Originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Saniya graduated from the Choreography College in Moscow in 2007. In 2007-2008, she was the first soloist with the Natalia Satz Theatre (formally known as the Children's Musical Theater). Saniya is the recipient of many awards: In 2005, she took home the silver medal from the International Ballet Competition in Berlin and one year later she received a gold medal at the same competition. In 2007, she received a diploma from both the International Ballet Competition in New York and the International Ballet Competition in Shanghai. In 2009, she was a semi-finalist at the International Ballet Competition at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. Saniya joined Ballet Jörgen Canada during the 2009-2010 Season.
Kanae Akatsuka was born in Sapporo, Japan. She has danced professionally with Coastal City Ballet, B.C. and with Dresden Semperoper Ballett, Germany. Kanae received her ballet training at Palucca Schule Dresden Hochschule für Tanz, Germany; Escola de Dança do Conservatório Nacional, Portugal; and Ishikawa Miharu Ballet School, Japan. She recevied the gold medal at the Hokkaido Ballet Competition for her performance of Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Kanae was also a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012. This is Kanae’s first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada company dancer.
Levi Blad began studying ballet at the Royal Swedish Ballet School in 2002. After graduating in 2011, he danced one year with the Royal Swedish Ballet. Levi was a semi-finalist in the Prix de Lausanne (2011) and a semi-finalist in the Scandinavian Ballet Competition (2010). He trained in jazz at The School at Jacob’s Pillow (2011) and with Joseph Sturdy at The Greenhouse Dance Project (2009, 2010). Levi was also a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012. This is Levi’s first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada company dancer.
Eleanor Bull was born in Arlington, VA and began dancing at the age of three with BalletNova Center for Dance. At the age of 15 she was invited to join the Professional Ballet Program at the National Ballet School of Canada under the direction of Mavis Staines. While there she learned a large amount of repertoire ranging from Erik Bruhn's Swan Lake, to Jiri Kylians Stamping Ground. After graduating in 2009 Eleanor joined the Professional Division with Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, Washington where she performed many roles with the company including West Side Story and Glass Pieces, by Jerome Robbins, Waterbaby Bagatelles by Twyla Tharp and the Nutcracker by Kent Stowell. She continued on to work with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater before returning to Toronto to join Ballet Jörgen Canada as a member of the Junior Company in 2012. This is Eleanor's first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada company dancer.
Esabelle Chen received the Peter Dwyer Scholarship at Canada’s National Ballet School, graduating with honors in 2009. She was an Adspirant with the Dutch National Ballet in 2009 and an Apprentice with the National Ballet of Canada in 2010. Esabelle was a scholarship dancer at the Banff Centre Professional Dance Program Summer Intensive in 2010 and 2011. She has performed roles in James Kudelka’s Swan Lake, Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Natalia Makarova’s La Bayadere and was a featured dancer in the 2009 Assemblée Internationale. This is Esabelle’s first season with Ballet Jörgen Canada.
Rachel Chew Zi Xin, Apprentice
Rachel started dancing with the Dance Space under the tutelage of Datin Jane at the age of 3. She completed all Royal Academy of Dance examinations with high distinction. Rachel is pursuing a Bachelors Degree at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts. She has traveled to Singapore, Melbourne, Shanghai, Beijing,and Shen Yang for dance performances, cultural interactions, and collaborations. In Malaysia, apart from winning the inaugural 2008 Malaysia Ballet Solo competition, she has received distinctive honours for her performances of the principal roles in The Nutcracker, The Slave Princess, and Cinderella. In 2009, she was nominated for the BOH Cameronian Award for Best Performer. Rachel is currently an Apprentice dancer for Ballet Jörgen Canada.
Hannah Mae Cruddas
Hannah Mae Cruddas, born and home-educated in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, began her dance training with the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts School of Dance and the Leica Hardy School of Dance. In 2009, she joined Canada's National Ballet School in Toronto. Hannah Mae was honoured to be the youngest recipient of the Society of Russian Ballet's Nesta Toumine Memorial Award and at 14, was a semi-finalist in the Genée International Ballet Competition. She was also privileged to be the recipient of the Jan Wicha Memorial Cup and Nova Scotia Talent Trust's Lieutenant Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. At home, she danced the title role in Alice (Dearborn), the Ragdoll Queen in The Nutcracker (Hardy), and worked with Kennet Oberly and Otar Beridze. Hannah Mae fully appreciates what Ballet Jörgen's mandate to bring dance to smaller communities means to young dancers; a highlight of her young dance career was playing Anastasia's daughter in BJC's world premiere of Anastasia. Her Toronto repertoire credits include; Peggy Baker's 5 Views of a Temple Garden, Petipa's La Bayadere and Paquita, and Nacho Duato's Jardi Tancat. Having graduated from NBS in June 2011, Hannah Mae was extremely excited to be joining BJC as an Apprentice for their 2011/2012 season and extremely grateful for all that has gone before. Recently, Hannah Mae was awarded the Janice Merritt Flemming Award administrated by the Nova Scotia Talent Trust. This is Hannah Mae's first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada company dancer.
Daniel Da Silva
Originally from Brazil, Daniel Da Silva began his ballet training in 2005, in Santa Barbara D'oeste with Ana Rita Da Silva. In 2007, Daniel received a full scholarship to train at Pacific Dance Arts in Vancouver with Li Yaming. In 2008, Daniel competed at the Youth America Grand Prix in NYC and finished in the top twelve. He was offered a full scholarship to participate in the summer program at Jacob's Pillow. Daniel was also a guest dancer for two seasons with Ballet BC, performing a premier piece by James Kudelka and classical ballets Carmen and Peter Pan. He has also performed variations from Flames of Paris, Swan Lake, Raymonda, Don Quixote and Coppélia. Daniel joined Ballet Jörgen Canada in 2009-2010.
Justine Fraser hails from Penticton, B.C. She has trained and taught at Pacific DanceArts, Vancouver and at the Penticton School of Ballet, Penticton, B.C. Justine also attended summer dance intensives at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Banff Summer of the Arts and Boston Ballet School. Justine was a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012. This is her first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada company dancer.
Taylor Gill trained when she was young at the Alberta Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet schools. She began her professional training in Vancouver with Yaming Li at Pacific Dance Arts, and she spent her summers training at a variety of schools including the Banff Centre for Performing Arts, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet and Atlanta Ballet. Taylor qualified as a semi-finalist, and as the only Canadian, at the 2007 Shanghai International Ballet Competition in China. In 2008, she joined Atlanta Ballet Company’s Fellowship program on paid scholarship and she performed Little Swans in John McFall’s Swan Lake, in Michael Pink’s Dracula and Christopher Hampson’s Sinfionetta Giocosa, as well as the lead role as the Evil Queen in Bruce Well’s Snow White. She was a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012. Taylor is thrilled to return for another season with Ballet Jörgen Canada, performing various roles in Bengt Jörgen's Swan Lake, Coppélia, Anastasia, The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition, and Cinderella.
Cristina Graziano started her dancing career at the age of three. She began her training in Highland Dancing, and later began Ballet training at the age of seven. She competed in many competitions and won numerous awards including runner up for Canadian Dancer of the Year at the B.C. Annual Dance Competition. Her dancing has taken her throughout North America, Scotland, and Russia, where she trained in the Russian Vaganova technique. Cristina has trained on scholarship at the Banff Centre for the Fine Arts, Edmonton School of Ballet, Universal Ballet Academy in Washington, DC, and was fortunate enough to do her last two years of training on full scholarship at the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. On stage, Cristina has appeared as a soloist or featured dancer with Move: The Company, directed by Josh Beamish; Ballet Kelowna, directed by David LaHay; The Pacific Interior Dance Society, directed by Deborah Ward and Loretta Beamish, and the Kelowna City Youth Ballet, also directed by Loretta Beamish. In the past, she has had the pleasure of working with world renowned choreographer Christopher Fleming on ballets performed in New York City at the Symphony Space Theatre, and in St. Petersburg, Florida at the Pallodium Theatre. Cristina began working professionally with Move: the Company, directed by Josh Beamish in 2006 and continues to be involved with the company on a per project basis. Cristina joined Ballet Jörgen Canada for the 2008-2009 season. She participated in Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012 as a teacher.
Gustavo was born in La Havana, Cuba and began his ballet training at the age of 11 in the Provincial School of Arts. Seven years later, in 2007, he graduated from the Cuban National School of Ballet in Havana, under the direction of Ramona de Saa. In 2004,he took home the bronze medal from the International Ballet Competition in Havana and one year later, he received the same medal at the same competition. In 2007 he received the bronze medal in the first edition of the National Competition UNEAC. After graduating, Gustavo became part of the National Ballet of Cuba and under the direction of Alicia Alonso was promoted to the category of Coryphaeus three years later. He danced major roles such as Alain in La Fille Mal Gardee and the Mouse King in The Nutcracker. There, he also performed in productions of Don Quixote, Giselle, Coppelia, Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, as well as in works from Balanchine, Bournonville and Contemporary ballets. Gustavo was a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2011 and 2012. This is Gustavo's first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada company dancer, having danced as an Apprentice for the 2011-2012 season.
Yoo Sang Hong
Yoo Sang Hong was born in Seoul, Korea and began dancing at the age of 12 at Yewon Arts School. He came to Canada when he was 14 years old to attend the Professional Ballet Program at Canada's National Ballet School. During his time at NBS, he worked with internationally recognized choreographers and repetiteurs, such as James Kudelka, Joysanne Sidimus and Sorella Englund. After graduating with honors in 2006, Yoo Sang completed one year of Post Secondary Education at Canada's National Ballet School and then finished his training in the Aspirant Program at Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Yoo Sang joined Ballet Jörgen Canada for the 2008-2009 season.
Sarah Koekkoek is a native of Burlington, Ontario. She holds citizenship in Canada, the USA and the Netherlands. She began dance at a young age, and was accepted into the Professional Division at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in 2002. While at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School she appeared in company productions such as The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. In 2008 Sarah was honored with two jury awards for her original choreography for the student competition “First Steps”. After graduating in 2009 Sarah then continued her training in Washington DC, and performed with The Washington Ballet in Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove and The Nutcracker. Sarah has trained at the National Ballet School, Rosella Hightower School in Cannes, France, Ellison Ballet in New York City, and with the Corella Ballet in Segovia, Spain. Sarah is ecstatic to be part of Ballet Jörgen Canada. Sarah was a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012. This is her first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada company dancer.
Heather Lumsden-Ruegg, Apprentice
Heather Lumsden-Ruegg grew up in Newmarket, ON. She is a 2011 Dance Performance Studies graduate of George Brown College, and was a mentorship student with Ballet Jörgen Canada in 2011-2012. Originally an irish dancer, Heather began her ballet training at the age of 12 at the Peter Stanton School of Dance. Heather was a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012. This is her first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada Apprentice.
Annelie Liliemark comes to us from the Royal Swedish Ballet with whom she danced from 2010 to 2012 performing roles in the Nutcracker, the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Swan Lake, the Rite of Spring and Coppelia. A 2011 graduate of the Royal Swedish Ballet School, Annelie began her training at Balettakademien, Stockholm, Sweden in 1998, joining the Royal Swedish Ballet School in 2002. She is the recipient of the Agda Cecilia Rilton Scholarship (2007) and the Carina Ari Scholarship (2008, 2009). Annelie attended summer intensives at The Gotland International Dance Seminars, Visby, Sweden (2007, 2008); the International Summer Course at Canada’s National Ballet School (2009); and The Bartholin International Dance Seminars at the Royal Danish Theater (2010 on scholarship, 2011). She was a finalist at the Stora Daldansen ballet competition in Falun, Sweden (2010). Annelie was a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012. This is her first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada company dancer.
Kealan was born in Toronto, Canada, and began dancing ballet at the age of 6. After beginning his training at Canada's National Ballet School he went abroad studying at the Pacific Dance Centre and Banff Centre for the Arts before returning to the National and graduating there in 2007. After two years of Post-Secondary training and guesting across Canada, he began his professional career with Alberta Ballet. After two seasons in Calgary he has returned to his home city of Toronto very excited to be dancing with Ballet Jörgen Canada and to be involved in bringing dance to all corners of his country.
Jaclyn Oakley danced with the National Ballet of Canada from 2009-2012. She is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts (2007) and was a trainee at Boston Ballet (2007-2009). She has attended summer intensive programs at Canada’s National Ballet School (2011), Banff Summer Arts Festival (2009, 2010), and has studied on full scholarship at Pacific Northwest Ballet (2006, 2007), Boston Ballet School (2007, 2008) and the School of American Ballet (2003, 2004, 2005). Jaclyn’s extensive performance experience includes roles in The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and George Balanchine’s Jewels. This is Jaclyn’s first season with Ballet Jörgen Canada.
Grigory Popov, Resident Guest Artist, Mariinsky Ballet, Russia
Grigory Popov was born in Chelyabinsk, Russia. He won third prize at the Fifth International Vaganova-Prix Ballet Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia and is a 2002 graduate of the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet. After graduating, Grigory was invited to join Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet Company with whom he continues to dance. His vast repertoire includes featured roles in La Sylphide, Giselle, Le Corsaire, La Bayadère and Sleeping Beauty. Grigory is a Resident Guest Artist with Ballet Jörgen Canada for the 2012-2013 season.
Georgia Richtscheid attended the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Professional Division for 7 years, graduating from high school in 2012. She is the recipient of the Founders Scholarship (2009, 2010), the Julia Arkos Memorial Award (2007, 2008, 2009) and the University Women’s Club Bursary (2011). Georgia trained in Ballet Jörgen Canada's Summer Intensive IV program and was a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012. This is Georgia’s first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada company dancer.
Gabriel Ritzmann comes to us from Brazil. He has studied at Ballet Juvenil de Florianopolis, Brazil (2006-2010); Escola de Dança do Conservatório Nacional, Portugal (2008-2009); and Coastal City Ballet and Pacific DanceArts, B.C. (2010-2012). Gabriel has achieved success at many ballet competitions receiving silver and bronze medals at Dança Ribeirao (2009), the gold medal at the 2nd Rio do Sul em Dança (2009), the silver medal at Premio Desterro (2010) and the bronze medal at the International Seminary in Brasilia (2010). Gabriel also attended the professional summer intensive at Atlanta Ballet (2011). Gabriel was a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012. This is Gabriel’s first season as a Ballet Jörgen Canada company dancer.
Ayva Rossouw-Holland, Apprentice
Ayva Rossouw-Holland grew up in Victoria, B.C. She attended the George Brown Dance Performance Studies Program before becoming a mentorship student with Ballet Jörgen Canada in 2011-2012. Ayva has studied at the Pacific Dance Studio in Victoria, B.C. and attended summer intensive programs at The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Banff Fine Arts Centre and the Alberta Ballet. She attended the George Brown Dance Performance Studies program before becoming a mentorship student with Ballet Jörgen Canada in 2011. She was also a member of Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012.
Hiroto was born in Kobe, Japan and began dancing at the age of 7 at Sadamatsu Hamada Ballet School. He went further to study at the English National Ballet School in London, and during his time at ENBS, he took part in summer courses at the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco and performed with English National Ballet. Upon graduating, he joined Hong Kong Ballet under the direction of Stephen Jefferies and performed in many classical and contemporary ballets. He has been fortunate to work with internationally recognized choreographers and repetiteurs such as Wayne Eagling, Alexander Grant and Susanne Farrell, to name a few. His major roles include Romeo and Mercutio in Bengt Jörgen's Romeo and Juliet, Nathaniel in Jörgen's Coppélia, Interrogator in Wayne Eagling's Last Emperor as well as Dimitry in Jörgen’s Anastasia. Hiroto has danced with Ballet Jörgen Canada since the 2007-2008. He participated in Ballet Jörgen Canada's Junior Company in 2012 as a teacher.