Five College Consortium

Five College Dance Department


The Five College Dance Department loves hearing from our alums! Please help us stay in touch by sending updated contact info, as well as news about what you're up to these days for inclusion in the annual FCDD newsletter to

FCDD Alumni News 2015-16


Dana Albertson (HC 09) relocated to San Francisco after finishing her Division III Vessels of Translation. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training there with Purusha Yoga School, and teaches middle school dance at Menlo School in Atherton, CA.


Christiana Axelsen (MHC ’03) was delighted to spend the month of March at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva Island in Florida, working on a new opera with choreographer Christopher Williams that will premiere in NYC in 2017. Upcoming projects include a performance with Pam Tanowitz at the American Dance Institute in Maryland and a tour to the West Coast with Molissa Fenley.


Rachel Aylward (UM ’13) was on contract in Nevada, performing in the musical Footloose for Boebe Productions, LLC. She is now back in NYC, working for R.Evolución Latina, a division of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, helping with the firm’s marketing strategies.


Nicole Bindler (HC ’99) recently returned from Bethlehem, where she made a dance with Diyar Dance Theatre called WOMEN. The piece is a hybrid dabke and western contemporary dance that explores the parallels between the conquest of Palestinian land and Palestinian women’s bodies. She also performed The Dance Apocalypse/Solos with dance partner Gabrielle Revlock in November 2015 at AUX Performance Space, and offered CardioCreativity and Clitoral Embodiment classes.


Chani Bockwinkel (HC ’11) is currently dancing with SALTA, a feminist dance collective she helped found in San Francisco. Chani was featured in a July 2015 New Yorker article titled “Sweating to Sappho,” about a class she taught as part of a series of free critical seminars organized by Lisa Rybovich Crallé.


Strauss Bourque-Lafrance (HC ’06) held an exhibition at T293 in Rome called USA Objects during fall 2015. The works in the show pay homage to American craft, geometric abstraction, and graphic design.


Kim Brandt (HC ’01) performed her new work Silhouette at Icebox in the Crane Arts Building in Philadelphia on July 9, and performed a commissioned work at Artist Space Books & Talks in NYC as part of ISSUE Project Room’s 2015 Artist-in-Residence program. She’s happy to share that her new work, Clear Night, was performed at the end of May 2016. Kim was interviewed by Lauren Bakst interviewed for an article published in Bomb magazine.


Nick Brentley (AC ’06) is a dancer with the Embodiment Project (EP). EP is a San Francisco–based urban dance theater company founded by Nicole Klaymoon in 2008. Quickly gaining critical acclaim, EP seamlessly intersects high-energy street dance, live song, choreo-poetry and theater.


Patricia Cadernas (AC ’14) was accepted into the graduate teacher education program of Claremont Graduate University, where she says she is “loving every minute of it.” Before going to graduate school, Paty was directing the Azusa High School Drama Club.


Melissa Rodis Cameron (AC ’08) is founder and director of Birds on a Wire Dance Theatre company in Philadelphia, working with Kate Abernathy (MHC ’08) as a partner in the company.


Gabriella Carmichael (UM ’14) is currently living and creating in NYC. She has choreographed various works that have been shown at Mark Morris Dance Group, Green Space and Triskelion Arts. This spring Gabriella is honored to be choreographing an evening-length work for the Sans Limites Dance Split-Bill Series. Gabriella is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches children in hopes of promoting bodily awareness and self-confidence.


The latest production of Court Garden Tour, by Yanira Castro (AC ’94), was staged at Redfern Arts Center in Keene, NH, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Boston, in the spring of 2016. Kathy Couch (AC ’95) is the designer for this piece. As part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Extended Life program, Yanira and the cast of a new work, CAST, will be in residence in the Project Room at the LMCC offices at Maiden Lane for five weeks in summer 2016.


Ariel Cohen (SC MFA ’07) lives in Berlin, Germany, and works as a freelance dancer. She has had the honor of dancing in numerous works with dance companies throughout Germany and Switzerland. During September 2015, she performed in Brazil with Joshua Monten. In early 2016, she danced in Fribourg and Bern, Switzerland with Karine Jost and Vanessa Cook, and in June 2016, Ariel began work with Backsteinhaus Produktion at Theater Rampe in Stuttgart, Germany.


Bridget Cronin (UM ’13) lives in NYC, where she performs with Mazzini Dance Collective, Bolero Dance and Reject Dance Theatre. She is currently teaching at Dance Matters in Queens. She had the pleasure of being a guest choreographer at UMass Amherst for the Ellington Nutcracker, performed by University Dancers 2015. She will present her first choreographic work with Reject Dance Theatre in April of 2016.


Dr. Donna Davenport (UM ’84) is the John Milton Potter Professor of Dance at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) and celebrates her 50th concert performance of choreography since signing on at HWS 25 years ago. She performed her latest solo, Devolvement, at Bill Evans Dance’s Annual Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival during summer 2016.


Eva Dean (HC ’82) is the artistic director of dance at Eva Dean Dance. She presented the Late-Stage Creative Stipend award to choreographer Christina Noel Reaves for 2015. Eva Dean Dance Company spent the fall of 2015 developing Pendulum with the support of 2015 CUNY Dance Initiative at Baruch College.


Mariam Dingilian (MHC ’14) has worked in various capacities at the Center for Movement Research and the Trisha Brown Dance Company, as well for Dr. Erika Kalkan, a physical therapist who specializes in dance-related injuries, as operations assistant. She is choreographing and developing a full-length solo titled STATIC.


Brenda Divelbliss (SC MFA ’99) lives in Somerville, MA. She teaches dance technique and choreography at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, and directs the CRLS Modern Dance Company. This year, CRLS dancers were fortunate to collaborate with David Parker’s Bang Group on Nut/Cracked, Peter Dimuro on Gumdrops and the Funny Uncle and the American Dance Legacy Initiative on the Battleworks Etude.


Ashley Dowling (MHC ’04) owns the Alton Dance Academy in Alton, NH, and is celebrating 10 years of being in business! She has more than 230 students in a small town. The academy is part of the NDEO national honor society for dancers and has already graduated seven students since the start of the program three years ago.


Brendan Drake (UM ’09) premiered his work ROPE at HERE Arts Center in August through a grant from the CUNY Dance Initiative. He was a 2016 winter artist-in-residence at The Tank NYC and acted as movement consultant and choreographer for editorial shoots with Cate Blanchett, Lorde and Elle magazine.

Melissa Edwards (SC MFA ’13) continues to teach in a tenure track assistant professorship at McLennan Community College in Texas. The college has a long-established department of theater with elective dance classes, and Melissa is enhancing the curriculum in order to establish a dance track within Performing Arts, readying students to audition for college dance programs. In her first year, in addition to her full teaching load, she implemented new technique classes, produced the school’s first dance concert, and co-directed a musical.


Elise Evans (MHC ’10) is completing her first year at University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance; she’s also starting an internship with King County Solid Waste Division. When possible, she does contra and West African dance in Seattle.


Phoebe Farber (UM ’85) is part of the Emerging Women Playwrights program with Writers Theatre of New Jersey. She recently had a production of one of her plays staged at the Philipstown Depot Theater in Garrison, NY, and will be traveling to Sweden next fall to speak at a conference on the topic of aging and spirituality.


Liv Fauver (SC ’14) is currently collaborating with Kata Cots. They are developing their duet titled Soft Associations in residencies through Klub Attack! in Zagreb, Croatia, and CRA'P in Mollet de Vallès, Spain. The piece will be performed at the International Festival of Alternative Theatrical Expression and at the Cultural Center La Minareta.


Christina Ferrara (UM ’15)  is teaching 7th- and 10th-grade special education students in NYC. You can still find her dancing at “the club,” though (a.k.a. her apartment before she goes to bed at 10 p.m.)!


Olana Flynn (HC ’13), Madison Palffy (HC ’14), Aliza Persing (HC ’14), Stephanie Jacco (HC ’14), Hayley-Jane Blackstone (HC ’15) and Molly McBride (MHC ’14) founded the Loculus performance collective. Loculus performs locally, often in collaboration with DIY musicians and artists in nontraditional performance spaces. In addition to performing, Loculus publishes a quarterly journal. The Loculus Quarterly is supported in part by the Northampton Arts Council.


Meghan Frederick (HC ’07) has been teaching at Rutgers University for two years and touring with Liz Lerman. She showed a new version of CLOVER at the Green Building in Gowanus, Brooklyn, and is currently rehearsing three other projects for this summer. She was also at ImPulsTanz in Vienna for two weeks last summer.


Ellie Grace (SC MFA ’15) spent the summer and early fall of 2015 traversing the country to teach and perform both dance and music at festivals, theaters, colleges, camps and community events. In the midst of her travels, she and her songwriting partner found time to finish the initial work on a CD of original songs, to be released in 2016. In the late fall, Ellie found her way back to her passion  for making pottery as a member of the KC Clay Guild. In January of 2016, Ellie was honored to return to the FCDD as a visiting artist in dance, spending the spring semester joyfully teaching percussive dance to students at Mount Holyoke College.


Zoé Henrot (MHC ’12) is in her third season as artistic director of the artist-led company St. Paul Ballet in St. Paul, Minnesota. The company will be starting its first tour with An American in Paris in September 2016.


C. J. Holmes (HC ’04) performed support/retreat at the Brick Theater in Brooklyn in September 2015. The dance was created while in residence at the Cora Studio in 2014 with Krista Jansen. CJ also performed Phototropia, a site- and season-specific work, as part of the LUNGS Festival celebrating community gardens in New York’s Lower East Side.


Jeff Janisheski (AC ’90) was appointed to full professor at California State University Long Beach. He will be both chair of the Department of Theatre Arts—leading the undergraduate and graduate programs—and artistic director of California Repertory Company—the professionally modeled graduate student theater company founded in 1989.


Jane Jerardi (HC ’93) presented the first performances of Again in March 2016 at Links Hall in Chicago.


Erika Johnson (UM ’04) dances with BoSoma Dance Company, directed by Katherine Hooper (UM ’97) and Meghan Hood (UM ’01). She also works as a physical therapist and is the director of dance medicine at Marathon Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Newton, MA. She and her husband, Kevin Narbonne (UM ’04), are proud to announce the birth of their second daughter, Celeste, in January 2016.


Sam Kenney (SC MFA ’04) is an associate professor of dance at State University of New York Fredonia. In March, her work Orion I was selected for the ACDA East-Central Conference Gala Concert in Kalamazoo, MI. This is the third of her choreographic works to be included in an ACDA Gala since 2010. Sam will be on sabbatical in the fall of 2016, during which she will be spending six weeks in a teaching and choreographic residency with Rubicon Dance of Cardiff, Wales. This September, she will also begin her first term as chair of SUNY Fredonia’s Department of Theatre and Dance.


Eliza Larson (SC MFA ’13) lives in Portland, Oregon, where she dances with Tahni Holt and is working on several personal dance projects. Her long-distance dance company, Mountain Empire Performance Collective, made a presentation on the topic of distance dance-making at the 2015 NDEO conference in Phoenix, AZ, and this past spring, she was an artist-in-residence with Delfos Danza Contemporanea in Mazatlán, Mexico. Along with Aretha Aoki (SC MFA ’08), she co-curated a folio in the Summer/Fall 2016 issue of Contact Quarterly.


Justine Lemos (HC ’99) wrote an article titled “Radical Recreation: Non-Iconic Movements of Tradition in Keralite Classical Dance” which was published in the international peer-reviewed journal Semiotic Inquiry.


Gina Leung (MHC ’12) runs her own company, rePilates Ltd., delivering Pilates classes in South East London. She is a specialist in pregnancy and postnatal exercise, working with more than 50 pregnant women and new moms every week.


Kellie Lynch (SC MFA ’07) is currently working on If You Knew You Then, her second evening-length work with Elm City Dance Collective, to be premiered in spring 2017. She continues to dance for Adele Myers and Dancers and was one of Bates Dance Festival’s 2015 Emerging Choreographers. In the last year, she welcomed a wonderful addition to her family named Wilhelmina.


Meredith Lyons (SC MFA ’08) recently accepted a position as assistant professor in dance at Colorado Mesa University. Previously she served as the admissions director for Bates Dance Festival, and was on faculty at Bates and Colby Colleges. In spring 2016, she was presented by SPACE Gallery in Portland, Maine, with a sold-out show for The Chicken and The Egg (a duet with Kellie Lynch, SC MFA ’07). During fall 2016, Meredith will be a visiting guest artist at Ohio University, and will present her research project Foreword/Afterword with Rachel Boggia and Annie Kloppenberg at the NDEO Conference in Washington, D.C.


Dustyn Martincich (SC MFA ’06) pursues her work in choreography, movement direction and interdisciplinary projects through movement-based storytelling with Core Project Chicago, physical character work and staging with the Arc Theatre in Chicago and teaching collaborative and performance-based courses at Bucknell University, where she is an associate professor of theater and dance.


Kaitlin McCarthy (MHC ’09) was excited to perform at the MHC commencement in May 2016, followed by the premiere of her new work in Seattle in June. She is still dancing for Alice Gosti, and recently accepted a grant-writing position at Squid Mgmt.


Maura Cassin McCarthy (MHC ’06) opened an Irish dance school in 2011, which now has more than 50 students. She teaches five and six days a week, or when she’s not busy keeping up with her toddler Maggie.


Donna Mejia (SC MFA ’12) is an assistant professor at University of Colorado Boulder’s Department of Theatre & Dance and oversees the design and teaching of graduate and undergraduate courses related to dance anthropology, critical race theory, dance history, dance pedagogy and dance technique. Over the last two years, Donna’s solo performances and collaborations were featured in over 40 national and international appearances, including shows at La MaMa, the Apollo Theater, the Dance Complex, the Bates Dance Festival, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Donna recently contributed her choreography to the research and development of “Origin Stories,” part of the Bella Gaia production of filmmaker and composer Kenji Williams. She will serve as scholar-in-residence for the 2016 Theatrical Bellydance Conference in NYC.


After graduation, Erica Marcoux Noonan (SC ’13) relocated from Maine to the Berkshires, and was married in August 2015. She has been seen onstage as Chava in the Waterville Opera House’s production of Fiddler on the Roof (fall 2013), and as a soloist in Rodger Blum’s Prayers for the Wayfarer (fall 2015) at Smith College. Erica also returned to Smith College in the spring of 2015 to assist Rodger Blum as a rehearsal director and ballet mistress for the restaging of his More Clearly in Dreams, which was set on professional dancers from Louisville Ballet and Richmond Ballet.


Sandra Parks (SC MFA ’07) has presented work at professional venues in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Boston, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, New York and Taiwan. Sandra was a member of the faculties at Boston University, Bridgewater State College, Colleges of Fenway, Kennesaw State University, Regis College and National Taiwan University of Arts. She is currently Head of Dance and assistant professor at Louisiana State University. She has been enjoying collaborating with different disciplines, including digital arts, film and television, graphic design, and music to present work onstage and on film. In 2013, Sandra founded Women in Dance LLC to celebrate and promote female leadership in dance, and she is the director of the international Women in Dance Leadership Conference. She recently received a fellowship from Taiwan Foreign Scholar Grant, which will bring her to Taiwan to research Taiwanese aboriginal dances and music.


Lila Reid (MHC ’15) is a Dance MFA candidate and graduate teaching fellow at the University of Oregon. She’s excited to announce her choreography to be featured in (sub) Urban Projections: Ritual in Eugene, Oregon. She will be working as a teaching intern at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Salem, Oregon.


Marta Renzi (HC ‘75) has a series of short films which appeared at festivals around the world in March and April 2016, including Thaw in Iran, Honeymoon in Poland and Spain, Roxie in France, Besties in Rhode Island, Wildwood in Spain and Plow Plant Reap in Sweden. She is currently working on a feature-length film called My Magnum Opus.


Loren Robertson (MHC ’06) continues to work with a wide variety of visionary and talented artists along the California coast through her video production company for the performing arts, Loren Robertson Productions. Her first feature-length film as editor, PS DANCE! premiered on PBS and was also nominated for a New York Emmy.


Jen Rosenblit (HC ’05) presented a new dance, Clap Hands, at the Invisible Dog Art Center in April 2016


Candice Salyers (SC MFA ’03) has been performing her solo concert, A History of Levitation, which explores different perspectives on female sainthood - including solos made for her by Pam Vail (SC MFA’94) and Sara Smith (HC '90) - presented this fall by Redfern Arts Center. She spoke at the Society for European Philosophy in September and will travel to Morocco in May to study sacred dance practices. She was invited to perform at a symposium on “Performance and Mindfulness” in the UK in June and will be teaching at Mount Holyoke College during 2016-17.


Laura Ann Samuelson (HC ’11) performed Retriplicate in Denver at Buntport Theater in September 2015 and Formerly Known as “Goodnight, Courtney Love” at the North Boulder Recreation Center leisure swimming pool in February 2016. She is also enrolled in a four-year Feldenkrais practitioner training and offers public classes.


Clare Schweitzer (MHC ’12) completed her master’s degree at London Contemporary Dance School and has been researching her Screendance methodology as well as Screendance in cultural and geographical contexts. This research recently took her to Burgundy, France, where she participated in a workshop and conference on themes of death and mortality in Screendance. Currently, she is in residence at Lake Studios Berlin, where she is researching and developing her next Screendance work. Her sights are set on staying in Europe for the long term.


Tony Silva (UM ’94) has been making his living playing Spanish guitar, accompanying dance classes and scoring films, plays and modern dance. He composed original music for an ambitious dance installation by his wife, Michelle Marroquin (HC '94, SC MFA '10), titled Please Wear Appropriate Attire. The latest documentary he scored, Walking in Two Worlds, aired nationally on PBS for Earth Day.


Stephanie Simpson (SC MFA ’12), Stephen Ursprung (SC MFA ’12) and Rebecca Hite Teicheira (SC MFA ’12) are in their fourth season as co-founders and artistic directors of Reject Dance Theatre, a professional modern dance company based in NYC and Boston. They premiered three new works on April 28, 2016, at The Tank in NYC and will be producing a show at the Dance Complex in Cambridge, MA, in June 2016.


Sara Smith (HC ’95) performed Florence Rice Hitchcock and the Theory of the Soft Earth (choreography, sound, and video by Sara Smith, performance by Candice Salyers, SC MFA ’03, lighting by Kathy Couch, AC ’95) in October 2015 at the A.P.E Ltd. Gallery in Northampton, MA. She is currently accepting submissions for the eighth issue of KINEBAGO: A Tour of Movement Arts in New England.


Sabina Smith-Moreland (HC ’15) works as an intern at Velocity Dance Center in Seattle, where she is participating in dance intensives, working in the office, and serving as a RA in the dorms.

In the 10 years since Amy Softic (SC MFA ’06) received her master’s in Choreography and Performance, she has taught at Keene State College, Franklin Pierce University, the Brattleboro School of Dance and was co-director for the dance program at the Windham Regional Career Center in Brattleboro, VT. In May 2015, Amy graduated from Antioch University with a MA in Dance Movement Therapy and Counseling and is currently working as an outpatient therapist utilizing DMT to facilitate healing and personal growth for clients.


Rebecca Steinberg (UM ’14) moved to Nashville in August 2015 to join New Dialect under the direction of Banning Bouldin. This season the company performed new creations by Alex Ketley and Bryan Arias. In April, New Dialect premiered Banning’s Atlas Kid to sold-out audiences at OZ Arts Nashville.


Poorna Swami (MHC ’15) moved to NYC after graduation, and has been dancing and writing, among other things. In May, she presented a new piece as part of the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival.

Stephen Tracey-Ursprung (SC MFA ’12) is in his fourth year of co-directing Reject Dance Theatre with Rebecca Hite Teicheira (SC MFA ’12) and Stephanie Simpson (SC MFA ’12). Additionally, Stephen is the associate producer of performance at the Dance Complex in Cambridge, MA; he teaches Dance History, Composition, and Technique at Dean College and is the managing assistant for the American Dance Legacy Initiative in Providence, RI, touring with the organization as part of the Dancing Legacy Dance Company. Stephen joined Actors Equity this year for his performance in Oklahoma! at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI.


Jessica Treubig (UM ’08) most recently performed in Hainan, China, as a backup dancer for Lady Gaga tribute artist Renee Cole. She also toured nationally with 50 Shades! The Musical Parody. Jessica has appeared in many music videos, including Lady Gaga’s Marry the Night and Justin Timberlake’s Not a Bad Thing. She has been in commercials for Macy’s and Timex and was a hip-hop dancer in the movie While We’re Young.


Melissa Truelove (UM ’00) established the Dance Pointe in Greenwich, CT, in 2009. The 2016 international tour includes 10 dancers from the Dance Pointe who will travel for two weeks to Southern Germany and Switzerland, participate in a dance intensive in Konstanz, Germany, and perform to raise money for a school dedicated to children with special needs.


Mariana Valencia (HC ’06) premiered Originators with Elsa Brown, Lydia Okrent (HC ’06) and Kate Brandt at Abrons Art Center in NY, commissioned as part of ISSUE’s Artist-In-Residence Program; the choreography and lecture are shaped from the language of history and dance.


Christen Vanyur (UM ’12) is currently finishing her fourth season as a Celtics Dancer and her second season as the team’s captain. Her choreography has been performed by NBA, NFL and college dance teams across the nation.


Donna Joyce Viau (UM ’83) continues to share her passion for dance. She is currently choreographing for Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School and Annisquam Village Players, the oldest consecutively running community theater troupe in the country.


Yasuko Yokoshi (HC ’87) presented Zero One at Danspace Project in NYC in September 2015. Zero One was featured in the New York Times as one of the picks for the best dance of 2015.