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"To watch the company is to see hope take human form"

- High Ground News



São Paulo, Brazil

THIERRY BLANNCHARD, originally from São Paulo, Brazil, began his dance training at the age of 8 at the Elizandra Bellotto School.

In 2016 he won a scholarship to study at Bolshoi Theater School in Brazil, where he studied contemporary dance, character dance, dance history, history of art, acting, pas de deux and piano. During this time, Thierry had the opportunity to work with the likes of Vladimir Vasiliev, Galina Kravchenko, Dennys Nevidommy, Pedro Carneiro and Rostlav Dzabraev.

From 2020-2021, Thierry worked as a trainee in Brazil with the Bolshoi Theatre Junior Company and the Basileu França Company. In 2022, he was awarded a trainee program with Eglevsky Ballet in New York. Thierry has earned leading roles and solos in The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Don Quixote, Raymonda, Swan Lake. He has also had the honor of working with choreographers such as Amy Hall Garner, Cassi Abranches (Grupo Corpo), Kevin Jenkins, Maurice Brandon Curry, Gabrielle Lamb, Valentina Kozlova and more.

This is Thierry’s first season with Collage Dance Collective.


Salvador, Brazil

LUISA CARDOSO is a native of Salvador, Brazil. She began her training at Ebateca Escola de Ballet, directed by Juliana De-Vecchi. In 2014 she moved to Miami, FL after receiving a scholarship to attend the Miami City Ballet School pre-professional program, directed by Darleen Callaghan. While a student with the Miami City Ballet School, she had the opportunity to perform works by George Balanchine such as Western Symphony, Stars and Stripes, and Theme and Variations. Luisa has also worked with choreographers Maribel Modromo, Olivier Pardina, Maria Torija, Geta Constantinescu, Ebtiz and Lourdes Lopez. In 2016 she graduated from Miami City Ballet School and moved to Memphis, TN to join Collage Dance Collective. This is Luisa’s eighth season with the company.



Medellin, Colombia

SANTIAGO CASTAÑEDA was born in Medellin, Colombia and began his ballet studies at the age of 8 at Andrea Wolff Ballet. After completing high school, Santiago moved to Miami and continued his training at the Miami City Ballet School on scholarship. As a student at MCB, Santiago had the opportunity to perform several Balanchine ballets and classical ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia and Ballabile. Santiago has had the pleasure of originating roles in works choreographed by Gerald Ebitz Durante Verzola, Ariel Rose and Pam Tanowiz. In 2014, Santiago participated in the Youth America Grand Prix finals where he won two scholarships to the Harid Conservatory and Houston Ballet School. In 2018, Santiago joined Miami City Ballet as an apprentice. As an apprentice, Santiago has performed George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Jewels “Diamonds”, Midsummer Night’s Dream and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. He also performed works by Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp and Justin Peck. This is Santiago’s fourth season with Collage Dance Collective.



RICKEY FLAGG II was born and raised in Windsor, CT. At 16 he attended the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and was also part of the Hartt School Community Division under the direction of Miguel Campaneria. Rickey continued his training with Mr. Campaneria in Cary, NC dancing roles in Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Spring Waters pas de deux and excerpts from Raymonda. Mr. Flagg has choreographed solos for the Youth American Grand Prix and World Ballet Competition, several of which placed in the contemporary category. In 2012, Rickey was awarded a full scholarship to attend Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Professional Training Program under the direction of Virginia Johnson. Upon completion of the training program at DTH, Rickey was offered a contract with Charlotte Ballet II. This is Rickey’s ninth season with Collage Dance Collective.



Bronx, New York

SEBASTIAN GARCIA, a Bronx, New York native, began his formal dance training at the Harlem School of the Arts in New York under the direction of Aubrey Lynch. He then attended the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School under the direction of Cynthia Harvey, where he became a recipient of the En Avant Award from 2017-2018. This gave him opportunities to perform works such as Sleeping Beauty and work with esteemed choreographers including Alexei Ratmansky and Jessica Lang. After graduating from high school, Sebastian studied at The Rock School for Dance Education on full scholarship under directors Bo and Stephanie Spassoff. While there, Sebastian performed lead roles in the school’s Nutcracker as both the Snow Prince and Arabian Prince. Sebastian’s career has included performances at the famed Apollo Theater, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. This is Sebastian’s third season with Collage Dance Collective.

Maya Hawkins

Memphis, Tennessee

MAYA HAWKINS began dancing at the age of three at the Ballet Memphis School. At 15, Maya joined the Collage Dance Corps where she had the opportunity to perform works by Sidra Bell and Kevin Iega Jeff. Following her high school graduation, she studied at the School of Pennsylvania Ballet under the direction of Arantxa Ochoa and in 2015 she joined The Washington Ballet as a trainee where she performed in Septime Webre’s Carmen, The Nutcracker, Coppelia, and George Balanchine’s Serenade. Maya was a trainee at Cincinnati Ballet from 2016-17 dancing in Kirk Peterson’s Coppelia, Victoria Morgan’s The Nutcracker, as well as excerpts from Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. She then danced with Charlottesville Ballet in Virginia for 3 seasons, where she performed various roles in the Nutcracker and in works by Keith Lee. Maya has attended summer intensives on scholarship at Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Orlando Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Carolina Ballet and Alonzo King Lines Ballet. This is Maya’s third season with Collage Dance Collective.



Plano, Texas

LAUREN HUYNH, born and raised in Plano, Texas, began her training at the Hathaway Academy of Ballet. She was later awarded the Nordan Fine Arts Scholarship at Texas Christian University (TCU), where she graduated with a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance, as well as a minor in General Business. During her time at TCU, she was selected to travel to Rwanda to continue TCU’s long-term relationship with Godelieve Mukasarasi and the SEVOTA Institute. Lauren was then awarded the TCU Mission Statement Scholarship and received the Senior Legacy award honoring her antiracist work and activism. She has performed choreography by George Balanchine, August Bournonville, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Francesca Harper, Jennifer Archibald, Gabrielle Lamb, LeeWei Chao, Adam Barruch, among others. Lauren has attended summer programs at BalletX, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Joffrey Ballet as well as Alonzo King LINES Ballet and Dance Theatre of Harlem on full scholarships. During the spring of 2021, Lauren joined Bruce Wood Dance as an Apprentice. This is Lauren’s third season with Collage Dance Collective.


Kampala, Uganda

VICTORIA JAENSON, originally from Kampala, Uganda, began her formal dance training at the age of seven at the Brattleboro School of Dance in Vermont. She later studied at the Rock School for Dance Education (Philadelphia, PA) under directors Stephanie and Bo Spassoff. Victoria spent a year studying at The Hartt School at University of Hartford, under Stephen Pier in 2017. Victoria went on to join Charlotte Ballet II (Charlotte, NC) under artistic director Hope Muir for two seasons where she performed excerpts from Alonzo King’s Map, Medhi Walerski’s Petit Cérémonie, Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s Nutcracker, Peter Pan, Christian Spuck’s Leonce and Lena, as well as Matthew Hart’s Sleeping Beauty.

In January 2020, Victoria earned 2nd Place in the Senior Classical Division at the Ballet Beyond Borders dance festival in Missoula, Montana. In the summer of 2021, she performed with Des Moines Metro Opera as a dancer for the operas Platée and Queen of Spades. Victoria then went on to dance with Ballet Theatre Company (West Hartford, CT) for the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons, under Stephanie Dattellas.

She has had the pleasure of performing roles like Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, the lead in the Sapphire scene in Aladdin, Princess Florine in Marius Petipa’s Bluebird pas, Swan Lake pas de trois, including as a soloist in Odyssey by Melanie Ramos, Serenade in A by Paul Mejia, Conspicuous Figures by Calvin Bittner, Melodies by Marguerite de Anguera, and Pieces of a Legacy by Derek Brockington. Victoria has also worked with Dimensional Dance (Hartford, CT), under Ruth Lewis, performing the lead in Whole-Souled Women: The Story of Prudence Crandall and Sarah Harris, sharing a powerful story about education for young Black girls in Connecticut in spring 2022, and as Ruth in The Story of Ruth in summer 2023.

Other companies she has guested with include City Ballet of Boston (Boston, MA), AMA Dance Theatre (Mystic, CT), and with New England Ballet Theatre (Hartford, CT).

This is Victoria’s first season with Collage Dance Collective.



Silver Spring, Maryland

EMMA JENNINGS was born in Silver Spring, MD and began her ballet training at The Washington School of Ballet when she was six years old. At age 13, she trained at Maryland Youth Ballet under the tutelage of Michelle Lees, Julie Miles, and Rhodie Jorgenson where she performed roles such as Snow Queen in The Nutcracker and as a studio company dancer in works created by Christopher Doyle.

Emma has attended summer intensives at American Ballet Theatre (NYC), Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem and Miami City Ballet on full scholarship. She has also taken part in programs including the Alonzo King LINES Summer Workshop and the Kennedy Center Master Class Series where she worked with masters Matthew Rushing and Suzanne Farrell and more.

Emma received her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Towson University and graduated in Spring 2022 with honors. While on a talent-based scholarship, she gained her knowledge from professors such as Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Caroline Rocher Barnes, and Runqiao Du. She performed in many works including Pretty Is… by Ray Mercer and the lead role in Paquita in addition to choreographing many works. While in university, Emma served as the Treasurer for the National Honors Society of Dance Arts and earned several awards the “Jim Snyder Award for Technical Excellence.”

Following graduation in Fall 2022, Emma attended the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School’s Graduate Program under the direction of Marjorie Grundvig, where she performed in Terrence Orr’s The Nutcracker, the Sleeping Beauty Pas de Trois and Paquita. Emma has received her Zena-Rommett Floor-Barre Certification along with completing a pedagogy course from the Washington School of Ballet.

Nia Lyons

chicago, Illinois

NIA LYONS, a Chicago native, has trained with The Dance Theatre of Harlem, Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, and Chicago High School for the Arts. Nia’s diverse training includes classical ballet, modern, African, Latin, jazz, and hip hop and has taken her around the world to numerous countries, including Barcelona, St. Thomas, and South Korea. She looks forward to inspiring and mentoring young dancers while continuing to break barriers herself. This is Nia’s fourth season with Collage Dance.



Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

FÁBIO MARIANO was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and started dancing when he was 14 years old. He trained at Maria Olenewa Dance School and performed in big productions of ballet and opera at Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, such as The Nutcracker, The Rite of Spring, Aida and Marguerite & Armand. Taught by renowned Brazilian and Russian teachers from Kirov Ballet, he graduated in 2014. In Brazil, he performed classical and contemporary works by different choreographers with Caetano Cia. De Dança, directed by Thiago Caetano and Companhia Jovem de Ballet do Rio de Janeiro, directed by Dalal Achcar and Marisa Estrella. Fábio joined Corpo de Baile Campos dos Goytacazes in 2014, where he performed classical and contemporary works. He also choreographed a contemporary ballet for the company. In 2016, he moved to the U.S. to join Atlantic City Ballet (NJ) and performed soloist and leading roles in full length productions of The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Dracula and Carmen. Aside from dancing, Mr. Mariano has been a ballet teacher for more than 10 years. In 2020, he co-founded the online platform Blacks in Ballet alongside Ingrid Silva and Ruan Galdino to highlight ballet dancers of color. Fábio Mariano has been an artist with Collage Dance since 2017 and is in his seventh season.

Summer McNeill

Atlanta, Georgia

SUMMER MCNEILL, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, began her training at Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theatre under the direction of Kathryn Macbeth. In 2016, she continued her training under Sharon Story at Atlanta Ballet’s Centre for Dance Education. She performed in Atlanta Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker and Snow White. As a graduate of Cobb County’s Center of Excellence in the Performing Arts Magnet Program at Pebblebrook High School, she received several awards and accolades, such as Most Outstanding Female and Most Promising Dancer. In 2018, Summer was awarded a scholarship to attend The Ailey School in New York City. Summer’s performances include “Memoria,” January Explosion, Global Harmony, and The 92nd Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 2020, Summer worked on several projects around metro Atlanta with Dance Canvas, going on to dance as a protegé with Terminus Modern Ballet Theatre. This is Summer’s second season with Collage Dance Collective.



Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

LEONARD PEREZ, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, has trained in Spanish dance with the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater in ballet and modern dance at the Ruth Page School of Dance. He has studied on scholarship at Northeastern Illinois University and has been awarded full scholarships to summer intensive programs at Dance Theatre of Harlem, The Ailey School, River North Dance Chicago, Thodos Dance Chicago, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and the Ruth Page School of Dance. He danced with Milwaukee Ballet II during the 2015–2016 season and has performed works by Ron de Jesus, Michael Pink, Septime Webre, Randy Duncan, Ruth Page, Lee Wei Chao, Ilya Kozadayev, Brian MacDonald, Victor Alexander and Spanish dance duo Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez. Leonard has performed in the Chicago Dancing Festival, Jacob’s Pillow International Inside/Out Dance Festival, Dance for Life Chicago, and St. Louis’ Spring To Dance Festival. He has also danced professionally with Dayton Ballet where he performed works by Gina Patterson and Jiri Kylian and Indianapolis Ballet where he performed works by Joshua Bergasse and George Balanchine. This is Leonard’s fifth season with Collage Dance Collective.

lauren philson

Houston, Texas

LAUREN PHILSON, born and raised in Houston, Texas – began studying ballet, tap, jazz, and musical theater at the age 3. At age 12, she was accepted to the Houston Ballet Academy on scholarship. A year later she was invited to train in the Professional Division full-time. As a student, she performed in Ben Stevenson’s and Stanton Welch’s The Nutcracker. After her family relocated to Colorado, she finished her training at Colorado Ballet Academy on scholarship and performed as Myrtha in the academy’s spring production of Giselle. She also performed in Colorado Ballet’s The Nutcracker and Septime Webre’s The Wizard of Oz. Lauren attended summer programs at American Ballet Theatre (NYC), School of American Ballet, Boston Ballet SDP, Colorado Ballet Academy, and Houston Ballet Academy. Lauren is returning for her fourth season with Collage Dance Collective.

João Pedro


Bahia, Brazil

JOÃO PEDRO SILVA is a native of Itabuna, Brazil. He began his formal dance training when he was 12 years old at the Ballare Studio of Dance. At the age of 15, he relocated to Rio de Janeiro to continue his ballet training at Dance School Alice Arja. After one year in training, he got an apprenticeship with the Cia of Ballet from Rio de Janeiro where he performed many principal and soloist roles in ballets including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Carnival of the Animals. Joao has competed in national and international dance competitions including the American Dance Competition where he was awarded scholarships for the Colorado Ballet Academy, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Sarasota Ballet School and Orlando Ballet School. At 17, he moved to the United States to study at the Miami City Ballet School and after a few months he got to do his first performance with the company in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This is João’s third season with Collage Dance Collective.


Los Angeles, California

RAQUEL SMITH, from Los Angeles, California, began her training at age six at Lauridsen Ballet Centre. She then went on to train privately with Roberto Almaguer, where she developed a true love for dance. While in L.A., Raquel earned the opportunity to train with Debbie Allen and perform in the prestigious production The Hot Chocolate Nutcracker.

Raquel continued her training on scholarship at San Francisco Ballet School, where she danced alongside the company in performances like The Sleeping Beauty, Yuri Possokhov’s Don Quixote, and Helgi Tomasson’s Little Waltz. In 2019, she joined Richmond Ballet II, where she worked with choreographers such as Val Caniparoli and Levi Marsman. From there she joined Nashville Ballet as a company apprentice where she had the privilege of dancing under the direction of Paul Vasterling and working with several world-renowned choreographers. In 2021 she was selected as one of 11 dancers from around the world to be invited by MoBBallet to be an apprentice for “Reframing the Narrative,” a historic 3-week residency at the Kennedy Center.
During which Raquel danced under the direction of Tony-nominated and Bessie Award-winning choreographer Donald Byrd.

This is Raquel’s first season with Collage Dance Collective.