Winter 2013 Adult Class Descriptions & Faculty Biographies

Quick Links to Adult & Teen Class Descriptions and Faculty Biographies
Class Descriptions and Faculty Biographies

BALLET — Monday night Ballet classes are taught by Emily Scott, former dancer with the Louisville Ballet and current company member of MamLuft&Co. Dance. This class is intended for beginners and intermediate dancers. The class will follow the traditional ballet structure of barre exercises, stretching, adagio, pirouettes, petite allegro, and grand allegro in joyful, low stress environments!

EMILY SCOTT is a native of Ft. Thomas, Kentucky and started her training at the Otto M. Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet under the instruction of Patrick Notaro. A graduate of Butler University with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Pedagogy, she performed many featured roles in The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Serenade, and performed in contemporary choreography by the Butler faculty including pieces by Cynthia Pratt and Derek Reid. She also had the opportunity to perform/study ballet and character dance in St. Petersburg, Russia. Emily is a dancer in the modern dance company, MamLuft&Co. Dance; prior to coming to the company, she performed with the Louisville Ballet Company.

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BALLET BASICS: STRETCH & STRENGTHEN — Have you always wanted to learn Ballet? Well this is the class for you. In this class you will be introduced to the basics of Ballet including barre work, jumps, turns, leaps, and small combinations. Special emphasis will be placed on strengthening the muscles used in ballet & increasing overall flexibility! Basic Ballet vocabulary will also be taught.

ALLISON JACOBS has been dancing and teaching in greater Cincinnati and New York City for the past twenty years. Her dance training is primarily focused on Ballet and Modern. However, Allison is also well versed in Tap, Jazz, Hip-hop, Musical Theater, Swing, and Contact Improvisation. Allison has worked with Tanze Performing Arts Studio, Hamilton Ballet Theater, Miami Valley Ballet Theater, Long Island University, Contemporary Dance Theater, Ballet Tech, and Fresh Air Fund. Most recently, Allison has taught dance for Contemporary Dance Theater, Cincinnati Waldorf School, Cincinnati Public Schools, MamLuft&Co. Dance, as well as for the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Public Libraries. As a lover of all dance and all art forms, Allison is also a proud member of the Greater Cincinnati Dance Alliance, a group who engages the community in dance. In addition to teaching dance, Allison is a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University with a degree in Psychology and a minors in dance, honors, sociology, and art history. For more information, please feel free to email her at allison@cdt-dance.org.

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BREAKDANCE for Adults — Join us this winter to learn the basics of Breaking/B-Boying/B-Girling. Brent Fields will lead these classes in exploring freestyling, starting with the fundamentals and progressing through toprocks, drops, footwork, power moves, and freezes. Students will also explore how to dance with individual character and creativity. An active, creative class!

BRENT FIELDS holds a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Morehead State University and is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Fitness Specialist and Personal Trainer. He has worked with Jaron Joiner, danced in an opening performance for Lupe Fiasco, City Nights (Northern Kentucky), Fountain Square Slam Concert Series (Cincinnati), community events as a Breaker/B-Boy/Hip-Hop dancer, and has professional audition experience (Cirque Du Soleil and Paula Abdul’s Dance Show).  Mr. Fields is a new teacher at Contemporary Dance Theater.

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CLASSIC ARAB DANCE — These classes teach the foundation steps common in many styles of Arab Dances all throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East. The Dance course is taught by Irene Mirci in Classic Egyptian style, also known as Dance Oriental.

For Beginner Dancers – Classes will focus on the basic movements of the hips and chest, including; conscious application and practice of geometrical shapes particular to this ancient art (circles, spirals, figure eights). Pulsating rhythmic movements (locks) and vibrating rhythmic movements (shimmies). We will learn dance steps, examine Arab Folklore related to dance, and take a brief look at its origins and history. Each class concludes with guided improvisation, which invites your inner dancer to come out and play!  This class is appropriate for all ages. Bring a scarf to tie around your hips to aid with body awareness.

For Intermediate and Advanced Dancers – Classes build on the foundation steps from the beginner course. Focusing on layering movements that gradually increase in difficulty in three different ways: moving two distant body parts simultaneously, moving two adjacent body parts simultaneously and moving the same part of the body in two different ways at the same time. We will also practice changes in velocity, learn various arm movements; and experience different dance moods and stage presence through guided improvisation. Please wear comfortable dance attire, including a dance belt and skirt/harem pants.

IRENE MIRCI was born in Italy and grew up in Australia. Throughout her youth she traveled around Europe, as far as Pakistan, India, Tunisia, Syria, and Yemen. During this time she had a great interest for their more sophisticated form of dance and some years later started seriously studying Raqs Sharki (Dance from the East) and Arabic Folklore. She enrolled in some of the best schools in Italy and attended regular classes with dedication for over six years learning the subtle art of Arab dance from some of the best teachers and dancers in Italy. Irene studied classic Arab dance and Folklore with dedication and followed the teachings of Egyptian dancer Amal Khalifa and the Egyptian dance instructor Saad Ismail of the M. Reda Dance Troupe. She studied and performed with American dancer and anthropologist, Mylitta. With Italian dancer and C.U.S. instructor Maria Luisa Sales, she studied a more contemporary style combining Dance Oriental with elements of Bharatnatyam, Creative Movement, and Flamenco. Irene was the acclaimed and talented primary dancer at the “Cleopatra” Club-Restaurant in Rome, Italy in 2004/2005, and she participated in various shows and live performances during cultural events, weddings, and parties around the world. She began teaching Arab Dance and Choreography classes in 2001. In October 2006, Irene relocated to the United States and is now residing here in Cincinnati. She says, “I have a particular interest in languages and folklore and have always been irresistibly curious about other cultures. When I meet a language barrier, I find it is much easier to relate to people while dancing to their folk music. A step and a smile will bring you closer than a thousand words.”

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CONTEMPORARY JAZZ — Description and biography of David Choate (instructor) coming soon!


STEVE IRWIN has been dancing and teaching professionally for over twenty years. He has performed all over the world on cruise ships, at dinner theaters, and at theme parks. Steve’s teaching credits include Northern Kentucky University, Governor’s School of the Arts, Playhouse in the Park, Wyoming Center for the Arts, and is currently on staff at Cincinnati Ballet and CCM. He is pleased to be teaching at CDT. Steve Irwin teaches adult level Hip Hop classes with creative choreography set to the latest hip hop and R&B music.

MIGUEL CHEATHAM was born and raised in Cincinnati Ohio. He began dancing at the age of 16 and has spent the rest of his years perfecting his craft. With a unique style of Hip Hop, Miguel began teaching classes at the age of 17 and has been teaching ever since. He has spent the last three years in Los Angeles taking different styles of Hip Hop classes and training with top choreographers such as Shane Sparks and Teresa Espinosa. In 2008, he went on a world tour performing as a backup dancer for Bootsy Collins in the James Brown Tribute Tour. In 2010 he was a contestant on the CMT television show “Your Chance to Dance” where he won first place and the grand prize. He is now back in Cincinnati, teaching Hip Hop and helping others perfect their craft of dance. Miguel Cheatham teaches unique Hip Hop routines with a smooth style that plays more on the music and lyrics of a song rather than the counts itself.  Very comfortable routines that fit each song being taught.

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MODERN DANCE — Mixed-level and mixed-origin Modern Dance classes will explore various Modern Dance styles and techniques. The classes aim to improve your flexibility, range of motion, technical knowledge, musicality, artistic range, and understanding of basic modern dance principles.

EMILY SCOTT is a native of Ft. Thomas, Kentucky and started her training at the Otto M. Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet under the instruction of Patrick Notaro. A graduate of Butler University with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Pedagogy, she performed many featured roles in The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Serenade, and performed in contemporary choreography by the Butler faculty including pieces by Cynthia Pratt and Derek Reid. She also had the opportunity to perform/study ballet and character dance in St. Petersburg, Russia. Emily is a dancer in the modern dance company, MamLuft&Co. Dance; prior to coming to the company, she performed with the Louisville Ballet Company.

SHANI ZISOVITCH was born and trained as a dancer in Israel, and is a graduate of The Academy of Music and Dance in Jerusalem with a Bachelor of Dance and a teaching certificate. As a choreographer her works were shown on stages in Israel and she was awarded first place in competitions and festivals. As a dancer Shani performed in works of different choreographers in Israel and Europe. In the past 8 years Shani has taught modern dance and improvisation to students and adults, using a variety of techniques, extensive use of release technique and floor work. In addition to dancing, Shani specializes in women’s exercise and is a certified trainer for pregnant women. She has recently performed in “Small Craft Warning” by choreographer Diane Germaine.

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MODERN DANCE WITH MAMLUFT&CO. DANCE (OPEN COMPANY CLASS) (Advanced) — MamLuft&Co. Dance opens its doors to its company class, where advanced students can take class with ML&Co.’s company of dancers. The classes will be taught by Jeanne Mam-Luft (Director), Susan Honer (Assistant Choreographer and Pilates Trainer), and Ashley Powell (Assistant Choreographer). Other company members may also step in to teach. The class will use a range of class formats to explore dynamic alignment, athleticism in dance, organic movement, abdominal support, release and somatic techniques, and pluralistic aesthetics. Visit mamluftcodance.org for more information on the Company.

JEANNE MAM-LUFT is a choreographer, designer, and photographer, who also dabbles in lighting, video, and sound. Jeanne is also the Assistant Director of Contemporary Dance Theater, serves on the OhioDance Board of Trustees, and is a founding member of the Greater Cincinnati Dance Alliance. She has recently taught at Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts (Lexington, KY), Texas Woman’s University (Denton, TX), University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH), Northern Kentucky University (Newport, KY), Wright State University (Dayton, OH), Brookhaven College (Dallas, TX), and Tarrant County College (Fort Worth, TX). She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University, where she was also a student of scenic design and dance at their renowned School of Drama, while also studying photography and video at Pittsburgh Filmmakers. As a student, she received full scholarships to both American Dance Festival and Bates Dance Festival.

SUSAN HONER hails from Southwest Virginia, and currently resides in Dayton, Ohio where she teaches Pilates and dance in the community. Susan received her Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival and her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and English from Hollins University. Susan’s work has been seen in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut, Wisconsin, New York, and Austria. In 2009, Susan was commissioned to create an original work for Merge Record’s 20th Anniversary Dance Concert, Merge with Motion. She is also the co-founder of Distance Dances, a blog and video-based dance collaboration with fellow dance artist Gina T’ai. Ms. Honer has been creating Fringe Festival material for ML&Co. since 2011 and made her ML&Co. mainstage debut as a choreographer in Pieces (2012).

ASHLEY POWELL hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana and is now a Dayton, Ohio resident. Ms. Powell is a graduate of Wittenberg University where she studied both Dance and Political Science. She has trained with David Dorfman, Lisa Race, and Jennifer Nugent at the American Dance Festival, as well as the Susan Marshall Company and Tricia Gelmini; she is also a former member of Rhythm in Shoes. Ms. Powell is in her sixth season with MamLuft&Co. Dance as an original company member. Outside of the company, Ms. Powell has also choreographed for her alma mater and the adjudicated Choreographers Without Companies, presented by Contemporary Dance Theater.

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MODERN DANCE SATURDAY SERIES  (Intermediate/Advanced) — STARTING FEB. 2: An intermediate-level modern dance series, highlighting the range of styles in Modern Dance. An eclectic and interesting sampling, sure to keep you riveted. Drop-in students are welcome once minimum registration has been met.

LESLIE DWORKIN has been choreographing, teaching, and performing internationally for the past 15 years, including residencies at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Joyce SoHo, Movement Research in NYC, Jacob’s Pillow, and Wolfeboro’s Arts on the Edge Festival, to name a few. She has performed in the works of Ralph Lemon, Maureen Fleming, Kei Takei, and Bebe Miller, among others; and as a member of the Leah Stein Dance Company, Sharir/Bustamante DanceWorks, and Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre. “Dworkin moves like silk” (ArtsHouston) and her uniquely fluid dance pieces have garnered much choreographic support from such sources as the Pew Charitable Trusts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Djerassi, and a 3-year residency in the Susan Hess Choreographers Project in Philadelphia. Her training has included a rich blend of release-based techniques, somatics, butoh, qigong, and yoga. She has taught as a guest artist in many dance departments including UCLA, UNC/Greensboro, Oberlin College, Ohio University, and University of Texas/Austin. Leslie has an MFA in Choreography from Temple University, is a certified Trager bodywork practitioner, and has recently moved to Yellow Springs, OH where she resides with her husband, daughter, one cat, and a rabbit. In Leslie’s release-based class, we will explore the balance between ease and power, fluidity and specificity. Class will progress from awareness-building floorwork, to phrase material that is dynamic, fluid, and fully charged. Drawing from the studies of many different mind-body and dance techniques, we will explore off-balance movement, spinal articulation, and intricate, spiraling motion that moves in and out of the floor with expressiveness and musicality.

DIANE GERMAINE, named one of The Enquirer’s “8 to watch in 2008,” is the founder of Germaine DanceWorks and a founding member of Greater Cincinnati Dance Alliance. The New York Times named her “a superstar modern dancer,” describing her dancing as “boneless as a shadow and in control of every kinetic nuance.” She was an honors graduate of NYC’s famous Performing Arts High School, and went on to earn high praise for her roles in Fatal Birds, The Path, Metallics, Shadows, and as poetess Anne Sexton in A Consort for Dancers during her years as Principal Soloist of the Paul Sanasardo Dance Company, NYC. As Artistic Director with her own NYC company, Diane Germaine & Dancers, and as an independent contemporary choreographer and director, Germaine received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Arts Public Service (NYC), City of Cincinnati and the Ohio Arts Council for such works as Playground, Nighthawks, Didi, a Life, and Fated Tango; some recent works include Monologue and Little Deaths, The Empty Room, Dos Gallos y una Dulzura and Aperture. She has been a Master Instructor/Choreographer in Israel (invited by the late Baroness de Rothschild for the companies Bat-Dor and Batsheva), for London Contemporary at the Place, for Norsk Opera Ballett (Oslo), and Dramaten in Stockholm. In the USA she has been guest faculty for Skidmore College (via Melissa Hayden), American University, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, North Carolina School of the Arts (via Dick Kuch), and was also on faculty at Performing Arts High School, Alvin Ailey American Dance Centre, and for Modern Dance Artists, Inc – all in NYC. Germaine’s classes are technical and guaranteed to get you “on your legs” as they concentrate on correct placement while emphasizing some complex rhythms, multiple dynamics, and layered combinations. Ms. Germaine likes quick work as well as the sustained phrase, so if you stick around, you will likely get to move fast and get airborne!

KA-RON BROWN LEHMAN came to Ohio June 2007 from Los Angeles, California. Ms. Lehman trained intensely under Carolyn Skyers, J. Erglis Smaltzoff, George Zurich, Michael Panaieff, Doug Rivera, Eunice Cane, Joseph Rickard, Jimmy Fields and James Truitte; and later, in New York, with Karol Shook, Tanaquil LeClercq, Thelma Hill at Dance Theatre of Harlem. Ms. Lehman went on to become an accomplished dance muse for numerous renowned choreographers and a motivating educator of 48 years, known for helping students unlock their emotions through dance throughout the US, Finland, Canada and Australia. Ka-Ron taught Contemporary Modern and Choreography at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts for 21 years and was appointed Artistic Director for the LACHSA Dance Department for 2001-2006. For her excellent mentoring and plethora of concert stages, TV variety series, award specials, Broadway, theatre, film, and commercial credits, she was awarded numerous National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards, the American Choreography/Educator Award, a Drama Logue Critics Award, and a Distinguished Presidential Scholar Teacher Award. She produced and choreographed numerous dance concerts showcasing the Lehman Dance Company, and in 1993, created the Annual Lehman Awards honoring members of the dance community and helping educate young dancers and community about our rich dance legacy. Ms. Lehman is presently teaching the “Lehman Technique” at Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy, Claudia Rudolf-Barrett’s ballet tech of ohio, University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music (dance majors only), and has recently joined the dance faculty at The School for Creative and Performing Arts at Erich Kunzel Center for Arts and Education. Since arriving in Cincinnati, Ms. Lehman has also shared her choreography works such as, “Heart of a Woman,” “Helen Keller — The Other Room,” “Recurring Dreams,” “The Bus Stop,” “Soul of Grace,” and “The Periapt” ( an original ballet and collaboration with Maestro Michael Chertock created for the Cincinnati Ballet’s Company’s 2010 New Works Project). Ms Lehman is currently a proud member of the newly developed Greater Cincinnati Dance Alliance and proudly returns to teach this master series at CDT.

ZviDANCE — Click here.

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SALSA FOR BEGINNERS — In this nine week Winter course you will learn all the Salsa basics you need to get out on the dance floor. Amos teaches a combination of LA, New York, and Casino/Miami styles of Salsa. Basic steps of left and right turns, rocks, side break, cross body leads, cross over cumbia, and spot turns will be the focus of this class. Register with or without a partner.  Pre-registration is required for this class. Register with or without a partner.

AMOS BROWN began his dance training with parents Amos Sr. and Alpha Omega Brown. He won his first dance contest with his baby sister Felicia under their parents tutelage. His dance interests include modern, jazz, hip hop, Latin, African, and occasionally some classical dance genres, working with Shekinah Glory Dancers, opening up for gospel recording artist Darwin Hopps, and learning Ballroom from former Champion Susie Lasko, winning first prizes in Cha, Cha, Cha, and Swing competitions. He has also worked as an Actor/Cotton Club Swing Dancer in the play, This Joint is Jumping produced by Norbert Brown, the creature of A Good Man is Hard to Find. Amos’ theater interests drew him to audition with Ballet Tech Cincinnati where he performed in Shall We Dance, The Conductors, Green Legs and Ham, Made in America, and Jazzy Sleeping Beauty. In 2009, Amos won the Salsa category in the So You Think You Can Dance Competition in Dayton, Ohio. He then learned Rueda and joined and performed with Cincinnati’s first Rueda dance team Pan n Canela. Amos is currently teaching LA, NY, and Casio/Miami style salsa. From Amos, “I would like to personally thank all of the individual’s master instructors across the country, who helped me in my personal development in the art of salsa dancing and teaching. Thank you, Eddie Torres, Shaka Gonzalez Brown, Rogelio Moreno, Henry Herrera, Patricia Paz “Rueda.”

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BEGINNING YOGA — Beginning Yoga provides an introduction to a variety of yoga poses individually tailored toward students of all ages, abilities, and fitness levels. In depth instruction on basic poses and sequences, as well as an introduction to breathwork and meditation, will be provided. Mats and props will be provided to help you safely practice yoga and reap the benefits of a regular yoga practice, which include stress reduction, flexibility, strength, and an overall feeling of well being.

MEGAN SHEPHERD has been practicing yoga since 1999 and has completed a 300 hour yoga teacher training program with World Peace Yoga & Cincinnati State, and is a 200 hour Certified Yoga Teacher registered with the Yoga Alliance. Through teaching yoga, she seeks to help students become more peaceful and centered, as well as physically invigorated, strong, and flexible. In addition to teaching and practicing yoga, Megan teaches English, writes, runs, hikes, and bikes.

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