WHO WE ARE
Jenn Eisenberg (Co-Founder/Teaching Artist) is a NY State Certified Dance Educator with a BA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College. Jenn is passionate about the power of arts education and the ways in which it supports the growth of the whole being. As a teacher, she strives to develop confidence, a love of movement, and is interested in building connections through the arts. BOLD began in 2012 with the vision of bringing more joyful, creative dance-based arts programming to children, throughout the year.
Jenn is a Master Teacher with the internationally acclaimed National Dance Institute, a NY-based program which is in over 40 public schools. She has been instrumental in developing and articulating curricula for NDI and teaches dancers nursery through 8th grade each week. Jenn also worked with an NDI affiliate program in New Mexico, where she facilitated workshops for classroom teachers on integrating physical activity and the arts into academic curriculum. Additionally, she has been working at All Saints Episcopal Day School in Hoboken, NJ since 2008 and has developed an innovative and rich program for young dancers, as well as an in-demand after-school hip hop program. She has also built the thriving BOLD Pop hip hop program for children ages 3-13 at the JCC in Manhattan.
Jenn has consulted with Worldwide Orphans Foundation in Haiti and in the states, advising, training teachers and implementing arts programming for orphans and at-risk youth. She has led professional development workshops for National Dance Institute and NDI’s affiliate programs, National Children’s Research Center, Carolyn Dorfman Dance, DEL at the 92nd St Y and for the children’s television series, Creative Galaxy. She has presented at the NJ Association for Gifted Children Conference, as well as Performing the World and will present at National Dance Educators Organization this Fall. Jenn and Chelsea Koenig worked together with House of the Roses, an outreach program that serves NYC homeless children, to co-write a curriculum that has been successfully used by volunteer teaching artists for years.
Some highlights of Jenn’s performance career are working with Rock and Roll Debauchery, Spark Movement Collective, Bianca Johnson and Dancers and Undertoe Dance Project, playing a dancing doll with Phoenix Theater Ensemble, and many more musical theater productions around the tristate area. Jenn loves sharing the magic of the arts with her students!
Chelsea Koenig (Co-Founder/Teaching Artist) is a Dance Specialist at The Town School in New York City, where she teaches Nursery-2nd Grade Dance. Chelsea received her BS in Arts Administration and Dance from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. While attending Butler, she developed a dance outreach program for the Butler Community Arts School that served over 1,000 underserved children a year in the Indianapolis area. Chelsea also created a dance mentorship program linking children at the Kaleidoscope Youth Center with Butler Ballet dancers as part of Butler’s Center for Citizenship and Community programming.
After moving to New York City, Chelsea worked with the National Dance Institute as a teaching assistant, co-wrote curriculum and led House of the Roses with Jenn Eisenberg, and taught dance at various studios and schools. Chelsea gained valuable experience while managing New York City Center’s dance and musical theater programming from 2009-2012.
In 2012 and 2014, Chelsea traveled to Kampala, Uganda to work with deaf children at the Uganda School for the Deaf.
Chelsea’s training also includes participating in Creative Dance Institute's Summer Dance Institute for Teachers focusing on BrainDance and Brain-Compatible Teaching, National Dance Institute (NDI) Teacher Training Certification, Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) Foundations of Dance program, and a multitude of New York City Center workshops.
Chelsea is the Artistic Director of Spark Movement Collective, a contemporary modern dance company, and the former NY Producer of NACHMO (National Choreography Month). www.sparkmovementcollective.org
Ly Bedaña (Music Teaching Artist) is a classical pianist and recent New York City transplant. She is a musician with the National Dance Institute, an international award-winning NYC-based arts education organization. She has played for numerous universities, venues and theaters on both the West and East coasts ranging from California State University San Marcos to the House of Blues. In addition to being the music director for several opera and musical theater productions across the country, she expanded her breadth to include collaborations with dance while working for BalletMet in Columbus, OH. While in Columbus, she served eight years as the Music Director for Momentum, an NDI affiliate program, working with over 5,000 children in that time. As Ly transitions to life in the big city, she is excited to use and share her love of music with BOLD Arts’ empowering program.
Gabbie Fried (Dance Teaching Artist)
Gabbie is ecstatic to join the team at BOLD Arts! Gabbie is a Kansas City native with a BFA in Drama and a BS in Psychology from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She is also an Athletics and Fitness Associations of America (AFAA) certified group fitness instructor. Gabbie has worked regionally at Tri Arts Sharon Playhouse, Hangar Theatre, Cortland Repertory Theatre, Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre, and Music Theatre Kansas City. While performing at many of these theaters, Gabbie was also choreographing and assistant directing. At the Hangar Theatre, Gabbie was a member of the lab company as a choreographer and an actor, where she learned how to be a dance captain with professionals on the mainstage and assisted her peers with choreography in their "Kid Stuff" shows. There she also was the assistant director for 50 children ages seven to sixteen in their production of “Bye Bye Birdie Jr."
Gabbie’s love for teaching and creating has spanned many years from choreographing middle school choir shows to professional cabarets in New York. Her teaching experience in New York City includes TADA! Youth Theater’s summer theater camps and Broadway Dance Center's Teen Training Program, where she helped kids grow and develop their technique. Gabbie is currently a working actor in NYC, teaching Hebrew School, fitness, and dance. Gabbie hopes to inspire change in the world through her art and teaching, and inspire everyone no matter their age to find the magic and spark they have within them.
Lara M. Friedman-Kats (Dance Teaching Artist), born and raised in Central NJ, began her dance training at Kaye-Lynn Dance Studio in Edison. In 2008, Lara received the NJ Governor’s Award for Excellence in Dance. Lara is a proud BFA and Dance Education graduate of Towson University’s Dance Department in Maryland. In 2011, she won the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) regional competition for Art of the Solo and went on to compete and place nationally. She also received the Outstanding Achievement in Dance Education Award in 2013 from Towson University. Lara has performed with Dissonance Dance Theatre (DC), Deep Vision Dance Company (Baltimore), Deviated Theatre (DC), Carolyn Dorfman Dance (audience dancer “Interior Designs”- NY/NJ), Mish-Mash Productions (NYC), Nikki Manx Dance Project (NJ), and Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre/Sean McLeod Dance Experience (NYC). While in Maryland, she had performed works by Alvin Ailey, Enoch and Kimmie Chan, Runquiao Du, Linda-Denise Fisher Harrell, Nicole Martinell, Troy Powell, Shawn Short and Prentice Whitlow. She also had her work adjudicated at the American College Dance Festival Association (now ACDF). Lara was the permanent dance substitute at Academy for Performing Arts in Scotch Plains from 2014-2015 and continues to teach both dance and fitness throughout studios, schools, and gyms in NJ. She is in her 5th season with Carolyn Dorfman Dance.
Dufftin Garcia (Dance Teaching Artist)
Dufftin A. Garcia received a Magna Cum Laude Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from Lehman College, City University of New York and is a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School.
In 1988 he joined National Dance Institute (NDI) as part of NDI’s In-School Program and also began professional dance training on a scholarship to The Elliot Feld Ballet. He performed in every NDI Event of the Year until his graduation in 1992. Representing NDI, Dufftin performed for Phil Donahue’s 25th Anniversary Celebration and The 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Kennedy Center.
Dufftin received The Van Lier Scholarship to The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and represented the United States at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in Scotland with Awakening Dance Theatre Company. He appeared with the late Gregory Hines on NBC’s “Name Your Adventure,” worked with Reuben Edwards’ Underground Dance Project and performed with Freestyle recording artist Cynthia. In 2006 he choreographed the contempory musical comedy “Move It And It’s Yours” presented at The Passage Theatre in Trenton.
A NDI Alumni, he gives back to the program as an NDI Master Teacher, choreographer and is a member of their board of directors. In 1997 he was Associate Director to Jacques d’Amboise, NDI’s founder for NDI’s first International Residency in Israel and Palestine. He also assisted Jacques in a collaborative project with Emeritus Seymour Papert and Marvin Minsky at The Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003. In 2004, Dufftin was Associate Director to Mr. d’Amboise for NDI’s Cultural Exchange Residency Program in Shanghai, China and is currently part of the training team in the development of the NDI/China Project, Dancing Into The Future.
Dufftin served 13 years as Artistic Director of Trenton Education Dance Institute, TEDI, an associate program of NDI.
Claudia Govantes (Music Teaching Artist) is an award winning musician from Cuba based in New York City. She graduated as a piano and choral conducting teacher from Amadeo Roldan Conservatory of Music in Havana, Cuba in 2003.
Claudia has been teaching piano and voice for more than 14 years. Also, she was choir conductor at Theological Seminary of Baptist Church of Havana. Govantes was first soprano singer of important ensembles such as National Choir of Cuba, Entrevoces Choir and Ensemble Vocal Luna. As a member of those choirs, Claudia made concert tours in countries like Colombia, Spain, Ecuador, Venezuela, Germany and United States.
In 2011, the National choir of Cuba, won the First Prize at International Chamber Choir Competition Marktoberdorf in Germany. Claudia has been part of records such as "El canto quiere ser luz" (Singing wants to be light) and "Oh Yes!" by National Choir of Cuba, "Apunte" by Ensemble Vocal Luna, "Pedro Bermudez, Música en la catedral de Guatemala" (Pedro Bermudez, Music in the Cathedral of Guatemala) by Ars Longa de la Habana and so on.
Nowadays, Govantes is part of All Souls Choir and Musica Viva NY. Furthermore, she offers music classes in several public schools in Manhattan as part of Afro Latin Jazz Alliance directed by Arturo O'Farrill. Also, she is piano accompanist of National Dance Institute.
Christine Hall (Dance Teaching Artist)
Christine’s passion for dance and the arts has carried her around the world as a performer, teacher and choreographer. Most recently she has created arts programs for orphans and vulnerable children served by Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO). In her capacity as Global Arts Consultant she trained local staff in orphanages and community programs in Ethiopia, Vietnam, Bulgaria and Haiti in the implementation of the arts programs. Other teaching projects have brought her to Italy and China.
In New York City, she has served as a teaching artist and choreographer with internationally acclaimed Lincoln Center and with National Dance Institute.
Christine has created works shown at 92nd St Y, Riverside Theatre and Alvin Ailey Choreographer Showcases and has choreographed productions of The Sound of Music, Carousel and Ragtime, and served as assistant choreographer for Tintypes and Ain’t Misbehavin’.
Some of her favorite roles as a performer have been in productions of Evita, A Chorus Line, The Most Happy Fella, Can Can, The Tempest, Tally & Son and Strike Up the Band.
Abbie Leigh Hixson (Dance Teaching Artist) grew up in Dublin, New Hampshire and has been dancing for over 22 years. She graduated Keene State College in New Hampshire with a BA in Theater and Dance specializing in dance performance and choreography. While in school, Abbie performed in various productions such as The Tempest, Spring Awakening, and Little Women. She had the opportunity to attend the American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina where she was apart of a repertory piece choreographed by Abby Zibikowski. Abbie has had the pleasure of learning from such artists as Adele Myers, Yanira Castro, Jennifer Nugent, Pamela Pietro, and Rodger Belman. After recently moving to New York Abbie is now an assistant teacher with the National Dance Institute. Abbie has always love working with children and is so excited to grow as a dancer and educator with NDI.
Abbie is wicked excited to be joining the BOLD family and spreading her
love for dance and movement with others!
Mary Kennedy (Dance Teaching Artist) Originally from Southern California, Mary graduated from Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles where she studied Dance, Theatre and Communication Studies. Currently, she teaches for National Dance Institute in NYC and has served as an NDI Teaching Artist for 20 years. Part of her summer’s are spent outdoors teaching dance as a Guest Artist with SPACC (Summer Performing Arts Conservatory Camp) in Central Idaho. Kennedy is excited to move & groove with BOLD Online!
Mark Kross (Music Teaching Artist) is a pianist/composer/educator/
bandleader recently returned to NYC (the Motherland) after spending several decades as part of the Boston jazz and youth theatre scene. He has worked with children of all ages, in many situations: as Head of Music at the Middlesex School, as Music Director for the Stoneham (MA) Theatre Resident Youth Ensemble and Summer Youth Program, as founder and director of StonehAm cReaTeS (a community arts center), as guest artist at the Society for the Performing Arts in Nigeria and Le Val D’Oule Etage Musicale (France), and as a studio and classroom teacher, band director, and music director in countless other
schools, theatre companies, and workshops. Among his activities since his return have
been the creation of Jazz WaHi, a neighborhood resource for jazz performance and
education in Washington Heights, and his work with the inspiring teachers and studentsof the National Dance Institute. Mark holds a BA in Music from SUNY Binghamton and a MM in Afro- American Studies from the New England Conservatory, and has recorded sixor seven CD’s, all of which can be enjoyed at www.markkross.com.
Ginger Merritt (Yoga Teaching Artist) has always had a passion for creativity, dance, music, performing, and helping people. After earning a BA in Theatre and Speech/minor in Dance from Wagner College, Ginger performed all over the world but eventually decided to lay down some roots in New York. She then became a dance teacher at Ballet Academy East, where she was first introduced to yoga. After 10 years of practicing yoga and while in the middle of an inversion, it dawned on her that she just had to teach yoga! She wanted to help others discover that same sense of empowerment and inner strength that she felt in her own practice. She was awarded a work study position with YogaWorks, where she received her 200-hour certification and hasn't stopped teaching since. She combined her love of yoga with her passion for helping people and now teaches yoga to children with special needs at the Parkside School in Manhattan. She enjoys incorporating movement and singing into her kids’ yoga classes and can’t wait to share this amazing practice with the students of BOLD!
Dana Panepinto (Dance Teaching Artist) is so excited to join the team of Bold Arts, a company that gives students a full exposure to all the Arts through dance! Dana is a teaching artist with an MFA in Theatre Performance, emphasis on Movement from the University of Florida and a BFA from the University of Southern Mississippi in Theatre, minoring in Dance and studying Visual Arts. Throughout graduate school, Dana taught theatre and movement classes to major and non-major undergraduate students.
A native of New Orleans, she considers herself a New Yorker after 13 years of city living. Prior to moving to New York City, she worked regionally in musicals and plays with The Hippodrome State Theatre, Tulane Shakespeare, Southern Rep, and Carey Dinner Theatre to name a few. Throughout her time in New York, Dana has balanced teaching Theatre, Dance, and Visual Art with performing in such classics as Macbeth, Trojan Women, A Winter’s Tale and The Man that Came to Dinner as well as other contemporary and original productions.
Teaching the arts has become her greatest pleasure starting with working with the award winning Stages of Learning, bringing sequential theatre training to public school students, in her early years of training. Dana has a passion for teaching all the arts and continues to discover how to incorporate theatre, dance, visual art, and music in her work with children. She currently works for the renowned Nation Dance Institute, as well as Wingspan Arts, Artsconnection’s Broadway Junior and LeAp (Learning through Expanded Arts Programing). Dana has worked with a diverse population of students in the public school system in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens, including leading Professional Developments with classroom teachers and Parent Workshops. The most exciting part of her work has been when working with eager performers to create something that has never existed before, writing original scripts, lyrics, choreography, and thinking up costumes and sets. The arts all together on one stage! She will be adding the Brooklyn Children’s Theatre to her resume this summer, creating new musicals with children in need.
Michelle Phillips (Dance Teaching Artist) graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. She has gone on to perform both nationally and internationally with Spectrum Dance Theater, toured the world as dance captain for Royal Caribbean International and has had the pleasure of dancing as a Radio City Rockette.
Michelle joined the faculty of National Dance Institute in 2009 and serves as a Master Teacher and choreographer in public schools across New York City. She is highly active with NDI’s DREAM (Dancers Realize Excellence Through Arts And Movement), an inclusive dance program that provides children with disabilities the opportunity to perform.
In addition to dance, Michelle has been teaching Pilates since 2000. She is Adjunct Faculty for Fletcher Pilates®, Pilates Method Alliance Certified and a certified Gyrotonic® teacher.
Michelle maintains her inspiration through nightly dance concerts performed by her 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.
Angel Reed (Dance Teaching Artist) has spent over a decade performing in musicals including: A USO tour over Sea’s, the Broadway National Tour ofSaturday Night Fever, West Side Story at 5th Avenue Theater, Chicago at Hudson Theater in LA, and finally an ensemble role in Rock of Ages both off and on Broadway. Her cast of Rock of Ages received a 09' Tony nomination for Best Musical, they performed in numerous live telecasts including the 09' Tony Awards, Reed also received an Astaire nomination for Best Female dancer in a musical. Currently Reed works full time as a Choreographer for National Dance Institute in NYC, Broadway For All (Summer Conservatory), and is the Executive Producer and creator of an Off Broadway Rock Theatrical Experience.
Esther Sanchez (Dance Teaching Artist) A kid at heart, Esther has always had a passion for teaching children. Esther recently graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with her B.A. in Dance, and a concentration in teaching. Since then she has taught at various dance and movement classes around the city such as My Gym, Broadway Bound Kids and many other children enrichment programs! Esther's vivacious and whimsical personality allows children to feel inspired, and she hopes that with her they feel uninhibited to use their imaginations and be themselves!
Laura Schreiber (Dance Teaching Artist) is excited to join the BOLD Arts team. From an early age, Laura has always enjoyed learning about dance, from tap to hip-hop to jazz. Laura received her BA in Women and Gender Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. With a minor in Theater Arts, Laura was able to take many dance classes, including her favorite, African Dance with a live drummer. She earned her Master's degree from Bank Street College of Education, specializing in Early Childhood General and Special Education. From 2006 to 2019, Laura was a kindergarten teacher at The Town School in NYC, where she also directed SummerSault, a camp for children ages 3 to 6. She loves to bring her passion for theater and dance into her classroom every day. In January 2019, Laura and her husband Adam welcomed their first child into the world. Dylan has been rocking out with BOLD Babies since he was 5 months old, and he looks forward to making some new baby friends!