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Dancer Bios

Adrienne Benz

New Jersey native Adrienne Benz returns to BalletMet for her eleventh season. She is a recipient of the 2006 Princess Grace Award, the 2009 Violetta Boft Award, and one of Dance Magazine’s 25 To Watch in 2010. Training under the direction of Elaine Kudo and Buddy Balou and four summers with ABT in NYC she has performed at the International Contemporary Dance Festival in Poland and the Moscow International Contemporary Dance Festival in Russia. She danced four summers at the National Choreographers Initiative and in 2011 performed with Dance Grand Moultrie at the Summer Stage Festival in Central Park. Adrienne’s favorite roles with the company include Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Juliet in David Nixon’s Romeo and Juliet, Mina in Nixon’s Dracula, The Chosen One in Doug Varone’s Rite of Spring, Odette in Swan Lake, Carmen in Amadeo Amodio’s Carmen and Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Suite.

Attila Bongar

Attila Bongar trained with the Hungarian Dance Academy. Upon graduation, he attended the Eurovision Ballet Competition in France and then joined the corps de ballet of the Hungarian National Ballet. In 2000 he joined Carolina Ballet where he was promoted to a principal dancer. In 2005, Mr. Bongar choreographed and staged his first ballet, the Miraculous Mandarin, to music by Bela Bartok. He was then given more opportunities to create company works. He has received grants from the following institutions: New York Choreographic Institute Fellowship Grant; National Endowment for the Arts; New Essential Works Grant by the Jerome Robbins Foundation. He is looking forward to his second season with BalletMet. Aside from choreography and performance, he also enjoys playing and watching tennis, classical music, and cosmology.

Christian Broomhall

Christian Broomhall is a native of Columbus Mr. and began dancing at the age of 4 in creative movement classes at BalletMet Dance Academy. He later graduated from the Professional Training Program and subsequently joined the company under the direction of David Nixon. He later went on to dance for Columbus Dance Theater, Northern Ballet Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Luna Negra Dance Theater. Christian has had the privilege of dancing works by Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato, Ohad Naharin, Alejandro Cerrudo, Twyla Tharp, Victor Quijada, and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano. Christian is excited about re-joining the BalletMet family.

Jessica Brown

Originally from Kansas City, Jessica Brown is returning for her ninth season with BalletMet. She received her training at American Dance Center and under instruction from Professor of Dance Paula Weber at the University of Missouri Kansas City. She has studied on full scholarship at Boston Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet summer programs and performed in the RDA Honors Choreography Project at the 2002 International Ballet Competition. Ms. Brown spent one year as a BalletMet trainee before joining the company. Her favorite roles include the Flames of Paris and Blue Bird pas de deux, Cecile in David Nixon’s Dangerous Liaisons, Stanton Welch’s Blue, Harrison McEldowney’s Topsy, Dwight Rhoden’s Carmina Burana, Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Simply Sammy, Jimmy Orrante’s Watercolor, and Amy Seiwert’s Dear Miss. Cline. Ms. Brown enjoyed performing with BalletMet in the 2010 Moscow International Contemporary Dance Festival in Russia and performed Edwaard Liang’s Vicissitude at the National Choreographer’s Initiative for their 10th Anniversary Highlights Gala.

Olivia Clark

Olivia Clark was born in Bellville, Ohio and trained in the BalletMet Dance Academy Pre-Professional Program, where she received the Lucy Porter Scholarship. A longtime member of the BalletMet Company, Ms. Clark has also danced with Festival Ballet of Rhode Island and Nashville Ballet. In 2006 she performed in Poland as part of the International Contemporary Dance Festival, and in 2010 toured with BalletMet to perform in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. With BalletMet, she has enjoyed performing such roles as Mina in David Nixon’s Dracula, the Solo Girl in George Balanchine’s Rubies, Maurice Hines’ High C, the woman in James Kudelka’s The Man in Black, Clara in The Nutcracker, Fortuna in Dwight Rhoden’s Carmina Burana, and the title role in Amadeo Amodio’s Carmen. She was the recipient of the 2010 Violetta Boft Award. Last season, Ms. Clark was the rehearsal assistant to Mr. James Kudelka for the creation of his world premiere ballet The Rite of Spring.

Andres Estevez

Andres Estevez began his training in Havana, Cuba, and later joined Ballet Nacional de Cuba under the direction of Alicia Alonso. He was a principal dancer with Ballet Clasico de la Havana under the direction of Laura Alonso. His career includes international tours and guest appearances as well as gold, silver and bronze medals in competitions in Cuba and Brazil. In 1996, Mr. Estevez traveled to the U.S. and joined Miami City Ballet where he performed many works from George Balanchine. In 1998, he joined Orlando Ballet as a principal dancer under the direction of Fernando Bujones and danced roles including Albretch in Giselle, Franz in Coppelia, Basilo in Don Quixote, solo in Bayadere and many works from Twyla Tharp and Bruce Marck. In 2009 he joined BalletMet and received the 2010 Violetta Boft Award and performed roles like Oberon in Mid Summer Night Dream, Don Jose and Escamillo in Carmen and many others.

Emily Gotschall

Emily Gotschall is returning to BalletMet for her ninth season. A native of Columbus, she received her training at the BalletMet Dance Academy and was a member of the Professional Training Program. Prior to joining BalletMet, Ms. Gotschall danced for seven seasons with Dayton Ballet, and has also performed with Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance in Asheville, NC. Emily finds both classical and contemporary repertoire challenging. She lists amongst her favorite dramatic roles the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Ophelia in Stephen Mills Hamlet, Mikaela in Amadeo Amodio’s Carmen, and Madame De Tourvel in David Nixon’s Dangerous Laisons.

Deonte Hansel

Deonte Hansel was born in Detroit, Michigan and is joining BalletMet for his second season. Deonte received his training from the Gwinnett Ballet Theater under Lisa Sheppard and Kelly Spa. Mr. Hansel also trained at the Rock School and Houston Ballet on scholarship. Mr. Hansel joined the Louisville Ballet Company after graduating from the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities. He also has danced for the Atlanta Ballet, Orlando Ballet, and most recently the Milwaukee Ballet Company. Some of his favorite performance credits include George Balanchine’s Who Cares, Twayla Tharp’s Golden Section, Mark Morris’ Moulin Rouge, and Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena and Le Corsaire.

Kristie Latham

Kristie Latham is in her first season with BalletMet. Originally from Bethlehem, PA she trained at The Rock School for Dance Education under the direction of Bo and Stephanie Spassoff where she received a Full Merit Scholarship from 2004-2008. She also trained at the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Oleg Briansky and Mirelle Briane. In 2010, Ms. Latham was a trainee with BalletMet Columbus before going on to an apprenticeship with Ballet Memphis in 2011. She also had the opportunity to perform with the Indianapolis City Ballet prior to dancing as a Soloist with Ballet Next. She has enjoyed performing such roles as Aurora in Marius Petipa’s Sleeping Beauty Grand Pas de Deux, Margo Sappington’s Entwined, and Mauro Bigonzetti’s La Follia. In 2007 she was a Top 12 Finalist in the Youth America Grand Prix Finals held in New York City.

Bethany Lee

Originally from Charlotte, N.C., Bethany Lee returns to BalletMet for her ninth season after studying at Houston Ballet. She graduated from Houston Ballet in spring 2005 where she was a part of Houston Ballet II on full scholarship. While in Houston she enjoyed working with such choreographers as Stanton Welch and Claudio Muñoz. In June 2010, Mrs. Lee enjoyed performing with BalletMet in Russia at the Moscow International Contemporary Dance Festival. In past seasons, Bethany has enjoyed performing in The Nutcracker (Sugar Plum Fairy), David Nixon’s Dracula (Lucy), Amadeo Amodio’s The Afternoon of a Faun, and Dwight Rhoden’s Carmina Burana.

Samantha Lewis

Samantha Lewis joins BalletMet for her sixth season after spending one season as a trainee. A Columbus native, Ms. Lewis began her training at BalletMet and is a graduate of the Professional Training Program. As a student, she was a recipient of the Daryl Kamer, Lucy Porter and Nancy Strause scholarships. Ms. Lewis studied for two summers with American Ballet Theatre in New York City and as an apprentice with the Chautauqua Ballet. She has enjoyed dancing soloist roles in classical repertoire such as The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Napoli, and Raymonda as well as her more contemporary roles in Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down), Dear Miss Cline, Group Therapy, and Illusion of Choice. Ms. Lewis has been fortunate enough to work with Adam Hundt, Harrison McEldowney, Ma Cong, Amy Seiwert, Darrell Grand Moultrie, James Kudelka, Mark Diamond, David Nixon, and Ron de Jesus.

Annie Mallonee

Annie Mallonee, from Placerville, California, is in her tenth season with BalletMet. Prior to joining the company, she trained with BalletMet and was the recipient of the Lucy Porter Scholarship. She also studied on scholarship at Idyllwild Arts Academy, where she graduated and was named Outstanding Dancer in 2003. Ms. Mallonee has enjoyed performing such roles as Marquise de Merteuil in David Nixon’s Dangerous Liaisons, Both Michaela and Carmen in Amadeo Amadio’s Carmen, Clara in Gerard Charles’ The Nutcracker, the woman in James Kudelka’s Man In Black, and Jordan in Jimmy Orrante’s The Great Gatsby, and Mina in David Nixon’s Dracula.

Courtney Muscroft

Courtney Muscroft born in Columbus and studied ballet with Columbus Youth Ballet under ShirLee Wu. She also received training on full scholarship to Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and the School of American Ballet. Prior to joining BalletMet, she danced with New York City Ballet since 2006, where she worked with many notable choreographers including Peter Martins and Christopher Wheeldon and performed numerous Balanchine ballets. Since joining BalletMet, she has enjoyed performing Clara in Gerard Charles’ The Nutcracker, Carmina Burana, Simply Sammy, Watercolor and Envy in The Seven Deadly Sins. She was also named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2012. She is excited to be returning to BalletMet for her fifth season.

Jimmy Orrante

Jimmy Orrante was a recipient of the 2005 Princess Grace Choreography Award as well as the 2011 Special Project Award for DanceTech. Now in his 19th season with BalletMet, the Los Angeles native has danced numerous roles ranging from Cavalier and Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker, Step Mother in Cinderella, and Dracula in Dracula. He has choreographed several works including his first full length ballet in 2009, The Great Gatsby, Coming into View, WaterColor, and most recently Illuminated Tapestry. He attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Performing Arts and North Carolina School of the Arts. He also attended the International Summer Workshop in Hungary; danced with Memphis Ballet, Nevada Dance Theatre, and Los Angeles Chamber Ballet. A recipient of the Violetta Boft Award, he has performed with L.A.’s Dance Kaleidoscope, England’s Northern Ballet Theatre and Dance St.Louis. He will participate in Ballet Austin’s New American Talent Choreographic Competition this March. He and his wife, former dancer Sonia Welker, have a son, Isaac, and daughters Aiyana and Imara.

Marissa Parmenter

Marissa Parmenter grew up in Duxbury, Massachusetts and received her training from The Boston Ballet School and Ballet Theater of Boston. At 18, she toured the UK and Germany with Margaret Barbieri’s Images of Dance at The London Studio Centre. Ms. Parmenter has danced professionally for Festival Ballet Providence, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal and Dominic Walsh Dance Theater as well as appeared as a guest artist with companies including The Boston Ballet and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. In 2008 Ms. Parmenter performed with Les Grands Ballets in Paris as part of L’Ete de La Danse Festival. She has performed works by notable choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, George Balanchine, Sir Frederick Ashton, Peter Quanz and Jean-Christophe Maillot. She has also been fortunate to create new works with Ohad Naharin, Mauro Bigonzetti, Vaclav Kunes, Dominic Walsh and James Kudelka. Ms. Parmenter is pursuing her MFA in Dance at Hollins University and she is married to company member Ty Parmenter.

Ty Parmenter

Ty Parmenter grew up in Cape Neddick, Maine and at age 12 was accepted into Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto. Upon graduating, he joined Festival Ballet Providence for three seasons. Mr. Parmenter then went on to perform with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal and the Mozart Summer Festival in Wurzburg, Germany. In 2007 he joined Hubbard Street 2 where he performed works created on the company such as Andrea Miller’s Blush, Christian Spuck’s The Restless and Brian Enos’s Dipthong. Prior to joining Ballet Met, Mr. Parmenter danced with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in Houston. During his time in Houston he performed in works by Walsh including Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and the Faun in his Afternoon of a Faun. He has also performed in works by Mauro Bigonzetti, Matthew Bourne, Alejandro Cerrudo and James Kudelka. This is Mr. Parmenter’s third season with BalletMet and he is married to company member Marissa Parmenter.

Ben Rabe

Benjamin Rabe received his training from the Ballet Westmoreland Academy and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. Upon graduation, he spent three seasons with Rochester City Ballet. During his time with the company, Mr. Rabe danced roles such as Chinese and the Mouse King in The Nutcracker and Escamillio in Edward Ellison’s Carmen. Mr. Rabe was chosen to dance the Waltz Boy in George Balanchine’s Serenade. In Benjamin’s first season with BalletMet, he had the opportunity to perform such roles as Renfield in David Nixon’s Dracula and Benvolio in David Nixon’s Romeo and Juliet. Other accomplishments with the company include featured roles in Jamey Leverett’s How to Break a Heart, 4Play, Gershwin Preludes and Push and Pull. In the summer of 2012, Mr. Rabe was invited to compete in the Boston International Ballet Competition. He is very excited to begin his second season with BalletMet.

Kerri Riccardi

Kerri Riccardi a New York native, is thrilled to return to BalletMet for her fifth season after spending one season as a trainee. Ms. Riccardi received her training from Ballet Academy East as well as the School of American Ballet. She has spent her summers studying with Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet. Ms Riccardi has enjoyed performing the roles of Cecile in David Nixon’s Dangerous Liaisons, Spanish Doll in The Nutcracker, and Mrs. Clean in Group Therapy. She has also enjoyed performing in James Kudelka’s The Rite of Spring and Jimmy Orrante’s Illuminated Tapestry. Ms. Riccardi thanks her family, friends and teachers for their endless love and support.

Jackson Sarver

Jackson Prescott Sarver, returning for his tenth season, began his dance training at Nan Klinger’s Excellence in Dance under Nan and Mia Klinger while performing with the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet. Mr. Sarver then studied at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in the BFA program with Warren Conover and the late Melissa Hayden. While working full time at BalletMet, he completed his degree and in 2008 graduated from UNCSA with a BFA in dance. Some of Mr. Sarver’s favorite BalletMet roles include duets #3 and #5 in James Kudelka’s There, below, Dracula in David Nixon’s Dracula, and Death in Birgit Scherzer’s Requiem!! He thanks his wife and family for their endless love and support!

Michael Sayre

Originally from South Bend, Indiana, Michael Sayre began dancing at age three at Southold Dance Theater. While there, he performed soloist roles such as Fritz in The Nutcracker and The Jester in Cinderella. At age 13 he was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet’s Academy of Dance in Chicago on full scholarship, where he studied under Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik. In 2011, he joined Joffrey’s Trainee Program, where he danced principle roles in Alexei Kremnev’s Nutcracker Suite and Coppelia. He also performed a lead role in Ma Cong’s Impulse Within, as well as dancing in numerous other pieces. During his time in Chicago, Mr. Sayre also worked with the Joffrey Ballet Company, performing several corps-de-ballet roles in their Nutcracker and in Yuri Possokhov’s Don Quixote. In 2012, he attended San Francisco Ballet School’s Summer Intensive on Scholarship. He has been featured twice in Pointe Magazine. Mr. Sayre is very excited to be joining BalletMet for his first season.

Gabriel Smith

Gabriel Gaffney Smith, from Saugerties, New York, began dancing at the Saugerties Ballet Center. After studying in the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School Graduate Program, he joined the company in 2005 as a corps de ballet member. Mr. Smith has also performed with River North Jazz Company in Chicago and Hisatomi Yoshiko Ballet in Japan. Aside from dance, Mr. Smith is also an accomplished composer. He has created musical pieces for BalletMet, Cincinnati Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Texture Contemporary Ballet, and a documentary for Red House Productions. This is his sixth season with BalletMet.

Zoica Tovar

Zoica Tovar began her ballet training at the Cuban National Ballet School at the age of nine. After graduation she was accepted at Ballet Clasico de la Havana under the direction of Laura Alonso. Her talent and dedication to the profession helped her become a principal ballerina shortly thereafter. She received a silver medal in the Alicia Alonso competition in Cuba and also in Brazil. Roles she has performed include Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Kitri in Don Quixote and many others. Ms. Tovar most recently danced with the Orlando Ballet under the direction of Bruce Marks and Fernando Bujones. In 2009, the City of Orlando gave her the Sun of Florida award for her artistic achievements. At BalletMet she continues to increase her principal roles as Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and Odile in Swan Lake. This is her fifth season with BalletMet.

Jorge Villarini

Jorge Andrés Villarini hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Jorge recently received a BFA in Dance with a concentration in Ballet from Marymount Manhattan College under the direction of Katie Langan. During his time at Marymount, Jorge was the first recipient of the Lisa Tachick-Hooper Scholarship as well as a full scholarship to train at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. Mr. Villarini has also studied under full scholarship in numerous summer intensives including The Ailey School, Orlando Ballet School, The School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre Collegiate Program. His repertoire includes works by Alwin Nikolais, John Butler, Anthony Ferro, Katie Langan, Jessica Lang, Rodney Rivera, Pedro Ruiz and Shen Wei. Mr. Villarini has worked with companies in the U.S. and Puerto Rico including the Westchester Ballet, Ballet Brío de Bayamón and the Marymount Manhattan College Dance Company. This is his third season with BalletMet Columbus.

David Ward

David Ward, born in Lewisham, England, joins BalletMet for his fourth season. Prior to coming to BalletMet, Mr. Ward trained at the English National Ballet School, and spent five years dancing with Northern Ballet in Leeds, England. Mr. Ward’s career highlights include touring across mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Thailand, as well as dancing for Prince Edward. He was also a guest performer in Las Vegas for a Victoria’s Secret event in 2011. After eight years of performing in Dracula, Mr. Ward was finally given the opportunity to play the title role in the BalletMet’s production last season. He also got to spend last season working closely with acclaimed choreographer Amedeo Amodio on Afternoon of a Faun. Mr. Ward says that it was an unforgettable experience. This summer he was a guest performer at the National Choreographer’s Initiative for their tenth anniversary performance. He has also spent the last two summers dancing with Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance in North Carolina. Mr. Ward’s favorite performances include Carmen (Matador Escamillo), Sleeping Beauty (The Prince), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Demetrius), Don Quixote (Basil), La Bayadere (Solar), and the title roles of Hamlet and Peter Pan. Other memorable performances include dancing the role of Romeo in Romeo and Juliet with BalletMet last season and previously with Northern Ballet, the Cavalier in The Nutcracker, and the Prince in Cinderella.

Ashley Wegmann

New Jersey native Ashley Wegmann received her early training from the National Ballet of New Jersey, and later studied at the Princeton Ballet School. Upon graduating high school, she completed the two year graduate program at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and joined the company in 2007. Ms. Wegmann has received Merit Scholarships from Audre Estey and Dodie Petit as well as the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts recognition. She has particularly enjoyed dancing in Victor Plotnikov’s Shall We Dance and Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. She is very excited to be joining BalletMet for her second season.

Carrie West

Carrie West, originally from California, received her training with the Sacramento Ballet, as well as the San Francisco Ballet School, the School of American Ballet, and the Houston Ballet Academy. She danced with the Sacramento Ballet for three years before joining BalletMet in 1998. Ms. West’s career as a principal dancer consists of all the major classical ballets including Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Kitri in Don Quixote, and many more. She was also the original Lucy in David Nixon’s beloved Dracula and has performed in numerous Balanchine and contemporary works. Ms. West holds a Bachelor of Arts from Capital University and was the recipient of the 2004 Violetta Boft Award for Artistic Excellence. She is married to former company member and current Senior Faculty Member of the BalletMet Academy, Dmitri Suslov, and the couple has a daughter, Valentina.