The Nutcracker 2021 Guest Artists
Kathryn Morgan trained at Mobile Ballet beginning at age three, becoming a member of the Mobile Ballet Company at age eleven. At fifteen, she enrolled for full time study at the School of American Ballet in New York City. Kathryn began her professional career in 2006 as an apprentice with New York City Ballet, and was promoted to soloist in 2009. She left the company in 2012 while battling an auto-immune illness, and made an awe-inspiring return to the stage seven years later as a soloist with Miami City Ballet. She danced with MCB for a year before making a decision to step away from company life in 2020 to pursue dancing on her own terms.
Kathryn Morgan is a modern-day ballerina, blazing a career path for herself outside of the confines of company life. In addition to being a popular performer, teacher, judge, and influencer, Kathryn is the founder of Kathryn Morgan & Friends, a community focused on the joy that ballet can bring to dancers when they are valued for who they are above their level of proficiency.
Reaching millions through her popular online community and social media platforms, her goal is to help dancers improve and achieve their dreams as well as open up the ballet world to non-dancers. Through social media Ms. Morgan has also shared her past struggles with the auto-immune illness that threatened to derail her dance career. Her honesty about her own experiences has allowed her to connect with dancers and non-dancers of all ages as she shares encouraging lessons from the life of a professional ballerina.
Ms. Morgan performs, teaches, and speaks around the country, and can be found online at KathrynMorganOnline.com, on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, as well on her podcast “The Kathryn Morgan Show”, and her column “Dear Katie” for Dance Spirit Magazine.
Ms. Morgan has previously performed as a principal guest artist in Mobile Ballet productions of Sleeping Beauty (Aurora), Swan Lake (Odette, Odile), The Nutcracker (Sugar Plum Fairy), and Snow White (Snow White).
Alladson Barreto was born and raised in Brazil, where he attended Escola de Dança do Teatro Alberto Maranhão. He received the Tanz Festival Outstanding Dancer Award in 2016 as well as the Passo de Arte Grand Prix Outstanding Dancer Award in 2017 & 2018, and was a finalist at Youth America Grand Prix in 2018. He trained at the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 2018-2019 where he received a merit scholarship.
In 2019, Alladson joined Ballet West II in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2020 he was forced to remain in Brazil due to the coronavirus pandemic, but returned to the US and rejoined Ballet West in 2021. At Ballet West, Alladson has performed leading roles in Christina Ghiardi’s English Dances, Pamela Robinson Harris’ Snow White and The Little Mermaid, and Elena Kunikova’s Divertimento, and has performed in supplement to the main company in The Nutcracker, Giselle, Balanchine’s Jewels and Chant du Rossignol, and Ben Stevenson’s Dracula.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, from immigrant parents of Portugal and Poland, Paul Branco began his ballet training at the age of seven at the Hartt School for Music and Dance, where he occasionally performed in conjunction with the Hartford Ballet in Kirk Peterson’s The Nutcracker. At 11 years old Paul was selected to be featured in a dance film produced by former Martha Graham Principal Peggy Lyman. A few years later, he began training with Miguel Campaneria, specializing in classical Cuban-style ballet technique, soon moving to North Carolina to continue training with Campaneria at the International Ballet Academy. While there, Paul competed in several competitions including WBC and YAGP, gaining recognition in solo variations, pas de duex, and ensembles. At 18, Paul was invited to Orlando Ballet’s second company, and one year later accepted a Corps contract with the Sarasota Ballet. He was promoted to Coryphee in just two years.
Some of the featuring roles Paul performed include Principal in Tuckett’s full length production of The Secret Garden, Principal in Harrison’s The Blue Hour, Soloist in MacMillan’s Concerto, Principal in Graziano’s Shostakovich Suite, Polka Boy in Taylor’s Company B, Pas de Trois in Balanchine’s Emeralds, Soloist Men’s Regiment in Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes, Soloist in Ashton’s Enigma Variations.
He has understudied roles such as Jean de Brienne in Nureyev’s Raymonda, Principal in Sir Peter Wright’s Summertide, Principal in Fokine’s Les Sylphides, and Armand in Ashton’s Marguerite and Armand. Paul has also made several appearances as a guest artist in productions and galas across the US, including partnering Alina Cojucaru amongst an incredible lineup of other internationally renowned dancers.
Daniel Benavides grew up dancing traditional Mexican folk dance ballet folklórico, and began his ballet training through the STEP-UP! program at Anaheim Ballet where he received a full tuition scholarship in his second year. Within his first two years of ballet training, he was accepted to summer intensives at both American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet. He joined the San Francisco Ballet School in 2002 on full scholarship. After two years training and performing with San Francisco Ballet, he moved to Boston to begin his professional career with Boston Ballet II. In 2006, he had the opportunity to tour with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet, performing in Scotland at the Edinburgh International Festival, a world-renowned venue for artists from across the globe. He joined Orlando Ballet following the festival. Since then, Benavides has danced there for fifteen seasons, performing roles such as The Cavalier and Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker, Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Birbanto in Le Corsaire, and the title role in Dracula.
During his time with Orlando Ballet, he has worked with and performed the work of many notable choreographers, including Twyla Tharp, Jessica Lang, Lila York, Peter Chu, Bruce Marks, Michael Pink, and Robert Hill. Benavides has also been a guest artist and teacher with multiple companies and schools.
Agustin de Sousa:
Agustin de Sousa began his training at age 13 at Danzaira Escuela de Ballet in Peru, followed by the Cary Ballet Conservatory in North Carolina, where he graduated in 2020. While training with the Cary Conservatory, he received multiple competition scholarships and awards, including qualifying for the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York. He is also an American Ballet Theatre Certified teacher.
Agustin received his first contract at age 19 with The Sarasota Ballet in Sarasota, Florida. As a member of The Sarasota Ballet, he had the opportunity to perform several internationally renowned ballets, including George Balanchine’s Diamonds, Stars and Stripes, and Theme and Variations, as well as Frederick Ashton’s Enigma Variations. At age 21, he joined Cleveland Ballet in Cleveland, Ohio. After pandemic-forced closures, Mr. de Sousa returned to the Cary Ballet Conservatory as a faculty member, teaching young dancers where he himself was a student.