Ballet East Dance Company

Celebrating 40 years of "bringing arts to the community and the community to the arts".

ANGELA BENZ Angela Benz started dancing in Bakersfield, CA where she had the opportunity to perform in annual productions of The Nutcracker and competing around California. After high school Mrs. Benz received her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance from Eastern University in Philadelphia. During her time at Eastern, she studied abroad at Wesley Institute of Performing Arts in Sydney, Australia and performed with professional companies MM2 and Philadanco II, where she was under the instruction of the iconic Pat Thomas, Donald Lunsford, Milton Meyers, and Joan Meyers Brown. After college Mrs. Benz moved to Orlando, FL to be a character Performer at Walt Disney World. She then moved to Austin, TX where she has performed with local companies such as Afrique Gninze (3 years), Ballet East (2 years), and Chaddick Dance Theater (7 years). Mrs. Benz’ passion for dance has also taken her around the world, where she has trained and performed on 4 continents. Mrs. Benz is currently a wife, two time boy mom, VP of People at an Austin tech company, Leadership Coach, and is thrilled to be dancing with Ballet East this season!
TAYLOR DOMINIQUE CONALER Taylor Dominique is a 25 year old Movement Artist currently located in Austin, Texas. Guided by mentor "Stevo" Mcmarion during her teenage years, she flourished, winning numerous dance competition awards and showcasing her creativity in dance. After graduating high school, Taylor went on to choreograph for her former dance team and other teams in the Saginaw/Fort Worth Area. She then attended Texas State University, obtaining her BFA  in Dance Performance and Choreography. At TXST, Taylor was a founding member of the art collective showcase Queer Dance Freakout (operated by Dawn Miller in Chicago). She then moved to Austin  and has had the privilege of gracing the stages of various local movement groups here, including Ballet East, Early Era Dance Collective, Dance Waterloo, BlipSwitch, and more. Taylor eagerly anticipates continuing her artistic journey alongside Austin's vibrant community of artists.
MAYA OCHOA Maya started dancing at the age of eleven in San Antonio, TX, flourishing at Cynergy Dance Company with training in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Modern, and Tap. During this time, Maya danced competitively in regional and national competitions. She also completed Cecchetti Ballet examinations. In high school she was a three year member of the varsity dance team and served as captain her senior year. While attending Texas Tech University Maya was a member of Vitality Dance Company and Dancers with Soul Hip Hop group performing at annual showcases, and sporting and city events. She later graduated from The University of Texas at Austin where she completed her Bachelors of Science in Human Biology. Maya is thrilled to continue dancing with Ballet East; This is her second season with the company.
CANDIS NICHOLE HARRIS CANDIS NICHOLE HARRIS is a dancer and choreographer with a background in street jazz and various Latin dances. She began studying dance at the age of 14 and continued her formal training at New Mexico State University under the direction of Debra Knapp. She moved to Albuquerque in 2015, where she began her extensive training in Salsa and Bachata, performing with Enigma Dance Project and Mambo Magic. As a creative, movement is her connection back to her truest self and she is honored to share this space with all of you.
Brooke Hoepfl
Brooke Hoepfl Brooke grew up in the Houston area and received her dance training from City Ballet of Houston. She has danced professionally with Houston Contemporary Dance Company, Corpus Christi Ballet, and Sea Legs Dance. Brook is very excited for her first season with Ballet East Dance Company.
Mary K. Ochoa
Mary K. Ochoa Mary Katherine Ochoa began dancing at the age of four and has trained in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and modern dance. In her hometown, she continued to study and teach dance through grade school and into college. After moving to Austin, Mary Katherine trained with ACC's dance department as well as at Texas State University, whose program emphasizes Erick Hawkins modern technique. In 2008, she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Dance. Mrs. Ochoa danced formerly with Ballet East Dance Company between 2012 and 2015. During this time she had the pleasure of mentoring and creating choreography for Ballet East's Junior Company, BEII. When Mrs. Ochoa welcomed her third child in 2016 she took a four year hiatus before rejoining the company prior to COVID lockdown in 2019 and 2020. The beginning of 2024 has swept her back home to her dance family and she is thrilled for the opportunity to once again perform with Ballet East.
LUIS ORDAZ GUTIERREZ LUIS ORDAZ GUTIERREZ A native of Mexico City, Luis moved to Austin at a very young age and flourished artistically under the tutorship of his mother; a trained dancer from the prestigious Bellas Artes in Mexico. Luis trained in a variety of artistic disciplines throughout his childhood leading to a concentration in visual arts and music. Years later at the age of 16, due to his talent and dedication, Luis landed his first professional role as co-founder and scenic director of ProyectoTeatro, Austin's leading Spanish-language theater company. Continuing to excel at a rapid rate, he moved up department by department until finally taking helm of ProyectoTeatro in 2007 as Artistic and Executive director; being 21 years of age. Luis has directed over 30 productions, and has had the opportunity to travel to New York City, Mexico, Panama, and Thailand. In 2011 he received the MACC Emerging talent award. His multi-faceted interest in the arts led him to partner with Ballet East in the 2012 summer production of “Hear Me, See Me”, which sparked him to hone his artistry in dance again. Since reigniting his passion for dance, Luis has worked with Ballet East Dance Company, Chamacos Dance Company, and Lotus Contemporary Performing Arts, as a dancer and actor.
ANA ESTRADA ANA ESTRADA was born and raised in Veracruz, México. She started her professional training at Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, where her concentration was in modern dance. Upon graduation she joined Teoria del Vuelo Dance Company. Ana had the opportunity to teach a variety of classes in both Ballet Internacional Studio and Academia de Danza Valle. Years later, she moved to Austin Texas to pursue her dreams. This is Ana’s first season with Ballet East and is thrilled to be part of our dance family.

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