GET TO KNOW US
Jacob Bononcini is a native of San Antonio TX and started taking dance classes in high school under the direction of Jacqueline Aguirre. After high school he was invited to join the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet performing in various ballets and Regional Dance America Conferences. He then went to dance with Alamo Arts Ballet Theatre under Julie Simpson and also studied at Ballet Austin Summer Intensive. Jacob was then invited to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School on full scholarship for the Graduate Program. While at PBT school he danced in Etudes, Giselle Peasant dance, and works by Alan Obuzor. He also had the opportunity to learn ballers from choreographers such as George Balanchine, Dwight Roden, and Kristofer Stormy. Jacob also performed with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in Terrence Orr's productions of The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. Jacob has been a Guest Artist with the New Castle Regional Ballet and also has taught extensively in the Pittsburgh area. Jacob currently works in Human Resources for Drexel University and is excited to be a part of the inaugural season for Burgundy Blue Dance Company.
Isabella Yannoni is an emerging dance artist based in Philadelphia PA. She has studied Horton, Trisha Brown, Contact Improvisation, Ballet, and Jazz at pre professional and collegiate levels. Isabella graduated from Bard College in 2018 with a Bachelors of Art in Dance, and a concentration in Gender and Sexuality Studies. She has performed repertory including Trisha Brown’s Newark and Set and Reset: Reset, and has had the pleasure of collaborating on student and faculty pieces. In her own work Isabella is interested in exploring communication through movement, and the place of individuality within the group. Isabella joined Burgundy Blue Dance Company in 2018.
As a Philadelphia native, Ashlyn discovered her passion for dance and creative arts at an early age as a student at the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts. After fundamental years of ballet and modern jazz training, she explored other forms of movement, including cheerleading and contemporary dance, and served as a cheerleading coach in her community for a number of years. Ashlyn received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Accounting from the University of Richmond. A cherished highlight of her college career was studying West African dance as a member of Ngoma African Dance Company, under the artistic direction of Babadunjo Olagunke. Her business and creative minds synergized as she served as Treasurer, Dance Captain and President of the company throughout various points of her membership. Upon her return to Philadelphia, she found a creative home in femme. collective, and has performed in a number of showcases with the group, including “In the Shadows” and the RAW artists showcase series. Ashlyn is excited to be an inaugural member of Burgundy Blue Dance and is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with fellow company members.
Alyssia Whalen started dancing soon after she learned how to walk. From her early years until graduation from high school, she trained at the Lancaster School of Ballet, now known as the Viktor Yeliohin International Ballet Academy. Her interest in anatomy, kinesiology, and rehabilitation sciences brought her to Drexel University to pursue her Doctorate in Physical Therapy, during which she participated in the Drexel Dance Ensemble as a scholarship winner. After receiving her DPT in 2016, she discovered another local avenue for dance through femme. collective, in which she met choreographer and founder of Burgundy Blue Dance Company, Sevon Wright. Alyssia enjoyed performing Sevon's creative choreography in previous projects and was thrilled when asked to be a part of her company! Alyssia has enjoyed her time with BBDC and looks forward to more dance opportunities ahead.
Cailin Sweeney is a Philadelphia based freelance dance artist. She received her B.A. in Dance from DeSales University in May 2017. During her undergraduate career, she performed in works by Janet Peck, Jonathan Campbell and Austin Diaz of MADBOOTS Dance Company, and Angela Sigley Grossman. Professionally, she has performed across Philadelphia and New York City in pieces by Gregory Dolbashian, Kat Nasti, and Asya Zlatina. Cailin’s own choreography was selected to be presented at the American College Dance Association East-Central Conference in Kent, Ohio in 2017. She has also shown her work at The Arts Quest Center, Lehigh Valley’s SpringUP! Dance Festival, and Labyrinth Dance Company’s Winter Showcase. Currently, Cailin trains under Roni Koresh and his company dancers at the Koresh School of Dance in Philadelphia, where she is an Arts Administrative Intern. Most recently, she has performed in Asya Zlatina’s work “Sustenance: My Journey Through Dance” in 2019.
Alexandra Roberts graduated from Eastern University with a Bachelors of Arts degree in dance as well as psychology. During that time she studied under Janine Bryant and Stephen Welsh as well as attended the Martha Graham School’s summer program in New York City. Upon graduating, Alexandra joined Melange Contemporary Dance Company as a company member whom she had the opportunity to perform many times with. Alongside Melange she joined Femme Collective - an accumulation of femme minded artists who collaborate with various artists to put on events and present works around the Philadelphia area. Currently, Alexandra is a full time social worker for Pathways to Housing, an apprentice with Dance Fusion under Gwendolyn Bye, modern dance teacher at 954 Dance Movement Collective, and backstage director for Turn It Up Dance Challenge. She is incredibly excited to be dancing with Burgundy Blue Dance Company under Sevon Wright for their first season.
Jileesa Alston is a dancer, teacher and choreographer in Philadelphia and it's surrounding suburbs. From as early as Jileesa could remember she used dance as a way to heal and express herself. She began dancing around the age of 7 at Bodies in Motion located in Southwest Philadelphia; where her first love was ballet. She continued her studies through high school at Progressive Center for Dance, which is now Carol's Center for Dance home of Grace Dance Theater located in West Philadelphia. While at CCD she trained in ballet, pointe, jazz and modern under Carol Cubbage Davis, Nicole Tucker, and Barbra Pope to name a few. After high school she had about a two year hiatus from dance to focus on her studies as a biology major at Widener University. In the process of adapting to adult life she quickly realized all she wanted to do was dance, so she did! The following year Jileesa returned to CCD and took several weekly classes around the city to recondition herself. She also began teaching ballet and jazz for Onstage Productions an after school theater program and worked with her church as a choreographer/dancer for their liturgical/praise dance team. In 2015 She auditioned for and trained with Philadanco's apprentice company (D/2) during their summer and fall intensives (2015-2016). Under the direction of Kim Bears- Bailey, Jileesa was given a chance to perform Bailey's work "Puzzle Pieces " at their annual Danco on Danco choreopgraphic showcase. From this sparked her love for modern dance and her drive to make dance a full time job. She went on meet Lakiesha Mackey Dean creator of LMD Dance, while they were both volunteering at the Philadelphia's annual Dance USA Conference in 2016. They instantly became friends and later Jileesa became a memeber of LMD Dance, dancing in her works "Anamesis" and "Have Mercy". Flash forward and Jileesa met Sevon Wright, founder of Burgundy Blue Dance Company actually before its official formation. They met while dancing together with Chocolate Ballerina Dance Company spring 2018. After their performace " A Fight to Success" they both wanted more opportunities to dance, so it was a "no brainer" when she was invited to dance for the company. Jileesa is elated to be a part of this journey with Burgundy Blue Dance Company!
Originally from Wilmington, Delaware, Meli’sa Grier, MA, R-DMT is a 2017 graduate of Drexel University’s Creative Arts Therapies Department. Meli’sa continued to explore her passion for movement offstage by pursuing a career in Dance/Movement Therapy. She received her Master of Arts with a concentration in Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling. She has begun her career as a Dance/Movement Therapist/Mental Health Counselor and is currently employed within a top facility which provides therapeutic resources and activities for children with autism. Meli'sa has also worked in a Drug and Rehabilitation Facility in Pennsylvania through Resources for Human Development. Meli’sa joins Burgundy Blue for her premier season. Ms. Grier received her BFA in Dance Performance from Towson University class of 2015. Ms. Grier is currently an artist collaborating with companies such as Alchemy Dance Company, Femme Collective and WeftWorks around the Philadelphia area. Meli’sa was previously a principal dancer, and dance captain of Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble, a Philadelphia-based, multicultural, contemporary modern dance company for two seasons. She was previously a company member of Deep Vision Dance Company based in Baltimore, Maryland, a non-profit organization dedicated to producing high quality choreographic work in the Baltimore/DC area. Meli'sa is a Cab Calloway School of the Arts dance major alum under the direction of Alyson Cohen-Sherlock. She is a recipient of Towson University’s Deans List and Cab Calloway’s Most Talented & Gifted award in 2010. Meli’sa is a member of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA) and The National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS). Meli’sa has undergone Professional Training through Professors of Dance Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, Vincent Thomas, Runqiao Du, Nicole Martinell, and Catherine Horta-Hayden and two summers with Mid-Atlantic Ballet studio in Newark, Delaware along with one summer at the Christopher K. Morgan intensive in Bethesda, Maryland. In 2012, she performed in Columbus, Ohio at the Lincoln Theatre as part of Columbus Dance Theatre’s multimedia extravaganza production of Cleopatra directed and choreographed by Tim Veach. Aside from choreography and performance, she also enjoys playing and watching music, writing poetry, and reading. Meli’sa is looking forward to her first season with Burgundy Blue Dance Company.
Melinda‘s passion for dance began in a jazz dance class at the age of seven, but when she was ten she focused all of her attention on classical ballet. Her classical ballet training began at Ballet Bellevue in Bellevue, WA, but she spent the following six years honing her skills at a host of ballet schools including Duvall Performing Arts and Evergreen City Ballet. She also did some professional work with Ballet Bellevue Dance Company and DASS Dance, and attended Northwest Dance Intensive with Philip Beamish, as well as taking classes with Donald Byrd, Patricia Barker and other household names before getting a very exciting opportunity to dance privately with Deborah Hadley for two years. Here she performed soloist and principal roles such as Big Swans from Swan Lake, the Coppelia Wedding Pas De Deux, the Lilac Fairy Variation from Sleeping Beauty, as well as doing a significant amount of work in modern dance under Eva Stone. Her dance career brought her to the east coast when she was invited to join the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Graduate Program on scholarship before health problems forced a five year hiatus. She was very excited to rejoin the dance community and debut in the Philadelphia dance community with Burgundy Blue Dance Company, joining at its inception in 2018.
Mehgan Abdel-Moneim is a Philadelphia-based artist who earned her liberal arts degree from Bard College where she studied Dance and Political Science. She trained in ABT and Russian ballet styles with Southold Dance Theatre and the Colorado Ballet Academy, and studied jazz and modern at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance school. In college, Mehgan had the pleasure and honor of working with members of the Trisha Brown Dance Company and restaging some of Brown’s work under the direction of Tara Lorenzen. As a dance artist, Mehgan aims to listen, to entertain, to problem solve, to check privilege, and to explore her identity and her relationships to others- all of which are practices she strives to employ in the classroom, in rehearsal, in research and beyond.