María Valencia-Alvarez María trained in Mexico at 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 and taught and professionally danced at Paty Geyer Dance Center. From 2013 to 2017, María taught in some of the most renowned studios in Edmonton, AB, Canada and performed in several international dance festivals with Synaethesis Dance Theatre. Since joining The Ithaca Ballet in 2017 some notable roles are The Nutcracker (Snow Queen, Coffee and Sugar Plum), Midsummer Night’s dream (Helena), Haunted House (The Lovers), Swan Lake (Pas de Trois & Dance of the Cygnets), Tucker Davis “Optimal Distance”. Maria 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 third season and keep being an active member of the Ithaca dance community.
Teresa Lynn Dodge Teresa spent most of her youth with the Ithaca Ballet. She danced in the Ithaca Ballet company from 2002 to 2012. Some of her previous noteworthy roles include Cinderella in Cinderella, Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy in the Nutcracker and Helena in Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 2013 Teresa graduated with a degree in nursing and stopped dancing to focus on her new career. She also served on the Ithaca Ballet Board of Directors from 2014 to 2018. She is now back in school to get her Nurse Practitioner from Frontier Nursing University and is expected to graduate in 2021. Teresa is thrilled to be back dancing with the Ithaca Ballet and to be a part of the wonderful dance community the Ithaca Ballet has created.
Ayla Naghsh 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 worked with Steps on Broadway under their incredible teaching staff. Ayla was featured as the Sugar Plum Fairy in the 2017 Ithaca Ballet’s The Nutcracker.
Vivian Fowler Vivian started dancing with the Ballet Center of Ithaca when she was four years old. This will be her sixth year as a company member. Noteworthy roles with Ithaca Ballet include lead Temple Girl in The Little Mermaid, Handmaiden in Snow White, Snow Queen & Lead Coffee in The Nutcracker, Moth in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Candidate Bride, Waltz, and Swan corps in Swan Lake, lead in Jupiter, and Myrtha in Giselle. Vivian was a guest dancer for The Chambersburg Ballet’s Nutcracker in 2017, performing as Chocolate and Demi Waltz. Along with enjoying another year at Ithaca Ballet, she is currently working on building her own photography business.
Ezgi Irmakkesen Ezgi studied at a conservatory for dance during her middle school years in Istanbul, and then moved to Austin, Texas to attend Ballet Austin for high school. She attended summer programs at Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Royal Ballet of Antwerp and is currently a fifth year Physical Therapy student at Ithaca College with a dance minor. Past performances include numerous Nutcrackers through various ballet schools and more recent beautiful original works by Amy Walker O’Brien at IC. Ezgi is really happy to be back to classical ballet and excited to be soloist as part of the Ithaca Ballet family for the season.
Martha Erickson Martha has danced at the Ballet Center of Ithaca for twelve years, and this is her sixth season in the company. She has gone to the Ithaca Ballet’s summer intensive for many years and spent one summer training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Prominent roles include Chocolate, Marzipan, and Clara in The Nutcracker, one of the Cygnets (Little Swans) in Swan Lake, and Cobweb in A Midsummer Night’s Dream entourage from little mermaid and Stratus . She will graduate from Ithaca High School in 2020 and is looking forward to a wonderful final season with the Ithaca Ballet.
Nuala Hill Nuala has been dancing at the Ballet Center of Ithaca for about seven years and this is her third year with the company. She has attended several summer intensives with the Ithaca Ballet. Notable roles include Clara and Ballerina Doll in The Nutcracker, Little Snow White in Snow White and a Swan in Swan Lake. She has homeschooled her whole life and will be graduating in 2023.
Mia Lashley Mia has been training at the Ballet Center of Ithaca for six years, this is her third year in company and her first year as a senior member. Summer intensives include Ithaca ballet and Kaatsbaan International. Notable roles include Swan in Swan Lake, Ballerina Doll and Snowflake in The Nutcracker, and Temple Girl in The Little Mermaid. Mia expects to graduate from New Roots Charter School in 2022.
Sophie Riedl This is Sophie’s tenth year at the Ballet center and third year as company member. She has attended summer intensives at Dance Centre North and Performing Arts Institute, Cortland. Leading roles have included 2nd Corp snow and rag doll in the Nutcracker, Maid of honor and Waltz, Sleeping beauty, and Swan Corp in Swan lake. Sophie is homeschooled and takes several classes at TC3 and will graduate 2021.
Talia Yarborough Talia has been dancing at the Ballet Center of Ithaca for nine years and this is her fourth year as a company member. She has attended three summer intensives with Ithaca Ballet. Notable roles include Candy Cane, first-Corps Snow in The Nutcracker, Swan corps in Swan Lake, Forest creature in Snow White, and a Temple girl in The Little Mermaid. Talia will graduate from Trumansburg High School in 2021.
First Year Senior Dancers
(left to right) Hannah Shvets, Sage Korfine, Lila Mohler, Ammon Kellmurray, Leticia Smolka (missing: Mia Ku)
Standing (left to right): Ellie Kaden, Elden VanCamp, Dhiya Shea
Kneeling (left to right): Aurora Atkins, Bailey Baier
Standing (left to right): Melanie Colvin, Noah Pantano, Ella Keen-Allee
Seated: Kristina Hilliard