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In September of 2020, we launched our NEW Contemporary Program. Managed by Braeden Barnes, the program is created for those in mind who would like to continue with our contemporary/open dance track and will take primary classes in Contemporary, Modern, and Jazz. A team of Artistic Consultants has been created to help young dancers with their studies and development:

  • Tess Voelker - Netherlands Dance Theatre 

  • Meredith Harrill - Visceral 

  • Madison Falconer - USC 


Dancers can either be a part of our full-time program (Pre-professional Ballet III, IV, V, VI, Conservatory, or Youth Company) or only a part of the Contemporary Program (Juniors and Seniors). For the Contemporary Program, we start with one, 2-hour practice on Fridays (additional rehearsals may be added). The Contemporary Progam will have multiple opportunities to work with guest choreographers and will participate in two to three productions, as well as other events (at no additional fee). Costume and production fees are included in the tuition.  

To be a part of the Contemporary Program, dancers must be between the ages 10-24 with some prior training in ballet and contemporary. Dancers must be able to commit for the entire term. 

Regular video conferences, private sessions, seminars, and workshops will be available during the season to help to connect our students with the contemporary dance world. For those who are interested, please contact



Braeden Barnes - A&A Contemporary Team Coordinator 

Braeden Barnes, a native from Chicago, Illinois, received his training from Faubourg Ballet, Academy of Dance Arts, San Francisco Ballet School, and Houston Ballet school. Braeden was then accepted into the Joffrey Ballet training program under the directors Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik. During his time there, he did works by Francisco Avina, Ronn Stewart, Amy Hall, and Diana Princeton.

Braeden has worked professionally with Balletmet, Ron de Jesus Dance, Billy Elliot the Musical, Cocodaco Dance Project, LEVELdance, and Nevada Ballet Theatre. Among his time at these companies, Braeden has worked with choreographers such as James Canfield, Paul Vasterling, Adam Pelty, Sam Watson, Andre Kastan, Gerald Charles, Eddy Ocompo, Danielle Agami, and Kevin O’Day. He is currently working with Visceral Dance Chicago and it is his third season with the company.

Braeden has also danced professionally in major cities such as Milwaukee, Columbus, Portland, Montreal, Lancaster, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas. During his travels, he has worked and danced works by choreographers such as Jose Navas, Matthew Neenan, Sarah Slipper, Banning Bouldin, Yoshito Sakuraba, Lucas Crandall, and Ronn Stewart.

Braeden Barnes is also a choreographer based in Chicago, IL. His choreography has been featured on stage in such cities as Chicago, Las Vegas, New York City, Denver, and Atlanta. He has choreographed for festivals such as: Dance Chicago, Dance
Canvas and REVERBDance Festival in New York, where his work won the First Place audience choice award.

He has choreographed on various companies such as Visceral Dance Chicago, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Cirque Du Soleil, LEVELDance, Cocodaco Dance Project, and in New Dances, a collaboration between Thodos Dance Chicago and Dance Works Chicago.

In 2016, He started his own company, Symbiosis, which is based in Denver, CO.


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Tess Voelker - Netherlands Dance Theatre 

Tess has graduated from Walnut Hill School for the Arts outside of Boston in 2015. While there she was awarded additional training at Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, and The Julliard School. Upon graduation, Tess trained under Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik as a trainee at Joffrey Ballet Chicago. While there she won the contemporary division of the Chicago Youth American Grand Prix semi finals. Tess then launched her professional career in Germany at Ballett Dortmund under the directorship of Xin Peng Wang. A year later she moved to Holland to pursue her love for contemporary and join Netherlands Dans Theater II with whom she currently dances.

Tess has been very fortunate to perform new creations from Mariana Oliveira, Jeffrey Cirio, and Juliano Nunes as well as perform repertoire from Jacopo Godani, William Forsythe, and Ohad Naharin. Additionally, she has been able to work personally with some of the world's leading choreographers such as Marco Goecke, Hans Van Manen, Alexander Ekman, Johan Inger, Itzik Galil, Marina Mascarell, and of course NDT's director and house choreographers Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon. Acknowledging all these incredible opportunities, Tess would love to thank the dance world by teaching back all what she has gained throughout these past hectic years. She is proud and excited to be both Alexei and Anna's student and now apart of A&A Ballet.

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Meredith Harrill - Visceral 

Meredith Harrill began her dance training at Central Florida Ballet Academy. She continued her training on scholarship at the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington DC. Ms. Harrill was a trainee with Joffrey Ballet Chicago (under Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik) and BalletMet Columbus and was given the opportunity to perform with both companies in several productions. Meredith joined State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara in 2013 and was a soloist in several pieces including works by Autumn Eckman, Edgar Zendejas, William Soleau and Gina Patterson. 
Ms. Harrill has received awards from both Youth America Grand Prix and World Ballet Competition and has attended summer programs at Lines Ballet, The Juilliard School and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Meredith is in her second season with Visceral Dance Chicago. 

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Madison Falconer - USC 

Madison Falconer grew up dancing in her hometown Traverse City, MI before moving to Chicago at age 15 to train at A&A Ballet Conservatory under the direction of Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik. Her training also includes intensive programs at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet New York, NYCDA at Juilliard, and the Scholarship Program at Lou Conte Dance Studio founded by Claire Bataille. While in Chicago, Falconer choreographed several solo and ensemble works and was recognized as the Outstanding Choreographer at YAGP Semi-finals where she became the youngest choreographer to receive this honor. She graduated summa cum laude from High School (’18) and was accepted with an artistic scholarship into the prestigious BFA Dance program at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance in LA where she will move and study in the fall.

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