Ballet Yuma Company Dancers:
Photos by Captured Light Photography – Bill Butler
Jade Butcher, the seventeen-year-old daughter of Brian and Julie Butcher, is a senior at Cibola High School. Jade has participated in the 2012 Let’s Dance Utah summer intensive, 2013 Joffrey Ballet San Francisco summer intensive, 2014 International Ballet Competition School of Dance, and the 2015 Master Ballet Academy summer program. In 2016, Jade received a full tuition scholarship to the RDA National Choreography Intensive in Tallahassee, FL. She attended American Ballet Theatre’s summer intensive in NYC in 2017, dancing a soloist role in Les Sylphides. As a seven-year Ballet Yuma company dancer, Jade received a full-scholarship to the 2019 Ballet Alliance Choreography Project, as well as, a scholarship to the New York Dance Project Intensive. Outside of dance, Jade enjoys swimming with sharks as a certified open water scuba diver. Her future goals include becoming a professional dancer and a Master Scuba Diver.
Emily Combs, the fifteen-year-old daughter of James and Dana Combs, is a junior at Kofa High School. She began dancing at the age of three and has studied many different styles including ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, modern, tap, and hip hop. This is Emily’s second year as a Ballet Yuma company member. She was valedictorian of her graduating class at Woodard Junior High and has received a scholarship from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Emily’s outside interests include listening to music, choreographing, and spending time with her friends. Her future goals are to attend college at the University of Arizona as a dance major and to open her own dance studio.
Rebecca Hughes is a sixteen-year-old junior at Primavera Online High School. She has been dancing for twelve years and this is her second year as a Ballet Yuma company member. Rebecca previously trained with Lisa Snape Avery and Dame Amy Watson at Avery Ballet for thirteen years. She has volunteered to perform and instruct for the Head Start program in Virginia and is an advocate for rescuing animals. In 2019, Rebecca was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to the State Street Ballet Summer Intensive. Outside of dance, she enjoys spending time with her family and dogs, hiking in the outdoors and experimenting with different art forms. Rebecca hopes to dance professionally and is interested in a career as a forensic scientist.
Madeline Kern, the thirteen-year-old daughter of David and Dora Kern, is an eighth-grade student at Crane Middle School. Maddie is an honor roll student and has received a student of the month award every year. She started dancing at age of five and has studied different styles of dance such as: jazz, tap and ballet. This is her third-year dancing with Ballet Yuma and her fifth-year training with Yuma Ballet Academy. She has performed in Ballet Yuma’s The Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf, Hansel and Gretel, Ballet de Seuss and The Young Person’s Guide to The Orchestra. She attended 2017 RDA Festival in Phoenix. Madeline’s interests include photography, baking, shopping and hanging out with friends. Maddie’s dream is to dance professionally for the New York City Ballet, and her goal is to be a part of the University of Arizona’s dance program. She would also like to become an astronomer or marine biologist.
Shylynn Kite, a senior at Gila Ridge High School. is the seventeen-year-old daughter of Shawna and Jeremy Kite. Dancing for fourteen years, she has been a Ballet Yuma company member for six years. She has danced many diverse roles in Ballet Yuma productions including the Mouse King in The Nutcracker, the Blue Bird in Snow White, lead Forest Demon and the Baker in Hansel and Gretel. Outside the studio, Shylynn enjoys acting and making people happy. Shylynn plans on continuing dance while attending ASU to become a critical care nurse.
Alizé Parsons is the sixteen-year-old daughter of Lariza and Bryan Parsons, and she is a junior at Gila Ridge High School. Since she was five, Alizé has studied tumbling and gymnastics along with different styles of dance including: tap, jazz, modern, hip hop, and ballet. Alizé has trained with Yuma Ballet Academy for nine years, danced for Ballet Yuma for four years, and participated in four Regional Dance America/Ballet Alliance festivals. She enjoys drawing, painting, and playing the clarinet. Alizé would like to become a dance teacher and a film editor.
Star Raygoza, sixteen-year-old daughter of Elizabeth and Alexander Raygoza, is in her junior year at Gila Ridge High School. With ten years of dance experience, this is Star’s fourth year as a Ballet Yuma Company dancer. Star has gained recognition for her academic accomplishments that include honor roll, participation in the Harvard Medical Camp, and the University of Arizona’s Medical Camp where she has become CPR certified. Star’s interests include dancing, cooking, baking, traveling, and learning new things. Her career goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon to help dancers with their injuries.
Amanda Trevino, the seventeen-year-old daughter of Jason and Sharon Trevino, is a senior at Gila Ridge High School. Dancing from the age of three at Yuma Ballet Academy, she was a Ballet Yuma Workshop dancer for one year, a Trainee member for two years, and has been a Ballet Yuma Senior Company member for the past three years. Amanda has attended the Regional Dance America Festival and Ballet Alliance Festival for the past four years. In 2019, she participated in the Ballet Alliance Summer Choreography Project in Pasco, Washington. Academically, Amanda has achieved honor roll since elementary school and has been a Yuma County Science Fair award recipient. She enjoys playing the piano, singing, and listening to music. Through the CNA Nursing Program at Gila Ridge High School, Amanda will be a certified nursing assistant this December. Her plan is to attend the University of Arizona to continue her education in the medical field.
Mia Williams, the fourteen-year-old daughter of Chris and Lori Williams, is a ninth-grade student at Gila Ridge High School in her fourth year as a company member for Ballet Yuma. Her interests include studying ballet, as well as, anatomy and physiology. Mia’s career goals are to dance for a professional ballet company and to become a physical therapist.
Harley Coleman is the fourteen-year-old daughter of Chris and Jen Coleman. She attends Gila Ridge High School as a freshman and has eleven years of dance experience. This is Harley’s third year as a Ballet Yuma company member. Outside of ballet, Harley has received top recognition for her 4-H sewing projects and is a level-three rider in horsemanship. Academically, she has earned the Principal’s Award, honor roll, and student-of-the-month annually. Harley’s interests include sewing, ballet, baking, and horsemanship. After high school, Harley would like to continue dancing and plans on becoming a forensic medical examiner.
Flair Abby Koch is the 12 year old daughter of Roz and Travis Koch. Flair is a straight-A gifted student in the 7th grade with the Crane iLearning Academy. She has chosen to do school from home for middle school so that she can move at her own pace and also focus more time and energy into her dancing. Flair has been dancing since she was 3 years old with Yuma Ballet Academy. This is her second year in the company, as an apprentice, she is looking forward to more growth and performances. Flair has enjoyed going to The Ballet Alliance festival the past two years and looks forward to attending this year and awaits the day she will finally grace the stage there. She has had a multitude of roles in many Ballet Yuma productions, from Baby mouse and Clara in The Nutcracker to the Bluebird in Snow White. Flair wants to go to college and major in both dance and medicine. She aspires to be a Dermatologist but hopes to never give up ballet.
Leo Navarro, the seventeen-year-old son of Daniel Navarro and Yuridia Lopez, is a senior at Kofa High School. He began dancing at the age of fifteen and has studied different styles of dance including: ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary. This will be Leo’s first year as a Ballet Yuma company member and his second year as a Yuma Ballet Academy student. He has performed in Ballet Yuma’s The Nutcracker and Snow White, and he has attended the the Ballet Alliance Festival 2019 in Spokane, WA. Leo’s interests include photography, dance, and art. Professionally, Leo plans on pursuing performing dance and to someday teach as a dance instructor.
Isabella Nicholls is the thirteen-year-old daughter of Danette and Douglas Nicholls. Isabella has taken ballet classes since the age of 3 at Yuma Ballet Academy. This will be Isabella’s 2 year in Ballet Yuma Company. Isabella has attended Regional Dance America for 3 years and looks forward to another great dance experience in Long Beach, CA. Isabella has danced in The Nutcracker, Snow White, Hansel & Gretel. Isabella has been an honor student at St. Francis for 3 years and has received numerous awards including High Honors & Student of the month. She is currently attending Algebra Honors at Yuma Catholic High School. Isabella has attended the Yuma County Science Fair the last two years and received 2nd place in the Physics category for her grade level. Isabella enjoys reading, cooking, photography and hanging out with friends. Isabella has true passion for ballet and all dance forms. Isabella will like to continue dancing with Ballet Yuma through her high school years and will like to attend the University of Arizona to become a physician.
Sofia Sanchez is the fourteen-year-old daughter of Greg and Kelly Sanchez. Sofia is an eighth grader at Centennial Middle School. This is her second year as a Ballet Yuma company member having studied ballet for eleven years at Yuma Ballet Academy. As a recipient of the Alexandria Urias/Ballet Yuma Merit Scholarship for the 2018-19 season, Sofia has performed in The Nutcracker, Snow White and Hansel and Gretel. She is an honor student and has received a Student of the Month award every school year. Some of her interests outside of dance include reading, watching movies, and spending time with her family. Sofia would like to pursue a professional dance career, as well as, become a ballet teacher and choreographer.
Elle Anderson, the twelve-year-old daughter of Robert and Amy Barnum, is a seventh-grade student of Freedom Baptist Academy. With six years of dance experience at Yuma Ballet Academy, this is Elle’s first year as a Ballet Yuma company member. She enjoys reading and traveling with her family and participating in church events. Elle would like to major in dance at the University of Southern California and dance for a professional company.
Ava Bowers is the twelve-year-old daughter of Jordan and Samantha Bowers. She is a seventh-grade student at Centennial Middle School. With nine years of dance experience, Ava is a first-year company member. Her main passion is dance, and she enjoys learning new styles. She also enjoys reading and learning about different fields of science. Ava’s goal is to dance abroad professionally and to become a doctor.
Lauren Schug is the twelve-year-old daughter of Mike and Nicole Schug and a seventh-grade student at Castle Dome Middle School. With nine years of dance experience, this is Lauren’s first year as a Ballet Yuma company member. Academically, Lauren has earned honor roll and reading awards from her school. She loves reading, volleyball, painting, and ballet. In the future, Lauren would like to dance in college and become either a hematologist or an oncologist.
Sophia is the fifteen-year-old daughter of John and Denise Young. She has twelve years of dance experience and is a fourth-year dancer with Ballet Yuma. She has attended three Regional Dance America Festivals with Ballet Yuma and plans to attend more. Sophia is an ‘A-Team’ honor student and a four-year recipient of the Robert Mayhall Moore Scholarship at Yuma Catholic High School. From Immaculate Conception, she received a Knights of Columbus scholarship while taking honors classes. She enjoys reading, spending time with her family, sewing, and serving her community where she has invested over 150 service hours. Sophia also participates in altar serving for her school and parish. Her goals are to be Class of 2022 valedictorian for Yuma Catholic High School and attend NAU’s ROTC program on her way to becoming a pediatric surgeon.