The KC Ballet Adds New Company Members

The KC Ballet Adds New Company Members

Kansas City Ballet Artistic Director Devon Carney today announced the appointment of two new members, Elysa Hotchkiss and Thom Panto, and two new apprentices, Lilliana Hagerman and Naomi Hergott to the Kansas City Ballet Company. Additionally there are 10 new members of Kansas City Ballet's Second Company comprised of KCB II dancers Ivan Braatz, Nikolas Gaifullin, Aaron Steinberg and Goldie Walberg and Trainees Miranda Dafoe, Lindsay Dekleva, Elizabeth Dennen, Melanie Jensen, Zoe Stein, and Kara Troester. High resolution photos can be downloaded here.

Carney stated, "With the support of the community, we have been able to develop the Company as well as expand the scope of our second company, which includes KCB II and our Trainee program. We are pleased to welcome these exceptional dancers to Kansas City Ballet and Kansas City. I know our audiences will enjoy the talent and diversity that these artists will add to our existing roster of highly professional world class performers that grace our stage throughout the season. This can only bode well for exceptional artistic growth in both our school and professional company in the years to come."

New Kansas City Ballet Company members

Elysa Hotchkiss was born in Erie, Pennsylvania, and received her early training with the Lake Erie Ballet School. In 2003 she was offered a full scholarship to attend Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Graduate Program. She then joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre as a company member in 2004 and was promoted to soloist in 2011. As a dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, she enjoyed performing such roles as Gamzatti in LaBayadere, Mercedes in Don Quixote, Myrtha in Giselle, Russian Girl in Serenade, the lead in Dwight Rhoden's Carmina Burana, Lady Capulet in Jean-Christophe Maillot's Romeo et Juliette, the Sugar Plum Fairy in Terrence Orr's The Nutcracker, Flora in Dracula and the principal pas de deux in Balanchine's Agon.

Thom Panto, an Atlanta native, started dancing at age 11 and began his training with the New Mexico Ballet Company under the direction of Patricia Dickinson. After attending and graduating from SAB, he moved to Los Angeles and received a degree in Business: Merchandise Marketing from UCLA with a minor in fashion design from the Fashion Institute. While in LA, he trained and studied with Marat Duakayev of the Kirov and Patricia Neary of NYCB. Thom joined the Atlanta Ballet in 2007 and spent the last 8 seasons performing principal and featured roles in John McFall's Jupiter, Tealia, Firebird, and THREE, Snow King in Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker, Christopher Hampson's Sinfonietta Giocosa, Helen Pickett's Petal & Camino Real, Ben Stevenson's Three Preludes, Dark Angel in Balanchine's Serenade, Principal Man in Christopher Wheeldon's Rush, Paris in Ballet De Monte Carlo's Romeo et Juliette, ABT's Alexei Ratmansky's Seven Sonatas, and of The Royal Ballet Wayne McGregor's Eden/Eden,

New Company Apprentices

Company Apprentices perform with the company under the tutelage of the artistic leadership as part of their initial professional experience.

Lilliana Hagerman was born in Pordenone, Italy, and started dancing at the age of six at Midwest Dance Academy in Illinois. She took multiple types of dance such as jazz, tap, modern and ballet. Ms. Hagerman spent five summers from 2005-2009 at the Orlando Ballet Summer Intensive, where she had training from Fernando Bujones, Julie Kent and Gelsey Kirkland. In 2009, she joined the Orlando Ballet trainee program, where she started her professional ballet training under the direction of Peter Stark. In 2010 she joined the Orlando Ballet Second Company under the direction of Dierdre Miles Burger where her repertoire included Titania fromA MidSummer Night's Dream, Robert Hill's Maestoso, Dawn variation from Coppelia, and as corps de ballet in the company productions of Giselle, Carmen, Battle of the Sexes, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. At the YAGP semi finals in Tampa 2012, Ms. Hagerman won the silver medal in the senior contemporary category and was top twelve in the senior classical category. In August 2012, she joined The Orlando Ballet main company, where she performed many roles such as the Dew Fairy in Hansel and Gretel, the Evil Witch in Snow White, Big Swans in Swan Lake, Harlot in Romeo and Juliet and productions such as Robert Hill's Carmina Burana and Piano Concerto, Peter Chu's Touching Drops, Abdur-Rahim Jackson's Again for the First Time, soloist in Telmo Moreira's Barco Negro and many others. In 2014, Ms. Hagerman performed with Kansas City Ballet's KCB II.

Naomi Hergott started dancing at the age of 3 in Augusta, Georgia, under the direction of Ron Jones and Jessica Bailey. To further her training, Ms. Hergott moved to Atlanta to study with Maniya Barredo. She spent summers training at CPYB, Kaatsbaan, Chautauqua, and Houston Ballet. Upon graduating, Ms. Hergott was invited to perform "Juliet" in Tom Pazik's Romeo and Juliet as guest artist with Philippine Ballet Theatre in Manila. She joined Colorado Ballet's studio company in 2011 and enjoyed dancing in ballets such as Glen Tetley's Rite of Spring and Balanchine's Theme and Variations during her two seasons with the company. Most recently, Ms. Hergott danced with Cincinnati Ballet's second company for two seasons, performing numerous roles with the company including works by Victoria Morgan, Devon Carney, and Septime Webre. Ms. Hergott graduated with her B.A. in Communications from Thomas Edison State College in 2014.

New KCB II dancers

KCB II, part of the second company of Kansas City Ballet, is Kansas City Ballet's emerging professionals program, giving talented young dancers a professional company experience. Dancers in the KCB II program are selected from auditions around the country. These dancers receive professional experience, performing corps de ballet roles in Kansas City Ballet full-length productions.