2019 Company Dancers

SEASON 2019, THE DANCERS

Handpicked from companies across the US and abroad,  our company dancers never disappoint. Listed in order of seniority, check out this season’s amazing roster of artists.


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Christina LaForgia Morse (Fourth Season) started dancing at the age of 11 in Summerville, South Carolina, under the tutelage of Terry-Ellen Shields. She then spent three years at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she was awarded the Dean’s Merit Scholarship. Upon graduating high school from UNCSA, she went on to join the Charlotte Ballet (formerly known as North Carolina Dance Theatre) for three seasons where she performed numerous soloist roles. Since joining Cincinnati Ballet in 2014 LaForgia has enjoyed the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Jennifer Archibald, Amy Seiwert, Victoria Morgan, Septime Webre, Adam Hougland, Trey McIntyre and Edwaard Liang.


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Gavin Stewart (Third Season) is a dancer, composer and choreographer from Tulsa, OK. He holds a BFA in Dance Performance from UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance and has danced professionally with Wylliams/Henry CDC, MOVE: the Company, Richmond Ballet II, Company E, and Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance. Mr. Stewart has performed works by S. Aiello, G. Balanchine, V. Caniparoli, M. Cong, R. Erdos, J. Lang, T. Noone, and has originated roles in works by notable choreographers such as J. Archibald, J. Beamish, S. Janes, J. Peugh, W. Soleau, and E. Zandejas. Mr. Stewart's choreography has been seen on Wylliams/Henry CDC, Richmond Ballet I & II, and Company E’s dance programs in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Azerbaijan, Palestine, Israel, Uruguay, and Cuba. In 2015 Company E appointed Gavin Composer-In-Residence, since then he has originated music for five evening-length productions.


Photo by Peter Mueller

Photo by Peter Mueller

Samantha Griffin (Second Season) Originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Samantha received her preliminary training at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. After graduating from UNCSA, Griffin then continued to dance with The Charlotte Ballet before joining The Cincinnati Ballet in 2015. She was promoted to Corps de Ballet for the 2017-2018 season. Since she has been with Cincinnati Ballet she has enjoyed dancing roles in Ohad Naharin's Minus 16, Balanchine’s Four Temperaments, Dark Angel in Balanchine’s Serenade, Tall girl in Balanchine’s Rubies, Nicolo Fonte’s Carmina Burana and Garrett Smith’s Facades. Griffin was also recently recognized as one of 2018’s Stars of the Corps in October’s issue of Pointe Magazine. One of the things she enjoys most about working with Cincinnati Ballet is that she has the  opportunity to perform soloist roles in a variety of classical and contemporary repertoire.


Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet Choreographed by James Canfield. Photo by Virginia Trudeau.

Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet Choreographed by James
Canfield. Photo by Virginia Trudeau.

Emma McGirr (Second Season) Originally from Ohio, Emma began her training at the Schrader Youth Ballet.  Graduating with a BFA in dance with a ballet emphasis from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music., she has danced with the Louisville Ballet and the Eugene Ballet, and just finished her 4th season with Nevada Ballet Theatre.  Principal roles have included works by Balanchine, Clara in James Canfield’s The Nutcracker, Tinkerbell in Jorden Morris' Peter Pan, Beauty in Lew Christensen’s Beauty and the Beast, and the title role in the world premiere of James Canfield and Tara Foy's Cinderella. She has enjoyed dancing works by Adam Hougland, Gerald Arpino and Paul Taylor. Emma has performed in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil in A Choreographer’s Showcase at the Mystère Theater and with the unique performance group #instaballet in which audience members help choreograph a ballet in real time with the dancers.  


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Keith Justin Reeves (First Season), has been dancing with the Atlanta Ballet since 2016. Originally from Augusta, Ga., he began his training at age 15 with Jennifer Tools at the Jessye Norman School of the Arts. In 2010, he began training with the Augusta Ballet School, later joining Dance Augusta under the direction of Zane and Ron Colton. In 2015, he trained under Nicolas Pacana and Jocelyn Buchanan at the Atlanta Festival Company. In 2016, Reeves received the Audrey B. Morgan Scholarship for the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education Conservatory program. He also has received scholarships to summer programs at Joffrey Ballet, Nashville Ballet and The School at Jacob’s Pillow. He has performed works by John McFall, George Balanchine, Jorden Morris, David Bintley, Tara Lee, Yuri Possokhov and Ohad Naharin, among others.


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Lydia McRae (First Season) was born and raised in Kernersville, N.C. and trained at North Carolina School for the Arts. After graduating from NCSA, she continued her studies at the Richmond Ballet. Lydia has been with Ballet Memphis since 2015 and has additionally had the honor of performing with Complexions Contemporary Ballet and the Oakland (Calif.) Ballet. Her favorite ballets include Steven McMahon’s Cinderella, Jennifer Archibald’s Glory, Dwight Rhoden’s Moon Over Jupiter, Graham Lustig’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Alonzo King’s Love Dogs.


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Michael Mengden (First Season)  has been dancing at Cincinnati Ballet since 2016. He began ballet training at the age of ten, and at thirteen, he was named Teen Mr. Dance of America with Dance Masters of America. He has attended summer intensives on scholarship at Texas Ballet Theatre, Jose Carreño Festival, Bolshoi Ballet in New York City and the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School. The past two seasons Mengden danced in the pre-professional program at the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School in Florida on full scholarship, and had the unique opportunity to train and travel with Dr. Ramona de Saa, director of the Cuban National Ballet School in Havana. He has been a guest artist at several schools and galas around the world. In 2016, he placed First in Senior Men’s Classical and First in Pas de Deux at the Youth America Grand Prix.


Michael Caye (First Season) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and trained with the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. At 16, he was a finalist at YAGP in New York and received a scholarship to Miami City Ballet’s Pre-Professional Program. During his last year at MCB, he had the opportunity to choreograph on the students in the Pre-Professional Program as well as to perform “West Side Story Suite” with the company. Now with Nevada Ballet Theatre, Michael has performed principle and soloist roles such as Frederick in Ben Stevenson’s Dracula, The Harlequin Doll and Spanish in James Canfield’s The Nutcracker, Kaschei in Yuri Possokov’s Firebird, as well as Tweedle Dee and the Cook in Septime Webre’s Alice (in Wonderland).

photo by Jerry Metellus

photo by Jerry Metellus


Season 2019, the Apprentices

Sophia Rose Beadie, College Conservatory of Music

Sophia Rose Beadie, College Conservatory of Music

Emma Cory, The Academy at Terpsicorps

Emma Cory, The Academy at Terpsicorps

William Fowler, Freelance

William Fowler, Freelance

Claire Hutchinson, Alabama Ballet

Claire Hutchinson, Alabama Ballet

Brooke Lyness, Nevada Ballet Theatre

Brooke Lyness, Nevada Ballet Theatre

Hayley Tavonatti, Eugene Ballet

Hayley Tavonatti, Eugene Ballet