Oklahoma City Ballet Announces Promotions and New Company Dancers for the 2013-14 Season

July 26, 2013

Press Releases

Oklahoma City Ballet Announces Promotions and New Company Dancers for the 2013-14 Season


OKLAHOMA CITY (July 26, 2013) – Oklahoma City Ballet Artistic Director Robert Mills has announced new additions and company promotions for the 2013-14 Season.  “Each year I am amazed at the amount of talented dancers attending our national auditions who are all vying for a spot in Oklahoma City Ballet.  In New York City alone we had 147 dancers show up to audition.  It is really exciting”.  – Robert Mills, Artistic Director.

Three new company members and eight new apprentices join Oklahoma City Ballet for the 13-14 Season.  Four dancers have been promoted within the company’s ranks.

New company members include Daniel Hardman (Bethesda, Maryland), Leonid Khrapunsky (Zaporizhzhya, Zaporiz’Ka Oblast’, Ukraine), and Walker Martin (Clinton, OK).  Arianna Lawson (Scarborough, ME) and Autumn Sicking Klein (Lincoln, NE) have been promoted to full company members having spent last season as apprentices.  Also receiving promotions are Miki Kawamura (Sapporo, Japan) and Yui Sato (Kyoto, Japan).  Ms. Kawamura and Mr. Sato were promoted to principal dancer status onstage after their opening night performances in the leading roles of this past April’s Swan Lake.

In addition to these artists, Oklahoma City Ballet also welcomes eight new apprentices from around the United States and Spain who will work and train with the Oklahoma City Ballet for the 2013-14 season gaining invaluable experience working and performing with a professional ballet company.  New apprentices include Nadine Barton, Laura Carstensen, Daina Gingras, Allegra Holland, Ommaira Kanga, Giovanna Kaufman, Danielle Richard, and Cassie Shedenhelm.  These dancers will join the ranks of Oklahoma City Ballet’s talented and versatile returning artists:  principal dancers Miki Kawamura and Yui Sato, and company members Ellany Abbott, Seth Bradley, Carissa Churchill, Sarah Jane Crespo, Ezlimar Dortolina, Stephanie Foraker Pitts, Amanda Herd, DaYoung Jung, Paul Kirk, Callye McCollum Crespo, Io Morita,  Jerry Pines, Ryan Piper and Alvin Tovstogray.

All of these artists will help bring Oklahoma City Ballet’s riveting 2013-14 Season “From the Page to the Stage” to life.  2013-14 season performances include:

Mowgli, The Jungle Book Ballet, October 11-13, 2013

The Nutcracker, December 13-15 and 20-22, 2013

Carmen, Balanchine’s Rubies, and a world premiere from Matthew Neenan, February 7-9, 2014

Beauty and the Beast, April 18-20

All performances take place at the Civic Center Music Hall, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  Visit Oklahoma Ballet’s website or call 405.848.TOES (8637) to purchase season tickets or for more information.

 About Oklahoma City Ballet

Founded in 1972 by Ballet Russe dancers Yvonne Chouteau and Miguel Terekhov, Oklahoma City Ballet has been the city’s professional ballet company for over 40 years.  It is the resident dance company of the Civic Center Music Hall and boasts 29 dancers from around the world.  The company produces 4 main stage productions per season in Oklahoma City and tours across Oklahoma and the surrounding states.  It is the only ballet company of its size to regularly debut world premiere story ballets with original commissioned scores and also commission’s new works from the industry’s leading choreographers.


2013-2014 New/Promoted dancer biographies

Daniel Hardman

Daniel Hardman began his ballet studies at the Maryland Youth Ballet in Bethesda, Maryland. He also trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC. Daniel furthered his ballet studies abroad with training at Almaty Choreographic School in Kazakhstan, 2 years at the La Scala Theatre Ballet School in Milan, Italy, the Chisinau Choreographic College and 3 years at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Most recently Daniel was a trainee with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. He has danced in numerous ballets including La Fille Mal Gardee, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty.

Leonid Khrapunsky 

Leonid Khrapunsky was born in the Ukraine. He immigrated to Israel at a young age and at the age of 9 began his ballet studies at the Valery Panov Ballet Theatre School in Ashdod, Israel. In 2007 he joined Panov’s professional company where he danced until 2010. Leonid received scholarship certificates from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation in 2006, 2007 and 2010. In 2010 he attended the American Academy of Ballet summer course in NY, NY and in 2010 Leonid joined the Ellison Professional Training School in New York City where he has continued his studies until 2013. He has received 1st and 2nd place awards at Youth America Grand Prix competitions and has danced roles from much of the classical repertoire including Sleeping BeautyCoppeliaRaymondaSwan LakeThe Nutcracker and Bournonville’s Le ConservatoireNapoli Divertissements, and Flower Festival at Genzano.

Arianna Lawson (promoted from apprentice to full company member)

Arianna Lawson began training at the Portland School of Ballet in Maine. After training for five years in Maine, she began studies across the country and abroad, including Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia, Bossov Ballet, and Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy.  Last season Arianna was featured as the lead Marzipan from The Nutcracker, as a cygnet from Swan Lake, and in Artistic Director Robert Mills’ Pushing Pennies.  After spending last season as an apprentice, Arianna is looking forward to her first season as a full company member.

Walker Martin

Originally from Clinton, Oklahoma, Walker Martin received the majority of his training from Penny Askew at the Western Oklahoma Ballet Academy where he danced in the pre-professional company of Western Oklahoma Ballet Theatre. As a member of WOBT, Walker participated and performed at numerous Regional Dance America Festivals where he also studied with many notable master teachers. Walker has attended New York City’s Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive and American Ballet Theatre’s NYC Summer Intensive numerous times where he was named a National Training Scholar on more than one occasion. He continued his studies year round at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy where he had the opportunity to dance with Houston Ballet in The Nutcracker and Cinderella. Walker joins Oklahoma City Ballet from Ballet Quad Cities where he spent last season dancing as a company member.

Autumn Sicking Klein (promoted from apprentice to full company member)

Autumn grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. After graduating high school, she attended Houston Ballet Academy for three years. While there, Autumn performed with Houston Ballet II and Houston Ballet. She has received scholarships from Houston Ballet, Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, and Texas A&M University. Autumn has also received Presidential and Congressional medals for volunteer service. Additionally, she studied biochemistry and genetics at Texas A&M University. Before joining OKC Ballet as an apprentice for the 2012-13 season, Autumn was a member of Houston Ballet II and Ben Stevenson’s Texas Ballet Theater.  Last season Autumn was featured in Margo Sappington’s Cobra’s in the Moonlightand Napoli Divertissements.

Miki Kawamura (promoted to principal dancer)

Miki started her ballet training at the age of 10 in Sapporo, Japan. She also trained at Pacific Dance Arts in Vancouver, Canada before joining Eugene Ballet/Ballet Idaho. Later she danced with City Ballet of San Diego and Charleston Ballet Theatre where she danced principal and soloist roles. She has also danced as a guest artist in Flower Festival in Genzanofor Evenings of Russian Ballet, Snow Pas de Deux for the Iowa State Center Nutcracker, and the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker for David Taylor Dance Theatre.  Her repertoire with Oklahoma City Ballet includes dancing the roles of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera, Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker, Principal in George Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie, Principal in Paquita and Napoli Divertissements, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Caroline in Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden, and principal roles in works from Margo Sappington and Nicolo Fonte. She has also created roles in new works by Jessica Lang, Alan Hineline and Artistic Director Robert Mills. In addition to her position as dancer in the company, Miki is also a faculty member of the Dance Center of OKC Ballet.

Yui Sato (promoted to principal dancer)

Born in Kyoto, Japan, Yui Sato began his ballet training in Japan at the age of four at the Kasuga Ballet School. He later studied at Matuyama Ballet School and Keiko Honda Ballet School. He continued his training in Holland at the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. He performed with the Star Dancers Ballet in Japan and the Lexington Ballet before coming to join the Oklahoma City Ballet. Mr. Sato has danced Albrecht and Peasant pas de deux in Giselle and the grand pas de deux from Le Corsaire in addition to Anthony Tudor’s Lilac Gardenand original works by Luis Dominguez, Minoru Suzuki and Yasayuki Endo. With Oklahoma City Ballet, Yui has been featured as Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Franz in Coppelia, the Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Prince Ivan in The Firebird, and in Margo Sappington’s Cobras in the Moonlight, Nicolo Fonte’s Left Unsaid, Bournonville’s Napoli Divertissements and Artistic Director Robert Mills’ In Between Dreams and Pushing Pennies.



2013-14 Apprentices

Nadine Barton (Miami, FL)

Laura Carstensen (Ithaca, NY)

Daina Gingras (Rutland City, VT)

Allegra Holland (St. Louis, MO)

Ommaira Kanga (San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid)

Giovanna Kaufman (Scottsdale, AZ)

Danielle Richard (Birmingham, AL)

Cassie Shedenhelm (Des Moines, IA)

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