Marissa Andresky

Hometown: Plantation, Florida

Marissa Andresky was born in Plantation, Florida and found a love for dance at a young age. She grew up training at DANL Dance Center in a variety of styles including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, musical theatre, hip hop and acrobatics. Marissa has attended the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive in New York and the Sarasota Contemporary Dance Intensive.

She is currently a student at the University of South Florida in Tampa, completing a Dual Degree with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a concentration in Ballet and a Bachelor of Science in Criminology, as well as, a minor in Biomedical Anthropology. She has had the opportunity to work with and perform pieces by faculty members at USF, and guest choreographers Robert Moses and Alex Ketley.



Michelle Anduiza

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Michelle Lauren Anduiza is a native of Miami, Fl. She started training ballet when she was three years old  at Mencia-Pikieris School of Dance and Thomas Armour Youth Ballet. She continued her training in high school at the renowned New World School of the Arts, where she performed works by Gerard Ebitz, Lara Murphy, Tina Santos, and Peter London.

Michelle also trained/worked with and performed for master choreographers such as Alonzo King of Lines Ballet, Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefeaux of Charlotte Ballet, Dwight Roden and Desmond Richardson of Complexions Ballet and Laura Glenn of White Mountain Summer Dance Festival. 

Currently, she studies at University of South Florida as a Dance Major in performance and choreography with a focus in Ballet.


Nicole Assaad

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Nicole Assaad started dancing ballet at age 8 at the Patel Conservatory. After a year, she moved to All American Classical Ballet School in Tampa, Florida where she received training from Julio Montano and Gisell Durand. She won many awards and scholarships from many competitions such as the Youth America Grand Prix, American Dance Competition, as gold medalist and a recipient of the Fernando Bujones Award, and World Ballet Competition, receiving the bronze medal in the final round.

At age 15, she moved to New York City to study with the Gelsey Kirkland Academy under a full scholarship. At age 16, she joined the Gelsey Kirkland Ballet Studio Company, performing various roles, such as “Marie” and “Sugarplum” in The Nutcracker, “Columbina” in the Flames of Paris, “Kitri” in Don Quixote, Diamond and Charity fairy in the Sleeping Beauty, along with many other roles. 

At age 18, she joined the Hong Kong Ballet’s corps de ballet under the direction of Madeleine Onne, where she performed in many productions such as Romeo and Juliet, Coppelia, Pinnochio, Carmen, Lady of the Camelias, and many other original productions that toured in Canada, the US, Macau, and Mainland China. 



Gretel Batista

Hometown: La Habana, Cuba

Gretel Batista was born in Cuba, where she began her training at the National Ballet of Cuba, until she moved to the United States with her family in 2005. She continued her training on full scholarships in St. Petersburg, at the Academy of Ballet Arts, and graduated from the Pinellas County Center for the Arts Magnet School as a dance major. She trained and performed with America’s Ballet School in the last year.

Ms. Batista’s classical repertoire includes Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Diana and Acteon, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, Flames of Paris, Flower Festival, Tchaikovsky Pas de deux, Black Swan, as well as contemporary/contemporary ballet works by Paula Nunez.

Ms. Batista has been awarded several times in the Youth America Grand Prix, semi-finals and New York City Finals and the American Dance Competition, including 1st Place in her contemporary solo. She has been the recipient of multiple scholarships and has been invited to dance in a number of galas as a guest artist.

Ms. Batista loves performing and is comfortable in classical, neo-classical and contemporary works.


Sofia Downing

Hometown: Mandeville, Louisiana

Sofia Downing was born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and began dancing at the age of three. At the age of five, her family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where she continued her ballet training at the Myra Mier School of Ballet. She then went on to dance at the Apetrei Dancenter in Mandeville, Louisiana, training in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and contemporary. She became a company member in 2010 and participated in the Regional Dance America festival for two years under the direction of Kelly Apetrei.

Sofia has attended Joffery Ballet West, Florida Dance, and the International Ballet Competition Summer intensives in the past years. She also participated in the Valentina Kozlova Ballet Competition in 2015. She has performed works by Luis Fuente, Helen Hansen French, John Parks and Robert Moses.

Sofia is currently attending the University of South Florida majoring in Dance.




Summer Ewing

Hometown: Orlando, Florida

Summer Ewing was born in Orlando, Florida and began dancing at the age of three at East Coast Performing Arts, formerly known as The Dance PAD.  Summer danced with them throughout high school where she was trained in all styles of dance including ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, tap and musical theatre.  She also spent summers dancing at the Nutmeg Conservatory where she studied repertoire from La Bayadere, Sleeping Beauty, and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux.

This summer, Summer will be attending the Alonzo King Lines Pre-Professional Program where she will have the opportunity to study under Alonzo King and further her training in ballet and modern.  Summer is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a ballet concentration, and her Bachelor of Science in Finance at the University of South Florida, where she has had the opportunity to perform pieces by Paula Nunez, Andrew Carrol, Jeanne Travers, Andee Scott, Robert Moses, and Xiao Xiang Rong.


Julia Faris

Hometown: Pembroke Pines, Florida

Julia Faris was born in Pembroke Pines, Florida and began dancing at the age of two. She started dancing at MJM Dance Company and followed through with them until high school. She attended New World School of the Arts high school in Miami, Florida. Here she worked with Gerard Ebitz, Lara Murphy, Tina Santos, and Peter London. Guest artists included Sidra Bell and Francesca Harper.

Julia had the opportunity to go to the Alonzo King Lines and Joffrey Ballet summer intensives to work with well-known choreographers including Alonzo King and Dwight Roden.

Julia now is at the University of South Florida studying dance with a concentration in ballet. She has worked and performed in pieces created by Andrew Carroll, Paula Nuñez, Andee Scott, Gierre Godley, Alex Ketley, and Robert Moses.


Veronica Hernandez

Hometown: Palm Harbor, Florida

Veronica Hernandez was born in Long Island, New York and moved to Florida before she turned one years old. She began her ballet training in Pinellas County when she was three years old. When she was twelve years old, American ballet grand dame, Gelsey Kirkland, invited Veronica to train full time in New York City at Ms. Kirkland’s pre-professional ballet program at the Gelsey Kirkland School for Classical Ballet. From there, Veronica spent the next five years training with some of the best ballet teachers in New York City in full time pre-professional ballet programs including Gelsey Kirkland, Michael Chernov, Lyubov Fominih and Pilar Garcia (GKA Ballet), Edward Ellison and Jolanta Valeikaite (Ellison Ballet), Fabrice Herrault (Herrault Ballet Studio and ABT-JKO instructor). Veronica attended Summer Intensives at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) in New York City and masterclasses with Cynthia Harvey (ABT-JKO Artistic Director), Marcelo Gomes (former ABT dancer), and Isabelle Guérin (former Paris Opera Ballet étoile). Veronica supplemented her Classical ballet training with Modern dance training at the Taylor School at Paul Taylor American Modern Dance Company, and modern and ballet classes at Steps on Broadway. In 2017, Veronica returned home and continued her training at America’s Ballet School.

Ms. Hernandez’s classical repertoire includes Le Corsaire, Harlequinade, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, La Classe De Pointe, Polka Pizzicato, Pas De Trois of Shades, La Esmeralda, Khachaturian Waltz, Carmen, as well as contemporary ballet works by Paula Nuñez.

Ms. Hernandez performed several times, and was awarded, in the Youth America Grand Prix, including the Boston semi-finals and New York City Finals.

Ms. Hernandez loves performing classical, neo-classical and contemporary works.

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Marcus McCray

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Marcus McCray, a native of Tampa Bay, started his formal dance training at the end of his senior year in high school in PCCA at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Fl.  He then left Tampa Bay to attend the New World School of the Arts’ BFA program in Miami, Fl. One of his professors (Peter London) had a dance company in Miami that Marcus was a part of from his freshman year until his senior year at NWSA in Miami. He graduated in the spring of 2015 and the very next day after graduation, Marcus was flown to Coyoacan, Mexico to work with the acclaimed Mexican Choreographer and Director Tania-Perez Salas for her North American tour. After that contract ended, Marcus was granted a full scholarship to attend Alonzo King LINES Ballet summer program, from which he was honored to be invited to stay in the year-round Professional-Training program.

While in California at LINES Marcus was a founding member of a dance troupe called MudWater, where they mixed the disciplines and styles of street dancers (Aka Turf dancers) and Ballet dancers from LINES BFA and Training Program to collaborate and create groundbreaking new works that was presented all around the SF Bay area. The troupe was later featured in the San Francisco State of the Arts Magazine. After completing year and a half of training at LINES, Marcus was hired as a guest artist with Philadelphia’s Ballet X. After leaving Ballet X, Marcus free-lanced in New York City for nearly a year before returning here to his beloved home town. Marcus is happy to be back and working here in Tampa.



Lily McCrossin

Hometown: Sharpsburg, Maryland

Lily McCrossin grew up in Sharpsburg, Maryland where she began her dance training at the Inwood Performing Arts. Growing up, Lily dedicated her summers to training on full scholarship with Ballet Austin, The Orlando Ballet School, and Joffrey Ballet School. She continued her dance studies at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, where she was awarded talent-based grants and a departmental scholarship. 

   During her time at USF, Lily participated in the 2018 American College Dance Association's Southeast regional conference, where she performed her self-choreographed solo. She has also traveled to China to perform works choreographed by Paula Nuñez and Jeanne Travers at the Beijing Dance Academy. Lily graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts from USF in the spring of 2018.


Samuel Melecio-Zambrano

Hometown: Niceville, Florida

Samuel Melecio-Zambrano was first exposed to dance in the womb, as his mother salsa-ed her way about the living room. Ever since then, dance has always found a way to pop up in his life, but it wasn’t until the latter years of high school that he truly committed to the art form at Northwest Florida State College.

He then went on to receive his BFA in Dance, modern concentration, at the University of South Florida, studying under faculty Michael Foley, Bliss Kohlmyer, Paula Nuñez, Andrew Carrol, John Parks and Andee Scott. During his time at USF, Samuel worked with guest choreographers, performing original works by Robert Moses and Xiao Xiangrong, and repertory works by Kara Davis and Christian Denice.

He was also cast in the 2017 American Dance Festival's Footprints, performing Shay Kuebler's original work, annex 7-25-17.




John Paul Miecznikowski

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

John Paul was born in Tampa, Florida. He started his dance training with Hip Hop and other styles. At the age of six, John enrolled in America's Ballet School under full scholarship until his graduation in 2017. John Paul has danced several roles with ABS and TCBII, participating in many ensemble compositions and dancing numerous classical productions.

John trained under the tutelage of Paula Nunez and Osmany Montano up until he was 18 years old. He participated in many competitions as soloist and part of the ensembles, like YAGP and American Dance Competition. He was chosen as TCBII dancer for the past three years.

John has danced several classical roles including The Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Dr. Coppelius in Coppelia, and danced numerous classical and contemporary pas de deux both with ABS and TCBII.



Patricia Planzo

Hometown: St. Petersburg, Florida

Patrizia Isabella Planzo started training at The Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida where she studied classical ballet and modern techniques. She also trained with The Academy of Ballet Arts for the duration of her high school career. Patrizia attended The American Dance Festival in 2014 and 2016, where she studied Forsythe ballet with Elizabeth Corbett of the Frankfurt Ballet Company and also trained with Courtney Harris of Houston Ballet.

Patrizia has also performed pieces by Jennifer Archibald, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Danang Pamungkas, and Xiao Xiangrong.

Currently, she studies at the University of South Florida as a Dance Major in performance and choreography with a concentration in Modern. 






Justice Rodriguez

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Originally from Miami, Florida, Justice Rodriguez began his dance training at Miami-Dade Community College. While training at MDC,Justice had the opportunity to work professionally with Momentum Dance Company under the direction of Delma Iles. After graduating with an Associate of Arts in dance, Justice moved to Tampa, Florida, where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance performance and choreography with the University of South Florida.

While training at USF, Justice had the opportunity to dance in original works by Michael Foley, Andrew Carroll, Jeanne Travers, Andee Scott, Robert Moses, and Alex Ketley. Justice also had the opportunity to study abroad in Paris, France as a part of the USF Dance in Paris Program; where he lived for five months studying various dance techniques, and worked closely with many choreographers such as Maurice Causey (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Nathalie Pubelier (Paris, France), Nadine Beaulieu (Rouen, France), and Heidi Weiss (Berlin, Germany) among others. Still exploring his everlasting fascination with dance, and the creation of dance, Justice continues to explore dance technique and his own choreographic voice.



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Shauna Sloms

Hometown: Doylestown, Pennsylvania

Shauna Sloms started dancing at the age of 3 in Doylestown, Pennsylvania under Marilyn Budzynski working closely with Pennsylvania Ballet alumni such as Christine Jones, Heidi Cruz-Austin, Barbara Sandonato, Carla Krochak, James Ihde, Lauren Fadeley, Francis Veyette, and Tara Keating in both ballet and contemporary.

In 2014, Shauna attended The School of Pennsylvania Ballet under the instruction of Aranxa Ochoa and danced in The Nutcracker, and in George Balanchine’s Serenade. 

In 2015, Shauna attended University of South Florida and performed in Le Corsaire Pas de Trois Variation and Paula Nunez’s “FingerPrints” which placed 3rd in the American College Dance Association Conference. 

In 2016 and 2017, Shauna attended University of North Carolina School of the Arts performing in Serenade staged by Zippora Karz, Carnival of the Animals staged by Alexei Kremnev, and Casey Noblett’s “Dollhouse”.  Shauna also worked under Casey Noblett as a work study for the Commercial Dance Intensive in 2017.

Shauna also has attended many summer programs such as Pennsylvania Ballet, ABT Collegiate Summer Intensive, Complexions Ballet and Peridance BluePrint Summer Intensive. Shauna also had the experience of performing in the 2017 Spoleto Festival USA in the opera Eugene Onegin in Charleston, South Carolina.

Shauna is currently studying at University of South Florida and is planning to receive her BFA in Dance in 2019. 


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Claudia Suarez

Hometown: San Antonio de Los Altos, Venezuela

Born in Venezuela, Claudia began her ballet studies at the age of 5 at a local school and had additional training at the Central School of Ballet, London. Later on, she continued at Fundación Ballet de las Américas (America's Ballet School in Caracas) and Vladimir Issaev School of Classical Ballet in North Miami, where she graduated in 2015. She has participated in numerous festivals in her country and twice at the International Festival of Ballet Schools in La Habana, Cuba; as well as taken different workshops at the English National Ballet School and the Royal Ballet School. In 2010, Claudia was awarded with the Silver Medal at the Caracas National Ballet Competition and among the Top Ten dancers at the Universal Ballet Competition, Senior Classical Division in 2015. In 2012, she won a scholarship to attend Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida’s Summer Intensive of Russian Technique, which she continued attending in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Claudia was a Trainee and later on, promoted to an Apprentice position with Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida, company to which she danced with for two seasons (2015-2017). Her repertoire includes various classical ballets like Don Quixote, Cinderella, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker; as well as many choreographies by Issaev like The Rite of Spring, Fuga con Pajarillo, Shostakovich Suites, Suite of Waltzes, Coppelia, among others. Claudia looks forward to keep improving her technique as well as exploring different styles of movement with Tampa City Ballet.




Brent Townend

Brent Townend started dancing at the age of 2, taking tap lessons from Judi Jurhs. He first began learning the art of ballet under his mother, Debbie Townend, and Liz Bevilacqua at Dussich Dance Studio in 2004, while also expanding his studies with modern, lyrical, pas de deux, hip hop, musical theatre, jazz, acrobatics, and ballroom.  Brent has attended Florida Dance Masters’ Thanksgiving Convention every year since 2004.  Through Florida Dance Masters, he is the first to win all four titles, winning Mr. Twinkling Star in 2006, Mr. Rising Star in 2008, Jr. Mr. Dance in 2012, and Mr. Dance in 2013. Through Florida Dance Masters, Brent had the opportunity to audition for the American Academy of Ballet Summer Program in Purchase, NY under Mignon Furman, and he attended the program on full scholarship from 2009-2012. Brent also has traveled to New York every summer since 2009, taking classes at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center with esteemed teachers.  

A great opportunity arose when Brent auditioned for the part of Michael in Billy Elliot in 2009 and was called back multiple times. In the summers of 2013-2017, Brent trained with Francois Perron at the French Academy of Ballet in New York, with prestigious guest faculty including Misty Copeland and Irina Dvorovenko. Brent has experience with The Nutcracker as well, performing as the Cavalier and Snow King for Expressions Dance Company in 2012, as well as the Cavalier for Step N’ Time School of Dance in 2015 & 2016.  Brent is currently attending University of South Florida for his BFA in Dance Performance and has performed in numerous faculty pieces and guest artist pieces, including works by Christian Denice, Kara Davis, Robert Moses, and Dean Xiao Xiangrong. Brent would like to thank all of his teachers and his family, especially his Mom, who has been a tremendous influence and source of support in his dance training. 




Anderson Da Silva

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Anderson Da Silva is 19 years old and is currently a freshman at Indiana University pursuing a ballet degree with a BSOF in exercise science.

He was born in Tampa, Florida and also received his ballet training in Tampa at America’s Ballet School under directors Paula Nuñez and Osmany Montano. He has performed leading roles in The Nutcracker, Le Corsaire, Don Quixote, Coppelia, and Diana & Acteon.