February 9, 2016 | Posted in Alumni
Many of Metropolitan Ballet Academy’s alumni are former YAGP winners who now dance professionally with classical and contemporary dance companies from coast to coast. In honor of Metropolitan’s 20th anniversary this year, Philadelphia area residents will have the opportunity to see these accomplished dance artists perform when they return to the stage at Abington Friends School’s Josephine Muller Auditorium for Metropolitan’s Gala Performance, on Saturday, June 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm.
Some of the many professional and student dancers who will perform in the MBA Gala include:
- Kamryn Baldwin, age 17, from Honolulu, Hawaii and Blue Bell, PA, joined San Francisco Ballet in 2015, after receiving a full merit scholarship in 2013 and 2014 to the San Francisco Ballet School, where she was awarded the 2014 Keith White Scholarship. When she received a full contract at age 16, she was one of the youngest dancers to advance directly from Level 8 to the corps de ballet of the San Francisco Ballet company. Miss Baldwin has earned numerous YAGP awards and competed in the 2013 New York City Finals. In 2012 she was invited to perform at the International Young Medal Winners Performance during the XVII Annual International Ballet Festival of Miami. She previously earned earned full merit scholarships to study at the School of American Ballet (2011) and Bolshoi Ballet Academy NYC (2012).
- Darius Black, age 17, from Voorhees, NJ, is in his third year on full merit scholarship to the School of American Ballet, NY. At SAB’s Workshop Performances on May 30, 2015, he performed in the Third Regiment, Thunder and Gladiator of George Balanchine’s “Stars and Stripes” staged by Jock Soto.
- Ariel Breitman, age 22, from Huntingdon Valley, PA, is performing in his second season as a member of Colorado Ballet, where he is dancing in principal roles. He previously danced with the Washington Ballet Studio Company. In 2012-13 Ariel won three YAGP gold medals and one silver medal at the Tanzolymp International Ballet Competition, held in Berlin, Germany.
- Justin Geiss, age 16, of Furlong, PA, is in his third year as a full merit scholarship student at the Houston Ballet School, TX, where he recently received the prestigious Ben Stevenson Award.
- Melissa Gelfin, age 23, joined Cincinnati Ballet as a New Dancer in the 2014-15 season. In February 2015 she was promoted to the corps de ballet, and last year also performed in Cincinnati Opera’s production of Turandot. In the 2015-16 season she regularly performs principal roles. In 2009 Melissa was awarded a National Training Scholarship with American Ballet Theatre. She danced with Orlando Ballet from 2010-2014, and in 2014 was a finalist in the USA International Ballet Competition.
- Sierra Levin, age 19, Doylestown, PA, was invited to join Carolina Ballet in Raleigh, NC as a Trainee for the 2015-16 season, after studying in the Company’s summer program. In 2015 Sierra earned Second Place in the YAGP Senior Classical Division semi-finals, in Boston, MA. In 2014 she performed with Take It Away Productions as the principal female in Meet Us at the Corner, choreographed by Elizabeth Hoowchuk and Dorothy Wasserman.
- Leah McCormick, age 22, from Jenkintown, PA, completed Richmond Ballet’s two year trainee program, and is now in her second year dancing with NB2, Nashville Ballet’s second company. Leah was a Top 12 finalist in the YAGP Semi-Finals in 2007, 2008 and 2011.
- Scott Stampone, age 24, from Huntingdon Valley, PA, relocated in 2015 to Portland, OR, to join BodyVox, a contemporary dance company, after graduating from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts and working professionally as an independent dance artist. Scott now performs with BodyVox and teaches at The BodyVox Dance Center.
- Sara VanderVoort, age 21, from Feasterville, PA, performs with the Colorado Ballet Studio Company, the training company of Colorado Ballet. Sara previously danced for two seasons as a member of Nashville Ballet’s second company.
- Peter Weil, age 19, Jenkintown, PA, in 2015 was promoted to Apprentice at Pennsylvania Ballet, after joining Pennsylvania Ballet II earlier in year. Peter was previously a New Artist at Next Generation Ballet and in 2013 was a Trainee at Boston Ballet. This year he also participated in the Prix de Lausanne. He was a YAGP medalist and New York semifinalist from 2009 – 2015, and earned full scholarships to summer programs at The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, Orlando Ballet, and Boston Ballet. Mr. Weil began studying ballet in Metropolitan’s prestigious Boys’ Scholarship Program at age seven. He will dance the lead role when Pennsylvania Ballet performs Don Quixote by Angel Corella (After Petipa), March 3-13, 2016 at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, PA.
Additionally, MBA alumna Sarah Mettin, an accomplished choreographer, dancer and founder of Mettin Movement in New York City, will premiere a new work at the MBA Gala Performance.
The MBA Gala will be followed by a Gala Celebration on Saturday, June 4, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:30 pm at the Curtis Arboretum in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. Advance tickets are required; a portion of each ticket supports scholarships, performances, and community outreach by Metropolitan Ballet Company, MBA’s affiliated nonprofit, pre-professional dance company. Ticket information for the Gala Performance and Celebration will be available soon at www.metropolitanballetcompany.org.