Denver ballet and dance classes, school and company - Ilena Norton Director



Ariel Gilliam

Ariel Gilliam began her dance training when she was 8 years old at the school of Ballet Ariel. She has also studied at Classic Dance Academy, the school of Ballet Nouveau Colorado (now Colorado Conservatory of Dance), Kim Robards Dance, and Avante-Garde School of Dance. As a student, she performed lead roles in many classical ballets including the roles of Sugarplum Fairy, Dew Drop Fairy, Snow Queen, and Clara in the Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, and the title role in Cinderella. Ariel graduated high school in 2013 and immediately joined Ballet Ariel as an apprentice for one year before being promoted to the company. Since joining the company, she has been given the opportunity to perform several soloist roles including Pas De Trois in Paquita and the title role in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Ariel is happy to begin her fourth season with Ballet Ariel.

Angela Lisa FioriniAngela Lisa Fiorini is happy to dance with Ballet Ariel for her third season, as well as to share her love of ballet, teaching at several studios in the Denver area. Angela Lisa spent the 2014/2015 season co-founding Nashville Dance Initiative, a dancer directed professional ballet company. She also spent two seasons performing professionally with Dance Theatre of Tennessee in Nashville. She received the Ruth DeYoung Kohler Scholarship for Arts Excellence and attended the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where she graduated in the spring of 2013 with a BFA in Classical Ballet and a Minor in Communication. While a student at CCM, Angela Lisa had the opportunity to perform professionally with Dance Theatre of TN, Dayton Ballet, and Tevlin Ballet. In addition, she spent a season teaching on staff at the Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy. Originally from Wisconsin, Angela Lisa trained on full scholarship with the Milwaukee Ballet Academy after receiving the Schomer Lichtner Award. While training with MB, Angela Lisa performed annually in Michael Pink’s The Nutcracker. She spent summers training with Atlanta Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Milwaukee Ballet, while her earliest training began with Pat Keller, Sue Darrow and Jean Wolfmeyer.

Will GaschA native of Pennsylvania, William Gasch is joining Ballet Ariel for his first full season. He trained for eleven years at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School as well as summer intensives including the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theatre in New York. In 2013, Will received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. While at CCM, Will had the honor of being coached by Maria Calegari and the late Frederic Franklin for Balanchine’s Walpurgisnacht and Pas De Dix. He also guested with Cincinnati Ballet for Victoria Morgan’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Will has danced professionally with Cincinnati Ballet, Nashville Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet.

Chloey HillermanChloey Hillerman grew up in Colorado and started taking ballet classes at the late age of 15. She has studied at various schools around Colorado, but completed most of her training at Denver Ballet Theatre Academy, where she graduated. Chloey has also spent summers at Next Generation Ballet, Kirov Academy of Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and Oklahoma City Ballet. At Denver Ballet Theatre Academy she has gained performance experience dancing in full length ballets such as Nutcracker with the role of Clara, and Coppelia as the role of Prayer Variation and Scottish Doll. During her year in Colorado Ballet’s Pre-Professional Program she also got the opportunity to perform in the Snowflake corps with the company during the Nutcracker. Chloey is excited to be joining Ballet Ariel for her first season!

Jennifer KuhnJennifer Kuhn is originally from the North Bay area of San Francisco. She began her formal training with Marin Ballet, studied with Joffrey Ballet in New York, Richmond Ballet, Ballet West, and Alonzo King’s Lines Contemporary Ballet. She attended the University of Utah on scholarship, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and Master of Fine Arts degree with a teaching and choreography emphasis. Ms. Kuhn performed with Utah Ballet and completed a teaching assistantship with the renowned University of Utah faculty. Ms. Kuhn has performed with Montgomery Ballet in Alabama, Boulder Ballet, Winifred Harris’s One Race Woman, and continues to perform with 7 Dancers, Zikr Dance Ensemble, and Briah Danse. Ms. Kuhn was a principal dancer for ten years with Dawson/Wallace Dance Project, formerly David Taylor Dance Theatre and served as Rehearsal Director and Répétiteur. She has performed numerous leading roles in James Wallace’s and David Taylor’s contemporary works. This is Ms. Kuhn’s third season with Ballet Ariel. Some of her favorite roles include, Clara and Sugar Plum Fairy, Swanhilda, Raymonda, and Cinderella. When Ms. Kuhn is not performing, she enjoys choreographing and teaching ballet technique, especially to the next generation of dancers. Ms. Kuhn is thrilled and honored to be dancing with Ballet Ariel. She gives thanks to the inspiration from positive people and those that partake and share in her journey.

jessica MarinerJessica Mariner is originally from Chicago, IL. She began dancing at an early age and trained at Dmitri Roudnev School of Ballet, Salt Creek Ballet and at the Studio Company of Ballet Chicago. While a student, she was given the opportunity to perform exciting ballets such as Serenade, Concerto Barocco, and Giselle. She then continued her education at the University of Utah, obtaining a B.F.A in Ballet Performance. While at the university, she danced with the performing company Utah Ballet. After graduation, she began her professional career dancing as an apprentice with Ballet Nebraska and then joined Missouri Ballet Theatre as a company artist performing corps de ballet and soloist roles in Nutcracker, Cinderella and new contemporary works.

Keegan O'BrienKeegan O’Brien graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology – Exercise Science. As a member of the Theatre Department, he performed in several mainstage productions – one of his favorites being “Arabian Nights,” where he was also the cast’s strength and conditioning coach. His love for the stage continually growing, Keegan tried dancing in college, and has not stopped since. He has been fortunate enough to perform in Austria twice with Corpus Christi Concert Ballet and in Scotland with Burklyn Ballet Theatre, as well as guesting in several states around the US. As a personal trainer, he coached himself to a first place finish at the MuscleMania Colorado Championship in both the Men’s Physique and the Fitness categories, and he has competed the past two seasons on American Ninja Warrior. Keegan is stoked to be starting his third season with Ballet Ariel.

Callie PetersonCallie Peterson hails from St. Paul, MN and began her training at age six with St. Croix Ballet. She continued her professional training throughout high school with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division and St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists. She has spent summers training with the Kansas City Ballet, Kirov Academy of Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, The School at Jacob’s Pillow Ballet Program, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. In 2015, she graduated from Butler University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance and Arts Administration. Prior to Ballet Ariel, she danced for Eisenhower Dance in Detroit, MI and The Big Muddy Dance Company in St. Louis, MO. Callie is thrilled to be joining Ballet Ariel this season.

Melissa PiteMelissa Pite began performing at the age of six in Boulder, Colorado where she was a member of Expressions Jazz Dance Company for five years. Melissa began her formal ballet training under Ana Claire Davison, Peter Davison, Rob Kuykendall, and Becky Jancosko at the Boulder Ballet School in 2003, where she resided until she graduated from Boulder High School in 2010. With Boulder Ballet’s Second Company (BBII) Melissa performed in numerous productions including The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Marry Poppins, and Pepito. Melissa has also attended several summer ballet training intensives including the Briansky Saratoga Ballet in New York State for three years and the Joffrey Ballet in New York City. After Graduating from Boulder High School, Melissa attended the University of Utah Ballet Department where she trained for two years under Jay Kim, Calvin Kitten, and Maggie Wright-Tesch. She had many performing opportunities including works with Val Caniparoli, and Carol Iwasaki. In 2012, Melissa transferred to Colorado State University where she began training with Jane Slusarski-Harris, Chung-Fu Chang, Carol Roderick, and Judy Bejarano. At Colorado State University, Melissa has enjoyed performing in Swan Lake, Pas de Quatre, The Nutcracker, Etudes, student, faculty, and guest artist performances. In 2015, Melissa graduated from CSU where she studied Dance and Human Nutrition.

Madison OlesonMadison Oleson from Denver, CO. I started taking classes at Mattie Springfield’s in Park Hill in 1999 and continued there as it changed ownership to Brian Bender’s The Dancer’s Advantage through high school in 2011. In high school I attended the Pittsburgh Summer Intensive in 2008, ABT Alabama Summer Intensive in 2009, and The Dance Theatre of Tennessee’s Summer Intensive in 2011. Then she moved to Nashville to dance with The Dance Theatre of Tennessee for three seasons. This past year she has performed with Park Hill Dance Academy as a guest artist and taught in their academy. This is her second season with Ballet Ariel.


bonnie tomson

Bonnie Tomson was born and raised in Franktown, Colorado. She started her dance training when she was just three years old with Parker Dance Academy. After high school Bonnie was accepted into the dance division at Colorado State University. She studied under Judy Bejarano, Chung-Fu Chang, Jane Slusarski-Harris, Carol Roderick, and Sayaka Ruggles using the Russian ballet syllabus as well as various styles of modern dance technique including Graham, Horton, and Limon. Bonnie directed and choreographed for CSU’s Theatre Division’s Kids Do It All Program for four consecutive years. Bonnie received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and minor in Arts Administration through the LEAP institute in May of 2016. This is her first season as an apprentice for Ballet Ariel.

kathrine BodenKatherine Boden began her dance training at the age of seven, at Miller’s Dance in Parker, CO. She went to high school at Denver School of the Arts, where her passion for contemporary dance was fostered. Katherine has taken classes with the Colorado Ballet and Classical Ballet of Colorado. After high school, Katherine continued her dance training at Denver Ballet Theatre, while teaching at Miller’s, Inspirations, DBT, and Center Stage Starz, while attending online college courses toward a degree in Early Childhood Education and a certification in Barre Fitness. Katherine continued to diversify, performing jazz and hip-hop with the performance group HER. Her professional accomplishments include choreography and performing pas de deux. She is very excited about her opportunity to work with Ballet Ariel.


Denver's Ballet Ariel Company and School is building excitement about ballet, with beautiful, original ballets and great ballet and dance classes