Sara Adams was born in Dennis, Massachusetts, and began her dance training at the age of six at the Mid-Cape Ballet Academy. She later studied at the Boston Ballet School, before taking a summer course at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet, during the summer of 2003.
She enrolled as a full-time student at SAB from 2003 to 2008. She became an apprentice with NYCB in June 2008 and became a member of the corps de ballet in September 2009. In February 2017, Ms. Adams was promoted to soloist.
Ms. Adams was a recipient of the Mae L. Wien Award for Outstanding Promise in 2007.
Abby Bushnell is from Cohasset and started her ballet training at the Boston Ballet School. Her ballet career continued to Houston Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, Semperoper Ballett in Dresden, Germany, the Slovak National Ballet and she is currently in her fourth season with the Czech National Ballet in Prague, Czech Republic.
Abigail has performed repertoire including Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, and repertoire from choreographers including Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, and John Cranko. Abby is returning this summer to teach at South Shore Ballet Theater for her fifth summer. Despite the difficult circumstances lately, it is so important, and so fortunate that we are able to get back in the studio and continue our art form.
Melissa’s repertoire includes Zulma in Giselle, Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds in Balanchine’s Jewels, demi-soloists in George Balanchine’s Symphony in 3 Movements, Pas de Cinq in David Dawson’s Giselle, the 6 brides in Swan Lake, and Little Red Riding Hood in Sleeping Beauty. Melissa was also featured as ‘Emma’ in the movie High Strung: Free Dance and has done ad campaigns for Huawei Mobile, Nikon Europe, Discount Dance Supply, Capezio, and Russian Pointe. She is also currently working towards an undergraduate degree at Harvard University’s Extension school.
Rie Ichikawa started her ballet training in Nagano, Japan, under the direction of Teruyo Kurashima. After winning gold medals in Japanese competitions in 1990 and 1991, she decided to leave Japan to study in the Arts Educational London Ballet school in England in 1992. She has won the Markova Award (1994) in London England. In 1995 she was recommended to go to study in Houston Ballet under the direction of Clara Cravey and Steve Brule. She joined the top class of Houston Ballet School and was soon offered a position in Ballet Arizona under the directorship of Michael Uthoff in 1995. He molded her talent, gave her many opportunities, and then promoted her to principal after only one year. After 4 years with Ballet Arizona, Rie was hired as a corps de ballet dancer with Boston Ballet under the direction of Anna-Marie Holmes in 1999. Since the arrival of Mikko Nissinen in 2001, she has danced most of the soloist parts in all the major classical ballet productions and contemporary ballets. Her artistic highpoint to date has been performing the soloist role in Jiri Kylian’s Bella Figura. Outside of her dance career, her greatest achievement and joy comes from her two beautiful children from her husband and former dancer Peter Freedberg.
Her repertory includes Mikko Nissinen’s Swan Lake (Pas de Trios, Pas de Cinq, For Cygnets), The Nutcracker’s (Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen), Sir Frederick Ashton’s La Fill Malgardee (Lisa), Cinderella (Autumn Fairy), George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Symphony In Three Movements (Turning Girl), Divertimento No. 15 Theme and Variations, Serenade (Waltz Girl), Apollo, The Four Temperaments (Sanguinic), John Cranko’s The Taming of the Shrew (Bianca), William Forsythe’s The Second Detail, In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Christopher Wheeldon’s Polyphonia, Florence Clerc’s (La Bayadere (Manu, Three Shades), La Sylphide (Mazurka Girl), Jiri Kylian’s Bella Figura, Symphony of Psalms, Petite Mort, Falling Angels, Helen Pickett’s Etesian, Eventied, Jose Martinez (Resonance) Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camelias Lambarena, Jorma Elo’s Plant to B, In on Blue, Break the Eyes. Bronislava Nijinska’s Les Noces, Mark Morris’s Up and Down, Drink to Me, Hans van Manen’s Black Cake and Yury Yanowsky’s Li3.
Rie has been a guest teacher at SSBT for the past three years, working with our Pre-Professional dancers.
Alyssa Bennett Igo spent her career training with professional dancers from New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre having grown up in the hometown of Kevin McKenzie. Alyssa was accepted year-round into School of American Ballet and was awarded a scholarship to attend the Julliard School’s dance program in NYC. She spent 4 years delivering over 50 performances in 9 different ballets in childhood roles with New York City Ballet, under the direction and training of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Jacques D’Amboise, David Richardson and Garielle Whittle.
Alyssa additionally studied at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet and went on to teach at the University of Vermont, Vermont Ballet Theater and others before joining South Shore Ballet Theatre as a member of SSBT’s faculty in 2017.
Nilas Martins, born in Copenhagen, received his early dance training at the Royal Danish Ballet School. As a student he performed with the Royal Danish Ballet in such works as John Neumeier’s Romeo and Juliet, August Bournonville’s Konservatoriet, A Folk Tale, Napoli and Glen Tetleys’s Firebird. In 1984, he moved to New York and enrolled at the School of American Ballet. In September 1986 he became a member of New York City Ballet. In 1991, he was promoted to the rank of soloist and in 1993 to Principal dancer.
In New York City Ballet, Mr. Martins danced numerous featured roles and worked closely with choreographers: John Alleyne, Lynn Taylor Corbett, Boris Eifman, William Forsythe, Peter
Martins, Trey McIntyre, Kevin O’Day, Jerome Robbins, Susan Stroman, Richard Tanner among others.
Mr. Martins film credits include: “Live from Lincoln Center” broadcast of Ray Charles in Concert, “The Nutcracker” released in 1993 by Warner Brothers, “Dance in America” telecast of “Dinner with Balanchine” where he danced the role of Apollo with Paris Opera Etoile Isabel Guerin. “Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100” where he danced ‘The Man I Love’ from Who
Cares? featuring Wynton Marsalis.
Mr. Martins ‘ teaching resume’ include Armitage Gone Dance, BalletMet, Boston Ballet, Hamburg Ballet, Harvard University, Indiana University, Joffrey Ballet School, Miami City Ballet, National Ballet of China, NBA Ballet (Japan), New York City Ballet, Novosibirsk Ballet (Russia), NYSSA Summer Intensive, Princeton University, Royal Danish Ballet, School of American Ballet and Washington Ballet.
Mr. Martins was one of ten fellows selected from both domestic and international applicants, to study under Michael Kaiser as a Devos Institute for Arts Management fellow at the Kennedy Center from 2010-11.
Since 1996, Mr. Martins has been a Repetiteur for the George Balanchine Trust and stages ballets for companies and schools domestically as well as internationally. In addition to his work with the Balanchine Trust Mr. Martins stagings include works from the August Bournonville and Peter Martins repertoire.
Azusa Okamoto was born in Kyoto, Japan and began her training at the age of three with the Fukutani Yoko Ballet Studio. At the age of 16, she was offered a full scholarship to attend the Victoria Academy of Ballet where she graduated from the Post-Secondary Bridge Program earning a diploma in Classical Ballet. In 2017, Azusa was offered a contract with the Roxey Ballet. She has performed roles such as Snow Queen, Dew Drop, Arabian soloist in The Nutcracker, Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Michaela in Carmen, Dancer from Nixon in China, and Carmina Burana both with live choir and orchestra. In 2020, Azusa joined Utah Metropolitan Ballet. She performed Snow Queen and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Snow White in Snow White and La Coquette in La Coquette. Her awards include: First Prize at the 23rd Kobe Dance Competition, First Prize at the NAMUE Grand Final Ballet Competition, First Prize at the 26th NAMUE Ballet Competition, Second Prize at the 12th Osaka Prix Ballet Competition, Top 12 at the Youth America Grand Prix Seattle in both Classical and Contemporary in 2015-2016. First Prize at YAGP 2016 in the Ensemble category.
Carol Roderick recently retired as Director of Dance of the Hartt School Community Division at the University of Hartford, CT. She was an assistant professor of ballet and pedagogy at Colorado State University (Fort Collins) previous to coming to Connecticut. She has taught, coached, and trained students and teachers for professional companies, universities, and prestigious schools in the United States, Canada, Japan and and Europe.
She received her early training in Boston, and later at Butler and Indiana Universities. Her formal pedagogical training was with the late Jürgen Schneider (Bolshoi Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, American Ballet Theatre) and Gabriela Komleva (Kirov/Mariinski Ballet).
She was a member of the professional division faculties of Boston Ballet School, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and The Harid Conservatory. She directed the Colorado Ballet School, Tulsa Ballet School, and Academy of Ballet Idaho. She was principal teacher of AIS Ballet in Kobe, Japan for two years. She was the Program Manager for the Bolshoi Ballet at Vail, and also served as ballet mistress for the Cleo Parker Robinson New Dance Ensemble in Denver, Colorado. For many years, she ran her own pre-professional training program in Denver – Classical Ballet Ensemble.
Ms. Roderick has also developed her own Teacher Training Program, which she presents annually at the Hartt Community Division and as a guest lecturer in other locations.
She has coached and prepared students for the Prix de Lausanne, Japan Grand Prix, New York International Ballet Competition and the USA International Ballet Competition, (Jackson), as well as local and regional scholarship competitions throughout the USA. She has been a guest teacher for many schools and companies, including The Harid Conservatory, Kansas City Ballet School, Boston Ballet, St. Paul City Ballet, Kumamoto Ballet (Japan), City of Osaka (Japan), and University of Utah.
She is known as a meticulous, skilled and inspirational teacher. She is also a knowledgeable and precise coach and stager of classical repertoire. Her students are known for their clarity and strength of technique, musical expressiveness, and beautiful movement quality. Many of her students have gone on to professional performance, choreographic, and teaching careers.
Donna Silva was born in New York. Her initial training was under the direction of former dancer of Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, Lila Crabtree. Ms. Silva experienced extensive, diversified training with Margaret Craske, Alfredo Corvino, and Anthony Tudor at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School; Valentina Pereyaslavec and Yurek Lazowski at American Ballet Theatre; and Robert Joffrey, Perry Brunson, Hector Zaraspe at the American Ballet Center/Joffrey Ballet.
Ms. Silva has danced throughout America and Europe with the Joffrey Ballet Company including a performance for President Johnson at The White House. Following Joffrey Ballet, she served as principal artist (and taught) with First Chamber Dance Company of New York and Bern State Theater, Switzerland. Boston Ballet invited Ms. Silva to appear in character roles in: Lady of Camellias (2004) and Cinderella (2005). Her earlier performing experiences were with Manhattan Festival Ballet, Radio City Music Hall Ballet Company, and Carnegie Hall as a young dancer. While in Europe (Bern State Theater) she appeared in West Side Story and On The Town. She served on the Jury for the Prix D’Aarau Competition.
Ms. Silva’s comprehensive and considerable teaching experiences in Switzerland include Zurich State Theatre Ballet (Ballet Mistress, under Uwe Scholtz). She was also invited to teach with the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brussels, Belgium.
Dance Academy Silva was founded and directed by Ms. Silva in 1985. Her teaching and choreographed pieces continued to be in evident through 2014 even though she returned to the USA in 1993. Her legacy has continued to provide excellent teaching/training with First Chamber Dance Company of New York, Cornish College (Seattle), Portland Ballet Company/School (Maine), and Boston Ballet School under the direction of Bruce Marks, Anne Marie Holmes, and Mikko Nissinen (1994-2007). During this time, she recruited dancers and taught for the Boston Ballet Summer Dance Programs, recruited dancers for the Dance Program of Boston Conservatory (1995-2005), and choreographed several works for students at both programs. Ms. Silva has also been a guest teacher for Robert Joffrey’s NY School Summer Program. Following 22 years as Professor of Dance and four Most Outstanding Faculty awards, she retired from Boston Conservatory (1994-2016).
Currently, Ms. Silva is a certified Pilates instructor and part of the South Shore Ballet Theatre faculty. Ms. Silva has highly contributed to the art of dance in America and Europe, continuing to be a driving force to this day.
Rachel Smith was born and raised in Plymouth, MA. She began her training at Boston Ballet School, from there she advanced her training at South Shore Ballet Theatre and The Brookline Ballet School. Once graduating high school Rachel joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theater in their Graduate Program. There she had the opportunity to perform professionally with the company in their production of ‘The Nutcracker.’ From there Rachel joined Nashville Ballet as a trainee. She continued training in various styles of dance and gaining more professional experience. Through the trainee program she was given the opportunity to perform the role Zulma in ‘Giselle’ and Fairy of Generosity in ‘The Sleeping Beauty.’
Rachel then moved to Omaha, Nebraska to be an apprentice at American Midwest Ballet and their sister company Ballet Vero Beach. After 2 seasons Rachel was promoted to Company Artist. Rachel has danced in countless professional productions and has toured through various states with American Midwest Ballet. Notable roles include Emerald Demi-soloist in Erin Alarcon’s ‘Wizard of Oz’, Soloist in Adam Schnell’s ‘Friends and Lover’s’ and Soloist in Samuel Kurkjian’s ‘Debussy Suite.’ Rachel also had the pleasure of working with guest choreographers; she performed in Mariana Oliveria’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ and
Frank Chavez’s ‘Habaneras: The Music of Cuba.’
A former soloist with Boston Ballet under the direction of Founder, E. Virginia Williams, Ms. Woodies toured the US and Europe with Dennis Wayne’s DANCERS, and was a Guest Artist with New York Dance Theater at Lincoln Center. Her musical theater credits include: “Cassie” in A Chorus Line directed by Michael Bennett; Principal cover in On Your Toes directed by George Abbott; “Flo” in The Mystery of Edwin Drood with author/composer Rupert Holmes; and, created the role of “Kathleen” in Drumwright opposite John Cullum. Film work: Jolly, Echoes, A Chorus Line – the movie, Disney’s Aladdin, and Bender.
As a choreographer and director: California Music Theater, Long Beach Civic Light Opera, Lifetime, the Disney Channel, Paramount, Disney World, Brown University and Walnut Hill School. Ms. Woodies has received DramaLogue and Robby Awards, an IRNE Nomination, and the Dennett Distinguished Career Award. Leslie was pleased to accept an appointment to Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences as Visiting Lecturer in Dramatic Arts. A faculty member of: the Boston Ballet School, Boston Conservatory, and Emerson College. Director of What the Dickens for Deb Mason’s CYDP at the John Hancock Theater, and was the first Associate Artistic Director for Tony William’s Urban Nutcracker.