Ballet & Repertory
Aaron Atkins is originally from Lancaster, South Carolina and gained notoriety at an early age as a contemporary ballet dancer before attending the prestigious Greenville South Carolina's South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities.
As a contemporary ballet dancer, Mr. Atkins debuted at the young age of 17 with Classical Contemporary Ballet Theatre and Ballet Savannah as a principal dancer in 2007. Mr. Atkins also performed with South Carolina’s Columbia City Ballet; and York County Ballet that same year. Additionally, he worked as choreographer, co-director, and make-up artist for the Lancaster Community Playhouse and received The Director’s Choice Award and Best Make-up Artistry in 2009 for his work in stage play version of Oliver. Mr. Atkins relocated to New York in 2010 continuing his artistic and performance endeavors. He worked with Ballet Hispanico and was a founding company member of BH Dos the second company of Ballet Hispanico.
As an emerging choreographer, Mr. Atkins was has received the 2014 & 2015 Jamaica Performing Arts Center Emerging choreographer’s award, 2015 Rider University Emerging Choreographer’s Award, 2015 Lounsbery Choreography Award, was a 2015 Finalist of the Hubbard Street Choreographer Competition, 2014 & 2015 YCF Young Choreographer’s Award recipient and was an Finalist in 2013 & 2014 for the Joffrey Ballet – Choreographers of Color Award. Most recently Mr. Atkins has been commissioned for creation of new work in 2014 & 2015 by Jamaica Performing Arts Center, 2015 Earthside The Band. Atkins’s choreography has become critically acclaimed as “Beautiful, Quirky, Lush and Expansive” - Critical Dance -. Mr. Atkins combines an eclectic accessible range of genres of dance to create an individual contemporary ballet esthetic that showcases each artist’s uniqueness and prowess.
In 2012 Mr. Atkins Founded Ballet Inc. Since Ballet Inc.’s founding by Mr. Atkins, his artistic vision and choreography has led Ballet Inc. to commendable, international creditability and ground breaking success. Ballet Inc. has appeared at over 50 National and International Prestigious Dance Festivals, has self-produced 4 full-length evenings to sold out success and annually reaches over 3,000 Patrons to the arts via social media, touring engagements and self-produced productions; becoming Critically acclaimed as “Hard-hitting..Powerful..Beautiful..Sensual” -Broadway World Dance
Most recently, in 2016 Ballet Inc. has curated an Artist Exchange festival entitled The Series. The Series's Annual mission is to choose 25 Emerging choreographers with 1 to 5 years of professional experience as a choreographer to share their artistic voice on a professionally recognized live performance platform. In hopes, of creating choreographic opportunities for emerging contemporary dance artist to collaborate, cultivate and present their work.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland; Kara recieved her early training at the Gniazdowska Studio of Ballet. She then went on to major in Ballet Performance at the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music for their BFA program under the direction of Shellie Cash and Jiang Qi. Ms. Cooper furthered her dance education as a trainee at the Martha Graham School in New York City and went on to perform professionally with companies such as Ballet Deviare,The MorganScott Ballet, Covenant Ballet Theater, Ballet for Young Audiences,and Arch Contemporary Ballet. Kara also had the opportunity to appear as featured ensemble in the musical "My Princess Diana" in partnership with Broadway Cares, Equity Fights AIDS. She currently performs with The American Swiss Ballet internationally throughout Europe and appears as a guest artist with Ballet Inc. Kara is a founding member with Ballet Inc and has had the pleasure of having original works set on her by Aaron Atkins since 2012. Most notably, “ Coeur Silencieux” which was critically acclaimed in 2014 and revereed as a company favorite. Along with performing, Ms. Cooper enjoys teaching young dancers and has been working with the students of New American Youth Ballet and The Rose Academy of Ballet for nearly ten years. She also shares her love of ballet with adults as a teaching artist with Everyday Ballet Fitness. Kara has been with Ballet Inc since the company’s beginnings and celebrates it’s mission to highlight dancers’ diversity and passion.
Pilates & Contemporary
Originally from Parlin, New Jersey, Shannon began her training at Dance Stop Dance Education Center and New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble. She furthered her training at The Boston Conservatory where she graduated with a BFA in Contemporary Dance. Shannon has had the opportunity to perform works by Parren Ballard, Al Blackstone, Larry Keigwin, José Limón, Andrea Miller, Alwin Nikolai, Daniel Pelzig, Stephen Pier, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, and Robert Moses, for whom she served as rehearsal director. She has been a member of Ballet Inc. since 2014 and continues to perform nationally with the company. Aside from performing Shannon is an avid lover of teaching. She has taught at a pre-professional level for the prestiguous Boston Ballet School, and at Concord Academy. She also holds a Pilates Mat Certification and teaches group fitness as well as private lessons throughout New Jersey. Shannon is passionate about sharing her love of movement with others, and is grateful to be a part of Ballet Inc.