School of Dance Faculty 2017-2018



Director, School of Dance

Before being named Director of the Ballet Hispánico School of Dance in December of 2016, Michelle Manzanales was in the midst of her seventh season as the Rehearsal Director of the main company of Ballet Hispánico of New York. Named Artistic Associate in August 2014, Manzanales lends her artistic voice not only to the main company, but also to its School of Dance, BHdos (BH’s second company), as well as collaborates in creating and leading educational programs in communities across the country and internationally. Michelle began working with BH CEO & Artistic Director, Eduardo Vilaro, in 2003 as a dancer for his company Luna Negra Dance Theater of Chicago, where Manzanales later became Rehearsal Director in 2006 and eventually served as Interim Artistic Director 2009-2010.

A choreographer and dance educator originally from Houston, TX, Ms. Manzanales has 25 years of teaching experience serving on the faculties of Lou Conte Dance Studio (home of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago), the University of Houston, Rice University, San Jacinto College South, Houston Metropolitan Dance Center, Regional Dance America, Festival de Danza Cordoba-Youth American Grand Prix, as well as numerous dance studios, high schools and college dance programs across the country and internationally as a master teacher for Ballet Hispánico Education and Outreach programs. Her students' accolades include New York City Dance Alliance Teen Outstanding Dancer of the Year and numerous scholarships and top awards from Houston Ballet, The Rock School, Joffrey Midwest, Youth American Grand Prix, JUMP, On Stage New York, and Dance Masters of America among others. 
Ms. Manzanales has created works for professional dance companies, universities, and schools across the nation.  Most recently, she is honored to have been commissioned to set a new work on the main company of Ballet Hispanico for its 2017 season at the Joyce Theater in April. Her 2010 homage to Frida Kahlo, Paloma Querida, was hailed as a "visual masterpiece" by Lucia Mauro of the Chicago Tribune and was described by the Chicago Sun-Times as a “gorgeously designed, richly hallucinatory, multi-faceted vision of the artist.” Ms. Manzanales was invited in 2008 by the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange to co-create the site-specific work entitled Muscle and Mortar: Animating Architecture at the National Building Museum for the Capital Fringe Festival. In 2007, Michelle created Sugar in the Raw (Azucar Cruda) for LNDT, which was applauded by the Chicago Sun-Times as "a staggering, beautiful, accomplished new work." Over her choreographic career, five of her works have been recognized by the American College Dance Festival which, in 2006, she had the great honor of having her piece, Pour Me Out, presented at the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), for the National Gala.  ACDFA bestowed this honor once again in 2008 for The Letting Go.  Manzanales’ choreography has also been presented by Texas Contemporary Weekend (Houston, TX), Spring to Dance (St. Louis, MO), Festival de Danza Córdoba (Veracruz, Mexico), and Fort Worth Dance Festival (Fort Worth, TX).



Associate School Director

Kiri Avelar is currently pursuing her MFA in Dance at Rutgers University, and holds a B.A. in Dance with honors from New Mexico State University. Having studied as a scholarship recipient at the Boston Ballet School, and more extensively in New Mexico and Spain, her training includes ballet, Clásico Español, Latin American and Spanish folkloric forms, flamenco, jazz, and modern dance. She later performed with the Milwaukee Ballet, Cor Ignis in Mexico, Sol y Arena in New Mexico, and the American Bolero Dance Company in NYC. She is the Founding Director of the Academia de Ballet Emmanuel, an after-school program providing quality dance education for the children of Hogar de Niños Emmanuel Orphanage in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. Throughout her career she has served on the dance faculties of New Mexico State University, Rutgers University, El Paso Community College (TX), Sharron Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts (NJ), and as a teaching artist in both private and public schools. In 2011 she joined the faculty of the Ballet Hispánico School of Dance, where she currently serves as Associate School Director.



Stella Almblade began her dance training in a Ballet-Tap-Tumble class at a young age. She holds a BFA in Dance and BA in Spanish Linguistics from the University of Arizona. Stella feels blessed to have had her passions of performing and teaching dance combined with travel, having taught and performed in 15 countries. Stella has taught ballet, tap, modern, hip hop, jazz, musical theater, contemporary, creative movement, improvisation, and cheer to all ages since 2007. She has also completed the Horton pedagogy training under Ana Marie Forsythe and studied flamenco extensively in Madrid, Spain. Stella's teaching style reflects her background, emphasizing the importance of strong technique with excellence in performance quality. Stella's performance credits include international tours with Ad Deum Dance Company, Arrows International, Belarus Xtreme Dance, Ballet Jazz di Italia, Rimini in Danza, Ballet Folklórico de Guadalajara, and local New York City performances with Footprints Dance Company, Helen Simoneau Danse, Atmosphere Dance Company, Broadway Blessing, and Project Dance NYC. As a current scholarship student at The Ailey School, she is excited to be performing with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Memoria this Fall at City Center. Stella also serves her community as a PMA® Comprehensive Certified Pilates Instructor in Manhattan.


Amélie Bénard was born in France. She studied at Centre international de danse jazz Rick Odums in Paris before coming to NYC. Amélie came to the Martha Graham School in 2006 with a scholarship and joined Graham II in 2007. After graduating from the Professional Training Program, she enrolled in the Teaching Training Program and obtained her certificate of recognition as a Teacher of Martha Graham Technique Level I in June 2009. During her time at the school she assisted Virginie Mécène in staging excerpts of "Appalachian Spring" on the Harvard Dance Company. Currently, she is a member of Edgar Cortes Dance Theater and Caliince Dance. She has also danced for Nu Dance Theater and performed works from choreographers such as Pearl Lang, Robert Battle, Virginie Mécène, Peggy Lyman, and Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch.


Rebecca Bliss is honored to bring over 15 years of experience with Afro-Cuban arts to the school at Ballet Hispánico, and a passion for working at the intersection of education, performance, and culture. In addition to serving on the faculty of Ballet Hispánico, Rebecca is currently adjunct professor of dance at Barnard College and a teaching artist for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Dancewave. Previous experience includes over 10 years of dedication to arts education programs throughout New York and to her ongoing open community workshops, master classes for local universities (Princeton, Rutgers, Sarah Lawrence College), several collaborations with Afro-Caribbean contemporary artists (RumbaTap, Areytos Performance Works), and ongoing performance and choreography work as an independent artist. Rebecca received her initial training in modern and ballet from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center followed by over a decade of study in Cuba, and ongoing study of ballet and contemporary dance in New York. She has a Master of Arts degree from New York University with a focus on pedagogy, culture, and performance.


Franchesca Marisol Cabrera is a dancer, choreographer, director, and instructor actively involved in the dance community for 25 years. She began her dance training in Santa Barbara, California, in the styles of Classical Spanish dance, Flamenco, Baroque, Ballet and Mexican Folklorico. A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelors’ of Arts degree in World Arts in Cultures, Franchesca also lived in Madrid, Spain, for three years, receiving her credentials in Danza Española and Flamenco. She has traveled much of the world to perform, including London, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, and Hong Kong. Franchesca has grown to love working with young children in arts education and outreach to public schools enriching and sharing the importance of the performing arts. In 2011, Franchesca completed her Masters of Arts Degree from New York University on integrating arts into curriculums for elementary school classrooms with an emphasis on critical thinking.


Cecilia L Cáceres is an alumnus who began her dance training at the Ballet Hispánico School of Dance and is a graduate of the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. She then continued her dance training in the Junior Division of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for six years. Cecilia has a dance background in ballet, modern, hip-hop, Latin dance, jazz, ballroom dance, tap, flamenco, repertory, contemporary, and West African dance. She also studied Dance Education at Marymount Manhattan College and became a member of the Soldiers of Hip-Hop Dance Team for three years. Cecilia went on to teach hip-hop, Latin jazz, modern, and ballet at Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx working with various ages in students of her community. In 2009, she taught middle school and high school students hip-hop and Latin ballroom at Urban Assembly for Applied Math & Science. She has assisted the Dance Chairperson in the Dance Department of LaGuardia High School for 17 years. Cecilia is overjoyed to teach hip-hop, jazz, and salsa dance in the School of Dance and currently serves as a School of Dance Associate at Ballet Hispánico.


Ann Dragich has choreographed and performed around NYC, including Symphony Space, FIT, and Duplex Cabaret Theater, and is on faculty at NJPAC, ATDF and The DreamYard Project. Notably, she performed in Paris Fashion Week as part of the Rick Owens Spring 2014 Women’s show.


Nicole Duffy danced with the Joffrey Ballet for over a decade, based both in New York and Chicago, where she performed works by Joffrey, Arpino, Ashton, Balanchine, Cranko, DeMille, Limon, Massine, Nijinska, and many others. She is a répétiteur for the Arpino Foundation, most recently staging Gerald Arpino’s Suite St. Saens and Light Rain.
Ms. Duffy was raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she began her training with Ana Garcia and Maria Carrera at Ballets de San Juan, danced the classical repertory, and worked with Melissa Hayden, Ivan Nagy, and Frederic Franklin. She has taught nationally and internationally, including workshops in Florence, Italy and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At the Joffrey Ballet School, she taught ballet, pointe, repertory, and developed the curriculum for dance history.

She has a B.A. in Art History from Columbia University, and is currently a master’s candidate at New York University’s Gallatin School. Her writing has been published in The Massachussetts Review, Eye on Dance and the Arts, and the NYU journal Esferas.


Gabriela Estrada studied her BA in Dance at the University of California, Irvine where she danced in the UCI Spanish Dance Ensemble, Ballet Folklórico de UCI, and musical theater programs while collaborating as a founding member of the Hermosillo-Irvine Sister City Foundation and working at UCI’s Educational Opportunity Program. In 1996 she founded Dance Collage School, affiliated to the Royal Academy of Dance, with the mission to promote dance as art, tradition, and culture. In 1999 she was awarded a research grant to travel to Spain to further her studies in Spanish dance, produced The Best of Broadway musical theater revue and Al-Andalus: Anthology of Spanish Dance, and initiated DCG youth dance group participating as finalist in the Jazz Dance World Congress choreographic competition with repertoire in contemporary jazz, ballet, and flamenco. In 2000, Estrada joined the University of Sonora Department of Dance, where she taught technique classes in ballet and contemporary jazz, as well as lecture classes in dance science and movement analysis. In 2007, Estrada received a fellowship to return to UCI to study an MFA in Dance, where she taught technique courses in ballet, modern, and social dance, lead the Spanish Dance Ensemble, participated as choreographer South Coast Repertory, collaborated with the marketing department of the New World Flamenco Festival, and joined Creative Connections Arts Bridge outreach program as scholar. In 2010, Estrada published her MFA thesis, The Choreographic Development of The Three-Cornered Hat through the 20th Century in both, English and Spanish, through a grant from the Proyecto Editorial de Sonora. The following year, she moved to Seville where she enlivened the tap dance community through her work as musical theater teacher and choreographer while enrolled in the Ph.D. in Flamenco Interdisciplinary Studies program at the anthropology and education department of the Universidad de Sevilla. In 2011 she received a fellowship for documentary directors from the National Association of Latino Independent Producers for a biographical reconstruction of her dissertation case study titled “ENI9MA,” and receiving fiscal sponsorship support from the Dance on Camera Festival of New York, which led her to engage as marketing intern in the Festival de Cine Europeo and receive scholarships for workshops in film production. Estrada currently collaborates with Ballet Hispánico as Community Arts Partnership Education Manager, eager to create further bridges between Hispanic and Latin American communities and the arts, while sharing her Ph.D. dissertation research on the contributions of flamenco to ballet through lectures, master classes, and publications, collaborating as dance critic and as teaching artist in professional dance organizations in New York City and abroad.


Yvonne Gutierrez is an alum of the Ballet Hispánico School of Dance of Cuban descent with a BS in Applied Computer Science from Pace University. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. Ms. Gutierrez started teaching at Ballet Hispánico in the late 80s and returned in 2010. Her teaching history has also taken her to work at Flamenco Latino, the New School, Joffrey Ballet, Purelements and Educational Alliance. She was formerly on the dance faculty of Henry Street Settlement for over twenty years. There, she was responsible for creating and building a flamenco program which included enlightening collaborations with her students and Carlotta Santana’s Flamenco Vivo. Her freelancing has exposed her to multiple venues as a dancer, teacher, coach and/or choreographer. She creatively choreographed salsa, cha-cha and flamenco to the music of Tchaikovsky in an original production of “The Nutcracker in the Lower” (2002-2011) at the Harry Du Jur Playhouse. Although Ms. Gutierrez’s teaching is based in New York, she has taught workshops in Orlando, Florida, New Orleans, Louisiana, Stamford, Connecticut, and Montreal, Canada. In 2015, she received recognition from the Lower East Side Community for her years of service (HIV/AIDS Awareness and support festivals throughout the LES). Highlights of her past experiences includes numerous performances with Flamenco Latino Dance Company, AllNations International Dance Company, Stringbeans Latin Brazilian Jazz Band under the direction of Annette Aguilar as well as events/operas under the direction of Luis Montero. Ms. Gutierrez and her administrative work offer her an opportunity to attend conferences in Early Childhood Education giving her insight on high quality early care, education and school readiness. She is always working on enhancing her approach to teaching, focusing on the complete student with specific attention to their individual uniqueness.


Georgina Greenleaf is from Herndon, Virginia where she began her ballet studies at Reston Conservatory Ballet. She studied the classical Russian Vaganova method and other dance forms including Character, jazz, modern and Flamenco. Training in a family atmosphere awarded her the opportunity to begin working with children at a young age, assisting with classes and rehearsals. At 15, she co-created and ran a week-long summer camp. Georgina has performed as a supernumerary multiple times with the American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet during their seasons at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She also attended the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow, Russia as a summer student. Upon graduating school she traveled to New York City to continue her studies with Ballet Hispanico. After graduating from the Pre-Professional Program she began assisting with classes and joins the BH faculty this year.


Adriana Jacinto started her early training in Los Angeles, CA. At 17, she began her professional training at the Joffrey Ballet School as well as her professional career with the Joffrey Ballet in New York. She has danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Ohio Ballet, Dance Galaxy, and has been a guest artist with Dennis Wayne. Ms. Jacinto's wide range of repertoire includes Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Raymonda, La Sylphide, Giselle, Petrouchka, Allegro Brillante, Concerto Barocco, The Green Table, and Light Rain. The versatility of her dance styles is continuously being explored which eventually brought her focus back to flamenco and classical Spanish dancing. She has been performing with American Bolero Dance Company since 2009. As a teacher, Adriana enjoys sharing her love of dance with her students by focusing on technique, musicality, and creative expression.


Caridad Martinez, a former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Cuba, has performed in many of the world's greatest theaters, including Scala de Milano, the Champs Elysses Theatre in Paris, the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the Beaux Arts Theater in Mexico City, and the Bolshoi, Kirov Theater in Saint Petersburg. A graduate of Cuba’s National Ballet School, she also studied at the Superior Institute of Art in Cuba. While Ms. Martinez lived in Mexico, she spearheaded a 9-year campaign to bring Cuban-based training to Mexican youth. She succeeded in this by founding and serving as Artistic Director of the Cuban School of Ballet- Veracruz for 13 years. She continues to be an advisor for the School. Ms. Martinez has also served as the Artistic Director and choreographer of The Havana Ballet Theater Company, as guest teacher and choreographer for the Beau Art Schools in Mexico, and as Conservatory Director and teacher at Brooklyn Ballet. She has choreographed for movies, television, ballet and modern dance companies, and is currently working with the Escuela Cubana de Ballet in Veracruz, Danza Activa in Panama, the 92nd Street Y, Alberta Ballet School in Calgary, and the Bessie Awards. Ms. Martinez is happy to bring the Cuban methodology to the Ballet Hispánico School of Dance.


Rebeca Maso is a former ballet dancer from Cuba. She received her training at the Professional School of Ballet Arts in Cuba under the direction of Fernando Alonso. She also obtained her diploma as a Ballet Teacher in Cuba and has been teaching for more than 25 years. She was one of the founding ballet dancers of the Professional Ballet Company of Santiago of Cuba in 1990, under the direction of Maria Elena Martinez and choreographer and dancer Jorge Lefebvre, artistic director of Royal Ballet of Wallonie at that time. In 1994, she traveled to Venezuela as a guest ballet teacher to different ballet schools in the southern part of the country, working in regional ballet festivals and teaching Cuban ballet methodology. In Venezuela, she was a member of the Ballet Nuevo Mundo de Caracas for five years under direction of Zhandra Rodriguez, where she performed neoclassic and contemporary works by choreographer such as Jose Pares, Paulo Denubila, Dennis Nahat, Gabriel Castillo, Hector Montero, Maria Rovira among others, participating in European tour and International Ballet Festivals in Cuba. During her time in Venezuela she had the opportunity to perform with Ballet Metropolitano of Caracas by Artistic Director Keyla Ermecheo in different classical ballet productions like The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle. Ms. Maso also was invited from Ballet Metropolitano de Caracas to be part of the world premier “Dejando Rastro,” a modern dance created for four female ballet dancers by Carlos Orta, a leading dancer and teacher with the José Limón Dance Company and director of Corearte Dance Company of Venezuela. Ms. Maso came to U.S in 1999 as a guest artist of Metropolitan Ballet of Caracas participating in the international Ballet in Philadelphia. Ms. Maso is currently a student at Saint Mary’s College (LEAP), an internationally recognized Bachelor’s degree program specifically designed for current and former professional dancers. Ms. Maso was a judge of NJN Hispanic Youth Showcase at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) for three years and still teaches throughout NY & NJ.


Dana Manno began her professional career as a choreographer for jazz legend, Mary Lou Williams. She became a performer and then a teacher under the tutelage of Katherine Dunham and is a Dunham Technique Master. Her years as a faculty member of the Dunham School inspired her to create he 42nd Street Repertory Theatre that became the model for Theatre Row. There, she produced and directed many plays including “Blues or Mr. Charlie” and “The Connection”. Her Off Broadway staging of “Shuffle Along” went on to Broadway as the musical “Eubie, which was nominated for a Tony Award. S. Manno’s career as an artist has taken her to more than thirty countries. Her work as a director and choreographer includes film, on and Off Broadway theatre, Edinburgh Festival, Ghana Television, the United Nations and the New Zealand stage. Professor Manno taught drama and dance for 22 years at Adelphi University. She has also given Master Classes at Yale, Sarah Lawrence and Holy Cross Universities. Her ability as a songwriter has taken her to the top of the charts. She has performed at the Apollo Theatre, The Metropolitan Opera (Corp de Ballet), the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, La Mama, Intar, Tina Crolls “Horse’s Mouth” series as well as several New Federal Theatre productions. As Artistic Director of the PAKA Theatre Dance Foundation, Dana is a contributor to the “Blueprint for Dance Education” of the NYC Department of Education. Ms. Manno has produced and directed productions at the 78th Street Theatre Lab and the United Nations Library Theatre (the ground breaking HIV play, St. Mark’s Place). She is an alumni faculty member of the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Currently Dana teaches at SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology where she was Director of the Theatre Ensemble for the maximum 5 years. She is a member of the Film, Media and Performing Arts faculty. Dana’s roots hail from the island of Montserrat and she is the Chaplain for the Montserrat Progressive Society of New York. “Love is the most important thing you will ever give or receive.”


Camille Moten is originally from Somerset, New Jersey. Camille graduated with a BFA in dance from Tem-ple University where she was awarded the Rose Vernick’s Most Promising Performer scholarship upon gradu-ation. Camille has completed programs with Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester program and PHILADANCO! Instruction and Training program, where she had the opportunity to train and perform works by Kim Bears-Bailey, Milton Myers, Pat Thomas, Christopher Huggins, Jim Cooney, Ashlé Dawson, Shelia Barker and more. Camille has had the pleasure of working with Laurie M. Taylor/Soul Movement, Latin Fusion Dance Project, Introspec-tive Movement Project, and Roger Lee Dance. Camille is currently a first year MFA in dance candidate and a part-time faculty in-structor at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She continues to perform, choreograph and teach throughout the tri-state as a freelance dance artist.


Ana Lourdes Novoa began her training in La Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana. She graduated eight years later in 1976, and was immediately admitted into the National Ballet of Cuba. In 1982, she was promoted to first soloist and in 1990 to principal dancer. Her repertoire included all the classics in the company such as Giselle in Giselle, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Swanilda in Copellia, Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, Lisette in Fille Mal Gardee, Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadere, Medora in Le Corsaire and others. Along with the classics, she performed many modern pieces from Cuban and international choreographers. Her partner for most of the roles in her professional career was Jose Manuel Carreno. In 1992, she became a Principal Dancer for the English National Ballet. She performed all her roles alongside partner Jose Manuel Carreno and Carlos Acosta. She returned to the Cuban National Ballet and toured the globe while performing in many renowned stages. She danced in several US cities including LA, NY and Boston. She also danced in many European countries such as Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Germany, Switzerland and others. In 1997, she retired after dancing for 22 years and began to teach at the National Ballet of Cuba. Her career as a teacher continued in the U.S. as she taught advanced classes at Dance Center in New Jersey for over a year, and also instructed Tony Award winner Kiril Kulish as he played the leading role in the Broadway production of Billy Elliot the Musical.


Zoe Padden has a dance and mathematics degree from CUNY Queens College, where she choreographed a piece titled Mismatched Rhythms. She began her dance training at the Robert Mann Dance Centre, where she also taught. In addition, Zoe is a faculty member at the Williamsburg Movement and Arts Center (WMAAC) where she teaches tap, often steps in as rehearsal director for their Young Performers Company (YPC), and teaches at NY public schools as part of their arts in education program. Zoe is thrilled to join the School of Dance at Ballet Hispanico and share her expertise with the students.


Maria Piedad is a choreographer and a teacher who graduated from the Cuban National Ballet School and from the NYU/American Ballet Theatre® M.A. in ballet pedagogy. She has developed her artistic career in Ecuador, Cuba and the U.S. A member of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO since 2009, she also teaches character, historical, jazz, and contemporary dance. Maria Piedad is an ABT® Affiliate Teacher who is certified to teach the ABT® National Training Curriculum from pre-primary through level 7 and partnering, having successfully presented students for examinations. Besides her work at Ballet Hispanico in the Early Childhood, General and Pre-professional programs, she is on the ballet and jazz faculty at Brooklyn Ballet and is a ballet mistress and répétiteur for the Long Island Ballet Theatre and for Dance into Light. She has served as a pedagogic adviser and choreographer for "Danzas" Ballet School in Ecuador since 1999. She worked for ABT® as a teaching assistant at JKO School children's division and as a counselor for their Summer Intensive; she was also an adjunct dance instructor for the CUNY’s College Now Program (2013-2014). Maria Piedad was the artistic director and choreographer of ProDanza-Ecuador, Commercial Dance Company (2001-12); K-12 dance educator for the German and American Schools in Quito (2003-12), chief of rehearsals for the National Ballet of Ecuador (2004-08) and a classical repertoire teacher at the Ballet School "Alejo Carpentier" in Havana (1999-2000). Her choreographies have been performed in Ecuador, El Salvador, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and the United States. She staged the Jaime Pinto's complete ballets Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, The Three Musketeers and The Taming of the Shrew for the National Ballet of Ecuador where she was also a dancer starting in 1996.


Kimberly Prosa is a New York City based dancer, teaching artist, and choreographer. She began her training in Southern Oregon studying classical ballet under Joan Sanders-Siedel of Nederlands Dans Theatre and North Carolina School of the Arts. She continued her training in classical ballet and modern dance at American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey School, The Paul Taylor School, Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, and with alumni of New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, the Limon Dance Company, Mark Morris, Paul Taylor, and the Martha Graham Dance Company. She has studied theatre arts under Anthony Abeson and Brue Ornstein. Kimberly received her B.F.A in dance from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance and holds an M.A. from NYU in International Affairs with a special concentration in community peacebuilding through dance.

As a dancer, Kimberly has performed works by Dance Theatre of Oregon, the Eugene Ballet Company, Purchase Dance Corps, Stephanie Tooman, Bettijane Sills, Angela Harriel, Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre, Kyra Johannesen, Aera Dance Company, and was a company member for six years with the Bessie award winning modern dance company, H.T. Chen and Dancers, originating roles in several repertoire. Kimberly appeared as a dance double for Natalie Portman in Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 Academy Award winning film, Black Swan.

As a teaching artist & choreographer, Kimberly has taught ballet, pointe and modern dance at several schools, studios and universities throughout New York and Oregon in addition to serving as a guest teaching artist and artist in residence restaging works, and creating choreography throughout New York City, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Birmingham, southern Oregon and Ghana, West Africa. She is currently Senior Teaching Artist at Chen Dance Center, leading the contemporary program at the center in addition to teaching the modern dance public school program for 3-5th graders at P.S. 42.

Kimberly is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of the emerging modern dance company, Humanistics Dance. Her choreography has been shown throughout New York City, Oregon and New Jersey at venues including: Shetler Studios, Riverside Church Theatre, Triskelion Arts, the Connelly Theater, Manhattan Movement Arts, Liberty University, Nimbus Dance Works, the Center for Performance Research, Judson Memorial Church, Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place, as part of the Fertile Ground Series, the Wax Works series and was selected as one of 10 leading modern dance companies presenting works for the Voices Transposed Series: a benefit for the Syrian Refugee Crisis.  Kimberly is thrilled to be joining Ballet Hispánico’s modern dance faculty.


Connie Procopio has been a dance instructor for over a decade in the tri-state area. She is on the faculty of the Jose Limon Institute, where she teaches all levels from beginners to professional. She has been on the faculty for Chen Dance Center for 13 years, where she teaches Creative Movement, Ballet, and Modern Dance. Through H.T. Dance Company, Connie has taught and co-directed after school dance programs for 10 years. Her choreography has been shown in dance festivals in Europe, Florida and Canada. As a professional dancer, she had the pleasure to work with Alan Danielson, Avodah Dance Ensemble, and Sue Bernhard/DanceWorks, where her most recent performance was in summer of 2014, at Jacob's Pillow. Her experiences as a performer and teacher has been in both traditional and non-traditional settings -- serving a myriad of communities including the incarcerated. Her mission is to share the art form of dance as a forum for expression, education, and healing.


Sandra Rivera has had an extensive career as a dancer, choreographer and educator. A founding member of Ballet Hispánico, she has maintained a long association with the company as a dancer and educator. She started her training at the Tina Ramirez School of Spanish Dance where she was exposed to a wide variety of styles that were informed by the repertory of the Lola Bravo School of Spanish Dance. Through this thorough training she absorbed the distinct aesthetics of Spanish dance (folkloric, escuela bolero, danzas estilizadas, flamenco) passing this knowledge on to her students. Her past students have included Jennifer Lopez and Condola Rashad. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine with the Omega Dance Co., where she produced a series of dance concerts, including Flamenco Mystico, and Los Seises, an adaptation of a 13th century Spanish liturgical dance. She has created and produced work for the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center including Path of the Artist, An Homage to Julia de Burgos and Barrio Girl, A Life Through Dance. She has been a teaching artist for numerous institutions including El Museo del Barrio, the Bilingual, Bicultural School and Ballet Hispánico (Primeros Pasos). She was featured in From the Horses’s Mouth, Celebrating New York’s Clark Center for the Performing Arts with performances at Aaron Davis Hall and the 92 Street Y. At present she performs and is a teaching artist for Dancers for a Variable Population. With an area of concentration, Dance in the Latino Diaspora, she graduated with a BA from CUNY’s Baccalaureate for Unique & Interdisciplinary Studies.


Elisabet Rubio completed her dance training at the Cuban National Ballet School under Fernando Alonso and Ramona de Saá’s tutelage. In her native Cuba, she also performed with Pro Danza, a professional classical ballet company directed by Laura Alonso, Prima Assoluta Alicia Alonso’s daughter. In 2012 she moved to New York where she currently is a member of the Brooklyn Ballet Company and continues her studies under the direction of our world renowned Pre Professional Coordinator, Caridad Martinez.


Anilce Scasso was born and raised in Havana, Cuba. She began her dance training in classical ballet at the School of Ballet in Havana, Cuba. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Arts in Havana where her graduate thesis centered on eating disorders and nutrition in ballet. For over ten years now, Anilce has been teaching young children and adolescents from a wide range of dance levels. She has also served as a member of the committee responsible for evaluating auditions and admitting young dancers to the School of Ballet in Havana. From 2009 through 2012, she worked in Ecuador at Pam’s Dance School as a ballet and jazz instructor, where her main responsibility was teaching and developing ballet techniques in children and teenagers. In addition to teaching, she has also organized auditions and choreography for ballet and jazz ensembles and has trained students for international ballet competitions in Cuba and Ecuador. She has prepared students for the Royal Academy of Dance entrance exam and worked in Miami teaching ballet technique to gymnastic students. Currently, she teaches in New Jersey and she is part of the Ballet Hispanico Faculty in New York City where she works in the Early Childhood, Open and Pre Professional Programs as a ballet instructor.


Janice Tomlinson was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Dance. Janice has a dance background in hip-hop, jazz, ballet, contemporary, modern, and West African dance. Her formal training began in Fancy Feet Dance Studio and she became a member of the Fancy Feet Junior Jazz Dance Company during high school. She has danced in numerous festivals and has guest-appeared as a dancer on MTV’s reality show, MADE. In Syracuse University, Janice was a backup dancer for an opening act in JadaKiss’ concert. Janice performed in many renowned theatres such as the United Palace Theatre, Symphony Space, The Kaye Playhouse, and Off-Broadway at The Pearl Theatre Company. Additionally, she has competed in the Battle for Your Life Competition, Prelude Urban Dance Competition, and World of Dance New Jersey. During college, she had the pleasant opportunity to perform in the repertory works of Doug Varone and Marjani Fortè in The Kaye Playhouse. More notably, Janice has trained and performed abroad in Spain and Switzerland. She is very excited to join the teaching staff of Ballet Hispánico and embark on another journey with the faculty and students.


Rebecca Tsivkin is a graduate and licentiate of the Royal Academy of Dance in London, and is an Associate of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD). Her RAD training included a 3-year, in-depth program that covered Ballet, Anatomy/Kinesiology, Dance Pedagogy, Child Psychology, Labanotation, Character, Modern, and Dance History. Over two decades Rebecca has taught ballet in universities, private dance studios, and company schools. Her students have gone on to attend advanced training programs in such places as the School of American Ballet (SAB) and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theater (JKO), and to dance in professional companies such as Ballet Austin, Sacramento Ballet, and BalletX, among others. Rebecca was on the teaching faculty at American Academy of Ballet, where she was also the executive coordinator and international judge for the Performance Awards program under the direction of Mignon Furman. She was also the Head Children's Instructor at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy, and has guest-taught across the United States and internationally. Rebecca is the co-director of Ballet Extensions and International Dance Acclaim (IDA).


Raquel Valiente holds a BFA in Dance from Adelphi University, where she trained under the direction of ballet master Frank Augustyn. Raquel was also a scholarship student at Jennifer Muller/The Works, where she studied with Artistic Director Jennifer Muller, Associate Director John Brookes and principal company members. In addition, she has completed DEL’s Foundations of Dance Education and Dance for Students with Special Needs. Raquel is an ABT ® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT ® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 3 of the ABT ® National Training Curriculum.

In her native El Salvador, Raquel created a dance program for the prestigious British School and also founded The Broadway Ballet School, which made its debut on the Salvadorian reality TV show Bailando por un Sueño. Raquel served as a judge for the show’s third season (2010), which holds the highest ratings in the history of Salvadorian TV, and also made guest appearances on other popular shows like Brinka and Viva la Mañana. Currently, Raquel serves as Programs Manager at Ballet Hispanico, where she supervises the Early Childhood Program, teaches ballet for the Open and Pre-Professional programs, as well as Latin American folkloric dance as an Education & Outreach teaching artist. In addition, Raquel is Ballet Mistress for Dances Patrelle’s Nutcracker, performs with American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap Addicts Anonymous and enjoys sharing her expertise through presentations, as she has done for organizations such as the Arts in Education Roundtable’ Face 2 Face conference, City College of New York, Adelphi University and the Department of Education’s Dance Department.



Kyle Maxwell Doherty resides in New York City since while working as a freelance percus-sionist and dance musician. He made his New York debut performing the world premiere of Edo Frenkel’s There is nothing (but they) outside: 1. missa brevis at The Spectrum and recently performed at the Chelsea Music Festival. He has performed with the Radio City Rockettes, the Grammy Award Winning cast of Hamilton: An American Musical and at esteemed venues such as Madison Square Garden, Le Poisson Rouge, and The Blue Note. He has worked for Keig-win+Company, Doug Varone and Dancers, and as modern dance accompanist at Ballet Hispanico, Marymount Manhattan College, Peridance Center, 92nd Street Y, The New School, American Ballet Theater, The Limon School and Juilliard. He is on faculty at Hofstra University, Westchester Community College.


For almost a quarter century, Baba Don a percussionist very much in demand, has performed with many Major American Dance Companies in the world’s greatest performing-arts venues.  His recording career is as equally varied as it vast; the jazz idiom, rhythm and blues, and most African derived percussion styles are represented in his discography.  He is a featured member of the esteemed last poets.  He has long been acknowledged as one of New York City’s master teachers of African Drumming and the rhythms of the Diaspora in the Americas.  Baba Don is presently on faculty at the Harlem school Of the Arts for over 25 years, teaching all ages from 4 years of age to adults.
He has performed and recorded with The Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, Maurice Hines, Gregory Hines, Andy Williams, and Chuck Davis Dance theatre, Pattie Labelle, philicia Reshard, Choreographers Frank Hatchet, Geoffrey Holder, Louis Johnson and many more. Don Eaton has recorded with many Jazz artist Donald Brown, Joe Henderson, Jason Linder, Tyrone Jefferson, James Spaulding, Ron Carter, Gorge Clinton, Pharaoh Sanders, and The Last Poets
Baba Don has theatrical credits with The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Macbeth, Caligula, and Dream on Monkey Mountain as percussionist for each production and with HBO’s Hoop Life sound track.  Mr. Eaton has performed with Maurice Hines’s "UPTown It’s Hot," as a Featured Percussionist.  Baba Don Eaton has performed with the Metropolitan Orchestra at the Opera House, Carnegie Hall, The State Theater,  Avery Fisher’s Hall , City Center, The Apollo Theatre and The House Of Blues and is also features on Sesame Street segment called "Drumming School" to name a few .
Mr. Eaton has received proclamations from the City of New Orleans, The City of New York Public Advocate’s Office as well a plaque of recognition from the Mid- Manhattan branch of the NAACP for his contribution to the Arts
Mr. Eaton Has also conducted workshops throughout the Metropolitan, Tri State  Area, with many institutions such as The Harlem School of The Arts, John Jay College, Arts Connections, African Horizon, Pyramid Dance Company, Arts Horizon, Yaffa Productions, North Hampden High School and Jack and Jill Arts Center to name a few.


Jesse Featherstone is a pianist and a bunch of other things living and working in his native New York City. A graduate of Bard College and a student of the late German Diez, he has spent the past two years playing ballet and modern classes at such distinguished institutions as Steps on Broadway, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Hunter College, and Adelphi University. When not doing his part to train the next generation of dance artists, Jesse can be found on the countless bandstands the city has to offer, playing everything from jazz to rock and funk.


Nataliya Frolova is a graduate of the St. Petersburg Conservatory where she received her Master’s Degree in 1984 and Ph.D. Diploma in Piano Performance 1988. She was invited by Maestro Valery Gergiev to work as a Ballet Accompanist and Vocal Coach at the Mariinsky Theater, where she worked from 1990 until 1997. She played at piano rehearsals for opera and ballet repertoire. At the same time, she was working as a guest accompanist at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, assisting Mstislav Rostropovich, Yuri Temirkanov and Mariss Jansons. Since 1997 she lives in the United States. She worked in the Colorado Ballet in Denver under the artistic direction of Martin Freeman from 1997 until 1998. From 1998, she resides in New York City, working in all the major Ballet companies as a Ballet Accompanist - playing Ballet classes and rehearsals. These companies include: American Ballet Theater, Eliot Feld Ballet Company & The Ballet Tech Foundation, The Juilliard School, Ballet Hispanico, Steps on Broadway, and Alvin Ailey, among others. Her ballet class repertoire includes a large variety of music in different styles, from baroque to modern pieces.



A New York City native, graduated from Swarthmore College. She studied piano privately with Olga Heifetz. With her husband, Ben, she has written many published children's songs, two of which aired repeatedly on Sesame Street. For over fifteen years, Freya has been an accompanist at New York City ballet studios for dancers of all ages. She is happy to have been accompanying classes at Ballet Hispanico since 1998.


With a decade of experience and success in the international jazz community, Havana native Dayramir Gonzalez is ready to take New York City by storm. 
 At the age of eight he began attending Paulita Concepcion Elementary School of Music, where he found his instrument, the piano. He was later accepted to Cuba’s famed National High School for the Arts (ENA), and later on the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana.
In 2004, he won first place in performance at the annual JoJazz festival and competition known as Havana’s top venue for up and coming jazz performers. In 2005, he won first place in the composition category and won his first record deal with the national record label Colibri. He recorded his first album with his recently founded group Habana enTRANCé, which became for him the perfect platform to develop his skills as artist, bandleader, and composer. 
In 2009, Gonzalez was invited to audition for Berklee School of Music in Boston. His acceptance to the school made him the first Cuban national to receive a full scholarship. In 2011, Gonzalez was signed by Berklee’s Jazz Revelation Records and became the face of the label. 
In 2012, he was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall as part of their Voices of Latin America series, along with Chucho Valdes, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Danilo Perez, Egberto Gismonti and Aldo Lopez-Gavilan. His performance was later featured in the Wall Street Journal. In 2013, Gonzalez graduated Berklee Summa Cum Laude, after receiving the Wayne Shorter Award for Most Outstanding Composer of the Year.
Gonzalez moved to New York where he currently resides. Gonzalez has made his longtime dream of creating his own space for musical education and development a reality by creating the “Art School of Contemporary Performance and Creativity.” 
A few months ago, he decided to come back to the studio to record his second album, “The Grand Concourse” to be released in 2016. Gonzalez is building his legacy in America, and is positioning himself as a leader in the Afro-Cuban Jazz community.



Mauricio Herrera is from the eastern province of Holguin, Cuba. The interest in music comes from the musical legacy of his family but He first entered the world of music was at age 7 playing violin, but by 14 began studying percussion where he found his niche. After graduation from the Jose Maria Ochoa Conservatory in Holguin, he began playing in various local popular and folkloric groups and was on faculty at Escuela Vocacional de Arte. In 1994 he moved to La Habana to broaden his horizons, where he played, toured, and recorded with the likes of Paulito FG, Manolito Simonet, Manolín el Medico de la salsa, Hector Valentin, Angel Bonne, La Barriada, and Pachito Alonso.  In 2001 he relocated to Mexico where he played with several local groups including Amaury Gutierrez, David Torrens, and many others. In 2005 Mauricio moved to New York where he currently resides.  He has played, recorded and toured with: David Sanchez, Stefon Harris, Nicholas Payton, Christian Scott (90 Miles Project,),  Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Ignacio Berroa, Yerba Buena, Lila Downs, Manuel Valera and the New Cuban Express, Alfredo de la Fe, Bryan Lynch, Luis Perdomo, The Rodriguez Brothers, Dave Samuels and The Caribbean Jazz Project, Edward Simon , Hector Martignon, Batyr Shukenov, La India, Spanish Harlem Orquestra, Steve Coleman, Jackie Terrasson, John Benitez, Mark Weinstein, Lew Soloff, Aruan Ortiz, Candido Camero,Yerba Buena, Osmany Paredes, Yosvany Terry, Pedro Martinez y Grupo Ibboru, Francisco Mela and many others. Mauricio was a teacher at the Boys and Girls Harbour Conservatory in New York City, also has given Master classes at The Banff Centre Canada, on Berklee College of music, JAZZUV University Xalapa, Mexico, and playing around the World with Several major artists from the Scene of Jazz and other Musical Genres.  Mauricio is endorsed by Latin Percussion (LP) and Vic Firth (Sticks). 



Pianist-Composer Moshe S. Knoll is a free-lance Classical artist working throughout the NY metro area.   A graduate of The Juilliard School, he has given solo recitals and has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the US, the UK, Israel and Venezuela. An avid fan of Chamber Music, he has devoted considerable energy to its dissemination through his membership in ACMP: Associated Chamber Music Players. Moshe sits on the Board of DAHA: Dvorak American Heritage Association; a branch of the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association, devoted to preserve the legacy of Antonin Dvorak and his influence in American Music. As a collaborative pianist, he works with singers, instrumentalists and ballet classes. As a ballet pianist, he has made recordings for the use of Maestro Pedro Ruiz. Moshe has also worked for the Hebrew Arts School and Belvoir Terrace, a summer arts camp for girls in Lenox, MA. Moshe is on the Faculty of the ArtsAhimsa Chamber Music Festival, also in Lenox, MA.


Santiago Leibson was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After studying in Buenos Aires at Conservatorio Manuel de Falla, Santiago moved to New York City in 2014 to do a Masters in Jazz Performance at NYU. Santiago’s most recent album is "Out of Orden" and it features Drew Gress on bass and Devin Gray on drums. He has two other albums with his Argentine trio: AMON (2013) and Pendular (2014). Santiago has performed with the NYU Jazz Orchestra at different venues such as The Blue Note and Drom; with different special guests that includes Alan Ferber, Billy Drewes, Michael Rodriguez and Lenny Pickett. He has also performed or recorded with “Guillermo Klein’s Symmetrical Moon Vamps”, Jeff McGregor quintet and Brian Adler's Shankar.


A native of the Midwest, Dan Meinhardt moved to New York after establish-ing himself among the best musicians in Chicago. After obtaining degrees from Lawrence University and the University of Oregon, Dan became a freelance multi-instrumentalist, versed in a multitude of styles and performance practices. He began playing for ballet at Chicago’s Visceral Dance Company and quickly became a must-call accompanist for dancers across the city, working with Hubbard Street, the Joffrey Ballet, and Ruth Page, among others. Dan has released two records as a saxophonist, composer, and bandlead-er: Gone West (2012) and Outset (2016), performed in a wide range of shows for musical theater, and has taught throughout the United States. His compositions have been featured in film and at a variety of jazz festivals on the west coast. Now living in Brooklyn, Dan brings his unique skillset and experiences to dancers in both class and performance.


Paul Jared Newman, a native of Manhattan, New York, has been a guitar player since his early teens. His first gig was as on-stage guitarist in The Love Cure, one of the first rock musicals produced in New York. An awakening to classical music and the Spanish guitar occurred soon after, and in recent years flamenco has deepened his involvement with Spanish music. Current and recent residencies include: Guitar Accompanist for the legendary Aileen Pasloff’s Spanish and Flamenco classes at Bard College; class accompanist for noted maestros José Molina and Mariano Parra in NYC; Teaching Artist, New York City Center Arts in Education Program. Recent performance/composition credits include: guitarist/actor: Este Nuestro Espacio dance theatre piece by Silvia Siller, Poet's Den Theatre, New York; guitarist: Under Fire, New York Musical Theatre Festival; Theatre at St. Clements; Composer/recording, (Black) Light, film by Deirdre Towers, danced by Katherine Crockett of the Martha Graham Company; composer/guitarist, Choreographers On The Edge with Compania Flamenco Librada, Byrdcliffe Theatre, Woodstock, NY; Guest Artist, Música en las Montañas festival in Las Alpujarras, Granada, Spain. Recently performed compositions include: Sonidos Sombreados (guitar & string orchestra); Ecos de la Petenera (clarinet & piano); Caras del Prisma (guitar, strings & percussion); "por la noche me llaman .  .  . " (violin & piano, commissioned for performance March 2013 by the Orfeo Duo). Jared is also a music book author whose publications include: A New Anthology of Falsetas for Flamenco Guitar, Bold Strummer, Ltd. 2009; Classics for the Guitar; Karamar Publications, Hauppauge, NY 1996; editor: The Keys to Flamenco Guitar seriesby Dennis Koster; AIG Publications, New York 1992 –4; arranger: Five Women Composers for Guitar; Mel Bay Publications 2004; Ernesto Nazareth: Brazilian Tangos; Mel Bay 2001. He holds a Masters degree in guitar performance from SUNY Stony Brook, NY, a BA in Music from UC Berkeley, and an Advanced Level Certificate from Taller Flamenco in Sevilla, Spain.


Bernard M. Schaller, guitar accompanist became interested in flamenco after seeing Antonio Gades and his flamenco company at the New York World’s Fair in 1964.  He was fortunate to come in contact with the legendary guitarist Mario Escudero.  Mr. Escudero had recorded several solo guitar albums. As it turned out, Bernard’s first flamenco album was of Mario Escudero. Some years later, he began to accompany flamenco dance classes at Ballet Hispánico in 1986, as well as for dancers Mariquita Flores, Maria Alba and Jose Molina.  Over the years, Bernard played at several local restaurants in Manhattan and performed at senior centers in New York and New Jersey.



Jeremy Smith is a percussive artist whose unique versatility allows him to move seamlessly among numerous musical styles. While the foundation of his playing comes from his classical training at Juilliard, his interests lie in the vast array of percussion traditions from around the world such as those found in South America, Africa, India, the Middle East, and jazz. As a specialist of Venezuelan maracas, he has performed with Latin Grammy nominee Luisito Quintero, Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros, Los Crema Paraiso, Juancho Herrera, and more. He is a member of the Boston-based quintet Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica as well as the innovative Middle Eastern music group Brooklyn Nomads led by oudist Hadi Eldebek. Jeremy is a freelance artist based in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School as a student of Gordon Gottlieb and Markus Rhoten.

View more Ballet Hispánico videos
On Our Blog