Sophie Alpern is a native New Yorker and professional ballet instructor. She trained at the School of American Ballet, Steps on Broadway, North Carolina School of the Arts, Houston Ballet Academy, and the Royal Ballet School. While at SAB, she performed with New York City Ballet in The Nutcracker, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, and Circus Polka. Sophie holds a Masters degree in Dance Education with a concentration in ABT Ballet Pedagogy from New York University, and is an ABT® Certified Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level Seven and Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Vassar College, where her thesis project was titled “The Perception and Role of Dance and Classical Ballet in the Liberal Arts Academy.” Sophie danced leading roles with the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater, culminating in the principal role in Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie. She is also a graduate of The Brearley School in NYC. Sophie has been teaching ballet to children and adults of all skill levels in NYC for the past twelve years. She currently holds faculty positions at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theater, and at the Steps on Broadway Youth Program. She formerly taught at LaGuardia High School, and has taught company class for Sarasota Ballet and Ballet Hispanico. She is excited to return to Berkshire Pulse as a guest teacher!
Rebecca Alson-Milkman makes dances about current political and social issues in intimate settings in order to promote conversation in change in our familial, local and national communities. She was the recipient of the 2016 Felix Award, which recognizes artists who have changed public perception of disability. Rebecca holds an MFA in Dance and Choreography from UCLA and a BA in Dance and Sociology from Wesleyan University. During her career in New York and Los Angeles, she has danced for and collaborated with many choreographers, including Heidi Latsky, Barbara Mahler, Stephan Koplowitz, Taisha Paggett, Cid Pearlman and Ana Maria Alvarez and had her work produced at multiple festivals and venues including Highways Performance Space, Studio at REDCAT and the Imagining Bodies symposium in Tallinn, Estonia. Her 2010 work, The Surveillance Solos was a director’s pick at the inaugural Santa Cruz Fringe Festival. Since 2007, Rebecca has been an active ally (and parent) in the disability and disability dance community, and currently serves on the board of Heidi Latsky dance.
Nkoula Badila ~*~ A multitalented artist/healer born into a traditional Congolese dancing and drumming Family. Nkoula grew up performing these dances with her 9 siblings at schools, community centers, block party’s and beyond, spreading the true beauty of her Kongolese culture for the world to see. Her family continues to share these gifts, teaching traditional dance and drum classes, storytelling, community theatre, and leading craft workshops. She is also part of a traveling Cosmic soul band“Ladymoon and the Eclipse” with two of her sisters. Nkoula also makes her own music (Nkodia) inspired by the traditional polyrhythmic Melodies from her homeland, and she is also the creator of her jewelry business also named “Nkodia” making custom handmade healing Adornments for people. You can find her Adornments online at www.nkodia.art. The name NKODIA symbolizes the spiral and honors the patience of the outward process like the snail.
During our class sessions we will be learning different Traditional dances of Ancestral Africa, accompanied by live percussion. These movements will be celebratory of the celebration of life. The students will learn Dances of cultivation, rights of passage, cleansing, dance of warriors, and welcoming in royalty. We will weave in the lessons of the day and share reflections from what we learned to support a wholesome experience of the class.
Born and raised in Perth, Western Australia, Shaan began working professionally at a young age as a singer, dancer, actor and musician. She began her teaching experience in Australia as a young teenager, assisting with younger students and quickly moving on to independent teaching of students of all ages and abilities. Trained in the I.S.T.D. syllabus and with a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre and a Masters in Teaching, Shaan is experienced in tap, jazz, ballet and acrobatics as well as an experienced vocal coach, music and acting instructor. She has recently relocated to the Berkshires after previously teaching and working professionally in Australia, South East Asia, New York and Los Angeles.
Ian Spencer Bell has performed his solos at Boston Center for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, Poetry Foundation, and Queens Museum. Ballet Review, Dance Magazine, and The Yale Review have published his writing. For more than a decade, he led education programs for American Ballet Theatre. Bell trained at North Carolina School of the Arts, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and School of American Ballet and was educated at Sarah Lawrence College and New York University, where he received an MFA in poetry.
Alex Bloomstein began dancing in 1977. He was a full scholarship and fellowship student at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. He has studied ballet with Diana Byer, Benjamin Harkarvy, Choo San Goh, Marjorie Mussman, Janet Panetta, Igal Perry, and Rochelle Zide-Booth, among others. Alex studied modern dance at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio. He also studied the modern technique of José Limon with Daniel Lewis and Hannah Kahn. He has studied the Martha Graham modern dance technique with Mary Hinkson, Diana Hart and Norman Walker. Alex has also studied composition and choreography with a variety of teachers, including Bessie Schoenberg and Lynne Taylor-Corbett.
Alex was the artistic director of Ballet Arts Studio in Beacon, New York, from 2006 through 2020. At Ballet Arts, Alex taught ballet technique, pointe, variations, repertory and modern dance.
Alex has also taught ballet technique, modern technique, composition and choreography, improvisation, and movement for actors in a wide variety of settings, including locally at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Williamstown Theater Festival, Williams College, Simon’s Rock of Bard College, and at Pulse! He has also taught musculo-skeletal anatomy, kinesiology, and movement assessment.
Joanne Bockemuehl was born and raised in Bochum, Germany. Her flamenco journey began in 1995 with Regina Martinez and in Madrid at Amor de Dios with Ciro and Carmela Greco. In 2014, she immigrated to Great Barrington, MA and established a flamenco program at her local dance studio taking adults and children.
She is an alumni of the Spanish Dance and Flamenco Program at Jacobs Pillow (2019) and currently a participant of the Artist Development program with Flamenco Vivo in NY (2020-2022). Last year she was chosen as a finalist for the US Flamenco Certamen and performed at the Bruno Walter auditorium NY City.
She is a teaching artist/choreographer at Berkshire Pulse in Great Barrington, MA as well as a costume designer.
Veronica Bone (she/her) is a dance artist from Indiana and currently based in the Berkshires. 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, Vertigo company members and more, study Gaga technique in Israel for 6 months, and direct a collaborative student-led show with dance and theater students. Veronica moved to the Berkshires to work at Jacob’s Pillow for a summer, and happily decided to stay in area afterwards. She was a founding member of the dance community, “Dancers of the Berkshires”, and helped organize the first 2 annual shows. She is currently a company member of “Qualia Dance Company”, a freelance choreographer and dancer, and the Program Coordinator at Berkshire Pulse, a center for dance and the creative arts in Housatonic.
Genève Brossard has been running a grassroots boxing program here in the Berkshires for the past 7 years, coaching kids and teens, adult newcomers, and competing athletes.
She is delighted to be partnering with Berkshire Pulse for Youth Boxing. This rhythmic sport can be a deeply positive presence in a young person’s life-providing mastery, confidence, community, and health.
Genève is a 2 x New York Golden Gloves and an NY State Empire Games Champion. She was an athlete on the USA Elite Women’s Boxing team in 2006, and represented the USA at the Pan-American Games, among other tournaments. She was also the first woman to represent the London Lynn Boxing Club, the oldest club in England- established in 1892, and was a London ABA tournament finalist.
Genève has devoted much of her life to boxing, and she loves coaching as a way share the embodied joy, power, freedom, and fun to be found in this ancient sport!
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.