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Juan Carlos Díaz Vélez
Juan Carlos began his dance training in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he studied under several teachers including Carmen Sandoval, Lucila Arce, and Alex Zybin. He also attended summer programs at the San Francisco and Pacific Northwest Ballet schools in the U.S. and was an apprentice with the American Festival Ballet. As a professional dancer, he danced with Idaho Dance Theater and Spokane Ballet, and as a principal dancer with Charleston Ballet Theater, Ballet Idaho and Eugene Ballet Company. Juan Carlos has performed throughout Mexico, United States, Canada, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Taiwan. He has worked with many accomplished choreographers including Christopher Aponte, Toni Pimble, Jill Eathorne Bahr, Lisa de Ribere, Elisa Monte, Beth Corning, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, David Berkey, Sandra Kaufmann and Martin Lofsnes.
Emily Shelton is from Cincinnati, OH where she trained at the Otto M Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet. She received her BA in dance and BS in physics from Case Western Reserve University, where she performed works by Larry Keigwin, Mark Morris, and Pascal Rioult. Additionally, she attended summer programs at BalletMet Columbus, Interlochen Center for the Arts, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Paul Taylor Dance Company. She performed with Verb Ballets and Ohio Dance Theatre in their production of “The Nutcracker” in December 2015. This is her first season with Kanopy Dance Company.
Brienna has pursued her passion for dance since the age of four when she first began training with the Makaroff School of Ballet in Appleton, Wisconsin. At the age of 16 she was selected to attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, rigorously studying ballet under renowned instructors. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Modern Dance from the University of Oklahoma on scholarship. She had the opportunity to work with Austin Hartel, Derrick Minter, Dudley Williams, Betty Jones, Nancy Allison, and Fritz Ludin among others. While at OU, she was a member of the Oklahoma Festival Ballet and Contemporary Dance Oklahoma. Her choreography was selected by OU’s School of Dance faculty to be presented in the 2009 Young Choreographer’s Showcase performance. Brienna has spent many summers studying on scholarship at the Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet, Ballet Magnificat!, and Ad Deum. She is a ballet and modern dance instructor and choreographer for Madison Professional Dance Center, Kanopy Dance School, and A Step Above Dance Academy in Madison, WI.
Sarah attended Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, for two years working on her BFA in dance. She attended Milwaukee Ballet School’s summer intensive for multiple years, as well as summer intensives at the Ailey School and Masterworks Dance Festival. While completing her BFA in dance with honors form UW-Milwaukee, she worked with a variety of choreographers including Simone Ferro, Ed Burgess, and Luc Vanier. Ms. Wolf danced one season with Danceworks Performance Company in Milwaukee before joining Kanopy in 2010. Ms. Wolf is an ABT Certified Teacher in Primary through Level 7, and currently teaches at Kanopy Dance Academy, First Position Dance Studio, and Beloit College.
Olivia Claire Rivard
Olivia, a Wisconsin native, began dancing at the age of four. After following this passion throughout her childhood and teenage years, she entered the dance program at the University of Minnesota in 2004. Five years later, she received both a B.F.A. in Dance and a B.A. in French Studies. Her international dance experience extends to training in Paris at Studio Harmonic and the Centre de danse du Marais in addition to organizing and teaching her own modern dance technique classes for adults. Previously as a student and now as a teaching assistant, she has been participating at the American Dance Festival for several years where she has performed works by Erick Hawkins and Trisha Brown. In Wisconsin, she has set and performed her choreography as part of the Bare Bones Dance Collective.
Erica Pinigis is a Madison, native and started her dance career at the Kanopy School for Contemporary Dance and Choreography. Erica received her BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota. After graduating, she produced and choreographed “Ooh La Lounge: An Evening of Dance and Jazz” at the Suburban World Theater and the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. She was curated by the Red Eye Theater for her collaboration with Erinn Liebhard: Lulladreams and Insomnimares, and was an Artist in Residence at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Arts. Erica has performed in Madison and Minneapolis with the Kanopy Dance Company, Peel and Core Dance Company, University Dance Theater at the University of Minnesota, Zenon Block E performance group, the Eclectic Edge Ensemble, and Marylee Hardenbergh’s Global Site Performance. Erica migrated to the Bay Area in 2008 where she was a company member of several local groups including Facing East Dance & Music, Paco Gomes & Dancers, the Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble, Slick Babble Dance Project, H2O Dance, and Bianca Cabrera’s Blind Tiger Society. Erica completed her MFA in performance and choreography at Mills College where she was honored with the E.L Wiegand award for excellence in performance and choreography.
Hannah Jordan Wilhite attended Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she received a dual concentration BA in modern and jazz dance. While at Point Park Hannah had the privilege of studying Graham Technique with Judith LeiferBentz, Horton Technique with Garfield Lemonius, and Contemporary Jazz with Danielle Pavlik and Doug Bentz, along with extensive ballet training and elective technique studies. Upon graduation, Hannah joined Sarasota Contemporary Dance as a company dancer for two seasons, performing works by many choreographers including Kira Blazek, Leymis Bolanos Wilmott, Tenille Lambert, and Isa Garcia Rose. She also worked with Elizabeth Weil Bergmann Dance Projects on an originally composed/choreographed production: Voices of the Holocaust. Returning to her home in Indiana, Hannah studied and performed in Indianapolis with Motus Dance Theatre, Dance Kaleidoscope, and Crossroads Dance Indy, a community dance collective which she cofounded. Hannah is thrilled to be joining Kanopy Dance Company and the Madison dance scene.
Jessica trained at the National School of Canada. As a student, Jessica had the honor to perform with the National Ballet of Canada and the Kirov Ballet (Mariinsky Ballet). She also studied at Interlochen Arts Academy, graduating with academic and artistic honors, performing lead roles and dancing along side the Martha Graham Company. Jessica received her BFA in dance and her BA in political science from the University of Michigan, where she danced works by Peter Sparling, Lucinda Childs, Merce Cunningham, and others.
Alaina hails from Milwaukee, WI and began dancing at a young age with Wauwatosa Recreation dance school and Miss Connie’s Studio of dance. At the age of 14 she joined the Milwaukee Ballet School to continue her training in Ballet. Throughout her years there she attended Milwaukee Ballet School’s summer intensive where she trained in many forms of dance and worked with a variety of choreographers including Rolando Yanes and Petr Zahradinicek. Alaina also attended summer intensives at Mystic Ballet of Connecticut, working with choreographer Brian Enos, and Eisenhower Dance of Michigan where she worked with Laurie Eisenhower, Lizzie Meckenzie and Darby Wilde. After high school, she was accepted into Milwaukee Ballet’s second Company where she danced for one season performing works by Michael Pink, Nadia Thompson, Rolando Yanes, Petr Zahradnicek, and Brent Whitney. While with Milwaukee Ballet she also had the opportunity to teach with their outreach program for Milwaukee public schools. Last Year Alaina began working and teaching with Danceworks Performance Company of Milwaukee, she also had the opportunity to work with UW-Milwaukee’s Dancemakers summer dance program.
Alyssa grew up in Stone Bank, Wisconsin. She started dancing at the age of 4. She trained at the Milwaukee Ballet School and attended their summer intensive program where she performed original works by a variety of choreographers including Karl Von Rabenau, Nadia Thompson, and Denis Malinkine. Alyssa received her BA in dance from Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts. At Point Park, she performed original contemporary works by the likes of Judith Leifer-Bentz and Nicholas Petrov.
Anna, dancer and ballet instructor for KDC, began her dance studies at the Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota. She has danced in many of the classics restaged by Cheryl Rist for Ballet Minnesota including: "Don Quixote", "La Bayadere", "Sleeping Beauty" and "Swan Lake". She has been a featured dancer in works by Andrew Rist including: "The Classic Nutcracker", "Beethoven"s 9th Symphony", "Rhapsody in Blue", "Beethoven's 6th Symphony", "Mozart's 40th Symphony" and "Black Dog Cafe". Anna was made an apprentice to Ballet Minnesota for the 2010-2011 season. She studied under the instruction of Elizabeth Shipiatsky, Gelsey Kirkland, Ted Kivitt, and Karen Burns as part of her supplementary training. Currently pursuing a degree in Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is also certified in instructing the Vaganova Method of classical ballet.
Brad comes from a diverse background in sport, martial art, and ballroom. Brad's formal dance training began at the University of Rochester working with the Program of Dance and Movement, UR Ballroom, and the Ballet Performance Group. Brad also trained with Park Avenue Dance Company, Rochester Dancesport, Koresh Dance Company, Madison Professional Dance Center, and Biodance, interning with the lattermost in 2010. After earning the University's first Minor in Dance (along with degrees in Computer Science and Psychology) in 2011, he moved to Madison and joined Kanopy as an apprentice in 2013. Brad has also danced with Bill Evans, Guy Thorne, Kista Tucker, and Madison Contemporary Vision Dance, and originally hails from Buffalo, NY.