Alumni News

JESS NOVOTNY (B.F.A. 09) After graduation Novotny moved to the Chicago area and worked as a dance instructor. In 2013, she and her husband returned to Iowa and she opened Prestige Dance Studio in Cedar Rapids. The studio offers classes for a variety of age ranges, from 12 months (in the Mommy and Me classes) to ballet and hip-hop classes for adults.

JULIA KATCHER (B.F.A. 06) is currently dancing for Axxiom Dance Company, a Hip-Hop/Modern company based out of San Diego, California.

DIEGO CARRASCO (M.F.A. 05) joined the Contemporary Dance faculty at the School of Dance at the University North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC in the fall of 2008 and recently reworked his dance Migration, which was first created at the University of Iowa Department of Dance.

ALISSA HAMER (B.A. 04) accepted a teaching position in Des Moines, Iowa at Capital City Dance Center teaching modern, Pilates, and all levels of their jazz classes. She has taken a few modern classes with a small professional modern company in town called Kathleen Hurley Dancers.

MAGGIE (RUPPRECHT) MOORE (B.F.A. 04) has moved to the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She teaches dance and has recently started her own company in St. Cloud, Minnesota. MOUVERE, a contemorary ballet company will have its first performance August 2006 at the Paramount Theater in St. Cloud.

DEBORAH ANDERSEN (B.F.A. 03) earned a certificate in Hatha Yoga from Yoga Vidya Dham in Nasik, India in 2006. She is currently in San Antonio working with choreographer Britt Keel, preparing for the September 2007 premiere of Saint Lorraine Dance Company.

CINDY HUSTON (B.A. 03) has been freelancing in Chicago since 2004. She just finished dancing in the production of Halka at the Sarasota Opera House in Sarasota, Florida.

KRISTEN SCURLOCK (B.F.A. 03) recently moved from Chicago where she was teaching and choreographing for several schools. She performed and choreographed several pieces for a small modern non-for-profit company, Freespace. Kristen now teaches at Belliston Academy of Ballet in Denver, Colorado. She teaches ballet, modern, and was recently certified by The Cechetti Council of America.

KATHY BURNETT (M.F.A. 02) is living in Louisville, Kentucky, and teaching at the Youth Performing Arts School.

KRISTIN MCCOMAS (B.A. 02) recently accepted a job teaching dance in Geneva, Illinois at State Street Dance Studio, now undergoing renovation from its former life as a movie theatre. She will be teaching intermediate, advanced, and teen/adult ballet, as well as some jazz classes.

CAROLYN GRACE MOSES ROZSA (B.A. 02) recieved her Pilates certification in March of 2003, and has since been teaching group classes at several Gold's Gyms in the northern Virginia area.

PENNY ASKEW (M.F.A. 01) is currently director of the Western Oklahoma Ballet Academy and artistic director of Western Oklahoma Ballet Theatre in Clinton, Oklahoma. This season's choreographed ballets include The Firebird, The Nutcracker, and The Wizard of Oz. In addition, a work entitled Songs of the Sea has been selected by adjudicator Alun Jones for the Gala performance of the Regional Dance America/Southwest Festival in Houston. Three students had works selected for the Emerging Choreographers Showcase performance at the upcoming RDA/SW Festival. Nine students have been accepted, many with scholarships, to high-profile summer intensives, including ABT New York, Joffrey New York, Joffrey Midwest, Washington School of Ballet, Ballet Austin, Orlando Ballet, and Atlanta Ballet.

E.E. BALCOS (M.F.A. 01) is a Guest Artist in Residence with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange during Spring semester 2009. His company, EE..MOTION has been touring with North Carolina Dance Festival during the 09 season. This season, a premiere quartet presented by Charlotte Dance Festival was reviewed as breathtaking. As an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of North Carolina he teaches Modern Technique, Improvisation, and Choreography. He will be in residence at North Carolina School of the Arts, April-May 09.

ALESSANDRA HERSZKOWICZ (B.F.A. 01) is back at her home town in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and dancing for her second season with Cisne Negro Cia de Danca (Black Swan Dance Company). With them she has toured Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, South Africa, and Mozambique, and performed pieces by Patrick Delcroix, Itzik Galili, Mark Baldwin, Valco Wellemcamp, Rui Moreira, among others. She is also teaching English and Pilates.

ALISSA ANN PLUDEMAN (Handelsman) (B.A. 01) is currently directing her 4th season of The Nutcracker for a Student Company in Dallas, TX. She also is a Certified Pilates instructor through the Physicalmind Institute and is teaching Pilates at a Pilates studio in Dallas. She also is the Wellness Prime for Nortel in Richardson, Texas where she delivers Health and Wellness Programs.

PATRICIA RENZETTI (M.F.A. 01) is in her third year of the Masters program at the University of Colorado at Denver in Counseling Psychology. She is also coaching and teaching dance in Denver and volunteering at Namaste Hospice.

CHRISTINE GOLDMANN (B.F.A. 01) has performed and taught dance in several capacities since graduation. She is most proud of developing Milwaukee's only professional jazz dance company, Elation Dance Theatre and her own school, Elation Dance Center. Prior to these accomplishments, she choreographed and performed for Six Flags St. Louis, Magic Mountain of Los Angeles, Busch Gardens-Tampa Bay, Rasa Dance Theatre in Chicago and Milwaukee Bucks Energee! Dance Team. She has also taught in many educational settings including University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, First Stage Children's Theatre, and Danceworks. Christine is thrilled to be back in her hometown and working as the Associate Director of Education at STAGES St. Louis.

SOMMER AUSTIN (B.A. 00) received her M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003. Recent acting work in Austin, TX, includes the Zachary Scott Theater Center and Esther's Follies comedy troupe. She will be relocating to Chicago in Summer 2006.

SARA (TURNER) FISHER (B.F.A. 00) dances for various choreographers around the city and is on faculty at Columbia College and the School of Ballet Chicago. She is also a certified personal trainer, and last year she designed and implemented a number of postnatal exercise classes for moms and babies. Currently, she is writing a chapter on postnatal fitness for an upcoming book on women's fitness, to be published by Evan Osar.

SHOUZE MA (M.F.A. 00) started his own performing group "The Visionary Dance Company" based in Minneapolis, and is recipient of choreography fellowships awarded by several orgnizations including the Walker Arts Center, Minnesota State Arts Board, Minnesota Dance Alliance, and Jerome Foundation. As Cowles Artist at University of Minnesota for 2002, his choreography has been performed along with Jerome Robbins, Shapiro & Smith, Paul Taylor, and Bill Young. His solo, The Secret of the Fan, has also been presented at the In The Company of Men 2002 in New York and praised as, "An intensity so strong that is seemd at a breaking point" by The New York Times. Presently he is assistant professor and dance coordinator at Elon University North Carolina.

JENNIFER (MOORE) BAULT (B.A. 99) is currently teaching dance at West Millbrook Middle School in Raleigh, North Carolina. She teaches 6th-8th grade students and has a 15 student member dance company called Dance Explosion. Additionally, she coaches cheerleading, and in her spare time, enjoys parenting her 4-year-old son.

JILL EMERSON (B.A. 99) currently lives in Berlin, Germany and works with the dance company Constanza Macras/Dorky Park. Last summer they were a part of the prestigious dance/theatre festival in Avignon, France, and continued to travel around the world (all over Europe, India, soon Australia, Korea, and Japan). The company will be touring to New York City, Minneapolis (Walker Arts Center), and Seattle in Fall 2006.

MATTHEW KEEFE (M.F.A. 99) left the James Sewell Ballet in April 2005 to pursue his interests as a freelance dance artist. In September 2005, he went to Rapid City, South Dakota to direct, choreograph and dance in a Nutcracker production for Black Hills Dance Theater. The production, with a cast of 117, was a major success. He has now assumed the position of Associate Artistic Director of Minnetonka Dance Theater in Minnesota, beginning a two-year transition to the Artistic and Executive Directorship of this 19-year-old non-profit organization.

SABETHA (CLARK) MUMM (B.A. 98) owns and operates a dance studio in Johnston, Iowa. The studio teaches more than 300 students, and employs seven instructors, plus many guest artists including current UI professor Armando Duarte.

SABRINA MADISON-CANNON (M.F.A. 98) Currently an assistant professor in the Division of Dance at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She has recently presented choreography for the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference, the International Choreographer's Showcase in Madrid and Barcelona, and a paper for the Society of Dance History Scholars conference at Duke University.

CECIL SLAUGHTER (M.F.A. 98) is beginning his sixth year as dance lecturer at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. This is his fourth year as artistic director of Washington University Dance Theatre. He is also the Founding Artistic Director of THE SLAUGHTER PROJECT, a two-year-old, 20 member pick-up company that combines the talents of local professional and pre-professional dancers performing works representing the diversity found in the Greater St. Louis community.

JAMES HANSEN (B.A. 97) is an assistant professor at SUNY Brockport's Department of Dance where he teaches modern technique, partnering and composition. His choreography has been produced by several prestigious dance festivals including Jacob's Pillow, Toronto Fringe, and in both 2004 and 2005 at the International Dance Festivals, at the Doris Duke Theater, and Citicorps Theater in NYC. He has been commissioned to create works for several universities and professional dance companies across the country including Ohio University and Pennsylvania Dance Theater.

KELLY HAYES (B.F.A. 97) is co-artistic director of RedShift Dance. The company is producing its second New York season in April 2006. Kelly is also dancing with Dixie Fun Dance Theatre and Jody Sperling Time Lapse Dance, and is on faculty at The Ailey School and Peridance in New York.

CHRISTY (GUTH) ROSS (M.F.A. 97) recently choreographed a modern piece for Brighton (Michigan) City Ballet as well as a modern solo that were both performed in their spring concert. She also performed the role of Snow Queen in their December performance of The Nutcracker. Christy is also on the faculty at their ballet school.

LESLIE ANSTEDT (M.F.A. 94) is the new Customer Service Operations Leader for the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines in Des Moines, Iowa.

LISA (Kneller) MOREIRA (B.F.A. 93) attended Graduate School at New York University in New York City, studying Arts in Education and Performing Arts Administration. Upon moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2001, she began working with an experimental theatre company called 15 Head: a theatre lab. She also met and married Bruce Moreira in Minneapolis. In 2005, Lisa and three fellow theatre artists founded Sandbox Theatre. Sandbox produces original, collaborative performance work through combining theatre, movement, text, and design.

SUZANNE (STRAYER) KIRSCH (B.A. 92) resides in the Detroit area with her husband and two children. She teaches in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she is senior Nutcracker choreographer. In addition to attending many prestigious teacher training seminars in the U.S. and Canada, for the last two years she has spent time studying with former acting Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Mansur Kamaletidinov, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

TODD ALAN KERSH (B.A. 88) was recently seen in the role of Indio in an equity production of West Side Story. He is currently an office manager for the Chicago law firm of Gleason & Schroeder and plays flute/piccolo for the Lakeside Symphonic Band, Tremont Winds, and Lakeside Flutes - Chicago's premiere flute choir.

EMILY STEIN (B.A. 87) continues to dance, teach, and choreograph as Associate Artistic Director of Zephyr Dance in Chicago. In the course of touring this season, she has visited a wide array of places including New York City, Chattanooga, Buffalo, and Atlanta, where she reconnected with fellow alum, Dean Williams. Zephyr has also been home to UI alums Kelly Hayes and Sara Fisher. Emily is also on the faculty of the Dance Center of Columbia College.

JON TRAVIS (B.A. 71) is the Assistant Graduate Dean and a professor of Higher Education at Texas A&M University-Commerce. The recipient of the 2003 Paul W. Barrus Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching at A&M-Commerce, Travis is beginning his 15th year at the institution.

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