Momoko Burbine- Japan
Ms. Burbine began training in her native Japan at Suzuki Ballet Art Studio and completed her dance education at The Joffrey Ballet School under full scholarship. Momoko performed with the NBA Ballet Company and is the recipient of the first prize at Ballet Competition 21. Her repertory includes leading roles in the ballets Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, La Bayadere and Le Corsaire. Momoko's dream to join Ajkun Ballet Theatre became reality in 2012. Chiara Ajkun created for Momoko the featured roles of Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mina in Dracula (Lincoln Center premiere 2016) and Kitty in Anna Karenina (City Center premiere 2017) that earned Momoko the promotion to First Soloist. Dracula represented the United States in the Unicef project "Danzar Por La Paz" directed by Leonardo Reale (Teatro Colon, Argentina) and allowed Momoko to guest in National Theaters of Brasil and Bolivia. CLICK TO READ THE FULL BIOGRAPHY
Klevis Tafaj- Albania
Mr. Tafaj graduated top of his class from the National Dance Academy of Albania with an employment offer by the National Ballet Company of the Tirana Opera House where he became Soloist in 2013. Klevis was promoted Principal Dancer with the National Ballet of Kosovo after participating in the AjkunBT 's intensive Performing in New York. Klevis toured Italy with the Ajkun Ballet Theatre in 2015, joining the Company right after. Klevis has performed the lead role in the ballets The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Carmen, Swan Lake and in original creations by world renowned choreographers Angelin Preljocaj, Pëllumb Agalliu and Chiara Ajkun. As a Guest Star, Klevis has performed in the main theaters of Turkey, Greece, Montenegro, at the Praha International Festival, the Balkans Festival of Warsaw and with the Compagnia Nazionale di Raffaele Paganini e Luigi Martelletta, the Dance in Italy Festival (Italy), the Ballet del Parque de Conocimiento (Argentina), the Stars of Ballet (United Kingdom) and represents the United States in the Unicef project "Danzar Por La Paz" directed by Leonardo Reale (Teatro Colon, Argentina). Klevis originated the title role of Chiara Ajkun's Dracula (Lincoln Center premiere 2016) and the Count Vronsky in Chiara Ajkun's Anna Karenina (City Center premiere 2017), earning him the promotion to First Soloist. Klevis is Gold Medalist for the European Union Premio Danza Europa and the recipient of the Critics' Outstanding Classical Ballet Dancer award. CLICK TO READ THE FULL BIOGRAPHY
Darren McIntyre- NSW, Australia
Mr. McIntyre graduated from the Australian Ballet School and has been the recipient of The Dame Peggy Van Praagh Award for Choreography, The Sir Robert Helpmann Bursary, The Young Australian of The Year Arts Award before joining Ballet Ireland and the Landestheater Detmold. After participating in AjkunBT's intensive Performing in New York in 2001, Darren joined the Ajkun Ballet Theatre Company. In 2007, Darren joined the Milwaukee Ballet where he remained until 2011. After a season as Artistic Director of the Montgomery Ballet, Darren returned to perform. His repertory includes leading roles in many repertory ballets and works by world renowned choreographers George Balanchine, August Bournonville, Anthony Tudor, Michael Pink, Nacho Duato, Stanton Welch and Chiara Ajkun. Darren performed at the Dance in Italy Festival and at the Ballet Festival of South America in Colombia and is the founder of the Marianne McIntyre Memorial Ballet Scholarship, a competition that awards scholarships to young dancers to include AjkunBT's intensive. Chiara Ajkun created for Darren the role of Mozart (The Egg premiere 2004) earning him the promotion to Principal Dancer.
Kylie Brown- Michigan, USA
Ms. Brown began training in her hometown Commerce Township, at Suzanne’s Main Street Dance Centre. Kylie spent her senior year of high school at North Carolina School of the Arts and earned a BFA from University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Kylie joined the Ajkun Ballet Theatre as a Junior Artist in 2016 and was promoted to Senior Artist the following season. Under the direction of Chiara Ajkun, she has performed lead roles in The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote and in the original cast of Chiara Ajkun’s Dracula (Lincoln Center premiere 2016). For Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Kylie coordinates the New York Winter Festival, an international platform for all talents held each January in the heart of New York City.
Flavio Valentino - Italy
Mr. Valentino received his early ballet training at Balletto del Sud in his native Italy, later joining the Academy of Classical Ballet Tony Candeloro. Flavio performed with the Estonian Ballet, the Jersey City Ballet and Peridance Dance Company before joining the Ajkun Ballet Theatre as a Junior Artist in 2019. The same year, Flavio was promoted Senior Artist. Flavio has been featured as Espada in Don Quixote and the Bluebird in the Sleeping Beauty.
Lilia Ivanov - Italy
Ms. Ivanov began training at the Ballet School of the Teatro dell' Opera di Roma before graduating from the Accademia Nazionale di Danza (National Academy of Dance in Rome, Italy). Lilia joined the Compagnia Nazionale di Raffaele Paganini where she was promoted First Soloist under Artistic leadership of Luigi Martelletta. Her repertory includes lead roles in Coppelia, Don Quixote, Paquita, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. Lilia met Chiara Ajkun in 2018 at the National Ballet Company of Rome, where Chiara is a Guest Artist and has since performed across the Atlantic sharing her time between the Companies.
Lauren Farrugia - Australia
Allan McCormick- Canada
Mr. McCormick was an original cast member of Celine Dion's "A New Day" in Las Vegas and performs with Franco Dragone (creative director of Cirque Du Soleil) in productions such as Le Reve, Abu Dhabi in "Story Of A Fort: Legacy of a Nation".
Allan has formerly performed with Gloria Gaynor, Jennifer Holliday, RuPaul, and has performed on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno and in "Dancing With The Stars" prior joining the Ajkun Ballet Theatre in 2017 where he enjoys portraying characters such as Gamache in Don Quixote, Herr Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker and The Wolf in The Sleeping Beauty.
Ichiko Nakajima - Japan
Ms. Nakajima began her training in her native Nagano at The Emiko Kojima Ballet and pursued further studies in Tokyo at The Japan Junior Ballet and The Asami Maki Ballet before graduating from The Beijing Dance Academy in China. Ichiko earned a Master Degree in Dance with the New York University in the USA. In the year 2006 Ichiko participated in the AjkunBT 's Performing in New York and was invited to join the company as a fulltime trainee while gaining performance experience as a company member of The Staten Island Ballet. Ichiko was promoted with AjkunBT in 2007 and has, since, performed with the Company all over the United States and Europe. Ichiko represented AjkunBT on the adjudicating panel of the International Dance Competition in Cyprus.
Maria Oka- Japan
Ellise Pellizzer- NSW, Australia
Bridie Connors-Schwartz- New Zealand
Mrs. Connors-Schwartz began her ballet training at Draper Academy of Dance in her native New Zealand, and participated in the Ajkun Ballet Theatre’s intensive Performing in New York in 2006 before joining the Company in 2007. Bridie has toured with Ajkun Ballet Theatre to Italy on numerous occasions, and was invited to attend company classes with Teatro alla Scala.
Hisayo Shimada- Japan
Ms. Shimada began her training at Yoshikio Tokumura Ballet School and Funo Massami Ballet Studio in her native Japan, and then went on to graduate from the Professional Ballet Course at the Showa College of Music. In 2013 Hisayo participated in AjkunBT’s Performing in New York and was invited to join the Company. Hisayo has performed featured roles in the ballets Inferno, Revolution and America.
Endrit Shkoza- Albania
Mr. Shkoza earned his diploma from the National School of Dance in his native Albania and received a choreographer degree from the National Academy of Arts in Tirana. In 2003 he joined the National Theater of Opera and Ballet in Tirana and was promoted to First Soloist the same year. His repertory includes the roles of the Golden Idol in La Bayadère, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Espada in Don Quixote, Zuniga in Chiara Ajkun’s Carmen, Franz in Coppelia and the Cavalier in The Nutcracker. Endrit joined Ajkun Ballet Theatre as a First Soloist in 2016.
Morgan Stinnett- Ohio, USA
Mr. Stinnett received his early ballet training at Nan Klinger's Excellence in Dance in his native Ohio, and performed with Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, before graduating from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance. Morgan danced with Texas Ballet Theater and, as a Soloist, with Connecticut Ballet before joining the Ajkun Ballet Theatre in 2012.
Company Senior Artists
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