Royal Ballet School International Scholars

Isabella Kulmer

Isabella currently trains in Los Angeles, CA with Alla Khaniashvili as well as in Salt Lake City, UT with Maureen Laird. She has also taken part in Summer Schools at the Southland Ballet Academy, City Ballet School in San Francisco, California and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in New York City.

In 2016, Isabella placed third in the Youth America Grand Prix NYC finals and second place in the semis. In 2015, she was in the Top 12 of the YAGP NYC finals. Isabella has been invited to dance in several Galas this past year including YAGP’s Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow, Ballet West’s Night of Shining Stars, and Festival Ballet Theater’s Gala of the Stars. Finally, she and her partner were awarded Top Six Honors in the Pas de Deux category at the YAGP 2018 New York City Finals.

Isabella has a wealth of professional performance experience, including performing the Variation from Paquita at the 9th Annual Gala of the Stars at Southland Festival Ballet Theater and in the Grand Defile at BAM, Howard Gillman Opera House.

Christopher Powney first saw Isabella dance at Southland Ballet's Summer Intensive 2016.

On being named Royal Ballet School International Scholar, Isabella said:

'The Royal Ballet School is one of the finest ballet training programs in the world. I am so grateful to have been invited to be part of such an amazing programme. Thank you, Royal Ballet School for this incredible honour - it is a dream come true!'

Madison Penney

Born and raised in Arizona, Madison began dancing at a very young age and trained in all different disciplines of dance. When she was eight years old, she decided to focus on ballet training and joined Master Ballet Academy, lead by Artistic Director Slawomir Wozniak.

Since then, while still at a young age, Madison continuously keeps growing as a dancer and an artist. Among her many accolades and awards are winning the Gold Medal at the World Ballet Competition in 2015, the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) Hope Award in 2016, and most recently won the 2017 Grand Prix award at YAGP finals in New York. Madison has performed with Phoenix Ballet in several productions with seasoned professionals that include soloist roles originated for her by Krista King-Doherty, Albert Blaise Cattafi and Fransisco Gella.In addition, Madison has performed at galas, on TV, and has been featured in Dance Spirit and Pointe magazines.

Christopher Powney first saw Madison dance at an international competition in 2017.

On being named Royal Ballet School International Scholar, Madison said:

'Attending The Royal Ballet School has always been a dream of mine. I couldn't believe my ears when I was awarded the International Scholar. I can't wait to see where this journey takes me. Thank you so much for making my dreams come true!'

Lily Turner

Lily began dancing at the age of 4 and currently trains at Southland Ballet Academy in southern California under the direction of Salwa Rizkalla. She has attended Summer Intensives at Canada's National Ballet School in Toronto, The Princess Grace Academy in Monaco and The Royal Ballet School Summer Programme at White Lodge.

Lily received the Natalia Makarova Award for Artistry at Youth America Grand Prix in 2018, in addition to placing in the top twelve of Junior women competitors at the New York City finals. Previous awards at YAGP include Youth Grand Prix at the Los Angeles Semi-Finals 2018, First Place Junior Classical at the Los Angeles Semi-Finals 2017, and Second Place Junior Classical at the Los Angeles Semi-Finals 2016. She was also named a semi-finalist in classical dance for the Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight Awards in 2018.

Lily is currently a trainee with Festival Ballet Theatre, the ballet company affiliated with Southland Ballet Academy. Most recently, she performed as Clara in The Nutcracker, Alice in Alice In Wonderland, and in various roles in Coppélia and Don Quixote.

Christopher Powney first saw Lily dance at Southland Ballet Academy's Summer Intensive 2015.

On being named Royal Ballet School International Scholar, Lily said:

'When I was given the title of International Scholar, I honestly couldn’t believe it. The Royal Ballet School has always been my dream school, so when Mr Powney told me I would be part of this program I was astounded. Receiving this honour pushes me to work harder and to live up to the title of The Royal Ballet School International Scholar. I am very excited for what this year holds for me.'

António Casalinho

António was born in 2003 in the city of Leiria, Portugal. He started dancing at the Conservatório Internacional de Ballet e Dança Annarella Sanchez in Portugal in 2011, and is still a student at the school. He first competed at the Leiria Dance Competition II in 2012.

Since then, he has participated in several dance competitions from the Youth America Grand Prix, where he won the Hope Award in 2015, to the Youth Grand Prix – New York and Paris. António was also the first competitor to win  the Most Outstanding Boy division at two Dance World Cup competitions, in 2016 - Jersey and 2017 - Offenburg. He was also the 2017 Got Talent Portugal winner.

For the last five years, António has been invited to dance at the Youth America Grand Prix gala, Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow, at the David H. Koch Theater, New York, and Howard Gilman Opera House, Brooklyn.

He has attended masterclasses with many renowned dance teachers; Misha Tchoupakov, Rollando Sarabia and Venus Villa to name a few.

On being named Royal Ballet School International Scholar, António said:

‘It is a great honour to receive this scholarship from the School as since the beginning of my training it has been a dream to study at The Royal Ballet School.’

Suzie Pevel

Suzie lives in the south of France and has been dancing since the age of three. She currently trains at Synopsis Danse Perpignan, France. She has always been encouraged and inspired by her sister, who is also a dancer, and Isabelle Ciaravola, former Principal dancer of Paris Opera Ballet. Isabelle regularly visits Synopsis Danse Perpignan and has given Suzie lots of advice to help her development.

Suzie has won prizes at both national and international competitions, including 1st place in the classical and contemporary categories at the YAGP semi finals in Paris 2016 and placing in the top 12 at the YAGP in New York 2017.

This year, she was awarded 3rd place at the YAGP in Paris and also won a scholarship for the Bolshoi and the Rock School Academy, Philadelphia.

Christopher Powney first saw Suzie dance at an international competition in 2018.

Tia Wenkman

Tia was born and raised in Wisconsin, she began dancing at the age of four and trained in several styles of dance. When she was 10 years old, after performing in her first Nutcracker, she developed her love of ballet.

In 2016 Tia relocated to Arizona to train at Master Ballet Academy, directed by Slawomir Wozniak and Irena Wozniak. Tia continuously works towards perfecting her technique and exploring new ways to challenge herself as an artist.

Some of her accomplishments include winning the Grand Prix Award in 2018 at American Dance Competition/International Ballet Competition, the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) Award in 2018 in Phoenix and placing as a finalist in New York as well as in the prestigious USA-IBC in Jackson, Mississippi in 2018.

Tia has performed in principal roles such as Diana and Acteon pas de deux as a gala artist alongside seasoned professionals as well as being featured as a guest artist with Phoenix Ballet in several productions.

In addition, Tia has performed on TV for So You Think You Can Dance, recently starred in a worldwide music video, as well as an episode for Born on Pointe ballet docuseries and independent dramatic film On Pointe.

She was thrilled to connect with Christopher Powney at an international competition in 2018 and shortly after made her first visit to The Royal Ballet School.

On being named Royal Ballet School International Scholar, Tia said:

'It is a huge accomplishment for me to represent The Royal Ballet School as an International Scholar. It offers world-class training and it has always been a dream of mine to be a part of The Royal Ballet family. I am incredibly honoured. I look forward to continuing my passion for ballet and my new journey with The Royal Ballet School. I am truly grateful and humbled to share the title amongst some of the most talented young people I know and highly respect. Thank you for this amazing opportunity.'

Finnian Carmeci

Finnian is the youngest of three siblings and his sister loved to teach him ballet positions at home. For years his sister tried to convince him to take dance with her, but he had no interest, until 2013, when Finn decided to give it a try. Since then, he has advanced in leaps and
bounds, and his love for dance has grown equally.

Finnian lives in Oregon and is currently a student at the School of Oregon Ballet Theater (SOBT). Here he has had the opportunity to perform in SOBT’s production of Coppélia and has held the lead male role in the school’s productions of Accidental Signals and Valse Fantasie. In 2017, the lead part of Benjamin Britten was choreographed for Finnian in SOBT’s The Great Britten.

Finnian has also had the opportunity to perform with Oregon Ballet Theater. Initially he performed parts such as the Young Prince in the company’s production of The Nutcracker, a child in their production of Napoli, and the Young Male Card in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. More recently, he performed as a Male Spanish Core Dancer in the company’s production of The Nutcracker and as a Stable Boy in Swan Lake. In February 2018, Finnian entered his first competition and was selected as a finalist at the Prix de Lausanne.

On being named Royal Ballet School International Scholar, Finnian said:

'Learning from some of the best teachers and dancers in the world has been such an awesome experience. In the little time I have already spent with the School, I have seen how much more I can improve! Thank you for the chance to be a part of such a great group of people.'

Lea Ellul Sullivan

Lea’s passion for dance started at a very young age. She trains with Marisha Bonnici at Seed Dance Studios, in Malta and also attends the Malta Visual and Performing Arts School, an initiative set up to support dance and other visual arts on the island.

Lea was the first Maltese dancer to be in the Top 12 Youth America Grand Prix in 2016 and 2017. She was awarded a 2 week scholarship to American Ballet Theatre, amongst other scholarships in Italy, France and Switzerland.

As well as attending the Summer Intensive at the Royal Ballet School, she has also taken part in Summer Intensives at Paris Opera Ballet School and English National Ballet. Lea has attended masterclasses with many renowned dance masters; Hope Keelen (The Royal Ballet School), Elizabeth Platel (Paris Opera Ballet), Cynthia Harvey, Raymond Lukens, Franco de Vita (American Ballet Theatre) and Julie Wherlock (Ballettschule Theater Basel) to name a few.

On being named Royal Ballet School International Scholar, Lea said:

'When I received the invitation, I was overwhelmed to be named an International Scholar of The Royal Ballet School. I feel very honoured to have been chosen and look forward to continuing my dance journey. Thank you to The Royal Ballet School for making my dream come through!'

Lea's teacher, Marisha Bonnici, said:

'The Royal Ballet School is one of the finest ballet training programs in the world and to have a student invited to be an International Scholar on such a programme is an honour. I look forward to being part of this journey and am truly grateful and humbled at the invitation of such a prestigious opportunity.'

Elise Cho

Elise lives in southern California and has been dancing since the age of seven. She began her training in commercial dance, then discovered her love for ballet when she was nine years old. She began her studies at Southland Ballet Academy under the guidance of artistic director Salwa Rizkalla. She has attended the International Summer Intensive at Southland Ballet Academy for the last three years and last year received a The Royal Ballet School scholarship.

Some of the accomplishments Elise has achieved since 2016 include winning first place at the Pre-Competitive Classical division at the Youth America Grand Prix 2016 Los Angeles Semi-Finals, the Hope Award at the 2017 and 2018 YAGP Los Angeles Semi-Finals, and being recognised as one of the top 12 of Pre-Competitive competitors at the New York City YAGP Finals.

Most recently, Elise has had the opportunity to perform her variations at the 10th and 11th Annual Gala of the Stars by Festival Ballet Theatre and has performed various roles in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty and many more.

Beatriz Cardoso

Beatriz was born in 2006 in Porto, Portugal, and currently studies in her hometown, at Escola Domus Dança with her teachers Sílvia Boga and Alexandre Oliveira.

Beatriz attended the Paris Opera Ballet Summer Course in 2017, and The Royal Ballet School Summer Intensive in 2018, where she was invited to join the International Scholar Programme.

Beatriz has also attended workshops with Isabelle Ciaravola and Sarah Lamb, as well as taking part in competitions, and was selected to dance at the Youth American Grand Prix 2018 New York Finals.

Due to her school's philosophy, Beatriz has already had lots of stage experience, taking part in several different productions each school year.

Edoardo Savini

Edoardo was born in 2005 in Cesena, Italy. He started dancing at Laboratorio Dance and Teatro, a Professional School both for classical and xontemporary dance in 2013, and he is still a student at the school. He has also taken part in several Summer Schools in Italy from 2015 to 2018.

He participated in Youth America Grand Prix Paris 2016 semi final competition, where he was awarded a week at the Berlin State Ballet School. He also participated in Youth America Grand Prix New York 2016 finals.

In 2017 at the Youth America Grand Prix Paris he was placed within the top 9 and top 6 in Classical Dance category, in the junior age division, where he danced a variation from La Fille mal gardée, he won second place in Contemporary Dance category pas de deux. He was awarded a scholarship at the Zurich Dance Academy and invited to attend The Royal Ballet School Summer Intensive.

His most recent success was in Rieti in 2018 where he came first in two categories: Classical and Contemporary Dance. Whilst there, he also won a week scholarship at the Dutch National Ballet Academy of Amsterdam and he was invited to participate in the Korea International Ballet Competition.

On being named Royal Ballet School International Scholar, Edoardo said:

'The Royal Ballet School is one of the best institutes in the world. I felt deeply honoured to have participated in such a professional ballet training programme at the Summer Intensive. It was an amazing experience and a dream come true.'

Edoardo's teacher, Heidi Pasini, said:

'Edoardo is a very gifted student, has taken so well to dancing and works with consistence and commitment. The Royal Ballet School is among the best schools in the world and I am very happy and proud of the wonderful opportunity Edoardo has been given. It would be a dream for him to study at The Royal Ballet School.'

Mao Takeda

Since 2014 Mao has trained at the Sayuri Ballet School in Japan.

Mao has won 1st place in the Junior Classical and Modern categories at the Educational Ballet Competition Preparatory, Japan and 1st place in Junior Classical category at the Espoir Ballet Concours, Japan for the past two years running. Most recently, Mao was a finalist at the YAGP 2019 semi final in Osaka, Japan.

She also trained at the Southland Ballet Academy Summer Intensive in 2018.

On being named Royal Ballet School International Scholar, Mao said:

'It is an honor for me to have been chosen as an International Scholar of The Royal Ballet School. I have been dreaming of taking lessons at The Royal Ballet School and now the dream has come true, I feel really happy. Like the dancers in The Royal Ballet, I want to be a dancer who entertains people from all over the world.'

Mao's teacher, Sayuri Tamura said:

'It is a great honor that one of my students has been chosen as an International Scholar of The Royal Ballet School. I was so surprised, and I still can’t believe it. However, I think this is a reward for all of Mao's hard work. I look forward to supporting her and her dreams.'

Previous International Scholars

Takumi Miyake

Takumi began dancing at the age of three and started his training at Kondo Ballet under the direction of his mother, Kurumi Mukai. From the age of eight, Takumi's natural talent became apparent and was especially recognised when he danced the main role in Kondo Ballet’s production of Peter and the Wolf.

Since 2013, Takumi has won 1st Place and Gold Medals in most of the well-known Japanese ballet competitions, including the NBA Ballet Competition, the Kawasaki Ballet Competition and both the Nippon and International Ballet Competitions held in Nagoya.

In 2016, Takumi was delighted to win both the Junior Classical and Contemporary Divisions of the Youth America Grand Prix, semi-finals in Osaka, Japan.

On being named Royal Ballet School International Scholar, Takumi said:

'I am so thrilled and honored to be selected an International Scholar! I want to keep working hard every day because I am aware that there are so many talented people in the world. I am also looking forward to making new friends when I visit White Lodge and hope to dance with them at the Royal Opera House.

I just enjoy dancing so much and hope one day to invite everyone to come see me dance who has supported me to make this dream come true.'

Takumi started his training at The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge, in September 2017