Isabela was born in Brazil and began her vocational training at the Centro De Dança Rio. She has taken part in many festivals and competitions, including the Joinville Festival and Youth America Grand Prix. As a professional, Isabela has danced with Project Deborah Colker, São Paulo Companhia de Dança, Ballet Jovem do Rio de Janeiro, Companhia Brasileira de Ballet and has toured Russia extensively. She has danced in many classics: Don Quixote, Raymonda, Swan Lake, and Serenade, as well as modern works and the Carnival parades in Brazil as a dancer. In 2009, Isabela was featured in the documentary, Only When I Dance, directed by Beaide Finzi. Isabela joined Ballet Black as a Junior Artist in 2013 dancing in works by Christopher Marney, Javier de Frutos and Martin Lawrance. In 2014, Isabela created the role of Puck in A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream by Arthur Pita and danced in Martin Lawrance’s ballet, Limbo. In 2015, she was promoted to Senior Artist and created the role of The Maiden in Mark Bruce’s production of Second Coming. In 2016 Isabela was featured in ballets by Christopher Marney and danced the role of Burlesque Dancer and Lulu White in Storyville by Christopher Hampson. In 2017, Isabela was a featured dancer in Martin Lawrance’s Captured and created the role of Mother in Red Riding Hood by Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa. In 2018, she created roles in Cathy Marston’s The Suit and reprised her role as Puck in BB’s 2018 re-staging of Dream. Between 2019 and 2021, Isabela danced in new works both live and on film by Sophie Laplane, Mthuthuzeli November, Hope Boykin, Will Tuckett and Martin Lawrance. In 2022, she created roles in Black Sun by Gregory Maqoma, and collaborated with Cassa Pancho and the Company to create Say It Loud, a celebration of BB’s 20th anniversary. Isabela is an Ambassador for Gaynor Minden, teaches for the BB Junior Associates, online ballet classes and workshops as a guest teacher. In 2021 Isabela became a Ballet Be Fit instructor and launched FredaBela a new collection of Ballet Skirts as a creative designer in collaboration with FredaSilk. In 2022, Isabela received an award from the Black Cultural Archive as one of the 40×40 Black Future Young Leaders for 2023.
Taraja began her training at the age of three in San Antonio, Texas under the direction of Susan and Karin Connally at San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet. Hudson graduated Cume Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, class of 2020, where she studied under the likes of Ronald K. Brown, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and Dam Van Hyun. She has worked with world renowned choreographers such as Tiler Peck, Jennifer Archibald, Jamar Roberts, and Annabelle Lopez as a 20201-2022 Fellowship dancer with BalletX. She joined Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black as an Apprentice Artist for the 2022/23 season.
Acaoã De Castro
Born in Brazil, Acaoã began dancing aged six and graduated from Hellô Ballet under the direction of Heloísa Randis and Especial Academia under the direction of Guivalde de Almeida and Jorge Peña. He was part of the São Paulo Companhia de Dança between 2011 and 2013, directed by Iracity Cardoso and Inês Bogéa. In 2014, he entered the Ballet Nacional del SODRE under the direction of Julio Bocca, participating in the main national and international tours. He has performed in works by Kenneth MacMillan, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato, Anne-Marie Holmes, John Cranko, Natalia Makarova, Mario Galizzi, Jiri Kylian, Ronald Hynd, William Forsythe, Demis Volpi, Marcia Haydée, Rodrigo Pederneiras, Gemma Bond, Francesco Ventríglia, Henrique Rodovalho and George Balanchine. Parallel to his career as a dancer, he acts as a teacher and rehearsal coach in various Brazilian schools.
He joins Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black as a Senior Artist for the 2023/24 season.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Mthuthu started dancing at the age of 15 with the outreach programme, Dance For All. In 2011 he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Cape Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA), where he graduated with a Distinction. Mthuthu won a gold medal in the Contemporary category in the South Africa International Ballet Competition as a Junior in 2012, and a Senior in 2014. He has worked with Cape Dance Company under the direction of Debbie Turner, with choreographers including Bradley Shelver and Christopher Huggins. Mthuthu created his debut choreographic work in 2014 on the Cape Dance Company Junior Company. In 2015 he travelled to the UK to dance with Central School of Ballet’s third year touring company, Ballet Central, performing all over the country. He danced in a South African production of West Side Story before joining Ballet Black as First Year Apprentice in September 2015 and was promoted to Junior Artist in 2016 where he created roles in Arthur Pita’s Cristaux and Christopher Hampson’s Storyville. He made his first ballet for Ballet Black, Interrupted in July 2016. Mthuthu was awarded South Africa’s Emerging Artist prize at Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees for his solo work. In 2017 he was a lead dancer in the revival of Martin Lawrance’s Captured and created the role of The Wolf in Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa’s Red Riding Hood. Between 2019 and 2022, he has created roles in works by Martin Lawrance, Will Tuckett and Gregory Maqoma, and collaborated with Cassa Pancho and the Company to create Say It Loud, a celebration of BB’s 20th anniversary in 2022. In 2017, Mthuthu was commissioned by the Cape Dance Company to create a new work, funded by the National Arts Council of South Africa, which premiered at Artscape Theatre in Cape Town. In 2018, Mthuthu created a solo for Precious Adams of English National Ballet, for the Emerging Dancer competition. In 2019, Ballet Black commissioned him to create Ingoma, his first UK main stage work that has toured the UK and Europe that won both the Olivier Award and a Black British Theatre Award for Best Dance Production. This was followed by WASHA: The Burn From The Inside (a co-commission between Ballet Black, The Grange Festival and Studio Wayne McGregor). He also created and danced in a pas de deux for Ballet Black’s appearance with British Grime artist, Stormzy for Glastonbury 2019, and was promoted to Senior Artist in 2020. During the pandemic, he created Ballet Black’s first short film, Like Water, which went on to win seven film awards. In 2021 his postponed live work for Ballet Black, The Waiting Game, was staged in the UK. He has created ballets for Cape Town Opera, Cape Town City Ballet, The Grange Festival, further commissions for English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Competition, Northern Ballet, Tanz Ensemble for Luzerner Theater, Ballet Central and Rambert School. For film he created My Mother’s Son for Fall For Dance North and Burn From the Inside for Ballet Black.
Born in San Juan Puerto Rico where she grew up with music and her native dance bomba y plena. At the age of seven, Helga and her family moved to Cincinnati Ohio where began training at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. From 2008 to 2016, she studied tap, musical theatre, and classical ballet. Helga participated in Summer Intensive programs and received merit scholarship awards across the states including American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet. In 2016 Helga was scouted by Julie Kent, former principal ballerina and Artistic Director of The Washington Ballet, to attend The Washington School of Ballet pre-professional training program and trainee program. She was promoted in 2018 to TWB’s Studio Company and performed various roles within the company’s repertoire including; George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Julie Kent’s Sleeping Beauty, and works by Johnathan Heginbotham. Helga was commissioned in 2020 to choreograph a ballet and direct a film on The Washington Ballet for their new works, Season of Joy programme. She has since created multiple works for the Company and School. Helga joined Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black for their 2022/23 season as a Junior Artist.
Ebony was born in London and started dancing at the age of 5 at the Kingston Ballet School run by Louise Jefferson. He joined The Royal Ballet School Junior Associates where he took classes for three years and was chosen to perform several times with The Royal Ballet Company. At the age of 11, he joined Elmhurst Ballet School where he had the opportunity to perform with Birmingham Royal Ballet and was featured in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus DVDs. Ebony has also danced overseas at the Virginia Arts Festival in the USA. He has performed a wide variety of repertoire, including David Bintley’s Argonauts, Sir Peter Wright’s Coppélia and the Don Quixote pas de deux choreographed by Marius Petipa. He is delighted to be a member of Ballet Black, and since joining in 2017, has danced in ballets by Martin Lawrance, Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa and Arthur Pita, and created roles in several BB works, including The Suit by Cathy Marston, Ingoma, WASHA, Like Water and The Waiting Game by Mthuthuzeli November, CLICK! choreographed by Sophie Laplane, Eightfold: RAGE by Joy Alpuerto Ritter, Then Or Now by Will Tuckett and Black Sun, created by Gregory Maqoma. In 2022, Ebony collaborated with Cassa Pancho and the Company to create Say It Loud, a celebration of BB’s 20th anniversary. He was promoted to Senior Artist for the 2022/23 season.
Originally from Chicago, Megan trained at Chicago MultiCultural Dance Centre under Homer Hans Brant and attended Chicago High School for the Arts. She graduated from Point Park University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in Business Management. While at Point Park, Megan had the opportunity to perform works by choreographers such as Christopher Wheeldon, Jessica Lang, Jae Man Joo, and many more, as well as perform principal roles in Swan Lake, Raymonda, and Cinderella. In 2021, she joined Madison Ballet and performed works by Yusha Marie-Sorzano, Kia Smith and Marika Brussel. She also got to perform ballets, including Birthday Variations, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Paquita, and The Nutcracker.
Bhungane began his ballet training at the age of 16 at Vaal Park Articon & The National School of the Arts. He then studied & graduated from the Cape Academy of Performing Arts under the direction of Debbie Turner. He has worked with world-renowned choreographers such as Kenneth Tidal & Christopher Huggins and has performed in George Balanchine’s Seranade, Sir Frederick Ashton’s Les Patineurs & Robert North’s Troy Game. He has also worked with proudly South African choreographers such as Mthuthuzeli November, Michelle Reid, Kirsten Isenburg & Mamela Nyamza through Cape Dance Company & Cape Town City Ballet.
Bhungane is also a fashion & costume designer and has worked with numerous dance companies in South Africa. He has just been included on News 24’s list of Young Mandela’s to watch.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa. Mikayla is RAD and Cecchetti-trained, and trained with Nicolette Loxton under Cape Town Junior Ballet, and Martin Schonberg. In 2017, she joined Cape Town City Ballet and has performed principal roles in the Nutcracker, Carmen, Concerto Barocco, Giselle and Les Sylphides. Some career highlights have included working alongside Kenneth Tindall’s Polarity, Elke Scheepers’s Falling Angels, and Mthuthuzeli November’s Ingoma. In 2021, she was awarded for outstanding performances in the latter two works. In 2023, she was awarded for Excellence in multiple roles throughout 2022. During lockdown, she took part in BBC’s Swan Lake Bath Ballet. She joins Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black as a Second Year Apprentice for the 2023/24 season.
First Year Apprentice Artist
Born in Faridabad, India Love started his ballet training at the age of 15 with Fernando Aguilera, under a full scholarship at the school of the Imperial Fernando Ballet Company (IFBC) in New Delhi. As part of his training, he learned several classical repertory pieces, including the Act 2 pas de deux from Swan Lake and the Act 3 pas de deux from Don Quixote, both of which he performed as part of gala performances in India. In 2022, he joined the Third Year Men’s program at the English National Ballet School, under the direction of Viviana Durante. At ENBS, he trained under Juan Eymar and was selected to perform one of the lead roles in the graduation performance of Balanchine’s Who Cares, staged by Deborah Wingert.