Gavin Abercrombie was born in Acton, California, and began his ballet training at the age of 8 with the Antelope Valley Ballet. At the age of 14 he attended Pittsburgh Ballet theater’s summer intensive, where he was invited to stay year round on full scholarship. In Pittsburgh Mr. Abercrombie trained under the leadership of Marjorie Grundvig and Dennis Marshall, and was given the opportunity to perform roles such as “romantic boy” in David Lichine’s Graduation Ball, and “Golden Idol” from Petipa’s La Bayadere. After two years in Pittsburgh he attended San Francisco Ballet’s summer intensive where he trained under Patrick Armand and Parrish Maynard. Upon completion of the summer course he was invited to stay year round on full scholarship. During the two years he spent in San Francisco he was given many chances to perform in ballets such as the North American premier of Kenneth MacMillan’s Soiree Musicale, John Neumier’s Yondering, Helgi Tomasson’s Handel a Celebration, Russian in Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker, and debuted the male principal role in the world premiere of Parrish Maynard’s Symphonic. This is Mr. Abercrombie’s 1st year dancing with KCDF.
Cervilio Miguel Amador trained with the Vocational Ballet School in Camagüey, Cuba and National Ballet School of Cuba. Amador 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 Amador returns to dancing with KCDF after premiering with the 1st annual KCDF in 2013.
Humberto Rivera Blanco, originally from Havana, Cuba, began his training at the age of 8 at the National School of Ballet of Cuba. In 2014, he joined the National Ballet of Cuba under the artistic direction of Alicia Alonso. There, Mr. Blanco danced in many ballets such as Giselle, Paquita, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty and Majismo. Upon moving to Miami, Florida in 2015, he studied at The Art of Classical Ballet under the direction of Magaly Suarez and performed roles in Le Corsaire and The Nutcracker. This is Humberto’s 1st year with KCDF.
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. 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.
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 most recently performed the pas de deux couple in Jerome Robbins’ Interplay for Dance USA conference 2017 held in Kansas City.
Ms. Coats, a native of Miami, Florida, received her primary instruction from Tony Catanzaro, as well as at the Mencia-Pikieris School of Dance and New World School of the Arts. She spent her summers studying on scholarship at the School of American Ballet and Boston Ballet. Ms. Coats has performed with both Nashville Ballet, Boston Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and has been freelancing since 2014. She has received awards from the National Society of Arts and Letters and ARTS–NFAA Foundations. Since joining the Company, Ms. Coats has enjoyed dancing in Afternoon of a Faun, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Dark Elegies, Brahms Paganini, and End of Time, among many others. Some of her favorite roles have included Desdemona in The Moor’s Pavane, the title role in Firebird, the Stripper in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, and Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. In the summer of 2013, Ms. Coats was proud to be a part of the first Kansas City Dance Festival where she performed works by Ma Cong, Salvatore Aiello, and Anthony Krutzkamp. This is Ms. Coat’s 4th year dancing with KCDF.
Gabriel Davidsson began dancing at the National Ballet School in Gothenburg in 2000. After moving to the United States, he studied primarily with Jamey Leverett at the Timothy Draper Center for Dance Education in N. Y. (2001–2007). He finished his training at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D. C. with Anatoli Kucheruk (2007–2009). From 2009–2012 Davidsson was engaged at the Kansas City Ballet. Since 2012 Gabriel Davidsson is a soloist with the Estonian National Ballet. His repertoire includes Benvolio (Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet”), Tchaikovsky’s Prince and the Snow King (“The Nutcracker”) and pas de deux (“Swan Lake”), Pas d’esclave (Adam’s “Le Corsaire”), as well as leading roles in ballets by Robert Hill, Jessica Lang, Bruce Marks, Toni Pimble, George Balanchine, William Whitener, and Twyla Tharp. Gabriel Davidsson has performed in Festivals and workshops all over the United States. In 2011, he collaborated with his brother Jonathan Davidsson and danced original choreography in South Korea. This is Mr. Davidsson’s 2nd year performing with KCDF. Gabriel joined the Finnish National Ballet in 2015 and this is Gabriel’s 3rd year with KCDF.
Marty Davis began his training at the age of seven in Los Angeles, California, with Meridith Baylis. When he was 13, he continued his training with Philip and Charles Fuller while attending Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Marty attended summer programs at San Francisco Ballet and at Boston Ballet, where he was invited to continue his studies through the company’s trainee program. He then went on to dance with Kansas City Ballet for six years. Marty just completed his 3rd season with Richmond Ballet and this is his 3rd year dancing with KCDF.
Michael Davis began his ballet training at the Marya Kennett Dance Centre in Goshen, New York, at the age of 10. After attending summer courses at The Rock School for Dance Education in Pennsylvania, he was accepted into their year- round residency program on a merit scholarship. Upon graduating from The Rock School, he joined Oregon Ballet Theatre in 2007 and danced for two years under the direction of Christopher Stowell and Damara Bennett. Mr. Davis has performed in various works by George Balanchine, Devon Carney, Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, Douglass Lee, Ma Cong and Christopher Wheeldon. This is his 5th year dancing with KCDF.
Lauren Fadeley trained at the Orlando Ballet School and the School of Performing Arts in Florida, along with summer intensives at The Rock School for Dance Education and the School of American Ballet. In 2000 at age 15, after attending SAB for three consecutive summers, Fadeley moved to New York City to study there full time.
Ms. Fadeley joined the corps de ballet of the Pennsylvania Ballet in the fall of 2007. Fadeley was promoted to Soloist for the 2011 season and to Principal Dancer in 2012. During her nine seasons at Pennsylvania Ballet, she originated featured roles in Peter Quanz’ Jupiter Symphony, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Requiem for a Rose, Nicolo Fonte’s Grace Action and Matthew Neenan’s Pampeana, Keep, At the border, Beside them, they dwell, At Various Points and La Chasse. She has performed principal roles in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania, Divertissement Pas de Deux), “Emeralds” and “Diamonds” from Jewels, The Prodigal Son (The Siren), George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker™ (Sugarplum Fairy, Dewdrop, Arabian), Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (Striptease Girl), Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and Serenade; Jerome Robbins’ In G Major, New York Export: Opus Jazz and Other Dances; Giselle; Coppélia; Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain, Swan Lake(Odette/Odile), DGV, Justin Peck’s Chutes and Ladders; and Trey McIntyre’s Peter Pan (Wendy). Fadeley also has performed featured roles in The Four Temperaments, Agon, Ballo della Regina, Messiah, Kazimir’s Colours, Cinderella (Summer Fairy), Five Tangos, La Sylphide, Barber Violin Concerto, Chroma, Without Words, Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove, Jiří Kylián’s Forgotten Land and Petite Mort, and William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite, The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude, The Second Detail and In the middle, somewhat elevated.
Fadeley performed in the Academy Award-winning film “Black Swan” and danced for Pope Francis at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia. She joined Miami City Ballet as a soloist in 2016 and promoted to principal soloist in 2017. This is Lauren Fadeley’s 1st year dancing with KCDF.
A native of Kent, Ohio, James Ihde began his ballet training at the Dance Institute of the University of Akron, where he studied for eight years. In 1993, he came to Philadelphia for a summer session at The Rock School for Dance Education. Upon completion, he was invited to join Pennsylvania Ballet as an Apprentice for the 1993-1994 Season. In 1995, Mr. Ihde joined the Corps de Ballet and was promoted to Soloist in September 2003. Mr. Ihde’s principal roles include Ivan in James Kudelka’s The Firebird, the pas de deux in Wheeldon’s After the Rain and Balanchine’s Agon and Emeralds from Jewels, the Black Couple in Kylián’s Forgotten Land, Pas de Deux 1 in Forsythe’s Artifact Suite, and the title roles in Balanchine’s Apollo and Ben Stevenson’s Dracula. In May 2014, Mr. Ihde originated a role in the world premiere of Trey McIntyre’s The Accidental. After a miraculous career with Pennsylvania Ballet, James retired from ballet recently in May of 2017. This is James’s 3rd year dancing with KCDF.
Originally from Japan, Maine Kawashima trained at the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet in Los Angeles and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. She joined Tulsa Ballet in 2014. Maine’s repertoire includes Constance in The Three Musketeers; Finger Fairy and the Precious Stones pas de quatre in The Sleeping Beauty; Pas de Quatre and Neopolitan in Swan Lake; and the pas de duex in Alexander Ekman’s Cacti. She has also performed in works by George Balanchine, Alejandro Cerrudo, Ma Cong, John Cranko, David Dawson, Edwaard Liang, Wayne McGregor, and Yuri Possokhov, among others. In 2014, Maine received third place in the Pas de Deux category of The World Ballet Competition.
Hannah Keene of Wellesley, Massachusetts trained with the Boston Ballet School from 2000-2012. She was the recipient of the Mikko Nissinen Artistic Director Scholarship in 2010 and 2011. She also received a YoungArts award in ballet in 2013. In 2012, she joined Boston Ballet II and danced on tour with Boston Ballet in London in 2013 and in NYC in 2014. Ms. Keene performed with Boston Ballet in numerous productions including Balanchine’s Symphony in Three Movements, Florence Clerc’s La Bayadere, Balanchine’s Symphony in C, Ashton’s Cinderella, Harald Landers Étude, and Jorma Elo’s Lost by Last among others. With the Kansas City Ballet, Ms. Keene has performed featured roles in productions such as Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Devon Carney’s Swan Lake, Viktor Plotnikov’s Vesna, and Septime Weber’s Alice in Wonderland. This is Hannah Keene’s 1st year dancing with KCDF.
Abigail Sheppard began her professional ballet training in 2002 at Canada’s National Ballet School. While studying, she had numerous performance opportunities with the school, as well as with The National Ballet of Canada. Upon graduation, she moved to Amsterdam to study with the Dutch National Ballet Academy, while also performing with the Dutch National Ballet. In 2012, Abigail joined The Estonian National Ballet, and was promoted to demi-soloist in 2015. In her three seasons with The Estonian National Ballet, she performed many different roles, including Swanilda (Coppelia), Olga (Onegin), the Snow Queen (The Nutcracker), and demi-soloist roles in pieces by Wayne McGregor, Marco Goecke, and Gianluca Schiavoni. Abigail joined the Finnish National Ballet in their 2015/2016 season. This is Ms. Sheppard’s 4th year dancing with KCDF.
Sarah Joan Smith, from Columbia, SC, began her training at the age of eight in Kiev, Ukraine. She continued her ballet training after returning to the States at Columbia Ballet School with Anita Ashley and Ann Kent. At YAGP semi-finals in 2010, she received the bronze medal in the senior contemporary category and was top twelve in the senior classical category. Ms. Smith attended summer intensives at The Rock School for Dance Education, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet West, San Francisco Ballet, and Boston Ballet. She attended high school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts from 2010 to 2012 where she trained with Ethan Stiefel, Warren Conover, Susan McCullough and Nina Danilova. Following her graduation in 2012, she was a trainee with Boston Ballet where she performed with the professional company and Boston Ballet II. In 2013, Ms. Smith joined Richmond Ballet’s second company under the direction of Stoner Winslett and Igor Antonov. She enjoyed performing in ballets such as George Balanchine’s Mozartiana, Valse Fantaise, The Four Temperaments, John Butler’s Carmina Burana and Salvatore Aiello’s The Rite of Spring. She was featured in soloist roles in Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, and works by Stoner Winslett and Val Caniparoli. In 2015, she traveled to China with Richmond Ballet where she performed at the Meet in Beijing Festival as well as several other cities in China. Sarah Joan just completed her 1st season with Kansas City Ballet. This is Sarah Joan Smith’s 1st year dancing with KCDF.
Christian was awarded a contract with Boston Ballet II at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition, and was promoted to the main company the following season. He danced with the Copenhagen International Ballet during the summer of 2008 and joined Oregon Ballet Theatre later that year. In 2011, Christian joined Smuin Ballet, and in 2014 he began performing with Diablo Ballet, where he is currently a company dancer. Christian has performed featured roles in works by choreographers including William Forsythe, George Balanchine, Val Caniparoli, Twyla Tharp, Jorma Elo, James Kudelka, Frederick Ashton, Helen Pickett, Alexei Ratmansky, Trey McIntyre, and Alejandro Cerrudo, among others. An inaugural member of Post:Ballet, Christian has danced in Dekkers’ When in Doubt, B-Sides, Colouring, Interference Pattern, Happy Ending, I need to be touched, Milieu, Happiness of Pursuit, and field the present shifts, for which he was recently nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance- Ensemble. As Post:Ballet’s aesthetic advisor and a frequent costume designer, Christian uses his experience as a dancer as well as his uncanny ability to encapsulate an idea visually through the use of costuming to develop an aesthetic environment for Post’s eclectic collaborations. This is his 2nd year dancing with KCDF.
Goldie Jane Walberg, 20, grew up in Sherman Oaks, California. She studied ballet under Andrea Paris Gutierrez at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy in Encino, CA. In addition, Ms. Walberg has studied at the Harid Conservatory, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and on scholarship at the Houston Ballet. In 2012, Ms. Walberg was the only North American recipient of The Royal Academy of Dance Solo Seal Award. In 2013, Goldie qualified for the second time as a soloist at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York. There, she received a full scholarship to The Washington Ballet School in Washington, D.C. In 2014, Goldie started her professional career as a member of Ballet Met II in Columbus, Ohio under the direction of Edwaard Liang. While at Ballet Met, she was a featured soloist in The Nutcracker, and appeared in the world premiere of Edwaard Liang’s Cinderella. Ms. Walberg just completed her second season with KCB II and will be joining Kansas City Ballet as an apprentice for the 2017-2018 season.