Anna Acker was born and raised in Albany, NY, where she began her ballet training at The School of the Albany Berkshire Ballet. She spent summers studying at the Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and on scholarship to the Milwaukee Ballet. After graduating from ABB, Anna was offered academic and dance scholarships to study at the University of Missouri at Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. There, under the tutelage of Professor Paula Weber, she performed principal roles in Raymonda, Les Sylphides, and Swan Lake, and danced in George Balanchine’s Serenade. She also trained extensively in the Horton modern technique. In 2006, Anna graduated summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The same year, she became a trainee for the Milwaukee Ballet, where she joined the company in performances of Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Nutcracker, and La Bayadere. In 2008, Anna joined the Minnesota Ballet, where she enjoyed 3 seasons performing Antony Tudor’s Little Improvisations, Twyla Tharp’s Sinatra Suite, George Balanchine’s “The Man I Love” pas de deux, excerpted from Who Cares?, and leading roles in Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, among others. Anna is also a certified pilates instructor, and has enjoyed teaching at various ballet and pilates studios throughout her performing career. She has been thrilled to join the faculty of the Albany Berkshire Ballet after returning to Albany in 2011 to take on her newest role as Mom to Ethan, who was born in January of 2012.
Vincent Brewer (Great Barrington, MA) trained with the Albany Berkshire Ballet and Berkshire Pulse in Western Massachusetts. He continued his training at Indiana University, where he worked with Violette Verdy, Mimi Paul, and Michael Vernon and earned a Bachelor of Science in Ballet and Religious Studies (honors). Vincent has performed choreography by George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Twyla Tharp, Auguste Bournonville, Marius Petipa, and Frederick Ashton. Career highlights include dancing “Birthday Variations” (Arpino) with City Ballet Boston, “Tarantella” (Balanchine) with Eglevsky Ballet, and dancing in Berkshire Opera Festival’s 2018 production of “Rigoletto.” Vincent was invited to perform with Island Moving Company at the 2017 World Expo in Astana, Kazakhstan by the U.S. embassy and danced on the Ted Shawn Stage with the Jacob’s Pillow Ballet Program. He has worked with choreographers Mary Giannone Talmi, Lorraine Chapman, Viktor Plotnikov, and Adam Miller and has mentored with Marina Eglevsky. He founded Berkshire Choreography Project in 2014, which supports collaboration among artists of different genres. Vincent toured with the Albany Berkshire Ballet for their 2018 Nutcracker tour, performing Cavalier. Vincent has danced with Festival Ballet Providence, The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and currently dances with the Albany Berkshire Ballet.
Marie Buser began her training at the School of the Albany Berkshire Ballet. Supported by a dance and academic scholarship, she earned her BFA at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at University of Missouri-Kansas City. During this time, she performed with the Kansas City Ballet in their 2011 production of Giselle, and supplemented her training at Alonzo King Lines Ballet School. Upon graduating, Marie joined Los Angeles’ American Contemporary Ballet as a founding member, where she originated soloist roles in Lincoln Jones’ L’Apotheose de Corelli and Serenade in La. Marie then went on to dance with Ballet Quad Cities, where she spent six seasons and was privileged to perform and originate numerous featured roles. Some notable favorites include: Courtney Lyon’s Rite of Spring, Lucy in Deanna Carter’s Dracula, filmed for Iowa Public Television, the bride in Dominic Walsh’s Die Hochzeit, the title role in Lyon’s The Firebird, and Billy’s Sweetheart in Lyon’s rendition of Billy the Kid. Recently, Marie enjoyed performing Dance “Four“ Piano, alongside Grammy award winning pianist Emmanuel Ax, and personified Giovanni Boldini’s 1912 painting “Portrait of a Lady” to celebrate the 2018 opening of the French Modern exhibit at the Figge Art Museum. Marie is thrilled to be welcomed back to Albany Berkshire Ballet for it’s fiftieth anniversary season.
Kayleigh Elizabeth Danowski, originally from northeast Ohio, received her training at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School Graduate Program, and additionally from summer programs at Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Jacob’s Pillow. Kayleigh’s professional career started at Montgomery Ballet and Albany Berkshire Ballet, dancing in roles such as Paula Weber’s Carmina Burana and the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker. She also danced with Ballet Quad Cities, performing as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Kayleigh currently dances in Rochester with The New York State Ballet. Some of her favorites roles include Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Daisy in The Great Gatsby, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Kayleigh could not be more excited to be dancing with ABB once again!
Kaila Feldpausch is originally from Dewitt, MI and an alumna of Rochester School of Dance and the Michigan Ballet Theatre. She attended the Miami City Ballet School for two years before continuing her training at Indiana University. She has danced professionally with Ballet Idaho, Saint Louis Ballet, and Tom Gold Dance. Kaila is thrilled to be returning to ABB where she recently performed as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker.
Christine Geren began her training with The Northeast Ballet Company. Supported by dance and academic scholarships, she earned a BA in Dance from Mercyhurst College while also performing lead roles with The Lake Erie Ballet in The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Serenade, and Alice in Wonderland. Ms. Geren is currently a principal dancer with the Albany Berkshire Ballet and has been a guest artist with the Ajkun Ballet Theatre. Her repertoire includes Carmina Burana, and The Rockwell Suites, as well as principal roles in Caprice, Nocturnes, Our Town and The Nutcracker with ABB and Chiara Ajkun’s Le Corsaire and Giselle pas de deux. Ms. Geren teaches ballet, pointe, variations and Pilates mat classes. She is certified under Romana’s Pilates with True Pilates New York for comprehensive apparatus and Pilates matwork.
Shane was born and raised in Albany, New York. At age four he began studying at the School of the Albany Berkshire Ballet, where he continued to study throughout his youth. Upon graduating high school, Shane attended the University of Missouri at Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance under Paula Weber.
In 2014, Shane joined Kansas City Ballet as a member of their Second Company. He danced corps roles in Septime Webre’s ALICE (in wonderland), Todd Bolender’s The Nutcracker, Devon Carney’s Giselle, as well as numerous works created by former principal dancer, Anthony Krutzkamp.
In December 2015, Shane joined Ballet Idaho as a Company Dancer. Some of his most memorable performances include George Balanchine’s Agon, Allegro Brillante, as well as the U.S Premiere of Craig Davidson’s Ambiguous Content, and Penny Saunders’ Down the Dixie Line. In addition to working with Ballet Idaho, Shane has had opportunities to perform as a guest artist. He most recently performed with Nevada Ballet Theatre, dancing in Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance) and George Balanchine’s Slaughter on Tenth Avenue.
Shane is excited to able to return home to work with the Albany Berkshire Ballet for this exciting 50th Anniversary production.
Allegra Holland first stood at the ballet barre when she was ten years old. Growing up in St. Louis Missouri and later taking scholarships with Joffrey NY and Ballet West. Ms. Holland has danced professionally with City Ballet of San Diego, Lexington Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet and Ballet Quad Cities. Some of her favorite roles have been Mina in Dracula, Balanchine’s Rubies and Winter Fairy in Cinderella. This is Allegra’s first production with ABB and she is thrilled to be working with these talented artists!
Timur Kan began his professional training at the Russian Academy of Ballet in Almaty at age 11 in 2009. His ballet training is based on Vaganova Method. Besides ballet, he studied character and traditional folk dances as well. He has won 1st place in the Ak-kuu International Ballet Competition in Bishkek, Kyrgystan & 3rd in the Orleu International Ballet Competition in Almaty, where he performed classical variations from ballets Le Corsaire, Flame of Paris and Harlequinade. During the last two years in the ballet academy, Timur joined the Abay State Opera & Ballet Theatre in Almaty, where he has performed many classical ballets. After graduating from the ballet academy in 2017 he has worked as a guest dancer with The Samruk Contemporary Dance Theatre in Almaty, and Joburg Ballet in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Jai Mason, a native of Delhi, NY, began dancing at the age of 3 within the local studios of Delaware county. At age 9 his passion for ballet moved him to the Decker School of Ballet/Fokine Ballet Company, where he received his core training. After 7 years of continuous training, Jai moved part-time to Binghamton NY were he attended the Rod Serling School of Fine Arts, and in 2008 earned his International Baccalaureate degree in both: Dance and Theatre. While looking for more opportunities in theater, Jai moved to the Albany area in 2015, Jai’s passion for dancing was re-lit within the arts community, and found himself welcomed to the Albany Berkshire Ballet. He has since appeared in performances of: “The Nutcracker” (’16-’18), “Rockwell Suites”, and “Process and Performance” (‘17 & ’18) now to “Midsummer.” Outside of the ABB season Jai freelances as a guest artist to other dance groups and festivals, and recently danced the role of “The Peruvian” in Denise Limoli’s production of “Gaite Parisenne” presented by the Skidmore Dance and Music Dept. Jai currently lives in Troy NY, and while continues to dance with ABB/ free-lancing, he also works full time as a leasing agent, and teaches Ballet and Contemporary at “The Future of Talent Dance Studio” in Cohoes NY
Lisa Iannacito McBride is a graduate of the School of the Albany Berkshire Ballet who received her BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College. She performed in New York City with numerous companies including Lydia Johnson Dance, Dances Patrelle, and Riedel Dance Theater, where she also served as Associate Artistic Director. She rejoined ABB in 2015, reprising her many Nutcracker roles and dancing Madeline Culpo’s Rockwell Suites. She has been on faculty at Pace University, Ballet Academy East, The Mark Morris Dance Center, and the New York State Summer School for the Arts.
Leonardo Victorino Moraes
From Taubaté, SP/Brazil, Leonardo Victorino began his studies in dance at age 16 at Maestro Fego Camargo School of Arts. After a year and a half studying, in 2007, received a full scholarship to join to the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet School (Brazil). graduating in 2009 (Class Dmitry Afanasiev). In 2014, Mr. Victorino competed in the 2014 Youth American Grand Prix, winning First Place on the semifinals and received a full scholarship for the summer program and Second Company of The Joffrey ballet Chicago on the New York City Grand Final Round. Also, in 2014 he performed as a Principal Guest Artist in The Nutcracker production of the Albany Berkshire Ballet, touring with the Company in many cities in the states of New York, Massachusetts and Vermont.Also, Leonardo performed as a guest with The Washington Ballet (DC), Kirkland Arts Center (NY), University of South Carolina (SC) and Litchfield Arts Academy (SC) during the years of 2015 to 2019 and is a resident guest artist and faculty teacher with Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet (SC).
Kerry Piaggione is a graduate of the School of The Albany Berkshire Ballet and has performed extensively with their professional company in The Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mother Goose, and Madeline Cantarella Culpo’s Girl at the Mirror. She recently performed the role of Juliet for SPAC’s Classical Kids program, promoting classical dance in local schools. Ms. Piaggione minored in Dance at Hofstra University and holds an MA in Teaching from Union College. Ms. Piaggione teaches at the school and assists in rehearsals for both The Nutcracker and the school’s annual recital.
Geneive (Gigi) Robinson is an aspiring dancer who currently studies at the school of the Albany Berkshire Ballet and attends Shenendehowa High School. She has studied with Boston Ballet Faculty, New York City ballet principal dancer Daniel Ulbricht, Alvin Ailey faculty, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Geneive has performed in Albany Berkshire Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker in multiple roles since 2009 and ABB’s Process and Performance Productions in 2017 and 2019 at Williams College and P.S.21 respectively. She performed in Alvin Ailey’s Summer Sizzler and local performances as a member of ABB’s junior company. She is very excited to participate in a Midsummer Night’s Dream, and is thankful for the opportunity to perform Paula Weber’s new choreography.
Ruslan Sprague has been dancing with the ABB since he was three, cast as the changeling in their production of A Midsummer Nights Dream in ’93 all the way up to the Snow Prince in their annual production of The Nutcracker. Ruslan also studied with Darrell Puciarello from the Metroploitan Opera Ballet and attended several dance programs with Boston Ballet, as well as their choreographic workshop under the teachings of Helen Pickett and Jorma Elo. After dancing with Ballet West in Salt Lake City Utah, Ruslan has returned to the Berkshires.
Danielle Troyano is from Long Island, New York. She began her early training at Seiskaya Ballet, continuing on with Sara Knight at SLK Ballet, in NYC. Danielle spent her summers at the Rock School, HARID Conservatory and the Walnut Hill School on scholarship, and has received training from the Gelsey Kirkland Academy and Ellison Ballet. In 2012, Danielle studied in London at the Central School of Ballet as part of an exchange program with SLK Ballet. Her professional career started at age 19 with Montgomery Ballet under direction of Darren McIntyre. In addition, she has worked with the Albany Berkshire Ballet for two seasons, dancing in Paula Weber’s “Carmina Burana” as well as the roles of Sugar Plum and Dew Drop in ABB’s annual Nutcracker tour. She has also guested with Charleston Ballet Theater in Jill Eathorne Bahrs “Cinderella.”
Since joining Ballet Idaho in 2015 under Peter Anastos, Danielle has had many wonderful performing opportunities. Some highlights include: Twyla Tharp’s “Nine Sinatra Songs”, Pas De Trois and Lead Czardas in Anastos’ “Swan Lake” in addition to Lead Marzipan and Arabian in his Nutcracker, as well as Balanchine roles such as the demi-soloist in “Agon”, “Concerto Barocco”, “Valse Fantasie” and “Allegro Brilliante”. Most recently, Danielle
got to work with Edwaard Liang on his production of “Cinderella” as the Spring Fairy. She could not be more excited to be back in the beautiful Berkshires with a company that has always felt like home.
Margaret Vivian began her ballet training at the
School of the Albany Berkshire Ballet under the direction of Madeline Cantarella Culpo. She has performed extensively with the junior company in performances throughout the Capitol Region, and with the company in The Nutcracker and The Rockwell Suites. She has attended summer intensives with New York State Summer School of the Arts, American Ballet Theatre and Carolina Ballet, and has taken master classes from Ask La Cour, Richard Chen See, Jay Kim and Li Chou
Cheng. Margaret is appearing courtesy of the Mercyhurst University Dance Department, where she is currently a third-year student, and has performed with the Mercyhurst Dancers and SoMar Dance Works.
Rachael Weber started dancing at the age of three in Pennsylvania at LKW dance center. After moving to Massachusetts seven years ago, Rachael has been dancing with Cantarella School of Dance. She is a member of the Junior Company and has had the opportunity to tour with the ABB to perform in the Nutcracker. She is also a member of the Cantarella dance team. As part of the team, she has experienced many dance styles and choreographers including Billy Bell, Dusty Button, Travis Wall and more. She has performed at Jacobs Pillow and many other dance venues. Rachael has attended Walnut Hill and Oklahoma City Ballet summer intensives.