LEILAND CHARLES, a dancer and choreographer rapidly gaining new acclaim, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. He first stepped into a dance studio at the age of three with the Howard County Ballet in Ellicott City under the direction of Kathi Ferguson. Leiland furthered his artistic training at The Juilliard School under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes, graduating with a BFA in 2014. While at Juilliard, he performed works by Nacho Duato, William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, Alexander Ekman, and many others.
Upon graduation, Leiland joined Alberta Ballet in Calgary, Canada for three seasons, where he danced roles such as Benvolio in Jean Grand-Maître’s Romeo and Juliet and Red Couple in Jiří Kylián’s Forgotten Land. In his six seasons at BalletMet, Leiland has enjoyed performing numerous works including In Creases by Justin Peck and Cacti by Alexander Ekman. Leiland’s original choreography includes Passages for Alberta Ballet, Togetherness for BalletMet 2, Figurines for BalletMet, and The Tides, created for the 2022 National Choreographer’s Initiative. His choreographic approach involves tailoring musically-inspired movement to individual strengths. Rapport with the artists is instrumental to Leiland’s process, building a studio atmosphere of supportive collaboration that results in rich connections appearing onstage. Leiland continues to perform with BalletMet while choreographing and teaching dance in the Columbus community.
Video and images by Jennifer Zmuda