2 FilAm dancers topbill BalaSole’s 5th anniversary concert

Alexandra Jacob was a member of the world-renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Alexandra Jacob was a member of the world-renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Roberto Villanueva, the Executive & Artistic Director and founder of BalaSole Dance Company, presents the 5th year anniversary and 16th concert season of BalaSole in “Salmagundi,” a new program of solos in a broad range of dance styles, music choices and artistic voices, on July 17 & 18, 8 p.m., at Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 West 55 Street.

This concert season includes solo performances by Villanueva and another Filipino American, ballerina Alexandra Jacob.

The soloist, Roberto, who was born in the Philippines, trained at The Ailey School, SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance and University at Buffalo where he received his BA in Dance Performance. Acclaimed nationally and internationally for his abilities as a dance artist, Roberto has been hailed by The New York Times “for the deftness and technical control of his dancing.”

He has been described as a “small powerhouse” by the Village Voice, and “an extraordinarily gifted dancer” by Attitude Magazine. Roberto has performed, judged dance competitions, and taught master classes in U.S., Europe, and Asia. He has been commissioned to teach/choreograph for various institutions including the Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company, University at Buffalo, East Carolina University, Glendale Community College, University of the Philippines, and Ballet Philippines.

He has performed his works at prominent NYC venues including the Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Jerome Robbins Theater, The Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, and Dance Theater Workshop. He received the title of “Mr. Dance of America 1993” from Dance Masters of America, where he also served on the faculty of its Teachers Training School.

Roberto is a recipient of the 2011-2012 Harlem Stage Fund for New Work Award for the creation and development of his one-man show titled “Pieces of Me: An inside look at a dance artist’s journey.” Also, he currently serves as the Arts Education & Outreach Administrator for the world-renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the Director of Dance at the College of Mount Saint Vincent.

Roberto’s involvement in the Filipino American community includes solo performances for events such as The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York 2012 Award ceremony, and at the Philippine Consulate General for the quake victims in Bohol and Cebu.

Roberto Villanueva founded BalaSole as a company for dancers of ‘all genres, styles, artistic expressions, shapes, sizes, ages, and background.’

Roberto Villanueva founded BalaSole as a company for dancers of ‘all genres, styles, artistic expressions, shapes, sizes, ages, and background.’

Guest soloist Alexandra is a former member of the world-renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem. She began her formal Vaganova training at the age of 8 in her native California, and also attended summer programs at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Alonzo King Lines Ballet on scholarships.

While pursuing an architecture degree at the California College of the Arts, she rediscovered her love for ballet and returned to New York to attend the Joffrey Ballet School. She joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) Ensemble in 2005 under the direction of Arthur Mitchell and toured the U.S. and internationally, performing featured roles by Peter Pucci, Donald Byrd, Christopher Huggins, Lowell Smith, and Arthur Mitchell.

She then became a member of the DTH Company, re-formed in 2012, under the direction of Virginia Johnson, performing Ailey’s “The Lark Ascending” which was restaged for pointe by Elizabeth Roxas, and the lead Pas de Deux in George Balanchine’s “Agon.”

After a decade-long professional career with the DTH, Alexandra took a different creative approach to dance, becoming a New York-based freelance artist. She is currently an independent performer, as well as full-time dance model and brand ambassador.

“I created BalaSole because I believed it was time for a multi-ethnic organization that would open its doors to dance artists of all genres, styles, artistic expressions, shapes, sizes, ages, and background,” said Roberto.

BalaSole has been described by Tim Martin of Dance Europe Magazine as a “hybrid creature,” part dance company and part showcase, the only dance company of its kind in the U.S. with a mission to address the gaps in the field of concert dance.

The company’s artists are provided artistic freedom and arena to find and hone their own voices. Diversity and individuality are the keywords of the organization, which has given performance opportunities to over 150 dancer/choreographers since 2010.

For the July concert, BalaSole will also feature solo artists Laura Assante, Briana Butler, Anna Cuffari, Fredrick Davis, Elijah Laurant, Andrea Samonilova, Camille Schmoeker, Xavier Townsend, as well as emerging artists Ezra Goh, Laurel Higa, Gabriella Perez, Morgan Simone, and Sasha Smith. Past BalaSole participants include artists from other famed companies such as the Limón Dance Company, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Parsons Dance, Lucinda Childs Dance, Les Ballets Trocadero De Monte Carlo, Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble, Philadanco, The Isadora Duncan Dance Company, and Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago.

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