Lead Company Artist Lauren Ader-Cumpston began her dance training at an early age in Conifer, Colorado. In 2004 she began to pursue training in classical ballet and studied under Nikoloz Makhateli and Anastasiya Buechele in Denver Colorado. In 2010, Lauren had the opportunity to train at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet in New York City and studied under teachers such as Gelsey Kirkland, Rinat Imaev, Karina Elver and Lyubov Fominich. While in New York, Lauren also performed with GKA’s Studio Company and danced in various demi-soloist and soloist roles in repertoire including The Nutcracker, La Sylphide, Paquita, “Cygnets” from Swan Lake, “Pas de Six” and “Ballabille” from Napoli, among others. Lauren moved to join Ballet 5:8 as a Company Artist with Ballet 5:8 in 2012 and was promoted to Lead Company artist in 2014. With Ballet 5:8 Lauren has performed various roles including Job in The Story of Job, the Spring Soloist in Four Seasons of the Soul, Darius in Belteshazzar: A Perilous Tale, and The Human in Interplay. Lauren also currently serves as the Ballet Mistress for Ballet 5:8 and as the Director of Residency Programs for Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts.
Solo Company Artist Lorianne Barclay was practically raised in an art bubble. Not only is her home town of Portland, Oregon a very art centered culture, but her family is a mix of fine artists and musicians. As a child, she could be found with her limbs in the most obscure positions. This caused her parents to put her in gymnastics at age three. Later she transitioned to ballet, finding it to be a beautiful arrangement of movement and artistry. She received her early training at Portland Metro Arts, and later went on to studying for 4 years under John Magnus in Portland Festival Ballet’s trainee program. Her summers were spent around the country studying with Ballet West, Summer Dance Lab, and awarded scholarships to train with Alonzo King Lines Ballet and Point Park University. In 2013, Lorianne choreographed a piece entitled “Inclus” which was selected as the winner of the Bloom project. Outside of dancing, she holds a degree in Graphic Design from the Academy of Art University. Lorianne has been dancing with Ballet 5:8 since 2013 and has been serving as Ballet 5:8's Costume Designer and Head of Wardrobe since 2014.
Growing up in a military home, Solo Company Artist Brette Benedict has moved around her whole life. She started dancing at a very young age but began to study ballet seriously under the direction of Mrs. Geiger after moving to Michigan at the age of 12. Her last two years of high school she moved to Philadelphia to study at the Rock School for Dance Education. Brette was then accepted to the Jacob’s School of Music at Indiana University and got her Bachelor of Science in Ballet. Upon graduation Brette received an apprenticeship with the Rochester City Ballet and was promoted to dancer in 2013. Throughout her ballet career she has had the privilege of performing in many ballets including: soloist roles in Balanchine’s Serenade, Western Symphony, Raymonda, Who Cares?, and principle roles in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo as the Rancher’s Daughter, Anthony tudor’s Lilac Garden as Caroline as well as Twyla Tharp’s Noir. She recently performed the role of Sugar plum for Cornerstone Academy for Performing Arts in their production of The Nutcracker. Brette is very thankful for all the teachers, coaches and family who have helped her achieve her goals as a dance. She has been a Company Artist with Ballet 5:8 since 2014 and now serves in a variety of roles in addition to dancing such as: Trainee Program Ballet Mistress, Ballet 5:8 Répétiteur, and Instructor at Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts. Brette is also holds a RYT-200 certification in Yoga.
Originally from northern Indiana, Solo Company Artist Laura Schlatter began her dance training at the age of five. Laura continued studying dance professionally under Beth McLeish and performed original works by Melinda Howe of Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and BalletMet’s Jimmy Orrante. Throughout her career Laura has performed principal roles in ballets such as The Nutcracker and Copéllia as well as Giselle, Don Quixoté, Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and La Sylphide. She was also a featured soloist in the Joffrey Ballet’s Birthday Variations choreographed by the late Gerald Arpino. Laura had the privilege of traveling to the National Festival de Danse in Montreal, Canada with the New American Youth Ballet where she performed Melinda Howe’s A Breathe of Hayden and received a scholarship to study with the Oklahoma City Ballet. After dancing professionally with the Chattanooga Ballet, Laura is pleased to be joining Ballet 5:8 for her fourth season as a Company Artist. Laura also currently serves as the Ballet Mistress for Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts' Pre-Professional Program.
Company Artist Antonio Fernández started dancing when he was fifteen at Ballet Hispanico. There he studied ballet, flamenco, jazz, Latin jazz, and modern. In 2010, Antonio received a full scholarship to study under legendary Ballerina Gelsey Kirkland, at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet (GKA). There he also studied under great Russian ballet teachers such as Lyubov Fominich, Vera Soloveyva, and Nikolay Levitsky. Antonio graduated from the Academy and joined The Gelsey Kirkland Ballet (GKB) in 2013. Antonio has danced various demi-soloist, soloist, and principal roles in GKA's and GKB's performances. Antonio's repertory includes The Nutcracker as the Prince and Spanish Soloist, Raymonda, Le Corsaire, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Bayadere, Marius Petipa's Harlequinade as Pierro, as well as works by the Danish choreographer Auguste Bournonville, such as La Ventana, Ballabile, and Jocky Dance. Antonio is also a Flamenco dancer who has gone to Spain to study the Andalusian art form. In 2014, Antonio won second place in the Flamenco Certmane Competition held in Lincoln Center, NYC. Antonio danced at Ballet Fantastique in Eugene, Oregon as a Soloist throughout the 2015/2016 season and also recently had the honor of performing with the Eugene Symphony at the Hult Center for the performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon. Antonio is joining Ballet 5:8 as a Company Artist for the 2016-2017 season.
A native Houstonian, Company Artist Stephanie Joe trained pre-professionally at the Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy and had the opportunity to perform with Houston Ballet and Houston Ballet II. She spent summers training on merit scholarship with Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet School (NYC), and most recently attended the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Summer Program in 2015. During the summer of 2013, Stephanie attended Boston Ballet’s Choreographic Intensive where she worked with Helen Pickett, Thaddeus Davis, and Tanya Wideman-Davis. She has performed works by choreographers such as Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine, Ben Stevenson, and Stanton Welch. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Duke University where she pursued interdisciplinary studies in business, dance, and design, graduating cum laude with distinction in dance. During her time at Duke, she choreographed several main stage works. In 2013, Stephanie co-founded Duke Ballet Company, the university’s first student-run ballet company, and served as artistic director, ballet mistress, and resident choreographer through 2016.
Company Artist Bethany Patterson grew up in San Antonio, Texas where she began her training at Ballet Conservatory of South Texas under the direction of Catherine Batcheller. She later moved to North Caroline to study at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and then to New York to study at SLK Ballet with Sara Knight. During her three years in New York she has performed at many hospitals and schools such as Morgan Stanley, Mount Sinai, and Sloan Kettering. In Italy, she performed at the AJD International Dance Festival and was invited to dance with the Central Ballet School in London. Over the years she has performed in Paquita, La Bayadere, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, and Long Island Ballet Theatre's Nutcracker. After graduating from SLK Ballet, Beth is excited to start her first season with Ballet 5:8.
Company Artist Summer Smith grew up in South Jersey, where she began dancing at a young age. Having an arts focused family, she received exposure to all types of art throughout her childhood and studied painting and drawing under her mentor, Patricia Witt. In high school, Summer decided to begin her serious training at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. During this time, she received scholarships to study at Orlando Ballet, and in New York, at American Ballet Theatre. Following highschool, Summer attended The University of the Arts for Ballet and Painting. At Uarts, she was selected to perform works by Ronen Koresh, Christine Cox and Anastasia Babeyeva. She also worked with Douglas Becker, of the original Frankfurt Ballet, for his staging of "The Vile Parody of Address" by William Forsythe. During college, Summer dealt with some serious ballet burn-out, and decided to audition primarily for contemporary and jazz companies upon graduation. She is so thankful for God's sense of humor, as he completely pushed her to Ballet 5:8 and transformed her mindset with his overwhelming grace.
Senior Apprentice Samuel Opsal started dancing at the age of 16 in Pullman, WA. In 2014 he received a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts, graduating magna cum laude. While attending Cornish he was granted multiple awards for academic and artistic achievement. After college Samuel worked with Iyun Harrison’s Ashani Dances in Seattle and then moved to Pittsburgh to train in Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Graduate Program. His performances include PBT’s Le Corsaire, Sleeping Beauty, and La Bayadere. As a guest artist he has performed principal roles in Giselle, Firebird, and Swan Lake. In 2015 he also had the opportunity to choreograph a duet that was performed by PBT’s ensemble group. This is Samuel’s first year with Ballet 5:8.
Company Apprentice Christine Janak was raised in Colorado and began dancing at age three. She found her passion for ballet when she went en-pointe at age 12. She began her serious training with International Ballet School (Colorado) and she spent summers training with various schools including the Pallucca Schule (Dresden, Germany), Joffrey Ballet School (NYC), Joffrey Ballet Exchange at the Bolshoi (Moscow, Russia), Orlando Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, and Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet School (San Francisco). After high school she toured through Europe as a soloist with Cinevox (Switzerland), performing Cinderella, Bolero, Le Sacre du Printemps, and Cielo y Tierra. She was also able to perform in the Netherlands for a half season with Dance in Art. Returning to her home state, she was honored to be a part of the Denver Public Works' Holocaust remembrance piece choreographed by Robert Sher-Machherndl, entitled White Mirror. Again in Colorado she danced and choreographed for Mercury Dance Company. She is thrilled to start her first season with Ballet 5:8.
Company Apprentice Laura Peterman was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Ontario, Canada. She began ballet in Canada at age five with Catherine Kourkounakis, whom she trained with for ten years. While in Canada she also trained with Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg, co-director of Opera Atelier and the School of Atelier Ballet, and performed in the National Ballet of Canada's Nutcracker. In high school Laura moved to Pittsburgh, PA to train at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. During high school, she attended summer intensives at Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and the Joffrey Academy of Dance, Chicago. After graduating high school, Laura moved to Chicago to join Ballet 5:8 as a trainee for their 2015/16 season, where she had the opportunity to dance roles in Four Seasons of the Soul, Mi Familia, Interplay, Eden, and Belteshazzar. Laura is excited to begin her first season as an apprentice with Ballet 5:8, and will also be teaching in the Ballet 5:8 School of the Arts.
Company Apprentice Lauren Pulkstenis is originally from Lafayette, NJ. She received her early training from the New Jersey School of Ballet and the Nutmeg Conservatory in Connecticut, where she studied on scholarship and worked with teachers and choreographers such as Victoria Mazzarelli, Kirk Peterson, and Eleanor D’Antuono. At Nutmeg, Lauren performed soloist roles in performances of The Nutcracker, La Bayadere, and Peterson’s Lombardi Variations. She furthered her training by spending two years training with Leslie Browne in NYC, and spent summers at the Washington Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and Orlando Ballet, on scholarship. She spent two seasons training and dancing with State Street Ballet, in Santa Barbara, CA. Highlights of her time with State Street Ballet include performing in productions of The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, several world premieres of new works, and a two-month tour of China with the company. She enjoys hiking and exploring the outdoors, as well as reading and spending time with her cat, Vanessa. Lauren is very excited to be joining Ballet 5:8 for its 5th Anniversary Season.