Thank you to our 2023 guest performers!
Kara Walsh is a native New Yorker with a deep passion for movement, wellness, and compassion for all living beings. Kara has been dancing since she was a child and has trained extensively in ballet, modern, and contemporary dance at the School of Performing Arts in Litchfield, CT. She spent summers at the Jillana School in Taos, NM and continued her studies at the Ailey School. Kara was a member of Donald Byrd’s Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle, WA and played the role of Dream Laurey in the 5th Avenue Theater’s production of Oklahoma. She performed with The Black Iris Project. She has worked with choreographers Benoit Swan Pouffer, Susan Misner, Mary Ann Lamb and Francesca Harper.
Kara can be seen in Fosse/Verdon and FUED on FX. Currently Kara is dancing and working on many projects with Karole Armitage.
Nicholas Ranauro (he/they) is a NYC-based director, choreographer, dancer, and dance educator. He received his formal training from Walnut Hill School, The Boston Ballet School, and The Juilliard School. Performance credits include Black No More; Fela The Musical (Chor. Bill T. Jones), The Phantom of the Opera (25th Anniversary Tour), Brigadoon (Encores! Dir/Chor. Christopher Wheeldon), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Tour, Dir/Chor. Andy Blankenbuehler), iLuminate (Malaysia Residency), Keigwin & Company, Elf The Musical (Tour), and Seeing You (Immersive, Dir/Chor. Ryan Heffington). Creative credits include Curious George; The Golden Meatball (Director/Choreographer), Broadway in Chicago’s Children of Eden (Choreographer) and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Choreographer).
Nicholas teaches theatre jazz in The Joffrey Ballet School’s Jazz & Contemporary Trainee program and is a dance coach for MTCA (Musical Theatre College Auditions). He lives in Brooklyn with his cat, Jackpot.
SUGAR PLUM FAIRY
Florre Sésé Geller began her pre-professional training with the legendary Marcia Dale Weary and the faculty of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She continued her education at Next Generation Ballet with Yvonne Lemus and directors Peter Stark and Philip Neal, as well as summer programs at the School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet school on full tuition scholarship. After winning the gold medal at the Youth America Grand Prix Semi-Finals, Florrie distinguished herself by placing in the Top 12 Junior Women at the Final Round of YAGP at Lincoln Center and was selected by Susan Jaffe and Gillian Murphy as the first recipient of the Gillian Murphy Endowed Scholarship to UNCSA. After performing Aurora and Giselle in Next Generation Ballet’s full-length productions, Florrie completed her pre-professional training at San Francisco Ballet School on full scholarship, under the tutelage of Sofiane Sylve and Tina Le Blanc.
At the age of 18, Florrie was offered a professional contract with Cincinnati Ballet’s main company while continuing her training with celebrated master teacher, Wilhelm Burmann. At Cincinnati Ballet, Florrie performed Princess Florine in Devon Carney’s The Sleeping Beauty, a solo role in Jiri Kylian’s Sechs Tanze, Virginia Woolf in Sarah Van Patten’s Skylight, Cygnet in Kirk Peterson’s Swan Lake, and a soloist role in Myles Thatcher’s Anomaly. Florrie also danced in ballets by Adam Hougland, Victoria Morgan and Septime Webre. In 2019, she was invited to represent the US in the Beijing International Ballet and Choreographic Competition.
Florrie performed the Black Swan pas de deux from Swan Lake with Rochester City Ballet, and originated the role of Arsinoe in Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance’s world premier Cleopatra. She has appeared in galas including YAGP’s Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow, and Florida Classical Ballet’s Summer Gala. Most recently she danced with Oakland Ballet Company in the premiere gala of Misty Copeland’s short film Flower.
Florrie is a certified instructor in various training modalities including Progressing Ballet Technique and mat Pilates. She has taught ballet on the faculties of Cincinnati Ballet’s Otto M. Budig Academy, Magaly Suarez’s The Art of Classical Ballet, and the Draper Center for Dance Education. Florrie has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine’s “Dancer You Should Know,” the podcasts Becoming Ballet, and most recently Dancer Talks.
CAVALIER and SOLDIER DOLL
From Havana, Cuba, Walter Garcia trained at the Alejo Carpentier School of Dance and the National Ballet School in Havana. Some of his most important teachers are Raquel Aguero, Mirtha Hermida, Fernando Alonso and Magaly Suarez. He has danced with the National Ballet of Cuba, Festival Ballet Providence, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Silicon Valley/ Ballet San Jose and Florida Classical Ballet. Walter received the Silver Medal at World Ballet Competition in 2009 and the Bronze Medal at the Havana International Ballet Competition in 2003.
Some of his roles are Cavalier in the Nutcracker; Jester in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella; Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free; Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room; Paul Taylor’s Piazzolla Caldera; George Balanchine’s Tarantella, Serenade, Western Symphony and Who Cares; August Bournonville’s Napoli 3rd Act; among others.
SNOW QUEEN and DEWDROP
Meisy Laffitte was born in Havana, Cuba, and graduated from the National School of the Arts. While in school, she participated in several international ballet workshops and won two silver medals as a soloist and in the pas de deux division at the International Ballet Competition of Cuba, Junior Division, also winning a bronze medal as a soloist years prior. Meisy performed with DNC Todos Para Danza in Tijuana, Mexico. She has performed as a guest artist with Joburg Ballet in South Africa performing Don Quixote as Kitri’s friend and Cupid. Upon her return, Meisy had the privilege of working with Laura Alonso¨s Prodanza in 2013. Her repertoire includes soloist roles such as Blue Bird in Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, Tchaikovsky Pas De Deux, Flames of Paris Pas De Deux, La Bayadere Pas De Deux, Carnaval of Venice, La Fille mal gardee and others. Meisy came to the US in April 2013, joining the Arts Theatre of Florida in Miami. Since joining Kentucky Ballet Theater in 2014, she has performed soloist roles in The Slave and the Merchant pas de deux from Le Corsaire, Paquita, La Sylphide, La Bayadere, The Little Mermaid, The Nutcracker, The Night Before Christmas, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Raymond, Harlequinade pas de deux, Calles de Tango, Waltz for Two, Divenire, Hoops, Fairy Doll, Degas, the Ocean and Pearls, and Beethoven. Meisy is also a lead faculty member in the KBT Academy.
She is currently a dancer with Dimensions Dance Theater of Miami since 2018, under the direction of Jennifer Kronenberg and Carlos Guerra.
SNOW KING and RUSSIAN
Maikel Hernandez began dancing at the age of nine at the Alejo Carpentier School of Ballet in Havana, Cuba. In 2000, he continued his studies and training at the National School of Ballet in Havana.
In 2003, he joined the National Ballet of Cuba where he rose from Corps de Ballet to Soloist in 2014, performing important roles in great classics such as Friends in Giselle, Buffon and Neapolitan in Swan Lake, Sancho Panza in Don Quixote, Carabosse’s Page in The Sleeping Beauty, Waldemar in Cinderella, Saltimbanquis in Shakespeare and His Masks and Beaux, and Rat King and Russian in The Nutcracker, for which he received critical recognition. He also performed in Eduardo Blanco’s world premiere of La Leyenda de Agua Grande and as soloist in Tempo de Danzon. He received technical and artistic training support from renowned instructors such as Loipa Araujo, Josefina Mendez, Aurora Bosch, Svetlana Ballester and Lazaro Carreño. Maikel performed for international choreographers such as James Kelly’s Symphony for Nine Men and the world premiere of Throughout your Eyes during the 20th edition of the International Ballet Festival of Havana in 2006. He performed in Maruxa Salas’ Didenoi Dance, winning second place in the Choreography Contest of SGAE in 2004. His professional career also includes Napoli, The Flower Festival in Genzano, A Concert in Black and White, The Challenge, Theme and Variations, A Rose for Miss Emily, The Awakening of Flora, and Cinderella.
Since 2005, Maikel has performed internationally with the National Ballet of Cuba in Spain, Italy, Australia, China, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Guyana, Martinique, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and the United States.