Ballet des Amériques Company

La danse peut révéler tout ce que la musique recèle de mystérieux, et elle a de plus le mérite d’être humaine et palpable. La danse, c’est la poésie avec des bras et des jambes, c’est la matière, gracieuse et terrible, animée, embellie par le mouvement.

Dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs. It is matter, graceful and terrible, animated and embellished by movement.
- Charles Baudelaire

Established in 2011 under the directorship of Carole Alexis, Ballet des Amériques, as its name implies, inserts itself into the French cultural heritage of the Americas. Following a thought of Aimé Césaire, this heritage is conceived as drawing on its European and African roots, while being genuinely open to the world and absorbing its rich variety of traditions in a continuous dialogue. On this basis, Ballet des Amériques aims to model a trajectory of developing dance from its classical tradition into a vibrant and relevant future.

Composed of classically trained dancers from around the world, the young company has already successfully performed the choreographies of Carole Alexis in a variety of festivals, venues and benefits such as a United Nations event celebrating Aimé Césaire and commemorating the abolition of slavery, the NYC10 Dance Initiative at Dixon Place, the Performance Lab Series, the Fertile Ground dance series, the Festival de Fort-de-France in Martinique, the Journée internationale de la Francophonie at Florence Gould Hall, the Kate Wildish NYC Festival of Dance Schools, the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck, a homage to Edouard Glissant at the French Embassy in New York, and a fundraiser for the Rosemarie K. Witter Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting medical research in finding effective treatment and a cure for Lupus.

Ballet des Amériques Company is a member of Dance/USA - The national service organization for professional dance.

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Carole Alexis, Director

Carole Alexis’ work as a choreographer is deeply informed by her multicultural and intercontinental background and training on the one hand, and her interdisciplinary approach to performance on the other. In New York City, for example, she has choreographed and performed - both as a singer and a dancer - at the River to River Festival, the Festival de la Francophonie, at Carnegie Hall and at Lincoln Center with artists such as Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Kathy Engel, Michael Ratner, The Mighty Sparrow, Susan Sarandon.

Taking her cue from a thought of Aimé Césaire, in 2011, Carole Alexis launched Ballet des Amériques, a new venture in dance training, education and performance intended to give a voice to the world’s various traditions of dance on the basis of classical ballet training, while self-consciously situating itself in the context of the Americas. The young company has already performed her most recent choreographies at the Festival de Fort-de-France in Martinique, the Journée internationale de la Francophonie at Florence Gould Hall, the Kate Wildish NYC Festival of Dance Schools and at the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck.

Aesthetically and technically, the tradition of classical ballet broadly conceived to include its modern and contemporary successors offers Carole Alexis the broad range of language and richness of vocabulary that is well-suited as a basis for a choreography that is genuinely open to the world and all of its traditions: “I always find myself traveling between cultures, genres and techniques, engaged in a constant dialogue,” she explains. And indeed, the elements of her choreography as well as the multi-ethnic and multicultural composition of her Ballet des Amériques dance company give credence to this approach. Having grown up and received her training and education in France, the Caribbean and Africa, Carole Alexis at a young age chose the Béjart school to obtain the kind of formation that would form a solid basis from which to receive, appropriate and develop a rich variety of traditions and influences in music, dance and the performing arts in general.

From a classical basis and drawing on multifarious influences, Carole Alexis creates works that spark our curiosity, that question and explore, yet that always give pride of place to the sheer physicality and visceral character of dance.

Mme. Alexis’ approach to dance, performance and choreography was informed early on by the teachings of the three founders of the Negritude movement, Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor, and Léon-Gontran Damas. She believes that art expresses the infinite possibilities of humanity, a kind of universal consciousness, and that it should be a platform for cultural action leading to a reflection on the possibilities of social change.

As an honors graduate of the Mudra School created by Maurice Béjart, Léopold Sédard Senghor and UNESCO, Carole Alexis excelled in all varieties of dance. She has toured in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean, dancing as a soloist, ensemble member and freelancer in many companies and productions including: Rick Odums Dance Company - Artistic Director: Rick Odums; Compagnie Du Corail, Soloist - Directors: Jean-Paul Césaire and Suzi Maniry; Les Ballets Jazz de Paris, Soloist - Artistic Director: Mervyn Francis; Moise Dance Company, Soloist - Artistic Director: Moise; Claire Tallia, Soloist - Artistic Director: Claire Tallia; Compagnie Irene Tassembedo.  

Carole Alexis studied with: Maurice Béjart, ballet and choreographic intensives; Nikoloz Makhateli, ballet; Bertrand Pie, ballet; Jorge Lefèbre, Director of the Royal Ballet of Wallonie, ballet and choreographic work; Solange Golovine, ballet; Jaqueline Fyneart, barre au sol; Larrio Ekson, modern dance and choreographic intensives; Julien Jouga, music; Goris Théâtre; Doudou NDiaye Rose, percussion; Jacqueline Rayet, Opéra de Paris, ballet; Savitri Nair, Bharata Natyam; Rick Odums, jazz and modern jazz; Peter Goss, Modern Jose Limon based; Jay Allen Augen, ballet; Andrej Glekovski, ballet; Yuriko Kikuchi, Director of the Martha Graham Company; Bruce Taylor, modern dance, modern jazz and choreographic work; Jean-Claude Zadith, ballet, Barre au sol, modern dance and choreographic work; Nina Valery, ballet; Germaine Acogny, African dance and choreographic work; Ray Phillips, modern Graham technique; Jaqueline Scott Lemoine, theater; Jean-Claude Lamorandière, contemporary and Afro-Caribbean dance.

During her studies, Carole Alexis won numerous merit scholarships and the First Prize of Minolta Danse pour l’image. Her image has graced several magazine covers and she has been featured in many newspaper articles and magazines including the Encyclopédie de la Femme Antillaise. A documentary entitled Come Dance With Me, directed by Jean-Paul Césaire, portrays the early career of Carole Alexis when she was discovered by Aimé Césaire.

Isodale Alexis, Dancer

Isodale Alexis Ballet des Amériques Company DancerIsodale Alexis started her ballet training at the age of five with her mother, Carole Alexis, with whom she still trains today. Isodale has performed on the stages of the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Florence Gould Hall, Joyce Theater, L’Atrium Martinique and more. She also took classes at the Manhattan Youth Ballet, Studio Maestro, Joffrey Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem and studied music at the Harbor Conservatory, and the Bloomingdale School of Music. Isodale graduated from Ballet des Amériques School in June 2012. In addition to pursuing her career in dance, Isodale is attending the Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY) as a Liberal Arts student.

Ashley Cook, Dancer

Ashley Cook Ballet des Amériques Company DancerA native of Long Island, New York, Ashley began her training at Starlite School of Dance, where she performed competitively under the instruction of Jodi Vaccaro. She then studied at Seiskaya Ballet and continued her ballet training with ABT stars Leslie Browne and Ethan Brown at The School at Steps in New York City. Ashley received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Biology from Mercyhurst University, where she trained under Tauna Hunter and Michael Gleason and performed featured roles, including Lise in La Fille Mal Gardée and the lead in Paquita. She also performed with the Lake Erie Ballet Company for three seasons and danced with Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre. Upon graduating, Ashley spent the following season with Ballet Quad Cities, under Artistic Director Courtney Lyon, dancing in Dracula, The Nutcracker, and Carmen. Ashley's dance education includes summer intensives with American Ballet Theatre, Princeton Ballet School, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

Taylor Fikes, Dancer

Taylor Fikes Ballet des Amériques Company Dancer

Originally from Columbia, Maryland, Taylor L. Fikes began her training in 2008 with the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Residency Program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. She was accepted into Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA), where she trained for two years. In 2010, after her sophomore year in high school, she left BSA to train at the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington, D.C. This proved to be the springboard to becoming the 2011 recipient of the U.S. State Department and Russian American Foundation scholarship known as NSLI-Y, National Security Language Initiative for-Youth. This scholarship enabled Taylor and fifteen other dancers to study at the Bolshoi Academy of Ballet in Moscow, Russia, for six weeks during the summer. At the conclusion of the program, the Bolshoi Academy selected five of the sixteen scholarship recipients to return and join the school as full time students. Taylor was invited and joined the Bolshoi Academy of Ballet for the 2011-2012 school year. Returning to the United States in 2012 as both a high school and Bolshoi Academy graduate, she joined the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet. Taylor joined Ballet des Amériques as a Company Dancer in 2014.

Sarah Fink, Dancer

Sarah Fink Ballet des Amériques Company Dancer

Originally from Philadelphia, Sarah Fink received her pre-professional training from the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet under the directorship of Margarita de Saa and John White. She continued her training at the University of Utah's Department of Ballet, and graduated in 2012 with a BFA in Ballet Performance and a BA in International Studies. After graduating, Sarah moved to Chicago to study on scholarship at Lou Conte Dance Studio and expand her familiarity with contemporary dance. In Chicago, her freelance work included performing as a soloist with the Chicago Folks Operetta and as a background dancer in the Bollywood film Dhoom 3. Since moving to New York in September 2013, Sarah has enjoyed performing with groups such as Ballet for Young Audiences and New American Youth Ballet. She is delighted to be dancing with Ballet des Amériques.

Kylie Fox, Dancer

Kylie Fox Ballet des Amériques Company Dancer

Raised in Iowa, Kylie Fox began her classical ballet training at Central Iowa Dance with Lynn AndlauerKylie went on to train with Susan Snider and later joined the Vine Street Ballet Company as a dancer under the artistic direction of Ms. Snider. She also danced with Iowa Dance Theatre and Albano Ballet Company of America, which gave her the opportunity to perform a repertoire ranging from classical ballet to original modern and contemporary works. Kylie also trained at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet School on a full scholarship, with Basil Thompson, and with Jeffery Bullock, and is currently receiving private lessons from Karin Averty, former première danseuse with Paris Opera Ballet and principal with San Francisco Ballet. Adding to her experience as a dancer, Kylie is also a highly trained performance singer and an actress in theater and film. Kylie Fox is excited to be dancing with Ballet des Ameriques and looks forward to the future.

Shogo Honda - 本田翔悟, Dancer

Shogo Honda Ballet des Amériques Company DancerShogo Honda - 本田翔悟 - was born and raised in Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan. He began his training under Seichiro Sadamatsu at the Sadamatsu Hamada Ballet School in Kobe. Mr. Honda later also studied under Jan Nuyts, among others. He was a finalist and prizewinner in a number of competitions in Osaka and Nagoya. From 2009 until 2013, he danced with the Sadamatsu Hamada Ballet Company in Kobe in roles such as Bluebird in Sleeping Beauty, the role of Ali in Le Corsaire, in the Pas de Trois in Swan Lake, Harlequin and a Soldier in The Nutcracker, Alain in La fille mal gardée, Chinese Doll in Coppelia, Pas de Deux in La Primavera and in the Pas de Trois in Paquita. Mr. Honda also danced modern ballet in “6 Dances” choreographed by Jiří Kylián and in “Winterreise” choreographed by Yuki Mori. In 2013, he was promoted to soloist.
Mr. Honda received a bachelor's degree in Body Analogy (human anatomy and body movement) from Kobe Gakuin University and was co-founder and teacher of the Mayu Tink Ballet School in Akashi and Kobe.
Mr. Shogo Honda gladly accepted an offer from Director Carole Alexis to join both the Faculty and the Company of Ballet des Amériques as ballet teacher and company dancer.

Celeste Landa, Dancer

Celeste Landa Ballet des Amériques Company DancerMexican-American dancer Celeste Landa has a diverse and accomplished career as a young performer. Her training began at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in Palm Beach Florida. As student of New World School of the Arts, she also studied on scholarship with American Ballet Theatre and Ballet Austin. Alongside her performance experience, Celeste spent two years at Vantage Point Dance Studios under the direction of J.J. Butler as a dance instructor. More recently, Celeste began training at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in midtown New York. Additionally, Ms. Landa has joined Ballet des Amériques, where she looks forward to having a special collaborative experience.

Irene Przywara, Dancer

Irene Przywara Ballet des Amériques Company DancerIrene Przywara was born in San Francisco, California, and trained in New York City on full scholarship at The School of American Ballet, at Ballet Academy East, and in Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Professional Training Program as well as in the Professional Division at The Ailey School. She has spent summers training with American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Orlando Ballet, and New York State Summer School of the Arts. Ms. Przywara has performed with Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet II, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble under Arthur Mitchell, Eglevsky Ballet under both Ali Pourfarrukh and Lazlo Berdo, Lumière Ballet under Venti Petrov, and, as an apprentice in the second company, with North Carolina Dance Theatre under Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux. She is very honored to be dancing with Ballet des Amériques.

Jenna Simon, Dancer

Jenna Simon Ballet des Amériques Company DancerJenna Simon began dancing at the age of five at the Mid-Maryland Performing Arts Center in Frederick, Maryland. There she received training in the R.A.D. and Graham technique under the direction of Esperanza Alzona. At the age of thirteen she joined the Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Company dancing solo roles in ballets including Peter and the Wolf, Paquita, and The Nutcracker. Jenna graduated cum laude from Goucher College in 2008 with a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies and a minor in Dance Performance. At Goucher she performed in works choreographed by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Michael Vernon, William Whitener, Nilas Martins, and Anne Hutchinson-Guest. During her last semester of college, she joined Washington Reflections Dance Company in Washington, D.C., for one season. She has also been a guest artist for the Baltimore Ballet Company. In the summer of 2008, Jenna moved to NYC after receiving a fellowship to dance at the Alvin Ailey Summer Program. She joined DeMa Dance Company in 2009 and continues to perform with them regularly throughout NYC. She also dances for Trainor Dance in NYC. Jenna is thrilled to be dancing with Ballet des Amériques.