Jessica Perez – Ms. Jessica

Owner/Director

 

Ms. Jessica started her dance training at the young age of five in jazz, ballet, acrobatics, and hip-hop. Soon after, realizing her passion, she started to train in lyrical, pointe, contemporary, and other styles of dance. As a child she performed in many community events, high school plays, and was an assistant teacher from the age of eight years old. In 2001, Jessica received a full ride dance scholarship to attend Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL. She studied under Alberto Alonzo, one of ballet's greatest, and worked with many other influential people in the dance community. After college, she began her dancing career working with some big name artists such as Pitbull, Daddy Yankee, Vico C, and Ivy Queen, to name a few. She later became a choreographer/dancer for Telemundo's hit show, "The Roof". Jessica started her professional teaching career in 2003 at Roxy Performing Arts Center in Miami, FL. She has worked with many teachers and performers over the years in both choreography and performances. Last year, Ms. Jessica was hired as Assistant Director of a National Dance Competition; and has since moved on to make appearances at workshops and the judging of major competitions!

 

From professional events to competitions, Ms. Jessica loves to challenge and prepare her dancers for the "real dance world"! Ms. Jessica is very excited to have opened her own studio in this wonderful Orlando community. She is currently working on building Xplosive Dance Academy into the technical, inspirational, and soul-filled studio that she has always envisioned.

Joseph Gatti – Mr. Gatti

Ballet

 

Joseph Gatti is United Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director; he was formerly a Principal Dancer with the Cincinnati Ballet and Corella Ballet, and First Soloist with Boston Ballet. He was born in Warwick, New York and raised in Orlando, Florida, where he began dancing at the Orlando Ballet School and continued his training with Vadim Fedotov and Irina Depler. Joseph danced at Orlando Ballet as an apprentice from 2001-2003, under the direction of Fernando Bujones. 

 

In 2003, he was coached by Orlando Molina for the Youth American Grand Prix Ballet Competition in New York, where he was awarded the gold medal and a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in London. Upon graduating with honors, he received the Dame Ruth Railton Award for Excellence in Dance in 2004. After attending the American Ballet Theater Summer Intensive in 2003, he joined the American Ballet Theater Studio Company for the 2004-2005 season. In 2005, he became the first American male dancer to win the prestigious gold medal at the New York International Ballet Competition. 

 

Joseph was nominated as Best Male Dancer for the 2006 Benois de la Danse in Moscow, Russia. That same year, he became a bronze medalist at the USA International Ballet Competition and a silver medalist at the Seoul International Ballet Competition in Korea.

 

He was also chosen to be featured in a video entitled “The Male Ballet Dancer” presented by master teacher Finis Jhung. In 2007, Joseph was coached by Magaly Suarez for the first World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Florida, where he received the gold medal. Mr. Gatti also received the bronze medal at the 2010 Istanbul International Ballet Competition. In 2013, Joseph received the Mr. Virtuosity Award at the Dance Open Ballet Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 2014, he also received the “Best Pas De Deux” award at the Dance Open Festival in St. Petersburg.

Ms. Blair

Ballet

 

Blair began her training in Walled Lake, Michigan. In 2007, she attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts. She has also trained with Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and the School of American Ballet. She spent one year as a member of Orlando Ballet II, and this last year as an apprentice with the company. This year will mark her first year as a company member with the Orlando Ballet! She is thrilled to be teaching her students and hopes to transcend her love for dance and ballet onto them.

Alberto Blanco – Mr. Alberto

Ballet

 

Alberto Blanco was born in Spain and began his ballet training at the age of 16 in Gijón, Asturias, at the Centro de Danza Karel. Blanco soon moved to Madrid where he was accepted at Victor Ullate Ballet School. He spent two years dancing under the direction of Mr. Ullate. Blanco continued his ballet training at Boston Ballet School, where he had the opportunity to dance alongside the company as a trainee in productions like George Balanchine's Midsummer Night's Dream and The Nutcracker. 

He joined Orlando Ballet II in 2010, and two years later was promoted to the main company where he has danced in many productions including Artistic Director's Robert Hill's Vampire's Ball, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Carmina Burana, Hansel and Gretel and Bolero among others.

In 2014 Blanco was invited to attend the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Ballet Program under the direction of Anna-Marie Holmes. This opportunity came with a full scholarship. During his two weeks at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Ballet Program, Blanco worked with Dinna Bjørn in Bournonville Repertoire and with choreographer Jessica Lang in a piece performed at the season opening Gala.

Alberto's repertorie includes August Bournonville's La Sylphide, Napoli, Konservatoriet, George Balanchine's Serenade, Michael Pink's Dracula, Val Caniparoli's A Cinderella Story, Susan Jones' Don Quixote and Jerome Robbins' Fancy Free to mention some.

In 2016, Blanco became an American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum certified teacher. Since then he has attended multiple workshops on teacher training.

Benjamin Phan – Mr. Ben

Hip Hop

 

Benjamin “Ben10” Phan was born in New York City, the birthplace of Hip Hop. He first gained his reputation from local battles and competitions all around Florida. Ben10 was known for his strengths in free-styling. Invited by Julie Johnson, he joined the Extreme All-Stars, a competition team in Melbourne, FL in 2011. In four seasons with this team they received 3 National Titles and four 2nd place World Titles. He was then invited by Julie to dance with her professional team, ‘Studio One’, a prestigious Hip Hop dance group known for their innovative tricks and wildly entertaining performances. During his time with Studio One, he regularly assisted in choreography which helped them medal at major Hip Hop dance competitions. They placed 2nd at No Excuses Dance Competition (2013), 1st place at Prelude South (2012), 1st place USA champions at Hip Hop International (2013), and 3rd place at USA Hip Hop International. Ben10 also appeared with ‘Extreme Dance Company’ on the Season 9 (2014) of Americas Got Talent placing in the Top 48.

 

Ben10 has also performed on tour with America's Got Talent season 5 top 3 contenders, ‘Fighting Gravity'! He has travelled and performed in many countries and cities such as LA, Beijing, London, Dubai, and Vienna. TV also appearances include: America’s Got Talent (USA), Das Supertalent (Germany), Red or Black (UK), Brain Games (USA) and It’s Showtime! (Japan). He still travels and performs with ‘Fighting Gravity’ to this day. Through this, he has been able to work for prestigious companies like Nike, Mercedes Benz, Audi, and SeaWorld to name a few. You may have also caught him in music artist Benjah's video for his song "Never Quit", which acquired over 20 million views!

 

Since then, Ben10 has been diving into his own career as director and choreographer, managing and directing his two teams, theSQUAD&friends. Starting in 2013, &friends began as a small adult crew of 7. In their debut performance, they won crowd favorite and placed 1st at the first World of Dance held in Orlando. They continued their success under Ben10 and went on place at the next two WOD events in orlando (2013 & 2014), crowned 1st place champs at Prelude South (2014), became USA finalists at Hip Hop International's adult division (2015), and 2nd place at WOD: Chicago (2016). He then created 'theSQUAD' a megacrew beginning in 2015 consisting of over 25 adults under his direction. In their first season, they were finalists at USA's Hip Hop International. Going into their 2nd and 3rd season (2016- ), they've shown great improvement and are considered an elite competitive team in Florida, placing at both 2016 & 2017's World of Dance events in Orlando, becoming finalists again at Hip Hop International (2016), and are the current Prelude South (2016) and Sole Summit (2016) 1st Place Champions. Through hard work and consistent quality, Ben10's vision has created the opportunity to perform with his team AS theSQUAD for huge events and companies, such as Universal Orlando's Eve Celebration (2017), and Old Navy's annual spring conference (2017).

Jessi Torgas – Miss Jessi

 

Jessi Torgas, originally from Miami, FL, graduated in 2010 from Florida International University where she studied dance. She began dancing at the age of 3. She has been trained in tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, hip hop, musical theatre, flamenco, partnering, contemporary, lyrical, modern, and Latin dance. Jessi attended various national dance competitions and workshops. She was cast in numerous commercial voice-overs in English and Spanish as well as back-up vocals for KFC and McDonald's. She was a member of the Roxy Theatre Group and performed with their national touring group. Jessi taught at the Roxy Performing Arts Center (RPAC) for ten years. Since she has moved from Miami, Jessi has been performing with Universal Studios Orlando Resort.

Russell Tanenbaum – Mr. Russ

 

Russell Tanenbaum is native to Palm Coast, Florida where he began dancing at 7 years old. His studies took him to Mia Bella Academy of Dance where he studied under Brianne Valenti. At age 15, Russell realized he wanted to dance professionally. He continued to train under the nations top instructors until he landed his first job with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines as a dance in the production shows. After his cruising tour, he began taking offers as a choreographer for dance studios all over the nation. In August of 2013, Russell was invited to train at Broadway Dance Center's prestigious Professional Training Semester in New York City. In his final showcase from Broadway Dance Center, Russell was scouted by RWS & Associates and offered a contract for Holland America Line. He toured with that cruise line and is now traveling teaching and choreographing all over the United States. 

Alyssa Thomas-St. Joseph – Ms. Alyssa

Aerial Arts

 

Alyssa Thomas-St. Joseph, originally from New Jersey, moved to Florida to perform at The Walt Disney World Resort from 2009-2011. Alyssa then moved to Chicago in 2012, where she hadthe honor of dancing with Aerial Dance Chicago in their world premiere piece “Surge,” acollaboration with Elements Contemporary Ballet Company. She moved back to the Orlando area in 2015. Since being back, she has performed with Royal Caribbean, SeaWorld Orlando, Pirates Dinner Adventure, and AntiGravity Orlando. With 10 years of teaching experience behind her, Alyssa is excited to continue to share her love of dance and aerial arts with the dancers at Xplosive Dance Academy!

Ms. Sabrina

Acting

 

Sabrina was born and raised in New Jersey and has had the passion of performing ever since she can remember. She studied acting, modeling, and Latin dance in NYC and received her degree in Communications and Theatre from William Paterson University of New Jersey. She has performed in numerous plays and was nominated to compete in a regional theatre competition for her lead role in The Good Person of Szechwan. As a singer, Sabrina has done various live performances, including, but not limited to, a performance at the Broadway Theatre. She was briefly a member of a Latin girl group and has also performed the National Anthem for the Brooklyn Cyclones. Her last work before relocating to Florida was a live comedy show called Ay Que Funny, which ran for three seasons, and a film called "The Big Wes". Since moving to Orlando, Sabrina has signed with an agency, and has done Disney B-rolls, along with a recurring role in a web series that will premier later this year.

Ariel Clark

 

Since she could walk, Ariel has danced, modeled and acted. She started training at Focus Performing Arts Studio when it was founded, was part of the national award-winning competition team, and began teaching in high school. After graduating, she became a full-time instructor and choreographer, during which she has received multiple choreography and visionary awards. Ariel has choreographed for and participated in Orlando-based companies and artistic events, including the innovative Creative City Project, Orlando Uncovered, The Shift and Canvas Creative Movement Coalition. Her training also includes events such as the Gypsy Project: LA, MDF, BODYTRAFFIC Summer Program, USC’s Gaga, and with world changers Erica Sobol, Tilman ODonnell, James Gregg, Clementine Deluy, to name a few. Ariel attributes much of her development to her own personal and tireless research. Drawing inspiration from everywhere, her movement is like a melting pot, with new ideas molding her creations differently everyday. Ariel’s main focus is pushing students outside of their own limitations, helping them to discover the language of the deep and unfiltered place within, while continuously questioning and stepping beyond “boundaries” in her own explorations.

Chiaki Yasukawa

Ballet

 

Chiaki began her training at the Wakui Ballet School in Osaka, Japan and attended the Princess Grace dance Academy of Monaco at the age of fifteen. She was accepted to train at the San Francisco Ballet for the summer and continued her training at the School of American Ballet and Joffrey ballet on scholarship for whole year. Chiaki won a bronze medal at the International ballet competition in Italy. Chiaki was a finalist at the Korean International Ballet competition and danced at the final round of the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. She also won the best Choreographer award at the Youth American Grand Prix as well as American Dance Competition. In 2012, She received achievement awards from the Mayor and Governor of Osaka, Japan. 

 

Chiaki has danced numerous leading roles in full length ballet, such as Giselle in Giselle, Kitri in Don Quixote, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Medora and Gulnare in Le Corsaire, Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Swanilda in Coppelia, Mabel in Pirates of Penzance, Raymonda in Raymonda, Firebird in Firebird, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Carmen in Carmen. She also performed roles in Ballet's such as George Balanchine's "Serenade" "Who cares?" "Fanfare" "Agon", Twyla Tharp's "In the upper Room" "Waterbury Bagatelles" "Sinatra Songs", Robert Hill's "Piano Concerto" "Revelry", Fernando Bujones's "Bolero" "Jazz Swing" "Grand Pas Romantique" and Jessica Lang's "To Familiar spaces in Dream".

 

Chiaki has been invited to dance as a guest artist at the International Gala in places such as Japan, Canada, Puerto Rico, China, India as well as many areas in the United States. 

Paola McCormick-Quintero

Ballet

 

Paola McCormick-Quintero received her training in California as a scholarship student at the Ballet San Jose School under the direction of Dennis Nahat and Lise LaCour prior to joining their trainee program by Wes Chapman, Raymond Rodriguez, and Dalia Rawson when the institution implemented the ABT Curriculum. She then went on to receive graduate training at San Francisco Ballet School, where she was awarded a scholarship by Artistic Director Patrick Armand. Other merited short-term stays include the Royal Ballet School under Jay Jolly and Bartholin International Seminar at the Royal Danish Ballet in Denmark by Vivi Flindt. She has additionally studied at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and with world-renowned teacher Magaly Suarez. Paola danced professionally with Oklahoma City Ballet where she had the opportunity to perform many demi-soloist roles. She concurrently served as a guest artist and featured dancer with Mark Foehringer Dance Company, Benoit Maubry’s “Audio Ballerina’s”, and several productions for Opera San Jose.

Kathryn Tosh

Ballet

 

Kathryn Tosh is an Orlando, Florida native. She began dancing at the age of three and during her studies received scholarships to attend Orlando Ballet School, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, The Rock School, San Francisco Ballet School, and was an American Ballet Theatre National Training Scholar for 3 years. At age 15 Miss Tosh participated in a two year traineeship under the late Fernando Bujones and joined the Orlando Ballet as a company member at age of 17 under the direction of Bruce Marks. She has danced many soloist and principle roles in ballets such as George Balanchine’s Who Cares?, Allegro Brilliante, Valse Fantasie and Serenade, Twyla Tharp’s Waterbaby Bagatelles, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Snow White. Miss Tosh was a semi finalist in both the USA and Helsinki International Ballet Competitions, as well as a finalist in the Croatia International Ballet Competition and the Youth America Grand Prix. She has danced in music videos for Romeo, Juan Luis Guerra, and Nigel John, she has performed in several galas across the country, and in 2015 she starred and danced in a Bose headphones commercial. Currently Kathryn is entering her fourth season as a resident guest artist with SI Ballet in New York and is a proud returning company member of United Ballet Theatre. 

José Pérez

Ballroom

 

From a very early age, Jose Perez knew he was born to perform.  This Puerto Rican native started dancing at the age of 12 and has never looked back.  Folkloric, Jazz, Hip Hop and Salsa first brought him to the dance floor, but four years of formal ballet training really brought his dancing skills together.  

 

In 2008, Jose fell in love with ballroom dancing and began training intensely as a professional instructor.  This multi-lingual dancer specializes in latin dancing, but Salsa and Mambo have always been Jose’s favorites.   He has competed all over the country and most recently placed third in the nation at the United States Dance Championships Professional Mambo competition.  He’s also a top-notch choreographer, coming up with moves for backup dancers for national pageant contestants.

© 2019 Xplosive Dance Academy.