THE Joffrey Ballet welcomes TEN new dancers to the company,
HAILING from SOUTH AMERICA, ASIA, AND RUSSIA, plus two former Joffrey Academy Trainees
CHICAGO (August 19, 2015) – Ashley Wheater, Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet, is pleased to announce the addition of ten dancers to the Joffrey’s international roster for the 2015-2016 season: Nicole Ciapponi (Canada), Valeriia Chaykina (Russia), Camila Ferrera (Hoboken, New Jersey), Anna Gerberich (Dillsburg, Pennsylvania), Stefan Goncalvez (Brazil), Luis Eduardo Gonzalez (Colombia), Hansol Jeong (Korea), Gayeon Jung (Korea), Paulo Rodrigues (Brazil) and Joan Sebastian Zamora (Colombia). With these new company members, The Joffrey Ballet is currently comprised of 41 dancers.
About the New Dancers
Nicole Ciapponi was born in Vancouver, Canada. She began her training at the Royal City Youth Ballet Company, The Goh Ballet Academy, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, receiving numerous accolades during this time including a top 12 placement at the Youth America Grand Prix. Most recently, Ciapponi joined the San Francisco Ballet Trainee Program before acceptance into the Company’s Corps de Ballet from 2010-2014. With San Francisco Ballet, Ciapponi performed principal roles in Coppelia, Giselle, Don Quixote and Romeo and Juliet in addition to numerous works by George Balanchine, Helgi Tomasson, Yuri Possokov and Christopher Wheeldon.
Valeriia Chaykina was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received her ballet education at the Vaganova Ballet Academy and the St. Petersburg State Academic Ballet Theater of Leonid Yakobson before joining the Moscow Ballet as a Soloist in 2013. Most recently, Chaykina trained with the
Miami City Ballet School on full scholarship, where she was cast for the second season of Teen Vogue’s Strictly Ballet series and was featured in the June/July issue of Teen Vogue Magazine.
Camila Ferrera was born in Hoboken, New Jersey. She has trained at the School of American Ballet in addition to the Young Dancer Workshop and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. In 2013, Ferrera joined the Trainee program at the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, under the direction of Joffrey Academy Artistic Directors Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik before joining The Joffrey Ballet’s Studio Company, where she performed in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake, Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker, and Alexander Eckman’s Tulle with The Joffrey Ballet.
Anna Gerberich was born in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. She began her training at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and American Ballet Theatre before becoming the youngest dancer hired into the Charlotte Ballet’s professional company at age 16, working her way up to Soloist and Principal dancer within three years. Gerberich has also received Pointe Magazine’s NERDA Award of Promise, first place at the Youth America Grand Prix regional semifinals and top 10 placement at finals, and was featured in the 2014 Kennedy Center Honors award ceremony and a PBS documentary honoring Patricia McBride.
Stefan Goncalvez was born in São Paulo, Brazil. He began his training at Clube Paineras, Raça Centro de Dança and Pavilhão D Centro de Artes before attending the Harid Conservatory on scholarship. Goncalvez recently took home the Senior Grand Prix, awarded to the overall best performer for classical and contemporary dance in the Senior Division at the 2015 Youth America Grand Prix competition. Before joining The Joffrey Ballet, Goncalvez trained with The Washington School of Ballet, performing lead roles in productions of Le Corsaire, La Bayadère and The Nutcracker.
Luis Eduardo Gonzalez was born in Bogota, Colombia. He started his training at the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre before joining The Houston Ballet II, receiving numerous accolades including 3rd place at the Regional Youth American Grand Prix competition, first place honors at the American Ballet Competition, and was selected to compete as the only representative of Colombia in the Jackson International Ballet—2014 Competition. Before joining The Joffrey Ballet, Gonzalez danced with the Orlando Ballet for three years, performing in Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf, Swan Lake, and many other ballets.
Hansol Jeong was born in Namyangju, South Korea. He began dancing at the Korea International Ballet University of Arts Pre-School, the Sunhwa Arts Middle School and Sunhwa Arts High School before training at Sejong University on scholarship. During his training, Jeong performed as a Soloist and Principal Dancer with the Korean Ballet Theatre and as a guest Soloist with the Korea National Ballet. He also won the Senior Male Gold Medal at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, becoming the first Korean to be honored with this title.
Gayeon Jung was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She began training at the Sunhwa Arts Middle School and Sunhwa Arts High School, and was a guest member of the Universal Ballet Company before studying at the Korea National University of Arts, where she performed in productions of Sleeping Beauty, La Esmeralda and numerous other classical works. During her training, Jung also received countless honors including the Bronze Medal in Senior Female Category and the Gold Medal in the Pas de Deux section at the Youth American Grand Prix in 2012.
Paulo Rodrigues was born in São Paulo, Brazil. He started training at the Art & Movement School and Technical Dance School Adriana Assaf before serving as 1st Soloist at the Paulista Dance Company from 2012-2013. Mostly recently, Rodrigues joined the Trainee program on full scholarship at the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, under the direction of Joffrey Academy Artistic Directors Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik. As a Trainee, Rodrigues performed with The Joffrey Ballet in productions of Prodigal Son by George Balanchine, Swan Lake by Christopher Wheeldon and Tulle by Alexander Ekman. He also had the opportunity to dance in The Joffrey Ballet’s 2014 Winning Works program.
Joan Sebastián Zamora was born in Santiago de Cali, Colombia. He began his training at INCOLBALLET before receiving full scholarships to the Rock School for Dance Education and American Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive program. Zamora also received scholarship to The Royal Ballet School in London before joining the English National Ballet from 2013-2015. Notably, Zamora also stared in the 2011 smash hit documentary First Position, which followed his participation in the Youth America Grand Prix competition in New York, where he received the Silver Medal.
This year, The Joffrey Ballet celebrates its 60th anniversary and begins the 2015-16 season with Millennials, a one-weekend-only engagement showcasing new works by this country’s next generation of choreographic talents, including the World Premieres of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Mammatus and a new work by Myles Thatcher (title TBA), plus the Chicago Premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Fool’s Paradise. Millennials is presented in five performances, September 16-20, 2015.
For its fall production, The Joffrey Ballet proudly presents the North American Premiere of Sylvia, a full-length, female-powered story ballet by internationally acclaimed, Milwaukee-born choreographer John Neumeier. Sylvia is presented in ten performances, October 14-25, 2015.
Both Millennials and Sylvia are presented at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, and tickets are available via Ticketmaster at 800-982-2787 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
For more information on The Joffrey Ballet and its programs, please visit joffrey.org.
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