Christopher Arellano from Tucumcari, New Mexico moved to Albuquerque to follow his passion for performance. Christopher has performed in numerous shows from Albuquerque to New York. He has been seen in FBA’s The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment and recently in MTS’s Tuck Everlasting. Christopher has studied with NDI New Mexico, Dance Theatre Southwest, Urbanity Dance in Boston, and The Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. Christopher will continue his education at Dean College to study Arts and Entertainment Management as well as Dance Pedagogy.
Elizabeth Ranney Bram has loved ballet since she was 4 years old when she saw The Nutcracker ballet performed live for the first time. She started dancing at National Dance Institute Albuquerque and has trained with Dance Theatre Southwest since she was 8 years old. She loves performing with Festival Ballet and has danced in The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment, Dracula, A Love Story, and Sacred Journeys. Elizabeth attends the Bosque School and loves Spanish, dancing, and playing violin.
Penelope Carlson has been dancing with Dance Theatre Southwest since she was three years old and thought falling down was part of ballet dancing. This is her sixth year performing in The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment. She has also performed in Dracula and Sacred Journeys with FBA.
Adelaide Casaus is an Albuquerque native, who started ballet at Fishback Studio of the Dance at age three. At 11, she joined the company at NDI NM. She graduated from the company in 2022, after training for three years in company Xcel under Steven Melendez. Her favorite role was dancing as the bird in an urban retelling of Peter and The Wolf. This past summer, she attended the Joffrey Ballet Intensive in NYC. She is currently taking a gap year from school but plans to attend college for veterinary science in the future. This is her first season with FBA and is looking forward to many more.
Tim Chan grew up with orchestra, vocal competitions, martial arts, and ballroom dancing. Dr. Chan enjoys a career in foot and ankle reconstruction surgery. Tim began ballet at the Sharper Image School for the Arts in Orlando and Las Cruces School of Dance and Music. This is his third performance with FBA.
Iram Comacho was introduced to dance at the age of 9 during an outreach program by the National Dance Institute where he studied tap, jazz, and ballet from 2012-2018. He attended Tierra Adentro Charter School from grades 6-12, being introduced to Spanish Flamenco dance and has studied with members of Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company, as well as notable flamenco artists from all over Spain. Iram is currently study International Relations and Political Science with a French minor at the University of New Mexico, where he also studies flamenco classes. This is Iram’s second season with FBA.
Stella Craig has received dance training for the last 9 years from Dance Theatre Southwest. This will be her 6th The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment. She also danced in FBA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, played Gretyl in the RGES production of The Sound of Music and was in the family cast of the British and Nauvoo Pageants in Nauvoo, IL. Stella also enjoys baking, playing the piano & skiing.
Paul Dore is performing his 5th season with FBA. Paul thanks his instructors Patricia Dickinson Wells and Beth Griffin who have taught continuously through pandemic, and for helping him cultivate what is one of his greatest joys in life.
Maya Espinosa-Chavez began dancing when 4 years old at Fishback Studio of the Dance and joined the Dance Theater Southwest family 9 years ago. She graduated from Tierra Adentro: The New Mexico School of Academics, Art and Artesanía, where she studied flamenco and participated in the advanced dance ensemble. Maya has received several scholarships for summer intensives through Festival Flamenco de Albuquerque and Regional Dance America. As a member of Festival Ballet Albuquerque, she has participated in several productions including Dracula, A Love Story; Midsummer’s Night Dream; Sacred Journeys I and II; and The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment.
Amanda Geilenfeldt was born and raised in Albuqueruqe, NM, Amanda grew up dancing for Patricia Dickinson first with New Mexico Ballet Company and now Festival Ballet Albuquerque. In 2011, Amanda left New Mexico to further her education and moved to Chicago, IL. During this time she continued to teach and perform with Tiffany Lawson Dance Company and Columbia College Chicago, where she also graduated with a Masters degree in Dance/Movement and Counseling. She moved to El Paso, TX to be with her now husband, and became a Licensed Professional Counselor working at Fort Bliss with Soldiers and their families. Currently, she stays home to raise her son, Oliver, who also loves to dance!
Courtney Giannini is a native New Mexican and has been dancing for over 25 years. She has competed in numerous competitions around the country and has won several national awards. Courtney is currently a member of Festival Ballet Albuquerque and has danced the roles of the Dew Drop Fairy, lead in Fandango in The Nutcracker in the Land of Rnchantment as well as Maria in Billy the Kid and a Bride of Dracula in Dracula, A Love Story. She also co-choreographs for Landmark Musicals with her husband, Louis. Courtney is a teacher and dance team coach at Sandia Prep.
Louis Giannini, Jr. has danced in Albuquerque with Festival Ballet Albuquerque, Ballet Repertory Theater, NMBC and Keshet. He has danced featured roles such as Harlequin Doll, Rat King, Snow King, and the Cavalier in The Nutcracker as well as the title role in Billy the Kid, and Jonathan Harker in Dracula. Louis Giannini, Jr. joined Landmark Musicals as a choreographer in 2010 for The Fantasticks and is currently serving as Associate Producer and Resident Choreographer for Landmark Musicals. He has been in and choreographed numerous shows with Musical Theater Southwest Albuquerque, Little Theater and the Adobe Theater. Louis is the Middle School Theater Director, Dance Director, Summer Prep Theater Director and the Theater Facilities Manager at Sandia Preparatory School. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for FBA.
Dominic Guerra was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At the age of nineteen, he was awarded a scholarship from the Alvin Ailey School of Dance in New York City where he received formal training in classical ballet and modern dance with a focus on the techniques of Lester Horton and Martha Graham. In 2001, Guerra became a professional company member and principal dancer with American Repertory Ballet. Guerra’s showmanship has been depicted in roles such as the Dancing Master in Cinderella, Hortensio in The Taming of the Shrew, and Droselmeyer in Graham Lustig’s Nutcracker. Other roles that showcase his dynamic sense of expression include his performances in an octet by Twyla Tharp.
Dominic returned to his hometown of Albuquerque to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, which he earned from UNM’s Anderson School of Management in 2012. Guerra was also commissioned by UNM’s Theater & Dance Department to create a ballet, titled Las Soldaderas, based on the women of the Mexican Revolution. The ballet was well-received and critically acclaimed. Guerra teaches dance part-time at Festival Ballet Albuquerque. He also enjoys his full-time career as an Enrollment Specialist at Grand Canyon University.
Baylee Howard began dancint at age 4 at Corrales Ballet and later moved to BRT at 11. She began dancing with Dance Theatre Southwest several years ago and now considers it home. She has performed several seasons with FBA and is a sophomore at Cibola High. She also enjoys piano.
Vonn Scott Kronberg met Ms. Patricia through their mutual connection, his Aunt Mary, and finally met in person at a local dance event. In November of 2013, he joined Dance Theatre of the Southwest at the age of 4 and was a “natural”. After his first recital as a Hippo in Fantasia in June 2015, he expressed to his parents, that the stage “felt like home”. That same year at the age of 6, he was the youngest dancer to ever be cast as the Black Sheep in the Festival Ballet Albuquerque production of The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment and has been part of the production every year since. Vonn just completed his 5th grade year attending The Montessori Elementary, where he will continue to attend for middle school. Vonn is also a competitive obstacle course athlete at NinjaForce Gym and enjoys riding motocross. During his down time, he is singing his favorite songs or playing Beat Saber on his Oculus virtual reality game. Vonn is dancing the lead role of Fernando, and many other corps roles.
Chloe Lin started taking ballet classes 11 years ago since she started kindergarten. She started pointe when she was 10 years old. Before joining Dance Theatre Southwest, Chloe studied ballet under Jessica Boelts and Larisa Akinicheva at Ridgefield School of Dance in Ridgefield, Connecticut and feels very fortunate to find Dance Theater Southwest to continue her joy of dancing with a group of passionate teachers and peer students!
Kyle Linzer began his study of dance as a senior in high school after being prompted to do so by his martial arts instructor. (It’s never too late to start!) Since that time, he has had the privilege of studying on scholarships with teachers from American Ballet Theater, Joffrey, Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Paris Opera Ballet, the Bolshoi, Hubbard Street, Ballet Aspen, as well as teachers from Twyla Tharpe’s and Martha Graham’s companies. His training includes classical ballet, modern, jazz, pas de deux, character dance, and yoga. In addition to teaching and performing dance in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, Kyle stays in shape by also teaching Yoga and Pilates classes at Cleveland High School, Defined Fitness, Blissful Spirits Hot Yoga, and the Placitas Fire station, as well as nationally and internationally for various resorts in Alaska and the Caribbean. Kyle also teaches partnering pas de deux at Dance Theatre Southwest and has performed with FBA since its early years.
Megan Marshall started out as a successful competitive gymnast with Albuquerque Gymnastics School. She was introduced to dance through the National Dance Institute of New Mexico. In 2005, while attending the Public Academy for Performing Arts, she joined Dance Theater Southwest where she has studied and performed under the direction of Patricia Dickenson-Wells for the past 16 years. Megan is currently a full-time student at Grand Canyon University studying Counseling with an Emphasis in Addictions and actively helping those in her community who are seeking recovery from addiction.
Christo McMaster began dancing in 2012 when he participated in Festival Ballet Albuquerque’s production of Billy the Kid. He began his formal ballet training at Dance Theatre Southwest with Dominic Guerra and Patricia Dickinson Wells. He has since been performing with Festival Ballet Albuquerque. Christo has recently performed with other companies such as Louisiana Delta Ballet, as a guest artist in their production of Beauty and the Beast, and more extensively with Connecticut Ballet, in the productions of Giselle and The Nutcracker, as well as various outreach programs. With his apprenticeship and trainee scholarship he studied under Mr. Brett Raphael, Director of Connecticut Ballet. Christo is currently on faculty at Dance Theatre Southwest where he teaches Boys Class, Beginning Partnering for teenagers and Adult classes as well.
Joe Moncada is a professional ballroom and country/western dance competitor and choreographer. As well as being on stage performing, he also designs and constructs ballgowns and Latin dresses for the competitive dance arena, the ballet community and the musical stage.
Joseph Nava has over a decade of diverse industry experience, is a national award-winning dancer and choreographer, and trained with Daniel Duell, at Ballet Chicago on full-ride scholarship. In addition to training with DTSW, Nava is a founding member of Festival Ballet Albuquerque, where he has performed numerous soloist roles under the direction of Patricia Dickinson, with several choreographers including Jock Soto, Mel Tomlinson, and David Chavez. Nava is currently the Office Manager of KJAM Studios, where he also teaches and trains students of different disciplines.
Hannah Okura-Demmie began danging at Kuribayashi Ballet in Tokyo at age 6. She danced the role of Clara in The Nutcracker in 2019 for NMBC under Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. She has attended summer intesives at Joffrey Ballet School, Ballet West Academy, San Francisco Ballet School, and Ellison Ballet. This is Hannah’s first season with FBA.
Sofia Ortiz began dancing at the age of three at the Little gym and has danced at many other studios. She trained at NDI, most notably with Ms. Evelyn Cisneros Legate. She has had the privilege to dance for well recognized choreographers and principal dancers like Quinn Wharton, Francisco Gella, Ann Reinking, Suki Schorer, Jock Soto, and Christine Spizzo. She has been trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, and Musical Theatre, and was invited to join the pre-professional company at NDI at the age of 9 becoming the youngest member (when the average age was 13). She has been awarded scholarships to participate in summer programs including Jillana’s School , Keshet, BRT, and Dance Theatre Southwest. She now has the opportunity and privilege to dance for her fifth year.
Rosalinda Rojas is a native-born New York City, Harlemite and daughter of the South Bronx. Answering a cosmic call to dance, seven decades later; dance, dancing and dance making as a profession holds center stage spaces. Celebrating her twenty-second year as a faculty-dance educator and mentor at Albuquerque Academy, her work is recognized as elevating dance as an art form from studio to stage. Former students have successfully pursued global professional careers with renowned dance companies, circus, film, theater, and opera. She is a cultivator of lifelong learning, creative investigation, disruptive aesthetic art making and innovative dance curriculum designs. From the early development of classical ballet in Europe to current spaces cultivating diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging in ballet, her global travel, research, and teaching philosophy is rooted in culturally responsive work. As a company member of Festival Ballet Albuquerque and guest teacher with Dance Theater Southwest, the technical and creative platform opportunities are embraced and celebrated. Ms. Rojas holds an MFA from Montclair State University in Dance and Technology, an MA in Dance Education from Northern Colorado University, and a BFA in Dance from the University of New Mexico. Her current post graduate advanced study, research and creative work interests include African and African-Diaspora studies at Florida International University, Black Flamenco Network: Flamencos Unidos Africanos Y Afro Descendientes, and collaborative-participation with AfroMundo.
Cate Roybal-Ray studied with Dance Theatre Southwest since age 3, expanding her interests in all types of dance arts under the direction of Patricia Dickinson. She has performed with Festival Ballet Albuquerque in various roles in productions of Dracula, Sacred Journeys, and The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment, dancing the role of Maria. She is currently a senior at Albuquerque Academy.
Avonlea Samora began her dance training at the age of three with BRT. After eight years, she moved to Dance Theatre Southwest, where she has continued her training in ballet, jazz and modern for five years. While at DTSW, she was the recipient of a full scholarship to Modas Dance Intensive and attended other dance intensives. Avonlea has performed in Alice in Wonderland; Dracula, A Love Story; and several productions of The Nutcracker. This will be her fifth year dancing in Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment. At school, Avonlea is a member of National Honor Society, Thespians and the State Champion Diablas dance team.
Antionette Segura, native of Albuquerque, began her dance training at the age of three with Fishback Studio of Dance in ballet, jazz, tap, acrobatics, hip hop and contemporary. She has competed regionally and nationally with Fishback’s dance team, receiving numerous awards and titles, including Youth America Grand Prix 3rd place contemporary winner and IDC Junior Miss Global. In 2005, Antionette joined NMBC, then under the direction of Patricia Dickinson Wells, where throughout the years she has performed in various roles in the productions of The Nutcracker Ballet, Alice in Wonderland, Spartacus, Pucci Sports, Romeo and Juliet, Dracula, and Don Quixote. She has performed in George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Serenade, and Valse Fanatisie. Antionette has trained with various artists and is currently a dance instructor for Kids Love to Dance, NDI-NM, and Dance Theatre Southwest. This is Antionette’s eighth season with FBA.
Ana Shedden first started dancing at the age of 5 at BRT. At age 9 she began studying with Dance Theatre Southwest. This is her 7th production of The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment since joining FBA and her 9th production overall. Ana is a Sophomore at Albuquerque High School.
Jordan Slocum is the former Director of Children’s Programs at Dance Theatre Southwest (DTSW). Over the last ten years, Ms. Slocum has taught extensively, been a dancer/dance captain for Landmark Musicals, and served as Assistant to the Director, Office Administrator, and Rehearsal Repetituer/Coach for Festival Ballet Albuquerque (FBA). While at FBA, Ms. Slocum has performed many ballets, including George Balanchine’s Serenade and Valse Fantaisie. She has danced as a principal dancer in ballets choreographed by Mel Tomlinson and Patricia Dickinson Wells, and as a soloist for David Chavez. She was also the FBA Co-Festival Coordinator for the Regional Dance America Southwest 2019 Festival hosted in Albuquerque. Ms. Slocum completed her bachelor’s degree in Criminology with minors Political Science and International Studies, studied abroad in Brazil and Cuba, and completed and received a Master of Science in Information Systems and Assurance from the Anderson School of Management and a second Master in Educational Psychology. Ms. Slocum attended and presented at the 2020 Hawaii International Conference on Education and is currently the owner of East Mountain Dance as well as a full time Project Manager for Ball Aerospace.
Ellis Smith began dancing at the age of 7 with National Dance Institute. His reluctant love of the stage brought him to Festival Ballet Albuquerque in 2019 where he has danced in The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment and Dracula, A Love Story. When he’s not pursuing acting and dancing, he is working for a non-profit organization.
Lora Sturm has been dancing for nearly her entire life. She has studied ballet, modern, and flamenco in Albuquerque and bharata natyam, South Indian classical dance, in Middletown, Connecticut and Paris, France. When she was ten years old, she began studying with Patricia Dickinson and her company and performed leading and corps roles in productions of The Nutcracker, Dracula, A Love Story, and Coppelia, as well as Balanchine’s Serenade and Valse Fantasie, to name a few. Ms. Sturm holds a B.A. in French Studies from Wesleyan University. She currently works as a massage therapist and serves on faculty with Dance Theatre Southwest teaching classical ballet, pointe, partnering, variations, and occasionally contemporary dance.
Jaimasan Sutton is currently Office Manager for DTSW and FBA. She started dancing with FBA during the initial covid shutdown on Zoom and has been dancing ever since. She has previously participated in community theatre productions where she been thrilled to be featured as dancing ensemble. She has also just graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science in pure mathematics and philosophy.
Jesika Ulibarri began dancing eleven years ago at Hayden School of Ballet. She subsequently trained at Ballet Repertory Theater where she performed in The Nutcracker and Beauty and the Beast. She has also trained with the Portland Ballet and BodyVox in Portland, Oregon and Keshet, Marshall’s Performing Arts, and Dance Theatre Southwest in Albuquerque.
Kendra Williams began her training at Dance Theatre Southwest, where she is currently on faculty. She trained under director Patricia Dickinson for over fifteen years and was a founding member of Festival Ballet Albuquerque, performing shows such as Balanchine’s Serenade, Coppelia, Dracula, and multiple Nutcrackers, to name a few. She has choreographed and taught for dance studios all over NM for over a decade, teaching ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, and contemporary. While in New Mexico, she graduated with honors with a BFA from the University of New Mexico, where she found her love of modern and contemporary dance. She continued her dance training in New York, performing works by Jennifer Muller, José Limón, and Carla Maxwell, and studying techniques such as Horton, Graham, Limón, and multiple contemporary techniques. She is currently working to receive her M.Ed. in Elementary Education.
Jennifer Winkless-Hall is an Albuquerque native and began training at age 4. She has studied with Patricia Dickinson Wells at Dance Theatre Southwest since 1998 with classes from Jock Soto (New York City Ballet) Jilliana (NYCB), Arthur Mitchell (Dance Theatre of Harlem), Mel Tomlinson (Alvin Ailey) and Antoinette Peloso (Metropolitan Opera Ballet of NY). Jennifer teaches ballet classes for every level. Her performance credits include various roles in different Nutcracker Ballets for FBA, NMBC and BRT/NM as well as Balanchine’s Serenade. She also danced in BRT’s Beauty & the Beast and Cinderella. Mrs. Winkless-Hall has been a member of FBA since its inception performing in The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment, Dracula, The Firebird, Coppelia, Sacred Journeys series and has performed original works set on her by Patricia Dickinson Wells, Jock Soto, Mel Tomlinson, Vladamir Conde Reche, Alex Ossadnik, David Chavez, Sean Winkless-Hall and Dominic Guerra.
Sean “SSGT WINKS” Winkless-Hall started dancing in Albuquerque in 1983 at the age of 2 ½–it was love at first stretch. Since then, life has taken many twists and turns, but ballet has always remained a major component in his story. He trained primarily at Lana’s School of Dance with a variety of amazing teachers, attending many summer intensive programs including the University of NM and Joffrey Ballet in NYC. He studied two summers at the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts taking classes from dancers from companies such as Momix, NYCB, ABT, and former dancers from the Bolshoi. Sgt Winks danced with Bill Evans, Eva Encinias, Joetta Jercinovic, and Judith Bennahaum. In 1988 he appeared in The Nutcracker under David Chavez at NMBC, continuing to develop his dance career for 13 years. He first studied with Patricia Dickinson in 1996 and has been working with her off and on ever since. In the late 90’s he made guest appearances with companies around the southwest before taking time off to finish school. In 2011 Sgt Winks joined the Army National Guard completing 8 years of military service before changing branches to the Air National Guard. SSgt Winks is the father of two beautiful girls and husband of Jennifer Winkless-Hall with whom he met and fell in love while dancing for FBA.
Juliana Michele Witiuk performs regularly with Festival Ballet Albuquerque and has enjoyed dancing various lead and core roles in The Nutcracker in the Land of Enchantment, Where the Wild Things Are, Sacred Journeys and Dracula, A Love Story, just name a few. Juliana has attended summer programs and intensives including The Jillana School in Taos, NM, the Andre Vassiliev School of Classical Ballet in NYC, and Ballet Chicago. Juliana is currently on the faculty at Dance Theater Southwest and East Mountain Dance. Alongside her love of dance, Juliana also studies and performs vocally. She is extremely grateful for all the dance opportunities she has received through DTSW and looks forward to many more.