ELENA D’AMARIO (Dancer) was born in Pescara, Italy. She studied modern, ballet, contemporary and tap at various schools throughout Italy, most prominently at New Step Art Studio. Over the years, she has won multiple festivals and competitions, including the Pescara Dance Festival, the International Expression Dance Competition in 2008, and the International TipTap show in 2007 and 2009 in Rome. Elena has appeared on multiple TV shows including “Oscar TV”, “The Best years” and “Il ballodelledebuttanti”. She auditioned for the most popular Italian talent show “Amici di Maria De Filippi,” which led her to winning the opportunity to apprentice with Parsons Dance for the 2010-2011 season. In 2016, Elena was nominated for a Clive Barnes Award. Elena joined Parsons Dance in August 2011.
ZOEY ANDERSON (Dancer) was born and raised in Utah, where she trained in contemporary, ballet, jazz and ballroom dance at Center Stage. She was the ballroom national smooth champion in 2010. Zoey graduated cum laude from Marymount Manhattan College in 2015 with a BFA in Ballet under the direction of Katie Langan. She has performed works by Dwight Rhoden, Lar Lubovitch and Aszure Barton, among others. In 2013, Zoey performed with Nikolais Louis in the Yang Liping International Dance Festival in Kunming China. Other credits include the Broadway premiere gala of On The Town, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Dancing With The Stars webisodes, and Macy’s Passport Tour with P. Diddy. Zoey was nominated for the Outstanding Performer Bessie Award for her sustained achievement in Parsons Dance. Zoey joined the company in 2015.
JUSTUS WHITFIELD (Dancer) is from Las Vegas, Nevada, and trained in ballet, modern, and jazz at Las Vegas Academy of the Arts. He performed with Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater in 2014 under the direction of Bernard Gaddis. In 2016, Justus graduated with a BA in dance from Point Park University, where he performed works by various choreographers including George Balanchine, Troy Powell, and Garfield Lemonius. Justus joined Parsons Dance in 2016.
DEIDRE ROGAN (Dancer) began her dance training in Fort Myers, FL at Gulfshore Ballet, under the direction of Melinda Roy and Roberto Munoz. Deidre has worked with such choreographers as Judith Jamison, Milton Myers, Matthew Rushing, Hope Boykin, Ronald K. Brown, and Cheryl Copeland. She performed as a United States Arts Ambassador for President Barack Obama during the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Hannover Messe. She is a three-time recipient of the BIG ARTS awards scholarship and a National Young Arts award scholarship. Deidre graduated with honors from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in Dance and was a member of Ailey II from 2014-16. She was an understudy with Parsons Dance for the 2016-17 season before joining the company in the fall of 2017.
SHAWN LESNIAK (Dancer) began dancing at the age of seven in East Haven, Connecticut. At his hometown dance studio, Shawn trained in various styles of dance including ballet, jazz, and tap. After dancing competitively for ten years, he decided to further his dance education at Point Park University. During his time at Point Park, Shawn was fortunate to perform works by Mark Morris, Matthew Powell, Emery Lecrone, and SeptimeWebre. Shawn joined Parsons Dance in the fall of 2017.
HENRY STEELE (Dancer) was born and raised in Wollongong, NSW, Australia. He was a competitive gymnast for eight years, and a national gold medalist for three years. During his final years as a gymnast, he began making the transition to dance. In 2016, Henry graduated from Point Park University with a BFA in Modern and Jazz dance. At Point Park, he performed works by choreographers such as Lar Lubovitch, Mark Morris, Ronin Koresh, and Troy Powell. He has danced professionally with Owen/ Cox Dance Group, Texture Contemporary Ballet, and toured internationally with The Bad Boys of Ballet. This is Henry’s first season with the company.
JOAN RODRIGUEZ (Dancer) was born in La Habana, Cuba. He graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Arte with the “Best Graduate of the Year” award. His professional career began with the dance company DanzAbierta, and he later joined Malpaso Dance Company. During this time, he worked with choreographers such as Trey McIntyre, Osnel Delgado and Ronald K. Brown. He moved to Arizona in 2016 where he focused on creating, teaching and performing. Joan has worked with award winning dance artists Mary Fitzgerald and Liz Lerman. He has been Guest Artist in Residency for numerous Universities and Arts Centers throughout the US and has received awards in several dance competitions.
SASHA ALVAREZ (Dancer) is from Tampa and began her formal dance training at the age of fifteen with Next Generation Ballet at the Patel Conservatory under the direction of Peter Stark and Ivonne Lemus. In 2017, she graduated from Point Park University, where she studied under Rubén Graciani. Ms. Alvarez has performed works by such prominent choreographers as George Balanchine, Emery LeCrone, Septime Webre, Garfield Lemonius, Brian Enos, Ronin Koresh and James Gregg. Professionally, she has danced with Helen Simoneau Danse at NYU Center for Ballet and Arts and Hammerstep NYC at Mana Contemporary. Sasha is also an active member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and has shared her passion for dance by volunteering at her home club in Tampa.
KATIE GARCIA (Dancer) was born and raised in Miami and trained in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, Latin, ballroom and flamenco. After graduating from New World School of the Arts, she continued her training at The Juilliard School, where she performed works by Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, Ohad Naharin, José Limón, Richard Alston, Johannes Wieland, Matthew Neenan, Zvi Gotheiner, and Loni Landon. Service and community outreach is an integral part of her life and artistic journey, and in 2016, she traveled to Botswana to teach dance and movement therapy classes to children. A recipient of the Irene Diamond and Edith Rosenhouse-Baehr scholarship, Katie graduated from Juilliard in 2017. Since then, she has danced for WHITE WAVE, under the direction of Young Soon Kim, and has been employed as a flybarre instructor.
MADELINE PARRISH (Understudy) was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, where she completed her early dance training under the direction of Kaylee Cahoon at the Franklin School of Performing Arts. In 2015, Maddie began studying at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts under the tutelage of Seán Curran. While in school, Maddie performed works by Crystal Pite, Sonya Tayeh, and Paul Taylor. In 2015, the NYU faculty selected her to study abroad at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague in 2017. Maddie received her B.F.A. in Dance from NYU in 2018.
Sumire Ishige (Understudy) is from Greensboro, North Carolina and studied at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts high school program under the leadership of Brenda Daniels and Susan Jaffe. She is now in her third year of the Ailey/Fordham BFA program. In the summer of 2016, Sumire was selected to participate in an exchange program at the National Ballet School of Canada. She has performed pieces by Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp, Lar Lubovitch, José Limón, and Ohad Naharin and has worked with distinguished choreographers such as Gregory Dolbashian, Juel D. Lane, Jennifer Archibald, and Tom Weinberger.