Ballet Austin Company Dancers
BAII: 2017–2018 | Joined Company: 2018
Max began dancing under Risa Kaplowitz, Director of Princeton Dance and Theater (PDT) Studio in Princeton, N.J. He began performing at age 12 with Princeton Youth Ballet. In 2014 Max began studying at American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School after winning a full scholarship through Youth American Grand Prix. He trained at the JKO School from 2014-2017, first under Franco De Vita and then Cynthia Harvey. While at the JKO school, Max performed Jeremy McQueen’s original work, Garden of Dreams, at the Ballet Across America Gala. He performed the Paquita Grand Pas de Deux and George Balanchine’s La Source at JKO’s year-end performance. In 2016 Max was awarded the prestigious Northern Trust Scholarship. Max spent his summers at PDT, Orlando Ballet School, the Chautauqua Institute, and American Ballet Theatre, N.Y. He also studied at the Amsterdam International Summer School, IBStage in Barcelona, and International Ballet Masterclasses in Prague.
IAN J. BETHANY
BAII: 2008–2009 | Joined Company: 2009
Ian J. Bethany is from Long Island, N.Y. He started dancing as a tap and jazz student at Robert Mann Dance Centre. He started ballet at Tap to Pointe Dance Center, continuing at the Frank Ohman School of Ballet, the School of Ballet Chicago, Ballet Academy East, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. With Ballet Austin, Ian has been featured in George Balanchine’s Agon and Allegro Brillante, Nicolo Fonte’s Lasting Imprint, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Requiem for a rose, Gabrielle Lamb’s Dovetail, Bradley Shelver’s The Last Just, Stephen Mills’ Carmina Burana, The Magic Flute, and The Nutcracker, as the Master of Ceremonies in Mills’ Cinderella, in the Bluebird Pas de Deux in The Sleeping Beauty, as the White Rabbit in Septime Webre’s Alice (in wonderland), and as Peter Pan in Paul Vasterling’s Peter Pan. He has performed with project-based company Performa/Dance, ZACH Theatre, Zilker Theatre Productions, has sung with the Austin Opera and does numerous juggling gigs around Austin. Ian has choreographed and taught for the Ballet Austin Academy, the ZACH Theatre Pre-Professional Company, for Harmony School of Creative Arts, and for Agni Entertainment.
ORLANDO JULIUS CANOVA
Joined Company: 2005
Orlando Julius Canova began his ballet training with Lawrence and Sarma Rosenberg at the Anaheim Ballet School. At age 16 he moved to New York City to train at the School of American Ballet. There, he received a full tuition merit scholarship and was sponsored by Debbie Allen. Orlando furthered his ballet training with Miami City Ballet School. In 2001, Orlando became an Arpino Apprentice with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and in 2003 he joined as a full company member. While at Joffrey, Orlando played the part of apprentice in Robert Altman’s movie, The Company.
At Ballet Austin Orlando has danced lead roles in The Nutcracker, Cult of Color: Call to Color, Truth & Beauty: The Bach Project, Romeo & Juliet, Nine Sinatra Songs, silence within silence and The Magic Flute. He has worked with such choreographers as Stephen Mills, Twyla Tharp, KT Nelson, Dominic Walsh, Nicolo Fonte, Sonya Delwaide, Toni Bravo, Michelle Thompson, Reginald Harris, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Orlando has also had the pleasure of dancing for Molly Lynch’s National Choreographers Initiative in 2012 and 2013. There he worked with Darrell Moultrie, Melissa Barak, Val Caniparoli, Frank Chavez, Kitty McNamee, and Susan McCullough. In addition, Orlando teaches dance at the Ballet Austin Academy, the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness, Saint Mary’s Hall, Austin City Ballet, and Alamo Heights High School.
BA Trainee: 2006–2007 | BAII: 2007–2008 | Joined Company: 2008
Growing up in Pittsburgh, Penn., Carr received his first 12 years of ballet training at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School. After graduating high school, he continued his training at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, where he had the privilege to work with choreographers including James Kudelka, Toer van Schayk, and Rudi van Dantzig. Carr moved to Austin in 2006 to attend Ballet Austin’s trainee program and joined the main company in 2008 after one season as an apprentice. Since joining Ballet Austin, he has been featured in Stephen Mills’ Light/The Holocaust and Humanity Project, premiered as The Beast in Mills’ Belle REDUX / A Tale of Beauty & the Beast, and has been featured in works by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, Lar Lubovitch, Pam Tanowitz, Pontus Lidberg, Nicolo Fonte, and Jennifer Hart. Carr recently appeared in visual artist Rodney McMillian’s film Untitled (neighbors), part of McMillian’s first solo exhibition Against a Civic Death at The Contemporary Austin. Carr also serves as the associate director to local contemporary dance company Performa/Dance, founded in 2014 by Carr and local choreographer Jennifer Hart. Performa/Dance continues to expand its reach and produce dance for the Austin scene and has been recognized with several Austin Critics Table Awards.
BAII: 2016–2018 | Joined Company: 2018
Katherine is originally from St. Paul, Minn. She began her pre-professional training at Minnesota Dance Theatre under Lise Houlton. She became an apprentice with MDT in 2013, where she danced works by Loyce Houlton, Lise Houlton, Elliot Feld, and Emery LeCrone, among others. In 2014, she was invited to attend the School of American Ballet. While at SAB, she participated in multiple Choreographic Institute’s where she originated roles by Dana Genshaft and Peter Walker. She also appeared in SAB’s annual Workshop performance in Jerome Robbins’ Fanfare as well as George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments. As an apprentice with Ballet Austin, she has had the opportunity to dance works by Stephen Mills, Michelle Thompson, Thang Dao and Septime Webre. Most recently, she appeared in Jennifer Hart’s Fellow Travelers with Performa/Dance.
BAII: 2015–2017 | Joined Company: 2017
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Constance trained until age 17 under Gigi Hyatt and Janusz Mazon. At 17, she was invited to study year-round at the School of American Ballet in New York City. There she performed George Balanchine’s Serenade, Western Symphony, and Valse Fantaisie during the school’s Workshop performances, and was featured in a 2015 PBS “Live from Lincoln Center” national broadcast. She was repeatedly invited to dance in the annual New York Choreographic Institute and to participate as both dancer and choreographer in SAB’s Student Choreographic Workshop. In 2015 she began her apprenticeship with Ballet Austin, and in 2017 was invited to join the main company. At Ballet Austin, she has particularly enjoyed dancing the principal couple in Stephen Mill’s Touch, George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, and was honored to join the company in their month-long tour of China. She is thankful to her parents, whose love and sacrifices made her career possible, and she dances to glorify God and magnify His beauty.
BAII: 2016–2017 | Joined Company: 2017
Originally from Lafayette, La., Hailey began her ballet training at The Ballet Studio and later Lafayette Ballet Theatre. She has attended the summer programs of American Ballet Theatre (NYC), Houston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, The School of American Ballet (SAB) and Ballet Austin. At 15, Hailey was awarded full scholarship to study year round at SAB where she then trained for three years. While at SAB, she performed in the Student’s Annual Workshop performances. She had the pleasure of performing Dance of the Little Swans in George Balanchine’s Swan Lake, Danses Concertantes, The Four Temperaments and Jerome Robbins’ Fanfare. She also participated in SAB’s Student Choreographic Workshop and was selected to participate in lecture demonstration programs for New York public schools. Hailey joined Ballet Austin II in 2016 and was promoted to the main company in 2017. She would like to thank her parents for their continued support.
Joined Company: 2010
James Fuller is from Irvine, Calif., and was trained at Ballet Pacifica Conservatory. In 2004, James received a Youth America Grand Prix scholarship to study at the Boston Ballet School, where he completed his final year of training. James apprenticed with Oregon Ballet Theatre for a year before enrolling at Harvard University. At Harvard, James performed works by choreographers such as Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, George Balanchine, and Alvin Ailey. In the summers, James studied modern dance with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, American Dance Festival, and Beijing LDTX. James directed the Harvard Ballet Company in 2009 and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Philosophy, a secondary field in dramatic arts, and a language citation in Urdu-Hindi. Since joining Ballet Austin, James has performed in original works by Stephen Mills, including Luminaria and Though the Earth Gives Way, danced in Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, performed with the National Choreographers Initiative, and choreographed for Houston City Dance.
BAII: 2013–2014 | Joined Company: 2014
An Austinite by birth, Oliver was raised in southern Vermont and received his early training at the Brattleboro School of Dance and Burklyn Ballet Theatre. He graduated from the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance with a BFA – Ballet Concentration and was given the award for Outstanding Senior in Modern Dance. While at Purchase, Oliver danced in works by George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Lar Lubovitch, Nicolo Fonte, John Heginbotham, and Gabrielle Lamb. Immediately after graduation, he joined the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in New York City. Since joining Ballet Austin, Oliver has been featured in works by Stephen Mills, Lar Lubovitch, Pontus Lidberg, Pam Tanowitz, Septime Webre, Jimmy Orrante, and Nelly van Bommel. In the summer of 2017, he toured Thang Dao’s award-winning duet We Circle the Night to the Danza in Arte a Pietrasanta Festival in Italy. Oliver was recently a performer in Rodney McMillian’s Untitled (neighbors) as part of Against a Civic Death funded by the inaugural Susan Deal Booth Art Prize exhibited at the Contemporary Austin. He is also a member of Performa/Dance, an Austin-based dance company directed by Jennifer Hart and Edward Carr.
Joined Company: 2016
Courtney Holland was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and at the age of 11 began her professional training at Canada’s National Ballet School. After graduating from NBS in 2010, Courtney moved to New York City to continue her training at the Dance Theatre of Harlem on a full scholarship. In June 2012, she was a finalist at the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition. She was awarded a full scholarship to the Banff Centre’s Professional Dance Program where she appeared as a guest artist in the Arts Summer Festival, performing George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco and Christopher Wheeldon’s Souvenirs. In 2013, Courtney joined Charlotte Ballet II where she performed works by George Balanchine, Dwight Rhoden, Sasha Janes, Mark Diamond and Jean- Pierre Bonnefoux. There she had the privilege to perform featured roles in The Nutcracker and the role of the Autumn Fairy in Cinderella, under the direction of Kennedy Center Honoree Patricia McBride. Since joining Ballet Austin in 2016, Courtney has had the pleasure of dancing several of Stephen Mills’ ballets as well as works by Septime Webre and Pam Tanowitz. She enjoyed performing Justin Peck’s In Creases and was featured in Paul Vasterling’s Peter Pan as Tinker Bell. Courtney feels very blessed to have the love and support of her family and is excited for her third season with Ballet Austin.
BAII: 2015–2017 | Joined Company: 2017
Paul Martin began his ballet and dance training in West Des Moines, Iowa, under the tutelage of Hank and Beth Adams. With their guidance, Paul was able to earn scholarships to notable summer intensive programs to include the Kansas City Ballet School, Nutmeg Conservatory, San Francisco Ballet School and Ballet Austin. In 2014, Paul received a scholarship to study full time at the Kansas City Ballet School. This program enabled him to advance his training and culminated in a performance opportunity with Kansas City Ballet II. Since joining Ballet Austin II in 2015, he has been able to perform lead roles as The Judge in Nick Kepley’s Season of Innocence and The Prince in Nelly Van Bommel’s Snow White. Additionally, he has performed in Jennifer Hart’s Spaces and in Stephen Mills’ The Nutcracker and Touch. Paul has found artistic joy and growth working with Ballet Austin and looks forward to joining the main company for the 2017/18 season.
BAII: 2012–2013 | Joined Company: 2013
Grace Morton is from Seattle, Wash. She received her early training from Vivian Little and Mary Reardon, school directors of Dance Fremont. In 2010 she began training under the direction of Damara Bennett in Oregon Ballet Theater’s professional division. She had the chance to tour to Korea and performed in company productions of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and Nicolo Fonte’s world premiere of Petrushka. As a member of Ballet Austin II, she enjoyed performing featured roles in Stephen Mills’ Luminaria, Jennifer Hart’s Wavemakers, and Nelly Van Bommel’s Snow White. After joining the company, Grace has performed roles in classical ballets such as French in Stephen Mills’ The Nutcracker, Puss ‘n Boots in The Sleeping Beauty, and Four Little Swans in Swan Lake. She has also had the pleasure to appear in George Balanchine’s Agon, Stephen Mills’ One/the body’s grace, Gabriel Lamb’s Dovetail, James Gregg’s The Space Between, and Jennifer Hart’s To Here. Grace has danced in project-based company Performa/Dance, and appeared in Zilker Theatre Production’s presentation of Oklahoma! as Dream Laurie. She is also a teacher in the Ballet Austin Academy.
BAII: 2013–2015 | Joined Company: 2015
Originally from Roseville, Calif., Kevin began his dance training at The Hawkins School of Performing Arts. He then went on to train at the San Francisco Ballet School for six years, with teachers such as Lola De Avila, Jean-Yves Esquerre, Parrish Maynard, and Jeffrey Lyons. Kevin then joined Ballet Austin II, and later the professional company. He has enjoyed dancing in roles such as Mercutio in Stephen Mills’ Romeo and Juliet, the Dodo Bird in Septime Webre’s ALICE (in Wonderland), as well as other works by Lar Lubovitch, Pam Tanowitz, Pontus Lidberg, and Justin Peck. Kevin has also worked with the Austin-based company Performa/Dance under the direction of Jennifer Hart and Edward Carr.
PRESTON ANDREW PATTERSON
BAII: 2008–2010 | Joined Company: 2010
Preston Andrew Patterson was born in Atlanta, Ga., and began his dance studies at the Ballethnic Academy of Dance. At age 17 he attended the School of American Ballet and later the National Ballet School of Canada. As a member of Ballet Austin, Preston Patterson has had the privilege of performing in Stephen Mills’ Wolftanzt, Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, Belle Redux / A Tale of Beauty & The Beast, George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, the Peasant Pas de Deux from Giselle, and the Blue Bird in Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty.
BA Trainee: 2007–2009 | BAII: 2009–2011 | Joined Company: 2011
Elise Pekarek is originally from the Chicago area and began her early ballet training with the Judith Svalander School of Ballet under the direction of Judith Svalander and Greg Begley. Since joining the company in 2011, Elise has been honored to have been featured in several works by Stephen Mills’ as well as Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, George Balanchine, Lar Lubovitch, Pam Tanowitz, Septime Webre, and Jimmy Orrante. She participated as a dancer in the National Choreographer’s Initiative in 2017 and 2018. Elise has also performed in Austin-based projects such as Michelle Thompson’s Illusory Impressions as well as with Performa/Dance, directed by Jennifer Hart and Edward Carr. In 2017, she performed Thang Dao’s award-winning duet, We Circle The Night, for the Danza in Arte a Pietrasanta festival in Pietrasanta, Italy. Elise teaches classes for Ballet Austin’s Pilates Center.
CHELSEA MARIE RENNER
BA Trainee: 2005–2007 | BAII: 2007–2008 | Joined Company: 2008
Chelsea Marie Renner, originally from Bozeman, Mont., received her early training from Ann Bates of Montana Ballet and Campbell Midgley of Queen City Ballet. Since joining Ballet Austin’s main company, Chelsea has enjoyed performing principal roles in Stephen Mills’ The Nutcracker as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Paul Vasterling’s Peter Pan as Wendy. She has also enjoyed performing in Stephen Mills’ Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project, The Magic Flute, Kai, Hamlet, and as Rosalyn in Romeo & Juliet, along with George Balanchine’s Agon, Nicolo Fonte’s Lasting Imprint, and works by Nelly van Bommel, Gregory Dolbashian, Gabrielle Lamb, Jimmy Orrante, and Pam Tanowitz. In June of 2013, Chelsea was honored to travel to Washington, D.C., to perform Stephen Mills’ Hush for Ballet Across America III at The Kennedy Center, and in September of that year joined the company in Israel for a three-city tour of Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. Chelsea was the first recipient of the Sarah and Ernest Butler Scholarship in 2006. When not in the studio, Chelsea loves spending her time with her 3-year-old son, Landon, her husband, Aaron, and running her home-based skin care business with Rodan & Fields. Chelsea would like to thank Aaron, her parents, and her grandparents for their endless love and support.
Joined Company: 2019
Leanna Rinaldi was born in Fort Bragg, N.C. Her family moved to Nolensville, Tenn. where she began taking dance classes at age 3. She trained at Franklin School of Performing Arts until age 11 when her family relocated to Frisco, Texas. She continued her training there at Chamberlain Performing Arts under the direction of Kathy Chamberlain. She attended summer intensives at the School of American Ballet and Miami City Ballet School. After graduating high school and completing her second summer at MCB School, she received a scholarship for the year-round program in 2011. As a student, Rinaldi was given many opportunities to dance with the company and was hired as a company apprentice in 2013 and promoted to the corps de ballet there in 2014.
ASHLEY LYNN SHERMAN
Joined Company: 2002
Originally from the Chicago area, Ashley received her pre-professional training from Sherry Moray. She began her career with Alabama Ballet under the direction of Wes Chapman and Roger Van Fleteren. Since joining Ballet Austin, her personal highlights have been dancing the roles of Giselle, Odette/Odile, Juliet, and Ophelia in Stephen Mills’ Hamlet, receiving an Austin Critic’s Table Award for her performance. Ashley had the honor of originating the role of Pamina in Mills’ The Magic Flute, as well as premiering many of his contemporary works, and touring with the company to China, Israel, Italy, Slovenia, The Joyce Theater, and The Kennedy Center. She has also danced the principal pas de deux in Balanchine’s Agon, Lar Lubovitch’s Dvořák Serenade, and Pontus Lidberg’s Stream. Ashley has made guest appearances with National Choreographer’s Initiative, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, and Performa/Dance. She is an alumna of St. Edward’s University, and a private yoga instructor with specialization in Restorative yoga and Ayurveda. When she is not dancing or teaching, Ashley enjoys spending time with her new baby boy. She would like to thank her husband, Joshua, and her family for their generous support.
Joined Company: 2017
Morgan Stillman began his ballet training with Project Ballet in Fort Wayne, Ind., and attended Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. In 2014, he joined Nevada Ballet Theatre and performed principal and soloist roles in James Canfield and Balanchine repertoire. Morgan joined Ballet Austin’s professional company in 2017.
BA Trainee: 2007–2008 | BAII: 2008–2010 | Joined Company: 2010
Brittany Strickland is originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. She attended the North Carolina School of the Arts (now the University of NCSA) from 2001-2007 where she trained under Melissa Hayden, Nina Danilova, and Kee-Juan Han. With NCSA, Brittany was privileged to perform George Balanchine’s Serenade at the Hollywood Bowl as well as performing featured roles in The Nutcracker, La Fille mal Gardee, La Sonnambula and Jardin Anime. Following graduation she continued her training with Ballet Austin under full scholarship. With Ballet Austin II she was privileged to perform featured roles in works such as Thang Dao’s Quiet Imprint and Stephen Mills’ Touch as well as performing with the company in Mills’ Coppelia and his world premiere of The Firebird. Since joining the company, she has enjoyed performing in works such as Mills’ The Taming of the Shrew, The Nutcracker, Carmina Burana, and Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project. In her free time, Brittany also teaches in the Butler Center for Dance & Fitness.
Butler Fellow: 2017-18 | BAII: 2018-19 | Joined Company 2019
Originally born in Stavropol, Russia, Maxim was raised in an orphanage until the age of 5, when he was adopted by two loving and caring parents. He began his training at the Marin Dance Theater in 2008 under the direction of Margaret Swarthout. In 2014, Maxim began studying at the San Francisco Ballet School with a full scholarship under Patrick Armand, where he danced the lead roles in Balanchine’s Serenade and in John Neumeier’s Yondering. He also performed in San Francisco Ballet’s performance tour of Cinderella in Washington D.C., as well as character roles in Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. Maxim joined Ballet Austin’s Butler Fellowship program for the 2017/18 season, was promoted to Ballet Austin II the following season, and makes his professional company debut in 2019/20.
JAIME LYNN WITTS
BA Trainee: 2001–2003 | BAII: 2003–2004 | Joined Company: 2004
Jaime Lynn Witts is originally from Bucks County, Penn., where she received most of her training from Maxim Ponomarenko, Oleg Briansky, and Mireille Briane. She attended summer programs at CPYB, Boston Ballet, and Ballet Austin. There, she continued her studies with Truman Finney in Ballet Austin’s Trainee program before joining Ballet Austin II. Since joining the company, Witts has performed in works by numerous choreographers including Stephen Mills, Thaddeus Davis, KT Nelson, Nicolo Fonte, Sidra Bell, Viktor Kabaniaev, Nelly van Bommel, Loni Landon, Jennifer Hart, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Gabrielle Lamb and Gina Patterson. She has enjoyed performing principal roles in George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Agon,Swanhilda in Coppelia, Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty and Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, for which she earned her second Austin Critics Table Award. Most recently she has made her premier as the title role in Mills’ The Firebird. Witts has also had the honor of performing the role of The Survivor in Mills’ Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project in Austin and on tour in Miami and Israel. When she is not dancing, Witts enjoys spending her time off with her daughter, Evaline.