Domenico Luciano from Naples, Italy joined Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in 2005. Having made his American debut with Tulsa Ballet in 2004, Mr. Luciano studied at the Teatro di San Carlo Ballet School in Naples Italy, and danced with various companies in Europe as a Principal Dancer including Europadance in France, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Germany, Teatro Comunale in Florence, Teatro Dell’Opera in Rome and Teatro di San Carlo in Naples.
His repertoire includes many of the classical principal leads such as Romeo, Paris, and Benvolio in both Sir Kenneth MacMillan and John Cranko’s Romeo & Juliet; Paris in Amedeo Amodio’s Romeo & Juliet with Eleonora Abbagnato, Principal Dancer with Paris Opera Ballet; Solor in La Bayadere, The Prince in The Nutcracker, and Albrecht in Giselle, all by Derek Dean; In the Night by Jerome Robbins; Onegin in John Cranko’s Onegin; Roland Petit’s Ma Pavlova with international ballerina Lucia Lacarra; and Don Jose with the National Ballet of China in Carmen.
Mr. Luciano also excels in his contemporary repertoire which includes George Balanchine’s La Valse; Nacho Duato’s Jardi Tancat and Without Words; Orfeo in Carole Armitage’sOrfeo ed Euridice; and Mauro Bigonzetti’s Mediterranea. Also with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, he performed the American premiere of Bigonzetti’s Pression, Michele Merola’s With Painted Lips, Enrico Morelli’s Funabula, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s Dicese, Jirí Kylián’s Double You and 27’52″ (gala version), and Mats Ek’s Pas de Dans. Dominic Walsh has created many roles especially for Mr. Luciano including Clair de Lune, Le Spectre de la Rose, Desire in Sleeping Beauty, Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet, I Napoletani, Terminus and the title roles in Titus Andronicusand The Trilogy: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for which he also designed the costumes.
Since 2005, Mr. Luciano has danced in all of the company’s tours to Mexico, Italy, Spain, Greece, Romania, Florida, New York, Iowa, and Kansas. In 2003, he received the Leonide Massine award in Positano, Italy as Best Male Dancer of the Year and in October 2008, he was named “Best Dancer” by the Houston Press. He also made his choreographic debut in 2008, co-creating The Nutcracker with Mr. Walsh for Ballet Quad Cities. More recently, he performed Mr. Walsh’s tour de force The Firebird with Paris Opera Étoile Marie-Agnès Gillot, Victor Frankenstein, and Time out of Line. Mr. Luciano was named one of 12 Standout performers in 2009 by Pointe Magazine for his portrayal of the White Swan in the White Swan pas de deux from Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, and he also received the “Young Italian Talent Award” in Florence, Italy in 2010.
Hana Sakai was born in Seattle, Washington and started her ballet training under Toshiaki Hatasa, Asami Maki, and Kyozo Mitani. Ms. Sakai became the object of critics’ attention when singled out dancing the role of Cupid in Asami Maki Ballet Company’s performance of Don Quixote. She joined Asami Maki Ballet Company in 1993, making her lead role debut in the company’s performance of The Nutcracker and in 1995, she danced Odette and Odile in the company’s performance of Swan Lake.
In 1997, Ms. Sakai joined the newly established New National Theatre, Tokyo (NNTT) and danced the leading role of Princess Aurora in its memorable opening performance of The Sleeping Beauty with world famous ballet dancers Yoko Morishita and Miyako Yoshida. She has danced leading roles ever since in the theatre’s performances, including Giselle, Cinderella, Don Quixote, La Bayadere, La Fille Mal Gardee, La Sylphide, Firebird, Carmen, Paquita, Dying Swan, Romeo and Juliet, and Swan Lake.
In 2003, she became the first Japanese ballet dancer to ever perform the title role of Sir Kenneth Macmillan’s Manon, (with Dominic Walsh), when staged for the first time in Japan at NNTT. Ms. Sakai has also danced works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Christian Spuck, and Antony Tudor. In 2007, she made her acting debut appearing on the stage of Susan Stroman’s Broadway musical Contact. Being a specialist in classical ballet, she positively excels in the field of contemporary dance and musicals, breaking new ground. Her elegant and refined performances on stage, together with her unceasing technical progress, continue to captivate the minds of the audience. She is regarded as one of the most prominent and popular ballet dancers in Japan.
Dominic Walsh created the role of Euridice for Ms. Sakai for his full-lengthOrfeo ed Euridice for New National Theatre, Tokyo in 2007. She made her American debut with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater in 2008, appearing with Mr. Walsh in a duet from this ballet. In 2010, Ms. Sakai danced the lead in Mr. Walsh’s Wolfgang for Webb at NNTT with Domenico Luciano. She has appeared at the Charity Gala-Award Ceremony Benois de la Danse Prize at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and has received numerous awards including: Tachibana Akiko Prize [1st Prize in Saitama Ballet Competition] (1988), Muramatsu Prize (1996), Dance Critics Society of Japan Prize (1996), Nakagawa Einosuke Prize (1997), Education Minister’s Art Encouragement Prize (1998), Hattori Chieko Prize (2000), Kanagawa Culture & Sports Awards (2003), Tachibana Akiko Prize-Superior Prize (2005), Dance Critics Society of Japan Prize (2008), and Education and Science Minister’s Art Encouragement Prize (2009) Ms. Sakai’s present status is Honorable Dancer, New National Theatre, Tokyo.
Dominic Walsh Dance Theater has been fortunate to have guest dancers from other companies in the United States, Europe and Japan. We are so grateful to their companies for their willingness to work with us to make it possible to include their dancers in our performances.
This season the guest artists performing with DWDT were Danielle Brown, Ashley Lynn Gilfix, Alison Miller and Joseph Walsh. We thank them for their artistry and commitment to dance and their contributions to our performances.
Danielle Brown* was born in Libertyville, Illinois where she began her training with Lisa Shippman Sheppard and Paula Young David. She continued her training at North Carolina School of the Arts with Melissa Hayden before joining Ballet Austin as an apprentice and the Nashville Ballet in 2006. Ms. Brown joined Sarasota Ballet in 2007 and returns this season as a Principal Dancer. Since joining Sarasota Ballet, she has danced in a wide variety of the company’s repertoire, including Sir Frederick Ashton’s Façade, The Two Pigeons, and Les Patineurs, George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Divertimento No. 15, Dame Ninette de Valois’ Checkmate and The Rake’s Progress, Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Elite Syncopations, Andre Prokovsky’s Anna Karenina, Renato Paroni’s Rococo Variations, and Matthew Bourne’s Infernal Galop and Boutique. Her Principal roles include: Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Las Hermanas (The Jealous Sister), Antony Tudor’s Lilac Garden (An Episode in his Past), Sir Peter Wright’s Giselle (Queen of the Wilis and Pas de Six), Andre Prokovsky’s Vespri (Pas de Deux), Mikhail Fokine’s Les Sylphides (Waltz), The Nutcracker (Queen of the Snow), George Balanchine’s Donizetti Variations, Peter Darrell’s Othello (Desdemona), John Cranko’s Pineapple Poll (Mrs. Dimple), Dominic Walsh’s I Napoletani, Galina Samsova’s Paquita, and Marius Petipa’s Diana and Acteon Pas de Deux. Roles created for Ms. Brown include Dominic Walsh’s Wolfgang for Webb and The Trilogy as well as Jamie Carter’s A Deux Mains, which she also performed at The Peacock Theatre, London, in the presence of Dame Beryl Grey and Sir Peter Wright.
*Danielle Brown appears courtesy of the Sarasota Ballet
Ashley Lynn Gilfix* is from Chicago, IL. As a guest performer with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater since 2010, she has been featured in Walsh’s The Whistling, Bello, Medea, and Mats Ek’s Pas de Dans. Ms. Gilfix currently dances with Ballet Austin, where she has performed principal roles in works by Stephen Mills, Niccolo Fonte, Thang Dao, Dwight Rhoden, Balanchine, Tharp, and in such ballets as Hamlet, La Sylphide, Coppellia, Don Quixote, and Romeo & Juliet.
*Ashley Lynn Gilix appears courtesy of Ballet Austin
Allison Miller* was born in St. Petersburg, Florida. She attended the North Carolina School of the Arts before joining the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in 2004, where she worked with distinguished choreographers including Benjamin Millepied, Stephen Mills, and Dominic Walsh. She joined Houston Ballet in 2006 and was recently promoted to demi soloist. Ms. Miller danced with DWDT in the fall of 2011, performing Walsh’s Katharsis and The Whistling.
*Allison Miller appears courtesy of the Houston Ballet
Joseph Walsh* is originally from Pennsylvania and trained at Walnut Hill School, American Ballet Theatre and Houston Ballet. Walsh joined the Houston Ballet in 2007, promoted to Principal in 2012. Walsh’s repertoire includes Manon, La Bayadere, Onegin and Nutcracker, and contemporary works by William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Hans van Manen, Stanton Welch, and Dominic Walsh with DWDT on Titus Andronicus. In August 2009, Mr. Walsh was awarded a prestigious Princess Grace Award by the Princess Grace Foundation-USA.
*Joseph Walsh appears courtesy of the Houston Ballet