Our Company Members
Emily Dunkin, Founder/Director & Company Dancer
Emily Dunkin began ballet, tap, and jazz training in Albuquerque with Karen Alwin at age four. She went on to earn her Cecchetti VI teaching certificate in ballet. She has studied with Alonzo King, Luis Fuente, and Fletcher Nickerson, and attended Ballet Hispanico's summer workshop in New York City on full scholarship. Her performance credits include faculty concerts for the University of New Mexico Dance Department, Maria de Buenos Aires at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and the role of Anybodys in the UNM production of West Side Story. Emily's has danced lead roles with Ballet Repertory Theatre including Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, Clara and the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, and the fairy Cobweb in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Emily started competitive ballroom training ten years ago with Hans Kliphuis, and performed with Top Hat Entertainment. She has competed with Nicolás Rael, and won top honors. Emily graduated cum laude from UNM with a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts degree in Art History and minor in dance. She is currently working toward her Pilates Certification. She is Founder and Director of Soirée Entertainment. (Photo by Valerie Santagto)
Brenda Dunagan, Artistic Coordinator & Company Dancer
Brenda Dunagan is a dance teacher and professor at the University of New Mexico. She has been a professional ballroom dancer for over twenty years, and has competed, performed, and taught in all fifty US states, as well as eleven foreign countries. She holds her professional gold medals and a Licentiate degree through the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in International Standard ballroom dance. She also holds a B.S. in biology with minors in chemistry and philosophy, and enjoys hobbies such as stage magic and raising exotic animals. (Photo by Valerie Santagto)
Edward Montoya, Costumer & Company Dancer
Edward Montoya was born & raised in Northern NM. Edward began training in dance at age 19 with Gwen Mills at the Santa Fe Community College. He has studied dance at the Santa Fe Community College, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, & Ballet Repertory Theatre (BRT). Edward has performed lead & featured roles in BRT’s productions of The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Swan Lake, Coppelia, Seasons, and Elementals. Outside of dance Edward is an accomplished costume designer. Edward continues to work towards improving his performance in technical skill, athletic ability & artistic interpretation. (Photo by Russell Maynor)
Devaraj Aran, Company Manager & Company Dancer
Devaraj Aran was born in San Francisco and was raised between California and New Mexico, having had family in the later since World War II. Although he has had considerable musical performance training since the age of five, he didn’t start dancing until after entering the University of New Mexico and eventually found he enjoyed it. Since then, he has principally pursued ballroom dance in competitive and performance settings with a number of groups associated with UNM and professional dancers, schools, and companies in Albuquerque. Devaraj studied and conducted research in human evolutionary ecology and molecular genetics at UNM.
(Photo by Russell Maynor)
(Photo by Russell Maynor)
Sidra Cordova, Marketing Manager & Company Dancer
Sidra Cordova started dancing at the age three at Fishback Studio of the Dance where she was initially trained in Ballet and Jazz. She also has experience in other styles of dance including contemporary, hip hop, modern belly dancing and more. She has attended different dance studios in Albuquerque including taking dance or dance related classes at UNM and CNM. She is currently working on her business degree. She also enjoys baking specialty cakes on the side and, as a certified cake decorator, hopes to one day open up a bakery in Pagosa Springs, Colorado!
Our Guest Dancers
Giacomo Zafarano, Guest Dancer
Giacomo Zafarano began performing at a young age through in-school music and drama programs and counts Gene Kelly and Bugs Bunny as some of his earliest influences. His dance training began with the Ballet de Santa Fe youth company under the direction of Endelecia Prince. Giacomo holds a B.A. in linguistics from the University of New Mexico. He has performed professionally in Las Vegas, NV and around the US in commercial, industrial, and theatrical venues, and performs locally with dance and theatre companies in New Mexico. Giacomo is a Realtor, works in other areas of commercial real estate management, and continues to expand his intellectual, athletic, and artistic boundaries through the performing arts and other pursuits.