Company Dancers 2018-2019


Chris Bloom is from Fredrick County, VA where he began dancing at the Blue Ridge Studio for the Performing Arts and the Vostrikov Academy of Ballet. Chris graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA. Program in 2012. In 2011, he joined Parsons Dance as an apprentice and continued to perform with Parsons as a guest artist for two years while also dancing with Lydia Johnson Dance, Thang Dao Dance Company, VonUssar DanceWorks, 360° Dance Theatre and the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company. Chris joined Ballet Hispanico in 2013 and has had the pleasure of originating roles in new works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Edgar Zendejas, Miguel Mancillas, Fernando Melo, Michelle Manzanales, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, and Eduardo Vilaro. In addition, he has performed in Nacho Duato’s Jardi Tancat and as Don José in Gustavo Ramírez Sansano’s CARMEN.maquia.


Jared Bogart is originally from Crystal River FL, and recently graduated with a BFA in Dance from Jacksonville University. He spent his early years training at his parents’ dance school in Crystal River, FL. He has trained during the summers at the Orlando Ballet School, Archcore40, Florida Dance Masters, and Florida Dance Festival. While in Jacksonville, Jared worked with artists such as Jennifer Muller, Robert Moses, Jennifer Archibald, and Stephanie Martinez. Jared is very excited to start his first season with Ballet Hispánico.



Shelby Colona is a 2013 graduate of The Ailey School’s Certificate Program. In 2011, she graduated from The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) in Houston, TX. Shelby has had further training with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Perry-Mansfield, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She has performed works by Robert Battle, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Peter Chu, Nicholas Villeneuve, Billy Bell, Loni Landon, and has performed with companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Lunge Dance Collective, and BHdos before joining Ballet Hispánico.



Raúl Contreras is originally from Monterrey, MX and has trained at Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey, the Martha Graham School, and Generation IV Dance . Contreras was an apprentice for Ballet Metropolitano de Monterrey for the 2011-2012 season, and was invited to be part of Metamorphosis Dance Collective’s Shanghai Residency in 2017. Contreras has shown an outstanding development as a teacher, choreographer, and artistic director for Universidad de Monterrey’s Dance Group, winning several dance competitions in Mexico and the United States. He also taught in Tec de Monterrey, Urban Dance Community Monterrey , as well as The Dance Revolution, the biggest dance convention in México, as a special guest. Contreras has also worked with renowned choreographers such as Edgar Zendejas, Miguel Mancillas, and Alicia Sánchez, among others. 



Melissa Fernandez is from Miami, FL and received her early training from Caridad Espinosa, Mencia-Pikieris School of Dance, and New World School of the Arts, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2008. In 2012, Fernandez went on to earn her BFA in dance from The Juilliard School, where she performed works by Sidra Bell, Alex Ekman, Nacho Duato, and Jerome Robbins, among others. Fernandez was selected as a modern dance finalist in The National YoungArts Foundation competition in 2008, and was featured in the HBO series Master Class. In 2016, Fernandez had the joy of being presented beside her Ballet Hispánico colleagues in Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance Series, where she performed lead roles in works by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano and Pedro Ruiz. Currently, Fernandez is in her seventh season with Ballet Hispánico and is excitedly looking forward to marrying her partner on stage and off, Lyvan Verdecia, in the summer of 2019.


Laura Lopez was born and raised in Miami, FL, where she began dancing at the age of three at Patricia Penenori Dance Center. She attended New World School of the Arts High School where she continued her dance training in ballet and modern. Lopez was a 2013 Young Arts finalist and was nominated as a Presidential Scholar. In April 2016, she graduated New World College, where she received her BFA in Dance from the University of Florida. Lopez has danced professionally with Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Ballet Hispánico’s BHdos. Throughout her dance career, she has attended summer programs at Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, Miami City Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, and Jacob's Pillow. Lopez has had the privilege of dancing the works of Eduardo Vilaro, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Robert Moses, and many more.      



Antonio Mannino was born in Sicily, Italy, and began his ballet training at the age of seven. He has trained at dance schools throughout Europe, including Rome Opera House Ballet School, John Cranko School, and La Scala Theatre Ballet School. When Mannino moved to England, he trained with Northern Ballet and performed in the Company’s filming of the Tortoise & the Hare for the BBC. Soon after, he joined Sibiu Ballet Theater in Romania, where he performed soloist roles in Paquita and in The Fairy Doll, and in corps de ballet roles in Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Giselle, and Anna Karenina. In 2017, he joined The Joffrey Ballet Studio Company in Chicago and performed works by August Bournonville, Gerald Arpino, Paul Taylor, and Brendan Fernandes.


Jenna Marie was born in Philadelphia, PA. She began her dance training at Olga Kresin's Ballet School and later attended The Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts.  As a scholarship student, Marie trained at The Ailey School and has participated in a number of dance competitions including the Youth America Grand Prix, where she was featured in the documentary First Position, the Barcelona International Dance Competition, and the Tanzolymp Danz Festival. Marie has worked for artists such as Beyoncé, Romeo Santos, Nile Rodgers, and Betsey Johnson. She has been featured in Dance Magazine and Pointe Magazine, and has performed as a guest artist with Zest Collective and The Black Iris Project. Jenna Marie was a member of Ailey II under the direction of Sylvia Waters and Troy Powell. She was also a member of Nai Ni Chen Dance Company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, The Metropolitan Opera, and MOMIX. This is Jenna Marie's third season with Ballet Hispánico.  


Geena Pacareu is from Tarragona, Spain, where she trained at Artemis Dansa, and graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Dance Mariemma in Madrid. She has won numerous prizes at internationally renowned dance contests, such as Les Espoirs de la Danse and The National Confederation of Dance in France. Before graduating, Pacareu was accepted as a full-time trainee at Ajkun Ballet Theatre in New York City and was promoted to Company artist in 2012. A year later, she joined Parsons Dance under the direction of David Parsons, where she performed repertory from choreographers such as David Parsons, Robert Battle, Trey McIntyre, and taught all over United States, Europe, and Latin America. Pacareu has worked as a dancer/model for the 2015 W/F Studio collection of OYSHO, Voice of Insiders, and Lois Greenfield’s Breaking Bounds 2018 Calendar.




Omar Rivéra is originally from Los Angeles, CA. After moving to Dallas, Texas, Rivéra trained at Prodigy Dance & Performing Arts Centre under the direction of Camille Billelo. In addition to training at Prodigy, he graduated from the prestigious Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts (HSPVA) under the direction of Lily Cabatu Weiss, and was a part of HSPVA’s dance ensembles Repertoire Dance Company I & II, where he performed a variety of works choreographed by national leading artists including Robert Battle and Desmond Richardson. Soon after, Rivéra attended the University of Arizona-School of Dance, under the direction of Jory L. Hancock on scholarship, and graduated with a BFA in Dance in 2018. Throughout his years at the University of Arizona, Rivéra was one of eight men selected to perform at The Joyce Theater for the José Limón International Dance Festival, and danced works by guest artists including Christopher Wheeldon’s The American, Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Boiling Point, and Bella Lewitzky’s Meta4, among others.


Gabrielle Sprauve was born in Queens, NY and raised in Savannah, GA. During her high school years, Sprauve attended Savannah Arts Academy for the performing arts and participated in programs at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and The Martha Graham School. She went on to Marymount Manhattan College, where she earned her BFA degree in Dance under the direction of Katie Langan in 2017. Sprauve has performed at the American Dance Guild, the 92nd Street Y’s Fridays at Noon Series, and The Martha Graham Company’s University Partners Showcase. She has also performed works by Larry Keigwin, Alexandra Damiani, Norbert De La Cruz, Paul Taylor, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Adam Barruch, and Jo Strømgren. This is Sprauve’s second season dancing nationally and internationally with Ballet Hispánico.




Eila Valls is originally from Spain and graduated from El Real Conservatorio Profesional de Danza (The Royal Professional Dance Conservatory) “Mariemma” in Madrid, Spain in 2010. She is the winner of the Virginia Valero extraordinary award in Madrid, and the first place winner of the international competition Certamen de Dansa Ciutat de Barcelona (Barcelona City Dance Contest), through which she was awarded a full scholarship to the Peridance Certificate Program and The Joffrey Ballet. Since she moved to New York in 2011, she’s had the privilege to work with Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, where she has performed repertory by choreographers such as Igal Perry, Dwight Rhoden, Ohad Naharin, and Sidra Bell, among others. She has also danced under the direction of Manuel Vignoulle, Brice Mousset and Yesid Lopez, and has worked as a dancer/model for Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour. 



Dandara Veiga was a scholarship student at The Ailey School in 2016/2017. She started her dance training at Projeto Social Primeiros Passos (Brazil), before training as a scholarship student at Escola de dança Ballerina (Brazil), Studio Margarita Fernandez (Argentina), Opus Ballet (Italy), and Annarella Academia Dr Ballet e Dança (Portugal). Dandara has participated in dance festivals all around the world and received scholarships with San Francisco Ballet and Ballet West. She has performed at events such as Vibe Competition (Montana/US), Assamblé International (Toronto/Canada), Harlem Arts Festival, and the Ailey Spirit Gala (New York/US). She has had the opportunity to work with names such as Charla Gen, Robert Battle, Caridad Martinez, Claudia Zaccari, Jean Emille, Ray Mercer, Raul Candal, and Melanie Futorian.



Lyvan Verdecia was born in Havana, Cuba. He graduated from the National Ballet School of Cuba in 2013 and joined the ranks of the National Ballet of Cuba through December 2014, where he developed as a dancer and choreographer. He has had the opportunity to participate in festivals and has won gold and bronze medals at international competitions. He has shared the stage with Carlos Acosta in his Tocororo and with Viengsay Valdes in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Celeste. In 2017, Verdecia was awarded a Princess Grace Award in Dance.

Photos (c) Paula Lobo

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