Company Apprentices

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Juniors

Isabella DeGregorio is a sixteen-year-old junior and this is her first year on the company. Isabella started dancing at the age of eight with ballet classes at Laurelhurst Ballet Studio under the instruction of Jojo Hills. After high school Isabella plans to continue on to a four year college, either studying to get her BFA in dance or become a dance physical therapist. She would like to thank Jojo Hills for introducing her to her love of dance and Steve Gonzales for giving her the opportunity to be on the company and always pushing her to become her best. Isabella would like to thank her parents and siblings for their unwavering support and encouragement towards her dancing.

Kaiya Gilbert is a seventeen year old junior at Jefferson High School and this is her second year on the company. Kaiya has been dancing since she was eleven years old; she started ballet training at 10 and continued dancing through middle school into high school. In middle school she danced with the West Sylvan Dance Team under Keeley and Kerry Driscoll. Outside of dance team she took ballet classes at Bodyvox to further her technique and continues to take classes in all styles at Bodyvox studio and Vega Dance Lab. Through high school she has trained with Steve Gonzales and Cynthia Tosh. Her favorite styles are Jazz and Contemporary. She would like to thank Keeley and Kerry Driscoll for helping her truly discover her love for dance and supporting her through it and her grandfather Doyle Gilbert for helping her reach her goals. Kaiya would like to attend a four year college and attend medical school to fulfill her medical career goals while also continuing to dance for fun.

Wilson Francois is a seventeen-year-old junior and this is his first year on the company. He started dancing at age twelve at Ockley Green Middle School with Damon Keller, an alumni of the Jefferson Dancers. Damon was the first one to teach him about everything he knows now and all throughout middle school he was dancing thanks to Damon. Wilson would like to thank all of his dance teachers for giving him the opportunity to be a Jefferson Dancer this year, especially Bunky Holden-Williams. Bunky believed in him and wouldn’t let him give up, was with him every step of the way, and is the best supporter he ever had.

Caalyn Yarbrough

Sophomores

True's Ambus is a sixteen-year-old sophomore and this is his first year on the company. Prior to taking classes at Jefferson, he began dancing at Boise Eliot-Humboldt. He wants to thank his family and teachers for helping him become a better dancer. He’d also like to thank the Jefferson Dancers for always pushing him to utilize his full potential. He loves dance because it’s a huge part of his life and wants to keep dancing for as long as he can.

Zachary Brant is a sixteen-year-old sophomore and this is his first year on the company. He has danced previously at the Portland Ballet and attended their summer intensive three times. Zach would like to thank his very first dance teacher Brian Baker who taught him breakdance for seven years. He would also like to thank all the teachers at the Portland Ballet as well as the teachers at Jefferson.

Sarah Sullivan is a sixteen year old sophomore and this is her first year with the Jefferson Dancers. Before she attended Jefferson High School, she studied at Hollywood Dance Studio for thirteen years under the instruction of Krista Loveless, Rachel Callahan, and Jessica Reimiller. There she trained in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and hip hop. After that she continued her dancing at da Vinci Arts Middle School where she studied under Claire Olberding, Sara Martins, and Katie Statskow strengthening her abilities more in ballet, tap, and jazz. Sarah would like to thank her previous dance teacher Éowyn Emerald for showing her another side of dance and inspiring her to push herself to become better each day.

Freshmen

Zaida Johnson is a fourteen-year-old freshman and this is her first year on the company. At the age of four she began her dance training at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre (SOBT). Dancing there, Damara Bennett gave her multiple opportunities through dance. She also gained valuable exposure to performing in professional dance productions during her training at SOBT. Zaida has attended multiple summer intensives including SOBT, The Portland Ballet and Alonzo King LINES Ballet in San Francisco, California. After Jefferson, Zaida hopes that she can go out of state for college and she wants to see where dance can take her all around the world. She would like to thank Damara Bennett for introducing her to the world of dance at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Claire Olberding, Sara Martins, and Eowyn Emerald Barrett of the da Vinci dance department for expanding her true love for dance. Zaida would also like to thank Heather Jackson for deepening her pre-professional dance experience and for supporting her every step of the way and Steve Gonzales and the Jefferson dance department staff for giving her this incredible opportunity. Additionally, she would like to thank her family for always having her back and for being so supportive of her.