WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Ballet (TWB) welcomes two new dancers from Cuba and names three dancers from the Studio Company to the performing Company. The Studio Company will also see nine new dancers from the U.S. and abroad. TWB veteran Company dancer Luis R. Torres joins the administrative staff of the organization as the Studio Company and Trainee Ballet Master.
In keeping with the 2014.15 theme of Taking Flight, The Washington Ballet expands its rosters in both is Company and Studio Company, welcoming two Cuban dancers into the Company. Gian Carlo Perez and Miguel Anaya join the company from Havana, Cuba, Daniel Roberge (Australia) and Chong Sun (China) have been promoted from apprentice to Company dancers, Daniel Savetta (Australia), Esmiana Jani (Albanian born) and Carly Wheaton are promoted from Studio Company dancers to apprentices, and Nardia Boodoo, Isabel Deyo, Federico D’Ortenzi (Italy), Nina Barcelos Fernandes (Brazil), Rachael Jones, Claire Rathbun, Sarah Reimold, Peishan Xie (China) and Zhenghong Cao (China) join the Studio Company.
New Company Members:
The Washington Ballet welcomes Cuban dancers Gian Carlo Perez and Miguel Anaya to the Company of The Washington Ballet.
A select group of dancers with Cuba’s National Ballet defected to the United States after a ballet event in Mexico in April. One of these dancers is Miguel Anaya, who will be performing with The Washington Ballet’s Company for the 2014.15 Performance Season. “We’re honored to have Miguel join The Washington Ballet in the nation’s capital for the 2014.15 Season,” says Artistic Director Septime Webre. “We know that he has made a very difficult decision to leave Cuba, and it truly speaks to his character that he puts the art of dance above any geo-political borders.”
Miguel Anaya, from Havana, Cuba, trained at the Alfonso Perez Isaac School and the Cuban National Ballet School, where he graduated in 2012. He was invited to the Varna International Ballet Competition in 2010 and the Youth America Grand Prix in 2011. In 2012, Anaya won the Grand Prix National Competition in Cuba, and performed as a soloist dancer with Ballet Nacional de Cuba with Alicia Alonso. He has trained with Ramona de Saa, Marta Iris, Nor Maria, Ana Julia Bermudez, Magaly Suarez, Alicia Alonso, Fernando Alonso and Alberto Mendez.
Gian Carlo Perez, from Havana, Cuba, joins the Company of The Washington Ballet this year after dancing with the prestigious Ballet Nacional de Cuba, directed by Alicia Alonso. In 2013, Perez toured to Spain to celebrate the Ballet Nacional de Cuba’s 70th anniversary, and in 2014, he was awarded under the first solo category after having played the role of Othello.
From Apprentice to Company:
Daniel Roberge and Chong Sun join the Company of The Washington Ballet after dancing as apprentices.
Daniel Roberge, of Australia, is in his first season as a Company member with The Washington Ballet, after two seasons as an apprentice and one season with The Studio Company. In 2009, Roberge was awarded the Silver Medal at the Genee International Ballet Competition in Singapore; He was a finalist in the Australian Institute of Classical Dance International Awards and the Youth America Grand Prix NYC in 2008 and 2010. Roberge is also a recipient of the A.R.S. Musica Australis Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. In 2010, he had the honor of performing at the White House before President Obama and the First Lady. In the TWB off season, Roberge choreographs and coaches in Sydney Australia.
Chong Sun of Beijing, China, is in his first season as a Company member with The Washington Ballet, after two seasons as an apprentice and two seasons with The Studio Company. Sun began training in 2002 at the Beijing Dance Academy and in 2008 placed third at the Beijing International Ballet Competition. In 2009, Sun trained with Anatoli Kucheruk and Marat Daukayev at the Kirov Academy of Ballet. In 2011, he placed second in the pas de deux group at the World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Florida and was invited to perform at its All Stars Gala. Sun was recently a featured dancer in the photography book Dancers Among Us.
From Studio Company to Apprentice:
Esmiana Jani, Daniel Savetta and Carly Wheaton all join the Company from the Studio Company as apprentices for the 2014.15 Performance Season.
Esmiana Jani, born in Albania and from Broomall, PA, is in her first season as an apprentice with The Washington Ballet Company after two seasons with The Washington Ballet Studio Company. She has been studying ballet in the Bolshoi Conservatory style and performing ballet in the traditions of the Bolshoi for over ten years, under Anastasia Babayeva and Denis Gronostayskiy, both graduates of the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow. At age 14 she became a member of International Ballet Classique, AIB’s pre-professional training company. This past spring at a competitive New York City Gala, Jani was chosen as one of this year’s “Albanian American Successes Stories.”
Daniel Savetta of Sydney, Australia, is in his first season as an apprentice with The Washington Ballet’s Company after one season with The Washington Ballet Studio Company. In 2010, Savetta received a full scholarship to train under the guidance of Carter Alexander at the Miami City Ballet School. During his training in Miami, he had the opportunity to perform many principal roles such as Harlequin in Edward Villella's Harlequin a Patch Work of Love and Prince Siegfried in Balanchine's Swan Lake. After a year of training in Miami, Savetta received a full scholarship to train at The Washington School of Ballet as a Professional Trainee with Kee Juan Han.
Carly Wheaton of San Francisco, California, is in her first season as an apprentice with The Washington Ballet’s Company after dancing for two seasons in the Studio Company. Before moving to the East Coast, Wheaton spent a season dancing for Ballet Memphis as a Trainee. Wheaton spent her training with the Marin Ballet (Calif.) and at San Francisco Ballet School. This past summer, Wheaton danced in The Boathouse Project—an original production choreographed and produced by Julia Adam, set on Point Reyes National Seashore.
New Studio Company Members:
Nardia Boodoo, Isabel Deyo, Federico D’Ortenzi, Nina Barcelos Fernandes, Rachael Jones, Claire Rathbun, Sarah Reimold, Peishan Xie and Zhenghong Cao join the Studio Company for the 2014.15 Performance Season. The Washington Ballet Studio Company is now composed of 11 total dancers hailing from countries like Brazil, China and Italy.
A New Studio Company and Trainee Ballet Master:
TWB veteran Company dancer Luis R. Torres joins the administrative staff of the organization as the Studio Company and Trainee Ballet Master. “As The Washington Ballet continues to ’Take Flight,’ we are committed to providing the best in ballet training in all areas of the organization,” says Managing Director Arthur Espinoza Jr.. “As a ballet master and seasoned artist, Torres will ensure that our Studio Company and Trainees receive a truly professional training experience allowing them to pursue their professional aspirations as young artists.”
Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Torres danced with The Washington Ballet for 11 seasons. Prior to joining TWB, Torres was a soloist with Ballet Theatre of Annapolis in Maryland, and performed as a soloist and principal dancer with Ballet Arizona for six seasons. He began his training in Puerto Rico under the direction of Elizabeth Calero before accepting a scholarship transfer to Point Park College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Torres received an MFA at George Mason University and a BA in both dance and psychology from Arizona State University. Torres will be primarily responsible for all training and duties involving the Studio Company, Trainee Program and PTP dancers, and will serve as the contact person for matters related to these programs and their training for The Washington Ballet. He will also teach and coach students of The Washington School of Ballet as assigned by the School Director Kee Juan Han.
For more information on the dancers and programs including casting updates, behind-the-scenes videos, full biographies and more, visit washingtonballet.org.
ABOUT THE WASHINGTON BALLET: Celebrating its 70th Anniversary in the 2014.15 season, The Washington Ballet was originally founded as The Washington School of Ballet in 1944 by legendary ballet pioneer Mary Day and incorporated as a professional company in 1976. The Washington Ballet (TWB) is one of the pre-eminent ballet organizations in the United States. TWB built an international reputation presenting bold works by choreographers from around the world, including Choo-San Goh, Christopher Wheeldon, Mark Morris, Twyla Tharp and Trey McIntyre, as well as neoclassical masterworks and fresh stagings of 19th century classics. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Septime Webre and Managing Director Arthur Espinoza, TWB has embraced a three-part mission: ensuring excellence in its professional performance company; growing the next generation of dancers through its Washington School of Ballet; and serving the community in which it resides through robust community engagement programs. For more information, visit www.washingtonballet.org.
SEPTIME WEBRE (Artistic Director) was appointed artistic director of The Washington Ballet in June 1999 after six years as artistic director of American Repertory Ballet in New Jersey. In his 15 year tenure as Artistic Director, Webre has committed himself to community engagement and growth of the organization. Under Webre’s creative leadership, The Washington Ballet has developed a three-pronged mission: growing the artistry and international reputation of The Washington Ballet; training the next generation of dancers through The Washington School of Ballet; and deepening and expanding the organization’s commitment to community engagement through the visionary programs of DanceDC, EXCEL! and The Washington Ballet @ THEARC. As a choreographer, Mr. Webre’s full-length productions include The Great Gatsby, ALICE (in wonderland), Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises, and a historic Washington, D.C.–inspired The Nutcracker. His works appear in the repertoires of many companies in North America, including Pacific Northwest Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Ballet Austin, Cincinnati Ballet, Aspen Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet West and Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet, among others. As a dancer, Mr. Webre was featured in works by Balanchine, Taylor, Tudor, Ailey, and Cunningham, as well as principal and solo roles from the classical repertoire. Mr. Webre has sat on the boards of Dance/USA, the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, and Dance Metro DC’s Advisory Committee. Among his many awards, Webre has been honored by Young Audiences of the District of Columbia and been a recipient of a number of fellowships for his choreography. He graduated from the University of Texas with a B.A. in history and pre-law.
Amtrak is the official passenger rail service of The Washington Ballet.