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.
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.
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.