Mackenzie Cunningham

Mackenzie Cunningham has an extensive background in ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, ballroom, acrobatics, modern, contemporary ballet, character dance, tap, and musical theatre. Mackenzie trained at The Joffrey Ballet School NYC, The Kirov Academy of Ballet, The Ohio Conservatory of Ballet, The School of Cleveland San Jose Ballet, and interned with Verb Ballets in Hernando Cortez’s Yellow River. In college, Mackenzie received the University of Akron dance scholarship and was featured in a principal role in the UA Dance Company dancing a pas de deux in Erich Yetter’s Piano Pieces. She was a professional NBA dancer as a Cleveland Cavalier Girl. Mackenzie is currently a full-time licensed Speech-Language Pathologist working for Strongsville City Schools. In her spare time, she is a dance teacher and choreographer and coaches high school dance team and cheerleading. She earned her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from Kent State University and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Akron with a B.A. in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology and a minor in Dance. She is excited to be a Guest Artist with North Pointe Ballet.

Sophia Beachy

Sophia Beachy is the daughter of Keith and Amanda Beachy and resides in Sugarcreek Ohio. She is in the 12th grade and homeschooled. Sophia has been taking classes from Holmes Center for the arts for five years. Over the past three summers she has attended summer programs through Ballet Magnificat in Mississippi and The University of Utah. In addition to dancing, Sophia is an active contributor in her family’s business and enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, writing and traveling. Sophia plans to continue dancing through high school and college and hopefully one day join a professional company.

Abigail Wengerd

Abby started dancing when she was thirteen years old and has received most of her training at Holmes Center for the Arts under Holley Johnson, Abi Fedor, Lydia Fedor, and Ethan Ralston. She has also attended Ballet Magnificat!’s summer dance program for the past two years. When she is not dancing, Abby likes to ride horses, read books, and paint. Abby is so excited to be dancing with North Pointe Ballet this year.

Jessica Smith

Jessica’s dance training began at the age of 3 in North Olmsted. She received the majority of her ballet training from Artistic Director Janet Strukley-Dziak. She has also trained under Cleveland Ballet Company members Jason Wang and Kathryn Tokar with additional guidance from Melaina Kampf and Elizabeth Radachi. Jessica additionally has done contract work with Champagne Creative Group out of Las Vegas, has performed during the Christmas season as the Ballerina in the Christmas Tower City Show in Cleveland, and has been featured in two short films. Jessica’s most notable performances are Sleeping Beauty (Good Fairy #1, 2015), Swan Lake (Big Swan, 2015), Cinderella (Summer Fairy, 2017), and The Nutcracker (Snow Queen, Spanish Principle, Marzipan, Chinese Principle, 2012-2016). As a hobby Jessica enjoys working on her marksmanship skills as she is considered a Distinguished Expert with a small bore rifle and has competed locally, within the state, and even nationally. Jessica is currently in Nursing school and has the great pleasure of working for the Cleveland Clinic when she is not dancing. She would like to thank her family and friends for all of their support and the whole company of North Pointe Ballet who has been so welcoming in her first official season with them.

Athena Boyer

Athena has been dancing since she was nine years old. Her first major ballet role was that of a mouse in The Nutcracker at age 10. Since then, Athena has performed in several productions of The Nutcracker with both Olmsted Performing Arts’ Ballet Series and North Pointe Ballet as a student cast member. This is Athena’s first year with the company where she was seen in The Nutcracker. In addition to ballet, Athena has studied other forms of dance including jazz and contemporary. When she is not dancing, Athena enjoys reading, writing, and performing in theater productions.

Jenni Hankey

Jenni Hankey began her dance training at age four with New Castle Regional Ballet, where she had the opportunity to travel to festivals with Regional Dance America, a national association for pre-professional ballet companies. She attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts in Erie, PA and then received dance and academic scholarships to continue her dance education at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. Later, she earned her degree from Ball State University, majoring in architecture and minoring in technical theater. Currently, she teaches children and choreographs modern adaptations of classical ballets at her company, Cleveland Modern Ballet. She started the school in 2011 in Bedford, OH where she produces a 1920’s-inspired The Nutcracker as well as a summer pop-ballet. She also enjoys sewing costumes for her students and designing set pieces for her shows. Jenni has danced with Ohio Dance Theater and MorrisonDance and is excited to perform in her first season with North Pointe Ballet!

Theresa Holland

Bernadette Benda

Bernadette, a dancer and a writer, has been training in ballet and other dance forms for 18 years. Classes and intensives with different companies have inspired her love of dance, including Verb Ballet and the Kent Summer Workshop with Limon Dance Company. She has performed under North Pointe Ballet in multiple productions. Her most favorite role has been as Curly, one of the Principle Lost Boys in North Pointe Ballet’s recent production of Peter Pan. When Bernadette is not dancing she is pursuing a career as an author of speculative fiction novels.

Ian Richard Smith

Ian Richard Smith is a company member with North Pointe Ballet. He is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater with an acting focus and a minor in dance. His previous appearances include ‘Captain Hook’ in NPB’s Peter Pan, NEOS’ ‘A 1940s Nutcracker,’ NPB’s ‘Cinderella’ and ‘The Nutcracker,’ as well as ‘Fyoo zh en’ (’14, ’15, ’16, ’17) at Baldwin Wallace. He is pleased to be with NPB and would like to thank Janet, Melaina, and the rest of the company for the pleasure of working with them, as well as his family, friends and cat for their undying support.

Cole Rector

Cole Rector, eighteen, is an apprentice with NPB, and couldn’t be more excited to be performing the role of Dance Master in this take of Cinderella. Cole started training at age 13 with teacher Melania Kampf, and has fell in love with dancing since then. Some of Cole’s past roles include Nutcracker, party parents, Chinese, and Russian (The Nutcracker) and the Grey Wolf (Sleeping Beauty). Cole is excited to be performing on stage again, and is even more excited to be doing it with NPB.