Ballet BC names new dancers and apprentices

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      Ballet BC will launch its 31st season with two new dancers taking the stage: Justin Rapaport, a Miami native who trained at the New World School of the Art and the Juilliard School; and Vancouver's own Nicole Ward, an Arts Umbrella grad who was an apprentice with the company last year.

      The Arts Umbrella is also the source for the four new apprentices with the company: Vancouver's Ria Girard; Victoria's Natassja Marc; Arkansas-born Sabine Raskin; and California-brred Lucas Wilson-Bilbro.

      Last year, Ballet BC and Arts Umbrella announced they were forming a decade-long alliance to share resources and choreographers, but also to groom company talent.

      Returning company members are Brandon Alley, Andrew Bartee, Emily Chessa, Livona Ellis, Alexis Fletcher, Scott Fowler, Rachel Meyer, Racheal Prince, Gilbert Small, Peter Smida, Christoph von Riedemann, and Kirsten Wicklund.

      Dancers Brett Perry, an Indiana-born Juilliard School grad, and Tara Williamson, the Richmond-raised alumna of Alberta Ballet and Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, are both leaving the company. Perry spent a year with the company, while Williamson spent two.