Guest Artists and Faculty Presenter Bios
2020 Virtual OhioDance Festival
OhioDance will hold a Virtual Dance Festival April 24-26, 2020, beginning on April 24, 2020 at 11:00am (E.T.) There will be guest artists and video links posted throughout the weekend.
Sign up on our Facebook events page, 2020 OhioDance Virtual Festival to receive notifications: https://www.facebook.com/events/529662387945175/
The schedule for the facebook live sessions:
Friday, April 24, 11:00am-12:00pm (E.T.) – Virtual Festival Introduction with Rodney Veal, Jane D’Angelo and Kara Komarnitsky. Mary Verdi-Fletcher will discuss what the company is working on and the work that they will perform at the 2021 festival. Candace Feck and Jess Cavender will discuss script writing, documentary filmmaking, editing and motion capture for The OhioDance Documentary Film “Ohio: A State of Dance”.
Sunday April 26, 2:00-3:00pm (E.T.)
OhioDance will share video links of performances and classes from those that will teach and perform in 2021, as well as others.
Colorado born, Oklahoma raised, James Gregg is an international choreographer who has created works on Whim W’Him, Groundworks, Danceworks Chicago, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Ballet X, Northwest Dance Project, Nashville Ballet’s Emergence, Springboard Danse Project Montreal, Elements Contemporary Ballet, and Cirque du Soleil at Sea.
James was the recipient of the prestigious 2015 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award. He was also the winner in 2015 of the NCC at Western Michigan University, in 2014 he won Ballet Austin’s New American talent choreographic competition, and in 2011 the winner of the International Choreographic Competition at Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur.
James is also the co-founder along side Rauf Yasit, also known as Rubberlegz, of a company based in Los Angeles known as Wewolf. They are a multi-disciplinary dance collective that is focused on creating and working on different projects that bring their methods of dance and visual arts together.
As a performer, James has worked with Bodytraffic, Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal, Aszure & Artists, Rubberband Dance Group, and River North Dance Company.Throughout his career he had the opportunity to do the works of many renowned choreographers including Victor Quijada, Barak Marshall, Aszure Barton, Crystal Pite, Rodrigo Pedernieras, Frank Chauves, Danny Ezralow, Mauro Bigonzetti, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Cayetano Soto. James also has been featured in several music videos, feature films, and in TV documentaries and specials. All these experiences have given James the tools to create his own language and have helped mold his choreographic voice and vision.
Olivia (Libby) Atley is a classically trained dancer with a degree in dance performance from BGSU. She has been teaching dance in Columbus, Ohio for nearly 20 years. In 2017 Olivia added yoga and pranayama to her passions to share with the community, through trainings at Yoga On High. She is currently an educator at KIPP: Columbus and various yoga studios in the city.
Alice Blumenfeld is the founder and Artistic Director of ABREPASO Flamenco and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Oberlin College. She’s a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts and a Fulbright Grant recipient in dance. With over ten years as a freelance dancer, she has performed with companies internationally, including; Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, Nélida Tirado & Co., The American Bolero Dance Co., and Grammy Award winner Hernán Romero.
Kenneth Brown is a Columbus-based dancer, instructor, and award-winning choreographer. He has had the pleasure of being a dance educator for the past twelve years teaching in studios and schools in Columbus and the surrounding areas, Marion, Mansfield, Delaware, Dayton, and Michigan. He is known for instruction and choreography that draws emotion and expression from artists and students.
Jessica Cavender Virtual Dance Collection Media Manager, is a specialist in the merger of dance and technology; an expert in video, photography, live/interactive media production, and web technologies. B.S. Electronic Media Communications, M.F.A. Dance and Technology, OSU
Sukanya Chand is an enthusiastic Dance Educator, Choreographer and Performer. She produces a variety of performing art events promoting cultural awareness, integration, enriching and entertaining Central Ohio community. She enjoys collaborating with various artists to create unique innovative pieces and gives Master classes through her dance company ‘Natya Nirvana’ and is an instructor at MUCAI Academy in Worthington, OH.
Leiland Charles received a BFA from The Juilliard School. While at Juilliard, he performed works by Nacho Duato, William Forsythe Twyla Tharp, Alexander Ekman and many others. He was featured in the March 2013 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine with world-renowned Anatomy professor, Irene Dowd. Leiland joined Alberta Ballet in Calgary, Canada, dancing numerous soloist and principal roles. Leiland is currently in his 3rd season with BalletMet.
Mimi Chenfeld MA in Elementary Ed. the University of New York. a teacher, writer and educational consultant, has led the OSU Hillel Folk Dance programs since moving with her family from New York to Columbus in 1970. On their own, together and with the Hillel Group, Mimi and Marlene have danced with and for thousands of people through the years. Marlene Robbins and Mimi Chenfeld have danced together for many years.
Cassia Cramer, is a performing artist, Dance instructor, studio owner, choreographer, entrepreneur, and the director of Columbus Contemporary Dance Company. In 2012, Ms. Cramer founded Seven Dance Academy which provides classical dance training to aspiring dancers ages 2-adult. Ms. Cramer studied performing arts with a concentration in modern dance, Point Park University, and a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, Strayer University. Board of Directors, OhioDance.
Megan Davis Bushway is a dance artist based in Columbus, OH. Megan teaches for BalletMet, Ohio Wesleyan and Momentum. Most recently, her choreography has been presented at Ohio Wesleyan and CDA Works. Megan also specializes in dance documentation and is the videographer for OhioDance. Megan received an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University.
Trezon Dancy from Hartford, Connecticut is a Choreographer, Performing Artist, and Educator. Dancy worked with various artists Travis Gatling, Kim Stroud, Nathan Andary, Earl Mosley, Ronald k. Brown, Kyle Abraham and many others. Dancy received his BFA in Dance: Performance and Choreography from Ohio University. Upon Graduation Dancy accepted a First Company position with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
Jane D’Angelo OhioDance Executive Director and Project Director of the Virtual Dance Collection. D’Angelo is a board member of Ohio Citizens for the Arts. She serves on the Chair Circle of Dance/USA B.S. Business Administration, Northeastern University CSS Administration & Management, Harvard University.
Kent De Spain is the recipient of several awards, including the Pew Fellowship in the Arts for Choreography and an Established Choreographer’s Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His work has been performed at Jacob’s Pillow, Judson Church, among others. He is internationally recognized for his teaching, performance, filmmaking, and writing in the area of movement improvisation, including his feature-length documentary, A Moving Presence, and his recent book, Landscape of the Now.
Leslie Dworkin, MFA, is an independent dance artist who choreographs, teaches, and performs internationally. Her work has received funding from numerous sources including the 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in Choreography. Leslie has taught as a guest artist and faculty member at numerous universities through the U.S., is a licensed massage therapist, and a certified yoga and qigong instructor.
Ambre Emory-Maier, Director of Education and BalletMet 2 Associate Director, completed her MFA in Choreography and Performance at The Ohio State University and MA in Dance Reconstruction and Directing from City University of New York. She has worked for Charlotte Ballet, the University of Hartford and Hartford Ballet. This is her second re-staging from Labanotation of a George Balanchine ballet.
Candace Feck (PhD), Virtual Dance Collection Oral Historian, is faculty emerita in Dance at The Ohio State University, where she taught courses in contemporary dance history, theory, criticism and oral history methodology, and served as Director of Graduate Studies. She holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology, an MA in Dance, and a PhD in Art Education.
Vedette Gavin, MPH, MPA, Mojuba Dance Collective Board Member, Verge Impact Partners (Principal).
Melissa Gould received her B.A in Dance at San Jose State University and enjoyed a professional dance career which included contracts in Japan, Las Vegas and Korea. She has choreographed dozens of musical theatre productions. As Artistic Director of New Vision Dance Co. Melissa is known for her intense dance style, challenging classes and entertaining choreography. Melissa directs the Musical Theatre Dept. at New Albany Middle School.
Cynthia L. Harrold, attended Central State University. Ms. Harrold is a Visual Artist, and a Performing Artist. She has 20 years of experience in teaching art, dance and coaching in the K-12 education sector, and is the founder of Natural Talent LLC. Ms. Harrold teaches Visual & Performing Arts through cross-curriculum and differential teaching.
Pamela Lacko Kelley, Co-founder, Artistic Director and Choreographer of ŽIVILI.
Gregory King received his MFA in Choreographic Practice and Theory from Southern Methodist University and has performed with The Washington Ballet, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, and Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway. King was recently nominated for a Governor Award for the Arts in Ohio, is an assistant professor of dance at Kent State University, and the artistic director of the Kent Dance Ensemble.
Sierra King, PhD, Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Education Service Center.
Kelsey Lee is an interdisciplinary artist holding a BFA in Contemporary Dance Performance & Choreography from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She attended The Acting Studio-New York, where she studied Meisner Technique. She’s worked with Quasimondo Physical Theatre, Yoshiko Chuma/The School of Hard Knocks, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, and various filmmakers. Her choreography has been presented at Milwaukee Fringe Festival, PrideFest MKE, and The Magalen.
LIREC is a native Houstonian. He worked with the University of Houston (BRAIN Project) where he focused on the connection of the mind-body realm to the physical execution of movement. He has 15 years of experience as a dance maker and performer with 12 years of teaching experience. He is the Co-President of the Columbus Dance Alliance, and has a dance school in Bexley called Bexley Dance.
Yulia Lukyanova Moriarty Russian born professional dancer, Yulia, started her dance training at the age of six. She received her degree in Choreography and Stage Performance from the Kaluga College of Arts and Dance in 2000. Yulia danced professionally in the State Company, Cossacks of Russia, Sultans of the Dance in Istanbul, with the Ondacruz Show Ballet Company in Portugal, and with Riverdance internationally.
Joe Moriarty, Owner of ML Dance Academy Joseph toured with Riverdance for over thirteen years as a Principal dancer. His highlights include starring on Broadway, performing in the People’s Hall of China and the Moscow Kremlin State Palace. Joseph is recognized by An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha as a T.C.R.G. certified Irish Dance instructor. Joseph has taught extensively throughout his touring career. He has instructed dance camps in New York, Los Angeles, Japan and Colorado.
Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown is an Assistant Professor Dance at OSU. Nyama has been an active performer, choreographer, and educator for over fifteen years. Her first book, Dance Pedagogy for a Diverse World: Culturally Relevant Teaching in Research, Theory, and Practice, was released in 2017. She is currently working on her second book about women of Color in ballet.
Brian Murphy has been dancing professionally for 20 years with a number of dance companies including Verb Ballets, Ohio Ballet, GroundWorks Dancetheater, Cleveland San Jose Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Richmond Ballet, BalletMet, and New Orleans Delta Ensemble to name a few. Brian is co-owner of Pilates by Murphys, artistic director of Wayne Center Ballet, and conducts workshops for dancers of all ages all over the country.
Jennifer Muselin, Former Ohio Dance Theatre Principle and Soloist. Ms. Muselin attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Jennifer was awarded an apprenticeship at Chicago’s famed Hubbard Street Dance Company and selected to instruct summer intensives with the National Cheerleading Association. In 2013, Jennifer opened JAM Dance Academy. Jennifer has embarked on her new venture as the Executive Artistic Director of Ballet Legato.
Melissa Pintar Obenauf, Co-founder, Executive Director, Dance director of ŽIVILI, a professional ethnic dance company that performed in Columbus and toured throughout Ohio and the U.S. from 1973-2006.
OSU Performing Arts Medicine PT Fellow which is a multi-disciplinary team of medical professionals who specialize in treating dancers (physicians, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors, dieticians, sports psychologists). Specializing with onsite, backstage, immediate care along with dance-specific treatment and rehab, workshops and seminars, pre-season screenings, and reformer-based rehab.
Bronwen Owsley is a professional Middle Eastern dance artist, choreographer, instructor, and RYT 200 (Registered Yoga Teacher) from Dayton, Ohio. She holds a Fine Arts degree in Theatre and is the director of award winning Middle Eastern Dance Company: Banat Alexandria. Bronwen has been featured on the PBS Series The Art Show, and in the magazine The Belly Dance Chronicles.
Regina Pietraroia is the founder and director of Dance Arts by Regina, offering professional dance instruction in North Royalton and Cleveland. She trained at Butler University and holds a BS in Education, a BA in English, and an MA in Arts Administration from the University of Akron. Regina has been dancing professionally for ten years, performing with many such as; Ohio Dance Theatre, Neos Dance Theatre, and North Pointe Ballet.
Kora Radella’s choreography has been performed in NYC at venues including Judson Church, Danspace Project, and 92Y, and in cities including Barcelona, Berlin, Chicago, Columbus, Cleveland, London, and Paris. Noted for her use of “awkward grace,” Radella researches being on the edge of control. She is a certified yoga teacher (500RYT). Radella is on the dance faculty of Kenyon College and is available for commissions and guest teaching. www.koraradella.com
Brianna Rhodes, BFA in Dance, Dance Fellow with DCDC.
Marlene Robbins graduated from OSU with her MA in Dance Education. She was the beloved Dance Teacher at Indianola Elementary School (Columbus Public Schools) for over twenty years before her recent retirement. She has been folk dancing most of her life.
Mitchell Rose, is an associate professor of dance-filmmaking at OSU. A graduate of The American Film Institute, his films have won 90 awards. The New York Times called him: “A rare and wonderful talent.” The Washington Post wrote that his work was “in the tradition of Chaplin, Keaton, and Tati—funny and sad and more than the sum of both.”
Quianna Simpson is a Columbus native who began training at the age of 7. In her current work with Thiossane, she acts as rehearsal captain and technique consultant. She recently choreographed “Renaissance Magic” a musical, celebrating the Harlem Renaissance’s 100th anniversary. She continues as a guest teacher for BalletMet.
Kodee Van Nort is an educator who received her Master’s of Fine Arts from Sam Houston State University. Kodee currently teaches at Miami Valley Ballet Theatre and St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati Ohio. She is also pursuing her Language of Dance® Master Practitioner certification and serves OhioDance as Vice President.
Kathleen Vaughan, BFA in Dance, Resident Dean of Culture/DEI Leader at KIPP: Columbus Elementary.
Renie Viola is a movement educator and artist currently based in Columbus. She studied YBR® under creator Yamuna Zake in NYC from 2005-2012, and became a certified YBR® practitioner in 2008. In 2018 she was chosen to become a Teacher Trainer and is helping to certify new YBR® practitioners locally and worldwide. She holds a BFA in dance from OSU.
Savannah Weatherington received her Master’s of Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Dance/Movement Therapy from Lesley University in May 2019. Savannah became a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist through the American Dance Therapy Association in June 2019. Savannah currently practices individual therapy with children ages 6-18. Savannah received her BFA in Dance from The Ohio State University in May 2016.
Errin Weaver began her dance training in African dance as a company member of Dance Afrika Dance of Cleveland, OH. She attended Tennessee State University, where she danced on a university performing arts scholarship. Moving to Chicago she danced with the renowned Muntu Dance Theatre, under the direction of Amaniyea Payne, and performed the works of Abdel Salaam, Jeffrey Page, Monique Haley, Ronald K. Brown, and the late Pearl Primus.
Valarie Williams, a 1987 United States Presidential Scholars in the Arts honorable mention recipient in ballet, holds a BFA from The Juilliard School, MFA and PhD from Texas Woman’s University, and is a certified professional notator of Labanotation. She studied at the Paris Opera Summer Study in Evian les Bains, France; toured with Lincoln Center Institute Touring Programs and stages works nationally and internationally, receiving grants from National Endowment for the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, and Greater Columbus Arts Council, among others. Williams, professor of dance, collaborates with faculty, staff, and students to develop artistic projects that produce critical conversations connecting the engaged research and creative activity of the arts to solutions for global societal change.
Xiang Xu is an international choreographer based in New York City. He earned his M.F.A. from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and served as adjunct faculty and guest artist at Syracuse University and Santa Monica College. In 2017 he led a dance residency at the Deeply Rooted Dance Theater in Chicago and The Joffrey Academy of Dance has selected Xiang to premiere his latest work at its 9th annual Winning Works Choreographic Competition in March 2019.