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Our Dancers

Hannah Ezell

Company

Hannah is 17 years old and a Senior at Santa Ynez High. This will be her 5th year be-ing a part of SSBYD and her 4th year attending RDA. She has been lucky enough to perform the past 3 years at Festival in Company or Emerging Pieces. She has attended Long Beach Ballet Summer Intensive, Walnut Hill School of the Arts Summer Intensive on scholarship, Ballet West Summer Intensive for 2 years, and State Street Ballet Summer Intensive for 2 years with a full scholarship from RDA. Her most major role performed was Clara in The Nutcracker the past 2 years and is very grateful for the experience. It is also her 4th year assisting to a ballet class. When she is not in the studio, Hannah spends most of her time on school work and trying to spend time with family and friends.

Karlise Loza

Company

Karlise is a 17-year-old Senior at San Marcos High. She has been dancing since the age of 7, beginning with the Montecito School of Ballet for 6 years before joining SSBYD. She has been featured in roles such as Clarice in Rudolph, Peter in Peter and the Wolf, and Clara in The Nutcracker. She was also selected to be a top 10 finalist in Teen Dance Star 2017. Karlise has attended summer programs at the Montecito School of Ballet, State Street Ballet, and received a full scholarship to the Sacramento Ballet Summer Intensive at RDA. Outside of ballet, Karlise is the Senior class Secretary, in enrolled in San Marco’s Entrepreneurship Academy, and enjoys playing the re-corder in her spare time.

Chloe Babcock

Company

Chloe is a 16-year-old Junior at Santa Barbara High. She has been dancing with GD for the past 6 years and has been a member of SSBYD for the past 3, also attending multiple RDA Festivals. Her favorite ballet is The Nutcracker and she is excited to be in Waltz of the Flowers this year! Chloe has participated in 7 GD Junior Intensives and multiple summer intensives at Santa Barbara Dance Arts and Momentum Dance Company. Outside of dance, she enjoys photography, art, hiking, biking, and being with family and friends.

Sarah Block

Company

Sarah is 17 years old and is a Senior at San Marcos High. She has been dancing at GD since the age of 3 and this will be her 6th year with SSBYD. In January 2015, she was a finalist in Santa Barbara’s Teen Dance Star and placed in the top 3 of the competition. This past summer, Sarah attended the National Choreography Intensive on scholarship and won the Superlative “Most Likely to Become a Prima Ballerina.” She looks forward to making the most out of her last year with SSBYD.

Kate Dalforno

Company

Kate is 16 years old, a Junior in high school, and a dual enrolled student at SBCC. She has been dancing at GD since the age of 3. Kate is extremely excited to be a SSBYD Company member and dance the role of Heidi in the upcoming production of Rudolph and attending and performing at RDA in Spokane, WA this year. Outside of dance, Kate enjoys playing the violin, taking art classes and spending time with friends and family.

Emily Hillebrandt

Company

Emily is 16 years old and currently a Junior at San Marcos High. She has been dancing since she was 3 and came to GD at the age of 7 after she moved to Santa Barbara from San Diego. This is her 3rd year participating in SSBYD. She also has a love for musical theater and singing. Emily has attended GD Junior Intensives for 4 years as well as attending Long Beach Ballet’s Summer Intensive in previous summers.

Anna Lebolt

Company

Anna is a 16-year-old Junior in the Engineering Academy at Dos Pueblos High. She has been dancing with GD since age 2 and has attended the State Street Ballet Summer Intensive for the past 3 years as well as the GD Junior Intensive program. This will be Anna’s 5th year with SSBYD. She looks forward to dancing the roles of the Misfit Doll in Rudolph and a Princess in The Nutcracker. When not dancing, Anna can be found reading, listening to music, or drawing.

Amelia Miller

Company

Amelia is 16 years old and a Junior at San Marcos High. This will be her 4th year in SSBYD and her 1st year in the Company level. She looks forward to dancing the role of Clarice in Rudolph as well as Snow in The Nutcracker. In 2016, Amelia was accepted to American Ballet Theatre’s North Carolina Summer Intensive as well as the Joffrey Chicago Summer Intensive. She attended the State Street Ballet Summer Intensive in 2015 and 4 GD Junior Intensives. She looks forward to traveling to Spokane this year for her 4th RDA Festival.

Clara Morando

Company

Clara is a 15 years old high school student and a dual enrolled student at SBCC. She has been dancing with GD since the age of 2. This will be her 4th year of SSBYD. Clara attended State Street Ballet Summer Intensive a few summers ago and GD Junior Intensives the past 7 years. She has danced the roles of the Duck in Peter and the Wolf and Rudolph in GD’s winter production of Rudolph. She is extremely excited to be a SSBYD Company member and dance the role of Clara in the upcoming State Street Ballet’s the Nutcracker production! Outside of ballet, Clara enjoys reading, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends.

Catherine Pizzinat

Company

Catherine is 15 years old and a Sophomore at San Marcos High. She has been dancing at GD since the age of 2. This will be her 4th year of SSBYD and her 4th time going to RDA. She has attended the State Street Ballet Summer Intensive for 2 years, the Long Beach Ballet Summer Intensive, and 5 Junior Intensives at GD. She has danced many roles such as Tina in Tina Ballerina, Clarice in Rudolph, multiple parts in The Nutcracker and Rudolph, and is going to be Ballerina Barbie in Rudolph. She was a finalist in Teen Dance Star and placed in the top 4 of the competition.

Isabella Fuentes

Company

Isabella began her studies at 9 years old at the Royal Academy of Dance (Santa Clarita) which gave her a wonderful foundation in classical ballet. She holds a Royal Academy of Dance Intermediate certificate. This will be her 2nd year at GD where she’s a member of the SSBYD Company. During the summer of 2016, Isabella fulfilled one of her biggest dreams by dancing at the San Francisco Ballet Summer Intensive. It was a very enriching experience where she met teachers and students from all over the world. In summer of 2017, she attended the Houston Summer Intensive where she focused on refining technique. Isabella’s favorite method of dance is Balanchine and the dancers she most admires are Misty Copeland and Isabella Boylston. She’s been lucky enough to meet both talented dancers and hopes to dance on the same stage as them one day. She looks forward to what this year with SSBYD will bring and is very excited to dance the role of Clara in The Nutcracker. Isabella loves expressing her feelings and stories through ballet and to her, it is a way to communicate with people from around the world, even if they don’t speak the same language. Her ultimate goal is to dance professionally with a company and after she retires, she would love to open her own school where she’ll share what she’s learned in the world of ballet.

Fenna Roukema

Company

Fenna is 17 years old and a Senior at Dos Pueblos High. She has been dancing since the age of 3 at GD and this will be her 5th year in SSBYD. She has danced multiple roles in many of the GD shows, including Waltz of the Flowers in The Nutcracker, a Rabbit in Thumbelina. This year she’ll dance the parts of Spirit of Winter and Blizzard in Rudolph as well as Snow and Princesses in The Nutcracker. She also has been a part of Celebration of Dance in which she has been cast in multiple works by both professional and emerging choreographers. This year, Fenna will be choreographing her 2nd emerging piece and will be adjudicated in January. Outside of dance, Fenna is involved with the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy and hopes to pursue a career in physical education or sports medicine.

Nina Schaeffer

Company

Nina is a 16-year-old Junior at San Marcos High. She has been dancing with GD for 13 years and this is her 4th year in SSBYD. During the summer, Nina attended State Street Ballet’s Summer Intensive as well as GD’s Musical Theatre. She is thrilled to be cast in Waltz of the Flowers in The Nutcracker and as the Misfit Cowgirl Toy in Rudolph this holiday season. Outside of dance, Nina enjoys reading, music, and playing with her dog, Chester.

Sophia Vraciu

Company

Sophia is a 17-year-old Senior at Santa Barbara High. She has been dancing with GD for 14 years, has participated in SSBYD for 6 years, now entering her 7th. She has danced roles such as the title role in Tina Ballerina, Clarice in Rudolph, Snow and Princesses in The Nutcracker, and lead roles in more contemporary works. She has also received scholarships to summer programs such as Ballet West, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Joffrey Ballet School, and has attended State Street Ballet’s Santa Barbara and Durango programs. She also placed 2nd in the Santa Barbara Ballet competition, been a part of the inaugural year of Teen Dance Star’s Top 10, and has participated in the Youth Grand Prix. In her time away from dance, Sophia is very involved in school with both academics and community service, including tutoring her fellow peers. She hopes to continue dancing through college and in the future to pursuing a career in either law or politics.

Audrey Biles

Apprentice 2

Audrey is 13 years old and in the 8th grade at Crane Country Day School. This is her 2nd year dancing with GD and loves being a part of this wonderful program. Audrey has been dancing since she was 5 years old and is experienced in tap, jazz, and con-temporary but ballet is her passion. Audrey has attended summer intensives at San Francisco Ballet and Ellison Ballet in New York City, and is very excited to compete in YAGP this winter. Outside of dance, Audrey likes to play sports with her friends and family. She loves being a part of SSBYD and is looking forward to another great year!

Sydney Coffman

Apprentice 2

This will by Sydney’s 3rd year in SSBYD, recently turned 13 years old, and is an 8th grader at Matilija Junior High. She’s excited to be an Apprentice 2 this year. Sydney shared that it’s been a great experience working with the visiting choreographers and looks forward to more opportunities like these. She feels that this is going to be a year of growth not only as a dancer but as a person. SSBYD is a wonderful and supportive company and Sydney is proud to be a part of it. “Thank you to all the upper level for being great dancers and role models for us younger dancers.”

Adrienne Cruse

Apprentice 2

Adrienne is 14 years old and had been dancing at GD for 7 years. She is in her 3rd year of SSBYD and is an Apprentice 2. She has participated in 5 years of GD Junior Intensives and State Street Ballet Summer Intensive 1 year. Adrienne is a Freshman at San Marcos High and a very dedicated student. She is looking forward to RDA and the remainder of the dance season.

Bennett Ruehlman

Apprentice 2

Bennett is 14 years old and a Freshman at Dos Pueblos High. This year is Bennett’s 3rd year at GD after starting at Santa Barbara Dance Arts. He is delighted to take part in his 1st year of Apprentice 2. Bennett is honored this year to understudy as well as take part in Adjudicated pieces. In addition, he’s looking forward to taking part in more contemporary dance as well as other new styles. Bennett looks forward to at-tending this year’s RDA. Outside of dance, Bennett does theater and enjoys working on school.

Ella Rotondo

Apprentice 2

Ella is a 14-year-old Freshman at San Marcos High. She has danced with GD for 8 years. This is Ella’s 3rd year dancing with SSBYD. She has participated in many camps and intensives over the years, including State Street Ballet Summer Intensive. Ella has a strong passion for dance as well as other hobbies such as art, music, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends.

Tessa Storr

Apprentice 2

Tessa is 13-years-old and a Freshman at San Marcos High. She is entering her 2nd year in SSBYD and is excited to dance as an Apprentice 2. Tessa has attended the State Street Ballet Summer Intensive as well as GD Junior Intensive. Outside of dance she enjoys singing, traveling, reading, and spending time with friends and family. She is looking forward to another great year of SSBYD.

Ruth Baker

Apprentice 1

Ruth is 14 years old. She is a Freshman at San Marcos High where she particularly enjoys English and choir. Ruth started dance at Santa Barbara Dance Arts at the age of 3. She then joined GD where she has missed only one semester. This was at the age of 7 when she had to play basketball instead. This past summer, Ruth attended Studio West Dance Academy’s summer intensive in Washington state. She also attended GD’s Musical Theatre Intensive for the 2nd time. Ruth is excited to be spending more time at the studio this year through SSBYD as an Apprentice 1.

Marina Fay

Apprentice 1

Marina is an 8th grader at Goleta Valley Junior High and is excited to join SSBYD this year as an Apprentice 1 dancer. Marina has been dancing with GD since she was 3 years old and has attended many of GD Junior Intensives. She is also one of the Captains of her school’s Dance Team with which she has performed with at community events and attending competitions. She looks forward to performing with SSBYD this year and attending RDA in the Spring. Outside of dance, Marina enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and biking and loves hanging out with her friends.

Margaret Gobbell

Apprentice 1

Margaret is 17 years old, a Senior in high school, a dual enrolled student at SBCC, and has been dancing for 4 years. She just joined GD in July after attending the GD Sum-mer Intensive and is now a part of Apprentice 1 in SSBYD. She has previously danced with Curtis Studio of Dance. She is looking forward to being a part of The Nutcracker, Rudolph, Madeline, as well as attending RDA. Outside of dance, Margaret enjoys photography, modeling and hanging out with friends.

Olivia Gobbell

Apprentice 1

Olivia is 12 years old and in 8th grade. She has been dancing since she was 8 years old and joined GD in January. She is so excited to be a part of SSBDY and will be performing as a Party Girl in The Nutcracker. Her goal is to become a professional ballerina. This year she looks forward to performing and competing in YAGP and California Dance Classic as well as hopefully attending RDA. Outside of dance, Olivia enjoys swimming, running, photography, and hanging out with friends.

Lauren Polito

Apprentice 1

Lauren is a Freshman at San Marcos High. This is her 3rd year dancing with GD but has danced with Santa Barbara Dance Arts for 1 year. Lauren has attended 2 State Street Ballet Junior Intensives and 1 State Street Ballet Summer Intensive. Outside of dance, Lauren enjoys photography and being with family and friends. Lauren is very excited to begin her 2nd year of SSBYD.

Emi Thomas

Apprentice 1

Emilia is 14 years old and attends Santa Barbara High. She has been dancing for 3 years and this is her 2nd year at GD and in SSBYD. She loves being able to express herself through dance and share it with others. She also loves photography, videography, and is in the Multimedia Art and Design Academy at SBHS. When she graduates, Emi would love to attend a large university and continue dance throughout her life.

Jacey Allen

Junior

Jacey is 13 years old and is currently attending 8th grade at La Cumbre Junior High. She has been dancing at GD since she was 2 years old. She has attended all GD summer camps and Junior Intensives. Jacey is pleased to be a Junior member of SSBYD this year and continuing her dance training. She loves helping others discover their love for dance. For the past 2 years, Jacey is a teaching assistant for ballet and tap classes. Jacey’s dream is to have her own dance studio where she can choreograph and teach. Dancing is her passion, whether it be jazz, ballet or tap, and would love to continue dancing throughout the rest of her life.

Tehya Baptista

Junior

Tehya is 13 years old and is in 8th grade at Goleta Valley Junior High. She began dancing at Santa Barbara Dance Arts at 6 years old. Over the years, she has danced most forms of dance including aerial, hip-hop, musical theatre, contemporary, jazz, tap, and ballet. This is her 1st year participating in SSBYD and she is very excited. Tehya’s dream is to attend Julliard School in New York. She loves reading and her favorite book is titled, “Every Soul a Star”.

Ava Benhayon

Junior

Ava is a 6th grader at Montecito Union School. She began dancing at GD in 2009 at age 3. Ava has performed many roles in Rudolph, The Nutcracker, and in the Spring performances. She dances year-round by attending both the Musical Intensive and Junior Intensive summer programs at GD. 2017 marks Ava’s first year as a member of SSBYD. Ava also enjoys singing and has been a member of the Montecito Union Chorus for the last 3 years. When she isn’t singing or dancing, Ava enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Persephone Gallegos

Junior

A homeschooled 6th grader, Persephone has been dancing since she was 2 years old. She’s been training at GD the last 4 years and this is her first year in SSBYD. Persephone has trained at GD Junior Intensive the last 3 summers. In her spare time, Persephone likes to be outside, playing with her kitties and her labrador Prudence, read, and draw. She loves to go diving with her family. Her dream is to be a professional dancer.

Madelyne Herbert

Junior

Madelyne is 11 years old and is in 6th grade at Cold Springs School. She has been at GD for 8 years. She is very excited for her 1st year in SSBYD and looks forward to attending RDA in the Spring. Her favorite show to dance is The Nutcracker. She loves ballet, jazz and enjoys contemporary. When she isn’t dancing, Madelyne sings in her school chorus and enjoys reading and spending time with her friends.

Ian Larkin

Junior

Ian is a 13 year old 8th grader at Goleta Valley Junior High. He has been dancing at GD for 2 years and this is his 1st year in SSBYD. Ian is honored to be a Junior in SSBYD and is looking forward to this year of dance. Outside of dance and school, he enjoys playing piano, reading books, and engineering things. This year he hopes to be accepted into Dos Pueblos High’s Engineering Program.

Rebecca Lennon

Company

Rebeca is 12 years old and a 7th grade honors student at Goleta Valley Junior High. This is her first year as a member of SSBYD. Becca, as she is known by her friends, has been dancing at GD since she was 2 years old. In addition to her love of dance, Rebecca also participates in her school’s theater arts program and plays the flute in Goleta Valley’s Advanced band.

Ashly Pryor

Junior

Ashly is 12 years old and attends Laguna Blanca School. She has trained at GD since she was 3 years old and this is her 1st year in SSBYD. Ashley looks forward to dancing as a Battle Toy and a Little Maid in The Nutcracker this season. In addition to her passion for dancing ballet, Ashly also enjoys traveling with her family, going to the beach with friends, and volunteering in the community.

Hidde Roukema

Junior

Hidde is 13 years old and an 8th grader at Goleta Valley Junior High. He has been dancing for 3 years and this is his 1st year in SSBYD. He has dances the roles of a Party Boy in The Nutcracker and Storm in Thumbelina. This year he will be an Ice Skater in Rudolph. He hopes to one day get the role of Fritz in The Nutcracker. Outside of dance, Hidde is a part of theater at school, loves science, and likes to build stuff.

Sadie Ugoretz

Junior

Sadie is 13 years old and in 8th grade at Goleta Valley Junior High. She has been dancing at GD since she was 3. Over the past summer, she attended the Dance Inten-sive at Idyllwild Arts and her 4th Junior Intensive at GD. In her free time, Sadie enjoys playing the piano and hanging out with her sisters. She is really looking forward to her 1st year of SSBYD.

Corinne Yungling

Junior

Corinne is 12 years old and is currently a 7th grader at Marymount. She began dancing at the age of 3. She enjoys all aspects of dance and is thrilled to be a member of SSBYD at the Junior level.






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State Street Ballet Young Dancers

Gustafson Dance, 2285 Las Positas Road, Santa Barbara, California 93105
info@gustafsondance.com

(805) 563-3262

Contributing Photographer

johnconroyimages.com
johnconroyimages@gmail.com

(805) 563-4798