Making the Cut: Five New Dancers Poised for Atlanta Ballet 11-12 season

ATLANTA – Atlanta Ballet adds five new dancers – three professional and two apprentice - to its roster for a landmark 2011-12 season, marked by world-renowned choreographers, intriguing collaborations and avant-garde performances.

The company welcomes back 18 dancers from last season, including veterans Christine Winkler and John Welker for a 17th season and Tara Lee who’ll be celebrating her 16th season. Dancer Jackie Nash will also join the professional ranks after being promoted from apprentice.

New to the company are Harunaga Yamaka, Brandon Nguyen, and Claire Stallman.

In addition to the 21 company dancers, four apprentices will perform this season, including newcomers Lisa Barrieau, Pablo Sanchez and former Centre for Dance Education student Nayomi Van Brunt who was recently promoted from fellowship status.

Since taking over in 1994, artistic director John McFall has consistently recruited a diverse group of dancers in style, technique and physicality. Beyond cultivating talent from within the school (Atlanta Ballet currently has 12 former students in the company), his scouting efforts have yielded national and international recruits. This year more than eight countries will be represented including Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Uruguay, the Philippines, Canada, China, and Taiwan.

The varied corps also matches the company’s eclectic repertoire of traditional pieces as well as more modern and contemporary works. For example, the October season opener pairs James Kudelka’s neo-classical The Four Seasons with the ultra-modern, “tech ballet” EDEN/EDEN by choreographer Wayne McGregor.

“This is a paramount season for Atlanta Ballet and our dancers. We are introducing distinguished choreographers from around the world into our rep that we haven’t had the privilege to work with before,” said McFall. “It’s an opportunity for us to learn from them, but also an opportunity for them to see how special our company is. We have an ensemble of individuals that are each uniquely talented, but all share a passion and commitment to discovery, collaboration and creativity. Atlanta and Atlanta Ballet are lucky to have them.”

To learn more about Atlanta Ballet and the company, please visit or visit the official Atlanta Ballet blog at For media inquiries, contact: Sigele Winbush – 404.862.2081,

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