Vilma Machin, was born in La Havana, Cuba. She started her training at age of nine at the National Ballet School where she had 8 years of training. She graduated in 2001 at the top of her class as a dancer and she also received a diploma in ballet pedagogy in the Cuban method of ballet. She joined the Cuban National Ballet Company under the direction of Alicia Alonso. She danced professionally with the Cuban Company for over 6 years , some of the roles she danced included Giselle, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Les Sylphides, Ballo de la Regina ( Balanchine), and many other, including choreography by Alicia Alonso which she had the opportunity to stage for the first time as Romeo and Juliet, the Magic Flute and others. Vilma toured Europe, Asia, and Latin America with the Cuban Company. Later she traveled to United State where she danced with Miami Classical Ballet Company as a soloist for a season and performed in Le Vivandiere, Bayadere, Swan Lake, Coppelia and many other roles . Later she joined Alma Dance Company as a principal, some of her roles included Dying Swan, Majisimo, Classical Symphony, Frankenstein and others. Vilma is co-artistic director of Alma Dance Theater.
Vilma has had teaching experiences both in Cuba and the United States at schools such as The Cuban National Ballet School, Chicago Academy for the Arts, School of Dance West, The Academy of Dance Art, Faubourg School of Ballet, State Street Dance Studio and Barrington Dance Academy where in addition to teaching she also performed in the Nutcracker for a season. She has staged and choreographed productions such as Suite of Bayadere, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Coppelia, Paquita, Le Corsaire and others.
Since 2010 Vilma has coached many students for the Youth America Grand Prix Competition. In this competition her students have won in Chicago and the New York finals. Vilma received the Outstanding Teacher Award at the New York Youth America Grand Prix Finals in 2011. Not only has Vilma’s students been finalists in the Youth American Grand Prix but her students have received full scholarships to American Ballet Theater, Houston Ballet, Canada’s National Ballet School, Ballet West, Stuttgart Ballet, and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet to mention a few. Vilma plans to continue to pass on her knowledge and experience gained through her many years of training.
Guillermo Leyva trained at the Professional School of Arts in Camaguey, Cuba. After graduated he began dancing professionally at the Ballet de Camaguey under Fernando Alonso direction. He joined this company for 11 years as a principal dancer where he danced several classic roles. Later he danced for 3 years with the Ballet de Monterrey in Mexico, under the direction of Ann Marie D’ Angelo, Fernando Alonso, and Fernando Bujones. He also danced as a principal dancer with Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Lexington Ballet, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Illinois Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet de Santiago, Chile and Ballet Royal de Wallonie in Belgium. Guillermo has also worked with renowned choreographers, Alberto Alonso, Frederick Franklin and while at Joffrey he danced under the direction of Alonso King and Randy Duncan. He is co-artistic director of Alma Dance Theater, NFP.
Guillermo has coached students for The Youth America Grand Prix Regionals and Finals resulting with his students placing and winning in both the junior and senior divisions. He was Awarded Outstanding Teacher in 2014 at the Youth America Grand Prix Indianapolis Regional.
Guillermo was born in a very poor and dangerous place and his parent decided to send him to the Art School in order to obtain a better education and future. Guillermo will be always grateful for what his parent did because it made him who he is today.
Guillermo’s dream as a child was to direct his own classical ballet company and to be a successful choreographer. He also dreamed of having his own Art Ballet School to help children from low income areas to get out of the streets and become professional dancers. One of his goals it is to keep passing on to his students all of his knowledge and experience, which he has always done with deep love.