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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
 
Tullio Catà.  Trainee since 2011.  Rome, Italy.  Trained with Balletto di Toscana in Florence, and with the  Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome.  Summer programs with Princeton Ballet School.  Tullio has appeared with ARB as Lord Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet,” as well as in “Nutcracker,” “Viva Vivaldi,” “Follia,” and “Straight Up With a Twist.”   ARBW roles include Basilio in “Don Quixote,” and Siegfried in “Swan Lake.” 
Pictured on right: Tullio Catà as the lead role of Sigfried in Swan Lake, Princeton Ballet School's Spring 2013 production, Photo Credit: George Jones
 
Samantha Fruhwirth.  Trainee since 2012.  Emmaus, Pennsylvania.  Trained at Dolly Haltzman Dance Academy, and with Trinette Singleton.  After high school, Samantha spent a year as an honors scholar in the mechanical engineering department of Lehigh Carbon Community College, before taking time off to join the Trainee program.  Samantha has appeared with ARB in “Romeo and Juliet,” “Rite of Spring,” “Faerie Tyme”and “Nutcracker,” and with ARBW in “Swan Lake.”
Pictured on left: Samantha Fuhwirth in ARB Resident Choreographer Mary Barton's work for Princeton Ballet School's Summer Intensive performance 2012, Photo Credit: Leighton Chen
 
Elisabeth Hekman.  Trainee since 2012.  Alto, Michigan.  Trained with the West Michigan Youth Ballet and Joffrey Chicago Academy program, with summer programs with the Colorado Ballet, Joffrey Chicago, and Grand Rapids Youth Ballet.  Elisabeth has appeared with ARB in “Romeo and Juliet,” “Rite of Spring,””Faerie Tyme,” and “Nutcracker,” and with ARBW as Odette in “Swan Lake.”
Pictured on right: Elisabeth Hekman as the lead role of Odette in Swan Lake, Princeton Ballet School's Spring 2013 production, Photo Credit: George Jones
 
Jacopo Janelli.  Trainee since 2011. 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
 
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.”
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
 
Allison Piccone.  Trainee since 2012.  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

Marco Sammartino.  Trainee since 2012.  Marino, Italy.  Trained at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza di Roma, where he won the Concorso Nazionale dell’Aquila in 2006. With ARB, he has danced the Prince in “Nutcracker,” and has also appeared  in “Romeo and Juliet.”  With ARBW, he danced the Pas de Trois in “Swan Lake.”
Pictured on right: Marco Sammartino in the Act I pas de trois from Swan Lake, Princeton Ballet School's Spring Production 2013, Photo Credit: George Jones
 

Continuing Trainees, pursuing independent study:

Alessia Astro.  Trainee since 2011.  Latina, Italy.  Trained at Teatro dall’Opera in Rome.  Appeared with ARB in “Nutcracker” and “Romeo and Juliet,” and with ARBW in “Swan Lake” and as Mercedes in “Don Quixote.”  This year Alessia is pursuing an independent study, and dancing with Manassas Ballet Theatre in Virginia, where she is cast as the female lead, Mina, in “Dracula.”
 
Estelle Botella.  Trainee since 2011.  Chalons-en-Champagne, France.  Trained in Paris, at L’Académie Américaine de Danse de Paris, and at Nutmeg Conservatory in Connecticut.  She attended summer programs with Boston Ballet, Nutmeg and Princeton Ballet School, before joining the Trainee program.  She appeared with ARB in “Nutcracker” and with ARBW in “Swan Lake” and “Don Quixote.”  She is pursuing an independent study this year dancing as an apprentice with Connecticut Ballet, and currently appearing in their production of “Cinderella.”
 

New Trainees:

Olivia Allen
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Training: North Central Ballet, Keller, Texas
Summer programs highlights:  Long Beach Ballet’s summer tour of China, performing in their production of “Swan Lake” as Odette. 
ARBW repertory:  “Hop, Skip and Joplin.”  Preparing Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker.”
 
Sara Croatto
Hometown: Latina, Italy
Training:   Movimento e Danza,  Latina.  Sara is taking time out from college to pursue a career in dance.  She is majoring in classics at Università La Sapienza in Rome.
Summer programs:  Rieti, Italy.
ARBW repertory: learning Snow, Flowers and Spanish for “Nutcracker”
 
Robert Jones
Hometown:  Pretoria, South Africa. 
Training: RAD, at the Pro Arte Senior Academy in Pretoria.
Summer programs:  Princeton Ballet School
ARB repertory:  “Romeo and Juliet”.   ARBW rep: Lead in Mary Barton’s “Hop, Skip and Jump,” summer, 2013.  Preparing “Nutcracker.”
 
Darci Kardell
Hometown:  St. Louis, Missouri
Training: COCA St. Louis (Center of Creative Arts)
Summer programs: Joffrey San Antonio, Princeton Ballet School (lead in Erika Mero’s “Les Reves d’Eté)
ARBW  repertory:  Clara, Snow and Flowers, for “Nutcracker.”
 
Ashlyn Lewis
Hometown: Agoura Hills, California
Training: Nutmeg Academy in Connecticut
Summer Programs:  North Carolina Dance Theater, the Rock School, Boston Ballet, and the Kirov Academy.
ARBW repertory:  summer 2013: Janell Byrne’s “Currents.” “Hop, Skip and Joplin.” Learning Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker.”
 
Melissa Kropf
Hometown: Macungie, Pennsylvania.
Training: Dolly Haltzman Dance Academy; Adelphi University (taking time out from pursuing a BFA)
Summer programs:  Joffrey San Antonio, Princeton Ballet School
ARBW repertory:  soloist in “Swan Lake”; Marzipan, Snow and Flowers.
 
Amelia Lawrence
Hometown: Manchester, New Hampshire
Training: Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater.
Summer programs: Princeton Ballet School, summer 2013, “Swan Lake.”
ARBW repertory:  “Hop, Skip and Joplin”; Marzipan.
 
Danielle Martin
Hometown:  Mt. Laurel, New Jersey
Training: graduate of Butler University’s Jordan College of the Fine Arts, with a BFA in dance performance.   
ARBW repertory:  Summer 2013, soloist in Alexander Dutko’s “Ready Steady Go.”  “La Fille Mal Gardee” soloist; currently learning snow and flowers for “Nutcracker.”
 
Abigail Parker
Hometown:  Bedminster, New Jersey
Training: The Dance Center of New Jersey, Bernardsville
Summer programs: Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet, The Dance Center of NJ.
ARBW repertory:  Summer, 2013, soloist, “Swan Lake”; learning snow and flowers for “Nutcracker.”
 
Giulia Pennati
Hometown:  Rome, Italy
Training: Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. Recently completed her exams for a degree in sports modalities at I.U.S.M., Rome.
Summer programs:  Contemporary School of London; Maison de la Danse, La Spezia, Italy.
ARBW repertory:  learning snow, flowers and Spanish for “Nutcracker.”
 
Krista Pinkerton
Hometown:  Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Training:  Delphine DelBello; University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pa—taking time off from pursuing her BFA.
Summer programs: Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Princeton Ballet School.
ARBW repertory: Summer 2013, soloist in Alexander Dutko’s “Ready Steady Go”; “Fille Mal Gardee” soloist; preparing Snow and Flowers for “Nutcracker.”
 
Mizuki Sato
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
Training:  Misako Komiya, Tokyo;  The School of Alberta Ballet
Summer programs:  Alberta Ballet, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Princeton Ballet School.
ARBW repertory:  Summer 2013, soloist in Erika Mero’s “Les Reves d’Eté”; “Fille Mal Gardee” soloist; Marzipan, Snow and Flowers.
 
Sabrina Schulbach
Hometown:  Sammamish, Washington
Training: MK Ballet, in Sammamish.
Summer programs:  Princeton Ballet School 2013—soloist in “Swan Lake”
ARBW repertory:  Marzipan, Clara, Snow, Flowers.
 
Giulia Settimo
Hometown: Foggia, Italy
Training: Accademia Nazionale di Danza, in Rome. 
Summer programs: studied on scholarship with the Tanzcompanie in Giessen, Germany.
ARBW repertory:  learning snow and flowers for “Nutcracker”
 
Marika Sperduti
Hometown:  Latina, Italy
Training: Movimento e Danza, in Latina.  Taking time out to pursue a career in dance.  Has also started work on a degree in bioengineering at the Università la Sapienza in Rome.
Summer programs:  Rieti, Italy
ARBW repertory:  snow, flowers, and Spanish for “Nutcracker”
 

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.  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.  She has been performing with ARB ever since 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
 
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.
 
Eliana Trenam is dancing with Festival Ballet, in Providence, Rhode Island.
 
Janessa Cornell is teaching for Princeton Ballet School, and is now the Wardrobe Manager for ARB.

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