Sylvana Christopher is a D.C. native. Trained at Washington School of Ballet and Metropolitan Ballet Academy, she holds a BFA in Performance & Choreography from The Ohio State University. Sylvana enjoys teaching youth and adults and has worked at several schools and art institutions in D.C. including Joy of Motion, The Washington Ballet, Sidwell Friends, Holton-Arms School, City Dance and Sitar Arts Center. In 2009, she co-founded Glade Dance Collective and continues to present choreographic and collective work in the metro area. She is excited to be teaching at Dance Loft on 14!
Rima Faber, Ph.D. received her Ph.D. and M.A. from American University and her B.A. from Bennington College. She studied with Blanche Evans (1947-1951), Anna Sokolow (1952-1957), Martha Graham (1957-1961) and Merce Cunningham (1968-1971). She founded and directed Consolidated Energy, an experimental dance nucleus in New York (1971-1978). After moving to the Washington, DC area in 1978, she danced with Liz Lerman for two years, and then performed as a soloist for Pola Nirenska from 1980 until her death in 1992.
Dr. Faber began studies in cognitive development in 1962 as an undergraduate student at Bennington College. When her older daughter began struggling with schoolwork in the 1970s, Faber recognized her difficulties learning verbally and taught her the required academics through dance experiences.
Her sister unfortunately suffered a Brocca stroke in 1976 and was left aphasic as well as completely paralyzed on her right side. Rima worked with therapists to rebuild functions. She linked the neurological knowledge gained with her knowledge of cognitive development to construct deep understanding of the relationship of dance to cognitive development and brain function in young children.
Dr. Faber founded and directed The Primary Movers (1979), a studio and children’s performing company that taught dance to children from physiological, psychological, neurological, cognitive approaches to learning dance as an art form. She simultaneously taught academic curricula through dance in DC Public schools.
This prompted Dr. Faber to enroll at American University in 1992 where she received her masters in Dance in 1994 and her doctorate in 1997 from the School of Education. As her mentor at AU, Dr. Prevots introduced Rima to a national perspective. Dr. Faber worked with Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) (1994-1997). She was Chair of the Editorial Board of the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD, 1997-1999); Adjunct Professor at Montgomery College Dept. of Fine Arts; Adjunct Faculty at American University Dept. of Performing Arts; and Visiting Clinical Professor at New York University. She currently teaches online courses for Rutgers University, George Washington University, and the National Dance Education Organization.
In 1998, Dr. Faber was instrumental in forming the National Dance Education Organization and served as founding President, founding Executive Director, and Program Director from 1998-2010. She helped NDEO build into the foremost non-profit organization serving as the voice for dance arts education for private schools of dance, PreK-12, higher education, dance arts agencies, and community programs. She was Research Director for a 3-year initiative to identify research in dance education in the United States, develop a database, and publish a “Report to the Nation” analyzing the patterns, trends, and gaps of research in dance education. She chaired task forces to develop two sets of standards in dance: for early childhood and for children 5-18 years of age (PreK and K-12).
Dr. Faber retired from the National Dance Education Organization in 2010, but continues her work in the national arena as Chair of the Dance Task Force for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards. She led the development of the next generation of national Core Standards for Dance Education. She is founder and current President of Capital Region Educators of Dance Organization (CREDO).
Honors and Awards: Grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (1986-1993. 1995-1997), Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (1994-Present); Phi Delta Kappa (1995-Present); American University Dance Scholarship Awards (1993, 1994), American University Student Service Award (1994), Beatrice Davis Community Service Award (1996). International: Tour in Russia with The Primary Movers (1996); Member of Dance Education Delegation to China (1996); Contract to teach kinesthetic learning workshops in Germany (1997). National Dance Education Organization Visionary Award (2002); American University Performing Arts Hall of Fame (2004); DC Metro Dance Award for Excellence in Dance Education (2006), NDEO Executive Director’s Award (2013), NDEO Lifetime Achievement Award (2014).
Elizabeth Gaither has had a career span as a professional ballerina for 22 years. She began her earlier ballet studies with her mother, Gloria Gaither in Miami Florida. While studying with her mother she received three years of high honors in the Royal Academy
of Dance Examinations. She then continued her ballet training at the Houston Ballet Academy, joining Houston Ballet Company at the age of 15. After dancing with Houston Ballet for 5 seasons Ms. Gaither decided to follow her dream of wanting to dance with
American Ballet Theatre. She was able to live out her dream and joined the company for nine incredible seasons. During her time there she toured the world, danced on the Metropolitan House stage regularly and performed many wonderful and special roles.
She then decided to keep moving forward in her career and explore what else was out there for her to experience in the ballet world. After being contacted by The Washington Ballet she was offered a Principal Dancer position and was ready to take on a new city, a new company and continue learning and growing from those around her. Ms.Gaither danced with Washington Ballet for eight seasons...
During the course of her career she has performed numerous roles such as Giselle, Bathilde and Zulma in Giselle, the Pas de Deux girl in Fancy Free, Princess Florentine, Puss N Boots, Silver Fairy and Aurora from The Sleeping Beauty, Biance in Taming of
the Shrew, Clara, Snow Queen and Sugar Plum in the Nutcracker, Cygnets and Polish Princess in Swan Lake, Mercedes and Amor from Don Quixote, Lead Shade and Small Pas d' Action in La Bayadere, Demi Soloist in George Balanchine's Theme and
Variations, Symphony Concertante, Symphony in C as well as Russian Girl and Dark Angel in his Serenade, First and Third Theme in Four Temperaments and Titania and Helena in his A Midsummer Night's Dream, Peasblosson Fairy in Sir Frederick Ashton's The Dream, Swanilda and Dawn in Coppelia, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Spring Fairy and Summer Fairy in Cinderella, The Sylph in La Sylphide, Daisy in The Great Gatsby, the lead in Forsythe's In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Jerome Robbins' In the Night, Nacho Duato's Na Floresta, Christopher Wheeldon's Morphoses and There Where She Loved, Mark Morris' Gong, Drink to Me only with Thine and Eyes and Pacific, Paul Taylor's Black Tuesday, Lar Lubovitch's Meadow, Othello, Artemis, and My Funny Valentine, Cho San Goh's Momentum and Fives, Christopher Bruce's Sergeant Early's Dream, Ghost Dances and Rooster, Ben Stevenson's Four Last Songs and Pas De deux Romance, Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room, Backer's Dozen, Sinatra Suite and Push Comes to Shove, the lead in Nicolo Fonte's Bolero, A world Premier pas de deux by Septime Webre called The Hours, as well as a world premiere pas de deux and reperatory ballet that was created on Ms. Gaither in Edwaard Liang's Wunderland. Ms.Gaither has also been Edwaard Liang's repetiteur for his ballet Wunderland.
Elizabeth was a finalist in the Jackson International Ballet Competition in 1990 and placed fourth in the world in the junior division at age 16 and won the Amilita Hoffman Award. She has been in the PBS American Ballet Theatre filmings of Le Corsaire and Sir Frederick Aston's The Dream, as well as had a dancing role in The movie Center Stage. She has had tv segments on her story on CNN and Young universe and was featured in
Dance Magazine in a full spread in 2007 in an article called Survive and Conquer and graced the cover of Pointe Magazine in 2008.
Another passion of Ms.Gaither's during the course of her career has been yoga. In 2007 she became a certified teacher in vinyasa yoga and has been teaching yoga ever since. She really enjoys sharing and helping others to improve their lives through the power of yoga, meditation and movement. Since her retirement from the stage in 2012 Elizabeth has been teaching and coaching
students as well as professional dancers and incorporates her knowledge from her yoga training into her ballet training skills to help the dancer have a greater understanding of the mind and body connection. She is loving being able to pass on her years of
experience, knowledge and her passion for this art form, to help other artists grow and improve. There is no greater reward then to be able to give back to the world of ballet and it's striving artists and help them on their journey. Ms.Gaither is the honored and proud wife of Professional Art photographer and multimedia producer Theo Kossenas and is the Artistic Director of their joint creation called media4artists. The dynamic duo love working together and collaborating on many creative photography and multimedia projects together.
Emma Hebert is a professional actor, dancer, and teaching artist in the DC area. She began dancing at age five, and in high school trained with The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and City Dance Conservatory. After graduating with a BA in Theatre from the University of Maryland Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, she completed a Teaching Apprenticeship at Round House Theatre Education. Since then she has taught at multiple arts organizations and schools in the area, including Imagination Stage, Encore Performing Arts, The Woods Academy, and Everyman Theatre. She has also performed professionally with several dance and theatre companies in the area, including Mosaic Theatre, Synetic Theatre, and KG Dance.
Dana “Spirit” House is a hip-hop historian, educator, choreographer, teacher & master BBoy. Spirit has been in the underground dance scene for over 25 years, first shocking crowds with Middle & High school performances which led to appearances on local TV Dance shows in Baltimore after which Spirit became a part of The “Ghetto Original” Dance Company in New York, NY in 1996 and traveled the world competing in dance competitions. In 1997 Spirit was cast in one of the first All Hip-Hop off Broadway Productions “Jam on the Groove” which toured the world and gave Spirit international and national exposure, and therefore allowed Spirit to be in the midst of the creators and originators of the hip-hop dance culture.
He proudly shared the stage with hip-hop royalty including personalities (dancers, DJs, artists) such as: The Rock Steady Crew, Style Elements Crew, Dj Kool Herc, Afrika Bambatta, Doug E Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick and Run DMC just to name a few. Spirit credits his knowledge & wisdom of Hip Hop Movement from his mentors Kenneth “Ken Swift” Gabbert, Jerry “Flo Master” Randolph, 2 Steve “Mr. Wiggles” Clemente, Luis “Trac2” Mateo & Jorge “Pop Master Fable” Pabon. He has performed for various Companies such as Adidas, Toyota, Ed Hardy Clothing, Calvin Klein, Pro Keds & Hershey Park. Known for his amazing acrobatic dance style Spirit has been called upon to teach from LA to as far as Dominican Republic. Spirit has been a personal Dance/Fitness Trainer for various up & coming musicians, artist, fighters and professional’s who aspired to be dancers and performers. He is also a seasoned competitor and has been a Champion, Host, Judge, Competitor, Participant & Performer in the world’s most highly ranked breakdance jams such as “Battle of the Year, Freestyle Session (LA), Bboy Masters-Pro AM (Miami, Atlanta, and New York City), United Styles (Boston) & Bboy Summit (LA)” just to name a few.
His passion for the youth inspired him to began teaching from elementary to university levels through lecture as well as hiphop, breakdancing, hip-hop fitness, and power acrobatics in places such as The University of Maryland, The Jemicy School of Baltimore, The Boys & Girls Club of DC, Community College of Baltimore County, The Park School, Youth for Christ NY, Loyola College and over 65 Dance Studios, clubs & camps.
Stuart Loungway is the Artistic Director of Terra Firma Dance Theatre. His training began with Tania Lichine, Irina Jacobson, and John Clifford before receiving a full scholarship to the prestigious School of American Ballet. He began his professional career performing with the Joffrey II Ensemble and Joffrey Ballet, before joining San Francisco Ballet Company and continuing as a Principal Dancer with American Repertory Ballet. He has performed soloist and principal roles in work by David Bintley, James Kudelka, George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Mark Morris, and many others. Mr. Loungway maintains an active schedule as a master teacher, choreographer and performer, and has served on the dance faculty at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Selected as “Who’s Hot” by National Dance Critics Association Chair Karyn Collins, Mr. Loungway's choreography, as expressed by Robert Johnson of Dance Europe, is "elegant and evocative" and “bodes well for the future of dance.” His work and company have been featured in the national dance publication Pointe Magazine.
His work has been featured at Ballet Builders/New Choreographers on Pointe. He is the recipient of the Individual Fellowship Recipient in Choreography NJ, awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, in recognition of the high artistic merit of his work. He recently served as an Artist- in-Residence at Rutgers University, Desales University, and is currently working on a commission for Raritan Valley College. He has served as the Ballet Master for American Repertory Ballet and Roxey Ballet. Recently, he served as a principal faculty member at Joffrey Ballet School, in addition to teaching ballet technique and contemporary ballet at Steps and Peridance. His work and company were featured at Jacob's Pillow this past summer.
Gabriel Mata is an artist activist, choreographer, educator, and performer. He graduated from San José State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. The Star Tribune has called him “Sly, subtle and totally virtuosic, theatrical dancer-choreographer Gabriel Mata holds the stage with expressive movement and witty words.” Gabriel Mata/Movements is his solo based performance project, his most recent work Out of the Shadows was awarded the Twin Cities Arts Reader Best of Fringe Award 2017. His dances have been performed in Minnesota, California, New York, North Carolina, and DC. He has performed for companies such as sjDANCEco, Post:Ballet, REACH BC Dance Company, Zenon Dance Company, and Mark Foehringer Dance Projects SF. Mr. Mata has also performed for artists such as Diane Frank, Joel Smith, Margaret Wingrove, Keith Johnson, Wynn Fricke, and the work of José Limón. He trained in Limón technique and applies it in his teaching with contemporary influences. He has been awarded the Mina Garman Award for Excellence in Choreography and the Carol Ann Haws Award for Excellence in Performance.
Maggie Sullivan is a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and began her ballet training with Kristin and Peter Degnan at the Degnan Ballet Center. She studied jazz, contemporary, lyrical, and modern dance under Tim Early, Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch, and Lynne Mariani, and founded the Holy Redeemer High School Dance Team. She continued her studies at Mercyhurst University, under the direction of Tauna Hunter, where she received a B.A. in Dance Pedagogy, choreographed a number of works presented at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center, acted as coordinator of the Liturgical Dance Ensemble, served on the Leadership Team and as an Ambassador for the university. She studied under ballet instructors Melissa Bobick, Michael Gleason, C. Noelle Partusch, and Lesley Scalise. In her career, she has performed roles in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Etudes, The Firebird, Giselle, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Little Match Girl, as well as various contemporary works. She has taught a wide variety of dance classes in varying age and technique levels at the Degnan Ballet Center, Wilkes Conservatory, Encore School of Dance, Stage Directions Performing Arts Academy, David Blight School of Dance, The Pennsylvania Performing Arts Academy, The Dance Center at Brandywine Ballet, and Mercyhurst University, as well as master classes and community outreach demonstrations. She has performed with SOMAR Dance Works in Erie, PA, Connect The Dots Dance Company in Washington DC, and District Dance Company in Maryland. She has most recently been the regional director of the Northern Virginia branch of Little People’s Creative Workshop, a theater arts program for preschool-aged children.