Carla Michelle began her ballet studies at the age of 5 at the Ballet Cristina Helena in Belo Horizonte, Brazil under the guidance of Cristina Helena, Pablo Moret, Ofelia Gonzalez, and Graça Sales. She started performing with the Sesiminas Company of Dance, also in Belo Horizonte, when she was 13 and began performing principal roles when she was 15. She spent time in Cuba, training and performing as a soloist when she was 16. During this time, Carla received awards at multiple ballet competitions, including the Joinville Dance Festival, the largest dance festival in Brazil.
Carla's dance studies are not entirely restricted to ballet. She has experience with contemporary, modern, jazz, ballroom, and fusion belly dance among others. She also has a performing arts degree from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Beyond performing, Carla has a wide range of experiences in other areas of dance such as teaching ballet in the south of Italy, other styles in the U.S., and choreographing and coaching students in Brazil. Carla is passionate about helping her students reach their goals and advance their careers.
One of Carla's greatest accomplishments in dance was the founding and artistic direction of the dance company Cia Sesc de Dança in Belo Horizonte, a company that dances a range of styles, from ballet to urban dance. Carla is excited to begin a new chapter here in the U.S. starting with PDX Contemporary Ballet.
Born and raised in Southeast Minnesota, Julia began dancing at Janet Lang Dance Studio. Developing a love for ballet, she joined the local performance company the Rochester Dance Company at the age of 10 where she performed in her performance of The Nutcracker. With the Rochester Dance Company, she performed many different ballets and original shows, and throughout her time in Minnesota she studied many styles of dance. At the age of 16, Julia focused her ballet training further at the Minnesota Youth Ballet Academy where she trained with Daniel and Julie Blake in the school's Pre-Professional Division. After graduating high school, Julia moved to Charlotte, NC, to attend the University of North Carolina Charlotte. There she participated in the Professional Training Certificate Program in partnership with Charlotte Ballet. There she trained with Patricia McBride, Mark Diamond, Kati Mayo, Jaime Dee, Naimah Kisoki, and Traci Gilchrest. At UNC Charlotte, Julia earned her B.A. in English as well as her B.A. in Dance, working in ballet and pointe as well as Horton, Graham, and Silverstre modern techniques. Julia Foster performed Pas De Quatre, and Jewels from Sleeping Beauty, along with original contemporary ballet and pointe works choreographed by Delia Neil and Gretchen Alterowitz. Julia is excited to be joining PDX Contemporary Ballet for her first season.
Katherine Evans began her training at a young age in New Jersey. At age 15, she decided to further advance her training at the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, where she was a full time residency student. While there, she had the opportunity to attend numerous summer programs, including Hungarian National Ballet's Summer International Intensive/Competition, and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, where she was first exposed to contemporary and explorative movement. After graduating Nutmeg with an award for "Most Outstanding Performance" she spent several years dancing with companies around the country including Nashville Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Nevada Ballet, Ballet Tucson, and some time spent in New York. While there, she continued her training at Manhattan Youth Ballet, the Steps on Broadway training program, and worked as a freelance artist. She finally settled in Portland and in addition to her work with PDX CB, she continues to explore contemporary and experimental movement, with a specific interest in dance for film. Katherine is in her third season as a dancer with PDX CB, and also serves as the company’s rehearsal director.
Rodé Krige was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and began her dancing at age 4 in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2007, Rodé started seriously training under Susan Beebe, and at the age of 14, Rodé was asked to join Ms. Beebe's invitation only pre-professional division.
After spending various summer at Joffrey Ballet, Calolina Ballet, Orlando Ballet, and BalletMet, Rodé received a scholarship to join BalletMet as a trainee at 17. During her two years as a trainee there, Rodé performed with the professional company works by Edward Liang and Gerard Charles. In 2016, Rodé joined Nevada Ballet Theatre as an apprentice where she had the opportunity to perform soloist roles in The Nutcracker and also performed in Swan Lake set by the legendary, Cynthia Gregory. After her year in Vegas, Rodé joined Ballet Tucson as a senior apprentice and performed in many new works in addition to George. Balachine's Walpugisnacht. Rodé is excited to join PDX Contemporary Ballet for her first season.
Sara Gilbert was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She began training in various dance styles at a young age. Throughout high school Sara was a part of Arts and Communication Magnet Academy's "Dance West," directed by Julane Stites. Sara passion for ballet intensified and she continued additional classical training with Sarah Rigles at the Classical Ballet Academy. Sara has studied ballet at the Joffery New York, Boston Ballet on scholarship, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Upon returning to Portland, Sara danced with Melissa St. Claire's company "Annapurna." Through her training and professional experience, Sara has performed notable pieces and roles including Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop, and Mouse Queen in "The Nutcracker," featured roles in "Peter Pan," Alvin Ailey's "Reflections in D," Gerard Theoret's "Balletango" Pas De Deux, and Les Watanabe's "Tablao Flamenco." She holds a B.A. in Women Studies from Portland State University. She is thrilled to be joining PDX Contemporary Ballet for her second season.
Tessa Salomone is a 2015 cum laude graduate of TCU with a BFA in Ballet and Writing minor as a Nordan Fine Arts Scholar. She received her early training in the Houston suburbs from Fort Bend Academy of Dance, where she was a member of Regional Dance America Southwest Company, BalletForte. She later studied year round at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC and the Joffrey Ballet School Trainee Program in New York City on merit scholarship. While in New York, she toured the tri-state area and North Carolina with Ballet for Young Audiences, performing The Nutcracker and other children's ballets. At TCU she performed featured roles in re-stagings by Susan Dromisky (Napoli Act III pas de six, August Bournonville), and Willy Shives (Birthday Variations, Gerald Arpino), as well as original works by Michael Bearden, Li-Chou Cheng, Elizabeth Gillaspy, Susan Jaffe, and Armando Luna. Upon graduating, Tessa danced professionally in Houston with LEON Contemporary Dance Company, Juxtapose Arts Collective, and as a guest artist with NobleMotion Dance. Tessa has recently returned to the states after training and performing in Rome with VIVO Ballet under the direction of Enzo Celli and Elisabeth Minutoli. This is Tessas second season with PDX Contemporary Ballet.
Theresa Hanson was born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, where she grew up dancing at Pofahl Studios. She began her professional dance career with Dance Alive National Ballet at the age of 15 as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2009. She advanced to Soloist in 2012 and continued touring with Dance Alive for three more years, performing repertoire such as Bolero, Rite of Spring, Scheherazade, Carmina Burana, The Nutcracker and Balachine’s Allegro Brilliante. From 2012-2015 she also taught ballet, contemporary and conditioning classes at the residential school to the company (and her own Alma Mater), Pofahl Studios. Theresa moved to Orlando, Florida in 2016, where she worked as a freelance dancer, actor and musician, performing numerous roles at Treasure Tavern Fine Dining and Show, The Cirque Magique and Capone’s. She began dancing for Universal Orlando Resort in 2017 and joined Dance Theater of Orlando in 2018 under the direction of Marshall Ellis. Theresa moved to Portland in August and is thrilled to be dancing with PDX Contemporary Ballet for the first time. She is grateful for her parents and to Nick for their enduring love, acceptance and support.
Victoria began dancing at the age of four in Carson City, Nevada. She studied ballet, jazz, tap and modern at Ayako's Dance Studio (formally Pinkerton Dance Academy) for fourteen years. Victoria continued her ballet training at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas under the direction of former ABT principle, Stan Rogers. While earning her BFA in ballet, she was featured in several of Stan's work including "Les Sylphides," "A Midsummer Nights Dream" as Titania, and "The Nutcracker" as the Dew Drop Fairy and Harlequin Doll. She was a soloist in Dominic Walsh's "Piano Works." After graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2015, Victoria moved to Portland and had the opportunity to perform with Northwest Dance Project in the world premier of Yin Yue's "Distant Fold." This is Victorias third year with PDX Contemporary Ballet.
Ella was born and raised in Akron, OH, where she began her pre-professional dance training at the University of Akron Dance Institute. As a high school student, Ella performed at the collegiate level with the University of Akron Dance Company. She went on to pursue contemporary dance at The Ohio State University, in addition to a semester at Point Park University. In 2014, Ella graduated Summa Cum Laude with Research Distinction form The Ohio State University, attaining a BFA in Dance and a minor in English. While living in Columbus, she also completed her 200 Hour Yoga Alliance Certification from Yoga on High.
Ella has had the opportunity to perform choreography by José Limón, Ohad Naharin, Bebe Miller, Robert Moses, Susan Hadley, Abby Zbikowski, Melanie Bales, and other distinguished professionals. She has also furthered her dance education at summer intensives with Point Park University, Trinity-Laban Conservatoire of Dance, and Limón Dance Company. Recently, Ella received a Project Plié scholarship to attend a Teacher Training Intensive with American Ballet Theatre and became certified to teach the ABT National Training Curriculum for Pre-Primary-Level 5.
Currently, she is the Lead Teacher at Pure Barre Portland and the Program Coordinator at The Aspire Project, where she teaches ballet, contemporary dance, and yoga. Ella also teaches youth dance classes for Northwest Dance Project and volunteers for Living Yoga. In addition to her teaching career here in Portland, Ella has danced with Fault Line and Leoné Dance Theatre. She is very excited to begin her first season with PDX Contemporary Ballet.
For the past eight years, Ophélia has trained at a variety of studios since she began dancing at 11 years old. She learned her first tendus at Uptown Dance Centre in Houston, Texas, and two years later danced at Allegro West Academy of Dance. In 2014, her dance journey moved her to Portland, Oregon, to train with John Magnus after participating in his summer program, Magnus Northwest Dance. After having the opportunity to perform her first leading role as the Dewdrop Fairy in Magnus’ production of the Nutcracker, she continued her training at The Portland Ballet where she had the pleasure to work with Trey Mclntyre to be featured in his piece “Mercury Half-Life.” Again, her dance journey moved her to California to train with Long Beach Ballet for a year to then return home and dance with Northwest Classical Ballet. Over the years Ophélia attended multiple summer programs including Ballet Chicago, Nutmeg Conservatory, Next Generation Ballet, Long Beach Ballet, International Summer Ballet School in Dresden, Germany, and recently Alonzo King LINES Ballet. Her repertoire isn’t solely ballet, she’s also experienced in contemporary, several modern techniques, jazz, tap, and ballroom dancing. In her downtime she enjoys hanging with family, jamming in the kitchen while cooking, knitting, or swing dancing on Sundays nights. She is delighted to join PDX Contemporary Ballet for the rest of their season.