Cervilio Amador – Cincinnati Ballet

Cervilio Miguel Amador trained with the Vocational Ballet School in Camagüey, Cuba and National Ballet School of Cuba. He danced with the National Ballet of Cuba as a corps de ballet dancer and corifeo (demi-soloist) before joining Cincinnati Ballet in 2004 as a Soloist. He was promoted to Senior Soloist in 2005 and Principal Dancer in 2006, and has danced numerous lead roles in full-length ballets throughout his extensive career at Cincinnati Ballet, including Romeo Romeo and Juliet, King Arthur in King Arthur’s Camelot, Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Peter in Peter Pan. He has also had several new works created on him by esteemed contemporary choreographers such as Adam Hougland, Jennifer Archibald and Ma Cong. In 2014, Amador was invited to perform at Lumenocity on a balcony suspended on Cincinnati’s Music Hall as part of the renowned light show and has been invited three times to dance at the Titas Command Performance Gala in Dallas, Texas, among several of the top ballet dancers in the world. Cervilio is currently a co-artistic director of Kansas City Dance Festival and founder of Moving Arts Cincinnati.

Daniel Baldwin – Cincinnati Ballet

Daniel Baldwin trained with the Governor’s School of Arts and Humanities from 2013-2014 under Josee Garant and Miriam González. From there Baldwin trained at the Kirov Academy for the 2014-2015 season under Adrienne Dellas and Stanislav Issaev, and in 2015 went on to San Francisco Ballet School to train with Patrick Armand, Rubén Martín Cintas, and Pascal Molat. Baldwin received full scholarships to train with San Francisco Ballet School, School of Ballet West, Miami City Ballet School, and many more, including various summer programs such as the ABT Summer Program in NYC. Baldwin has performed in a myriad of productions such as Helgi Tomasson’s Meistens Mozart, Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, and Jennifer Archibald’s Passage. He joined Cincinnati Ballet’s Second Company in 2017, and enjoyed the opportunity to perform the principal role in Jimmy Cunningham’s Disconnected Fragments, go on tour with the main company, and dance the role of the Prince in Beauty and the Beast. Daniel will return to Cincinnati Ballet as an apprentice for the 2018-2019 season. This is Daniel’s first year dancing with the Kansas City Dance Festival.

Joshua Bodden – Kansas City Ballet

Joshua Bodden began his ballet training at the age of ten at the Miami City Ballet School under the direction of Edward and Linda Villella, he also attended The Harid Conservatory and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater’s year-round program on a full scholarship. He spent his summers training at the School of American Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and North Carolina School of the Arts. Upon graduating from the Miami City Ballet School program Mr. Bodden was invited to join the Miami City Ballet dancing various ballets such as Stars and Stripes, Jewels, Scotch Symphony, Square Dance, Slaughter on 10th Avenue and Giselle. Mr. Bodden also danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem. He was a member of Cincinnati Ballet expanding his repertoire of classical and contemporary works and having the prestigious honor of being the first African American male to perform a ballet boy in Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room. With Kansas City Ballet, he has performed in Alice (in wonderland), Giselle, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Theme and Variations, Romeo & Juliet, Peter Pan, Melancholic in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Puck in Bruce Well’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and works by Edwaard Liang, Val Caniparoli, Amy Sewiert, Yuri Possokhov, Adam Houghland, Jennifer Archibald, Stephanie Martinez, Gabrielle Lamb, Andrea Schermoly, Mariana Oliveria, Andi Abernathy and Stephanie Ruch. This is Josh’s first year dancing in the Kansas City Dance Festival.

Ivan Braatz – Dayton Ballet

Ivan Braatz was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He began his ballet training at the San Francisco Ballet School, where he trained for 6 years. He then trained at Houston Ballet Academy for one year. Ivan has performed corps de ballet roles with both companies. Ivan also spent one year with KCB II before joining the main company in the 2016-2017 season. Currently Ivan will return for his second season with Dayton Ballet. Highlights of his career thus far include performing in Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, Stanton Welch’s Romeo and Juliet, and as Russian in Helgi Tomasson’s The Nutcracker. This is Mr. Braatz’s second year dancing with KCDF.

Kaleena Burks – Kansas City Ballet

Kaleena Burks was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and raised in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Ms. Burks was trained by Magda Aunon and Magaly Suarez, spending summers at the School of American Ballet, Ballet Austin, Miami City Ballet, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. In 2005, she was awarded first place in the pre-professional division of the American Ballet Competition and has been invited to perform in many galas, including the International Ballet Festival of Miami. Ms. Burks has danced with Cincinnati Ballet, Columbia Classical Ballet, and the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. With Kansas City Ballet, Ms. Burks has been featured as Myrtha in Giselle, Elegy Girl in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Fairy Godmother in Victoria Morgan’s Cinderella, the Chosen One in Adam Hougland’s Right of Spring, and the pas de deux couple in Jerome Robbins’ Interplay, Sugar Plum fairy in Devon Carney’s Nutcracker, and the principal female in Balanchine’s Diamonds. This is Ms. Burk’s second  year dancing with KCDF.

Courtney Connor – Oklahoma City Ballet



Ms. Connor Jones was born in Huntington Beach California and began dancing at theyoung age of three. At five she moved to North Carolina where she trained at NorthCarolina Dance Theater, Charlotte City Ballet, and finally graduating from North CarolinaSchool of the Arts. Ms. Connor Jones began her professional career at Cincinnati Ballet where she danced from 2006-2017. She is about to begin her 2nd season at Oklahoma City Ballet as a Principal Dancer.  Over the years she has had the opportunity to perform many roles, but some of her most treasured roles include Odette/Odille in Sawn Lake, Jumping Girl in Who Cares?, The Chosen One from Adam Hoagland’s Rite of Spring, Jiri Killian’s Petite Mort, and the Eaglet in Septime Webre’s Alice (in Wonderland). When Ms. Connor Jones was twenty-one, she had the opportunity to dance in Russia for a summer. She performed Giselle, as well as Blue Bird and Generosity Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Big Swans in Swan Lake. However,  her favorite role of all time is being a mother to her sweet little girl, Gwyneth. In her spare time, Ms. Connor Jones enjoys creating custom jewelry and educating about healthy eating and lifestyle habits. Courtney is excited about dancing with KCDF for her first year.

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, Gelfin’s repertoire includes classical and contemporary works by Septime Webre, Yuri Possikov, Victoria Morgan, Val Canaporoli, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Nicolo Fonte, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, 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 and originated roles in Penny Saunders Nannerl and several works by Jennifer Archibald. Melissa is excited to be dancing with the Kansas City Dance Festival for her first year.

Abbey Gonzalez Kay – Cincinnati Ballet

Abbey began her ballet training at the International Ballet Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  Where she completed the Royal Academy of Dance examinations, receiving “Distinction” on all three levels (Intermediate, Advanced I, Advanced II). This qualified her to participate in the 2011 Royal Academy of Dance Geneé in Cape Town, South Africa, where she competed as a Semi-Finalist. In 2012, she joined the Sarasota Ballet as an apprentice and in 2013 was promoted to corps de ballet. With Sarasota Ballet, Kay toured to Washington, D.C. and New York City to perform in Ballet Across America and Fall for Dance, respectively. Kay just completed her first season with Cincinnati Ballet. Some of her favorite performances include George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie, Who Cares?, and Jewels, Rudolf Nureyev’s Raymonda Act II (Pas de Trois), and Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden and Continuo. Abbey is very excited to be dancing with the Kansas City Dance Festival for her first year!

Edward Gonzalez Kay – Cincinnati Ballet

Edward Gonzalez Kay is from Havana, Cuba. He began his ballet training at the Elemental Cuban Ballet School and The National Cuban Ballet School in Havana, Cuba. After completing eight years of training, he graduated in 2007. Mr. Gonzalez Kay started as a Trainee in 2008 with the National Cuban Ballet Company and was promoted to the Corps de Ballet shortly after. In 2012, he was promoted to a coryphée. Over the course of his six years with the company, he had the opportunity to tour the United States, Australia, Italy, Mexico, Canada and Brazil. In 2013, Edward joined the Sarasota Ballet as a Soloist and was promoted to Junior Principal the following year. During his last season with the company, he was promoted to a Principal Dancer. While at Sarasota Ballet, Edward toured to Jacobs Pillow to perform in the 2014 Dance Festival and New York City in 2015 to perform at the Joyce Theater. Some of his favorite performances include George Balanchine’s Jewels, Who Cares, and Rudolf Nureyev’s Raymonda Act II. Edward joined the Cincinnati Ballet in 2017. During this season Mr. Gonzalez Kay had the opportunity to perform ballets such as Victoria Morgan’s Romeo & Juliet (Tybalt) Nutcracker (Cavalier), Nicolo Fonte’s Carmina Burana, Justin Peck’s Murder Ballades, George Balanchine’s Serenade, and Jerome Robbins Fancy Free. This is Edward’s first year with the Kansas City Dance Festival.

Christina (Tina) Laforgia Morse – Cincinnati Ballet

Christina (Tina) LaForgia Morse started dancing at the age of 11 in Summerville, South Carolina. She went on to spend her high school years at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under the direction of Ethan Stiefel, where she was awarded the Dean’s Merit Scholarship. Upon graduating from UNCSA, she spent three seasons dancing professionally with the Charlotte Ballet (formerly known as North Carolina Dance Theatre). Since joining Cincinnati Ballet in 2014 Tina has enjoyed the opportunity to perform works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Jerome Robins, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Jennifer Archibald, Kate Weare, Nicolo Fonte, Adam Hougland, and Trey McIntyre. Tina has had the privilege of dancing with summer companies such as Heather Maloy’s Terpsicorps in Asheville, NC and on Amy Siewert’s Sketch 7 tour in San Francisco, CA, The Joyce Theater in New York City and at Jacob’s Pillow. This is Christina’s first year dancing with the Kansas City Dance Festival.

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, and the Principal girl in Theme and Variations as well as Diamonds. This is Taryn’s first year dancing in the Kansas City Dance Festival.

Tempe Ostergren – Kansas City Ballet

Tempe Ostergren studied on full scholarship at The School of American Ballet in New York City. After graduating, she went on to join the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle where she danced numerous solo and principal roles. Among some of her favorites were Sugar Plum in Stowell’s Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Divertimento #15, Martin’s Fearful Symmetries, Stowell’s Quaternary, and Caniparoli’s Torque.  She then joined Boston Ballet where some of  her repertoire included Dew Drop and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Stepsister in Kudelka’s Cinderella, Effy in La Sylphide, Jumping Girl in Balanchine’s Who Cares?, Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, soloist ballerina in Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Kylian’s Falling Angels and Six Dances as well as numerous roles in the classics such as pas de trois in Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, and Amour in Don Quioxte.  With Kansas City Ballet, Ms. Ostergren was thrilled to perform the title role in Giselle, Odette/Odille in Swan Lake, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Titania in Whitener’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Allegro Brilliante, Mina in Michael Pink’s Dracula, and Waltz Girl in Serenade. This is Tempe’s third year dancing with the Kansas City Dance Festival.

Nathan Young – Grand Rapids Ballet

Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Nathan began his training at the age of thirteen at the Arkansas Academy of Dance under Mark Bush, Melinda Tobian, and Rebecca Miller-Stalcup. He attended summer intensives such as Joffrey Ballet, Ballet West, and Long Beach Ballet, training with teachers such as John Magnus, Jeff Rogers, and Daniel Ulbricht. In 2013, Nathan graduated from the University of Oklahoma, where he received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Ballet Performance.  After college, Nathan moved to Nashville, Tennessee, dancing for the Dance Theatre of Tennessee for one season and Nashville Ballet for four seasons. In September, Nathan will be starting his first season with the Grand Rapids Ballet. Nathan is happy to be dancing in the Kansas City Dance Festival for his first year.