January 18, 2020

Columbia Classical Ballet Company is dedicated to providing South Carolina audiences with the experience of classical ballet performed by recognized ballet stars of today. The Company recruits the talented performers from around the world and brings them to our community. Additionally, Columbia Classical Ballet actively supports our community through an extensive outreach program. The hallmark of this outreach program is the annual production of LifeChance: Gala of the Stars, raising awareness of children and families in danger. LifeChance is an alliance of internationally renowned artists joining with Columbia Classical Ballet to perform one night of spectacular entertainment to salute a different charitable organization each year.

It is our honor to salute Camp Cole for LifeChance 2020.  Camp Cole is a camp and retreat in the SC Midlands community for children and adults with serious illness, disabilities, and other challenges which was created so that everyone can experience the joys of camp.  It inspires people to share challenges and to embrace one another.

LifeChance has received attention from former Governor David Beasley and current Governor Henry McMaster. It is through the support of our great City and County that Columbia Classical Ballet is able to offer this exceptional quality of Dance. To the Hospitality Tax Committee and DeeDee Fanning, we thank you for all the extra hours you give to us. To the Accommodations Tax Committee, the Hospitality Tax Committee of Richland County and especially to James Hayes and Tyler Kirk, thank you for your continued guidance.    


Individual Tickets are available online via the Koger Center for the Arts. In order to save processing fees, you may purchase tickets directly from the Koger Center Box Office located at 806 Park Street, (rear of the Koger Center) Please call 803.251.2222 for more information.
For more information about Membership and Season Tickets, call 803.252.9112 or click here.

Guest Artists for 2020


Lia Cirio, Principal, Boston Ballet

Lia Cirio began her training at Swarthmore Ballet Theater with Lori Ardis. She went on to train at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary and Darla Hoover, where she also studied privately with Theresa Crawford and Rafael Grigorian. At age 16 Cirio was awarded the top scholarship and Founders’ Award presented by Barbara Weisberger at the Regional Dance America Festival. The same year, she was invited by Mikko Nissinen to join Boston Ballet II, and was Boston Ballet’s Princess Grace nominee for 2004. She was promoted to Boston Ballet’s corps de ballet in 2004, to second soloist in 2006, and to soloist in 2007. After a year with the Trey McIntyre Project, she returned to Boston Ballet and was named a principal dancer in 2010. <style="font-weight: inherit;"> See her full bio here.

Paul Craig, Principal, Boston Ballet

Paul Craig of Manistee, Michigan started his training with Deb Knight at the Conservatory of Dance with Jefferson Baum at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. He was invited to train at the Virginia School of the Arts with Petrus Bosman and Tyrone Brooks. After graduating, he spent a year in Boston Ballet School as a trainee before being hired into Boston Ballet II and was promoted into the corps the following year. Craig has performed in numerous galas and schools around the U.S. including Jacob’s Pillow Dance festival, World Ballet Competition, and Cape Cod Dance Festival. In the off-season, he performs with the Cirio Collective and teaches in ballet schools around the country. See his full bio here.

Ji Young Chae, Principal, Boston Ballet

Ji Young Chae trained at Seoul Arts High School and Korea National University of Arts. In 2011, she joined Wahington Ballet. Chae joined Boston Ballet in 2013, was promoted to soloist in 2015, and to principal dancer in 2018. Chae was awarded the gold medal at the 2010 International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi, and first prize at the 2010 International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria. In 2011, she received the gold medal at the Boston International Ballet Competition. She has performed at the Paris Conservatory Ballet Festival and the interational Baltic Ballet Festival Gala. See her full bio here.

 John Lam, Principal, Boston Ballet

John Lam was born in Marin County, California. Born from immigrant parents from Vietnam, Lam found his passion for life in dance at age 4. Training at Marin Ballet, Lam formed vital relationships that would mold his career and was coached by renowned Svetlana Afanasieva, Cynthia Lucas, and Mikko Nissenen. In 2000, Lam began his tenure with Canada's National Ballet School under the directorship of Mavis Staines. Coached by famous Sergiu Stefanschi, Lam developed a foundation that would launch his career in 2003 with the invitation from Mikko Nissenen to join Boston Ballet.  See his full bio here.

Nations Wilkes-Davis, Boston Ballet

Nations Wilkes-Davis studied exclusively under Radenko Pavlovich, artistic director of Columbia Classical Ballet, for several years. He also trained at Kelly/Creek Dance Studio and Pavlovich Ballet School/Columbia Classical Ballet. In 2017, Wilkes-Davis joined Boston Ballet School's Pre-Professional Program and served as an exchange guest apprentice with the Dresden Semperoper Ballett.  Wilkes-Davis received second place in the Student Division of the Valentina Koslova International Ballet Competition (VKIBC, 2013), and won the gold medal for the junior division of VKIBC 2015. He also placed in the top six of the Youth America Grand Prix male senior division in Atlanta, Georgia (2013) and was awarded the bronze medal in the pre-professional category at the 2015 World Ballet Competition in Florida.

      Molly Novak, Boston Ballet

Molly Novak  trained at Westside School of Ballet. She attended summer intensives at the School of American Ballet (2013) ,San Francisco Ballet School (2015), Pacific Northwest Ballet School (2016), and Boston Ballet School (2017 and 2018). In 2017, Novak joined the trainee program at Boston Ballet School for the 2017-2018 school year.  Novak was named the BBS Pamela Jones Scholar of 2018-2019. In the fall of 2018, Novak participated in a five-week exchange with the Dresden Semperoper Ballett as a guest apprentice for the duration of the company's production of La Bayadere.


Joseph Gatti, United Ballet Theater

Joseph Gatti is United Ballet Theatre’s Artistic Director (Founder); he was formerly a Principal Dancer with the Cincinnati Ballet and Corella Ballet, and First Soloist with Boston Ballet. He was born in Warwick, New York and raised in Orlando, Florida, where he began dancing at the Orlando Ballet School and continued his training with Vadim Fedotov and Irina Depler. Joseph danced at Orlando Ballet as an apprentice from 2001-2003, under the direction of Fernando Bujones.

In 2003, he was coached by Orlando Molina for the Youth American Grand Prix Ballet Competition in New York, where he was awarded the gold medal and a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in London. Upon graduating with honors, he received the Dame Ruth Railton Award for Excellence in Dance in 2004. After attending the American Ballet Theater Summer Intensive in 2003, he joined the American Ballet Theater Studio Company for the 2004-2005 season. In 2005, he became the first American male dancer to win the prestigious gold medal at the New York International Ballet Competition. Joseph was nominated as Best Male Dancer for the 2006 Benois de la Danse in Moscow, Russia. That same year, he became a bronze medalist at the USA International Ballet Competition and a silver medalist at the Seoul International Ballet Competition in Korea. See her full bio here.

Chiaki Yasukawa, United Ballet Theater 

 Chiaki Yasukawa, began her training at the Wakui Ballet School in Osaka, Japan and attended the Princess Grace dance Academy of Monaco at the age of fifteen. She was accepted to train at the San Francisco Ballet for the summer and continued her training at the School of American Ballet and Joffrey ballet on scholarship for whole year. Chiaki won a bronze medal at the International ballet competition in Italy. Chiaki was a finalist at the Korean International Ballet competition and danced at the final round of the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi. She also won the best Choreographer award at the Youth American Grand Prix as well as American Dance Competition. In 2012, She received achievement awards from the Mayor and Governor of Osaka, Japan.  See her full bio here.

Kathryn Tosh, United Ballet Theater

Kathryn Tosh is an Orlando, Florida native. She began dancing at the age of three and during her studies received scholarships to attend Orlando Ballet School, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, The Rock School, San Francisco Ballet School, and was an American Ballet Theatre National Training Scholar for 3 years. At age 15 Miss Tosh participated in a two year traineeship under the late Fernando Bujones and joined the Orlando Ballet as a company member at the age of 17 under the direction of Bruce Marks. Miss Tosh was a semi finalist in both the USA and Helsinki International Ballet Competitions, as well as a finalist in the Croatia International Ballet Competition and the Youth America Grand Prix. She has danced in music videos for Romeo, Juan Luis Guerra, and Nigel John, she has performed in several galas across the country, and in 2015 she starred and danced in a Bose headphones commercial. Currently Kathryn is entering her fourth season as a resident guest artist with SI Ballet in New York and is a proud returning company member of United Ballet Theatre. See her full bio here.  

Sara Havener Miller, United Ballet Theater

Sara Havener Miller is originally from North Carolina where she began dancing at the age of 5 and went on graduate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2010 with a focus in ballet. Sara began her professional career with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, under the direction of Ethan Stiefel, performing soloist roles in ballets such as The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and George Balanchine’s Who Cares. She then spent three years as a company dancer with the Atlanta Ballet performing soloist and principal roles in productions such as The Nutcracker, Paquita, and Jean-Christophe Romeo et Juliette. With the Atlanta ballet Sara also had the opportunity to perform in several new works by choreographers including Ohad Naharin, Yuri Possokhov, and Helen Pickett. With the United Ballet Theatre Sara performed in the companies premiere show and recently represented the company as the featured guest artist for the ‘Unified Rhythm’ Gala performing the Act 2 Medora variation from Le Corsaire. As a teacher Sara has taught for several ballet schools including the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Education Program, the Atlanta Ballet’s Centre for Dance Education, the Orlando Ballet School, and is currently teaching and choreographing in Orlando, Fl. Recently Sara received her CPT through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and specializes in cross training and corrective exercises for dancers. Sara feels very fortunate to be a company member with the United Ballet Theatre and is very passionate about the companys mission and values! See her full bio here.

Paola McCormick-Quintero, United Ballet Theater

Paola McCormick-Quintero received her training in California as a scholarship student at the Ballet San Jose School under the direction of Dennis Nahat and Lise LaCour prior to joining their trainee program by Wes Chapman, Raymond Rodriguez, and Dalia Rawson when the institution implemented the ABT Curriculum. She then went on to receive graduate training at San Francisco Ballet School, where she was awarded a scholarship by Artistic Director Patrick Armand. Other merited short-term stays include the Royal Ballet School under Jay Jolly and Bartholin International Seminar at the Royal Danish Ballet in Denmark by Vivi Flindt. She has additionally studied at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and with world-renowned teacher Magaly Suarez. Paola danced professionally with Oklahoma City Ballet where she had the opportunity to perform many demi-soloist roles. She concurrently served as a guest artist and featured dancer with Mark Foehringer Dance Company, Benoit Maubry’s “Audio Ballerina’s”, and several productions for Opera San Jose. See her full bio here.  

Justin Valentine, Resident Guest Artist with Valentina Kozlova

Justin Valentine is a Resident Guest Artist with Valentina Kozlova, performing classical pas de deux and new contemporary works internationally.  Justin Valentine began dancing in a small rural village with a retired ballet couple from Russia.  It was in one of their shows that Justin met Valentina, and her dancers left a lasting impression on him. Later Justin moved to New York City to study with Valentina. Justin has won numerous medals in international competitions including senior division gold medals, and has won several company contracts stateside and abroad. His favorite prize was a semester at the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg Russia in Nikolai Tsiskaridze’s graduation class.  While there he had the honor of dancing a solo role on the iconic stage of the Marinsky on Christmas day.  He has performed in galas in New York City, Brussels, South Africa, Sochi, Helsinki, St. Petersburg Russia, Italy, Seoul, Ecuador and Croatia.  Justin  has judged in competitions in Ecuador and Paraguay also teaching master classes there, and is honing his skills managing rehearsals. See his full bio here.

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