Desiree Bortolussi KELOWNA, BC
Desiree Bortolussi is a graduate of The Canadian School of Ballet and has performed in 14 productions of CSB’s The Nutcracker with appearances in many principal roles. Ms. Bortolussi has participated in summer dance programs at Canada’s National Ballet School, The Boston Ballet School, The Cincinnati Ballet School, and The School of Alberta Ballet. She has also studied at the Okanagan Summer Dance Intensive program under Paul Destrooper and Stephane Leonard. During summer 2015, Ms. Bortolussi took part in The Banff Centre’s Summer Professional Dance Program where she had worked with choreographer Gabrielle Lamb and Lindsay Fischer. With Ballet Kelowna, Ms. Bortolussi has worked with David LaHay, Brian Macdonald, Kay Armstrong, Raelynn Heppell, Simone Orlando, Heather Meyers, and James Kudelka. This is Ms. Bortolussi’s fifth season with Ballet Kelowna.
Mark Dennis PRINCE GEORGE, BC
Mark Dennis began his training at Canada’s National Ballet School in 2002 and was a recipient of the 2006 Canada Council for the Arts Peter Dwyer Scholarship. Mr. Dennis continued his studies in Canada’s National Ballet School’s Post-Secondary Program and joined The National Ballet of Canada as an apprentice. He has also been a member of Alberta Ballet in Calgary, The West Australian Ballet in Perth, Australia and Northern Ballet in Leeds, United Kingdom. Mr. Dennis has trained under Marcia Haydee, George Balanchine, Jiri Kylian, John Neumeier, James Kudelka, Uwe Scholz and Petr Zuska and since he joined Ballet Kelowna in 2014, has performed works by John Alleyne, Matjash Mrozewski, Heather Myers, Shawn Hounsell, Gabrielle Lamb and Simone Orlando.
Kurt Werner SCARBOROUGH, ON
Kurt Werner graduated from The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Program. He has danced in the work of George Balanchine, Michel Fokine, William Forsythe, James Kudelka, John Neumeier and Arthur Saint-Léon. Mr. Werner recently received the Brian Macdonald Dance Award and participated in The Banff Center’s 2015 Summer Professional Dance Program. During his time with Ballet Kelowna, Mr. Werner has been featured in works by Simone Orlando, David LaHay, James Kudelka, Heather Myers, Shawn Hounsell, Kay Armstrong, Brian Macdonald and Brydon Paige. This is Mr. Werner’s fifth season with Ballet Kelowna.
Valentin Chou PARIS, FRANCE
Valentin Chou graduated from the Paris Opera Ballet School in 2013. He has performed works by Rudolf Nureyev, Maurice Béjart, and George Balanchine and to work under the direction of Claude Bessy, Violette Verdy, and Nils Christe. Upon graduation, Mr. Chou joined Canada’s National Ballet School’s Post-Secondary Program performing works by Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, John Neumeier, Nacho Duato, Robert Binet, Demis Volpi and Aszure Barton. Mr. Chou participated in The Banff Centre’s Summer Professional Dance Program and premiered a new work by Gabrielle Lamb. This is Mr. Chou’s second season with Ballet Kelowna.
Heather Thomson CALGARY, AB
Heather Thomson is a recent graduate of the School of Alberta Ballet where she trained under the direction of Murray Kilgour and Edmund Stripe, featuring in Alberta Ballet’s productions The Nutcracker and Madame Butterfly. In 2014, Ms. Thomson joined Alberta Ballet II under the direction of Aram Manukyan. In summer 2015, Ms. Thomson was a recipient of the Muriel Jolliffe Endowment for Dance, allowing her to participate in The Banff Centre’s Summer Professional Dance Program led by Lindsay Fischer. This is Ms. Thomson’s second season with Ballet Kelowna.
Apprentice: Allison Lang VANCOUVER, BC
Allison Lang was born in Vancouver and raised in Coquitlam, BC. She left home at age 10 to train at Canada's National Ballet School in Toronto, going on to graduate and attend the Post-Secondary Program. Ms. Lang has had many opportunities to perform at NBS, including roles in Giselle, Swan Lake and as The Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. She participated in summer exchanges with Houston Ballet and The Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Allison danced professionally with The National Ballet of Canada in James Kudelka's The Nutcracker during the 2015-2016 Season. Ms. Lang is excited about the opportunity to perform in BC as a guest apprentice with Ballet Kelowna.