Benjamin Briones, Artistic Director

Director and founding member of Benjamin Briones Ballet, responsible for driving the artistic direction of the company forward. He is also the company's Resident Choreographer. His many works include Si Senior, Amour Nuovo, In Between, Ripples, Lights On, I Will Always Love You and Seven.
Briones was born in Mexico City where he graduated from The National School of Classical Ballet, The National School of Contemporary Dance and The Royal Academy of Dancing. His eclectic educational background includes training in Cuban and Royal Ballet styles, as well as the study of Graham, Cunningham, Limon and Francis modern dance. Former Soloist at Ballet El Paso, Ballet Austin, Connecticut Ballet, Ohio Ballet and Ballet Theater of Annapolis, Briones retired as dancer in 2006.
Appointed Ballet Master at The Staten Island Ballet in 2006-2009, he began his choreographic career serving as Resident Choreographer for Staten Island Ballet and Ajkun Ballet Theatre (New York), which culminated in the founding of the company in 2012. 
Also dedicated to teaching dance as the highest art form, he does so extensively throughout New York City, including at professional levels at prestigious dance schools, such as Alvin Ailey, Steps on Broadway, Peridance, The Joffrey Ballet School, Mark Morris Dance Group and Ballet Arts Center for Dance. Internationally, Briones regularly teaches at Centro de Arte y Ballet and UAEM University in Mexico City.
Briones devotes his life to giving art back to the community. 


Chiara GorodeskyExecutive Director

Chiara took up her position at the company in June 2019. She is an attorney qualified in England and Wales and was head of the litigation department at a law firm with offices in London and Moscow before moving to NYC in 2013, where she also held numerous honorary appointments as legal advisor to organizations on a pro bono basis. Chiara's passion for ballet started at the age of 3 and carried on throughout her life. In 2009, Chiara was invited onto the prestigious committee of the Ballet Association of The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet in London, for which she continues to hold an active role in development. In 2017, Chiara was asked to become Development Director of Met Orchestra Musicians to The Metropolitan Opera. She is also a co-founder of a non-profit organization in England which raised several million Pounds for the benefit of an ambulance service by organizing many events over 8 years. Currently, Chiara occupies several positions as board member to non-profit organizations. Her other great love is that of conservation and she provides development and legal advice to the Turtle Conservancy on a weekly basis. In August 2019, Chiara qualified as a Zena Rommett Floor-Barre® Technique instructor.



​Olivia Gintel Rudkevich, Development Director
Received her early training from the Houston Ballet Academy. She moved to Miami and finished her training at the Miami City Ballet School before joining the Joffrey Ballet trainee program. She has danced professionally with the Orlando Ballet, and Connecticut Ballet. She has a B.A. from the University of Miami in Theatre Arts with a musical theatre concentration. She loves teaching and has taught and Walnut Hill school for the Arts. Olivia is thrilled to be joining Benjamin Briones Ballet in 2019. In addition to being a member of the company, Olivia has extensive fundraising and event organizing experience. Olivia raised funds for Dana Faber challenge while running the Boston Marathon and was invited to become a board member of the Friends of Connecticut Ballet, where she helped plan its annual gala event. She participated in development work to the benefit of St. Jude Children's Hospital and engaged in numerous other charitable development events.


Dancers

Eva Janiszewski
Received her early dance training in Connecticut, until she moved to New York City to train with Gelsey Kirkland.  As she danced full time, Eva began to study with Martha Yoshida in the Yoshida technique of alignment, while dancing additional character roles with Larisa Calero from Mosiev Dance Company.  Upon graduating the academy, Eva Janiszewski danced in The Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Company, performing as a principal character dancer as well as ballet dancer.  
Eva has also been teaching and privately coaching students for 5 years at numerous schools including Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet and Brooklyn Ballet.
Eva started dancing with Benjamin Briones Ballet in 2015 and is thrilled to be a part of the BBB team.

Adelita Hinojosa-Martin 
Is a native of Denton, Texas, and trained/performed with ballet coach Arleen Sugano. Adelita came to New York City in 2005, training and performing as a professional dancer. Although she primarily trained with Cecilia Marta, Max Stone & Jana Hicks, she also studied under a broad range of styles/mentors. Professionally, Adelita works as a freelance dancer, performing with multiple companies: Benjamin Briones Ballet, Human’s Collective, Cecilia Marta Dance Company, xodus dance collective and The Next Stage Project. Other companies include Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, and Organic Magnetics. As a guest artist she performed with Errol Grimes Dance Group, Battery Dance Company, and numerous Cirque de Soleil premiere events. Career inspirational highlights: performing to music created by her husband, Edward Martin and performing with Meshell NdegeOcello.


Yuriko Sakai
Yuriko was born in Kyoto, Japan. She began her ballet training at Mizuno Hiroko Ballet Academy, later continued at Ballet School Benedict-Manniegel in Munich, Germany. In 2016, Yuriko graduated from Peridance Capezio Center Certificate Program in NYC. After graduation, Yuriko has performed with Brooklyn Ballet, Benjamin Briones Ballet, The Next Stage Project, and SUNPROJECT. Yuriko is also developing her experience as a choreographer.




Lana Hankinson
Born and raised in Marietta, Georgia, Lana Hankinson is currently a freelance artist performing, working, and teaching (under ABT® Certification) in New York City. In early years, she studied at Anne Burton Avery’s Academy Dance Company (Marietta, GA) and then in the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre’s Conservatory Program (Alpharetta, GA) under the direction of Prima Ballerina Maniya Barredo and Andrea Pell. Hankinson has extensive training in classical ballet, contemporary, modern, and jazz dance and recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from Adelphi University as recipient of the Jeff and Tina Bolton Scholarship and Provost Talent Scholarship. Some of her past roles include Swanhilda and La prière in Coppélia, the title role in Giselle, and various roles in Flames of Paris, Le Corsaire, La Esmeralda, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère, Les Sylphides, Paquita, Swan Lake, and Reflections. She is very happy and grateful to be a part of the Benjamin Briones Ballet family.


​Yui Hasegawa
Is Originally from Nagoya, Japan. She began her ballet training at the age of 8 with Yukari Kanbara at Yukari Ballet. She danced principal rolls “The Sleeping Beauty" and “Coppelia" with this company. She was casted by the well known choreographers and performed with Tatsue Sata, Hideo Fukagawa and Vladimir Issaev. In 2011, she moved to New York. She studied and graduated from Ballet Arts. After that, she became a teacher of Hariyama Ballet and joined M-performing arts. She joined Benjamin Briones Ballet from 2018.



Jessica Frazier
Jessica trained at The Rock School West in West Chester, PA and later The Rock School in Philadelphia. She has attended summer intensives at Nashville Ballet, Orlando Ballet School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and BalletX. Jessica continued her studies at SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. Jessica has danced with companies in Philadelphia and New York such as Ballet Fleming, Ballet 180, Dance del Bello, and Ballet des Ameriques. Jessica is excited for her first performance with Benjamin Briones Ballet. 



Beatriz Hernandez
Began her training at the Royal Academy of Dance program in México. Then continued dancing in Danza Téllez and attending several summer programs all over the country. Recently she moved to NYC to keep training and joined BBB as an apprentice.
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Olivia Gintel Rudkevich
Received her early training from the Houston Ballet Academy. She moved to Miami and finished her training at the Miami City Ballet School before joining the Joffrey Ballet trainee program. She has danced professionally with the Orlando Ballet, and Connecticut Ballet. She has a B.A. from the University of Miami in Theatre Arts with a musical theatre concentration. She loves teaching and has taught and Walnut Hill school for the Arts. Olivia is thrilled to be joining Benjamin Briones Ballet in 2019.


Victoria Barretti-Rhine, Apprentice
Victoria began training in her late teens, solely studying the Vaganova method. She took a hiatus from ballet to earn her Bachelors Degree, but returned with a passion. She has since attended 
Gelsey Kirkland’s Academy, American Ballet Theatre’s Collegiate Program and studied with teacher and friend, Simon Kazantsev. Victoria still performs various classical repertoire roles and teaches ballet technique. She now trains exclusively with Irina Lebedeva in Sea Cliff, and dances her heart out with Benjamin Briones Ballet.


Sonia Di Florio, Apprentice
Is from Brescia, Italy and began dancing at the age four. She studied ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, tap and musical theatre at Areazione direct by Stefania Talia in Brescia. Then she joined the AEDJ (Academie Europeenne de Danse Jazz) company from August 2012 to July 2015. In the summer 2015 she worked as choreographer, dancer and fitness instructor at the Camping Village Garden Paradiso in Jesolo, Italy. Later she graduated from Liceo Scientifico Leonardo High School in Brescia in 2016. She graduated from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre School in 2019. 
She is very happy to join the Benjamin Briones Ballet family as apprentice.


Beatriz Madrid, Choreographer 
Beatriz Madrid Díaz member of the National System of Art Creators (Mexico).
A graduate and awarded artist by the London Contemporary Dance School England London (England).  
was awarded scholarship by this institution and Mexico simultaneously.
Was selected by the Royal Academy of Dance to demonstrate Graham Technique.
Was a dancer with Danzahoy (Caracas, Venezuela), as well as a Soloist and choreographer in Ballet Teatro del Espacio (Mexico).
Founder, Director and Choreographer of Foramen M. Ballet for 20 years.
Has also worked for the National Dance Ballet Company of Mexico, the National Dance Ballet School, Mexican Dance Academy, as well as the Gloria and Nelly Campobello Schools.
She has danced and has presented choreographic work in Latin America, Europe, United States and Asia,
in important and recognized venues as the Palace of Fine Arts and the Cervantino Festival in Mexico.
Has been awarded and recognized for her career's history in 2005 by the Guadalajara Dance Festival. 
And has received the medal of art excellence in Morelos, Mexico in 2017. Has been a recipient of the FONCA grant several times as a performer and choreographer. Currently directs the project BMDanza.


Megan Philipp, Choreographer
Megan Philipp was born and raised in southern California. She graduated from Butler University in 2002 with a degree in dance pedagogy and relocated to NYC. She spent 8 years in NYC teaching, performing, and choreographing. In 2010 she graduated from NYU with a masters in Dance Education and relocated to Chicago to become a full time faculty member and curriculum coordinator for the Joffrey Academy of Dance. After three and a half years at the Joffrey Ballet, Megan returned to southern California. She is currently an artist in resident at State Street Ballet in Santa Barbara. She is thrilled and proud to be part of BBBallet and sends her best from the west coast to all of the artists.


Vera Huff, Choreographer
Is a dancer, choreographer and teacher of diverse background. Vera spent the early 90's performing and choreographing in the downtown dance scene at such venues as DTW, Dixon Place, DIA (Joyce Soho), PS 122, Soundance and Eden's Expressway. 
In the late 90's Vera choreographed Musical Theater in Regional Theater and Off-Broadway. From 1996-1998 she workshoped new musicals at the Harold Prince Musical Theater Workshop.
For the past 3 years Vera has been a collaborator and improviser with the Walter Thompson Orchestra. She also has a new Dance/Theater company called Veracity which is dedicated to presenting concert dance as well as collaborating with artists of all backgrounds to create new theatrical works.

Nellesa Walthour, Choreographer
 trained on full fellowship at the Alvin Ailey School and danced with companies that include The Metropolitan Opera, Dallas Black Dance Theater (DBDT), Patricia Kenney Dance Collection, and Earl Mosely’s Diversity of Dance. She has worked with choreographers Ron Brown, Sean Curran, Louis Johnson, Alonzo King and Donald McKayle and performed works by Elisa Monte, David Parsons, José Limón, Donald Byrd and others. Her choreography includes works for DBDT, NYMF’s Trav’lin (associate), Boston’s Jazz Dance Recovery Project, festivals, and competitions. Favorite theater credits: Disney’s The Lion King, Ragtime (Kennedy Center), The Call (Rebecca), Once on This Island (Andrea). TV: High Fidelity, Bull, The Good Wife, The Haunting of..., Flight of the Conchords. Harvard graduate. Certified GYROTONIC® and mat Pilates instructor.



Amanda Turner, Choreographer
Amanda Turner trained in the UK and had an international ballet and theater career working with Israel National Ballet, Munich Ballet Theater, Vienna Festival Ballet, and others. She performed in many musicals including Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Damn Yankees, Little Me, and West Side
Story, has taught and choreographed for the Broadway dance community in NYC for over 15 years, and is a guest teacher with the London College of Music. Ms. Turner has choreographed everything from classical ballet and musical theater, to music videos. She is also trained in Ayurvedic medicine, yoga, and spiritual counseling. Her passion is to inspire others and to explore the human inner landscape through dance and the arts, and to bring about social change, creative evolution, and intrapersonal transformation through the medium of dance, visual art, and choreographic work.


Brian Norris, Choreographer/Teacher
Brian received his training at Jefferson Performing Arts in Portland, Oregon, while dancing with their student company - The Jefferson Dancers. At Jefferson he worked with modern choreographers Donald Mckayle and Rachel Lampert.
He danced with the world famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and performed in many major cities around the world from 1994 to 2001. While at Trockadero he worked with Meg Harper of The Merce Cunningham Company, Elena Kunikova formally of the Maly Theater Ballet in Leningrad, and Robert LaFosse from New York City Ballet. He served as company rehearsal assistant for four years.
Brian danced with, and was Ballet Mater for the Rochester City Ballet, and was a guest artist with New York Theatre Ballet.
Brian’s teaching credits include being on faculty at Draper Center for Dance Education Nazareth Academy, and Rochester Association of Performing Arts. As a guest teacher he has taught at 25 North Dance Academy, A Touch of Dance, The New England Ballet School, and conducted master classes at Live, Shinjuku-mura in Tokyo, and Dance Space in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He has choreographed productions of Drood, Secret Garden, two productions of Les Miserables, as well as many Show Choir productions.
Brian joined Les Ballets Grandiva in 2004, where he continued to establish his place as an important contributor to male comedy ballet. 2009 brought his promotion as Artistic Director of Grandiva. In 2012, Brian debuted Men On Pointe, an all-male pointe ballet company in New York City. He is also co-director and presenter for Mid-Pointe Project with Benjamin Briones and Ursula Verduzco. Brian also worked on development and served as ballet master for Man Dance Company of San Francisco from 2013 to 2014.


Royce Zackery, Choreographer/Teacher
A native of Atlanta, Georgia, has danced professionally for 13 years in the U.S and overseas and In New York City for the past 9.  His background includes extensive training in tap, jazz, and musical theater. He is presently Certified in The American Ballet Theatre Teaching Curriculum and isreceiving his Masters in Higher Education and Ballet Pedagogy from N.Y.U. Steinhardt. He received his B.F.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Royce has performed with professional companies performing Classical and Contemporary Ballet works, professional Modern based companies, and has done professional work in the field of musical theater as well. Royce has taught master classes and workshops in classical ballet, contemporary movement, and partnering in Dallas, Florida, Oklahoma City, Atlanta, Germany, and New York City. He has been on staff at Broadway DanceCenter, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center's Ailey Extension Program, and The School at Steps on Broadway.

Dannon O'Brien, Choreographer
Dannon O’Brien currently lives in New York City and is a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a concentration in choreography, and a minor business management. During his time at Marymount, he was trained by some of the most prestigious teachers the dance world has to offer, and performed acclaimed works such as Bill T. Jones's D.Man in the Water, Robert Battle's Train, Doug Varone's Democracy, as well as original works by Al Blackstone, Lorna Ventura, Anthony Ferro and many others. Now, a few years after graduating Dannon has achieved a lot of success in a short time as a dancer. His experience in concert dance has given him the pleasure of working with Frank Women Collective, J. Chen project, and A. Corona Works. He’s also had success in musical theatre and commercial work as well by getting the opportunity to perform on Broadway at the “Gypsey of the Year” showcase that annually raises more than $10 million for AIDS research. As well as his most recent job with Disney Cruise Line. In addition to dancing Dannon’s second love is choreography. He was able to hone his craft at Marymount and experiment with a plethora styles until he found his voice as a choreographer. Professionally, Dannon has presented work with The Benjamin Biones Ballet, Peridance Choreographers Showcase and many other competitions where he’s received high honors and awards. He continues to choreograph in a bevy of genres and is eager to build his resume with experiences; both choreographically and dancing.


Ana Cuellar, Choreographer
She is a graduate of the Contemporary Dance program at UANL (The Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon) and in Theater from CEDART (National Institute of Bellas Artes) Alfonso Reyes in Monterrey, Mexico. She has studied, Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary – specifically the Techniques of Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon. A full time professional artist in La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil in Orlando, Ana performs as the captain of the Aerial Ballet in Silks Act, as the understudy of the featured Aerialist and has also performed as the Lead Character, La Petite Madame.
Her Choreographic work has been presented in the Orlando Ballet/Cirque du Soleil Choreographers’ Showcase, (Orlando), Cabaret Noche (Orlando), Cirque Cabaret (Vegas), The Latin Choreographers’ Festival (NYC), Epcot International Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World (Orlando) All Stars of Dance (Orlando), 62nd International Choreographers Showcase (Guatemala), 15 Annual Las Vegas Dance in the Desert Festival (Vegas) and by the Dance Company she co-founded, Agape Contemporary Dance (Monterrey, Mexico). She
participated as a guest Choreographer for MeDance Company in Orlando Florida.


Felix Aarts, Choreographer
Was born in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, he attended the ArtEZ
Institute of the Arts in Arnhem and graduated in 1997 from The Hague Royal
Conservatory with a BFA in Ballet.
Aarts has had an extensive career, dancing soloist rolls in ballets of renowned
choreographers such as G. Balanchine, M. Bejart, J. Kylian, J. Cranko, R. Nureyev and others, he also had numerous rolls created on him. During his dancing career Aarts has been engaged by companies such as the ballet of the State Opera Unter den Linden in Berlin, the Ballet du Rhin and the Leipzig Ballet, where he presented his first own choreography with “Traan” in 2007.
In 2009, Aarts moved to Oslo, Norway to study painting at the Strykejernet Art School. During his time in Oslo he created two new choreographies for the Norwegian National Ballet. In the spring of 2013 Aarts graduated from Pratt Institute in New York with an MFA in painting. Aarts has exhibited his work both in Europe and the USA. In 2011, Aarts published his first photo book portraying Italian principle dancer Giovanni Di Palma and in the spring of 2013 he designed the set for “We Were Right Here” by Choreographer Martin Chaix for the Deutsch Oper und Ballett am Rhein. Felix Aarts works and lives in New York City.
Choreographers
Administration
Paula Alvarez, Social Media Officer




Sen He Chen, Social Media Officer



Guest Dancers

Sean Scantlebury
A member of Battery Dance since 2003, is a performer and teacher who is equally adept within the styles of modern, ballet and hip-hop. A native of Barbados, He became a member of Ballet Tech, performing in the Company’s for 10 years. During his first season with Battery Dance in 2003, he took part in a residency in Kraków, Poland, performing for the European Conference on Tolerance. Since then he has performed, taught and led Dancing to Connect workshops across the planet. His hip-hop classes have served as a magnet for urban youth everywhere. In New York, he has served as Battery Dance’s teaching artist at public schools.


Jordan Fide Hunt
Theatre West Side Story (Guthrie Theater), Sousatzka (World Premier, Mirvish Theatre, Toronto), Fiorello and Where's Charley? (City Center Encores!), Aladdin (The Muny), A Chorus Line (1st National Revival Tour) TV “Wendy Williams Show”, “New Year’s Eve: From Lincoln Center”, “The A-List”, “Todrick” Dance Dance Key West, Veracity Dance Theatre, GIG - The Show, Met Dance Training BFA Musical Theatre - The Boston Conservatory.


Josep Maria Monreal
From Barcelona Spain started to dance at 18 years old at Theater Jazz at Coco Comin and Carles Ibañez Ballet. Later with El Magatzem and finished his studies at Institut del Teatre in Barcelona. He moved to New York City to study at Steps on Broadway as an international student. He had the opportunity to perform works from Jennifer Archibald Dance Company at Summer Stage Festival in Central Park, New York. He danced with Jana Hicks and Marijke Eliasberg as a member of The Next Stage Project. He has collaborated in different projects with Fernando Carrillo and Julia Ehrstrand. He has also worked and performed with Martz Contemporary Dance Company in Europe, touring to Bucarest, FJK Dance Company during the season 2016-2017, including a two month international tour in China and Isadora Project with Natalia Osipova as a principal dancer in Costa Mesa, California and Moscow, Russia.

José Sales 
was born in México City. He started his ballet training at the age of 20 with a private teacher taking Vaganova technique. After 8 months he began training with the Royal Academy of Dance program where he graduated. He also trained with recognized teachers such as Jetzemani Velazco, Jorge Vega, Aurora Vazquez and Natalya Getman. Between 2018 and 2019 he participated as a guest principal dancer with Bossov Ballet Theatre (Maine) and CAPA Ballet Company (California). And recently he moved to NY, to dance with the NYDP and Benjamin Briones Ballet.


Rohan Zhou-Lee
He is from Chicago, where they trained at the Ruth Page Center for The Arts under Birute Barodicaite, Dolores Lipinski-Long, and Randall Newsom. Previous credits include: West Side Story as Toro (New Bedford Festival Theatre), Cinderella (Indiana Ballet Theatre) as the Autumn Cavalier and Sleeping Beauty (Plainfield Dance Academy) as The Wolf. Zhou-Lee holds a BA in Ethnomusicology from Northwestern University



Misa Mochizuki 
Born in Hyogo, Japan, began dancing at age 5 at Yuki Ballet Studio. In America, she trained at Joffrey Ballet School and Ballet Arts. She performed in several leading competitions receiving prizes in various categories. In 2013 she joined Albano Ballet Company and performed Spanish, Snow Queen and many contemporary and modern pieces as Soloist. In 2016 she joined Albany Berkshire Ballet Company and has performed Sugar Plum Fairy and Dew Drop as Principal. Currently, she receives coaching in classical ballet technique from Luis Villanueva.


Juliette Janiszewski
Received her early training in Connecticut while attending summer intensives throughout the country, including the Bolshoi Ballet School and Gelsey Kirkland Academy, among others. At age 15, she moved to NYC to train on scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet School and later, the School at Steps. At 17, Juliette accepted a position as a trainee in Open World Dance Foundation’s Elite Training Program. Now, one year later, she returned to NYC to dance with Benjamin Briones Ballet as well as teach and assist ballet lessons in Connecticut.
Artists