BERKSHIRE PULSE TEACHING ARTISTS
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
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
Summer Program: Dance Beyond Borders, Dance Discovery
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
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.
SUMMER TEACHING ARTISTS
Kristine Waterman • Rick Shrum • Caitlin Peeler • Pamela Badila
Improv Acting with the Hat Factory:
Emma Dweck • Dave Edson • Tom Truss
Kristine Waterman • Ian Spencer Bell • Tom Truss • Sara Kiesel • Jill Signer
Dance Beyond Borders:
Tom Truss • Joanne Bockemuehl-Jackson • Caitlin Peeler • Pamela Badila • Tarcisio Ramos dos Santos • Maggie McRae
Musical Theatre Intensive:
Lauren Ambrose • Donna Bullock • Nicholas Miscusi • Laura Standley • Tom Truss • Ilana Ransom Toeplitz
A Week for Boys:
Ian Spencer Bell • Tom Truss • Tarcisio Ramos dos Santos
Ian Spencer Bell • Nicholas Miscusi • Tom Truss • Susan Quinn • Micheline Weiler • Anna Masiero • Jill Signer • Joanne Bockemuehl-Jackson • Leighann Kowalsky • Fern Katz
Dance Beyond Borders
Pamela Jackson Badila received a Bachelor of Science in Education and Creative Art at the University of Old Westbury in 1977. She taught African Folklore at Nassau Community College professionally for over seven years. In 1981 she went to tour the Ivory Coast with Les Guirivoires and visited Paris on an invitation from Le Grand Ballet d’Afrique Noir. She met Andre in Paris and subsequently joined the infamous Ballet Kodia. Pamela currently lives in Hudson NY where she continues teaching in the Arts.
Caitlin Peeler’s interest in dance sparked after taking her first hip hop class in Dalton, MA at age 13 and has since grown into her greatest passion. She graduated from Dean College with her Bachelor of the Arts in Dance Studies in the Spring of 2017. Throughout her years of dancing, she has expanded her experience through different technical styles, such as ballet, modern, contemporary, and jazz, while also continuing with hip hop. She is currently dancing with two dance companies, Evolve Dynamicz and The Expressive Movement! She moved to South Boston in September 2017.
Improv Acting with The Hat Factory
Emma Dweck is a performer and theater artist specializing in original, multi-disciplinary works for the stage. Emma is a founding member of The Hat Factory, the resident theater company at Berkshire Pulse. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in theater from Skidmore College and has studied theater and dance in St. Petersburg Russia, Chicago, IL, and many places in between. Emma has performed in, directed, and produced a wide range of theater projects in the tri-state area. She was a founding member of Kickwheel Ensemble Theater, a Berkshire and NYC-based theater company dedicated to creating original works for the stage. Most recently Emma directed “Some Other Kid” as part of Facing Our Truth: Ten Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, directed and devised “How Could You Forget Your Own Mother,” the inaugural performance of the Theater for Social Justice Apprenticeship at Railroad Street Youth Project, and produced a workshop of her first full length play, Reflowered: A Dance Play. In addition to her work in theater, Emma is a licensed acupuncturist and runs two private practices in Millerton, NY and Great Barrington, MA. Emma believes passionately in the power of live performance to foster empathy, build communities, and ask vital questions about the human condition.
Improv Acting with The Hat Factory
Dave has performed all over Chicago, New York City, regionally, and internationally. He has trained extensively with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company and Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre. As an actor, mover, writer, improvisor, comedian, musician, and educator, Dave has collaborates to make theatre in expected and unexpected places that ranges from the classics to devised new classics. Dave also loves nature and he recently happily settled into his Berkshire life with his wife and daughter.
Sara Kiesel has been teaching Modern dance, Improv, and dancemaking to dancers of all ages for many years. She created an exceptional dance and movement program for children with learning differences in Manhattan, and coordinated all Arts programming at the school. Sara has been a workshop leader, keynote speaker and teacher trainer in New York City and beyond. She also taught private therapeutic movement classes in NYC.
Jill began her ballet training at a very young age in Wisconsin. Starting at Su Darrow’s School of dance gave her the foundation to move to the Milwaukee Ballet School to train under Monica Isla and Karl Von Rabenau. Ballet then took her to Joffrey Ballet New York training in ballet, modern, and contemporary. During her time there, she had a wonderful experience stepping out of her ballet classes and into modern and jazz with Andrea Weber, Bill Waldinger, and Larisa Calero. Jill was accepted into the American Repertory Ballet training program where she trained with Trinette Singleton, Kirk Peterson, Kathleen Moore, and Mary Barton. Each program has given her the opportunity to perform in classical and contemporary productions from the Woodland Glade fairy of Sleeping Beauty to dancing as a Bat in Dracula. Jill is currently dancing with the Manassas Ballet Theatre.
Dance Beyond Borders
Maggie has a B.A. in Music from Brevard College and is an AmSAT certified Alexander Technique Teacher who studied with Ruth Kilroy at ATTC in Newton, MA. Her introduction to the traditional dance and music world was at Sierra Swing Dance camp at age 12 and Centrum’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes at age 13. Since then her love of music and dance has enabled her to connect with her community and learn about other cultures through her many travels within the US as well as abroad (Norway, Sweden, Brazil, Canada).
Throughout the year you can find Maggie teaching Alexander Technique, booking bands and callers for Sheffield and Lenox contra dances (and dancing of course!), calling and dancing at dances in Housatonic, Lenox, and Sheffield, working Oldtone swing dances in Sheffield, volunteering at Blue Rider Stables, playing Norwegian and Swedish music for Scandi Boston dances, and playing and singing jazz with South Street Swing.
In addition to calling contra dance at Berkshire Pulse, Maggie will be working at the Northeast Fiddlers Convention at Hancock Shaker Village, teaching Alexander Technique at Nordic Fiddles and Feet in New Hampshire, teaching fiddle in kids band lab at Centrum’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA, building her calling and playing skills at American Dance and Music week at Pinewoods, and running the main gate ticket booth at Oldtone (in addition to jamming and dancing!). She loves the community that traditional dance and music fosters and hopes to give dancers at Berkshire Pulse a taste of that through New England Contra Dance.
Musical Theatre Intensive
Laura Standley holds a BA in Theatre from University of Central Oklahoma and an MFA in Acting from University of California Irvine. She has studied under master teachers Robert Cohen, Dudley Knight, Annie Loui, Catherine Fitzmaurice, Ragnar Friedank, Joanna Merlin, Barney O’Hanlon, Lenard Petit, Ted Pugh, and Fern Sloan. Recent collaborations include Passage (work in progress) with Kickwheel Ensemble Theater, as well as Howard Barker’s Scenes From an Execution and David Ives’ The Liar with Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park. New York directing credits include Reckless Season (New Works Reading Series), Pump Boys and Dinettes, Lobby Hero, and Burn This, all with Ground Up Productions. Laura has taught at University of North Carolina – Charlotte, Stony Brook University, Chapman University, and University of California, Irvine. She is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Actors Equity, Voice and Speech Trainers Association, Association of Theatre Movement Educators, and the Michael Chekhov Organization. Laura is fascinated with the intersection of movement, action and the theatre experience. Her work incorporates classical theatre, body-based disciplines, and the use of dance choreography techniques in preparing performance. Laura continues to be inspired by this work in meaningful ways and is constantly looking for new forms of making theatre.
Musical Theatre Intensive
Donna Bullock has been making her living as an actor working in theater, film and television for almost forty years. Yikes! On Broadway she played Mother in Ragtime (Jefferson Award, Chicago), Lucy in A Class Act (Ovation nomination, L.A.) and Bobbie/Gabby in City of Angels. Other theatrical favorites include A Perfect Future(Cherry Lane), Take Me Along (Irish Rep), Rabbit Hole (Huntington), Foxfire with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy (Ahmanson), Sweet Bird of Youth with Lauren Bacall(Ahmanson), Terra Nova (Mark Taper), Me and My Girl opposite Tim Curry (1st National ), Top Girls at the Public Theater (Obie Award), Julie Taymor’s Liberty’s Taken, and Beatrice opposite her husband Sherman Howard in Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey). Television: “Monk,” “Medium,” “Six Feet Under,” “Smallville,” “Frasier,” “Touched By an Angel,” “Against the Grain”, et al. Film: Air Force One, All Good Things, Girl Next Door. Donna recently completed training as an AMSAT certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and is now training to be a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. She has taught Alexander Technique workshops for actors at several colleges and conservatories including UCONN, and Shakespeare Theater of NJ. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0120141/
ILANA RANSON TOEPLITZ
Musical Theatre Intensive
Ilana Ransom Toeplitz is a New York City-based director/choreographer specializing in new musicals. On Broadway, Ilana assistant directed VIOLET (2014 revival starring Sutton Foster, Tony Nominations for Best Direction and Best Musical Revival) and was the SDCF Mike Ockrent Fellow on THE PROM with Casey Nicholaw (2018, Tony Nominations for Best Direction and Best Musical).
As a director, Ilana has premiered new work with Lincoln Center, Keen Company, York Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Group, NY Theatre Barn, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival.
Ilana’s favorite credits as a director and/or choreographer include 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Choreographer, ACT of CT), CHICAGO (Dir./Choreo, Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute), REEFER MADNESS (Dir./Choreo, featuring Alan Cumming, 2014 at New World Stages & 2015 at 54 Below), THE DROWSY CHAPERONE (Dir./Choreo), SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (Choreo), MARY POPPINS & SEUSSICAL!, both choreographed for Berkshire Theatre Group. Ilana is also the director/choreographer of the TheatreWorksUSA National Tours of A CHRISTMAS CAROL and CLICK, CLACK, MOO!
Ilana was the Associate Director of A CHRISTMAS STORY: THE MUSICAL! (2014-2015, First National Tour), DIRTY DANCING: THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE (2017-2018 Tour) and the premiere of SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM (2017, Boston Pops & Tanglewood).
lana holds additional assistant or associate credits with: Leigh Silverman, Casey Nicholaw, Susan Stroman, Baayork Lee, Sarna Lapine, NY City Center, Second Stage, Signature Theatre (VA), Huntington Theatre, and Pittsburgh CLO. Ilana is a proud Pittsburgh native, a Directors Project Alum (2016 Leo Shull New Musicals Directing Fellowship) and the 2018 SDC Foundation Mike Ockrent Fellow.
Ilana is also a plus-size model and activist for body-positivity, women’s rights and LGBTQI communities. Ilana was featured in Gabriela Herman’s book and NY Times feature, “The Kids Are Alright”. Ilana is a proud native of Pittsburgh, PA. Upcoming: THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW (Director, Park Square Theater).
Leighann Kowalsky breathes dance and art. As a dance artist and director, the numerous facets of her livelihood are centered around movement, entertainment and production. With artistic collaboration as a spinal strength of her work, Kowalsky frequently works with photographers, painters, musicians and other artists to create artistic products.
Kowalsky trained originally in Irish Dance, and later with Katherine Duke in the Erick Hawkins style of modern dance, among others. Her career has been glittered with participation in numerous performances, productions and international tours with dancers and musicians of note. With degrees in Communications and Psychology from Marist College, Kowalsky spent a decade producing large scale live events, such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the Tony Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, and many more, as well as tours with bands like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Lorde, just to name a few. After co-founding The D’amby Project, an Irish dance based collaborative art & movement school and professional performance company, Kowalsky took on role as Director of Dance at Millbrook School, a co-educational boarding school in New York.
Presently, Kowalsky continues to perform, teach & choreograph internationally, cross-train in Aerial Fabric with Hudson Valley Circus Arts, and produce events at BSP Performance Space in Kingston, NY, a historic Vaudeville theater turned event space. She is delighted to have the opportunity to be fully immersed in the arts, entertainment & arts education worlds. . http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0120141/
Fern is freelance performer and dance maker based in Western Massachusetts and New York City. With a BA in Dance and Birth Studies from Goddard College, Fern has also had the privilege of training at the Gibney Dance Center, earning a certification from the Professional Contemporary Track, as well as various intensive trainings with Shannon Gillen’s VIM/VIGOR Dance Company, and has studied the unique partnering technique of Sharon Fridman (Artistic Director of Compañia Sharon Fridman) in Madrid. She has had the pleasure of performing as a youth performer with Albany Berkshire Ballet Company production, and later with Opera Nouveau, Moving Arts Ensemble, Buglisi Dance Theater’s Table of Silence project at Lincoln Center, Compañia Sharon Fridman’s US premiere of Caída libre, and much more. Fern currently choreographs and performs with VEERdance Company (which she co-founded in 2018), collaborates and performs with Rebecca Pappas’ Projects in Hartford, and Olga Rabetskaya Dance Projects in New York City. Additional work includes teaching Pilates at The Pilates Space and dance at LifeWorks Studio, both in Great Barrington.
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.
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.