Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Francesca Dugarte trained at Academia de Ballet Clasico Nina Novak and La Scala Theatre Ballet School. She has been a principal dancer at Teatro Teresa Carreno, a demi-soloist at Zurich Ballet, a principal dancer at Victor Ullate Ballet, guest artist at Slovakia National Ballet and is currently a member of The Washington Ballet. In 2011, Francesca was a contestant on the reality show, Amici di Maria de Fillippi in Rome. She is the winner of numerous awards including second place in Youth American Grand Prix, second place in Arabesque International Ballet competition in Russia, Jury Award in Jackson Ballet Competition, first place and Presidential Sponsorship Award in Korea’s International Ballet Competition, first place in Rieti Danza Festival, and most recently, second place in World Ballet Competition in Orlando. Francesca has danced a wide repertoire of the classics as well as contemporary works by Twyla Tharp, George Balanchine, Victor Ullate, Septime Webre, Trey McIntyre, Val Caniparoli, and Annabelle Ochoa among others. She made her debut with Chamber Dance Project in Diane’s pas de deux Berceuse in performances at Peabody Institute, Baltimore in March 2014. This is Francesca’s fourth season with CDP and she is sponsored by Beth and Charlie Kohlhoss.

(Photo by Eduardo Patino.NYC)


Born in Armenia, Davit Hovhannisyan began dancing at the age of six and four years later he was accepted into the National Ballet School of Armenia on a full scholarship. At the age of 16, he began his professional career with the Armenian National Ballet Company. After arriving in the United States he received critical acclaim dancing with numerous companies throughout the country and joined Milwaukee Ballet in 2004. He is a principal dancer with Milwaukee Ballet where he is in his ninth season. He has danced many principal roles such as Romeo in Romeo & Juliet, Basilio in Don Quixote, Rudolfo in La Boheme, the title role in Dracula, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Captain Hook/Mr. Darling in Peter Pan, Prince Solor in La Bayadere, Tamino in The Magic Flute, Captain Phoebus in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Moon Prince in Scheherazade, Franz in Coppélia, and leads in The Nutcracker, as well as numerous leads in contemporary ballets. Davit has worked with contemporary choreographers including Michael Pink, Stephen Mills, Bruce Wells, Diane Coburn Bruning, Trey McIntyre, Margo Sappington, Kathryn Posin and Mark Godden, among many others. Davit is sponsored by Reina and Brad Brekke.

(Photo by Eduardo Patino.NYC)


Ballet Master and Dancer | Born in Madrid, Spain, Luz San Miguel received her training at Carmina Ocana Ballet School, and on a scholarship at the Municipal Institute of Ballet in Antwerp, Belgium. Prior to joining Milwaukee Ballet, she danced with BalletMet, Charleston Ballet Theater, Tulsa Ballet, Dresden Ballet and Leipziger Ballet in Germany. She has performed as a guest artist in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Portugal and several cities in the United States. Luz has performed leading roles in ballets by John Cranko, George Balanchine, John Neumeier, Nacho Duato, Anthony Tudor, Stanton Welch, Uwe Scholz, Glen Tetley, Paul Taylor, Lila York and Jerome Robbins among others. During her time with Milwaukee Ballet, she has performed roles such as Lucy in Dracula, Clara and Marie in The Nutcracker, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Kitri and Matador Lady in Don Quixote, Tinker Bell in Peter Pan, Swanhilda in Coppélia, the lead roles in Cinderella, Esmeralda, Romeo & Juliet and La Bohème. Luz is returning for her fifth season with Chamber Dance Project. She is sponsored by Shirley Neff, June Hajjar and Margie Creighton.

(Photo: Eduardo Patino.NYC)


Andile Ndlovu of Johannesburg, South Africa, began his training in Latin American and ballroom dance at the age of ten. At 15, he began training in ballet under Martin Schöenberg, director of Ballet Theatre Afrikan. In 2007, Andile performed with South African Ballet Theatre, and went on to dance with Cape Town City Ballet and tied for First Place in the contemporary category of the 2008 South African International Ballet Competition. Andile was part of the 15-year anniversary tour of Step Afrika! as a guest artist, performed his collaborative choreography solo with Gregory Vuyani Maqoma in Beyond Skin and was a part of the South African version of Queen with Mzansi Production. He recently choreographed Guardian of the Pool which was performed by The Washington Ballet Studio Company. Andile is in his seventh season with The Washington Ballet after having danced with the Studio Company for one year. Exit Wounds was created on Andile in 2014 with Chamber Dance Project premiered in Baltimore. Andile returns to Chamber Dance Project for his second season this year. He is sponsored by Kay Kendall and Jack Davies, Carmen Liebeler and Maureen Berk.

(Photo by Theo Kassenas)


Born in Boston, Patric Palkens began his training at the age of four at his mother’s studio. Studying primarily jazz, tap, and hip-hop, Patric competed in many competitions across the United States. His introduction to ballet came in the form of a scholarship to train with the School of Ballet of the Municipal Theater of Santiago, Chile. After which he trained with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and the Orlando Ballets Second Company. Upon joining the main company of the Orlando Ballet Patric performed in many world premieres by Director Robert Hill. After joining Cincinnati Ballet in 2011, Palkens quickly rose through the ranks to Soloist after only a few short months. Following a last-minute stand-in—and wildly successful— performance as Romeo in 12-13’s Romeo & Juliet, Palkens was promoted to Senior Soloist. Premiering in works by George Balanchine, Alejandro Cerrudo, Annabell Lopez Ochoa, Ma Cong, Devon Carney, James Kudelka, Adam Hougland, Septime Webre, Victoria Morgan and Val Caniparoli. At the age of twenty-five Patric left Cincinnati ballet to dance with the Landestheater of Salzburg Austria, only to return to Cincinnati one year later. This is Patric’s second season as a Principal Dancer. Patric joined Boston Ballet in 2017. This is will be Patric’s second season with Chamber Dance Project and is sponsored by Deborah and Bruce Downey.


Daniel Roberge of Australia is in his sixth season with The Washington Ballet after one season with TWB’s Studio Company. He began training at an early age and was performing professionally at age 10. At 16 he joined the Marie-Walton Mahon Dance Academy and was awarded a scholarship to the National College of Dance and began training under Marie Walton-Mahon. There he received the Solo Seal Award and a Diploma in Dance Performance placing first in Choreography and Contemporary Dance. In 2009, Roberge was awarded the Silver Medal at the Genee International Ballet Competition in Singapore; he was a finalist in the Australian Institute of Classical Dance International Awards and the Youth America Grand Prix NYC in 2008 and 2010. Roberge is also a recipient of the A.R.S. Musica Australis Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. In 2010, he had the honor of performing at the White House for President Obama and the First Lady. Roberge has performed choreographic works by Forsythe, Ashton, Tudor, Ratmansky, Lopez Ochoa, Tharp, Wheeldon, McIntyre, Seiwert, Bruce, Caniparoli and Balanchine among others. Roberge has been a guest artist in Septime Webre’s Cinderella and Peter Pan with Ballet Hawaii in Honolulu. Daniel most recently created a new ballet “In Tides” on the Washington Ballet Studio Company as part of their 2016/17 season. This is Daniel’s first season with Chamber Dance Project. He is sponsored by Craig McCullough.


Angelina Sansone left her home in Charlotte, North Carolina at the age 14 to attend the Harid Conservatory with a full-tuition scholarship. She then spent two seasons with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago where she appeared in Robert Altman’s 2003 film The Company. Following her stay with Joffrey, Ms. Sansone worked toward her B.S. in ballet at Indiana University before she joined Kansas City Balletin 2005. In her seasons with Kansas City Ballet, she has performed principle parts in Apollo, The Concert, Lark Ascending, Afternoon of a Faun, Dark Elegies, Splendid Isolations III, Mozartiana, Giselle, Petal, Rite of Spring and the title role in Romeo & Juliet. She had the opportunity to perform Ben Stevenson’s End of Time at the International Ballet Festival of Colombia, South America. During the off seasons, Angie has enjoyed guesting with Motion Dance Theatre and Kansas City Dance Festival. This will be Angie’s second season with Chamber Dance Project and is sponsored by Laura and Randy Moorhead and Cynthia and Peter Schiffrin.


Ballet Master and Dancer | Luis is from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and is in his eleventh season with The Washington Ballet. Prior to joining The Washington Ballet, Luis was a principal dancer with Ballet Arizona for six years and a soloist with Ballet Theater of Maryland for two years. Many roles have been created on him by choreographers including Moses Pendleton, Ib Anderson, Dwight Rhoden, Septime Webre, and Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa and his repertoire includes featured roles include Snow King, Drosselmeyer and Anacostian Man in The Nutcracker, Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, Captain Hook in Peter Pan and the Cheshire Cat in the world premiere of ALICE. His contemporary roles include the Red Rooster in Christopher Bruce’s Rooster, featured dancer in Sueno de Marmol by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, La Ofrenda, and Wunderland by Edward Liang. Luis began his training in Puerto Rico under the direction of Elizabeth Calero before accepting a scholarship to Point Park University in Pittsburgh. He completed his bachelor’s degree of interdisciplinary studies in Dance and Psychology at Arizona State University and is now pursuing a MFA in Dance at George Mason University where he also serves as an Assistant Professor. Luis is returning for his fifth season with Chamber Dance Project.

(Photo: Eduardo Patino.NYC)


Claudia Chudacoff, principal musician, violinist, is concertmaster of the National Gallery Orchestra and the Alexandria Symphony, and recently retired as concertmaster of the U.S. Marine Band’s White House Chamber Orchestra. She is currently enjoying a temporary full-time contract with the National Symphony Orchestra. An active chamber musician, she performs regularly as a member of the Sunrise Quartet, appearing both locally and internationally. Claudia is the Director of the College Park Youth Orchestra’s Chamber Ensemble, and coach of the MCYO string quartet, which for the past two years successfully competed in international competitions. She was a teaching assistant to Sylvia Rosenberg while at the Eastman School of Music, where she earned both her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees. Claudia’s primary teachers were Michael Avsharian in Ann Arbor and Sylvia Rosenberg and Zvi Zeitlin at Eastman. This is her fifth season with Chamber Dance Project. Claudia is sponsored by Charlotte A. Cameron and Jerry Andersen.

(Photo by Eduardo Patino.NYC)


Derek Smith, violist, performs regularly with the National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Washington National Opera Orchestra at Kennedy Center and is Associate Principal of the Annapolis Symphony Philharmonic. He also performs with Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, the Amadeus Orchestra, Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, and the Chesapeake Bay Orchestra. An active chamber musician, Derek is a member of the Teiber Trio and founding member of New Orchestra of Washington. He has played and worked with some of the best chamber musicians including the late Isidore Cohen, Pinchas Zukerman, the Guarneri String Quartet, and the American String Quartet. This will be Derek’s fifth season with Chamber Dance Project. He is sponsored by Liubov and David Keeton. (Photo: Eduardo Patino.NYC)

A native of Wisconsin, Derek began his musical studies at the age of 3 with early training from Dr. Rolan and Almita Vamos of Chicago and continued at the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he received his high school diploma. He received his Bachelor and Master music degrees in Viola Performance at the Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Sylvia Rosenberg and Patinka Kopec. The Manhattan School of Music awarded Derek with the Hugo Kortzchek Chamber Music Award for his outstanding work in the chamber music community.

(Photo by: Eduardo Patino.NYC)


Violinist, Chaerim Smith, received her Bachelors of Music Degree from the Manhattan School of Music where she studied with Lucie Robert and later with Lisa Kim of the New York Philharmonic. Originally from Houston, Texas, Chaerim now resides in Springfield, Virginia with her husband, violist Derek Smith. She is currently a member of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Chamber Orchestra performing regularly at the White House and other high profile government venues. She is also co-founder of the New Orchestra of Washington. Mrs. Smith performs with various orchestras in the area, such as the National Symphony, Richmond Symphony, the National Philharmonic, the Virginia Chamber Orchestra and the Chesapeake Bay Orchestra in St. Mary’s, MD. Mrs. Smith is also a regular member of the Harrisburg Symphony, where she served as Assistant Principal Second Violin from 2005-2009. She has performed in many prestigious venues, such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, The Verizon Center, Strathmore and the National Cathedral. She has had the privilege of playing under some of the world’s most prestigious conductors, such as Kurt Masur, Pinchas Zukerman, Gunther Schuller and Gerard Schwarz and has worked closely with world renown chamber musicians, Paul Katz, David Geber, Michael Tree and the late Isidore Cohen. Chaerim returns for her fifth season with Chamber Dance Project and is sponsored by Robin and Tom Clarke. (Photo by: Eduardo Patino.NYC)

Being a diverse musician, Chaerim has performed with great popular artists such as U2, Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton John and Joel Grey.

(Photo by Eduardo Patino.NYC)


Cellist, Sean Neidlinger, received his Bachelor of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music under the tutelage of Richard Aaron and pursued further studies at New England Conservatory with Paul Katz. Described as “fiery” and “impassioned” by the Washington Post, Sean’s playing has garnered top prizes at several orchestra concerto competitions. He has been featured as a soloist and chamber musician at the Korean, German, French, and Austrian embassies, the Phillips Collection, the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and Terrace Theatre, the Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic and the Friday Morning Music Club orchestras. He also has performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, and has served as principal cellist of the Amadeus, Winchester, McLean Orchestras. Sean toured Europe as a chamber musician and as a soloist for the world premiere of the Rodriguez Elegy and Rondo for cello and wind ensemble. He also toured throughout the Caribbean on a program of cultural outreach sponsored by the Department of State. Sean won a grant to create a performance installation alongside the Warhol exhibition at the National Gallery of Art. Sean returns for his third season with Chamber Dance Project and is sponsored by Reina and Brad Brekke.

(Photo: Eduardo Patino.NYC)


David Grenke is a former principal dancer for the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Armitage Ballet, and is the founder of ThingsezIsee’m Dance/Theater (TICM). His choreography has been presented in New York at Lincoln Center, Dance Theater Workshop’s Fresh Track Series, the Guggenheim Museum’s Works and Process Series, the Dia Center for the Arts, and on Broadway at the Palace Theatre. Outside New York, his works have been performed at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the American Dance Festival, the Cannes International Festival, Kaatsbaan International Festival, and on tours of Russia, Poland, Denmark, Taiwan, and Argentina. He is a recipient of ADF’s 1998 Doris Duke Award for new work, the 1997 Scripps/ADF Humphrey-Weidman-Limon Fellow for Choreography, and the Nora Kaye Award for Dance. For the Paul Taylor Company, his choreography inspired the hit Funny Papers, where his work is represented in the first movement, which was filmed for PBS’s Dance in America special “The Wrecker’s Ball.” David Grenke is currently chair and professor of Theater and Dance at University of California, Davis.


Violinist Sally McLain received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees with High Distinction from Indiana University, where she studied with and was assistant to James Buswell. Critically hailed as a “violinist with lots of style” (Washington Post), Ms. McLain has performed as soloist to critical acclaim in a variety of venues that include the Clarice Smith Center Gildenhorn Hall, Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, Library of Congress, Lisner Auditorium, National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian American Art Museum. She was a member of the Theater Chamber Players, as well as the Potomac String Quartet, which recorded the complete quartets of David Diamond and Quincy Porter for Albany Records. She is a founding and current member of the Left Bank Quartet, which has been praised for its “brilliant focus and timbral variety” (Gramophone Magazine). Ms. McLain was the concertmaster of the Washington Chamber Symphony for ten seasons and appears frequently as concertmaster with the Cathedral Choral Society, the Washington Concert Opera and the Washington Ballet.

(Photo by Claudia Löhner)


Named “one of Washington’s preeminent jazz singers” and “brightest voices in jazz” (The Washington Post), as well as a “major league young talent in jazz” (Duke Ellington’s biographer, Dr. John Hasse), jazz vocalist and D.C. area-native Lena Seikaly is already making her mark in national and international jazz circles as a revivalist of traditional jazz vocals, as well as an innovator in contemporary vocal jazz styles. She was one of eleven semi-finalists for the prestigious 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition in L.A. and is an alum of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center, the Jazz Aspen Snowmass program directed by Christian McBride, and the Strathmore Artist-in-Residence program in Maryland. As the leader of her own trio, quartet, and quintet, Lena has performed to sold-out crowds at national and international venues and festivals including the Kennedy Center, Blues Alley, the Elkhart Jazz Festival and the Mel Bay Jazz Festival, and most recently the among others, and has released three albums under her name. As an avid educator and workshop instructor, she teaches privately and has led regular workshops on jazz vocals at the Strathmore Music Center. Lena is also a classically-trained operatic mezzo-soprano and continues to perform as an in-demand soloist alongside the DC area’s top orchestras and choirs, having been featured in works by Handel, Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Durufle, Vaughn Williams, Barber, and Bernstein, as well as 20th century and early sacred music.

(Photo by Leah Appel)


Barry Gurley was named “Washington’s Best Pianist/Vocalist” by Washingtonian Magazine. He has appeared in countless venues from Washington’s Blues Alley, The Bilboquet in Paris (solo), to The Monterey Jazz Festival and NYC’s The Blue Note (with vocal group Mad Romance). His music is a blend of traditional Swing, R&B and Latin rhythms with a vocal and harmonic touch that is uniquely his own. Music Critic Reuben Brown called Barry Gurley’s Blues Alley performance “One of the most passionate, swinging sets of music I have ever heard.”


Paul Henry, bassist, performed with the Minnesota Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony before joining The United States Air Force Band Airmen of Note with whom he performed around the world and recorded until 2014. Since then he has performed at the Kennedy Center in Wicked, with Chris Potter, Doc Severinsen, New York Voices, Kristin Chenoweth, Ronan Tynan, and the Baltimore Symphony. He works with many other DC musicians and ensembles. He received his undergraduate degree in music from St Olaf College in Minnesota where he studied with former Minnesota Orchestra, and later New York Philharmonic Principal Bassist, Eugene Levinson. In Paul’s first guest appearance with Chamber Dance Project, he will perform with our jazz trio for the world premiere of Songs by Cole.


Costume Designer, Rebekah Nettekoven Tello, grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania before heading to Ohio where she studied comprehensive theatre and creative writing. Having been in the DC area for nearly ten years she has spread her creative fingers across several artistic and academic opportunities. She has a master’s degree in Theatre History and Literary Criticism from The Catholic University of America where she focused on the intersection of performance and medicine in 18th century London. She has written for DC Theatre Scene reviewing the Fringe Festival, taught elementary and middle school students through CAREActor, and provided costume research for designers. Rebekah joined The Washington Ballet five years ago as a wardrobe assistant after some time at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. While at TWB she has had the privilege of working with designers such as Vandal and Christine Darch, as well as assisting on the build of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Prism, and Septime Webre’s Alice (In Wonderland), The Sun Also Rises, and Sleepy Hollow. This is Rebekah’s third season working with Chamber Dance Project and her first foray into costume design with Songs by Cole. Her design work is the culmination of years spent upcycling and experimenting with curtains, lampshades, vintage finds, and thrifted treasures to create garments with a touch of history that tickle her senses.


MAJA E. WHITE has designed lighting for opera, theatre, and dance nationally and internationally. She has worked with the Bolshoi, Kirov, and Royal Danish Ballets; Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Baltimore Opera, and Washington National Opera; Kanji Segawa, Francesca Harper, Alexandra Damani, and Robert Battle. She is an assistant professor at the University of Richmond and a member of United Scenic Artists 829 and the International Association of Lighting Designers. This is Maja’s third season with Chamber Dance Project.

(photo by Michael Bailey)


Giselle began her training under Nancie Woods at BalletNova Center for Dance, and spent summers on scholarship at Richmond Ballet, Houston Ballet, and American Ballet Theater.  Giselle toured with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2014 and joined the Washington Ballet Studio Company in 2015, performing in works by Septime Webre, George Balanchine, Dwight Rhoden, Edwaard Liang, and Frederick Ashton, among others.  Giselle is currently a member of the Charlotte Ballet.  This is Giselle’s third season as an apprentice with Chamber Dance Project.