"Stylistically diverse." - Jack Anderson, The New York Times

"BalaSole, a Kaleidoscope of Human Shapes." - Siobhan Burke, The New York Times

"BalaSole stands at the forefront of battling discrimination in dance." - Juan MIchael Porter II, Broadway W

"Roberto Villanueva's undertaking, BalaSole, is a hybrid creature. It's part dance company and part showcase for aspiring dancer/choreographers. Where it succeeds is in the presentation of skilled artists who can command the stage in their self-made solos... Part of BalaSole's mission is to 'mentor dance artists to develop their own unique artistry,' which is entirely laudable. - Tim Martin, Dance Europe Magazine

"Roberto Villanueva created BalaSole to address the inequity of  opportunities afforded talented dancers with unconventional attributes.  For instance, the wunderkind ballerina who suddenly develops curves, or  the rail thin trickster who cannot bulk up with muscle; this is one of  the only companies in the world for those sui generis 'passed-overs'. As  evidenced by the completely sold-out BAM Fisher concert hall, the idea  is quite popular....What stays with me is a comment my audience neighbour made: 'They are my favourite company to watch next to the Ailey company.'" - Juan Michael Porter II, HuffPost

"Less can be more, they say. Apply that to dance, and one could discuss  how the impact of a single moving person — in his/her unique movement  signature, emotional life and simply humanity — can sometimes supersede  that of a large dancing group. Furthering that idea of less being more,  Roberto Villanueva, executive and artistic director, and founder of  BalaSole Dance Company, created a concept of linking a dance with one  dancer to one word for Gamme — An Evening of Solos. The company works to “bridge the gaps in the field of concert dance....The performances were notably committed, adept and self-assured.” - Kathryn Boland, Dance Informa

"Roberto Villanueva, founder and artistic director of BalaSole aims to fill certain visibility gaps in the world of concert dance: dancers of color, the short, the no longer supremely youthful, the very youthful. BalaSole offers mentoring, technical support, and a showcase for such dancer-choreographers. It also offers the public an opportunity to learn of and appreciate these dancers... An evening of solos can become boring, but this short concert avoided that pitfall by intelligent programming and by not allowing the dancers to become self-indulgent... This is why we go to see dance. This is why performers who are underexposed must be given exposure." - Roberta Pikser, Theater Scene

"The evening's performance encompassed several aspects of diversity. The company members are diverse in ethnicity, size, and age, and the solos they performed ran the gamut of what can be described as dance... The dancers did not lack physical prowess... The range of the members of BalaSole Dance Company is such that they have much to learn from each other as they pursue important goals for the dance community." - Elizabeth McPherson, Attitude: The Dancers' Magazine

"Roberto Villanueva's troupe provides a showcase for overlooked dancers." - Lisa Jo Sagolla, Back Stage New York

"Billed as a company that addresses the gaps in the dance field by giving opportunities for under-represented artists to find their voice, this season's show did just that and more. What Pastiche showed was that dancers of all shapes, sizes, colors, ages, and experiences had at least one thing in common--passion. The evening opened and closed with a two-part group piece "Chapter 13," choreographed and performed by the ensemble, a "corporate team-building exercise" as Executive and Artistic Director Roberto Villanueva called it. As the piece progressed, the ensemble grew stronger, displaying the unique elements of each of their personal styles, a relevant motif throughout the evening. Most of the solos presented were self-choreographed and demonstrated each dancer's strength and signature style." - Jessica Abejar, Broadway World

"The company provides its dancers with the means to explore their own process of dance-making and present their work. Based on the mission of the company, these dancers have varying backgrounds, have trained in various dance styles and come together to support each other's creative process. In a culture driven by the need to satisfy end points and goals, BalaSole's emphasis on the creative process is extremely refreshing. At the end of the program, I had a deep respect for each artist's creative process and for Roberto Villanueva's vision. It was fulfilling to see such vast and varying artistry emerge from a diverse group of movers, and the audience seemed quite touched by the talent and expressivity performed on stage. - Stephanie Deere, Broadway World

"For aspiring choreographers and dancers, and even art-makers of all levels, I recommend supporting BalaSole, by both seeing their shows and embracing their mission. They are an inspiration. They are proof that concert dance comes in all colors, levels, shapes and sizes." - Amanda Ostrove, Broadway World

"The BalaSole Dance Company, founded and directed by the energetic Roberto Villanueva, has admirable intentions. The troupe aspires to present dancers and choreographers who, for one reason or another, are ignored by other companies… These young—and not so young—artists were quite presentable and earnest… Body types and ages were all over the spectrum, but everyone turned in decent performances up to the limits of their abilities. There’s a fine art in curating a program like this where the director allows the artists to create yet imposes certain standards." - Joel Benjamin, Times Square Chronicles

"BalaSole Dance Company is a compendium of independent artists and its mission is to provide  technical, artistic, and career mentorship to emerging choreographers. It also reaches out to educate the public about imbalances that contribute to certain gaps in the current dance concert world. Roberto Villanueva’s vision of providing a unique platform for young dance artists and fulfilling their potential was brought to fruition by Voces. This interactive collaboration of independent thinkers has not been seen since the 1980’s in the New York dance scene... While each of the choreographers’ work was coming from a totally different style and technique, there was a recurring thematic overtone running through many of the works. Alienation, fear, uncertainty and angst pervaded several (but not all) of the dances, reflecting the era in which we live as  seen through the creative expression of each choreographer... The BalaSole Company’s fine and diverse program showed how the committed group of dancers distilled meaningful concerns through the essence of dance. Well crafted choreography by the younger generation of artists helped to create an uplift in spite of our tormented times of injustices and devastation. The ten choreographers sent the audience home with an enlightened reminder that to dance is to live life fully." - Linda Diamond, ENV Magazine

"Every dancer performed a solo in addition to group pieces at the start and end of the show. It was artist-driven. Group pieces were choreographed communally, and dancers developed their own work for the solo parts." - Abby Caneda, Woman Around Town

"A full evening of solos might have become an exercise in tedious repetition but the individuality of each dancer assured that the programme maintained freshness from start to finish... The multi-cultural background of the participants gave the evening a fine sense of diversity and a perspective on dance that is broader than we usually see in a single evening's presentation... Roberto Villanueva's inspired concept of providing a stage for dancer-types that are under-represented in larger companies and his valuable mentoring of the participants make BalaSole as a unique venture in the contemporary New York dance scene. I'll look forward now to keeping Roberto and BalaSole on my A-list." - Philip Gardner, Oberon's Grove

"Most works were brief, but so individually stylized that each becomes an instant memory, a thought-provoking interaction." - Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower, Roberta on the Arts    


“Laura Assante, performing for an imaginary love interest to Nina Simone’s “Love Me or Leave Me Alone,” embodied the song’s bounce with genuine glee, in both obvious and understated ways. The company has some strong technicians. Elijah Laurant, in “Delimited Connection,” flaunted his serpentine arms and articulate shoulders from a ready-to-pounce crouch on the floor. The compact Briana Butler slashed her way through “Unstoppable” as if on a dangerous mission, with a back handspring as her sharpest weapon.” – Siobhan Burke, The New York Times

"Performers who were up to the task, and left me wishing for more of their work, included Emily Jeffries, whose quirky, halting interpretations of Chopin in her Warmly filled the performance space with a sense of mystery. Richard Yé, a more charismatic dancer than choreographer, delighted us with his strong technique and personal style in Between the Thunder as he moved through a variety of different dance styles. Similary, Nikole LaChioma's performance bolstered Après Moi choreography credited to her and Raymond Pinto. She's a personable performer whose expressions create connection with the audience - sometimes she's flirtatious, other times she looks at us as though we're conspiring together. On top of this marvellous acting ability, her clear and easy technique makes her a joy to watch. Matt Pardo's performance in his Life.Long was the highlight of the evening. His smoothly connected moves, looking like some mix of ballet and yoga, were done with a mesmerizing fluidity - this circular continuity went perfectly with the selection from Franz Schubert. What a delight, at the end, to see Pardo's warm, easy manner as he bowed and exited. Here is an artist to watch." - Tim Martin, Dance Europe Magazine

"Kat Bark’s Not Good at Goodbyes came after an opening group  number. The solo’s word was “longing”. Bark fully brought the sense of  that word across; passion, pathos and pain were clear....A good deal of the movement was gestural, intuitive to Bark’s body, and  compelling in its nuance. Much of it was also quite virtuosic, performed  with striking technical facility....Leigh Schanfein’s solo, An Underlying Hum, came fifth....Schanfein executed each movement and each shift of quality and shape  with conviction and commitment; she believed everything that she was  offering, and it showed....Tyreel Simpson’s Beneath the Instinct was a compelling melange of concert hip hop and contemporary dance, wrapped in a memorable aesthetic....Ending out the show was Guest Soloist Stephanie Rae Williams’s Verdant....The Dance Theatre of Harlem company member’s liveliness in movement quality also physicalized that idea....Throughout the work, her timing was impeccable, bringing a very pleasing sense of harmony between music and movement." - Kathry Boland, Dance Informa 

"The evening's guest artist, Stephanie Rae Williams of Dance Theatre of Harlem, was a blaze of sophisticated jazz music accented with funk....Willams brought a rousing wellspring of joi de vivre to her performance. Here was a professional ballerina with crisp classical  technique who knew how to let her bun down and pull up 'real cute' at a  moment's notice. Rhythmic footwork, a menage of turns, lovely line, and  panache; Williams' choreography was a simple celebration. More than her  fantastic performance, what made the solo stand out was its movement  variation and evolution as a vehicle for expressing the myriad modes of  merriment. Brava." - Juan Michael Porter II, Broadway Wo

"A few of the ballets were notable. The first was Emily Jeffries’ Warmly, performed to a Barenboim rendering of a Chopin prelude. Ms. Jeffries’ textural investigation managed to pull the energy of her movements from the space around her and concentrate them back into herself. All the while she seemed to be playing a kind of flirtatious hide and seek both with herself and with the audience. Mr. Villanueva’s Saborear Esos Momentos displayed the advantages of being an experienced performer. Mr. Villanueva’s ease and pleasure in his work increased our pleasure in watching him. For sheer clarity of line and technique and overall professionalism, Richard Yé took the cake. The absolutely captivating ballet and performance of the evening belonged to Geneva Manley. Ms. Manley has an innate sensuality that infuses all her movements and provides her lines with an energy that reaches out to the public. In her performance, Ms. Manley’s mastery was enthralling, and the specificity of her imagination in finding just the right movements for this particular ballet was exemplary." - Roberta Pikser, Theater Scene

"Highlights of the evening for the quality of the dancing and the choreography were Diamond in the Rough danced and choreographed by Kara Edwards, Lealtad nos Libera (Excerpt) performed by Durell R. Comedy and choreographed by Roger C. Jeffrey, and Predicament choreographed and danced by Roberto Villanueva. Brittany McNair, Nicole Restani, Nathan Young and Mark Brett Young II stood out for their performance energy and the commitment they gave to every nuance of every movement." - Elizabeth McPherson, Attitude: The Dancers' Magazine

"The two most memorable were Ssssssshallow, choreographed and danced by Roberto Villanueva, founder and Executive & Artistic Director of BalaSole and the other was Inside Looking Out choreographed and danced by Sarah J. Ewing, an Australian dancer/ choreographer. Both had the passion and technique one needs in contemporary dance. - Francine L. Trevens, Art Times

“Surface-Interface was created and danced by Lauren Alpert… Using remarkable falls to the floor and attempts to reach upward, a clear and positive focus emerged that projected traveling into the future, with uncertainty. 2 Tears in a Bucket was a heartfelt choreography by Troy Barnes who performed the dance with great energy and feeling. Sacred by choreographer, dancer Morgana Rose combined music by composer Margot Day (her mother). Strong dramatic outreach to the audience punctuated Morgana’s initial entrance. Immediately theatrically legible, this dance propelled the inner depths of the psyche reflecting a person possessed. SSSSSShallow choreographed and danced by Roberto Villanueva… gave a stark commentary on the harshness of the business world, as well as innuendoes of corruption, greed and inhumanity. Dressed in a business suit and using much facial expression, the dancer gave a fearless and provocative statement in a confined space. Chaos / Contained was choreographed and performed by Nicole Calabrese. Using a chair as the primary prop on which she remained enslaved, a recurring theme of turmoil was chillingly expressed... The choreographer’s statement that hope springs eternal gave a vivid graphic image. We Could What if All Day was created and performed by Jessica Cipriano… Using repetitive text to set the scene for the music, the score entreated the audience to observe moonlight, which in turn was a metaphor for why can’t we enjoy the beauty of nature anymore. A dramatically sensitive journey into the hidden realms of the heart ensued. Node Beat choreographed by Andrew Nemr, who is an award winning tap dancer, presented a unique contrast to the other works on the program. Having been mentored by Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, and others, Andrew offered bright and unique dance with his own music composition that was original and sparkling. His whimsical sense of humor matched the amazing footwork performed on a small tap dance platform." - Linda Diamond, ENV Magazine

"#Lovesick, performed and choreographed by Aaron Gregory, and 2 Tears in a Bucket, performed and choreographed by Troy Barnes, appeared to have deep roots in exploring emotion and performance in dance. While both dancers added technical and virtuosic movement to their choreography, the dances were highly emotive and reached the audience on a level of feeling that all of us can share. We Could What if All Day, performed and choreographed by Jessica Cipriano, had beautiful technical aspects layered throughout. Her performance was touching and she added text to the beginning of the piece that added an interesting layer. Two solos greatly stood out as having captured several elements of dance making. Keeping Company With Cage, an excerpt, which was choreographed by Debra Fernandez and Emily Pacilio and performed by Pacilio, was strikingly layered. The music of the piece added a sound accompaniment that offered a basis for movement exploration. The choreography was innovative and seemed to perfectly coincide with the music that was chosen. Emily Pacilio danced the solo beautifully. She had an air of confidence that entrances any audience member and she remained present throughout the piece. Node Beat, performed and choreographed by Andrew Nemr was a deep exploration of sound in dance. He provided the pre-recorded accompaniment that contained a series of notes and beats. He then tapped accordingly and together with the music made a very beautiful harmony. Since tap is very often used solely as a communicative or performance dance style, it was wonderful to see it used in a more explorative and contemporary way." - Stephanie Deere, Broadway World

"Most of the solos presented were self-choreographed and demonstrated each dancer's strength and signature style. Marie Janicek opened with her piece "Unleashed," which explored the limitlessness of her range of motion. Rebecca Gual's "Palimsest" followed with exceptional charm and beauty. Vira Lee performed "From One to the Other," which was choreographed by Mr. Villanueva. Ms. Lee melted organically into the music and showed great versatility in movement and style. The first act concluded with Michelle Siegel's "Resounding Entanglement," where she unraveled herself from her beautiful costume pieces with a sensual mystique. A standout of the first act was Ellen Sickenberger, whose piece "Silt" was hauntingly beautiful in its obscurity. The contemporary piece was accented by innovative isolations done with such precision, clarity, and musicality that her performance was just captivatingly chilling from the beginning to its minimalistic end. The second half of the evening began with Samsam Yung's "This is not a Solo, aka, AIR," which began with simple gestures gradually increasing in intensity to match the pulsating music. Drama and athleticism were intertwined in Anastasia Coates' "Crecimiento." Jennifer Roit's piece "No Longer Lost" left the audience holding their breath as her movements flowed seamlessly from one to the other. She displayed a great sense of control and her electric energy reached even to her fingers. The last solo of the evening was Mr. Villanueva's "Me, Myself, and I." The comedic theme of one dancer split between portraying two characters left the audience in joyful laughter, and Mr. Villanueva's impeccable lines and effortless grace left them also in awe. His extensions seemed to expand so far beyond the corners of the stage that one could never imagine that his short stature would keep him from booking a dance gig, as he so mentioned earlier in the evening when speaking of the company's mission. And upon meeting Mr. Villanueva, who thanked every single patron at the door, one could never imagine that that short-statured man was the elegantly exquisite dancer who just graced the stage minutes before." - Jessica Abejar, Broadway World

"Christa Hines starts off the solos with her projected breath and deep backbends. Next, Janina Clark, adorned in a kimono-style costume, moves through circular patters with flexed palms. She moves with grace and sharpness; she is "appreciative for the chance to show her culture through dancing." Steven E. Brown showcases clarity of emotion and movement in his slow and sustained solo Revealed. Brown clearly creates an arc, not revealing his face to the audience until the last moment. Ursula Verduzco lets loose and even engages in some hairography, and Jason Garcia Ignacio entrances the audience with his strong, smooth and buttery flow to conclude the first half. Anna Brown Massey and her onstage vocalist Julia Patinella experiment with the role music in concert dance by making it visible. Massey accompanies Patinella's beautiful Spanish verse by stomping the ball of her foot into the ground, or loudly hugging her arms across her body. Katherina Alvarado begins cross-legged facing the audience, and escalates to spiral across the stage. Delphina Parentiv, a Juilliard graduate, closes the seasonal company member solos with her piece Body Rebellion. Set to electropop music, Parentiv repeats robotic motifs, until her body seemingly writhes into malfunction. Her fast-paced, engaging choreography was definitely a crowd favorite." - Amanda Ostrove, Broadway World

"Mr. Villanueva appeared in his own opus Sssssshallow about a preening, self-centered dude in a handsome dark suit. He showed the best overall technique of the evening." - Joel Benjamin, Time Square Chronicles

"Mr. Villanueva stood out for the deftness and technical control of his dancing." - Jennifer Dunning, The New York Times

"Roberto Villanueva, a small powerhouse, drew appreciative gasps from the audiences." - Eva Yaa Asantewaa, The Village Voice

"Another standout was Roberto Villanueva, a little dynamo of a dancer who can out-jump and out-smile everyone else on stage. But he can be a moodier dancer as well." - Ellen Gaintner, Roberta on the Arts