TULSA, Okla. – After a worldwide audition tour and nearly 1500 applicants, Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini proudly presents the latest company line-up which will feature twenty-six dancers from eleven countries. Angelini says, “I am very pleased with the growth within the company during the past five years. There are a number of dancers who have grown with the organization and are consistently mastering more complex roles. It has been an inspiring journey seeing them mature and settle into a more significant role in the development of the organization.”


SEUNG HYUN LEE will join the company as a Soloist for the 2018/19 Season.  A graduate of the Korean National University of Arts, and with a remarkable collection of Gold Medals from some of the most prestigious competitions in the world, he joins Tulsa Ballet from Boston Ballet. Angelini says, “Seung is one of the most elegant classical ballet dancers I have seen in a long time.  He is young, has the talent to excel and the commitment to fulfill his potential.  We look forward to seeing him become part of Tulsa Ballet.”

SASHA CHERNJAVSKY joins Tulsa Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet from Kansas City Ballet.  Sasha is a graduate of Houston Ballet II. Angelini says of Sasha, “He is gifted with good technique and a fast mind.  We look forward to seeing him grow and mature with the company.”

JOHN POWERS joins Tulsa Ballet as a member of the Corps de Ballet from the Royal Finnish Ballet.  He studied at the Bolshoi Academy in Moscow, Russia, and continued his education on full scholarship with the San Francisco Ballet School.  Angelini says, “John is probably the tallest dancer we have ever hired, “checking in” from an altitude of about 6’8”.  He is a good classical ballet dancer with a positive attitude, eager to better himself and to come back to his native USA.”

Tulsa Ballet is proud to welcome three Tulsa Ballet II dancers into the main company. Of the TBII program, Angelini says, “Every year TBII recruits some of the most talented young dancers around the world and provides them with the tools to bridge the gap between the academic studies of ballet and the professional career. We’re happy to welcome these young dancers into the main company.” SIMONE ACRI, WILLIAM BECKHAM and NAO OTA will join the company as Apprentices. Simone and Ota, members of TBII for two years, performed roles with both the second and main companies, and were audience favorites.  Angelini says, “Watching them dance with the main company during Signature Series, and seeing how well they fit in, was a joy.  William joined TBII last year and quickly showed his value to the organization.  Every time he danced with the main company he made a case for belonging there.”


JENNIFER GRACE has been promoted to Soloist.  Jennifer will start her sixth season with the company; during her tenure, she has been featured in many works both classical and contemporary.  She joined TBII in 2013 and moved very quickly to graduate into the main company, where she continued to transform talent into accomplishment.  She was promoted to Demi-Soloist two years ago and continued to impress with her command of the stage in both classical and contemporary roles.  Angelini says, “Jennifer more than deserves the new status and a position of higher responsibility within the organization.”

JOSHUA STAYTON has been promoted to Soloist. This season will be his 9th with Tulsa Ballet.  Joshua has been a pillar of the company throughout his tenure, dancing featured roles from Age of Innocence (choreographed by Edwaard Liang), to the lead role of Charles in The Nutcracker, to the title role in Don Quixote, to featured parts in works by well-known choreographers like Alejandro Cerrudo and Ma Cong.  Angelini says, “He is another one that we have seen grow and mature from his first year with the company, just out of Houston Ballet II, to his interpretation of Death in The Green Table.  We are happy to see him take on a more instrumental role in the company.”

JAIMI CULLEN has been promoted to Demi-Soloist. Another veteran of Tulsa Ballet, this will be Jaimi’s seventh season with the company.  Jaimi is also a graduate of the TBII program. Angelini says, “This season she just came into her own, starting with the Creations in Studio K program in which she was featured in all three works.  Jaimi followed that with great performances throughout the year, from Strictly Gershwin to Rassemblement.  Your eye is drawn to her when she is on stage.”

MAINE KAWASHIMA has been promoted to Demi-Soloist. She will start her fifth season with the company.  Angelini says, “Maine has always been a dancer of unusual power and attack, her dancing is sharp as a sword and her technique is unequaled in precision and decisiveness.  She has consistently danced featured roles throughout her tenure with the company, growing with each experience and fine-tuning her instrument.  She has carved a very definite place for herself in the company, on stage with her natural charisma and off stage with her positive attitude and work ethic.”

MINORI SAKITA is another graduate of Tulsa Ballet’s TBII program and has been promoted to Demi-Soloist.  Angelini says, “Minori will start her fifth year with the organization and has been a delight to watch on stage and work with in the studio.  She has a unique ability to connect with an audience, a level of artistry rarely found in such young dancer.  She speaks to the audience with every movement and gesture.  Additionally, she is committed to her art form and to the organization, always going above and beyond the call of duty.  It’s a pleasure welcoming her back for another great season.”

REGINA MONTGOMERY, also a graduate of TBII, has been promoted to Demi-Soloist. This will be her sixth season with the company. Angelini says, “Regina is gifted with strong technique and enough power to light up the stage.  She has made the most out of every opportunity to dance featured roles, maturing with each one of them.  She is a great asset for the organization, powerful and committed on stage while helping in many other roles off the stage. A true example of the type of commitment that exudes success in whatever she pledges to do.”


The 2018/19 Season opens with Tulsa Ballet II performing On Your Radar August 24 at 7:30pm and August 26 at 2:30pm in Tulsa Ballet’s Studio K Theater and August 25 at the new Zarrow Performance Studio at Tulsa Ballet Hardesty Center for Dance Education in Broken Arrow. In September, the main company will premiere Creations in Studio K, featuring two exciting never-before-seen works created just for Tulsa Ballet, as well as the return of one audience favorite work. Creations in Studio K will be showcased over two weekends (Sept 14-16 and 20-23) in Tulsa Ballet’s intimate 300-seat Brookside theater Studio K.  For tickets, please call (918) 749-6006 or visit us online at www.tulsaballet.org.


Hi-Res images and interview opportunities available:

Ryan Allen, PR & Communications Manager

918.392.5949, ryan.allen@tulsaballet.org