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Trainee Biographies

Click here for information about American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School's Trainee program, including how to audition.

Continuing Trainees:

Michelle Amor.  Trainee since 2012.  Charlotte, North Carolina.  Trained at the Charlotte School of Ballet and Nutmeg Academy in Torrington, Connecticut.  Summer programs with Atlanta Ballet, Joffrey NYC, and Washington Ballet.  Has appeared with ARB in “Romeo and Juliet,”  “Rite of Spring,” and “Nutcracker,” and “Faerie Tyme,” and with ARBW in “Swan Lake, ” and “Hop, Skip and Joplin.”
Pictured on left: Michelle Amor as Rosalind, and former Trainee Mattia Pallozzi as Romeo, in Douglas Martin's Romeo and JulietPhoto Credit: Leighton Chen
Valentina Palladino.  Trainee since 2011. Cagliari, Italy. Trained with Balletto Mediterraneo in Sardinia, then the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome.  Appearances with ARB include “Rite of Spring,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Viva Vivaldi,” “Faerie Tyme” and “Nutcracker.”  ARBW roles include the lead in Mary Barton’s  “Hop, Skip, and Joplin,” the Polish Princess in “Swan Lake,” and a Fleurista in “Don Quixote.” Valentina is spending this year as an Independant Study student, while performing with Manassas Ballet Theatre in Virginia.
Pictured on right: Valentina Palladino in ARB Resident Choreographer Mary Barton's Hop, Skip, and Joplin, Princeton Ballet School's Summer Intensive performance 2013, Photo Credit: George Jones
Robert Jones
Trainee since 2013.  Pretoria, South Africa.  Robertson trained in RAD syllabus at the Pro Arte Senior Academy in Pretoria.  He first came to Princeton for a Summer Intensive.  Robert appeared with ARB last year in "Romeo and Juliet" and "Nutcracker," and with ARBW in "Sleeping Beauty," as one of the Princes, and as the White Cat. This year he is a Trainee Apprentice, and will be appearing in "Midsummer's Night's Dream" with ARB, among other roles. 
Melissa Kropf
Macungie, Pennsylvania.  Trainee since 2013.  Melissa interrupted her academic studies at Adelphi University to enter the trainee program.  2013-14 roles with ARB included “Rite of Spring,” “Romeo and Juliet,”and “Nutcracker.”  With ARBW, she appeared as Carabosse in “Sleeping Beauty.”  During the 2014 Summer Intensive, Melissa was a soloist in Janell Byrne’s contemporary work, “Rings Eternal,” and also assisted with the Summer Intensive Juniors program.  She is currently learning the role of Firefly in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and also appears in “Our Town,” and in Marzipan, Snow and Flowers.
Abigail Parker
Trainee since 2013.  Bedminster, New Jersey.  Abby’s early training was with The Dance Center of NJ, in Bernardsville.  She did summer programs with them, and at Kaatsbaan.  2013-14 roles with ARB included”Firebird” and Snow and Flowers in “Nutcracker.”  With ARBW, she appeared as  a Gift Fairy in “Sleeping Beauty.”  She is currently rehearsing the role of Firefly in “Midsummer Night’s  Dream,” and also working on “Our Town,” and Marzipan, Snow, Flowers, and Mary  Barton’s new premiere.
Mizuki Sato
Trainee since 2013.  Tokyo, Japan. Early training was with Misako Komiya, in Tokyo, and at The School of Alberta Ballet.  2013-14 Mizuki danced with ARB in “Firebird,” and “Romeo and Juliet,”and also Marzipan, Snow and Flowers in “Nutcracker.” She  prepared  Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty” with ARBW, although injury kept her from performing the role.  After spending the summer home in Tokyo, teaching and recuperating, Mizuki is back, currently learning the role of Fairy in “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and recently appeared with ARB in “Our Town.” She is also cast in Mary Barton’s premiere, and will be dancing Clara, Marzipan, Snow and Flowers in “Nutcracker.”
Giulia Settimo
Trainee since 2013. Poggia, Italy. Trained at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza di Roma, with summer study in Giessen, Germany.  2013-14 roles with ARB included Snow and Flowers. She appeared as Carabosse with ARBW in “Sleeping Beauty” last spring.  Currently rehearsing “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and the new Mary Barton premiere.

New Trainees:

Flavio Altieri
Torre del Greco, Italy. Flavio trained at the Accademia dello Spettacolo, in Portici, with Virginia Vincenti. He was a featured dancer in the Summer Intensive 2014 performance, in Mary Barton’s “A Summer’s Day.” He will be appearing as The Nephew/Prince in “Nutcracker.”
Adriana Ardila
Bogatà, Colombia. Adriana recently received her BFA in Fine Arts Dance at Florida State University. She received her early training in Miami, with summer programs at the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the National Capital Ballet School of Australia, and Orlando Ballet.  Adriana was a Resident Assistant in the dormitory for Summer Intensive 2014, and appeared in “Rings Eternal.” She is currently rehearsing Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker,” and Grumpy Bird.
Claudio Cirsone
Cerignola, Italy. Claudio received his early training in Bari, Puglia, at Unika, and then at the Scuola del Teatro dall’Opera in Rome. He has attended summer programs with Boston Ballet and with Ajkun Ballet, where he also participated in a year-long program. Claudio is rehearsing “Midsummer’s Night Dream” and will appear as The Nephew/Prince in “Nutcracker.”
Anna Danner
Amarillo, Texas. Anna has been studying in the San Francisco Bay area, including work at LINES Dance Center.  This past summer, she attended Princeton Ballet School’s Summer Intensive, appearing in Janell Byrne’s contemporary work, and also attended a contemporary intensive with Urbanity in Boston. She is currently rehearsing Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker,” and also Grumpy Bird.  
Marisa Ellis
Wayne, Pennsylvania. Trained at Brandywine Ballet, and started her study with Princeton Ballet School with Summer Intensive 2014. Currently working on Marzipan, Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker,” and “Grumpy Bird.”
Leonetta Gandon
Rome, Italy. Leonetta trained at the Renato Greco Dance Studio, in Rome, before joining the Trainee program.  She is currently working on Clara, Snow and Flowers, for “Nutcracker” and Grumpy Bird.
Michael Landez
San Antonio, Texas. Michael trained at the San Antonio School for the Performing Arts, with summer study at the Joffrey Texas program. He started his study at Princeton Ballet School with Summer Intensive 2014, appearing as the male lead in Mary Barton’s “Once Upon a Summer’s Day.”  He is currently learning  “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Mary Barton’s new ballet, and preparing multiple roles in “Nutcracker,” including Rat King. 
Ellen Lou
Hillsborough, New Jersey. Ellen has been dancing at Princeton Ballet School since age 12, rising through the PLUS program into the Professional Training Program and now Trainee. She appeared as the White Swan in “Swan Lake” with ARBW in spring of 2013, and as Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty” in spring of 2014. Ellen is currently rehearsing “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and Clara, Marzipan, Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker” with ARB, as well as Mary Barton’s new work.
Nanae Matsushima
Hokkaido, Japan. Early training in Hokkaido, then at the School of Alberta Ballet in Calgary. Nanae started her work with us this past summer, in SI 2014, where she appeared as the female lead in Mary Barton’s “Once Upon a Summer’s Day.”  Nanae is preparing Clara, Marzipan, Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker” with ARB, and is also cast in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Mary Barton’s new ballet.
Emily Parker
Beverly Hills, New South Wales. Emily has been training at The McDonald College, in Sydney, Australia, and has done summer programs there, at Boston Ballet School, and with the Sydney Dance Company. She has been guesting in Australia in the month of September, and will join the Trainee program in October, 2014.   
Alec Pelerin
Anacortes, Washington. Alec has been training with the Firdalgo Danceworks in Anacortes, and at the WWU summer program.  Alec started his training with Princeton Ballet School with Summer Intensive 2014, where he was cast in Janell Byrne’s contemporary ballet, “Rings Eternal.” He is currently rehearsing “Midsummer Night’s Dream” and learning Rat King and other roles in “Nutcracker.”
Federica Sestili
Roseto degli Abruzzi, Italy. Federica has been studying at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza di Roma, and will receive her laureata in November. She is preparing Clara, Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker.” 
Emily Standiford
Hastings on Hudson, New York.  Emily trained at the Scarsdale Ballet Studio, in Scarsdale, NY, and has attended summer programs at the Alvin Ailey School (2011), Walnut Hill (2012), and Princeton Ballet School (2013). She returned to SI 2014 with Princeton Ballet School.  She is rehearsing Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker,” and Grumpy Bird.
Libby West
San Antonio, Texas. Libby is a recent graduate of  Baylor University. She has attended summer programs with Atlanta Ballet, CPYB, and ABT.  Recent ballet training has been at Ballet San Antonio. Libby began her study with Princeton Ballet School with Summer Intensive 2014, appearing in Erika Mero’s ballet, “A Summer Suite.”  Libby is currently preparing  Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker,” and rehearsing Grumpy Bird.  
Celeste Zerbo
Catania, Sicily. Trained at Spazio Uno with Cettina Pandolfo, and then at the Accademmia Nazionale di Danza di Roma, from which she received her Laureata in classical ballet. Summer study in 2011 with the Spanish Dance Society of London.  Celeste is currently working on Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker”, and will also be dancing this fall in the Mercer County Italian-American Festival.

Updates on former members of the Trainee Program:

Karen Leslie Moscato, a member of the initial class of Trainees (fall, 2011), has been dancing with ARB since the end of her first semester and is currently a member of the professional company.  Current roles include Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet”; Sugar Plum Fairy in “Nutcracker”; and featured roles in Mary Barton’s “Faerie Tyme”, Kirk Peterson’s new work, “Tears of the Moon”, Douglas Martin’s “Rite of Spring” and others.
Pictured on left: Karen Leslie Moscato as Juliet in Douglas Martin's Romeo and JulietPhoto Credit: Leighton Chen
Shaye Firer graduated from the Trainee Program in 2012, after having spent her second year as an Apprentice to ARB.  As a current member of the professional company she has performed in many roles, including the role of The Chosen One in Douglas Martin’s “Rite of Spring.” Pictured on right: Shaye Firer as "The Chosen One" in Douglas Martin's Rite of SpringPhoto Credit: Leighton Chen

Andrea D’Annunzio graduated in spring of 2013, and joined ARB as a full company member.  She is currently featured as The Nurse in “Romeo and Juliet”, and also appears on “Rite of Spring,” and many other ARB repertory works.
Pictured on left: Andrea D'Annunzio in Mary Barton's Straight Up With a TwistPhoto Credit: George Jones
Mattia Pallozzi (spring 2013) spent last year as an Apprentice to ARB, and is now a full company member.  He is currently featured as Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet,” and also has roles in several other ARB works.
Pictured on right: Mattia Pallozzi as Romeo in Douglas Martin's Romeo and JulietPhoto Credit: George Jones
Jacopo Janelli.  Trainee since 2011. Graduated in spring 2014, and joined ARB as a full company member.  Tor Vaianica, Italy.  Trained with Fabula Saltis in Rome, with summer programs at The Royal Ballet School and Princeton Ballet School.  Roles with ARB include Tybalt in “Romeo and Juliet,” The Ancient One in “Rite of Spring,” and Prince in “Nutcracker,”   and ensemble work in “Faerie Tyme.”  ARBW repertory includes the Toreador in “Don Quixote” and Siegfried in “Swan Lake.” 
Pictured on left: Jacopo Janelli as Tybalt in Douglas Martin's Romeo and Juliet, Photo Credit: Leighton Chen
Allison Piccone.  Trainee since 2012. Graduated in spring 2014, and joined ARB as a full company member. Blackwood, New Jersey.  Trained at the Academy of Ballet New Jersey, and attended a summer program at Pennsylvania Ballet . With ARB, she has appeared in “Rite of Spring,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Faerie Tyme” and “Nutcracker.”  With ARBW, she has been seen as one of the Big Swans, and the Spanish Princesses,  in “Swan Lake.”
Pictured on left: Allison Piccone (center) dancing featured role in ARB Resident Choreographer Mary Barton's work for Princeton Ballet School's Summer Intensive performance 2012, Photo Credit: Leighton Chen
Mathilde LaBrusse is dancing with Compagnie JCDM in Fontainebleau, France.
Kelsey McFalls spent a year with ARB as an apprentice, and then danced in Los Angeles. She has recently re-located to the Bay area and is now dancing with Dance Theatre of San Francisco. 
Eliana Trenam is dancing with Portland Ballet Company in Maine.
Janessa Cornell is teaching for Princeton Ballet School, and is now the Wardrobe Manager for ARB.
Tullio Catà is now dancing with Atlantic City Ballet.


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