The Company


Luke Xavier. This is Luke’s first season as a company member with TCB. A New Hampshire native, Luke has trained at New England Civic Ballet and Dean College in Massachusetts, and has danced with Lostwax Multimedia Dance in Rhode Island. Luke has danced many featured roles with Twin Cities Ballet, including “Peter” in TCB’s world premiere of “Narnia: The Ballet,” adapted from C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” several roles in TCB’s original production “Cinderella 1944: A Love Story,” and the role of the “Nutcracker” in TCB’s 2015 production of “A Minnesota Nutcracker.”"

Natalie Rossi.  This is Natalie's second full season with TCB, and we welcome her back for another year. Natalie graduated from the pre-professional program at International City School of Ballet, and was a trainee with the Richmond Ballet. She has won the silver medal for her duet performance in the Ensemble/Pas de deux category and the bronze medal in the Senior Contemporary category at the Youth America Grand Prix. Natalie has also danced with the Montgomery Ballet and as a guest performer at Charleston Ballet Theatre. This past spring Natalie danced the lead role of "Cinderella" in TCB's original production "Cinderella 1944: A Love Story," as well as "Sugar Plum Fairy" in TCB's holiday classic "A Minnesota Nutcracker."

Marissa Debenedictis.This is Marissa's first season with TCB. Marissa was a former dancer for Chicago Repertory Ballet, and has danced with Thodos Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chciago, and a second company member with Atlanta Ballet. Marissa performed in Ruth Page's production of Nutcracker as the role of "Marzipan" and "Snow," and has appeared in Atlanta's Ballet's productions of "Cinderella" and Michael Pinks "Dracula." Marissa will be appearing in Twin Cities Ballet's upcoming holiday production "A Minnesota Nutcracker" as "Snow" and the "Spanish Lead."

Toleu Mukanov.This is Toleu's first season with TCB. Born in Kazakhstan, Toleu received his early training at the Almaty Choreographic College and later on graduated from Kyrgyzstan Ballet School. in 2006 he received a silver medal at the Almaty Ballet Competition. Toelu joined Astana Ballet in Kazakhstan. and Later danced with Kyrgyzstan’s Opera and Ballet Theatre, Moscow’s Russian Ballet Theatre and Russian National Ballet Company. His past roles include: Basilio in Don Quixote, Golden Idol in La Bayadere, Ali in Le Corsaire, James in La Sylphide, and Franz in Coppelia.

Benjamin Stewart. A native of Apple Valley, MN, began his training at Ballet Arts Minnesota in Minneapolis with teachers including Bonnie Mathis and Denise Vogt, and at The Harid Conservatory, then received a B.F.A. in dance from the Juilliard School in New York. Professionally, he has danced with major companies including Atlanta Ballet, Smuin Ballet, and most recently with San Francisco Ballet for nine years. Benjamin is excited to be joining Twin Cities Ballet and looks forward to a fun and exciting season!



Benjamin Johnson. This is Benjamin’s sixth season with Twin Cities Ballet. He has danced the role of Drosselmeyer in TCB’s “The Nutcracker,” the Station Guard in TCB’s original production, “Cinderella 1944: A Love Story,” Beauty’s Father in 2014’s world premiere of TCB’s “Beauty & the Beast,” and "Mr. Beaver" in TCB's world premiere of "Narnia: The Ballet," adapted from C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." Benjamin has also danced with James Sewell Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, BalletMet Columbus, Dayton Ballet, and Ohio Ballet. He has taught ballet throughout the Midwest, including at Ballet Royale Minnesota and the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists.



Twin Cities Ballet Apprentices:

Olivia Awsumb

Emma Banks

Christina Cummings

Emma Denzer

Greta Kvittem

Sarah Lambrecht

Michaela Macauley

Bennett Oelkers

Tianna Vogt


TCB’s Apprentices are also in the Advanced Performance Track and/or Professional Trainee Division (day program) at TCB’s official school and home, Ballet Royale Minnesota.




  Luke Xavier


Natalie Rossi


Marissa Debenedictis


Toleu Mukanov


Benjamin Stewart


Benjamin Johnson




Photos by Erik Saulitis, Sarah Lopez Donovan, or Brianne Bland






© Twin Cities Ballet of Minnesota, 2015