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New York, NY (October 16, 2023) – Today, Tony Award® – winning producers David Garfinkle and Dr. Ron Simons announced the complete cast for the world premiere of Sugar Hill: The Ellington/Strayhorn Nutcracker which will play New York City Center November 17 through November 26, 2023 before moving to Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre December 19 through December 30, 2023.

The production will star Jinhao Zhang and Josué Gomez as Nutcracker, Alicia Mae Holloway as Lena, Shavey Brown as Sweet Pea, Jennifer Jade Ledesna as The Angel, Kenneth Darryl Ard as Uncle Dross, and Brenda Braxton as Mother Sugar/Mama Stall. Additional cast includes Nikolas Danilovich-Eugene Gaifullin, Larissa Gerszke, Nayara Lopes, Natascha Mair, Tatiana Nuñez and Scott Weber. Audrey Borst, Joshua Dawson, Nathan Fister, Johnathon Darcelle Hart, Ayaka Kamei, Laura Katherine Kaufman, Amarachi Valentina Korie, Muata Ayodele Langley, James Luc, Chase Maxwell, Charlotte McKinley, Dario Natarelli, Megan Prout, Jocelyn Iris Raykumar, Ange ‘Gregg’ Sainvilus, Tyler D. Singletary, Olivia Tang-Mifsud and Matt Wiercinski will complete the SUGAR HILL cast.

Tickets are on sale now, and available for purchase at nycitycenter.org and auditoriumtheatre.org.

As previously announced, this original production is directed by Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Award nominee and Emmy Award-winner Joshua Bergasse, with choreography by Jade Hale-Christofi. The show features a world-renowned creative team of dance superstars, with additional choreography by Caleb Teicher and Emmy Award nominee Jon Boogz, and dance consultation from Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement recipient, Graciela Daniele, Orchestrations and Arrangements are by Grammy Award®-winner John Clayton and three-time Tony Award® nominee Larry Blank, Paul Masse (Dance Arranger) and Tripp Phillips (Production Stage Manager). Casting by Mungioli Theatricals, Inc.

An exhilarating story told in dance, Sugar Hill is set to the music of the genre-defying collaboration between jazz icons bandleader/composer Duke Ellington and composer, Billy Strayhorn, in a captivating way that has never been done before.

In its world premiere, Sugar Hill reveals the glamour of the 1930s as seen through the lens of the nonconformist daughter of a high-society Black family in Manhattan and her own fantastic dreamworld in the Sugar Hill neighborhood of Harlem. A jazz-steeped reimagining of the classic tale, this Nutcracker dance-story sends a stirring message that champions individuality and the journey to find the power of your unique self: “Go find what makes you different to find your magic”.

Produced by Hello Entertainment, Dr. Ron Simons, Rob Quadrino, Valencia Yearwood, Willette Klausner, Dr. Yemin (Yuan) McDougal, Nicole Eisenberg, Chinese Performing Arts Production International, Carol Hefren Tillotson, Harris Ferris, Kathleen and Chip Rosenbloom/Mary Cossette, Brass Bull Productions, Billy Strayhorn Songs, Inc. and Schirmer Theatrical.

Executive Producers A. Alyce Claerbaut and Robert Thompson.

Associate Producers Christian McBride, Mickalene Thomas and B’in Live.

For more information, please visit www.sugarhillnutcracker.com



Kenneth Darryl Ard (Uncle Doss (Ellington)) Ken Ard has originated roles in some of the biggest hit shows in Broadway’s history. Two of which he holds Grammy Award Certifications for best cast album. Macavity in Cats and Ken in Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Other notable roles include ELECTRA in Starlight Express, Pluton in Dangerous Games, and The Chimney Man starring opposite Gregory Hines in Jelly’s Last Jam. Ken was honored to standby for Tony Award winning legend André De Shields in the Musical Half Time at the Papermill Playhouse and was subsequently chosen by Mr. De Shields to lead his multitalented cast in Sophisticated Ladies at NJPAC. Most recently Ken was featured in Taylor Mac’s critically acclaimed limited run sold-out Off-Broadway opera, The Hang. He also appears as Wilbur in the 2001 Academy Award winning film Chicago. Beyond Broadway Ken is an award-winning chef, visual artist and an accomplished jazz singer/cabaret performer.

Audrey Borst (Female Ensemble #1) is originally from Berkeley, Calif., and has been dancing since age three. She trained at the San Francisco Ballet for 10 years where she performed the lead role of “Clara” in The Nutcracker. She also received training at Dance Theater of Harlem and Alonzo King Lines Ballet where she explored multiple modern disciplines including Gaga, Horton, and Contemporary Ballet. Audrey immersed herself in the Bay Area dance community, serving as a company member in the Sarah Bush Dance Project, and Peninsula Ballet while performing as a guest artist with Oakland Ballet School. Upon receiving a full scholarship with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater she moved to New York in 2016. Since graduating she has danced with companies such as Jamal Jackson Dance, Dance-Lab New York, Julia Gleich Dance, Brooklyn Ballet, and The Love Show. She has performed works by Darshan Bhueller, George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham,  Antony Tutor, and Jeremy McQueen. She has recently performed in the musical Francois and The Rebels at the Public Theater by Jamie Cepero. She is delighted to be performing with Sugar Hill.

Brenda L. Braxton (Mother Sugar/Mama Stall) is a native New Yorker who found success on Broadway. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her starring role in Smokey Joe’s Café and has received the NAACP Theater Award, Chicago’s Jefferson Award and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. She was last seen as Matron Mamma Morton and Velma Kelly in the Broadway hit Chicago The Musical sharing the stage with USHER, Bebe Neuwirth, Rita Wilson, Brian McKnight and Lisa Rinna. Other Broadway Credits include Jelly’s Last Jam, Cats, Legs Diamond and the original production of Dreamgirls. Her TV credits include “Nurse Jackie”, “SMASH” and most recently Partner Madeline Gilford on “The Good Fight” on Paramount +. She can also be seen as CAIRO in Girls Getaway Gone Wrong streaming on TUBI. In realizing the importance of giving back, Braxton founded a not-for-profit organization called, Leading Ladies Just for Teens (LLJFT), seminars geared toward empowering young girls to be the best they can be. For her work as founder of LLJFT Ms. Braxton has received the Dr. Martin Luther King “Living the Dream” award, the Josephine Baker Award from the National Council of Negro Women, and the Community Service award given by the National Association of Negro Business Women. In 2015 she launched ACT 2…Now What? a series of seminars and workshops for women over 50 looking to make the Act 2 of their lives spectacular on their terms and discover the Leading Lady in themselves! She is also the author of The Little Black Book of Backstage Etiquette.

Shavey Brown (Sweet Pea (Strayhorn)) National/International Tours: Hadestown (1st National Tour), The Prom (OTC), LCT’s My Fair Lady, Dreamgirls (Curtis). Off-Broadway: Smokey Joe’s Cafe, The Fantasticks (El Gallo). Regional: The Old Globe, Ahmanson, American Conservatory Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, Walnut Street Theatre, Ordway Theatre. Film/TV: “The Blacklist,” “Vinyl” (HBO), “The Only Living Boy in New York”. Thanks to Joshua Bergasse and the whole creative team, WAM, Sepia Dreamgirls, family, God, my Josh and our two boys Eric and Reaves. IG: @shaveybrown

Joshua Dawson (Male Ensemble #1) is from Charlotte, North Carolina, but currently lives in New York City where he is in his final year at Pace University as a BFA Commercial Dance major. He began his dance training at the age of nine under his mentor Treshawn Brown. He is well-versed in many styles of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Modern, Theater Dance, Hip Hop, African, and Ballroom. His talents have graced many stages including Carnegie Hall, The Chita Rivera Awards, and Debbie Allen’s Brothers of the Knight. He’s also appeared in music videos for Christy Altomare and Todrick Hall. Joshua is very excited to be joining the cast of Sugar Hill and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him as he starts his professional career. To Broadway and beyond! IG: @mr.broadway

Nathan Fister (Male Swing #2) (he/him) is thrilled to be a part of this ionic project! Select credits include Pittsburgh CLO: Anything Goes and Natasha…Great Comet of 1812; BC/EFA Easter Bonnet, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Goodspeed Musicals: Cabaret (Swing); Radio City Christmas Spectacular, The Lexington Theatre Company: Chicago (Associate Choreo), Memphis, A Chorus Line (Larry), The Music Man, Legally Blonde, and 42nd Street; Drury Lane Theatre, Flat Rock Playhouse, and Nashville Ballet 2. Endless thanks to the Sugar Hill team and cast, the teachers and mentors who have filled his toolbox, and to his family and friends for all their love and support! Representation: The SquarePeg Group, Inc. Instagram: @nathanfister

Nikolas Danilovich-Eugene Gaifullin (Volga Vouty) was born in Sarasota, Florida and began his ballet training at the age of seven with his parents, Stephanie Murrish and Daniil Gaifullin. Whom both of his parents were Etoiles with Sarasota Ballet and Ballet De Santiago in Chile. Nikolas’s extensive repertoire includes works by renowned choreographers such as Johan Kobborg, Yuri Possoskhov, Ma Cong, Devon Carney, Max Petrov, Marcello Angelini, Ross Freddie Ray, Robert Mills, Jiri Kylian, Ricardo Amarante, Tara Lee, Dwight Rhoden, Bruce Wells, Viktor Plotnikov, Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye, Kiyon Ross, Anthony Krutzkamp, John McFall, Norbert De La Cruz III, and Septime Webre. His favorite roles include Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet, James in La Sylphide, Drosselmeier in the Nutcracker, Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, and Basilio in Don Quixote. He has competed and won awards in two prestigious competitions such as Youth America Grand Prix and World Ballet Competition. In 2012, Nikolas attended the Carreno Dance Festival, and in 2015 he attended to both summer intensives with American Ballet Theatre, Canada’s National Ballet School and Jacob’s Pillow in 2016. He had the opportunities to study with Ethan Brown, Sergiu Stefancshi, and Anna Marie Holmes. In the summer of 2019, he participated in the Italy Tour of Ross Freddie Ray’s Fraudulent Smile with Polunin Ink, and performed the role of Tybalt in Johan Kobborg’s Romeo and Julie in Arena di Verona. In the fall of 2021, Nikolas performed with Polunin Ink in Royal Albert Hall in London reprising his role of Tybalt. Nikolas has performed with various companies such as Kansas City Ballet II, Atlanta Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet. Nikolas’s career showcases his dedication, talent, and versatility as a dancer. His achievements and performances have earned him recognition and respect in the ballet community.

Larissa Gerszke (Sugar Rum Cherry) is Canadian. Most notably she performed in Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s “Stardust”, “WOKE” & “Love Rocks”. Larissa is represented by Gaynor Minden and by Clear Talent Group. She earned a BFA from Fordham University & Alvin Ailey. Her career highlights include Shiseido Cosmetics campaign, CBS TV’s The 43rd Kennedy Center Honors, “Mozart : Her Story” musical by Tegan Summer, and the Gerald Arpino Foundation’s Centennial Celebration. @larissagerszke

Josué Gómez (Nutcracker) started his dance training at the age 6 at the “Teatro Municipal” in Cali, Colombia with Cesar Mosquera. Then he enrolled at the Instituto Colombiano de Ballet (IncolBallet) where he received his formal training since he was 8 years old. He went to train under full scholarship with Fort Lauderdale Youth Ballet under the Artistic Direction of German Dager. He was FLYB first Nutcracker Prince. During the 2019 Competition Season, Josue won the Youth American Grand Prix in New York Semi-Finals and was a YAGP Finalist at the NY Finals performing his Talisman Variation at Lincoln Center’s David Koch Theatre. He won 1st Place all around in Classical and Contemporary at The Miami International Ballet Competition at age 15 and was invited to dance at the closing Gala with La Boheme. At the Universal Ballet Competition, Josue won 1st Place in Classical with his Albrecht Variation, 1st Place in Contemporary with his Revive, and 1st place in the Senior Pas de Deux Competition with Grand Pas Classique. Josue also won 1st Place for Diana & Acteon Pas de Deux and Coda at the Universal Ballet Competition. At the American Dance Competition, for two years in a row, he won 1st Place in Classical and Contemporary. His Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire also won 1st Place and was invited to perform the Pas de Deux and Talisman Variation at the closing Gala. Josué Gómez was also invited to dance at two Gala’s at the Youth American Grad Prix Mexico ~ Festival Internacional de Danza in October 2019. In the 2020 Competition season, at the Youth American Grand Prix Semi-Finals in Tampa, Florida, Josué Gómez once again won the Grand Prix in the Senior Category and won 1st Place in Pas de Deux with Grand Pas Classique. He was also invited to dance in the Gala “The Stars of Today meet the Stars of Tomorrow.” Josué has won full scholarships to San Francisco Ballet School, the American Ballet Theatre (2 scholarships and invitation by Sasha Radetsky to take class at the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company). He also won a scholarship to The Paris Opera Ballet School in Paris, France, The Dutch National Ballet Academy in Amsterdam. The Elmhurst School of Ballet, The School of American Ballet (SAB), Pacific Northwest Ballet, Houston Ballet Academy, and The Bolshoi Ballet Academy. Josué spent two summers with full scholarship at the San Francisco Ballet School and The Fort Lauderdale Youth Ballet. Josué has danced the Cavalier in the Sugar Plum Pas de Deux and Snow Pas de Deux at the Fort Lauderdale Youth Ballet Nutcracker Ballet, for three years in a row. Josué danced at Birmingham Royal Ballet in the United Kingdom, where he was a company artist and danced professionally for the 2021-2022 Season. He performed in Cinderella (Sir David Bintley), Romeo and Juliet (Sir Kenneth MacMillan), The Nutcracker (Sir Peter Wright), and Don Quixote (Carlos Acosta). In 2023 Josué danced with English National Ballet for the Spring Production of Cinderella where he danced 30 shows at the World Renown Royal Albert Hall. In the Summer of 2023, Josué was invited to dance with the Kenneth McMillan Project at the Kaatsbaan Cultural Park Festival in Tivoli, NY where he danced Ballade by Kenneth McMillan.

Johnathon Darcelle Hart (Male Ensemble #1) was born in Chicago, IL where he started dancing at the age of 15 at The Chicago High School for the Arts. During his time there, he studied multiple styles of dance, including ballet, modern and various contemporary works. In 2018, JD furthered his training at The San Francisco Ballet School for two years. Upon graduation, JD joined Ballet Met from 2020-2023. While he was there he also toured with Lil Kim in 2021. In 2022, JD was named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine. JD currently works as a freelance artist and does concert and commercial work.

Alicia Mae Holloway (Lena) is from Morgantown, West Virginia and began dancing when she was three years old at Kat and Company Dance Studio. In 2007, Alicia began taking classes at Morgantown Dance Studio. She also trained at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts before attending the School of American Ballet from 2011-2015. Alicia has attended the Boston Ballet Summer Dance Program, as well as Pacific Northwest Ballet. She began her professional career dancing with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and just completed dancing her seventh season with the Dance Theatre of Harlem where she has worked with Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight. She has shot music videos with Grammy award winning artist KEM, as well as JAGMAC, and Eryn Martin, and can be seen in Google’s newest Hardware commercial, as well as in Glamour Magazine’s November issue. She is currently the co-chairwoman of the School of American Ballet’s Visiting Faculty program and recently was cast as The Lady in a Yellow Dress in the revival of Broadway’s show, Contact.

Ayaka Kamei (Chinoiserie #2) Born and raised in Ehime, Japan, Ayaka Kamei is a freelance dancer and teaching artist based in New York. She has performed with The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and the World Tour, The Metropolitan Opera, Twyla Tharp Dance, MorDance, New York Theatre Ballet, Ayalis In Motion, and AZOTH Dance Theatre. She has performed works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Antony Tudor, Roy Assaf, Aszure Barton, Carolyn Choa, Dario Dinuzzi, John Heginbotham, Jessica Lang, Austin McCormick, Keith Michael, David Needham, Matthew Neenan, Alexei Ratmansky, Taryn Kaschock Russell and Bettijane Sills, among others. Following her early training at Tatewaki Hiroko Ballet School in Ehime, Japan, she graduated from Northern Ballet School in England as well as SUNY Purchase, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a President Award for Achievement in the Conservatory of Dance. She was selected to study abroad at Codarts in the Netherlands and Springboard Danse Montréal as well. As a passionate teaching artist, she has had the pleasure of teaching in Japan and New York at places such as SUNY Purchase, Gibney Dance, The 92NY, Chen Dance Center, Joffrey Ballet School, Musashino University, Tatewaki Hiroko Ballet School, and more. She has been a part of Dance Education Laboratory since 2021 and helped bring dance education to public schools throughout New York.

Laura Katherine Kaufman (Female Ensemble #4) grew up in Overland Park, Kansas and received a BFA in Dance from the University of Arizona.  She is currently dancing at the Metropolitan Opera and is Co-director of Woman in Motion, a project-based dance company in NYC.  Previously she spent a year on the road with the Broadway tour of Cats following a year with the first national tour of An American in Paris. Prior to her time on tour, Laura danced with City Ballet of San Diego followed by Odyssey Dance Theatre in SLC where she performed many principal roles and did two international tours. She has danced works by Christopher Wheeldon, Andy Blankenbuehler, Joshua Bergasse, Lorin Latarro, Alexei Ratmansky, George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Bonnie Story, Gary Christ, Ann Reinking, and many others. Laura currently teaches on and off at BDC, Steps, and Ballet Arts. Laura is overjoyed to be a part of a project with so much heart and is endlessly grateful to the Sugar Hill team.  She wants to thank her family, friends, and CESD for their unwavering support.

Amarachi Valentina Korie (Female Ensemble #3) began her formal dance training at Baltimore County Youth Ballet. She is an alumnus of Carver Center for the Arts and Technology and graduated from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program as a Gates Millennium Scholar. Ms. Korie then went on to tour internationally as a company member with Ailey II, after being an apprentice with the company. She has received scholarships to The School at Jacob’s Pillow and Dance Theatre of Harlem and has performed works by choreographers Robert Battle, Kyle Abraham, Darrell Grand Moultrie, and Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell. Ms. Korie is a two-time regional NAACP ACT-SO competition gold medalist, Maryland All-State Dance awardee, and has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine. She has performed with the Kennedy Center’s Washington National Opera in Elektra as well as onstage with singer Asake at the Barclays Center in New York. Ms. Korie is honored to join this production of Sugar Hill: The Ellington/ Strayhorn Nutcracker.

Muata Ayodele Langley (Boogz Ensemble #3) is a movement artist born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. He began dancing at a young age influenced heavily by his family who broke out in the 90’s in a group called “Shomari” (Rashaan Langley, Nnamdi Langley, Troy Frost) Michael Jackson, Missy Elliott, Busta Ryhmes, Genuwine, Usher, and Chris Brown. He continued to learn more about the art of dance when he was picked up by a local dance group Livewire in 2004 under Jeff Manley & Jerome Harris who were coming out of the City Kids Program. Within the group he learned about and trained in Popping, Breaking, Hip-hop, Street Jazz and Choreography. He also studied dance at Hamden Academy of Dance under Tia Russell and Lia Daville in Hip-hop, and Multi-cultural dance. In 2012 he moved to New York to train with Rhapsody James Motivating Excellence Program. Since then, he’s continued training in performance choreography, popping, breaking, house, street-jazz, and krump. Muata has danced with artists such as Lil Kim, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Travis Scott, Taraji P. Henson, Pyer Moss, Wynton Marsalis, Wendell Pierce, Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj and Wizkid, traveled to Japan for a show with Hinton Battle, toured with the legendary Salt n Pepa and also in China with Jolin Tsai which was directed by Michael Jacksons choreographers/dancers Travis Payne & Stacy Walker. He has been on Broadway performing in “Holler If Ya Hear Me” directed by Kenny Leon and “Seeing You” choreographed by Ryan Heffington. Danced in commercials and industrials for Guess, Nike, Macy’s, Vogue, KenzoxH&M, Reebok, JBL, and Apple Magazine in Taiwan. He also appeared in HBO’s “Girls” and in the movie Bolden. He’s always open to try new styles and driven by the inspiration of movement and emotion which is why he has also participated in hip-hop freestyle battles winning a few like “Dance Fight” two times and “Move A Lil”. He’s also worked in the contemporary dance space with Lauren Cox and RED Rhapsody James Jazz Fusion company. He wants to show his young children and those who feel they aren’t capable that dreams are what you make them and to never give up on them.

Jennifer Jade Ledesna (The Angel) Stage mage Jenn Jade Ledesna, Bronxite polyglot, is an alumna of New School Jazz & LaGuardia Arts. A Montreux Jazz Voice Competition Finalist, Equity actress, & “Betty Carter Jazz Ahead” composer, Ms. Jade often performs at “Aux Trois Mailletz” in Paris, “Jazz Na Avenida” in Brazil, & the legendary “Minton’s Playhouse” in Harlem, NYC. She’s sung at Carnegie Hall in Bobby McFerrin’s Instant Opera!, in the World Premiere Tour of Chapel/Chaper w the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Co. JJ’s also graced the international stages of Switzerland’s Chorus Jazz Club, Norway’s “Silda Jazz Fest” w her group “RAJAFRO”, Jazz @ Lincoln Center with the “Multiverse Big Band!”, Saint Croix’s “Take Five Fest”, Santiago de Chile’s “Teatro Municipal de Las Condes”, & Austria’s PORGY & BESS, to name a few. Grammy board member, Ms. Jade has performed with David Amram, Elew, Dave Valentin, Roy Hargrove, Wycliffe Gordon, Joatan Nascimento, Junior Mance, James Carter, Benny Powell, Candido Camero, Janis Siegel, & Wynton Marsalis, among others. She recently starred as Tempest in the feature film Since I Left You, “Tinima” in the opera-musical Hatuey: Memory of Fire!, & has just returned home from touring France, Brazil, & Argentina! Check out “VOX HUMANA” the new album of Bobby Sanabria’s Multiverse Orchestra featuring Jenn Jade!

Nayara Lopes (Sugar-Lu) Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil Nayara Lopes began dancing at age six. She trained at the School of Theatre Dance Guaira in Brazil and later at the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School in New York. Nayara also competed in ballet competitions such as the Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) finals in New York, where she received the Mary Day Special Award, as well as the YAGP regionals in Columbia, SC, where she was the 2011 Grand Prix winner. Nayara joined Philadelphia Ballet 2016/2017 season as a member of the corps de ballet, was promoted to Soloist for the 18/19 season, and was then promoted to First Soloist for the 2019/2020 Season. She was promoted onstage to Principal Dancer by Angel Corella following the company’s matinee performance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker on December 11, 2021. She has performed principal roles such as the Sugarplum Fairy in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Cinderella in Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake staged, Swanhilda in Coppelia, Kitri in Don Quixote by Angel Corella. Nayara has also danced in many world premieres and had a featured role in Nacho Duato’s Remansos. Prior to Philadelphia Ballet, Nayara danced with Orlando Ballet in 2010; the National Ballet of Canada in 2011; and the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 2015. She has worked with choreographers that include Christopher Wheeldon, James Kudelka, Lindsay Fischer, Robert Hill, Raymond Lukens, Jessica Lang, David Dawson and Juliano Nunes.

James Luc (Boogz Ensemble #2) Born and raised in Queens NY, James’ first experience with dance began with watching and imitating the legendary Michael Jackson. From high school auditoriums to the big stages, he fell in love with the ability to perform and truly entertain others. In the past, he has worked with musical artists such as JLO, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, Daddy Yankee and more. James also most recently appeared in the films Marry Me, In The Heights and shows such as “Law and Order SVU” and “Harlem”. When he’s not in the studio moving he’s investing his time in other artistic endeavors like modeling, acting and teaching the youth. He believes that everyone has this common undeniable energy called “Potential”. With potential and your own faith there is nothing you cannot master! He would love to give a special thank you to his family and friends back home for being the pillars of his strength. @iamrythmj

Natascha Mair (Floreadores) Born and raised in Vienna, Austria, Natascha Mair began her education at the prestigious Vienna State Opera when she was just seven years old. At the age of 17, she graduated from high school and obtained her ballet diploma. In the 2012/13 season, Mair joined the Vienna State Ballet and quickly rose through the ranks, being promoted to first soloist by Director Manuel Legris in 2018. During the 2020 lockdown, Mair achieved a significant accomplishment by becoming a Certified Pilates Instructor. She also used the further years to expand her knowledge and skills by completing courses on online learning platforms, including life coaching, event planning and sports psychology. In 2020, Natascha Mair joined English National Ballet as a principal dancer. Her extraordinary talent and dedication to her craft have led to a successful career as a ballerina, and she continues to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide.

Chase Maxwell (Male Ensemble #4) Since Chase Maxwell was born in Los Angeles he has graced stages all over the world; assisting Baayork Lee, Danny Pelzig, Debbie Allen, and many others. He simultaneously graduated, received his BFA from Boston Conservatory and moved to New York in 2016 to perform with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. This then led to him dancing for Jennifer Hudson, J Balvin, Tyler Perry, making his broadway debut in Wicked, and most recently performing backup for Doja Cat. After performing and teaching in Japan for some time – he is very excited to be back in the states performing and sharing his talents this holiday season.

Charlotte McKinley (Female Swing #2) is from Austin, Texas! She graduated from AMDA. Credits include Personality: The Lloyd Price Musical, Knicks City Dancers, The Met Gala, VMA’s, Disney World, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and more. She is thrilled to be apart of this brilliant show! She thanks her family, friends and Bloc Talent Agency.

Dario Natarelli (Male Ensemble #3) Born in Colorado and raised in New York City, Dario Natarelli is a performer, choreographer, and dance educator specializing in tap dance. He’s had the privilege to work with some incredible artists such as Michelle Dorrance, Justin Peck, Bradley Cooper, Debbie Allen, Jared Grimes, Joshua Bergasse, Ayodele Casel, Kenny Leon, Robert L. Reed, Damian Woetzel, and more. Off-Broadway credits: Oliver! (Noah Claypole/Ensemble), Ayodele Casel’s Artists At The Center (New York City Center choreographer and performer), Tap Dance Kid (Featured Ensemble), Tappin’ Thru Life. Other credits include: Illinois (Justin Peck & Sufjan Stevens), Vail Dance Festival (Choreographer/performer/soloist), Kennedy Center (choreographer/soloist), Saturday Night Live, Netflix, Amazon, YoungArts Finalist and U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Newsies (Original Broadway Choreography), Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Nat’l Tour), Funny Girl (Broadway Pre Production), Cabaret (Emcee), Fall For Dance Festival, Nantucket Dance Festival, National commercials, and more. He graduated from LaGuardia Arts High School and Penn State University (BFA MT). Go in rhythm. IG: @dario_natarelli

Tatiana Nuñez (Arabesque Cookie) (Tati) is a multi-disciplinary artist, originally from South Florida. She is recognized for her profound physical instrument that articulates at the highest level in the techniques of ballet/pointe, tap dance, and contemporary. Tati has performed with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Ballet Collective, and Calpulli Mexican Dance Company. Some of her favorite credits include: West Side Story (Consuela, The Muny), The Night Falls (Dir. Troy Schumacher), Revelations in Rhythm (Dir. Savion Glover) Voices Amplified Finale! (Dir. Ray Mercer). Workshop/Lab: Funny Girl on Broadway (Chor. Ayodele Casel & Anthony Morigerato) A Wonderful World Broadway (Chor. Rickey Tripp & DeWitt Fleming Jr.) His Story the Musical (Dir. Jeff Calhoun) Dance Lab NY. Film/TV: “Ally Bank” (Park Pictures), Ayita’s Dream (Dir. Roger Ingraham). tatiananunez.com @tatinunez143

Megan Prout (Female Ensemble #2) was born in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area. At the early age of three, Megan was introduced and fell in love with the art of dance. Megan is a proud alumni of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and Los Angeles County High School of the Arts.  Megan is currently in her fourth year at the Boston Conservatory pursuing her BFA in Contemporary Dance. Throughout her years, Megan has studied with renowned teachers and choreographers such as Karen Mcdonald, Terry Beeman, Kurt Douglas, Ruka Hatua -Saar White, Brian McGinnis, Gianni Di Marco and Rasta Thomas. Also having the opportunity to work closely and perform works by Debbie Allen, Darrell Moultrie, Otis Sallid, Crystal Perkins, and James Viera. Furthermore, Megan has been fortunate enough to perform restaged repertoire by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, and Bill T. Jones. Megan’s accomplishments includes her performing in Radio City Music Hall’s 85th Christmas Spectacular, YouTube’s first “Music Video Awards Show”, Debbie Allen’s Brother of the Knight, Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, World Aids Day at The Apollo, Netflix: Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square, 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, and KC Honors. Most recently, she has appeared in three popular television series, “This Is Us”, “All American”, and “All American Homecoming”. Megan is thrilled to be joining the production of Sugar Hill! Ig: meganprout_ Website: meganprout.com

Jocelyn Iris Rajkumar (Female Swing #1) is a native New Yorker, raised in Queens currently represented by McDonald Selznick Associates. She has studied dance at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia of Music And Art & Performing Arts. Receiving her BFA in Dance from the University of the Arts and has trained with Complexions Contemporary Ballet under their intensive program. Jocelyn made her theater debut performing in West Side Story at the Guthrie Theater choreographed by Maija Garcia. She has performed works under the creative direction of Thomas Kail and Joseph Haj and choreographers such as Sharon Eyal/Gai Behar, Sidra Bell, Yusha-Marie Sorzano, Doug Varone, Gary Jeter, Dylan Stanley, Loni Landon, and Dwight Rhoden to name a few.

Ange ‘Gregg’ Sainvilus (Boogz Ensemble #4) was born and raised in the South Bronx. Growing up on Mount Eden in the ever changing city of New York; Gregg quickly learned how to navigate and seek out the best that this city has to offer. After receiving his education from “The Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science” Gregg made an executive decision to go straight into the worldwide dance industry. Currently, 21 years of age Gregg has already acquired a multifaceted career. He has worked with major league companies and artists such as Vogue, Cardi B, Paris Fashion week, Levi’s, VMA’s, Fergie, BET awards, Doja Cat, Adidas, Megan The Stallion and the Tonight show Starring Jimmy Fallon to name a few. From this Gregg has taken up the title Professional Dancer Model and actor, but most of all, artist. With the support from his parents Mr. and Mrs. Sainvilus and siblings Stephanie Daphanie and Santana, Gregg will continue to spearhead change and excellence as one of the leaders of the new school.

Tyler D. Singletary (Boogz Ensemble #3) is a movement artist and choreographer who started his dance career in Saint Petersburg, FL and is now based in Los Angeles, CA. He has been dancing for 10+ years now, starting off in the street community, where he cultivated everything he knows himself until he got a chance to travel the USA/world to learn the different styles & culture from the different places he’s seen. He spends his time working as a commercial dancer & street dancer, as well as a community leader for a nonprofit within LA. Some of his accomplishments include winning World of Dance Orlando and Red Bull DYS LA. He’s danced for artists including The Jacksons, Kirk Franklin, Giveon and more. Tyler’s involvement in both communities gives him a unique perspective on hip-hop/street styled dance. He recognizes this dance as not only movement, but a culture and a way of life.

Olivia Tang-Mifsud (Chinoiserie #1) was born and raised in Southern California and started ballet at the age of 5 under the tutelage of Uta Graf-Apostol and Sae Rom Lee Strickland at Palos Verdes Ballet. She then was accepted into San Francisco Ballet’s year round program where she studied until she was invited to join The Joffrey Ballet in 2016 under Ashley Wheater. With The Joffrey, Tang-Mifsud had the opportunity to work with and perform pieces by some of today’s leading choreographers such as Christopher Wheeldon, Justin Peck, Yuri Possokhov and John Neumeier. Tang-Mifsud is honored to have shared her love for dance globally in Paris, Denmark, Sweden and Los Angeles and is especially thrilled to be sharing her passion alongside her Sugar Hill family in this magical production.

Scott Weber (Tootie Toot) Scott has performed with the Broadway productions of King Kong Alive on Broadway, Julie Taymour’s M. Butterfly, and Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour on Broadway (Macy’s Parade).  He has also performed as a Principal Dancer for The Metropolitan Opera and Ballet Trockadero.  He appeared in the film The Greatest Showman.  He received training at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris and has a degree in Literary Journalism from the University of California Irvine. @scottaustinweber

Matt Wiercinski (Male Swing #1) grew up in Totowa NJ. He trained at For Dancers Only and is a graduate of Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester Program. Credits, Broadway: Anastasia (Prince Siegfried/Ensemble) Tours: Anastasia 1st National Tour (Ensemble), West Side Story (Snowboy), Regional: Newsies (The Muny), Jerome Robbins Broadway (TUTS) TV: “Henry Danger/GameShakers” (Nickelodeon), “Mozart In The Jungle” (Amazon Prime). Much love and thanks to my Mom and brothers. Instagram: @matt_wiercinski

Jinhao Zhang (Nutcracker) is a Chinese-born Principal dancer with the Bayerisches Staatsballet in Munich, Germany, and also a graduate of Tongji University, one of the top universities in China. He attended boarding school to study classical ballet since he was 8 years old, competing in competitions that took him out of China as a young teenager to locations such as South Africa, Hong Kong, and Las Vegas. He eventually moved to Shanghai to attend Tongji University and complete his Bachelors before joining the English National Ballet in 2014. At ENB he had the opportunity to dance on more international stages, including performing principal roles in Le Corsaire on the Palais Garnier (Paris Opera) stage. In 2017 he joined the Bayerisches Staatsballett as a Soloist, and was quickly chosen in his first season to perform principal roles such as Crassus in Grigorovich’s Spartacus and Jean de Brienne in Barra’s Raymonda. Jinhao was promoted to First Soloist in 2018 and danced more principal roles such as the Principal Couple in Diamonds of Balanchine’s Jewels, Albrecht in Wright’s Giselle, the role of Wronski in Spuck’s Anna Karenina and Theseus/Oberon in Neumeier’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Jinhao was also a prize winner at Prix de Lausanne in 2013, winner of the Emerging Dancer competition in 2015, won the silver medal in 2016 at the Beijing International Ballet and Choreography Competition (BIBCC), and won the “Best Choreography” award at the BIBCC the same year. He was created on for the murderous role of Richard Ramirez in Andrey Kaydanovskiy’s Cecil Hotel and was in the creation of works with Azsure Barton, Akram Khan, and Annabelle Ochoa. Jinhao was filmed performing Siegfried for Bayerisches Staatsballett’s online stream of Barra’s Swan Lake, as well as their online stream of Maliphant’s Broken Fall alongside his wife Jeanette Kakareka and a pas de deux from the late Scarlett’s With A Chance of Rain. Most recently, Jinhao made his debut as Romeo in Cranko’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Jinhao also guested with the Astana Opera in their production of Swan Lake in Kazakhstan, starred in the “Heaven on Earth” gala week in the Maldives at Velaa Private Islands. He finished his season in Munich debuting as Solor in the classic La Bayadere by Patrice Bart.

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