BRANDON ALEXANDER, originally from Houston, Texas, received his training with Lori Amare and Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy. He has danced with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Rochester City Ballet, Teater Vanemuine Ballet in Estonia, and Ballet Hagen in Germany. During his career he has danced works by Cayetano Soto, Itzik Galili, Riccardo De Nigris, Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Giorgio Madia, Jamey Leverett, and Silas Stubbs among others. Alexander joined Smuin in 2020.

Meet the Artist

TESSA BARBOUR, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, trained at Alwin School of the Dance before studying abroad in Warrington, England on a scholarship awarded to her at the Cecchetti International Competition. She has danced with New Mexico Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, and San Diego Ballet. Her favorite past performances include Man in Black by James Kudelka and Indigo by Stanton Welch. Since joining Smuin in 2016, Barbour has performed works by Val Caniparoli, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Trey McIntyre, Helen Pickett, and Amy Seiwert.

Meet The Artist

Dominic Barrett is a dancer from Cincinnati, Ohio. His training began early on, learning hip-hop and ballroom. At age 11 he started his classical ballet training at The School for the Creative and Performing Arts and the Cincinnati Ballet Academy. While in school, Dominic attended summer intensive programs at Houston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Cincinnati Ballet. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music for dance on a full scholarship and had the opportunity to perform in China at the Beijing Dance Academy’s 50th Anniversary International Gala in 2014. Since then he has performed professionally with a number of different choreographers, companies, and ballet schools in Cincinnati and around the U.S. He has worked with directors including Mary Beth Cabana at Ballet Tucson as well as Meridith Benson and Mario de la Nuez, former principal dancers with Cincinnati Ballet and directors of De La Dance Company. Dominic has performed a wide variety of classical repertoire, his favorites being Coppélia, La Bayadère, and Don Quixote. In addition, he has performed works by George Balanchine, set by Zapora Kars, and Christopher Wheeldon. He is excited to be in San Francisco for his first season with Smuin!

IAN BUCHANAN hails from Fairfax, California, where he trained with Dance Theatre Seven. He has danced with Houston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Tulsa Ballet, Rochester City Ballet, and Alberta Ballet. Buchanan has performed works by Jiří Kylián, Stanton Welch, Ma Cong, Ben Stevenson, Wen Wei Wang, Aszure Barton, Jean Grand-Maître, Julia Adam, Denise Clarke, and Leiland Charles. Buchanan joined Smuin in 2018.

Meet The Artist

MAGGIE CAREY, of Dayton, Ohio, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance from Butler University, where she performed works by choreographers including George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, and Paul Taylor. Upon graduating, Carey performed as a guest artist with the Dayton Ballet. She spent two years with the Cincinnati Ballet Second Company, performing works by Victoria Morgan, George Balanchine, Ohad Naharin, and working with choreographers such as Garrett Smith, Nicolo Fonte, and Jennifer Archibald. Carey joined Smuin Contemporary Ballet in 2018 and has since performed works by Amy Seiwert, Michael Smuin, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Rex Wheeler, Gina Patterson, and Val Caniparoli.

Meet The Artist

MENGJUN CHEN, a native of Wenzhou, China, trained at the Beijing Dance Academy and Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Beijing Dance Academy, he joined Milwaukee Ballet where he performed major roles in Giselle, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Cinderella, Dracula and La Boheme. Chen also performed contemporary works by Matthew Neenan, Gabrielle Lamb, Ma Cong, Amy Seiwert and Val Caniparoli. In 2014, he was a finalist in the USA International Ballet Competition. Chen joined Smuin in 2015.

Meet The Artist

Gabrielle Collins is from West Hartford, Connecticut and began her pre-professional training at the Hartt School. In 2014, she was a New York City finalist at the Youth America Grand Prix and won the gold medal at the Connecticut Classic for both the senior female and pas de deux categories. From 2014-2017, she danced with Atlanta Ballet II and performed leading roles including Marya in John McFall’s The Nutcracker. Additionally, she had the opportunity to be a guest dancer for The Atlanta Opera’s Romeo and Juliet. Gabrielle is an alumnus of the Ballet Program at Jacob’s Pillow where she was featured in Yury Yanowsky’s World Premiere at the opening gala in 2016. She joined Tulsa Ballet II in 2017 where she appeared in a soloist role in Helen Pickett’s Meðal and in the North American Premiere of Derek Deane’s Strictly Gershwin, among many others. She also performed in works by renowned choreographers such as Ma Cong, Jennifer Archibald and Penny Saunders during her time in Tulsa. In February 2020, Gabrielle performed the title role in Septime Webre’s Carmen with Dayton Ballet. In 2020, Gabrielle joined Cincinnati Ballet under the direction of Victoria Morgan. In Cincinnati, she has performed works including William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Helen Pickett’s Petal, Stephanie Martinez’ Kiss, Alejandro Cerrudo’s Extremely Close, David Morse’s Our Story, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Written and Forgotten, Twyla Tharp’s Nine Sinatra Songs, Jennifer Archibald’s SIT, “Spring” and “Autumn” in Victoria Morgan’s Cinderella, Act III Pas de deux from Don Quixote, and Cathy Marston’s Moving, Still, among many others. Gabrielle is thrilled to continue her career with Smuin Ballet.

RICARDO DYER is a native of Panama based out of New York City. He received his early training at The Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia. He graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University, where he performed extensively with Butler Ballet including works by Gerald Arpino, George Balanchine and Paul Taylor. Post graduation, Dyer has danced with Charlottesville Ballet, Ballet Memphis, L.A. Dance Project and LA Opera. During his career he has performed works by Trey McIntyre, Matthew Neenan, Julia Adam, Benjamin Millipied, Val Caniparoli, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and many others. Dyer joined Smuin in 2019.

CASSIDY ISAACSON, originally from Redmond, Washington, trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet before joining Grand Rapids Ballet Company at age 16. Some favorite works performed during her eight years at Grand Rapids Ballet include Trey McIntyre’s Wild Sweet Love, Alejandro Cerrudo’s Extremely Close, Penny Saunders’ In Frame and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Written and Forgotten. Isaacson joined Smuin in 2019.

Meet The Artist

TESS LANE trained at South Bay Ballet in Torrance, CA, performing Robert Kelly’s Summertime at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MI. While apprenticing with Sacramento Ballet, she performed works by George Balanchine, Ron Cunningham, and Lila York. Lane joined California Ballet Company in 2013 and was featured in Swan Lake, Giselle, Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Septime Webre’s Peter Pan, The Great Gatsby, and Fluctuating Hemlines. She also danced in the National Choreographers’ Initiative in 2017 and 2018. Lane joined Smuin in 2018.

Meet The Artist

MARC LAPIERRE began his early training at Ballet Etudes in Norwalk CT under the direction of Nanette Vallas. While at Ballet Etudes he trained closely with Christina Fagundes. He then attended Ballet Academy East in New York City under the direction of Darla Hoover and at age 16, Marc furthered his training at The School of American Ballet. He then went on to dance with Los Angeles Ballet, where he had the pleasure of dancing works by August Bournonville, George Balanchine, Aszure Barton and Alejandro Cerrudo. Two years later he joined Oregon Ballet Theatre as an apprentice and was promoted to the Company corps de ballet in his second season. During his time with OBT, he danced works by Alvin Ailey, Ben Stevenson, Nicolo Fonte, Christopher Stowell, and Trey MyIntyre. LaPierre joined Smuin in 2021.

TEREZ DEAN ORR, originally from Hudson Valley, New York, received her training at the prestigious School of American Ballet, the official school of the New York City Ballet. In 2005, she joined the State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara, dancing a wide range of contemporary and classical works. Dean Orr joined Smuin in 2008 and has been featured in works by Jiří Kylián, Trey McIntyre, Val Caniparoli, Helen Pickett, Amy Seiwert, Ma Cong, Adam Hougland, and Michael Smuin. While dancing full time, she received her BA through the Saint Mary’s College LEAP program.

Meet The Artist

Jace Pauly was born in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains where he began his dance training with Melissa Miller-Port. She taught him technique and discipline, but most importantly she taught him to love dancing. At 17, Jace moved across the country to Walnut Hill School for the Arts where he  trained under Michael Owen, Denise Lewis and Russell Clarke, graduating with honors in 2015.

Jace was next invited to join Atlanta Ballet II under the direction of John McFall where he danced numerous roles and learned  from world renowned choreographers. Jace was then asked to join Oklahoma City Ballet by Robert Mills where he danced leading roles such as Jonathan Harker in Michael Pink’s Dracula and Benvolio in Mills’ Romeo and Juliet. Most recently dancing for Cincinnati Ballet, Jace performed the Act III Pas de Deux from Don Quixote, Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16, and Nine Sinatra Songs by Twyla Tharp amongst other exemplary works by choreographers Val Caniparoli and Garrett Smith. 

Jace loves performing for audiences all over the world along with the mental and physical challenges that ballet brings everyday. His parents, Katie and Doug, and his sisters, Skye and Chelan, are his biggest supporters, inspiring him in the studio and beyond. Jace’s other passions in life include music, cooking, and the outdoors. He always enjoys exploring eclectic areas, trying new foods, and will often be found reading in a hammock on sunny afternoons.



Originally from Denver, CO, Shania Rasmussen received her dance training at Colorado Ballet Academy and the School of American Ballet. She began her professional career with Sacramento Ballet in 2014. During her 9 years with the company, she performed principal and soloist roles in classical ballets as well as works by George Balanchine, and was featured by contemporary choreographers including Jermaine Spivey, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Penny Saunders, Val Caniparoli, Jennifer Archibald, and Caili Quan, among others. She has additionally been a dancer with Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, with whom she has toured to The Joyce Theater and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. In addition to performing, Shania enjoys choreographing and has presented several works for Sacramento Ballet’s choreographic showcase, as well as creating unique works for stage and film for Capital Dance Project. Outside of the dance world, she is passionate about a variety of creative pursuits, including theater acting, writing, and composing music.

YURI ROGERS began his training with the Academy of Ballet San Francisco under the direction of Richard Gibson and Zory Karah. He then had the opportunity to continue his training and perform with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, the Grand Rapids Ballet, and BalletMet in Columbus, Ohio. Rogers has performed works by Lar Lubovitch, Leiland Charles, and Edwaard Liang. Rogers joined Smuin in 2021.

JOÃO SAMPAIO trained in classical ballet in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil under Ana Palmieri and Romulo Ramos. He has won national and international dance competitions, including the Youth America Grand Prix and the World Ballet Competition. Sampaio joined Tulsa Ballet in 2014, where he performed featured roles in Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, Wayne McGregor’s Infra, Nacho Duato’s Remanso, Kurt Jooss’ The Green Table, Yuri Possokhov’s Classical Symphony, and Edwaard Liang’s Romeo and Juliet and Age of Innocence. In 2018, he joined Festival Ballet Providence, performing lead roles in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. Sampaio joined Smuin in 2019.

Portrait by Maggie Carey

Photos by Chris Hardy

Brennan Wall, originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, studied at Los Angeles Ballet Academy. She danced with Silicon Valley Ballet (previously Ballet San Jose) as a trainee before joining The New Ballet’s Studio Company. In 2017, Wall joined Ballet de Monterrey under director José Manuel Carreño. She performed in Luis Serrano’s La Bayadere, Swan Lake, and Don Quijote, and danced soloist roles in The Nutcracker, Alberto Méndez’s Phantom of the Opera, and Diego Landin’s Shorthand of Emotion. Wall joined Smuin in 2019.

Meet The Artist