Menlowe Ballet Dancers
Mae Chesney, from Baltimore, Maryland, began training at the Gniasdowski Studio of Ballet and continued her studies at the Baltimore School for the Arts. She has attended training programs with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and Washington Ballet. Mae earned her BFA in Dance from the University of Cincinnati College–Conservatory of Music. There, she worked with Maureen Fleming, Frederick Franklin, Vivi Flindt, Ka Ron B Lehman, Deirdre Carberry, and Jiang Qi. Mae was a principal dancer with Columbus Dance Theatre and Peninsula Ballet Theatre, performing leading roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Le Corsaire, and in George Balachine’s Walpurgusnacht and Pas de Dix. Recently, she performed with Unfinished People in the Salon at LEVYdance. Mae joined Menlowe Ballet in the spring of 2015.
Gregory DeSantis, from Staten Island, New York, began training at Center Stage Dance and Theater School in Marlboro, New Jersey. He earned a B.F.A. in Ballet at North Carolina School of the Arts, where he originated roles in Ethan Stiefel’s The Nutcracker. He trained with The Washington Ballet, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Ellison Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Princeton Ballet and at Jacob’s Pillow Summer Dance Festival. From 2009-2010 he appeared as James in Twyla Tharp’s touring production of Movin’ Out. He subsequently joined Colorado Ballet’s Studio Company and eventually joined Colorado Ballet. Gregory has performed with Greensboro Ballet, Urban Ballet Theatre, Zikr Dance Ensemble, Liss Fain Dance, Oakland Ballet, The Washington Ballet, and San Francisco Opera. Greg joined Menlowe Ballet in 2013.
Brian Gephart, from Kernersville, North Carolina, received his formal training at the North Carolina School of the Arts (now University of NCSA). After graduating from the High School Program in 2007, Brian danced with Houston Ballet II before joining the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. With the Joffrey, Brian had the privilege of performing works by choreographers including Frederick Ashton, Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Robert Joffrey, Lar Lubovitch, Paul Taylor, Jerome Robbins and Christopher Wheeldon. In 2011, Brian travelled to Canada to dance with Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada in Moncton, New Brunswick. Most recently, he moved to New York City where he is now based as a freelance performer. Brian joined Menlowe Ballet in the Fall of 2014.
Julie Giordano, from Scottsdale, Arizona, began studying at age three with Nina Marlow and Rena Becker at Nina Marlow School of Ballet. Her training continued at Master Ballet Academy under Slawomir and Irena Wozinak. She attended intensive programs with American Ballet Theater Alabama, Ballet Arizona, Joffrey Midwest, Master Ballet Academy, Ballet Austin, and State Street Ballet. Julie danced professionally with State Street Ballet and with Ballet Tucson where she had the joy of working with John Gardener and Amanda McKerrow. There, she performed ballets by George Balanchine and Anthony Tudor, and appeared in productions of Giselle, Swan Lake, Esmeralda, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Graduation Ball. Julie joined Menlowe Ballet in 2013.
Alec Guthrie, a Palo Alto native, began his training at Ayako School of Ballet. A dance scholarship student at UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, he graduated in 2013 with a BFA in Dance (Performance Specialization). There, Alec had the privilege of working extensively with Donald McKayle as a soloist and member of his Etude Ensemble. Alec has worked and trained with Jodie Gates, David Allan, Tong Wang, Alejandro Cerrudo, Robin Mineko Williams, Hubbard Street Dance Company, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Austin, The Trey McIntyre Project, Spellbound and Hamburg Ballet. He performed as guest artist in Neos Dance Theater’s 2013-2014 season as featured soloist in works by Hubbard Street’s Penny Saunder’s and Neos’ Robert Wesner. Alec joined Menlowe Ballet in 2014.
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, she 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. She joined Menlowe Ballet in 2012.
Ilana Jonas, from Irvine, California, received her classical training at the Academy of Dance under Merle Sepel, Rebecca Tsivkin, and Brian Loftus. Ilana completed every R.A.D. examination and was awarded the Solo Seal in 2006. She furthered her training in ballet, jazz, and modern at the University of Arizona School of Dance, where she received her BFA in 2010. Following graduation, Ilana joined the corps de ballet of the California Ballet Company in San Diego, and was promoted to Soloist two years later. She currently performs in the dance corps of the San Francisco Opera. Ilana joined Menlowe Ballet in 2015.
Terrin McGee-Kelly, from Antioch, California, began her classical ballet training at Delta Ballet Academy with Helga Ishikata, Helen Piernik, and Michael Lowe. She continued her studies with Arlene Newhouse at Ballet Celeste International and the Joffrey Ballet. Terrin 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, holds numerous titles in the Miss America Organization, and is a recipient of the coveted Leni Arnhym Classical Performer Award. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Saint Mary’s College. Terrin has been with Menlowe Ballet since it’s inception.
Ali McKeon, from Maui, Hawaii, studied at the Maui Academy of Performing Arts. She trained at American Ballet Theater, LINES Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Post:Ballet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. As a student at Stanford University, she trained under Kristine Elliott, Muriel Maffre, Robert Moses, and Diane Frank, and performed in Robert Moses’ This State of Annihilation, and as a soloist in original work by Amy Seiwert. Upon graduating, Ali received the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts. In 2014, she graduated from the University of California Irvine’s Master of Fine Arts program in dance with a full scholarship. There, under the mentorship of Jodie Gates, Ali began developing her own choreographic voice. She now serves as a guest lecturer at West Valley College, and is a freelance choreographer. Ali joined Menlowe Ballet in 2015.
Stefanie Maughan, from Fullerton, California, began training with Lois Ellyn. She studied at Anaheim Ballet under the direction of Larry Rosenburg, and explored contemporary movement under the mentorship of Amy Nakamura. Stefanie has competed extensively in national competitions, and has attended summer training programs with Boston Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, BODYTRAFFIC, and ODC. While attending UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Stefanie worked closely with Jodie Gates, Tong Wang, and Diane Diefenderfer. She has performed with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, Anaheim Ballet, the Crystal Cathedral, and Long Beach Ballet. In June 2014, Stefanie graduated from UC Irvine with a Masters in Fine Arts in Dance. She is certified to teach Pilates and Yoga and is passionate about the importance of mind-body conditioning for dancers and performers. Stefanie joined Menlowe Ballet in 2015.
Lauren Mindel was born in the San Fernando Valley to a mother on the high school Pom Squad and a father who danced on American Bandstand. She studied ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, hip-hop and character with teachers including Lynn Brilhante, Anne Barrett, Amy Bouris, and Michael Lowe, at Joan Robinson Borcher’s California Academy of Performing Arts in Moraga. At American Ballet Theater and LINES Ballet Intensives, Lauren studied with Lawrence Pech, Christine Spizzo, Kara Davis and Carmen Rozestraten. Lauren is a recording artist and actress, and is pursuing a B.A. through the LEAP Program at Saint Mary’s College. She teaches and choreographs for students at The Menlo Park Academy of Dance. Lauren joined Menlowe Ballet in 2011.
Anton Pankevich, from Saint Petersburg, Russia, received his early training at the Vaganova Ballet Academy. He continued his studies with Stanley Williams, Andrei Kramarevsky and Adam Luders at the School of American Ballet, and with Irina Jacobson and Jorge Esquival at the San Francisco Ballet School. Anton has performed with international ballet companies including New York City Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Royal Ballet of London, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballet San Jose. He has danced principal roles in almost every full-length classical ballet, as well as in works by renowned choreographers of the 20th and 21st centuries including George Balanchine, Sir Frederick Ashton, William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, Jerome Robbins, Ulysses Dove, Hans Van Mannen, Rudi Van Dantzig, John Cranko, Leonide Massine and Anthony Tudor. Anton joined Menlowe Ballet in 2014.
Chantelle Pianetta, a Bay Area native, began her training at the Contra Costa Ballet School. At age 14, she was accepted into the School of American Ballet in New York City. There, she performed with the New York City Ballet in George Balanchine’s Serenade and Scherzo a la Russe, Christopher Wheeldon’s Scenes de Ballet, and Susan Stroman’s Double Feature. In 2008, Chantelle enrolled in Columbia University’s School of General Studies and was a member of the Columbia Ballet Collaborative. Chantelle joined Company C Contemporary Ballet in 2010, where she originated leading roles in works by Susan Jaffe, Charles Anderson, Patrick Corbin, and Brian Reeder. She has also performed as a principal guest artist with the Oakland Ballet, Contra Costa Ballet, and Central California Ballet. Chantelle joined Menlowe Ballet in 2015.
Christina Schifano, from Setauket, New York, began dancing at age nine at Seiskaya Ballet Academy. She attended Edward Ellison’s Professional Training Program and was awarded full scholarships to attend American Ballet Theater and Bolshoi Ballet Summer Intensives. In 2008, she won First Place at the Youth America Grand Prix Regional Competition in New York. This resulted in a contract with The Washington Ballet where she danced alongside David Hallberg in the ballets Celts and La Sylphide. She joined Colorado Ballet’s Studio Company in 2009 and in 2011, joined Colorado Ballet, where she performed roles in Jewels, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, Theme and Variations and Romeo & Juliet. Christina performed with Peninsula Ballet Theatre in 2013, and joined Menlowe Ballet in 2014.
Demetria Schioldager, from Los Angeles, CA, trained in Royal Academy of Dance under Patricia Caballero. She spent summers studying with American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. After earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ballet from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Demetria joined Nevada Ballet Theatre. While at University, she performed the role of Odette in Cynthia Gregory’s staging of Swan Lake. Demetria has performed leading roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Rubies, Concerto Barocco, Valse Fantaisie, and Four Temperaments under the direction of Sandra Jennings, Mimi Paul and Elyse Borne. Demetria joined Menlowe Ballet in 2013.
Rachel Speidel Little, from Sandusky, Michigan, trained at the Flint School of Performing Arts, the Joffrey Ballet School, and the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet. She has appeared with Oakland Ballet, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet de los Teatres Generalitat Valenciana, Channel Islands Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet. She has performed principal roles in ballets by George Balanchine, Graham Lustig, Yves de Bouteiller, and Phillipe Trehet, and has appeared in works by Michael Lowe, Amy Seiwert, Dwight Rhoden, Peter Quanz, Wen-Wei Wang, Ron Cunningham, Sonja Delwaide, Betsy Erickson, Victor Kabaniaev, and Milissa Payne Bradley. Currently, Rachel is a member of the San Francisco Opera’s Corps de Ballet, the Milissa Payne Project, and Company C, and is pursuing her undergraduate degree through LEAP at St. Mary’s College. A member of Menlowe Ballet from 2011-2013, Rachel rejoined Menlowe in the spring of 2015.