Zurie Adams

Zurie Adams has had a passion for the performing arts ever since childhood, participating in school theatre programs, dance lessons and Berkshire Children’s Chorus. In 2019 Zurie graduated from St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College with an Associates Degree in Fine Art, Design and Cultural Communication and in 2023 graduated from MCLA with a BA in Performing Arts (Major in Theatre, Minor in Music Production). Recent shows include Release (2023), What The Constitution Means To Me (2023) and Urinetown: The Musical (2023).

Zurie has a wide variety of interests but aims to always work in an environment where art of some kind is being created. 

Veronica Bone

Veronica Bone (she/her) is a dance artist born in Indiana and currently based in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. She graduated from Indiana University in 2018 with a BFA in Contemporary Dance and a certificate in Arts Administration. While in school she had the opportunity to learn from Bill T. Jones, Gallim, Batsheva, and Vertigo company members, study the Gaga technique in Israel for 6 months, and co-direct collaborative shows with fellow dance and theater students. Veronica moved to the Berkshires to work at Jacob’s Pillow for the summer of 2018. She has been a member of the “Qualia Dance Collective” since the winter of 2020 and has created and performed as a freelance artist since 2019. She has performed at Jacob’s Pillow, the Foundry, Berkshire Theater Group, and Chesterwood, to name a few. Veronica is also a teaching artist working mostly with pre-teens to adults and focused on Contemporary Dance. She is also a 200-hour Yoga Certified Instructor. She is the Community and In-school Program Manager at Berkshire Pulse, where she’s working to better and more equitably serve each day.

Laura Cabrera

Laura Cabrera is a Mexican singer, who grew up in Veracruz, México and now lives in the Berkshires with her children Liberty and Gael. Laura has always had a passion for helping others and for getting to know the various cultures that surround us. Laura loves anything related to traditional Mexican music, art, and culture. Her goal is to share her cultural background with the local community and the rest of the world, as well as exposing the Latin population to the Berkshires’ culture, with its rich diversity of arts institutions and programs. 

On a personal achievement note, Laura is the co-founder of three Berkshire County groups. First, Amor A Nuestras Raíces (love to our roots), was a Hispanic artist collective that focused on promoting all types of artistic and cultural expression while appreciating and embracing each other’s diversity. . The experience learned through this project led to the formation of the second group named Latinas-413 whose mission is to empower Latinas to expand their social and economic outreach, serving as a bridge to resources available in our county. Latinas-413 aims to increase the representation of the voices, talents, and interests of Latinas across Berkshire County. 

Laura is also the founder of YO SOY ARTE (I am art). In this project, Laura focused on increased Latinx local artist representation in cultural spaces and activities.

Max Chase

Max Chase (he/they/she) was born and raised in New Marlborough, MA. Max has most of their associate’s degree in Biology, which, if you read between the lines, means marketing was never on their ten-year plan. They have always had a passion for music and art; they participated in multiple musical theater productions in middle and high school and was a part of the Massachusetts Youth Honors Choir. They have worked on and off at Berkshire Pulse since 2021, starting as a member of the front desk staff (the front desk being a camp chair in the middle of a field at Chesterwood due to COVID) and are so excited to continue growing with this community.

Benjamin Court

Benjamin Court is dancer, musician, writer, and educator in Western Massachusetts.

I grew up in Western New York, where I played in several punk and experimental music groups. From 2010-2020, I lived in Los Angeles, where I studied Musicology and received my Ph.D. (UCLA, 2017). My graduate research explored the politics of musical “amateurism” – music by individuals who claimed not to know how to play music, but nevertheless became musicians. Among other topics, I have published articles about the semiotics of punk in the UK, racial formation in rap and punk in New York City during the 1970s, and the Scratch Orchestra’s politics of music education. I have also taught several courses in music, critical theory, and broadcast media for UCLA and Woodbury University. While In Los Angeles, I recorded music with the Unthem collective and began learning to dance Chicago Footwork. In 2021, I joined the Chicago Footwork crew Creation Global and began releasing self-produced Footwork music. My current projects focus on bringing together Chicago Footwork dancers and producers around the globe, as well as creating new educational opportunities for artists from Chicago to share their craft. In 2021, I joined the staff at Berkshire Pulse, where I love to take classes in music, hip hop, modern, and contemporary!

Madeline Despres-Chen

Madeline is an RSMT/E (Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Educator), certified in SomaSoul®: Somatic Therapy and Shake Your Soul®, a somatic movement-dance practice by LIFE Movement: Leven Institute for Expressive Movement.

She is registered through ISMETA, the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association, and is working towards becoming an MSMT/E (Master Somatic Movement Therapist/Educator).

Currently, Madeline is a full-time graduate student at Antioch University New England, pursuing an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in trauma. She has a passion for trauma studies, Polyvagal Theory, the mind-body connection, somatic movement, dance, expressive arts, and social justice.

Her journey between undergrad and grad school led Madeline to move to Shanghai, China, where she taught children English, dance, and drama performance for four years. During this time, she also taught Shake Your Soul® at local studios.

As a Somatic Movement Therapist and Educator, she helps others discover greater awareness and understanding of their lives through a mind-body healing modality that combines elements of Body-Centered Gestalt Psychotherapy and Polyvagal Theory with expressive arts and mindfulness.

In her practice, she uses tools like body scanning, journaling, sensory drawing, visualizations, movement, and nervous system education to help clients strengthen their mind-body connection and integrate their body’s story, creating new neural pathways of healing.

Madeline teaches Shake Your Soul® on Thursdays and works with clients virtually in her private somatic therapy practice. Additionally, she assists the LIFE Movement SomaSoul® Somatic Therapy Clinical Training and will assist the Level 1 Shake Your Soul® Teacher Training this summer at Won Dharma Center from July 19-26.

View Madeline’s ISMETA Profile

Gillian Ebersole

Born in Portland, Oregon, and raised in Denver, Colorado, Gillian Ebersole (they/them) is a dancer and choreographer, as well as a poet, dance writer, and researcher. Gillian graduated Summa Cum Laude from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a dual degree in Dance and English. Performed on stages in Los Angeles, Denver, and Paris, as well as across Berkshire County, their choreographic work merges a love for language and for movement. Gillian trained with Denver contemporary dance company Wonderbound, Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, Whyteberg, Gibney, and Bill T. Jones. Most recently, Gillian has performed and presented work at multiple venues in Berkshire County, including Jacob’s Pillow, The Foundry, and Chesterwood. Drawn to the communal embodied experience. Gillian is a certified yoga instructor and has taught both dance and yoga in studios and community spaces. After moving to Western Massachusetts to work for Jacob’s Pillow, Gillian became a Teaching Artist Fellow as part of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Creative Youth Development program. Currently, Gillian works for Berkshire Pulse as the Marketing/PR & Youth Performing Arts Program Coordinator and is proud to be a member of their Modern Dance Faculty.

Sara Kiesel

Sara Kiesel is a seasoned educator specializing in arts for the young child. She has worked as a dance/movement specialist and Arts administrator, workshop leader, and teacher trainer. Her background in dance, movement therapy, creative arts and performance has given her a breadth of experience while working with hundreds of children, families and teaching professionals. Sara has recently been studying the effects of trauma on children and youth, with the aim of teaching simple techniques for self-care.

Sara is a gifted teacher with an empathetic and perceptive ability to meet the child where he/she is. Sara brings her knowledge of the child’s developmental, social and emotional needs to the table as she guides parents and teachers to better understand the child in their care. An experienced speaker and workshop leader, Sara engages audiences with her enthusiasm, joy for the role of the arts in education, and respect for the journey of the child whose perceptions and abilities are ready to be expressed. Understanding that all children have individual learning styles enables Sara to work effectively with all populations.

Simone Louw

Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Simone Louw began dancing with the Flowering Child
Program in 2003 and has danced with Berkshire Pulse from its inception. She moved with her
family to Kathmandu, Nepal at age twelve and spent the subsequent eight years living between
India, Nepal, and France. While in South Asia she studied the Indian classical dance, Kathak.
She read the Great Books at St John’s College in Annapolis Maryland and graduated with a
Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts. At St John’s, she learned and then taught East Coast Swing
Dance and was co-President of the Waltz Committee, the student-run social dance club.
She has a background in theater as well as dance and performed in plays throughout high school
and college, starring in Around the World in 80 Days, The Winter’s Tale, God of Carnage, and As
You Like It
.

After graduating college, Simone worked with Solis Performing Arts in Kathmandu, teaching
Swing Dance to the company and choreographing and performing in a piece for their show Hip-
Hop Coppelia
; she participated in an actor’s training workshop at Adishakti Laboratory for
Theatre Art Research in Tamil Nadu, India; joined Telling My Story in Wilder, Vermont, to
facilitate a semester-long workshop with Ledyard Charter School in Lebanon, New Hampshire
and the Dartmouth College class Telling Stories for Social Change working to address visible
and invisible social walls through the media of theater and writing; and completed an artist’s
residency with Collectif Les Aimants in Paris, France where she assisted in workshopping a play,
The Harvesters, and collaborated on its English-language translation.

Simone is returning to her performing arts roots after nearly four years working in healthcare as a
medical scribe and EMT and attending the Harvard Extension School’s premedical program.

Bettina Montano

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 27-year directorship of the organization.

Berkshire Pulse