Principal Dancers

mariaMaría Valencia-Alvarez
Born: Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico

María trained in Mexico since a young age in a variety of disciplines and dance styles including ballet, jazz, lyrical, and aerial Silks. She has won several national and international competitions and scholarships in Latin America and the USA (Idyllwild Arts Academy), and taught and professionally danced at Paty Geyer Dance Center. There she also danced as a soloist and choreographed for students ages six to adult. Her many performances include National Youth’s Olympics (Guadalajara, JAL), Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. She also choreographed for The Magic Flute, Mascagni´s Cavalleria Rusticana, and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.

From 2013 until this year, María taught in some of the most renowned studios in Edmonton, AB, Canada and performed in several international dance festivals. She is a certified teacher from the American Ballet Theatre, having completed the Teachers Training Program from Pre-Primary to Grade 5 Level of the ABT National Training Curriculum. She is thrilled to join the Ithaca Ballet Company for her first year and become an active member of the Ithaca dance community.

RobinRobin Karlin
Born: Oshkosh, WI

This is Robin’s second year in the company as Principal dancer and fourth year performing with The 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), Harlequin, Dew Drop Fairy (The Nutcracker), the Wolf (Peter and the Wolf), and Lilac Fairy (Sleeping Beauty). She is currently enrolled in the PhD program at Cornell University in linguistics and will graduate in 2018.

AylaAyla Naghsh
Born: Kingston, NY

Ayla 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 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.

HillaryHilary Sanders
Born: Fremont, CA

Hilary danced at Ballet Petit for thirteen years, where she performed lead roles including Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Giselle in Giselle Act II. She studied ballet at University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music for two years before transferring to Cornell, where she is a Development Sociology major and Environmental and Sustainability Studies minor. This is her second year at Ithaca Ballet. Roles at Ithaca Ballet include Cuckoo (Carnival of the Animals), Fairy of the Enchanted Garden and Diamond Fairy (Sleeping Beauty). Hilary expects to graduate in 2018.

Keara Soloway
Born: Williamsville, NY

Keara began dancing with The Ithaca Ballet at age eight. She spent her summers at ballet intensives with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, the California Ballet, and Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive. This is her eighth year in The Ithaca Ballet company, where she has danced roles such as The Firebird (Firebird), The Sugarplum Fairy (The Nutcracker), and Bluebird (Sleeping Beauty). Keara also enjoys dancing the company’s more contemporary repertoire, such as “Themes on a Cloth” or Larry Brantley’s “Boyceball.” She will be graduating from Cornell University this spring with a major in Physics.


Madegan LynchMadegan Lynch
Born: Albany, NY

Madegan joined The Ithaca Ballet in 2009. She trained here until relocating to Portland, Maine, where she continued her training with Maine State Ballet and Scarborough Dance Company. She returned to Ithaca Ballet for the first semester of her senior year in high school. Some of her favorite roles have been Candy Cane in Ithaca Ballet’s The Nutcracker and Snow Queen in Scarborough Dance Company’s The Nutcracker. She will be graduating from William Smith College in 2021.

Senior Dancers

Ellie Derry Senior dancerEllie Derry
Born: Ithaca, NY

Ellie trained with The Ballet Center of Ithaca for six years. This is her third year in The Ithaca Ballet company. Summer intensives include Ithaca Ballet, Burklyn Ballet Theatre (2016), Bolshoi Ballet Academy (2017). Noteworthy roles include the Monkey in Babar the Elephant, party teen and rag doll in The Nutcracker, and Danse des Enfants in Raymonda. She will graduate from Ithaca High School in 2019

Martha EricksonMartha Erickson
Born: Ithaca, NY

Martha has danced at the Ballet Center for ten years and this is her fourth year in the company. Her prominent roles have been Clara and Lieutenant Mouse The Nutcracker, and rear end of the Dromedary in Babar. She will graduate from Ithaca High School in 2020.

Vivian FowlerVivian Fowler
Born: Chenango County, NY

Vivian has lived in Ithaca fourteen years. Her dance background includes modern dance and ballet starting when she was four years old. She rejoined the Ithaca Ballet family in 2011 and this will be her fourth year as a company member. Her most memorable rolls include Vision corps and Demi-Soloist Waltz in Sleeping Beauty, Moksha, Fire Infernal in The Firebird, and Rag Doll, First Corps Snow, Waltz, Candy Cane, and Coffee lead ( Arabian ) in The Nutcracker. Vivian is currently going to TC3 and will graduate in 2019

 Finn KellmurrayFinn Kellmurray
Born: Ithaca NY

Finn has danced at The Ballet Center of Ithaca for eleven years and been a company member for four years. He danced with the Bolshoi during their summer intensive in New York City. Past roles include The Wolf in Sleeping Beauty), a Lieutenant mouse and Marzipan in The Nutcracker, The Turtle in Carnival of the Animals, and The Well in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Finn will graduate from Ithaca High School in 2018

Anya Korfine
Born: Arlington, MA

Anya trained at The Ballet Center of Ithaca for ten years. This is her fourth year in the company. Summer intensive experience includes dancing with the Ithaca Ballet summer camp for six years and in 2016 with the Burklyn Ballet theater and the Colorado Ballet intensive summer of 2017. Noteworthy roles include Clara, Waltz corp, 1st corp Snow The Nutcracker, Princess Firebird, Baby Spider Haunted House. Romanesca Raymonda, and Jewel Sleeping Beauty. Anya was homeschooled through middle school and is now a junior at Ithaca High School. She will graduate in 2019.

Kyiah Steel, Senior Dancer
Born: San Francisco, CA

Kyiah has been dancing at The Ballet Center of Ithaca for ten years, and has been a company member for six years. Summer intensive experience includes Ithaca Ballet (2008–2011 and 2013) and Ballet Magnificat! summer dance intensive (2012 and 2014–2016). Noteworthy roles include Clara, Ballerina Doll, Waltz corps The Nutcracker,, Tweedle Dee Alice in Wonderland, and Little Red Riding Hood Sleeping Beauty.. Kyiah was homeschooled and graduated in 2017.

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 VerhagenT. Rose Verhagen
Born: Ithaca, NY

Rose has been dancing at The Ballet Center of Ithaca since she was four years old and has been a company member since 2014. This will be her twelfth year training with the Ballet Center, and fourth year in the company. Her summer intensive experience includes three years at Ithaca Ballet, one year at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and one year at Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts. Prominent roles include Little Snow White Snow White, Maid of Honor Sleeping Beauty, and Ballerina Doll and First Corps Snow The Nutcracker. She is currently homeschooled and plans to graduate in 2018.

Lucy WilliamsLucy Williams
Born: Buckinghamshire, England

Lucy has trained at The Ballet Center of Ithaca for five years and this is the third year in the company. Prominent roles include Chocolate, Demi-soloist Waltz, and 1st corp Snow The Nutcracker, Broom The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,, and a dancer in Moksha. She has attended four summer intensives with Ithaca Ballet. Lucy will graduate from Ithaca High School in 2019

First Year Senior Dancers

Avery Fowler, Deayza Marie Peebles, and Talia Yarbrough

Apprentice Dancers

Kara Skrubis, Maria Yunis, Mia Lashley, Sophie Riedl, Amelia Gair, and Carly Roth

Auxiliary Dancers

Jillian Barnes & Nuala Hill