Matthew Ting, Dancer, Ballet Master, Rehearsal Director
Matthew grew up in El Paso, Texas. He joined BYA in 2008. Favorite roles with the company include Candy Cane, The Nutcracker Prince, and Marzipan in The Nutcracker, and Mowgli in The Jungle Book. In addition to leading roles in BYA's ballets for children, he has orginated roles in several of the company's Spring Dances, including the title characters in The Water Goblin and The Accursed Hunter, both choreographed by Edwin Kinter. He has trained with teachers such as Francis Patrelle, Gelsey Kirkland, and master teacher and dance historian Gus Dick Andros. He also dances with the New York Baroque Dance Company, Connecticut Ballet, Neville Dance Theatre, and mishiDance.
Quimen Sanchez, Dancer, Assistant to the Director
Quimen started his training at Orlando Ballet School with Orlando Molina, under the direction of Peter Starks. While dancing with Orlando Ballet School, Quimen has had the fortunate chance to perform the main company Orlando Ballet under the direction of Fernando Bujones. Under Fernando's watch Quimen has performed many full length ballets such as Spartacus and Coppellia as Dr. Coppelius, Giselle and many others. . Quimen has also previously danced for, Fort Lauderdale Ballet Classique, Cuban Classical Ballet, South Florida Ballet Theater, Sierra Nevada Ballet, and many more. Quimen is currently a proud member of Ballet For Young Audiences/ Ballet Repertory NYC. Under the direction and guidance of Edwin Kinter, Quimen has danced many principal roles, such as the Snow White's Prince, in Snow White, The Nutcracker Prince in, The Nutcracker, and most recently, Prince Eric in the Little Mermaid.
Estelle Botella, Dancer
Estelle is from Paris, France and trained at the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts where she also graduated. She went on to dance as a trainee with American Repertory Ballet for two years. She then went on to dance with Connecticut Ballet where she was
featured as Clara in their Nutcracker alongside Julie Kent and Alexander Hammoudi and then spent a year with Manassas Ballet Theatre. Estelle moved to Germany to dance with JSLN Dance Company where she spent two years and toured all over Europe
performing numerous work of classical and neo-classical ballet. Estelle has recently been performing with Connecticut Ballet, Thomas Ortiz Dance, where she was featured at the Bryant Park Festival, and was a part of American Ballet Theatre production of Le
Jake Godek, Dancer
Jake hails from Keller, Texas and holds a B.F.A. in dance from West Texas A&M University under the tutelage of Edward Truitt, Leslie Williams, and Crystal Bertrand. During his time in college, Jake danced with Lone Star Ballet during the school year and TEXAS! The Outdoor Musical Drama for three summers. After graduation, Jake accepted a contract with Ballet Nebraska where he danced for two years in partnership with Ballet Vero Beach. During that time Jake also guested with Birmingham Ballet in their Nutcracker and Opera Omaha as a fight super. Favorite roles include: Romeo in Romeo in Juliet, Ali in Le Corsaire, and Young Jim in Elegy For My Parents. Special thanks to Jerry Vizena.
Mary Hickox, Narrator
Mary is an performer, actor-combatant, teaching-artist, and imagination enthusiast. Born as a military kid, she has traveled the world, and is now residing in New York City. Mary graduated from Flagler College with a double major in Theatre Arts and Broadcasting/Media Production with the goal to both create and perform in new work. She volunteers consistently with ASTEP (Artists Striving To End Poverty), having developed a passion for bringing art to underserved communities. Mary works with Fault Line Theatre on ground-breaking work as well as traveling the coast with her all-female Shakespeare and sword-fighting company Vixens En Garde.
Jacob Hiss, Dancer
Jacob started studying ballet at the age of 10 at Studio Maestro, and has also trained with Manhattan Youth Ballet, French Academie of Ballet, and Premiere Division under the tutelage of Francois Perron and Nadege Hottier. Last year he performed in Exit 12’s Nutcracker as Spanish, Arabian, & Russian, & guested as the Prince in Sleeping Beauty for New York Dance.
Justin Yoon Sang Jo, Dancer
Before pursing theater studies in America, Justin Jo was a television performer in Korea. As recent as 2016, Justin revisited Seoul, Korea with the premiere Korean production of Disney’s hit musical "NEWSIES" (Director: David Swan)
In New York City Justin has performed with a variety of dance and choral companies including “The Next Stage Project ”, “Continuum Contemporary/Ballet”, “KPOP 90’s Legends at Madison Square Garden”, “Danse En L'air”, “Hearts And Eyes Chorus” (Carnegie Hall), “Manhattan Concert Productions” (Lincoln Center - Avery Fisher Hall), “Opera Verdi NY” (Symphony Space), and the “The World Voice Ensemble” (Gloria Maddox Theatre).
As a choreographer Justin’s work has been featured in "The Giving Tree" at the Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance (NYC).
As a dance instructor Justin has worked for Born Star Training Center, Helen Ballet School and the Herald Music School summer program.
Currently Justin teaches Lyrical Jazz and Vocal Performance for Ballet Arts in NYC.
In 2013 Justin founded the Justin Jo Musical Theater Company, which continues to produce theatrical events for students and professionals alike.
Sanna Kaappola, Dancer
Sanna was born in Finland and after graduating from Finnish National Opera Ballet School she moved to New York to study further with Gelsey Kirkland and Joffrey Ballet School while also performing in their touring company. The repertoire included works from Gerald Arpino (Kettentanz, Birthday Variations), Bournonville (Le Conservatoire, Napoli) and classics such as Swan Lake (pas de trois), Don Quixote (Cupid) and Nutcracker (Clara/Marie).
She at that time also joined Ballet for Young Audiences for their Cinderella & Nutcracker tour and NY performances. The following spring she also originated the role of the daughter's in Ned Kinter's new ballet The Father before moving to Denver to join Colorado Ballet.
In 2012 she performed and guested around Australia before working with Singapore Dance Theatre in 2013.
Her repertoire there included William Forsythe's The Second Detail, Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux & Stars and Stripes as well as the classics Paquita and Sleeping Beauty.
In 2014 she joined Ballet Ireland for their extensive tour of Swan Lake.
For almost 3 years she has been working in the Philippines with Ballet Manila and Ballet Philippines, adding on to her repertoire La Bayadere, Carmen, and Romeo and Juliet, as well as many neoclassical and contemporary works.
Seira Kiyono, Dancer
Seira holds a bachelors degree in dance at Chularongkorn University, in Bangkok Thailand. Upon graduating with high honors she had the privilege to dance the roles of Kitri in Don Quixote, Odile in Swan Lake, and Giselle in Giselle at Chularongkorn Auditorium, Thailand Cultural Center,and Paragon Hall. Seira also danced with Australia Ballet, where she focused her studies into Classical, Contemporary and Character works. At the age of 19, Seira broke in the Thai film, tv and commercial industry, landing several major roles and ad campaigns. She has made many magazine, television series and film appearances, including Axe Body Spray, Fujitsu, AT&T, The Season of Love, The Mysteries of Laura, and Billions. She is currently dancing professionally with Loco 7 Puppet Dance Theater under the direction of Frederico Respreto, and Ballet For Young Audiences/Ballet Repertoire NYC. Seira has danced several principal roles with BYA such as Snow White in Snow White, Clara in Nutcracker, and Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
Hiroko Kodaira, Dancer
Hiroko Kodaira was born in Hiroshima and raised in Ibaraki, Japan.
She joined Ballet for Young Audiences in 2018, where she has performed in Pirates as well as dancing Chinese and the lead role of Clara in The Nutcracker.
She has performed as lead soloist and in other principal roles in distinguished performances by top international ballet companies, including the Joffrey Ballet Concert group’s Serenade, American Liberty Ballet’s Giselle, and Brooklyn Opera Works’ Venus and Adonis, among many others.
She studied ballet under a number of distinguished teachers and for few of the most famous organizations in Japan (Tokyo city Junior Ballet, Tiara Junior Ballet Company). She has received prizes at international competitions and for her work with the Ballet Company of Yokohama, in Japan. She continued her studies in Canada, Germany, Croatia and the United States. She currently studies at the professional ballet school of Steps on Broadway in NYC.
Arthur Lazalde, Narrator
Arthur is delighted to be a part of this, his seventh season with BYA. Off-Broadway Credits: "The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd" (Mint Theatre Company), and "As You Like It" (Harold Clurman Theatre Lab). Selected New York Credits: "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk" (Metropolitan Opera) "Creditors" (Studio Tisch). Selected Regional Credits: "Lombardi" (The Milwaukee Rep), "Man of La Mancha" (National Tour), "Guys and Dolls" (National Tour), "Coriolanus" (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), "1776" (Utah Shakespeare Festival), "Taming Of The Shrew", "Measure For Measure", "Merry Wives of Windsor", and "The Winter's Tale" (Texas Shakespeare Festival) MFA: NYU Graduate Acting program.
Dafni Mari, Dancer
Dafni Mari was born and raised in Greece, where she studied in the professional dance school of Despina Gregoriadou, and the School of
Pharmacy at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. After graduating from both schools, she was accepted to Trinity Laban
Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, where she gained her Master's of Dance Science. While in London, she was an associate member of Ballet Black Neoclassical Company and also participated in many dance and artistic projects. Searching for new opportunities, she moved to New York City and has danced with Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Yuka Kawazu-Danse en l'air, Benjamin Briones Ballet, Eryc Taylor Dance, and String Dance+Media. She also guests around the US with various dance companies. Dafni also works as a dance scientist, health coach and dance instructor. She is thrilled to dance with "Ballet for Young Audiences".
Esther Martinez, Dancer
Esther Martinez has been dancing since the age of 2. She trained on scholarship at the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley and Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the performing arts. At the age of 17 Ms. Martinez received the rest of her training with Fabrice Herrault from the Paris Opera Ballet. She then went on to tour the United States and Canada with the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group led by artistic director Davis Robertson. Since then she has danced professionally with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, and Exit 12 Dance Company. She has spent summers on scholarship at Gelsey Kirkland Academy, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Oklahoma City Ballet, and The Semperoper Ballet in Germany. A fun fact about Esther is that her grandparents were circus performers and illusionists.
Hope K. Ruth, Dancer
Hope was born and raised in Taiwan, received her BFA in Dance from Taipei National University of the Arts in 2003, and moved to New York City in May 2004 to further her dance career. Hope has performed with New York Theatre Ballet, Ballet des Amerique, Ballet Deviare, Chamber Ballet Taipei, Taipei Ballet Company, Truly Fooly Children’s Troupe and Upstate NY Ballet among others. She currently dances with Lydia Johnson Dance Company, Jersey City Ballet and American Liberty Ballet. Hope also teaches classical ballet/pointe in the NYC area. She is an ABT® Certified Teacher, Primary to Level III of the ABT© National Training Curriculum.
Asha Sienkowicz, Dancer
Asha Sienkiewicz, originally from Iowa, is an NYC dancer, actress, model, and dance/fitness instructor. For BYA she has danced roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, the Beloved in The Little Mermaid, and the queen mother in Snow White. Outside of BYA, favorite roles include Shinka in Shinka for the Pink Tutu Ballet in Las Vegas, The Chosen One in The Rite of Spring, Marie in Dracula, and The Rose in Spectre de la Rose choreographed by Arrie Davidson for Kinetic Architecture. She has also danced in Swan Lake, Coppelia, as Gamzatti in La Bayedere, and as a dancer with Benjamin Briones Ballet. She has also been featured as a dancer and singer in operas such as Hansel and Gretel, Orpheus and Eurydice, The Masked Ball and La Traviata. As an actress she has appeared on TV and web series as well as in off-Broadway theatre companies in Alcestis and Hippolytus and Casper's Fat Tuesday.
Tanya Trombly, Dancer
Originally from Michigan, Tanya holds a B.A. in Dance and Business from Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA. Upon graduating, she danced with several different professional companies across the country before settling in New York City ten years ago to work as a freelance artist. While currently dancing with 4 classical and contemporary companies, she is also developing a coaching community that focuses on helping dancers reach their true potential as artists. This not only involves fitness and nutrition coaching through personal training and online workout programs but also addresses the mental and emotional issues most dancers battle with in such a competitive, ruthless field. Tanya fervently believes that every dancer has a unique gift to share with the world, and she wants to nurture confidence and self-worth so dancers are free to open themselves fully to their art. For more information on these communities, visit and .
Richard Ye, Dancer, Narrator
Richard began training and performing in modern dance as an extracurricular activity during college. He took a hiatus from college to receive formal modern, jazz and classical ballet dance training on scholarships at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and at the Milwaukee Ballet School, later returning to complete a BFA in Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Richard has performed in numerous dance, theater and opera companies throughout the United States, including the Cincinnati Ballet, the Milwaukee Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln Center. He has also performed internationally in Japan, Canada, Ukraine, Russia and Ecuador and in the Caribbean Sea on a Carnival Cruise ship. One of the highlights of his career was to perform with Ballet For Young Audiences, center stage, to a stadium audience of fifty thousand in the grand opening of the 2011 Nanning, China International Folk Arts Music Festival.