2019 DANCERS

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TAYLOR CARRASCO

Cincinnati Ballet

Taylor Carrasco is a corps de ballet member at Cincinnati Ballet. He trained with the New Mexico Ballet Company and School of American Ballet and has taken summer intensives with Boston Ballet, Ballet Chicago and Pacific Northwest Ballet. He joined Cincinnati Ballet Second Company in the 14-15 Season and was promoted to Apprentice for the 15-16 Season. With the company, he has performed works by Jiří Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Trey McIntyre, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and more. He was recently the recipient of the MacDowell Artist Grant from the Cincinnati MacDowell Society, and given the opportunity to choreograph for Cincinnati Ballet’s 2018 and 2019 New Works series. Carrasco is extremely excited to be a part of Moving Arts 2019!

KALEENA BURKS

Kansas City Ballet

Kaleena Burks was raised in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where she received training fromMagda Auñon and Magaly Suarez. In 2005, she was awarded first place in the pre-professional division of the American Ballet Competition and has since been invited to perform in many galas, including the International Ballet Festival of Miami as well as Moving Arts. Ms. Burks has danced with Cincinnati Ballet, Columbia Classical Ballet, and the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. She has been honored to dance the role of Sugar Plum Fairy at the Kennedy Center with Kansas City Ballet's tour of The Nutcracker. In Kansas City, she has been featured as Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, Marguerite in Lady of the Camellias, The Chosen One in Rite of Spring, Myrtha in Giselle, Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Tiger Lily in Peter Pan, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, along with principal roles in Diamonds, Serenade, Interplay, Mercury, and Diving into the Lilacs. This is Ms. Burks’ fifth year being a part of Moving Arts.

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COURTNEY CONNOR

Oklahoma City Ballet

Mrs. Connor Jones trained at North Carolina Dance Theater and Charlotte City Ballet before graduating from North Carolina School of the Arts.  She began her professional career with Cincinnati Ballet in 2006, where she danced for eleven seasons. She also spent a summer dancing in Russia, performing in Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake.  Mrs. Connor Jones joined Oklahoma City Ballet as a Principal Dancer in 2017. Throughout her career she has performed numerous feature roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, The Chosen One in Adam Hougland’s Rite of Spring, the Eaglet in Septime Webre’s ALICE (in wonderland), and Jumping Girl in George Balanchine’s Who Cares?  Since joining Oklahoma City Ballet, Mrs. Connor Jones has performed in Robert Mills’ Swan Lake, The Nutcracker,The Little Mermaid, and The Means to Fly, in addition to Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mortand Helen Pickett’s Petal and most recently Cayatano Soto's Adam.  Her favorite role, however, is being a mother to her daughter, Gwyneth.  In her spare time, she also enjoys creating custom jewelry and educating others about healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

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LUCA DE-POLI

Cincinnati Ballet

Luca De-Poli was born in West Palm Beach FL where he began his training at the age of 14. Luca trained with Ballet Florida's school under the direction of Marie Hale and also attended A.W Dreyfoos School of the Arts under the direction of Jan Goetz. Luca attended the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music as a ballet major and graduated in May 2015. De-Poli joined Cincinnati Ballet 2 for the 2015/16 season and was promoted to apprentice the following year. During his apprentice season, De-Poli danced a world premiere by Ma Cong, Minus 16 by Ohad Naharin and debuted the title role Zeus in the North American premier of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa's Eros Redux. He was promoted to New Dancer for the 2017/18 season and to the Corps de Ballet for the 2018/19 season. Since joining the Corps de Ballet, De-Poli has performed the title role in Nicolo Fonte’s world premier of Carmina Burana, Justin Peck’s Murder Ballads, Jiri Kylian’s Sechs Tänze and works by Victoria Morgan, Devon Carney, Adam Hougland, Kate Weare and Septime Webre.

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LIANG FU

Kansas City Ballet

Liang Fu was born in Qingdao, China. He received his training from Beijing Dance Academy. Upon graduating in 2001, he has danced with Singapore Dance Theatre, Universal Ballet Company and as a Senior Soloist with Cincinnati Ballet. Mr. Fu won the 1st prize at the 10th Asian Pacific International Ballet Competition in Tokyo, Japan in 2005. During his career, he has danced many leading roles in classical ballets such as Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty, Albrecht in Giselle, James in La Sylphide and Cavalier in The Nutcracker. He has also enjoyed dancing contemporary works by Jiří Kylián, Twyla Tharp, Ohad Naharin, Stanton Welch, James Kudelka, Val Caniparoli, Edwaard Liang and Yuri Possokhov.

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MELISSA GELFIN

Cincinnati Ballet

Melissa Gelfin began her ballet training with Lisa Collins Vidnovic at Metropolitan Ballet Academy and continued with Barbara Sandonato and Andrea Long-Naidu at Barbara Sandonato School of Ballet. She joined the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre in 2009 and was awarded a National Training Scholarship with ABT. Prior to dancing with Cincinnati Ballet, Ms. Gelfin danced for Orlando Ballet II and Orlando Ballet Company from 2011-2014. Gelfin joined Cincinnati Ballet as a New Dancer for the 2014-2015 season and was promoted to Corps De Ballet in February of 2015. She was promoted to Senior Soloist in 2017 and Principal Dancer in 2018. As a dancer with Cincinnati Ballet, Gelvin's repertoire includes classical and contemporary works by Septime Webre, Yuri Possikov, Victoria Morgan, Val Canaporoli, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Ohad Naharin, Nicolo Fonte, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Jennifer Archibald, Adam Hougland and Ma Cong. She has danced leading roles in Septime Weber’s Alice in Wonderland, Victoria Morgan’s The Nutcracker, King Arthur’s Camelot and Romeo and Juliet, Kirk Peterson’s Coppelia, George Balanchine’s Rubies and Serenade, Devon Carney’s The Sleeping Beauty, Adam Hougland's The Firebird and originated roles in Penny Saunders Nannerl, Myles Thatcher’s Anamoly, and several works by Jennifer Archibald.

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ELYSA HOTCHKISS

Kansas City Ballet

Elysa Hotchkiss was born in Erie, Pennsylvania where she received her early training with the Lake Erie Ballet School. In 2003 she attended Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Graduate Program on full scholarship. She was hired from the program to join Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre as a company member in 2004 and was promoted to soloist in 2011. Elysa has spent the last four years dancing with Kansas City Ballet. Throughout her career she has enjoyed preforming such roles as Myrtha in Giselle, Gamzatti in La Bayadere, Mercedes in Don Quixote, Lady Capulet in Jean-Christophe Maillot's Romeo and Juliet, the principal pas de deux in Balanchine's Agon, as well as featured roles in William Forsythe's In the Middle Somewhat Elevated , Dwight Rhoden's Carmina Burana and Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room and Nine Sinatra Songs.

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SAMANTHA HUEBNER

Kansas City Ballet

Originally from San Marcos, TX, Samantha Huebner began her training at age 10 under Keith Duncan at Central Texas Ballet Conservatory and Marieli Guardiola-Pope at Ballet Conservatory of South Texas. At the age of 16, Samantha was accepted into the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she spent one year training under Susan Jaffe and Laura Martin. After her first year at UNCSA, she was invited to join the Professional Division at Texas Ballet Theater under the direction of Ben Stevenson. She then joined Kansas City Ballet as a trainee from 2016-2018, and was promoted to KCBII for the 2018-2019 season. Samantha also attended summer intensives with American Ballet Theater, Ballet Austin, Texas Ballet Theater, and Kansas City Ballet. Throughout her training, Samantha performed in ballets such as Etudes, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Sleeping Beauty, Theme and Variations, Romeo & Juliet, The Wizard of Oz, and Lady of the Camellias, and has also performed soloist roles such as Pigtail Girl in Graduation Ball, Spanish, Chinese, Arabian, Marzipan Shepherdess, Dew Drop, and Clara in The Nutcracker, Dawn in Coppelia, Myrtha in Giselle, variations in Paquita and Le Corsaire, among other contemporary ballets.

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JAMES KIRBY ROGERS

Kansas City Ballet

James Kirby Rogers is a native of San Francisco California where he began his

training at the age of 9. He then went on to study at UNCSA before competing

in the 2015 Youth American Grand Prix where he was a finalist. From YAGP

he was offered to join Houston Ballet 2 under the directorship of Claudio

Munoz and Sabrina Lenzi where he danced numerous roles including The

Father in John Neumeier's Yondering, and the lead male in George

Balanchine's Allegro Brillante. After completing his training with Houston

Ballet 2 he joined the Kansas City Ballet in 2016. There he has danced many

leading roles including Armande in Val Caniparoli's Lady of the Camelias, Pas

de Trois in Sleeping Beauty, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, the Scarecrow in

Septime Webre's Wizard of Oz, and the 6th pas in Jiri Kylian's Petite Mort.

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TARYN MEJIA

Kansas City Ballet

Taryn Mejia was born in Kansas City, Missouri and began her training at the age of 3. From age 11 on, she continued her training on full scholarship at the Kansas City Ballet School and the School of American Ballet, performing Waltz Girl in Serenade for the SAB workshop. After a short 3 month apprenticeship with New York City Ballet, Ms. Mejia was given her Corps de Ballet contract, performing numerous Balanchine and Robbins ballets including Stars and Stripes, Jewels, Symphony in Three Movements, West Side Story Suite,and The Cage. She also originated roles for Christopher Wheeldon and Susan Stroman. Ms. Mejia is in her 7th season with the Kansas City Ballet and has been featured in numerous parts in The Nutcracker, Eaglet in Alice (in wonderland), Choleric in The Four Temperaments, Bluebird in The Sleeping Beauty, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Wendy in Peter Pan, Sylvie Pas de Deux in In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, and the Principal girl in Theme and Variations as well as Diamonds.

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