THE Joffrey Ballet welcomes SEVEN new dancers to the company, HAILING from Brazil, SPAIN, PUERTO RICO AND THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES

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THE Joffrey Ballet welcomes SEVEN new dancers to the company,



CHICAGO (September 28, 2018) – Ashley Wheater, The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet, is pleased to announce the addition of seven dancers to the Joffrey roster for the 2018-2019 season:


Derek Drilon (Vancouver, Washington), Anna Gerberich (Dillsburg, Pennsylvania), Valentino Moneglia Zamora (Murcia, Spain), Xavier Núñez (Caguas, Puerto Rico), Princess Reid (Jacksonville, Florida), Julia Rust (Noblesville, Indiana), and Leticia Stock (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). With these new company members, The Joffrey Ballet has expanded to 46 dancers.


“I’m pleased to welcome these beautiful dancers to the Joffrey as we begin our 2018-2019 season. Their artistry exudes all the qualities of a Joffrey dancer – energetic, versatile, dynamic,” said Wheater.


Thanks to The Lakonishok Family, who pledged a gift of $750,000 over three years, the Joffrey has added three new Company dancer positions to its roster and two additional paid work weeks to the seasonal contracts of all Joffrey artists, allowing for new productions, more collaborations, and more opportunities to provide first-rate dance education to the youth of Chicago.


“We are so grateful for The Lakonishok Family’s gift that affords our Company members a two-week contract extension, allowing us to further grow our exceptional range of international and local talent, much of which comes from our own Academy,” Wheater added.

The Lakonishok Family have challenged Joffrey patrons to also support this investment in the Joffrey’s artistry by making a new or increased gift.


About the New Dancers


Derek Drilon grew up in Vancouver, Washington, and began his training at Northwest Classical Ballet (NCB) under the direction of his mother, Maricar Drilon in 2009. During his years at NCB, he performed numerous principal roles in several full-length ballets and contemporary works including international performances. Drilon joined the Studio Company of The Joffrey Ballet in 2015, where he danced in The Nutcracker Suite as Cavalier and in Coppelia as Franz. He was also selected to perform with the main Company in Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker (Snow Wind) and Sir Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella (Courtier Couple). In 2016, he joined Boston Ballet under the direction of Mikko Nissinen and associate direction of Peter Stark. With Boston Ballet II, he performed Solor in La Bayadere, George Balanchine’s Haieff Divertimento, the principal couple in Christopher Wheeldon’s The American, and Flames of Paris pas de deux, as well as in the main Company ballets such as Ivan Liska’s Le Corsaire, Nissinen’s The Nutcracker, William Forsythe’s Artifact 2017, Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty, John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, and August Bournonville’s La Sylphide. In 2016, Drilon was the Grand Prix winner of the Youth America Grand Prix semi-final, and after moving on to the final round in New York, he was the only male candidate representing the U.S. to place among the top six Senior Men. Drilon was also a competitor in the 2018 XI USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS.


Anna Gerberich is a native of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, and began her training at the age of seven with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. She was a featured performer with the CPYB Performing Company and had the privilege of dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker with Benjamin Millepied. Her training also included rewarding summer programs including Kaatsbaan, Kirov Academy, and American Ballet Theatre. She was awarded the Pointe Magazine NERDA Award of Promise in 2001. She received first place at the 2003 Youth America Grand Prix regionals and placed in the top 10 at the finals. In 2004, she was awarded the Barbara Weisberger RDA Founders Award for Excellence. That same year, she was invited by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride to apprentice with the Charlotte Ballet, and in 2005 at the age of 16, was hired into the Main Company. She was promoted to Soloist and then Principal within three years. She recently spent two years with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. In her career, Gerberich has danced many interesting roles including: Bonnefoux’s Cinderella (Cinderella), Robert Joffrey’s The Nutcracker (Sugar Plum Fairy), The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora), Dwight Rhoden’s Othello (Desdemona), Jiri Kylian’s Forgotten Land (Black and Red Couple), Sleepless (Red), and Return to a Strange Land (Blue), Marius Petipa’s Don Quixote (Kitri), Jorma Elo’s 1st Flash, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes (The Liberty Bell), Who Cares? (Turning Girl), Western Symphony (1st movement lead), and Coppelia (Swanilda). She performed the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet in London with the Bad Boys of Ballet.


Valentino Moneglia Zamora was born in Murcia, Spain where he trained at The Conservatorio Profesional de Danza de Murcia and Robles Ballet School under José Antonio Robles and Alberto Muñoz. While studying, Moneglia performed in José Carlos Martínez’s Don Quijote with the Compañía Nacional de Danza of Spain. He joined The Joffrey Ballet Studio Company in 2016 where he has danced until now joining The Joffrey Ballet. During his time with the Studio Company, Moneglia performed works such as Siegfried in Swan Lake, the Waltz Boy in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Don Quixote, lead roles in Gerald Arpino’s Viva Vivaldi and Suite Saint-Saens, Bournonville’s Napoli, and Alexander Ekman’s Episode 31. He also performed with the main Company in productions such as Christopher Wheeldon’s The Nutcracker and Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo & Juliet.


Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Xavier Núñez began training at age ten at The Hartt Community Dance Division in Hartford, Connecticut.  In 2010, he continued his training at the International Ballet Academy in Cary, NC, under Miguel Campaneria. In 2012, he was awarded the silver medal at the World Ballet Competition in the professional category. After being accepted into American Ballet Theatre Studio Company under the artistic direction of Kevin McKenzie and Franco De Vita, he went on to perform in international galas dancing in George Balanchine’s Tarantella and Alexei Ratmansky’s Le Carnaval Des Animaux in Italy and France. In 2013, Núñez joined The Tulsa Ballet under the direction of Marcello Angelini where he performed ballets including The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cinderella, and The Three Musketeers. In 2015, he joined The Sarasota Ballet where he performed in works such as Balanchine’s Jewels, Stars and Stripes, Dominic Walsh’s Wolfgang for Webb, Ashton’s Rakes Progress. In 2017, Núñez ranked sixth in the Concours de Opera National de Paris resulting in a contract for the 2017/2018 season with the Paris Opera Ballet.


Princess Reid grew up in Jacksonville, FL. She started studying ballet at age seven at The Florida Ballet under the direction of Laurie Picinich-Byrd where she danced until she was 18. Soon after, she joined Orlando Ballet’s second company in 2015, where she stayed until May 2018. While in Orlando, Reid performed in Don Quixote, Serenade, and Val Caniparoli’s A Cinderella Story, to name a few. Reid was also given the opportunity to perform Robert Hill’s Requiem at the American Dance Competition gala in 2016, and in June 2018, she competed in the prestigious USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi.






Julia Rust was born and raised in Noblesville, Indiana and trained with Alyona Yakovleva-Randall and the faculty of Indiana Ballet Conservatory. She furthered her training at many international schools, then year-round in Washington, D.C.—all on full scholarship. A graduate of The Washington School of Ballet, she worked extensively with Xiomara Reyes and Rinat Imaev, and was chosen by Julie Kent to dance in The Washington Ballet’s productions of Serenade, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, and The Nutcracker at The Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap. She also continues to be mentored by Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky. Rust was recently awarded the Silver Medal at the 2018 USA International Ballet Competition. The USA IBC is known as the “Olympics of Ballet”, and the late Robert Joffrey was instrumental in its founding. Prior to this career achievement, she was awarded the Grand Prix Award at the 2017 YAGP Semifinal and went on to place in the Top 12 at the YAGP World Finals in NYC. Rust has also had the pleasure of dancing in The Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala in Salt Lake City, The Miami Ballet Festival, and also The Awards Gala and Encore Gala at USA IBC.


Leticia Stock grew up in Rio de Janeiro and began dancing at the age of three. She trained locally at the Maria Olenewa State Dance School and, when her family moved to Europe, at the Teatro Dell’Opera di Roma Ballet School. At 16, she won a Prix de Lausanne scholarship to study at The Royal Ballet Upper School and in 2009, she joined The Royal Ballet company and was promoted to first artist in 2015. Stock’s repertory with The Royal Ballet includes Clara (The Nutcracker), Fairy of the Song Bird and Fairy of the Crystal Fountain (The Sleeping Beauty), pas de deux (Viscera), cygnet (Swan Lake), pas de six (Giselle), pas de trois in Emeralds (Jewels), Carbon Life (McGregor), Multiverse (McGregor), Symphonic Variations (Ashton), Scènes de ballet (Ashton) and Metamorphosis: Titian 2012. She has created roles in Liam Scarlett’s Asphodel Meadows, Sweet Violets, The Age of Anxiety, and Frankenstein, and Wayne McGregor’s Limen and Woolf Works.





Joffrey Ballet Upcoming Productions

The Joffrey Ballet launches its 63rd season with Christopher Wheeldon’s modern re-telling of Swan Lake (October 17-28, 2018), followed by his reimagined The Nutcracker (December 1-30, 2018).

For its winter engagement in 2019, the Joffrey presents the World Premiere of Yuri Possokhov’s new full-length ballet Anna Karenina (February 13-24, 2019) and concludes its season with Across the Pond, a mixed repertory program that includes the Joffrey premiere of Vespertine by The Royal Ballet Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett, and world premieres by Kenneth MacMillan Choreographic Competition winner Andrew McNicol and rising star Andrea Walker of London’s cutting-edge 201 Dance Company.


The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of 2018-2019 Season Sponsors: Abbott Fund, Alphawood Foundation Chicago, NIB Foundation, and the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation; Live Music Sponsors Sandy and Roger Deromedi and The Marina and Arnold Tatar Fund for Live Music; and 2018-2019 Season Partners: Clear Channel Airports, Chicago Athletic Clubs, Preferred Hotel JW Marriott, and Official Provider of Physical Therapy Athletico.


All performances will take place at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway. Single tickets are now on sale for the 2018-19 season; please visit for more information. Connect with the Joffrey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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