Alexander began his training in Lafayette, IN at the age of 17 with the Lafayette Ballet Company under the direction of Sandra Peticolas and Lisa Douglas. He continued his studies at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, where he graduated with a B.S. in Dance Performance. While at Ball State, Alexander was able to work with guest artists such as Stephanie Martinez, Kristopher Estes-Brown, Alex Springer and Xan Burley. He has also attended summer intensive programs at the American Dance Center in Overland Park, KS, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Summer Dance Company in Wilmington, NC, and the American Academy of Ballet at SUNY Purchase. Upon graduating, Alexander began his professional career with Louisville Ballet under the artistic direction of Robert Curran. Some of his favorite roles include Adam Hougland’s Cold Virtues, Spanish Chocolate and Russian Caviar in Val Caniparoli’s The Brown-Forman Nutcracker, and as a soloist in Andrea Schermoly’s Fractured and Mikelle Bruzina’s Gloria. Alexander then danced for two seasons with Ballet Quad Cities under the artistic direction of Courtney Lyon, where he was given the opportunity to dance roles such as the Nutcracker Prince and Cavalier in Courtney Lyon’s The Nutcracker, the Red Queen in Lyon’s Alice in Wonderland, and the title role in Lyon’s Billy the Kid. He was also featured in Deanna Carter’s Dracula and Newsflash, Lynn Kathryn Bowman’s Delicatessen, and appeared in dances such as Carter’s Ash to Glass, Lyon’s Bolero, and Margaret King’s Rodeo. Alexander is absolutely thrilled to be joining Central Illinois Ballet as a principal artist for his 4th season!
Jessie Williams, a graduate of Butler University with a BFA in Dance Performance, was born and raised in Suwanee, Georgia. She began training at a young age at Northeast Atlanta Ballet under the direction of Jennifer Gordon and shortly after accepted a traineeship with Next Generation Ballet under the direction of Peter Stark. While at Butler, Jessie was given the opportunity to perform corps, soloist, and principal roles in full-length ballets including The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle, Cinderella, and The Four Temperaments. She was also given the opportunity to perform soloist and principal roles in various contemporary works including a work by David Ingram showcased at the Indiana Governors Arts Awards. Jessie found her love of choreography after spending a summer training alongside Sidra Bell working on a premiere piece titled “Middle Prayer.” During her later years at Butler she was able to tour Eastern Europe with two of her own contemporary works which premiered at the National Opera House in Warsaw. Soon after college Jessie accepted a company position at Central Illinois Ballet and within a year was promoted to Soloist. During her time at CIB she has had the pleasure of performing many soloist and principal roles alongside the company. Jessie's favorite roles include Phlegmatic in Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments, Dracula in Central Illinois Ballets production of Dracula, and Sugarplum Fairy in Central Illinois Ballets The Nutcracker. This will be Jessie’s fifth season dancing with Central Illinois Ballet and her second season as Academy Director.
Maya de Leon
Academy Operations Manager
Maya de Leon is a Filipino-American dancer and dance teacher who began her training at the Greater Lansing Ballet Company in Michigan. As a student, she received scholarships to many summer intensives including the National Choreography Intensive, Colorado Conservatory of Dance, and the 2014 International Ballet Competition. Maya continued her dance training at Point Park University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2019 and had the pleasure of being cast in pieces by Jae Man Joo, Matthew Powell, Helen Simoneau, Christopher Wheeldon, and Edwaard Liang among others. She began her professional career at the age of 19 touring Michigan with Third Coast Dance Company and has also danced with Ballet Quad Cities. Maya is excited to be back at Central Illinois Ballet for her second season! Since joining CIB, some of her favorite roles have been Mina in Dracula, Clara in The Nutcracker, and The Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid. Maya is a certified Youth Protection Advocate in Dance and hopes to continue the tradition of ballet by emphasizing wellness and inclusion to help cultivate and inspire young dancers who will brighten the future of ballet.
Hannah Ray Bruce
Marketing Director & Artistic Coordinator
Hannah was born in Barrington, IL where she trained with the Barrington Dance Academy. She also spent summers with Milwaukee Ballet, River North Dance Chicago, and Thodos Dance Chicago. She graduated summa cum laude from Point Park University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. While at Point Park, Hannah performed works by Peter Merz, Ernest Tolentino, Kiesha Lalama, and Nicholas Petrov’s Romeo and Juliet. In 2015, Hannah qualified as a finalist in the Youth American Grand Prix performing in New York and placed in the top 12. Previously, Hannah has danced professionally with MERZTANZ Contemporary Ballet Company under Peter Merz and Convergence Ballet under Jennifer Cafarella. Since joining CIB some of Hannah's favorite roles include; Mina and Lucy in Dracula, Clara and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker, the title role in Firebird, Christine in Phantom of the Opera, the title role in Cinderella, and Daisy in Gatsby. She has also set original works on the company; Disconnect (2018) and A Sailor Suite (2021). This is Hannah's sixth season with Central Illinois Ballet!
Jennifer Reiter Hand
Following in her mothers footsteps, Ms. Reiter began dancing at the age of six at the Peoria Ballet. She danced in numerous productions of Nutcracker and held the role of Clara from 1984-1986. She received her Masters degree in dance from New York University's Tish school of Arts and her BFA in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, both of her degrees are in dance and choreography. Ms. Reiter has taught and produced choreography for private studios, universities, summer intensives and theater companies in the Midwest including: DanceArts in Champaign, IL; Champaign Ballet Academy; Millikinn University in Decatur, IL and University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana. Her work in the Northeast includes: the East Coast (D'Valda & Sirico in Fairfield CT; Longwood Performing Arts Academy in Kennett Square PA; and in New York City at Ballet Hispanico, Broadway Dance Center and Ballet Arts. As a teacher she specializes in ballet, pointe/variations, modern, improvisation, choreography, adult beginner dance, dance vocabulary, and movement for actors. Her students are presently performing in national tours, in ballet and modern dance companies, for Disney, and on Broadway. Ms. Reiter believes that to learn to dance well, dancers must find joy in the simple act of moving. To that end, she constructs an environment that encourages a sense of play, experimentation, community, and humor while working in an organized and respectful way not only towards everyone participating in the class, but also to the noble tradition of dance, a tradition she believes is beautiful and worthy of reverence."Dance should never hurt the body or force it into feelings of strain or tightness. Instead, I believe dance can open the body and create a freedom from within that can be pleasurable for your emotional and spiritual self, as well as the physical."
Mary Price Boday
Mary Price Boday, Master Teacher for Revolutionary Principles of Movement is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. After graduating on the Dean’s List from the University of Oklahoma with two Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Master of Fine Arts, she moved to New York City and danced professionally with the Leonard Fowler Ballet, Mary Anthony Dance Theatre, Pearl Lang Dance Company, Larry Richardson Dance Company, and the Gaku Dance Company (Dick Gain, Dick Kuch, and Sophie Maslow). Also, in New York City, she taught and choreographed for the Harkness Ballet Trainee Company, where she worked with David Howard and Maria Vegh. From New York, she moved to Switzerland to dance with the St Gallen Stadt Theatre Ballet and the Zurich Ballet. Mary has been teaching for over 35+ years and some of the places include Harkness Ballet, ballet mistress in St Gallen, the Zurich Opera House, the University of Illinois, Cornish College of Seattle, David Howard Summer Workshops, Dance Director of the Mercyhurst College Dance Department, and Artistic Director and Founder of the Illinois Ballet, and Associate Professor of Dance at Oklahoma City University.
When Mary was working on her master’s degree, she formed the Mary K Price Dance Company of twelve dancers that performed all over the state of Oklahoma. In 1988 she formed the not for profit dance company in Seattle, Washington called Mary and Friends.
Mary has been choreographing for over 30 years with works on the Harkness Ballet Trainee Company in New York City; the St Gallen Stadt Theatre Ballet in Switzerland; the University of Illinois, the National Ballet of Illinois, Mary and Friends, Mercyhurst College, Lake Erie Ballet, Peoria Ballet, Illinois Ballet, Opera Illinois, The Public Theater Company, and Bradley University.
Youth Program and Business Development Consultant
Carole Krohn, a central Illinois native, formerly of Peoria Ballet and long time Colorado resident is thrilled return to the greater Peoria area after many years of study, performance and teaching classical ballet in Chicago and Colorado. In Colorado, Carole performed and received pedagogical training under Mrs. Julie Sneden Carlson, Artistic Director of Ballet Northwest, and performed several seasons with Steamboat Dance Theater. Highlighting her repertoire are roles as soloist, character and corp de ballet in many classical works including, The Firebird, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, Dracula, Rodeo and The Nutcracker, in addition to many contemporary and original works. As a dedicated student of classical ballet for over 40 years, Carole has received training at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts under the direction of Mr. Larry Long, Steamboat Springs Ballet under the Master Classes of Michael Vernon, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, Aspen-Santa Fe Ballet, Perry Mansfield Performing Arts Academy, Denver Dance Center, Vail International Festival of Dance, The Academy of Colorado Ballet, Dance Aspen, Purdue University, Colorado Mountain College and the University of Illinois. Carole received a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors from Purdue University, Phi Beta Kappa, where she was a member of the Purdue Golduster Dance Team and a founding member of the Purdue Gymnastics Club. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1989. In addition to being a sought after ballet instructor in both Colorado and Illinois, Carole has maintained an active law practice for over 25 years and has served as Guardian ad Litem for the State of Colorado, Office of the Child’s Legal Representative. Carole teaches all levels of ballet from the very youngest of students to adults and professionals and is particularly interested in early grade ballet program and curriculum development as well as nurturing and guiding the youngest students in their first steps on stage to and to instill in them a life long appreciation for music and performing arts as part of early and middle childhood development.
Central Illinois Ballet Board of Directors
President of the Board
Rebekah von Rathonyi
Board of Directors
Dr Deborah Garrison
Laurel Filzen Etzel