Christopher Budzynski, originally from Erwinna, PA, began his training with his mother at Budzynski Studios located near Philadelphia. He later studied at the North Carolina School for the Arts, The School of American Ballet in New York City and Hungarian National Ballet School in Budapest. He joined Boston Ballet in 1995, and was promoted to first soloist in 1999. He and his wife, Alexandra Kochis, joined PBT in 2006. Christopher's repertory encompasses a variety of classical and contemporary works, including Don Quixote, Dracula, La BayadÃ¨re, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Coppélia, The Sleeping Beauty, Rubies, Theme and Variations, Jiří Kylián's Sarabande, Paul Taylor's Company B, Twyla Tharp's Known by Heart ("Junk") Duet and In the Upper Room, William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, Mark Morris’ Maelstrom, Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes and Up and Down and Christopher Wheeldon’s The Four Seasons and Corybantic Ecstasies.
Named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2013, Amanda Cochrane joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 2009. She advanced to soloist in 2012 and then to principal in 2014. She has loved to dance since childhood, and began her early training in her hometown of Spokane, Washington at Sandra Olgard’s Studio of Dance, as well as Ballet Arts Academy. In 2007, she continued her training with the PBT School Graduate Program in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Some of her favorite roles include Nikiya in Terrence S. Orr’s La Bayadère, Ballerina in Jerome Robbins' The Concert, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Kitri in Don Quixote, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and Nine Sinatra Songs, Caroline in Antony Tudor’s Jardin Aux Lilas, Russian Girl in George Balanchine’s Serenade, Cinderella in Septime Webre’s Cinderella, Marie and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Terrence S. Orr’s The Nutcracker, and Tinkerbell in Jorden Morris’ Peter Pan.
Julia Erickson, originally from Seattle, received her training on scholarship with Pacific Northwest Ballet School and San Francisco Ballet School. She has toured to Europe and Asia with PNB and danced with Texas Ballet Theater for two seasons prior to joining PBT in 2001. She was promoted to soloist in 2004 and to principal in 2009. Among her principal roles, Julia has performed Swan Lake (Odette/Odile), La Bayadère (Nikiya), The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora, Lilac Fairy, Carabosse), La Sylphide (the Sylph), Diana and Acteon, and Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, Who Cares?, Prodigal Son, Sylvia Pas de Deux, Agon, and Serenade. She has also danced the roles of Lady Capulet in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Roméo et Juliette, Myrtha in Giselle, “An Episode in his Past” in Antony Tudor's Jardin Aux Lilas (Lilac Garden), the Wife in Jerome Robbins' The Concert, and featured roles in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena, Hyppolita), The Four Temperaments (2nd Theme) and Divertamento Number 15. Her contemporary repertory includes Paul Taylor’s Company B; Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Nine Sinatra Songs, and Octet; and Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort. Julia is the recipient of the 2014 BRAZZY Award for outstanding female dancer and is an entrepreneur and writer.
Alexandra, a Massachusetts native, received her early training from Mimi Ferrell of Ballet Arts Academy in Boxford, MA, and Iacob Lascu of Lascu School of Ballet in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She continued her studies at The Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education,The Kirov Academy in Washington D.C. and The School of American Ballet. She joined Boston Ballet II in 1995 and the company in 1998. Since joining PBT in 2006, she has enjoyed the opportunity to dance principal roles in the company’s productions of Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Don Quixote, Coppèlia, Peter Pan, Cinderella, The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge® - The Ballet, La Bayadère and Balanchine’s Sylvia Pas de Deux and Serenade. She also danced the roles of Juliette in Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo et Juliette, Stella in John Neumeier’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Caroline in Antony Tudor’s Jardin Aux Lilas. Some of her contemporary credits include the Cowgirl in Agnes DeMille’s Rodeo, the Ballerina in Jerome Robbins' The Concert and featured roles in Paul Taylor’s Company B, Mark Morris’ Maelstrom and Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes, Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort.
Yoshiaki Nakano, a native of Japan, received his early training at the Elite Ballet Studio in Osaka, Japan. He later trained at San Francisco Ballet School and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School's Graduate Program. Yoshiaki won the gold medal at the 2013 Beijing International Ballet and Choreography Competition in China and the silver medal at the 2010 World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Florida. In 2014, Dance Magazine reviewed Yoshiaki as one of the year’s top "25 Dancers to Watch." Yoshiaki has performed featured roles as Prince Siegfried in PBT’s Swan Lake, Basilio in Don Quixote, Prince Desire and Blue Bird in The Sleeping Beauty, Solor and The Golden Idol in La Bayadère, the Jester in Septime Webre’s Cinderella and the Peasant Pas de Deux in Giselle as well as performances in PBT's The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Agon, Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room and Nine Sinatra Songs, and Mark Morris' Maelstrom, Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes and Sandpaper Ballet, and Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort. This is Yoshiaki’s sixth year with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and his second as a principal.
Alejandro Diaz is from Miami, Florida, received his early dance training with Tony Catanzaro and later trained at the Boston Ballet School. He danced with Boston Ballet II prior to joining PBT in 2008. With PBT, Diaz’s repertoire includes Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room and Nine Sinatra Songs, Dwight Rhoden’s Chromatic and 7th Heaven and Mark Morris’ Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes. He also has performed featured roles as Prince Siegfried in PBT’s Swan Lake, Basilio in Don Quixote and the Cavalier and Snow King in The Nutcracker. This is Alejandro’s eighth season with PBT and his third as a soloist.
Hannah Carter of England joined Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in 2013. Carter graduated with honors from The Royal Ballet School in London, where she had the opportunity to dance in a number of company productions and school performances. Prior to coming to the United States, Carter danced professionally with Estonian National Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet, and performed in productions, including Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Coppèlia, The Nutcracker, La Sylphide and Balanchine’s Who Cares? Her repertoire also includes Three Muskateers, La Bayadère, Giselle, Firebird and The Sleeping Beauty.
Luca Sbrizzi was born in Udine, Italy, where he trained with his sister, Alessia Sbrizzi, at Abidance and Pino Carbone at “Club il Vortice.” He received such honors as Premio Speranza, Giovanissimi Talenti and XVII Trofeo Internazionale Citta’ di Palmanova. After dancing with Boston Ballet II, Luca joined PBT in 2007 and has performed roles including Frederick and Renfield in Ben Stevenson's Dracula, Peter Pan in Jorden Morris' Peter Pan, Matthew in Jorden Morris' Moulin Rouge® - The Ballet, The Prince in Septime Webre's Cinderella, Prince Desiré in Terrence S. Orr’s The Sleeping Beauty, The Beast in Lew Christensen's Beauty & the Beast, Basilio in Terrence S. Orr’s Don Quixote and Solor in Terrence S. Orr’s La Bayadère. In 2011, Luca was promoted to soloist. He lives with his wife, Jenna, in their home in Stanton Heights.