TEACHING ARTISTS & FITNESS INSTRUCTORS
Bettina Montano • Kim Waterman • Tom Masters • Aimee Gelinas • Susan Quinn • Lindsey Berkowitz • Joanne Bockemuehl-Jackson • Kathy and David Crowe • Ryoko Kudo • Anna Masiero • Erin Naylor • Rick Shrum • Tom Truss • PJ Birriel • Kristine Waterman • Micheline Weiler • Ian Spencer Bell • Sayer Mansfield • Tarcisio Ramos Dos Santos • Kathleen Oliver • Ashley Harka • Jody Jones • Wendy Welch • Fiona Scruggs • Veronica Bone • Ngonda Badila • Mimi Rosenblatt • Lisa Darling • Isadora Wolfe • Joseph Poulson
Modern Dance Director
Bettina holds a BFA in Dance, Cum Laude, from Temple University.
In Philadelphia, she performed professionally with Philadelphia’s Sybil Dance Company, Artistic Director Eva Gholson, and Dance Conduit, Artistic Director Ann Vachon, for the reconstruction of Doris Humphrey’s “Dawn in New York.”
In the Berkshires, Bettina performed 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 and Louis Horst. Her early training continued under the direction of Truda Kashman, Martha Graham technique with Debra Zall, with various teaching artists at the Murray Louis and Alwin Nicolais Dance Lab 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 2005. Bettina has been teaching classes in modern dance for students of all ages and levels throughout her 25-year directorship of the organization. See REVIEW, PICS & VIDEO
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 more than 30 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
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 GELINAS, M.Ed.
World Music Program Director
Aimee Gelinas M.Ed is a musician and naturalist educator who has been performing and facilitating educational programs for over 25 years. She is a skilled percussionist and singer specializing in djembe, doun doun, conga, bongo, shekere and various percussion instruments. She co-founded and performs drumming and singing in the world music ensemble Gaia Roots (World Music/West African/Caribbean) and Trio Candela (Caribbean/Latin) and the rock band SIFER. She previously performed as a lead percussionist in the Cuban ensemble Iroko Nuevo for over 5 years. She teaches drumming throughout Western, MA and beyond and produces a yearly fundraiser event for Tamarack Hollow Nature & Cultural Center, the Berkshire Drum and Dance Fest and leads her student drum performance ensembles: The Berkshire and Valley Rhythm Keepers. She co-founded and directs the Tamarack Hollow Nature & Cultural Center in Windsor, MA a non-profit organization conserving 32 acres of boreal forest land that is dedicated to “Inspiring environmental and cultural awareness, appreciation and stewardship” by providing nature & drumming programs for all ages throughout Western MA and beyond. Aimee has traveled to West Africa, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico and throughout the US to perform and study percussion with master drummers including: Mamady Keita & Tam Tam Mandingue, Bolokada Conde, Namory Keita, Moussa Traore, Ismael Bangoura, M’Bemba Bangoura, Mague Sylla, Sidiki Sylla, Baros Gomis as well as Joe Platz, Raul “Lali” Gonzalez, Alexis Zayas, Pedrito Martinez, Titos Sompa, Frisner Augustin, master artists at the Conjunto Folkloriko in Havana and Los Munequitos de Matanzas and many more. She co-produced the 19-track CD Mother Drum by Gaia Roots featuring music from West Africa, the Caribbean and originals. You can reach Aimee at:
facebook.com/motherdrum (Gaia Roots)
Young Choreographers Program Director
Dance Making and Modern dance teaching artist, Pulse Performing Arts Program
Summer Program: Dance Intensive
Susan Quinn is a teacher, choreographer and performing artist. She is currently enjoying directing the Young Choreographers Initiative at Berkshire Pulse with a focus on Movement and Activism and how choreography shows up in our everyday lives. She co-founded and co-directed Choreo Collective for seven years, a laboratory for choreographers to engage in the creative process and produce new work in the Triangle area of North Carolina. She also developed the Choreographers’ Workshop Series to showcase and provide feedback for artists across NC through the North Carolina Dance Alliance. Her choreography has been produced in a variety of venues, including the American Dance Festival and Dixon Place. She directed the dance department at Cardinal Gibbons High School and has been a guest choreographer in high schools and colleges. She has studied composition with Donald McKayle, Marlies Yearby, Neil Greenberg, Faye Driscoll and David Dorfman. She studied technique privately with master teacher Sarah Neece and Alexander Technique with Anne-René Petrarca. Susan has also performed with many dance companies and choreographers, including Thread Dance Theater, HMK Dance, Sarah Daunt, Insurgo Stage Project, Sara Smith, Carol Finley/The Postcards Project, Isabel Gotzowsky, Stephanie Landouer, Caroline Williford, Beth Fath and Five Chick Posse Productions. (Photo: Skye Schmidt)
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
Intro to Flamenco
Joanne Bockemuehl-Jackson 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 has continued to dance and study the art of Flamenco for more than 20 years. Falling in love with Flamenco, Joanne went to Madrid to study at the traditional Flamenco School “Amor de Dios.” She is a Jacobs Pillow alumnus of the 2019 Flamenco and Spanish Dance program and was recently accepted to the Artist Development Program at Flamenco Vivo in New York City.
Joanne is the founder of the Flamenco Dance program at Berkshire Pulse where she has been introducing youth and adult students of all ages to the experience of Flamenco dance for more than six years. See REVIEW PICS & VIDEO
KATHY AND DAVID CROWE
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.
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)
Summer Program: Dance Intensive
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 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!
Summer Program: Rhythm Alive!
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. Having a Masters degree in neurobiology Rick has been a registered nurse from 2010 to present.
Intro to Dance
The Acting Body
Director of Summer Programs
Summer Programs instructor: Improv Acting With The Hat Factory, Dance Discovery, Dance Beyond Borders, Week for Boys, and Dance Intensive
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 is certified to teach the Alexander Technique, has a Masters of Fine Art in choreography from the University of Iowa, a Masters of Fine Art in Acting from the University of Texas and graduated from the College of Wooster with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance. In between all that he has been teaching for Flying Cloud Institute since the 90s, 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. Currently, he freelances in the Berkshires, has a podcast with his nephew called Ask You Gay Uncle, teaches the Alexander Technique from his home and most recently almost directed The Drowsy Chaperone at Mt Everett High School (the pandemic quarantine happened two weeks before the show was to open).
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!
Tap for Tinies
Move Your Story (Out of the Way)
Modern Level 2 – Dance Expressions
Summer Program: Rhythm Alive!, Dance Discovery
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!
Ballet 3-Intermediate I
Summer Program: Dance Intensive
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!
IAN SPENCER BELL
Summer Programs: Dance Discovery, A Week for Boys, Dance Intensive
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)
Sayer Mansfield is currently dancing with Compagnie Marie Chouinard in Montreal, Quebec. She holds a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Sayer worked full time with Pilobolus Dance Theater for 3 years and has performed with Compañía Sharon Fridman (Madrid, Spain), Boston Dance Theater and The Indah Walsh Dance Company. Sayer has been an adjunct faculty member and guest artist at Jacob’s Pillow, Phillips Academy Andover and Roger Williams University. Sayer has worked extensively across mediums including film, television, music videos and print. Sayer received her classical training from The Royal Academy of Dance, Boston Ballet and Joffrey Ballet and has studied at Laban in London, UK and The Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in Austria. More recently, Sayer has begun an independent investigation of performance, choreography, and creation – collaborating with inspiring artists of her generation, Sayer has presented work in New York City and The Berkshires.
TARCISIO RAMOS DOS SANTOS
Introduction to Capoeira
Dance Beyond Borders
A Week for Boys
Tarcisio is a Brazilian musician, writer, and Direct Support Professional. He’s been sharing his culture since the first year he arrived here in the USA and in the last 8 years Capoeira has been one of the Brazilian arts that he is the most excited to practice and share. He is proud to share with Berkshire Pulse this unique Brazilian full body expressive and fun art form using music, rhythm, movement and ornate with the Brazilian heritage.
Kathleen Oliver has been teaching dance and percussion at Buxton School since 1987. She has studied with Milford Graves (Bennington College) Dr. Evon Daniel (Smith College) and Sandra Burton (Williams College) and Marilyn and Sekou Sylla (Smith College). She has traveled and studied in Haiti, Cuba, and Senegal, West Africa. Kathleen continues her studies with master dancers and percussionists from West Africa, the Caribbean, and the U.S, including Youssouf Koumbassa, Kissima Diabate, Yalani Bangoura, Tacko Sissoko, Baba Richard Gonzalez, Moussa Traore, and Djeneba Sako.
Ashley Hartka holds a BALA from SUNY Purchase 1995 and an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder 2005. Ashley is happy to say she found her love of teaching dance early on with Flowering Child long before it became Berkshire Pulse. She has since taught dance to a wide variety of populations and classes, from teaching college students at the University of Colorado and at SUNY Albany, to teaching lower school students in NYC public schools through Arts in Education grants, technique classes at dance studios, as well as dance and movement exploration classes to high school students and the little ones at Hawthorne Valley School.
Aside from her love of teaching, she also loves the choreographic process, movement exploration and improvisation. She has enjoyed choreographing and performing in her own work as well as works by other great artists such as Trisha Brown, Martha Graham, Sondra Loring, Sarah Stackhouse, Kevin Wynn, Michelle Ellsworth and Gabe Masson, among others.
Ashley helped to create a dance collective that offered community classes and performed many site-specific and cross collaborative works. Additionally, she has been involved in a movement lab in Troy and was part of a BMC practice and an improvisational group at Bard College. She was involved in the Dance for Camera and videography movement, has been an avid dance photographer, and holds a certificate in graphic design and has dipped deeply into performing arts management and administration.
Ashley is a mother of two young boys and co-owner of a farm distillery where she manages and helps with all things administrative and bookish. She is thrilled to be bringing dance back into her life more fully and joining the faculty at Berkshire Pulse this year.
Pulse Marketing Consultant
Jody Jones has been practicing Pilates since 2003. As a dedicated long-distance runner, she found Pilates the perfect complement to her sport that brought her whole-body strength and amazing biomechanical awareness, enhancing her running life.
Jody began her instructor training at the world-renowned Kane School for Core Integration in Chelsea NYC in 2011, hoping to bring the benefits of Pilates to others in her community. She feels especially fulfilled by helping people with injuries and illness-related concerns to heal and grow through developing core strength and functional movement patterns. Jody’s continuing areas of studies include spinal and foot challenges and injuries.
In her free time, Jody loves to cook yummy vegan food, run lots of miles and spoil her dog, Janey.
Wendy Welch is happily a new resident of the Berkshires, having recently moved from Dallas. She has spent her 35-year career in the theater as an actor, director, coach and teacher.
She received her BFA in Acting from SMU, and did graduate studies there as well. She also studied at HB Studio when she was a young intern in NYC at Chelsea Theater. While living in NYC she and husband, singer/songwriter Willy Welch, and their band were regulars in the NYC folk circuit (Folk City, Bitter End,Speakeasy, West Bank Café) and around the country. Once settled in Dallas, Wendy returned to the theater and established a long career in most of the D/FW theaters and regionally, in roles from Margaret Johnson in ‘Light in the Piazza’, Sally Durant in ‘Follies’, Linda Loman in ‘Death of a Salesman’, Sonia in ‘Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike’, and Mrs. Bennet in Kate Hamill’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’, to name a few. She has been seen in many commercials, TV: ‘Murder Made Me Famous’, ‘Deadline Crime’, ‘Barney and Friends’, ‘SweetTornado’, Film: ‘Upstream Color’, ‘Occupy, Texas’, ‘Cyberdancing’, and the soon to be released internationally awarded documentary ‘Shatter the Silence’. Wendy has taught voice and coached privately for more than 25 years.
She taught Voice and Diction at SMU, Musical Theater and Acting at Richland College, and MusicalTheater/Performance/Audition Master Classes at SMU, OCU and USI, as well as in public professional settings. She has directed a number of musicals in teen camps and colleges. She has studied voice with Anne Jackson, Bruce Foote and Victoria Clark.
Fiona Scruggs is a 2019 summa cum laude graduate of Radford University in Dance Education. She holds a Virginia PreK-12 Professional Teaching License for Dance Arts in public schools. Fiona has received several fellowships and grants to conduct research in France and the USA on the life, career and legacy of Josephine Baker, and has presented at numerous regional conferences. She has trained at the Salzburg International Ballet Academy in Austria, Bates Dance Festival, and NextGeneration Ballet, and has served on the dance staff of the Tennessee Governor’s School for theArts and Radford University Ballet Youth for three years. Fiona is currently working at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival as the School Programs Coordinator.
Born in Tübingen, Germany, Fiona moved to the USA as a child and has since continued dancing.She advocates and shares her passion for the arts’ abilities to influence positive changes in people’s lives through research, education, choreography, and performance. Fiona is excited to be a part of the Pulse community and share her love of dance in the Berkshires. To see more of Fiona’s work, visit fionascruggs.com
Veronica Bone is a Pittsfield-based choreographer, teacher, and performer. After achieving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance at Indiana University, Veronica moved to Western Massachusetts to work at Jacobs Pillow. She then worked at Berkshire Theatre Group as the Fundraising and Outreach Associate. While there, Veronica served as an artistic associate for the Actor Intern Program. She taught daily dance classes and choreographed site-specific performances. She now teaches at Berkshire Pulse and works on artistic projects with local dance artists.
Ngonda Badila aka Lady Moon is a performing artist by night, and a youth educator/teaching artist by day. Founder of Lady Moon & The Eclipse; NY based multicultural ensemble of performing and recording artist who produce multimedia live performance and uplifting soul conscious music called “Cosmic Soul.” A Parisian born Congolese American producer who started her venture in the arts as a dancer for her parents, Elombe and Pamela Badila founders and leaders of Diata-Diata International Folkloric Theater, a family based performing arts company that focuses on traditional dance and stories of the African culture.
From age 6 Ngonda began dancing the traditional dance and singing traditional songs of the Congo, which continues to inspire and motivate her to this day. As a band leader for Lady Moon & The Eclipse, she has successfully gained popularity along the east coast buy touring since 2016 to present consecutively for every Eclipse Season, and performing extensively in NYC and Vermont, opening for world renowned acts such as Kamasi Washington, Tank & The Bangas, Maxi Priest, Amanda Palmer, and ThunderCat, with a feature of an Eclipse Season Concert in the NY Times! Winner of NYSCA/DEC/ Greene County Council on the Arts, 2019 Individual Artist Award
Barre, Abs & Butts
Mimi’s early career (pre-children) included practicing law, nonprofit arts administration and film and television production in San Francisco. While living in the Bay Area, Mimi studied ballet, modern dance, Afro-jazz, American show jazz, contact improvisation and tap. She performed with the Gloria Unti Modern Dance group for several years.
After moving to Austin, Texas in 1989, Mimi became a nationally certified ACE Aerobics Instructor and Personal Trainer. Mimi combined her dance experience with her knowledge of body mechanics to create a unique style of aerobic dance. After two years of intensive Iyengar yoga training, Mimi opened her own yoga studio in 1995. Mimi continued to teach in large fitness clubs throughout Austin and also maintained a vibrant personal training business. Mimi has taught every possible format of land aerobics including cardio-funk, cardio-yoga, step, Zumba, cardio-sculpt and circuit training. Mimi believes that it is imperative to keep growing and learning, and to that end she has received certifications in Indoor Cycling (Spinning), Advanced Mat Pilates, Zumba and Barre since moving to the Berkshires in 2004.
Locally, Mimi has taught fitness classes, yoga, Pilates and Zumba at Berkshire South Community Center, Simon’s Rock, Cranwell Resort, Berkshire Functional Fitness, Berkshire Pulse and Moving Arts Exchange. Mimi also wrote and produced her own weekly radio show,” Mimi’s Morning Mojo” for WSBS.
Mimi is co-founder and managing partner of CATWALK Boutique which benefits Berkshire Humane Society, and she also sits on the Advisory Board of PURRADISE. Mimi lives in Great Barrington with her lovely husband Mark Lefenfeld and 2 Siamese cats (both rescues). Mimi fervently believes that exercise is the “fountain of youth” and plans to just keep moving.
Mimi is thrilled to be returning to Berkshire Pulse and looks forward to working with Bettina Montano and her fabulous teaching staff.
Vinyasa Yoga Flow (open level)
Lisa Darling is a Kripalu-certified 200-hour Vinyasa yoga teacher. She is a long-time yoga enthusiast who has been practicing yoga since 1999. She is very passionate about yoga; her styles include traditional yoga, Hot Power Yoga (Baptiste yoga), Vinyasa yoga, Hatha yoga and Kriya yoga.
Exploring other types of yoga and meditation, as her practice grew deeper, Lisa then started practicing Bikram Hot Yoga. She realized how healing this type of yoga is for the spine and nervous system. Being an athlete for outdoor sports, yoga has really helped balance life for Lisa. She continues to grow her yoga practice, and hopes to share this love of yoga to her students.
Lisa also currently teaches SUP Yoga (Stand-Up Paddleboard Yoga) in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. She is a ski instructor in the winter, as well as a tennis coach in the summer. After working in the business world for many years with her dedicated yoga practice, Lisa has found much gratification as a teacher. Lisa is an artist with a contemporary style and uses nature in her art work.
Guest Teacher: Contemporary
Isadora Wolfe is from Lowell, Massachusetts. She is the Resident Director of Punchdrunk’s New York City production of Sleep No More, and has been a cast member since 2011. She was a founding member of johannes wieland and danced under Wieland’s direction at Staatstheater Kassel (Germany) in 2007, 2014 and 2015. Isadora has performed nationally and internationally with choreographers such as Gerald Casel, Martha Clarke (Garden of Earthly Delights and Angel Reapers original cast), Mark Dendy, Fiona Marcotty, Neta Pulvermacher, Tami Stronach and Muna Tseng. Her theater credits include the acclaimed production of The Hairy Ape (dir. Richard Jones, Park Avenue Armory) and Peter Pan (Peter, Berkshire Theatre Group). Isadora has been a guest teacher, movement director and rehearsal director at various universities and festivals, and is currently adjunct faculty at The Juilliard School.