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2004-2005 Roster

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I keep checking PABallet's web site too. Alas, no changes or much updating yet.

There was a newpaper article regarding the new season and the addition of both Zachery Hench and Julie Diana to the PABallet roster for 04-05 season. Looking forward to seeing both of these wonderful dancers in the Balanchine program in November!

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Here's the article in the Philadelphia Inquirer:


New principal Zachary Hench, who danced the role of the prince, came to the company just in time for Swan Lake, and with his poetic looks and bearing became an instant heartthrob. He will be joined this season by another new principal dancer, Julie Diana, a former colleague of Hench's at San Francisco Ballet.

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From the company:



Artistic Director Roy Kaiser announces Pennsylvania Ballet’s company roster for the 2004-2005 season, which includes two new members and four promotions. The Company embarks on its 41st season with a total of 41 dancers, ranked into Principal, Soloist, Corps de Ballet and Apprentice positions.

The Company welcomes two new Principal Dancers – Julie Diana and Zachary Hench, both former Principals with San Francisco Ballet. In addition, André Vytoptov is being promoted to the Corps de Ballet after dancing as an Apprentice for two seasons, and Michel Antoine Braun, Jermel Johnson and Abigail Mentzer are becoming Apprentices after serving as members of Pennsylvania Ballet II.

Speaking of the new members of the Company, Mr. Kaiser says, “Julie and Zach are phenomenal dancers. Their supreme artistry and versatility, combined with their exuberant personalities and strong work ethics make them fit in perfectly with this Company. We are thrilled to welcome them.”

Originally from Summit, NJ, Julie Diana began taking ballet at the age of seven with the New Jersey Ballet in West Orange, NJ. She trained there for five years before moving on to study at the School of American Ballet for four years. Her training was also supplemented with several years of summer intensives at The Joffrey Ballet School. Ms. Diana joined San Francisco Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1993, and was promoted to Soloist in 1997 and to Principal in 2000. In addition to critical and audience acclaim for her multitude of performances in principal roles, Ms. Diana was honored with the Isadora Duncan Award for her performances in Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering and Kenneth MacMillan’s The Invitation.

A native of Loysville, Pennsylvania, Zachary Hench began his training at the age of seven at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, where he studied for eight years. From there, he went on to train at the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C. Mr. Hench became a member of Boston Ballet II in 1993 and was invited to join Boston Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1994. He was promoted to Soloist in 1996 and Principal in 1998. In 2000, Mr. Hench joined San Francisco Ballet as a Soloist, and was promoted to Principal in 2003. He joined Pennsylvania Ballet as a Principal Dancer in April 2004 and danced the role of Siegfried in Christopher Wheeldon’s new Swan Lake in June.

Mr. Kaiser is also pleased to bring an Apprentice into the Corps and three PAB II dancers into Apprenticeship positions. “It’s extremely gratifying to work with younger dancers and watch them develop into professionals. These four dancers have worked hard and showed tremendous growth, and I am happy to be able to promote them into the ranks of the Company.”

Born in Latvia Riga, André Vytoptov trained as a scholarship student at the School of American Ballet, and, as a student, performed with American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet. He also appeared in the films Center Stage and Warner Brothers’ George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. Mr. Vytoptov was a charter member of Pennsylvania Ballet II when it was formed in February 2002. He was invited to join Pennsylvania Ballet as an Apprentice in September 2003 and was promoted to Corps de Ballet in May 2004.

Michel Antoine Braun becomes an Apprentice after dancing in Pennsylvania Ballet II for two seasons, performing lecture demonstrations throughout the region, as well as in several of Pennsylvania Ballet’s full-length productions. He began his training at the School of American Ballet, where he studied under scholarship for 11 years. He continued his studies as a scholarship student for one year at San Francisco Ballet School, where he performed the roles of Russian and Spanish in San Francisco Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. He also appeared as a guest artist in George Balanchine’s Jewels with Miami City Ballet. He joined Pennsylvania Ballet II in the fall of 2002.

Originally from Maryland, Jermel Johnson began his dance education by attending the Baltimore School for the Arts’ after school program for four years and continued training with the Baltimore School for the Arts for another three years. He also studied for one year at the School of American Ballet and received a scholarship to study at SAB’s Summer Program. Mr. Johnson joined Pennsylvania Ballet II in September 2003 and was invited to become an Apprentice with Pennsylvania Ballet in May 2004. He danced the featured Pas de Trois in Christopher Wheeldon’s new Swan Lake in June.


Abigail Mentzer becomes an Apprentice after two seasons with Pennsylvania Ballet II. Originally from Florida, Ms. Mentzer trained at the School of American Ballet for ten years, during which she performed several children’s roles with the New York City Ballet. She continued her training with the Miami City Ballet School for two years, and she also completed summer workshops at Miami City Ballet School and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. She has performed as a guest artist in several productions of Stamford Ballet’s The Nutcracker, as well as with New York City Ballet in Organon and Miami City Ballet in Giselle.

Another notable roster change this season is the departure of Corps de Ballet member Jennifer Gall, who is pursuing acting opportunities in Los Angeles. Ms. Gall will be appearing in upcoming episodes of such television shows as American Dreams, Scrubs, CSI New York, Navy NCIS, and a new series titled Medium.

Other changes to the 2004-2005 roster include the departure of Corps de Ballet member Juan Carlos Peñuela and Apprentice Elaine Matthews, who are each pursuing other opportunities.

Founded in 1963 by Balanchine student Barbara Weisberger, Pennsylvania Ballet is one of the nation’s leading ballet companies. Headquartered in Philadelphia, the Company’s annual local season features six productions of classic favorites and new works, as well as the Philadelphia holiday tradition, The Nutcracker. For more information, call (215) 551-7000 or visit the website at www.paballet.org.

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Here's the 2004-05 roster (as of 8/30/04):


Artistic Director: Roy Kaiser

Executive Director: Michael Scolamiero

Ballet Master: Jeffrey Gribler

PA Ballet II Director: William DeGregory

Ballet Mistress: Tamara Hadley

Music Director: Beatrice Jona Affron


2004-2005 SEASON


Amy Aldridge

Alexei Borovik

Martha Chamberlain

Zachary Hench

Julie Diana

Alexander Iziliaev

Arantxa Ochoa

David Krensing


Valerie Amiss

James Ady

Tara Keating

James Ihde

Riolama Lorenzo

Meredith Rainey


Laura Bowman

Thomas Baltrushunas

Christine Cox

Alexei Charov

Heidi Cruz

Philip Colucci

Charity Eagens

Brian Debes

Ashley Flood

Yosbel Delgado

Jamar Goodman

Jessica Gattinella

Neil Marshall

Meredith Reffner

Matthew Neenan

Hawley Rowe

Jonathan Stiles

Jennifer Smith

André Vytoptov

Emily Waters


Elysia Lichtine

Michel Antoine Braun

Abigail Mentzer

Jermel Johnson

Barette Vance

Michael Patterson

Gabriella Yudenich


Rebecca Azenberg

Ian Hussey

Adrianna deSvastich

Keith Mearns

Ocean Dull

Victoria Gates

Rachel Maher

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