Trainees & Apprentices

The Trainee & Apprentice Program offers talented students the opportunity to train in the highest level of the school as part of the Conservatory Program and work with the North Carolina Dance Theatre dancers and directors. The Conservatory Program is an all day study program that offers students the opportunity to integrate their academic studies with their dance training. 

Click here to learn more about the Trainee, Apprentice and Conservatory Programs.


Kristine Butler
A native of Buffalo, NY, Kristine received her early dance education at Royal Academy of Ballet.  At the age of sixteen, she went on to spend two years training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. At CPYB, she was in many performances, including Giselle, George Balanchine's The Nutcracker and Divertimento No. 15.  Kristine has attended summer programs at NYSSSA, Boston Ballet, CPYB and North Carolina Dance Theatre.  This is her first year at North Carolina Dance Theatre as an Apprentice.

Lauren Derrig
Lauren Derrig is originally from Williamston, Michigan. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she received her BFA in Classical Ballet and secondary training in Contemporary Ballet under many instructors. While at UNCSA, Lauren was featured in Balanchine’s Valse Fantasie- staged by Deborah Wingert, featured solos include: Raymonda Variation, and Ballet Paquita’s La Sylphide Variation staged by Ms. Nina Danilova. She studied with Gregory M. George at Children’s Ballet Theatre of Michigan, and performed principle roles including Sugar Plum (3 years) from Nutcracker Ballet, Kitri and Dulcinea from Don Q, Odile from Swan Lake, and many other original contemporary as well as ballet pas de deux variations. She attended summer intensives at American Ballet Theatre of New York, ABT of Detroit, and UNCSA, where she was the featured Snow Queen solo, staged by Nina Danilova. She also attended Complexions Contemporary Ballet Summer Intensive in Detroit and New York. She won awards including Finalist for Michigan Maggie Allesee New Choreography Award and Michigan Youth Arts Festival. 

Currently she is Co-author with former Kirov Ballet’s Nina Danilova, current UNCSA faculty member, “Classical Ballet Variations of Marius Petipa,” and is photographed for the step-by-step breakdown of Petipa’s traditional classical ballet variations. Lauren danced with Ballet Quad Cities as a company member for the 2012-2013 season. This is Lauren’s first Season as an Apprentice with North Carolina Dance Theatre and she is extremely excited to begin the 2013 - 2014 Season.

Rachel Dunn
Rachel Dunn began dancing at age 4 and trained with the School of Classical Ballet Dance in Des Moines, Iowa. In 2011, she moved to Charlotte and began dancing in the Pre-Professional Division at North Carolina Dance Theatre. She has attended summer intensives at Tulsa Ballet, BalletMet, the Chautauqua Institution, and participated in Youth America Grand Prix. This is her first year as an apprentice with North Carolina Dance Theatre.
Kira Greer-Rice
Originally from Spartanburg, SC, Kira started her training at the age of 3 at Ballet Spartanburg. At 12 Kira was invited to join the North Carolina Dance Theatre School of Dance. Kira has attended summer programs with the Atlanta Ballet and American Ballet Theatre Detroit. She also attended three summers at the Chautauqua Dance Institute where she preformed works by Mark Diamond and Michael Vernon. Her favorite roles include Clara from The Nutcracker and Pus n' Boots from Sleeping Beauty. This is Kira's first year as an Apprentice with North Carolina Dance Theatre.
Samantha Griffin
Originally from Winston Salem, NC, Samantha started dancing at the age of 4. At age 11 she started dancing with University of North Carolina School of the Arts preparatory program and Wake Forest Community Ballet. She then went on to continue her 4 years of high school at University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied with Susan McCullough, Susan Jaffe, Dayna Fox and Nina Danilova. She performed in many performances with UNCSA such as La Source, La Bayadere , Snow Queen in the Nutcracker, and Susan Jaffe’s world premiere of Polovtsian Dances. She has attended summer programs at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, The School of American Ballet, Boston Ballet and North Carolina Dance Theater. This is Samantha’s first year as an apprentice with North Carolina Dance Theater.
Miranda Hashemi
Miranda was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where she began her dance training at Denise Wall’s Dance Energy, studying with Denise Wall and Vicky Cooke. She also participated in various convention/competition venues, receiving a ballet scholarship from New York City Dance Alliance. She then moved to Carlisle, PA, and studied at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet for four years under Marcia Dale Weary, Leslie Hench, Laszlo Berdo, Darla Hoover, Alan Hineline, Bruce Thornton, and Melinda Howe as well as guest teachers Merrill Ashley, Julie Kent, Daniel Ulbricht, Nicholas Ade, Michelle Lucci, Tatiana Tchernova, Gennadi Vostrikov, and Rafael Grigorian among others. While at CPYB she performed character, corps, soloist, and principal roles in George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker;” Laszlo Berdo’s “Swan Lake,” “Carnival of the Animals,” “Peter Pan;” Alan Hineline’s “Cinderella’s Ball,” “Coppelia,” ”Roseland Pictures,” “Giselle,” among others, and in various Balanchine works such as “Who Cares?,” “Raymonda Variations,” ”Valse Fantasie,” ”La Source”, “Serenade,” and “Divertimento #15.” She also attended summer programs at Virginia School of the Arts, Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Boston Ballet, as well as two summers at San Francisco Ballet. This is her first year as an Apprentice for North Carolina Dance Theatre.
Alexander McCleery
Alexander's previous companies include Ballet Chicago, company director Daniel Duell and Patricia Blair, and Contemporary Dance South, company director Kris Cangelosi. Some of his performances include principal and soloist roles in Serenade, Stares and Stripes, and The Nutcracker. He has also performed a number of contemporary pieces choreographed by Daniel Duell, Ted Seymore, Autumn Eckman, Terrence Henderson, and Kris Cangelosi. Alexander's original training comes from Cangelosi Dance Project, under direction of Kris Cangelosi, where he studied several dance styles including classical ballet, contemporary, jazz, modern, tap, and hip-hop. His Balanchine training came later while at Ballet Chicago dancing for Daniel Duell and Patricia Blair. This is Alexander’s first year as an Apprentice at North Carolina Dance Theatre in Charlotte, NC under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and Patricia McBride.
Forrest Oliveros
Forrest is from Chattanooga, Tennessee and has been dancing since the age of 12. He trained for four years at Ballet Tennessee under the direction of Anna VanCura. He has attended summer intensives at Ballet Tennessee and the Chautauqua Dance Institute. This is Forrest’s first season as an Apprentice with North Carolina Dance Theatre.
J. Wyatt Peterson
J. Wyatt Peterson was raised in Pennsylvania where he started his classical training at age twelve with Dance Theatre of PA and Metropolitan Ballet Academy. As a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts class of 2013, Wyatt has had the opportunity to work with many known and up-and-coming teachers and choreographers such as Ethan Stiefel, Susan Jaffe, Brenda Daniels, Frank Smith, Warren Conover, Trish Casey, Sean Sullivan, Abigail Yager, Larry Keigwin, Douglas Becker, and Emery LeCrone. In recent times, Wyatt has enjoyed dancing roles in pieces such as William Forsyth's New Sleep Pas de Deux, Emery LeCrone’s Four Parts in Three Sections, Larry Keigwin's Kingdom, and Snow Pas de Deux in Ethan Stiefel's The Nutcracker. In 2010 Wyatt received the Young Dancer's Award in Excellence from Regional Dance America which included a full scholarship to their yearly choreographic summer intensive where he worked with now up-and-coming choreographer and NCDT dancer David Morse. In 2011 Wyatt was fortunate enough to be a part of UNCSA's production of Oklahoma! restaged by members of the original cast and conducted by world renown musician and conductor John Mauceri. Wyatt has attended various summer intensives on scholarship including those at NCDT, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet Chicago, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. This is Wyatt's first year as an Apprentice with North Carolina Dance Theatre.
Marissa Richardson
Marissa Richardson is from Kansas City, Missouri and began dancing at the age of two. At the age of nine she focused her training to classical ballet and studied with the Kansas City Ballet School and was a member of the Kansas City Youth Ballet for seven years.  She has spent her summers at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, The School of American Ballet, Chautauqua as a Festival dancer, San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, Next Generation Ballet, Jacob's Pillow and North Carolina Dance Theater.  For the past two years she was the student apprentice with the Kansas City Ballet, under the directorship of Mr. William Whitener. As a student apprentice with The Kansas City Ballet, she danced in Serenade, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. This is Marissa's first season with the North Carolina Dance Theater and she is very excited for this opportunity.
Elizabeth Webb
Originally from Troy, Michigan, Elizabeth Webb began dancing at the age of 5. She trained at The Link School of the Arts in the Cecchetti method, and was a grade 7 graduate under the instruction of Betty Mitchell. She was then accepted into Miami City Ballet School's Pre-Professional Division, where she trained for the past year under Carter Alexander and Geta Constantinescu. Elizabeth has attended summer programs with Boston Ballet, along with Boston Ballet's Choreographic Intensive, Texas Ballet Theatre, Kansas City Ballet, and has participated in Ballet Russe's Russian Ballet Festival. She also participated in Youth American Grand Prix as a soloist in an ensemble piece that continued to the New York Finals. Her performance experience includes roles in The Link's Nutcracker as Sugar Plum Fairy, MCBS's Carnival of the Animal's, and Serenade, as well as solo performances for The Austrian Society of Detroit and The French Alliance of Detroit. This is her first year at NCDT as an Apprentice.


Gabrielle Becker
Gabrielle Becker is a native of Cedar Rapids, IA. She began her dance training at The Ballet Academy Inc. at a young age. In 2010 she began training as a part of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Full Time High School Program. She has attended summer programs at The Rock, Joffery Midwest, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Chicago and North Carolina Dance Theatre. This is her first year as a trainee at North Carolina Dance Theatre.
Nicole Bell
Originally from Oxford, Michigan, Nicole began to seriously study ballet with the Michigan Ballet Theatre and their studio company, under the direction of Cornelia Sampson. She spent the last year training full time at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School in their high school ballet program, and has spent many summers training there during their intensives as well. She has also spent summers at Ballet Met and North Carolina Dance Theatre. Nicole has participated in the Youth American Grand Prix where her solo placed in the top 12 in the contemporary division. This is her first year as a trainee with North Carolina Dance Theatre.
Rebekah DiFilippo
Rebekah DiFilippo hails from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  She began her training at Pennsylvania Regional Ballet under artistic director, Sandra Carlino.  Rebekah enjoyed performing leading roles such as Clara and Snow Queen in Pennsylvania Regional Ballet’s The Nutcracker.  While at Pennsylvania Regional Ballet, Rebekah was a four-time recipient of the Betty Cook Scholarship.  In 2008, she attended Regional Dance America’s Craft of Choreography Conference in Seattle, Washington with a full scholarship.  Ms. DiFilippo has attended summer intensives at Pennsylvania Regional Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, American Ballet Theater in New York City, Ballet Austin, and North Carolina Dance Theater.  In 2010, Rebekah attended Point Park University’s Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with an artistic scholarship. Ms DiFilippo moved to Austin, Texas in 2011 where she danced as a trainee for two years with Ballet Austin.  At Ballet Austin she trained under the direction of Stephen Mills, Michelle Martin, Allyson Paino, and Jennifer Hart.  She was a recipient of the Butler Scholarship at Ballet Austin.  This is Rebekah’s first season dancing with North Carolina Dance Theater as a Trainee.
Caitrin Murphy
Caitrin Murphy, a native of Charlotte, began dancing when she was 3. At the age of 9, Caitrin began training at the North Carolina Dance Theatre. She has attended summer programs at North Carolina Dance Theatre and Chautauqua Dance Institute. One of her favorite performing experiences was dancing Balanchine's "Tarantella". This is her second year in the pre-professional program and her first year as a Trainee.
Elizabeth Pischel
Elizabeth Pischel, at 16 years of age, is training with North Carolina Dance Theatre under the instruction of Kathryn Moriarty, Mark Diamond and Patricia McBride.  There she has performed with their professional company in the Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty under the direction of Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux.  She has recently performed the lead role in J’Ambe choreographed and directed by Mark Diamond and performed in the SERBA Dance Festival.  She attended Alonzo King Lines ballet intensive the summer of 2013.  Prior to that Elizabeth studied ballet with Marlene Turbin-Weldon and was coached by Charmaine Ristow. Under their direction, she performed as the Sugar Plum in different productions.  She has also trained with Joffrey ballet and the Russian Classical Ballet.  Elizabeth placed 3rd with her performance of O Holy Night, of which she choreographed, at the International Youth American Grand Prix Competition in Chicago. She has performed at the Gala of Ballet Russe which consisted of soloists from the Bolshoi, in Michigan, with the Minnesota Ballet Company.  Elizabeth has also performed solos with the Saint Petersburg Classical Ballet Theatre and the Intercontinental Summer Dance Festival in Madison.
Laura Schultz
Laura, a Boston native, is joining North Carolina Dance Theatre as a trainee after dancing with Next Generation Ballet, a Tampa based youth company, for two years. Under the direction of Peter Stark, Laura performed Winter Fairy in the youth company's 2013 production of Cinderella. Prior to her work with NGB, Laura trained with the Boston Ballet School, and was featured in the school's performances of Alice in Wonderland and Snow White. From 2004 - 2010, Laura trained as a soloist with the Boston Dance Company, performing the Candy Cane and English variations in their annual production of The Nutcracker. Laura has trained on scholarship at several summer intensive programs, including Chautauqua Dance Festival, American Ballet Theater, Orlando Ballet School, Next Generation Ballet/Patel Conservatory, Boston Ballet School, as well as with Gelsey Kirkland in New York City. 

Chloe Walker
Originally from New Braunfels, Texas, Chloe has been dancing since she was five. She has been training at Ballet Chicago for two years under the direction of Daniel Duell. Her teachers have included Daniel Duell, Patricia Blair, Ted Seymour, William Miglino, and Elly Green. Chloe has attended summer intensives at Ballet Austin and Ballet Chicago. This is Chloe’s first season as a Trainee with North Carolina Dance Theatre.

Sommer Walker
Sommer Walker is from Miami, Florida and began training in ballet under her instructor Alison Hesh. She was then accepted into The Nutmeg Conservatory, where she trained for the past year under Victoria Mazzarelli and Eleanor D'Antuono. Sommer has attended summer intensive programs at North Carolina Dance Theatre, American Ballet Theatre New York, Ballet West, The Nutmeg Conservatory, Magnus Midwest and Joffrey. This is her first year as a Trainee for North Carolina Dance Theatre.
Nicolas White
Nicolas is from Camden, Sc. He started his training at the age of 13 at Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet in Columbia, Sc under Mimi Worrell. He has attended summer intensives with Ballet Austin, The Joffrey Ballet School, and participated in the Youth American Grand Prix. This is his first year as a Trainee at North Carolina Dance Theatre.

Alexandra Whitman
Alexandra Whitman is from Bristol, Tennessee, where she began dancing at age 6.  She trained in the Theatre of Ballet Arts’ senior company under Jo Rosser and Fernando Moraga.  She has also danced with Highlands’ Center for the Ballet Arts and the Bristol Ballet company, as well as attended summer programs at Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, Ballet Tennessee, and North Carolina Dance Theatre.  Some of her favorite roles include Clara and Dew Drop in The Nutcracker, Tinker Bell in Peter Pan, and Tweedle Dum in Alice In Wonderland.  This is Alexandra’s first year as a Trainee at North Carolina Dance Theatre.

Photos by: Peter Zay.