The Company dancers are a group of highly trained professionals who perform the works of Latinx choreographers for audiences around the world. Representing a multitude of nationalities, our artists reflect the ever-changing face of our nation.
Melissa Verdecia is from Miami, FL and received her early training from Caridad Espinosa, Mencia-Pikieris School of Dance, and New World School of the Arts, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2008. In 2012, Verdecia went on to earn her BFA in dance from The Juilliard School, where she performed works by Sidra Bell, Alex Ekman, Nacho Duato, and Jerome Robbins, among others. Verdecia was selected as a modern dance finalist in The National YoungArts Foundation competition in 2008, and was featured in the HBO series Master Class.
In 2016, Verdecia had the joy of being presented beside her Ballet Hispánico colleagues in Lincoln Center at the Movies: Great American Dance Series, where she performed lead roles in works by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano and Pedro Ruiz. This is Melissa’s 9th season with Ballet Hispánico.
Chris Bloom is from Fredrick County, VA where he began dancing at the Blue Ridge Studio for the Performing Arts and the Vostrikov Academy of Ballet. Chris graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in 2012. He has performed with numerous companies such as Parsons Dance, Lydia Johnson and the Peridance Contemporary Dance Company.
Chris joined Ballet Hispánico in 2013 and has originated roles in new works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Edgar Zendejas, Miguel Mancillas, Fernando Melo, Michelle Manzanales, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, and Eduardo Vilaro. This is Chris’ 8th season with Ballet Hispánico.
Shelby Colona grew up in Houston, Texas where she graduated from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) with honors in dance. After graduating, she attended The Ailey School’s Certificate Program in 2011-2013.
In addition to her education, she’s performed works by Robert Battle, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Billy Bell, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and Graciela Daniele, among others and has performed with companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York City Center, Lunge Dance Collective and BHdos prior to joining Ballet Hispánico. This is Shelby’s 6th season with Ballet Hispánico.
Lyvan Verdecia was born in Havana, Cuba. He graduated from the National Ballet School of Cuba in 2013 and joined the ranks of the National Ballet of Cuba through December 2014, where he developed as a dancer and choreographer. He has had the opportunity to participate in festivals and has won gold and bronze medals at international competitions.
He has shared the stage with Carlos Acosta in his Tocororo and with Viengsay Valdes in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Celeste. In 2017, Verdecia was awarded a Princess Grace Award in Dance. This is Lyvan’s 6th season with Ballet Hispánico.
Gabrielle Sprauve was born in Queens, NY and raised in Savannah, GA where she attended Savannah Arts Academy for the Performing Arts, studying at the Ailey School and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance during the summers. She earned her BFA at Marymount Manhattan College in 2017.
While at Marymount, Gabrielle performed works by Larry Keigwin, Alexandra Damiani, Norbert De La Cruz, Paul Taylor, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Adam Barruch, and Jo Strømgren. This is Gabrielle’s 4th season with Ballet Hispánico
Jared Bogart is originally from Crystal River, FL where he spent his early years training at his parents’ dance school. He graduated with a BFA in Dance from Jacksonville University and trained during his summers at the Orlando Ballet School, Archcore40, Florida Dance Masters, and Florida Dance Festival.
While in Jacksonville, Jared worked with artists such as Jennifer Muller, Robert Moses, Jennifer Archibald, and Stephanie Martinez. This is Jared’s 4th season with Ballet Hispánico.
Dandara Veiga is originally from Brazil where she began her dance training at Projeto Social Primeiros Passos, before training as a scholarship student at Escola de danca Ballerina. She also studied at Studio Margarita Fernandez in Argentina, Opus Ballet in Italy, and Annarella Academia de Ballet e Danca in Portugal. Dandara continued her training as a scholarship student at The Ailey School in 2016/2017.
Dandara Veiga by (c) Theik SmithBallet Hispánico
She has participated in dance festivals around the world and received scholarships from San Francisco Ballet and Ballet West. She has performed for the Vibe Competition, Assamblé International, Harlem Arts Festival, and the Ailey Spirit Gala. She has had the opportunity to work with artists Charla Gen, Robert Battle, Caridad Martinez, Claudia Zaccari, Jean Emille, Ray Mercer, Raul Candal, and Melanie Futorian. This is Dandara’s 4th season with Ballet Hispánico.
Omar Rivéra is originally from Los Angeles, CA. After moving to Dallas, Texas, Rivéra trained at Prodigy Dance & Performing Arts Centre under the direction of Camille Billelo. He graduated from the prestigious Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, and was a part of HSPVA’s dance ensembles Repertoire Dance Company I & II, where he performed a variety of works by choreographers such as Robert Battle and Desmond Richardson.
Rivéra was a scholarship student at the University of Arizona-School of Dance and graduated with a BFA in Dance in 2018. Rivéra was one of eight men selected to perform at The Joyce Theater for the José Limón International Dance Festival, and danced works by guest artists including Christopher Wheeldon’s The American, Darrell Grand Moultrie’s Boiling Point, and Bella Lewitzky’s Meta4, among others. This is Omar’s 3rd season with Ballet Hispánico.
Laura Lopez is from Miami, FL, where she trained at Patricia Penenori Dance Center. She attended New World School of the Arts High School where she continued her dance training. Lopez was a 2013 Young Arts finalist and was nominated as a Presidential Scholar. In April 2016, she graduated New World College, where she received her BFA in Dance from the University of Florida.
Laura Lopez by (c) James DiazBallet Hispánico
Lopez has danced professionally with Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Ballet Hispánico’s BHdos. She has attended summer programs at Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, Miami City Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and Jacob’s Pillow and has performed the works of Eduardo Vilaro, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Robert Moses, and many more. This is Laura’s 3rd season with Ballet Hispánico.
Antonio Cangiano was born in Naples, Italy. He began his dance training at age sixteen and was awarded scholarships from Ateneo Danza (Forli), Accademia Normanna (Naples), and the Martha Graham Dance School in New York City. Cangiano has danced for the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Dardo Galletto Dance, Acsi Ballet, and Graham 2.
In 2014, he made his first appearance at the Italian International Dance Festival dancing in a homage to Luigi, the “master of jazz,” by Dianna Folio, and received the Festival’s Rising Star Award in 2017. In 2016, he was selected to dance at the Martha Graham Dance Company’s 90th Anniversary Season at New York City Center.This is Antonio’s 2nd season with Ballet Hispánico.
Lenai Alexis Wilkerson is from Washington, D.C. where she attended the Baltimore School for the Arts. Lenai graduated from the University of Southern California as a Glorya Kaufman scholar with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Political Science in 2019.
She is one of the seven 2016-17 dance scholars to be awarded a scholarship from Nigel Lythgoe’s DizzyFeet Foundation. This is Lenai’s 2nd season with Ballet Hispánico.
Paulo Hernandez-Farella is a first-generation Salvadoran-American from Los Angeles, California. After four years at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, they attended the University of Southern California on a full-ride. In just four years, Paulo graduated with both a BFA in Dance from the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and a Master’s in Public Administration from the USC Price School of Public Policy. Paulo has been a scholarship student for a multitude of renowned schools such as the Juilliard School Summer Intensive, the Joffrey Ballet’s International Intensive, and Alonzo King LINES Intensive.
Paulo is also one of seven 2016-2017 dance scholars with Nigel Lythgoe’s Dizzyfeet Foundation. During their career Paulo has studied and performed the works of Forsythe, Kylián, Duato, Balanchine, Graham, Taylor, Petipa, Lopez-Ochoa, Rhoden, Cerrudo, Andrea Miller, Aszure Barton, and choreographed their own original work. This is Paulo’s 2nd season with Ballet Hispánico.
Simone Cameresi was born in Italy and raised in Anaheim Hills, California where she trained at Murrieta Dance Project, Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, and Mather Dance Company. In 2013 and 2014, she was selected as a modern dance semifinalist in the Music Center Spotlight Awards, and in 2014, she was also selected as a YoungArts Foundation merit winner.
Simone Cameresi by (c) Nir ArieliBallet Hispánico
She is currently working towards her BFA in dance and a minor in New Media and Digital Design at Fordham University and The Ailey School. This is Simone’s 2nd season with Ballet Hispánico.
Leonardo Brito is from Saquarema, Brazil and trained with Projeto Primeiro Passo, before training at Escola Estadual de Danca Maria Olenewa, Center of Art Nós da Dança, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Miami City Ballet School, and The Ailey School. Leonardo has performed with companies such as Mariinsky Ballet, Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro, Emotions Physical Theater, Dance Theater of Florida, Alvin Ailey, and Ailey II. In 2016, Leonardo was awarded the III Brazilian Modern Dance Congress and he has performed works by Robert Battle, Jennifer Archibald, Troy Powell, Jae Man Joo, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Amy Hall Garner, Melanie Futorian, Ray Mercer and Bradley Shelver.
Leonardo Brito by (c) Liz Schneider-CohenBallet Hispánico
He has also made appearances in Tommy Hilfiger Pride Campaign 2019, OUT Magazine May 2019 Issue and POSE FX Television series season 2. This is Leonardo’s first season with the Company.