Sunday, December 12, 2021



Employees of Montefiore Health System and Einstein Invited to Complimentary

Performance at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts

Guest Performers Announced 

Ossining-based Westchester Ballet Company (WBC), one of the oldest independent, regional nonprofit youth ballet companies in the United States, whose mission is to build community through the arts, announced today it will dedicate a performance of this season’s Nutcracker to healthcare workers from Montefiore Health System on Friday, December 17, 2021 at 6 pm. More than 2,000 associates from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and across Montefiore’s NY-metro locations, who have been tirelessly caring for the community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, will join WBC for a complimentary performance at Lehman Center for the Performing Arts. An additional four performances are open to the public on Saturday, December 18, and Sunday, December 19, with tickets ranging from $24 - $49 each.

WBC is also honored to welcome seven world-class professional guest artists to this season’s Nutcracker, including Elisa Toro Franky, Dannys Gonzalez, Jean Logrea, Nick Logrea, Corley Lovett, Jr., Philip Gabriel Perez, and Erina Tanaka. Bio and Nutcracker role information for each dancer can be found below. 

Amy Harte, Board President, Westchester Ballet Company, remarked, “WBC is committed to its mission to provide access to the arts in our community and what an honor it will be to perform for those who have provided critical, life-saving support over the last 21 months. We are thankful to Dr. Judy Yee, Montefiore’s Chair of Radiology who helped to make this happen, and we are so pleased that the leadership of Montefiore have welcomed our offer with open arms. We are so looking forward to December 17.” 

Currently celebrating its 70th year serving Westchester County (and now the Bronx), WBC’s mission centers on the belief that communal arts experiences are essential, and that by providing dance education and performance experiences for its young dancers, along with affordable access for its audience members, it is helping to strengthen our shared community. Additionally, WBC partners with other nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable and under-resourced individuals and groups in the community to provide low cost/no-cost access to its performances.

Tickets are available and special discounts are offered for groups. Tickets can be purchased at, by phone at (718) 960-8833, or at Lehman Center Box Office located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY, 10468.

COVID-19 Protocols

In order to keep audiences, performers, and staff safe, Lehman Center for the Performing Arts requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all individuals over the age of 12 who enter the venue. Dancers under the age of 12 must be masked and accompanied by a fully vaccinated, masked adult. Attendees are required to wear a mask in the venue at all times. Visit for further information.

Guest Dancer Biographies

ELISA TORO FRANKY (Snow Queen, Coffee from Arabia) is a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer based in New York City. Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Elisa trained with Cuban mentors and traveled twice to Cuba for international ballet intensives and competitions. She came to the United States in 2004 to train at the Miami City Ballet School. She later danced with the Washington Ballet Studio Company, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, and the New Jersey Ballet. Elisa currently performs with FJK Dance and works as Program Director of Accent Dance NYC, an education and performance organization that provides access to dance in underserved communities.

DANNYS GONZALEZ (The Nutcracker) is a native of Cuba. He trained and graduated from the prestigious Cuban National Ballet School in Havana. There he took master classes with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Royal Danish Ballet artistic director and dancer Frank Andersen. He began his professional career in the Cuban National Ballet and participated in the International Ballet Festival in Havana. In 2009 Gonzalez became a soloist in Ballet de Cuba company. His classical repertoire includes major roles in Swan Lake, Coppélia, Don Quixote, La Bayadère, La Sylphide, Paquita, and The Nutcracker. Gonzalez is also a teacher of classical ballet, and he has toured the world with the show Ballet Revolución. After moving to New York, he trained at the Alvin Ailey School. Currently he is a guest dancer in several ballet companies,including FJK Dance.

JEAN LOGREA (Uncle Drosselmeyer) was trained at the Scoala Speciala in Cluj, Romania, in classical ballet, character, and folk dance. He was principal dancer at the Opera House Cluj, as well as a teacher at the affiliated school for nine years. He toured extensively throughout Europe and the USSR, dancing such major roles as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, the Jester in Swan Lake, the Pas de Deux from Le Corsaire, the Peasant Pas de Deux from Giselle and The Rocker in The Miraculous Mandarin. Following seven years as principal dancer at Opernhaus Graz, Austria, he moved to the United States to serve as co-artistic director of the Westchester Ballet Company and co-director of the Logrea Dance Academy.

NICK LOGREA (The Butler, Mouse King, Coffee from Arabia) has performed in WBC’s Nutcracker for 30 years. He has performed as a soloist in WBC productions of Les Patineurs, La Bayadère, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter and the Wolf, La Boutique Fantasque, Tales of Vienna, and A Glenn Miller Nutcracker. Nick is a Zumba Education Specialist and has taught Master Classes in the U.S. and Europe. He has had the privilege of dancing with Beto Perez, creator of the Zumba program, as well as being featured in two Zumba Fitness video games, Zumba Fitness Core and Zumba Fitness World Party. Nick has performed many Nutcracker roles over the years. He appears as The Butler, Mouse King, and Coffee from Arabia in this year's production. Nick was recently named Associate Artisitc Director of WBC.

CORLEY LOVETT, JR. (Caviar from Russia) was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He trained at the Texas Ballet Academy and later graduated from The American Musical Dramatic Arts Academy. He has studied at many prestigious summer intensives, including Bolshoi Ballet Academy. Corley has taught contemporary ballet at The Gallery in Motion in Dallas, Texas. He has performed in West Side Story, The Wiz, and Cats, as well as performed in ice skating shows around the country. Corely has guested with Westchester Ballet Company for many years, always thrilling the audiences with his spectacular acrobatics and high-intensity performance as Caviar from Russian.

PHILIP GABRIEL PEREZ (Cavalier) was born in Medellín, Colombia. At the age of seven he began attending ballet classes in New York City at the JKO School of American Ballet Theatre. He continued training there for nine years under Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens. While in New York, he danced in numerous ABT productions at The Metropolitan Opera House. In 2010, Alexei Ratmansky cast him as the young prince in the company’s new production of The Nutcracker; a role he reprised for three years dancing opposite ABT principals. In 2015, Philip continued his training at Boston Ballet School under Peter Stark and Margaret Tracey. The following season, he joined Nashville Ballet II. In 2017, he became a member of Colorado Ballet’s Studio Company, where he performed in Michael Pink’s Dracula, The Nutrcracker, and Derek Deane’s Romeo & Juliet, as well as learned corps roles in Twyla Tharp’s Brief Fling, and Antony Tudor’s Pillar of Fire. Philip joined Boulder Ballet in 2018. In 2019, he was awarded the 2nd place, silver medal at Miami IBC. In 2020, he danced Paul Taylor’s Airs and Christopher Wheeldon's Five Movements and Three Repeats. Philip teaches and guests with local schools and companies across the country.

ERINA TANAKA (Sugarplum Fairy) began her training at age 8 in New York, with Logrea Dance Academy and Westchester Ballet Company. At the age of 15, she was accepted into SLK Ballet School, under the direction of Sara Knight. During her training, Erina was selected for an exchange program with the English National Ballet School in London in the spring of both 2015 and 2016. She has also spent summers training at ABT, Bolshoi Ballet, and Cincinnati Ballet. Upon graduating SLK Ballet, Erina spent two years as an apprentice with Eugene Ballet. There, she had the opportunity to perform the Spanish and the Arabian pas de deux in Toni Pimble’s The Nutcracker as well as Cygnets in Swan Lake. She was also featured in Val Caniparoli’s Tutto Eccetto Il Lavendino, Stephen Mills’ Hamlet, and Gerald Arpino’s Italian Suite. After spending two years at Eugene Ballet, Erina moved to Canada to join Canada’s Ballet Jorgen as a company dancer. With Canada’s Ballet Jorgen, Erina danced featured roles such as the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker and Josie Pye in Bengt Jorgen’s production of Anne of Green Gables-The Ballet. This fall, she moved back to the United States and had the opportunity to perform with Zikr Dance Ensemble for their fall tour. Erina currently works as a freelance dancer based out of Denver, Colorado.

About Westchester Ballet Company

WBC is made up of 100 young dancers from across 17 towns and villages in and around Westchester. WBC’s Nutcracker has been a family tradition in Westchester for 70 years. For the past 25 years (with the exception of 2020), Westchester County Center in White Plains has hosted the Company. WBC’s Nutcracker has attracted an aggregate audience of 155,000+ since 1996.

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