Meet the Artists

Kate Arnson

Kate Arnson is originally from San Diego, California. She began dancing at City Ballet of San Diego and then went on to work with Kathryn Irey at Stage 7 School of Dance, where she spent the Kate Arnson is originally from San Diego, California. She began dancing at City Ballet of San Diego and then went on to work with Kathryn Irey at Stage 7 School of Dance, where she spent the majority of her training. After two seasons as an apprentice with City Ballet of San Diego and one season with Ballet Tucson, Kate re-joined City Ballet of San Diego as a company member, performing in ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle, Don Quixote, Carmen, and George Balanchine’s Serenade, Emeralds, Four Temperaments, Walpurgisnacht, and La Source. While performing with the company, Kate also taught in City Ballet’s outreach program and coached their junior professional company. In 2017, Kate joined Charlottesville Ballet, performing in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Snow White, and other original works. Kate is BEYOND excited to be back performing for Charlottesville Ballet.

Abigail Brent

Abigail Brent began dancing with Charlottesville Ballet Academy at its inception in 2007, at the age of three. She was invited to join the Pre-Professional program when it was created in 2015. She spent summers training on scholarship with American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey, School of American Ballet, and Chautauqua. In 2018, she joined Charlottesville Ballet as a Trainee, starting high school online. She has enjoyed performing many roles, including The Nutcracker’s Clara and Spanish, and a Step-Sister in Cinderella. She was accepted into The Kennedy Center’s Master Ballet Class Series, enhancing her training in classes with NYCB, ABT, Ballet West, Mariinsky Ballet, National Ballet of China, San Francisco Ballet, and several internationally known contemporary companies.

Cassidy Burk

Cassidy Burk, a native of Leesburg, Virginia, trained for 15 years at The Dance Academy of Loudoun where she fell in love with all styles of dance. Cassidy spent summers training on scholarship with American Ballet Theatre, Charlotte Ballet, The Rock School, and Joffrey. In 2016, she graduated from Point Park University where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts for ballet and jazz. During her time there, Cassidy performed principal roles in works by Matthew Powell, Emery LeCrone, Septime Webre, Peter LeBreton Merz, Garfield Lemonius, Ron Tassone, Susan Stowe, and Kiesha Lalama, including Juliet in Nicolas Petrov’s Romeo & Juliet, Giselle in Giselle, and the Lead Russian Girl in George Balanchine’s Serenade. She joined Charlottesville Ballet in 2016 and now returns for her sixth season as a Company Artist, Communications Coordinator, and Academy Faculty.

Omari Contaste

​​Omari Contaste, born in Brooklyn, NY, always had an affinity for music and dance. Childhood dancing to Soca outside his dad’s record shop, years of steelpan performance, and a holistic H.S. dance education/company experience are his foundation. Contaste trained with Forces of Nature Dance Theater during summer 2010, his debut performance being May 2012. Contaste graduated from Goucher College (May 2014) with a double major in Dance (Choreography) and Psychology. He attended the Dance Theater of Harlem Summer Intensive (July 2014), then relocated to VA for Charlottesville Ballet (2014-2016). Now with Forces of Nature full-time, Omari also teaches at Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center since 2018 and joined the Kofago Dance Ensemble family in 2020.

Fredrick Davis

Fredrick Davis, born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, received a full scholarship with Van Cura Conservatory. After graduation Fredrick received a full scholarship with Joffrey Ballet School in New York to continue his training. He later joined The Roxey Ballet, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble under the direction of Mr. Arthur Mitchell. There he danced Agon, Ulysses Dove’s Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, and Alvin Ailey’s Lark Ascending. Fredrick has been a guest artist with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Tucson, San Jose Dance Theatre, Connecticut Ballet, New Orleans Ballet Theatre, New Jersey Ballet company, Neville Dance Theatre and currently with the American Midwest Ballet. Mr. Davis is featured in a documentary from WTCI-PBS Production From Chattanooga, TN “From the Streets to the Stage The Journey of Fredrick Davis.”

Jessica Grant

Jessica Grant is a native of Staunton, Virginia. She began her dance training at the Ballet Box and studied under the tutelage of Jann Shenk. At age fifteen, Jessica began dancing with Rockingham Ballet Theatre, where she performed leading roles including Cinderella, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Swanhilda in Coppelia. She holds degrees in both Dance and Cybersecurity. Jessica enjoys opportunities to continue refining her artistry and attended the Compass Coaching Project with Dominic Walsh during the summer of 2018. Jessica is also on faculty at Charlottesville Ballet Academy and enjoys sharing her love of dance with others. Jessica joined Charlottesville Ballet in 2013 as a Trainee and is excited for her ninth season with Charlottesville Ballet as a Company Artist.

Derek Lauer

Derek Lauer first began dancing at his mother’s studio in Flagstaff, Arizona. After graduating from the Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA, he joined Milwaukee Ballet II. Derek then danced with New York Theatre Ballet, where he performed leading roles in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker. From 2010 to 2013, Derek danced with Ballet Tucson in Arizona, where he appeared in Three Virgins and a Devil, Anthony Tudor’s Continuo and Fairy Doll, and August Bournonville’s Flower Festival. For the next five seasons, Derek danced with City Ballet of San Diego, where he performed Romeo in Romeo & Juliet and Rothbart in Swan Lake, as well as roles in George Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliante, Serenade, Rubies, Emeralds, Four Temperaments, and Square Dance. Since joining Charlottesville Ballet in 2017, Derek has performed leading roles such as Cavalier in The Nutcracker and Prince Charming in Cinderella. Derek is thrilled to be back in Charlottesville for the company’s return to the stage.

Michael (Mikey) Knight

Michael (Mikey) Knight began his ballet training at NEW Fusion Performing Arts in Green Bay, WI. Upon graduation Mikey relocated to Chicago, IL for an apprenticeship on Elements Contemporary Ballet. He has had the opportunity to travel to Sichuan, China to dance and instruct at Sichuan University. Upon his return Mikey relocated to Madison, WI to dance as Principal Dancer and Associate Artistic Director of Madison Contemporary Dance. Michael then joined Kanopy Dance Company in 2019 as Principal Dancer. He debuted in a variety regional premiers, including works set by Martha Graham Program Director Lone Larson, and the Martha Graham Director of Development A. Apostle. He recently relocated to Virginia and is thrilled to be joining the esteemed ranks of the Charlottesville Ballet!

Maurissa Powell

Maurissa Powell was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. She trained at The School of Madison Ballet under W. Earle Smith and Rachelle Butler, and summer intensive programs at The Jillana School, Ballet Chicago, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Fort Wayne Ballet. Maurissa is a former Brown Girls Do Ballet ambassador and a national medalist for Ballet at NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics. She was an apprentice artist with Madison Ballet for 2 seasons, performing in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Midsummer Night’s Dream and various repertory shows, and most recently performed with the Ruth Page Civic Ballet Training Company in works by Nejla Yatkin, Rigo Saura and was featured in Timothy O’Donnell’s Femmes Célébrant.

Feleacia Quezergue

Feleacia Quezergue is from San Antonio, Texas, where she trained with Christopher Fairbank and at the North East School of the Arts. She also received summer training at Houston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and Harid Conservatory. Feleacia is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance. Under the direction of Mary Margret Holt, she performed works by faculty members,  as well as guest choreographer Jock Soto. Feleacia performed with Charlottesville Ballet as a company artist from 2017-2020. Some of her most memorable roles were Girl in Red in Mary Margret Holt’s Carmina Burana and Second Shade in La Bayadere. Feleacia recently presented choreographic work with the North East School of the Arts and the Children’s Ballet of San Antonio.

Kathryn Tokar

Kathryn Tokar began training with Melanie Szucs at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood, Ohio. She spent summers at Cincinnati Ballet, Next Generation Ballet, and ABT, and graduated from Mercyhurst University summa cum laude with a B.A. in Dance Performance and a minor in Biology. Under the direction of Tauna Hunter at MU, Kathryn performed at the YAGP Finals and the NYCDA Destiny Rising Gala. She began her career as a founding member of the new Cleveland Ballet, and then Lake Erie Ballet, with her mentor Lesley Bories-Scalise. Kathryn joined Charlottesville Ballet in 2017 as a Trainee and is thrilled to begin her next season with the company. She also performs with Deos Contemporary Ballet in Michigan over the summers. Her favorite roles include Snow Queen, Dew Drop (The Nutcracker), and an Ugly Stepsister (Cinderella).