FSDA Dancers Begin Professional Careers

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Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 11.28.03 AMFirst State Dance Academy (FSDA) in Milford, DE has announced that two FSDA dancers have accepted invitations to work with professional dance companies. Monica Starr Biener will join New York State Ballet as Angela Zielen has signed a professional dance contract with First State Ballet Theatre in Wilmington, DE.

“I’m just proud of all the success stories that come out of my dance academy,” said Michele Xiques, Director at First State Dance Academy. “It’s very hard to make it professionally in the world of ballet and this makes these young ladies teachers know they have done something great with their training. Monica had her mother Michelle Parisi as her teacher and she took classes with first state dance academy and performed with its company Delaware Dance Alliance this past year and Angela has been with us since she began.”

Born in Milford, DE, Monica Starr Biener started to dance under the direction of the Gail Gardner Dance Dimension in her hometown and the Zwaanendael Dance Academy in Lewes, DE under Michel Parisi. Participating in high school musicals, she also began dancing in performances such as Cinderella and The Nutcracker. After graduation, Starr decided to pursue a career in dance at the Virginia School of the Arts and has since been dancing for several professional companies including the Milwaukee Ballet and the Ballet Theatre of Maryland.

Monica will be moving on from Delaware Dance Alliance, housed at the First State Dance Academy, under the direction of Michele Xiques, to join New York State Ballet as a company member this fall. Located in Rochester, NY, New York State Ballet is directed by Katherine Johnson. New York State Ballet offers talented dancers from all over the world the chance to live their dreams as professional dancers and share their talents with eager audiences. Monica will start the season in an Edgar Allen Poe themed production performing the role of The Raven. She is excited to be traveling to new territories and will fondly remember all of the wonderful experiences with the dancers and faculty at Delaware Dance Alliance and First State Dance Academy.

“I am excited to get back into a regular routine, dance and rehearsal,” said Biener. “The Raven will be a fun role for me to experience and I am looking forward to working with more contemporary choreographers and performing with friends I have danced with before.”

Originally from Viola, DE, Angela Zielen began studying dance at the age of nine. She studied at the First State Academy of Dance in Milford, DE and has danced lead roles in performances held by the Delaware Dance Alliance and the Diamond Dance Company. In 2011 she was cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker Ballet, a local production that is put on at the Milford Senior High School each year. In 2012 she received the Artistry Award at the Delaware Dance Festival and in 2013 was invited to perform in the Youth American Grand Prix.

Going into her senior year at the University of Delaware as a Cognitive Science student, Zielen recently has signed a professional dance contract at the First State Ballet Theatre in Wilmington, DE. First State Ballet Theatre, Delaware’s professional ballet company, presents full length ballets and mixed-repertory programs throughout the state, commissions new choreography from internationally renowned choreographers, offers performing opportunities to aspiring dancers, and educates the Delaware dance audience of the future. Headquartered in Wilmington’s beautiful and historic Grand Opera House, First State Ballet Theatre performs under the artistic direction of Kirov-trained Pasha Kambalov.

“I am excited to perform in so many different roles and I will be able to be on stage a little longer,” said Zielen. “It will be a rewarding challenge and I hope to be a stronger dance and that it will prepare me for whatever is next.”