Olivia Ancona- Olivia Ancona was born in San Francisco, however grew up in Berkeley, London, and predominately Portland, Oregon. She trained with the Northwest Dance Project, Jefferson Dancers, and the Portland Ballet, and is an alumnae of The Juilliard School. In 2010-2012 Olivia was a member of the Batsheva ensemble. She danced and helped to co-found Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar’s company L-E-V from 2012-2014, while freelancing internationally including collaborations with Italian choreographer Luca Veggetti and performing in Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s project company Eastman. 2014/15 Olivia was a member of the Royal Swedish Ballet in Stockholm, where she had the opportunity to work with Mats Ek and create with Johan Inger before rejoining Batsheva Dance Company March 2015. In the fall of 2016 she left Israel to continue to teach as a certified gaga teacher and freelance in a variety of projects including dancing, coaching, and acting for an upcoming Hollywood film. Olivia recently relocated to the west coast of the states after 7 years abroad and is looking forward to the next chapter!
Nathan Andary CMA, MFA, E—Nathan is a Laban/Bartenieff certified movement analyst, experimental artist, and a two-time recipient of the Merit Award for Choreography from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA). Nathan’s dance research: The Threshold between Intention and Initiation was presented at the International Place / Space Maker Conference at Earthdance in Massachusetts and the International Somatics Conference hosted at Skidmore College. He continues to investigate the Pedagogic layers of dance across curriculum through recent workshops entitled: Kinesthetic Empathy as a tool for Understanding, Phrasing and its effects on teaching and performance, How to increase/inform the Somatic focus and work for young dancers, Weight Sensing and the Performative Self. Additionally, Nathan's choreography performed internationally in Sarajevo and Canada as well as nationally in notable theaters like: New York City's Center for Performance Research, Movement Research, The Living Theater and Merce Cunningham Studio Theater; Washington DC's Dance Place, Wooly Mammoth Studio Theater, and The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage; Chicago’s Links Hall, New England's Institute for Contemporary Art, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Rhode Island School of Design, Boston University, Mobius International Gallery, Brown University, and Rhode Island College. His work received funding from Toyota, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Rhode Island Foundation, among others. Nathan’s master classes and teaching credits include: Lebanon’s International Dance Day Festival in Byblos, Ohio Dance Festival, The Yard, Southern Vermont Dance Festival, American College Dance Festival, International Body-Mind-Centering and Somatics Conference, Place/Space Maker Intensive, National High School Dance Festival, KY’s Governor’s School for the Arts, the Univ. of Maryland, Providence College, Rhode Island College, Rhode Island School of Design and is currently on the dance faculty at Ohio University where he teaches: Laban Movement Analysis, Modern and Ballet techniques, Dance Pedagogy, and is the Professor and Artistic Director for the Ohio University Dance Division’s Senior Capstone and Senior Tour.
Dawn Marie Bazemore is a dancer/choreographer who has dedicated her research and pedagogy to finding new and inventive ways of using art to investigate the sociopolitical issues that affect her community. In 1998, after recieving her BFA from SUNY Purchase, she relocated to Philadelphia from New York to join Philadanco where she performed professionally for ten years. In 2009, Dawn Marie transitioned into Musical Theatre performing ensemble and featured roles in various Broadway and regional theater productions including All Shook up, Dreamgirls, Purlie and The First National Tour of the Color Purple. After earning her MFA from Hollins University, Dawn Marie served as a guest choreographer and artist in residence at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a Master Lecturer in the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts at the University of the Arts. In 2013 Dawn Marie presented her solo work "Loss:Loving Into Life" at the American Dance Festival and her piece "A Movement for Five", created for Philadanco and inspired by the events surrounding the Central Park Five, made it's world premiere at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in 2015. Also, in 2015, Dawn Marie's essay Dance and Activism: The Practice and Impact of Sociopolitical Activism was published in the online journal The Dancer-Citizen. Dawn Marie teaches Modern Dance technique, Dance for the Musical Theatre and theory courses in World Dance Forms and African Influences in American Dance.
Alexandra James Bell is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she earned her BFA in Choreography. She has taught and performed dance in Chicago, South Africa, St. Louis, New York and Portland, ME. Alexandra serves as the Admissions Director for the Bates Dance Festival, which brings together an international community of choreographers, performers, educators and students in a cooperative community to study, perform and create new work. As a dance-maker, Alexandra works by means of improvisation. This practice is both born from, and informs the self in relationship to the surrounding environment. Growing up in Southern Maine forced her to confront her identity in the face of racism, intolerance and ignorance. Owning and discovering one's self is a constantly emerging journey, which she investigates in her creative process. Her work explores the self in relation to the Other - the terms by which we define ourselves in relationship to, against and in accordance with one another. Similarly, in teaching, Alexandra’s philosophy surrounds the notions of awareness of the intellectual and physical self, which have incredible potential to fuel creativity. To that end, her modern, improvisation and hip hop classes work to develop dancers with a strong technical base which personal choice and variation can be applied. Progression from this base involves building strength, exploring weight shifts, dynamic movement patterns, working with gravity as an inhibitor and accelerant, and focus to drive one’s body through space with clarity. Alexandra travels back and forth from Portland to New York to continue teaching and making this work, and to continue work as cofounder of the Swift Urban Movement Project – a nonprofit dedicated to promoting healthy active and social lives through the arts and athletics.
Michael Blake holds an MFA in dance from Purchase College, and a 2010 Bessie Award for Dance and Performance. He began his dance career in the Murray Louis Dance Company where he danced from 1982-1984. In 1985, Michael moved to Osaka, Japan to become the manager of Studio Dancin’. In 1986 he joined the Jose Limon Dance Company, dancing principal roles until 1991. Michael danced with Donald Byrd/The Group from 1991-1998. He has also danced with PARADIGM Dance, Joyce Trisler Danscompany, Shapiro and Smith, and Janis Brenner and Friends. He has appeared on stage at the Supper Club, NYC, national tour of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, toured with Cab Calloway in Cab Calloway’s Cotton Club Review, and danced in the films THE ADVENTURES OF CRI CRI (Murray Louis), and UNSETTLED DREAMS (Donald Byrd). He has taught numerous workshops both nationally and internationally. Michael is the Artistic Director of the Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program at the Joffrey Ballet School, Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary Summer Intensive, The Joffrey Experience, and Joffrey Musical Theater LA.
Zoe Close is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance. She completed both her 200 hour (2011) and 500 hour (2015) teacher-training certifications through Yax Yoga Concepts in Norfolk, VA. Zoe formerly danced with Virginia Ballet Theatre, and attended The Governor's School for the Arts. She graduated from Old Dominion University in 2011 with a degree in Human Services. Zoe currently teaches hot yoga at Hot House Yoga in Ghent.
Emily Eger Donahue has been with the Cranford High School Dance Academy since its inception in the 2008-2009 school year. In addition to being K-12 Certified in Dance by the State of NJ, Ms. Donahue holds a BA in Dance from Muhlenberg College and an MA in Dance Education from New York University. She has performed in NYC with TapFusion, Carla Fazio Dance Company and at Peridance and The 92nd Street Y. Ms. Donahue's choreography has been seen at the Regional High School Dance Festival, The Manhattan Theatre Source, The Outlet Dance Project, The Exchange and The Frederick Loewe Theater. Most recently, Ms. Donahue presented a workshop on chance procedure at Dance NJ's fall professional development series.
Leslie Elkins is an Associate Professor of Dance at Rowan University where she teaches dance theory and technique specializing in improvisational composition and performance. Leslie earned her Ph.D. in Dance from Temple University. Body-Presence: Lived Experience of Choreography and Performance, her phenomenological-hermeneutic study involving work with several noted artists, is published by Lambert Academic Publishing. Her choreographic and performance work include Making Trouble: Sans Limites, a dance theatre piece inspired by Isadora Duncan's 1903 manifesto “The Dance Of The Future,” Boom Boom Boom, a solo adaptation of Deborah Hay’s choreography, and What Narwhals Talk About When They Talk About Love, a karaoke cabaret/minimalist ballet/piercing talk show created by and performed with Grace Mi-He Lee. Other research projects include presentations and articles on the philosophy and use of play in education, how the arts biennial Prospect New Orleans serves as a model of urban regeneration, and the concepts of repurposing/recycling in the performing arts.
Victoria (Vicki) Fink was an adjunct faculty member at Temple University Dance Department in Philadelphia, PA from 1999-2001, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Dance and for Virginia Commonwealth University's Dance Department in Richmond, VA from 2002-2006, where she earned her BFA in Theater and Minor in Dance. From 2006-2016, Vicki was lead dance teacher at Henrico High School, Center for the Arts, an arts program located in Henrico, VA. Currently, Vicki is an Assistant Professor at Old Dominion University Dance Department and an Adjunct Faculty member at William and Mary Dance Department. In addition to teaching high school and higher education, Vicki has been involved with many Partners in the Arts Projects, funded by Virginia Commission of the Arts, a freelance dancer and choreographer within New York, Philadelphia and Richmond, Yoga teacher, and a founding member of Ground Zero Dance Company.
Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell is an Associate Professor at Towson University. She began her dance training at the Baltimore School for the Arts under the guidance of Sylvester Campbell and Stephanie Powell. She was an apprentice with the Capitol Ballet in Washington D.C. and a full fellowship student at The Ailey School. She attended The Juilliard School where she worked with Anna Sokolow (Lyric Suite) and John Taras (Designs with Strings). In 1989, Ms. Fisher-Harrell joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, performing extensively throughout the United States and Europe the works of many choreographers including Twyla Tharp, Margo Sappington, and Daniel Ezralow. In 1992, Ms. Fisher-Harrell joined the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater under the direction of Judith Jamison where she became a principal dancer. During her 13 year tenure at AAADT, she performed all over the world and was featured in the works of Alvin Ailey (Blues Suite, Cry, Hidden Rites, Masakela Langage, Memoria , Night Creature, Pas de Duke, Revelations, The River and Streams) Robert Battle, Talley Beatty, Ron K. Brown, John Butler, Donald Byrd, Ulysses Dove, George Faison, Rennie Harris, Geoffrey Holder, Judith Jamison, Louis Johnson, Alonzo King, Donald McKayle, Elisa Monte, Jennifer Muller, David Parsons, and Dwight Rhoden. In addition to being an Associate Professor in the Department of Dance at Towson University she is on the faculty of the Baltimore School for the Arts. Her research and scholarship in continuing the Ailey legacy within the Towson University and Greater Baltimore community has resulted in a Dance USA American Masterpieces College Component grant allowing the Towson University Dance Company to learn and perform excerpts of Alvin Ailey’s ballets and 6 Ailey II residencies (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016) hosted by Towson University. In 2014, she established and directed Baltimore’s first AileyCamp at Towson University. AileyCamp is an inspiring program for children ages 11-4 that uses the art of dance as a vehicle for developing self--‐esteem, self--‐discipline, creative expression, and critical--‐thinking skills. Ms. Fisher-Harrell received her MFA in dance from Hollins/ADF University and is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She has been a guest teacher at numerous institutions and programs including the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Intensive, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, the American Dance Festival and the Dance Institute of Washington. Some of her special performances include, the White House State Dinner for the president of Kenya (Mwai Kibaki), the 12th Annual Kennedy Center Gala with Nancy Wilson and Liza Minelli, The World Stars of the Opera International Ballet Gala in Budapest, Hungary (2001,2003,2005), Gala des Étoiles du XXI Siècle (Paris; and Toronto), the Fall for Dance Festival in New York, NY, Symphony With a Twist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Extraordinary Life of Miss Katherine Dunham Tribute at Symphony Space, New York, NY, the 2009 Chicago Dancing Festival, the 2011 Judith Jamison Farewell with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Special Guest Artist/Alumni, New Year’s Eve Alumni Performance with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, 2013.
Maurice Fraga is originally from San Francisco, California, and has earned B.A., M.F.A., and M.A degrees in dance from the University of California, Santa Cruz, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and The College at Brockport (SUNY), respectively. He has danced for Ben Munisteri Dance, David Parker and the Bang Group, the Kevin Wynn Collection, Michael Foley Dance, Creach/Company, the Tiffany Mills Company, the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Montreal-based company O Vertigo, and Dublin-based Fluxusdance. He has taught at many universities, colleges and studios in the U.S., as well as in Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Greece, Ireland, Macedonia, Taiwan, Spain and the United Kingdom. His choreography has received various awards at choreographic competitions in Spain, and his musical score for the documentary "Exploring Hinterland," was nominated for Best Sound Music Score at the 2013 London International Film Festival. He has been on the dance faculty as Assistant Professor at Shenandoah University since 2009, is the artistic director of his own dance company, Ekilibre.
Angela M. Gallo is Chair of the Department of Dance, Music and Theatre at Coker College and the Artistic Director of Sapphire Moon Dance Company. Her choreography has been seen at such places as the Dancenow Downtown Festival, White Wave Dance Festival, Dance Theatre Workshop, Alabama Dance Festival, Piccolo Spoleto, Charlotte Dance Festival, and others. She has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at the Fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists (Canada). She has danced with The Power Company (SC), AmDAT: Dance Art Technology (NY), worked on smaller projects with Ballet Preljocaj and Anou Skan (France), Eisenhower Dance Ensemble (MI) and performed in works by Doug Varone, Dan Wagoner, Christian Von Howard and Jose Limon. Angela currently teaches at the Joffrey Ballet Miami Summer Program and has taught at Peridance, the Hartford Ballet School, University of Michigan, Joffrey Ballet, and others. Angela holds a MFA from the University of Michigan and a BFA from Central Connecticut State University. Angela is a Pilates Instructor certified through the Pilates Method Alliance. She has been teaching Pilates for over ten years and certifies others in Pilates.
Cara Gargano is Chair of the Department of Theatre, Dance, & Arts Management and Professor of Dance and Theatre at LIU Post. A former dancer and actor, stage director and choreographer, she studied at the New York School of Ballet and later taught at the school. Her concert choreographer has received warm reviews from the New York Times and has been presented internationally as well as in the US. She holds a PhD in French and has published in both English and French. She is twice Past President of the Congress on Research in Dance and Recipient of the Dixie Durr Award for Outstanding Service to Dance Research.
Dana Hash-Campbell is chair of the LIU Brooklyn Per forming Arts Department and Dance Program Coordinator at the Brooklyn Campus and has served as trainer, recruiter, teacher, and rehearsal director since 1997. Dana was a principal dancer and company teacher with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater from 1988-1995, when she retired due to injury. Since that time she has also served as rehearsal director for various dance companies including Complexions and Donald Byrd/The Group. Dana continues to teach and set repertory pieces for and on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II. In 2001, she had the honor of setting Donald Byrd’s Dance at the Gym on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and in 2010 she restage Mr. Byrd’s Shards on Ailey II. Since her retirement Dana has become a licensed Massage Therapist providing backstage coverage for several Broadway shows including War Horse, An American in Paris, and Cats. Her injuries inspired her to study science to help redefine proper anatomical alignment in dance. She has furthered her work in this area with the guidance and assistance of the ADAM Center for Dance Research (formerly SOAR Research), one of only a handful of bio-mechanic research labs dedicated to dance in this country. She received her BFA in Dance from LIU and her MFA in Performance and Choreography from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Dana is presently the director of the Dance Wellness Program and the ballet program at LIU Brooklyn.
Jillian Harris is an Associate Professor of Dance at Temple University and a Summer session instructor at Temple University-Rome. Jillian toured nationally with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, performing works by noted choreographers such as Doug Varone and Moses Pendleton. Jillian was also a featured performer in the PBS televised broadcast of Della Davidson’s “Night Story.” Upon receiving her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she went on to perform with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers. Her choreography has been shown at venues like Joyce SOHO (New York City), Chi Movement Arts Center (Philadelphia), The Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (Salt Lake City), and Bravo Caffe (Bologna, Italy). In addition to choreographing, JIllian maintains an active teaching schedule, conducting master classes in the United States and abroad.
Iyun Ashani Harrison is the founder and artistic director of Ashani Dances, a Baltimore-based dance company founded in 2011. Alice Kaderlan of The Seattle Times reports that, "Ashani Dances showcases an artist [Harrison] of diverse talents with sophisticated musical tastes and an understanding of how to use a bare stage to full effect." Mr. Harrison is a graduate of The Juilliard School and received his MFA from Hollins University/American Dance Festival. He has danced professionally with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Ailey II, Seattle Dance Project and National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica. Mr. Harrison’s television credits include PBS’ Setting the Stage 2007, NBC’s ‘20th Hispanic Heritage Awards, PBS’ Who’s Dancin’ Now? – Arts Education in Your Community and The South Bank Show in England. Mr. Harrison has taught on the faculties of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, The Ailey School, Cornish College of the Arts, Webster University and he is currently an assistant professor of dance at Goucher College.
Jennifer Heable - danced professionally with Virginia Ballet Theatre for two years and Todd Rosenlieb Dance for nine years. I have also been teaching the Classical Method of Pilates for about five years. I teach ballet and pointe for the TRD structured program and the Governor’s School for Arts, as well as private and group Pilates classes as well.
Joanne Holbrook graduated Cum Laude from Tshwane University in South Africa with a Bachelor's Degree in Dance Education. She also holds an additional National Diploma in Dance. Joanne danced professionally with Vusa Dance Company, Free Flight Dance Company, Moving Into Dance and African Footprint. She then free-lanced throughout South Africa and the UK. Joanne was on faculty at Pro-Arte performing art school in Pretoria South Africa and has taught and choreographed in South Africa, UK, Germany and in the United States. Joanne was a producer and casting director in London at a theatre company. In 2016 she was awarded best choreography for the musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in Germany.
Douglas Hudson Douglas Hudson (GSA guest artist) offers 20 years of experience working with youth and adults as a movement awareness and dance therapy coach throughout the United States & Europe. He is a licensed psychotherapist and massage therapist. Highlighted trainings include Authentic Movement with Janet Adler, Ph.D. and Process-Oriented Movement & Psychotherapy with Arnold Mindell, Ph.D. (Jungian Analyst). He also has a background in teaching Contact Improvisation. Douglas has coached and mentored youth in San Francisco, CA and students from the PlayMakers Repertory Company at UNC-Chapel Hill. Douglas holds a Bachelor of Arts from UNC-Chapel Hill in Film Communications with a minor in Psychology. His Masters of Arts in Psychology & Body-Oriented Therapy is from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
Valerie Ifill, MFA, is an active artist, educator and researcher of dance in Philadelphia. Dance Program Director at Drexel University, Valerie teaches lecture and studio-based courses including modern dance, composition, pedagogy and community-based learning programs. Collaborative interests have led to multiple projects including co-founding TRANSForm Dance Collective. Valerie’s dance studies include undergraduate work at Kent State University, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Independent Studies Program, and graduate work at the University of Oregon.
Sheena Jeffers is a dancer, choreographer and teaching artist from Richmond, Virginia. Sheena has her BA and BS from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she studied English and Mass Communications. Upon graduation, Sheena started the internationally-known dance education blog, Ballet Shoes & Bobby Pins, to bring digital dance education to dancers around the world. Sheena has her Masters in Education from Old Dominion University, where she focused on innovative learning through the arts and movement. Sheena is an adjunct dance professor for Old Dominion University and Tidewater Community College, and dance instructor for Governor's School for the Arts. Sheena's choreography has been featured at the American College Dance Festival, the Dogwood Dance Project Symposium, the Benjack Studio Theatre, and for the Elie Wiesel Writing and Visual Arts Competition. Sheena was the dance critic for Richmond Times-Dispatch, and the Dance Expert Writer for Answers.com.
Shakia Johnson, born and raised in Springfield, MA, is a graduate of Pioneer Valley’s Performing Arts Charter High School and Dean College. She received her teaching artist certificate from the National Dance Institute in New York in 2009. Johnson has choreographed and directed more than 40 hip hop, modern, African and lyrical works that have been performed at Trenton Educational Dance Institute, Rider University, the Princeton School of Ballet and the Bates Dance Festival. She has performed for numerous hip hop events and has opened for concerts by Fat Joe, Jadakiss, 112, Charlie Baltimore, Kima from “Total” and Omarion. In 2005 she choreographed a hip-hop number for the Celtics/NBA half-time show. She has toured the U.S. and abroad dancing with Face Da Phlave Entertainment and Illstyle and Peace Productions. Johnson is an alumnus of BDF’s Young Dancers Workshop and was selected for BDF’s Emerging Choreographer program in 2006. She currently teaches Hip Hop Dance and Culture at Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Amherst College.
Lizz Katherman graduated from Old Dominion University with her BFA in Dance and Performance. After working and training in NYC, she is thrilled to be back home teaching with The Governor's School and beyond excited for this opportunity!
Rebecca Kesting - Dr. Kesting received her Bachelor’s of Science in Dance and Kinesiology at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Doctor of Physical Therapy from Columbia University. She is currently completing her residency in orthopedic physical therapy at NYU and Harkness Center for Dance Injuries.
Michel Kouakou is a choreographer and dancer from the Ivory Coast. He
is the founder and director of Daara Dance. Michel received his MFA in Dance from Hollins University. He is the recipient of the VilcekPrize for Creative Promise in Dance (2012), a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for research in dance (2012), winner of a New York Foundation of the Arts Artist Fellowship (2008), and winner of the U.S. Japan Fellowship (2008) to conduct six months of research in Tokyo and Kyoto. In 2008 he was nominated for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and in 2010 and was a finalist in The A.W.A.R.D. Show in New York City and Los Angeles. Mr. Kouakou moved to New York in 2004 and subsequently to Los Angeles, where he was a lecturer at UCLA. Mr. Kouakou is now on faculty in the Dance Program at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. He maintains an active touring and teaching schedule across the globe and continues to pursues his long-term goal of building an “artistic bridge” betweenhis origins in the Ivory Coast and the US.
Jennifer Kreichman has served on the faculty of Adelphi University Department of Dance for over 10 years. Ms. Kreichman has appeared with the Israel Ballet, the Eglevsky Ballet, Ballet Hispanico and New York Dance Theater. In addition to her work at Adelphi she is currently teaches at the Eglevsky Ballet School and is a classically certified Pilates instructor.
Erin LaSala received her B.S. in Dance Education from the University of South Florida and her M.F.A. in Dance choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. LaSala has danced professionally and worked as a free-lance performer and choreographer in New York, Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio. Her choreography has been performed and recognized in numerous venues throughout New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, including at the American Dance Guild Festival. As an educator, she has held the positions of Dance Education Coordinator at Kent State University and Director of the Jacksonville University Summer Dance Intensive, as well as taught at several institutions including the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Winthrop University. Currently, LaSala is the Director of the Dance Program at Florida Southern College.
Garfield Lemonius is a graduate of York University (Toronto) with honors Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance and Bachelor of Education degrees. He also holds his Master of Fine Arts in dance (choreographic theory and practice) from Southern Methodist University. His career adventures include performing as a principal dancer with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, working with noted American choreographers, tours across the US and Europe, serving on numerous boards and panels at dance conferences and teaching and choreographing for different companies, various festivals and academic institutions across the U.S., Canada, and Australia. He is currently a member of the advisory board for the Pittsburgh Dance Council, on the steering committee for the national high school dance festival and associate professor of dance within the Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University.
Tara Madsen Robbins is a professional dance artist based in Philadelphia. She earned her MFA in Performance & Choreography from Smith College and her BA in Dance from Slippery Rock University. She performed/toured with modern dance company Tania Isaac Dance. She was with the company from 2006-2009 where they toured two evening length works to Jacob's Pillow, Bates Dance Festival and many other venues throughout the U.S. As a freelance choreographer, Tara has presented her original choreography internationally throughout Spain, Guatemala, Italy, Greece, and Scotland where her work received critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Nationally, she is an award winning choreographer and has presented her work throughout the U.S. Her professional work has been commissioned by Slippery Rock University, SUNY University at Buffalo, Westchester University, Bucknell University, DeSales University, Northampton County College and the College of Charleston. Tara has been invited as a guest artist to colleges, universities, performing arts high schools, conventions, dance camps, conferences, festivals, conservatories, as well as many private studios along the east coast. She was a professor in the dance department at Desales University from 2006-2016. She is currently on faculty in the dance program at Cab Calloway School of the Arts in Wilmington, DE.
Jo Matos trained, at the School of the Hartford Ballet, where in 1977 she received a Certificate in Dance Teaching, in 1996; she received a BFA in Dance from the University of Hartford, Hartt School. Ms. Matos has over 40 years of experience as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and arts administrator at many prestigious institutions, including, Ballet Hispanico, as School Director, Dillard Center for the Arts in Fort Lauderdale, FL, as Director of Dance, the School of the Hartford Ballet, as a full-time member of the faculty, and the University of Hartford, Hartt School, as Coordinator of the BFA Dance Division and as a an Associate Professor in Dance. Ms. Matos was appointed as the Director of Children and Youth Ballet Programs, in New York City and Miami, for the Joffrey Ballet School, in 2007. Ms. Matos has taught, as a state certified dance teacher, for public and private performing arts schools, in Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. She is the co-founder of “Dancing Day,” a school that brings dance to disabled children and adults around the country. Her work with autism and dance was featured in PBS documentaries in 1999 and 2004.
Kyle McHargh began his training at the Artist Collective, Hartford Ballet School, Hartford Conservatory and GHAA. He graduated from The University of the Arts with a BFA in Ballet Performance and an emphasis in choreography. Prior to graduation Kyle took semesters to train at the Alonzo King Lines Ballet School and The Rock School for dance education. He apprenticed with Ballet X, was a dancer for SLJ Art Initiative, and toured with Koresh Dance Company for 3 seasons. Mchargh’s work has been commissioned by GOP performing arts, Smoked Lilies and Jade, Eleone Dance Theater, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, SANKOFA, COH Artist Inc, University of Hartford and AMDA College and Conservatory. Working closely with choreographers such as Alonzo King, Robert Moses, Zane Booker, Christine Cox, Ronen Koresh, Paul Selwyn Norton, Ohad Naharin has given Kyle an edge and a unique style of movement. Kyle has been faculty at the GHAA Performing Arts High School, University of Hartford. He is currently core faculty at AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts.
Michele Miller moved to Seattle to join the Pat Graney Company in 1992 and founded Velocity Dance Center with KT Niehoff in 1996. She is currently on faculty at Cornish College of the Arts and teaches Pilates at Halfmoon Acupuncture and Pilates. She was the Artist In Residence at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts and taught at Bates Dance Festival, Guandong Dance Festival, and throughout the US. Michele holds a fourth degree black belt in Kajukenbo Kung Fu and won the Junior Division championship in Tai Chi at the Hong Kong Chinese Martial Arts Competition in 2005. She co-founded the d9 Dance Collective and performed with the LeGendre Performance Group, 1999-2004. Michele’s modern class contains elements of Pilates, Lewitzky technique, Simonson technique, gymnastics and martial arts. The class emphasizes proper alignment, core support, breath, upside down work, and phrases that challenge ideas of verticality and momentum in movement.
Tommy Neblett has been in the dance profession for thirty-five years – first as a performer, then as a choreographer, educator and administrator. He is the Associate Director of Dance at Boston Conservatory @ Berklee and co- Artistic Director (with his wife Diane Arvanites) of Prometheus Dance Company, and The Elders Ensemble (post-professional dancers ages 62-94). Prometheus Dance is Company-in-Residence at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA. As a dancer, Mr. Neblett danced with Dan Wagoner and Dancers, Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians, Concert Dance Company of Boston, Maryland Dance Theater, and with Prometheus Dance, which has five times been named “One of the Years’ Ten Best” by Boston’s Globe, Herald and Phoenix newspapers. As a freelance performer, he has appeared in films, operas, theater productions, fashion shows and nightclubs. As a choreographer, Mr. Neblett and Ms. Arvanites have received a Creativity Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, six Artist Grants in Choreography from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and a Citation for Outstanding Artistic Achievement from former Governor Deval Patrick. Their concert work has been performed at The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Jacob’s Pillow, Bates Dance Festival, Joyce SoHo, Institute of ContemporaryArt/Boston and others; and in Spain, France, Denmark, Venezuela, Ecuador and China. Their work in opera has included Nixon In China, Alceste and The Pearl Fishers for Opera Boston, and Rinaldo, Idomeneo and The Husbands for Boston Opera Collaborative. As an educator, Mr. Neblett has been on the faculty of The Boston Conservatory since 1994. He has also been on the dance faculties of Boston Ballet, Harvard University, Emerson College, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, The Dance Complex and the Oure Idraetshojskole in Denmark.
Delia Neil, Associate Professor, holds a B.A. degree in Dance from Butler University and a MFA in Dance from UNC Greensboro. Ms. Neil is a Professional Choreographer and Master Teacher of Ballet and a certified Pilates Mat Instructor. She was a Finalist for the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence at UNC Charlotte in 2003. Her choreography includes works for the concert stage, musical theatre and dramatic theatre productions, collaborative works with visual artists as well as settings of classical ballet repertoire. Ms. Neil’s choreography has been supported through project grants by The Arts and Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, The North Carolina Arts Council and by the Faculty Research Grant Program of UNC Charlotte. In 1996, Ms. Neil was awarded a Choreographic Fellowship by the North Carolina Arts Council. In the Fall of 2006, Ms. Neil was awarded a Reassignment of Duties Grant from UNC Charlotte’s College of Arts and Sciences to serve as the Resident Choreographer for The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, the nationally acclaimed and third largest Children’s Theatre in the country. Her collaboration with The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte spans over 16 years. She has collaborated on the acclaimed productions of The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, Go, Dog, Go! and The Shakespeare Stealer to name just a few. Ms. Neil’s work on “movement for the dramatic text” has been presented at national theatre conferences as well as conferences on Shakespeare. At Randolph College in Lynchburg Virginia, Ms. Neil is a faculty member of the Visiting Artist program. Each year she choreographs a work for the Annual Dance Concert and teaches ballet classes. In New York City, Ms. Neil studied with the acclaimed ballet teacher, Gabriella Taub-Darvash and taught at Ballet Hispanico and Hunter College. As a professional dancer, Ms. Neil danced with the Baltimore Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet and toured nationally as a freelance artist.
Melissa Pihos began dancing at a very young age and has been performing professionally for over 20 years. She has performed all over the United States and her film work has screened in several film festivals across the country. She has danced for Flatlands Dance Theatre, Van Dyke Dance Group, John Gamble Dance Theatre and Sidelong Dance Company. She has also performed in works by Martha Graham, Larry Keigwin and Twyla Tharp. She is an award-winning filmmaker and is currently touring her work, PIHOS A Moving Biography as Alzheimer’s disease awareness events. PIHOS A Moving Biography is a documentary dance/film performance that explores the life of her father, NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Pete Pihos and his battle with Alzheimer's disease. The work has toured to Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Lubbock, TX, Philadelphia, New York City and Santa Fe. Holding an MFA in Choreography/Dance from UNC-Greensboro, she Assistant Professor of Dance at Valdosta State University. Her previous dance faculty appointments include UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte, High Point University and Salem College. Pihos is also a national dance judge for Cathy Roe Ultimate Dance and Dance Machine.
Stephanie Powell is a graduate of Goucher College and the Johns Hopkins University. She is on faculty at the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, and Goucher College. She is a mentor to other teachers and is still excited about teaching after 35 years. Ms. Powell's students can be found in companies, universities, and colleges throughout the country. Along with her sister Yvonne E. Walker she is Artistic Director of Baltimore Dance Tech, a school which seeks to train, encourage, and empower young dancers to become global citizens through the arts.
Sara Procopio is a Brooklyn-based dance artist, educator and arts manager. Since 2012 she has performed in the work of choreographer and media artist, Jonah Bokaer. Sara is a founding company member and former Artistic Associate of Shen Wei Dance Arts. From 2001-2012 her work with Shen Wei included originating roles in 10 works, performing and teaching at renowned venues and festivals throughout Europe, Asia, Australia and the United States. She has taught internationally at the Korea International Dance Festival in Seoul and the Paolo Grassi School of Milan, as well as colleges and universities across the U.S. including Rutgers University, Middlebury College, Hollins University and Marymount Manhattan College. Sara has served as adjunct faculty at The University of the Arts since 2011, faculty at the American Dance Fes¬tival since 2008 and currently serves as Assistant Director in the School of Dance at the University of the Arts.
Ilana Puglia received her BA in Dance from James Madison University and her MA in Dance Education from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She's been the dance director and teacher at Chesterfield County Public School's Specialty Center for the Arts at Thomas Dale High School since 2014.
Elizabeth Quinones- This is my third year as a full-time dance teacher in Anne Arundel County Public Schools. I am interested in teaching an improvisation class based on the Brain Dance (Anne Green Gilbert). The class will use the elements of Brain Dance but will focus more on authentic movement generation. I have a BA in Dance from UMBC where I took many improvisation classes and I took several Brain Dance classes at the 2016 NDEO Conference. I would like to combine my knowledge and love for improvisation with Brain Dance theory.
A native of Puerto Rico, Eric Rivera earned his MFA in Choreography from SUNY Purchase College. During his performing career he danced with Ballet Hispanico of New York for 13 seasons where he helped to create over 20 original works. He also performed with Minnesota Ballet as principal dancer, Ballet Theater of Pennsylvania, Ballet Teatro Municipal de San Juan P.R., Danza Jazz de San Juan and in the European tour of West Side Story. He has appeared as guest artist in different companies such as Connecticut Ballet, Thomas Ortiz Dance, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, Westchester Ballet and Brooklyn Ballet. His works have been presented by Dance Iquail, Ashani Dance, Owensboro Dance Company, ACDFA Gala at Little Rock, AR, NY Summer Stage and the show They Called it Rock. His television appearances include PBS’ Setting the Stage, NBC’s 20th Hispanic Heritage Awards, Hispanic Day Parade with Brenda Blackmon, Puerto Rican Day Parade with Ernie Anastos and the documentary "Pedro Ruiz Home Coming" among others. Eric taught at Western Kentucky University as an assistant . Mr. Rivera is an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teachers Training Intensive in Primary through level seven of the ABT National Training Curriculum.
Tara Madsen Robbins is a professional dance artist based in Philadelphia. She earned her MFA in Performance & Choreography from Smith College, and her BA in Dance from Slippery Rock University. She performed/toured with modern dance company Tania Isaac Dance. As a freelance choreographer, Tara has presented her original choreography internationally throughout Spain, Guatemala, Italy, Greece, and Scotland where her work received critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Her professional work has been commissioned by Slippery Rock University, SUNY University at Buffalo, Westchester University, Bucknell University, DeSales University, Northampton County College and the College of Charleston.Tara has been invited as a guest artist to colleges, universities, performing arts high schools, conventions, dance camps, conferences, festivals, conservatories, as well as many private studios along the east coast. Tara was on faculty in the dance department at DeSales University for from 2006-2016. She recently accepted a full time dance teaching position at Cab Calloway School of the Arts, a public arts school in Wilmington, Delaware.
As a performer Iquail Shaheed has celebrated a career that personifies artistic versatility. He has performed in the companies of Ronald K Brown/ Evidence, Fred Benjamin Dance Company, The Metropolian Opera Ballet, Compagnie Thor in Brussels Belgium; on broadway in Disney's The Lion King, Maurice Hines' Hot Feet , Bill T. Jones's Superfly, as well in films directed by Julie Taylor and Oprah Winfrey. Concurrently, Mr. Shaheed serves on the faculty at Goucher College, The Ailey School, Dance Theatre of Harlem and NAISDA Dance in Australia. He selflessly devotes himself to the advancement, equality, and documentation of blacks in dance - an ethos proudly instilled in him as a youth student at Philadanco, and continued through his company, Dance Iquail. He has been recognized for his choreographic work by Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and the National Endowment of the Arts amongst many others. Mr. Shaheed obtained his BFA in Ballet performance and education from the University of the Arts; his MFA from Purchase College - SUNY; and is a candidate for PhD at Texas Woman's University. Lastly, he has been described in reviews as "a perfect example of his generation of male dancers... Technically superb and artistically infallible." www.danceiquail.org
Renata Shepard Artistic Director and Founder of Experimental Film Virginia, is a transnational choreographer, collaborator and scholar who has lived and worked in the US, Europe, and Asia. As a Fulbright Scholar, Henry Luce Scholar, Kate Neal Kinley Fellow, and US Embassy Artist Research grantee, she has been recognized for her innovative engagement of dance across discipline. A researcher who investigates interdisciplinary and innovative methods of art-making, engagement and digital technologies, her artistic work includes a diverse range of media: dance, film, photography, social media, crowd-sourcing and participation, installation, performance, video, sound and interactive design. She is a performer, choreographer and certified Laban Movement Analyst. She uses elements of body, architecture, materials, light, projection, and sound in her choreographic “living sculptures” which often happen in unexpected, site specific locations or on the screen. She continues to pioneer the way that dance and body intelligence intersects with research, social media, human behavior and public interactives as well as choreographic stage, film and site specific work. She has presented her work and research internationally in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, Tunisia, India, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Canada, and throughout the US. She has been invited for choreographic residencies and/or lectures at the New School of Media in New York, Culture Hub NYC, Bogliasco Foundation Italy, DanceBridge Chicago, Links Hall Chicago, Dance Omi, Summer Stages Dance, Planet Arts Exchange in Liverpool, Kolkata, and Tunisia, among others around the world.
Thomas Shoemaker was an acclaimed principal dancer with companies including
the Atlanta Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Augusta Ballet, and
Charleston Ballet Theatre in a professional career that spanned 25 years. As a
guest artist and choreographer, he has worked with numerous dance and theatre
companies throughout the U.S. and abroad. As an educator, Mr. Shoemaker has
taught elementary through college-aged students in studios, schools, colleges
and summer programs throughout the southeastern United States. He received a
Masters of Fine Arts in Dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival.
Before joining the faculty of the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts
and Humanities, Mr. Shoemaker taught and choreographed for the Vanderbilt
University Dance Program and was Artistic Director of Vanderbilt Dance Theatre. He also served on faculty with Middle Tennessee State University Dance Program, Austin Peay State University Dance Program, Tennessee Governors School for the Arts Summer Program, and American Dance Festival. Mr. Shoemaker also served as Associate Artistic Director for StillPoint Dance
Theatre. In May 2009, Shoemaker’s ballet “just let go” was awarded “Best Ballet” at the Panoply Choreographic Competition. In 2010, he won the same award for VS. His ballet Foreverly (based on the lives of the Everly Brothers) was awarded “Best Live Performance of 2005” by the Augusta Chronicle.As artistic director and ballet master, Mr. Shoemaker has staged or restaged numerous works including Nutcracker, Cinderella and Les Sylphides; George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante and Tarantella; Fernand Nault’s Carmina Burana and many classical pas de deux.
Lauren Sinclair began her ballet training at Eastern Virginia School for the Performing Arts. She is a graduate of the Kirov Academy of Ballet. Lauren danced professionally with Ballet Austin, Virginia Ballet Theatre, Todd Rosenlieb Dance, and Elbert Watson Dance Company. She received her Bachelor degree from Old Dominion University in Communication and Psychology. Lauren is a Registered Yoga Teacher and Certified Pilates Mat instructor. She teaches at The Governor's School for the Arts.
Janelle Smith-Ings is a Dance Educator at Governor’s School of the Arts. Janelle is an adjunct lecturer of Dance at William and Mary and a Performing Arts Portfolio Scorer for Pearson Education .She taught dance full-time in the Newark Public Schools for fourteen years. She is formerly the director of the Center for Modern Dance Education’s Senior Repertory Company. Janelle attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts (FAME) and was a Fellowship student at The Ailey School. Janelle is trained in Horton, Graham, Dunham, West African and Ballet techniques. She earned a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University and received her Masters’ in Arts Administration from Seton Hall University. She was a recipient of 2007’s Governor’s Teacher Recognition Program, a recipient of the Marion A. Bolden Award for Professional Development Initiatives within the Performing Arts. Janelle was nominated for Teacher of the Year and a recipient of the 2008 Excellence in Dance Award from the Newark School District. Janelle is a member of the International Dance Council and was a co-writer for Arts High’s dance curriculum. She has been the coordinator for Newark Public School’s district-wide dance festival. She also served as a member of Newark’s Arts Leadership Team. Janelle was selected as a contributor to “Middle School Dance” book. She has mentored dance education students from various universities. Janelle has performed with the Denishawn Repertory Company, Maxine Steinman and Dancers, Six Degree’s Dance Company, The Seventh Principle Performance Company and Umoja Dance Company. She had the honor of restaging Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, Fix Me Jesus for a Judith Jamison’s private 70th birthday celebration.
Janelle N. Spruill graduated from The Governor’s School for the Arts in 2003 and earned her BFA in Dance and minor in Media Studies from Marymount Manhattan College in 2007. While there, she had the pleasure to perform works by Twyla Tharp, Doug Varone, Martha Graham and many others. She was a member of the Elizabeth Higgins Dance Theater from 2004-2008. She has been a scholarship student at The Ailey School, The Gus Giordano Dance School, American Dance Festival (ADF), and Garth Fagan Dance where she also had the opportunity to work and dance with the company. She was a teacher’s assistant at Broadway Dance Center for Shelia Barker and was Rehearsal Assistant for the Richmond Ballet’s production of "The Nutcracker" in 2009, 2013 and again in 2014. She is DMA (Dance Masters of America) certified in jazz dance and has taught at many DMA dance conventions. She has also taught at The Regional High School Dance Festival held in Virginia in 2011, 2013 and 2015 as well as The National High School Dance Festival in Miami, Florida in 2014 and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2016. She has been a part of the faculty at The Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia since 2009 teaching and choreographing for both the Dance and Musical Theatre Departments. Her works have recently been accepted to The Richmond Choreographer’s Showcase and The Regional High School Dance Festival. She has also choreographed for The Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s PB & J Series: Dance To The Music, Virginia Arts Festival "Rhythm Live Project", Todd Rosenlieb Dance and Old Dominion University. Most recently she became the Associate Director of the TRDance Ensemble in 2014. She is currently a dancer for Todd Rosenlieb Dance and has danced with the company since 2009. She is also on faculty at the TRDance Center.
Laura Stauderman's professional experience began in NY as a member of the Mid-Hudson Ballet Company. She earned a BFA in dance education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a Master of Arts in dance education from Teachers College, Columbia University, NY. where she taught the modern dance course and produced the annual student choreography concerts. She performed Doris Humphrey's "Life of the Bee" for the Humphrey-Weidman 100th year celebration at the Danny Kaye Playhouse in NY and in 1998 she performed at Lincoln Center with the Marcy Simon Dance Company with guest choreographer Janis Brenner. After leaving NY, she spent four years teaching and directing the dance program at Howard W. Blake Magnet School for the Arts in Tampa, FL. She also choreographed works for the St. Petersburg College dance progam and The Tampa Visitor's Bureau. Laura relocated to North Carolina in 2003 and served as the director of the East Millbrook Dance Program until 2006. She has been on faculty at North Carolina Dance Institute as well as Infinity Ballet. In the summer of 2007 Ms. Stauderman was invited as guest faculty for the summer program at the former, Virginia School of the Arts and has taught at the regional and highschool dance festivals in Norfolk, Miami and Philadelphia. Ms. Stauderman earned her National Board Teaching Certification in 2010 and was one of the first educators to implement the National Honor Society for Dance Arts at both the middle and high school levels in the state of North Carolina. She is presently in her eleventh year as the dance director at Holly Springs High School.
Judith K. Steel; M.A. Dance/ University of Colorado, and C.M.A. -Certified Movement Analyst- Laban Institute of Movement Studies, NYC. Ms. Steel is an Associate Professor in the Dept.of Dance and Choreography at Virginia Commonwealth University where teaching includes Modern technique, Choreography, Improvisation, Anatomy for the Dancer and Dance Science. She has been on the faculties of Ohio State University, SUNY Brockport, the Laban Centre/London, and Queen Margaret University College/Edinburgh, Scotland.
John Streit is an Affiliate Professor of Dance at Brenau University. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance with a Teaching and Choreography emphasis from the University of Arizona, where he danced with the Arizona Repertory Ensemble and taught ballet, jazz, musical theatre and modern
dance. He also holds B.A. degrees in Dance and Criminal Justice from the University of Georgia. Prior to his time at the U of A, John danced with the Georgia Ballet, was a Guest Artist with Atlanta Ballet in Michael Pink's Romeo and Juliet and has been a guest artist throughout the Southeast.
Mr. Streit has danced much of the classical repertoire including principal and soloist roles in Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Giselle, Coppelia, La Bayadere, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, La Fille Mal Gardee, Paquita, and Cinderella among others. Mr. Streit has also performed principal roles in a variety of musicals including Anything Goes, The Addams Family, Damn Yankees, and most recently CATS as Mr.Mistoffolees with Atlanta Lyric Theatre at the Cobb Energy Center.
John is also a choreographer and has created several concert works including the ballet Se Faire Echarper which won the best choreography award at Access Broadway, Let it Be which finished 1st runner-up at the Panoply Choreographic Competition, and most recently Wind, Sand and
Stars which was chosen to be performed at the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association Convention in 2016 in Durham, NC. John also serves as a coach for students attending the Youth America
Grand Prix where he has coached Top 12 and Top 24 finalists. Mr. Streit is thrilled to be teaching at The Regioal High School Dance Festival this year!
TaMara Swank is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Seton Hill University. She was the Artistic Director and founder of Studio 22 Performing Arts Center, the founder of SHUDA, the Seton Hill University community dance program, and assisted in the development of the Seton Hill dance major and minor. TaMara has a B.A. degree in dance as well as a M.S. degree in exercise science with a concentration in performance enhancement and injury prevention. She has taught master classes for the American College Dance Association, the Governor’s School for the Arts and many summer dance programs. As faculty, she has choreographed more than forty pieces for dance concerts and musicals, including a commercial played during the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirate’s home games. Her choreography has been selected to perform at the Baltimore Professional Dance Showcase, Fete de la Danse, and the 30th Annual Jazz & Tap Festival. TaMara has developed original dance theatre works including, “The Seven Deadly Sins”, “EleMental Revolution”, and “Bearing Witness”, performed at the National Holocaust Conference.
Irina Ushakova, born in Russia, graduated with Honors from Perm State Ballet School (Perm, Russia). Ms.Ushakova has been a principal dancer with Chelyabinsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (Russia), Donetsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre (Ukraine), Ballet Mississippi and Tulsa Ballet (USA), performing leading roles in classical ballets and contemporary works. She was awarded a bronze and silver medal at the ballet competition“Arabesque” in Perm, Russia, and was a finalist at the 1990 IBC in Jackson, MS. Since 2002, Ms.Ushakova has been a faculty member of the dance department at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. She holds a Master’s Degree in Dance in Education from Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University.
Thomas Vacanti- During his professional dancing career Tom toured extensively throughout the United States, Central America and Russia performing contemporary and classic repertory. As a choreographer, he has presented work with Vacanti Ballets at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, the North Carolina and Massachusetts Dance Festivals, The Provincetown EcoArts Festival, the Youth American Grand Prix in NYC, the Peridance APAP Showcase in NYC, and most recently the IUGTE Global Theater Conference in Graz Austria. Tom has also set work on the Pioneer Valley Ballet, Festival Ballet Providence, North Atlantic Ballet, City Ballet in Raleigh NC, and most recently at Harvard University. Tom is currently an Assistant Professor in Dance at UMass Amherst.
JaneWood Born in Washington, D.C., Jane received her early training at the Washington School of Ballet. At the age of fifteen she was invited to perform with the Grand Theatre de Genève in Switzerland.Jane joined Ballet West in 1979, rising to the rank of Principal Dancer, in a performing career spanning 22 years. She performed the title roles in Romeo and Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppelia, and Lady of the Camelias, as well as a full range of contemporary ballets created by world-renowned choreographers.She holds a B.F.A. in Ballet with a performance emphasis from the University of Utah and taught at Florida State University as a Visiting Assistant Professor for two years. Jane joined the Ballet West Artistic Staff as Ballet Mistress in 2011 and continues to perform character roles with the company. She teaches for the Ballet West Summer Intensive every year and has coached many award winning dancers who have competed in the Youth American Grand Prix.
Laura Pettibone Wright is a répétiteur of dances by choreographer Erick Hawkins and a master teacher of Hawkins technique working in the U.S. and Europe. She is currently researching Mr. Hawkins’ life history and artistic collaborations for presentations and publications. A soloist with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, she toured nationally and internationally for over a decade. Ms. Pettibone Wright has written dance curriculum based on National Standards in Dance Education for the Virginia Beach City Public Schools. She received her MA in Dance Education from Columbia University’s Teachers College, where she received the Artist/Scholar Fellowship and a BA in Music and Nonverbal Communication/Dance at Beloit College.
Krista Zomar has been on The Governor's School faculty since 2001. She began her professional performing career with Nashville Ballet and later danced with Virginia Ballet Theatre and Todd Rosenlieb Dance, where she was an founding member. Krista has been a Certified Pilates instructor since 2006 and in 2010 she received the SURDNA Arts Teacher's Fellowship Award to study with Netherlands Dance Theatre