Dancers

Principal dancer

Leyna Doran

Born in California, Leyna Doran began her ballet training at the age of twelve at a local studio on scholarship. At fourteen, she was selected to be privately coached by Christina (Gibbs) Lyon, former dancer of American Ballet Theatre. Under Lyon’s tutelage, Doran attended American Ballet Theatre’s Detriot Summer Intensive (2006) and Kirov Academy of Ballet’s Summer Intensive (2008). A generous sponsorship to attend these intensives was provided by David Howard. In 2009, Doran was hired by the Crystal Cathedral to perform as a dancer in the Glory of Christmas productions. From 2010-2014, Doran received further training and dance education at Belhaven University. At Belhaven, she studied under the instruction of Laura Morton, Caleb Mitchell, and Ravenna Tucker. She represented the university at two American College Dance Associations (ACDA) and was awarded the Bezalel Award (2010) and the Daniel Award (2014). In 2012, she accompanied a group of Belhaven students and faculty to perform throughout South Korea. Upon graduating summa cum laude with her Bachelor of Fine Arts (2014), Doran worked as a company artist with Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet. She began teaching at several ballet studios in the area alongside instructing ballet classes for different dance organizations at Yale University. In 2016, she began dancing for Vivid Ballet (Ballet Hartford) gaining opportunity to perform around the country. She performed choreography from Elizabeth McMillan, Silas Farley (New York City Ballet), Stephen Pier, Vincent Hardy (Complexions Contemporary Ballet), Steve Rooks (Martha Graham Dance Company), Michelle Thompson Ulrich (Ballet Austin), Caleb Mitchell (Houston Ballet), Miro Magliore, Victor Lozano (Julliard), and others. Most notably, Doran performed at the White House for an event held by the First Lady. In 2017, she was promoted to Principal Dancer and Ballet Mistress. Doran has been invited to teach at studios and summer intensives in PA, AL, CA, and CT. She continues to instruct and choreograph on a regular basis for dance schools in the Hartford area. In 2019, Doran became Artistic Director of Ballet Hartford and is eager to carry the company forward with excellence and joy.

Company Artists

Isabel Amador

Isabel Amador was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She attended the High School for Performing and Visual Arts where she was fortunate enough to perform works by Larry Kegwin and Jose Limon. She graduated from Butler University in 2018, where she received a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Business Administration. While at Butler, she expanded her repertoire with roles in ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and Gerald Arpino's Viva Vivaldi. She previously had the opportunity to study abroad and train at the Polish National Ballet and the National Theatre Ballet in Prague. After graduating, Isabel joined City Ballet of San Diego for their 2018-2019 season, where she performed works such as Balanchine's The Four Temperaments, Swan Lake, and Carnival of the Animals. Isabel is excited to start her second season with Ballet Hartford and to continue exploring the East coast.

Angela Bravo

Angela Mia Bravo grew up in Clinton NY. She danced in Utica, NY at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute from 2004-2013. She received her training in ballet from Nancy Long and Lynn Bollana and in jazz and tap from Kathy Ryan. At MWPAI, Angela Mia performed many leading roles. Angela Mia spent the summers of 2010 to 2012 at Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive in Saratoga NY. During her time there she studied ballet under former New York City Ballet dancer Melinda Roy. She had many opportunities to learn repertoire that NYCB was performing. She worked with with Robert Munoz, Simon Ball, Ashley Bouder, and more. Angela Mia performed George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes as “Little Stars” lead at SSDI. Angela Mia then received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Belhaven University. While at Belhaven she studied under many professors including Ravenna Tucker-Wagnon (Royal Ballet) and Caleb Mitchell (Houston Ballet). From 2017-2019 Angela Mia was a Company Artist with Ballet Hartford (formerly Vivid Ballet). And in 2019 she was part of New England Ballet Collective. She is excited to reutrn to Ballet Hartford as a Company Artist!

Kimberly Brubacher

Originally from Torrance, CA, Kimberly Brubacher received her early classical ballet training primarily at the Lauridsen Ballet Centre. She later continued her pre-professional training at the Maple Conservatory of Dance in Irvine, CA under the tutelage of Charles Maple, Kristin Hakala, and Patrick Frantz. She attended summer intensives with The Washington School of Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Upon graduating from high school, she was accepted into Ballet Austin’s Butler Fellowship Program on full scholarship. In 2016, Kimberly joined the Alabama Ballet as an apprentice where she had the privilege of performing in classical repertoire including George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Giselle, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and contemporary works such as the pas de deux in Jamorris Rivers’ The Purple Ones, Roger Van Fleteren’s Shoo-Pah!, and Nadine Barton’s premiere work, Watts. She has had the honor of performing with the Love Festival held in Västervik, Sweden, Zion Dance Project based in Dallas, TX as a Principal Artist, and with Ballet Project OC in Southern CA. She is excited to return to Ballet Hartford for her second season.

Hannah bush

Hannah Bush began her serious training at Myers Ballet School and Northeast Ballet in Schenectady, NY. After graduating with a B.F.A in Dance Performance from Belhaven University, Hannah joined Ballet Theatre of Indiana as a founding company member. Hannah has performed and taught in the classical and commercial genre throughout Europe, China, Africa and Canada. She has worked administratively for Russian Ballet International and Joffrey Ballet. Hannah has completed a teacher training course through Bolshoi Ballet, Levels One through Three, and is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level Three of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Hannah Bush is also the author of Ballet Etiquette: A Primer for the Student.

aria presley

After training in ballet for six years at a variety of studios, Aria joined Marin Ballet to train under the artistic direction of Cynthia Lucas. While with Marin Ballet, Aria performed multiple lead roles in Julia Adam's The Nutcracker Ballet. Marin Ballet provided Aria with an opportunity to train with Sandra Jennings of The Balanchine Trust, under whose direction she learned and performed Balanchine’s Diamonds and Serenade. In 2015, Aria accepted a trainee position with Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet, and performed numerous repertory works with the company and second company. In 2016, she continued her training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, where she performed in Alan Hineline’s The Sleeping Beauty and in three original works by Melinda Howe. She has trained at multiple Summer Dance Intensives, including Ballet Austin, San Francisco Ballet, Marin Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. In 2018, Aria accepted an apprenticeship with Ballet Hartford and a teaching position with Westbrook Dance Academy. While with Ballet Hartford, Aria has been featured in many company works, by choreographers Betsy McMillan, Silas Farley, Michelle Thompson Ulerich, and Stephen Pier. During the Summers of 2019 and 2020, Aria accepted an Artist position with Zion Dance Project for their Summer Series. She has also choreographed works for Westbrook Dance Academy and Ballet Hartford. In the fall of 2019, Aria expanded her teaching career by adding Branford High School Dance Team and Eastern Connecticut Ballet to her resume. She has continued her work with Ballet Hartford in 2019 and is very excited to accept a Company Artist position for 2020-2021!

Apprentices

Sharah Defoe

Growing up in Saginaw, Michigan, Sharah began dancing recreationally at the age of 12. However, her pre-professional ballet training began at age 16 when she was enrolled into the Flint Institute of Music under the direction of Karen Mills Jennings. After graduating from high school in 2015, she was offered a full scholarship as a trainee with the contemporary ballet company Collage Dance Collective. While performing with Collage, Sharah worked with and performed pieces choreographed by Kevin Iega Jeff, Andrea Long, Darell Moultrie, and Joshua Manculich. In 2016, Sharah received a scholarship to continue refining her ballet technique at the world-renowned school of classical ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. During her two years at CPYB, Sharah trained under the tutelage of Marcia Dale Weary, Alicia Good-Boresow, Darla Hoover, Melinda Howe, Amanda Edge, and many other highly acclaimed ballet instructors. While dancing with CYPB, She had the privilege of performing in Balanchine’s The Nutcracker and Alan Hineline’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Sleeping Beauty, and A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream. She furthered her dance training by attending various summer intensives including CPYB, Bolshoi Ballet NY, Ad Deum Dance Company, and Zion Dance Project. In 2019, Sharah was offered a trainee position with Ballet Hartford. This is her second season performing with the company.

Rachel Russell

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Rachel started dancing at 3. She spent her formative years studying Royal Academy of Dance technique until high school when she joined Vitacca Dance Project’s pre-professional company. After graduating from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Rachel moved to Hartford to further her dance education at the University of Hartford. While dancing at the Hartt School, Rachel got opportunities to perform guest choreographed pieces and worked with artists like Lucy Bowen, Claudia Schrier, and Francesca Harper. In addition, Rachel has performed diverse repertoire including classical excerpts from Napoli, and Le Corsaire; along with historic modern works by Jose Limon and Martha Graham which include: There is Time, Dances for Isadora, Appalachian Spring and Chronicle. As a Pedagogy major, Rachel has taught at the Hartt School Community Division and the University of Hartford Magnet School. As a teacher at a local studio, Rachel has found joy in using her knowledge of pedagogy to shape the technique of today’s children! She is really excited to start her first season with Ballet Hartford!

Trainees

Amelia Blair

Amelia Blair from Newton, Iowa, began her dance training at the age of eleven with a local studio. Throughout high school, Ms. Blair continued her training with Grace Ballet Studio in Ankeny under the instruction of Ms. Anna Horvath. During her time at Grace Ballet, Ms. Blair took RAD exams (earning the Merit Award in her Intermediate exam), was part of the student company, danced the lead role of the Snow Queen, and competed in local competitions (where she won various awards) as well as in the Indianapolis Youth America Grand Prix (2015 and 2016). She danced corps de ballet and solo roles in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, as well as in excerpts from Stars & Stripes and Don Quixote. She was involved in Iowa Dance Theatre’s productions and received additional instruction from Ballet Des Moines and Ms. Ami Yaro. Ms. Blair attended summer intensives with Kansas City Ballet and Zion Dance Project to further her training. Upon receiving a scholarship to continue dancing, she moved to New York in 2016 to become a trainee with Light of the World Ballet under Ashley Rollinson Sunada. She performed on tour with LWB in Israel (2017), China (2019) and danced the lead role in resident choreographer Cayla Noreau’s ballet, Creation’s JOY. Ms. Blair was promoted to company apprentice with LWB in 2018, company member in 2019, and placed on their teaching and administration staff. She is excited to continue dancing and join Ballet Hartford for this upcoming season!

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