25 Years and 2 Generations Strong: Local Ballet Students Perform Side-by-Side with Moscow Ballet Pros in Tampa Bay December 26 and 27

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25 Years and 2 Generations Strong: Local Ballet Students Perform Side-by-Side with Moscow Ballet Pros in Tampa Bay December 26 and 27 

Dance Center North, “Watching my students grow since the very first Moscow Ballet tour (1993), this is one of the 
most significant experiences a young dancer can have. It lifts them up and humbles them all at the same time.”

Dance with Us Little Snowflakes and Principals

(Berkshires, Mass.) November 14, 2017 –  25 years and 2 generations later, over 75,000 local ballet students, ages 6 to 18 with at least 1 year of ballet training, perform side-by-side with Moscow Ballet pros. InTampa Bay, the “Dance with Us”  cast will perform their roles in the Great Russian Nutcracker on Tuesday, December 26, 3:00pm matinee and 7:00pm evening and Wednesday, December 27, 7:00pn evening at Mahaffey Theatre this holiday season. “It was such an amazing opportunity for our young dancers to grow and see how a professional company works…the costumes were breathtaking, says Julia Zhmutski of Moscow Ballet Host Dance Studio Julia’s Dance Academy in Oklahoma City. The ballet students, who study at ballet schools in the area, auditioned in the fall and rehearsed their roles at the Moscow Ballet Host Dance Studio  Judith Lee Johnson Dance School. The children’s roles are as Party Children, Small Mice, Snowflakes, Snow Sprites, Snow Maidens, and Act II’s Variations of the world’s five great heritages. The experience of auditioning for a professional, rehearsing with the company, being fitted in Moscow Ballet costumes, and performing for a live audience of a thousand or more is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these children! See the Dance with Us  student dancers perform in the Great Russian Nutcracker: www.nutcracker.com/yourcity .

Tuesday, December 26, 3:00pm matinee

Act I Dance with Us student dancers:

Party Children: Allison Boza, Christina Gleason, Emi Harris, Hannah Hussey, Peyton Hussey, Casey Mankowski, Daniella McKinley, Claire Mockler, Hope Riddle, Allessandra Swenson, Claire Wandstrat, Shannon Witt

Mice: Hannah Barsoum, Catalina Castro, Lily Coffman, Oliver Grebe, Cheyanne Gregory, Annaliese Hronaday, Klaudia Mara, Demi McKinley, Peggy McLauchlan, Amber Waggott, Ryan Melendy

Snowflakes: Ryleigh Amoriello, Kilee Campbell, Sofia Dady, Presley Martin, Dallas McKinley, Tatiana Miller, Ava Pedrick, Sophia Luchsinger Perez, Kylie Reed, Brinkley Vinson

Act II Dance with Us student dancers:

Snow Sprites: Gracie Fredrickson, Emma Keaton, Katherine Kelly, Makena Oglesby

Snow Maidens: Jennifer Geinzer, Lauren Guagliardo, Meredith Hall, Norah Houston, Faith Jones, Carli Mankowski, Sariri Merrifield, Emily Mudra, Madiosn Noble, Natalie Wynne

Spanish Variation: Ashley Leighton, Jordan Schmelter, Skylar Scharfeld, Lauren Scotch

Arabian Variation: Molly Selleck and Rose Wandstrat

Chinese Variation: Eleanor Koh, Jocelyn Lee, Ava Stanziano, Carmela Wilson, Kayla Herring, Calie Janes, Marisa Lauer

Russian Variation: Destiny McKinley, Harper Bishop, Violet Grebe, Julia Mara, Caleb Stanziano

French Variation: Allison Cary and Stella Facklam

Tuesday, December 26, 7:00pm

Act I Dance with Us student dancers:

Party Children: Regan Bright, Morgan Carbone, Mallory Chancey, Ella Day, Mercedes Fluke, Emily Henson, Sofia Bella Hernandez, Lena Jernigan, Jullie Jarosi Kowng, Avery Michael, Madison Quatman, Isabella Sidwell

Mice: Hannah Barsoum, Catalina Castro, Lily Coffman, Oliver Grebe, Cheyanne Gregory, Annaliese Hronaday, Klaudia Mara, Demi McKinley, Peggy McLauchlan, Amber Waggott

Snowflakes: Ligia Babyan, Madison Cardinal, Mikayla Cardinal, Tessa Cockrell, Katherine Fluke, Emma Leyva, Logan Marsicovetere, Seanna Mead, Amelia Sennikovski, Jaciee Sinka, Carmela Wilson, Violet Worrell

Act II Dance with Us student dancers:

Snow Sprites: Molly Gittleman, Hope Riddle, Kiely Roberts, Lily Schmidt

Snow Maidens: Isabella Bashinelli, Tuesday Chessen, Emily Freytag, Jillian Hermansen, Madison Hoblit, Chesney McMurphy, Chloe Poshi, Emma Poshi, Taylor Turcotte

Spanish Variation: Hannah Hussey, Serenity Mead, Aria Riley, Eva Riley, Sarah Rivera

Arabian Variation: Tamra Geinzer

Chinese Variation: Grace Felice, Jordyn Freiermuth, Lillian Hill, Kortni Sinka, Kaleigh Sinka, Trinity Worell

Russian Variation: Kenna Donato, Laurel Hermansen, Kyra Vandiver, Selah Vannoy, Gracie Boulden, Ella Freiser, Makayla Gray, Christina Kessell

French Variation: Peyton Hussey, Claire Mockler

Wednesday, December 27, 7:00pm

Act I Dance with Us student dancers:

Party Children: Dhara Davidson, Abbe Edmiston, Julia Gray, Jillian Lemler, Gwyneth O’Connor, Grace Sanders, Laele Shipley, Isabella Silvestro, Caleb Stanziano, Ella Thornsberry, Alexis Wolley, Sienna Wylie

Mice: Marin Covington, Autumn Hughes, Audrey Isong, Sophia Keith, Kristine Navarro, Deana Petrov, Haidyn Sfura, Natalie Smith, Anna lease Stroz, Ava Wargin

Snowflakes: Lily Audibert, Kate Bowman, Rylee Cossey, Abigail Davis, Callia Garcia, Emma Hapke, Alexis Lewis, Jackie Lin, Logan Marsicovetere, Aydan Murphy, Makayla Reece, Sophia Salazar, Koral Whitney, Olivia Wylie

Act II Dance with Us student dancers:

Snow Sprites: Sofia Keating, Morgan Lemler, Madisyn Notz, Sara Tulinski

Snow Maidens: Pyper Bebinger, Dara Cadzow, Kayla James, Mackenzie McLean, Kylie Olson, Jessie Thames, Anisa Vigo

Spanish Variation: Carly Buchanan, Autumn Hawkins, Joselynne Medina-Mendez, Berkley Wilder, Gregory Deal, Larissa Walker

Arabian Variation: Ashley Kadau and Cameron Kay

Chinese Variation: Mia Apicelli, Emily Crimella, Abgelika Eason, Sophia Fahnenschmidt, Isabella Carson, Brianna Stevens

Russian Variation: Emma Corripio, Harley Freeman, Lucy Humphries, Sage Smith, Maira Ando, Megan Bishop, Kayle Herring, Terra Kingston

French Variation: Ila Davidson and Kate Murphy

Judith Lee Johnson Dance School is the longest continuously operating studio in St. Petersburg and is one of the longest operating and best known dance schools in Central Florida with 43 years of guiding scores of dancers into America’s most prestigious ballet companies. Former students have danced with many ballet companies including three dancers invited to the New York City Ballet, and others to Pennsylvania Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Houston Ballet, Ohio Ballet and many other companies.  The studio offers a variety of classes and special Master Classes. Johnson studied as a child with one of St. Petersburg’s few dance teachers, Lois Eborn who took Judith for her first audition at NYC Ballet where she was invited to return every summer thereafter. She also went to Cuba and studied at the world renowned Alicia Alonso School in Havana. She was one of 60 teachers nationwide to be invited by NYC Ballet to attend a week long teacher’s seminar with George Balanchine.  Judith built her own studio when classes were bulging with more than 300 students and many area companies came to rehearse there including Florida West Ballet, Moscow Ballet, Bay Ballet Theatre, and Southern Ballet Theatre. Daniel Ulbricht was Judith’s first student to be accepted into New York City Ballet where he is now a Principal dancer. More than 20 of Judith’s students have been accepted into New York City Ballet’s School of American Ballet!


Dance with Us youth performance program, celebrates 25 years in 2017. This program brings more than 75,000 Canadian and American ballet students (60 cities x 60 students x 25 years) on stage to perform side-by side with the 40 professionals in cities on the tour since 1993. The aspiring ballerinas and danseurs, ages 7 to 17, perform in ancillary roles developed for their age and skill level by dancer, choreographer and Julliard graduate Mary Giannone Talmi, also co-producer of Moscow Ballet’s North American tours. Underwritten by Moscow Ballet, the program delivers Ballerina from the company, who also has experience teaching and working with youth, to each city to audition and rehearse the local dancers for several days, leaving the local Host Ballet Studio to rehearse the children for 6-8 weeks prior to the performance.  Click for more.


Moscow Ballet – 2017 marks Moscow Ballet’s 25th consecutive year touring North America performing the acclaimed story ballets the Great Russian Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella and more. The company is known for presenting award-winning Ballerinas and Danseurs, from Lilia Sabitova in 1994 to Honored Artist of Russia Tatiana Predenia in 2002 to Andrey Batalov, former Principal Danseur with the Mariinsky Theatre in 2016. The company performs more than 100 engagements annually across Canada and the United States’ to sell-out audiences in the some of the finest performing arts venues. In addition to public performances, Moscow Ballet’s North America tours have always included community engagement programs. “Dance with Us” shares the Russian Vaganova ballet training with over 6000 American dance students annually bringing them on stage in ancillary roles to perform side-by-side with the professionals. Underwritten by Moscow Ballet, the program was developed by choreographer and co-producer Mary Giannone Talmi. “New Horizons – A Children’s Program for Life” is a cultural immersion program benefitting thousands of children across the country annually and Musical Wunderkind also connects the Russian  dancers directly with American children and young adults. In addition, many Moscow Ballet performances have a fund-raising component for organizations such as hospitals, children’s museums and more. www.moscowballet.com.


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