Roberto Villanueva, Founder/Artistic Director of BalaSole Dance Company, presents «VOCES,» a new program of ten dancer/choreographers in a broad range of dance styles – including tap, for the first time on a BalaSole program – music choices, and artistic voices, January 26 & 27 at Ailey Citigroup Theater.

Saturday & Sunday, January 26 & 27  (Saturday at 8 PM; Sunday at 5 PM)
Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 West 55 Street

Roberto Villanueva, Founder/Artistic Director of BalaSole Dance Company, presents «VOCES,» a new program of ten dancer/choreographers in a broad range of dance styles – including tap, for the first time on a BalaSole program – music choices, and artistic voices, January 26 & 27 at Ailey Citigroup Theater. («Voces» was originally scheduled for the first week of November, but postponed due to Hurricane Sandy). The concert will include a stimulating variety of themes and music choices, performed by a talented group of dancer/choreographers whose experience ranges from performing in works by Martha Graham, Lar Lubovitch, Robert Battle, Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slyde, Merce Cunningham, Jose Limon, and Mark Morris, to appearing in Las Vegas.

BalaSole remains true to its mission, established at its founding, to bridge the gaps in the field of concert dance by providing artistic freedom and mentoring to a multi-ethnic group of dancer/choreographers. Villanueva is also committed to offering visibility to those who are under-represented in the field of concert dance because of body type, age, or genre/style. Diversity and individuality are the keywords of BalaSole which, since its founding in 2010, has presented performances at New York Live Arts, the Ailey Citigroup Theater, Tribeca P.A. Center, and the Baryshnikov P.A. Center. The Company is currently in residence at Mount Saint Vincent College in Riverdale, where Villanueva is an adjunct faculty member.

Choreographing and appearing in «Voces» are (updated list, 1/20 – Troy Barnes replaces Elijah Avraham):



LAUREN ALPERT, who graduated magna cum laude from Columbia U this year with a B.A. in Neuroscience & Behavior, studied in Atlanta GA, and began training in the Royal Academy of Dance classical ballet syllabus in Atlanta, GA, and on merit scholarship with the Berkeley Ballet Theater. She attended the Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet summer intensive directed by Martine van Hamel, and after one year at Juilliard, transferred to Columbia University and danced with the Columbia Ballet Collaborative.

TROY BARNES graduated from Duke Ellington H.S. in his native Washington D.C. as a Theater major and began his dance training at the Dance Institute of Washington, continuing in New York at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. Troy’s many credits include a U.S. tour of Sesame Street Live, performing on numerous cruise ships, and teaching for Camp Broadway. He is currently a member of the General Mischief Dance Theater.

NICOLE CALABRESE, a native of Rochester NY, holds a B.F.A. in Dance from SUNY University at Buffalo where she performed in the Zodiaque Dance Company, and choreographed for the University’s Dancer’s Workshop and Young Choreographer’s Showcases, as well as the American College Dance Festival. Also a Broadway baby, Nicole has danced for Carnival Cruise Lines,at the Rio in Las Vegas, and toured China in the tap show “Iron Beats,” Her regional theater credits include productions of “Hairspray” and “The Drowsy Chaperone,» «West Side Story», and «The King and I.»

JESSICA CIPRIANO began her studies in Connecticut and continued at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, graduating in 2008. As a student, she danced in works by Merce Cunningham, Doug Elkins, Jose Limon, Mark Morris, among others. While at UNCSA, Jessica was a recipient of the Chancellor’s Scholarship, two Career Development grants, and was also awarded a grant by the Seman’s Art Fund, which allowed her to travel to dance studios in the Northeast, teaching master classes.

SARAH EWING was born in Melbourne, Australia, and trained at the New Zealand School of Dance, Marie-Walton Mahon Dance Academy and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Sarah has participated in work experience programs with Chunky Move, Australia, and Malaika Kusumi Ballet Theatre, Germany. Since moving to the U.S. in 2006, Sarah has appeared with numerous companies in the NYC and Washington DC areas.

AARON GREGORY is a graduate of Morehouse College in Nebraska, where he performed with several companies, including the hip-hop group Krucial Dance Crew. In New York, he has performed in various shows, including the NYU Distinguished Faculty Concert, NYU Master’s Concert, and NYC10. Aaron has training in West African dance, Stepping, and Modern dance. He recently served as an intern in the Arts in Education and Community Programs department at Ailey, and worked at the Ailey Summer Camp.

MORGANA ROSE MELLETT grew up in Vermont, where she was influenced by her grandmother Jean Day, who appeared with the early Bodenwieser Ballet. At 17 Morgana started training with Alla Youdina, a Russian figure skater and trapeze artist, whose credits included performing with The Moscow State Circus on Ice. Morgana currently dances in NYC with Lori Belilove’s Isadora Duncan Dance Co, and is also a Certified Isadora Duncan Dance Teacher, LindaFit Certified Pilates Mat Instructor, Yoga teacher, and a Reiki Master/Teacher.

ANDREW NEMR, mentored by Gregory Hines, is a popular figure in the tap world. Whether being recorded on David Eggar’s Grammy-nominated album Kingston Morning, directing Cats Paying Dues/CPD PLUS, or co-founding Tap Legacy Foundation, Andrew has garnered a reputation for impeccable musicanship and sensitivity. Recipient of a 2012 TED Fellow and an NEA Masterpieces: Dance Initiative Grant, Andrew has performed, taught, and presented tap talks in around the world, including Tokyo, Hong Kong, London and Berlin. He has appeared with Harry Connick Jr, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, and Les Paul, and his own tap dance company, Cats Paying Dues/CPD PLUS, has been featured on national TV.

EMILY PACILIO is from Utica, NY, where she began her dance training at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute. In 3 recent summers, Emily attended the NYS Summer School of the Arts for Modern Dance, under the direction of Carolyn Adams, where she performed works by Robert Battle, Danny Grossman, and others. Emily graduated with honors from Skidmore College in May of 2012 with a degree in dance. Currently, she dances with RG Dance Projects, directed by Ruben Graciani.

ROBERTO VILLANUEVA has been hailed for his virtuoso technique as a dancer with Complexions, Alpha Omega theatrical Dance Co, Buffalo City Ballet, and other groups, and has taught and/or performed in the U.S., Europe and Asia. As a dancer, he was «…a small powerhouse (who) drew appreciative gasps from the audiences.» (Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Village Voice). Jennifer Dunning remarked that «Mr. Villanueva stood out for the deftness and technical control of his dancing.» (The New York Times). Villanueva served on the faculty of Dance Masters of America’s Teachers Training Program; received a 2011-12 Harlem Stage Fund for New Work Award for his one-man show; has created works presented at venues in NYC and around the U.S. Since founding BalaSole, has presented and been a positive force and mentor to dozens, from talented dancers just out of school to members of the Limon Dance Company, Lucinda Childs Dance, Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble, Parsons Dance, and many others.


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