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Naomi Sawyer (Sugar Plum Fairy, 11/24-11/26; Snow Queen 12/2-12/3) received her early training in ballet, tap and jazz under Kay Welch in Lyndonville, Vermont, with summer intensives at Broadway Dance Center, the Joffrey ballet in NYC and the Boston Ballet School. As a student in Boston Ballet’s training program, she performed in Boston ballet’s Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty, and went on to perform with the Orchesis Dance troupe while attending her physical therapy studies at the University of Vermont. Naomi has been performing with the Northeastern Ballet Theatre since 2013 under the direction of Edra Toth with soloist roles in Le Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, and Nutcracker, and several lead roles including Wilhelmina in Dracula, Anna in The Snow Queen, Katrina in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Sugar Plum Fairy, Maria in The Sound of Music, and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. She had made guest appearances as Sugar Plum Fairy, including with Dance Annex. She is a homeschooling mother of two, and works as a licensed physical therapist providing neuro and vestibular rehab, as well as physical therapy specialized for the needs of dancers, including per diem for the Boston Ballet company. Naomi is passionate about injury prevention, bringing together her knowledge as a therapist with her experience as a dancer to help other dancers fulfill their potential and “dance longer, dance stronger!”
Assaf Benchetrit (Cavalier, 11/24-11/26; Snow King 12/2-12/3) began his dance and music studies at the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem, Israel. Upon graduation, he danced with the Jerusalem Dance Theater, the Panov Ballet, and later with The Israeli National Ballet Company. During his military service, Assaf received the “Remarkable Dancer” prize from the Israeli government which allowed him to continue dancing while serving. After completing his military service, he arrived to United States to dance with companies such as The Joffrey, Metropolitan Classical Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Portland Ballet and Gelsey Kirkland Ballet. Throughout his career, Assaf toured through England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and numerous other countries. Assaf holds a joint B.S in computer science and B.F.A in dance degrees with academic honors from Montclair State University, and an M.F.A degree in dance from Hollins/ADF/Frankfurt. He is currently an Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance at the University of New Hampshire, and was a faculty member at Yale University, Columbia University (Barnard College), Rutgers University, Montclair State University, and Raritan Valley Community College.
The Dance Annex's The Nutcracker, 2018. Photo Credit: Jennifer Del Deo-Barry
The Dance Annex's The Nutcracker, 2019. Photo Credit: Jennifer Del Deo-Barry
Kirsten Evans (Sugar Plum Fairy, 12/2-12/3) Kirsten is a freelance dancer based in NYC and Providence, RI. She danced professionally at Festival Ballet Providence (now Ballet RI) for 13 years, performing a wide repertoire of principal roles in both classical and contemporary works including those by George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, Trey McIntyre, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. She is also the founder and director of the dance/music collaborative Revolve Dance Project.
Alex Lantz (Cavalier, 12/2-12/3) Alex was born in Rockford Illinois and started dancing with the Rockford Dance Company when he was seven. He then moved to Canada and trained at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and subsequently joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Company in 2010. Lantz then came to Festival Ballet Providence in 2012. He has performed works by Mihailo Djuric, Viktor Plotnikov, George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon, Twyla Tharp, Jiri Kylián, Ilya Kozadayev, Dominic Walsh, Mauricio Wainrot, Mark Gotten, Yuri Yanowsky, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Trey McIntyre, Chanel DaSilva, and Helen Pickett.