Meet the dancers of Verb Ballets for the 2017-18 season.
Lieneke Matte grew up in the Bronx and received her early training at Ballet Tech and the School of American Ballet. She then attended Fiorello H. La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts in New York. Lieneke studied for a semester at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and graduated summa cum laude with a B.F.A in dance from SUNY Purchase College in May of 2013. There she also received the President’s Award for the dance conservatory. She has performed in works by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Nicolo Fonte, Nicholas Villeneuve and Xiao-Xiong Zhang. Lieneke also was a dancer in the documentary No Dominion: The Ian Horvath Story which included re-stagings featuring dancers from Verb Ballets, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet and Ballet Tucson. Lieneke joined Verb Ballets in 2013 and has been featured in works such as Duet and Laura's Women.
Michael Escovedo was born and raised in the small town of Broomfield, Colorado and started competitive gymnastics when he was 5. After three years of strict training and competitive successes within the USAG gymnastics program Michael decided to start ballet in order to improve his gymnastics routines. It took one class for Michael to decide to quit gymnastics and attend ballet class full time at Ballet Nouveau Colorado (BNC). At the age of 15, after seven years of training and performing at BNC, Michael moved to New York City to train with The School of American Ballet. Michael has also choregraphed two company works for Verb Ballets. After his graduation in 2014, Michael joined Verb Ballets and has been featured in works such as Tarantella and Ne Me Quitte Pas.
Christina Lindhout, from Mansfield, Ohio, started training in dance at the age of five at Opus II Dance Studio under the direction of Hellie Schussler. She became a member of Opus II’s pre-professional company, Ashland Regional Ballet, in middle school and remained with them through high school. She spent summers training at the Orlando Ballet School, Magnus Midwest, American Ballet Theatre, and BalletMet Columbus. Upon graduating magna cum laude from high school, Christina accepted a traineeship at BalletMet under the direction of Edward Liang. While at BalletMet, she had the opportunity to perform in many professional works with the company, including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Symphony in C, and Carousel. Christina joined Verb Ballets in 2014 and has been featured in works such as Bolero and Laura’s Women.
Omar Humphrey, a Dallas native, began his training at the age of fourteen with Happy Nia Dance Theater Productions at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters. A graduate from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, he received training through scholarships from Dallas Black Dance Theater, LINES Contemporary Ballet, Bates Dance Festival, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, and as a fellowship student at the Ailey School. Omar is a recipient of the Dance Council of North Texas Charles Kulp Memorial Scholarship. Omar received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Oklahoma where he had the unique opportunity to perform works by Alvin Ailey, Jessica Lange, and José Limon. Omar joined Verb Ballets in 2015 and has been featured in works such as 3:00AM and Secrets from Within.
Kate Webb grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she danced both as a student and as a trainee with Richmond Ballet. She trained around the country at numerous intensive programs such as Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Upon graduating from Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts, she attended Butler University on both dance and academic scholarships. While dancing with Butler Ballet, she performed in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. After fulfilling her degree in three years, she graduated cum laude in May of 2015 with a BS in Dance-Arts Administration and high departmental honors. Kate joined Verb Ballets in 2015 and has been featured in works such as Peter Pan and Aposiopesis.
Nathanaël Santiago was born in Puerto Rico. He began his ballet studies at Ballets de San Juan at the age of 10. He furthered his dance education at the Orlando Ballet School summer program and, later, Miami City Ballet School. He has danced professionally with Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico Company and Andanza Contemporary Dance Company allowing him to dance an extensive repertoire of works by choreographers from Puerto Rico, Spain and Brazil. In 2015, he received a training experience with Emio Greco, currently director of the Ballet National de Marseille, and he was invited to dance at the Edanco Contemporary Dance Festival in Santo Domingo. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Languages concentrating in French and Portuguese from the University of Puerto Rico and he has also attended the University of Coimbra, Portugal. Nathanaël joined Verb Ballets in 2016 and has been featured in works such as Don Quixote and Schubert Waltzes.
Kelly Korfhage, a native of Cleveland, began her training at age 10 under Joanne H. Morscher and Ana Lobe. She attended summer intensives at ABT Detroit, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, BalletMet, Cincinnati Ballet, and North Carolina Dance Theatre. She furthered her dance education at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music as a Corbett Award scholarship recipient, and graduated cum laude with a BFA in ballet performance. Following graduation, Kelly became a member of Kansas City Ballet’s second company, KCB2, for two seasons where she had the opportunity to perform with the company in repertoire such as Septime Webre’s Alice (In Wonderland) and Adam Hougland’s Rite of Spring. Kelly joined Verb Ballets in 2016 and has been featured in works such as Andante Sostenuto and Schubert Waltzes.
Antonio Morillo is from Orlando, Florida. He received his Associate of Arts in Dance Performance from Valencia College and his BFA in Dance Performance from the University of South Florida. Antonio has performed with the Patel Conservatory’s Next Generation Ballet as well as Tampa City Ballet. He has performed works by Jon Lehrer, José Limón, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Robert Moses’ Kin, and Maurice Causey. Antonio joined Verb Ballets in 2016 and has been featured in such works as Andante Sostenuto and Aposiopesis.
Mariana Pérez was born in Mexico. She started dancing at the age of four following the Royal Academy of Dance Curriculum, which she concluded including the Solo Seal Award. In 2013 she moved to New York City to continue her training at the Joffrey Ballet School. After two years of a trainee, she was invited to join the school's performance group, where she was given the opportunity to perform nationally and internationally. Mariana has performed soloist and principal roles in ballets such as Swan Lake, Spring Waters, Suite Saint-Saens, The Nutcracker, Balanchine's' Walpurgisnacht and Valse Fantaise amongst others. She has worked directly with choreographers such as Gabrielle Lamb, Desmond Richardson and Tyler Gilstrap. Mariana joined Verb Ballets in 2017. She is the recipient of the Verb Ballets Shah Capital Aspiring Dancer Fund for the 2017-18 season.
Meet the trainees of Verb Ballets for the 2017-18 season.
Alexandria “Lexy” Lattimore is a Massachusetts native. She began training with Judith Keochoven at the Academy of Ballet Arts. In 2010, Lexy matriculated to Duke University, where she worked with choreographers such as Andrea Woods (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company), Tony Johnson (American Dance Festival), Julie and Tyler Walters (Joffrey Ballet), and Reggie Wilson (Fist and Heel). She choreographed her own works, most notably for the 50th Anniversary of Black Students at Duke. She produced a full-length show, “A People to Believe In,” with residents of a historically black neighborhood in North Carolina. After graduating, Lexy joined DSundanceX, a contemporary ballet company in Boston. In 2016, she moved to New York City where she continued to train with choreographers like Kyle Abraham, Milton Meyers, Nathan Trice, and at the Martha Graham School. Lexy began training with Verb Ballets in 2017 and has performed in an original work by Dianne McIntyre.
Sabrina Lindhout is from Mansfield, Ohio. She started training in dance at the age of four at Opus II Dance Studio under the direction of Hellie Schussler. She became a member of Opus II’s pre-professional company, Ashland Regional Ballet at age 12. During her school years, she attended summer studies at Magnus (Joffrey) Midwest Dance Intensive, School of Orlando Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and she studied on scholarship as a trainee at BalletMet. She joined Verb Ballets as a trainee for their 2016-2017 season, during which she performed works such as Bolero, Elegiac Song and in The Nutcracker presented by Ohio Dance Theatre and Verb Ballets. She has returned to Verb Ballets as a second-year trainee for its 2017-2018 season.
Jocelyn Magons was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She began her pre-professional ballet training under the direction of Christina Foisie at the University of Akron Dance Institute where she also had the privilege of performing at the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival, with the University of Akron Dance Company and with NEOS Dance Theatre. For three summers, Jocelyn trained at the Fort Wayne Ballet Summer Intensive under the direction of Karen Gibbons-Brown and Jeremy Blanton. She graduated from Miller South Middle School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Akron, majoring in both dance and violin and is now a senior at Wadsworth High School, enrolled as a Digital Academy student. She joined Verb Ballets as a trainee for their 2016-2017 season during which she performed works such as Bolero, Peter Pan and in The Nutcracker presented by Ohio Dance Theatre and Verb Ballets. Jocelyn is grateful for the opportunity to dance in her second season as a company trainee with Verb Ballets.