Dancers

MEET OUR 2016 DANCERS


Kaleena Burks – Kansas City Ballet

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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, and most recently the Chosen One in Adam Hougland’s Right of Spring.


Michel Rodriguez Cintra – The Cambrians featuring the Nexus Project

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Michel [mee-CHEL] Rodriguez Cintra is a Cuban born dancer, teacher and choreographer. He graduated from Escuela Nacional de Arte (National School of Arts) in Havana, Cuba. Upon graduation he was chosen to join Danza Contemporanea de Cuba where he became Principal Dancer and toured internationally. After moving to Chicago in 2008, Michel started dancing with Hedwig Dances. Recently, Michel became an ensemble member with Lucky Plush Productions and has been seen as a guest artist in numerous dance companies and projects in Chicago including Khecari and Chicago Moving Company. Michel serves as an adjunct faculty member at The Dance Center of Columbia College, teaching modern dance technique. In 2010, Michel was a finalist of the A.W.A.R.D. Show Chicago with his work Moi Aussi and was named one of The Men of 2010 in dance by Timeout Chicago. In October 2013, he was the recipient of the prestigious 3 Arts Award and was featured in Dance Magazine’s 25 to watch in 2014. This is his 1st year dancing with KCDF.


  Rachel Coats – Freelance Dancer

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 othersSome 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.


  Daniel Cooper – Pennsylvania Ballet

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Daniel Cooper began his training at the North Carolina School of the Arts and attended summer programs at The School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School. He was selected by Helgi Tomasson to join the school’s pilot trainee program in 2005. From there he was offered a corps position with Boston Ballet by artistic director Mikko Nissinen. During his three seasons there, his featured repertoire included George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena, and Jorma Elo’s In On Blue and Carmen. Mr. Cooper joined the Corps de Ballet at Pennsylvania Ballet for the 2008-2009 Season. He has since performed in several works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, John Butler, Twyla Tharp, William Forsythe, Alexei Ratmansky, Matthew Neenan, Christopher Weeldon and Jiří Kylián. This is Daniel’s 1st year dancing with KCDF.


Marty Davis – Richmond Ballet

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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 2nd year dancing with KCDF.


    Michael Davis – Kansas City Ballet

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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, Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, Douglass Lee, Ma Cong and Christopher Wheeldon. This is his 4th year dancing with KCDF.


    Megan Dickinson – Freelance Dancer

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Megan Dickinson studied at the Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education under teachers such as Carol Roderick, Tatiana Legat, Devon Carney and Laura Young. She danced with the Pennsylvania Ballet for 8 years, performing featured roles in works by George Balanchine, William Forsythe and Matthew Neenan. She appeared in the film Black Swan, and also the upcoming television series Flesh and Bone on the STARZ Network. Currently, Megan is working as a freelance dancer in New York City, and, in her spare time, loves to shop, cook up a storm, take in Broadway show or two, and hang out with her puppy, Harper. This is Megan’s 1st year dancing with KCDF.


Lillian Dipiazza – Pennsylvania Ballet

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Lillian originated in Silver Spring, MD. Lillian DiPiazza began her dance training with the Maryland Youth Ballet, attended summer intensive programs at Miami City Ballet, The School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet (on full scholarship). In 2007, Ms. DiPiazza studied at The School of American Ballet for one year. She was the 2007 National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts Winner in Dance. Ms. DiPiazza joined Pennsylvania Ballet II in 2008 and was promoted to Apprentice for the 2009-2010 Season, to the Corps de Ballet for the 2011-2012 Season, and to Soloist in the 2013-2014. In 2015 she debued as Odette/Odile in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake and has performed principal roles in Coppélia, The Nutcracker, Ballo della Regina, Serenade, Rubies and Emeralds from Jewels, The Prodigal Son, and Jerome Robbins In the Night. She also has performed featured roles in contemporary works by William ForsytheJiří Kylián, and Matthew NeenanIn September 2014, Ms. DiPiazza was profiled in Dance Magazine’s “On the Rise” section. This is Lillian’s 1st year dancing with KCDF.


Garrett Glassman – Milwaukee Ballet

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Garrett Glassman grew up in Gurnee, IL. In 2012, he received his BFA in Dance-Performance from Butler University where he held principal roles in Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, Flower Festival, and George Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht. Upon graduating, he trained in the The Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Program where he was featured in Michael Pink’s Aubade, George Balanchine’s Who Cares?, and Maurice Bejart’s Mozart Tango.  Glassman joined the Milwaukee Ballet in 2014 and has danced in numerous ballets by Artistic Director Michael Pink, including roles such as Fritz in the Nutcracker and Renfield in Dracula. Garrett has been highlighted in two world premieres by Milwaukee Ballet’s resident choreographer, Timothy O’Donnell and also two world premieres by Genesis winner, Garrett Smith. This is Garrett’s 1st year with KCDF.


Lilliana Hagerman – Kansas City Ballet

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Lilliana Hagerman was born in Pordenone, Italy and started dancing at the age of six at Midwest Dance Academy in Illinois. Ms. Hagerman spent five summers from 2005-2009 at the Orlando Ballet Summer Intensive, where she had training from Fernando Bujones, Julie Kent and Gelsey Kirkland. In 2009, she joined the Orlando Ballet trainee program and in 2010 she joined the Orlando Ballet Second Company under the direction of Dierdre Miles Burger. At the YAGP semi finals in Tampa 2012, Ms. Hagerman won the silver medal in the senior contemporary category and was top twelve in the senior classical category. In August 2012, she joined The Orlando Ballet main company, where she performed many roles such as the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, the Evil Witch in Snow White, Big Swans in Swan Lake, Harlot in Romeo and Juliet and productions such as Robert Hill’s Carmina Burana and Piano Concerto, Peter Chu’s Touching Drops, Abdur-Rahim Jackson’s Again for the First Time, soloist in Telmo Moreira’s Barco Negro and many others. In 2014, Ms. Hagerman performed with Kansas City Ballet’s KCB II and in 2015 she joined Kansas City Ballet. Lilliana recently performed a feature role in Helen Pickett’s Petal.  This is Lilliana’s 1st year dancing with KCDF.


James Ihde – Pennsylvania Ballet

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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. This is James’s 2nd year dancing with KCDF.


    Angelina Sansone – Kansas City Ballet

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Angelina Sansone left her parents home in Charlotte, North Carolina at the age 14 to attend the Harid Conservatory with a full tuition scholarship. After completing her education at Harid, she spent two seasons with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago where she appeared in Robert Altman’s 2003 film The Company. Following her stay with Joffrey, Ms. Sansone worked toward her B.S. in ballet at Indiana University before she joined Kansas City Balletin 2005. In her seasons with Kansas City Ballet, she has performed principle parts in Apollo, The Concert, Lark Ascending, Afternoon of a Faun, Dark Elegies, Splendid Isolations IIIMozartiana, Giselle, the title role in Romeo & Juliet, and the Chosen One in Right of Spring. She had the opportunity to perform Ben Stevenson’s End of Time at the International Dance Festival of Colombia. During the off seasons, Ms. Sansone has enjoyed guesting with Motion Dance Theatre and Quixotic Performance Fusion. This is Angie’s 1st year dancing with KCDF.


   Katherine Sawicki – Kansas City Ballet

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Katherine Sawicki, raised in Louisville KY, trained primarily with Kristen Wenrick at Louisville Academy of Dance and continued at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy. Her 2013-14 season was spent in Cincinnati Ballet’s Second Company as a Trainee where she performed with the company in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Artistic Director Victoria Morgan’s Bolero. She also toured with the company to Anchorage, AK and Columbus, OH. She performed numerous works with the Second Company including those by noted choreographers James Kudelka, Leonide Massine, and Christopher Stowell. Her repertoire includes works by Stanton Welch, Ben Stevenson, Terrence S. Orr, August Bournonville, Septime Webre, George Balanchine, and Marius Petipa. During her first two seasons with KCBII, Ms. Sawicki performed with the company in Alice (in wonderland), The Nutcracker, and The Four Temperaments, Swan Lake, and most recently in Yuri Possokhov’s, Diving Into The Lilacs . She also had the opportunity to perform two pieces by Anthony Krutzkamp for a TEDxYouth KC segment with the second company. Next year Katherine will be joining Kansas City Ballet and this is her 1st year with KCDF.


 Abigail Sheppard – Finnish National Ballet

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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 3rd year performing with KCDF.


  Christian Squires – Post:Ballet

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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 1st year dancing with KCDF.


  Benjamin Wardell – The Cambrians featuring the Nexus Project

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Benjamin Holliday Wardell is the founder and Creative Director of The Cambrians. His career began with The Cincinnati Ballet, where he achieved the rank of soloist before moving to San Francisco to dance with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet. Moving from San Francisco, he joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. After working with this company for over four years, Ben began to freelance. Based in Chicago, he has toured internationally with Aszure Barton and Artists, created work with Ron de Jesus Dance and has been an ensemble member of Lucky Plush Productions since late 2011. Ben’s methods center on generating work through large-scale, complex collaborations in which members of numerous dance genres and communities contribute their knowledge, movement and creativity to the creation of singular performance processes. The purpose of these collaborations is to create high-quality, experimental art that audiences of diverse backgrounds can identify with and enjoy. Ben is the recipient of a 2014 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Award and one of four 2015 Lab Artist Awards from Chicago Dancemakers Forum. This is his 1st year with KCDF.


Eugenia Zinovieva – Festival Ballet Providence

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Born in Moscow, Russia, Ms. Zinovieva moved to the United States at a young age. She began her classical ballet training at the Boston Ballet School, where she studied for eight years while also competing as a rhythmic gymnast. Her education was completed at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under the artistic direction of Ethan Stiefel. She then spent a year coaching with Sara Knight in New York City before coming to Festival Ballet Providence, where she grew quickly through the ranks. She supplemented her ballet education with summer programs at the Harid Conservatory, Boston Ballet, and the Academie de Danse Princesse Grace in Monaco. Her professional repertoire includes the title role in The Firebird, principal in Etudes, the Fairy of Generosity in Sleeping Beauty, Act 1 pas de trois and Lead Swans in Swan Lake, Balanchine’s Agon and Glinka Pas de Trois, and a variety of contemporary works by Viktor Plotnikov, Dominic Walsh, and Joseph Morrissey. This spring, she originated the role of Adela in Plotnikov’s House of Bernarda Alba. This is Eugenia’s 1st year with KCDF.


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