Meet the Artists


Introducing the Professional Company of the 2018-19 Season

 

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 as an Apprentice, and now returns for her second year as a Company Artist for the 2018-19 season.

Cassidy’s performances for the 2018-19 season are graciously sponsored by Ken & Susan Wrisley. Sponsor your favorite artist through our Sponsor A Dancer program!

 

Regina DuPont

Regina DuPont, originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, began her training at the Anneliese von Oettengin School of Ballet under the direction of Cornelia Berns and Laura Hughes. She attended summer programs on scholarship at Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Tech of Ohio, and Tevlin Ballet. She danced with the Tevlin Ballet pre-professional company for two years before attending the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a Ballet Performance Major in 2011. Some of her favorite roles while at CCM were Kitri in Don Quixote, Nikita in La Bayadère, the Russian Girl in George Balanchine’s Serenade, and a principal role in Twyla Tharp’s The Story Teller. Regina joined Charlottesville Ballet as a Trainee in 2015 and is thrilled to return for another season as a Company Artist.

Regina’s performances for the 2018-19 season are graciously sponsored by Susan Proctor. Sponsor your favorite artist through our Sponsor A Dancer program!

 

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 August Bournonville’s Flower Festival. Most recently, 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. This is Derek’s second year as a Company Artist with Charlottesville Ballet.

 

Caitlin Lennon

Caitlin Lennon, originally from Bozeman, Montana, began her intensive training at the Queen City Ballet in Helena, MT. Caitlin competed in the Youth America Grand Prix in 2006 and placed in the Top 12 in both classical and contemporary. She spent her summers studying at Juilliard, American Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Ballet West on scholarship. Her travels across the country ended at the Richmond Ballet, where she was accepted into the trainee program on full scholarship and danced for two seasons. Caitlin joined Charlottesville Ballet as a founding member of the professional company in 2008. This is Caitlin’s eleventh season dancing with Charlottesville Ballet, and she is thrilled to also be continuing her role as Company Manager for the 2018-19 season.

 

Nanae Matsushima

Nanae Matsushima was born in Hokkaido, Japan. She began dancing at the age of three and continued her training in Hokkaido until 2012 when she relocated to Calgary in Alberta, Canada to train at the School of Alberta Ballet. In 2014, Nanae was offered a trainee position at the American Repertory Ballet (ARB) in Princeton, NJ and moved to the United States. While at ARB, Nanae danced the role of Kitri in Don Quixote, as well as roles in The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Firebird. Nanae joined Charlottesville Ballet as a Company Artist in 2015 and has performed numerous leading roles, including the the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Kitri in Don Quixote, and Snow White in Snow White. Nanae is thrilled to begin her fourth season with the Charlottesville Ballet.

Nanae’s performances for the 2018-19 season are graciously sponsored by Joe & Sharon Mott. Sponsor your favorite artist through our Sponsor A Dancer program!

Special thanks to our corporate sponsor Poarch Law for helping our international artists perform across Central Virginia.  For more information about their immigration services, visit www.PoarchLaw.com.

 

 

Toma Mori

Toma Mori is originally from Kyoto, Japan. He began his dance training at Le Studios in Pasadena, California and continued at the Colburn Dance Institute in Los Angeles. Toma also attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and graduated from the Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA. Toma has danced as a second company member with Nashville Ballet and as a company member with the Lexington Ballet. He has performed roles such as Peter from Peter Pan, the Faun from Afternoon of a Faun, the Prince from Snow White, the Peasant Pas de Deux from Giselle, and Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Nutcracker Prince from The Nutcracker, and Prince Ivan from The Firebird. After a year-long hiatus from his knee injury, he is thrilled to return to Charlottesville Ballet for his second season as a Company Artist.

Toma’s performances for the 2018-19 season are graciously sponsored by Penny & Dutch Dorschel. Sponsor your favorite artist through our Sponsor A Dancer program!

 

 

Izabelly Possatto

Izabelly Possatto was born in Vila Velha, Brazil where she trained and danced professionally with Espaço da Dança under the direction of Alessandra and Liliani Cunha. She graduated in 2009 from the School of the Bolshoi Theater in Brazil and then in 2012 from the Escuela Nacional de Cuba. Izabelly has also participated in several international dance competitions, including Festival de Dança de Joinville, Festival Internacional de Cabo Frio, Seminário de Dança de Brasília, Passo de Arte, Conselho Brasileiro de Dança (CBDD), and the 2011 Youth America Grand Prix finals held in New York City. Izabelly has performed principal roles in Don Quixote, La Bayadère, Diana and Acteon, La Esmeralda, La Fille Mal Gardée, Flower Festival, Spring Waters, and Polovetzian Dances. This is her second season as a Company Artist with Charlottesville Ballet.

Izabelly’s performances for the 2018-19 season are graciously sponsored by Penny & Dutch Dorschel. Sponsor your favorite artist through our Sponsor A Dancer program!

Special thanks to our corporate sponsor Poarch Law for helping our international artists perform across Central Virginia.  For more information about their immigration services, visit www.PoarchLaw.com.

 

Feleacia Quezergue

Feleacia Quezergue is from San Antonio, Texas, where she trained at the North East School of the Arts until graduating high school. Feleacia is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance with a minor in Nonprofit Organizational Studies. While at the University of Oklahoma, she performed with the resident ballet company Oklahoma Festival Ballet under the direction of Mary Margaret Holt. Feleacia also served as President of the Fine Arts Diversity Council, Student Liaison for the School of Dance Directors Search Committee, and Wardrobe Crew Head for the drama production Trojan Women. Feleacia is also on faculty and staff with Charlottesville Ballet Academy. This will be Feleacia’s second season as a Company Artist with Charlottesville Ballet.

Feleacia’s performances for the 2018-19 season are graciously sponsored by Andrea Zechman & Timothy Wedge. Sponsor your favorite artist through our Sponsor A Dancer program!

 

 

Promise Smith

Promise Smith trained at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia on full scholarship. She also attended summer programs at Chautauqua, American Ballet Theatre, Orlando Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and The Rock School. In 2013, she won 1st place in the Classical division at the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) and was one of 30 YAGP finalists in NYC the following year. From 2014-16, Promise was a member of Joffrey Ballet’s studio company in Chicago where she performed with the main company in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. In 2016-17 Promise was a guest artist with the Blythe Contemporary Ballet and performed original works throughout Pennsylvania and New York. This is Promise’s second season as a Company Artist with Charlottesville Ballet.

 

 

Apprentices

Kate Arnson

Kate Arnson is originally from San Diego, California. She began her training at City Ballet of San Diego and then went on to train with Kathryn Irey at Stage 7 School of Dance. After spending 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 local ballet outreach programs and worked with City Ballet’s junior professional company. This is Kate’s second season as an Apprentice with Charlottesville Ballet.

 

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 graduated in 2016 with an A.A. in Dance from Piedmont Virginia Community College and holds a second degree in technology. 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 sixth season with Charlottesville Ballet as an Apprentice.

Jessica’s performances for the 2018-19 season are generously sponsored by Bill & Tricia Van Ryn.  Sponsor your favorite artist through our Sponsor A Dancer program!

 

Maya Hawkins

Maya Hawkins is originally from Memphis, Tennessee, where she trained at Ballet Memphis. After graduating from high school, Maya studied at the Pennsylvania Ballet School under the direction of Arantxa Ochoa. She then joined The Washington Ballet (TWB) for the 2015-16 season as a trainee and danced roles in Septime Webre’s The Nutcracker, Carmen, Coppelia, and George Balanchine’s Serenade. After her season with TWB, Maya joined Cincinnati Ballet as a trainee, where she performed in Kirk Peterson’s Coppelia, Victoria Morgan’s The Nutcracker, and excerpts from Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. Maya has attended summer intensives on scholarship at Dance Theatre of Harlem, Orlando Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Carolina Ballet, and Alonzo King Lines Ballet. This is Maya’s second season with Charlottesville Ballet as an Apprentice.

Maya’s performances for the 2018-19 season are generously sponsored by Martin & Katina Harkless.  Sponsor your favorite artist through our Sponsor A Dancer program!

 

 

Yoka Hirayama

Yoka Hirayama was born in Tokyo, Japan and trained at the Homura Tomoi Ballet School in Osaka until 2015. She attended the Jacob’s Pillow Ballet Program and the Joffrey Ballet NYC summer intensives on full scholarship. From 2015-2017, Yoka danced with the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago as a Trainee, where she performed in Christopher Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker and as the Waltzgirl in George Balanchine’s Serenade. During the 2017-2018 season Yoka continued her training with the Milwaukee Ballet Ⅱ, where she performed Michel Pink’s La Boheme and The Nutcracker. This is Yoka’s first season as an Apprentice with Charlottesville Ballet.

Special thanks to our corporate sponsor Poarch Law for helping our international artists perform across Central Virginia.  For more information about their immigration services, visit www.PoarchLaw.com.

 

 

Richard Matthews

Richard “RG” Matthews hails from Lithonia, GA. He graduated from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a B.F.A in Dance under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield, and with a minor in Creative Writing with Honors. Richard has danced with Eleone Dance Theatre, Atlanta Dance Canvas, Ballethnic Dance Company and performed works by Tommie-Waheed Evans, Gary Jeter, Wayne St. David, Kyle & Dinita Clark, amongst others. He has also attended intensives such as the Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts, Dance Canvas DC Next, and the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. Richard has also danced professionally with Norwegian Cruise Line and RWS Entertainment Group. This is Richard’s first season with Charlottesville Ballet as an Apprentice.

 

Jonah Sunnen

Jonah Sunnen began dancing in his hometown of Lexington, VA, and continued his training under the guidance of Pedro Szalay in Salem, VA.  He attended summer intensives on scholarship at the CPYB August Intensive, the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, and the School of Richmond Ballet, where he was a trainee from 2014-2016.  As a member of the Southwest Virginia Ballet Jonah participated in the New Prague Dance Festival of 2013, where the company won the Grishko Award. His performance repertoire includes The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, and Flower Festival.  This is Jonah’s first season as an Apprentice with Charlottesville Ballet.

 

 Trainee Class of 2018-19

Coming Soon

 

Special thanks to Liz Knutsen for creating Charlottesville Ballet’s artist portraits!

 

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