The Jungle Book

The World Premiere of an Extraordinary New Ballet Featuring Contemporary & Classical Indian Dance, Based on Rudyard Kipling’s Famed Stories

Sat. February 2nd & 9th at 8 PM

Sun. February 3rd at 3 PM

Sun. February 10th at 1 PM & 5 PM


The Jungle Book


Gabriel Chajnik

Sat. February 2nd & 9th at 8 PM

Sun. February 3rd at 3 PM

Sun. February 10th at 1 PM & 5 PM 

A new ballet based on Rudyard Kipling’s collection of stories about a boy adopted and raised by wolves fulfilling his quest for identity, love and belonging. The Jungle Book will feature ballet and contemporary choreography by Gabriel Chajnik. An exciting collaboration with classical Indian dance teacher Sudha Shekhar Devulapalli, this Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater production features a fusion of Bharatanatyam and ballet performed by a cast of professional dancers and talented young trainees, as well as dazzling visuals and costumes by acclaimed designer José Solis and striking masks and headpieces designed by Tentacle Studios, whose clients include Lady Gaga, Kesha, and the Royal Ballet.

Production Staff

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Gabriel Chajnik was trained under the tutelage of Maestro Hector Zaraspe and is an alumnus of the Juilliard School.


Gabriel is a former dancer with American Repertory Ballet. His teaching credits expand from Argentina to Europe and the United States at Brooklyn Music School, Princeton Ballet, the Academy of Dance Arts and Gotta Dance in New Jersey. Gabriel’s work has been featured at Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music, the Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C., Alice Tully Hall, the Clark Theater at Lincoln Center, MMAC, and the Lambs Theater.


Gabriel is also the Artistic Director for TranscenDanceGroup, whose TDG Holocaust Awareness performance has reached school students throughout the tri-state area. Gabriel has been honored by the Jewish Federation of Somerset, Hunterdon, & Warren Counties.

AXCBT Founding Director/Choreographer 

Gabriel Chajnik

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Guru Smt Sudha Shekhar Devulapalli.  She perfectly fits into the definition of guru in Hinduism, as an imparter of knowledge. She began her training in BN and Kathak in Jamshedur Bihar and she completed her Arangetram under the guidance of Smt. Sumati Kaushal. She received diplomas in kathak and bharatnatyam fields of dance from Prayag University in Allahbad.  During her short stay in Madras, she also received further tutoring from Padamashri Kalaimaamani Adayar K. Lakshman. She had received advanced training in dance technique,  teaching methodology and choreography under guru Dr K. Uma Rama Rao of Hyderabad.


She gave up her career as an IT professional to pursue her passion in teaching Indian classical dance. She has performed in India and abroad before settling down in NJ since 1989. She has had the opportunity to choreograph several beautiful dance dramas such as Padmavati kalyanam for TANA, Sita Swayamvaram, Jaya Deva’s Dasavataram, Padmavati Kalyanam, Meera Ke Giridhar, Four Seasons, atu America itu india , Shyam Sudha Ras, Bharat Kal Aaj Aur Kal, Rati Vilapam, Ramayana, Trinetra and several welcome dances for organizations like TANA and AATA.

Classical Indian Dance Teacher

Sudha Shekhar Devulapalli


José Solis has designed for iconic brands such as Oscar de la Renta, Emanuel Ungaro, and Ralph Lauren, but is mostly known for launching Bill Blass New York. Recently, José was honored to collaborate directly with designers Vera Wang, Jenny Packham, and Cynthia Rowley on their licensed bridal businesses. José also lately designed costumes for Gallim Dance Company who was recently named the first resident artist of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Visuals and Costume Designer

José Solis

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Clients include celebrities, corporations, cultural foundations and museums: Hermès • Christian Dior • Lady Gaga • Peugeot • The Gorbachov Foundation • Harrods • Coca-Cola • also stylists, DJs, body builders, theatres, ballet companies, performers and party beasts, TV shows and ad agencies worldwide.

Headpiece Creation

Tentacle Studios


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Dance training: Centro de Arte e Dança de Campo Grande under Alice Arja direction coached by Daniel Mendez/ Miami City Ballet School under Linda Villella direction coached by Geta Constantinescu and Carter Alexander Smith. 
Performance experience: with the Miami city ballet under Edward Villella/Lourdes Lopez direction: Alexei Ratmasnky’s “Symphonic Dances”, original cast of Liam Scarlett’s “Euphotic”, Sir Frederich Ashton’s “Les Partineurs”, Paul Taylor’s “Piazzolla Caldera, George Balanchine “The Nutcracker”, “La Valse”, “Serenade” and “Slaughter on tenth avenue”, John Cranko’s “Romeo and Juliet”, “Coppelia", “Giselle” and others. 
With the American Repertory Ballet under Douglas Martin Direction: Kirk Peterson’s “Carmen” as the Matador, Jeanne de Brienne in “Glazunov Variations”, Gerald Arpino “Sea Shadow”, Paul Taylor’s “Airs”, Jose Límon’s “There is a Time”, Douglas Martin’s “Pride and Prejudoce” as Mr. Bingley , Franz in “Coppelia”, Mary Barton’s “Straigh up with a Twist”, and others. 

Aldeir Monteiro 


Audrey began her formal dance training at the New Jersey School of Ballet under the direction of Carolyn Clark. She performed in ballets including Giselle, Swan Lake, Esmeralda, and The Sleeping Beauty and danced featured roles in The Nutcracker (Clara, Mirlitons) with the New Jersey Ballet Company. Audrey earned degrees in Fine Arts and Public Relations from Rider University, where she was a Mildred C. Hawkins Dance Scholar. She enjoys working as a dance educator, arts administrator, and ballet dancer in central Jersey. 

Audrey Yeager

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Azusa Okamoto was born in Japan. She is currently dancing with Roxey Ballet. Azusa began her training at the age of three, and she studied at Fukutani Yoko Ballet Studio in Kyoto, Japan. She moved to Canada at the age of sixteen and received full scholarship to train at the Victoria Academy of Ballet, continuing on to graduate from the Post-Secondary Bridge Program in 2016.
Her awards include First Prize at the 23rd Kobe Dance Competition, First Prize at the 2nd NAMUE Grand Final Ballet Competition, First Prize at the 26th NAMUE Ballet Competition, 2nd Prize at the 12th Osaka Prix Ballet Competition in Japan, Classical and Contemporary both section Top 12 at the YAGP Seattle 2015/2016 both year, and First Prize of Ensemble category at the YAGP 2016. 

Azusa Okamoto

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Born and raised in Staten Island, New York, David Felicie currently resides in the beautiful Garden State. He is an honors graduate of Georgian Court University. The Jungle Book marks Mr. Felicie's first appearance as a guest artist with the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater. Some of Mr. Felicie’s favorite roles throughout his dancing career include: Romeo (R&J), Cavalier (Nutcracker), Prince Phillip (Sleeping Beauty), and Jean de Brienne (Raymonda). He feels honored to be working alongside such a highly professional and talented team of individuals to entertain YOU as Mowgli in AXCBT’s adaptation of The Jungle Book. While not on the stage, you may catch a glimpse of Mr. Felicie in his natural habitat cruising the open roads of NJ on his motorcycle, playing table tennis, or perhaps enjoying a cold one at a local dive. Mr. Felicie is grateful for this opportunity and immensely thankful for the love and support from family, friends, and the community. Cheers! 

David Felicie


Born in Fort Hood, TX, Journy Wilkes-Davis began his training at age fourteen under Shannon Greenberg and Dagoberto Nieves in Savannah, GA. During this time, he attended the Boston Ballet summer dance program on full scholarship. Afterwards, he joined the Signature dance ensemble in Rocky Mount, NC and continued his training under Cindy Mancini and Joseph Carow. In 2008, Journy joined the Columbia Classical Ballet under the direction of Radenko Pavlovich. In 2010, Journy moved to the Columbia City Ballet under the direction of William Starrett where he was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2012. Journy has been a guest artist with Anne Brodie’s Carolina Ballet, Hilton Head Dance Theatre, Coastal Ballet USA, Charleston City Ballet, Greensboro Ballet, USC Dance Company, and Montgomery Ballet where he has performed in such productions as Giselle, Don Quixote, Sylvia and Les Patineurs. Journy was a competitor in the first Boston International Ballet Competition in 2011 and attended the 2014 Jackson USA IBC as a non-competing partner. In 2016, Journy was awarded the South Carolina Art’s Commission Fellowship for Dance Performance. He was invited to dance with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet for their 2016 Season at the John F. Kennedy Center where the company performed Balanchine's rarely seen Gounod Symphony. Journy is currently in his second season as a company member with American Repertory Ballet, where he has performed in Kirk Peterson's Carmen, Tears of the Moon, Gerald Arpino's Sea Shadow, Paul Taylor's Airs, and Douglas Martin's Rite of Spring.

Journy Wilkes-Davis


Marie Tender was born in Deerborn, Michigan and raised in Champaign, Illinois. She began dancing at the age of five training with Champaign Ballet Academy under the direction of Deanna Doty. In 2010, Marie continued at the world-renowed Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida with full-tuition scholarship. While at Harid, Marie received the dance study award and the Jeannot Cerrone award for excellence in dance performance. Marie has also studied at the Ellison Ballet Professional Training Program in New York City. In 2016, Marie joined Colorado Ballet’s studio company and performed roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Serenade, Firebird, The Little Mermaid, Michael Pink’s Dracula, and Derek Dean’s Romeo and Juliet. Marie was honored to perform Serenade with Colorado Ballet at Vail International Dance Festival in 2017. Marie is very excited to be performing with Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater.

Marie Tender

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Matanya Solomon age 22 born in Alexandria, VA and began his dance training in West Virginia at 14. When he was 15 he began studying at the Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory where he spent four years under the direction of Victoria Mazzarelli. This is his third year with ARB, and his second year dancing with ARB2.  His Repertoire includes but isn’t limited to, “Franz” in Princeton Ballet schools “Coppelia”, “Ad Man” in Douglas Martins  “Rite of Spring”, Jose Limon’s “There is a Time”, and Paul Taylor’s “Airs”.

Matanya Solomon

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Originally from Robbinsville, NJ, Olivia grew up dancing at local studio Ballet Technique under the direction of Julie A. Caprio, performing classical ballet works. Pursuing a double major in English and Dance, Olivia attended Fordham University and the Ailey School in fall of 2014. While at the Ailey School, Olivia worked with choreographers such as Tom Gold, Jaclyn Buglisi, Kanji Segawa, and Breton Tyner-Bryan as well as performed works by Alvin Ailey including excerpts from Night Creature and Revelations. In June of 2017, Olivia performed in the Alvin Ailey Spirit Gala at Lincoln Center, debuting choreography by Tracy Inman, Robert Battle, and Ari Mayzick. During fall of her junior year, Olivia accepted a contract with Ballet Hispanico’s second company (BHdos) under the direction of Nicholas Villeneuve and Johan Rivera. At Ballet Hispanico, Olivia learned and performed repertory by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Eduardo Vilaro, Pedro Ruiz, and Talley Beatty, performing at the Apollo Theater. She has attended summer intensives at BalletX, American Ballet Theater, and Koltun Ballet Theater to name a few. While in New York, Olivia also pursued her passion for fitness, teaching cardio-based rowing classes downtown at Current Fitness. Olivia graduated magna cum laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program in May of 2018. Currently, she is freelancing with professional dance companies in the New York area, as well as teaching dance in New Jersey.

Olivia Miranda

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Tuiana Balzhieva graduated ballet school in Russia at L.P Sakhyanova (2005-2013). After graduating ballet school and obtaining a professional diploma of "ballet dancer”, she was accepted to Buryat State Opera and Ballet Theater where she became a young soloist dancer. Tuiana has performed solo and principal roles in multiple ballets. In 2008, she participated in the 7th Siberian International Dance Competition in Novosibirsk where she took 3rd. She also took part in Ekaterina Maksimova’s International Dance Competition in Perm, Russia. Her repertoire consists of many classical and contemporary ballets such as Giselle, Swan Lake (Dance of the little Swans), Nutcracker (Chinese dance, Doll), Pinocchio (Malvina), Thousand and one nights, Dzhambuling (choreography by Peter Quanz),  Harlequinade, Don Quixote (Finch and Jig), Blue Bird, Carmina Burana, Francesca da Rimini, Pas de deux Flames of Paris, Festival of Flowers in Cinzano, Tarantella (D.Balanchine), Namzhil, etc. In 2015, she came to the USA with the Moscow Ballet company to perform Swan Lake and Nutcracker spanning 30 states and Canada. In 2016-2017, she studied French technique in the French Academy of Ballet in NYC with director Francois Perron. Had teaching and choreography experience at Gotta Dance, Mill Ballet, and Debra Sparks schools. Also had dance modeling experience for Pointe Magazine. She is currently dancing with Roxey Ballet located in New Jersey.
“Ballet it’s a major part of my life, when I dance I feel alive” 

Tuiana Balzhieva

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A native of Kazakhstan, Arman Alpyspaev, at the age of 9 years was selected to study at the Moscow Central Music School for gifted children. During studies, already an active young performer, he was twice picked to represent Soviet Union as part of a string quartet at the International Festival Juenesse Musicales in Hungary. After finishing school, he joined a class of a world-renowned Professor Yuri Bashmet at the Moscow State Conservatory.
During those years at the conservatory, he repeatedly played in halls such as Maly and Rachmaninov as well as took part in several Russian-American festivals, made another quartet trip to Bulgaria and numerous concerts around the USSR. Arman continued his studies in New York, where he successfully graduated from prestigious conservatories such as, the Juilliard school and Manhattan school of music, where he was awarded full scholarships.
The geography of his musical career includes several continents, he has performed in such halls as the Weill hall at Carnegie hall and Alice Tully in New York, among others. As an active chamber music performer, he appeared many times at the prestigious chamber music series at Barge music in New York. He also performed extensively as part of string quartets such as the NYCQ and the Lumina.

Arman Alpyspaev

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Lanny Paykin maintains a diverse career in the New York City area, performing with many New York orchestras, on Broadway, in recording studios, and in solo and chamber music concerts. A graduate of The Juilliard School and Wesleyan University, Mr. Paykin plays with the American Composers Orchestra, Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Westchester Philharmonic. He has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the New York City Ballet and Opera Orchestras. In 2014, Mr. Paykin served as Acting Assistant Principal Cello with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in Australia. Mr. Paykin lives in Oakland, NJ, and performs and teaches throughout the greater New York City area.

Lanny Paykin

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Neel Murgai is a multi-instrumental performer, composer and teacher, and co-founder of the Brooklyn Raga Massive, a raga inspired musician's collective. He is a graduate of Goddard College's MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program.

In 2013 Neel joined the orchestra of the hit musical theater production of the Jungle Book, directed by Mary Zimmerman. Neel has toured around the world with the Bill T. Jones Dance Company, performing and collaborating in their multi-media show, “Blind Date". Neel has performed on Late Night with David Letterman with Wyclef Jean, Cyndi Lauper and DJ Rekha. Other artists Neel has worked with include Adam Rudolph, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Karsh Kale, Samir Chatterjee, Daniel Bernard Romain, Ellen Stewart, Sameer Gupta, Marc Cary, Jay Gandhi, Arun Ramamurthy, Laraaji, Yuerba Buena, Baba Israel, Raz Mesinai, Mission on Mars, Akim Funk Buddha, Loren Conners, Louis Bellogenis and Cosmo Vinyl. He has performed at venues ranging from the Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center to jazz clubs such as the Blue Note and at festivals around the U.S including Art Wallah, Arts Plosure, Masala! Mehndi! Masti! and many others. 
Neel has composed music for numerous film, TV, video, theater and dance projects including the features, “The Yes Men Fix the World", which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and "A Decent Arrangement". His music has been featured in the BBC series, “Holiday’s in the Danger Zone", and TBS programs, “Women of the Ink", and “Spotlights".

Neel Murgai

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Shivalik Ghoshal performed all of the tabla drumming for the soundtrack of Academy Award-winning documentary Born into Brothels (2004) as well at Lincoln Center with santoor maestro Sri Satnaam Singh. He has accompanied many maestros including Pandit Manilal Nag, Smt Girija Devi, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Phalguni Mitra, and Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain and numerous visiting Indian artists. He has received grants from New Jersey Council of Arts (NJ), Namashkar Foundation (CT), and Asian Arts Initiative (PA), as well as a citation from the New Jersey state legislature. He is currently working with Mary Zimmerman and Doug Peck on reorchestrating the jazz/classical Indian-based music of The Jungle Book for productions at the Goodman Theatre and Huntington Theatre Company. He is a student of tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and comes from a renowned musical family.

Shivalik Ghoshal

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