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 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. Leyna Doran is now Artistic Director of Ballet Hartford for the 2019-2020 season.

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 be dancing with Ballet Hartford and is enjoying her time exploring the East coast.

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 for two seasons. 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 in the Love Festival 2018 held in Västervik, Sweden, the Zion Dance Project Summer Series 2019 in Dallas, TX as a Principal Artist, and with Ballet Project OC in Southern CA featuring works by Gilbert Bolden III and Ally Helman. She is excited to join Ballet Hartford this upcoming season.

Elizabeth Kroeger

Ms. Kroeger received classical training in Fort Worth, Texas, at Gayle Corkery School of Ballet, under Gayle Corkery, Carrie and Li Chou Cheng and Margo McCann. She received additional training at Texas Ballet Theater's summer intensive programs. In 2013, Ms. Kroeger graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Belhaven University and has most enjoyed performing George Balanchine’s Serenade and Walpurgisnacht. Since graduating, Ms. Kroeger has performed with Ballet Concerto under Margo and Webster Dean, Ballet Frontier of Texas under Chung Lin and Enrica Tseng, Zion Dance project under Vincent Hardy and Avant Chamber Ballet under Katie Cooper. This is her first season dancing with Ballet Hartford.

Apprentices

aria presley

After training in ballet for seven 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 lead solo roles in The Nutcracker Ballet choreographed by Julia Adam, including Chinese (lead soloist), Arabian (lead soloist), and French Flute (“Goose,” lead soloist). Marin Ballet provided Aria with an opportunity to work and 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. She is very excited to do what she loves best and share her passion for ballet.

Trainees

Sharah Defoe

Growing up in Saginaw, Michigan, Sharah began her first year of formal, classical ballet training at the age of 16. Under the direction of Karen Mills Jennings, she received training at the Flint Institute of Music. After graduating from high school in 2015, she was offered a full scholarship as a trainee with a contemporary ballet company in Memphis, TN, namely Collage Dance Collective. While performing with Collage Dance Collective, Sharah worked with and performed pieces choreographed by Kevin Iega Jeff, Andrea Long, Darell Moultrie, and Joshua Manculich. She was also given the opportunity to perform in a Grizzlies tribute video for basketball player, Mike Conley. In 2016, she received a scholarship to continue her pre-professional ballet training at the world-renowned school of classical ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. During her two years of training with CYPB, she performed in Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, as well as The legend of Sleepy Hollow, Sleeping Beauty, and A Mid-Sumer Night’s Dream, choreographed by Allan Hineline. She furthered her ballet training by attending various summer intensives with CPYB, Bolshoi Ballet NY, Ad Deum Dance Company, and Zion Dance Project. After taking a hiatus in 2018 to attend a missions training school with Global Missions Organization, Youth With A Mission, she will be joining Ballet Hartford as a trainee for their 2019-2020 season. Sharah is looking forward to beginning her professional career with Ballet Hartford.

Jane Hannon

Jane Hannon is excited to be a Trainee with Ballet Hartford for the 2019/2020 Season. Originally from New Hampshire, she trained all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire for her 18+ years of training. Most recently, she participated in a workshop with Ballet Hartford and had the honor of working with soloists of the New York City Ballet, including Lars Nelson, Rachel Hutsell and Silas Farley. Jane had the pleasure of being selected to perform the female variation from George Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Pas” at the workshop’s performance. Previously, she had pre-professional training at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. working with Bat Udval, Evgenia Singur, Runqiao Du, Svetlana Kravtsova and Vladim Pijicov. Memorable roles performed were Clara and the Snow Queen in “The Nutcracker,” and Lumière in Edra Toth’s original production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Jane has also been teaching and choreographing over the past five years throughout New England and DC.

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