Program: BalletX

Saturday, February 04, 2023
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre   

Artistic & Executive Director
Christine Cox 

Associate Artistic Director
Tara Keating 

The Company
Eli Alford, Shawn Cusseaux, Francesca Forcella, Savannah Green, Jared Kelly, Annika Kuo, Skyler Lubin, Jonathan Montepara, Jerard Palazo, Ben Schwarz, Ashley Simpson, Andrea Yorita 

Production & Stage Manager
Jason Pizzi 

Production Coordinator
Kereni Sanchez 

Lighting Supervisor
Alyssandra Docherty 

Associate Director of Operations
Megan O’Donnell 

Development Manager
James Ihde 

Development & Box Office Associate
Emily Bernard 

Marketing Manager
Rachel Core 

Digital Marketing Associate
Li Tian Trick 

Administrative Coordinator
Jean Hodges 

Dance Fellows
Kara Covaleski, Isabella Nova, Demetrious Reed


Become a Mountain

Choreographer: Justin Peck
Composer: Dan Deacon
Lighting Designer: Nicole Pearce
Costume Designer: Benjamin Burton
Dancers: Eli Alford, Shawn Cusseaux, Francesca Forcella, Savannah Green, Jared Kelly, Annika Kuo, Skyler Lubin, Jonathan Montepara, Jerard Palazo, Ben Schwarz, Ashley Simpson, Andrea Yorita 

Become a Mountain premiered in the Peter Jay Sharp Theater at The Juilliard School on December 8, 2021, commissioned by Juilliard Dance for New Dances 2021. 



Choreographer: Matthew Neenan
Music:  String Quartet, Op 76, No 1, 2nd movement, Adagio Sostenuto, by Joseph Haydn; Credo by Kevin Puts
Lighting Designer: Mark Stanley
Costume Designer: Reid & Harriet
Dancers: Eli Alford, Shawn Cusseaux, Francesca Forcella, Savannah Green, Jared Kelly, Skyler Lubin, Jonathan Montepara, Ben Schwarz, Ashley Simpson, Andrea Yorita

Credo premiered on BalletX on August 8, 2016, at the Vail Dance Festival, Vail, Colorado

Choreographer's Note: CRE·do (noun): a statement of the beliefs or aims that guide someone's actions



Choreographer: Jennifer Archibald
Music: Meditation music: “Sati” by Salim-Sulaiman & Vijay Prakash Feat. Taufique Qureshi (Coke Studio @ MTV Season 3); “Muyè” (Black Coffee And Nduduzo Makhathini Journey Mix);
“Maarifa” by Jonathan Kaspar (Original Mix); “UThando” by Black Coffee; “Traveller” by DeMajor Feat. Lizwi (Kususa & QueTornik Official Remix); “The Republic (Visualizer)” by Prince Kaybee Feat. Afro Brotherz
Sound Engineer: Foremost Poets
Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker
Costume Designer: Olivia Mason
Dancers: Shawn Cusseaux, Francesca Forcella, Savannah Green, Jared Kelly, Skyler Lubin, Jonathan Montepara, Jerard Palazo, Ben Schwarz, Ashley Simpson, Andrea Yorita 

Exalt premiered on BalletX on May 18, 2022, at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Choreographer’s Note: “Music can heal the wounds that medicine cannot touch.”—Debasish Mridah


BalletX, Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet, whose dancers were named “among America’s best” by the New York Times and hailed as “technically brilliant... with vibrant personalities” by the Boston Globe, commissions choreographers from around the world to create dance that is “fresh, inclusive, and connects to what people want” (Philadelphia Citizen). Founded in 2005 by Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan, BalletX is led by Cox, whose tenure as Artistic & Executive Director has produced over 100 world premiere ballets by 60 choreographers, a record “few companies can match” (New York Times). Under Cox’s leadership, BalletX has been hailed as a “place of choreographic innovation” (New Yorker) and an “epicenter of creation” (Dance Magazine). The company has toured to Vail Dance Festival, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, New York City Center, The Kennedy Center, and The Joyce Theater, among many others, sharing the joy and passion of dance with audiences across the nation. To learn more about BalletX’s programming and dancers, visit and follow the company on social media.

Christine Cox (Artistic & Executive Director) Christine Cox cofounded BalletX with Matthew Neenan in 2005. Under her leadership as Artistic & Executive Director, the company has performed at prestigious national stages including The Kennedy Center, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Vail International Dance Festival, and The Joyce Theater. Throughout her tenure, Cox has committed BalletX to expanding dance’s vocabulary for all audiences, promoting initiatives that make contemporary ballet accessible and welcoming to new audience members. As an arts leader, she has served on review panels for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Philadelphia Arts & Business Council and Forum of Executive Women. Cox was a full-time company member with the Pennsylvania Ballet from 1993 until her retirement from the stage in 2006. Prior to joining the Pennsylvania Ballet, she danced with BalletMet (Columbus, Ohio), as a guest artist with Ballet Hispanico (New York, New York), and with the American Repertory Ballet (Princeton, New Jersey).

Tara Keating (Associate Artistic Director) Tara Keating attended The Juilliard School, where she received a BFA in dance under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy. While there, she was awarded the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship and the Most Outstanding Dance Major award from the National Dance Association. She has danced professionally with American Repertory Ballet, with Tharp!, and as a soloist with the Pennsylvania Ballet. Throughout her career she has originated roles in world premieres by renowned choreographers. In 2005, she became a founding member of BalletX and danced in nearly every performance until her retirement in 2012. Keating was the Producing Director in 2006 and 2007 for Shut Up and Dance, an annual benefit for MANNA. She was also the recipient of a 2002 City Paper Choice Award. Keating served as BalletX’s Artistic Coordinator and Ballet Mistress from 2011 to 2013 and was named Associate Artistic Director in February 2014.

Eli Alford (Dancer) received his BFA in dance from the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance under the direction of Jodie Gates and William Forsythe, where he learned and performed the works of Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, Justin Peck, Merce Cunningham, and Dwight Rohden, to name a few. Alford joined BalletX in 2022.

Shawn Cusseaux (Dancer) received his BFA from the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University, where he performed works by Garfield Lemonious, Jae Man Joo, Kiesha Lalama, Jennifer Archibald, José Limón, Jason McDole, Amy Hall Garner, Robert Priorie, Edwaard Liang, and Camille A. Brown. Cusseaux joined BalletX in 2021.

Francesca Forcella (Dancer) danced with the Washington Ballet Studio Company, Los Angeles American Contemporary Ballet, and Houston Ballet II, where she toured internationally, representing Houston Ballet at the International Youth Dance Festival in Budapest, Hungary. Forcella joined BalletX in 2013.

Savannah Green (Dancer) studied at Manhattan Youth Ballet and LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. She graduated with a BFA from University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2017, where she performed works by Josê Limón, Andrea Miller, and Anna Halprin, among others. Green joined BalletX in 2020.

Annika Kuo (Dancer) studied at American Repertory Ballet and graduated with a BFA from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where she performed works by distinguished choreographers including Daniel Pelzig, Ruka Hatua-Saar White, and William Isaac, among others. Kuo joined BalletX in 2022.

Jared Kelly (Dancer) trained at Washington School of Ballet, Baltimore School for the Arts, and Indiana University Ballet Theatre, where he graduated with a BS in ballet. Jared has performed works by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, and Paul Taylor, among others. Kelly joined BalletX in 2022.

Skyler Lubin (Dancer) danced as a member of the corps de ballet with Miami City Ballet from 2010 to 2014. She has performed featured roles including Flower Festival pas de deux, Swan Lake pas de trois, and Jerome Robbins’s Afternoon of a Faun and has premiered pieces by Alexei Ratmansky and Liam Scarlett. Lubin joined BalletX in 2015.

Jonathan Montepara (Dancer) studied at Rome Ballet and danced for the Rome Ballet Junior Company and American Repertory Ballet, where he performed works including Coppélia, The Nutcracker, Mary Barton’s Troisvoix, Kirk Peterson’s Beauty and the Beast, and Trey McIntyre’s Blue Until June. Montepara joined BalletX in 2022.

Jerard Palazo (Dancer) trained at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School Professional Division, Toronto Dance Theatre, and Alvin Ailey School. He has worked with Nai Ni Chen Dance Company, Peridance Company, and Lavagnino Dance and made his debut as a choreographer at iHeartDanceNYC in June 2021 with New Beginnings. Palazo joined BalletX in 2022.

Ben Schwarz (Dancer) trained at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and School of American Ballet. He has originated roles in works by Alysa Spires, Norbert Del LaCruz III, Silas Farley, and Preston Chamblee and performed in Balanchine classics such as Western Symphony and Bourée Fantasque. Schwarz joined BalletX in 2022.

Ashley Simpson (Dancer) trained at A. W. Dreyfoos High School of the Arts and School of Ballet Arts, before graduating with a BFA in dance from Ailey/Fordham, where she performed works by Dwight Rhoden, Alvin Ailey, Bradley Shelver, Nijawwon Matthews, Janice Rosario, Troy Powell, and Hope Boykin. Simpson joined BalletX in 2020.

Andrea Yorita (Dancer) graduated with a BFA in dance performance from the University of California, Irvine, as a Gillespie Scholar in 2012. She has received Royal Academy of Dance’s Solo Seal Award and has competed as a finalist in the Genée International Ballet Competition and for the Clive Barnes Award. Yorita joined BalletX in 2012. 


Margaret Selby
President, Selby/Artists Management

212-382-3260 | [email protected] 

1923 Washington Avenue 
Philadelphia, PA 19146
215-225-5389 |
Instagram:  @balletx
Facebook:  @balletx.official
Twitter:  @balletx
Tik Tok: @balletxphilly  

Production Credits
Joseph Levendusky, Production Manager

Daniel Clawson, Master Electrician
Becky Marsh, Asst. Electrician/Programmer
Andrew Andrews, Asst. Electrician
Rob Eckel, Electrician
Hannah Jope, Electrician
Gabe Karr, Electrician
Basil Koubi, Electrician
Shelby Marsh, Electrician
Phillip Smith, Electrician
Jonah Yannis, Electrician
Brian McCoy Audio Engineer
Jill Costello, Wardrobe
Taylor Hansen, Master Carpenter
Greg Hanawalt, Carpenter
Martha Keslar, Carpenter
Emma McGrory, Carpenter
Jack Riter, Carpenter
Wesley Scanlon, Carpenter 

About Global Arts Live

Our mission
Global Arts Live Staff & Board
Please support our nonprofit mission. Your gift will help us bring more performances like this to greater Boston, as ticket sales only cover a fraction of our costs.
Get updates. Join us on FacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter.

You Might Also Like

Gibney Company
Dorrance Dance