During the seven years he was with Ballet de Cali, he danced throughout South America, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands. His repertoire consisted of leading roles in contemporary works as well as classical pieces, including the principal male in Les Sylphides, Colin in La Fille Mal Gardée, and Franz in Coppélia.
In 1993, Mr. Peñuela moved to the United States to join Ballet Arizona in Phoenix, where he danced several pieces by artistic director and choreographer Michael Uthoff, and also created roles in new ballets by Violette Verdy and Helgi Tomasson.
In 1996, he joined Dance Theater of Harlem, where he performed in many of George Balanchine’s works, including The Four Temperaments, Agon, Allegro Brillante, and Bugaku, as well as a variety of contemporary pieces.
Mr. Peñuela then joined Pennsylvania Ballet in 1998-2004. He was featured in several roles in The Nutcracker, and in Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Great Galloping Gottschalk. Most notably, he received critical praise for dancing the role of The Moor in Josè Limon’s The Moor’s Pavane. He also performed in new works such as Jeffrey Gribler’s Cricket Dances, Meredith Rainey’s Slight Shifts, and Matthew Neenan’s Sfrenato.
In September 2001 and 2002, Mr. Peñuela was selected to represent his native Colombia by performing in the Festival Internacional de Ballet de Miami, which featured dancers from more than a dozen countries worldwide.
Juan Carlos then worked as a freelance dancer, based in New York City, guest performing with various companies and schools all over the US and abroad. During April and May 2005, Mr. Peñuela worked with Jimmy Gamonet’s new company, Maximum Dance Ballet Gamonet. For much of the rest of 2004-2005, Mr. Peñuela worked in Cali, Colombia, with the school and company Incolballet. In addition to acting as Ballet Master and conducting classes six days a week, he set works such as Don Quixote and Meredith Rainey’s Slight Shifts (Miniaturas Moviles). He also danced featured roles in various contemporary and classical works.
Mr. Peñuela took on several professional engagements as guest Ballet Master and Repetitur with Compania Colombiana de Ballet - Incolballet in Colombia, Chamber Dance Project, Lexington Ballet, Montgomery Ballet, The Ajkun Ballet Theatre in New York City, Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, New Jersey Dance Theatre, NAD Newage Dancer Project in Ecuador & Earl Mosley's Institute of the Arts International Summer Intensive in Kent, CT.
He has rehearsed & staged full-length Ballets such as: Giselle, Don Quixote, Paquita, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Romeo & Juliet, Cinderella, Walpurgis Nights, Diana & Acteon, Flower Festival in Genzano, Les Sylphides, Spartacus, Carmen, Raymonda & Le Corsaire as well as works created by choreographers Chiara Ajkun, Meredith Rainey, Gloria Castro & Diane Coburn Bruning to name a few.
Juan Carlos is the official ballet master of the annual International Ballet Festival of Colombia where he works with several major international dance companies such as: (USA) Kansas City Ballet, Ballet X, Milwaukee Ballet & Chamber Dance Project (GERMANY) Ballett Magdeburg (MEXICO) Compania Tcunam Gloria Contreras (COLOMBIA) Colegio del Cuerpo, The National Ballet of Colombia - Incolballet, Jhon Fandino, Klaus Danza & Azoe Danza (CUBA) Ballet Nacional de Cuba (CZECH REPUBLIC) Ballet Bohemia de Praga (FRANCE) Centro Chreografico Nacional de Nantes (VENEZUELA) Danza Hoy & (SPAIN) Compania Carmen Roche, (AUSTRALIA) West Australian Ballet, (CHINA) Hong Kong Ballet & (ENGLAND) The Royal Ballet.
Juan Carlos is currently the Ballet master of Ballet Hispanico Company in New York City as well Senior Ballet master for the School of Dance. He teaches company classes at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Alvin Ailey School. Mr. Penuela is faculty member of Joffrey Ballet School and Marymount Manhattan Collage both in New York City.
Since 2005 Mr. Penuela holds Romana’s Pilates certification and have teach Pilates for dancer. In 2011 got The American Ballet theatre National Training Curriculum. The summer of 2013 was invited to teach in Italy as faculty members of Alvin Ailey School, was guest to Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and was in the panel as a judge for the YAGP.
In 2014 attended to the CPYB teacher’s workshop and was featured in the August edition of Dance Teacher Magazine.
Mr. Penuela’s classes have a strong emphasis on classical technique but also have a wide range of dance vocabulary with focus on the center of alignment & placement of the body, but also allow artistic expression. This allows the dancers to focus on strengthening both their technical ability whilst enjoying their need and passion to dance. Having trained extensively during his earlier years under the Cuban & Russian techniques, this foundation along with his experience of dancing professionally in the United States, contributes to his classes resulting in a versatile mix of combinations, keeping his dancers both fresh with new concepts on movement whilst maintaining the technical level required by todays dance industry. Juan Carlos is also a certified Romanas Pilates Instructor which he has incorporated into his methods of teaching creating a stronger core, helping to prevent long term injuries in dancers of all levels and ages.