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ecotopia dance productions: biographies Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference



Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference promotes the furthering of the balletic discourse by providing counterpoint to today's institutional ballet.
The company brings together international dance artists of the highest caliber who differ in their genotypes, cultural backgrounds, aesthetic socializations, and sexual orientations. Their diversity reflects the program: Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference explores the boundaries of what is normative in our society. The twelve dancers are an assembly of individuals; rising stars and seasoned professionals who created with Richard Siegal at Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, The Bavarian State Ballet, and The National Ballet of Marseille. Fusing with the dance are some of today's most provocative voices in style, fashion, electronic music, light and industrial design.
The union of this diverse knowledge under the direction of Richard Siegal forges a unique vision of ballet's present and future. With Munich as its homebase. Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference represents a burgeoning dance scene in Munich to a national as well as international public.

Yes to ballet

Yes to difference

Yes to the body

Yes to the mind

Yes to color

Yes to diversity

Yes to equality

Yes to inclusion

Yes to multitude

Yes to fluid identities

Yes to love

Yes to sexuality

Yes to intensity

Yes to trance

Yes to trans

Yes to transcendence

Yes to gravity

Yes to the virtual

Yes to actual

Yes to the digital

Yes to the spiritual

Yes to the physical

Yes to the best and the worst of all possible worlds

Yes to then and yes to now

Yes to life

ecotopia dance productions: biographies Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference Richard Siegal … sought-after worldwide as the most innovative, the most exciting dance-maker of his generation
Eva-Elisabeth Fischer

Founding artistic director of The Bakery (2006) and Ballet of Difference (2016). Recognized by a New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award, The German Theatre Prize THE FAUST, S.A.C.D. Prize, a Beaumarchais, The Mouson Award, the Munich Dance Prize and the Danza&Danza award as best choreographer of the year 2017, Richard Siegal has generated international attention for a body of work that includes performances, new media projects, workshops and publications. He has been commissioned by arts institutions including Bayerisches Staatsballett, GöteborgsOperans Danskompani, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, São Paulo Dance Company, Bodytraffic, Festival d'Automne, The Forsythe Company, Rencontres Choréographiques, Ircam, Centre Pompidou, YCAM, Tanz im August, Ballett Frankfurt, Danspace/NYC, Théâtre National de Chaillot, and Ruhrtriennale.

His work with live musicians has led him to collaborate with Alberto Posadas (Glossopoeia), Diane Labrosse (Double Story), Lorenzo Bianchi Hoesch (©oPirates, Homo Ludens, Black Swan, Three Stages), Eric-Maria Couturier (Op. Infinity and Homo Ludens), Wolfgang Zamistil (Homo Ludens, As If Stranger), Arto Lindsay (Muscle) and Hubert Machnik (Civic Mimic).

Collaborations with architects and industrial designers include Konstantin Grcic (UNITXT), François Roche (Civic Mimic), Didier Faustino (Still Life, The World to Darkness and to Me), Virginie Mira (Stranger Trilogy, Glossopoeia), Peter Zuspan (Multinatural (blackout), Muscle) and Alexander Kada (Venice Biennale of Architecture). Collaborations with costume and fashion designers include Alexandra Bertaut, Bernhard Willhelm, Becca McCharen/Chromat, and Marta Jakubowski, together with stylist, Edda Guddmundottir.

Richard Siegal was Artist-in-Residence at ZKM/Karlsruhe, Bennington College and The Baryshnikov Arts Center, Festspielhaus St. Pölten, and Muffatwerk Munich, From 2005 to 2015, he was an Associated Artist of The Forsythe Company. He is a MacDowell Fellow and honorary member of The Bolshoi Ballet's Benois de la Danse.

Caroline Geiger ballet master

Born in Munich, Caroline had her first dance class at the age of four. She graduated in 1993 from Münchner Ballettzentrum.
From 1994 to 2001, she danced with the Bavarian State Ballet. It was Mats Ek who chose her as second cast for his Giselle. In 1998/99 she danced the lead in Jean Grand-Maître’s ballet Emma B. She was promoted to demi-soloist in 2000/2001.
From 2001 to 2004 she was a dancer with the Cullberg Ballett in Stockholm.
Caroline Geiger is currently working as a freelance dancer, choreographic assistant, and ballet mistress in projects by Richard Siegal, Jiří Kylián,and for the children’s program of the Bavarian State Ballet.
Since 2006 she has been a Pilates teacher.

Claudia Ortiz Arraiza Dancer

Claudia Ortiz Arraiza was born in Puerto Rico and was educated at the Conservatorio de Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico under the direction of Carlota Carrera. Her teachers included Lourdes Gómez, Alex Ursuliak and Konstanze Vernon.
After her studies she danced with Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico until 2010 before joining The Bavarian State Ballet II, the junior company of the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich where she danced in choreographies by Richard Siegal, Jiří Kylián, Nacho Duato and others.
In 2012 she was accepted in the main company, The Bavarian State Ballet and danced among others in Siegal’s UNITXT and Russel Maliphant’s Spiral Pass.
Since 2014 she has been a soloist with The Hessian State Ballet in Wiesbaden (D) where she danced in choreographies by Tim Plegge, Richard Siegal, Itzik Galili and Marguerite Donlon.
She joined Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in 2017.

Courtney Henry Dancer
American dancer Courtney Henry graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with dance training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, where she was guest artist in 2009 and 2010 and in 2010 and 20111 with The Francesca Harper project. 2011-2017 she was soloist dancer with Alonzo King Lines Ballet. She will join Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in 2018.

Jemima Dean Dancer
Born in Western Australia, she was offered a full scholarship at the age of sixteen to train at the Tanz Akademie Zürich in Switzerland. She was a finalist at the Prix de Lausanne in 2009 and completed her studies in 2010. Jemima subsequently joined the Bayerisches Staatsballett in
Munich for two seasons and performed in numerous ballets.
In 2013 she attended the Iwanson International School of Contemporary Dance for one year before moving to Berlin and joining the Friedrichstadt-Palast Ballett Ensemble. During her time at Palast she worked with Thierry Mugler Jean Paul Gaultier, Itzik Galili and Brian Friedman to name a few. Jemima also performed an aerial hoop and silks duet for two years running. Since 2017 she has been working as a freelance performing artist and will join Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in 2018.

Jin Young Won Dancer
Jin Young Won from Seoul Korea was awarded the Prix de Lausanne, joined NDT 2 (NL) first as apprentice and danced in the company for 3 more seasons. She danced with Basel Ballett (CH), Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet (USA), Saarländisches Staatstheater (D) and has worked with and danced works of choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Hofesh Shechter, Crystal Pite, Emanuel Gat, Stijn Celis, Andonis Foniadakis, Johan Inger, Alexander Ekman and Richard Siegal.
She will join Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in 2018.

Margarida Neto Dancer

Portuguese Margarida Isabel de Abreu Neto started her training at the Lisbon Dance Conservatory and graduated, thanks to a scholarship she was awarded with for the successful reached semi-finals of Youth American Grand Prix, from Zurich Dance Academy in 2015. With the beginning of the 2015/2016 season, Margarida Neto joined the Junior Company as a Trainee of Bayerisches Staatsballett until she joined Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in April 2017.

Yvonne Compaña Martos Dancer

Yvonne Compaña Martos was born in Madrid, Spain. She started her dance studies at Conservatorio de danza Jose Uruñuela in Vitoria and later with Carmina Ocaña in Madrid.
After her studies she worked with Corella Ballet in Spain and then continued dancing with Ajkun Ballet Theater in New York. She joined Augsburg Ballet in 2010 and danced there until 2016.
During her career she performed in works by choreographers such as William Forsythe, Edward Clug, Itzik Galili, Regina Van Berkel, Marco Goecke, Stephen Shorpshire, Maurice Causey and Cayetano Soto.
In 2015/16 she has been a guest dancer at Staatstheater Nürnberg, performing works by Mauro Bigonzetti and Goyo Montero.
She joined Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in April 2017.

Zuzana Zahradníková Dancer

Zuzana Zahrdaníková was born in Olomouc, Moravia and trained at the Prague Conservatory. She became finalist at competitions in Vienna and Budapest and danced in several gala performances.
After being a trainee in the season 1999/2000, she joined the Bavarian State Ballet one year later as a Corps de ballet dancer. In autum 2004, Zuzana Zahradníková was promoted to soloist, in the season 2007/2008 to First Soloist.
Her repertoire includes solo roles in M. Petipa/P. Bart's La Bayadère, Don Quijote, Balanchine's Brahms-Schönberg Quartet, the second detail and Limb's Theorem by William Forsythe, as well as the White Lady in Ray Barra's Raymonda, Hermia in Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the bride's mother in Kylián's Svadebka.
She will join Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in 2018.

Diego Tortelli Dancer and ballet master

Italian Diego Tortelli received his education as a dancer in Italy first at the Accademia Nazionale di Danza a Roma and subsequently at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
Starting out in Italy as a freelancer at the age of 18, he danced with Balletto dell'Esperia in Turin under the direction of Paolo Mohovic, and with the Teatro alla Scala and the DanceHaus Susanna Beltrami in Milan before his engagements led him to Valencia in Spain where he was a part of the Ballet de Teatres de la Generalidad for three seasons.
At Valencia, he interpreted and performed pieces of well-known choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Jiří Kylián, Angelin Preljocaj, Thierry Malandain, Asun Noales, Goyo Montero, Carolyn Carlson and Ramon Oller.
After four seasons in Valencia he was invited by choreographer and artistic director Gustavo Ramirez Sansano to join his company Luna Negra Dance Theater Chicago where he danced for two seasons working with Fernando Hernando Madagan, Fernando Melo, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Eduardo Vilaro – on top of dancing in a great number of works by Gustavo Ramirez.
In 2012 he left Chicago to join Le Ballet National de Marseilles under the direction of the architect/choreographer Frédéric Flamand. Diego was involved in all the works by Flamand and the collaborations with international architects. He was working with choreographers such as Emio Greco, Pieter Scholten, Olivier Dubois, Richard Siegal, William Forsythe, Lucinda Childs and an installation by Christian Rizzo.
Since 2015 he has worked as a freelancer in projects like Frédéric Flamand's restaging of Orphée et Eurydice with the Teatro Massimo in Palermo where he was also engaged as Maître du ballet. He also created a cultural association called Kor’sia together with three other artists in Madrid. He designed costumes for Luna Negra Chicago, Norrdans and for Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich.

As a choreographer he created a duo for Introdans and Compañia Nacional de Danza/Madrid, Teatro Massimo in Palermo and Eko dance project/ Pompea Santoro.

In 2015 he worked as a dancer with Korzo in The Hague and with MM Dance in Reggio Emilia. He is working as a freelancer/assistant for Richard Siegal's The Bakery.
He joined Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in 2017.

Léonard Engel Dancer

Born in France, Léonard got his dance education in the Paris Opera Ballet School. After graduating in 2005, he worked for 3 years in the Victor Ullate Ballet in Madrid, before moving to the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich where he stayed for 8 years, being promoted to demi-soloist in 2012 and to soloist in 2014. In 2016, he decided to focus on a more contemporary approach of dance and became a freelance dancer/performer in Berlin.
Apart from Richard Siegal, he worked with choreographers like William Forsythe, Mars Ek, Aszure Barton, Russel Maliphant, Verena Billinger and Sebastian Schulz. He was also invited as a guest artist by the Wuppertal Pina Bausch during the season 2016-2017.
He joined Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in 2017.

Matthew Rich Dancer

Rich hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he studied at the Dance Zone under the direction of Jami Artiga and Kaydee Francis. Rich graduated from the Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts in 2004.
From 2005 through 2015 Rich danced with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in New York City, working with world renowned choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, Hofesh Schechter, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jacopo Godani, and Alexander Ekman, among others. With Cedar Lake, Rich appeared in the 2011 Hollywood Motion Picture The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. In 2015 Rich joined the LA-based repertory dance company BODYTRAFFIC dancing works by Barak Marshall, Stijn Celis, and Victor Quijada.
Rich was named one of Pointe Magazine's Top 12 performances of 2015 for his work in Richard Siegal's My Generation.
He joined Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in 2017.

Nicola Strada Dancer

Nicola Strada was born in Cesena, Italy. He studied at the La Scala Theatre Ballet School where he graduated in 2010. He danced in the Corps de ballet of La Scala Theatre Ballet and participated in summer courses in the USA (Central Pennsylvania Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet).
Since the beginning of the season 2010/2011 he danced as a scholarship holder of the Heinz-Bosl-Foundation with the Bavarian State Ballet and the Bavarian State Ballet II. He was promoted as a Trainee at the beginning of the season 2011/2012 and as a Corps de ballet dancer at the beginning of the season 2012/2013. He will join Richard Siegal / Ballet of Difference in 2018.

Andrea Mocciardini Dancer

The Italian dancer Andrea Mocciardini, began his studies in Milan at the "Accademia Teatro alla Scala" until 2007; then in 2008 he attended a specialization course in classical technique at the "A.I.D.A Association" also in Milan, and in 2009 enters the school of the Balletto di Toscana and the youth company "Junior BdT", where he explores the study of contemporary dance. In these years he danced works signed by: Mauro Bigonzetti, Eugenio Scigliano, Eugenio Buratti, Arianna Benedetti, Cristina Rizzo.
Starting from 2012 he is divided between two major Italian theaters as soloist and principal dancer: "TEATRO MASSIMO DI PALERMO" and "ARENA DI VERONA", participating in all the productions of the seasons.
He is being a part of the works of: Mario Piazza, Renato Zanella, Maria Grazia Garofoli, Luciano Cannito, Amedeo Amodio, Frederic Flamand, Martha Graham, Fabrizio Monteverde.

Tigran Mikayelyan Guest Dancer
Tigran Mikayelyan was born in Yerevan/Armenia and trained at the Armenian Ballet school Yerevan from 1989 to 1997. In 1997 he got a scholarship from the Nurejev Foundation and joined the Suisse Ballet Academy SBBS in Zurich. Having graduated in 1998 he was engaged with the Zurich Ballet where he was promoted to soloist in 1999 and to first soloist in 2003. In 2005/2006 he joined the Bayerisches Staatsballett as a First Soloist and was promoted to Principal at the beginning of the season 2007/2008. (Information as of Nov 2017). Tigran is guesting in the production On Body.

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