Dancers' Biographies - Ballet Jörgen

Ballet Jörgen

Company Dancers
Junior Gaspar Caballero

Junior Gaspar Caballero

Asuncion, Paraguay

Read Junior's Biography

CBJ Junior Company Member [2014]

CBJ/RBC Foundation Apprentice [2014-2015]

CBJ Company Member [2015 -]

Junior is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School, where he studied on a full scholarship presented to him due to his extraordinary talent. Junior has won awards at several prestigious national and international ballet competitions, including the Gold Medal in classical ballet and Best Dancer at the XIII National Ballet Competition in Paraguay, the Gold Medal at the XVII International Dance Competition in Argentina and he is a 2012 Prix de Lausanne finalist. Junior is an exceptional young dancer with beautiful technique. He joined the Ballet Jörgen Junior in 2014, and was promoted to company dancer the next year.

Junior’s roles with CBJ include Carabosse’s Minion in Sleeping Beauty, Lumberjack and Raccoon in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition, and Jester in Swan Lake.

“Dance means self-expression, career, passion, challenge and a sense of accomplishment.” 

Akari Fujiwara

Akari Fujiwara

Aichi, Japan

Read Akari's Biography

CBJ Junior Company Member [2016]

CBJ/RBC Foundation Apprentice [2016-2017]

Akari started dancing at age of three and began her training at the Shiho Kanazawa ballet studio’s until the age of 14. Akari then studied for the next two years at Koninklijke Ballet School in Antwerp, Belgium, and moved to Toronto at the age of 16 to study at Canada’s National Ballet School. After graduating from NBS Akari joined Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s Junior Company in 2016, touring with the company as an Apprentice in the 2016-2017 season before becoming a full company member in 2017.

Akari’s roles with CBJ have included Flower, Snowflake, & Dragonfly in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition and Cygnet & Mazurka Dancer in Swan Lake.

Heather Lumsden-Ruegg

Heather Lumsden-Ruegg

Newmarket, Ontario

Read Heather's Biography

CBJ Local Participant [2010]

Graduate of George Brown Dance – Official School of CBJ [2011]

CBJ Mentorship Student [2011-2012]

CBJ Junior Company Member [2012]

CBJ/RBC Foundation Apprentice [2012-2013]

CBJ Company Member [2013 -]

Heather grew up in Newmarket, Ontario where she trained at the Peter Stanton School of Dance before moving to the George Brown Dance program in 2009. In 2010, Heather performed as a local participant in a Ballet Jörgen production, she then joined Canada’s Ballet Jörgen as an apprentice in 2012 before being promoted to company dancer in 2013.

Heather’s roles with CBJ includes various roles in Sleeping Beauty, Tall and Small stepsister in Cinderella, Raccoon in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition, and Czardash & Spanish Dancers in Swan Lake.

“I really enjoy becoming other characters and telling stories through movement. It is a lot of fun getting lost in new roles.” 

Hiroto Saito

Hiroto Saito

Kobe, Japan

Read Hiroto's Biography

CBJ Company Member [2007 – ]

Hiroto began dancing at the Sadamatsu Hamada Ballet School in Kobe, Japan at age 7, later studying at the English National Ballet School in London, UK. Upon graduation, Hiroto joined the Hong Kong Ballet under the direction of Stephen Jefferies, and throughout his career he has worked with internationally recognized figures such as Wayne Eagling, Alexander Grant, and Susanne Farrell. Hiroto first met Bengt Jörgen while he was dancing with the Hong Kong Ballet in Bengt’s Romeo and Juliet, joined Canada’s Ballet Jörgen in 2007.

Hiroto’s repertoire with Canada’s Ballet Jörgen includes many principal roles, including the Romeo and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Nathaniel and Dr. Coppélius in Coppélia, Dimitry in Anastasia, the Prince and Suitor in Cinderella, Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty and Lord Birch in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition. During CBJ’s 25th anniversary season, Hiroto was involved in creating many roles in the company’s new production of Swan Lake, in which he performed the principal roles of Siegfried and Von Rothbart. In 2017 Hiroto transitioned into the role of Ballet Master at Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, taking on a more creative role with the company as well as performing on stage.

In addition to his role as a leading dancer, Hiroto also teaches and coaches dance students all around the world. During the summer of 2013, he taught for Damansara Performing Arts Centre in Malaysia, and has been a teacher, private coach, and rehearsal master for CBJ’s Summer Intensive and Junior Company since 2012. Hiroto has also choreographed many works such as 05:46 for Hong Kong Ballet, Lost and Found for George Brown Dance, and Lord of the Rings for Toronto Youth Ballet/Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra. He was also the choreographer for The Marvelous Girl, a short film produced by Canada’s Ballet Jörgen that was part of both The Cannes Film Festival and The Montreal World Film Festival. In 2011 Hiroto also organized Dance for Japan, a fundraiser show with CBJ to support earthquake relief in Fukushima, Japan.

“Dance means a communication that transcends all deference of the world to me, through dance you can communicate without any words and inspire others to joy, happiness, sadness, beauty and love, all those beautiful things that can be felt in our hearts. You can see it to enjoy, feel it to get inspired, and dance it to embrace the whole experience.
It keeps me passionate, it keeps me going no matter how high the obstructions are or how deep setbacks are. In essence, dance means hope.”

Kenny Chung

Kenny Chung

Seoul, South Korea

Read Kenny's Biography

CBJ Junior Company Member (2015)

CBJ/RBC Foundation Apprentice (2016-2017)

Kenny roles for CBJ as a Junior Company member have included Tree, Hedge and Flower Courtiers in Sleeping Beauty.

Kenny graduated ballet course from Kay-won High School of Arts in Korea, and completed third grade ballet at Sejong University / Dance. In 2013, Kenny won the Korea Dance Teacher Association Gold Medal and in 2012 Gold Medal with The Korea Professional Ballet Association. In 2014, Kenny danced with the Korean Ballet Theatre in New Jersey and with the Seoul Dance Festival.

I love the movement of ballet and I think dancing with the beautiful music is one of the best ways that we can enjoy in the world.

Elizabeth Gagnon

Elizabeth Gagnon

Kingsville, Ontario

Read Elizabeth's Biography

CBJ Junior Company Member [2013]

CBJ/RBC Foundation Apprentice [2013-2014]

CBJ Company Member [2015 -]

Elizabeth graduated from the Professional Ballet Program at Canada’s National Ballet School in 2010. In 2012 she completed the graduate program at the English National Ballet School. Since then, she has danced with White Birch Ballet Company, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and The National Ballet of Canada.

Elizabeth’s roles with CBJ include various roles in Sleeping Beauty, and Mazurka Dancer and Swan Core in Swan Lake.

Elizabeth is sponsored by Pivot Sport Medicine and Orthopaedics through the Sponsor-a-Dancer Program.

“It’s a way of expressing and connecting with people, while I get to become a different character and leave my reality behind. It’s the days where I feel the worst in my personal life that I feel the most connected to my character onstage, and I feel the most depth and commitment to the character, and in the end the most reward. In this way, it helps me cope with what is happening outside the studio and offstage.”

Momoka Matsui

Momoka Matsui

Fukuoka, Japan

Read Momoka's Biography

CBJ Junior Company Member [2014]

CBJ/RBC Foundation Apprentice [2014-2015]

CBJ Company Member [2015 -]

Momoka began her dance training at the Yukiko Kato Ballet School in her home country of Japan. Under Kato’s mentorship she performed major roles in the Nutcracker, Paquita, Harlequinade and Coppelia. In 2009 she was the silver medal winner of the Ballet Competition Fukuoka, and the Bronze Medal holder of the 2010 and 2013 NAMUE Classical Ballet Competition. Momoka, an exceptionally technical and graceful dancer, was awarded the renowned Fukuoka Prefectural Governor Award in 2012. She then joined a Russian concert tour produced by Morihiro Iwata and had the opportunity to dance at many prestigious ballet schools, including the Moscow Ballet Academy. Momoka joined Canada’s Ballet Jörgen as a member of the Junior Company 2014, before being promoted to the main company in the 2015.

Momoka’s roles with CBJ include Blue Bird, Humming Bird and Canary in Sleeping Beauty; Lead Fairy in Cinderella; Dragonfly and Trillium Flower in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition; and Pas de Trois, Cygnet, and Neapolitan Dancer in Swan Lake.

“I love ballet. It makes my life happy and when I’m dancing I feel free.”

Márcio Teixeira

Márcio Teixeira

São Caetano, Brazil

Read Márcio's Biography

CBJ Apprentice

Márcio started dancing at the Núcleo de Convivência Menino Jesus in Brazil when he was 10. In 2008 at age 14, he went to his first ballet school, Escola de Ballet Sandra Amaral in São Caetano do Sul/SP. In 2012 he studied at Pacific DanceArts in Vancouver, BC and in 2015 graduated at the English National Ballet School in London, England and danced with Coastal City Ballet in Vancouver, BC from 2015–2018. Márcio was a member of Canada’s Ballet Jörgen’s Junior Company in 2017 and 2018 where he earned his apprenticeship with the company for the 2018/19 Season.

Hannah Mae Cruddas

Hannah Mae Cruddas

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Read Hannah Mae's Biography

CBJ Local Participant [2007]

CBJ Junior Company Member [2011]

CBJ/RBC Foundation Apprentice [2011-2012]

CBJ Company Member [2013 -]

Hannah Mae began her dance training with the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts School of Dance and the Leica Hardy School of Dance. In 2009, she joined Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto. Hannah Mae was honoured to be the youngest recipient of the Society of Russian Ballet’s Nesta Toumine Memorial Award and at 14, was a semi-finalist in the Genée International Ballet Competition. She was also privileged to be the recipient of the Jan Wicha Memorial Cup and Nova Scotia Talent Trust’s Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. At home, she danced the title role in Alice (Dearborn), the Ragdoll Queen in The Nutcracker (Hardy), and worked with Kennet Oberly and Otar Beridze. Her Toronto repertoire credits include Peggy Baker’s 5 Views of a Temple Garden, Petipa’s La Bayadere and Paquita, and Nacho Duato’s Jardi Tancat. Hannah Mae was recently awarded the Janice Merritt Flemming Award administrated by the Nova Scotia Talent Trust. Hannah Mae was a guest dancer for the Nova Scotia Symphony’s Nutcracker 2016.

Hannah Mae’s repertoire with CBJ includes Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty, Tall Stepsister and Lead Fairy in Cinderella, Lady Capulet in Romeo & Juliet, Spanish Dancer in Swan Lake, along with various roles in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition.

“To me, dance means unity and inclusion. It’s a form of universal communication 
which creates an accessible outlet for shared experiences of passion and joy.” 

Adrián Ramírez Juárez

Adrián Ramírez Juárez

Mexico City, Mexico

Read Adrián's Biography

CBJ Junior Company Member [2013]

CBJ/RBC Foundation Apprentice [2013-2014]

CBJ Company Member [2014 -]

Adrián trained at the Royal Academy of Dance under Irasema de la Parra and graduated with Distinction and was a medallist in the prestigious Attitude International Ballet Competition. Adrián was dancing in Montreal where he participated in Les Grand Ballets Canadien’s Nutcracker season and tour, and Ballet de Montreal where he was a Soloist Dancer. Previously Adrián danced with Taller Coreografico de la UNAM in Mexico City. Adrian was a guest dancer for the Nova Scotia Symphony’s Nutcracker 2016.

Adrián’s repertoire with Canada’s Ballet Jörgen includes Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty, Paris in Romeo & Juliet, Von Rothbart & Spanish Dancer in Swan Lake, Hannah Kiel’s Conversation 1, and various roles in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition.

“I dance to escape myself. I dance to forget my thoughts and allow myself to connect with someone or something else inside of me. Through dance, I try to be better or different. In other words, I dance to coexist.”

Leandro Prado

Leandro Prado

Altamira, Pará, Brazil

Read Leandro's Biography

CBJ Company Member [2016 – ]

Leandro began taking ballet lessons at the age of 15, and moved to Rio de Janeiro at 16 to study with Ronaldo and Rachel Martins Ribeiro, soloists from the Municipal Ballet Theater of Rio de Janeiro. Leandro has won many prizes at several competitions, including the National Brazilian Dance Competition and The Enesdança Dance Competition, and won a full scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City at the International Ballet Competition. In 2012 he was accepted to the Maria Olenewa State Dance School, and performed with the company in Cranko’s Onegin and Martinez´s Coppelia. He also received a contract for the 2014 Season to dance in Dalal Achcar´s The Nutcracker. Working with the Workshop de Ballet Clássico da Amazônia in Brazil since 2012, Leandro has danced the lead roles in The Sleeping Beauty, La Bayadère, Swan Lake and Don Quixote. In 2013 Leandro was accepted to Com La Danza mas Desarrollo Social, an Argentinian dance company directed by Iñaki Urlezaga. Leandro has also performed as a guest dancer at many major national festivals, including dancing the principal role of the Nutcracker Prince with the Albany Berkshire Ballet in 2015. Since 2014, Leandro has been performing at the Damz Dance Company under the Artistic Direction of Ronaldo Martins, and in 2016 joined Canada’s Ballet Jörgen as a company dancer.

Leandro’s roles with CBJ have included Wolf, Male Snowflake, and Bear in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition and Henchman and Mazurka Dancer in Swan Lake.

“[Dance] is a way of life that makes me happy.”

Daniel Da Silva

Daniel Da Silva

São Paulo, Brazil

Read Daniel's Biography

CBJ Company Member [2009 -]

Daniel began his ballet training in 2005 in Santa Barbara D’Oeste with Ana Rita Da Silva. In 2007, Daniel received a full scholarship to train at Pacific Dance Arts in Vancouver with Li Yaming.  In 2009, Daniel competed at the Youth America Grand Prix in NYC, finishing in the top twelve. He was offered a full scholarship to participate in the summer program at Jacob’s Pillow. Daniel was also a guest dancer for two seasons with Ballet BC, performing a premiere piece by James Kudelka and the classical ballets Carmen and Peter Pan. Daniel has also performed variations from Flames of ParisSwan Lake, RaymondaDon Quixote and Coppélia.

Daniels repertoire with CBJ includes the leading role of Florimund in Sleeping Beauty, Prince and Suitor in Cinderella, Romeo and Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet, Siegfried, Pas de Trois & Spanish Dancer in Swan Lake, Dimitri in Anastasia, and Lord Birch in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition. Daniel also starred in the short film The Marvelous Girl which was produced by Canada’s Ballet Jörgen and debuted at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

“When I dance I forget about all my troubles and just have fun! I get to exercise, pretend to be somebody else and do what I love as my full time job.”

Annelie Liliemark

Annelie Liliemark

Nacka, Sweden

Read Annelie's Biography

CBJ Junior Company Member [2012]

CBJ Company Member [2012 -]

Annelie began her training at Balettakademien, Stockholm, Sweden in 1998, joining the Royal Swedish Ballet School in 2002. She is the recipient of the Agda Cecilia Rilton Scholarship (2007) and the Carina Ari Scholarship (2008, 2009). Annelie comes to us from the Royal Swedish Ballet with whom she danced from 2010 to 2012 performing roles in The Nutcracker, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Swan Lake, The Rite of Spring and Coppélia. A 2011 graduate of the Royal Swedish Ballet School, Annelie attended summer intensives at The Gotland International Dance Seminars, Visby, Sweden (2007, 2008); the International Summer Course at Canada’s National Ballet School (2009); and The Bartholin International Dance Seminars at the Royal Danish Theatre (2010 on scholarship, 2011). She was a finalist at the Stora Daldansen ballet competition in Falun, Sweden (2010).

Annelie’s repertoire with Canada’s Ballet Jörgen have included Bridesmaid in Romeo & Juliet, Stepsister in Cinderella, Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty, Raccoon & Lady Birch in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition, and Pas de Trois & Cygnets in Swan Lake.

“Dance for me is the ultimate challenge! I love the fact that there will always be things to work on and I will never be satisfied with my performance. It can be extremely frustrating at times but it inspires me that I always have a higher goal to work towards. Also dancing is a great medium of emotions. If I am feeling happy or sad I can use whatever is in my heart and make it mirror in my body. Or if I have emotions that I don’t want to deal with in the moment I can allow myself to get lost in the dancing so I don’t have to focus on it.”

Ayva Rossouw-Holland

Ayva Rossouw-Holland

Victoria, British Columbia

Read Ayva's Biography

CBJ Local Participant [2010]

Graduate of George Brown Dance – Official School of CBJ [2010]

CBJ Mentorship Student [2011-2012]

CBJ Junior Company Member [2011, 2012]

CBJ/RBC Foundation Apprentice [2012-2013]

CBJ Company Member [2013 -]

Ayva studied at the Pacific Dance Centre in Victoria, and attended summer intensive programs at The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Banff Fine Arts Centre and the Alberta Ballet. In 2011 Ayva graduated from the Dance Performance Studies program at George Brown College, joining Canada’s Ballet Jörgen as a Mentorship students in 2011 and becoming a company dancer in 2013. Ayva was a guest dancer for the Nova Scotia Symphony’s Nutcracker 2016.

Ayva’s roles with CBJ have included various roles in Sleeping Beauty, Cygnets & Mazurka Dancer in Swan Lake, Flower & Snowflake in The Nutcracker: A Canadian Tradition, and the Conductor in Robert Desrosiers’s Buffonia.

Ayva is sponsored by Pivot Sport Medicine and Orthopaedics through the Sponsor-a-Dancer Program.

“To me dance is an outlet in which I can express aspects of life through movement. Whether it be a fairy tale or a conceptual story, I find satisfaction in immersing myself into the complexities of this art form. I have always been a very physical person, so the ongoing project of training my body quenches my thirst to keep on moving.” 

Mentorship Students

Jade Chaplin

Jade Chaplin

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Read Jade's Biography

Jade was born and raised in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where she began her dance training at a local studio at age 4. Growing up, she was trained in Ballet (RAD), jazz and contemporary. She had opportunities to perform multiple roles in productions at her home studio which brought her to fall in love with dance and performing. She attended Ballet Jörgen’s Summer Intensive IV in 2015. Having loved the training over the summer, she then enrolled in the Dance Performance Studies program at George Brown College in 2016, and is now furthering her training with Ballet Jörgen Canada’s Mentorship program. Jade is incredibly thankful for this opportunity and everyone who has supported her throughout her dance journey. She is looking forward to an exciting year.

Adam Davidson

Adam Davidson

Zephyr, Ontario

Read Adam's Biography

Adam was born and raised in Zephyr, Ontario and started dancing at the age of 10 at York Dance Academy. He has trained in a variety of different styles such as ballet, contemporary, jazz, and hip-hop. He was a competitive dancer throughout his time spent training at York DanceAcademy and performed multiple times in the schools rendition of the Nutcracker. Through performing dance he also discovered a love for vocals and acting, which would later turn into a love of musical theater. He also worked as a hip-hop teacher at the studio Dance Creations from 2013-2018. Adam auditioned for the George Brown College P101 dance certificate program which he later completed along with the P105 diploma program the following two years. Adam is excited to be joining Canada’s Ballet Jörgen as one of their mentorship students in the upcoming 2018/2019 season and he looking forward to the new experiences and challenge that come with it.

Sierra Goldak

Sierra Goldak

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Read Sierra's Biography

Sierra grew up dancing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan under the direction of Hazel-Ann Stark, Linda Erickson, and Heather Myers. She trained in various genres and competed in regional and provincial competitions. In the past few years she has attended several summer intensives, including Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, Goh Ballet, and the Trisha Brown Dance Company summer intensive. In 2018 she graduated from the Dance Performance program at George Brown College. Sierra is delighted to join Canada’s Ballet Jörgen as a mentorship student for the 2018-19 season.

Rachel Schilberg

Rachel Schilberg

Read Rachel's Biography

Rachel Schilberg began dancing in tap and ballet at the age of 3 at Coquitlam Ballet school. When she was 6 yeas old she moved to Vancouver Island, where she began training at local studios Parksville Ballet School and Qualicum Beach School of Dance. She trained in multiple styles including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, character and stage. Rachel became part of local youth dance companies such as Helix dance theatre and Eclat youth dance company. These programs allowed her to work with various guest artists and teachers from abroad. She also participated in summer intensives at the Goh

Ballet and Ballet Classique. Rachel auditioned for George Brown dance and Ballet Jorgen’s summer intensive in 2016. After being accepted she moved to Toronto, where she later graduated from the 2 year Dance Performance studies program in April of 2018. Rachel is looking forward to her season as a mentor with Canada’s Ballet Jorgen!