Meet The Team
Brian and Nicole
Adriana Duarte Pontual
Adriana is a Brazilian who started her ballet studies at the age of three. She graduated with full scholarship at the San Francisco Ballet School. Winner of the prestigious Prix de Lausanne competition (Switzerland) in 1993.
She danced at Cia. Fernando Bujones and later she joined the Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro as a Soloist Dancer and Artistic Director Assistant. ABT Certified Teacher (American Ballet Theatre), from Pre-Primary to Level 5.
PBT Certified Teacher Junior, Senior & Advanced Programs. (Progressing Ballet Technique).mPMA Certified (Pilates Method Alliance), and NCPT Certified (Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher).
"My whole life has been dedicated to dance! Ballet taught me much more than just a dance style! I learned perseverance, discipline, team work, concentration, dedication, respect to others, etiquette, and resilience. I care about each of my students and my goal is to make them not only better dancers, but specifically better people through dance!"
• XXI Prix de Lausanne - Silver Medal - 1993 (Switzerland).
• VI International Ballet Competition of Trujillo -Silver Medal -1987 (Peru).
• Brazilian dance council (CBDD) - Bronze Medal - 1987.
• Joinville Dance Festival. Gold Medals -1989, 1990 and 1992 (Brazil).
• International Festival of Dance of Brasília - Bronze Medal - 1991 (Brazil).
Modern/Contemporary - Ballet - Jazz
Dawn Branch is a native New Yorker and graduate of the world-renowned LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. Dawn holds a BA in Media & Communications from State University at Old Westbury and is DEA Certified Level II. Ms. Branch was a soloist with the Bernice Johnson Dance Company and a scholarship student with the Alvin Ailey American Dance School. She studied under the guidance of Madame Darvarsh, Penny Frank, Denise Jefferson, Kevin Austin Hunt, as well as Kevin Iega Jeff.
Ms. Branch’s career has included co-choreographing with Michael Peters (choreographer for Michael Jackson) for "On Stage America," performed with Ben Vereen at Avery Fisher Hall in New York and performed with Diana Ross at Central Park, also in New York. She was the rehearsal director for The Chocolate Nutcracker (Orlando, FL). She is Founder and President of Dawn Branch Master Dance Series & Performances, a workshop series which brought master teachers from the NYC area into Central Florida. 2009-2012. Master Artists included Desmond Richardson, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Obediah Wright, Troy Powell of Alvin Ailey II, and Jamel Gaines of Creative Outlet.
Dawn Branch Works, Contemporary Ballet Company, was formed after The Center for Contemporary dance brought choreographer, Dawn Branch, together with local professional dancers for a project for the 2012 Olympics. Her vision for this Professional Company, “…to establish a strong set of technical dancers who can perform my works — works that have meaning, soul, and what I like to call, “The Give Back”...and help continue the legacy of the dance repertoire that originated with the Bernice Johnson Dance Company “. As a dancer you age out of the system as many athletes do, but you still have a lot to say. I wanted an opportunity to continue a dance career and give back all that was given to me…” - Dawn Branch featured in Black Enterprise Online Magazine in 2013.
She has choreographed numerous Platinum status awards and first placed titles for both International and National Ballet Competitions, and multiple times her performers placed as National Champions. She choreographed for the World Ballet Competition in Romania; her work placed fourth and was selected to present at The Gala Awards Ceremony. She directed the NAACP Local ACTSO program in Sanford, FL for two years where twice her Dance competitor placed Gold which qualified for Nationals. Most recently, her choreography has won first place overall in duos/trios ages 8-11 division as well as “Judge’s Pick” at the Elite Dance Tournament presented by Joffrey Ballet School and Complexions in May 2015. In April 2016, her choreography placed first in the Junior Contemporary category at the International Ballet and Contemporary Dance Competition Domenico Modugno / Bari Ballet Competition in Italy and was invited to perform in The Gala as well.
In April of 2015, Dawn choreographed and produced “Eden”, a soulful reflection on the challenging journey towards self-actualization and spiritual connection in this story of Eve as she leaves the Garden of Eden and attempts to assimilate with the world outside. With a cast of performers aged 8 to adult, Eden features both professional and emerging artists. Branch says, “The idea of creating a work to give honor to the Lord is exciting. It’s clean, wholesome and necessary for outreach. If we can introduce God to one viewer, then I’m pleased. It’s evangelism through the Arts.” The response was overwhelmingly positive, creating the demand for “Eden” to be an annual production. Auditions are held in the fall with the production in March/April each year.
In April of 2016, Dawn Branch Works Junior Company was launched, designed for young dancers, ages 7-17, eager to improve their technique and performance abilities dramatically to become a sought after dancer in the industry, such as commercial, theater, and/or professional company. Dawn Branch is currently a freelance teacher and choreographer throughout Central Florida.
Hip Hop - Contemporary - Jazz
...born and raised in Philadelphia PA, Sam began her training, at 14 years old. Competing and performing with Release Dance Academy. Meanwhile commuting to take classes at Broadway Dance Center and Millennium Philly. Training in Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Musical Theater and Commercial Hip-hop. Sam’s Passion for dance was undeniable. In 2012 Sam began performing for Sea world Parks & Entertainment, as an in costume and face character, becoming Dance Captain within only two years on the job. Upon graduating High school Sam decided to move to Los Angeles, CA. June 18th, 2015 Sam was on her first plane ride heading to LA to continue pursing her career as a performer in the entertainment industry.
Since moving to LA, Sam has been working professionally as dancer, Model, Creative Director, and Choreographer. Performing and training with Academy of Villains 2017-2018, introduced her to Krump. Which she grew a huge passion/love for. Learning the style in the Mecca from the creators, OG’s, and Pioneers. Sam has built a virtual training program, that students from around the world attended for various months at a time. She has worked under, assisted and learned from various accredited dancers and choreographers. Sam has worked with companies & Artist such as Oakley, Disney, MeUndies, Tayla Parks, Scienthealth, and more. Sam continues to build her skills and work on her craft daily. Sam enjoys Choreographing, teaching, and judging in various cities and her students from around the world. Sam loves to share the joy of dance. All in All Sam Simply enjoys sharing, loving and appreciating art as a whole. For more about Sam find her on IG @iamsam_iam_ or Iamsamdonohue.com
Jazz, Jazz Funk, Team Coach
Contemporary - Ballet - Lyrical - Modern - Jazz - Tap
Ashley Urbaniak began dancing at the age of two and is trained in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, modern, and lyrical. She began competing at age five and won multiple national titles throughout her competitive career from competitions such as Turn It Up Dance Challenge, Dancers Inc, and Dance X-plosions. She was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet School at age fifteen and attended Marymount Manhattan College, majoring in dance. She has been teaching dance for seven years and is passionate about fostering a love of movement and expression in her students.
Madda Grace was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has been a trained dancer since she was 13 years old. Madda moved to the United States when she was 17 where she continued her training professionally at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Madda afterward transferred to LA for her Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree (BFA) at AMDA College of the Performing Arts. While at AMDA, Madda trained in dance, acting, stage combat, and singing/musical theater. Over the years Madda has gained training in the various styles of dance such as: hip-hop, ballet, pointe, jazz (funk, commercial jazz, lyrical, latin), heels, modern, afro, contemporary, amongst others. Madda is an artist that takes risks, promotes diversity and falls in love with what she does. When Madda dances she loves the feeling of empowerment, being fierce, and promoting positivity.
Ballet - Lyrical - Contemporary - Modern - Tap
Aurora Naatjes trained at Central Florida Ballet from the time she was a student, through high school as a pre-professional studio company member. She began traveling internationally when she was 9 years old performing and competing in multiple countries including Italy and Romania. Aurora has won multiple scholarships for some of the most prestigious ballet schools in America. She has had the opportunity to perform multiple lead roles in Central Florida Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” as well as the lead role of “Eve” in Dawn Branch Works’ production of “Eden”. The Dance Theatre of Harlem welcomed her to attend their summer intensive program for three years on a full merit scholarship where she was hand-picked to perform with the professional company at Lincoln Center in New York City. Now, Aurora uses her experiences to teach and train other young dancers in hopes to pass on the love of ballet as well as contemporary to the next generation of dancers.
Contemporary - Jazz - Modern - Hip Hop
Racquel Sherlock is an award-winning, multi-talented dancer, choreographer, and actress. She has appeared in multiple commercials, was a proud member of the Toronto Raptors Hip Hop dance crew where she performed in countless halftime shows, and was a lead character in the series Life’s Rewards season 2 on Amazon Prime. She has won countless dance awards, one of which was placing in the Top 3 finalists for the Contemporary division at the Youth America Grand Prix. In addition, Racquel has trained with some of the best in the industry including world renowned Artistic Director Nadia Veselova Tencer at the Canadian Ballet Theatre, industry professional Dawn Branch for Contemporary and Modern dance, she has taken many Alvin Ailey workshops and classes, as well as trained with Paul "Kaze'' at Simply Swagg Dance studio for Hip Hop in Toronto, Canada. Racquel has choreographed routines for the Annual Ballet Gala at the Academy of Ballet and Jazz. Overall, her passion for the entertainment industry shines through all aspects of her career as she continues to grow and elevate herself as a professional dancer and actor as well as teach, mentor, and inspire young talent in this industry.