Minor: Computer Science & Chemistry
Hometown: East Brunswick, New Jersey
Laura has been part of the Duke Dance Program since her Freshmen Fall, loving that she can continue her passion of dance while at Duke. She is originally from New Jersey, where she was on the pre-professional track at American Repertory Ballet’s Princeton Ballet School for 12 years. She has attended summer intensives at Washington School of Ballet as well as at Princeton Ballet School. Her favorite ballet is Swan Lake and in her next life as a professional dancer, she hopes to be able to dance the role of Odile. Past favorite roles include “Russian” and “Waltz of the Snowflakes” from The Nutcracker. She thanks all of her friends and family who have listened to her rants about dance and have supported her along the way.
Major: Interdepartmental Major in Dance and Visual & Media Studies
Certificate: Markets & Management Studies Certificate
Hometown: Houston, TX
Stephanie trained pre-professionally at the Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy from 2006 to 2012. There she had the opportunity to perform with Houston Ballet and Houston Ballet II. Stephanie has performed works choreographed by Stanton Welch, Ben Stevenson, Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Marius Petipa, August Bournonvile, Garrett Smith, and Julie Janus Walters. In addition, she has attended summer intensives on merit scholarships at Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet School (NYC) and also attended Boston Ballet’s Choreographic Intensive in 2013. At Duke, Stephanie has been actively involved in the Dance Program and choreographed and performed her first mainstage work ...yet there is hope at November Dances 2013.
Class of 2015
Major: International Comparative Studies
Hometown: Weston, FL
Haylee began dancing at the age of 3 and graduated from Sunghee Ballet Academy in 2013. She has trained in ballet, contemporary, improvisation, and modern. Over the past seven summers, she has studied under teachers at Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Harid Conservatory, BalletMet, Alonzo King LINES, and with Edward Ellison in NYC. In high school, Haylee took passed with distinction Royal Academy of Dance’s three vocational exams. Haylee also qualified as a semi-finalist in the 2011 Genee International Ballet South Africa and as a finalist in the 2012 World Ballet Competition.
Majors: Biology and Economics
Hometown: Bellevue, WA
Nishka has been dancing since the age of four, and studied pre-professionally at Pacific Northwest Ballet for six years. At PNB, she performed in various works including Swan Lake, Pinocchio, and Hansel and Gretel. She attended summer intensives at Ballet Chicago ('08), Boston Ballet ('09), and Santa Cruz Ballet Theater ('10). At Duke, she enjoys taking ballet classes along with academic courses as a reminder of the large role that dance has always played in her life!
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Minor: Computer Science
Hometown: Flagstaff, AZ
Wanyi grew up dancing in local dance studios: first in Champaign, Illinois and for most of her life in Flagstaff, Arizona. She has attended two summer intensives with ABT in North Carolina and New York, as well as one with BalletWest. She has and continues to take courses through the Duke Dance Program including ballet technique, pointe and variations, jazz technique, and jazz repertory. She also takes classes and has performed with Legacy Studios in Durham.
Major: Public Policy
Certificate: Markets & Management Studies
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Nicolena Farias-Eisner trained at the Marat Daukayev School of Ballet in Hollywood, CA, learning the technique of the Vaganova Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, under the guidance of both Marat Daukayev, The Kirov Ballet’s Principal, and Hasmik Amirian, the Armenian National Opera Ballet Theatre’s Principal. During her seven years with MDSB, she was a national semi-finalist in Youth American Grand Prix, awarded a scholarship to Kirov Ballet’s Summer Intensive, and danced several leading solos in The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Paquita, including Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, Pulchinella, Tarantella, Shepherdess, and Archangel. Additionally, Nicolena attended the Alvin Ailey Professional Division’s Summer Intensive, at which she developed her modern and contemporary dancing. She founded Duke Ballet Company in 2013. As Founder, Co-President, and Company Member of DBC, Nicolena continues her love and passion for ballet and hopes to further grow as a ballerina and dancer.
Major: Biology and Global Health
Hometown: Oak Park, Illinois
Noelani began dancing at age four at the Academy of Movement and Music in Oak Park, IL. She trained under the direction of Randall Newsom, J.P. Tenuta, Sarah Cullen Fuller, and Valery Dolgallo. She was a member of MOMENTA, the resident performing arts company of her ballet studio, for eight years. Noelani attended summer ballet intensives at Indiana University and Ruth Page School of the Arts. In 2012, she founded Kidz Expressions, a dance program for inner city youth in the west side of Chicago. She founded Duke Ballet Company in 2013 to continue dancing and performing classical and contemporary ballet. Leading and growing DBC as President since its founding has been been one of her most rewarding and enriching experiences at Duke.
Major: Neuroscience with a German minor
Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama
McKenzie Middlebrooks is from Montgomery, Alabama and is majoring in Neuroscience with a German minor. She started dancing at the age of 3 and quickly fell in love with the art form. She has trained in both classical and contemporary ballet with the Alabama Dance Theater, Alabama Ballet, The Joffrey School in New York, and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, Russia.