Current Company Roster

(Dancers listed in order of seniority)

Matthew S. Berenbaum, Founding Artistic and Executive Director

Matthew S. Berenbaum began his dance training at the age of ten. He is a graduate of the School of the Staten Island Ballet, the Dance Department of LaGuardia High School, and the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. At Gallatin, he wrote a paper on the physics of ballet which he hopes to expand on and publish in the future. He appeared with Dances Patrelle in several demi-soloist roles before retiring from dancing to focus on choreography.

He was first inspired to become a choreographer by a Pink Floyd song on the Staten Island Ferry early one morning during his high school years, and continued to conceive and develop choreographic ideas while in college. Shortly after graduation, he began renting rehearsal space and gathered a few friends together with the simple aim of bringing some of his ideas to life. These few friends soon became the founding members, and that rehearsal space soon became the birthplace, of Homo Veritas Dance Theatre.


Laura DeLaurentis, Associate Artistic Director and Founding Member

Gain of e (Brooklyn Dance Festival, 2015), EVOLUTION (2017), On the Shoulders of Giants (2018), Studio/Apartments (2020)

Laura started her dance training at the age of 8 at the Stamford Academy of Ballet. She took a brief hiatus from dancing, but returned at the age of 15 and went on to achieve a professional ballroom title in International Latin and Standard at the age of 17. She competed nationally at the high rank of S class dancer and was awarded 2nd place as a 10-dance Champion. Soon afterwards, she was offered the Trustee’s Scholarship for rare talent in artistry to attend Dean College’s Dance program and completed a full certification as a personal trainer. During her college years, Laura also studied with the Casa Patas Flamenco Conservatory and performed with them in Madrid, Spain. She graduated Dean in 2011 with a B.A. in Dance and a minor in Psychology. She has studied and performed with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Spellbound Contemporary Ballet, Armitage Gone!, Cedar Lake, Emery LeCrone, Helen Pickett, New Chamber Ballet, Dawson Dances, Stefanie Nelson Dance Group and ExortoDanza at the Castello Aragonese in Italy. Her performances include works by Miro Magloire, Alexandre Proia, Stuart Loungway, Jennifer Muller, Jillian Davis, Benjamin Briones, Liza Barskaya, Matthew S. Berenbaum, Stefanie Nelson, Piero LeCesse, Nadine Azoulay, and Louis DeVaughn Nelson. During her time in New York, she has been a company member with Benjamin Briones Ballet, Jillian Davis Dance Project, and Homo Veritas Dance Theatre. Laura is also freelancing with multiple artists dancing on film, in live collaborations and has had the privilege for dance to take her all over the world to perform. Laura has been with Homo Veritas Dance Theatre from the beginning and she is very excited to see what the future holds in store. 

Rebecca Allen, Founding Associate Artistic Director

Studio/Apartments (2020)

A New York City native, Rebecca is a graduate of LaGuardia High School and the Dance Conservatory at SUNY Purchase. During her college years she performed works by Doug Varone, Ori Flomin, Mark Morris, and John Heginbotham. She also studied in Perth, Australia at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, focusing on contemporary dance and aerial circus silks. Rebecca has danced with AMS Project and was a guest artist in Doug Varone's Choreographic Intensive where she had the opportunity to dance with Dance Householder, MATYCHAK, and Sum Bones Co. She is currently a member of CoreDance Contemporary, Synthesis Dance Project, and Copy That Dance. Rebecca is thrilled to be a part of Homo Veritas Dance Theatre and looks forward to the many opportunities ahead.

Kara Cooper

EVOLUTION (2017), Studio/Apartments (2020)

Originally from Baltimore, Maryland; Kara received her early training at the Gniazdowska Studio of Ballet. She then attended The University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music for their BFA program majoring in ballet performance. Kara furthered her dance education as a trainee at the Martha Graham School in NYC, and went on to perform professionally with companies such as Ballet Deviare, The MorganScott Ballet, Covenant Ballet, Ballet for Young Audiences, Ballet Inc, Arch Contemporary Ballet, and the American Swiss Ballet. Ms. Cooper has also had the pleasure to perform as featured ensemble in My Princess Diana the Musical,  in association with Broadway Cares. This is Kara’s second season working with HVDT and she is delighted to perform such eclectic and various  pieces in the company repertoire. 

Barbara Samille de Lima Lins

EVOLUTION (2017), Studio/Apartments (2020)

Barbara Samille de Lima Lins was born in Brazil and started dancing when she was 6 years old, training at Ballet Eliana Cavalcanti for several years, including 5 years as a principal dancer. She has attended summer courses with teachers from the Bolshoi Ballet, including Denis Nevydommy, former prima ballerina Galina Kozlova, Boris Storojkovo, Olga Dolganova, and many others. She attended summer courses and Trainee Programs at Ballet Chicago in 2013 and at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York in 2015, and is a recent graduate of the Certificate Program at Peridance Capezio Center. She has participated in many festivals in France, Italy, Brazil and Switzerland, and elsewhere around the world. Since moving to NYC, she had enjoyed dancing with Connecticut Ballet Company, Arch Contemporary, Homo Veritas Dance Theatre, Albano Ballet of America, and American Swiss Ballet Company, and has appeared as a guest artist with Metropolitan Ballet & Academy in Minneapolis, Encounters Company, and Jersey City Ballet Theater. Her repertoire includes such ballets as Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, Paquita, The Flames of Paris, The Nutcracker,  Coppelia, La Esmeralda, La Sylphide, Diana and Actaeon, Serenade, Concerto Barocco, and many others.

Nina Deacon

On the Shoulders of Giants (2018), Studio/Apartments (2020)

Nina Deacon trained at the Nancy Whyte School of Ballet in Bellingham, WA. At 13, she joined the Mount Baker Ballet where she danced her way from Snowflake to Snow Queen and performed many soloist and principle roles.  Off-Broadway credits include “Tchaikovsky – A New Stage Play”, “Still on the Corner”,the title role of “Golden Bird” in “Finding the Golden Bird”, “First Coquette” in “Dances of Life and Death” and “Odile” in “Lake of Sorrows”. Dance company credits include “Ballet for Young Audiences” “Linda Diamond and Co.”, “Jersey City Ballet” and guest artist with “New American Youth Ballet” and danced in Giada Ferrone’s “The Nutcracker, a Contemporary Ballet” at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre.  Nina is honored to have danced at the Minskoff Theatre as part of the Broadway Cares benefit, "The Easter Bonnet”. She is more than delighted to be dancing for Homo Veritas Dance Theatre again!

Shannon Grant

On the Shoulders of Giants (2018), Studio/Apartments (2020)

Shannon Grant began her training at age 4, studying with master teachers of the Russian Kirov Ballet and training with the Joffrey Ballet (Chicago), Marat Daukayev Ballet (Los Angeles), Salzburg Ballet (Austria) and more. She is a graduate of Columbia University and is an American Ballet Theater (ABT) certified teacher in all 7 levels.  Shannon has performed professionally in soloist and principal roles in Europe, Canada and throughout the United States, dancing professionally with City Ballet (San Diego), David Taylor Dance Theatre (Denver), Media City Ballet (Los Angeles), Ballet de Printemps (Canada), International Vaganova Festival (Philadelphia), Scottish American Ballet (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland), Ballet New England (New Hampshire), USA Ballet, and other companies in New York and elsewhere. Shannon originated a lead role in the Ovation Award winning musical ‘Shag With a Twist’, and has danced in music videos, commercials, fashion shows, and charity events.

Erika Keller

On the Shoulders of Giants (2018), Studio/Apartments (2020)

Erika Keller began her ballet training in Germany as a part of the Royal Academy of Dance as a scholarship student in Neumarkt and Nuremberg. Returning to the U.S. she continued her training in the RAD Syllabus at the Academy of Dance Arts under Jennifer Church as well as at the Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Springs City Ballet and the Colorado Academy of Ballet. She has danced professionally with the Columbia City Ballet, Newcomb Ballet Company, Albano Ballet Company, Connect the Dots Dance Company, Jersey City Ballet and Dances Patrelle. Erika began choreographing repertoire for American Liberty Ballet in 2018 and since has presented work at Abrons Art Center and Peridance.

Leigh Schanfein, MS

Studio/Apartments (2020)

Leigh Schanfein is a freelance dancer, choreographer, and teacher as well as an independent researcher in the fields of kinesiology and biomechanics.

Leigh has trained and performed across the USA and abroad in modern, ballet, and contemporary dance, and currently performs professionally as a freelance artist in NYC. She has performed with companies such as City Ballet of San Diego, Indelible Dance, Christopher Caines Dance Company, Yoo and Dancers, and the Park Avenue Armory, and has guested with Benjamin Briones Ballet, New American Youth Ballet, Lafayette Ballet, and CONNetic Dance.  She has performed in commercial productions including on stage with comedian Hannibal Buress as part of the Oddball Comedy Tour, during Fashion Week NYC for designers such as Malan Breton, and for brands such as Xerox, Suave, Oreo, and Estee lauder.  Leigh is a former Director of Dance for Periapsis Music and Dance, where her choreography was described as "gorgeous and lush."  She teaches regularly with NYC Community Ballet, has subbed at the major NYC open studios, and has been a guest instructor and choreographer for pre-professional schools in Indiana, Montana, California, Idaho, and Connecticut.  She is also a contributing journalist for Dance Informa Magazine.

Leigh received her M.S. degree in kinesiology with a specialization in biomechanics from Purdue University, and her B.S. degree in animal physiology and neuroscience with a minor in dance from the University of California San Diego. As a graduate student, she received multiple awards for her research with dancers including two awards through the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science. Her research has focused on the mechanisms by which humans control balance and how sensory feedback is integrated for the control of posture. From 2012-2018, Leigh worked as a research associate at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, part of NYU Langone Health.  Her research there covered a wide range of topics concerning injury prevention among dancers.  Leigh has taught courses in health, motor development, biomechanics lab, and stress at Purdue University, and anatomy at Peridance Capezio Center.  In 2015, she joined the faculty at Barnard College as adjunct lecturer of biomechanics in the department of dance, and co-founded Dance Dissection in 2018.

HVDT Alumni

(Dancers listed in order of seniority)

Mathew Ortiz, Founding Member

Gain of e (Brooklyn Dance Festival, 2015), EVOLUTION (2017), On the Shoulders of Giants (2018)

Mathew Ortiz started his training in singing, acting, and dancing at Rosie's Theater in New York City in the 6th grade, and later continued his studies at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts, Ballet Academy East, and by participating in summer intensives at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Miami City Ballet. Mathew is trained in classical and contemporary ballet, the Graham and Horton techniques of modern, jazz, and tap. Mathew has appeared with Dances Patrelle, Catskills Ballet Theater, and Brass City Ballet, as well as Homo Veritas Dance Theatre.


Alejandro Aristizábal


Alejandro Aristizábal discovered dancing while studying Anthropology at Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He began his semi-formal training with the University’s Contemporary Dance Group at the age of 18. He represented the University in various national and international student showcases. He began studying ballet in private studios in Bogotá at age 20, and he moved to NYC to continue his formal training as a Jazz and Contemporary Trainee at Joffrey Ballet School in 2016. He is an avid learner as well as a passionate dancer and aspiring choreographer.

Analia Farfan


Analia Farfan was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she started studying ballet at 8 years old with Ballet Russe de Montecarlo's ballerina Josefina Serrano, and later with Olga Ferri and Roberto Dimitrievich. She performed with Liliana Belfiore and world renowned Tango star Osvaldo Sotto before graduating with Honors from the Maria Ruanova School of Dance in Buenos Aires. In 2003, she moved to France, where she studied ballet with Atilio Labis before receiving an scholarship to the Princess Grace Classical Academy of Dance. In 2005, Ms Farfan moved to the United States, where she studied on scholarshipat the Martha Graham School in New York and performed as a Guest Artist in "the Nutcracker" with the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Since 2006, she has performed with The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, American Youth Ballet, and several other companies, as well as with Hector Zaraspe, and Ivan Marko. In 2016 she was named president of Argentina of the United Nations of the World Organization. She is also currently a guest artist for an opera and ballet company directed by Mr. Michael Fennelly, with whom she recently performed at the United Nations.

Chris Loeschner


Chris Loeschner began his ballet training in 1999 with the Ovations Dance Repertory Company, under the direction of Orlando Pena, where he performed in multiple productions of the company’s “The Nutcracker Suite,” in such roles as Snow King and Male Dew. He went on to receive undergraduate dance training from Adelphi University and SUNY Fredonia, but ultimately graduated with a degree in Music Education. Chris has also performed as a guest artist with New York Dance Theater and Eglevsky Ballet.

Dafni Mari

EVOLUTION (2017), On the Shoulders of Giants (2018)

Born and raised in Greece, Dafni Mari began her studies at the professional dance school of Despina Gregoriadou and the School of 

Pharmacy at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. After graduating from both schools, she was accepted to Trinity Laban 

Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, where she gained her Master's of Dance Science. While in London, she was an associate member of Ballet Black Neoclassical Company and also participated in many dance and artistic projects. Searching for new opportunities, she moved to New York City and has danced with Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Yuka Kawazu's Danse en l'air, Benjamin Briones Ballet, Eryc Taylor Dance, Ballet for Young Audiences and String Dance+Media. She also guests around the US with various dance companies. Dafni also works as a dance scientist and instructor as well as fine fragrance lab technician.

Lindsey Osteen

EVOLUTION (2017), On the Shoulders of Giants (2018)

Lindsey Osteen started dancing at the age of ten at Ballet Arte in San Diego, California, under the direction of Sara Viale and Erlends Zieminch. During this time she attended summer intensives with ABT and Kaatsbaan, where she studied under Martine Van Hamel. She continued her dance and academic education at Duke University, where she took class with and performed original choreography by Julie and Tyler Walters. Upon graduating, she moved to New York to pursue a career in publishing without sacrificing her love for dance and the arts.

Margot Hartley

On the Shoulders of Giants (2018)

Margot Hartley trained at the Joffrey Ballet School, and now freelances in New York City with several small ballet and contemporary companies. In addition to her professional work, Margot frequently workshops with the Merce Cunningham Trust. Last season she had the opportunity to learn and perform roles in Cross Currents, Changing Steps, and Torse, as well as study the chance operations process.

Quimen Sanchez

On the Shoulders of Giants (2018)

Quimen started his training at Orlando Ballet School with Orlando Molina, under the direction of Peter Starks. While dancing with Orlando Ballet School, Quimen has had the fortunate chance to perform with the main company of Orlando Ballet under the direction of Fernando Bujones. Under Fernando's watch, Quimen has performed many full-length ballets such as Spartacus and Coppelia as Dr. Coppelius, Giselle and many others. Quimen has also previously danced for Fort Lauderdale Ballet Classique, Cuban Classical Ballet, South Florida Ballet Theater, Sierra Nevada Ballet, and many more. Quimen is currently a proud member of Ballet For Young Audiences/Ballet Repertory NYC.  Under the direction and guidance of Edwin Kinter, Quimen has danced many principal roles, such as the Snow White's Prince, in Snow White, The Nutcracker Prince in The Nutcracker, and most recently, Prince Eric in the Little Mermaid.

Guest Choreographers

Andrea Wachholtz, Andrea in Motion Studios, Staten Island, NY

Andrea Wachholtz began her training in Brooklyn, NY and went on to receive a scholarship with the New Ballet School associate school of the Feld Ballet Company, NY, NY. She holds a B.F.A. degree from Adelphi University and is an ABT certified teacher in Primary through Level 3. She toured the United States, Canada and Mexico performing with such companies as...The Empire State Ballet, Xing Ballet, Royal Dance Theatre, Mime Internationale, Buffalo City Ballet, The Staten Island Ballet, Ballet Deviare and Some Dance Company. As a soloist, Andrea had the opportunity to dance many classical roles as well as dancing the works of many prominent choreographers, developing extremely valuable experiences. She has been a teacher and a coach with such schools and companies as...The School of The Empire State Ballet Company, Summit Gymnastics,The Arts and Education Institute of Western NY, Paragon Gymnastics, Staten Island Ballet Company and School, Poly Prep Country Day School as well as Ballet Mistress for Staten Island Ballet Company for two years. Andrea has worked and trained dancers helping them to reach their full professional potential. Andrea has also been choreographer for Adelphi University Cabarets,The Broadway Theatre Collective, The Empire State Ballet Company workshops, Summit Gymnastics, Paragon Gymnastics, Staten Island Ballet School, Poly Prep Country Day School, various dance studios, Sweet 16’s & cheerleading squads. Andrea has had a wonderful experience working with the dancers of HVDT and looks forward to seeing them bring her work to life.

Ronnie D. Carney, Arts High School, Newark, NJ

Ronnie D. Carney is a native of Newark, NJ. He began his dance training with Alfred Gallman while studying theatre at Arts High School.  As an actor, Ronnie worked with The Whole Theatre Company and The Hole-In-The-Wall Theatre House. In 1995, he graduated from the University of the Arts with a BFA in dance performance.  During a short performance career  he performed with Ballet South Project and Douglas Dunn and Dancers. After, Ronnie turned his focus to Dance Education.  He began with a teaching position at Newark’s Arts High School.  Thereafter, he has taught for The Joffery Ballet School, ABT’s Summer Arts Institute, The Mill Ballet School, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  As a choreographer, his work has been shown at many festivals in NJ and on The Roxey Ballet and Prism Dance Works. In 2003, he earned his MA in Dance Education from NYU and was published in the Journal of Dance Education, which lead to him presenting in conferences across the US.  This will be his third year serving as co-director of AileyCamp Newark.

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