Skip to Content

American Repertory Ballet Announces Rising Stars in Princeton Ballet School’s Don Quixote Performances, and Accompanying “Behind Don Quixote” On Pointe Enrichment Series Event

For Information/Interviews Contact: Alexis Branagan, Marketing and Development Associate, American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School;; 732-249-1254, ext. 15; Additional Photos/images available upon request; FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 13, 2012

Princeton Ballet School, the official school of American Repertory Ballet, presents the Spanish-inspired, full-length ballet Don Quixote on May 5th at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM at Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey.  On April 27 at 5:15pm, “Behind Don Quixote”, an ARB On Pointe Enrichment Series event, will provide a pre-performance inside look at this production.

Princeton Ballet School’s production of Don Quixote, which has been directed and staged by ARB Artistic Director Douglas Martin, will feature rising stars from the school’s Professional Training Program and Trainee Program, as well as a wide range of students from Princeton Ballet School.  Main roles will be danced by students in the Professional Training Program and Trainee program.

Bryana Jones, a Piscataway High School senior in the Professional Training Program who has studied at Princeton Ballet School since childhood, and Kelsey McFalls, a second-year Trainee from Syracuse, NY who is taking a leave of absence from NYU to study at Princeton Ballet School, will tackle the challenging lead role of “Kitri”.  Kitri’s fiery lover “Basilio” will be danced by two of Princeton Ballet School’s international Trainee students: Mattia Pallozzi, who trained at the Scuola del Teatro dall’Opera di Roma and the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome, and Tullio Catà, who trained in Rome with Fabula Saltis, and at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza, and in Florence with Balleto di Toscana.

The role of “Dream Kitri” – Kitri as she appears in Don Quixote’s dazed imagination – will be danced by Trainees Shayla Jones and Andrea D'Annunzio. Jones, who was first introduced to dance through ARB’s DANCE POWER program in her New Brunswick 3rd grade class, advanced through the school as a DANCE POWER Scholar and was accepted this fall into the Trainee Program. D’Annunzio is a native of Conshohocken, PA who graduated from Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University with a B.A. in ballet pedagogy.  The “Queen of the Dryads,” who also makes a main appearance in Don Quixote’s dream, will be danced by two first-year Professional Training Program students who have been training at Princeton Ballet School for many years: Ellen Lou, a Hillsboro High School student, and Siobhan Howley, a home-schooled student from Burlington, NJ.  The role of “Amor”, also a part of Don Quixote’s dream, will be danced by international Trainee student Asuka Kososhi and Professional Training Program student Chelsea PeBenito.  Kososhi trained at the Grand Ballet Academy in Iruma, Japan, in the Etoile Class at the NBA School in Shintogokorozawa, Japan, and, most recently, at the Hungarian Ballet Academy, before joining the Trainee Program this fall.  PeBenito, a student at East Brunswick High School, has been dancing at Princeton Ballet School for several years; this is her second year in the Professional Training Program.

Alessia Astro, another Italian Trainee student, and Janessa Cornell from Albany, NY will perform the role of “Mercedes”.  Astro most recently studied at the Teatro dall’Opera di Roma. Cornell, who received her training at Nutmeg Conservatory, danced with Roxey Ballet of Lambertville for three years before joining Princeton Ballet School’s Trainee Program.  Mercedes’ partner “Espada” will be danced by Trainee Jacopo Janelli, who trained for nine years with Fabula Saltis, in Rome and spent three summers at the Royal Ballet School in London.

The ballet Don Quixote, a 19th century classical ballet, was choreographed by the prolific Marius Petipa to a score by Léon Minkus.  It is based on the story of Miguel Cervante’s classic novel.  In the ballet, an elderly noble, Don Quixote, feels called to venture out into the world and perform knightly deeds.  He appoints his young servant, Sancho Panza, as his squire. He sets forth into the world to seek adventure in the service of his ideal lady, the beautiful Dulcinea, whom he has seen in a vision.  Along their journey, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza stumble into a lively market square in Barcelona, where they meet Kitri, Basilio, Mercedes, and Espada.  The School’s adaptation under the direction of ARB Company Director Douglas Martin is based on Petipa’s original version, with additional re-staging and choreography by Mary Barton, Maria Youskevitch and other members of the Princeton Ballet School's faculty, including Alma Concepción, the 2012 recipient of the Audrée Estey Award for Excellence in Dance Education, and American Repertory Ballet’s 2012 Gala Honoree.

“...[W]e are very proud to be able to feature dancers trained in the true dances of Spain, by Alma Concepción,” says Princeton Ballet School Director Mary Pat Robertson.  “We are very lucky to have had her teaching at Princeton Ballet School for almost 30 years, and to have a core group of dedicated enthusiasts who enjoy practicing these dances under her exacting tutelage…[W]e are happy to have lured her back to help stage this dance again.”

Princeton Ballet School’s production of Don Quixote gives a broad range of Princeton Ballet School students – from beginners to pre-professionals – a special opportunity to rehearse and perform a full length ballet.

“The students have had rehearsals outside their regularly scheduled classes to put together this performance,” Robertson explains.  “This opportunity gives them insight into the preparation required to put on a professional-level production.”

Additionally, on April 27, American Repertory Ballet’s On Pointe Enrichment Series program “Behind Don Quixote” will give attendees a sneak peek into the school’s upcoming performance.  Students will perform excerpts from the show, and Douglas Martin and Mary Pat Robertson will speak about the history of Don Quixote and Princeton Ballet School’s adaptation of this classical ballet.

Princeton Ballet School’sDon Quixote
May 5, 2012
2:00 PM and 7:00 PM
Patriots Theater at the War Memorial
One Memorial Drive, Trenton, NJ
Tickets are now available to the public for $30.  For more information about tickets, please call Princeton Ballet School at 609.921.7758 ext. 10 or visit
“Behind Don QuixoteOn Pointe Enrichment Series Program
April 27, 2012
5:15 PM
Princeton Ballet School
301 N. Harrison Street
Princeton, NJ
(Above McCaffrey’s Super Market in the Princeton Shopping Center)
Free and open to the public


About American Repertory Ballet
American Repertory Ballet's mission is to bring the joy, beauty, artistry and discipline of classical and contemporary dance to New Jersey and nationwide audiences and to dance students through artistic and educational programs.  The organization is comprised of: American Repertory Ballet, the preeminent contemporary ballet company in the state; Princeton Ballet School, one of the largest and most respected non-profit dance schools in the nation; and the Access and Enrichment initiatives, ranging from the long-running and acclaimed DANCE POWER program to the newly launched On Pointe series.

The professional company is a classical and contemporary ballet company committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th century alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today.  Founded in 1963, the company is currently under the artistic leadership of Douglas Martin, former principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet.  American Repertory Ballet has been designated a "Major Arts Institution" by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts consistently for the past two decades, and has repeatedly been awarded a Citation of Excellence by the Council and was voted People's Choice for Best Dance Company in 2008 and 2011.

Princeton Ballet School has gained a national reputation for its excellent dance training since its founding in 1954 by Audrée Estey. Princeton Ballet School currently enrolls approximately 1500 students annually from age three through adult and is directed by Mary Pat Robertson.  Princeton Ballet School has studios in Cranbury, New Brunswick, and Princeton which are equipped with shock-absorbent floors, non-slip dance surfaces and pianos for live accompaniment.  Many of Princeton Ballet School’s faculty members have performed professionally; others have attained graduate degrees in dance education and have won awards for their teaching.  Students from the school have gone on to dance in professional ballet and contemporary dance companies in the US and abroad. Graduates have danced with such diverse organizations as the American Ballet Theatre, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Miami City Ballet, STREB, Complexions, Mark Morris Dance Company, Twyla Tharp, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Momix.

The Access and Enrichment wing of American Repertory Ballet reaches out to the community through their acclaimed DANCE POWER residency program in New Brunswick, their On Pointe programs, and through master classes, residencies, lecture demonstrations and school time matinees throughout the state. ARB launched On Pointe in 2010 to help make ballet more accessible to the community.  The Enrichment Series brings guest speakers, lecture demonstrations, intimate company performance previews and panel discussions to seasoned dance enthusiasts and new students alike on a monthly basis.  “Inside Don Quixote” will be held at the Princeton Ballet School, located at 301 N. Harrison Street in Princeton, NJ (right above McCaffrey’s Super Market).


Discover Jersey Arts