MARIA KOWROSKI was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she began her ballet training at age seven with the School of Grand Rapids Ballet. Ms. Kowroski entered the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, in the fall of 1992. She became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in the summer of 1994 and was invited to join the Company as a member of the corps de ballet in January of 1995. In the spring of 1997, Ms. Kowroski was promoted to the rank of soloist and in the spring of 1999, she was promoted to principal dancer.
Ms. Kowroski has danced many principal roles in the Balanchine repertory including, Agon, Apollo, Concerto Barocco, Mozartiana, Diamonds, Rubies and Emeralds from Jewels, Prodigal Son, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Chaconne and Bugaku. Ms. Kowroski has had the pleasure of being created on by several choreographers including Jerome Robbins, Christopher Wheeldon, Mauro Bigonzetti, Justin Peck, Peter Martins, Boris Eifman, and Helgi Tomasson. She has also had the great privilege of working with the great choreographers Alexei Ratmansky and William Forsythe. Ms. Kowroski was a guest artist with the Mariinsky ballet performing Swan Lake in 2003, a mixed Balanchine program in 2006 and 2019. In 1994 Ms. Kowroski was the recipient of the Princess Grace Award and in 2011 she received the Jerome Robbins award.
Ms. Kowroski became Acting Artistic Director of New Jersey Ballet in November 2021 and Artistic Director in September 2022.
CAROLYN CLARK (Director) A native of New Jersey, Ms. Clark is Director of New Jersey School of Ballet and Founder/Director of New Jersey Ballet Company. Ms. Clark performed classical and contemporary ballet with American Ballet Theatre and toured with that company throughout North America, Scandinavia, Europe and Africa. Additional ballet company credits include the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Radio City Ballet, and as principal dancer with New Jersey Ballet and New Jersey State Opera. Ms. Clark's professional credits also include many Broadway musicals and television shows, most notably as assistant to the choreographer for the Bell Telephone Hour. She is a founding member of ArtPride New Jersey, served two years on the President’s Council on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center, and five years on the Advisory Board of Channel 13. Ms. Clark has been honored with a New Jersey Pride Award for her contribution to the arts, and also by the National Society of Arts and Letters and by Dance NJ. Ms. Clark attended Rutgers University. Ms. Clark passed away on June 17, 2023 leaving behind her life's work – New Jersey Ballet, which she led for over sixty-years.
EDWARD VILLELLA is certainly America’s most celebrated male dancer. Among his accomplishments are Emmy Award winner, star of New York City Ballet, guest artist with the Bolshoi, performer at President Kennedy’s Inaugural, first American to guest with the Royal Danish Ballet and the only American ever to be asked to dance an encore at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. In 1968, the Bell Telephone Hour’s salute to Villella became an Emmy Award-winning special. His Harlequin–A Patchwork of Love, the first ballet ever commissioned by an American TV network, resulted in Emmy Awards for the show and for Villella as choreographer, producer and star! In recognition of his achievements, President Clinton presented him with the 1997 National Medal of Arts. That same year, he was named a Kennedy Center Honoree. He is a former member of the President’s Council on the Arts and a past recipient of the prestigious Capezio Award. He was recently selected one of “America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures” by The Dance Heritage Coalition. Mr. Villella has been Artistic Advisor to New Jersey Ballet since 1972.
Toni Ann Auriemma
Ms. Auriemma joined New Jersey School of Ballet in 1996. For over 25 years, Ms. Auriemma has applied her organizational skills managing the school's scheduling, billing, and client communications. She also organizes NJSB students and parent volunteers for company and school productions and rehearses the Clowns for New Jersey Ballet Company's Nutcracker. Ms. Auriemma majored in Business Administration at Montclair State University.
Mr. DiBonaventura credits include several years as principal dancer with Cleveland Ballet where he danced principal roles in numerous ballets including Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, Coppelia, Balanchine’s Apollo, Midsummer Night’s Dream and the standard classical pas de deux. He also guested numerous times in Caracas with ballerina Zhanda Rodriguez. Choreographer Fleming Flindt invited him to Denmark to film his Lucifer’s Daughter, a ballet to celebrate the Queen of Denmark’s 25th Anniversary. He was a principal dancer with New Jersey Ballet and with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet.
Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Zack Grubbs began his dance training at Tuzer Ballet to supplement his education as a competitive gymnast. He continued his ballet training at the University of Utah under Attila Ficzere and trained with companies across the country including Boston Ballet, where he was a company dancer for four years. Mr. Grubbs came to Cincinnati Ballet in 2002, was promoted to Soloist in 2005 and Senior Soloist in 2008. He has also performed with opera companies across the U.S., including the Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Cincinnati Opera. Throughout his performance career, Mr. Grubbs has worked with world renowned choreographers including Trey McIntyre, Rudy van Dantzig, Mauricio Wainrot, Christopher Wheeldon and Stanton Welch.
Mr. Grubbs has also worked as a repetiteur for Cincinnati Ballet and its Second Company, as well as a faculty member at the Otto M. Budig Academy. In September of 2016, he retired from Cincinnati Ballet’s professional company to assume the leadership position of Academy Principal at the Otto M. Budig Academy until 2022
Ms. Guimaraes a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ms. Guimaraes graduated from the University of Rio de Janeiro with a degree in dance. Her early ballet studies were with Russian dancer Tatiana Leskorva and Ismael Guizer in Brazil. Ms. Guimaraes later joined the Nina Verchinina Contemporary Ballet and Jazz Company in Rio de Janeiro. She has taught all levels of Ballet, Jazz and Modern in Brazil. After relocating to the U.S., she was on the dance faculty at Oakland University in Michigan teaching all levels of Ballet, Jazz and Modern. She also teaches Tap and Brazilian.
Se Hyun Jin
SeHyun Jin is from South Korea and began her ballet training when she was 10 years old and continued her training at the Daejeon Art High School. In 2009, she was accepted into the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. on both artistic and academic scholarships. While in Washington, D.C. SeHyun also trained at the Kennedy Center Master Class Series where she was awarded the Certificate of Merit from the National Society of Arts and Letters in recognition for her impeccable technique. After she graduated from Kirov Academy of Ballet, she became a company member with Milwaukee Ballet, a soloist with Charleston City Ballet and a principal dancer with Columbia Classical Ballet for 4 years. Ms. Jin is a principal guest artist in Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet, Kingsport Ballet and Charleston Ballet in WV. She received the Silver Medal (Professional Division) at the 2015 World Ballet Competition in Orlando where she performed selections from Giselle and Sleeping Beauty. Past honors include third place at the Korea International Ballet Competition and finalist at the Seoul International Dance Competition. Ms. Jin has been a dancer with New Jersey Ballet Company since 2018.
Ms. Kapteyn began her training at the East Street Ballet, Massachusetts. She continued training with Irina Vakhromeeva while a student at Deerfield Academy. Ilse attended summer programs at the School of American Ballet, the Chautauqua Institution, and American Ballet Theatre NY. Ilse traveled to Moscow in the summer of 2011 and was accepted at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. Ilse joined the New Jersey Ballet in the fall of 2012.
Ms. Kojima-Noa was born in Japan and studied with School of American Ballet, Former Bolshoi and New York City Ballet principals Valentina Kozlova and Leonid Kozlov, Former New York City Ballet Dancer Diana White. Ms. Kojima-Noa joined New Jersey Ballet during the 2001-2002 season and has danced many soloist and principal roles in Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Paquita, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle and other contemporary works. She is a Repertory coach New Jersey Ballet Company and is on the ballet faculty of New Jersey School of Ballet. In 2018, she joined New Jersey Ballet as a Marketing Director.
Mr. McRae began training in San Francisco when he was 9 years old and continued at New Jersey School of Ballet. He became an apprentice to NJB at age 16. While attending Point Park College, he performed for 4 years with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. A member of NJB for 15 years, he danced numerous solo and principal roles and often returns to the stage in character roles such as Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote in Don Q. He is a former member of the boards of Dance/ New Jersey and ArtPride New Jersey and NJB’s Assistant Artistic Director.
Ms. Mochizuki trained at the Royal Ballet of Flanders and at ballet academies in Japan. She danced solo and principal roles with the Teatrul Ballet Sibu, Romania, the Constanta National Opera Ballet and the Timisoara National Opera Ballet. Her principal roles include Don Quixote, Pacquita, Nutcracker, Chopiniana and La Vivandiere. She has won medals in several international competitions. Most recently, she took the bronze medal in the Kozlova Competition in New York and a Gold Medal at the World Ballet Competition in Florida.
DENISE PARUNGAO danced with Ballet Philippines for 11 years where her repertoire included lead roles in The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Cinderella to name a few. She has won awards from CCP National Ballet Competition, Aliw Awards Best Classical Dancer, and Philstage Gawad Buhay Best Female Dancer for Swan Lake. She trained at the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet and Brezhnev Larlar. Ms. Parungao holds a bachelor’s degree in Dance at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde and received her certification as a Ballet Conservatoire teacher. She joined New Jersey Ballet in the spring of 2022.
Ms. Sabovick-Bleich joined New Jersey Ballet in 1981 and performed as soloist and principal until 2004. A strong classical dancer, she excelled in roles that demand the elegance of the Sylvia pas de deux, the bravura virtuosity of the Stars & Stripes pas de deux and the feistiness of the Cowgirl in Agnes deMille’s Rodeo. Ms.Sabovick-Bleich toured with the Pavlova Celebration Ballet, Kozlov and Friends and International Ballet Stars. Her teaching experience includes ballet and pointe classes at all levels.
Dara Sacripanti studied with Dance Educators of America in New York and earned her Bachelor's Degree in Dance Education from Western Kentucky University. Ms. Sacripanti also studied with Frank Hatchet and Charles Kelly at Broadway Dance Center. She has performed in productions of Guys & Dolls, West Side Story and Showboat to name a few. Ms. Sacripanti became active at New Jersey Ballet School when her daughter began her ballet training at the School and has performed with New Jersey Ballet Company in Romeo & Juliet as the Nurse and the Grandmother in The Nutcracker.
Originally from Fukuoka, Japan, Ryoko Sadoshima began her formal ballet training at the New Jersey School of Ballet under the direction of Carolyn Clark. She graduated from the School of American Ballet at Lincoln Center and supplemented her training on scholarship at the Boston Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet summer programs. Ms. Sadoshima first started dancing professionally with the Pennsylvania Ballet, before joining the Sarasota Ballet as a corps de ballet member in 2011. She was promoted to soloist in 2016 and danced in numerous principal roles in ballets by Sir Frederick Ashton (A Wedding Bouquet, Birthday Offering, Monotones I, Sleeping Beauty, The Two Pigeons), George Balanchine (Bugaku, Emeralds), Twyla Tharp (Nine Sinatra Songs), Antony Tudor (The Leaves are Fading), Christopher Wheeldon (There Where She Loved, The American) and Sir Peter Wright (Summertide, The Mirror Walkers), among others. She holds a BA from the University of South Florida where she graduated summa cum laude and RYT-200 for instructing yoga for all ages. She is excited to join the faculty at New Jersey Ballet, the place where she first fell in love with ballet.
Ms. Scarangelllo studied ballet at American Ballet Theatre and at New York’s Dance Circle under noted master Alfredo Corvino. She also studied Jazz and Flamenco and performed with Dance Circle Company in New York. Her credits include over 20 TV shows and numerous movies. She is a graduate of Montclair State University and is certified in Arts Administration by New York University. Her teaching credits include the Wein Center for Dance, New York City, and the Governor’s School of the Arts.
Eunice Suba enrolled at New Jersey School of Ballet at the age of 11 and joined the Intensive Program at age 13. A Junior Company member for 3 years, she was chosen to dance the coveted role of Clara in NJ Ballet’s Nutcracker. Ms. Suba received scholarships to attend summer intensive programs at Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, NY, and French Academie. She won a Gold Medal at the 2018 Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition NYC.
Mr. Tamaki began his formal training at New Jersey School of Ballet at age 7 and became a member of the NJB Junior Company in 1998. A year later he joined the company and during his career danced principal roles, which included the Champion Roper in Rodeo, the Prince and Trepak in Nutcracker, Romeo in Romeo & Juliet and Le Corsair pas de deux to name a few.
Mr. Tamaki is Managing Director for New Jersey Ballet. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Saint Mary’s College of California where he graduated summa cum laude and holds a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University. Mr. Tamaki also leads NJ Ballet’s Dancing for Parkinson’s program, which provides free weekly dance classes to individuals with Parkinson’s disease, and is a Stanley J. Wertheimer Fellow.
JOSHUAN VAZQUEZ is from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. He trained in classical, modern, jazz, and urban dance with Western Ballet Theater, Ballet Escenario, and Escuela Mayagüezana de Ballet y Artes Escénicas (EMBAE) in Puerto Rico. Mr. Vazquez danced as a guest artist and company dancer with Ballet Etudes of Florida, Mauro Ballet Company and Ballet Arts Dance Company to name a few. He completed his degree in Classical Dance Pedagogy (Cuban Technique) at the Alicia Alonso Dance Institute, Rey Juan Carlos II University (URJC) in Madrid. In 2018, he joined Ballet de Came de Madrid, where he has been featured in principal and soloist roles. In 2020, he was a top award winner for his performances in a classical variation, contemporary solo and pas de deux at Dance Open America’s International Competition. Mr. Vaszquez joined New Jersey Ballet in the spring of 2022.
Ms. Villacres was born and raised in Newark, NJ. She received her early dance training at The School of the Garden State Ballet. She performed in Garden State Ballet’s productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Nutcracker. She attended NYU’s Tisch School of The Arts and received her B.A. from Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of The Arts. Melissa attended various summer programs studying with David Howard, The Joffrey Ballet, Hartford Ballet and San Diego Ballet. She also received training at STEPS, Broadway Dance Center, New Jersey Ballet and Theatre Arts Dance America (TADA). At TADA, she studied with Caroline Brown, Buddy Balou and Elaine Kudo (all American Ballet Theatre soloists), Lynne Grossman (Austin Ballet Theater) and Diane Orio-Gerberg (Joffrey Ballet).
Ms. Villacres performed soloist roles in The Nutcracker with both Empire State Ballet and New Jersey Ballet. At Theatre Arts, she performed in original works by Elaine Kudo, such as The Web and Entrada, Buddy Balou’s United Reverence, as well as productions of Les Sylphides and The Nutcracker. She has enjoyed teaching ballet for over a decade. She has taught at Montclair State University, Theatre Arts Dance America and at SMAPA.
Ms. Walsh received a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance with high honors from Butler University. She danced professionally with several companies as a soloist and principal including Indianapolis Ballet Theater, St. Louis Ballet, and Ballet Memphis. She teaches all levels of ballet and is a private coach working with rhythmic gymnastics levels four through eight. Ms. Walsh choreographed for several New Jersey School of Ballet student workshops.
Ms. Whiting trained at the New Jersey School of Ballet and also attended programs at the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. She was part of the school’s ensemble that took first place twice in the Youth Dance Festival of New Jersey. Ms. Whiting also won first place performing a pas de deux in that competition. Her repertory includes Fairy Doll, Le Corsaire and Don Quixote. She joined NJB in 2011.
Mr. Wilder is known for his quick feet and solid, rhythmic style. He is a principal dancer for the New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble under the direction of Deborah Mitchell. Mr. Wilder has studied with many accomplished artists including Deborah Mitchell, Jimmy Slyde and Savion Glover. He has worked with renowned composers Marvin Hamlisch, Bill Conti, J. Leonard Oxley and Nikki Denner.