Nutcracker | the Ballet
Bridget Payne
(Artistic Director)

began her Ballet training in Manitowoc Wisconsin with Jean Wolfmeyer. At 14 years old she began training at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois. After graduating in 1987, she began an 8 year performing career with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has performed soloist and leading roles in Ben Stevenson's Cinderella; Willam Christensen's the Nutcracker; Paul Taylor's Company B; Sleeping Beauty; Swan Lake; multiple works by Balanchine; and more. In 1995 she was invited by Ben Stevenson to teach at the internationally aclaimed Houston Ballet Academy, where she received the distinction of Principal Teacher in both their Pre-professional and Professional Divisions. She shares over 24 years of performing and teaching experience with our students.


Jim Payne
(Artistic Director)

trained with legend Michael Fokine's great niece, Nina Marlow, in Phoenix Arizona, and on scholarship at the San Francisco Ballet School. His performing career spanned 11 years, beginning with Ballet West in Salt Lake City. In 1994, he was invited by Ben Stevenson to join the world renowned Houston Ballet where he ended his performing career as a Soloist in 2000. He has performed the roles of Albrecht in Giselle; the title role of Eugene Loring's Billy the Kid; the Prince in Cinderella; the prince in Ben Stevenson's the Nutcracker; the principal male role in William Forsythe's In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated; soloist role in Glen Tetley's Rite of Spring; as well as Principal and Soloist roles in works by Ben Stevenson, Christopher Bruce, Paul Taylor, Sir Kenneth McMillan, Helgi Tomasson, Peter Martins, Willam Christensen, Val Caniparoli, Trey McIntyre, Balanchine, and Petipa.


Christiana Bennett
(Guest Artist)

Born: Townsend, Massachusetts

Joined Ballet West: 1999
Promoted to Soloist: 2003
Promoted to Principal: 2004

Training: Pennsylvania Ballet, School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Current Repertoire: “Myrthe” in Giselle, “Juliet” in Romeo and Juliet; “Tough Girl” in Antony Tudor’s Echoing of Trumpets and “Caroline” in Tudor’s Lilac Garden; the Third Principal Couple in Hans van Manen's Black Cake; principal roles in William Forsythe’s Artifact II and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated; “Helena” in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream; “Odette/Odile” in Adam Sklute’s newly conceived and produced Swan Lake in 2010; John Butler’s Carmina Burana; “Sugar Plum Fairy” in Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker; “Carabosse” and “Princess Aurora (Dawn)” in Sklute’s 2011 newly conceived and produced The Sleeping Beauty; and featured roles in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Four Temperaments, Who Cares?, Allegro Brillante, Concerto Barocco, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Theme and Variations, Serenade, Agon and Chaconne.

Favorite Roles: 2008 world premiere of Christopher Ruud’s One; George Balanchine’s Serenade at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2009; and as “Odette/Odile” in Sklute’s newly conceived and produced Swan Lake in 2010.

Additional Information: Before joining Ballet West, Christiana performed with Pacific Northwest Ballet and Commonwealth Civic Ballet, and was a guest artist for the City Ballet of Boston. She is the recipient of the Coca-Cola Foundation Arts Award and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts award in dance.


Christopher Anderson
(Guest Artist)

Born: Baltimore, Maryland

Joined Ballet West: 2001
Promoted to Demi-Soloist: 2010
Promoted to Soloist: 2013

Training: The Baltimore School for the Arts, followed by the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance where he graduated Cum Laude.

Current Repertoire: "Demetrius" in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream; Cavalier in Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker; Von Rothbart in Adam Sklute’s newly conceived and produced Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty; the 2010 world premieres of Charlotte Boye-Christensen's Row, Michael Bearden's Descent, and Helen Pickett’s But Never Doubt I Love; Second Theme in George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments; John Butler's Carmina Burana; Jiri Kylian's Sinfonietta; Balanchine's Chaconne; Nicolo Fonte's Bolero; and the 2011 world premiere of Avichai Scher's White Noise.

Favorite Roles: "Pinkerton" in Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly, "Von Rothbart" in Swan Lake, and "Cavalier" in Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker.

Additional Information: Christopher danced with the Purchase Dance Corps for three years before joining the Boston Ballet, where he danced for two seasons prior to joining Ballet West. In 2011, he made his choreographic debut on Ballet West's fourth-annual Innovations program with Intonation, set to the music of Michael Nyman.


Daniel Miller
(Guest Artist)

Daniel has performed in various stage productions, mainly in musical theater. His dance training includes one year of ballet with Payne Academy of the Performing Arts, as well as about six months of ballet with Excelsior School of Dance. He has also received training for both acting and singing through various companies and private instructors.

He has been seen performing in the Houston Area with such companies as Christian Youth Theater, Class Act Productions, The A. D. Players, The Houston Family Arts Center, and The Crighton Players. Some of his notable roles include Benjamin Harper in Tom Sawyer, The Cat in the Hat in Seussical, Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, and, most recently, Marius Pontmercy in Les Misérables.

He is currently studying music at Lone Star College Montgomery, where he also holds the position of Music Theory and Sight Singing Tutor. He thanks his family for all of their support, his cat, and Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior.


     
Bridget Payne
(Artistic Director)
began her Ballet training in Manitowoc Wisconsin with Jean Wolfmeyer. At 14 years old she began training at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois. After graduating in 1987, she began an 8 year performing career with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has performed soloist and leading roles in Ben Stevenson's Cinderella; Willam Christensen's the Nutcracker; Paul Taylor's Company B; Sleeping Beauty; Swan Lake; multiple works by Balanchine; and more. In 1995 she was invited by Ben Stevenson to teach at the internationally aclaimed Houston Ballet Academy, where she received the distinction of Principal Teacher in both their Pre-professional and Professional Divisions. She shares over 24 years of performing and teaching experience with our students. Headshot: Bridget Payne
Jim Payne
(Artistic Director)
trained with legend Michael Fokine's great niece, Nina Marlow, in Phoenix Arizona, and on scholarship at the San Francisco Ballet School. His performing career spanned 11 years, beginning with Ballet West in Salt Lake City. In 1994, he was invited by Ben Stevenson to join the world renowned Houston Ballet where he ended his performing career as a Soloist in 2000. He has performed the roles of Albrecht in Giselle; the title role of Eugene Loring's Billy the Kid; the Prince in Cinderella; the prince in Ben Stevenson's the Nutcracker; the principal male role in William Forsythe's In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated; soloist role in Glen Tetley's Rite of Spring; as well as Principal and Soloist roles in works by Ben Stevenson, Christopher Bruce, Paul Taylor, Sir Kenneth McMillan, Helgi Tomasson, Peter Martins, Willam Christensen, Val Caniparoli, Trey McIntyre, Balanchine, and Petipa. Headshot: Jim Payne
Christiana Bennett
(Guest Artist)
Born: Townsend, Massachusetts

Joined Ballet West: 1999
Promoted to Soloist: 2003
Promoted to Principal: 2004

Training: Pennsylvania Ballet, School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Current Repertoire: “Myrthe” in Giselle, “Juliet” in Romeo and Juliet; “Tough Girl” in Antony Tudor’s Echoing of Trumpets and “Caroline” in Tudor’s Lilac Garden; the Third Principal Couple in Hans van Manen's Black Cake; principal roles in William Forsythe’s Artifact II and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated; “Helena” in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream; “Odette/Odile” in Adam Sklute’s newly conceived and produced Swan Lake in 2010; John Butler’s Carmina Burana; “Sugar Plum Fairy” in Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker; “Carabosse” and “Princess Aurora (Dawn)” in Sklute’s 2011 newly conceived and produced The Sleeping Beauty; and featured roles in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Four Temperaments, Who Cares?, Allegro Brillante, Concerto Barocco, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Theme and Variations, Serenade, Agon and Chaconne.

Favorite Roles: 2008 world premiere of Christopher Ruud’s One; George Balanchine’s Serenade at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2009; and as “Odette/Odile” in Sklute’s newly conceived and produced Swan Lake in 2010.

Additional Information: Before joining Ballet West, Christiana performed with Pacific Northwest Ballet and Commonwealth Civic Ballet, and was a guest artist for the City Ballet of Boston. She is the recipient of the Coca-Cola Foundation Arts Award and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts award in dance.

Headshot: Christiana Bennett
Christopher Anderson
(Guest Artist)
Born: Baltimore, Maryland

Joined Ballet West: 2001
Promoted to Demi-Soloist: 2010
Promoted to Soloist: 2013

Training: The Baltimore School for the Arts, followed by the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance where he graduated Cum Laude.

Current Repertoire: "Demetrius" in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream; Cavalier in Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker; Von Rothbart in Adam Sklute’s newly conceived and produced Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty; the 2010 world premieres of Charlotte Boye-Christensen's Row, Michael Bearden's Descent, and Helen Pickett’s But Never Doubt I Love; Second Theme in George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments; John Butler's Carmina Burana; Jiri Kylian's Sinfonietta; Balanchine's Chaconne; Nicolo Fonte's Bolero; and the 2011 world premiere of Avichai Scher's White Noise.

Favorite Roles: "Pinkerton" in Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly, "Von Rothbart" in Swan Lake, and "Cavalier" in Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker.

Additional Information: Christopher danced with the Purchase Dance Corps for three years before joining the Boston Ballet, where he danced for two seasons prior to joining Ballet West. In 2011, he made his choreographic debut on Ballet West's fourth-annual Innovations program with Intonation, set to the music of Michael Nyman.

Headshot: Christopher Anderson
Daniel Miller
(Guest Artist)
Daniel has performed in various stage productions, mainly in musical theater. His dance training includes one year of ballet with Payne Academy of the Performing Arts, as well as about six months of ballet with Excelsior School of Dance. He has also received training for both acting and singing through various companies and private instructors.

He has been seen performing in the Houston Area with such companies as Christian Youth Theater, Class Act Productions, The A. D. Players, The Houston Family Arts Center, and The Crighton Players. Some of his notable roles include Benjamin Harper in Tom Sawyer, The Cat in the Hat in Seussical, Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, and, most recently, Marius Pontmercy in Les Misérables.

He is currently studying music at Lone Star College Montgomery, where he also holds the position of Music Theory and Sight Singing Tutor. He thanks his family for all of their support, his cat, and Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior.

Headshot: Daniel Miller

 

Bridget Payne
(Artistic Director) Headshot: Bridget Payne

began her Ballet training in Manitowoc Wisconsin with Jean Wolfmeyer. At 14 years old she began training at the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois. After graduating in 1987, she began an 8 year performing career with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has performed soloist and leading roles in Ben Stevenson's Cinderella; Willam Christensen's the Nutcracker; Paul Taylor's Company B; Sleeping Beauty; Swan Lake; multiple works by Balanchine; and more. In 1995 she was invited by Ben Stevenson to teach at the internationally aclaimed Houston Ballet Academy, where she received the distinction of Principal Teacher in both their Pre-professional and Professional Divisions. She shares over 24 years of performing and teaching experience with our students.


Jim Payne
(Artistic Director) Headshot: Jim Payne

trained with legend Michael Fokine's great niece, Nina Marlow, in Phoenix Arizona, and on scholarship at the San Francisco Ballet School. His performing career spanned 11 years, beginning with Ballet West in Salt Lake City. In 1994, he was invited by Ben Stevenson to join the world renowned Houston Ballet where he ended his performing career as a Soloist in 2000. He has performed the roles of Albrecht in Giselle; the title role of Eugene Loring's Billy the Kid; the Prince in Cinderella; the prince in Ben Stevenson's the Nutcracker; the principal male role in William Forsythe's In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated; soloist role in Glen Tetley's Rite of Spring; as well as Principal and Soloist roles in works by Ben Stevenson, Christopher Bruce, Paul Taylor, Sir Kenneth McMillan, Helgi Tomasson, Peter Martins, Willam Christensen, Val Caniparoli, Trey McIntyre, Balanchine, and Petipa.


Christiana Bennett
(Guest Artist) Headshot: Christiana Bennett

Born: Townsend, Massachusetts

Joined Ballet West: 1999
Promoted to Soloist: 2003
Promoted to Principal: 2004

Training: Pennsylvania Ballet, School of American Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Current Repertoire: “Myrthe” in Giselle, “Juliet” in Romeo and Juliet; “Tough Girl” in Antony Tudor’s Echoing of Trumpets and “Caroline” in Tudor’s Lilac Garden; the Third Principal Couple in Hans van Manen's Black Cake; principal roles in William Forsythe’s Artifact II and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated; “Helena” in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream; “Odette/Odile” in Adam Sklute’s newly conceived and produced Swan Lake in 2010; John Butler’s Carmina Burana; “Sugar Plum Fairy” in Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker; “Carabosse” and “Princess Aurora (Dawn)” in Sklute’s 2011 newly conceived and produced The Sleeping Beauty; and featured roles in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, The Four Temperaments, Who Cares?, Allegro Brillante, Concerto Barocco, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, Theme and Variations, Serenade, Agon and Chaconne.

Favorite Roles: 2008 world premiere of Christopher Ruud’s One; George Balanchine’s Serenade at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in 2009; and as “Odette/Odile” in Sklute’s newly conceived and produced Swan Lake in 2010.

Additional Information: Before joining Ballet West, Christiana performed with Pacific Northwest Ballet and Commonwealth Civic Ballet, and was a guest artist for the City Ballet of Boston. She is the recipient of the Coca-Cola Foundation Arts Award and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts award in dance.


Christopher Anderson
(Guest Artist) Headshot: Christopher Anderson

Born: Baltimore, Maryland

Joined Ballet West: 2001
Promoted to Demi-Soloist: 2010
Promoted to Soloist: 2013

Training: The Baltimore School for the Arts, followed by the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance where he graduated Cum Laude.

Current Repertoire: "Demetrius" in Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Dream; Cavalier in Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker; Von Rothbart in Adam Sklute’s newly conceived and produced Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty; the 2010 world premieres of Charlotte Boye-Christensen's Row, Michael Bearden's Descent, and Helen Pickett’s But Never Doubt I Love; Second Theme in George Balanchine's The Four Temperaments; John Butler's Carmina Burana; Jiri Kylian's Sinfonietta; Balanchine's Chaconne; Nicolo Fonte's Bolero; and the 2011 world premiere of Avichai Scher's White Noise.

Favorite Roles: "Pinkerton" in Stanton Welch’s Madame Butterfly, "Von Rothbart" in Swan Lake, and "Cavalier" in Willam Christensen’s The Nutcracker.

Additional Information: Christopher danced with the Purchase Dance Corps for three years before joining the Boston Ballet, where he danced for two seasons prior to joining Ballet West. In 2011, he made his choreographic debut on Ballet West's fourth-annual Innovations program with Intonation, set to the music of Michael Nyman.


Daniel Miller
(Guest Artist) Headshot: Daniel Miller

Daniel has performed in various stage productions, mainly in musical theater. His dance training includes one year of ballet with Payne Academy of the Performing Arts, as well as about six months of ballet with Excelsior School of Dance. He has also received training for both acting and singing through various companies and private instructors.

He has been seen performing in the Houston Area with such companies as Christian Youth Theater, Class Act Productions, The A. D. Players, The Houston Family Arts Center, and The Crighton Players. Some of his notable roles include Benjamin Harper in Tom Sawyer, The Cat in the Hat in Seussical, Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Moonface Martin in Anything Goes, and, most recently, Marius Pontmercy in Les Misérables.

He is currently studying music at Lone Star College Montgomery, where he also holds the position of Music Theory and Sight Singing Tutor. He thanks his family for all of their support, his cat, and Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior.