Contributors

Our contributors enrich the content at Dance Advantage. Each extends our vision and mission with his/her unique voice, expert knowledge, and experience in the field of dance.

Lauren Warnecke
Lauren Warnecke is a freelance dance writer based in Chicago, and regular contributor to SeeChicagoDance.com, Windy City Times, and Chicago Magazine. Lauren is the creator of artintercepts.org, a blog committed to critical discourse about dance and performance, and has written for nationally reputed sites such as Dance Advantage and 4Dancers. An experienced educator, administrator, and producer, Lauren holds degrees in dance (BA) and kinesiology (MS). She is a Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM), and holds specialty certificates in Functional Training (ACE) and Sports Performance and Weightlifting (USAW).
Lauren Warnecke
Lauren Warnecke
Lauren Warnecke
Heather Vaughan-Southard
Heather Vaughan-Southward specializes in connection and community building. She offers project-based learning in K-12 and healthcare contexts, pedagogy consultation, and creative-self-care experiences. Heather formerly directed dance programs in Higher Education and K-12 settings and danced professionally in Chicago, NYC, Los Angeles, and through-out Michigan. She represents Dance for the Michigan Arts Education Instruction and Assessment project (MAEIA), serves as a columnist for Dance Advantage, authors the blog EducatingDancers, and was invited to the Editorial Board of the Journal of Dance Education. She is a national conference presenter in the fields of dance and movement pedagogy and is completing a comprehensive pilates certification through the McEntire School. Heather currently serves as Director of Health and Education Services for Happendance, Inc., a non-profit dance organization based in Michigan. Heather is married to author Scott D. Southard and has two children who seem to be in perpetual motion.
Heather Vaughan-Southard
Rachel Hellwig
Rachel Hellwig is a dance writer/editor/blogger from Birmingham, Alabama. She enjoys taking ballet classes, reading about dance, and attending live performances of ballet and classical music. She blogs at: http://clarascoffeebreak.wordpress.com. You can also follow her on Twitter: @ivyalso and Instagram: @rachelhellwig
Rachel Hellwig
Rachel Hellwig
Chelsey Bradley
Chelsey (Dahm) Bradley is a recovering attorney turned freelance choreographer based in Madison, Wisconsin, where she teaches contemporary at Monona Academy of Dance and serves as resident choreographer for Dance Wisconsin. She is a four-time Regional Dance America National Commissioning Award Winner, and has received commissions to choreograph contemporary works throughout the Midwest, as well as a full-length production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for Dance Wisconsin. Chelsey is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in dance composition. You can follow her work on, Instagram and contact her for new projects at www.chelseybradley.com.
Leigh Purtill
Leigh Purtill is a ballet instructor, choreographer and coach in Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and dog. She received her master’s degree in Film Production from Boston University and her bachelor’s in Anthropology and Dance from Mount Holyoke College. She is the author of two young adult novels from Penguin and one coming soon from HarperCollins. She currently teaches all levels of ballet to adults. Zombie ballet is her passion. She can be reached through her website, www.leighpurtillballet.com.
Kathi Martuza
Kathi Martuza is a former professional ballet dancer who spent 15 years dancing with the San Francisco Ballet as a Corps de ballet dancer and with the Oregon Ballet Theatre as a Principal dancer. Kathi holds a BA in Performing Arts with an emphasis in dance, is a Certified PEAK Pilates instructor, Certified Health Coach, and licensed True Body Project teacher. She is the owner-operator of Empowered Health and Movement, LLC- dedicated to empowering girls and women to feel great IN and ABOUT their bodies through nutrition, movement and self love. Kathi helps her clients with weight loss/management, improving self-esteem and body image, and body conditioning. Kathi believes wholeheartedly in the innate power girls and women possess and she hopes to empower them towards becoming their happiest, healthiest and most-fulfilled selves. Find out more about Kathi and her work at www.empoweredhealthandmovement.com.
Kathi Martuza
Kathi Martuza
Jessica Warchal-King
Jessica C. Warchal-King is a Philly-based performer, choreographer, educator, and arts advocate. She is a member of Kun-Yang Lin/ Dancers and Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet and has toured nationally and internationally. Jessica is co-founder and curator of the InHale Performance Series and she teaches at universities, studios, and arts centers. Jessica earned her MFA in Dance from Temple and her BA in Dance and Anthropology from Muhlenberg College. She is a trained instructor in Dance for PD, a program developed by the Mark Morris Dance Group to bring dance to people with Parkinson’s Disease, and a Power Pilates Mat I & II Certified Instructor. The Embodiment Project is Jessica’s ongoing research project combining education, physical dance practice, and performance. Using dance as its medium, The Embodiment Project investigates the relationships between kinesthetic, somatic, and anatomical understanding, self-awareness, art-making, joy-creation, and social justice. www.jcwarchalking.blogspot.com
Elizabeth Semko
Elizabeth is a dance minor and journalism major at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville. A dance student since the age of six, she has danced in the studio and on dance team, as well as at Radio City Music Hall as part of the Rockette Summer Intensive. She currently teaches at a studio in her college town.
Elizabeth Semko

Latest posts by Elizabeth Semko (see all)

Maria Hanley Blakemore

Maria Hanley Blakemore

Early Childhood Dance Educator at Maria's Movers
A passionate advocate for early childhood dance education, Maria Hanley Blakemore teaches ages 18 months to 6 years, 6 days a week. Maria currently designs and implements ballet programs for the young families and after school division at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. In Brooklyn, Maria teaches creative movement, creative ballet, and parent/toddler classes at Dancewave Center and The Mark Morris Dance Group. Maria holds a Master’s degree in dance education from New York University (2007) and a Bachelor’s degree in dance performance from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania (2005). She also serves on Dance/NYC’s Junior Committee and is a member of the National Dance Education Organization. Maria is the founder of Maria’s Movers, a program that offers dance, movement and yoga classes to boys and girls in their early years. She authors the blog Move. Create. Educate. (www.mariasmovers.com), where she shares her creative ideas about teaching young dancers.
Maria Hanley Blakemore
Maria Hanley Blakemore

Latest posts by Maria Hanley Blakemore (see all)

Guest Contributors

Guest Contributors

Dance Advantage welcomes guest posts from other dance teachers, students, parents, professionals, or those knowledgeable in related fields. If you are interested in having your article published at Dance Advantage, please see the following info on submitting a guest post.
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world.
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle (owner/editor)