Fall 2014 Menlowe Dancers


GregoryGregory DeSantis, from Staten Island, New York, began his training at Center Stage Dance and Theater School in Marlboro, New Jersey. He attended North Carolina School of the Arts, earning a B.F.A. in Ballet and originating several roles in Ethan Stiefel’s production of The Nutcracker. Mr. DeSantis trained at The Washington Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Ellison Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Princeton Ballet and Jacob’s Pillow Summer Dance Festival. From 2009-2010 he appeared as James in Twyla Tharp’s touring production of Movin’ Out. He has appeared as a guest artist with Greensboro Ballet, Urban Ballet Theatre, Zikr Dance Ensemble, Liss Fain Dance, Oakland Ballet, The Washington Ballet, and San Francisco Opera.


Aurora Frey, from the first time she saw the Nutcracker at the age of three, Aurora has loved ballet!  Aurora began her studies of ballet at Ballet Arts in her home town of Tucson, Arizona under the direction of Mary-Beth Cabana.  After spending many summers as a student at the American Ballet Theater summer intensive, Aurora moved to NYC where she was privately coached by Leslie Browne, former ABT principal.  In addition, Aurora has trained with many notable instructors including Gelsey Kirkland, Amanda McKerrow, John Gardener, Evelyn Cisneros, Rebecca Wright, Lupe Serrano, Maria Tallchief, Kyra Nichols, and David Howard.  Aurora began her professional experience in Birmingham, Alabama with the Alabama Ballet under the direction of Wes Chapman.  She has danced professionally for Ballet Tucson, City Ballet of San Diego, and Napoles Ballet Theater.  She has been featured in many full length classical ballets, works by George Balanchine and Anthony Tudor.  In addition, she has had the opportunity to dance in original works by choreographers such as Lawrence Pech, Leslie Browne, Jeffrey Graham Hughes, Roger Van Fleteren, and Luis Napoles.  Aurora is excited to be living in the Bay Area, and to be part of such a talented dance community.


Julie_GJulie Giordano, was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her training began at three years old with Nina Marlow School of Ballet under the direction of Nina Marlow and Rena Becker.  Her classical and contemporary training then continued at Master Ballet Academy under the direction of Slawomir and Irena Wozinak. Julie has attended summer intensive programs with American Ballet Theater Alabama, Ballet Arizona, Joffrey Midwest, Master Ballet Academy, Ballet Austin, and State Street Ballet. She danced professionally with Ballet Tucson where she had the joy of working with John Gardener and Amanda McKerrow, and participated in work by George Balanchine and Anthony Tudor.  In addition, Julie performed in many classical ballets including Gisele, Swan Lake, Esmeralda, A Midsummers Nights Dream, and Graduation Ball. Julie then danced professionally with State Street Ballet.  While at State Street Ballet, she traveled and performed in Colorado, Washington, Florida, and New York. Most recently, Julie performed in Firebird, Beauty and the Beast, American Tango, Jungle Book, Secret Garden, and La Sylphide. Julie is very excited to make the Bay Area her new home and for her first season with Menlowe Ballet.


Mariko Ishikawa, a San Francisco native, received her training at the Ayako School of Ballet. She competed in the Youth American Grand Prix Finals and in 2012, won the San Francisco Beach Blanket Babylon Scholarship for the Arts. She has performed leading roles with the Albany Berkshire Ballet, Man Dance Company and Peninsula Youth Ballet. Mariko has been with Menlowe Ballet since 2012.



EmilyEmily Kerr is a Bay Area native and received her training at Pacific Ballet Academy and Boston Ballet School. She has appeared with Oakland Ballet Company, Milissa Payne Project, Mark Foehringer Dance Project | SF, Los Angeles Ballet, and BalletMet Columbus. Emily has had the pleasure of performing works by Graham Lustig, Amy Seiwert, Milissa Payne Bradley, Gerard Charles, David Nixon, Tom Gold, Devon Carney, and George Balanchine. This is Emilyʼs first season with Menlowe Ballet.


Jackie McConnell, from Salem, Oregon, trained with Pacific Northwest Ballet School and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She danced with Nevada Ballet Theatre, toured with the Portland-based company, Bodyvox, and continues to work with the contemporary ballet company, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance, in New York City. She performed with Company C Contemporary Ballet for four seasons, is a member of Post: Ballet, and also dances as a guest artist throughout the Bay Area.


Terrin McGee-Kelly is a native of Antioch, California where she began her classical ballet training at Delta Ballet Academy with Helga Ishikata, Helen Piernik, and Michael Lowe. Afterwards she went on to study with Arlene Newhouse at Ballet Celeste International, and the Joffrey Ballet. She has appeared with Theater Ballet of San Francisco, Oakland Ballet, Peninsula Ballet Theater, Black Diamond Ballet, Moving Arts Dance, Ballet San Jose, and San Francisco Opera. She has been a featured dancer in music videos and national commercials, and has held numerous titles in the Miss America Organization, as well as winning the coveted Leni Arnhym classical performer award. Terrin also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Saint Mary’s College.


Lauren Mindel, born in the San Fernando Valley to a mother who was on the POM squad in high school and a father who danced on American Bandstand, it was clear that Lauren had it in her blood.  Lauren trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, hip-hop and character dance with Lynn Brilhante, Anne Barrett, Amy Bouris, Justin Cole, and Michael Lowe, to name a few, at the California Academy of Performing Arts under direction of Joan Robinson Borchers in Moraga, CA.  She attended intensive programs with American Ballet Theater in 2005 where she had the wonderful opportunity of working primarily with Lawrence Pech and Christine Spizzo, and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet in 2007 where she worked primarily with Kara Davis and Carmen Rozestraten. Lauren performed with Peninsula Ballet Theatre in 2005 and 2008 and Black Diamond Ballet Theatre in 2010, both under the artistic direction of Michael Lowe. She also trained with UCLA’s dance program staff, and with LA’s hip-hop and jaz funk choreographer, Saleemah E. Knight.  Aside from dance, Lauren is an up-and-coming recording artist and enjoys acting in both film and theatre.  She is delighted to be a part of Menlowe Ballet.


Christina Schifano, from Setauket, New York started dancing at the age of 9. She started her training at Seiskaya Ballet Academy before she began her professional training at Ellison Ballet Professional Training Program under the direction of Edward Ellison. She graduated from Ellison Ballet in 2008. That same year, she competed in the Youth America Grand Prix Competition in New York after winning 1st place at YAGP regionals. Through this competition, she was awarded a contract with The Washington Ballet. She joined the Washington Ballet Studio Company in the fall of 2008 under the direction of Septime Webre. During her time with the company, she performed La Sylphide alongside David Hallberg, Rubies, and Celts among others. In 2009 Christina joined the Colorado Ballet under the direction of Gil Boggs as a member of the Studio Company, before being promoted into the main company in 2011. With Colorado Ballet she has performed various featured roles including The Generosity Fairy, Jewels, and Lead Mazurka in The Sleeping Beauty; Spanish and Russian in The Nutcracker; Spanish and Princesses in Swan Lake as well as various corps de ballet roles in Don Quixote, Theme and Variations and Romeo & Juliet. In 2013 Christina joined Peninsula Ballet Theatre, under the direction of David Fonnegra, where she is performed as a soloist and was featured in roles such as the Dew Drop in The Nutcracker. You can also see Christina performing in Eugene, Oregon as a Principal Guest Artist with Ballet Fantastique in Donna and Hannah Bontrager’s Travels from the Floating World as the Wisteria Maiden. Christina’s contemporary repertoire also includes featured roles in works by George Balanchine, Lila York, Matthew Neenan, Emery LeCrone, and Brian Reeder.


DemetriaDemetria Schioldager was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA where she trained in Royal Academy of Dance under Patricia Caballero. She spent her summers training with American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. After completing a Bachelors of Science in Ballet from the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University, she joined Nevada Ballet Theatre. Demetria has performed in full length classical ballets and been featured as Swan Queen, staged by Cynthia Gregory, and Step Sister in Cinderella, as well as Sugar Plum, Snow Queen, Dew Drop, Columbine and Chinese in Nutcracker. She has been the lead in George Balanchine ballets, staged by Sandra Jennings, Mimi Paul and Elyse Borne, including Serenade, Rubies, Concerto Barocco, Valse Fantaisie, and Four Temperaments. Demetria is very excited to be dancing her first season with Menlowe Ballet.


Katherine Stewart received her formal training at Professional Ballet School in Belmont, California under Carmela Zegarelli Peter, Zoltan Peter, and Tanya Bello. She was a member of Young Artists Ballet Theatre from 2006-2009. She studied with Richard Gibson and Zory Karah at San Francisco’s Academy of Ballet, and trained at Boston Ballet’s Summer Intensive Program. She has appeared as a guest artist with Santa Barbara Festival Ballet and with Young Artists Ballet Theatre. In 2013, Katherine graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Biological Anthropology and Psychology.


Megan Terry was born in Mission Viejo, California and began her ballet training at Saddleback Dance Center. In 2000, she moved to Tucson, Arizona and continued her training at Ballet Arts. Megan was a member of Ballet Tucson from 2004-2012, under the direction of Mary-Beth Cabana. Some of her favorite roles with Ballet Tucson include Kitri in Don Quixote, Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Pigtail Girl in Graduation Ball, and Antony Tudor’s Continuo and 3rd pas de deux from The Leaves Are Fading.  She has performed in productions at the Orange County Performing Arts Center including Swan Lake with San Francisco Ballet, The Nutcracker with Moscow Classical Ballet, and Le Corsaire with American Ballet Theatre.

Megan currently is a freelance dancer in San Francisco and dances with Menlowe Ballet, Oakland Ballet, and the Milissa Payne Project. In 2010, she graduated from The University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Megan dedicates her performances to her parents Bill & Kim Terry, who have been her inspiration & light from the beginning.