Meet the dancers of Verb Ballets.
Lieneke Matte grew up in the Bronx and received her early training at Ballet Tech and the School of American Ballet. She then attended Fiorello H. La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts in New York. Lieneke studied for a semester at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and graduated summa cum laude with a B.F.A in dance from SUNY Purchase College in May of 2013. There she also received the President’s Award for the dance conservatory. She has performed in works by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Lar Lubovitch, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Nicolo Fonte, Nicholas Villeneuve and Xiao-Xiong Zhang. Lieneke also was a dancer in the documentary No Dominion: The Ian Horvath Story which included re-stagings featuring dancers from Verb Ballets, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Boston Ballet and Ballet Tucson. Lieneke joined Verb Ballets in 2013 and has been featured in works such as Duet and Laura's Women.
Michael Escovedo was born and raised in the small town of Broomfield, Colorado and started competitive gymnastics when he was 5. After three years of strict training and competitive successes within the USAG gymnastics program Michael decided to start ballet in order to improve his gymnastics routines. It took one class for Michael to decide to quit gymnastics and attend ballet class full time at Ballet Nouveau Colorado (BNC). At the age of 15, after seven years of training and performing at BNC, Michael moved to New York City to train with The School of American Ballet. Michael has also choregraphed two company works for Verb Ballets. After his graduation in 2014, Michael joined Verb Ballets and has been featured in works such as Tarantella and Ne Me Quitte Pas.
Christina Lindhout, from Mansfield, Ohio, started training in dance at the age of five at Opus II Dance Studio under the direction of Hellie Schussler. She became a member of Opus II’s pre-professional company, Ashland Regional Ballet, in middle school and remained with them through high school. She spent summers training at the Orlando Ballet School, Magnus Midwest, American Ballet Theatre, and BalletMet Columbus. Upon graduating magna cum laude from high school, Christina accepted a traineeship at BalletMet under the direction of Edward Liang. While at BalletMet, she had the opportunity to perform in many professional works with the company, including The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Symphony in C, and Carousel. Christina joined Verb Ballets in 2014 and has been featured in works such as Bolero and Laura’s Women.
Antonio Morillo is from Orlando, Florida. He received his Associate of Arts in Dance Performance from Valencia College and his BFA in Dance Performance from the University of South Florida. Antonio has performed with the Patel Conservatory’s Next Generation Ballet as well as Tampa City Ballet. He has performed works by Jon Lehrer, José Limón, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Robert Moses’ Kin, and Maurice Causey. Antonio joined Verb Ballets in 2016 and has been featured in such works as Andante Sostenuto and Aposiopesis.
Kate Webb grew up in Richmond, Virginia where she danced both as a student and as a trainee with Richmond Ballet. She trained around the country at numerous intensive programs such as Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Upon graduating from Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts, she attended Butler University on both dance and academic scholarships. While dancing with Butler Ballet, she performed in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. After fulfilling her degree in three years, she graduated cum laude in May of 2015 with a BS in Dance-Arts Administration and high departmental honors. Kate joined Verb Ballets in 2015 and has been featured in works such as Peter Pan and Aposiopesis.
Benjamin Shepard began dancing in Annapolis, Maryland and trained with Ballet Theater of Maryland, as well as attending summer programs at The Washington School of Ballet, The Kirov Academy, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He then continued his training and education on a full tuition scholarship at Butler University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Arts Administration and Dance. He had the privilege of performing as a guest artist during his time at Butler with Ballet Theater of Indiana; he performed the role of Gurn in La Sylphide as well as Dr. Seward in Dracula. While performing with Butler Ballet, his favorite roles he performed were Rothbart in Swan Lake, The Flower Cavalier in the Nutcracker, a soloist in Viva Vivaldi by Gerald Arpino, and the Second Movement Soloist in George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments. Benjamin joined Verb Ballets in 2018.
Kelly Korfhage, a native of Cleveland, began her training at age 10 under Joanne H. Morscher and Ana Lobe. She attended summer intensives at ABT Detroit, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, BalletMet, Cincinnati Ballet, and North Carolina Dance Theatre. She furthered her dance education at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music as a Corbett Award scholarship recipient, and graduated cum laude with a BFA in ballet performance. Following graduation, Kelly became a member of Kansas City Ballet’s second company, KCB2, for two seasons where she had the opportunity to perform with the company in repertoire such as Septime Webre’s Alice (In Wonderland) and Adam Hougland’s Rite of Spring. Kelly joined Verb Ballets in 2016 and has been featured in works such as Andante Sostenuto and Schubert Waltzes.
Emily Dietz grew up in Mountain View, California, receiving most of her training at Western Ballet under Alexi Zubiria. She attended summer programs with ABT, Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and American Repertory Ballet. She continued her dance education at Butler University, graduating with a BS in Dance Arts Administration in 2016. During her time at Butler, she performed in ballets such as Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake and toured with Butler Ballet to Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Following graduation, she has danced professionally with City Ballet of San Diego and American Contemporary Ballet, where she danced in repertoire such as Betsey Wistrich’s Raymonda, Balanchine’s La Source, and Geoff Gonzalez’s Four Seasons. Emily joined Verb Ballets in 2018.
Alexandria “Lexy” Lattimore is a Massachusetts native. She began training with Judith Keochoven at the Academy of Ballet Arts. In 2010, Lexy matriculated to Duke University, where she worked with choreographers such as Andrea Woods (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company), Tony Johnson (American Dance Festival), Julie and Tyler Walters (Joffrey Ballet), and Reggie Wilson (Fist and Heel). She choreographed her own works, most notably for the 50th Anniversary of Black Students at Duke. She produced a full-length show, “A People to Believe In,” with residents of a historically black neighborhood in North Carolina. After graduating, Lexy joined DSundanceX, a contemporary ballet company in Boston. In 2016, she moved to New York City where she continued to train with choreographers like Kyle Abraham, Milton Meyers, Nathan Trice, and at the Martha Graham School. Lexy began training with Verb Ballets in 2017 and has performed in an original work by Dianne McIntyre.
Daniel Cho is from San Francisco, California, and holds a BA special major in Dance and Education from Swarthmore College. He received his training from Point Park Conservatory, the Laban Conservatoire in London, the Ballet X Summer Intensive, the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and the Coastal City Ballet in Vancouver, British Columbia. Daniel is a recent graduate of the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program, where he had the pleasure of performing works by Alonzo King, Angela Dice Nguyen, Sidra Bell, Shannon Gillen, Alex Ketley, Gioconda Barbuto, Maurya Kerr, and Gregory Dawson. He is thrilled to be joining Verb Ballets as an apprentice for the 2018-19 season.
Natalie Hollopeter, native of Akron, Ohio, has studied ballet for 13 years and is a recent graduate of Ohio Conservatory of Ballet and Stabrova Youth Ballet Company under the artistic direction of Inna Stabrova and co-founder Dmitriy Tuboltsev. Natalie won 1st place at the 2017 NSAL Classical Ballet: En Pointe regional competition and was a national finalist. For the past two years she performed as a featured dancer in ensembles at YAGP that were invited to NY Finals. Her summer intensives include American Ballet Theatre – NYC, where she danced the role of Queen Myrtha, Giselle, Bolshoi Ballet Academy – NYC, Ohio Conservatory of Ballet on full scholarship and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s “Company Experience” workshop. At age 13, Natalie danced in college-credited performances as a member of the University of Akron Dance Company and enjoyed opening for the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival through the University of Akron Dance Institute. Natalie performed for the first time with Verb Ballets in 2016. She is delighted to join Verb Ballets as a trainee for the 2018-2019 season as she finishes her senior year of high school as a post-secondary University of Akron student.