Atlanta Ballet 2 Dancers

Meet the 23 | 24 Season Atlanta Ballet 2 Dancers

Santiago Bedoya is from Medellín, Colombia. He began his training at Andrea Wolff Ballet in his hometown at the age of 8. He then attended the summer intensive programs with Miami City Ballet from 2015 to 2017. At the age of 14 in 2017, he got a scholarship to a boarding school for the arts in L.A. called Idyllwild Arts Academy, so he decided to move there and start his high school studies along with his dancing. In 2018, he attended the Houston Ballet summer intensive program and got a scholarship for the full year. He attended their year-round program for three years. During his time at the Houston Ballet Academy, he had the opportunity to perform some works by Houston Ballet Director and Choreographer Stanton Welch A.M, as well as various performances throughout the year-round professional division.

Claire Buchi, originally from Manhattan Beach, California, began her ballet training at the Redondo School of Dance and Music and Peninsula School of Performing Arts. At age 16, she was accepted to the San Francisco Ballet School from which she graduated in 2023 under the direction of Patrick Armand. While a student in San Francisco, Claire was selected to perform alongside the San Francisco Ballet in Corps roles, including “Wilis” in Helgi Tomasson’s Giselle and in “Waltz of the Snowflakes” and “Waltz of the Flowers” in Tomasson’s Nutcracker. While in the school, she also organized and performed in choreographic collaboration projects with musicians and composers of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Her awards include First Place at the Youth America Grand Prix in Los Angeles and Top 12 at the National Finals (2021). Claire has enjoyed attending summer programs with the Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Ballet, and American Ballet Theater, among others.

Gianna Horton-Sibble, born in Hornell, New York, began pursuing her ballet career in 2012 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. There she performed many roles which include Juliet in Alan Hineline’s Romeo and Juliet, Waltz Girl in Balanchine’s Serenade, Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and more. In 2019, Gianna was accepted into The School of American Ballet for their Winter Term. While training at the school, she performed Valse Fantasie, Chaconne, Four Temperaments Devil’s Dance, Raymonda Variations, and several student choreographic pieces. In 2022, Gianna studied under former San Francisco Ballet principals Davit Karapetyan and Vanessa Zahorian at Pennsylvania Ballet Academy. During her time there, she performed Le Corsaire and competed in the Youth America Grand Prix Finals. In April of 2022, she was accepted into Atlanta Ballet 2. Gianna is looking forward to her second season with Atlanta Ballet 2 and is excited for all the opportunities ahead.

Camille Jackson grew up with Atlanta Ballet. Her training in the Centre for Dance Education started when she was four, and she moved to the Academy program at the age of eleven. As a student, she was able to dance in numerous school shows, as well as full length works with Atlanta Ballet and Atlanta Ballet 2. As a choreographer, she had the opportunity to create her own works for the annual Spring Concert. Camille has worked with new and former ballet masters and former artistic director of Atlanta Ballet, John McFall. In the Academy program, she worked with Yuri Possokhov for the premiere of The Nutcracker in 2018. She has participated in summer programs at Royal Ballet (White Lodge and Covent Garden) and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, where she also choreographed a short piece for the end of summer demonstration.

Avery Jarrard, originally from Crestview, Florida, started dancing at age 8, attending the Northwest Florida Ballet Academy. In 2014 at age 12, he was accepted into Next Generation Ballet in Tampa, Florida, with a full scholarship and trained under Peter Stark, Philip Neal, Julio Montano, and Ivonne Lemus. Avery received first place for classical and contemporary at ADC/IBC in 2016, and then in 2018 received second place for classical and third place for contemporary. In 2016, he participated in the New York City Finals with YAGP. In 2018 he was accepted into Houston Ballet’s level Pro-2. While there, he performed with the second company in Stanton Welch’s Brigade. Memorable performances include Coppelia, Giselle, Swan Lake, Cinderella, and Balanchine’s Donizetti. Avery’s other creative passions include classical piano and composing. He attended the 2021 Film Scoring Academy of Europe summer program in Bulgaria.

Isabella Kessler has family roots in Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Canada but grew up in Houston, Texas and began her ballet training under ballet mistress Milena Leben, principal ballerina from Croatia. The Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) awarded Isabella a scholarship to the Bolshoi ballet summer program in New York where she was then offered a spot to train at the Bolshoi Ballet academy in Russia. Rather than move to Russia, Isabella went on to train in the Houston Ballet Academy Professional Division where she had the opportunity to be a part of many performances such as Stanton Welch’s Sylvia and The Nutcracker and was chosen to play key roles in the performance of PlumShuga the Rise of Lauren Anderson. Isabella’s passion for ballet and performing drives her artistry and she is excited to be starting her first season as a member of Atlanta Ballet 2.

Jacob Lainchbury is from London, England. He began his ballet training under the direction of Drusilla Duffill before joining the Royal Ballet School, aged eleven. During this time, he performed with the Royal Ballet company in Sir Peter Wright’s Nutcracker, Carlos Acosta’s Don Quixote and Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as well as dancing many roles in school productions, such as August Bournonville’s Napoli and John Neumeier’s Yondering. In 2022 Jacob joined Canada’s National Ballet School, working with the National Ballet Company in James Kudelka’s Nutcracker, and performing principal roles in the Company Life Programme from Swan Lake, Giselle and Onegin. He also was part of the creative process and undertook lead roles in the Assemblée Internationale 2023 and Fall for Dance North, an international dance festival in Toronto.

Ashley McKoy is 18 years old, and this is her first season with Atlanta Ballet 2. Originally from Springfield, New Jersey, at 13 she joined the Dance Theater of Harlem School for two years. Ashley has attended summer intensives at Atlanta Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, and when she was 16 years old, was invited into Atlanta Ballet's Academy and spent two years in Academy 6. Ashley has performed in Yuri Possokhov's The Nutcracker and Don Quixote, Bruce Wells Snow White and Beauty and the Beast.

Mayu Nakayama is from Tochigi, Japan. She began her ballet training at the age of 5. She has been training at Osozawa Ballet Studio since she was 10 years old, where she has had the opportunity to perform in the Nutcracker, Snow White, Coppelia and La Bayadere. She danced Cupid in Don Quixote supported by K Ballet Company at Utsunomiya Ballet Festival in 2018. She got a full scholarship from the HARID Conservatory from Japan Grand Prix and completed their 4-year program. She danced roles such us Sugarplum, Spanish, and Mirlitons in Nutcrackers, and Grand Pas in Raymonda. She has attended summer intensive at the HARID Conservatory (2019) and Ballet Summer Workshop Estonia (2021), where she performed Gamzatti variation, and a Balanchine piece “Sweet” staged by Viki Psihoyos. Then she graduated from the HARID Conservatory with a Fred Lieberman award in recognition of outstanding academic achievement, exceptional artistic accomplishment, and exemplary student leadership. She is looking forward to continuing her career with Atlanta Ballet 2.

Dyhan Pierre, a native of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, started dancing at the age of five in Aglomerado da Serra, where he spent his childhood. Dyhan received a scholarship to study contemporary dance at the Escola do Grupo Corpo, home of the internationally acclaimed dance company, Grupo Corpo. Dyhan excelled in the Intensive Dance Courses under the artistic direction of Reynaldo Muñiz, where he performed in classics such as La Fille Mal Gardee, Giselle, Coppelia, and Swan Lake. Dyhan had the privilege of learning from renowned instructors, including Bethania Nascimento F Gomes from the Harlem School, Reynaldo Muniz, Ana Maria Campos, Amilcar Moret, Dadyer Aguilera, Danielle Pavam, Regina Amaral, Tindaro Silvano, Fernando Maciel, Leonora Lima, Leydi Escobar, Olivia Muniz, Olga Dolganova, Jose Antônio Ramos, Wladimir Rybyakov, Miriam Tomich, Renata Araújo, Everson Botelho, Elias Bouza,Thales Buzelin, Cecília Kerche, Nora Esteves, and Sergio Yannelli. He has also participated in competitions such as the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) 2021, the Passo de Arte, Arte Minas, Ateliê da Dança, and Grand Prix Brazil. Dyhan spent a year as an understudy with Grupo Corpo, under the direction of Paulo Pederneiras and choreographer Rodrigo Pederneiras, before joining Atlanta Ballet 2.

Estefania Ontanilla is 18 years old and from Rosario, Argentina. She began her dance training at the age of 3. At the age of 10, she joined Escuela Koi Ballet in Rosario, under the direction of Carina Odisio. During her time there, Estefania attended ballet competitions around the world earning scholarships to various schools and summer intensives. She attended Royal Ballet of Antwerp, and Miami City Ballet summer programs. In 2021, Estefania participated in Atlanta Ballet’s summer intensive and was invited to join the highest level in the Academy, Academy 6. During her time in the Academy, Estefania had the pleasure of performing soloist and corps roles with the Academy, as well as Atlanta Ballet 2 and the Company, including the role of Young Marie in Yuri Possokov’s The Nutcracker. She is thrilled to begin her second season as a member of Atlanta Ballet 2 and thanks all her teachers and family for the support.

Ícaro Queiros is from Goiânia, Brazil and started his studies in classical ballet and modern and contemporary dance and participated in several choreographic processes, at Núcleo de Artes Cênicas Sebastian, under the artistic direction of Sacha Svetloff. He continued his training through a scholarship at the Cisne Negro Ballet Studio, and then as a student in training and a dancer in the semi professional group at Estúdio Movimento em Foco. Ícaro has performed in various productions, including Don Quixote and Nutcracker with Estudio de Ballet Cisne Negro, and Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet and The Pharoah’s Daughter with Teatro Escola Basileu França. This is Ícaro’s first season with Atlanta Ballet 2, and he joins from Cia Jovem Basileu França.

Emma Sophia Robinson is from Buffalo, New York, and began her ballet training at the age of 5, under the direction of Maris Battaglia at the American Academy of Ballet (AAB). Growing up she performed many lead and corps roles for her studio. While at AAB she got the opportunity to study with Patricia McBride, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Misa Kuranaga, Daniel Ulbricht and Arthur Mitchell. She enjoyed her summer at Chautaqua Institution: School of Dance (2011-2016), New York Summer School of the Arts with NYCB (ballet) (2017), The National Ballet of Canada (2018), Houston Ballet (2019), Dance Theatre of Harlem (2020), Joffrey Ballet (2021), and Philadelphia Ballet (2022). At the age of 16, Emma Sophia was invited to join Joffrey Ballet’s Professional Training Division and take part in their Conservatory. At the Joffrey, she trained under Ashley Wheater MBE, Karin Ellis-Wentz, Raul Casasola, Katlin Bourgeois, Keesha Beckford, Christopher Marney, and many other Joffrey faculty members.

Joaquin Ruiz joined Atlanta Ballet 2 in 2023. He is from San Jose, California and began his training at the Silicon Valley Ballet (formerly Ballet San Jose). From 2018 - 2019 he trained at the Colburn Dance Academy in Los Angeles under Jenifer Ringer, James Fayette and Zippora Karz. He then attended Indiana University where he trained with Sarah Wroth, Kyra Nichols, and Carla Körbes, among others. In 2023 Joaquin graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science in Ballet and an Outside Field in Business. At Colburn Dance Academy and Indiana University he performed in works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Justin Peck, August Bournonville, Mark Morris, Sasha Janes and Dwight Rhoden. He has also originated roles in works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Jennifer Archibald, and Gianna Reisen. Joaquin has attended summer courses on scholarship at the School of American Ballet, The Chautauqua Institute and Jacob’s Pillow.

Paxton Speight is from York County, Virginia, where he began pursuing musical theater at Centerstage Academy. In 2018, he began studying at Eastern Virginia School of the Performing Arts, under the direction of Ron Boucher. A year later, he began classical ballet training at International Ballet Academy in Cary, North Carolina, under the direction of Nadia Pavlenko. It wasn’t until 2021, when Paxton realized dancing was the dream he wanted to pursue. While in North Carolina, Paxton had the privilege of performing in many contemporary pieces, as well as several classical roles, such as Nutcracker Prince, Hilarion (Giselle), Prince Charming (Cinderella), and Cavalier. He also attended YAGP 2020-2022 as a finalist at the Straz Center and Top 3 finalist both years competing at ADC IBC 2021-2022, where he received several scholarships and offers from various ballet schools and companies, including Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, BalletMet, and most notably, Atlanta Ballet. Paxton is beyond grateful for the opportunity to perform with such a talented company and is looking forward to his second season with Atlanta Ballet 2.

Emanuel Talongo is from Rosario, Argentina. He began his training at the age of 5. Then he joined the Koi Ballet in his hometown at the age of 12 to continue is training. He attended many ballet competitions earning scholarships for summer intensives and schools. In 2019, he attended the Houston Ballet Summer Intensive and got a scholarship for the full year. He attended their year-round program for three years. During his time at the Houston Ballet Academy, he had the opportunity to perform some works by Houston Ballet Director and Choreographer Stanton Welch A.M, as well as various performances throughout the year-round professional division.

Rachel Zinman was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec and started doing gymnastics at the age of five, competing provincially until age 11. Having relocated to Toronto, Ontario, she joined Canada’s National Ballet School where she trained for six years and completed a year of their Company life program after graduating. She is looking forward to her first season with Atlanta Ballet 2.

Photos by Kim Kenney.