A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Alexandre received his training from Escola de Dancas Alice Arja, Escola Estadual de Dancas Maria Olenewa. At the age of 15, he came to the United States on a full scholarship 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 such as James Kudelka, Juel Lane, Christopher Wheeldon, Bruce Wells, and fellow company member 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.
A native of Taiwan, Peng began training in Chinese Folk dance and gymnastics at the age of ten. 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 the Kevin Wynn Collection and in the Metropolitan Opera Ballet’s production of The Rite of Spring choreographed by Doug Varone. She joined American Repertory Ballet for three seasons where she performed works by Graham Lustig, Lauri Stallings, Val Caniparoli, Melissa Barak and Twyla Tharp. She was invited to join Atlanta Ballet in 2007 and has perfomed leading roles in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker and McFall’s Peter Pan. She has been featured in Stalling’s 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. Peng was named by Dance Magazine as one of the “25 to Watch” in 2007, and she thanks her family and friends for all the support and love. Sponsored by the Corps de Ballet.
An Atlanta native, Christian began his training at the age of eight with the Atlanta School of Ballet under the direction of Robert Barnett. As a company member, Christian 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 the title role in Michael Pink’s Romeo & Juliet. Christian has been 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 the Centre for Dance Education, his family, and his lovely wife Naomi-Jane for their support. Sponsored by Christine Noguere and Phillip Pope.
A San Francisco native, Pedro began his training with the Academy of Ballet, the School of the Arts High School San Francisco, and then later with the School of American Ballet in New York City. Pedro returned to San Francisco to begin his professional career with the Smuin Ballet, where he worked with noted choreographers Michael Smuin and Amy Seiwert for four seasons. He then moved and enjoyed a stint at Dayton Ballet, where he worked with choreographers Septime Webre and Stephen Mills. Eager to get back to the east coast, he accepted an opportunity to dance with American Repertory Ballet (ARB) in New Jersey. During his four seasons with ARB, he danced ballets and world premieres by Val Caniparoli, Lisa de Ribere, Twyla Tharp, Susan Shields, 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 enjoyed dancing ballets by Jorma Elo, James Kudelka, Helen Pickett, and John McFall. In addition to ballet, Pedro is a former Mexican folk and tap dancer, a former soccer and baseball player, and an avid bowler. Pedro is very happy to be a part of the Atlanta Ballet family and looks forward to a great season.
A native of southern Illinois, Heath began his dance training at age four with jazz, tap and gymnastics. In order to expand his dance knowledge, he later attended The Children’s Center for Dance Education where he began to study ballet under the direction of Deena Laska-Lewis. He also attended summer intensives at Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, and Texas Ballet Theater. By age 18, he moved to Atlanta to train and perform with Atlanta Ballet. During his time in Atlanta, he has had the pleasure of working with choreographers such as John McFall, Michael Pink, James Kudelka, Lila York, Mark Godden, Matt Kent and Lauri Stallings. Some of Heath’s other interests include playing piano and trumpet, watching movies, and cooking. Heath would also like to thank Clara Cravey for her guidance, and his friends and family for their love and support.
Jonah was born in Atlanta and raised in Blue Ridge, Georgia, where he discovered dance at the age of twelve. He studied with the Gainesville Ballet during high school and was an apprentice with the Louisville Ballet before returning to Atlanta in 1997. With Atlanta Ballet, Mr. Hooper has been featured in many lead and character roles. He appeared as Quasimodo in Michael Pink’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dracula in Dracula, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Sharpless and Pinkerton in Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly, and Jay Gatsby in John McFall and Lauri Stallings’ The Great Gatsby. He was featured in Jorden Morris’s Moulin Rouge® - The Ballet as Zidler and John McFall’s Don Quixote as Gamache. Most recently he has worked with the rising talents of Helen Pickett in Petal and Prayer of Touch and Gina Patterson in Quietly Walking. Mr. Hooper has also shared his passion for dance by collaborating with John Welker’s Wabi Sabi project as a choreographer and photographer. Jonah recently graduated from Georgia State University and proudly lives in Decatur with his wife and two children. He would like to thank his wife and family for their love and support.
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 a Master’s degree in Dance Arts. Yoomi received first prize in the 30th Dance Association of Korea National Ballet Competition and has performed Sleeping Beauty at the International Performing Arts Festival in Japan. Since moving to the US 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. Yoomi was invited to perform Esmerelda and Helen Pickett’s Petal at the Korea World Ballet Dance Star Festival in 2011. Sponsored by Su Longman.
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. Tara has been a guest artist with New Orleans Ballet Theatre and joined Vancouver’s Ballet British Columbia in 2006, where she performed work by John Alleyne, Crystal Pite, Paul Taylor, and Martha Graham. Last season in Atlanta, she had the pleasure of dancing for Wayne McGregor, Twyla Tharp, James Kudelka, Jorma Elo, and Helen Pickett. Principal roles include those in McFall’s Swan Lake and Firebird, Welch’s Madame Butterfly, Stevenson’s Cinderella and Three Preludes, Pink’s Romeo & Juliet and Dracula, Morris' Moulin Rouge®- The Ballet, Godden's The Magic Flute, Caniparoli's Lambarena, Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Stallings’ big, and Hampson's Rite of Spring. Tara has choreographed three works for Atlanta Ballet, most recently Pavo, which premiered in May 2012. Her work has also been performed by Wabi Sabi, New Orleans Ballet Theatre, and Emory Dance Company. Sponsored by Lynn Cochran Schroder.
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Nadia was 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 under the direction of John McFall, she has performed the leading role 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 has also been featured in Lambarena by Val Caniparoli, Christopher Wheeldon's Rush, Jorma Elo's 1st Flash, and Wayne McGregor's Eden|Eden among others. 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.
A native of Connecticut, Jackie started her pre-professional 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 and Val Caniparoli. She has also had the pleasure of working with other choreographers like James Kudelka for The Man in Black, Twyla Tharp for The Princess and the Goblin, Jorma Elo for 1st Flash, and Tara Lee for Pavo. Jackie would like to thank her loving parents and amazing sister for their endless support and encouragement.
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 on a full scholarship at Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy performing solo and principal roles with Houston Ballet II. He received his first job with Orlando Ballet under 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 would like to thank his parents, the Atlanta Ballet company for being so welcoming, and his past, present and future teachers.
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 U.S., 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. Highlights from last season included performing in Wayne McGregor’s Eden|Eden and dancing the role of Principal Couple in
Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush. 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 began her dance training with Daphne Kendall and later graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts. She spent one season with North Carolina Dance Theatre II before joining Atlanta Ballet. Last season, she performed works by Jorma Elo, Wayne McGregor, Helen Pickett, and Tara Lee, as well as the role of Princess Irene in the world premiere of Twyla Tharp’s The Princess and the Goblin. She was recently a guest artist with the National Choreographers Initiative in California. Alessa likes vegetables and the color yellow. Sponsored by Lucy, Charlotte, and Ginny Brewer.
Claire began dancing at age four in her hometown of Saratoga, Calif. She studied with Karen Millar before joining the San Francisco Ballet School on full scholarship and spent summers training on scholarship at the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theater. Prior to joining Atlanta Ballet, Claire was a company member with Pacific Northwest Ballet for two years and Boston Ballet for three years. Some of her most memorable performances have included a role in Jerome Robbins' Afternoon of a Faun; the first movement lead in Balanchine's Western Symphony; a role in Benjamin Millepied's Three Movements; and the pas de deux in Christopher Wheeldon's Rush, which she performed this past season with Atlanta Ballet. Claire enjoys rock climbing with her siblings, spending time with her sister and cousins here in Georgia, and volunteering with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. She is also pursuing a degree in mathematics at Georgia Institute of Technology.
Benjamin began dancing in his hometown of Melbourne, Australia under the guidance of Tim Podesta. In 2008, at the age of 16, Ben advanced into the Australian Ballet School where he attended on scholarship after winning the Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald Ballet Scholarship. While there, Ben studied under Mark Annear, Dale Baker, Simon Dowe and Jia Hong Wang, graduating in 2011 with an Advanced Diploma of Dance. Ben had the opportunity to dance and tour with the Australian Ballet, appearing as Lead Gypsy in its production of Don Quixote. Ben made his Atlanta Ballet debut last winter as Prince Charming in Bruce Wells’ Snow White and was last seen in Christopher Wheeldon’s Rush. Ben would like to thank his parents and grandparents, as well as those involved in the Atlanta Ballet, for their encouragement and support.
Abi was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She started to dance professionally with the Philippine Ballet Theatre (PBT) at age 14 and worked her way up through the ranks. With PBT, she danced lead roles in ballets such as Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Giselle, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Madame Butterfly, La Bayadere, Nutcracker, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Who Cares, Serenade and Concerto Barocco. In 2009, she was given the opportunity to dance with the American Repertory Ballet in New Jersey under the direction of Mr. Graham Lustig. And after one season, she was blessed to dance with Atlanta Ballet, where she performed works of Twyla Tharp, John McFall, Val Caniparoli, Helen Pickett, Gina Patterson, Amy Seiwert, Juel Lane, Jorden Morris and Christopher Wheeldon. She graduated with a BA in Communication Arts from Angelicum College. She recently married fellow artist Pedro, and together they have a four-legged daughter named Hazel.
Jared was born in Philippines and started dancing at the age of nine with Philippine Ballet Theatre under the direction of Gener Caringal. He had trained for more than 14 years under Russian Ballet Master Anatoly Panasyukov, and distinguished visiting ballet masters such as Robert Barnett, Graham Lustig, Batt Abbit, Stefan Hoff, Ida Beltran-Lucila, Nonoy Froilan, Maiqui Mañosa, Edna Vida and Stanley Canete. Two seasons ago he joined American Repertory Ballet in New Jersey under the direction of Graham Lustig, where he danced Prince in Nutcracker, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rhapsodia and Baker's Dozen by Twyla Tharp. Jared loves to take pictures and play guitar, basketball, and video games. He would like to thank his family and friends for their continued love and support. He is so thankful to be a part of Atlanta Ballet.
Jesse began his training at The School of the North Carolina Dance Theatre at age nine under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride. In 2003, he joined North Carolina Dance Theatre as an apprentice and then was promoted to the company in 2004, where he worked with world-renowned choreographers such as Alonzo King, Dwight Rhoden, and Mark Diamond. Since 2006, he has performed as a guest artist with many companies in the southeast including The Florida Ballet and most recently, Atlanta Ballet, where he danced works by John McFall and Lauri Stallings. When not dancing, he spends his time as the singer and guitar player for a local band called The Neighbors. Sponsored by Amy Nelson and Lynn Cochran Schroder.
Rachel Van Buskirk
A native of Vancouver, Rachel trained with Li Yaming at Pacific DanceArts. With Atlanta Ballet, Rachel has performed in Dracula, Madame Butterfly, Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Great Gatsby, and big. She has been featured in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Moulin Rouge®- The Ballet, and Don Quixote. Last season, Rachel danced the roles of Autumn in James Kudelka's The Four Seasons and Sugar Plum Fairy in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. She was also involved in the creation of Twyla Tharp's new ballet, The Princess and The Goblin, and continued working with Juel Lane on his premiere, Moments of Dis. Rachel has also performed works by Twyla Tharp, James Kudelka, Helen Pickett, George Balanchine, Lauri Stallings, Val Caniparoli, Victor Quijada, Christopher Wheeldon, Michael Pink, and Lila York. A recent highlight for her was working with former Atlanta Ballet dancer Nathan Griswold on a premiere for Wabi Sabi. Outside of dance, Rachel enjoys reading and crafting. She sends her love to her family and thanks them for being awesome. Sponsored by Dottie Smith and Merry Carlos.
John received his dance training at BalletMet Dance Academy, the School of American Ballet, National Ballet of Cuba, Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Vail, and Point Park Conservatory. Classical ballet roles John has performed with Atlanta Ballet include Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Florimund in Sleeping Beauty, Albrect in Giselle, Basilio in Don Quixote, Cavalier in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, and Romeo in Romeo & Juliet. More contemporary dance classics include Dracula in Michael Pink's Dracula; Principal Male in John McFall's Firebird; Principal Male in James Kudelka’s The Four Seasons; Pinkerton in Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly; Don Jose in Septime Webre’s Carmen; Principal Male in Peter Martin’s Ash; Peter Pan in John McFall’s Peter Pan; and the solo work in Caught, choreographed by David Parsons. John has had the honor to work with such renowned choreographers as Christopher Hampson, Victor Quijada, Lila York, James Kudelka, Helen Pickett, Val Caniparoli, Twyla Tharp, Jorma Elo, and John McFall. For the past five years, John has served as co-director of Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education's Professional Division Summer Intensive Program. He is currently enrolled as a Dance Major in Kennesaw State University’s College of the Arts and plans to further pursue a graduate degree in Arts Administration. John wishes to thank his wife, fellow artist Christine Winkler, for her support,encouragement, and love. Sponsored by Lynda Courts.
A California native, Christine began her training in Sacramento with Barbara Crockett, and then furthered her studies with the San Francisco Ballet School on full scholarship. Later, she joined Ballet West as a company member where she met husband John Welker. Memorable highlights since joining Atlanta Ballet in 1995 include Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Juliet in Michael Pink’s Romeo & Juliet, Odette in John McFall’s Swan Lake, Mina in Michael Pink’s Dracula, Kitri in Don Quixote, Waltz Girl in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Principal Woman in the world premiere of John McFall’s Firebird, Queen of the Night in Mark Godden’s The Magic Flute, Cio Cio San in Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly, and Daisy in John McFall and Lauri Stallings’ The Great Gatsby. Christine has had the privilege of working with acclaimed choreographers such as Christopher Hampson, Lila York, James Kudelka, Val Caniparoli, Darrell Moultrie, Gina Patterson, Jorden Morris, Helen Pickett, and Juel Lane. Last season, she was featured in Twyla Tharp’s world premiere, The Princess and the Goblin, and Wayne McGregor's Eden|Eden. Guest appearances include American Repertory Ensemble in Austin, TX; Maximum Dance in Miami City, FL; Chamber Dance Project based in New York City; and New Orleans Ballet Theatre. Christine has served as Co-Director of Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education’s Professional Division Summer Intensive Program during the past six years. Christine would also like to thank her husband and family for their continued love and support. Sponsored by Merry and Chris Carlos.