Ariel Etana Triunfo is an Afro-Latine/Asian Chicago-based actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, playwright, and performer. She graduated with a high school diploma from Nevada Connections Academy as Valedictorian of her class, and received a B. A. in Musical Theatre from Columbia College Chicago, where she was a 2018 recipient of the Diversity and Inclusion Award and the Jim Jacobs Musical Theatre Scholarship, and a 2019 recipient of the David Talbott Cox Scholarship and the Sheldon Patinkin Award.
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Ariel began dancing at the age of 5 at the Albee School of Dance in Brooklyn, under the guidance and instruction of Fred and Nana Albee. After moving to Las Vegas, NV in 2004, Ariel completed the remainder of her dance training at the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre, where she was awarded a full-ride Future Dance Education and Outreach Scholarship for the entirety of her studies. While studying and dancing there, she was an ambassador for the Future Dance Program and assisted the Education and Outreach Department with elementary school visits, where she read aloud excerpts from "Dancing in the Wings" by Debbie Allen and provided an interactive and educational ballet experience for thousands of students.
Ariel danced professionally with Nevada Ballet Theatre under the direction of James Canfield. She then decided to pursue a career in theatre by first attending the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in New Mexico for one year, and then transferring to Columbia College Chicago. She was one of 24 international artists selected to attend the 2018 Musical Theatre Dance Program at The School at Jacob's Pillow, where she was the 2018 recipient of the Lorna Strassler Award for Student Excellence. Ariel made her Chicago theatre debut in Porchlight Music Theatre's Jeff Award-winning Gypsy, starring E. Faye Butler, in which Ariel was an ensemble member and Dance Captain for the production. In addition to her work in dance and theatre, Ariel has acted in various student films, worked as background talent on TV shows filmed and produced in Chicago, and was featured as a Ballerina in the Daughters of Eve documentary by Zanah Thirus Films.
Ariel has choreographed for Nevada Ballet Theatre and Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, for the MODAS Dance Training Program in Santa Fe, NM, and for students of Columbia College Chicago, as well as the Jeff-Recommended Chicago premiere of Hands on a Hardbody, produced by Refuge Theatre Project, and the world premiere of Fast Food Chain, produced by Adventure Stage Chicago. She has had the immense pleasure to work with and learn from legends and working professionals in the dance and theatre world, such as Cynthia Gregory, Daniel Ezralow, Kathryn Morath, Shannon Lewis, Shaun McKenna, Chet Walker, and Stephen Schwartz.
Ariel has provided educational theatre instruction with After School Matters (Chicago) and YouthREACH at Music Theater Works. Onstage, Ariel was most recently seen at Drury Lane Theatre in their 2022 holiday season production of Elf the Musical. Next, she will be donning her choreography hat to work on Mercury Theater Chicago's upcoming 2023 production of Big River.
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