Alumnx Updates

FCD is so proud of our incredible alumnx. Check out the updates below to find out more about what they have gone on to do post-FCD.

Miranda Lawson (MHC '23, right) performing in Chloe London's MFA Thesis Impossible Palace (2023). Photo by Shelley Latham.

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Grace Booth (AC '12) lives in New Orleans, LA. She currently teaches Physical Theater at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and devises, performs, and produces original work with a focus on physical storytelling (, influenced by her post-graduate work at Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theater (class of '16). In other news, she recently got engaged to Blake Bertuccelli. She is also looking forward to attending her Amherst College 10-year reunion and re-connecting with folx in the Pioneer Valley!

Marylloyd Claytor (MHC '74) resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Currently Dr. Claytor is an Adjunct Professor at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania teaching Dance History and Choreography. She produces original choreography presenting on demand on television station PCTV21 in Pittsburgh, PA, on YouTube channel claytorarts, and website

Roger Creel (AC '13) lives in Manhattan, NYC and is finishing up a PhD in Geophysics at Columbia University.  His PhD focuses on what sea level during past warm periods can tell us about our hot future Earth.  Roger retired from full-time professional dance in 2018 after five years with the Louisville Ballet.  However, he continues to freelance as a dancer and choreographer.  Most recently, he performed in the Mark Morris Dance Group's L'allegro, Il Penseroso, et Il Moderato at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in March 2022 --  fulfilling a dream born in 2009 when he danced in the FCDD production of Mark Morris's Gloria.  

Sofia Engelman (SC '19) lives in Brooklyn, NY (Lenapehoking) with three cats (Yvonne, Pina, and Herko), 40 plants, and partner Em Papineau (SC '21). Sofia is the Director of freeskewl, a teaching artist in the NYC Public Schools and local studios, and a Pilates instructor. This year, Sofia looks forward to choreographic residencies with Em at The Croft (MI), Sky Hill Farms Studio (NY), and more TBA. Recently, the pair have performed in NYC at Arts On Site, Prospect Park, BAAD, and WestFest and will premiere their new evening-length work, GRIEF CAROUSEL, a collaboration with musician Albert Mathias, in 2023.

Merli V. Guerra (MHC '09) splits her time between Boston, MA and Princeton, NJ. She is artistic director of Luminarium Dance Company, now in its 12th season. Guerra recently earned an MFA in Dance, and now teaches choreography and world dance at Rutgers University and Rider University. Her choreographic works have been presented by 100+ events across the U.S., and abroad in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Macedonia, Portugal, and Spain. She received a 2022 Individual Artist Fellowship Award in Film from NJ State Council on the Arts and Mid Atlantic Arts for screendance.

Kimberleigh Holman (MHC '09) is making interdisciplinary performance in Boston, on the cusp of Luminarium Dance’s twelfth year. Most recently, Kim was awarded the 2021-2022 Boston Dancemakers Residency to develop a new work titled Common Circus at the Boston Center for the Arts. In the last two years, Kim was awarded The Boston Foundation’s LAB Fund, NEFA's New England Dance Fund, and The Dance Complex's CATALYSTS residency—all for her woman-focused work and research project Contradictions + Casual Self Loathing—and granted funding through the New England Grassroots Environment Fund to activate a contaminated stretch of water in her hometown.

Lauren Horn (AC '17) lives in West Hartford, CT. In March 2022, she performed her original work in The New England Foundation For the Arts Regional Dance Development Initiative Show at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. Lauren is a collaborator in Deborah Goffe's Scapegoat Garden and will also be performing Deb's work in this show. Lauren also teaches Modern Dance at Anna Grace Academy of the Arts Middle and is setting a repertory piece at Connecticut College. She is also choreographing a newly funded work called Renaissance Gyal about the Black female experience. 

Kristen Mangione (SC '94) lives in Hoboken, NJ where she teaches dance to adults, both virtually and in person. She is the founder of LÎLA – Dance Alchemy for the Soul©. LÎLA is the brainchild and synthesis of her professional dance and healing arts experience as well as her passion for metaphysical studies. It has helped countless people reconnect and reclaim their authenticity and self-expression while opening the doors to new possibilities.

Maya Mizrahi (AC '21) studied math and interdisciplinary (dance/film/Russian studies) at Amherst College, and graduated summa cum laude. She is now living, working, and dancing in Tel Aviv! Maya is working full time as an AWS Cloud Cost Specialist at a high-tech company called Zesty, while simultaneously pursuing an artistic career producing and choreographing dance films. Maya most recently directed and performed in her new film, Ghost Town, which premiered at the Garden State Film Festival on March 27.

Johnna (Birri) Paulsen (SC '05) lives in Easthampton, MA with her husband Alex and two cats, Pichou and Bebe. She has her own business as a personal trainer, taking clients full-time at Northampton Athletic Club. Up until last year she was also a Zumba Gold instructor, which kept her dancing and choreographing. Now, she has chosen to focus solely on her personal training business, and has more free time to perhaps attend some dance classes herself. Johnna loves living in the Pioneer Valley, visiting with fellow Ada alums, and traveling to far away places.

Alana Rancourt Phinney (SC MFA '96) is the founder of Park Dancing, a community dance project. As a facilitator, she offers an invitation to play that puts trust in emergent forms. She believes everyone has a dance to do, not just trained dancers, and that when we move together, we build community, resilience, and wellness. She lives in Montpelier, VT, with her husband and 11-year-old son. She also specializes in creative aging and has recently become a Certified TimeSlips Facilitator, a creative engagement method designed for people with memory challenges. For more information visit  

Leigh Purtill (MHC '88) lives in Los Angeles, CA. Leigh is the artistic director of the Leigh Purtill Ballet Company, a 45-member 501(c)(3) nonprofit amateur ballet company for adults founded in 2017 with the mission of Ballet for Everyone. The company produced and performed work throughout the pandemic and is back on stage in 2022 with 2 full length original ballets. Leigh is also a published novelist and runs her own business as a ballet instructor for adults of all levels. Inspired by her MHC connection, Leigh is looking to promote women in the arts both as artists and audiences.

Clare Schweitzer (MHC '12) recently moved back to Oakland, CA and has been immersed again in filming dance performances, screening films and doing production work for Dance Film SF, and working on short movement-based film projects. She also presented research at the Screendance State of the Art symposium in Madison, WI and will be in a research/development/performance residence in Paris with Sarah Berges Dance in July. She is looking forward to celebrating her ten-year reunion this coming May with her MoHoCoHort.

Sara Smith (HC '95) is a transdisciplinary choreographer, teacher, and research librarian with an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College. Sara is the former editor of the dance publications KINEBAGO (2010-17) and Body/Language journal (1998-2002). Sara’s current project, Inside the Breath: INT (In Network Time), is a meditation on the political possibilities of aligning Gloria Anzaldúa’s writing and theories with emerging scientific understandings of octopus biology and bacterial communication. They live in Greenfield, MA with their partner and cat, and regularly collaborate with Karinne Keithley Syers (HC F92). Sara is the Arts & Humanities Research Librarian at Amherst College.