top of page

2006 Jury Panel

Shingo Yoshimoto

Born in Kyoto, Japan, Shingo Yoshimoto received his training from his mother, Honda Keiko, at the Honda Keiko Ballet School, the Kyoto Ballet Academy, and Paris Opera Ballet School. Prior to joining Houston Ballet, Yoshimoto danced with Cleveland San Jose Ballet from 1998-2000 and Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley from 2000-2004. Mr. Yoshimoto’s significant roles this season include Swan Lake, The Nutracker, and a high-octane performance in Christopher Bruce’s Rooster. He has also won national acclaim for choreography at the 2007 Dance Salad. Mr. Yoshimoto was promoted to demi-soloist in 2007 for the Houston Ballet.

Paul Thrussell

Born in Hull, England.  He trained at The Royal Ballet School in London.  Paul joined Northern Ballet Theatre in 1987, and was quickly promoted to soloist.  In 1990 he joined London City Ballet as a Principal dancer, and had the privilege of performing for Queen Elizabeth, and Diana, the Princess of Wales.  In 1993 Paul joined Boston Ballet.  As a principal dancer he performed numerous leading roles with choreography by Balanchine, McMillan, Cranko, Nacho Duato, Mark Morris, Paul Taylor and Rudi Van Dantzig.  Paul has had works created on him by Twyla Tharp, Mark Godden, Christopher Wheeldon and Daniel Pelzig.  In 1996 he danced at Vail's International Dance Festival and that same year The Boston Globe named Paul in their list of Boston's Top 10 of Dance.  He re-staged Christopher Wheeldon's Corybantic Ecstasies on Boston Ballet, and was a member of the faculty of Boston Ballet's Summer Dance Program. Paul has taught master classes at Tulane University, The Boston Conservatory, Boston Ballet, Walnut Hill School and Boston College. Mr. Thrussell joined Ballet Gammonet in August 2004.

Barbara Riggins

One of Orlando Ballet's founders, Barbara Riggins was the driving force behind the company for 23 years where she served as its artistic director. Ms. Riggins began her training with Edith Royal in Florida and continued her training in New York at the George Balanchine's School of American Ballet. After dancing professionally she returned to Orlando and founded the Southern Ballet Theatre company, apprentice program, and school in 1974. The company was the first professional ballet company in the central florida area. She developed many arts in education programs during her tenure (the most notable program being S.T.E.P.S., Scholarship for The Enrichment for Primary Students, the first program of its kind dedicated to bringing ballet to "at risk" children in central florida). Ms. Riggins choreographed the company's first full length ballet, Cinderella, and is responsible for bringing several prominent choreographers to Orlando. Ms. Riggins started and toured the company for fifteen years. She was also an active member of the Florida Dance Association, and still maintains a place on its Board of Directors. She was a member of the Advisory Board for the Boca Ballet Theatre and was awarded the prestigious Nancy Smith Award for Excellence in Dance for the State of Florida. Ms. Riggins also serves as a member of the Florida Alliance for Arts Education (ACE).

Additional Teaching Staff

Eddy Tovar

Eddy Tovar received his ballet training at the Cuban National Ballet School. In 1997, he won the gold medal in the Alicia Alonso Ballet Competition, and in 1998 he was awarded the Juan Poix Award in Brazil. His Talents also earned him a gold medal at the Youth America Grand Prix. Eddy joined Orlando Ballet in 1999 and danced his first principal role as Franz in Coppelia in 2000. Since then he has performed many principal roles in ballet's such as La Fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote, Camelot, and Spartacus as well as pieces of Contemporary and Balanchine.  In 2006, he was a finalist at the International Ballet Competition in New York City, Helsinki and Jackson, MS. Eddy is in his ninth season with Orlando Ballet. 

Chiaki Yasukawa

Chiaki began her training in Osaka, Japan, and attended the Academy of Dance Classic Princess Grace of Monaco. Later she trained at the School of American Ballet and Joffrey Ballet on full scholarship. Chiaki won a bronze medal in Italy at the International Competition, was a finalist in the Korea International Competition and a semi-finalist in the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS. Chiaki has performed numerous repertoire such as Odette and Odile in Swan Lake, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Twyla Tharp's In the Upper Room and George Balanchine's Who Cares, among others. Chiaki is in her ninth season dancing for Orlando Ballet.

bottom of page