Robin Karlin

Robin Karlin, Principal

Born: Oshkosh, WI. This is Robin’s second year in the company and first year as Principal, although third year performing with Ithaca Ballet. Robin trained at the Makaroff School of Ballet in Appleton, WI 1998–2006 and the Ballet Center of Ithaca 2013–2015. From 2009–2012, she studied with Marlene Skog at UW-Madison, and modern dance with Chris Walker and Kate Corby. Recently she studied modern dance with Jumay Chu at Cornell University. Her noteworthy roles have been Summer Fairy (Cinderella) Babar, Demi-soloist in Snow and the Dew Drop Fairy (The Nutcracker). She is currently enrolled in the PhD program at Cornell University in linguistics and expects to graduate in 2017.

Rachel Myers

Rachel Myers, Principal

Rachel grew up in Ithaca, NY, where she trained at the Ballet Center of Ithaca and Ithaca Ballet. She went on to attend University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM), where she received her BFA in ballet. Throughout her training, Rachel has had the privilege of studying with teachers such as Deirdre Carberry (ABT), Jillana, Maria Calegari (NYCB), and Vivi Flindt (Royal Danish Ballet), among others. She has danced professionally in Ohio and Kentucky, and has previously taught at Bluegrass Youth Ballet. She has guested with the Ithaca Ballet, most notably as Cinderella (Cinderella) and the Sugar Plum Fairy (The Nutcracker). Having recently returned to Ithaca, Rachel is delighted to be dancing with Ithaca Ballet, and to be teaching at the Ballet Center. Throughout her dancing career, she has always been appreciative of the strong foundation she received as a student at the Ballet Center of Ithaca, and it’s gratifying for her now to be able to share and pass that on as a member of its faculty. Rachel is also a Suzuki violin teacher, a trained life coach, and a visual artist. She is happy to be back in her hometown.

Ayla Nagsh

Ayla Nagsh, Prinicpal

Ayla is from Kingston, New York. She has been dancing with the Ithaca Ballet for several seasons. She trained extensively with the New Paltz School of Ballet under Peter Naumann, with summers spent at SAB and NYSSSA. After getting her degrees in English and French, Ayla returned to ballet with a renewed enthusiasm and began teaching and performing again. She most recently returned from a stint in New York City, working with Steps on Broadway under their incredible teaching staff, and freelancing whenever possible.

Hilary Sanders

Hilary Sanders, Soloist

Born: Fremont, California. This is Hilary’s first year in the Ithaca Ballet company. She trained at Ballet Petit in Hayward, CA, for thirteen years and College Conservatory of Music at University of Cincinnati for two years. Noteworthy roles include Sugarplum, Snow Queen, Arabian Princess (Nutcracker, Ballet Petit), Giselle in Giselle Act II (Ballet Petit), Italian Princess (Swan Lake, CCM). Summer Intensive experience includes Boston Ballet, Bartholin International Ballet Seminar, Oakland Ballet, and Nutmeg Conservatory. Hilary is currently majoring in Sociology at Cornell University and expects to graduate in 2018.

Lydia Albonesi

Lydia Albonesi, Senior Dancer

Born: Rochester, New York. Lydia has danced with the Ithaca Ballet for seven years, and this is her fourth year as a member of the company. Previous roles include wand fairy and forest creature (Snow White), 2nd corps snow (The Nutcracker), and corps de ballet (La Bayadere). Lydia will graduate from Ithaca High School in 2017.

Martha Erickson

Martha Erickson, Senior Dancer

Born: Ithaca, New York. Martha trained at the Ballet Center for nine years and has been in the company for three years. Summer intensives include three years at Ithaca Ballet and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Noteworthy roles include Teddy Bear, side Tea and Lieutenant Mouse (Nutcracker), and rear end of the Dromedary (Babar). She will graduate from Ithaca High School in 2020.

Vivian Fowler

Vivian Fowler, Senior Dancer

Born: Chenango County, New York. Vivian trained at the Ballet Center for eight years and has been in the company for three years. Trained in Modern dance with Amanda Moretti for two years and four summer intensives at Ithaca Ballet. Noteworthy roles include: Ragdoll, first corps Snow, and Waltz (Nutcracker); Arthur (Babar), and Infernal (The Firebird). She is home schooled and expects to graduate in 2018.

Raina Freedman

Raina Freedman, Senior Dancer

Born: Ithaca, New York. Raina has trained with the Ithaca Ballet for ten years. This is her third year as Senior Dancer. Summer intensive experience: Ithaca Ballet, American Academy of Ballet 2013, Boston Ballet SDP 2014. Noteworthy roles include Wili (Giselle), Skeleton (Haunted House), Dancer in Bolero, Autumn Fairy (Snow White), Demi-Soloist Snow (Nutcracker), and Lady of the Court (Cinderella). Raina will graduate from Ithaca High School in 2017.

Alison Ke

Alison Ke, Senior Dancer

Born: Baltimore, MD. Alison trained at the Ballet Center for seven years and has been in the company for five years. Her summer intensive experiences include Ithaca Ballet, a merit scholarship to American Academy of Ballet (2013) and Ellison Ballet (2014). Noteworthy roles include Clara, Columbine Doll, Demi-Soloist Waltz (Nutcracker), Princess (Firebird), and Bird (Story of Babar). She will graduate from Ithaca High School in 2017.

Anya Korfine

Anya Korfine, Senior Dancer

Born: Arlington, MA. Anya trained at the Ballet Center for ten years and has been a company member for three years. Her summer intensives were at Ithaca Ballet for six years and at Burklyn Ballet Theater. Noteworthy roles include: Clara, Waltz corp, 1st corp Snow (Nutcracker); A Princess (Firebird), Baby Spider (Haunted House), and Romanesca (Raymonda). She will graduate from Ithaca High School in 2019.

Madegan Lynch

Madegan Lynch, Senior Dancer

Born: Albany, NY. Madegan has just returned to Ithaca Ballet for her first year as a senior dancer in the company. She began dancing at age 10 with Ithaca Ballet. At age 14, she moved and began training with Scarborough Dance Center, returning this year to continue her training with Ithaca ballet. She trained at Urbanity Dance Company’s Summer Intensive 2015, later accepting a position as an apprentice with their professional company. Her previous roles include lead Peppermint and Dew Drop Fairy in Scarborough Dance Center’s Nutcracker.

Kyiah Steel

Kyiah Steel, Senior Dancer

Born: San Francisco, CA. Kyiah trained at the Ballet Center for nine years and has been in the company for five years. Her summer intensive was at Ballet Magnificat for three years. Noteworthy roles include Clara, Ballerina Doll (The Nutcracker), Seahorse (The Little Mermaid), Skeleton (Carnival of the Animals), and Tweedle Dee (Alice in Wonderland). Kyiah will graduate high school in 2017.

T. Rose Verhagen

T. Rose Verhagen, Senior Dancer

Born: Ithaca, NY. T. Rose has trained at the Ballet Center for eleven years and been in the company for three years. Her Summer Intensive experience includes three years at Ithaca Ballet and one year at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Noteworthy roles include Little Snow White (Snow White); Ballerina Doll, Side Tea, and Waltz Corps (Nutcracker). T. Rose is homeschooled and expects to graduate in 2018.

FIRST-YEAR SENIOR DANCERS

First-Year Seniors

Left to right: Lucy Williams, Ellie Derry, Finn Kellmurray, Semin Lee; Front: Saoirse DeMott Grady

APPRENTICE DANCERS

Apprentice Dancers

Left to right: Avery Fowler, Talia Yarbrough

AUXILIARY DANCERS

Auxiliary Dancers

Standing: Isabella Gold, Chloe Gulati, Audrey Higgins-Lopez; Seated in front: Liliana Cheek

Allen MacNeill

Allen MacNeill, Demi-Character Dancer

Born: Homer, New York. Allen MacNeill trained in Shakespearean theatre and contemporary dance. He has performed in many venues, including a run as Charles Darwin in An Evening with Charles Darwin, a one-man off-Broadway show in which he portrayed the discoverer of evolution at the age of 70, reminiscing over his life. He has also performed with the Kitchen Theater in Ithaca and has danced many roles with the Ithaca Ballet, including Gepetto in Pinocchio, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, the wicked stepmother and stepsister in Cinderella, and Dr. Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker.

Melissa Schmidt

Melissa Schmidt, Demi-Character Dancer

Born: Ithaca, New York. Melissa was an apprentice and senior dancer with the Ithaca Ballet from 1985–’89. From 1989–’93, she performed with dance groups at Boston College and Binghamton University. In 1998, she began performing again with the Ithaca Ballet. Recent roles have included Clara’s mother, Lady Capulet and the wicked stepmother. She received her Ph.D. in rural nursing at Binghamton University in 2009. She is an associate professor in the nursing program at Tompkins Cortland Community College.