Meet the Company

SAM FEIPEL has been dancing tap, jazz, and acrobatics since he was seven, starting ballet and modern when he was 12 years old. He has studied at the Central Illinois Ballet and the School of Ballet Chicago, and is frequently a guest artist for the Ketchikan Theatre Ballet of Alaska. A 2009 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers recipient, this is Sam’s 13th season with Minnesota Dance Theatre.

RAINA GILLILAND is a graduate of the School of American Ballet and Professional Children’s School in New York City. She began her training with the School of Minnesota Dance Theatre and also studied with American Ballet Theatre and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre schools. She has performed works by Loyce and Lise Houlton, Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Hope Boykin, Eliot Feld, Wynn Fricke, Jiří Kylián, Justin Leaf, Emily LeCrone, Elisa Monte, Marius Petipa, Dwight Rhoden, and Scott Rink. Internationally acclaimed dance critic Tobi Tobias describes her as “tall, elegantly built and beautiful … with goddess-like power.”

HELEN HATCH is a Minnesota native who began studying dance at Ballet Arts Minnesota and Minnesota Dance Theatre. She is an honors graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in dance and has also trained at the LINES Ballet School and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Helen has performed works by Helen Pickett, Joyce Trisler, Francesca Harper, and Amy Raymond among others, and was a founding member of the Lara Wilson Dance Project in New York. Since joining MDT in 2011, she has performed works by Loyce and Lise Houlton, Eliot Feld, and Emery LeCrone. Helen’s choreography has been presented at the Ailey/Citigroup Theater, the Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival, the MN Fringe Festival, and throughout Mexico and Guatemala by the Juntos Collective.

KATIE JOHNSON received her BFA in Dance from the University of Iowa, where she was the recipient of the Iowa Center for the Arts scholarship. She studied at The Butterfield School of Dance, Mark Morris Dance Center, and the Beijing Dance Academy in China. Katie has worked with Tania Perez-Salas, The Joffrey Ballet, Duarte Dance Works, and Ballet America. She has performed works by Jiří Kylián, Dwight Rhoden, Louis Falco, Elisa Monte, Hope Boykin, George De la Pena, Emery LeCrone, Wynn Fricke, Loyce Houlton, and Lise Houlton. She is a 2011 SAGE Award nominee and a 2012 SAGE Award winner for Outstanding Performer. This is Katie’s seventh season with Minnesota Dance Theatre.

JEREMY BENSUSSAN was born and raised in the Twin Cities. He earned a BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota in 2010. Locally Jeremy has danced with Minnesota Dance Theatre, Minnesota Opera, Flying Foot Forum, Out on a Limb Dance Company, Keane Sense of Rhythm, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Christopher Watson Dance Company, and others. New York dance credits include Dusan Tynek Dance Company and The Bang Group. Regional musical theater credits include Fiddler on the Roof (New York), 9 to 5 (Ohio), Annie Get Your Gun (Wisconsin), and CATS (Rhode Island). Minneapolis musical theater credits include French Twist (Guthrie), Heaven (Guthrie), Golden Boys (The Lab), and La Cage Aux Folles (Bloomington Civic Theater). Jeremy was nominated for a 2014 MN SAGE Award for Outstanding Performer and the recipient of a 2015 SAGE Award for Outstanding Performance in Lost Voices of Jazz.

ANTON LAMON is so grateful to be dancing with Minnesota Dance Theatre. After training under a loving faculty at Indiana University’s Ballet Theater, he toured as the lead in Twyla Tharp’s Movin’ Out and performed in the Broadway cast of The Phantom of the Opera. Since moving to Minnesota, he has had the pleasure of dancing with The James Sewell Ballet, the Minneapolis Music Company’s Devilish Dances, and most recently, in the Ivey Award winning Crime & Punishment. None of these things would be possible without the love and support of his friends, family, and the fellowship that reminds him to take it One Day At A Time.

SOLANA TEMPLE born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, trained at the Tucson Regional Ballet and Ballet Arts, later dancing for Ballet Tucson II and becoming a trainee for Ballet Tucson. Through the years, she also trained with Boston Ballet, State Street Ballet, and Ballet Austin. Solana then went on to receive her BFA from The Juilliard School, where she was awarded The Martha Hill Prize. During her time at Juilliard, she had the privilege of performing works by Liam Scarlett, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, José Limón, Eliot Feld, Larry Keigwin, Emery LeCrone, and Darrell Grand Moultrie, to name a few. Solana is thrilled to be a part of Minnesota Dance Theatre’s 53rd season.

ZACHARY TUAZON was born and raised in Tinley Park, Illinois.  He received his initial training in ballet, modern, and jazz under the tutelage of Brenda Langan and Diane King.  He has also received training from the Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.  He went on to receive his BA in Dance Pedagogy from Butler University where he had the privilege to perform works by Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Susan McGuire, Derek Reid, and Patrick Hinson.  This is his first year with Minnesota Dance Theatre and he couldn’t be more ecstatic to be a part of the company’s 53rd season.

CARLIE CLEMMERSON began training with Minnesota Dance Theatre at age four. After spending 2 years in MDT’s Trainee program, and the 2015/16 season as an apprentice, this is her first year as a company member.  Carlie has performed in Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy, Knoxville, and Carmina Burana, Lise Houlton’s The Enchantment, Rumblings, Edifice Wrecks, Point of Reference, and An Arrangement, also in works by Jose Limon, Wynn Fricke, and Helen Hatch.  She has spent two summers studying at the San Francisco Ballet School on scholarship.  Most recently, Carlie participated in the Paris Opera Ballet School’s summer internship program.

Meet the Apprentices

SOPHIA MCCOY  began training with Minnesota Dance Theatre at age four. This is Sophia’s tenth year performing in Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy. Sophia has also performed various works by Lise Houlton. Sophia has represented MDT on stage with the Minnesota Orchestra as well as Minnesota Opera’s Project Opera Noyes Fludde. During her summers, Sophia has trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, The School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, and Ellison Ballet. Sophia is currently attending George Washington University Online High School.

ISABELLE TUDOR started dancing at the age of six, studying ballet, tap and modern dance. She joined Minnesota Dance Theatre in 2012 and performed in Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy in 2013 and 2014. She has attended summer intensives at Minnesota Dance Theatre, Next Generation Ballet, and most recently at Miami City Ballet.

Meet the Trainees*

ZOE D’ASTOLFO started her training at the age of five with her mother in New York State.  She joined Minnesota Dance Theatre in 2010.  She has attended summer programs at Chautauqua, New York State Summer School for the Arts, and Pacific Northwest Ballet.  She has performed the roles of French Doll, Cousin, and Snowflake in Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy.

 KAITLYN DEYO – bio coming soon.


*The Company Trainee program provides a professional full-time experience with the MDT Company. Each participant is expected to fully commit to company schedule of classes, rehearsals and performances, as well as Friday PAD level VI class/rehearsals. The Company Trainee Program is the precursor to a contract and is by invitation only.