2023 Guest Artists
This year, we are thrilled to welcome the guest artists, Katherine McDonald and Michele Prudente, from The Madison Ballet as The Sugar Cane Fairy and her Cavalier and local professional dancers Adrienne Simmons, as The Nutcracker, and Edward Spots, as The Storm King, to our cast. These artists will join a cast of over 80 youth dancers who range in age from 5-17!
Sugar Cane Fairy
Kate McDonald started her dance journey at 8 years old in Nova Scotia Canada at a small competition studio, Stars of Tomorrow Dance Academy. At the age of 15 Kate was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet trainee program in New York City, where she trained in a variety of styles including ballet, jazz, contemporary, and modern. She then went back to Canada to continue her training in the graduate program at the Alberta Ballet where she focussed predominantly on her classical training. Kate has worked with many different choreographers both in Canada and the United States. She has performed in many classical ballets along with new works, performing core member, soloist and principal roles. Her favourites include Sugarplum from The Nutcracker, as well as Lady in Red in Jennifer Fournier’s original work of Chairman’s Waltz. Kate joined Madison Ballet in 2023 as a Trainee.
Michele Prudente received a diploma in 2009 from the Teatro Nuovo Torino Academy, which formed dancers such as Federico Bonelli (Royal Ballet of London). He trained with renowned international dancers and teachers like Njurka De Saa (from the Ballet Nacional de Cuba), Angelo Murdocco, Simona Tartaglione (Béjart Ballet), Federico Bonelli (Royal Ballet), Hikaru Kobayashi (RB), Eric Dufrier, Marie Claude Rous (Opera Royale des Flandres). He was admitted to the Ecole Atelier Rudra Béjart in 2014. Michele worked as a Professional Dancer in Italy, France and Germany. In particular, in Germany he worked for the Company "Ballet Krefeld-Monchengladbach" directed by the American Choreographer Robert North (renowned for choreographing works for the Ballet Rambert, the English National Ballet and the Batsheva Dance Company). Back in Italy, he worked for the A. Cava Jazz Ballet for various years. Michele also worked as a dancer in National TV shows and series (such as "Non uccidere"), TV programs (such as “Gran Concerto” with Raffaella Carrà), and in a TV commercial for the worldwide renowned International brand "Club Med". He has been invited as a special guest teacher in international events like Danzainfiera 2020 and to choreograph and dance on video-mapping for Italia’s Got Talent 2022. Michele joined Madison Ballet in 2022.
Adrienne Simmons is a dancer, singer, and actor, who began their formal ballet training at the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre. Adrienne has trained at intensives nationwide and is currently a member of Mélange Dance Company. She is pursuing bachelor's degrees in business management and theatre at the University of New Orleans as well as her master’s in business administration. Recent credits include One Piece (Crescent City Theatre Alliance), The Upstairs Lounge (Mélange Dance Company), and Closer to Heaven (Theatre UNO) . She is currently performing Fantômes with Mélange Dance Company and stage managing No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre at UNO. Adrienne is grateful to be part of The Nutcracker tradition and to have this opportunity to defy the gender confines of classical ballet. IG: @adriennecsimmons
The Storm King
New Orleans native Edward Spots began his dance training with Baderinwa "Mama" Rolland at the very first New Orleans Charter Middle School. He began his formal ballet training at the Schramel Conservatory of Dance and graduated in 2009 from the Walnut Hill School for the Fine Arts as a full scholarship student. Mr. Spots also trained at Joffrey Midwest, The Joffrey School in NYC and The Washington Ballet School in D.C. After training shortly at The Ailey School as a scholarship studenthe was contracted as a dancer with the Ailey II. There Mr. Spots performed and taught in more than 8 international countries and toured domestically. His favorite dance moment is dancing Alvin Ailey's iconic "Revelations" with The Ailey Company at New York City Center. Additionally he has danced with Urban Ballet Theatre, New Orleans Ballet Theatre, Civic Scranton Ballet, Delaware Dance Company, KM Dance Project and the Marigny Oper Ballet. Mr. Spots has enjoyed working with many choreographers including Daniel Catanach, Camille A. Brown, George Faison, Jennifer Archibald, Francesca Harper, Troy Powell, Judith Jamison, Earl Mosley, Thang Dao, Jennifer Muller, Sonia Dawkins, Willy Laury, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Claudia Schreier and Robert Battle. Mr. Spots has been seen on FOX's hit tv show, So You Think You Can Dance and Bulgaria's Dancing With The Stars and modeled for Dance Magazine, Essence, and The New York Times. He appeared in the Omnibus film American Rhapsody directed by Garret Bradley. Mr. Spots was featured in an international Walmart commercial directed by Seth Rogan and choreographed by Tricia Miranda which aired during the 2017 Academy Awards. Presently Mr. Spots works as a freelance commercial dancer and actor.