Wabi Sabi Choreographers
Atlanta Ballet Company dancers turned choreographers
PENG-YU CHEN, a native of Taiwan, 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 Chancellors 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 danced with 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 performed leading roles in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker and McFall’s Peter Pan. She was 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. Peng-Yu is sponsored by the Corps de Ballet.
JONAH HOOPER, a native of Blue Ridge, Georgia, began dancing under the direction of Diane Callihan of Gainesville Ballet. He appeared as Quasimodo in Michael Pink’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dracula in Dracula, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Sharpless and Pinkerton in Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly and Jay Gatsby in John McFall and Lauri Stallings’ The Great Gatsby. Jonah and his wife Maria live in Decatur with their two wonderful children. Jonah is also finishing a degree at GA State University in Finance. He maintains a photo blog at www.thedancerslounge.com and provides all of the promotional photography for Wabi Sabi.
TARA LEE made her choreographic debut with Sixteen String in 2003. Originally created for an Atlanta Ballet choreographers’ workshop, Sixteen String, with music by Lou Harrison, was handpicked by John McFall to be performed by the company the following year in their season line-up. In 2004, McFall offered her another opportunity, which led to the creation of Poem, a dramatic duet that she danced with Brian Wallenberg to the music of Jeff Buckley. After making its world premiere with Atlanta Ballet, Poem was also performed by New Orleans Ballet Theatre. Subsequent works include two commissions for Emory Dance Company; a Margaret Mitchell-inspired duet for Georgia Public Broadcasting; and an ensemble piece, Akara, which she created with Jesse Tyler for Wabi Sabi last year. Her most recent collaboration with Jesse Tyler, Pavo, was commissioned for this year's New Choreographic Voices on The Alliance Stage at The Woodruff Arts Center. Click here to see a video clip from the performance, which also features fellow Wabi Sabi choreographer Peng-Yu Chen in the cast.
Wabi Sabi guest choreographers
NATHAN GRISWOLD, originally from the Pacific Northwest, finished his formal dance training at the Ben Stevenson Academy in Houston, Texas. For the past two years he has danced for Ballett Augsburg in the south of Germany. Before moving to Europe he danced with Atlanta Ballet, GloATL, Alberta Ballet and Houston Ballet. As a dancer he was cast in pieces by Itzik Galili, Leo Mujic, Emily Molnar and Alejandro Cerrudo, among others. His choreographic works have been performed by Ballett Augsburg and Stadt Theater Ulm. Nathan’s goal as a choreographer is to create a tactile atmosphere on stage that helps the audience become aware of detail within time.
JIMMY ORRANTE is in his 17th season with BalletMet in Ohio. The Los Angeles native has choreographed several works for the company, including his first full-length ballet in 2009, The Great Gatsby. Jimmy attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Performing Arts under Don Hewitt as well as North Carolina School of the Arts. He has danced with Memphis Ballet, Nevada Dance Theater, Los Angeles Chamber Ballet and was a guest with Northern Ballet (UK), Dance St. Louis, and Dance Kaleidoscope (Los Angeles). In Spring 2011, he was honored with the National Choreographic Recognition Award for Regional Dance America and was named the Choreographer in Residence for Denison University later that year. Most recently, he received the Special Project Grant from the Princess Grace Foundation and a grant from the NEA to collaborate with The Ohio State University's Advanced Center for Computer Art & Design (ACCAD) and media composer, Sean Beeson. He resides in Columbus, Ohio with wife, former dancer Sonia Welker, and children Isaac, Aiyana and Imara.
RACHELLE SCOTT, originally from Montpellier, France, received her dance training from LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts and the Alvin Ailey School in New York City. During her time at The Juilliard School, she danced works by Merce Cunningham, Alexander Ekman, Ohad Naharin, Fabien Prioville, Lucca Veggetti, Sidra Bell, Eliot Feld, Jose Limon and Bronislava Nijinska, among others. Rachelle received the YoungARTS, New York Regional Award in DANCE and Modern and the Eiger Scholarship Award upon her graduation from high school. She is currently developing her skills as a choreographer, and the premier of her piece, Journey 5, was performed at the Rosemary and Meredith Willson Theater at The Juilliard School in the spring of 2012. Upon graduating from The Juilliard School, Rachelle will become a member of the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in New York City.