Amanda Farris was born and raised in Central California, training in ballet with Central West Ballet, Valley Oak School of Dance, and during summers with Boston Ballet. Ms. Farris was a medalist in the Russian Pointe USA national ballet competition in 2004. She attended Long Beach State on a full academic scholarship where she studied both cultural anthropology and dance. There Ms. Farris trained in modern dance and ballet under world renowned faculty. After graduating summa cum laude, she joined The Georgia Ballet where she quickly rose to dancing principal roles, many of which were created on her. Some featured roles include those in Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Pas de Quatre, Janusz Mazon’s Pinnochio and The Firebird, and Alexandre Proia’s The Four Seasons. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2014, Ms. Farris has danced in works by Val Caniparoli, Lew Christensen, Robert Dekkers, Sonya Delwaide, Sean Kelly, Trey McIntyre, Danielle Rowe, Christopher Stowell, Sally Streets, Norbert Vesak, the Pas de Deux in La Fille Mal Gardee, Black Swan Pas de Deux and George Balanchine's Apollo. She has had works created for her by Robert Dekkers, Sonya Delwaide, KT Nelson, Danielle Rowe and Michael Wells. Ms. Farris has enjoyed being a Teaching Artist with Diablo Ballet's PEEK Outreach Program and she is the President of Diablo Ballet's Prima Ballerina Club. In 2019 joined Diablo Ballet School's faculty.
Theresa Knudson, from Orange County, CA, received her ballet training from Lois Ellyn and attended summer programs at American Ballet Theatre NYC, Boston Ballet, Jose Límon West, and Ballet Austin. She began her professional career with Nouveau Chamber Ballet where she performed principal roles in Lois Ellyn's The Nutcracker, Appalachian Spring, Cigale, among many others. Ms. Knudson has since performed with Wonderbound, Diablo Ballet, ARC Dance, Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Menlowe Ballet, Mark Foehringer Dance Project, and Marika Brussel. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton, and is the founder of Halcyon Dance Project. This is her first season with Diablo Ballet.
Felipe Leon was born in Bogota, Colombia and trained on full scholarship at Ballet Academy East in New York City. He performed with Compania Colombiana de Danza, in Bogota and has danced soloist and principal roles in works by Maurice Berjart, Wendy Whelan, Matthew Neenan, Margo Sappington, Lisa de Ribere, Claudia Schreier and Alan Hineline. Mr. Leon’s repertoire includes Coppélia, Alice in Wonderland and The Nutcracker and since joining Diablo Ballet in 2016, he has performed ballets by Lew Christensen, Robert Dekkers, Sean Kelly and Sally Streets. Mr. Leon has had works created for him by Julia Adam, Sonya Delwaide and Danielle Rowe. Since 2016, he has been a Diablo Ballet PEEK Outreach Program Teaching Artist and in 2019, he joined Diablo Ballet School's faculty.
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 bi-coastally with the contemporary ballet company, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance in New York City. In the Bay Area, she has danced with Company C Contemporary Ballet, Post: Ballet, Garrett and Moulton Productions, Menlowe Ballet, Oakland Ballet and the San Francisco Opera. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2015, Ms. McConnell has performed in works by Val Caniparoli, Lew Christensen, Robert Dekkers, Sean Kelly, Trey McIntyre, KT Nelson, and Penny Saunders. She has danced the Pas de Deux from Raymonda and George Balanchine’s Apollo and Who Cares?. She has had works created for her by Julia Adam, Robert Dekkers, Gary Masters, Danielle Rowe and Michael Wells. Ms. McConnell is a Teaching Artist with Diablo Ballet’s PEEK Outreach Program.
Jordan Nicole Tilton
Born in Irvine, California, Jordan Nicole Tilton trained with Hannah Karacic before joining the Ballet Pacifica Conservatory and later Maple Conservatory of Dance. After spending summers at the School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School, she was invited to join San Francisco Ballet School’s Trainee Program in 2008 and went on to join San Francisco Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2010. With the San Francisco Ballet, she has danced various roles in full length ballet’s such as Helgi Tomasson’s Giselle, Swan Lake, Don Quixote, and Romeo & Juliet, as well as John Cranko’s Onegin, John Neumier’s Little Mermaid, George Balanchine’s Coppelia, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, The Four Temperaments, Scotch Symphony, Serenade, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements, and Theme and Variations, Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, William Forsythe’s Artifact Suite, Edwaard Liang’s Symphonic Dances, Alexei Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy (Piano Concerto #1); Jerome Robbins’ The Concert and Glass Pieces Serge Lifar’s Suite en Blanc, Liam Scarlett’s Hummingbird Natalia Makarova’s (after Petipa) "The Kingdom of the Shades" from La Bayadère. In addition, Ms. Tilton originated roles in Yuri Possokhov’s Rite of Spring and Swimmer and performed featured roles in Mark Morris’s Maelstrom, Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker and Miles Thatcher’s Stone and Steel. In 2015, she danced in the filming of Tomasson’s Romeo & Juliet as part of the inaugural season of Lincoln Center at the Movies: & in the 2011 filming of John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid for PBS’s Great Performances. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2017, Ms. Tilton has performed in works by Val Caniparoli, Robert Dekkers, Sean Kelly, and in the Black Swan pas de Deux from Swan Lake. She has also had works created for her by Robert Dekkers and Danielle Rowe. She is also a member of Diablo Ballet School's faculty.
Raymond Tilton was born in San Marcos and trained at San Elijo Dance Academy and San Francisco Ballet School prior to being named an apprentice in 2010 with the San Francisco Ballet and joining the Company in 2011. His repertory with the San Francisco Ballet includes Tomasson's Nutcracker (King of the Mice and Arabian), Tomasson’s Giselle, Tomasson's Romeo and Juliet, Balanchine’s Coppélia, Cranko’s Onegin, Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, Wheeldon’s Cinderella (Winter and Courtier), Balanchine’s Scotch Symphony, Fokine’s Petrouchka, Lifar’s Suite en Blanc, Nureyev’s Raymonda—Act III, Possokhov’s Firebird, Ratmansky’s Shostakovich Trilogy (Symphony #9 and Chamber Symphony), and Robbins’ Glass Pieces. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2015, Mr. Tilton has performed in works by Val Caniparoli, Lew Christensen, Robert Dekkers, Sean Kelly, KT Nelson, Sally Streets, Norbert Vesak, the Black Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake, the Pas de Deux from Raymonda and in George Balanchine's Apollo and Who Cares?. He has had works created for him by Julia Adam, Robert Dekkers, Sonya Delwaide, Gary Masters and Danielle Rowe. Mr. Tilton is also the School Principal of Diablo Ballet School.
Michael Wells, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, began his formal dance training at Decatur School of Ballet, Atlanta Ballet and later the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He started his career as a trainee with Atlanta Ballet under John McFall, working with choreographers such as Helen Pickett and Wayne McGregor and Twyla Tharp. In New York he performed with Ballet Hispanico’s second company before joining New York Theatre Ballet, where he danced works by Anthony Tudor, Merce Cunningham, Mathew Neenan, and Nicolo Fonte. With Smuin Ballet, Mr. Wells performed ballets by Amy Seiwert, Garrett Ammon, Michael Smuin and Trey McIntyre. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2018, he has performed in works by Val Caniparoli, Robert Dekkers, Sean Kelly, KT Nelson, Sally Streets and the White Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake. He has also had works created for him by Julia Adam, Robert Dekkers and Danielle Rowe. In February 2020, Mr. Wells premiered his first work for Diablo Ballet entitled Forward Thinking. Baydance.com stated, “As the first of Wells' ballets, you could have fooled me.Forward Thinking was set to a score by Justin Levitt for piano, cello, and violin and it worked beautifully.”.
Donghoon Lee is from Seoul, South Korea and received his training at Sejong University. He made his debut in The Nutcracker three months after entering the Korea National Ballet in 2008. As a principal dancer, he danced principal roles in Cinderella, Don Quixote, Giselle, La Bayadere, The Nutcracker, Prince Ho Dong, Romeo and Juliet, Serenade, Spartacus, Swan Lake and The Taming of the Shrew. Mr. Lee received the prestigious nomination for the Russian Benois de la Danse Award and was invited as a guest principal dancer to perform for the Bolshoi Ballet's performance of Spartacus. It was the first time a Korean dancer had the lead role with this esteemed international ballet company. Since joining Diablo Ballet in April 2019, he has performed in ballets by Julia Adam, Val Caniparoli, Sean Kelly, KT Nelson and Michael Wells. Mr. Lee is a Teaching Artist with Diablo Ballet’s PEEK Outreach Program and is on faculty at Diablo Ballet School.
Olivia Powell is a native of the Boston area and received her ballet training from the Boston Ballet School. She attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ dance department and received her BFA with first class honors at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, in Hong Kong. Ms. Powell then joined The Alabama Ballet where she performed in works such as George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, as the dew drop fairy, and Tarantella. She also performed in Jiri Jylian’s Sechs Tanze, Agnes De Mille’s Rodeo, and Roger Van Fleteren’s Romeo and Juliet and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In 2014, she joined Ballet Memphis where she worked with many choreographers including Mark Godden, Steven McMahon, Uri Sands, Joshua L. Peugh, Gabrielle Lamb, Julia Adam and Julie Marie Niekrasz. Ms. Powell has also choreographed several works for Ballet Memphis’ “Pairings” and The Alabama Ballet’s “Choreographic Showcase”. Since joining Diablo Ballet in 2019, Ms. Powell has performed in ballets by Julia Adam, Sean Kelly and Sally Streets. She has also danced the female variation in Esmeralda and in George Balanchine’s Who Cares? Ms. Powell is on faculty at Diablo Ballet School.
Danielle Troyano began her training on Long Island, NY at Seiskaya Ballet and with Sara Knight at SLK Ballet, in NYC. She spent her summers at the Rock School, Walnut Hill School and HARID Conservatory on scholarship, and has received training from the Gelsey Kirkland Academy and Ellison Ballet. Ms. Troyano also studied in London at the Central School of Ballet as part of an exchange program with SLK Ballet. Her professional career started at age 19 with Montgomery Ballet. Ms. Troyano joined Ballet Idaho in 2015 under the direction of Peter Anastos performing Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, Spring Fairy in Edward Liang’s Cinderella, and Pas De Trois, and Lead Czardas in Peter Anastos’ Swan Lake. She has had the honor of performance Agon, Concerto Barocco, Valse Fantasie and Allegro Brilliante by George Balanchine. She has also performed works by Penny Saunders and Danielle Rowe. Ms. Troyano remains a permanent guest artist with Albany Berkshire Ballet under Madeline Culpo, where she’s performed A Midsummer Nights Dream, Carmina Burana, and The Nutcracker. In addition to dancing, she is passionate about teaching and helping others. She remains on permanent guest faculty at Hinsdale Dance Academy in Chicago and the School of Ballet Indiana, where she teaches Adaptive Dance, a movement based class tending to children with special needs. She is also a certified Dance for Parkinson’s instructor. This is her first year with Diablo Ballet and on faculty at Diablo Ballet School.
Roberto Vega-Ortiz was born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. He began his training in hip hop, jazz and ballet in Taller de Bailes LeDaph in Manatí, PR at age 14. He then continued his pre-professional ballet training with Marie Carmen Márquez, Ana María Castañón, Orlando Carreras and Victor Gilí, and also studied at The School of Ballets de San Juan, Conservatory of Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico and Specialized School in Ballet Julián E. Blanco, where he graduated from Level 8. He attended summer courses at Joffrey Ballet School, The Washington School of Ballet, The School of Nashville Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School. After a season as an apprentice with Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, Mr. Vega-Ortiz decided to expand his studies at Miami City Ballet School in the fall of 2015 with teachers including Geta Constantinescu, María Torija and Olivier Pardina. In 2016 he joined the second company of Nashville Ballet where he danced leading roles with the main company. He later joined Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo in 2017, where he toured extensively in countries such as Japan, Italy, Portugal, France, Mexico, United Kingdom, Ireland, Serbia, Germany and the US, performing female soloist and principal roles en pointe. Throughout his career, Mr. Vega-Ortiz, has guested with different companies such as Brandon Ballet, Northeast Youth Ballet and Menlowe Ballet and was also a cast member of The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber in San Juan, PR. . He joined Diablo Ballet in 2019 dancing in ballets created by Julia Adam, Sally Streets, Michael Wells and the male variation in Esmeralda. Along with Carlos Hopuy, Mr. Vega-Ortiz, is the co-founder of @MaleBallerinas, a global platform and community for male ballet dancers en pointe. He joined Diablo Ballet School's faculty in 2020.
Olivia Cole received her formal training with Artistic Director and RAD-certified instructor Patty O'Reilly at the Sonoma Conservatory of Dance. In addition to performing seasonally with SCD, she spent her summers expanding her experience studying with Ballet West, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, American Ballet Theatre faculty and in Cuba at the National Ballet. Ms. Cole has worked with notable artists and choreographers Isabelle Sjahsam, Evan Johnston, Tom Weinberger, and Courtney Mazeika. She also received training in acting and musical theatre, performing in Schoolhouse Rock and the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. In 2019, Ms. Cole became one of Diablo Ballet’s first professional trainees performing in The Nutcracker Suite by Julia Adam and in La Esmeralda. In the Spring of 2020, she was named Diablo Ballet’s first apprentice. She will begin her first year as a professional dancer during Diablo Ballet’s 2020-21 season. She is excited to share the human experience by emitting emotion and passion through her performances.