Dancer Biographies

Rick Callender

Rick Callender is from Miami, Florida and began his training with Marta Mahr School of Ballet and New World School of the Arts. He then moved to Seattle to study at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School. He later took a position with the Washington Ballet in Washington, DC. After working at the Fort Worth Dallas Ballet (Texas Ballet Theatre) for five seasons, he moved to Philadelphia. Rick has also danced with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet Company, Pennsylvania Ballet, Ballet X, Miro Dance, Jeanne Ruddy Dance, and many others in the Philadelphia area. He has gotten to perform many wonderful roles and has enjoyed performing around the world. Rick has been guesting with Brandywine since 2008, and has been a full-season member since 2014. Some of his highlights with the Company include The Beast in Beauty & The Beast, Jonathan in Dracula, Carmina Burana, and Prince Desire in Sleeping Beauty.

Joe Cotler -Guest Dancer

Joe Cotler grew up in Batavia, NY, and trained at his mother Robin Cotler’s dance studio, Images in Dance. He graduated from the University of the Arts in 2009. While at school, he had the opportunity to work with numerous choreographers, including Ronen Koresh and Paul Selwyn-Norton. Mr. Cotler has been a guest dancer with Brandywine Ballet since 2008. Some of Joe’s favorite roles with Brandywine are Snow King and Arabian in The Nutcracker. In addition to performing, he also teaches and choreographs for numerous studios in the Philadelphia area. Mr. Cotler has been a member of Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia since 2009 and is delighted to perform with Brandywine Ballet.

Tim Early

Tim Early is celebrating his 23rd consecutive season with Brandywine Ballet as a Principal Dancer. In addition to performing, Tim has choreographed for the Company, and has been on faculty at The Dance Center, the official school of the Brandywine Ballet. Highlights with the Company have been his performances in Nancy Page’s Dracula, Ronen Koresh’s Beyond the Steps, Balanchine’s Serenade, and Eddy Touissant’s Souvenance. Together with Donna L. Muzio, Mr. Early founded Brandywine Contemporary, the modern-based arm of Brandywine Ballet. He is co-director of the Philadelphia-based modern company Opus I Contemporary. He has choreographed for Lafayette College, Moravian College, and West Chester University. In addition, Mr. Early has headed the dance department at the Performing Arts Institute in Wilkes-Barre, PA, for the past eleven years. 

Caleaf Henson

Caleaf Henson began his dance training in Broomall, PA at the age of fifteen with Touch of Class Dance Studio. Caleaf then went on to train with the PA Academy of Ballet, and the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Caleaf has studied modern, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, tap, and contemporary – lending to his versatility. He has entered various competitions including So You Think You Can Dance on Fox TV. Mr. Henson is a member of Opus 1 Contemporary Company, and he has also guested with various regional companies and schools. Caleaf enjoys teaching and working with studios in the tri-state area, and he recently was a rehearsal assistant to Crystal Fraizer at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Caleaf has been a member of Brandywine Ballet since 2013. Some of his favorite roles with the Company include Arabian and Rat King in The Nutcracker, Carmina Burana, Puss n’ Boots in Sleeping Beauty, and the Butler in Beauty & The Beast.  

Jaime Lennon Louis

Jaime Lennon Louis began her training at The Dance Center under the direction of Donna L. Muzio when she was seven years old. She has been a member of Brandywine Ballet Company for 18 years. Ms. Louis is currently a principal dancer with Brandywine Ballet Theatre and has danced many leading roles, including Mina and Lucy in Nancy Page's Dracula, the leading female role in Nancy Page's Voices, Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Beauty in Beauty & The Beast, and the Dark Angel in George Balanchine’s Serenade, among others. She graduated in 2010 from West Chester University with a B.A. in Communication Studies and Brandywine Ballet’s Certificate in Ballet. Jaime was a member of the Philadelphia-based contemporary ballet company BalletX from 2010 to 2014. During her time with BalletX, Jaime performed at the prestigious Vail International Dance Festival and at the The Joyce Theater in NYC. She has had works created on her by numerous choreographers including Nancy Page, Matthew Neenan, Jodie Gates, and Nicolo Fonte. Jaime is looking forward to the 2017-18 Season.

Emily McAveney

Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Emily McAveney has experienced a successful performance career that includes appearances with Brandywine Ballet, The Lake Erie Ballet, Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre, and BalletFleming. She began her training with Donna L. Muzio and Nancy Page at The Dance Center, the official school of Brandywine Ballet, and continued her dance education at Mercyhurst University, graduating in May 2014 with a B.A. in Dance Performance. Emily has performed in ballets such as The Nutcracker, Paquita, Antony Tudor’s Little Improvisations, Tomm Ruud’s Mobile, and George Balanchine’s Valse-Fantaisie, Serenade, and Concerto Barocco. She has originated roles in new works by choreographers such as Nancy Page, Meredith Rainey, Tauna Hunter, Michael Gleason, and Sarah Grace, among others. Some of her favorite roles with Brandywine Ballet are Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Four Little Swans in Swan Lake Act II, the Lioness from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and the female lead in Never Ending Road. In addition to performing, Emily enjoys teaching ballet and contemporary classes at The Dance Center.

Amanda Hill

Amanda Hill trained privately with Natasha Bar starting at the age of eight. Along with the excellent training she received from Natasha, Amanda attended various summer programs including The Rock School, NYSSSA, Miami City Ballet, Boston Ballet, Kaatsbaan and the School of American Ballet. She also competed in ballet competitions such as Youth America Grand Prix, where she was awarded 1st place in the Senior Division Semifinals. To further her education, Amanda attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia as a ballet major on presidential scholarship and graduated with honors. While attending college and working towards her BFA, she performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet in their productions of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker (2010, 2012), and La Fille Mal Gardee, as well as joining the Company on their tour to the National Arts Center in Ottawa, Canada. After graduating college Amanda joined BalletFleming in Philadelphia, where she danced for three seasons. She danced principal roles in many of their productions including the title role in Snow White. Amanda joined Brandywine Ballet in 2016, and enjoyed performing roles including Celestial Being in Beauty & The Beast, and Snow Queen and Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker.

 

Emily Royce

Originally from Kennett Square, PA, Emily Royce received her professional training at The Dance Center, under the tutelage of Donna L. Muzio. Ms. Royce originally joined Brandywine Ballet Company in 2001, quickly rising through the ranks to Soloist in 2004 and Principal in 2005. During her time with the company, Ms. Royce had the opportunity to perform a wide range of repertoire works including works by internationally recognized choreographers including George Balanchine, Leslie Browne, Matthew Neenan, and Ronen Koresh. In addition to the fine training she received at Brandywine Ballet, Ms. Royce was also accepted to professional summer training programs including American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, and The Joffrey School of Ballet. Ms. Royce currently resides in Philadelphia where she manages the Payment and Credit Offerings Support Team within Wells Fargo’s Financial Institutions Group, and she is delighted to be returning to Brandywine Ballet for the 2017-18 Season.

Sydney Bennett

Sydney Bennett has been studying dance for 11 years at The Dance Center under the direction of Donna L. Muzio. She joined Brandywine Ballet Company at age 12 and quickly was accepted into Brandywine Ballet Theatre shortly after. While with the company Ms. Bennett has been cast in all classic, neo-classic and contemporary pieces in the Brandywine Ballet repertoire, highlighted by Dew Drop Fairy and Arabian from The Nutcracker, as well as a featured role in Balanchine’s Serenade. She has also danced soloist roles in Nancy Page’s Carmina Burana and Meredith Rainey’s Make Haste Slowly. In addition to performing, Sydney is on faculty at The Dance Center as well as a Rehearsal Assistant with Brandywine Ballet. Her innovative choreography has been featured in many of The Dance Center’s Student Recitals, Chester County Dance Festival, and Brandywine Ballet’s Summer Program Performance.

 

Laura Betz

Laura Betz began training at the Pennsylvania Dance Institute in 2005 and joined Dance Del Bello in 2010. During that time Laura attended summer programs at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, the American Repertory Ballet, Princeton Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre Summer Collegiate program. Laura graduated from West Chester University in 2017 and completed Brandywine Ballet’s Certificate in Ballet Program. During those years, she trained with Donna L. Muzio, Nancy Page and Meredith Rainey and performed classical and contemporary works from the Brandywine Ballet repertoire such as The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake Act II, and Carmina Burana to name a few. For the past 2 years, she has also served as one of the company’s Rehearsal Assistants. Laura is presently a Preschool Assistant Teacher at the Meadowbrook School and is happy to be continuing her dance career with Brandywine Ballet. 

Krista Pinkerton

Krista Pinkerton began her training at the Pennsylvania Dance Institute and joined Dance Del Bello as a company member in 2011. She then continued her training at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia on Scholarship. Krista recently completed a one-year Traineeship at American Repertory Ballet in Princeton, NJ and performed in their productions of The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Our Town. In 2014, Krista began the Professional Training Program at Ballet Central New Jersey where she performed in their production of The Nutcracker as the Sugar Plum Fairy and other soloist and principal roles in their productions of Les Sylphides, Carmen, Etudes, Sleeping Beauty, Les Patineurs, Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1, Aladdin and Giselle. Krista also competed in the Youth American Grand Prix Competition in Philadelphia. Krista joined Brandywine Ballet in the 2016-17 Season and performed in their productions of Colour Brillante, The Nutcracker and Beauty & The Beast, and she is looking forward to another season.

Elizabeth Strenge

Elizabeth Strenge is originally from Yardley, Pa and began her dance training with the Princeton Ballet School in New Jersey. She eventually attended BalletMet’s pre-professional program in Ohio where she understudied and performed company roles. In 2012 she joined Columbia Classical Ballet in South Carolina, performing in ballets such as Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Don Quixote, Etudes, Sleeping Beauty, and others. She returned to Pennsylvania in 2014 to train and apprentice with the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet under the direction of John White and Margarita De Saa dancing lead and soloist roles in such ballets as La Boutique Fantasque, Paquita and The Nutcracker; and in 2016 she joined Ballet 180. This is Elizabeth’s first season with Brandywine Ballet.