Miami City Ballet Announces Five New Dancers; Durante Verzola joins the faculty of the MCB school

Entering its 37th season, Miami City Ballet announced five new dancers to its company roster.

Joining MCB’s list of world-class dancers for the Season 22/23 is the principal dancer Yuliia Moskalenko, who joins the company from the National Opera of Ukraine.

And new faces in the corps de ballet are Alexander Kaden, Brooks Landegger, Isadora Valero and Kaelah Poulos-Hopkins.

Additionally, MCB School alumnus Durante Verzola will join the school as a faculty member and choreographer. Durante has been choreographing for the school’s Choreographic Intensive since its creation in 2017. As a teacher and choreographer, students at the school will have the opportunity to have original works created for them. Durante is also part of MCB’s 22/23 season, where he will create work that celebrates his adopted hometown of Miami. This is her third commission by the artistic director of the MCB, Lourdes Lopez.

About the artists

Yulia Moskalenko, director

Yuliia is originally from Kyiv, Ukraine, where she was a principal dancer with Urkaine’s first ballet company, the Ukrainian National Opera in Kyiv. When war broke out in Ukraine, Yuliia sought help to escape the war and find a new home to dance to. In June 2022, with the help of artistic director Lourdes Lopez and several others, Yuliia obtained a US visa allowing her to work in the country.

During her celebrated career at the National Opera of Ukraine, Yuliia performed many leading roles, including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, the title roles in Cinderella and Giselle, Juliette in Radio and Juliette (to the music of Radiohead), Aegine in Spartacus, as well as Casse-Noisette, Paquita, La Bayadère, Don Quichotte, and many others.

Yuliia has toured Japan, Canada, China, Germany, Russia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, France and other countries.

Alexander Kaden, corps de ballet

The Brazilian/German dancer graduated from the Vienna State Opera. After graduating in 2015, Alexander had an impressive stint at the Vienna State Ballet. His initial training began in Recife, Brazil at the Ballet Gonzalez.

At the Vienna National Ballet, he performed many roles including Peter Pan by Vesna Orlić, Aladdin in One Thousand and One Nights by Orlić and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet by Davide Bombana, as well as several others. At the Vienna State Opera, he danced in Swan Lake and Don Quixote by Rudolf Nureyev, La Sylphide by Pierre Lacotte and Giselle by Elena Tschernischova. He also appeared in many musicals, operas and operettas. His awards include first place in 2010 at Passo De Arte, Fortaleza and Seminário Internacional de Dança de Brasília.

Brooks Landegger, corps de ballet

Brooks trained at the School of American Ballet and the Boston Ballet School. He has performed in numerous productions at the David H. Koch Theater and the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. At the age of 12, Brooks joined a touring production of the acclaimed musical Billy Elliot, winning awards for his portrayal of the titular character. At 16, he moved to Boston to train with his longtime mentor Peter Stark and danced with Boston Ballet II, performing the lead role in George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante. Brooks is a YoungArts laureate in dance.

Isadora Valero, corps de ballet

Isadora grew up in Caracas, Venezuela. She began her dance training at the age of eight at the Academia de Ballet Clásico Nina Novak. In Venezuela, she was invited to perform as a soloist with the Ballet Teresa Carreño. In 2006 and 2007, she was a finalist in the United States International Ballet Competition, the Youth America Grand Prix, and the Korea International Ballet Competition.

In 2008 Isadora was awarded a scholarship to the Hamburg School of Ballet in Germany, and in 2010 she joined the Hamburg Ballet Company under the direction of John Neumeier. In 2015, Isadora became a member of the National Ballet of Portugal and performed the main roles in Sleeping Beauty, Serenade by George Balanchine, La Bayadère and Swan Lake by Fernando Durante, The Rite of Spring by Vaslav Nijinsky, iTMOi d’ Akram Khan, Hans van Manen’s Short Cut and Eric Volodin’s Don Quixote, among others.

In 2021, during the pandemic, she embarked on a freelance career to work internationally and build social projects abroad.

Kaelah Poulos-Hopkins, Corps de Ballet

Kaelah started dancing at the age of 6 at the Philadelphia Studio Ballet in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. At age 11, she began training at the Pennsylvania Ballet (now Philadelphia Ballet) under Arantxa Ochoa and later Denis Gronostayskiy. At age 14, she received an intern scholarship with the Pennsylvania Ballet. During her two years as a trainee, she had the opportunity to dance corps de ballet roles in Kenneth Macmillan’s Romeo and Juliet, Angel Corella’s Swan Lake and Giselle.

Kaelah spent summers training on a scholarship to San Francisco Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell.

In 2019, she received a full merit scholarship to attend a summer course at the School of American Ballet. After that summer, Kaelah joined the pre-professional division of Miami City Ballet School to study again with Arantxa Ochoa. As a student at MCB, Kaelah had the opportunity to perform corps de ballet roles in Alexei Ratmansky’s Swan Lake as well as George Balanchine’s Jewels.

MCB’s 22/23 season opens in October 2022 with John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet and will run through May 2022. Season highlights include the premiere of Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels, a revamped production at the flavor of Miami from George Balanchine’s Square Dance, Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite and Afternoon of a Faun, as well as three world premiere commissions from various and notable choreographers Amy Hall Garner, Pontus Lidberg and Durante Verzola. Subscriptions are on sale now and start at $84.

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