Our Dancers

Laura Di Orio, originally from Pennsylvania, began her training at the Mill Ballet School and Joffrey Ballet School. She received her BA in Journalism from Fordham University and is currently a freelance dance writer and Content Manager of Dance Informa. She has performed with the Staten Island Ballet, David Fernandez’s Some Dance Company, Danse En L’air, New York Theatre Ballet’s Dance on a Shoestring and currently also dances with CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet. She joined Lydia Johnson Dance in 2006 and has learned and originated many roles and has taught company repertory at workshops in NYC. She also serves as LJD’s Company Manager, a Rehearsal Director and teaches ballet at the LJD School. 

Chazz Fenner-McBride is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. He began his training at The Peabody Conservatory, The Washington Ballet and The Baltimore School for the Arts, and received his BA in dance from Hofstra University in May 2010. Mr. Fenner-McBride has performed for Iyun Harrison, Tamara Saari Dance, Robin Becker Dance, Amy Marshall Dance Company and 10 Hairy Legs. In 2014, Mr. Fenner-McBride attended Northwest Dance Projects “Launch” in Portland, Oregon. With LJD Chazz has originated many major roles and has served as a Rehearsal Director as well as teaching at the LJD School. He joined LJD in 2014.

Katie Martin-Lohiya is originally from Chicago, Illinois. She began her early training at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts and the Lou Conte Dance Studio, and continued her dance education on scholarship at Point Park University. Ms. Martin-Lohiya completed her BFA, graduating Magna Cum Laude, from Marymount Manhattan College. She has danced with the Long Island Dance Project, The Synthesis Aesthetics Project, Fly by Night Dance Theater and others. Katie joined LJD in 2012 and has originated major roles as well as serving as a Rehearsal Director. Additionally, she teaches contemporary for the Lydia Johnson Dance School where she is the Assistant Director of the summer dance program. 

MinSeon Kim, originally from South Korea, received her training at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and continued her dance education at Marymount Manhattan College, where she graduated with a BFA in Dance. Ms. Kim has worked with Lauren Hale Dance, choreographers Adam Barruch, Sidra Bell, Milton Myers, Sean Gannon and Abigail Levine. Currently, she is a member of I Love Dance Crew, a dance crew that specializes in hip hop and various street styles to the tune of Korean pop music. She joined Lydia Johnson Dance in 2012 and has served as a Rehearsal Director as well as originating many major roles. 

Erin Ginn began her ballet training with Karen Gibbons-Brown in Tennessee. She attended Walnut Hill School for the Performing Arts in Massachusetts, where she received Honors for Outstanding Achievement in Ballet.  She was Junior Competitor at the 2002 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi and began professional dance career as an apprentice with the Cincinnati Ballet. Ms. Ginn graduated with High Distinction from Indiana University, with a BS in Ballet Performance. She has danced with Rebecca Kelly Ballet, Nomad Contemporary Ballet, SENSEDANCE, Neglia Ballet, ViewPointe Ballet, Connecticut Ballet and Columbia City Ballet. She is also a Certified Pilates Instructor and teaches Pilates and classical ballet in New York City. This is her first season with Lydia Johnson Dance.

Catherine Gurr began her training at the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, PA, then continuing at Barbara Sandonato School of Ballet, where she was taught by Barbara Sandonato, Michael Patterson, Gabriella Yudenich and Chérie Noble. Ms. Gurr studied at the School of Pennsylvania Ballet, where she danced in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker with the company. She graduated from Elmhurst Ballet School in Association with Birmingham Royal Ballet in the UK, then was a trainee with Ballet West, appearing in the company’s productions of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and on tour at the Kennedy Center. Ms. Gurr joined LJD in 2018. 

Michelle Siegel, originally from New York City, received her B.A. in Dance from Hunter College, where she received a scholarship for Movement Research’s MELT Intensive. She has performed with Neville Dance Theatre, Dzul Dance, Armitage Gone! Dance, Staten Island Ballet, Urban Dance Collective, LLMoves, Balasole Dance Company, The Umbrella Dance Company, Dance Visions, and with Niles Ford and Nathan Trice. She has taught master classes and performed at the OPEN LOOK Contemporary Dance Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, and worked as an adjunct professor of dance at Touro College and as a substitute professor of dance at Hofstra University. Ms. Siegel has choreographed and performed for Latin Grammy-nominated music artists Lola Flores and Anaís, and renowned Haitian band Carimi. She joined LJD in 2018. 

Jacob Taylor received his formative training at Boulder Ballet School and in the summer programs of American Ballet Theatre, the School of American Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Kaatsbaan and Perry Mansfield. Mr. Taylor is a graduate of the Ballet Performance Program at Indiana University’s Jacob’s School of Music, where he was coached by Violette Verdy. At IU, his repertoire included ballets by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, Dwight Rhoden, Paul Taylor and Twyla Tharp. His professional career includes working with Boulder Ballet, Christopher Caines Dance, Eglevsky Ballet, FJK Dance, Rebecca Kelly Ballet, Staten Island Ballet and Thomas/Ortiz Dance. This is his first season with Lydia Johnson Dance

Malik Williams, a native of Pennsylvania, graduated form The Juilliard School with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in May of 2017. He has worked with a plethora of choreographers including Loni Landon, Matthew Neenan, Gentian Doda, Andrea Peña, Jasmine Ellis, Shamel Pitts, Jermaine Spivey, and Caroline Finn. He has also learned works by Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, and Nacho Duato. This is Malik’s first season with LJD.

Ali Paige Block trained at the School of Cleveland Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts and Miami City Ballet School, with summers at Chautauqua Institution, National Ballet School of Canada and Jacob’s Pillow. She was featured as Clara in The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and was invited on National Tour. Ms. Block danced in Balanchine’s Serenade at the Hollywood Bowl Opening Night Gala honoring Placido Domingo and John Mauceri.  She is featured in Steve Childs’ 2009 documentary, And We Will Dance. She has danced with Texas Ballet Theater, Eugene Ballet Company, Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance and Sarasota Ballet. Ms. Block is a member of Eglevsky Ballet, where she created the title role in Maurice Brandon Curry’s Cinderella. She is also pursuing her degree at Columbia University, where she is studying psychology. This is her first season with Lydia Johnson Dance.

Estelle Botella is from Paris, France, and trained at the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, where she graduated in 2011. She spent summers training at Boston Ballet School, Colorado Ballet Academy and the Royal Ballet School. She went on to dance as a trainee with American Repertory Ballet, and then joined Connecticut Ballet, where she was featured as Clara in The Nutcracker. In 2015, Ms. Botella moved to Germany to dance with JSLN Dance Company, where she spent two years touring Europe performing numerous works of classical and neo-classical ballet. She has recently been performing with Connecticut Ballet, Thomas/Ortiz Dance, Ballet for Young Audiences, Jersey City Ballet and for American Ballet Theatre as a supernumerary dancer. She is very excited to be a part of Lydia Johnson Dance.

Emily Sarkissian trained with Mihailo Djuric at Ballet New England where she performed classical and contemporary ballets. She attended the University of Utah ballet department, and after leaving the dance world for several years, she returned to pursue modern work and academic studies at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. In Chicago, she studied with Nana Shineflug, Birute Barodicaite, Mme Peff Modelski, Nick Pupillo and Mike Gosney. She has danced with Esoteric Dance Project, Kelly Anderson Dance Theater, SilDance/AcroDanza and as a guest artist with Chicago Dance Crash, Elements Contemporary Ballet, the Fly Honey ensemble. In 2016, she choreographed and performed in the Emmy Award-winning short film, Emergence, in collaboration with Potenza Productions. In NYC, she has worked with choreographers Natalie Lomonte and Nicole Loizides, and is also an apprentice with ZviDance. This is her first season with Lydia Johnson Dance.




A former soloist with New York City Ballet, Craig Hall has danced featured roles in George Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, Episodes, The Four Temperaments, The Nutcracker (Tea, Candy Cane), Serenade, La Sonnambula, Western Symphony; Angelin Preljocaj’s La Stravaganza; Jerome Robbins’ Afternoon of a Faun, The Cage, Fanfare, Glass Pieces; and Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain, DGV: Danse à Grande Vitesse, Liturgy, Polyphonia, This Bitter Earth. Featured roles were also created on him by Mario Bigonzetti, Kim Brandstrup, Jiri Bubenicek, Eliot Feld, Jorma Elo, Robert La Fosse, Douglas Lee, Peter Martins, Wayne McGregor, Benjamin Millepied, Justin Peck, Alexei Ratmansky and Lynne Taylor-Corbett. 


After retiring from NYCB in 2016, Craig became a ballet master and repetiteur to New York City Ballet Resident-Choreographer Justin Peck. He has staged works for the San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet, Nantucket Dance Festival, and Vail International Dance Festival. 


In 2018, Craig became part of the four person Artistic Interim Team at NYCB.

Photo left by: Henry Leutwyler

Deborah Wingert, Ballet Mistress 

Ms. Wingert began her training at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary and became a scholarship student at the School of American Ballet in New York. At the age of 16, she was selected by George Balanchine to join New York City Ballet. During her 15 years with the company, Ms. Wingert danced over 25 principal, soloist and featured roles. She is one of a small group of artists selected by the Balanchine Trust to set his choreography. In this capacity she has traveled throughout the United States and Europe setting and staging the Balanchine repertoire for companies including the Vancouver Ballet Society, West Virginia Ballet Company, Boston Dance Company, Northeast Ballet, Ballet Center of St. Louis, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She staged The Four Temperaments for Harvard University, and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux for the New York International Ballet competition

Ms. Wingert has taught at the School of American Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Ballet Academy East, the Livingston Ballet, Boston Dance Company, and the Vancouver Ballet Society to name a few. She has been a guest lecturer and instructor for the New York City Public Library, the University of Wisconsin, and the Pennsylvania Governor’s School of the Arts, the Northeast Ballet, Princeton University and Harvard. Ms Wingert teaches compa
ny classes for major dance companies and is a faculty member at The Julliard School. 

Recent Guest Artists 

Guest Artist Stephen Hanna’s illustrious career ranges from rising through the ranks of New York City Ballet to principal dancer, to appearing in many Broadway shows, including Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler, An American in Paris, On the Town and Billy Elliot the Musical (in the featured role of the Older Billy). Mr. Hanna returned to New York City Ballet as a guest artist for the 2009-10 season, followed by appearing in the role of Sid in the national tour of Twyla Tharp's Come Fly Away. He then traveled to Spoleto, Italy, to partner Alessandra Ferri in her return to the stage in The Piano Upstairs. Several years ago, Mr. Hanna took on a new exploration of expression by studying acting, which has landed him appearances on TV in several shows, including All My Children and Boardwalk Empire, and as a lead

in the short film Fourth Position.

Peter Chursin is originally from San Francisco, California, and most recently performed with Twyla Tharp Dance. He was a recurring company dancer in the STARZ miniseries Flesh & Bone. His theater credits include: the revival of On the Town (Broadway), The Music Man - "Tommy Djilas" (TUTS), West Side Story (Broadway, Original Cast) and Wicked - "Chistery" (1stNational Tour and Los Angeles Company). He performed with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Barak Ballet and has had the opportunity to work as a freelance dancer internationally. Most recently Peter has appeared in "On the Town"  and "King Kong". 

Mary Beth Hansohn received her professional training at The Arlington Center for Dance and The Maryland Youth Ballet. She also studied at the ABT summer intensive in New York City, where she performed Theme and Variations by George Balanchine. She joined Ohio Ballet at the age of 18, and went on to dance in works by Heinz Poll, Donald Byrd, Laura Dean, Ann Marie DeAngelo, Alonzo King, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Stephen Mills and Septime Webre. Ms. Hansohn has performed with Twyla Tharp Dance, Dayton Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, The Cleveland Opera, Neglia Ballet, The Metropolitan Opera-Live in HD and Dances Patrelle. She has also worked with Edouard Lock at La La La Human Steps and with Karole Armitage at Armitage Gone! Dance. Most recently she performed at The Joyce Theater with Twyla Tharp in "Minimalism and Me"  

 Ramona Kelley is from Berkeley, CA, where she began her training at Berkeley Ballet Theater. She went on to earn a BFA in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she performed in works by William Forsyth and Ronald K Brown. Ms. Kelley danced the principal role of "Betsy" in the touring production of Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away and went on to dance with the Tharp company creating new roles, in addition to performing repertory works. She is a principal guest artist with Oakland Ballet, where she has danced works by Graham Lustig, José Limón and Robert Moses. Ms. Kelley has also performed with Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance, Claudia Schreier and Co, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Post:Ballet, Sidra Bell, and Phantom of the Opera (25th Anniversary Tour), among others.

From Dallas, Brynt Beitman earned a BFA from The Juilliard School and is a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. His performance credits include Bruce Wood Dance Project, Heidi Latsky Dance, TAKE Dance, Lydia Johnson Dance and New York Baroque Dance Company. His own works have been shown internationally at The Brinca Brunch Festival Costa Rica, Montreal’s Moyse Hall, The Juilliard Theater, Alice Tully Hall, Bryant Park, Dance New Amsterdam, Galapagos Art Space, Socrates Sculpture Park, Moyse Hall and Baruch Performing Arts Center. He is a guest faculty member at Randolph College. 

Our Prior Guest Artists include:

Carlos Lopez: American Dance Theater 

Atilla Csiki: Lar Lubovitch Dance Company

Reed Luplau: Lar Lubovitch Dance Company

Chris Bloom: Ballet Hispanico

Sean Mahoney: Paul Taylor Dance Company

Max Van de Sterre: New York City Ballet

Nathaniel Keuter: Paul Taylor Dance Company

Domingo Estrada: Mark Morris Dance Group