Ellie Bernstein was born and raised in NJ, where at age 15, began dancing professionally with a ballet company. At 16 she was accepted into the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and at 17 moved to Bloomington, Indiana. Over the course of her 4 years at IU, Ellie had the privilege of working closely with esteemed dancers and choreographers such as Violette Verdy, John Clifford, Julie Kent, and Susan Jaffe. During her final year at IU, Ellie made the difficult decision to retire from the world of ballet and continue life as a "normal" person. After hating grad school and the new career she had chosen, Ellie decided to return to the world of physical movement by obtaining her 600 hour comprehensive Pilates certification. Soon after, she found yoga and earned her E-RYT 200, RYT 500. Recently, after an 11 year break, she decided to return to the dance world and is enjoying combining her love for yoga and dance. She also works with a variety of brands and charities on Instagram, enjoys writing and blogging in her spare time, and is currently working on her first book.
Latin Dance Lessons’ instructor, Rachelle Brignoni, began dancing since she was a little girl (literally since she is been aware of herself), being constantly surrounded by Latin music and dance in her home, family reunions, and cultural events in the gorgeous tropical island of Puerto Rico. Rachelle has an almost-innate love for dance, formally starting her career at age 8 in a youth dance team. Since then, Rachelle has honed her dance skills through the mastery of dance techniques with aspirations of later passing along this knowledge, as she has always believed that all humans should experiment with the joy of expressing themselves through dance. While doing her undergraduate studies in psychology, Rachelle also got training in contemporary dance both at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and the University of Puerto Rico. This unique training provided her with core techniques that made her better understand the other dances she already knew as well as to develop a finer body awareness, which allows us to intimately understand our body’s capacity for expression as a vehicle for enhancing dance skill. Rachelle has performed at many different events, ranging from stage performances at the Conservatory of Music to cultural festivals and outreach initiatives in collaboration with other artists in the Island. Rachelle is also well learned in Flamenco and Tango, which she continues to enjoy in her free time together with all her other favorite dance forms. Currently she devotes most of her time to completing her doctoral degree in the Washington, DC area. Nevertheless, Rachelle is excited to expand her community of dance pupils in the nation’s capital and share some of the beauties of dance with our community.
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!
Seth Dellinger is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner® and a firm believer in the transformative powers of curiosity and creativity. I discovered the Feldenkrais Method® in 2011 and was immediately drawn to the spirit of “biological optimism” that is embodied in this unique somatic approach. In my classes, I emphasize the potential for every individual to discover new possibilities for more comfortable and joyful movement. I strive to create a safe a playful atmosphere where child-like exploration is encouraged and celebrated.
In my teaching I draw on lessons from experiences as a musical composer and improviser, immigrant rights activist, taxi driver and student of speech language pathology. Today, I’m an enthusiast of parkour and contact improvisation. I am a co-leader of the experimental DC Movement Research group along with contemporary dancer Juliana Pongutá. I am currently collaborating with local dance legend Michelle Ava, founder of Joy of Motion dance center, to produce a multi-media stage show to be presented in July 2017.
I am the central organizer of the DC Feldenkrais Festival, a free day-long event that has been held five times since Fall 2014. I have taught classes in many local venues and made special presentations at the University of Maryland Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and the Dance Educators Training Institute of the Baltimore County Public School System.
Find out more about Seth in his blog at: https://movelikeachild.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/i-am-dancer-there-i-said-it/
Edward Franklin, more simply known as "E," took his first dance class in high school as a means to avoid PE. Under the watchful eye of dedicated teacher Cindy Herman, the dance studio became his second home and his talents blossomed. Upon graduation he traveled to Spain as a performer in the Barcelona Olympics' Opening Ceremonies. Moving to New York City, he received full tuition and board scholarships to the Ailey School and the Joffrey Ballet, and was also the recipient of the Donna Woods Award. "E" has danced professionally on almost every major stage in the world, memorably including the final performance of the "old" Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia. He is grateful to have danced with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, PhilaDanco, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, the Oakland Ballet and many other notable companies.
As an instructor, national and international master class teacher, visiting artist, and guest choreographer, "E" is proud of his multi-faceted approach for pushing students to the highest level of artistry and technique, ensuring their connection with the rhythms and phrasing of the music, enhancing their knowledge of theater dynamics, and helping them impact an audience on a deeper level. Edward draws from over 20 years of top level training and performance experience, and is grateful to have been guided by many of the today's finest choreographers and dance instructors. He heavily combines this immense experience with his deep love of movement to give all dancers, whether professional, aspiring or passionate hobbyists, a rich growth experience.
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.
Luis Torres is currently the STUDIO COMPANY AND TRAINEE BALLET MASTER of the Washington Ballet.
LUIS R. TORRES (Studio Company and Trainee Ballet Master) from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, in his 14th season with The Washington Ballet and joined The Washington Ballet’s artistic team as the Studio Company and Trainee Ballet Master. Prior to joining TWB, Torres was a soloist with Ballet Theatre of Maryland (1995-1997) in Annapolis, Maryland, and performed soloist and principal roles with Ballet Arizona from 1997-2003. Many dancing roles have been created for him by a number of world renowned choreographers such as Moses Pendleton, Ib Anderson, Dwight Rhoden, Edwaard Liang and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. Torres began his training in Puerto Rico under the direction of Elizabeth Calero before accepting a Roberto Clemente scholarship transfer to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he had the opportunity to train under the tutelage of Roberto Munoz. During his time at Point Park University, he received the outstanding sophomore of the year award adding to his scholarship aid. A few of his featured roles during his tenure at TWB include Snow King, Drosselmeyer and Anacostian Man (Arabian) in The Nutcracker, Tom Buchanan in the world premiere of Septime Webre’s The Great Gatsby, Lord Capulet in Romeo + Juliet, Captain Hook in Peter Pan and the King of Hearts and Cheshire Cat in the world premiere of ALICE (in wonderland). Torres received a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) concentration in dance and psychology from Arizona State University (ASU) in 2003 and completed his Master in Fine Arts from George Mason University (GMU) June 2014. Currently, Torres is also an adjunct professor at George Mason University and a guest teacher and choreographer in many locations in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC.
Royce Zackery completed his Masters at N.Y.U. Steinhardt/American Ballet Theater in Higher Education: Department of Music, Performing Arts Professions, and Pedagogical Studies. He received his B.F.A from Southern Methodist University, is a proud member of American Ballet Theatre’s Project Plie` and certified in the American Ballet Theatre National Teaching Curriculum with a concentrated methodological degree in Ballet Pedagogy: Anatomical Physical Performance and Measures of Injury Prevention.
Royce has over sixteen years of experience as a professional dancer along with thirteen years of teaching. Within his career, Royce has worked professionally with over 30 companies. His performing experience ranges from Broadway shows such as My One and Only, Oklahoma! Anything Goes, to Classical Ballet and Contemporary Company’s such as Rebecca Kelly Ballet Theater, Rioult Dance Theatre, Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Thomas/Ortiz Dance, Staten Island Ballet, and Urban Dance Collective to name a few. Royce’s choreography, teaching, coaching, rehearsal directing, and artistic directing experience crosses all levels of dance and idioms from beginner to professional; including public schools, pre-professional programs, academies, universities, professional companies, and festivals across the U.S. and abroad. Teaching idioms include classical/contemporary ballet, contemporary movement, jazz, tap, and partnering (classical/contemporary).
Mr. Zackery is currently an Asst. Professor and Head Coordinator for the area of Dance Arts in Howard University's Department of Theatre Arts Program. He has also been on faculty of several professional/pre-professional training facilities in New York City such as Broadway Dance Center, the Alvin Ailey Extension Program, and the School at Steps on Broadway. International festivals, gala performances, governmental functions, and professional dance companies are just a few of the many places that Mr. Zackery’s own choreographic works have been seen. Places around the world include Germany, Russia, New York, Mexico, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Oklahoma City, and Atlanta Georgia. Royce has received choreographic notoriety of his work through New York Premieres Commissioned by Dixon Place Theater, Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Hofstra University, Irondale Theater, Staten Island Ballet, Loteria Performing Arts, and Nomad Contemporary Ballet. Because Mr. Zackery is a strong believer and advocate of giving back to community and youth of the world through his undying passion for teaching, He travels to Africa working with the Mind Leaps Organization to help train native teaching artists of Kigali, Rwanda as well as work extensively with under privileged orphans and street children in aim to help them get into Boarding and Trade schools to gain an education. Royce’s teaching philosophy is to enrich the students' cognitive development. He believes that unconditional caring, patients, and mentorship of our youth will ensure leaders of tomorrow.