Feature Articles

Five new dancers for Miami City Ballet

Yuliia Moskalenko. Photo by Ksenia Orlova Photography.
Yuliia Moskalenko. Photo by Ksenia Orlova Photography.

Entering its 37th season, Miami City Ballet (MCB), one of North America’s most beloved dance companies, has announced five new dancers to its company roster. 

Joining MCB’s roster of world-class dancers for the 2022/23 Season is principal dancer Yuliia Moskalenko, who joins the company from the National Opera of Ukraine. And fresh faces in the corps de ballet are Alexander Kaden, Brooks Landegger, Isadora Valero and Kaelah Poulos-Hopkins.

In addition, MCB School alumnus Durante Verzola will join the school as a faculty member and choreographer. Verzola has been choreographing for the school’s Choreographic Intensive since its inception in 2017. As a teacher and choreographer, students at the school will have the opportunity to have original works created for them. Durante is also part of MCB’s 22/23 season, where he will premiere a work that celebrates his adopted home of Miami. This marks his third commission by MCB Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez.

Meet the new artists!

Yuliia Moskalenko, principal

Yuliia Moskalenko is a native of Kyiv, Ukraine, where she was a principal dancer at Urkaine’s premiere ballet company, Kyiv’s National Opera of Ukraine. As war broke out in Ukraine, Moskalenko sought help to escape the war and to find a new home to dance at. In June 2022, with the help of Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez and several others, Moskalenkowas granted a United States Visa allowing her to work in the country.

During her celebrated career at the National Opera of Ukraine, Moskalenko performed many leading roles including Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, the title roles in Cinderella and Giselle, Juliet in Radio and Juliet (set to the music of Radiohead), Aegina in Spartacus, as well as The NutcrackerPaquita, La Bayadère, Don Quixote and many more. Moskalenko has toured Japan, Canada, China, Germany, Russia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, France, and other countries.

Alexander Kaden, corps de ballet

Brazilian/German dancer Alexander Kaden is a graduate of the Vienna State Opera. Upon graduating in 2015, Kaden enjoyed an impressive stint at Vienna State Ballet. His initial training began in Recife, Brazil, at Ballet Gonzalez. 

At the Vienna State Ballet, he performed many roles including Vesna Orlić’s Peter Pan, Aladdin in Orlić’s One Thousand and One Nights and Mercutio in Davide Bombana’s Roméo et Juliette, plus several others. At Vienna State Opera, Kaden danced in Rudolf Nureyev’s Swan Lake and Don Quixote, Pierre Lacotte’s La Sylphide, and Elena Tschernischova’s Giselle. He has also appeared in numerous musicals, operas and operettas. His awards include first place in 2010 at the Passo De Arte, Fortaleza and the Seminário Internacional de Dança de Brasília.

Brooks Landegger, corps de ballet

Brooks Landegger trained at the School of American Ballet and Boston Ballet School. He has performed in numerous productions at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater and Metropolitan Opera House. At the age of 12, Landegger joined a touring production of the famed musical Billy Elliot, winning awards for his portrayal of the title character. At 16, he moved to Boston to train with longtime mentor Peter Stark and danced with Boston Ballet II, performing the lead role in George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante. Landegger is a YoungArts Winner in Dance.

Isadora Valero, corps de ballet

Isadora Valero grew up in Caracas, Venuzuela. She began her dance training at the age of eight at Academia de Ballet Clásico Nina Novak. In Venezuela, she was invited to perform as a soloist with Ballet Teresa Carreño. In 2006 and 2007, she was a finalist at The USA International Ballet Competition, Youth America Grand Prix and Korea International Ballet Competition.

In 2008, Valero was awarded a scholarship to the School of the Hamburg Ballet in Germany, and in 2010, she joined the Hamburg Ballet Company under the direction of John Neumeier. In 2015, Valero became a member of the National Ballet of Portugal and performed principal roles in The Sleeping Beauty, George Balanchine’s Serenade, Fernando Durante’s La Bayadére and Swan LakeThe Rite of Spring by Vaslav Nijinsky, iTMOi by Akram Khan, Short Cut by Hans van Manen and Eric Volodine’s Don Quixote, among others. In 2021, during the pandemic, she embarked on a freelance career to work internationally and build social projects abroad.

Kaelah Poulos-Hopkins, corps de ballet

Kaelah Poulos-Hopkins began dancing at age six at Philadelphia Studio Ballet in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. At age 11, she began training at Pennsylvania Ballet (now Philadelphia Ballet) under Arantxa Ochoa and later, Denis Gronostayskiy. At age 14, she received a trainee scholarship with the Pennsylvania Ballet. In her two years as a trainee, she had the opportunity to dance corps de ballet roles in Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, Angel Corella’s Swan Lake and Giselle. Poulos-Hopkins spent summers training on scholarship at San Francisco Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell.

In 2019, she received a full merit scholarship to attend a summer course at the School of American Ballet. Following that summer, Poulos-Hopkins joined the Pre-Professional Division at Miami City Ballet School to again study under Arantxa Ochoa. As a student at MCB, Poulos-Hopkins had the opportunity to perform corps de ballet roles in Alexei Ratmansky’s Swan Lake, as well as George Balanchine’s Jewels.

MCB’s 22/23 season opens in October, with John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet and runs through May 2023. Season highlights include the company premiere of Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels, a Miami-flavored reimagined production of George Balanchine’s Square Dance, Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite and Afternoon of a Faun, plus three world premiere commissions from diverse and noteworthy choreographers Amy Hall Garner, Pontus Lidberg and Durante Verzola. 

For more information on Miami City Ballet and the upcoming 2022/23 Season, visit www.miamicityballet.org.

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