Abi Stafford, Sugar Plum Fairy /  Stephen Hanna, Cavalier   /   Erik Johnson, Nutcracker Prince  /  Janel Meindersee, Clara


Sugar Plum Fairy~Abi Stafford, courtesy of New York City Ballet

Born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Abi Stafford began her dance training at the age of six with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle, under the direction of Marcia Dale Weary. Ms. Stafford entered the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet, full time in the fall of 1998. At SAB, she performed the role of Clarinet in Jerome Robbins' Fanfareand a role in Christopher Wheeldon's Scènes de Ballet for the SAB's Annual Workshop performances. Ms. Stafford was invited to become an apprentice with New York City Ballet in November 1999 and joined the corps de ballet in January 2000. She was promoted to the rank of soloist in January 2002 and principal dancer in December 2007.

Cavalier~Stephan Hanna,  formerly of New York City Ballet, currently performing on Broadway in An American in Paris

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he trained under Roberto Munoz. He entered the School of American Ballet (SAB) where he then trained with his teachers Stanley Williams, Andre Kramervsky, and Richard Rapp. At SAB Mr. Hanna was awarded the Mae L. Wein Award for outstanding promise. Mr. Hanna became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in 1997, and later that year he joined the Company as a member of the corps de ballet. Mr. Hanna was promoted to the rank of soloist in February 2004, and in January 2005, he was promoted to principal dancer. He has performed Principal roles in Ballets by Peter Martins, George Ballanchine, Jerome Robbins, Richard Tanner, and Albert Evans.

Broadway: On the Town; Billy Elliot (Older Billy), OBC. New York City Ballet (Principal Dancer). Off-Broadway:Silence! The Musical (Dream Lecter). National tour: Come Fly Away (Sid), The Phantom of the Opera (Slave Master). TV/film: “Forever,” “All My Children,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Momsters,” Centerstage.

Nutcracker Prince~Erik Johnson, courtesy of Milwaukee Ballet

Born in Marengo, Illinois, Erik Johnson received his early training at The Judith Svalander School of Ballet. He received additional training from the Sarasota Ballet School in Florida. In 2009, he attended the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Graduate Program, where he danced the role of Waltz Boy in George Balanchine’s Serenade and performed in contemporary works by Kristofer Storey and Victor Plotnikov. In 2010, he joined The Rochester City Ballet. In 2012, Johnson joined Milwaukee Ballet where he appeared in Michael Pink's La Bohème, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, Don Quixote, Giselle, Cinderella, and the role of Josef in Michael Pink's world premiere of Mirror Mirror. He has also had the privilege of dancing in James Gregg's Biorhythm, Darrell Grand Moultrie's Simply Sammy, Luca Veggetti's Scene/Six, and Amy Seiwert’sRequiem and In Passing (world premiere). This is his fourth season with Milwaukee Ballet.

Clara~Janel Meindersee, courtesy of Milwaukee Ballet

​(Headshot by Timothy O'Donnell)

​Growing up in Vancouver, Washington, Janel Meindersee received her formal training at The School of Oregon Ballet Theatre under the direction of Damara Bennett. After training in the school for five years, and dancing as an apprentice with the company for one season, Meindersee went on to dance as a Company Artist with Nevada Ballet Theatre. In Nevada, she performed works by choreographers such as James Canfield, George Balanchine, Matthew Neenan, and Thaddeus Davis. After two seasons, Meindersee joined Milwaukee Ballet in 2011. Throughout her time in the Company, she has had the honor of performing in Matthew Neenan’s The Last Glass, Amy Seiwert's Requiem and In Passing (world premiere), the Snow Queen in Michael Pink’s The Nutcracker, the Queen of the Dryads in Michael Pink's Don Quixote, Luca Veggetti's world premiere of Scene/Six, Trey McIntyre's A Day in the Life, and Septime Webre's ALICE (in Wonderland), among others. Ms. Meindersee is in her sixth season with Milwaukee Ballet, and is excited to work with NEWDO as she dances in her first Green Bay Nutcracker Ballet. 

We are thrilled to announce New York City Ballet principal Abi Stafford and former NYCB principal and current Broadway performer Stephen Hanna, along with Milwaukee Ballet dancers Erik Johnson and Janel Meindersee, will be performing with us Thanksgiving weekend at the Meyer theater!

Please help us bring these amazing dancers to our community. To make a donation to our Guest Artist Fund Drive, you can visit the funding page or email us: