A New Beginning for Nieser Zambrana

American Ballet Theatre's Xiomara Reyes and José Manuel Carreño. San Francisco Ballet's Lorena Feijóo and Boston Ballet's Lorna Feijóo. The Royal Ballet's Carlos Acosta. All of these professional ballet dancers hail from Cuba—and now, 21-year-old Nieser Zambrana hopes to follow in their footsteps. Nieser was a member of the National Ballet of Cuba and was touring with the company in Canada last December when he defected to the United States. He made his way to Tampa, FL, where he has family and his aunt by marriage, Ivonne Lemus, also teaches at the Patel Conservatory (where Hannah Bettes' trains). As luck would have it, the school's company, Next Generation Ballet, was looking for someone to cast as Puck in its production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. This Saturday, Nieser will dance the lead role as a guest artist with the company. Click here for more information about the show, and click here to see a video of Nieser rehearsing.

 

 

 

Photo of Nieser Zambrana courtesy the Patel Conservatory.

 

 

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.

Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."

Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?

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Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)

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