Ioana Alfonso (or "io" as her friends affectionately call her) has worked extensively in the performing arts—both on stage and in film/television. Although she began her career as a performer with a passion for dance, io is now a multifaceted artist expanding her love into acting, creative directing and voice overs in both English and Spanish.
By the age of 15, she was working professionally as assistant to Emmy-winner Mia Michaels (Broadway's Finding Neverland, So You Think You Dance) while attending the prestigious New World School of the Arts, where she received formal classical training. For over a decade she continually assisted Ms. Michaels on numerous projects, including pre-production for Madonna: Drowned World Tour, Celine Dion’s ‘New Day’, setting original works on concert dance companies (Complexions, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, etc.), and staging various national commercials. In addition, she was a founding member of Ms. Michaels’ concert dance company, Mia Michaels R.A.W, touring both nationally and internationally.
During that time she also had the privilege of attending the historical dance mecca Jacob’s Pillow (twice on full scholarship), where she had the honor of performing works by Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham, while immersing herself in deep study with legendary artists like Carmen de Lavallade, Milton Myers and the late James Truitte. Always excited to expand her experience, she later explored more contemporary work and continued her technical training in New York University’s conservatory program, Tisch School of the Arts, where she received her BFA in just 3 years—including a summer abroad in Salzburg, Austria (SEAD). At NYU she had the unforgettable experience of studying privately with Kathy Grant, a pioneering first generation Pilates Master Teacher, before her passing. Ioana was also a member of the Second Avenue Dance Company which allowed her the opportunity to collaborate on original works with established contemporary ballet/modern choreographers Doug Varone, Ron Brown, Deborah Jowitt and Cherylyn Lavagnino while also recreating works by world renowned artists like William Forsythe and David Parsons.
With a love for all types of movement, and influenced by her Latin roots, io took advantage of all NYC could offer by exploring the local dance club scene and taking classes whenever possible from visiting teachers of hip hop, salsa and other types of contemporary styles. This versatility eventually granted her the opportunity to share the stage with pop stars like Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin, and has allowed her to work on stage, as well as on film, in all genres from concert to commercial.
Ioana made her Broadway debut as an original cast member of the hit show Wicked, where she also had the honor of singing on the Grammy award-winning cast album. Later, she went on to play Maria in the original cast of 9 to 5, also on Broadway, where she had the opportunity to work with the iconic Dolly Parton and sing on the Grammy nominated album. Using more of her technical dance skills, she recently performed the lead role of “Slim” in the National and Japanese tours of Come Fly Away, choreographed/directed by the legendary Twyla Tharp.
Theatre inspired her to continue to develop her voice by expanding her performance skills into acting. She went on to play the title role in the Off-Broadway play La Llorona/The Crying Woman and has co-starred on network television shows such as Aziz Ansari's Master of None, Nurse Jackie (opposite Edie Falco), Black Box, and The Big C (with Oliver Platt). She was also a recurring actor in the “Bombshell” cast of the NBC show Smash, written by Theresa Rebeck and executive produced by Steven Spielberg.
These adventures have afforded her the opportunity to fulfill her dreams to collaborate with award-winning directors and choreographers including Joe Mantello, Julie Taymor, Michael Mayer, Chris Gattelli, and Josh Bergasse to name a few. She has also had the immense honor of sharing the stage with personal heroes and legends such as Ben Vereen, Joel Grey, Carol Kane, and Sir Paul McCartney (among others).
Most recently, she has had the privilege of working on several creative teams for NBC, Broadway and Off-Broadway. In the rock musical Bare, io worked as Associate Choreographer to Emmy winner Travis Wall, enjoying a truly collaborative experience with an incredible team including the director Stafford Arima and set designer Donyale Werle. On Broadway, she worked as Senior Associate Choreographer to Tony award-winner Wayne Cilento on Holler If Ya Hear Me and then later worked as assistant to Kenny Leon, another Tony award-winner, on the successful The Wiz Live! for NBC. Ioana also assisted Mr. Leon on Smart People (Off-Broadway), written by Lydia Diamond, and starring Mahershala Ali, Tessa Thompson, Joshua Jackson and Anne Son. She is looking forward to a continued relationship with him as Associate Director of Hairspray Live! for NBC airing Dec 7.
Equally important to her, Ms. Alfonso works with charitable organizations such as Artists Striving to End Poverty, R.Evolucion Latina, The African Children’sChoir and NYCares in order to use the arts as a tool to empower individuals.
Ioana is dedicated to creating and performing in work that makes a positive impact on the global community by inspiring individuals, promoting unity and supporting creativity.