Jenn Eisenberg (Co-Founder)
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)
is the Performing Arts Coordinator and 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 Emeritus and founder 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.
Samantha Blossey (Music Teaching Artist) received her Masters in classical voice performance from Manhattan School of Music and her Bachelors in music education from The College of New Jersey. She is a certified music educator in the state of New Jersey having led distinguished programs in
Bergen, Middlesex, and Union counties. These programs spanned from teaching elementary, middle and high school students. For eight years Ms. Blossey taught early childhood music for
the company Music Preludes. Her experience included leading students age 6 months through 6 years in general music lessons.
Currently Ms. Blossey is a choral specialist for the Children’s Chinese Book Garden in New York City. She collaborates with the full time teachers to provide opportunities for seven classes to develop their singing and understanding of music making. She has also taught
private voice and piano for over 10 years. As a teacher, Samantha strives to combine a fun and positive atmosphere to give students an outlet for creativity and self-expression.
Ms. Blossey is also an accomplished performer having shared her talents in concert, opera and musical theater up and down the U.S. east coast. Her experience also extends to the sports arenas as she is a regular soloist at the Prudential Center for the NHL’s New Jersey Devils. She has performed leading roles with opera companies in Delaware, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Mississippi. Samantha has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Trenton War Memorial, Don’t
Tell Mama, Symphony Space, 54 Below, and the United Nations. Additionally she acts as a soloist and concert producer for non-profit organizations such as the Susan G Komen foundation.
Kelly Buwalda (Dance Teaching Artist)
began dancing at age 8, after moving away from her beloved ice rink, where she experienced her first taste of performing. As a child, she studied tap, jazz, and ballet at Cole Academy in Indiana, and years later enjoyed learning modern techniques at Hope College (Michigan). She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and Psychology, and moved to NYC to pursue dance. She performed for several choreographers, including Mei-Yin Ng, Julio Rivera, and Erin Dudley, and began choreographing solo works. She was a recipient of Chez Bushwick's Artist-in-Residency in 2014, and her choreography was selected for Detroit Dance City Festival in 2016 and 2017. Since 2005, Kelly has been a Teaching Artist for National Dance Institute. In that time, she has taught in over 20 schools, co-led Teaching Training, choreographed for SWAT & Celebration Teams, and directed At the River's Edge, NDI's 2018 Event of the Year. A dedicated educator, she additionally teaches Ballet Tales for New York City Ballet, and is pleased to join the bodacious team of Bold Arts. When not dancing, Kelly can be found biking, hiking, and sharing her wellness expertise as a Certified Health Coach and Thai Bodywork Therapist. She is propelled by creativity, guided by a sense of adventure, and finds deep purpose in connection.
Photo by Hannah Turner-Harts
Bryce Colby Vaewsorn (Dance Teaching Artist) is super excited to be teaching with BOLD Arts! Born and raised in Northern California, Bryce graduated from the University of California, Irvine where he studied musical theatre & choreography. As a performer, Bryce has worked Off B’way at The York Theatre Company, The Argyle Theatre, Mill Mountain Theatre, Abilene Opera, and more. Some of his recent show credits at these theatres have included Legally Blonde, Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story, and creating new works. A career highlight for him was dancing in Pixar Play Parade at Disneyland while in college.
As a teaching artist, Bryce has been teaching students of all ages for almost a decade. He has coached high school competition dancers, trained college students studying performing arts, and curated recitals for toddlers and younger children. He has worked as an assistant to instructors at Broadway Dance Center as well as teaching ballet, jazz, tap, theatre styles, contemporary, and hip hop at various dance studios and private lessons in the the Tri-State area.
Bryce is currently a working actor-singer-dancer and teaching artist in NYC. He hopes to inspire curiosity in young minds through art and spark each student’s own creative spirit and unique imagination.
Gabbie Fried (Dance Teaching Artist)
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)
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.
Maria Hanley (Dance Teaching Artist)
is a passionate advocate for early childhood education. Maria specializes in teaching ages 0 months to 6 years. She currently teaches in Cleveland, Ohio at The Mandel Jewish Community Center, Hudson Conservatory of Ballet, and Solon Chabad Preschool.
Over the past 10 years, Maria has established and executed creative dance programs at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, The Mark Morris Dance Group, and Dancewave Center. She taught a variety of creative dance and infant/toddler programs in New York City, including at the 92nd Street YMCA’s Parenting Center and New York City Ballet.
Maria shares creative ideas and strategies for young dancers on her blog, Maria’s Movers (mariasmovers.com), which unites a community of teachers who are inspiring our youngest dance artists every day. She also designs curriculum and workshops for early childhood teachers.
Maria holds a Master’s Degree in Dance Education from New York University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance from Slippery Rock University. She has been a regular presenter at the Dance Teacher Summit.
Abbie Leigh Hixson (Dance Teaching Artist) grew up and started her dancing carrier in Dublin, New Hampshire. 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 Stonehm 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 students of 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 six or 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.
Louise Rogers (Music Teaching Artist)
Chesky recording artist Louise Rogers has a voice that has been described as “pure and incandescent, free of affectation or obvious influence.” (Christopher Loudon, Jazz Times). She lives in New York City and enjoys life as a performer and teacher. Ms. Rogers is frequently invited to present at conferences and is in demand as a vocal clinician. She runs jazz vocal workshops in Washington
Heights and is the founder and director of The Washington Heights Jazz Choir (NYC) – a jazz choir for ages 6-12. She and her husband, pianist Mark Kross, are the founders and creators of Jazz WaHi: A
resource for jazz education and performance in Washington Heights, NYC (northern Manhattan). Jazz WaHi presented the First Annual Washington Heights Jazz Festival, making its standing room only debut, in March 2018. Nat Hentoff has praised Louise’s work with children saying “the most joyously encouraging way of expanding the audience for jazz I’ve heard is the work of jazz singer - educator Louise Rogers.” Ms. Rogers is a published author with Alfred Publishing: Jazzy Fairy Tales Vols I & II; Jazz Mosaic; Together We Can Improvise Vols I & II. She has six CDs in her name: Bass-ically Speaking; Come Ready and See Me; Black Coffee; Faure at Play; Jazzy Fairy Tales; Bop Boo Day.
(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!
Kala Seidenberg (Dance Teaching Artist)
is a Brooklyn-based dancer, dance educator, and choreographer. She received her early dance training at Academy of Dance Arts and Columbia City Jazz Company in Columbia, South Carolina. She earned degrees from Emory University in Dance and Movement Studies as well as Educational Studies. After graduation, she started her professional career dancing for Atlanta-based, modern dance companies and choreographers including Staibdance, Catellier Dance Projects, and Emily Christianson. She also taught dance for the arts non-profit, Moving in the Spirit as well as at the Marcus Jewish Community Center. She relocated to New York City in 2014, and has since enjoyed teaching and creating with the smallest of dancers at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, as well as in various public schools with New York City Ballet’s in-school residency program, Ballet Tales. Her choreographic work has been presented by Dance Truck (in a truck!), Spelman College (on a stage!), Emory University, and Waxworks. She currently performs with NYC based contemporary dance company, Falcon Dance.
Eliana Slurzberg (Dance Teaching Artist)
is a proud, native New Yorker. Raised on the Upper West Side, she was introduced to dance in elementary school through National Dance Institute. It was with this program that she fell in love with movement. Eliana continued training with NDI, as well the Martha Graham School, and later her performing arts high school, Talent Unlimited. She followed her passion for dance and attended SUNY Brockport, graduating with dual degrees in Dance and Early Childhood Education. Shortly after college, Eliana danced with multiple companies throughout the Rochester area. She happily still performs at annual Fringe Festivals. However, the last four years she has developed a true love for teaching. Her story comes full circle, as she is now a teaching artist with National Dance Institute. Eliana is incredibly passionate and committed to making the arts accessible to all children. She strives to help children develop into confident and conscious individuals becoming the best versions of themselves everyday.
Rachel Therres (Visual Arts Teaching Artist)
Rachel Therres is an artist educator from Baltimore, MD. She graduated with her BFA and MAT both from the Maryland Institute College of Art. During her time at MICA she co-founded True Vision, a grants funded art education organization bringing classes to the Maryland School for the Blind. She also participated in the city mural program through Community Arts Partnerships to create site specific artwork with children in Baltimore. She has been teaching visual art in schools for fourteen years, with eleven years at All Saints Day School in Hoboken. There she has served as an Arts Integration specialist, team leader, and has built the Visual Arts curriculum from the ground up for grades K-8. Her units center around the study of art history as well as contemporary artists, while fostering skills and mastery of materials. Much of her units are developed in concurrence with core classes, creating a rich educational experience for students. She is the founder and coordinator for the school's Annual Hat Show and Tea Party, a celebration of fashion, fine art, and the study of art history coupled with musical and dance performances as well as a runway show. Rachel founded the school's first National Junior Art Honor Society and has had to split the group by grade level because of such high participation and interest. She also coordinates the annual art show and has had shows for her students in both Hoboken City Hall and the Mason Civic League. Her students work has also appeared at NJPAC, ArtBeat magazine, and the NAHS news. Her students have developed murals with her for the Hoboken Shelter, the Elks Lodge, and St. Matthew's Parish Meeting Hall. Additionally her students work with a local artist on a large scale mural project within the school to design a small city and they have submitted designs to create site specific pieces with Hoboken Green Team to encourage environmental awareness. She has training in International Baccalaureate for Art and has worked to develop new, rich curriculum around this model. In addition to her classroom experience, Rachel has worked for arts camps for over 15 years. She directed and taught camp programs at Glaze Art Studio and directed All Saints camps for eight years.
She has shown her work throughout New Jersey and New York including the BSB Gallery, Deep Tanks Studio, raven Gallery, and Merseles Gallery. Her work has been published in local literary arts magazines including the cover of NYSAI magazine out of Staten Island. She has also participated in arts residencies through ATI New Jersey, including printmaking, paper-making, and artist books. She is passionate about bring her own artistic experiences to the classroom as well as teaching children about local artists and their work. You can often find her on the beaches of Staten Island working with her artist collective to create earth art sculptures or painting at local art events with her handy, mini watercolor set. She believes in the immeasurable power of the arts and its impact on people of all ages.