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 is a dance writer based in Chicago, IL, and is a contributing author at 4dancers.org, danceadvantage.net, Windy City Times, and SeeChicagoDance.com. In 2009 Lauren created Art Intercepts, a blog for dance-based discourse that incorporates dance and movement research, editorial commentary, and critical reviews. She is a full-time faculty member at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Heather Vaughan-Southard is a dance educator and freelance choreographer based in Michigan with rich teaching experiences in higher education, K-12 public schools, and private studios. With an approach of teaching dance as a liberal art, she draws from her experiences dancing professionally in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles to create experiences that move beyond the boundaries of a studio, producing well-rounded, thinking dance citizens. She is author of the blog EducatingDancers, where she chronicles her perspectives on dance and dance education. Heather holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Michigan, BFA in dance from Western Michigan University, K-12 Dance Certification from Wayne State University and is the mother of two small children whom never seem to stop moving.
Latest posts by Heather Vaughan-Southard (see all)
- When Challenging Advanced Dancers Presents Challenges - January 19, 2015
- Kindness in the Classroom: Moving, Discussing, and Being Our Best - September 16, 2014
- Setting Kids Free To Move and Play in the Classroom - June 24, 2014
Rachel Hellwig is a freelance dance writer 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: https://twitter.com/ivyalso
Latest posts by Rachel Hellwig (see all)
- Royals Who Crave a Ballet Buzz - December 9, 2014
- 15 Things We Love About Nutcracker Theater Week - November 24, 2014
- Miko Fogarty: Her Flare for Flan and Dramatic Style - October 14, 2014
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.
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
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 has published two novels with Penguin’s Razorbill imprint. She currently teaches all levels of ballet to adults in LA. Zombie ballet is her passion. She can be reached through her blog: www.fitballet.blogspot.com.
Latest posts by Leigh Purtill (see all)
- How To Work Well With Others - January 26, 2015
- Misty Copeland Writes About Diversity in Ballet - December 19, 2014
- Drawing the Curtains on Act 1: Jenifer Ringer’s Memoir - November 12, 2014
Cassandra Dara-Abrams runs Brave and Barefoot Dance and Yoga and is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago-based Brave and Barefoot Dance Troupe, a women’s dance troupe centered on a balance of modern and ancient dance technique. She holds a BA in Education and Youth Studies from Beloit College and is trained and certified in the Nia Technique and children’s yoga through Kidding Around Yoga. For the past five years, Cassandra has also been training in small group dynamics and processes and organizational development. Dance, to Cassandra, is a life-long practice of artistic expression, kinesthetic learning, personal and community development, physical exercise, and meditation. She brings all of these approaches to her writing, classes, workshops, and Troupe rehearsals. Cassandra has a passion for dance history and, in her free time, loves to learn about ancient dance rituals and great female dance heroes including Jean Erdman, Anna Halprin, Gabrielle Roth, Isadora Duncan, and Katherine Dunham. Cassandra’s favorite novels are Ishmael by Daniel Quinn and One Is The Sun by Patricia Nell Warren. When she’s not workshop planning or choreographing, she enjoys writing thoughtfully silly blog posts for Kidding Around Yoga. Follow Cassandra on Instagram @braveandbarefoot and Twitter @bravedance.
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.
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 Suzanne began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. Nichelle holds a BA in dance and is an instructor with more than 17 years experience. She covers dance performance in the Houston area as a freelance writer and balances daily life as a mom to two young children. In June 2012, Nichelle presented the whats, hows, and whys of blogging on a panel at the annual conference for Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance, to better equip artists and companies for engaging their audience and new readers through online communications and content.