Faculty Bios: Children and Teens
- Marissa D'Ambra
- Wayne Daniels
- John Eirich
- Joy Havens
- John Heginbotham
- Jennifer Jones
- Sharyn Korey
- Bethany Lange
- David Leventhal
- Sarah Marcus
- Judith Nelson
- Mireille Orbert
- Maya Ogunusi
- Elisa Osborne
- Dawn Quigley
- Derek Roland
- Mary Seidman
- Cara Surico
- Ashley Tuttle
- Joy Voelker
- William Wade
- Adia Whitaker
Marissa D'Ambra graduated from Tufts University with a Bachelor's Degree in Child Development and a minor in Dance. In 2010 she was the recipient of the Dance Studies Award, given in recognition of achievement in dance coursework and application of studies to disadvantaged populations. Over the years, Marissa has taught dance, movement, and drama to both typically developing children and those with special needs. She has designed creative movement curriculum for children and teens with disabilities, assisted with research in the creative arts therapies, and choreographed dance numbers for musicals with elementary school students. She currently works at the Rebecca School, a school for children with autism and other neuro-developmental delays, and will be pursuing a Master's Degree in School Psychology at Columbia University in the fall.
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.
John Eirich was raised in Orlando, Florida where he studied ballet and jazz at Southern Ballet Theatre. He earned his BFA in Dance from New World School of the Arts where he performed works by Donald McKayle, Jose Limón, Michael Uthoff, and was a student at Jacob's Pillow Contemporary Traditions Program in 2005. John has performed with the Freddick Bratcher Company, Miami Contemporary Dance Company, the Florida Grand Opera and the Mark Morris Dance Group. He has also worked with the Amy Marshall Dance Company and was a member of Taylor 2 from 2006 - 2010. John has been a member of TAKE Dance since 2007, and joined DusanTynek Dance Theatre in 2010.
Joy Havens has taught professional, pre-professional, children and adult students in a variety of settings. Currently on the faculty of Lydia Johnson Dance, she has also taught at the Jordan College Academy of Dance (Indpls, In), Girard College (Phila, Pa), the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership and assisted with the student company of the Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre. As a member of the New York Baroque Dance Company she has assisted with residencies in baroque technique and reconstruction at Cornell University and C. W. Post Long Island. Through the outreach program of Miro Dance Theatre she helped facilitate cultural exchange activities between students of Girard College and the Khmer Arts Ensemble in Phnom Penh. Joy has also worked with special needs children in Thane, India. She received her early training as a scholarship student at the Jordan College Academy of Dance. At the age of 15 she joined Dance Kaleidoscope as an apprentice under the direction of David Hochoy. As a student at the Ohio State University Joy received the Special Projects Fund for Exceptional Creativity through the pARTners for the Arts and her choreography was selected to represent OSU at the American College Dance Festival. Her choreography has been presented in NYC at CRS (Center for Remembering and Sharing). Joy’s performing highlights include dancing on the grand stage of the Metropolitan Opera in Orfeo ed Euridice, directed by Mark Morris, completing a nine city tour of India with Thresh, appearing with the New York Baroque Dance Company at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, premiering Already Seen in the inaugural Filament festival at EMPAC with Miro Dance Theatre, and on silver screens around the world through the Met: Live in HD series.
John Heginbotham has danced with MMDG since 1993. Raised in Anchorage, AK, he is a graduate of The Juilliard School (B.F.A. ‘93) and has performed in the companies of Susan Marshall, John Jasperse, Ben Munisteri, and Pilobolus Dance Theater (guest artist). Heginbotham recently completed a choreographic residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, where he was the recipient of a 2010 Jerome Robbins Foundation New Essential Works (NEW) Fellowship Grant. Heginbotham is a founding teacher of Dance for PD, a program initiated by MMDG and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group. For more information, please visit www.johnheginbotham.com.
Jennifer Jones was raised in Lakeland, FL. She received her Master of Fine Arts from New York University in 2008 and her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus in Ballet Performance from the University of South Florida in 2006. Her choreography has been selected as a representative of USF at the American College Dance Festival for the Southeastern Division, as well as chosen to be performed in the Celebrazione Festival in Milan, Italy. She has danced in works by Mark Morris, Jose Limón, Jessica Lang, Ronald K. Brown, Chris Yon, Deborah Jowitt, and Jim Martin, among others. She was a member of the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company and has performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group. She is currently a guest artist with Skybetter and Associates.
Sharyn Korey is from Croton-on-Hudson, NY. She trained for a year as a scholarship student at the Rock School in Philadelphia before moving to Virginia to perform with the Richmond Ballet in Coppelia, Serenade, The Nutcracker, The Scarlett Letter and original works. At Middlebury College, she made guest appearances with the Middlebury Dance Company while pursuing a degree in International Studies. After graduating, she came to NYC and began teaching dance to children while performing with Murray Spalding Mandalas, Dance Visions, and Sydney Mosley Dances. In addition to teaching and performing, she is also the co-creator and producer of NACHMO, an annual month-long choreography challenge open to all.
Bethany Lange earned her B.F.A. Magna Cum Laude from The Ailey School/Fordham University. As a member of the Ailey/Fordham Student Dancers, she performed throughout the NYC area in programs designed to introduce children to dance. She currently dances with Nomad Contemporary Ballet and XAOC Contemporary Ballet. Bethany has taught at Piedmont Dance Conservatory and served as an assistant teacher at The Ailey School and Discovery Programs.
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, il Penseroso ed il 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.
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.
Judith danced with the Jose Limon Dance Company and The David Gordon Pick-Up Company, among others, in addition to touring across the U.S. and Europe both as a solo artist and in musical theatre. Her work in children’s dance includes numerous school residencies for pre-school to grade 12, and teaching for a wide variety of community arts programs. Judith also teaches at a number of colleges and universities, most recently as Director of Dance at Auburn University. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Arizona and a B.F.A. from the University of Utah.
Originally from Rome, Italy, Mireille studied ballet, modern, music, rhythm, and theater at the Maurice Bejart School in Belgium. She danced with the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1988 - 2001.
Maya was awarded a B.F.A in Dance from SUNY Purchase. She received her formal training at Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Ailey School. She has also taught and choreographed for children at Movement of the Children Dancenter in Queens.
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.
Dawn received an M.A. in Dance Education from Antioch University’s McGregor School and began her teaching career at Stivers’ School for the Performing Arts, the Dayton Ballet School, and Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH. Currently, Dawn is a member of Anabella Lenzu’s DanceDrama in addition to showcasing her own choreography.
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.
Mary has extensive experience teaching dance to children in the tristate area and operated her own modern dance school for eight years. Her dance company, Mary Seidman and Dancers, performs at venues such as Jacob’s Pillow, BAM, Symphony Space, and St. Mark’s Church.
Cara Surico, (Dayton, OH), is a choreographer, dancer, dance educator and yoga instructor based in Brooklyn. Pulling from her extensive dance training and movement experience, Cara teaches creativity through the realm of movement, striving to make each class suitable for her various students’ needs. She has implemented ballet, creative movement and yoga based programs, specifically for ages 2-5 in both private and public settings in Chicago and NYC. She currently teaches an assortment of children’s classes at the Park Slope’s Armory and Prospect Park YMCA, as well as instructs movement at Grace Church School in Brooklyn Heights, and yoga at the Maple Street School in Lefferts Gardens. In addition, she serves as the Modern Faculty at the Putney School Summer Programs, where she spends her summers in a creative residency in Putney, Vermont, instructing modern dance and yoga to teenagers.
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.
Joy Voelker grew up moving around the Midwest before landing in Michigan where she attended high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy as a dance major. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. Currently Joy works as a freelance artist and has performed with companies such as 360º Dance Company, Lane & Co, CorbinDances, Artichoke Dance Company and children's programs at the Metropolitan Playhouse. Joy's teaching experience ranges from Mommy and Me classes starting as early as nine months, to classes for adults. In addition to various dance techniques she has taught children's gymnastics and music.
William works as a composer, lyricist, pianist, arranger, coach, and conductor. His compositions include: musicals, ballets, and chamber as well as concert music. Broadway credits include Fosse, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, and The Look of Love. He has taught at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Eckerd College, and the Professional Musical Theatre Workshop at Manhattan School of Music. William holds a B.A. in Music Composition from University of South Florida and is an alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop.
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).