Company Artists

Alexandre Barros

Third Season

A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Alexandre received his training from Escola de Dancas Alice Arja and Escola Estadual de Dancas Maria Olenewa. At the age of 15, he came to the United States to study with the Harid Conservatory. After graduating from Harid, he joined Atlanta Ballet in 2011 as a Fellowship dancer, where he has performed works by choreographers James Kudelka, Juel Lane, Christopher Wheeldon, Bruce Wells and Tara Lee. Alexandre would like to thank his family, friends and the instructors at Harid for all their support and love. He is thrilled to be a part of the Company and is looking forward to a long and fruitful career.

Jacob Bush

Sixth Season

Jacob returns to Atlanta Ballet after dancing with Germany's Ballet Augsburg from 2012 to 2014, where he worked with such notable choreographers as Douglas Lee, Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, Christian Spuck, Itzik Galili, and Michael Pink. Jacob grew up in Coon Rapids, Minn., where he trained under Lise Houlton of the Minnesota Dance Theatre. He continued his training with Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education under Sharon Story and the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet under Susan Connally. In Atlanta, Jacob danced principal roles such as Prince Désiré in The Sleeping Beauty, the Prince in John McFall's Cinderella, the Green Man in Lila York's Celts, and Matthew and Toulouse-Lautrec in Jorden Morris' Moulin Rouge©-The Ballet. He also had the pleasure of creating the role of the Younger Brother in the world premiere of Christopher Hampson's Rite of Spring and also the role of Curdie in the world premiere of Twyla Tharp's The Princess and the Goblin

Peng-Yu Chen

Eighth Season

A native of Taiwan, Peng began training in Chinese folk dance and gymnastics at the age of 10. She received her BFA from SUNY Purchase under Carol Walker and received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and the President’s Award for Achievement. She has performed with Kevin Wynn Collection and in Metropolitan Opera Ballet’s production of Doug Varone’s The Rite of Spring. She joined American Repertory Ballet for three seasons, where she performed works by Graham Lustig, Lauri Stallings, Val Caniparoli, Melissa Barak and Twyla Tharp. Since 2007, she has performed leading roles in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker and John McFall’s Peter Pan. She was featured in Stallings’ big, Hampson’s Sinfonietta Giocosa, Kudelka’s The Four Seasons, Godden’s The Magic Flute, Pickett’s Petal and Tharp’s In the Upper Room. Dance Magazine named Peng one of the “25 to Watch” in 2007, and she thanks her family and friends for all the support and love. Sponsored by Corps de Ballet.

Christian Clark

Thirteenth Season

An Atlanta native, Christian began his training at age 8 with the Atlanta School of Ballet under the direction of Robert Barnett. As a Company member, Clark has performed the leading roles of Prince in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, Laertes in Stephen Mills’ Hamlet, Albrecht in Giselle, Siegfried in John McFall’s Swan Lake, the Prince in Sleeping Beauty, and Romeo in Michael Pink’s Romeo & Juliet. Christian was featured in Margo Sappington’s Shed Your Skin: The Indigo Girls Project, John McFall’s Jupiter, Christian Holder’s Transcendence, Lauri Stallings’ The Great Gatsby and big and Christopher Hampson’s Sinfonietta Giocosa. When not dancing, Christian enjoys playing music with the band The Neighbors with fellow dancer Jesse Tyler. Christian thanks Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education, his family, and his lovely wife, Naomi-Jane, for their support.

Kiara Felder

Debut Season

Kiara began her ballet training at age 6 in Cary, N.C., at Cary Ballet Conservatory. She spent summers training at Boston Ballet, Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. After graduating from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she continued her training as a Professional Division student at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School on full scholarship. As a student, she performed with Pacific Northwest Ballet in the corps de ballet of George Balanchine’s Le Baiser de la Fée and Coppélia and in Kent Stowell’s Nutcracker. With Atlanta Ballet, she has enjoyed performing in Ohad Naharin's Secus and Minus 16, David Bintley's Carmina Burana, and Jean-Christophe Maillot's Roméo et Juliette.  Kiara thanks her parents, sisters, and friends for everything they do to encourage her to follow her passions.

Pedro Gamino

Fifth Season

A San Francisco native, Pedro began his training with the Academy of Ballet, the School of the Arts High School San Francisco and the School of American Ballet. Pedro began his career with the Smuin Ballet, where he worked with choreographers Michael Smuin and Amy Seiwert. He then enjoyed a stint at Dayton Ballet, where he worked with choreographers Septime Webre and Stephen Mills, followed by time at American Repertory Ballet in New Jersey. During his four seasons with ARB, he danced ballets by Val Caniparoli, Lisa de Ribere, Twyla Tharp and Graham Lustig, among others. Pedro joined Atlanta Ballet with wife Abigail Tan and brother-in-law Jared Tan. Since dancing with Atlanta Ballet, he’s danced ballets by Jorma Elo, James Kudelka, Helen Pickett and John McFall. Pedro is very happy to be a part of the Atlanta Ballet family and looks forward to a great season.

Heath Gill

Fifth Season

A native of Illinois, Heath began his dance training at age four with jazz, tap, and gymnastics. He later began studying ballet under the direction of Deena Laska-Lewis. At Atlanta Ballet, he has performed in works by John McFall, Helen Pickett, Michael Pink, David Bintley, James Kudelka, Twyla Tharp, Christopher Wheeldon, Val Caniparoli, Tara Lee, Lauri Stallings, Stephen Mills, Jorma Elo, Ohad Naharin, and Jean-Christophe Maillot.  Recently, he was featured as Harker in Dracula, the improv soloist in Minus 16, 1st Seminarian in Carmina Burana, Laertes in Hamlet, and Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette. In 2013, Heath was named one of ArtsATL’s “30 under 30,” and, in 2014, Dance Magazine named him one of the “Top 25 to Watch.”  Heath’s other interests include playing piano and trumpet, watching movies, and camping. He would like to thank Clara Cravey for her guidance and his friends and family for their love and support.

Sara Havener

Debut Season

Originally from North Carolina, Sara graduated in 2010 from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Ballet. While in school, she performed the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in UNCSA's television broadcast of The Nutcracker with choreography by Ethan Stiefel. She began her professional career with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, performing soloist roles such as the Grace Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty and the Peasant Pas de Deux in Act I Giselle. She has also danced in Benjamin Millepied's 28 Variations on a Theme and the world premiere of Cameron McMillan's Satisfied with Great Success. During her time with RNZB, she had the pleasure of working with choreographers Javier de Frutos, Johan Kobborg, and Larry Keigwin. Most recently, she performed as a demi-soloist in Balanchine's Serenade staged by Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director Emeritus Robert Barnett and Virginia Barnett.

    Jonah Hooper

      Sixteenth Season

Jonah was born in Atlanta and raised in Blue Ridge. He studied with the Gainesville Ballet during high school and was an apprentice with the Louisville Ballet. With Atlanta Ballet, Jonah has performed leading roles in many productions, including Michael Pink’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dracula and Romeo & Juliet; Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly; and John McFall and Lauri Stallings’ The Great Gatsby. He was featured in Jorden Morris’ Moulin Rouge© — The Ballet and John McFall’s Don Quixote, and he worked with Helen Pickett in Petal and Prayer of Touch and with Gina Patterson in Quietly Walking. He is the official photographer of Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi and choreographed a piece in last season’s program. Jonah graduated from Georgia State University and lives in Decatur with his wife and two children. He would like to thank his wife and family for their love and support.

Yoomi Kim

Sixth Season

A native of South Korea, Yoomi trained at the Korea National Ballet Academy; the Seoul Arts High School, graduating summa cum laude; and Ewha Women’s University, where she earned her Master’s in Dance Arts. Yoomi received first prize in the 30th Dance Association of Korea National Ballet Competition and performed Sleeping Beauty at the International Performing Arts Festival in Japan. Since moving to the United States in 2006, Yoomi has performed works by John McFall, Twyla Tharp, Amy Seiwert, James Kudelka, and Christopher Wheeldon. She performed in the North West Dance Project in 2010 and Wabi Sabi in 2012-2014. Yoomi was invited to perform Esmerelda and Helen Pickett’s Petal at the Korea World Ballet Dance Star Festival in 2011.

Tara Lee

Nineteenth Season

Tara grew up in Connecticut, where she trained with Donna Bonasera of Connecticut Dance Theatre. After dancing with Joffrey II, she became a member of Atlanta Ballet in 1995. She also joined Vancouver's Ballet British Columbia for its 06-07 Season and has performed as a guest artist with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater and New Orleans Ballet Theatre. Tara has performed the works of John Alleyne, Jorma Elo, James Kudelka, Wayne McGregor, Ohad Naharin, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Gina Patterson, Helen Pickett, Crystal Pite, and Alexei Ratmansky. Principal roles include those in McFall’s Swan Lake and Firebird, Mills' Hamlet, Hampson’s Rite of Spring, Pink’s Romeo & Juliet and Dracula, Welch’s Madame Butterfly, Stevenson’s Cinderella and Three Preludes, Bintley’s Carmina Burana, Morris’ Moulin Rouge© — The Ballet, Godden’s The Magic Flute, Caniparoli’s Lambarena, Tharp’s Princess and the Goblin and In the Upper Room, and Stalling’s big. Tara has choreographed four works for Atlanta Ballet, most recently the authors, which premiered in March 2014. Sponsored by Lynn Cochran-Schroder. 

Coco Mathieson

Debut Season

Born in New Zealand, Coco joins Atlanta Ballet as a Company member for the 2014-15 Season. She danced with Germany’s Ballet Augsburg from 2012 to 2014 as a solo and group dancer in such works as Heroes and Divertimento 4 Amadeus. Coco performed her first major role as Sybil Vat in the Ballet Augsburg production of The Picture of Dorian Gray. She received her dance training from the Paula Hunt Dance School in Wellington, New Zealand and the Australian Ballet School in Victoria. She started her professional career with the Australian Ballet’s The Dancers Company.

Nadia Mara

Ninth Season

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Nadia trained at the National School of Ballet in her country, where she graduated as the best dancer in school and was awarded the Elena Smirnova Gold Medal by Argentine ballet critic Honorio Destaville. In the United States, Nadia started dancing with North Carolina Dance Theatre. At Atlanta Ballet, she performed the lead in Giselle, Kitri in Don Quixote, Sugar Plum Fairy in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, Mina in Michael Pink’s Dracula, Pamina in Mark Godden’s The Magic Flute, and principal roles in Jorden Morris’ Moulin Rouge© — The Ballet and James Kudelka’s The Four Seasons. She was also featured in Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena, Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush, Jorma Elo’s 1st Flash, and Wayne McGregor’s Eden|Eden. Nadia wants to thank her beloved mother for giving her courage, strength, support, and, most of all, love during all these years. Sponsored by Amy and Allen Nelson.

Miguel Angel Montoya

Second Season

Miguel was born in Cali, Colombia where he began his training at the Instituto Colombiano de Ballet, Incoballet. In 2008, Miguel relocated to Philadelphia to attend the Rock School. In 2010, Miguel competed in the IBC Jackson International Ballet Competition, progressed to the second round semifinal, and made it to the Youth American Grand Prix New York finals. Before joining Atlanta Ballet, Miguel danced with Incolballet Company under the direction of Gloria Castro de Martinez, appearing as the Slave in Le Corsaire and Basilio in Don Quixote. Miguel worked with Twyla Tharp and originated roles in The Princess and the Goblin. Miguel also danced in Juel Lane’s Moments of Dis, Helen Pickett’s Prayer of Touch, Michael Pink’s Dracula, Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16, Gina Patterson’s I AM, Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, and Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush. Miguel thanks Atlanta Ballet for its graciousness and support.

Jackie Nash

Fourth Season

A native of Connecticut, Jackie started her ballet training at the Connecticut Dance School under the direction of Alan Woodard. She then spent two years in the dance and academic residency program at the Rock School for Dance Education, graduating in 2009. During her summer studies, she attended the Chautauqua Institute, Nutmeg Conservatory, Miami City Ballet, and Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. She has enjoyed dancing roles such as Marya in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker and performing works by Christopher Wheeldon, Jean-Christophe Maillot, and Alexei Ratmansky. She has also worked with such choreographers as James Kudelka for The Man in Black, Twyla Tharp for The Princess and the Goblin, Jorma Elo for 1st Flash, and Ohad Naharin for Secus. Jackie would like to thank her loving parents and amazing sister for their endless support and encouragement.

Brandon Nguyen

Fourth Season

A native of Texas, Brandon found his love for dance at the Margo Dean School of Ballet in Fort Worth and later moved on to Texas Ballet Theatre. He furthered his training at Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy, performing solo and principal roles with Houston Ballet II. He received his first job with Orlando Ballet under the direction of Bruce Marks and, later, Robert Hill. While in Orlando, he also became an artist with Cirque du Soleil as a lead male dancer in La Nouba. In 2010, he performed with Mariah Carey for the Disney Christmas Day Parade. Brandon thanks his parents, Atlanta Ballet for being so welcoming, and his past, present, and future teachers.

Thom Panto

Fifth Season

An Atlanta native, Thom started dancing at age 11 and began his training with the New Mexico Ballet Company under the direction of Patricia Dickinson. After studying and training all over the United States, he moved to Los Angeles and received a degree in Business: Merchandise Marketing from the Fashion Institute. While in Los Angeles, he trained and studied with Marat Duakayev of the Kirov/Kirov Academy and Patricia Neary of NYCB. With Atlanta Ballet, Thom has danced in John McFall’s Jupiter, Tealia, and Firebird. He has also performed the role of Snow King in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker and roles in Christopher Hampson’s Sinfonietta Giocosa, Helen Pickett’s Petal, and Ben Stevenson’s Three Preludes. Thom would like to thank his family and friends for their love and support and looks forward to a long and exciting career with Atlanta Ballet.

Alessa Rogers

Seventh Season

Alessa began her dance training with Daphne Kendall and left home at fourteen to attend North Carolina School of the Arts. Upon graduation, she spent one season with North Carolina Dance Theatre II before joining Atlanta Ballet. Favorite roles at Atlanta Ballet include Juliette in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette, Margaret in the world premiere of Helen Pickett’s The Exiled, Lucy in Michael Pink’s Dracula, Ophelia in Stephen Mills’ Hamlet, Lover Girl in David Bintley’s Carmina Burana, and Princess Irene in the world premiere of Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and the Goblin. She has performed works by Jorma Elo, Wayne McGregor, Ohad Naharin, Christopher Wheeldon, Christopher Hampson, Dwight Rhoden, and Tara Lee. She has been a guest artist with the National Choreographers Initiative in California and Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance in Asheville, N.C. In her spare time, Alessa likes to read, cook vegetables, travel, and rock climb. Sponsored by Lucy, Charlotte, and Ginny Brewer.

Benjamin Stone

Third Season

Benjamin began dancing in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia under the guidance of Tim Podesta. In 2008 at age 16, Ben advanced into the Australian Ballet School after winning the Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald Ballet Scholarship. Ben studied under Mark Annear, Dale Baker, Simon Dowe, and Jia Hong Wang and graduated in 2011 with an Advanced Diploma of Dance. Ben danced and toured with Australian Ballet, appearing as Lead Gypsy in Don Quixote. Ben made his Atlanta Ballet debut two years ago as Prince Charming in Bruce Wells’ Snow White and was seen in Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush. Ben thanks his parents and grandparents as well as those involved in Atlanta Ballet for their encouragement and support.

Jared Tan

Fifth Season

Jared was born in the Philippines and started dancing at age 9 with Philippine Ballet Theatre under the direction of Gener Caringal. He trained for more than 14 years under Russian Ballet Master Anatoly Panasyukov and distinguished visiting Ballet Masters Robert Barnett, Graham Lustig, Batt Abbit, Stefan Hoff, Ida Beltran-Lucila, Nonoy Froilan, Maiqui Mañosa, Edna Vida, and Stanley Canete. In 2009, he joined American Repertory Ballet in New Jersey under the direction of Graham Lustig, where he perfomed as the Prince in Nutcracker and Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and danced roles in Rhapsodia and Twyla Tharp’s Baker’s Dozen. Jared loves to take pictures and play guitar, basketball, and video games. He thanks his family and friends for their continued love and support. He is so thankful to be a part of Atlanta Ballet.

Jesse Tyler

Seventh Season

Jesse began his training at the School of the North Carolina Dance Theatre at age 9 under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride. In 2003, he joined North Carolina Dance Theatre as an apprentice and was promoted to the Company in 2004, where he worked with choreographers such as Alonzo King, Dwight Rhoden, and Mark Diamond. Since 2006, he was a guest artist with many companies in the Southeast, including the Florida Ballet. With Atlanta Ballet, he has danced works by John McFall and Lauri Stallings. When not dancing, he spends his time as the singer and guitar player for his band The Neighbors. Sponsored by Amy Nelson and Lynn Cochran Schroder

Rachel Van Buskirk

Eighth Season

A native of Vancouver, Rachel trained with Li Yaming at Pacific DanceArts. With Atlanta Ballet, her favorite roles include Lucy in Michael Pink’s Dracula, Fortuna in David Bintley’s Carmina Burana, and Autumn in James Kedulka’s The Four Seasons. Rachel has also performed works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Ohad Naharin, Lauri Stallings, and Christopher Wheeldon. Last season, Rachel performed the role of Nurse in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette, Lady Gertrude in Stephen Mill’s Hamlet, and was featured in Ohad Naharin’s Secus and Alexei Ratmanksy’s Seven Sonatas. She also was a part in creating the roles of Diana and Female Reckoner in Helen Pickett’s world premiere of The Exiled. Rachel was nominated and the cover girl for Dance Magazine’s 2012 “Top 25 to Watch” and named a “Top 30 Under 30” by ArtsATL in 2013. Outside of dance, Rachel enjoys reading, crafting, and obsessing over her cats. She sends her love to her family and Kyle and thanks them for being awesome.

John Welker

Twentieth Season

John trained at BalletMet Dance Academy, the School of American Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba, and Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Vail, Colorado. John’s roles with Atlanta Ballet include Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Albrect in Giselle, Basilio in Don Quixote, Cavalier in Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Dracula in Michael Pink’s Dracula, and Principal Male in John McFall’s Firebird. He has also been featured in James Kudelka’s The Four Seasons and Alexei Ratmansky’s Seven Sonatas. John has recently worked with choreographers Christopher Hampson, Victor Quijada, Helen Pickett, Twyla Tharp, Jorma Elo, Ohad Naharin, and Tara Lee. For the past four years, John has served as ballet master of Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi, and for seven years, he has served as mentor at Atlanta Ballet’s Summer Intensive. He is a dance major at Kennesaw State University and looks to pursue a graduate degree in Arts Administration. John and his wife Christine recently welcomed their firstborn son, Lucas, into the world. Sponsored by Lynda Courts.