Faculty Bios: Adults
Chelsea Lynn Acree
Chelsea Lynn Acree grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where she began her dance training with Sharon Lerner and continued at Carver Center for the Arts and Technology. Since receiving her BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase in 2005 she has had the opportunity to work with a variety of artists including SYREN Modern Dance, Laura Peterson, Hilary Easton + Company, and Michael and the Go-Getters. Acree is on faculty at The School at the Mark Morris Dance Center teaching kids and adults how to move through space. She began working with Mark Morris Dance Group in 2007 and became a company member in 2011.
Alexandra Berger was introduced to the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® while working towards her B.F.A. in Dance, which she received from the Joffrey Ballet School/New School University in 2003. She instantly fell in love with the work, finding it to be an ideal compliment to her dance training. She completed her GYROTONIC® Level 1 certification in 2005 and has progressed on from there. Her qualifications now include the specialized equipment of the Jumping-Stretching Board, the Leg Extension Unit, and the GYROTONER®. She added GYROKINESIS® to her roster in 2009. Working most closely with Master Trainers Juergen Bamberger, Hilary Cartwright, and Young-Ah Kim, Alexandra’s teaching lineage comes directly from the source: GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® founder and creator Juliu Horvath. Berger has studied GYROTONIC® applications for hip injuries, osteoporosis, and osteopathy, and works with a wide range of students, from pre-professional ballet dancers to Parkinson’s Disease patients. In addition to teaching, Alexandra continues a professional dance career. In 2007 she danced as a member of the Repertory Understudy Group to the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. She currently dances for Pat Catterson and DusanTynek Dance Theater. Alexandra also teaches GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® at Fluid Fitness, Manhattan Physio Group, and Element Healing Arts.
Mouminatou Camara founded Seewe African Dance Company in September 2005. For a decade, she was the principal dancer for the world-renowned dance company, Les Ballet Africans. She also performed with Les Ballet Djonllba and the Army Ballet. An instructor and performer of West African Dance and Drum, Mouminatou Camara has performed and taught workshops extensively in the USA, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, Martinique and the West African countries of Senegal, Mali and the Ivory Coast. Having spent her life in Guinea, Mouminatou has stated that she has been dancing since she was in her mother's womb. Affectionately called "Moumi", she brings firsthand knowledge of the history of each dance and imparts that knowledge with great clarity and passion to her students.
Danielle has been s a certified Zumba instructor since October 2010, and currently teaches in several facilities throughout Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. Her love for dance, fitness/nutrition, and teaching are what led her to pursue a profession in this field. She believes that a healthy life style will influence healthy choices and assist in creating healthy, happy, and confident individuals. She is known for her exciting, fun, and easy to follow classes, and stays true to the Zumba philosophy, "Ditch the workout! Join the party!" Additionally, in 2010, Danielle completed her undergraduate studies in Dance/Performing Arts at CUNY Hunter College. Then, having learned the performance aspect of dance made her then want to teach dance. Upon graduation from Hunter, she enrolled in NYU Steinhardt's dance education graduate program (PreK-12/Initial Certification Track) to learn the art of teaching. Her favorite part of being a teacher is that in teaching, she is always taught. In May, 2012 Danielle completed her Masters, and now hopes to teach for NYCDOE. Now, are you ready to party with me?!
Blossom Crawford has been practicing and teaching Pilates for over 15 years. Her introduction to the Pilates method was in 1993 through Master teacher Kathleen Stanford Grant while she was a dance student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Using Pilates, Blossom learned to heal and care for her back, thus easing her chronic back pain while at the same time maintaining a rigorous physical schedule. From 1997 to 2007 Blossom was the teaching assistant to Mrs. Grant's Pilates mat class at Tisch. Inspired by Mrs. Grant's teaching, in addition to the benefits she was seeing in her body through her own Pilates practice, Blossom decided to pursue a Pilates teaching certification through private study with Romana Kryzanowska at Drago's Gym in New York. Since then, she has been teaching at studios throughout New York City and around the country. Blossom is the owner and director of Bridge Pilates in Brooklyn, New York. In addition to her teaching assistant position at NYU, she also continues to teach mat classes at the Mark Morris Dance Center.
Wayne has over ten years experience teaching dance classes in public and private schools. His dance style is a combination of his extensive training in ballet, jazz, modern, West African, Indian Kathak, and Afro-Caribbean dance.
Rebecca Davis is a dancer and a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner with a private practice in Manhattan and Brooklyn. She has taught at the Feldenkrais Institute, Movement Research, and Trisha Brown Studio. Rebecca brings over a decade of experience in dance, yoga, pilates, chi-gong, and meditation to her Feldenkrais work.
Andre Degas has danced with the Mambo King Eddy Torres. He performed with Carlos Koenig Latin dance ensemble in many venues and NY night clubs. He was one of the original members of Casa De La Salsa, that group performed in Salsa Congresses in NY and Puerto Rico. He choreographed a Latin jazz medley for his own group Otra Oportunidad. Andre had the privilege to study Afro Cuban with Master Choreographer Pupi (Felix Insua). He performed with his group in the traditional Afro Cuban dances. In jazz Andre Performed with Pepsi Bethel (Authentic jazz Company) and more recently with Sue Samuels (Broadway Dance Center).
Cindy started dancing as a teenager taking Ballet, Jazz, African and Tap. She performed at the legendary Cotton Club and the Beacon Theatre on numerous occasions. She created her own unique style of dancing infused with elements of African and Jazz, the disciplines she studied as a teen. Cindy’s journey began with the ‘Razz M Tazz Dance Company’, where she learned salsa dancing on the ballroom count. She then studied with the Salsa King and Queen of New York, Eddie and Maria Torres, learning the popular New York On2 dance count, which is the style of dance that Cindy teaches in her workshop. She also studied jazz with Sue Samuels and performed in the Broadway Dance Center’s Tribute to Frank Hatchett. Cindy began performing Salsa in 2002 in Congresses around the world and she is currently performing with the professional dance groups of Dulce Bembe and Mambo Bravo. With several years of performance experience under her belt, Cindy started teaching in 2007 and currently hosts dance workshops, classes and privates in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Long Island.
Jean Freebury grew up in Alberta, Canada where she received her initial training at the Alberta Ballet School. She furthered her studies at London Contemporary Dance School (1988-89) and North Carolina School of the Arts (1989-90) before moving to New York in 1990. She danced for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1992-2003. She is presently on faculty at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio (1996-present) and SUNY Purchase (2008-present). She has guest taught at various schools and universities such as London Contemporary Dance School, Rotterdam Dans Academy and University of Michigan. She has staged Merce Cunningham’s work for The American Dance Festival (Inlet's 2) in 2010 and University of Michigan (Minevent) in 2011. She has also danced with Douglas Dunn and Dancers, Kota Yamazaki’s Fluid Hug Hug, Company Rindfleisch, Ellen Cornfield, Glen Rumsey Dance Project and currently with Pam Tanowitz.
Lesley Garrison grew up in Swansea, Illinois and received her early dance training at the Center of Creative Arts in St. Louis, Missouri and Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan. She studied at the Rotterdamse Dansacademie in Rotterdam, Nederland and holds a B.F.A. from the State University of New York at Purchase, receiving the Modern Dance Faculty Award. She has performed with Erica Essner, Dance Heginbotham, the Kevin Wynn Collection, Neel Verdoorn, Nelly Van Bommel's NOA Dance, Rocha Dance Theater and Sidra Bell Dance New York.
She first performed with MMDG in 2007 and became a company member in 2011. Lesley teaches at The School at The Mark Morris Dance Center and for the Dance for Parkinson's Disease program.
Lauren Grant has danced with the Mark Morris Dance Group since 1996. Performing leading roles in The Hard Nut and Mozart Dances, Ms. Grant has appeared in over 40 of Mark Morris' works. She is on the faculty of the school at the Mark Morris Dance Center and frequently leads classes for the company before rehearsals and performances. Additionally, she teaches technique and repertory at schools and universities across the U.S. and abroad. Ms. Grant has been featured in Time Out New York, Dance Magazine, the book Meet the Dancers, and appeared in a documentary (South Bank Show, UK) which followed the company in the making and premiere of Four Saints In Three Acts. She and her husband David Leventhal (former MMDG dancer) became proud parents of son Zev, born March 2012.
Pat Hall is an internationally acclaimed dancer/choreographer and teacher. She is a recipient of an Artists Fellowship in choreography from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her style is most influenced by African, Caribbean, and contemporary American dance. Her interest in ceremonial and ritual practices of indigenous peoples most influences her choreographic work. Ms. Hall has appeared at such places as the Joyce Theater, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Dance Theater Workshop, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Jacob's Pillow, as well as numerous theaters around the world. Her reputation has won her invitations to participate in many festivals including Spoleto, Next Wave Festival, Colorado Dance Festival, and the Willisau Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Ms. Hall was also an Artist-in-Residence at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore and Visiting Artist at the University of Singapore. She also toured extensively as a guest artist with Urban Bush Women. As a recipient of Dance Theater Workshop's National Performance Suitcase Fund Award, Ms. Hall enjoyed research expeditions to Haiti, Martinique, Jamaica, Nigeria and Benin. She has also performed in Peru, Hungary, Korea, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, England, and Senegal. She is a recipient of the ethnic dance Award from Dance Giant Steps, Inc., Attitude Magazine. Her work is noted in the books, Gestures of Genius by Rachel Vigier and The Healing Drum by Yaya Diallo and Mitchell Hall. Sought after as a teacher and lecturer, Ms. Hall has been an Artist-in-Residence at Cornell University and currently is a teaching artist for Brooklyn Academy of Music in the Department of Education and Humanities. She is also a consultant on their DanceAfrica/Restoration project. Ms. Hall is currently the artistic director of Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance. She is an adjunc professor at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Ms. Hall received the 2012 BAX Arts and Artists in Progress Award in Arts Education. The award honors artists, arts managers and arts educators, "who have revealed and transformed our creative world. By instigating and enduring change they have deepened the definition of their field and paved the way for others."
David Leventhal was a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1997-2010. During that time, he appeared in more than 40 of Mark Morris' dances, and performed principal roles in The Hard Nut, L'Allegro, ilPenserosoedil Moderato, and Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, on Motifs of Shakespeare. He received a 2010 New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his performance work with MMDG. He still makes appearances with MMDG as a guest artist. He has taught technique and repertory classes for students of all ages at schools and universities in the U.S. and abroad, including UCLA, University of Michigan, Harvard University, The Juilliard School, University of Washington, University of Illinois, American Dance Festival and the Governor's School for the Arts (Virginia) among others. David is the program manager and one of the founding teachers of MMDG's Dance for PD® program, a collaboration with the Brooklyn Parkinson Group that offers weekly classes for people with Parkinson's at the company's studios in Brooklyn, fosters similar classes in more than 40 communities around the world, and presents regular training workshops for teachers interested in leading Dance for PD® classes. Raised in Newton, Mass., he attended Brown University where he received a B.A. in English Literature.
A native New Yorker, Elise is a classically trained dancer with an MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She has performed around the world and teaches ballet and yoga to students of all ages. She was certified to teach yoga through the Mind Body Dancer® 200 Teacher Training with TaraMarie Perri. Through this comprehensive yoga teacher training, which included breath awareness, meditation, nutrition, and anatomy, she was certified at the 200-hour level to teach alignment-based Vinyasa yoga. She is also licensed to teach TaraMarie Perri’s Mind Body Dancer® curriculum classes which were developed for dancers and performing artists. www.mindbodydancer.com
Sarah Marcus is the School Director at the Mark Morris Dance Group. She teaches technique for students of all ages as well as in the Dance for PD program. She received her B.S. from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. She danced for several seasons with the Oakland Ballet Company, Liss Fain Dance, as well as freelanced for several Bay Area choreographers. She was Artistic Director at Berkeley Ballet Theater, a pre-professional ballet school, from 2005–2009.
Michela Marino-Lerman first appeared on Sesame Street at the age of 5. In February 2002 she was showcased on the cover of Dance Teacher magazine with Gregory Hines. In 2005, she was named by Dance Spirit magazine as one of the 20 hottest tap dancers under 20 and in 2008, Dance magazine named her as the only female tap dancer in its “25 to Watch in 2008.” Michela has appeared in both the Tap Extravaganza and Tap City numerous times over the past ten years. She won first prize in the Harlem Jazz Dance Festival’s, "Hoofer’s Challenge" in both 2002 and 2003. In 2002, Michela performed with Jennifer Holliday on Broadway in Nothing Like A Dame and also in 21 Below at Town Hall. In 2003, she was inducted into the famed Copasetics as their first and only female lifetime honorary member. In 2004-2006, Michela toured Spain and Japan with Rafael Amargo’s Enramblao. In the fall of 2005, her choreography was featured in the tap section of the opening number for the Bermuda Music Festival with UDP, starring Al Green, Angie Stone, and Patti LaBelle.. At the age of 19, she was commissioned by Dixon Place to create and direct her own show, entitled AM+bu$h+ED. 2007 saw Michela tour Europe for 3 months as a lead dancer in the hit show Magic of the Dance and also appear in Sarah Savelli and Ayodele Casel’s Tappy Holidays. In 2008-2009, she was featured in the show hit "Wonderland," an all tap show set to Stevie Wonder’s music and also in Chris Scott’s show W-L-U-V. In 2008 she appeared on CBS’s Secret Talents of the Stars with Grammy award singer Mya, performing the choreography of Emmy award winner Jason Samuels Smith. Since 2007, Michela has been a featured performer at NYC’s hottest nightclub, The Box. She recently danced with the Roy Hargrove at the Jazz Gallery and the Village Vanguard. She has also been commissioned by the American Tap Dance Foundation and HarlemStage to show her new work entitled Tapsploitation. Michela is grateful for the mentoring and guidance given to her by Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, and Leroy Myers. She has also studied with Jason Samuels Smith, Henry LeTang, Baakari Wilder, Ayodele Casel, Derek Grant, Dianne Walker, and many other gifted teachers. She has taught in numerous schools, studios, and programs throughout the NY metro area. As a performer, teacher, director, and choreographer Michela is dedicated to spreading the art of tap around the world.
The New York Baroque Dance Company
The New York Baroque Dance Company, founded by Catherine Turocy, Artistic Director, and Ann Jacoby in 1976 is still leading the historical dance field today. The company specializes in producing 17th and 18th century programs ranging from street performances to fully staged operas. The NYBDC has toured North America, Europe and Japan with conductors James Richman, John Eliot Gardiner, Christopher Hogwood, Nicholas McGegan and Wolfgang Katschner. In their home base of New York City, the company produces concerts annually with Concert Royal directed by James Richman. Groundbreaking productions over the past three decades include the premiere of Jean Philippe Rameau’s Les Boreades (not performed in the 18th century because of Rameau’s death) and Hippolyte et Aricie, both at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and the Opera de Lyon; Henry Purcell’s Indian Queen performed at the Barbican in London; the award winning Scylla et Glaucus by Jean Marie Leclair performed at the Opera de Lyon as well as over 100 performances of a double bill with Rameau’s Pygmalion and George Frederick Handel’s Terpsicore.
Cassandra Nuamah is a dance choreographer, personal trainer and certified fitness instructor for Kukuwa Dance Workout®. She was born and raised in Washington, DC. However, she hails from Ghana, West Africa. She has been dancing since the age of three and teaching KDW for the past eight years. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Cassandra taught Kukuwa Dance Workout classes throughout her schooling there. She's also a member of Gye Nyame African dance troupe, performing all over the east coast. Cassandra and her mother Kukuwa, the creator and CEO of Kukuwa Dance Workout, counsel, clients through nutrition and exercise to achieve their fitness goals. In 2003, Kukuwa launched her Instructor Training Certification Program which trains all instructors world-wide to teach the trademark patented style of KDW. To date, she has trained over 200 instructors in the USA, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Cassandra’s dream is to assist her mother with developing and expanding KDW all over the world to enhance fitness levels and wellness through dance and health education.
Elisa Osborne is from Venezuela and has danced with the Mark Morris Dance Group, Connecticut Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, Lexington Ballet, Ian Spencer Bell Dance Circle and others. Elisa attended La Escuela de Ballet Teresa Carreno in Caracas, Venezuela prior to training at the North Carolina School of the Arts where she received her High School Diploma and B.F.A. Elisa has danced with Dušan Týnek Dance Theatre since its inception in 2003.
Nicole Restani, a South Florida native, graduated magna cum laude from SUNY Purchase College with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and a Minor in Economics. She has had the pleasure of dancing with Dance Now! in Miami and Jubilee Dance Theater, as well as studying abroad in Taiwan and Spain. She is a member of a multidisciplinary performance group called the Hoover Dam Collective as well as a current member of Naganuma2 and IsadoraNOW. Nicole also teaches dance in Westchester and is curretly working towards a Pilates Certification.
Kimberly Roberts is a native New Yorker born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens and now resides in Harlem. She has been dancing recreationally since childhood. She enjoys seeing the happiness that dancing brings to people and believes that anyone can dance as long as they put their mind to it. Her personal philosophy is that dance is the physical manifestation of rhythmic sound so no movement is wrong just a personal interpretation of what the dancer is hearing and feeling.
Derek Roland, originally from Rochester NY, began his dance training at the age of 16, and was inspired by Master classes with tap dancers Savion Glover, Ted Levy, and Van “The Man” Porter. He earned a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Niagara University. He has taught at Steps on Broadway, New Dance Group and Broadway Dance Center and at universities and studios across the U.S. His choreography has been featured at venues such as Vital Theater Company, 59E59 Theaters, Emerging Artists Theatre, and New World Stages.
Lee began her acting career at the age of seven, performing on Israeli television. At the age of 15, she was accepted to the High School of Arts in Tel Aviv. Lee joined the Israeli Army at 18, and served in the parachuters unit. Following her Army service, Lee studied at the three-year acting studio in Tel Aviv, where she played leading roles in school productions. She received an American-Israeli Foundation for the Arts scholarship, 1998-2000. In 2000, Lee established LeeSaar the Company with the choreographer Saar Harari. The Company received a scholarship from the Mosman Art Gallery in Sydney, Australia, where she wrote and directed the play, "Ester." The play was selected to open the spring season of the City Hall Theater of Tel Aviv and was performed there for two years. In January 2004, Lee moved to New York City with LeeSaar the Company, and received the American green card for extraordinary achievement in the performing arts. Lee started to learn Gaga in 2005 and lead classes to her company on daily basis. Lee works on Broadway as a physical director, lately on the Miracle worker revival, leading Gaga classes and using the Gaga movement language to direct the cast. She is a NYFA and Guggenheim Fellow in Choreography.
Kelly trained at The Washington School of Ballet under Mary Day and went on to dance with The Washington Ballet and The State of Alabama Ballet. After moving to New York, she worked with Mark Morris as a dancer in the original cast of the opera “Nixon in China.” She also danced with the Lucinda Childs Dance Company and was a principal dancer with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. She has taught at George Mason University, Rutgers University and Hunter College as well as master classes for the Lubovitch Company in the US and abroad.
Leticia has been teaching samba in New York City since 2006. She lived and studied in the northeast of Brazil (Fortaleza, Ceará), speaks Portuguese fluently, has studied and performed Brazilian percussion, and teaches and performs Brazilian dance. She was introduced to Samba as a teenager, and while living in Brazil in 2004 experienced the roots of samba in Bahia. In NYC, she began studying Rio style samba no pé with Danielle Lima and Samba & Afro Brazilian percussion with Carlos de Oliveira. Leticia is also an AFAA-certified Group Exercise Instructor, and teaching artist for American Ballroom Theatre’s Dancing Classrooms program in public schools.
Arianna al Tiye
Arianna Halima al Tiye is an East African, who hails from New York City. She began her studies in African Dance at three, when she began studying with her mother, a former dancer, model, painter and educator. Later, Arianna became a member of the student body of dancers at Ballet Hispanico and The Alvin Ailey School of Dance. She has studied and performed for over 30 years in the United States and has traveled and studied dance internationally for over 10 years in Africa, Europe and Asia. She conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States and abroad. In 1998, Arianna al Tiye instituted The Ethnic Dance Programme at Saint Michael Academy in New York City, in conjunction with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Dance Workshops for High School Students in the Arts. In 2006, she began teaching at the Mark Morris Dance Center. She has taught Modern and Afro-Haitian Dance in Germany and in France, and currently teaches the Bellydances of East and North Africa in New York City. As a troupe member, she has performed professionally with the following dance companies: Fusha Dance Company, Malaki Ma Kongo, Oriqui Ballet Folklorica, Ologunde', Sarava/Batucada, and theDalia Carella Dance Collective. She is the founder/director of her own "folkloric bellydance" company, Nubian Moon Daughters Dance Company. Additionally, she is the proprietor of three businesses: Daughters of the Nubian Moon Entertainment Productions, Caravan Across Sudan Imports, and The Mysteries of Isis Tours.
Ashley Tuttle was invited by Mikhail Baryshnikov to join American Ballet Theatre at the age of 16. Her career spanned 17 years with Ballet Theater reaching the rank of Principal dancer. Ms. Tuttle is known for her pure classicism and vivid characterizations. Her performances prove memorable and enriching. Ms. Tuttle’s repertoire at A.B.T. included such roles as Juliet in Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, the title roles in Giselle, Nikiya in Natalia Makarova’s La Bayadere, Odette/Odile in Kevin McKenzie’s Swan Lake. Her repertoire ranged from works by George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Jiri Kylian, Mark Morris, Agnes De Mille, Antony Tudor and William Forsythe to name a few. Ms. Tuttle has danced numerous Twyla Tharp works including In the Upper Room, Brief Fling, Sinatra Suite and Push Comes to Shove. While maintaining her career with A.B.T., Ms. Tuttle joined the acclaimed Twlya Tharp Dance Company in 2000. During her time with T.T.D., Ms. Tharp created the hit Broadway show Movin’ Out and the role of Judy on Ms. Tuttle. Her interpretation of this role earned her both TONY Award and Fred Astaire Dance Award nominations. Ms. Tuttle was most recently seen in Twyla Tharp‘s hit Broadway show Come Fly Away in the role of Besty. Ms. Tuttle continues to dance as a guest artist throughout the world.
Adia Tamar Whitaker, Artistic Director of Ase Dance Theatre Collective, has performed contemporary modern and Afro-Haitian dance in the U.S. and abroad for 16 years. She performed with the San Francisco based Afro-Haitian dance company Group Petit La Croix under the direction of Ms. Blanche Brown for five years (1995 - 2000). She has been teaching Afro-Haitian Dance Workshops and Master Classes for the past seven years. Whitaker completed a BA in Dance from San Francisco State University (2000), the Professional Division U.S. Independent Studies Program at The Ailey School (2001), was a Ford Foundation Special Initiative for Africa Grant Recipient (2004), an Urban Bush Women Apprentice (2005) and a Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography @ FSU Creative Entry Point Choreographic Fellow (2006). She has also received grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council (2007), The Puffin Foundation (2008), the Hip Hop Theater Festival (2008) and the Jerome Foundation (2008). Adia was a co-choreographer and touring cast member of “Scourge”, a choreopoem written by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, featuring choreography by Rennie Harris and Stacey Printz. Scourge” toured in the U.S. and abroad for two years. Most recently, Adia completed a two year artist residency at counterPULSE, an arts incubation organization in San Francisco (2009/2010). counterPULSE produced the evening length world premiere of Ms. Whitaker's choreopoem "Ampey!" (2010). Whitaker has traveled and studied in Cuba with Los Munequitos de Matanzas, Afro-Cuba de Matanzas, and at the studio of Narciso Medina (1997, 2000). In 1998, she received a grant from San Francisco State University to travel and study in Haiti for one month. While in Haiti, Adia studied with Madame Vivian Gauthier and Ms. Florencia Pierre. Whitaker has performed as a principal dancer with Chouconne Dance Troupe in the Festival De Les Pyrenees (France, Spain, & Germany 2002) and as an ensemble dancer in Nadia Dieudonne's "Heritage". She has traveled to study traditional African dance styles in cultural, contemporary, and performance context in Brazil (2003), Ghana, West Africa (2008), Jamaica (2009) and New Orleans (2010). Adia has taught Master classes at The National Theater of Ghana (West Africa), The Edna Manley School (Kingston, Jamaica), UC Berkeley (Berkeley,CA), New Jersey Performing Arts Center (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010) and Zeke Nealy's Haitian Dance and Drum Camp in the bay area (2004, 2007, 2009).
Brian Reeder was born in Sunbury, Pa. USA and began his dance training with Marcia Dale Weary at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. He had the privilege of having a dance career that spanned and consisted mainly of three widely respected dance companies, New York City Ballet (1986-1990), William Forsythe's Ballet Frankfurt (1990-1993) and American Ballet Theatre (1994-2003). During his time with these companies, questing gigs and international dance festivals he danced numerous ballets and featured roles in the works of dance masters of both the past and present.
As a choreographer, beginning in 2002, he has created or re-staged his ballets on American Ballet Theatre, ABT Studio Co., Washington Ballet, Washington Ballet Studio Co., Pacific Northwest Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet Grandiva, Ballet Next as well as several other regional and civic dance companies across the nation. His work has been produced three times for the Works and Process series at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC and he also has created two full length version of "The Nutcracker" for Ballet Pacifica and the Black Hills Dance Theatre.
Brian has been the proud recipient of several grants and fellowships including The New York Choreographic Fellowship, The Jerome Robbins Foundation for New Works and The Boomerang Foundation. Mr. Reeder has taught and choreographed at multiple ballet academies, regional dance schools and prestigious universities such as Brown University, Emory University, Goucher College, Barnard College and for The Columbia Ballet Collaborative. He is also on faculty as a teacher and the current resident choreographer for The Manhattan Youth Ballet at MMAC. He has been a guest or substitute teacher at several dance companies and institutions both in NYC and nationally.
Outside of the ballet world Mr. Reeder has had the pleasure of creating choreographic sequences for the independent film "American Primitive" and the music video "Brit Slap". He was also the focus of a unconventional and unique eighteen hour documentary project by film maker Elliot Caplan called "15 Days Of Dance: The Making of Ghost Light", which was screened at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center in NYC and The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
Tina Fehlandt was an integral part of the Mark Morris Dance Group for twenty years, from its inception in 1980 to January 2000, appearing in over 50 works choreographed by Mark Morris. With the Group she toured the world and appeared in several television specials, most notably as “Louise” in Mr. Morris’ production of The Hard Nut. She has been the subject of feature articles in SELF-Magazine, DANCE MAGAZINE, and DANCE TEACHER. Ms. Fehlandt has staged Mark Morris’ work at Princeton University, New York University, Rutgers University, University of Minnesota, University of Texas, Marymount Manhattan College, Barnard College, the Juilliard School, Long Island University, and American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, English National Ballet, Royal Ballet Covent Garden, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Houston Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Washington Ballet, and the White Oak Dance Project. Ms. Fehlandt is a well-known teacher of both Ballet and Modern Dance. She is on faculty at Princeton University, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Mark Morris Dance Center, and American Ballet Theatre’s New York Summer Intensives. Her choreography has been performed by Houston Ballet II, Barnard College, Trinity College, Deep Ellum Ensemble, and at the ABT Summer Intensives. She has conducted workshops at the Mark Morris Dance Center, Skidmore College, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, SUNY Brockport, and the University of Washington, and taught master classes at the Edinburgh International Festival, Adelaide (Australia) Festival, American Dance Festival, Cornish College of the Arts, Wesleyan University, and The Place in London among others. Ms. Fehlandt has been Artist-in-Residence at Barnard College and Long Island University Brooklyn Campus. In addition, she has worked in television as Production Coordinator for the Emmy Award winning DANCE IN AMERICA series.
Ismael Kouyaté hails from a family of renowned artists and praise singers in Guinea, West Africa. He performed with Guinea's national companies Les Percussions de Guinea and Les Ballets Africains. In New York, he sings with Mandingo Ambassadors, teaches dance and is honored to make his Broadway debut with FELA!
Kraig Patterson was born in Trenton, New Jersey. He was inspired to pursue a career in dance after performing in high school musicals. He continued his formal dance training via scholarships from The Princeton Ballet, The Ailey School, The Graham School and The Cunningham Studio. He received his B.F.A. from The Juilliard School in 1986, joined the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1987 and danced with the company until 1999. Mr. Patterson, also known as bopi, has also performed with Mark Haim, The Danny Lewis Repertory Ensemble, Ohad Naharin, Neta Pulvermacher, and The White Oak Dance Project. In 1996, Mikhail Baryshnikov invited Kraig to choreograph a new piece for The White Oak Dance Project, “make like a tree…” He has since created three additional works for the company. Mr. Patterson has also served as artist in residence at George Mason University, Princeton University, Cornish College for the Arts, and Barnard/Columbia Colleges, among others. He has been a guest faculty member at Barnard/Columbia College, Sarah Lawrence College, The International Summer School of Dance-Japan, and American Dance Festival. Kraig started his own dance company in 1996, bopi's black sheep / dances by kraig patterson.
Amber Star Merkens
Amber Star Merkens is originally from Newport, Oregon, where she studied under Nancy Mittleman. She received her B.F.A. from The Juilliard School, and went on to dance with the Limón Dance Company before joining the Mark Morris Dance Group in 2001. She is a Princess Grace Award recipient, and has been featured as a soloist in many Mark Morris works. She has presented her own choreography both in New York and abroad, taught in public schools, universities, and private studios, and currently teaches the MMDG student company, adult and teen repertory workshops, and conditioning classes for new mothers at the Mark Morris Dance Center. Amber is a BAI trained postpartum doula.