Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Scroll down to see dancers' head shots. Hover your cursor over the photo for the name.

Oklahoma City Ballet Artistic Director Robert Mills announced three new company artists, eight new apprentices and four promotions within the ranks the OKCB company for the 2014-15 Season.  These additions take the company to its largest size in the organization’s history.

“I saw so many talented dancers around the country at our open auditions and during our 6 week Summer Intensive.   I am excited to welcome these new dancers to Oklahoma City Ballet.  I am also pleased to acknowledge the beauty and artistry of three of our returning dancers by promoting them to the rank of soloist and my continued focus on hiring our apprentices into the company.” 
- Artistic Director, Robert Mills.

At one of last year's pre-performance talks, Mills noted that "Ballet dancers are traded like athletes." If you notice some missing favorites, many of them have stayed with OKC Ballet, like Stephanie Pitts, who is now
school administrator.

New dancers include JeppeJakobsen, Amy Potter and Richard Walters.  Promotions within the ranks of OKC Ballet include EzlimarDortolina, DaYoung Jung, and Alvin Tovstogray, who have all been given the rank of soloist, and apprentice DainaGingras, who has been promoted to full company member.  

JeppeJakobsen (New Dancer) is from Ellerup, Fyn, Denmark, and comes to Oklahoma City Ballet from the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago where he spent the past year as a trainee.  He began his training in his native Denmark before moving on to train at the Central School of Ballet in London and eventually the Joffrey.  He has performed with the Vienna Festival Ballet, The London Ballet Company and the Joffrey Ballet.

Richard Walters (New Dancer) is originally from upstate New York.  He began his training with local studios there including the Lockport City Ballet.  He then went on to train at North Carolina School of the Arts where he studied with Warren Conover, Ethan Stiefel and Nina Danilova among others.  Richard spent the past season dancing with Hubbard Street 2 in Chicago.  He has danced in works by Alejandro Cerrudo, Norbert De La Cruz III, Merce Cunningham and James Kudelka.

Amy Potter (New Dancer) was born in Roanoke, Virginia, and is joining the company having spent the past three years dancing with Ballet West in Salt Lake City.  She received the majority of her training from Nutmeg Conservatory of the Arts, Boston Ballet School and the Houston Ballet Academy.  Her repertoire spans the classical and contemporary with works from Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, George Balanchine, Ben Stevenson and August Bournonville, in addition to Stanton Welch, Helen Pickett and Jodie Gates. 

EzlimarDortolina (Promoted to Soloist) started her ballet studies in the Classical Ballet School in Venezuela, where she graduated in 1996. She became an apprentice with the Classical Ballet of Camara at the age of 13. In 1996, she participated in the International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. After this competition, Ezlimar obtained a scholarship in order to continue her ballet studies at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. She received a full scholarship from the UNESCO to study ballet at the EcoleSuperieure de Danse Rosella Hightower in Cannes, France. She has worked as a soloist in Ballet Clasico de Camara, Ballet Teresa Carre, Ballet Contemporaneo de Caracas, as a guest artist in Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico to perform Mercedes in Don Quixote, and was a member of Tulsa Ballet. In 2006, Ezlimar participated in the Jackson International Ballet Competition. Ezlimar also danced with the Colombian Classical Ballet, State Street Ballet, and Charleston Ballet Theatre, where she danced principal and soloist roles in ballets by Bill Soleau, Danny Pelzig, Jill Bahr and George Balanchine. This is Ezlimar’s third season with Oklahoma City Ballet.

DaYoung Jung (Promoted to Soloist) is in her third season with Oklahoma City Ballet, DaYoung trained for five years at Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet Academy before returning to her native Korea to dance as a guest artist with Jung Yoo Young Ballet Company. She came to the United States to dance with the Atlantic City Ballet where she danced principal roles including the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and Lucy inDracula. In 2006, she was a semi finalist in the Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition held in Donetsk, Ukraine. Last season, Da Young enjoyed dancing the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy, Arabian and Clara in Robert Mills’ The Nutcracker, a soloist in NapoliDivertissements, pas de trios in Swan Lake, and roles in Robert Mills’ Paris Rouge and Pushing Pennies.

Alvin Tovstogray (Promoted to Soloist) was born in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. He began his training at the age of eight and in 2008 graduated from Dnipropetrovsk State Choreographic School under ViacheslavVolkov. From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Tovstogray studied at San Francisco Ballet School under Parrish Maynard and Jorge Esquel. He then spent two seasons with The Washington Ballet’s Studio Company. Alvin’s repertoire includes SeptimeWebre’s Romeo and JulietThe Nutcracker,CarmenThe Great Gatsby, and Alice in Wonderland, Lucy Bowen McCauley’s Before the Fall, Anthony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, Margo Sappington’s Cobras in the Moonlight, the pas de trios from Swan Lake and Robert Mills’ The Nutcracker and Paris Rouge. Mr. Tovstogray has recieved multiple awards at International Ballet competitions including 3rd place at the Istanbul International Ballet Competition (2010), Bronze medal at World Ballet Competition Orlando (2011), and Gold medal at Tanzolymp (2012). This is Mr. Tovstogray’s third season with the company.

DainaGingras (Promoted to company artist) began her early training in her hometown of Rutland, VT at Adams School of Dance. She later moved to Vermont Ballet Theater School in Essex, VT before attending the prestigious Harid Conservatory of Boca Raton, FL for four years. Daina then studied on scholarship under Ethan Steifel and Susan Jaffe at North Carolina School of the Arts. While there, she performed principal roles in Ethan Steifel’s The NutcrackerPaquita, Act II of Swan Lake, and Balanchine’s La Source. Daina also had the opportunity to perform soloist roles in contemporary works by James Kudeka and Susan Jaffe.

Our 8 new apprentices come from all over the country and the world:

Paige Brown (Kansas), Devin Larson (Utah), Monet Mende (Florida), Laura Pratt (Oklahoma) Alexander Stuart (Australia), Zane Terry (Michigan) Rika Tharme (London), Jessica Ramm (Texas).

These fourteen dancers join returning principal dancers Miki Kawamura, Yui Sato and Ronnie Underwood, returning company artistsSeth Bradley, Carissa Churchill, Sarah Jane Crespo, Callye Crespo, Daniel Hardman, Amanda Herd-Popejoy, Leonid Khrapunsky, Autumn Sicking Klein, Arianna Lawson, Walker Martin, Gerald Pines, Ryan Piper, and returning apprentice Allegra Holland.

About Oklahoma City Ballet:  Founded in 1972 by Ballet Russe dancers Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, Oklahoma City Ballet has been the city’s professional ballet Company for over 40 years. It is the resident dance Company of the Civic Center Music Hall and currently boasts 32 dancers from around the world. Led by Artistic Director Robert Mills, the Company produces 4 main stage productions per season in Oklahoma City and tours across Oklahoma and the surrounding states. It is the only ballet Company of its size to regularly debut world premiere story ballets with original commissioned scores and also commission’s new works from the industry’s leading choreographers.

From staff reports

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