New Company Members
Posted 31 August 2009 - 01:36 AM
Miguel Blanco (formerly Ballet Nacional de Cuba)
Yumelia Garcia (National Ballet of Caracas/Milwaukee Ballet)
Dylan Gutierrez (San Francisco Ballet)
Jaime Hickey (ABT II)
Amber Neumann (Silver medal winner, NYIBC)
Ricardo Santos de Paula (Bronze medal and Gerald Arpino award, NYIBC)
Tanner Schwartz (Royal Danish Ballet apprentice)
Jenny Winton (San Francisco Ballet)
Kara Zimmerman (Cincinnati Ballet)
Posted 31 August 2009 - 12:20 PM
CHICAGO’S JOFFREY BALLET ANNOUNCES THE DIVERSE ADDITION OF NINE DANCERS
HAILING FROM CUBA, VENEZUELA, BRAZIL AND FOUR U.S. STATES
Company position offered for the first time to an Academy of Dance student
CHICAGO – August 31, 2009 – The Chicago-based, world-renowned Joffrey Ballet, led by Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater, announced today the addition of nine dancers to complete the company’s élite roster.
This essential company diversification was made possible thanks to The Boeing Company’s generous “Boeing Game Changer” Award, which was presented to Wheater in December 2008. Established by Boeing Chicago Global Corporate Citizenship in 2007, The “Boeing Game Changer” Award supports new community leaders (or those new to their current positions) in Chicago whose hard work and vision help support diverse communities. The $100,000 award was granted to help fund organizational development or a diversity-related project.
The Joffrey Ballet’s newest members include Miguel Blanco (Havana, Cuba), Yumelia Garcia (Caracas, Venezuela), Dylan Gutierrez (Los Angeles, California), Jaime Hickey (Bayonne, New Jersey), Amber Neumann (Niles, Michigan), Ricardo Santos de Paula (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Tanner Schwartz (Los Angeles, California), Jenny Winton (San Francisco, California), and Kara Zimmerman (Hershey, Pennsylvania). With experience from around the world, these dancers will make their company debut in the Joffrey Premiere of Othello, October 14-25.
“The Joffrey Ballet has enjoyed a sort of renaissance and growth over the last few seasons,” reflects Artistic Director Ashley C. Wheater. “I have been actively seeking talent world-wide to create one of the most diverse dance companies. The addition of these new dancers will draw out and magnify the various talents of The Joffrey Ballet.”
The Joffrey Ballet’s 2009-2010 Season will open with the company Premiere of Chicago-born Lar Lubovitch’s full-length story ballet, Othello, October 14-25, 2009. A vibrant interpretation on the classic tale of passion and jealousy, ambition and betrayal, Othello is an amalgam of classical and modern movement. Lubovitch's original choreography is enhanced with a powerful score by Academy Award® winner Elliot Goldenthal that intensifies the audience experience as the ballet's tragedy unfolds. With sets by George Tsypin, projections by Wendall K. Harrington, and costumes by Ann Hould-Ward, this ballet was adapted from the 17th-century play "Othello" by William Shakespeare, as well as the 16th-century Giraldi Cinthio novella that inspired the play. A Joffrey Premiere, this reinterpreted ballet was commissioned by the American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet and was first performed in New York City in 1997 by American Ballet Theatre.
For more information about The Joffrey Ballet and its 2009-2010 Legends Season, please visit www.joffrey.org or call 312-739-0120.
Below are the biographies for the dancers who will compliment The Joffrey Ballet’s current company roster.
Miguel Blanco, born in Havana, Cuba, began his ballet training in 1991 at the Provincial School of Ballet and then continued at the National School of Ballet of Cuba. In 2001, he joined the Ballet Nacional de Cuba under the artistic direction of Alicia Alonso. Blanco has performed in Mexico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, the United States, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and China. His repertoire includes leading roles of the great romantic-classics of the 19th Century: Don Quixote, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle, and Sleeping Beauty. He has also performed several contemporary works. In 2003, he was promoted to the category of First Soloist with Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Now, he is one of the most outstanding figures of the youngest generation of dancers of the Cuban School of Ballet. Blanco’s United States career consists of the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami as a principal dancer.
Yumelia Garcia, born in Caracas, Venezuela, received her professional training at the Fundacion Ballet Arte in Caracas. She joined the National Ballet of Caracas at the age of fifteen under the direction of Vincent Nebrada and was promoted to soloist one year later. Since moving to the United States in 1991, Garcia has danced with the Ohio Ballet and has been a guest artist with the Illinois Ballet Theatre, Wausau Dance Theatre, Rockford Dance Company, and the Minnesota Dance Theatre. Garcia joined the Milwaukee Ballet in 1995 as a corps de ballet member and moved quickly through the ranks, becoming a soloist in 1997 and a principal in 1999. In 2005, Garcia toured Germany dancing in cities such as Darmstadt, Fulda, and Heidelberg. In 2006 Garcia was invited to be part of the Trey McIntyre Project at White Oak, performing in prestigious festivals including Jacob’s Pillow, Vail International Festival and Wolf Trap. Garcia’s remarkable technique and versatility has enabled her to perform principal roles in classics such as Don Quixote, Carmen, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet, as well as contemporary roles in pieces by Alonzo King, Choo San Goh, Mark Godden, Jimmy Gamonet, David Parsons, and Lar Lubovitch.
Dylan Gutierrez was trained in Los Angeles under the direction of his mother Andrea Paris-Gutierrez at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy. Gutierrez was a Music Center Spotlight Awards semi-finalist in 2006 and placed in the top six at the Youth American Grand Prix finals in New York, for three consecutive years. Gutierrez was also an ABT National Training Scholar in 2004 and 2006. In 2006, he left for London to train at The Royal Ballet School with a full tuition scholarship and sponsorship from HSBC. He studied there for two years and graduated with Honors, receiving the Cyril Beaumont Award. In 2008, Gutierrez was named one of two apprentices with the San Francisco Ballet. Gutierrez made his professional debut at the age of 18 in George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments. During San Francisco Ballet's 2009 season he danced in Helgi Tomasson's Prism, Jerome Robbins' The Concert, George Balanchine's Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Jerome Robbins' West Side Story Suite and George Balanchine's Jewels.
Jaime Hickey began her dance training at Ms. Huguette’s Dance Studio in Bayonne, New Jersey. She also became a competitive Irish Step Dancer with the DeNogla School of Irish Step Dancing. Hickey continued her training with the New Jersey School of Ballet and one year later attended Walnut Hill School under the direction of Michael Owen. In 2006, Hickey was accepted into the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Franco DeVita, and also began private training with Fabrice Herrault. She attended summer intensives with The Kirov Academy, The Rock School, Studio Maestro, and Kaatsbaan. Hickey also attended both the American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet Summer Intensives under full scholarship. In 2007, Hickey was named a National Training Scholar and joined ABT II. While with ABT II, she performed roles in White Swan Pas De Deux, Jerome Robbin’s Interplay, George Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliant, Raymonda, and Anthony Tudor’s Continuo.
Amber Neumann joins The Joffrey Ballet after attending the Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet. Previously, Neumann had been a member of Southold Dance Theater since 1995 and in 2000 became a member of the pre-professional company in South Bend, Indiana. Neumann has attended many summer workshops including the Academy of Dance 2009 Summer Intensive, Ballet Magnificat!, Gregory Hancock Dance Theater, Nutmeg Conservatory Advanced Summer Workshop, and she was also accepted to Pacific Northwest Ballet’s summer program.
Over the past four years Neumann has participated in the Youth America Grand Prix in both the Chicago semi-finals and the New York finals under the artistic direction of Anna Reznik and Alexei Kremnev. At the 2008 Regional Semi-Finals in Chicago, she won 2nd Place in the classical division and won 1st Place in her contemporary solo performance. Neumann then performed in the New York Youth America Grand Prix 2008 Final competition and placed in the top twelve. At the 2009 Chicago Regional competition, Neumann won the Grand Prix Award. Also in 2009, Neumann participated in the New York International Ballet Competition and won the Silver medal in the Women’s Division.
Ricardo Santos de Paula, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, began his ballet training at the age of seven. In 2006 he finished his training at Conservatório Brasileiro de Dança under the guidance of Jorge Teixeina. He participated as a guest artist in the Theatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro where he performed in The Nutcracker, Giselle, and Swan Lake. In 2006, he danced in national and international festivals such as the Youth American Grand Prix in New York, where he won a scholarship for Australian Ballet. In 2007 and 2008, he competed in Danza America competition in Argentina where he placed as a top finalist. While participating in Danza America, he was invited to compete in the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland where he received a scholarship award for the English National Ballet and Beijing International Ballet. In 2007, he joined the Cia Brasileira de Ballet in Rio de Janeiro where he danced several classic lead roles, such as Raymonda, the Nutcracker prince, La Sylphides, La Fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote, Coppelia, and along with dancing in several contemporary pieces. In 2009, while taking part in the New York International Ballet Competition, de Paula won the bronze medal and the Arpino Award for a one year contract with The Joffrey Ballet.
Tanner Schwartz began dancing under the direction of Julie Whittaker and Yvonne Mounsey at Westside School of Ballet in Los Angeles. Schwartz continued his training at the School of American Ballet where he performed in numerous productions with New York City Ballet including The Nutcracker, Firebird, Sleeping Beauty, and Davidsbundlertanze. From 2006 to 2008 Schwartz danced with Pennsylvania Ballet II and performed in their productions of The Nutcracker, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, Dracula, Lambarena, and Carnival of the Animals. Schwartz has attended summer programs at San Francisco Ballet and Miami City Ballet, both on full scholarship. In 2002 he was the recipient of the D.A.N.C.E. (Danish American National Cultural Exchange) Scholarship, dancing as an apprentice with the Royal Danish Ballet.
Jenny Winton began ballet at the age of six at the San Francisco Ballet School and trained there on full scholarship. In 2001, she was featured in San Francisco Ballet’s The Nutcracker as Clara and performed other child roles and in the company’s Corps throughout the years. Annually, Winton danced in the Spring Student Showcase appearing in works such as Stars and Stripes, Serenade, Handle a Celebration, and Minkus Suit. In the summer of 2005, Winton received a full merit scholarship to The School of American Ballet where she trained under the direction of Kay Mazzo, Suki Schorer, and Susan Pilarre. In the fall of 2008 she was invited to join the second company of the Pennsylvania Ballet and was promoted to the first company in 2009. In the summer of 2009, she received a scholarship to attend the Jacobs Pillow program in Becket, MA, where she worked with Anna-Marie Holmes, Victor Plotnikov, Larissa Ponomarenko, Kee-Juan Han, Stephanie Saland, and Adam Sklute. There Winton was granted the Professional Advancement Award in Dance by Anna-Marie Holmes and J.R. Glover.
Kara Zimmerman began her training at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet at the age of eight. She later continued her training with the Pacific Northwest Ballet School on a full scholarship before becoming a member of their Corps de Ballet in 2000. In 2008, after eight seasons with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Zimmerman joined the Cincinnati Ballet as a Senior Soloist. Some of her favorite roles include Marie in Val Caniparoli's The Nutcracker, William Forsythe's In The Middle Somewhat Elevated, Nacho Duato's Rassemblement, and Ulysses Dove's Vespers, to name a few.
Posted 31 August 2009 - 12:33 PM
A credit not included in her bio: She was a member of Ballet Florida, dancing most of the principal and ballerina roles, for four seasons before the company suddenly folded early last spring.
Posted 31 August 2009 - 06:07 PM
Great, great, great!! I'm so happy Migue finally got placed, after all this time in limbo post defection. The Joffrey is just perfect for him. I'm sure he will love the repertoire.
So down with Taritas and now down with Migue. Only Hayna is still out there...
Posted 31 August 2009 - 06:34 PM
Posted 01 September 2009 - 03:53 AM
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