BALLET BOYS

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By Gabriella Beauvais, University of Oregon Student, guest contributor

A son tells his parents he wants to be the best of the best. He aspires to be the strongest, quickest, and most agile of them all. He understands the rigors his body will undertake and that such aspirations require dedication, commitment and an unwavering passion. A son tells his parents he wants to be a ballet dancer. 

What if your son is ridiculed for his dreams? What if he is laughed at, mocked and made to believe his dreams are not worth pursuing, simply because they do not fit society’s ideals on what boys should be interested in?

On August 22, Good Morning America co-anchor Lara Spencer laughed at the idea of Prince George having been enrolled to take ballet classes as a part of his curriculum. She later apologized for her insensitive comments towards the young prince after receiving social media backlash for her reaction.

Ballet dancer Gustavo Ramirez, 24, has been dancing since he was nine years old. He’s been performing professionally for Ballet Fantastique since 2016. He began his training in Cali, Columbia, at the Columbian Institute for Classical Ballet (Incolballet), becoming professional at the age of 17. At 18, Ramirez moved to the United States of America to continue his success.

Children deal with ridicule and bullying from their peers as soon as they start grade school. A boy in ballet is not an unusual occurrence—and unfortunately, neither is making fun of him for it. Ramirez reflected on his childhood and on his experiences as he entered this athletic art form.

“When I was a little kid, I think it was a harder environment because all my friends wanted to be soccer players. People didn’t know how to compare their athletic abilities in soccer to mine in ballet. People know famous soccer players, but they don’t know famous dancers. It was pretty hard,” says Ramirez.

Building his confidence was something that remained a constant for Ramirez as he grew up dancing. 

“I feel like all my life, I’ve been afraid to tell people I’m a ballet dancer, because of social stigmas – it’s just all these things that come with it,” says Ramirez.

While he worked on his confidence, Ramirez also built his strength and endurance through ballet. Ballet requires focus and tension coupled with elegant facial and body positions to make the moves look effortless. 

“I like how you get to not only show the physical but also the art side of it – you get to be really physical, like doing amazing jumps and all this weird stuff, but you also get to put emotion into it. So, it’s not just showing my power and that’s it. It’s powerful but graceful – I can make you fall in love with me or make you feel in danger,” says Ramirez.

Just like any other sport, there is practice. Ramirez is at the studio from 10:30-4 pm every day. One of his coaches and directors, Jessica Mackinson, Assistant to the Artistic Director at Ballet Fantastique, provides clarity on the athletic art form:

“It’s invigorating in a way because you are expressing yourself with your entire body, so your body is your instrument. You tell a story...give a perspective.” says Mackinson. “You’re moving your body, so it is producing those endorphins; you’re pushing your body to an extreme. It’s not only physical, but it’s also artistic. It’s also very internal too, kind of like baring your soul in a way, whether you interpret someone else’s ideas and art or bring your own experiences into it.” 

Along with a group of about 15 other national and international professional dancers, Mackinson coaches Ramirez at Ballet Fantastique’s downtown Eugene studios. A former professional dancer, she also runs the secondary rehearsals for the professional company performances. 

“I love it. I feel like ballet is for everyone. Originally, ballet was for men—only men could do it. Then, as more women started to dance (starting in the 1700s), it turned very female. I think there is room for all genders; it is for anyone who loves ballet,” says Mackinson. 

As a teacher of the craft, Mackinson elaborates on the growth and change she has seen in the industry. 

“I think as we move forward there’s been a lot more fluidity as to who is expected to dance certain roles – It used to be very much ‘men do this and women do this.’ There’s been a lot more female-female partnering and male-male partnering than the traditional female-male partnering. There is more ambiguity as to who lifts whom, who catches whom, so that’s been kind of fun to explore and to see those horizons broaden,” says Mackinson.

Although men and women both perform ballet, their active role in the athletic art form can be vastly different, especially in the traditional setting. The sport not only encourages men to join, but men are needed for movements such as extreme lifts, catches and falls. Brooke Bero, a fellow Ballet Fantastique company dancer of Ramirez, shares her opinion about men pursuing ballet.

“As an athletic pursuit, it’s wonderful. Dancers are some of the most well-rounded people I know, and I think it can benefit everyone in many ways. For me as a female, I often think it would be amazing to be a male dancer. They get to do these wonderful, powerful moves —the steps they can do are amazing,” says Bero.

Ramirez has been greatly impacted by his love for dance and for ballet in particular. Aside from the performances, awards and scholarships, he values his impact on young aspiring dancers, like he once was.

“I’m thankful to give the chance for other people to see that it’s possible. To give the chance for a little kid to see and know that he can be like me. I also like showing that this can be a career and people can be happy as a dance artist. I think that’s the most valuable thing,” says Ramirez.

He wants to see change happen for and within his community. He hopes the future will be bright for young male ballet dancers.

“I hope the thinking can change that says, ‘just because you do ballet you are you are not athletic’. I want them to see us as high-end athletes, in the same way they see all these figures in football or soccer. Its equal—actually, we’re higher because we have to portray emotions. They just have to run. You know, I can run, but ballet is more than that. Ballet is art,” says Ramirez.

He hopes one day, more people will have an appreciation for the arts. He does not want praise and complements for his skill. He wants to see more attendance at theaters and at shows everywhere.

About enrolling a boy in ballet, Mackinson says “Yes, it’s ballet. If you enroll your son in ballet, he’s learning poise, he’s learning memorization skills, he’s learning social emotional skills, and he’s learning athleticism, placement, posture, determination, musicality and vocabulary. Not only is ballet in English, it’s also in French, so meanwhile, while he’s learning all these different movements, he’s learning another language, and it’s challenging. For anyone to belittle all that effort and discipline is sad.” 

Meet Elizabeth Dorman (Nevermore Pianist)

CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED  ELIZABETH DORMAN  JOINS BALLET FANTASTIQUE’S MUSICAL ENSEMBLE AS GUEST PIANIST FOR BALLET FANTASTIQUE’S WORLD PREMIERE OF   NEVERMORE: STORIES OF EDGAR ALLAN POE   (PERFORMANCES OCT. 25-27, 2019 AT THE HULT CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS).

CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED ELIZABETH DORMAN JOINS BALLET FANTASTIQUE’S MUSICAL ENSEMBLE AS GUEST PIANIST FOR BALLET FANTASTIQUE’S WORLD PREMIERE OF NEVERMORE: STORIES OF EDGAR ALLAN POE (PERFORMANCES OCT. 25-27, 2019 AT THE HULT CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS).

ELIZABETH DORMAN BIO

Praised by Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle for her “crisp, brightly finished” playing and her “elegance and verve,” pianist Elizabeth Dorman received the 2017 Father Merlet Award from Pro Musicis and was a finalist in the 2018 Leipzig International Bach Competition. Appearances in the 2018-2019 season included Leipzig Chamber Orchestra and Folsom Lake Symphony, solo recitals in Washington, California, and New York, chamber music performances with principal players from the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics as well as members of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Upcoming recording projects include an album of Scarlatti sonatas, anticipated for release in Fall 2019.

Elizabeth performs frequently as a soloist and chamber musician and is a member of New York’s Bridge Arts Ensemble. Elizabeth was an Artist in Residence at the Banff Centre and has also appeared at summer festivals including Tanglewood, Sarasota, Aspen, Toronto, Icicle Creek, and her live performances have been nationally broadcast on public radio. She has appeared as a soloist with orchestra in San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall, Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall, Leipzig's Hochschule für Musik, Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, San Francisco’s Herbst Theater, and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Elizabeth was also winner of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Concerto Competition, the Ross McKee competition, and the California Young Artist’s Beethoven Competition.

Elizabeth holds her PhD in music under Gilbert Kalish at Stony Brook University, where she also served as Adjunct Lecturer of Piano Pedagogy. A passionate educator, she has previously held teaching positions at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division and has been piano faculty at summer festivals including the Icicle Creek Music Center and Summer Music West at the San Francisco Conservatory. She has participated in masterclasses with Robert Levin, Robert McDonald, Leon Fleisher, Wu Han, Arthur Haas, John Perry, Menahem Pressler, and Ann Schein. A native of San Francisco, CA, Elizabeth began her training with Paul Hersh at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.


Why are you excited to have been involved in this performance project, and how is it different from what you've done in the past?

I'm thrilled to be working with you all. First of all, I'm a huge ballet and dance fan and I always love collaborating with dancers. (I even studied dance for a while as an adult because I admire dancers so much!) It's a wonderful program with lots of juicy parts for the piano and I'm excited to see how it all fits together.

What intrigued you about connecting with Ballet Fantastique?
The PNW is very close to my heart as a lot of my family leaves nearby in Oregon and Washington, including my mother. I love traveling to this part of the country and it's always really special when I perform in this area because often my family will come to the performances. I've only been to Eugene once in my life and I'm excited to explore the city more.



Meet Sergei Teleshev (Nevermore Guest Accordion)

INTERNATIONAL AWARD-WINNING ACCORDIONIST SERGEI TELESHEV JOINS BALLET FANTASTIQUE’S MUSICAL ENSEMBLE AS MUSICIAN AND GUEST COMPOSER FOR BALLET FANTASTIQUE’S WORLD PREMIERE OF   NEVERMORE: STORIES OF EDGAR ALLAN POE   (PERFORMANCES OCT. 25-27, 2019 AT THE HULT CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS).

INTERNATIONAL AWARD-WINNING ACCORDIONIST SERGEI TELESHEV JOINS BALLET FANTASTIQUE’S MUSICAL ENSEMBLE AS MUSICIAN AND GUEST COMPOSER FOR BALLET FANTASTIQUE’S WORLD PREMIERE OF NEVERMORE: STORIES OF EDGAR ALLAN POE (PERFORMANCES OCT. 25-27, 2019 AT THE HULT CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS).

Tell us about your background.

Official bio: Classically trained in Russia, Sergei Teleshev is one of the most versatile accordion players today, winner of International competitions, US V-Accordion champion. Composing and arranging music in different styles, he collaborates with many recognizable musicians all over the world. He is also a promoter and manager of several international projects from Russia, Sweden, and the US. Sergei has produced more than 100 music videos available on his YouTube channel with thousands of subscribers and millions of views. He is featured on major recordings with major orchestras, including the London Philharmonic.

Why are you excited to have been involved in this performance project, and how is it different from what you've done in the past?

I have played for Ballet Fantastique a number of times and known the company for many years. It's always a pleasure to work with talented, creative, and professional people. I'm excited to be involved to this performance with some other great musicians. There also will be two solo accordion pieces, including my original composition "Waltz for Katya"—which I wrote for my daughter. I'm so looking forward to seeing this piece on the stage with Ballet Fantastique!



Meet Nathan Farrington (Nevermore Original Music Arrangements)

Nathan Farrington joins Ballet Fantastique’s creative team as original arranger for Ballet Fantastique’s world premiere of   Nevermore: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe   (performances Oct. 25-27, 2019 at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts).

Nathan Farrington joins Ballet Fantastique’s creative team as original arranger for Ballet Fantastique’s world premiere of Nevermore: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (performances Oct. 25-27, 2019 at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts).

Tell us about your background.

I'm primarily a performer. I've played in the Philadelphia Orchestra's, the LA Philharmonic's, the San Fransisco Symphony's, and the Chicago Symphony's bass sections. I also love to sing, and have enjoyed using the combination of bass playing and singing to collaborate with musicians across many genres. I've arranged works for the LA Philharmonic and Weezer, Dreamworks Entertainment, the Britt Music Festival Orchestra, and the Musicians from Garden Music, and run a music production company called Hazard Audio in Los Angeles.

(PS: Nate’s official bio: Nathan Farrington is a bassist, singer, and composer living in Los Angeles. He regularly appears in the bass sections of many of America's top orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the East Coast Chamber Orchestra, and the Seattle Symphony. Nathan was recently named the Principal Bass of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra under James Conlon and Placido Domingo, and pursues chamber music and solo opportunities avidly. Nathan has appeared at the Marlboro Music Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, the Olympic Music Festival, ChemberFest Cleveland, and at the Da Camera Society. In addition to his performance interests, Nathan is deeply interested in Cinema. His LA based audio company, Hazard Audio, connects top classical minds, with the artistic minds in movie and tv production. His life in each of these fields has helped him engage in new and interesting projects across the US.


Why are you excited to have been involved in this performance project, and how is it different from what you've done in the past?

Combining the art forms is powerful. Stacking great music, talented musicians, new arrangements, marvelous dancers, and the sounds/visuals that come along with a ballet performance, enhances all of the individual parts. The results transcend a normal orchestral performance, and an audience with little or no 'music' or 'dance' experience can come enjoy an accessible and inspiring evening of 'high art'.



What intrigued you about connecting with Ballet Fantastique?
Ballet Fantastique’s creative team is uniquely interested in serving their audiences. The thought and consideration they exhibit during the planning process for a new work is inspiring, and the opportunity be a part of their artistic efforts is a real pleasure. I'm so excited to see Ballet Fantastique's evening of dark entertainment come together and am pleased to have been able to contribute.

Nathan Farrington is also principal bass player for the LA Opera Orchestra.


Meet Edgar Allan Poe (Ballet Fantastique Guest Artist Alastair Morley Jaques)


Guest artist Alastair Morley Jaques is “Edgar Allan Poe” for Ballet Fantastique’s   Nevermore: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe   world premiere, Oct. 25-27, 2019 at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts.

Guest artist Alastair Morley Jaques is “Edgar Allan Poe” for Ballet Fantastique’s Nevermore: Stories of Edgar Allan Poe world premiere, Oct. 25-27, 2019 at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts.

Tell us about your background.

I'm an Oregon native and I studied theatre and literature, with a special focus on the nineteenth century, at the U of O and the Evergreen State College. About ten years ago, I began developing a live, one-person show about early nineteenth century literary great Edgar Allan Poe. This involved not only total immersion in Poe's stories and poems, which I specialize in performing, but also on the biography and the character of Poe the person.



Why are you excited to be involved in this performance, and how is it different from what you've done in the past?

This performance will be an exciting and expansive experience for me. Nearly all of my past performances consist of me standing, moving about the stage, and talking at great length, unaided by any sort of music of visual display. It's really just me and Poe up there most of the time. Ballet Fantastique's blending of music and dance with the dark lyricism and themes of Edgar Allan Poe is a wholly new experience for me and my ever evolving interpretation of the stories and poems. And it's a melding of artistic perspectives of which I think Poe would have approved. Not only did Poe speak of "the pleasure derivable from sweet sounds with the capacity for creating them" in his lesser known but highly influential work "The Island of the Fay," but he also made sure to include ballet dancers among the macabre amusements offered up in "The Masque of the Red Death."



What intrigued you about connecting with Ballet Fantastique and doing a performance in Eugene/the Pacific Northwest?

Well, just as Poe was a proud southern boy, I'm a son of Cascadia and love working with arts and educational organizations of the Pacific Northwest. While my Poe engagements have taken me as far as Chicago this year, it's always to Oregon that I return for the latter part of October. Working with a premier Oregon arts organization like Ballet Fantastique is just the sort of collaboration I try to exemplify in all of my productions, both Poe-related and otherwise: Classic works of American literature, but done in that ineffable but instantly identifiable Oregon way by Oregon artists and craftspersons. Again, Poe was from Virginia and died ten years before Oregon was granted statehood, but he was a weirdo and an outsider…and Oregon loves weirdos and outsiders. We celebrate and glorify them in a way that I think Poe would have appreciated. He did write one piece that talked about the expanding United States and what was, for him, the most far flung boundaries of civilization in the Pacific Northwest in a critical essay entitled "Astoria.”

Alastair Morley Jaques in costume as Edgar Allan Poe.

Alastair Morley Jaques in costume as Edgar Allan Poe.

Meet BFan's New 18-19 Season Apprentices!

Please note: Bios coming soon! 

SENIOR APPRENTICES

Katherine Chang — British Columbia, Canada

Sophia MacMillan — Berkeley, CA

Natan Lubow — Kenmore, WA

 

FELLOWSHIP APPRENTICES

Jenavieve Hernandez — Spokane, WA

Bethany Ayers-Hale — Corvallis, OR

Meet BFan's New 18-19 Season Company Dancers!

GABRIEL RITZMANN  COMPANY SOLOIST   Hometown:  Florianópolis, SC - Brazil   Favorites:  Movies, play board games with friends, traveling, and taking pictures of beautiful things   Originally from Brazil, Gabriel studied classical ballet at Ballet Juvenil de Florianópolis and completed his training at the prestigious Escola de Dança do Conservatório Nacional in Lisbon, Portugal and Pacific DanceArts in Vancouver, Canada. In 2011, Gabriel was invited to be part of the pre-professional program at Coastal City Ballet in Vancouver, BC. Gabriel also attended the professional summer intensive at Atlanta Ballet and the Banff Centre Dance Program on scholarship. Gabriel has won gold medals and many scholarships at many international dance competitions, including the largest dance festival in South America, the “Festival de Dança de Joinville.”     Gabriel joined Canada's Ballet Jörgen in Toronto as a company dancer from 2012-2014, performing classical repertoire including  Swan Lake,   Romeo and Juliet,  soloist roles in  The Nutcracker,  and many contemporary works under Director Bengt Jӧrgen. Gabriel's professional resume also includes work with Cia Independente de Florianópolis in Brazil, and guest performances across Canada and the US.    With Ballet Fantastique, Gabriel recently starred as the charming rake, Rafael Moncada, in Ballet Fantastique's  ZORRO: The Ballet  with the LA-based band Incendio and virtuoso violinist Brendan Vance playing the original music of Oregon composer Kim Angelis.

GABRIEL RITZMANN
COMPANY SOLOIST

Hometown:
Florianópolis, SC - Brazil

Favorites:
Movies, play board games with friends, traveling, and taking pictures of beautiful things

Originally from Brazil, Gabriel studied classical ballet at Ballet Juvenil de Florianópolis and completed his training at the prestigious Escola de Dança do Conservatório Nacional in Lisbon, Portugal and Pacific DanceArts in Vancouver, Canada. In 2011, Gabriel was invited to be part of the pre-professional program at Coastal City Ballet in Vancouver, BC. Gabriel also attended the professional summer intensive at Atlanta Ballet and the Banff Centre Dance Program on scholarship. Gabriel has won gold medals and many scholarships at many international dance competitions, including the largest dance festival in South America, the “Festival de Dança de Joinville.” 

Gabriel joined Canada's Ballet Jörgen in Toronto as a company dancer from 2012-2014, performing classical repertoire including Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, soloist roles in The Nutcracker, and many contemporary works under Director Bengt Jӧrgen. Gabriel's professional resume also includes work with Cia Independente de Florianópolis in Brazil, and guest performances across Canada and the US.

With Ballet Fantastique, Gabriel recently starred as the charming rake, Rafael Moncada, in Ballet Fantastique's ZORRO: The Ballet with the LA-based band Incendio and virtuoso violinist Brendan Vance playing the original music of Oregon composer Kim Angelis.


ESPERANZA MoNTERO  COMPANY ARTIST   Hometown:  MIAMI, FL   Favorites:  Trying new foods, being adventurous, watching movies, learning new styles of dance, and spending time with her family!   Esperanza began her training and danced professionally under the direction of Aida Villoch, former prima ballerina and Artistic Director of Ballet de Camaguey, Cuba. Growing up, Esperanza spent her summers at many prestigious ballet intensives, including Orlando Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Oklahoma City Ballet.      In 2015, Esperanza moved to Brussels, Belgium and worked with Menia Martinez, Director of Studio Maison Bejart. Under Ms. Martinez’s direction, she performed many choreography works from the late Maurice Bejart. In 2016, Esperanza moved back to the U.S. and performed under the direction of Ms. Villoch. She performed many soloist roles in ballets including  Le Corsaire ,  Paquita ,  Nutcracker ,   Grand Pas Classique,  and  Swan Lake .      Esperanza has also had the opportunity to work and perform as an apprentice with Dissonance Dance Theatre in Washington D.C. Under the direction of Shawn Short, she performed many of his choreography works including "Viewmaster, Time=No Man" and "Unsettled" by St. Louis choreographer Kameron N. Saunders.     Aside from training and performing, Esperanza finds great pleasure and excitement teaching young and experienced artists her love and passion for the art.    This is Esperanza's first season with Ballet Fantastique. 

ESPERANZA MoNTERO
COMPANY ARTIST

Hometown:
MIAMI, FL

Favorites:
Trying new foods, being adventurous, watching movies, learning new styles of dance, and spending time with her family!

Esperanza began her training and danced professionally under the direction of Aida Villoch, former prima ballerina and Artistic Director of Ballet de Camaguey, Cuba. Growing up, Esperanza spent her summers at many prestigious ballet intensives, including Orlando Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Oklahoma City Ballet.  

In 2015, Esperanza moved to Brussels, Belgium and worked with Menia Martinez, Director of Studio Maison Bejart. Under Ms. Martinez’s direction, she performed many choreography works from the late Maurice Bejart. In 2016, Esperanza moved back to the U.S. and performed under the direction of Ms. Villoch. She performed many soloist roles in ballets including Le CorsairePaquita, Nutcracker,  Grand Pas Classique, and Swan Lake.  

Esperanza has also had the opportunity to work and perform as an apprentice with Dissonance Dance Theatre in Washington D.C. Under the direction of Shawn Short, she performed many of his choreography works including "Viewmaster, Time=No Man" and "Unsettled" by St. Louis choreographer Kameron N. Saunders. 

Aside from training and performing, Esperanza finds great pleasure and excitement teaching young and experienced artists her love and passion for the art.

This is Esperanza's first season with Ballet Fantastique. 


Cody Bakhshi  COMPANY ARTIST   Hometown:  Philadelphia, PA   Favorites:  Adventuresome eating, exploring new places, spending time laughing with family, and his dog, Stella   Cody comes to Ballet Fantastique after working with Nevada Ballet Theater in Las Vegas last season.    Originally from Philadelphia, Cody trained at Metropolitan Ballet, where he trained under Denis Gronostayskiy, Sergei Pupurov, Eva Szabo, and performed in world premiere choreography by both Kanji Segawa and Sarah Mettin.    Cody was awarded full scholarship to the Bolshoi's Summer Intensive program in NYC, Cincinnati Ballet, Orlando Ballet and a full year scholarship to International Ballet Academy in North Carolina under Servy Gallardo.    He has additionally performed in roles in The Nutcracker and Coppelia at South Jersey Ballet Theater, and multiple roles in The Nutcracker at Wilmington Ballet in the historic Dupont Theater.

Cody Bakhshi
COMPANY ARTIST

Hometown:
Philadelphia, PA

Favorites:
Adventuresome eating, exploring new places, spending time laughing with family, and his dog, Stella

Cody comes to Ballet Fantastique after working with Nevada Ballet Theater in Las Vegas last season.

Originally from Philadelphia, Cody trained at Metropolitan Ballet, where he trained under Denis Gronostayskiy, Sergei Pupurov, Eva Szabo, and performed in world premiere choreography by both Kanji Segawa and Sarah Mettin.

Cody was awarded full scholarship to the Bolshoi's Summer Intensive program in NYC, Cincinnati Ballet, Orlando Ballet and a full year scholarship to International Ballet Academy in North Carolina under Servy Gallardo.

He has additionally performed in roles in The Nutcracker and Coppelia at South Jersey Ballet Theater, and multiple roles in The Nutcracker at Wilmington Ballet in the historic Dupont Theater.


Kateri Bilay  COMPANY CORPS   Quick Facts Hometown:  Boise, ID   Ballet Fantastique:  First season   College:  Boise State University   Photographer Credit: Mike Reid    Kateri began her ballet training in Boise, ID at Capital City Ballet Center. At age 15, she was offered a scholarship to train at Ballet Idaho Academy, where she continued her ballet training until graduation. During her years in the Ballet Idaho Academy, Kateri performed frequently with their professional company in ballets such as Serenade, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker. She then spent a year training with Ballet West's Academy in Salt Lake City, UT on scholarship. Her main mentors were Jeff Rogers, Heather Frixell, and Jan Fugit. She also spent five summers studying under scholarship at Ballet West. Kateri then returned to Ballet Idaho as an apprentice for their 15-16 season.     Kateri has also performed as a company artist with Idaho Dance Theatre for their 16-17 season. There, she danced a variety of new and contemporary choreographic works by IDT director Marla Hansen and choreographer Sayoko Knode. Returning to her ballet roots, Kateri danced with Central West Ballet in their 17-18 season as a company artist, where she performed many soloist roles. Among her favorite roles were Jewell Doll and Chinese lead in The Nutcracker, and the Spring Fairy in Rene Daveluy’s Cinderella.     Kateri is also pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in the field of biology at Boise State University.    She is excited to join Ballet Fantastique for the 18-19 season.

Kateri Bilay
COMPANY CORPS

Quick Facts
Hometown:

Boise, ID

Ballet Fantastique:
First season

College:
Boise State University

Photographer Credit: Mike Reid

Kateri began her ballet training in Boise, ID at Capital City Ballet Center. At age 15, she was offered a scholarship to train at Ballet Idaho Academy, where she continued her ballet training until graduation. During her years in the Ballet Idaho Academy, Kateri performed frequently with their professional company in ballets such as Serenade, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker. She then spent a year training with Ballet West's Academy in Salt Lake City, UT on scholarship. Her main mentors were Jeff Rogers, Heather Frixell, and Jan Fugit. She also spent five summers studying under scholarship at Ballet West. Kateri then returned to Ballet Idaho as an apprentice for their 15-16 season.

Kateri has also performed as a company artist with Idaho Dance Theatre for their 16-17 season. There, she danced a variety of new and contemporary choreographic works by IDT director Marla Hansen and choreographer Sayoko Knode. Returning to her ballet roots, Kateri danced with Central West Ballet in their 17-18 season as a company artist, where she performed many soloist roles. Among her favorite roles were Jewell Doll and Chinese lead in The Nutcracker, and the Spring Fairy in Rene Daveluy’s Cinderella.

Kateri is also pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in the field of biology at Boise State University.

She is excited to join Ballet Fantastique for the 18-19 season.


Madeline Gambino  COMPANY ARTIST   Hometown:  Madison, WI   College:  Butler University   Favorites:  Yoga, cooking, eating sushi, spending time with friends and family   Photographer Credits: Kat's Photography/Kat Stiennon + MoKnows Photos/Josh Morris    Madeline was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, raised in Madison, Wisconsin and has been dancing for over 15 years. She began training at the School of Madison Ballet under artistic director W. Earle Smith. Madeline begins her first season with Ballet Fantastique from Butler University’s nationally-recognized dance program. Madeline received a scholarship to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, where she attended intensives during three summers. She also attended summer intensives at other prestigious ballet schools around the country such as Ballet Chicago and the Kirov Academy of Ballet. While at the School of Madison Ballet, Madeline was asked to join the pre-professional program for the 13-14 and 14-15 seasons. During these two seasons, she performed in many ballets including The Nutcracker and Cinderella, as well as W. Earle Smith’s critically-acclaimed, neoclassical works of Groovy, Expressions, Dracula, and La Luce D’Amore. As part of this program, Madeline additionally toured throughout the state of Wisconsin with Madison Ballet performing various repertory works.     Madeline performed many corps roles in works such as George Balanchine’s Elegie and The Four Temperaments at Madison Ballet and Butler University, respectively. At Butler, Madeline performed corps roles in ballets including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Giselle, Cinderella and various works in the annual Midwinter Dance Festival. In 2017, she performed her debut soloist role of the “Arabian Queen” for the Indianapolis community in Butler University’s production of The Nutcracker.    Madeline spent the past few years at Butler University on academic scholarship studying dance, arts administration and strategic communication. She hopes to pursue her education throughout her dance career and complete her bachelor’s degree.     Not only is Madeline motivated by expressing herself onstage, but she is also fascinated by how dance can have such a positive impact on people of all ages and enjoys performing as a way to empower herself as well as the audience.

Madeline Gambino
COMPANY ARTIST

Hometown:
Madison, WI

College:
Butler University

Favorites:
Yoga, cooking, eating sushi, spending time with friends and family

Photographer Credits: Kat's Photography/Kat Stiennon + MoKnows Photos/Josh Morris

Madeline was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, raised in Madison, Wisconsin and has been dancing for over 15 years. She began training at the School of Madison Ballet under artistic director W. Earle Smith. Madeline begins her first season with Ballet Fantastique from Butler University’s nationally-recognized dance program. Madeline received a scholarship to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, where she attended intensives during three summers. She also attended summer intensives at other prestigious ballet schools around the country such as Ballet Chicago and the Kirov Academy of Ballet. While at the School of Madison Ballet, Madeline was asked to join the pre-professional program for the 13-14 and 14-15 seasons. During these two seasons, she performed in many ballets including The Nutcracker and Cinderella, as well as W. Earle Smith’s critically-acclaimed, neoclassical works of Groovy, Expressions, Dracula, and La Luce D’Amore. As part of this program, Madeline additionally toured throughout the state of Wisconsin with Madison Ballet performing various repertory works.

Madeline performed many corps roles in works such as George Balanchine’s Elegie and The Four Temperaments at Madison Ballet and Butler University, respectively. At Butler, Madeline performed corps roles in ballets including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Giselle, Cinderella and various works in the annual Midwinter Dance Festival. In 2017, she performed her debut soloist role of the “Arabian Queen” for the Indianapolis community in Butler University’s production of The Nutcracker.

Madeline spent the past few years at Butler University on academic scholarship studying dance, arts administration and strategic communication. She hopes to pursue her education throughout her dance career and complete her bachelor’s degree.

Not only is Madeline motivated by expressing herself onstage, but she is also fascinated by how dance can have such a positive impact on people of all ages and enjoys performing as a way to empower herself as well as the audience.