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Mary Brienza is a multi-faceted artist with credits spanning Off-Broadway and regional theatre, television, radio, concert dance and alternative comedy. As an educator, she is a respected teacher of tap dance, jazz, and theatre dance at levels novice through professional. She has served on the faculty for Broadway Dance Center, Dance Theatre of Harlem,
Jacque D’Amboise’s National Dance Institute, and American Theatre Dance Workshop.
A native of France, Ms. Brikké studied ballet with remarkable teachers such as Rosella Hightower at the Centre International de Danse in Cannes, France, Marika Besobrasova at the Académie de Danse Princesse Grace in Monaco, Terri Charlesworth at the Graduate School of Dance in Perth, Australia, and Anne-Marie Sandrini from the Paris Opéra Ballet in Paris, France. Ms. Brikké performed in a wide variety of repertory ballets with the schools she attended as well as a freelance dancer and actress in Europe, Kenya and the United States.
Ms. Brikké received the Diplôme d‘Etat de Professeur de Danse Classique from the French Ministry of Culture in Paris in 1993 . She is an ABT® Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 7 & Partnering of the ABT® National Training Curriculum
Ms. Brikké began teaching dance in 1989 in Nairobi, Kenya, where she taught the children of the expatriate community as well as founded a dance ensemble for young talented Kenyans. Back in Paris, she taught, choreographed and coordinated dance programs at the Conservatoire des Arts in Le Mée. In 1994, Ms Brikké moved to New York where she joined the faculty of the Neubert Ballet Institute at Carnegie Hall and then the faculty of LaGuardia High School in 1998. Ms. Brikké has taught for several summer programs including Paul Taylor Summer Intensive in New York City, New Jersey Ballet, Westchester Ballet Center and Belvoir Terrace in Lenox, Massachussetts.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Chanel DaSilva fell in love with dance at the age of three. She studied at The Bernice Johnson Cultural Arts Center and also studied at Creative Outlet Dance Theater of Brooklyn under the tutelage of Jamel Gaines, Kevin Joseph, and Lakai Worrell. Her training continued at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts, The Ailey School and Springboard Danse Montreal. She received a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School, under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. Chanel has performed works by Ohad Naharin, Eliot Feld, Doug Varone, Jose Limon, Jessica Lang, Alvin Ailey, Robert Battle, Camille A. Brown, and Lar Lubovitch. Chanel is a 2004 Presidential Scholar in the Arts and a 2011 Princess Grace Dance Honorarium Awardee.
From 2008 – 2014 Chanel was a member of Trey McIntyre Project where she was the muse for many of Mr. McIntyre’s works. She is now a member of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and serves on the dance faculty of her alma mater, LaGuardia High School. In addition to being a dancer and an educator, Chanel has choreographed works for schools, universities and dance companies across the country, including Idaho Dance Theater, Harvard Ballet Company, The Park Avenue Armory Artist-in-Residence Series and The Juilliard School. Alongside her partner Nigel Campbell, Chanel is the co-founder and co-director of MOVE(NYC), an annual summer dance intensive geared exclusively toward talented and motivated NYC teenagers.
Cassandra Phifer, native New Yorker, and citizen of the world. She is a founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem who began her professional career at age fourteen, while attending Professional Children’s School. Her initial studies were at the Harlem School of the Arts, where she was the first student and inspiration for the school itself by the founding director, Dorothy Maynor. She rose through the ranks of the DTH company to principal dancer and toured with them to more than forty countries around the globe performing in most of the major opera houses in the world. She has participated in many special television broadcasts from Live from Kennedy Center to numerous PBS programs. Her most notable roles where she received critical acclaim were George Balanchine’s Serenade and Four Temperaments, Valerie Bettis’ Streetcar Named Desire, Lester Horton’s The Beloved, as well as Agnes de Mille’s Fall River Legend. Her passion and inquisitive nature for the logic and science of dance techniques led her to teaching while performing and in her post-performance career. She taught master classes as part of the company’s outreach services during their residencies as well as being a moderator/emcee of DTH’s lecture demonstration series and one of the company’s ballet mistresses. She also conceived and directed the educational outreach services for the company on their momentous tour of South Africa in 1992. She has taught guest residencies throughout the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria and continues to teach master classes both nationally and internationally. In 1990-1994, she helped write and create the Chance to Dance program in London in collaboration with the Royal Ballet. In 1994 she joined the faculty of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and in 1998 joined the faculty of Marymount Manhattan College. Among her other teaching credits are Sarah Lawrence College, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and Ballet Hispanico. In 2012 she was asked by the State Department to develop and teach a guest residency in the country of Turkmenistan. Cassandra holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from SUNY/Empire College and a Master of Arts in Theoretical Dance from New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She also holds New York State Certification and license in Performing Arts/classical ballet. She is currently on faculty at LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts.
Greg Sinacori began his dance training at a local dance studio in Queens, NY. He is an alumnus of LaGuardia High School and was a finalist in the Arts Recognition and Talent Search in Miami, Florida. Sinacori graduated magna cum laude from the Fordham University/Alvin Ailey Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program in dance. He has performed with the Fred Benjamin Dance Company, Alvin Ailey’s second company (Ailey II), Parsons Dance Company and as a guest artist with Battleworks Dance Company. He is currently featured on the hit Nickelodeon series The Backyardigans as the animated dancing moose, Tyrone, and also performs the movements for Nickelodeon's newest Emmy Award Winning animated series The Bubble Guppies. Sinacori can be seen in The Music of Regret, a short film directed by Laurie Simmons at the Museum of Modern Art.
Joey R. Smith began his professional career with the Houston Ballet at the age of nineteen. After a move to New York, he danced with the Feld Ballet, went away to dance with The Washington Ballet and returned to dance with the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. He has served on the Board of Directors of the American Guild of Musical Artists, AGMA, and in 1995 was appointed to a full-time teaching position at LaGuardia where he choreographs the school’s annual musical.
Blakeley White-McGuire is a dance artist, educator and writer. Currently Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, her diverse repertory embodies some of the most iconic roles in American Modern Dance as well as fresh contemporary works by influential dance artists of today. She received the ”Premio Positano Leonide Massine Prize” for Contemporary Dance Performance and was recognized in Dance Magazine’s ”Best Performances” 2011, 2012 and 2013. She was also honored to be the featured dancer in Google’s acclaimed ”doodle” celebrating Martha Graham. As a dedicated Dance educator she has served on the faculties of the Ailey School, the New School, the Actors’ Studio and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Her writings expressing the dancer experience in the 21st Century have been published by The Dance Enthusiast, Dance Films Association, Dance Magazine, the Huffington Post and Performance Research Journal, U.K.