Santa Fe, NM USA
Eli Barnes’ ballet training began in his hometown of Santa Fe at the age of 15. He then moved to Seattle, WA to train with Pacific Northwest Ballet, followed by a move to Ohio to train with Cincinnati Ballet. During Eli’s previous five seasons with Alberta Ballet, he has danced the roles of the White Angel in Mozart's Requiem, Roderigo in Othello and the Pink Couple in Forgotten Land. Favourite productions include George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Western Symphony, as well as Forgotten Land by Jiří Kylián.
Houston, TX USA
Brittany Broussard is originally from Houston, TX and recently graduated from the School of Alberta Ballet. She performed with Alberta Ballet in several performances in the 16/17 season, including Dracula and Our Canada. Brittany was also selected to represent Canada in the Cecchetti International Ballet Competition in Florence, Italy this past summer. She previously trained with Next Generation Ballet in Tampa, FL and Vitacca Dance Project with Phillip Broomhead. Additionally, Brittany has been fortunate to train in summer programs with San Francisco Ballet and Boston Ballet.
Oakland, MD USA
John Canfield grew up in rural Virginia and received his early training at local studios. He then moved on to train with The Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts and The Richmond Ballet School before coming to Canada where he attended the National Ballet School in Toronto. In 2015, John was recognized with Canada Council's Peter Dwyer Award for the Arts. Some of his favourite repertoire includes Aszure Barton's Happy Little Things (Waiting on a Gruff Cloud of Wanting) Jiří Kylián's Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen, and The Nutcracker.
Zhenghong (Jason) Cao was born in Beijing, China. He began ballet training at the Secondary School of Beijing Dance Academy at the age of 10 and performed internationally with the Academy. In 2010, Jason performed at the Gala of the Youth America Grand Prix in New York. On graduation, he received several scholarships and chose to continue his training in North America. He attended both Canada’s National Ballet School and the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. Prior to this first season with Alberta Ballet, Jason danced with Washington Ballet Studio Company, dancing principal roles such as Prince Desire in Sleeping Beauty, Franz in Coppelia, and Waltz Couple in Serenade.
Montreal, QC Canada
Born and raised in Montreal, QC, Gabrielle Chenard is a graduate of l’École supérieure de ballet du Québec. Additionally, she has attended several intensives, including Canada’s National Ballet School and Art of Forsythe workshop in Berlin, Germany. Gabrielle also danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens’ professional corps de ballet in their annual production of The Nutcracker. This is Gabrielle’s second season with Alberta Ballet.
Calgary, AB Canada
Born and raised in Calgary, Tanya Chumak is in her third season with Alberta Ballet. Tanya trained at the School of Alberta Ballet where she completed her Advanced 2 Cecchetti Exam and was selected to compete in the Cecchetti International Classical Ballet Competition. Tanya then went on to dance professionally with New York Theatre Ballet in New York City for two years. After her time in New York, Tanya returned to Calgary and is very happy to be dancing with Alberta Ballet in her hometown. Some of Tanya’s most memorable performances with Alberta Ballet include Giselle, The Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland and Balletlujah!.
Zacharie originates from the eastern coast of Australia and received his early training from schools in his local hometown of Taree, NSW. He was accepted to train with the Australian Ballet School and National College of Dance before moving to Brisbane to accept a scholarship with Queensland Ballet’s Pre-Professional Program. Zacharie later joined the Queensland Ballet as an extra Company Dancer before being promoted into Queensland Ballet’s prestigious Jette Parker Young Artist Program. Some of Zacharie’s career highlights include Lead Matador in Christian Tatchev’s Don Quixote, Soloist in Amy Hollingsworth’s Til Enda, Liam Scarlett’s A Mid Summers Night’s Dream, and Derek Deane’s Strictly Gershwin.
Huntington Beach, CA USA
Melissa Eguchi began training at the age of three at California’s Huntington Academy of Dance under the direction of Marnell Himes-Ushijima and has also been privately coached by artist Jayne Persch. After completing Cecchetti exams, Primary through Grade 10 with honours, Melissa furthered her training at the School of Alberta Ballet. She has received numerous scholarships to institutions such as Marin Dance Theatre, the Elmhurst School of Dance and the School of Alberta Ballet. She is a two-time finalist for the Youth American Grand Prix and the Cecchetti International Ballet Competition and winner of the CICB Audience Choice Award 2014. This is her second season with Alberta Ballet.
Calgary, AB Canada
Alexandra Gibson was born in Toronto, ON and moved to Calgary, AB as a young child. She trained exclusively at the School of Alberta Ballet. This will be Alexandra’s ninth season with the company. She has performed the role of Myrtha in Giselle, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Klara in The Nutcracker, the Lover in Balletlujah!, and Tiger Lily in Alice in Wonderland.
Calgary, AB Canada
Jennifer Gibson was born in Toronto, ON and moved to Calgary, AB with her family at a young age. She received twelve years of training at the School of Alberta Ballet and is now in her ninth year with the company. She has performed as one of the four cygnets from Swan Lake, as White Rose in Alice in Wonderland, and as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Klara in The Nutcracker.
Edmonton, AB Canada
Garrett Groat is returning to Alberta Ballet now in his eighth season with Alberta Ballet. He was born and raised in Edmonton, AB where he trained at Dance Unlimited in various styles. At age 17, Garrett was awarded a scholarship by Raymond Lukens to train at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre under the direction of Franco De Vita in New York City. Some of his favourite roles with Alberta Ballet include Puss in Boots in The Sleeping Beauty, the Elton Fan in Love Lies Bleeding, White Couple in Forgotten Lands, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, Escamillo in Yukichi Hattori's Carmen, and as a cast member in Dump the Physical Memory.
Hayna Gutierrez is in her eighth season with Alberta Ballet. She was born in Havana, Cuba, and trained at the National Ballet School there. Hayna was a principal dancer with the Ballet National de Cuba and the Cuban Classical ballet of Miami. In 2013, she won the Miami Life Award for Best Hispanic Female Dancer. Her favourite roles include the title role in Giselle and Kitri in Don Quixote and Carmen. Hayna has also performed as She in Balletlujah!, The Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, a lead in Balanchine’s Serenade, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, and as Cio-Cio San in Madame Butterfly.
Seira Iwamoto is from Fukuoka, Japan, and she is in her third season with Alberta Ballet. Seira received her training at Fukuoka City Kawazoe Ballet Academy, the School of Alberta Ballet, and The Dutch National Ballet Academy. In 2013/2014 she performed with the Dutch National Ballet in Sir Peter Wright’s Sleeping Beauty, as well as in the live stream project in Assemblée Internationale. During her training she has had the privilege to work with Hans Van Manen, Sorella Englund, Jacquelin Barrett, and Kirk Peterson. Some of her favourite repertoires includes Swan Lake, Dracula, and Happy Little Things (Waiting on a Gruff Cloud of Wanting).
Mariko Kondo was born in Hiroshima, Japan, and is in her eleventh season with Alberta Ballet. She trained at Canada’s National Ballet School and has danced professionally with Leipzig Ballet in Germany and Opera Atelier in Toronto before joining Alberta Ballet. Mariko’s repertoire includes Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Desdemona in Othello, the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Cio-Cio San in Madame Butterfly, and Giselle in Giselle.
Lang (Alan) Ma is from China and began his formal training at the LiaoNing Ballet of China Academy. He continued training in Vancouver, BC at the Goh Ballet Academy before joining the Washington School of Ballet in Washington, DC. Alan has won numerous awards, including a Gold Medal in the 2014 World Ballet Competition, 2015 Youth America Grand Prix Third Place Senior Division NYC, 2014 Youth America Grand Prix Finalist, 2012 China Tao Li Bei Competition First Place, and First Place in the 2010 Osaka International Youngsters Ballet Competition. Most recently with the Columbia Classical Ballet Company in Washington, DC, this is Alan’s second season with Alberta Ballet.
Edmonton, AB, Canada
Kelley grew up in Edmonton, training at Dance Alberta with Ross Brierton and at The Banff Centre. Before joining Alberta Ballet, he performed with DanceArts Vancouver, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and The Banff Centre’s Festival of Dance. In 2008, Kelley performed parts of Kirk Peterson’s Othello at the Benois de la Danse Awards Gala at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia. In 2015, he was Guest Principal Artist in David Nixon’s Madame Butterfly with the Northern Ballet in the UK. Some of Kelley's favourite Alberta Ballet repertoire includes Winter Room, Futureland, Iago in Othello, Albrecht in Giselle, D’Artagnan in The Three Musketeers and Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly.
Eatonville, WA, USA
Reilley is celebrating her tenth season with Alberta Ballet. She grew up just outside of Seattle in Eatonville, WA and trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet School and Canada’s National Ballet School. In addition to attending summer programs at the School of American Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet School, she is also an alumna of Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell. Reilley is proud to have worked with Frederic Franklin, who staged Balanchine’s Raymonda, which was filmed for the Balanchine Trust Archives. Her favourite roles with Alberta Ballet include Jean Grand-Maitre's Winter Room, Wen Wei Wang's Futureland, and Queen Anne in David Nixon’s The Three Musketeers.
Born in Japan, Sayuri Nakanii started her training at age eight and eventually moved to Canada in 2015 to begin training at the School of Alberta Ballet. Following her schooling, Sayuri was invited to join Alberta Ballet II, which then led to her dancing with the Alberta Ballet Company. Sayuri has danced in Alberta Ballet’s productions of Dracula, The Nutcracker, and Alice in Wonderland.
Huntington Beach, CA USA
Taryn Nowels is in her fifth season with Alberta Ballet. She is from Huntington Beach, CA, where she attended Orange County Dance Center from the age of three. She furthered her training through courses at San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and The School of American Ballet. Prior to joining Alberta Ballet, Taryn was part of the Professional Trainee Division at Ballet West under full scholarship, and was an apprentice with Oregon Ballet Theatre. Taryn has performed in numerous productions with Alberta Ballet, including one of the leading roles in Jean Grand-Maître’s Balletlujah!.
Hikaru Osakabe was born and raised in Saitama, Japan. He began his training at Hiroko Ugajin Ballet studio and attended Royal Winnipeg Ballet School for three years. As a student, Hikaru performed in several Royal Winnipeg Ballet productions, including Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, and The Nutcracker. In 2016-2017, Hikaru joined Alberta Ballet II and has performed in Dracula, The Nutcracker and Alice in Wonderland with the Company.
Bellevue, WA, USA
Kuu Sakuragi was born in Bellevue, WA and started his training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School where he danced on full scholarship for 10 years. He has also attended numerous summer programs, such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet, Houston Ballet, Canada's National Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet. In 2016, Kuu received a winner's award from the National YoungArts Foundation and continued his training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School until graduation. His favourite performances are Valse Fantasie by George Balanchine, Rome from Romeo and Juliet, and Giselle.
Yoshiya Sakurai began training with Niigata Ballet School in his hometown of Niigata City, Japan. He has taken fifth place in the All Japan Junior Competition, competed in the Japan Grand Prix, received scholarships for the Royal Ballet School and John Cranko Ballet School, and attended Canada’s National Ballet School. In 2010, Yoshiya joined Kansas City Ballet where he performed several lead and soloist roles, including Benno in Swan Lake, Peasant Pas De Deux in Giselle, Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream, Porthos in The Three Musketeers, and Jester in Cinderella. This is Yoshiya’s second season with Alberta Ballet and he performed White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, and Frederick in Dracula.
Luna Sasaki began her dance training at the age of six, and in 2009 she received a full scholarship to the Professional Program of the Houston Ballet Academy. In 2011, Luna attended the summer dance program at the Boston Ballet School and continued her training as a Boston Ballet School Trainee. Some of her favourite roles include Juliet in Romeo & Juliet and Alice Liddell in Alice in Wonderland. Luna has also performed as Klara and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Edmund Stripe’s The Nutcracker, Svetlana in Ben Stevenson’s Dracula, “She” in Jean Grand-Maître’s Balletlujah!, Red Couple in Jiří Kylián’s Forgotten Land and Suzuki in Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly. This is Luna’s fifth season with Alberta Ballet.
Annapolis, MD, USA
Christopher Scruggs is a native of Annapolis, MD and started his training with the Maryland Youth Ballet. He attended summer programs with Washington Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Christopher finished his training at Indiana University, graduating with a dual degree in Ballet Performance and Political Science. Before joining Alberta Ballet, Christopher danced with the Louisville Ballet and Boston Ballet and performed feature roles in works by Anthony Tudor, Dwight Rhoden, George Balanchine, Ma Cong, Val Caniparoli, Jerome Robbins, and Jorma Elo. This is Christopher’s fourth season with Alberta Ballet.
Lewisberry, PA, USA
Originally from Lewisberry, PA, Heather Thomas began dancing with Pennsylvania Regional Ballet before moving to Toronto and graduating from Canada's National Ballet School. She has also trained and worked with the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago, Cincinnati Ballet, and BalletMet Columbus. Some of her favourite performances with Alberta Ballet include Ben Stevenson's Dracula and Jiří Kylián's Forgotten Land. This is Heather's fifth season with Alberta Ballet.
LAURA VANDE ZANDE
Calgary, AB, Canada
A native Calgarian, Laura is in her 6th season with Alberta Ballet. She grew up training in Calgary at various local studios with her last year of studies being at the School of Alberta Ballet. In 2010, she completed her RAD examinations as a recipient of the RAD Solo Seal Award under the direction of Umran Sumen. She has attended many summer intensives and most recently furthered her professional training at The Banff Centre this past summer. Her most memorable performances with Alberta Ballet have been Swan Lake, Forgotten Land, Happy Little Things (Waiting On a Gruff Cloud Of Wanting), and Futureland.