School of Dance Faculty 2018-2019
MICHELLE MANZANALESDirector, School of Dance
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.
KIRI AVELARAssociate 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 ALMBLADEStella 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 BÉNARDAmélie 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.
FRANCHESCA CABRERAFranchesca 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. CÁCERESCecilia 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.
Elisabet Delgado 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.
Ann Mariw Dragich has been tap dancing in New York since 2008 after studying at the Eddie Brown Studio for the Arts (THE BEAT) with Gregg Geoffroy, Babs Yohai and Mark Mendonca. She is a member of Cole Collective under the direction of Nicole Ohr, and is a founding member of Guilty Pleasures Cabaret which has a regular performance slot at the Duplex Cabaret Theater. Ann has presented her own work at Dance Astoria, Stam-pede (Symphony Space), Director’s Choice Showcase, Local Produce and Winter Follies (produced by Spoke the Hub), Denise Caston’s Choreographer’s Canvas, Kat Wildish’s Performing in New York, and Sol Dance Center’s Dancesanity (Frank Sinatra School of the Arts). Ann is also in the step company “Momentum” and was featured in Rick Owens Spring 2014 Women’s show (Paris Fashion Week). Ann’s image from this show was on display at the MOMA as part of the “Is Fashion Modern?” exhibit. Ann presented work in the Emerging Choreographer’s Series curated by Mare Nostrom Elements, and was a Spring 2018 cycle AiRe Artist in Residence at Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana creating tap dance choreography, which she presented at Flamenco Certamen USA held at the NYPL Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center. Ann holds a level 1 teaching certificate from the American Tap Dance Foundation and is currently working on her level 2 teaching certificate. She is on faculty at the New Jersey Performing arts Center, the American Tap Dance Foundation, Ballet Hispanico and The DreamYard Project. More information about Ann can be found on her website, anndragichandcompany.com
ANN MARIE DRAGICH
GEORGINA GREENLEAFGeorgina 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.
YVONNE GUTIERREZYvonne 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 Carlota 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.
RODNEY HAMILTONRodney Hamilton is a native of St. Louis, began his dance training at the age of 10 and trained with Carr Lane V.P.A., COCA, Alexandra School of Ballet, and Katherine Dunham. After graduating with a BFA in Dance from the Juilliard School, he joined Ballet Hispanico of New York where he was a principal dancer and as-sistant rehearsal director for 10 years. During this time, he performed works by José Limon, Paul Taylor, Hans van Manen, Robert Battle, Ohad Naharin, David Parsons, William Whitener, Ann Reinking, Ramon Oller, Sergio Trujillo, Trinette Singleton, Agnes DeMille, Talley Beatty, Annabel Lopez Ochoa, Vicente Ne-brada, and numerous other well-known choreographers. Mr. Hamilton was part of the national touring cast of Hello Dolly with Carol Channing and worked with the Broadway cast of Tarzan. In 2012 Mr. Hamilton became the resident choreographer for the Saint Pete City Theater where he choreographed Hello Dolly, Footloose, and Memphis. Mr. Hamilton has taught ballet and modern all over the world, and is a master teach-er of the Dunham technique. He is now obtaining his Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.
ADRIANA JACINTOAdriana 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.
Loni Landon is a Dancer, Choreographer, and Movement Consultant based in New York City. Born and raised in New York City, Landon received her BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School in 2005. While a student at the NYC High School of Performing Arts, Landon was a NFAA Young Arts Modern Dance Winner. After Juilliard, Landon performed with Aszure Barton and Artists, Ballet Theater Munich, Tanz Munich Theater, and The Metropolitan Opera. Landon is the 2013 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship winner award-ed with BODYTRAFFIC. As a sought after choreographer, her work has been commissioned by the Joyce Theater, Keigwin and Company, James Sewell Ballet, Whim Whim, LEVY DANCE, The Juilliard School, BODYTRAFFIC, American Dance Institute, Northwest Dance Project, Hubbard Street II, Ballet X, Ballet Austin, SUNY Purchase, NYU, and Marymount Manhattan College. Her company has performed at The Joyce Theater, Pulse Art Fair, Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out Series, as well as at Bryant Park and the first annual Beach Sessions in Rockaway Beach. Landon has won numerous awards including 1st Prize Winner of Ballet Austin’s New American Talent Competition, Winner of Northwest Dance Project’s “Pretty Creatives’” Choreogra-phy Competition, Winner of the Next Commission from CityDance Ensemble, Finalist in the International Solo Tanz Theater Competition in Stuttgart, Germany, and Finalist in the Hannover International Choreography Competition. Landon choreo-graphed the feature film “Saturday Church,” Directed by Damon Cardasis, which premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival in 2017.Landon was also a participant in the 2012 Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation New Directions Choreography Lab made possible through the generous support of the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Other residencies include ITE, NYU and CUNY Dance Initiative. She has been adjunct faculty at NYU, Barnard, SUNY Purchase and Princeton University. Alongside Gregory Dolbashian, Landon co-founded THE PLAYGROUND, an initiative designed to give emerging choreographers a place to experiment, while allowing professional dancers to participate affordably. Dance Magazine recognized the Playground as a 25 To Watch for 2013.
REBECA MASORebeca 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.
CAMILLE MOTENCamille Moten, a New Jersey native, is a freelance performer, choreographer and educator who is passionate about the promotion of dance arts as a form of citizenship and inclusion. She received her BFA in Dance Performance from Temple University while training with the PHILADANCO! Apprentice Company, D/2. As a freelance performer, Camille has had the pleasure of working with Kim Bears-Bailey, Laurie M. Taylor, Ashlé Dawson, Laura Peterson, Kavin Grant, and Sonia James Pennington, among others. Camille also served as the Assistant Choreographer to André DeShields on the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and Crossroads Theater Company’s production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ (2018). Her work was most recently commissioned by CoLab Arts: Motion New Dance Works, and she continues to self-produce throughout the tristate area as freelance choreographer. Camille serves on the Junior Committee Board of Dance/NYC and is currently a teaching artist at Ballet Hispánico, Rutgers University, and Artists in Motion. She is in her final year at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University as a MFA in Dance candidate.
ANA LOURDES NOVOAAna 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.
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.
SANDRA RIVERASandra 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.
ANILCE SCASSOAnilce 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 TOMLINSONJanice 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 TSIVKINRebecca 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 VALIENTERaquel 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.
JOSHUA WINZELERwas born and raised in Miami, Florida. He trained with the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and the School of American Ballet. In 2011, Joshua graduated from New World School of the Arts with his B.F.A. in Dance. In the Fall of 2011, he joined Ballet Hispánico’s main Company and served as a Company dancer for the next six seasons. During his tenure with the Company, Joshua worked and collaborated with choreographers Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, Nacho Duato, Cayetano Soto, Michelle Manzanales, Eduardo Vilaro, Edgar Zendejas, Fernando Melo, and Tania Pérez-Salas. He continues to be a vital teacher and mentor to the School of Dance and to numerous Community Arts Partnership residencies in NYC and abroad. In the Fall of 2017, Joshua retired as a dancer and now serves as Ballet Hispánico’s Rehearsal Director for the second company, BHdos, and as an Associate for the School of Dance.
Ryan DeFranzo is an NYC based pianist and performer who has performed around the city at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, the Liederkranz Foundation, and Kosciusko Foundation— studying under concert pianist Jerzy Stryjniak. He is finishing his final year of undergrad at Marymount Manhattan College and is excited to be joining the Ballet Hispanico family for his first year as an accompanist.
DONALD "BABA DON" EATON
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.
Carson Moody is a Brooklyn based performer who collaborates with various multifaceted artists in fields from pop, to improvisation, to the avant garde. Carson is a founding member of the music group, TIGUE, hailed as "high octane" by the New York Times. TIGUE performs internationally including performances and workshops at Latvia's Zemlika Festival 2016, Summer Nostos Festival 2017 in Athens, Greece, and locally, including Bric Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park. Their sophomore album "Strange Paradise" was released April 2018 on New Amsterdam Records and NNA Tapes and is available on any digital music platform or at select record stores on vinyl. Carson performs with NYC based “new music dream team” (TimeOutNY), Ensemble Signal. Performances with Signal have ranged from appearances at Walt Disney Concert Hall's "Next on Grand" series 2015 (Los Angeles, CA), Lincoln Center Festival 2013 and 2016 (New York, NY), Big Ears 2014 (Knoxville, TN), and the June in Buffalo Festival. Constantly exploring collaborations in dance as a mover and musician, Carson works with students and professionals all over NYC as well as students at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Adelphi University, The Martha Graham School, Eglevsky Ballet, Ballet Hispanico and the Mark Morris Dance Center. He has collaborated with choreographers David Dorfman, Doug Varone, Karl Rogers, Erik Abbott-Main, and James Graham providing soundscapes and moving on stage. Carson is a graduate of The Ohio State University and the Eastman School of Music and is excited to join the artists roster with Vic Firth.