Benjamin Briones

Professional dancer, choreographer, teacher, director, designer and entrepreneur. A graduate of The National School of Classical Ballet, The National School of Contemporary Dance and The Royal Academy of Dancing in Mexico City. His eclectic educational background includes training in Cuban and Royal Ballet styles, as well as study of Graham, Cunningham, Limon and Francis modern dance styles.

As a soloist dancer, he has appeared with many companies, among them Ballet El Paso, Ballet Austin, Connecticut Ballet, Mid Ohio Ballet, Ballet Theater of Annapolis, Granite State Ballet, Southern New Hampshire Ballet, New Haven Ballet, Staten Island Ballet and River Ballet.

As a teacher, he has taught extensively throughout the NYC including The Joffrey Ballet School, Mark Morris Dance group, LEON Dance Arts & Southern New Hampshire Dance Theatre. Also for “Centro de Arte y Ballet” en Mexico City. Benjamin was appointed Ballet Master At The Staten Island Ballet in 2006-09.

During that time, he also began his choreographic career, serving as the Resident Choreographer for both the Staten Island Ballet and Ajkun Ballet Theatre (New York). In 2012, his numerous choreographic endeavors culminated in the created Benjamin Briones Ballet. He is also Founder and Co-Director of Mid-Pointe project.

Co-owner and co-founder of UBCostumesDancewear.com, Benjamin has been designing costumes for the past 18 years. For more info: www.BenjaminBrionesBallet.org

Vision


Established in New York City in 2012, Benjamin Briones Ballet provides a supportive forum for choreographers and performers of all cultural and stylistic backgrounds to explore the endlessly diverse concepts and feelings that symbolic movement can convey. Founder/Director Benjamin Briones envisions his company as “an engine of creativity” that uses dance and the arts to engage minds, ignite hearts, and shape social consciousness. He and his fellow artists have made a commitment to honor their kinetic art form beyond expectations and preconceptions.


Mission
The company collaborates with neoclassical and contemporary artists from decidedly diverse backgrounds to create new repertoire that strive to provide positive, compelling cultural experiences to a wide range of audiences.


The Director
The Artists
Dancers

Ursula Verduzco Dancer & Choreographer
Ms. Verduzco trained at Ballet Austin Academy and the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City with full scholarship; having the honor to perform with Ballet Austin at the time. After graduating, she has danced  with several companies  including Staten Island Ballet, Benjamin Briones Ballet, New York City Opera, Eglevsky Ballet, Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Connecticut Ballet, New York Dance Theatre,  Dance Theatre in Westchester, Ad Hoc Ballet, among others.
She has been honored to appear in Dance Magazine as one of the dancers to highlight in their “Race Issue”, July 2010
As a choreographer Ms. Verduzco has created commissioned works for The Staten Island Ballet for The International Choreographers Festival, the Ellison Ballet for the Youth America Grand Prix, Benjamin Briones Ballet and Nomad Contemporary Ballet. She has also presented her work at “Independance”, “Dance Tracks”, “Mix-Tape”, “Kat Wildish Productions” “International Choreographers Festival”, “The Latin Choreographers Festival” and ” YAGP” among other productions.
As a teacher, Ms. Verduzco is currently invited to instruct ballet as a guest company teacher with Les Ballets Grandiva in NYC, she has been on faculty at The Joffrey Ballet School and has taught extensively throughout the NYC area.
She is a professional actress with experience in the TV and the Theatre Play world since the age of nine.
As the Founder and Director of The Latin Choreographers Festival, Ms. Verduzco created this Festival in 2008 with the mission to share, support and present the work of talented Latin Choreographers in NYC.


Elisabeth Jeffrey  Dancer
Started her classical training under the tutelage of Carlos Stroia in Minnesota at the age of seven. She went on to train at the Joffrey Ballet School under a full merit scholarship when she was fourteen. During her years there, she attended workshops with schools such as the American Ballet Theater, the Houston Ballet School, the Washington Ballet School, and the Royal Ballet School of Covent Garden. She also performed with Arts Umbrella Dance Company in Vancouver, Canada, and Peter Pucci Plus Dancers in NYC. Upon graduation from the Joffrey Ballet School, she accepted invitations from Complexions Contemporary Ballet to attend workshops and company classes. Elisabeth is also currently a member of Periapsis Music and Dance.  She has performed roles in The Nutcracker, Raymonda, Le Corsaire, Gisselle, Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Flames of Paris, Paquita, Serenade- George Balenchine, Samsera- Margo Sappington, Birthday Variations- Gerald Arpino, Billboards Willing and Able- Peter Pucci, Hoopla- Peter Pucci, Kettentanz- Gerald Arpino, Capriccious- Trinette Singleton, Onegin. Check out her website at: elisabethjeffrey.com

Eva Janiszewski Dancerr
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.


Ali Paige Block  Dancer
Originally From Cleveland, Ohio. Ali Trained at the School Of Cleveland Ballet, North Carolina School Of the Arts And Miami City Ballet, With summers at Canada’s National Ballet School, Chautauqua Institution, Jacob’s Pillow, And BalletX. Ali Has danced professionally with Texas Ballet Theater, Eugene Ballet Company, And Terpsicorps Theatre Of Dance. She Danced as Clara In The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and was invited on the National Tour. Ali Is currently a freelance artist based in New York City, Where she has worked as a soloist with the Edward Morgan Ballet, As a company member with Eglevsky Ballet, Bugge Ballet, And as a dancer with the Columbia Ballet Collaborative. She Is currently pursuing a degree at Columbia University.


Diana SorokovaDancer
Originally from Slovakia, started as junior competitor in Rhythm Gymnastics achieving gold three times in national competitions. At age 14 she decided to start classical ballet joining Slovakian Ballet Company as a corps-de-ballet member at age 17. She shortly she became a soloist dancer. She got her Bachelor’s Degree in Modern Ballet at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She joined Tania Pérez-Salas Compañía de Danza, touring around Mexico and USA. Recently she moved to New York where She collaborate in numerous dance projects, music and fitness videos, and she became a soloist with Sans Limites Dance Company. Now she's an Elite Personal Trainer and she's dancing with Benjamin Briones Ballet.




Richard Ye Dancer
Richard received modern, jazz and classical dance training from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and the Milwaukee Ballet School.  He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He has performed throughout the United States, as well as Japan, China, Ukraine, Russia, Canada, Ecuador and the Caribbean with many dance, opera and musical theater companies, including the Cincinnati Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Wylliams/Henry Danse Theater and the Metropolitan Opera.  He is certified in levels Primary through Five in the American Ballet Theater National Training Curriculum.





Taylor Kindred Dancerr
Mr. Kindred began training at Ballet Arts Academy in Missoula, MT and furthered his dance education
at the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington DC and The Ellison Ballet in New York.
Taylor has appeared with Connecticut Ballet, Orange County Ballet, Universal Ballet of Seoul,South Korea,
and Ajkun Ballet Theatre. Taylor's repertory includes traditional ballets such as Cinderella,The Nutcracker,
Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, La Bayadere as well as contemporary works by
choreographers Possohkov, Baca, Briones, Zachary and Ajkun.
As a ballet instructor, he has taught for the LUDT Dance in Italy Festival, Westchester County public schools
and many studios in NYC. Taylor has toured across the USA, Italy, and Australia to perform and teach.



Fredrick Davis Dancerr
Travels the world as a professional ballet dancer, but his personal journey began with a broken family and homelessness.At age 11, Davis’ first exposure to dance changed his life. In 1998, he was encouraged to audition for the Department of Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Dance Alive program offered in collaboration with Ballet Tennessee. Despite a turbulent personal life, he found inspiration and support from instructors at Ballet Tennessee, Center for Creative Arts, his church family and a caring community. As a result of his determination and the support he received, he was invited to study at the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School and eventually joined the company at Dance Theatre of Harlem. Davis returns to Chattanooga every summer as a guest artist in the Dance Alive program that first inspired his love of dance.
Guest Dancers

Shannon Maynor Dancer
Originally from Southern California, was trained at California Dance Theatre with the late Stanley Holden, Kim Maselli, and Charles Maple. While at CDT, Shannon was a semi-finalist at the prestigious Music Center Spotlight Awards. At the age of 16, she furthered her training at San Francisco Ballet School on full scholarship under Helgi Tomasson and Gloria Govrin. She then worked with Oregon Ballet Theatre where she performed roles in Concerto Barrocco, Swan Lake, Rubies, and Concerto Grosso among others. Since moving to NYC, Shannon has worked professionally with Nomad Contemporary Ballet,  Neglia Ballet,  Eglevsky Ballet, Lydia Johnson Dance and VISIONS Contemporary Ballet.


Dafni Mari Dancer
Dafni Mari was born and raised in Greece, where she studied in the professional dance school of Despina Gregoriadou, and the School of Pharmacy at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. After graduating from both schools, she was accepted to Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, where she gained her Master's of Dance Science. While in London, she was an associate member of Ballet Black Neoclassical Company and also participated in many dance and artistic projects.
Searching for new opportunities, she moved to New York and joined Ajkun Ballet Theatre, “Yuka Kawazu-Danse en l'air”, and most recently, Benjamin Briones Ballet. When Ms. Mari is not on stage or in the studio, she works as a dance scientist, health coach and dance instructor.


Lucia Campoy Guest Dancer
Lucia is from Murcia, Spain, where she earned her Ballet Diploma from the Conservatorio Superior de Arte Dramático y Danza. New York has given her a great opportunity to expand her horizons. She’s a freelancer now and dances for Benjamin Briones since he founded his company. Also she has become a Feldenkrais practitioner practicing in NYC and focusing primarily on children. Special thanks to her family and husband for their unconditional support and to Benjamin for his hard work and trust.



Tanja Whited Dancer
Born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, Tanja Whited began her ballet training at Goleta Valley Community Center School of Ballet.  She moved to NY in 2001 to earn a BA in dance and English from Barnard College, Columbia University, where she performed in Serenade, Con Amore, Tensile Involvement, and Prelude to Prelude.  In 2004, she was selected to participate in Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Professional Program.  Since graduating magna cum laude, she has danced professionally for such companies as, Charleston Ballet Theatre, Connecticut Ballet, and Northern Ballet Theatre.  Ms. Whited has also performed at the Metropolitan Opera House as a supernumerary for American Ballet Theatre on several occasions and as a soloist for Albano Ballet where she was featured in Why Not a Ballet on Love, Romantic Borodin, Strauss Waltz, and the Nutcracker, dancing the roles of the Dewdrop and Porcelain Doll.


Robin Gilbert  Guest Dancer
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts. She currently works with Balam Dance Theatre, Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble, Periapsis Music and Dance, and  Ballet Verite, as well as performing Baroque dance with Carlos Fittante. Past credits include Connecticut Ballet, Dallas Ballet Collective Body Dance Lab and Peter Pucci Plus Dancers to name a few, as well as performing in musicals and in film and television. In her non-dance life Robin a professional drummer/vocalist for the rock band The Generators, which is led by her multi-talented husband Manny Campos.


Janna Davis  Dancer
Janna Davis grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and had the opportunity to train under many wonderful teachers at places such as the Governor’s School for the Arts and Academie de Ballet.  She decided to forego a tan to further her training at summer intensives including The Juilliard School and Boston Ballet School.  She graduated from James Madison University with a BA in Theatre and a BS in Communication Sciences, before continuing her dance education on scholarship at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.  She has danced with ACFCLA and Keshet Chaim Dance in Los Angeles, as well as danced and acted commercially and in film and television.  She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and continually training at The Sag Conservatory.  Outside of performing she is a loving wife, a licensed cosmetologist, and had a side career as a trade show model in which she founded the networking group United Trade Show Talent.  All this before realizing that it was still ok to want to be a ballerina when she grew up...


Yuko Suzuki  Dancer
Yuko Suzuki
She started her ballet training at age 7, won 2nd prize @Hakuhinkan theater ballet competition in Ginza, Tokyo at 10.
8th place @Saitama All Japan competition at 13. She became a member of Maki Asami Youth Ballet company in Tokyo at 14.
Former member of Ochi International Ballet company, Albano ballet company in Hartford, and member of BBB since 2014.


Kylie Fox Dancerr
Raised in Iowa, Kylie Fox began her classical ballet training at Central Iowa Dance with Lynn Andlauer. Kylie continued her training with Susan Snider and later joined the Vine Street Ballet’s 2nd Company as a dancer under the artistic direction of Ms. Snider. Kylie’s also trained at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet School on a full scholarship, with Basil Thompson, Jeffery Bullock, and is currently receiving private lessons from Karin Averty. Other companies Kylie’s danced for include Iowa Dance Theatre, Albano Ballet Company of America, and most recently Ballet des Ameriques. As well, during Spring of 2015 Kylie attended company classes with Ballet Hispanico by invitation of Michelle Manzanales.



Jordan Fife Hunt Guest Dancer



Felipe Escalante Guest Dancer
Originally from Mexico, Felipe began his studies of dance at the age of six, learning and performing the Mexican folk dance that had its natural development in this region of Mexico.  He then embarked on the study and performance of different styles of dance, performing with companies like “Ciudad Interior”, “Aletheia, Cuerpo Escénico de Mexico”, “Epicentro”, “Cuando Muere el Sol” around the world. He is happy to join Benjamin Briones Ballet as a Company Member.




Steven Gray Guest Dancer
Is a graduate from the University of Iowa obtaining a BFA in Dance and a BA in Vocal Performance.  Since starting dance in Iowa City in 2007, Steven has participated in many faculty and guest works.  Some of the guest works include Trisha Brown's "Set/Reset/Reset"  restaged by Melinda Meyer's, José Limon's "Psalm", Hubbard Street 2's "The Fantastic Escape of the Little Buffalo" by Clébio Oliveira, and "Into The Night" by Martha Clarke.  Steven has also participated on full scholarship with Hubbard Street's Lou Conte Dance Studio, as well as the Joffrey Ballet School.



Choreographers

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 Dance Center, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center's Ailey Extension Program, and The School at Steps on Broadway.  

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.

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.


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.