Five College Dance Department


Dear Alums, 

The Five-College Dance Department would love to hear from you and keep you posted about our events and opportunities. Please help us stay in touch by sending updated information regarding your address, email and phone number to

FCDD Alumni and Student News 2011-2012

Rose Abramoff (AC’09) choreographed a piece for the Dance Theater Group at Boston University, presented at the ACDFA in March and choreographed UMass Lowell’s production of Rent.

Vanessa Anspaugh (SC MFA ’08) just premiered Armed Guard Garden, a work commissioned by New York Live Arts. The New York Times said, “Armed Guard Garden draws the viewer in immediately and never lets go.” Aretha Aoki (SC MFA ’08) was one of the six dancers in this work. 

Christiana Axelsen (MHC ’03) is a freelance dancer in NYC and serves as Development Director at Notes in Motion/Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre. She also dances and tours nationally with zoe|juniper, which premiered its latest work, A Crack in Everything, in December at ON THE BOARDS in Seattle.

Pele Bauch (HC ‘96) was part of the Joyce SoHo Artists-in-Residence APAP Showcase January 2011 in New York City. Pele is currently focused on establishing her practice in dance dramaturgy.

Jessica Bean (SC ’07) is currently living in West Hartford, CT and finishing her last year at the University of Connecticut. She will earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and hopes to work as a pediatric neuropsychologist.

Christine Bennett (SC MFA ’96) is now the Assistant Dance Director of the Office for the Arts Dance Program at Harvard University. Prior to this she was Artistic Director of Bennett Dance Company for 11 years, and adjunct teacher at colleges and universities in the Boston area.

Nick Bentley (AC ’06) performed with the Philadelphia-based Tania Isaac Dance Company on a brief tour to Jacob’s Pillow and the Bates Dance Festival before returning home to Washington DC as a “suitor” for a production of Kiss Me, Kate at Toby’s Dinner Theater. Currently he is a member of the Lesoles Dance Project and works as a motivational dance-party instructor for NYX Entertainment Co. 

Lisa Biggs (AC ’93) is working on her Ph.D. in Performance Studies at Northwestern University.

Nicole Bindler (HC ’95) traveled to Findhorn, Scotland in 2011 as a part of Deborah Hay’s Solo Performance Commissioning Project. The experience culminated in a 20-minute solo choreographed by Hay and adapted and performed by Nicole.

Rebeccah Bogue (SC ’08) has choreographed and produced six original ballets in Manhattan over the past 3.5 years. Three of the nine dancers (including the choreographer) in her latest production, things we like, have traumatic brain injuries. 

Alison Bory (MHC ‘97) earned her Ph.D. in Dance History & Theory at the University of California, Riverside, and is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in Dance at Davidson College in North Carolina. Her academic research explores autobiographical performance forms and has been presented at the conferences of the Society of Dance History Scholars and the Congress on Research in Dance. 

Kimberly Brandt (HC ’99) and Walsh Hansen had a showing of their video 50 MPH at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance.

Taela Brooks (AC ’06) is living in Melbourne, Australia working as a stage performer, choreographer and teacher. Her next show is Gershwin’s Crazy for You.

Katherine Buechner (AC ’04) is a graduate student in the Yale School of Sound Design.

Mora Cantlin (MHC ’05) after working at Jacobs Pillow on the year-round administrative staff, has taken a fundraising position at Dartmouth College where she currently works in marketing with the Audience Engagement Department at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. 

Nicole Canuso (HC ‘91) premiered As the Eyes of the Seahorse, a new work by Nicole Canuso Dance Company, in Philadelphia. Nicole Canuso Dance Company was also a recipient of The Knight Arts Challenge Grant.

Audra Carabetta (UM BFA ’99) recently presented Please Be Seated, with her company, Audra Carabetta and Dancers, at Green Street Studios in Cambridge. They have also performed at the Massachusetts Dance Festival, Bowdoin College, College of the Holy Cross, The Dance Complex, The Dance Place of Newburyport and the Virginia Beach Performing Arts Center.

Sue Casey-Murray (UM ’84) continues to teach in Boston Youth Moves at the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio.

Maura Cassin (MHC ’06) has been working full time for a state Representative splitting her time between Boston and Western MA. She has just started classes for Cassin Academy of Irish Dance for adults as well as children in East Longmeadow and Holyoke. This year, she competed in her last World championships for Irish dance, held in Philadelphia.

Yanira Castro (AC ’94) premiered Wilderness at Dance Theater Workshop in NYC. This winter, she presented her newest work, Heather O, at DANCEROULETTE in Brooklyn, NY.

Caroline Cohn (UM ’08) just finished her second year as the Sugar Plum Fairy in BalletRox’s Urban Nutcracker in Boston.

Kathy Couch (AC ’95) traveled to NYC and Melbourne doing the lighting design for two projects by Wendy Woodson: SHE TURNED ON THE LIGHT at La Mama’s Courthouse and BELONGING: REFLECTIONS ON PLACE, a video installation piece at the Immigration Museum.

Eva Dean (HC ‘82) and Eva Dean Dance, celebrated their 26th anniversary by mounting Beyond Silver: 1987–2011, a retrospective, evening-length performance featuring a sampling of 24 years of Eva Dean’s choreography.

Brenda Divelbliss (SC MFA ’99) moved to Portland, Oregon and is currently teaching modern dance at Beaverton’s Arts & Communication Magnet Academy. 

Lila Dodge (SC ’09) spent ten months in Burkina Faso, doing research on contemporary dance under a Fulbright Grant. She now lives in San Francisco, dances for Byb Chanel Bibene’s Kiandanda Dance Theater, and supports it all with childcare jobs (the more and the less glamorous ends of education and discipline) and teaching French. She is applying to grad programs in Anthropology to continue research begun in West Africa.

Maura Donohue (SC ’92 & SC MFA ’08) is an Assistant Professor at Hunter College/City University of New York. Her most recent work, I’m not coming back was produced at Danspace Project on a shared program with Vanessa Anspaugh (SC MFA ’08) last October. She serves on the board for the Congress on Research in Dance, the New York Dance and Performance (The Bessies) Awards, and writes for Culturebot. Her kids keep getting bigger.

Ashley Dowling (MHC ’04) owns and operates her own dance academy in New Hampshire, teaching a variety of idioms to 165 students. Her studio recently became the first dance academy/studio in NH to be accredited by the national honor society for dance arts. 

Brendan Drake (UM BFA ’09) performed with J Chen Project for this year’s APAP Conference. In October, the company premiered a new work To Identify at Dixon Place, created in collaboration with fashion designer Rachel Metcalf. 

Melissa Driscoll (UM BFA ’09) is finishing her MA in Dance Movement Therapy at Columbia College Chicago.

Karyn Edison (UM ’79) is the founder and director of the Dancing Arts Center in Boston, where she teaches, choreographs and coordinates all aspects of the program

Sarah Goddard (UM ’11) is on contract with Columbia City Ballet in South Carolina.

Anna Grosslein (MHC ’08) started Physical Therapy school 4 weeks after her MHC graduation, and finished her Doctorate of Physical Therapy this year at Simmons College. In April, she began practicing at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, working with both Women’s/Men’s Health and Orthopedic clients.  

Heidi Henderson (SC MFA ’87) continues to make work in RI under the company name: elephant JANE dance. Recent performances include Cambridge, MA, Connecticut College and the FlynnSpace in Burlington, VT. She is in her ninth year on the dance faculty at Connecticut College and teaches regularly at the Bates Dance Festival. 

Christine Higgins (UM ’98) has been dancing in Dallas Dance, a lyrical/contemporary/ jazz/modern company, and touring the world with Mambo Dallas, a salsa company, including a recent tour to the Dominican Republic and Peru.

CJ Holm (HC ’00) presented her new work, The Salad of the Bad Cafe, co-created with Tiana Hemlock, at Gowanus Arts in New York in January 2011. She also presented new work at Judson Church in New York in November.

Jeff Janisheski (AC ’92) was Artistic Director at the National Theater Institute before taking a new position as Head of the Acting Program at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (Australia), where Mel Gibson, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving and others studied.

Jane Jerardi (HC ‘93) relocated to Chicago to pursue her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In December, she presented two exhibitions featuring video installations and a performance project.

Lucille Jun (AC ’08) is teaching in South Korea and has recently performed at a dance festival there.

Karinne Keithley (HC ’96) won a Bessie Award at the 2011 New York Dance and Performance Award ceremony for “Outstanding Production” for her work, Montgomery Park, or Opulence

Julie Klein (MHC ‘02) is founder and artistic director of SHEmotion, based in NYC. She received her MFA in Dance Education from NYU in 2004, and has recently served as Dance Educator at Middle School 51 in Park Slope, Brooklyn. 

Mabel Lajes (AC ’99) is the Literacy Chair at the Boston Preparatory Charter Public School. She recently brought a group of 8th-grade students to her alma mater to tour the theater and dance department and see a current production.

Erin Law (SC MFA ’11) is an adjunct faculty member at Middle Tennessee State University, teaching Dance Appreciation and choreography with the dance theatre students. She teaches technique in the Vanderbilt Dance Program and is working on short films for their upcoming concert. She was invited to choreograph a piece entitled Fads and Fancies in the Academy for a centennial celebration of John Cage’s birthday in April.

Jennifer Lawson (MHC ’91) is serving as a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, currently posted in Quito, Ecuador, until 2014. She works as the outreach coordinator, arranging talks and workshops for visiting U.S. professors, artists, and other experts with elementary, high school, and university students throughout Ecuador. She has started working as a dance historian and advisor with a new local dance company. 

Brandye Lee (SC ’00) former company member in Ailey II and The Lion King, is living and loving ballet with Collage dance Collective in Memphis, TN. She is based in DC and continues to teach at Jones-Haywood. She also teaches regularly in Memphis for Collage. Many of its students are from impoverished communities and ballet is making a big difference in their lives. 

Lona Lee (SC MFA ’09) lives in Phoenix, where she is an Arts Education Outreach Assistant at the Mesa Arts Center and active member of a vibrant art community. Working with local and national artists in dance, theater and music, Lona continues to engage people of all ages through arts residencies, classes, workshops and festivals. 

Marina Libel (AC ’01) presented BRAIN WAITING ROOM in June in Brooklyn. She also performed SHE TURNED ON THE LIGHT by Wendy Woodson at La Mama’s Courthouse Theatre in Melbourne.

Joyce S. Lim (SC MFA ’97) is on faculty at The Noh Training Project (NTP), which offers the most intensive and extensive Noh training available in the United States. This summer, together with master teachers from Japan, NTP will mount the full Noh, Atsumori, in the Town Park of Bloomsburg, PA.

Chantel C. Lucier (MHC ’98) continues with her Reflexology/Reiki practice by day; and by night, sings with the wild, political troupe called “Reverend Billy & the Church of Stop Shopping”, who recently toured to Europe. She is also active in film, acting in the documentary What Would Jesus Buy? presented on the Sundance Channel this winter, and a horror film (her first) called Blue Sheep Suit. She has also been producing music videos.

Kellie Lynch (MFA ‘07) tours nationally with the critically acclaimed Doug Elkins and Friends’ Fraulein Maria and has been a member of Adele Myers and Dancers since 2008. She is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Elm City Dance Collective in New Haven, Connecticut. Since 2007, her work has been presented throughout New England and NYC.

Michelle Marroquin (HC ’89) received her MFA in Performance and Choreography from Smith College and teaches Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis at Studio Helix.

Nicki Marshall (MHC ‘02) has been dancing with Magbana Drum and Dance NYC since the summer of 2003. Her choreography has been performed at DTW, BAX, WAX, and the Merce Cunningham Studios. She is a member of Company Amy Cox and collaborates with Helen Tocci, creating dance and vocal work. Nicki is a certified yoga instructor and teaches dance to many beautiful children around NYC.

Dustyn Martincich (SC MFA ’06) is currently serving as an assistant professor of theatre and dance at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA, specializing in jazz dance technique and beginning acting. She is a principal artist with Core Project Chicago, and also works with Matter Dance Chicago, The Monocle Eclectic Dance Company, and The Arc Theatre in Chicago. 

Kaitlin McCarthy (MHC ’09) is dancing with two Seattle companies, ReddLegg Dance and Khambatta Dance Company. This past year has also performed in project-based work for Wade Madsen, Christen Lusk, Marlo Martin, and Pablo Cornejo.

Olive McKeon (HC ’08) completed a Master’s in Arts Politics from NYU and is a Ph.D. candidate in Culture and Performance at University of California, Los Angeles.

Leah Moriarty (UM BFA ’10) presented work at the rebound Dance Festival in New Haven in March. 

Jackie Nalett (MHC ‘94) continues to work as an adjunct dance faculty member at the University of Houston where she teaches various levels of Jazz, Hip Hop and Modern technique, and advises the University Dance Theatre, a student dance company. She is also a guest teacher at Rice University and on the teaching artist roster for Young Audiences of Houston.

Zeina Nasr (AC ’05) is currently working on her Masters at Mills College and continuing to create dance and music compositions.

Christopher-Rasheem McMillan (HC ’04) presented his research at “Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance,” a conference hosted by the Congress on Research in Dance in February 2012. He received his MFA in Dance from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Lynette P. Rizzo (MHC ’96) is working as the associate director of marketing for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and has been in that position for more than 11 years. She also serves on the executive advisory committee for Buglisi Dance Theatre. 

Jennifer Rosenblit (HC ’05) and Addys Gonzalez (HC ’05) performed their new work, In Mouth, at the Bodega in Philadelphia and at New York Live Arts in NYC for which they received a favorable New York Times review.

Rain Ross (MHC ‘06) presented a paper on music and dance collaboration at Congress on Research in Dance. She was an invited guest for Lebanon’s first International Dance Day Festival, where she taught a number of classes and gave a talk on collaboration. She continues to teach at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and recently performed in the Dumbo Dance Festival in New York. 

Ruby Rowat (AC ’93) recently moved to Brisbane, Australia where she is starting up a new trapeze performance duo after performing all over the world for the past ten years.

Laura Ann Samuelson (HC ‘11) has been working to start a contemporary performance series in Colorado. Its first installment entitled, And The People: An Evening of Diverse Performance, premiered in November and included a new solo titled DEMOLITION woman.

Sarah Seely (SC MFA ’01) is the Artistic Director for the New-York-based dance theater company, From the Desk of Sarah Seely, and the company manager for The Bull Moose Party production company. Sarah recently produced the Off-Broadway play, Woody Guthrie Dreams. Sarah lives in Brooklyn, New York where she teaches yoga and body work. 

Christina Septien (AC ’01) is working on her Masters in Physical Therapy.

Noelle Serafino (HC ‘04) received a Masters in Performance Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a concentration in heritage tourism, material culture, museum interventions, and American identity. She has recently relocated back to the Pioneer Valley.

Malcolm Shute (UM ‘96) holds a Master of Fine Arts in dance with a concentration in choreography from the University of Maryland. He is a Certified Movement Analyst and teaches at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. He teaches choreography and writing at Towson University’s BFA dance program. He is also Artistic Director of Human Landscape Dance.

Julia Skloot (HC ’03) danced for the Crispin Spaeth Dance Group in Seattle; taught dance at the Creative Dance Center, which she helped to start; and was a member of the Left Field Dance Collective, which performs throughout Seattle in theaters, warehouses, and public spaces. She studied for an MFA in Choreography at Sarah Lawrence College.

Sara Smith (HC ’90) is the editor of KINEBAGO, a new printed journal of writing about dance and movement-based performance in New England. Summer 2011 was its inaugural issue.

Meaghan Thomas-Kennedy (SC ’05) is a litigator in the New York offices of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP, where she practices in the antitrust and competition law group. 

Christina Tsoules Soriano (SC MFA ’03) is an assistant professor at Wake Forest University and recently enjoyed presenting her work in Vienna, Austria in 2011, where she performed solo work by Heidi Henderson and B.J. Sullivan. Christina just completed a scientific study with Glenna Batson, looking at the ways an improvisational dance class can aid balance and mobility for people with Parkinson Disease.

Mariana Valencia (HC ’06) launched Rhinoceros Event Issue No. 1 Clean Dream in January 2012. Rhinoceros Event is a quarterly paper featuring writing by Mariana, as well as writing and images by fellow artists.

Marya Wethers (MHC ‘97) is a freelance performer and choreographer in NYC, performing with Faye Driscoll, Palissimo, Yanira Castro and Company, and others. This fall she presented An Evening with Marya Wethers and Daria Fain at The Chocolate Factory. Marya is also Program Manager at New York Live Arts (previously Dance Theater Workshop).

Teana White (AC ’10) is working at a non-profit called Phipps Community Development Corporation as a college awareness advisor for two local Bronx schools and is dancing with a West African Dance company called Harambee.

Alie B. Wickham Trainor (HC ’07) changed jobs and got married. She is now working with a new program called the Area Health Education Center program at the University of Florida. As the primary leader for the upcoming student initiatives, she is still very involved with the Arts and Health field. 

Suzanne Wiltgen (MHC  ‘99) earned her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2008. In 2001 she co-founded the collaborative dance company, Three Dances, based in Minneapolis and Virginia.