Ballet BC’s Romeo + Juliet returns to the stage after the show’s highly acclaimed premiere in 2018. Get to know the dancers before they arrive at The Soraya on February 29 and March 1, 2020!
Meet the Leads
Originally from Richmond, BC, EMILY CHESSA (Juliet | Feb 29) began her professional dance training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in 2006, where she received the Arnold Spohr Scholarship and the Paddy Stone Scholarship for choreography. After graduating from the school in 2010, she trained at Arts Umbrella in the graduate program under the guidance of Artemis Gordon. She participated in summer programs such as the Movement Invention Project in New York and Springboard Danse Montreal. Since joining Ballet BC in 2012 as an apprentice, she has performed works by Emily Molnar, Company 605, Johan Inger, Lesley Telford, Medhi Walerski, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin and Sharon Eyal. This is Emily’s 8th season with the company.
JUSTIN RAPAPORT (Romeo | Feb 29) is from Miami, Florida, where he began dancing at the age of 8. He went on to formally train at New World School of the Arts and The Juilliard School. During his training, Justin had the opportunity to perform works by Jiří Kylián, Twyla Tharp, Kyle Abraham, Brian Brooks, and many more amazing artists. Justin has also studied at various summer intensives such as Nederlands Dans Theater, Springboard Dance Montreal, and Jacobs’s Pillow Contemporary Program. While with Ballet BC, Justin has performed works by choreographers such as William Forsythe, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Aszure Barton, Sharon Eyal, and Johan Inger, as well as well creations with Emily Molnar, Mehdi Walerski, Adi Salant and Serge Bennathan. This is Justin’s 4th season with Ballet BC.
DEX VAN TER MEIJ (Romeo | Mar 1) is originally from Amsterdam and started his professional dance training at the age of ten with the Dutch National Ballet Academy for eight years. Continuing his training in 2016 at Arts Umbrella under the directorship of Artemis Gordon, he had the opportunity to work with several brilliant artists such as Crystal Pite, Lesley Telford, Emanuel Gat, Doug Letheren, Eric Beauchesne, Rafael Sady, Lukas Timulak, Tom Weinberger, Wen Wei Wang, and Cayetano Soto. Dex joined Ballet BC’s Program 2 for the amazing Romeo + Juliet by Medhi Walerski and feels very excited about joining Ballet BC for the 2019–20 season.
KIRSTEN WICKLUND (Juliet | Mar 1) studied at Pacific Dance Arts, The Goh Ballet Academy, Modus Operandi Contemporary Training Program, and received scholarships to train at American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, & Banff Centre for the Performing Arts. She is the recipient of the Vancouver Foundation Arts Study Award and the Vancouver Ballet Society’s Memorial Scholarship and was a Female Finalist at the Youth American Grand Prix Finals in NYC. She has danced with Canada’s Youth Ballet Company, The Washington Ballet Company, Rasta Thomas’ Rock the Ballet, Alonzo King’s Choreographic Workshop, plus project-based commercial work in film & television. Kirsten has choreographed works for Dancing on the Edge, Dances for a Small Stage, The Dance Deck Series, Arts Umbrella, Goh Ballet, and Lamon Dance. While with Ballet BC, she has been privileged to dance works by Lesley Telford, Medhi Walerski, William Forsythe, Emmanuel Gat, Wen Wei Wang, Cayetano Soto, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Johan Inger, Serge Bennathan, Company 605, Jorma Elo, Jacopo Godani, Walter Mateini, Emily Molnar, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin, Sharon Eyal and others. Kirsten appreciates the collaborative nature of Ballet BC and the opportunity to create new works as well as perform the company’s existing repertoire. She continues to choreograph, teach workshops and adjudicate across Canada and the United States. She is a 200 HR-E-RYT certified yoga teacher who studies and practices a variety of movement languages. Kirsten is in pursuit of creating works for live performance and hopes to explore many different avenues within the performing arts. This is Kirsten’s 6th season with Ballet BC.