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Milwaukee Ballet II (MBII) is our second company and the next generation of dancers. These dancers dedicate a year of their lives to ballet, training, and performance in pursuit of a professional career.
2022/23 Season MBII Company
Milwaukee Ballet II (MBII) is a unique program designed to take excellent ballet students and transform them into artists, ready for a professional career. Dancers from around the world are offered daily training with their own artistic staff led by Artistic Director Mireille Favarel (France) and Rehearsal Director Calvin Hilpert (United States). In addition to classes with the Company and artistic staff, there are multiple opportunities for master classes with visiting choreographers and guest teachers from various disciplines.
This program provides a safe place for growth, experimentation, and achievement in dance through rigorous training and performance opportunities. Developed in 1978, MBII has graduated dancers who have danced all over the country, who run their own companies and dance projects, who now make up almost half of our own professional Company, and others who have gone on to new adventures and career paths.
Over the course of a season with MBII dancers learn to live on their own and become a strong, united team working together for shared goals and individual dreams. They learn to advocate for their art form and to work with all kinds of people. They are in an environment where they can experiment with their artistry, open their minds and push their personal boundaries. They leave being ready for the professional world—in dance and in other areas.
MBII Artistic Staff
The Milwaukee Ballet II program is helmed by MBII Artistic Director Mireille Favarel. She is joined by Rehearsal Director Calvin Hilpert in guiding and training MBII dancers helping them to grow as artists and people.
Learn more about the MBII staff and the rest of Milwaukee Ballet’s Artistic Team below.Explore Artistic Staff
Entrance into Milwaukee Ballet II is determined by audition and through Milwaukee Ballet’s Summer Intensive Program. We are looking for dancers who are ready to challenge and push themselves technically, creatively, and mentally.
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In The Community
In addition to the artistic endeavors of the program, MBII is a vital part of the Milwaukee Ballet Community Engagement department. MBII dancers are the face of the Company in the community and help bring the power of dance to life through workshops and performances at schools, senior centers, and community organizations. Many people in Milwaukee experience ballet for the first time by seeing the MBIIs perform.
Jacqueline Bertault was born in New York City and is half-French on her father’s side. Her family moved from Nice (near Cannes and Monaco) to Arizona when she was one after the September 11 attack. While in Arizona, Bertault attended the School of Ballet Arizona and the Scottsdale School of Ballet. When she was 16, she moved to France to continue her studies at the Ecole Supérieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower. After a year in Cannes, Bertault attended the Houston Ballet Academy for two years, where she performed work with the company. Bertault was a Joffrey Ballet Trainee from 2019-2021 and has attended numerous summer programs including Paris Opera Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School, Houston Ballet Academy, the International Ballet Masterclasses in Prague, various workshops throughout Europe including Marseille, Barcelona, and Cannes, and IB Stage in Barcelona, where she shared the stage with stars such as Marienela Nuñez, Maria Khoreva, Kimin Kim, and Julian Mackay. Bertault also had the opportunity to work professionally with the Ballet Nice Mediterranee under Eric Vu-An for their filmed production of Don Quichotte. Bertault is an undergraduate student with Arizona State University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Global Studies. She returns for her third year with Milwaukee Ballet II for the 2023–2024 season.
Katya trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and is an alumna of the St. Paul’s School Ballet Company. She was a finalist at Youth America Grand Prix in Tampa, FL. She attended summer intensives at The School of American Ballet and Boston Ballet, where she was selected to join Boston Ballet’s Post Graduate Program. She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Noa Dean was born in St. Louis, Missouri and began her ballet training at age five. She studied classical and contemporary movement at Alexandra Ballet and the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) while being a first company member performing in full-length ballets and excerpts. During her summers, she has enjoyed studying at American Ballet Theatre’s New York summer intensives and at Chautauqua Institution summer intensive on scholarship. In 2020, she earned 1st place in the regional competition of National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) and later received an Excellence Award in Classical Variations at the national level. In 2023, she was named an Outstanding Soloist in the Regional Dance America (RDA) Midstates festival, where she performed “Dawn” from Coppelia in the closing gala. She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Emmakate Franz is from West Virginia and began her training at Maryland Youth Ballet. She received a full scholarship from the Joffrey Conservatory in Chicago and later accepted a trainee position with Ballet Austin for their 2021/22 season. She most recently trained in Milwaukee Ballet’s Pre-Professional Program and is thrilled to have been asked to join Milwaukee Ballet II. As a recipient of scholarships throughout her dance career, she is grateful for the people and donors that love and support this art form as much as she does. She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Originally from Kumamoto, Japan, Nowa comes to Milwaukee Ballet from the European School of Ballet (ESB) in Amsterdam. There, she studied under Artistic Director Olivier Wecxsteen and other esteemed faculty, experiencing a robust curriculum of classical ballet, contemporary dance, and many specialized artistic workshops highlighting the work of choreographers such as Balanchine, Forsythe, and Ashton. Prior to her time at ESB, she trained at the Hungarian Dance University in Budapest under Artistic Director Fodorné Molnár Márta. Nowa has participated in many festivals, such as the YAGP Nervi International Dance Festival, and performed with Budapest Operetta and Martha Graham Dance Company.
After participating in the 2019 International Ballet Competition Japan Grand Prix and the 2019 Pacific International Ballet Competition, Nowa was awarded acceptance into several summer intensive programs, including The Canada Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, and Washington School of Ballet.
She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Isabella Graves began her training at the age of 3 at Huntington Academy of Dance in Southern California. There, she completed Cecchetti ballet examinations through Major 9. She attended numerous summer intensives, including those at American Ballet Theater and Ellison Ballet, before furthering her training by joining the Milwaukee Ballet Pre-Professional Program. She has competed in the Youth American Grand Prix multiple times, placing 1st in the Senior Classical category in 2021 and 3rd in both Classical and Contemporary in 2022. She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Wakana Hara began dancing at the age of 8 in her home country of Japan. She entered the Vaganova Ballet Academy in Russia at 15, and during her time there danced as a soloist in Fairy Doll at the Mariinsky Theatre and as a soloist and Snowflakes in The Nutcracker at the Mariinsky Theatre and Hermitage Theatre. Her accolades include 2nd place and Jury Special Award in the Prix du Japan Educational Ballet Competition; 3rd place in the Okayama Fleur Ballet competition and an Asami Maki Ballet Company scholarship; and 3rd place in the Nara Ballet Competition. She appeared as a guest dancer in tour performances of “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker” in Brussels, Belgium. She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
William Heide is a native of Racine, Wisconsin and started his dance training at The Studio of Classical Dance Arts. He has attended Summer Intensives at Joffrey Texas, Houston Ballet, and Joffrey Chicago. Heide’s recent professional dance training has been with the Ballet Theater of Carmel, and the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. Outside of the studio, Heided is an avid competition cyclist and plays for a Milwaukee-based fusion band called Cosmic Endeavors. He returns to Milwaukee Ballet II for his second year in the 2023–2024 season.
Carly trained with The Academy of Dance Arts in New Jersey, The Washington School of Ballet‘s Professional Training Division, and most recently as a Trainee with The Washington Ballet. She attended Summer Intensives at American Ballet Theatre NYC, Philadelphia Ballet, Ellison Ballet, Ballet Academy East, and The Washington Ballet.
Carly danced with the Washington Ballet Company in productions at The Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, and Warner Theatre during her time as a Trainee. Her performance credits with The Washington Ballet include Aurora’s Friends, Nymph, Garland Waltz, and Mazurka in The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle’s Friends and Willis in Giselle, Theme & Variations, Serenade, Village Waltz and Cygnet in Swan Lake, and Snow and Flowers in The Nutcracker. Under the direction of Xiomara Reyes and Rinat Imaev, she also performed the Talisman Pas de Deux, Pas d’Esclave, Gamzatti Pas de Deux, and the principal in Ruslan and Lyudmila in showcases with The Washington School of Ballet.
She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Corabelle Kennedy grew up in Papillion, Nebraska, and began her training with Robin Welch and Rachel Vickrey at Heartland Conservatory of Dance on scholarship. There, she was a company member with Heartland Youth Ballet for nine years and danced roles such as the Bluebird in Snow White, Koschei in The Firebird, and the title role in Cinderella. Corabelle attended summer intensives at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet. During her senior year, Cora joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Graduate Program on scholarship, where she danced with the Company in ballets such as George Balanchine’s Diamonds and Theme and Variations, Susan Jaffe’s Swan Lake, Terrence S. Orr’s The Nutcracker, and Michael Pink’s Dracula. When not dancing, Cora loves to go on walks with her husky and practice makeup artistry. She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
A native of Southern California, Piper Martincheck started dancing at the age of seven. She trained at Riverside Ballet Arts, City Ballet of San Diego, and Milwaukee Ballet’s Pre-Professional Program under the direction of Tatiana Jouravel-Malinkine. She has participated in many summer intensives, including those at Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Milwaukee Ballet. She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Anri Matsuda hails from Fukuoka, Japan. She started ballet when she was five years old and participated in several competitions and performances throughout the next 13 years. In 2018, Anri was awarded a scholarship for the Summer Dance Program at Boston Ballet School and participated in the Prix de Lausanne, where she was a semi-finalist. In 2019, Anri moved to France to continue her training at PNSD Rosella Hightower, where she had opportunities to perform on stage as a member of Cannes Jeune Ballet. She performed the principal role of Etoile in Paquita as well as Odette in Swan Lake in 2021. Anri then joined Orlando Ballet School as a Trainee in the fall of 2021, where she had the opportunity to be a part of the company’s productions of The Jungle Book and The Nutcracker, dancing as a Flower and Mouse. In January 2022, she was promoted to Orlando Ballet’s Second Company, where she performed as a Willi and Peasant in Giselle, Woman of Ashes in The Great Gatsby, a Waitress in Michael Pink’s Dracula, a Flower, Snowflake, and Candy Cane in The Nutcracker, and a Principal and Soloist role in Paquita. She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Emery Meroni hails from Cimo, Ticino in Switzerland. He has studied at the Massachusetts Academy of Ballet and attended Summer Intensive programs at Bolshoi Ballet Academy, HARID Conservatory, and the Washington School of Ballet. During his studies, he received several awards, including the Fred Lieberman Award for Excellence and the Rudolf Nureyev Award. Meroni studied at the HARID Conservatory year-round training program, where he received dance study awards in ballet, character, and modern, was President of the National Honors Society, and graduated as Valedictorian of the class of 2022. In addition to English, Meroni is also fluent in the Italian and French languages. He returns to Milwaukee Ballet II for his second year in the 2023–2024 season.
Nanaho Nakajima is originally from Suita City, in Osaka, Japan, and began her training at the Kawakami Keiko Ballet School. She has attended several Summer Intensive programs over the course of her training, including those at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Nakajima has received several awards for exemplary performance, including top honors at Osaka Prix National Classic Ballet Competition (2017, 2022), World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix Live Stream Final, Ballet Grand Prix Vienna, and Surrey Festival of Dance. Nakajima continued her training at the year-round HARID Conservatory and accepted a position with the Goh Ballet Academy Youth Company after graduation. She returns to Milwaukee Ballet II for her second year in the 2023–2024 season.
Eugene was born in Hong Kong, where he began dancing at the age of 8. At 16, he moved to Australia to train at The Australian Ballet School on a full scholarship. Eugene has worked with The Australian Ballet in their productions of Anna Karenina and Romeo & Juliet, as well as with Hong Kong Ballet in Vladimir Malakhov’s La Bayadére. He joins Milwaukee Ballet II for his first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Denzel Parsons trained at Newcastle Ballet Theatre in NSW, Australia from 2020-2022. In 2022-23, he received a scholarship to the Welsh Ballet, where he trained in the Pre-Professional Program. Outside of ballet, Denzel loves sports such as cricket, soccer, and rugby league. He loves watching and supporting his soccer team, Chelsea Football Club and his National Rugby League Team, Manly Sea Eagles. He joins Milwaukee Ballet II for his first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Emily started her training at the age of seven at the School of First State Ballet Theatre under Kristina and Pasha Kambalov. During her time at First State Ballet Theatre, Emily had the privilege of performing alongside the company, which included repertoire such as the Swan Lake Corps de Ballet, the Don Quixote Dream Scene, and Snowflakes in The Nutcracker. Following her graduation in 2022, she continued her studies at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Graduate Program, where she had the opportunity to perform repertoire from Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, and La Bayadére. As a Graduate student, Emily had the honor of performing alongside The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Company in Terrence Orr’s The Nutcracker as Snowflakes Corps de Ballet and in the Waltz of the Flowers. Throughout her training, she attended summer intensives at Houston Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet, and Milwaukee Ballet. She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Sophia Shahani is a native of West Hills, California, where she began her studies in dance at the California Dance Academy. As part of her training, she has attended Summer Intensives at the San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and the Texas Ballet Theater. In 2019, Shahani joined the Texas Ballet Theater Studio Training Company, where she danced for two years before accepting a position as a Trainee with the Joffrey Ballet in 2021. She returns to Milwaukee Ballet II for her second year in the 2023–2024 season.
Allen graduated from the Auer Academy of Fort Wayne Ballet, where he received the Most Improved Dancer scholarship two years consecutively. He went on to become a trainee with Fort Wayne Ballet and has attended summer intensives at San Francisco Ballet, The Royal Ballet, and Ballet Austin. Allen is currently studying for his bachelor’s degree in political science from Indiana University and is decorated by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Emmys) for his work in informational broadcast. He joins Milwaukee Ballet II for his first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Roxy Slavin began her training at Rocky Mountain Ballet Academy in Denver, CO. In 2018, at 12 years old, she was one of the youngest Americans to be invited to train full-time on the Russian track at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, Russia. When the pandemic brought her home in 2020, she was invited to join The HARID Conservatory in Boca Raton, FL. Career highlights for Roxy include Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, Clara and Sugar Plum in The Nutcracker, the Peasant Pas de Deux from Giselle, and the Pas de Deux from La Fille Mal Gardee. Roxy attended Summer Intensives with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Connecticut; Perm State Choreographic College in Perm, Russia; Kaatsbaan Ballet Intensive in Tivoli, NY; and the American Ballet Theatre in New York City. Roxy has earned numerous Youth America Grand Prix regional top placement awards, including the YAGP Hope Award and, most recently, 2nd in Senior Classical, 2023. She has been invited several times to the YAGP Finals in New York City, where she has received summer training scholarships. She joins Milwaukee Ballet II for her first year in the 2023–2024 season.
Remi began his ballet career in Colorado and has trained in the San Francisco Ballet School Trainee Program since 2021. While with SFB, he performed in The Nutcracker, was a featured dancer in After Light, danced various roles in Giselle, Cinderella, and Seasons, and performed a choreographed role in Stereo is King. Additionally, Remi has been a guest artist for Panama Youth Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet Spring Festival in Moscow. He has attended the summer intensives of San Francisco Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Oklahoma City Ballet. He joins Milwaukee Ballet II for his first year in the 2023–2024 season.