Busy Summer for Diamond Dance Company

By Terry Rogers

Diamond Dance Company dancers have not been resting this summer as dancers have been participating in summer intensives throughout Delaware and surrounding states. In addition, dancers have been rehearsing for the Youth America Grand Prix scheduled for January 2017 while also preparing to be guest performers at the Priscilla Payson Third Anniversary Benefit as scholarship recipients. In August, dancers will begin auditioning for upcoming performances as part of the Diamond Dance Company’s 18th season.

Jillian Kerr and Ariana Knowles recently attended First State Ballet Theater’s three-week long summer ballet intensive in Wilmington, receiving instruction from guest artists that included Vineland Regional Dance Company’s Kelly Millar. The dancers were also instructed by Kristina and Pasha Kambalov, Executive Directors of First State Ballet Theater, Autumn Schneider, master instructor in Musical Theater, Jake Nowicki, Rie Aoki and Aubrey Clemens, principal dancers with the ballet theater.

Cullen Kisner, Ellie Hardee and Juliana Warnock attended the Delaware Dance Company summer intensive in Newark where they were instructed in ballet by First State Ballet Theater’s Jaime Meyers and contemporary by Liz Fink. The dancers performed at Mitchell Hall at the University of Delaware upon conclusion of the intensive.

Dancers have not limited their dancing to ballet, however. Thomas Vasquez attended a new competitive hip hop team clinic in Charlestown, South Carolina. The “Peace, Love and Hip Hop clinic focused on new choreography, technique and lessons in stage presence.

Guest teachers have visited both Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy (TADA) in Milford as well as En Pointe Studio in Camden over the summer months. Dancers were able to perfect their skills with instruction from well-known dancers, including Elena Manakhova-Amy, a Russian-born dancer who is the Director of Eastern Shore Ballet Theater. Tori Brown O’Brien, a former DDC artist, also returned to provide guest instruction. Kristina and Pasha Kambalov along with admired choreographer, Kelly Millar, also provided guest instruction. Kristen Lanouette Hughes a Musical Theater Guest Teacher provided instruction to students at the local studios as did New York City’s Dance Alliance member, Gabby Wright, who provided hip hop instruction.



TADA students auditioned to participate in the Youth America Grand Prix and nine dancers were selected to attend in the ballet variations category while eight dancers were selected to participate in the contemporary category. The chosen dancers will rehearse from now until January 2017 when they will compete for awards and scholarships in Philadelphia.

Several dancers who received scholarships this past spring were invited to be guest performing artists at the Priscilla Payson Foundation Scholarship Benefit “Glitz and Glamor,” held on August 12 at the Christiana Grand Hilton in Wilmington. Jillian Kerr, Ariana Knowles, Juliana Warnock, Aidan Robbins, and Lizzie Howell all performed solos pieces.

Auditions for the 18th Season of Diamond Dance Company will be held on August 17 at TADA Studios. Diamond Dance Company will once again present The Nutcracker at Milford High School on December 3 and 4, 2016. A brand new production, The Tale of Beauty and the Beast,” will be held at Milford High School in April 2107. Auditions are open to dancers throughout the state and information can be found at or on the Diamond Dance Company Facebook page.

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