PHOTOS BY BRIAN GUILLIAUX
Emily Drake is a native of Nashville. Drake began studying modern, ballet, and jazz at an early age and attended summer programs at The Rock School of Ballet. She graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance from SMU Meadows School of the Arts in 2014. At SMU she performed in works by renowned choreographers Martha Graham; Adam Hougland; Jessica Lang; Billy Siegenfeld; Bill T. Jones; and Bruce Wood.® In April 2016, Drake was one of a trio of BWDP dancers to perform in the world premiere of Gul-e-Dodi commissioned by Le Train Bleu and choreographed by Katarzyna Skarpetowska for a performance at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, New York. This is her fifth year with BWD.
David Escoto is a South Florida native living in Dallas. He graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in 2014 with a BFA in dance under the direction of Katie Langan. At Marymount, he had the privilege of performing works choreographed by Dwight Rhoden, Twyla Tharp, Emery LeCrone, Lar Lubovitch, and Chase Brock. Professionally, he has traveled to China with Nikolais Dance Theater to perform at the First Yang Li Ping International Dance Festival, and he apprenticed with Parsons Dance in New York. Escoto is thrilled to be dancing in his fourth year with BWD.
Austin Sora is originally from Toronto, Canada and began her professional training at Canada’s National Ballet School. She earned a BFA in Dance and a minor in Arts Management from Marymount Manhattan College. She was the recipient of Marymount’s Gold Key Award for excellence in dance. She has spent her summers studying on scholarship at The Ailey School, Complexions, and with Twyla Tharp. She has performed in New York with Buglisi Dance Theatre and toured to China with Nikolais Dance Theatre. Sora is the director of BWD’s education outreach program. She would like to thank her family and friends for their love and support. This is her third year with BWD.
Néstor Leonardo Pérez is a native of the southern tropical area of Mexico. In 2009, he began studying dance at the Texas Woman’s University (TWU) where he was introduced to a wide variety of dance styles. He was a member of TWU’s DanceWorks, DanceLAB, and International Dance Company. He has performed and choreographed with Big Rig Dance Collective and Grid Dance Theater. In 2013, he attended the American Dance Festival, where he performed in the restaging of choreographer Bill T. Jones’ Love Redefined. Pérez began as an apprentice in 2015, and in 2017 became a company member. This is his third year with BWD.
Gabriel Speiller is a native New Yorker, raised in Queens. He is a graduate of Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. He has a BFA in Dance at Belhaven University where he performed works created by Doug Varone and Dancers, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, José Limón Dance Company, among others. His performing credentials include Ad Deum Dance Company, Paul Taylor 2, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Dance Company, Katherine Maxwell, NOW Dance Project, Jessica Gaynor Dance Company, and Robert Mark Dance Company. He would like to thank everyone who has supported him throughout his dance journey. This is his second year with BWD.
Akilah Brooks is a Baltimore native who began her dance training at the Baltimore School of the Arts, where she graduated with honors. She has a BA with a concentration in modern dance from Point Park University where she performed in works by Christopher L. Huggins, Troy Powell, Mark Morris, Sidra Bell, and Garfield Lemonius. Brooks was a member of Dallas Black Dance Theater II under the direction of Nycole Ray in 2015 and 2016. She would like to thank her family and close friends for their support and encouragement. This is her second year with BWD.
Olivia Rehrman grew up in Dallas, Texas and began her training at the Academy of Dance Arts. She graduated with a BFA in dance from the University of Arizona in 2012. In 2009, she was a featured dancer in the HBO series, Masterclass, with Emmy-nominated choreographer Bill T. Jones. She received the Charles Andrew Kulp Scholarship from the Dance Council of North Texas upon graduating from high school and was Dance Spirit Magazine’s March 2011 featured “Dancer to Watch.” She performed for four seasons with the world-renowned jazz company, River North Dance Chicago. Rehrman would like to thank her mentors and her family for their endless support. This is her second year with BWD.
Jillyn Bryant is a Dallas native, studied with Kathy Willsey and Megan Willsey-Buckland at the Academy of Dance Arts. She is a graduate of Point Park University with a BA in Dance and a Minor in Business Management. There, she performed in works by George Balanchine, Lar Lubovitch, Ohad Naharin, and Christopher L. Huggins. She apprenticed with BWDP in the fall of 2016 and became a company member the following January. She gives thanks to God for His hand in her dance journey, as well as family and friends who have supported her throughout the years. This is her second year with BWD.
Kevin Pajarillaga is a Washington, D.C. native where he studied at Citydance Conservatory (2010) and Point Park University (2012–2016). He has performed with YY Dance Company, PRIOREDANCE, Sonya Tayeh Dance Company, and as a guest with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Parsons Dance Company, and Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. Choreography credits include The Juilliard School, Wanderlust Dance Project, Citydance Conservatory, and DREAMscape gala. Among his performing repertoire are dances by Crystal Pite, Alejandro Cerrudo, Lar Lubovitch, and Viktor Quijada. He sends gratitude to his family, friends, and art-goers who keep the art form of dance alive! Pajarillaga began dancing with BWD in August this year.
Alonzo Blanco is a 21-year-old Dallas native. He is an alumnus of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and recently received a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. There, he danced in works by Robert Battle, Sean Curran, Larry Keigwin, Jessica Lang, Andy Noble, Crystal Pite, Dwight Rhoden, and Takehiro Ueyama, along with creating and performing his own work. In 2014, Blanco received national recognition for his choreography from the YoungArts Foundation. He began dancing with BWD in August.
MEGAN STOREY APPRENTICE
Megan Storey is a native of Oklahoma. She graduated with Special Academic Distinction from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in dance as Outstanding Senior. While in college, she performed works by Martha Graham, Donald McKayle, and Jessica Lang. Storey has attended intensives at The School at Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Program, River North Dance Chicago, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She would like to thank her family for their infinite support and encouragement, as well as her friends and the artists at BWD for inspiring her daily. She began dancing with BWD in August this year.
Adrian Aguirre was born in Juarez, Mexico and grew up in El Paso, Texas. He attended Southern Methodist University, earning a BFA in Dance Performance, and a BA in Film/Media. After college, Aguirre performed a season with Contemporary Ballet Dallas. He has choreographed works for Contemporary Ballet Dallas and Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet and has presented works in festivals such as 254–Dance Fest, Exchange Choreography Festival, Dallas DanceFest, and McCallum Choreography Festival. He began dancing with BWD in August.
Photo by SHAREN BRADFORD
Photo by SHAREN BRADFORD
Photo by SHAREN BRADFORD
The mission of Bruce Wood Dance is to present high-caliber, original, contemporary choreography that
harnesses the power of dance as a tool for entertainment, enrichment, and healing. Fortified by Bruce Wood®’s
aesthetic, BWD produces and maintains his repertoire, commissions new work by resident choreographers and
guest dance-makers, and contributes to the quality of life in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, and across the nation.
Bruce Wood Dance Company is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization. We are grateful for the support of our sponsors.
Bruce Wood is a registered trademark.