September 7 & 9, 2018
Opperman Music Hall – FSU
Jorge Arceo is in his fourth season with The Tallahassee Ballet, just recently being promoted to Principal dancer. He has starred in performances such as The Nutcracker, In Performance with The Tallahassee Ballet, and An Evening of Music and Dance 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Born in Havana, Cuba, Jorge began dancing at age nine at the academy of Cuban dancer Narciso Medina. He completed his studies at Escuela Provincial de Ballet and then attended The National Ballet School. At 19, he joined the Contemporary Dance of Cuba company, where he danced for three years and became a first soloist. Jorge has toured nationally and internationally with Contemporary Dance of Cuba and worked with various world-renowned choreographers. After arriving to the U.S. in 2009, he danced with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami and joined Las Vegas’ Rio Hotel show ND’S FUEGO. In 2010, Jorge moved to Los Angeles where he danced as a Principal for various companies including Pasadena Dance Theater, City of Angels Ballet, California Riverside Ballet and the production Silent Roar, choreographed by Zina Bethune.
Carri Britt is in her fifth season with TTB; second as a principal dancer. She has danced soloist and lead roles in classical works like The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, La Bayadère, and Paquita, as well as original works by Kathryn Karrh Cashin, Illana Goldman, Christopher Huggins, Katy Cashin, Anjali Austin, and Gabriel Williams. Carri trained in the Vagonava method at the Academy of Ballet Internationale in Indianapolis, where she toured The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty with the professional company in residence. She later graduated from the Louisville Ballet School. Carri has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from Florida State University.
Hope Eltomi began dancing at the age of six under the instruction of Jocelyn Woodruff at Vero Beach Ballet. Throughout middle and high school she attended summer programs at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Boston Ballet, and on scholarship at Miami City Ballet. When Hope turned 16 she furthered her professional training at the UNCSA and graduated from their program in 2008 with a concentration in ballet. Hope was able to study under acclaimed teachers such as Melissa Hayden, Frank Smith, Nina Danilova, Fanchon Cordell, and Christine Spizzo. Upon graduation, she was accepted into FSU’s dance program and continued her education there. She also had the opportunity to perform in works by renowned choreographers such as Darshan Bhuller and Monica Bill Barnes. Hope joined The Tallahassee Ballet in 2013 as a Soloist dancer and was promoted to Principal in 2016. She has performed lead roles such as Snow Queen and Drew Drop in The Nutcracker, Violente fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, and Nikiya in La Bayadère. Hope is an American Ballet Theatre® (ABT) Level 3 Certified Teacher, and has been teaching dance since she graduated from FSU in 2012.
Paige Centers joined The Tallahassee Ballet in 2009, became a Soloist in 2013 and a Principal in 2017. She has received the Joyce Straub Fausone Scholarship and the Ken Cashin Scholarship awarded by The Tallahassee Ballet Board of Directors. Paige has performed in productions of Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, An Evening of Music and Dance, In Performance, The Nutcracker, Paquita and Other Works, Rapunzel, The Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Her lead and feature roles include Arabian, Mirliton, Spanish, and Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker; Variation II from Paquita; Princess Florine from The Sleeping Beauty; Annette Barcelona’s Reminiscence; Joyce Fausone’s Tango; Tango Pas de Deux from Kathryn Cashin’s Three Dances; and Julie Opiel’s Toccata and Nocturne. Paige has attended intensives at Orlando Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Florida State University School of Dance, and for two consecutive summers she was privileged to attend Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell— a three-week intensive at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. She has worked as a resident assistant for the Orlando Ballet School and the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in New York City.
Ben Howard was raised in Merritt Island, Florida where he began dancing at a local studio at age four. His formal training started at age 11 with Space Coast Ballet Academy under the direction of Boris Chepelev and Janna Kirova, and in 2011 he began studies at the FSU School of Dance (BFA 2013). He has worked with numerous notable dance pedagogues and choreographers including Anjali Austin, Suzanne Farrell, Gerri Houlihan, David Howard, Sheila Humphries, Alex Ketley, Carla Maxwell, Rick McCullough, Anthony Morgan, Roxane d’Orleans Juste, Dan Wagoner, and Jawole Zollar. His supplemental dance training includes sessions at the American Ballet Theatre New York Summer Intensive and the José Limón East Coast Summer Workshop. In August 2015, Ben joined Celebrity Cruises Productions as a dancer aboard the Celebrity Infinity. During his journey, he performed for more than 35,000 people across 12 countries and three continents. In August 2017, Ben returned to the FSU School of Dance and is currently pursuing his MFA in Dance.
Abigail Centers joined The Tallahassee Ballet as a Junior Dancer in 2009 and was promoted to Soloist in 2016. She has received the Helen Salter Scholarship and the Ken Cashin Scholarship awarded by The Tallahassee Ballet Board of Directors. Abigail has performed in productions of Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, An Evening of Music and Dance, In Performance, Rhythm Explosion, The Nutcracker, Paquita and Other Works, Rapunzel, The Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Her lead and feature roles include Clara, Columbine, Spanish and Mirliton from The Nutcracker; Pas de Trois Variation from Paquita; Jewels Pas de Quatre: Diamond Fairy from The Sleeping Beauty; Waltz pas de deux from Kathryn Cashin’s Three Dances; Ballad pas de deux and solo from Kathryn Cashin’s Songs; and the pas de deux from Christopher L. Huggins’ Duke’s Place. Abigail has attended intensives at Orlando Ballet, Richmond Ballet, the Harid Conservatory, and Florida State University School of Dance. She also worked as a resident assistant for the Orlando Ballet School in the summer of 2016.
Jillian Grall is a junior at Florida State University pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. This is her third year with The Tallahassee Ballet and her first year as a Soloist. She began her dance training at the age of three at Dance Center North in Libertyville, IL. She eventually moved to Salisbury, MD, where she advanced in ballet and Irish dance at Footsteps Dance Academy. At age 14, Jillian was invited into the Pre-Professional ballet program at The Brandon Ballet under Octavio Martin and Yaima Ferrali where she was trained in the Alicia Alonso method. During her time at The Brandon Ballet, she danced roles such as Snow Demi-Soloist and Reed Flute Lead from The Nutcracker, Esmeralda Pas de Six and La Vivandiere in The Brandon Ballet’s Dancing Through Generations, Pas de Quatre, Four Little Swans from Swan Lake, Coppélia’s variation from Act III of Coppélia, and Aurora’s Act III Variation from The Sleeping Beauty at many community events. With The Tallahassee Ballet, Jillian has danced the first shade variation in Act III of La Bayadère during In Performance, lead Spanish in The Nutcracker, and a pas de trois in Katy Cashin’s Otono Variations during An Evening of Music and Dance.
Trent Montgomery is a graduate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, receiving a BFA in Dance Performance. As a previous residential company member with Arkansas Festival Ballet, he has performed lead roles in Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Nutcracker, Snow White, and more. In 2015, he received the Chip and Cindy Murphy dell’Arte Dance Scholarship, enabling him to further his dancing at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Early in his career, he toured the New York and Baltimore area with TEEBODANS, a performance company created and choreographed by Stephanie Thibeault. He has attended several intensives on full scholarship including: Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Academy of Texas, and Paul Taylor American Modern Dance. He is currently attending Florida State University, where he is studying to receive his MFA in Dance.
Deniece Wade is currently a senior at Florida State University. She is majoring in Biology and would like to go to veterinary school in the future. She joined The Tallahassee Ballet in 2014 and this is her third year as a Soloist. Deniece grew up in Gulf Breeze, FL, and began her serious dance training at Ballet Pensacola under the instruction of Christine Duhon and Richard Steinert. She has participated in summer programs including Ballet Austin’s summer intensive in 2010. Deniece has performed in several ballets including The Nutcracker in which she has appeared as Clara, Richard Steinert’s Thunderstruck, and the Tallahassee Ballet’s annual presentation of An Evening of Music and Dance.
Alexandra Desruisseaux is currently a junior at Florida State University pursing a degree in Biology and has been with The Tallahassee Ballet for the past three seasons. She began her dance training at the New Tampa Dance Theater at the age of four. In addition, she attended summer intensives with The Sarasota Ballet, The Harid Conservatory, American Ballet Theatre, and The Joffery Ballet School. While training at New Tampa Dance Theater she was a member of the Dance Theater of Tampa performing in numerous roles including Snow Queen and Sugar Plum Fairy pas de deux in the The Nutcracker, Queen of the Dryads variation from Don Quixote, Fairy of the Golden Vine and Diamond Fairy variations from The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle in Giselle, and as Diana in the Diana and Acteon pas de deux from Esmeralda. As a part of her time with the Tallahassee Ballet she performed in La Bayadère, as well as Ragtime pas de deux in Three Dances, Chaos, and Rendezvous in their production of In Performance. She has also performed annually in An Evening of Music and Dance and in The Nutcracker.
Originally from Concord, North Carolina, Sarah Ensley began dancing at age five and primarily trained at the Piedmont School of Music & Dance in ballet, contemporary, jazz, and tap. In 2016, she graduated from the University of South Carolina with a B.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography. Sarah performed in numerous ballet and contemporary productions with USC Dance Company, taught students of all ages in the USC Dance Conservatory, and created choreography that became her Honors College Senior Thesis Project. After graduation, Sarah moved to Tampa, Florida, to dance professionally with Tampa Ballet Theatre. During her time in Tampa she danced corps and soloist roles in productions of Dracula, The Nutcracker, and Beauty and the Beast.
Naomi Lebhar was a gymnast before training in ballet. She was selected by Ivanka Kirov to compete nationally on the Rhythmic Gymnastics team at SCATS Gymnastics in Huntington Beach, California. She went to Houston, TX, for the 2002 national Junior Olympic Championships where her team received the gold and silver medals, ranking them second overall. After the Junior Olympics, Naomi began formal ballet training at Huntington Academy of Dance, studying under Marnell Himes and Judith Hawkesworth. She completed the Cecchetti exams for Levels 3-6 and attended the Cecchetti USA summer dance intensives in Sarasota, FL, and Las Vegas (under full scholarship). There, she had the opportunity to receive instruction from Trinette Singleton and Kirk Peterson, and she was featured in a piece set by Trinette Singleton. She continued ballet training in Tokyo, Japan, at the Kobayashi Noriko Ballet Academy. There she studied under the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) method and completed the Intermediate exam. While in Japan, she had the opportunity to perform the White Cat from the third act of The Sleeping Beauty, Coppélia, and the ballet set to the opera Platée. After high school, she was accepted into the Trainee program at Ballet Magnificat, based in Jackson Mississippi, where she performed in A Christmas Dream, Snow Queen, and toured in the Jackson Metro area. Upon graduation, she taught ballet in Bangalore, India for a year. Naomi joined the Tallahassee Ballet in 2016. Naomi is an American Ballet Theatre® (ABT) Pre-primary through Level 3 Certified Teacher. She has taught ballet and rhythmic gymnastics since 2012.