Kathleen Riker began her dance training in 1979 at Riverside Ballet Arts. She has also studied at the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts in Alberta, Canada, Ballet West, and Stanley Holden’s Dance Center in Los Angeles. She appeared as a guest artist at UCR’s faculty dance Concert in Pas De Quartre, and was a member of the Modern Dance Ensemble headed by the late Frank Aguirre. Kathleen has also performed at dance Kaleidoscope in Los Angeles. Roles performed include R. Clinton Rothwell’s premier of Concerto in G Minor, the Silver Fairy and Crystal Fairy variations from Sleeping Beauty, Tarantella, Chopin, Classical Symphony, Raymonda, as well as Spanish Dancer, Arabian Dancer, Snow Fairy, and the Dew Drop Fairy in the The Nutcracker. She has also performed works by David Allan, ETC! and Pastel. She has been a faculty member at Riverside Ballet Arts since 1987 and acted as Ballet Mistress to California Riverside Ballet from 1996-2010. Along with her duties with RBA she is currently Ballet Mistress and Assistant Director of BRAVA.
Rebekah Mitchell grew up in Southern California and began dancing at the age of 3 studying ballet, tap, jazz and lyrical at Debra Kaye Dance Studio, Freddie Finn Dance Studio, Riverside Ballet Arts, and master classes in Los Angeles and New York. Rebekah did summer programs at Houston Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet, but realizing her passion for all styles of dance, she auditioned for The Radio City Christmas Spectacular at 18 and was offered a role in the Ensemble.
After performing as a member of the Ensemble in 2001, Rebekah became a Rockette in 2002 and spent the next 5 seasons touring with Radio City across the United States. Since 2007, Rebekah has performed at Radio City Music Hall in New York and has held a Swing position since 2010. In her years as a Rockette, Rebekah has been privileged to perform in The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Tree Lighting at Rockefeller Center, Rachael Ray, The Today Show, Dancing with the Stars, and Live with Kelly.
Rebekah has over 19 years of teaching experience at multiple studios in Southern California, master classes throughout the United States and in Australia, and many Rockette Experiences and Rockette Summer Intensives. After traveling the world for 6 months, Rebekah earned her Pilates certification and is now living in Riverside with husband Steve and daughter Story Ann.
Elizabeth Apgar Updegraff began her ballet training at the age of seven at the San Diego School of Ballet under the guidance of Robin Morgan. At the age of fourteen she was asked by Lola De Avila of the San Francisco Ballet to come and study with the ballet school under full scholarship. She stayed at SFB for three years as a student and apprentice with the company. Jillana, one of George Balanchine’s protégés, became her mentor and selected her for her first major role as Dewdrop when she was just fifteen. After being invited to return to the San Diego Ballet as a principle dancer, Elizabeth spent the bulk of her career dancing in classical roles and contemporary works created for her by artistic director Javier Velasco. In 1996 Elizabeth was chosen by Baryshnikov to appear on the first cover of his newly started catalog, Baryshnikov Dancewear. She has also been featured as a model in Dance Magazine on several occasions, and in one instance Dance Magazine published a review of her and the late Ricardo Peralta’s lead performance in Opus Swing, a ballet set to the music of Duke Ellington performed in the San Diego Ballet’s 1997 season. Elizabeth appeared as a ballet dancer in the NBC TV movie Jonathan, the Boy Nobody Wanted, and she danced in the West Coast Emmy Awards hosted by David Caradine.
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CHLOE MARGARET SHAH
Chloë Margaret Shah is a native of Southern California. She grew up studying and dancing Classical Ballet technique and other genres of dance at Riverside Ballet Arts under Glenda Carhart & her mother Kathleen Riker. She was the captain choreographer for her high schools theater department for the musicals: The King & I, The Sound of Music, The Fiddler on the Roof, & Les Misérables. After graduating in 2017, she was hired back to choreograph The Music Man. She participated in 16 consecutive years of performing in various Corps De Ballet & character roles in David Allan’s The Nutcracker. She later taught & rehearsed his choreography as a ballet mistress of the children’s scenes for three years.
She continues to instruct Creative Movement children’s ballet classes, Classical Ballet Technique in the level classes, & Musical Theatre Jazz at Riverside Ballet Arts. She is over the supervision of the schools syllabus for levels three and below and the adult ballet classes. She is dedicated to her students success in being properly prepared to enter into & excel in intermediate technique.
meet our guest artists
David Allan was born in Boston. He was formerly an Associate Professor and Director of Ballet at the University of California, Irvine. Mr. Allan was trained at the National Ballet School of Canada. He entered the National Ballet of Canada in 1974, where he was a Soloist from 1977-88, performing all over the world in ballets by Rudolf Nureyev, Erik Bruhn, George Balanchine, Sir Frederic Ashton, John Cranko, Roland Petit, Sir Kenneth MacMillian, Anthony Tudor, and many others. He has choreographed over fifty ballets since 1983, eight of which were commissioned by the late Erik Bruhn for the repertoire of the National Ballet of Canada. He has many works in the repertoire’s of such ballet companies as New York City Ballet, Ohkura Ballet of Tokyo, Italy’s Rome Opera House, Ballet British Columbia, Ballet Pacifica, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Nashville, and Hartford Ballets as well as for opera, film, musicals, and television. He is the recipient of the 1989 Jean A. Chalmers Choreographic Award in Canada and the 1997 Choo-San Goh Award. He was he Associate Artistic Director of the California Riverside Ballet from 1991-1996. Mr. Allan has been a Guest Teacher/Ballet Master for San Francisco Ballet, London Rambert Dance Co., Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Basel Ballet of Switzerland, National Ballet de Lorraine in France, among others.
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Darci Kistler was born in Riverside, California, the youngest of five children and the only girl. Always athletic, Ms. Kistler enjoyed many sports, including skiing, waterskiing, swimming, tennis, football, and dirt biking, before she began studying ballet at Riverside Ballet Arts. At the age of 12 she began studying with Irina Kosmouska in Los Angeles, and that same year she attended a summer session at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet. Two years later, she received a full scholarship to SAB.
Ms. Kistler participated in two SAB Workshops. In the first, in 1979, she danced a principal role in Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s HAYDN CONCERTO, choreographed especially for the Workshop, and danced the pas de deux by August Bournonville from the opera WILLIAM TELL, staged by Stanley Williams. In 1980, Ms. Kistler danced the principal role in George Balanchine’s one-act SWAN LAKE. She prepared for the role by studying extensively with Alexandra Danilova.
Ms. Kistler joined New York City Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in April 1980, was promoted to the rank of Soloist in 1981, and became a Principal Dancer in 1982. She has danced leading roles in many Balanchine ballets.
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Damien Diaz is a native of Los Angeles California and started his first ballet lessons at the age of 14 in Miami, Fl with Thomas Armour and Rene Zintgraff. He was a scholarship student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, the Alabama School of Fine Arts, the Houston Ballet Academy and the School of American Ballet in New York City. At the age of 17, Damien danced his first full length “Swan Lake” as Prince Siegfried, the Cavalier to the Sugar Plum Fairy in “The Nutcracker” and Romeo in “ Romeo and Juliet “ with Ballet South Company under the direction of Dame Sonia Arova. After Ballet South, Damien danced with the Zürich Ballet of Switzerland and the Leipzig ballet in Germany under the direction of European choreographic prodigy Uwe Scholz. As a principle dancer in Leipzig, Damien was the muse for many creations of Uwe Scholz, most notably the lead in “America” and Prince Desiré in the full length “Sleeping Beauty”. As a guest artist, Damien has danced principle roles for the Tokyo Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, the Warsaw Ballet, the Dallas Ballet,the Stuttgart Ballet and the world famous Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo touring major cities such as London, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Moscow. Damien was resident choreographer and ballet master of the California Riverside Ballet under the direction of Glenda Carhart.
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Anastacia Devrise started dancing at the age of four, and has been dancing ever since. She has primarily been trained in classical and contemporary ballet and jazz, with experience in modern, lyrical, and tap. Between the ages of four to fourteen Anastacia trained with Riverside Ballet Arts. While dancing with RBA she performed in numerous productions each year, including parts in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Cinderella; a well as performing variations from ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, and Carmen. Anastacia has trained with professionals at Juilianna, Joffrey Ballet, and the Kirov in their summer intensives. At the age of fourteen she went to The Rock School (the entering school The Pennsylvania Ballet) on scholarship and trained with The Rock for a year and a half. When returning home Anastacia started to teach and coach ballet, as well as competitive jazz and contemporary while obtaining her AA in Art at Riverside Community College. After graduating RCC was accepted into the Dance program at UCI on partial scholarship. Anastacia is now now married with a son but still continues to teach, choreograph, and share her love of dance with her students.
Ashley Hod is a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet. She was born in Great Neck, New York and began her dance training at the age of four at the Great Neck School of Dance.
In 2003, she began training at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, where her teachers included NYCB alumnae Katrina Killian, Garielle Whittle, Darci Kistler, Suki Schorer, Suzi Pilarre, and Kay Mazzo.
As a student at SAB, Ms. Hod had the opportunity to dance in many ballets with NYCB, including George Balanchine’s Coppélia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, and Peter Martins’ The Sleeping Beauty.
Ms. Hod became an apprentice with NYCB in November 2012 and joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in October 2013.
Ms. Hod was a recipient of the 2018 Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award.
Katrina Killian Following early ballet study in Pennsylvania with Marcia Dale Weary, Ms. Killian began her SAB training with the 1977 Summer Course, and was subsequently enrolled in SAB’s Winter Term from 1979 to 1981. As a student, Ms. Killian participated in the New York City Ballet Education Department’s Lecture Demonstration program, performing pas de deux from Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments and The Nutcracker® for local-area school children under the direction of Suki Schorer. She was chosen by Peter Martins to dance a leading role in his new production of The Magic Flute for SAB’s 1981 Workshop Performances and reprised the role as a new member of New York City Ballet the next year.
Ms. Killian became a member of the New York City Ballet in 1981 and was promoted to Soloist in 1989.
Her repertory included principal roles in Balanchine’s Bourée Fantasque, Divertimento from ‘Le Baiser de la Fée’, Tarantella, Symphony in C, Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3, Western Symphony, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Union Jack, Symphony in 3 Movements, and in Jerome Robbins’s Goldberg Variations and The Four Seasons; and Peter Martins’s Eight Easy Pieces and The Sleeping Beauty.
Among the ballets in which she performed soloist parts were Balanchine’s Coppélia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jewels, Scotch Symphony, Chaconne, Tschaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2, The Four Temperaments, La Sonnambula, Stars and Stripes, Raymonda Variations, and La Source.
Ms. Killian originated a principal role in Jerome Robbins’s Ives, Songs in 1988.
In 1997, she joined the School of American Ballet as a guest teacher upon retirement from New York City Ballet. She was appointed to the faculty in 1998.
Ms. Killian currently also serves as Ballet Mistress for the New York City Ballet’s Education Department, staging productions featuring SAB’s Intermediate and Advanced students for NYCB’s Ballet Bridges programs, which reach over 2,000 public school children each year.
Andrew Veyette was born in Denver, Colorado, and began his dance training at the age of 9, studying with Betty Downs at Dance Arts in Visalia, California.
Mr. Veyette continued his studies at Westside Ballet in Santa Monica, California. While at Westside Ballet, Mr. Veyette trained with Yvonne Mounsey and was personally coached by Nader Hamed.
Mr. Veyette entered the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, in the fall of 1998.
In the spring of 2000, Mr. Veyette became an apprentice with New York City Ballet, and later that season he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet.
In March of 2006 he was promoted to soloist. In May 2007 Mr. Veyette was promoted to principal dancer.
Larissa Nazarenko is native of Russia, who started her dance training at the age of six in Barnaul, Russia. She continued her dance education through adulthood, graduating from the Altai State Institute of Art in 1995 with a BFA degree in Dance Pedagogy and Choreography. During her undergraduate studies she performed with the Siberia Dance Company, toured in South Asia, and worked as a rehearsal director in the Rosa Fiber Dance Company. In 1996, Nazarenko moved to the U.S. to study modern dance in New York City at the legendary Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. In 1997, she entered the graduate program at the University of California in Irvine, where she received the Chancellor’s Fellowship earning her MFA degree in Dance with emphasis in choreography. Upon graduation in 1999, Nazarenko co-founded the Russian Souvenir Dance Company, an 18-member professional company that toured extensively nationally and internationally from 1999 to 2004. In Southern California, the presentation of Nazarenko’s choreography was commissioned in numerous concert halls including Thousand Oaks Civil Center, Schoenberg Auditorium at UCLA, Torrance Cultural Arts Center, Herbert Zipper Concert Hall, Plummer Auditorium, and Robert B.Moore Performing Arts Theatre to name a few. Nazarenko’s extensive teaching experience includes numerous dance programs in Russia and California. In 2006, she was hired as Assistant Professor of Dance at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, CA, where she later grew into a department chair for Fine Arts and was appointed Dean of Fine Arts in 2014. Currently, Larissa Nazarenko serves as Dean of Visual and Performing Arts at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA.
Sergio Alvarez Born: Manizales, Colombia Joined Nevada Ballet Theatre in 2015 Sergio Alvarez was born in Manizales, Colombia and trained at the Miluzka Ballet School, Ballet Anna Pavlova and National Ballet of Colombia. He furthered his training and received scholarships to attend prestigious summer programs including Jacob’s Pillow and Ballet Hispánico, and received a full year scholarship to The Rock School for Dance in Philadelphia.
Before joining Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) in 2015, Sergio danced lead roles in many Ballets including The Nutcracker, Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty. He has also performed as a guest artist in Christopher Fleming’s Myth and Madness of Edgar Allan Poe and Leonard Ajkun’s Les Miserables among others.
Sergio’s professional experience includes performing for the National Ballet of Colombia and the National Theatre of Colombia with the musical CABARET. During his time at NBT, he has performed Principal and Soloist roles in both Classical and Contemporary Ballets including “Tybalt in James Canfield’s Romeo & Juliet the “Prince” in Cinderella, choreographed by James Canfield and Tara Foy, as well as “Snow” and “Arabian” in NBT’s annual production of The Nutcracker, choreographed by James Canfield.
He has danced in Ballets by George Balanchine including Serenade, Who Cares? and Western Symphony (Rondo) and he recently performed in Paul Taylor’s Company B and Christopher Wheeldon’s Carousel (A Dance). During the Company’s 2017-2018 Season, Sergio danced the title role of the “Beast” in Lew Christensen’s Beauty and the Beast and was also featured in Matthew Neenan’s World Premiere Until December, which premiered that same year. In 2017, Sergio debuted his choreography at the Mystère Theatre for the 10th annual A Choreographers’ Showcase, the acclaimed partnership between NBT and Cirque du Soleil.
MIRELLA COSTA NETO
Mirella Costa Neto Born: São Paulo, Brazil Joined Nevada Ballet Theatre in 2017 Mirella Costa Neto is from São Paulo, Brazil and began her classical ballet training at the age of eight. At the age of 16, she was invited to join Miami City Ballet School and moved to the U.S.
Throughout her career, she has participated in several acclaimed Ballet competitions world-wide including Youth American Grand Prix, where she placed Top 12 in the U.S.; Festival de Dança de Joinville, which earned her a Gold Medal; and the Helsinki International Ballet Competition in Finland. In 2013, she joined Sarasota Ballet where she performed works by 20th Century Masters including Sir Frederick Ashton, Michael Fokine, Anthony Tudor and August Bournonville, as well as modern and contemporary choreographers such as Paul Taylor and Christopher Wheeldon.
She has also danced many ballets by George Balanchine including Jewels, Stars and Stripes, Who Cares?, Apollo and The Four Temperaments. Since joining Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) in 2017, Mirella’s lead roles have included “Rum and Coca Cola” in Paul Taylor’s Company B , “Winter Fairy” in NBT’s production of The Nutcracker, choreographed by James Canfield, and most recently, “Waltz Girl” in George Balanchine’s Serenade as well as the female Principal in George Balanchine’s Tarantella during NBT’s 2017-2018 Season