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Teaching Artists

 BERKSHIRE PULSE TEACHING ARTISTS

Bettina MontanoKim WatermanTom MastersAimee Gelinas • Susan Quinn

Lindsey Berkowitz • Joanne Bockemuehl-Jackson • Kathy and David Crowe • Sunie Gorey • Cindy Gutter • Ryoko Kudo • Kendra Lassor • Anna Masiero • Erin Naylor • Rick Shrum • Tom Truss • PJ BirrielLindsey BelcherKristine Waterman • Micheline Weiler • Sarah Beth Percival • Lindsey Jacquier • Ian Spencer Bell


GUEST TEACHING ARTISTS

Sayer MansfieldShawn AhernSophie Alpern


BETTINA MONTANO
Founder/Artistic Director
Modern Dance Director
Jazz

Bettina holds a BFA in Dance, Cum Laude, from Temple University. She has performed professionally with Philadelphia’s Sybil Dance Company, Artistic Director Eva Gholson, and Dance Conduit, Artistic Director Ann Vachon, with choreographer Dawn Lane, Artistic Director Community Access to the Arts, as an independent choreographer and as a member of choreographer/film maker Laurie McLeod’s Victory Girl Productions with whom she performed extensively throughout the Berkshires, New York, and abroad. Bettina’s dance training began with her mother Christa Montano, a student of renowned dancers Mary Wigman, Herald Kreuzberg, Martha Graham, José Limón, Alwin Nicolais, Murray Louis, and Louis Horst. Her early training continued under the direction of Truda Kashman, Debra Zall and later with Educators/Choreographers Eva Gholson, Ann Vachon, Hellmut Gottschild and Marilyn Middleton Sylla. Bettina’s passionate belief in accessible dance education led her to teaching and inspired the creation of The Flowering Child Performing Arts Program in 1995 which ultimately evolved into Berkshire Pulse in 2003. Bettina has been teaching classes in modern dance for students of all ages and levels throughout her 20 year directorship of the organization. See REVIEW, PICS & VIDEO


KIM-WATERMAN1

KIM WATERMAN
Founding Faculty
World Music and Dance Program Director
In-School Program Coordinator

Kim has studied a variety of dance styles and has come to love the traditional dances of Africa. She has been studying, teaching, performing and sharing these dances with children and adults for over twenty years. Kim holds a Masters Degree in Education and her extensive classroom teaching experience makes her dance classes accessible to students of all levels. In addition to the Pulse, she currently teaches throughout the Berkshire public school system in grant funded programs, is a faculty artist at IS183 and program coordinator for parent/child education at CHP. She has been working with Berkshire Pulse since its inception as the Flowering Child Performing Arts Program in 1996.  See REVIEW, PICS & VIDEO


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TOM MASTERS
Dance for Boys Program Director
Musical Theatre Dance Program Director

Tom Masters holds an MS in Special Education from The City College of New York and a BS in elementary education with a concentration in dance and movement for elementary school children. As a performer he has danced with The Park Avenue Dance Company in Rochester, NY, The Alvin Ailey Student Ensemble in New York City, and with various musical theatre productions both nationally and internationally. He has taught dance and creative movement since 1990. Most recently he was on staff at the Center for Kinesthetic Movement in NYC as an educational tutor using dance to teach literacy, and using movement to increase the attention span of students with ADHD. Tom has been with Berkshire Pulse since 2009 teaching dance for boys, Humphrey-Weidman repertory, tap, and Broadway jazz. See REVIEW, PICS & VIDEO


AIMEE

AIMEE GELINAS, M.Ed.
Founding Faculty
World Music Program Director

Aimee Gelinas M.Ed is a musician and environmental educator who has been performing, teaching, facilitating, and developing educational programs for more than 20 years. She co-founded and performs in the all-woman world music drumming and vocal ensemble Gaia Roots, the Berkshire based original rock band Sifer and the Latin group, Trio Candela. She co-founded and directs a non-profit and woodland preserve in Windsor, MA called the Tamarack Hollow Nature & Cultural Center that “Inspires environmental and cultural awareness, appreciation and stewardship” by providing year-round drumming and nature programs for all ages. She has studied drumming and singing extensively throughout the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico), Mexico, West Africa and the U.S. including at the renowned Conjunto Folklorico drum school in Havana and with notable teachers Joe Platz (US), Mamady Keita (Tam Tam Mandingue), Bolokada Conde, Namory Keita, Mangue Sylla and Moussa Traore (West Africa), Raul “Lali” Gonzalez, Alexis Zayas, Los Munequitos de Matanzas and Lourdes Tamayo (Cuba) and many more! She co-produced her ensemble Gaia Roots CD entitled Mother Drum as well as the Afro-Caribbean Groove Dance instructional DVD with Live Drumming. Aimee has been teaching for Berkshire Pulse since its inception as the Flowering Child Performing Arts Program in 1996. Visit her websites at: www.sifer.net, www.gaiaroots.comwww.tamarackhollow.com, www.tamarackhollownatureandculturalcenter.org.


SUSAN

SUSAN QUINN
Modern & Ballet Foundations
Dance Making: Dance Discovery Program

Susan Quinn loves to dance! To foster the development of choreographers in the Triangle area of North Carolina, she co-founded Choreo Collective, a laboratory for choreographers to engage in the creative process and produce new work; she co-directed the group for seven years. She also developed the Choreographers’ Workshop Series to showcase artists across North Carolina and provide them with feedback. Her work has been produced in a variety of venues in New York and North Carolina, including the American Dance Festival. She collaborated with and choreographed Arrow In for director Nina Morrison as part of the Hot! Festival at Dixon Place in NYC. She directed the dance department at Cardinal Gibbons High School, and has been a guest choreographer in high schools and colleges. She has been fortunate enough to study composition with Donald McKayle, Marlies Yearby, Neil Greenberg, Faye Driscoll and David Dorfman. She studied privately with master teacher Sarah Neece and Alexander Technique with Anne-René Petrarca. Susan has also performed with many dance companies and choreographers, including HMK Dance, Thread Dance Theater, Sarah Daunt, Insurgo Stage Project, Sara Smith, Carol Finley/The Postcards Project, Isabel Gotzowsky, Stephanie Landouer, Caroline Williford and Five Chick Posse Productions. She currently dances for choreographer Beth Fath.


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LINDSEY BERKOWITZ
Zumba & Zumbini

Lindsey Berkowitz began ballet classes at 3 years old and hasn’t been able to stay away from dance since. She discovered her true love for dance through the Flowering Child Performing Arts Program at age 9, and has been exploring world music and dance rhythms through Berkshire Pulse since age 13. Lindsey’s other passion is for science and she has been teaching with Flying Cloud Institute for 6 years teaching children of all ages. Lindsey is a licensed Zumba and Zumbini instructor, and has studied childhood development. She loves teaching this fun, accessible and energizing form of dance fitness, blending Latin, pop, Bollywood and belly dance for a class that is suitable for all ages and skill levels. She is motivated by her passion for dance and love for her community. See REVIEW, PICS & VIDEO


JOANNE BOCKEMUEHL-JACKSON
Flamenco
Flamenco: Dance Discovery Program

Joanne Bockemuehl-Jackson recently immigrated to the Berkshires, was born in Germany, where she began her flamenco dance studies at the age of 19. Since then, while working as a nurse and as a cranio sacral therapist, she danced and studied Flamenco. Falling in love with Flamenco, she went to Madrid to study at the traditional Flamenco School “Amor de Dios”. She has taken classes with Ciro, Camela Greco, Tomas de Madrid. She continued to study with Regina Marinez, Amparo de Triana, Antinea, Maria del Mar, Manuel Sancez, Michela Lama, Rafaela Stern and took Workshops in Tanzhause NRW. See REVIEW PICS & VIDEO

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Kathy and David Crowe Berkshire Tai Chi

KATHY AND DAVID CROWE
Tai Chi

Berkshire Tai Chi is a traditional, lineage school. Sifu David Crowe and Sifu Kathy Crowe, with 18 years experience, are certified lineage tai chi and qi gong instructors under the Kuoshu Federation of the Republic of China. They trained under Master Eric Sbarge, a member of the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame, at The Hall of the Peaceful Dragon In Charlotte, NC. Outside of teaching tai chi, Sifus David and Kathy lead busy and creative lives. Sifu David is a composer and teaching artist, whose works have been performed across the country. Read more and hear samples of his music at www.DavidCroweMusic.com. Sifu Kathy is a web and graphic designer, including the design of websites, logos, brochures, etc. You can see samples of her work at www.KathyCrowe.com.


SUNIE GOREY
Yoga

Sunie is a Kripalu trained Yoga Teacher. Her compassion and energy create a sense of focus and ease during class. She has been teaching for 10+ years throughout Cape Cod, CT & NYC. Sunie is well seasoned in most styles of Yoga with a strong understanding of the physical body. She is responsible for launching beginners workshops at several yoga studios through the Northeast. Sunie is thrilled to make her home the Berkshires where she continues her practice.[/column]


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CINDY GUTTER
Music

Cindy was raised in Manhattan and graduated from the High School of Music and Art. She received her undergraduate and masters degree from Boston University with a major in music education. After teaching music in Bedford, Massachusetts she moved back to Manhattan and worked for a film and commercial production company. She owned a successful outerwear business for twenty years. Since moving to the Berkshires twelve years ago she has never looked back. After making the Berkshires her home she has taught music regularly, as a vocal coach, choral conductor, piano accompanist, and music director. She has music directed the Monument Mountain High School musicals for the past five years along with other musicals regionally. It’s pure joy to be part of the Pulse family again!


RYOKO KUDO
Modern, Limón Technique, Ballet, & Pilates

Ryoko Kudo MFA, has worked with the Limón Dance Company since 2001 and has had the privilege to dance works by world-renowned choreographers such as Graham, Taylor, Lubovich, Kylian, Linke, Koner, McKayle, multiple works by Limón and Humphrey. Kudo is also an aerialist with Airealistic and has performed at the Beijing Olympics, Hangzhou, China, Bregenz Opera, and in the show Breaking Surface in NYC. She teaches and restages Limón works and has taught at various institutions such as Marymount Manhattan College, Canadian Children’s Dance Theater (Canada), Congresso Brasileiro de Dance Moderna (Brazil), Arte Centro (Guatemala), Bratislava Academy of Dance (Slovakia), ArtEz (Holland), Puglia Talenti (Italy), Casa de la Cultura (Mexico), and schools in the U.S. such as SUNY Purchase, Point Park College, Bryn Mawr, Mont Clair, University of the Arts, Drexel University. Kudo is also a certified Pilates instructor (read more…) since 2008. Kudo received her training from Emerson College, The Boston Conservatory, Ailey School, Graham School, Limón Institute, and Kane School of Core Integration.

Ryoko’s classes explore movement based on the principles of the Limón Technique, which incorporates the effect of gravity and use of breath as an initiation of movement. We explore coordinating breath and weight in terms of falling, recovering, and suspending. The classes also address use of space, time and energy with clear intention and musicality for greater dynamic range of movement and richer coloring of human expression.

(photo credit: Nilaya Sabni)


KENDRA LASSOR
Ballet

Kendra began her formal dance training at age four at the Cantarella School of Dance in Pittsfield, MA. She studied the Cechetti method of ballet as well as contemporary dance. Prior to graduating from the school at age eighteen, she was a professional member of the parent company of the school, The Albany Berkshire Ballet, and for several years toured all over New England. Her brief professional career was highlighted by dancing the principal role of the “the Snow Queen” in the company’s annual production of the Nutcracker. She also attended the Pennsylvania Ballet’s School of Dance in Philadelphia at the age of sixteen.

After taking a hiatus from dance and relocating to the southern Berkshires in 2005, Kendra discovered the newly formed Berkshire Pulse in Housatonic, MA. She began studying with Bettina Montano and Ruby Aver and rediscovered her joy of dancing! She has been dancing there for the past twelve years and has appeared in numerous performances at the annual Gala as well as the “Made in the Berkshires Festival.” Aside from dancing, she has also been a student of yoga since 2006 and in 2015 received her 200+ hour Ashaya YogaTeacher’s Certification.

Kendra lives in the Berkshires with her husband and two children. When she is not dancing, she is the office manager at Nature Works Land Care Inc., the landscape company of which she and her husband are owners.


ANNA MASIERO
Hip Hop/Contemporary
Hip Hop/Contemporary: Dance Intensive program

Anna began her dance training at Cantarella School of Dance as well as Studio One in the Berkshires. In college she studied Ballet Pedogogy at the Hartt School, furthered her dance education at Bates College and Duke University and completed her undergraduate work at UMass Amherst, where she also served as captain of the Dance Team.

Working with children and teens has been Anna’s passion since 2010. She taught at Art OMI for three consecutive summers, guiding children in their discovery of interdisciplinary arts. With her students, Anna explored combining dance with one and two-dimensional art forms while collaborating with visiting international artists.

Anna has spent time teaching in California at low income schools as well as serving as an assistant to the Directors of the non-profit Discovery Arts Organization by bringing the healing power of the arts to children with cancer and blood disorders.

Through her twenty years of studying and performing dance, Hip Hop is where Anna found her nitch. Her goal as a teacher is to let her students find their self expression through the open doors of Hip Hop as a diverse and contemporary art form.


Erin

ERIN NAYLOR
Yoga

Erin has been an avid dancer since she could walk. Throughout her youth she studied ballet, Modern, and Jazz as well as Hip Hop and Afro-Caribbean, being one of the first graduates of the Flower Child Performing Arts Program that became Berkshire Pulse. As a young adult she began teaching gymnastics and ballet to children at Berkshire South Regional Community Center and Berkshire Country Day School. In 2013 and 2014 Erin studied and completed Ashaya Yoga Teacher Training with Todd Norian, and in 2017 she completed Zumba Teacher Training. Erin enjoys helping people become better versions of themselves through all kinds of movement!


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RICK SHRUM
World Music

Rick Schrum has been drumming since age 3 when his dad (also a drummer ) gave him his first drumsticks and began teaching him classical percussion. Rick played in school orchestras, concerts stage bands,drum and bugle ensembles,percussion ensembles and rock bands . He credits Arthur Hull, from Santa Cruz, as his primary teacher of African drumming. He began studying Afro-Cuban drumming in his 20s and has been playing and teaching this art for the last 30 years. In the 90s Rick played for Dance Kinetics (now called yoga dance ) at Kripalu. Having been a Waldorf teacher for almost 20 years Rick has taught drumming to all of his classes incorporating rhythm into the learning process. He has played for Afro-Caribbean dance classes at the Berkshire Pulse for the last six years . Rick has led drum circles at Mountainside drug alcohol rehab center for the past year . Having a Masters degree in neurobiology Rick has been a registered nurse from 2010 to present.


TOM TRUSS
Intro to Dance
Director: Rhythm Alive! Program
Rhythm and Tap: Rhythm Alive! Program

Tom Truss is a performing artist and educator who has had a thirty year career as a dancer, actor, choreographer and director. Tom has created with and taught all ages and abilities from children, firefighters, and inmates to teens, older adults, and professional actors and dancers. He has been teaching for Flying Cloud Institute since the 90’s, toured with the Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange for four years, had his own company for ten years, was a community artist at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival for five years (with residencies at the majority of south county Berkshire schools) and taught at American Dance Festival for seven years. Along with obtaining an MFA in dance from the University of Iowa, he received his MFA in Acting from the University of Texas and graduated from the College of Wooster with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance. Currently, he teaches for Flying Cloud Institute, has a private practice as an Alexander Technique teacher and most recently choreographed the spring musical at Monument Mountain High School.


PJ BIRRIEL
Zumba 

Born with a passion for dance and performing arts, Puerto Rico Native PJ (Placido) Birriel is delighted to bring his “Disco Lights Special Needs Teens and Friends Zumba Class” experience to Pulse! A semi-retired professional dancer, choreographer, performer, sculptor, drag personality, personal trainer and certified Zumba instructor, PJ has spent over 30 years touring and performing all over the United States and Europe.  PJ discovered his true love for Latin rhythms while headlining for three years as one of the main dancers of the touring company of “TUTTI-FRUTTI The Afro-Caribbean Carnival Extravaganza”.

At home in NYC and the Berkshires, PJ continues to teach, perform, headline and produce shows and live events, including being the on stage host and MC of the Festival Latino of the Berkshires in Lee for the last six years. In NYC PJ is a proud vocal advocate for the LGBT community and a regular host/mc and performer at various clubs, cabarets and nightlife event venues across the city. When not making people dance and laugh as a crazed Zumba instructor, PJ can be found balancing rocks at a river near you and creating open-air art exhibitions. PJ’s classes welcome all skill levels and are open to the dreamer in everyone. Leave your inhibitions at the door and let’s have fun!


LINDSEY BELCHER
Journey Dance 

Lindsey has a graduate degree in Liberal Arts and has always been fascinated by the application of the creative arts and their history. The particular study of dance has taken eminence for over ten years; she has practiced the varied dances of Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, and most particularly Modern. Her love of dance and the arts have taken on a healing aspect most recently after her certification in JourneyDance by Toni Bergins at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Ayurveda. She feels most called to help others find their personal path of healing through the expression of dance and wishes to be a small part of cultivating a local community rich in arts.


KRISTINE WATERMAN
Creative Dance/Pre-Ballet
Modern Level 2 – Dance Expressions

Kristine has been teaching dance and theater arts for over 20 years in various settings, for both children and adults. She served as the Head of the Dance Department and Artistic Director at Berkshire School in Sheffield Ma. and piloted a new dance program at Miss Halls School in Pittsfield, MA.
Kristine also teaches dance and drama in grant-funded residencies, choreographs for musical theater productions and teaches after-school enrichment programs throughout the Berkshires. As a preschool teacher, Kristine has designed and taught a creative arts program, in NYC and the Berkshires, for kindergarten and preschool age children. She taught dance and theater, and was director of a dance troupe, for young adults with mental and physical disabilities in New York State.  Kristine has performed both regionally and nationally and presently performs locally throughout the Berkshires. Kristine Waterman holds a B.A. in Theater and Dance from the City University of New York and graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC. Kristine is excited about being a returning teaching artist at Pulse!


MICHELINE WEILER
Ballet
Ballet 3-Intermediate I
Ballet 3-Pointe/Variations

Ballet was Micheline’s first love and was the early focus of her training. She studied Vagonova method and trained with the Sacramento Ballet in California, and later with the Washington Ballet in D.C.  She also had the opportunity of brief intensive studies with the San Francisco Ballet, Hartford Ballet, and Boston Ballet companies.  Micheline had the privilege of performing in countless productions – in the corps, as a featured dancer, and as a solo artist.  She later switched her focus to the Cecchetti method, while also learning more of jazz, contemporary, tap, hip-hop, and even some ballroom styles. Micheline had always been a singer and began pursuing theatre as well. She then received her BFA in musical theatre from Syracuse University and moved to New York City with her husband, to pursue a career as a performing artist.

As Micheline began teaching ballet, she discovered that she appreciated both the opportunity to inspire young beginners, as well as a real passion and gift for developing more advanced dancers into artists. In 2009 she became certified with the state of Massachusetts to teach both theatre and dance in the school system. She then took the opportunity to choreograph high school musicals – to continue to work with young artists on the cusp of their careers.

Although Micheline’s life as a dancer has taken a back seat for the last several years as she became a mother to her two beautiful daughters, she has continued as a teacher, choreographer, and mentor. Micheline is thrilled now to be making a return to her first love and teaching ballet for the Pulse!

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SARAH BETH PERCIVAL
Ballet 3-Intermediate II/Advanced

Sarah Beth Percival is a dance artist who fled Brooklyn for the Berkshires in 2014. She has taught ballet classes in the Berkshires and at her hometown studio in Maryland and currently teaches Pilates and movement at her studio in Great Barrington.

She received her BFA from North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied classical ballet, Cunningham technique, and Limon. She has performed extensively in New York City at Sculpture Center NYC, Danspace Project, Issue Project Room, The Whitney Museum, Moma PS1, and Performance Space 122. In Europe and Asia, Sarah has performed at Theatre de L’Usine in Geneva, L’atelier de Paris/CDCN, and at Rockbund Museum in Shanghai. Sarah attended P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels and was an Impulstanz DanceWEB Europe scholarship recipient.

Sarah’s teaching style is rooted in classical ballet and incorporates concepts from Cunningham, modern, and European contemporary dance. She believes that dance is a portal to a deeper sense of self and understanding of the self in relationship to the world. By committing oneself to rigorous dance training, confidence is built and transformation can be achieved.


LINDSEY JACQUIER

Lindsey Jacquier has been dancing since the age of three. In her early training Lindsey attended The Olga Dunn School of Dance, The Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory for the Arts, and finally Berkshire Pulse where she studied extensively with Bettina Montano and Ruby Aver before graduating from the Pulse Performing Arts Program in 2014. Since then, Lindsey has maintained her connection to Pulse by serving as the Level 1 Ballet Teacher and summer counselor for the Dance Discovery Program in 2015 and as intermittent front desk receptionist, back stage manager and, of course, dancer.

In the spring of 2018, Lindsey graduated from Wheaton College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Business and Management, summa cum laude. While at Wheaton, she danced with the Wheaton College Dance Company for four years, training with Andrea Taylor Blenis and Leticia Guerrero. During her senior year, she served as captain of the company and worked closely with the Artistic Director and Wheaton’s Director of Dance to lead the group. In addition, she choreographed two group pieces that were performed in the company’s end of the year concert. Upon her graduation, Lindsey received the Theatre and Dance Studies Award in dance. She now works full time as the Chorister Services Director at Berkshire Choral International.


IAN SPENCER BELL
Modern
Ballet: Dance Discovery Program
Ballet, Dance Making, Modern: Dance Intensive Program

Ian Spencer Bell is a dancer and poet combining the two in performance. He has danced his solo works at the Poetry Foundation and the Queens Museum and received grants and fellowships from Jacob’s Pillow, Lambda Literary, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Bell trained at North Carolina School of the Arts, School of American Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and NYU’s MFA in poetry program. ianspencerbell.com See Ian perform solo at Jacob’s Pillow for a special Weekend Out performance on August 5! (Photo: Christopher Duggan)


 

 GUEST TEACHING ARTISTS


 


SAYER MANSFIELD
Contemporary, Ballet
Modern: Dance Discovery Program
Contemporary, Modern, Ballet: Dance Intensive Program

Sayer Mansfield holds a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Upon graduation, she moved out of NYC to join Pilobolus Dance Theater and their home in the woods of Northwest Connecticut. Sayer has toured the world with Pilobolus Dance Theater. She has performed over 25 pieces of Pilobolus repertory and been involved in the creation of five new works for the company, including two evening length pieces. Beyond Pilobolus, Sayer has been a member of the Indah Walsh Dance Company and has performed the works of Crystal Pite, Mark Morris and Jose Limon. Sayer has been featured on NBC’s hit TV show “I Can do That”, seen in the music videos of musical artists G.E.M, WOLFFE, and Zolita, and found in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Bo Gehring’s award winning video portrait series “America Now.” She received her classical training from The Royal Academy of Dance, Boston Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. Sayer has been an adjunct faculty member for the dance department at The Kent School in Kent, CT since 2014. She has taught master classes with Pilobolus in studios, schools and universities all around the world. Sayer has been a guest artist in residence and choreographer for Phillips Academy Andover and Roger Williams University. More recently, Sayer has begun an independent investigation of choreography and creation. Collaborating with inspiring artists of her generation, Sayer has presented her work in The Berkshires and NYC. Sayer is delighted to be back in the Berkshires for the summer season after spending the past 8 months freelancing in Europe.


SHAWN AHERN Modern

Shawn Fitzgerald Ahern grew up in Dublin, New Hampshire. He made his dancing debut at age three, enthusiastically jumping around on the living room couch in his tighty-whiteys to the sound of the B-52s. Since, he has studied in Austria and in the Granite State and graduated magna cum laude from Keene State College as a theatre and dance major under the mentorship of William Seigh. In 2010 Shawn joined Pilobolus Dance Theatre where he created, performed and taught with the company full time until 2017, serving as dance captain to the main company 2014-2017. Shawn has had the pleasure of dancing and teaching at institutions across four continents and has created dance works for film and stage with Pilobolus, Sidi Larbi Cherkauoi, OK Go, Penn and Teller and M.I.T. Distributed Robotics Laboratory, among others.[/column]


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SOPHIE ALPERN
Ballet Summer Workshops
Ballet: Dance Intensive Program

Sophie Alpern, a native New Yorker, has been dancing since age five. She trained at the School of American Ballet, Steps on Broadway, North Carolina School of the Arts, Houston Ballet Academy, and the Royal Ballet School. While at SAB, she performed with New York City Ballet in The Nutcracker, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, and Circus Polka.
Sophie holds a Masters degree in Dance Education with a concentration in ABT Ballet Pedagogy from New York University, and is an ABT® Certified Teacher in PrePrimary through Level Seven and Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College with honors in Sociology, and is also a graduate of The Brearley School in NYC. Sophie danced leading roles with the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater for four years, culminating in the principal role in Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie. She has worked in the Education Department at American Ballet Theater, taught open ballet classes for faculty and students at Vassar, and helped bring dance to underprivileged children across the world, through Ballet Tech, Ballet Ambassadors, and the Village of Hope in Ghana.
Sophie has combined her dance career with ongoing academic pursuits. She is the author of a sociological study entitled “The Perception and Role of Dance and Classical Ballet in the Liberal Arts Academy,” and has published an article in Dance Spirit Magazine called “Best of Both Worlds: Balancing Dance and Academics.” Sophie currently teaches in NYC at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre, and at American Youth Dance Theater.


FOUNDING FACULTY


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CHRISTA MONTANO
Founding Faculty

Christa began her dance studies in Germany with Suzanne Kabitz, former assistant of Rudolf Von Laban. She continued her studies in Germany with Modern Dance innovators Mary Wigman and Herald Kreuzberg, and in the USA with Martha Graham at the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance in New York City, as well as with other renowned choreographers/educators such as José Limón, Alwin Nicolais, Murray Louis, and Louis Horst. In 1962, Christa established a Modern Dance Department in a private high school in Windsor, CT. For many years, she taught Modern dance for students of the now Oxford Kingswood High School, as well as Creative Dance for children and adults throughout Hartford, CT, and NY. Christa is a founding faculty member, now in her late 80’s, she enjoys participating in the morning modern classes at Berkshire Pulse.


Sereena

RUBY AVER

Founding Faculty

Ruby Aver passes on the highest standards of classical ballet which she fully absorbed through my training and performing internationally. I applaud her for her commitment to the art of ballet. “- Master Teacher David Howard

Ruby served as Associate Director and Ballet Director for the Berkshire Pulse Performing Arts Program from 2005-2017. Her extensive contributions included curriculum development, establishing policies and guidelines essential to interdisciplinary dance training for youth and teens, and mentoring of teaching artists throughout her tenure.

Ruby’s primary ballet instructor Ed Parish was trained by Bronislava Nijinska. Ruby was awarded a full talent scholarship to the Harkness House for Ballet Arts by master teacher David Howard, where she went on to apprentice with the Harkness Ballet Company. She performed as a soloist with the Chicago Ballet Company and Ballet de Caracas. She was a principal dancer for Het Scapino Ballet of the Netherlands, where ‘Firebird ‘ was set on her by choreographer Job Sanders.

In addition to classical ballet Ruby has performed contemporary ballet by Hans van Manen and Nils Christie, Jazz choreography by Matt Mattox and dance theater work by company members from Pina Bausch Wuppertaal Tanzteater. Ruby has taught for Bard College at Simon’s Rock since 2004 and guest teaches for The Florida Ballet and Brooklyn Ballet.