where he was featured in Esmeralda Pas de Deux. In 2009, he completed the first round of the New York International Ballet Competition. With the Alabama Ballet, Frederick has performed as Lucien in Paquita, Cavalier, Soldier, Tea and Candy Cane in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, White Rabbit in Roger Van Fleteren’s Alice in Wonderland, and has danced soloist roles in Swan Lake, Giselle, La Sylphide and The Sleeping Beauty. He has appeared in Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Agnes de Mille’s The Other, Balanchine’s Tarantella and Jirí Kylián’s Sechs Tänze. Frederick is thrilled to return to the Alabama Ballet for his fourth season.

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Yellie Shustack, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio began her training at Cunningham School of Dance under Carla LeMaster  and Naomi Cunningham. Ms.Shustack continued her studies at various schools in Ohio and was a member of Dayton Ballet II children’s company. In 2000,Yellie trained under the direction of Cindy Reid and Larry Brantley at Ithaca Ballet School where she was then asked to join the Ithaca Ballet Company and promoted to Principal Dancer in 2003 dancing the title role in Cinderella, Bolero, Sentimental Journey, Bluebird Pas de Deux from The Sleeping Beauty, and Snow Queen and Dewdrop Fairy in The Nutcracker. Yellie also won the choreographic workshop to have her works Business of Love and Pieces Missing performed by the company in 2002 and 2003.

Ms.Shustack’s summer studies include Ballet Regent, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, Studio Maestro, Julliard, Ballet Austin, as well as receiving merit scholarships for The Jilana School and Richmond Ballet. Yellie then joined Ballet Austin’s trainee program where she performed outreach programs as well as works by Gina Patterson, Stephen Mills, and Kimmary Williams. She was also one of three girls asked to perform Serenade with the company.

Since joining the Alabama Ballet, Yellie’s soloist roles include Benevolence Fairy and Sapphire Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Autumn Fairy in Cinderella, Turning Girl in Roger Van Fleteren’s Messin’ With Mozart, Bashful in Snow White and Paquita. Demi soloist roles include La Sylphide and Allegro Brillante. Yellie has also appeared in Swan Lake, Giselle, Be Major, Alice in Wonderland, and as Marzipan in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Yellie would like to thank the Lord for His blessings as well as her parents and Ashley for their love and support.

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Max van der Sterre was born in San Francisco, California, and began his classical training with Damara Bennett and Henry Berg at City Ballet School. He continued on to the School of American Ballet for two years before being named as an apprentice with the New York City Ballet by Peter Martins in June 2005. While attending SAB, he worked extensively with Peter Boal, Peter Frame, Nikolaj Hübbe, Andrei Kramarevsky and Jock Soto. His repertory at NYCB included many work by George Balanchine including Coppelia, Harlequinade, Western Symphony, Vienna Waltzes, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, The Firebird, La Sonnambula, La Valse, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Diamonds, Orpheus, The Prodigal Son, Stars and Stripes, Swan Lake, Theme and Variations, Union Jack and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Theseus. Ballets by Jerome Robbins include The Concert, Glass Pieces, The Goldberg Variations, Ives, Songs, Mother Goose, The Four Seasons, In Memory Of, Les Noces, West Side Story Suite and Watermill. Ballets by Peter Martins include A Life for the Tzar, Chichester Psalms, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and Friandises. Max originated a principal role in Albert Evans’ Broken Promise for the 2004 NYCB Winter Gala. While with NYCB, he toured to London, Paris, Copenhagen and Washington, DC.

Max has since danced with Sensedance in New York and been a guest artist with Minnesota Dance Theater and the Paris Opera Ballet while on tour at Lincoln Center. He has collaborated with emery LeCrone, David Michalek and Benjamin Millepied on the film Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky. This is Max’s second season with the Alabama Ballet.

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