FACULTY – SUMMER 2020 @ SPOKE THE HUB
2020 SPOKE THE HUB SUMMER FACULTY
Valerie E. Baloga lives in Brooklyn, New York and has been tap dancing in New York City since 2010. She has studied with tap masters and has had the great pleasure of working and performing with tap dancers from around the world. She is a member of Germaine Salsberg’s company Les Femmes. Before arriving in New York City, she studied tap in Pennsylvania under the direction of Nicole Hockenber.
Michela Deidda aka “Miki Tuesday” was born and raised in Italy. After dancing different styles, Michela fell in love with the urban dances at the age of 17 when she started studying Hip-Hop. She graduated from the M.C. School of Dance in Italy in 2000 and she became the technical director of the school in her own town Cagliari. Since then she has been working as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. She competed as dancer and choreographer in several competitions such as Best Show, World Dance Cup Competition, MC Hip hop Contest, Vetrina Coreografica di Olbia, Gran Premio Della Danza, always ranking in the top 3. In 2007 she performed the Italian tour of the show “Haiku” with the artist Omid Walizadeh. In 2010 she moved to New York City to study at the renowned Peridance Capezio Center In NYC. Her career has led her to perform with choreographers such as Svea Schneider, Tweetie, Michelle Byrd McPhee, Chanan Lareche and Robert Taylor. In 2011 Michela joined the Ladies of Hip Hop Crew and she performed as choreographer and dancer at the Ladies of hip hop Festival. Since 2012 she has been a company member of KINEMATIK Dance Theater performing in 2013 at Fringe Festival and Flushing town hall Theater with the show “Insekta”.
Ann Dragich has been tap dancing in New York since 2008 after studying at the Eddie Brown Studio for the Arts (THE BEAT) with Gregg Geoffroy, Babs Yohai and Mark Mendonca. She is a member of Cole Collective under the direction of Nicole Ohr, and is a founding member of Guilty Pleasures Cabaret which has a regular performance slot at the Duplex Cabaret Theater. Ann has presented her own work at Dance Astoria, Stam-pede (Symphony Space), Director’s Choice Showcase, Local Produce and Winter Follies (produced by Spoke the Hub), Denise Caston’s “Choreographer’s Canvas”, Kat Wildish’s “Performing in New York” and Sol Dance Center’s “Dancesanity” (Frank Sinatra School of the Arts). Ann is also in the step company “Momentum” and was featured in Rick Owens Spring 2014 Women’s show (Paris Fashion Week). Ann’s image from this show was on display at the MOMA as part of the “Is Fashion Modern?” exhibit. Ann presented work in the Emerging Choreographer’s Series curated by Mare Nostrom Elements, and was a Spring 2018 cycle AiRe Artist in Residence at Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana creating tap dance choreography, which she presented at Flamenco Certamen USA held at the NYPL Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center. Ann holds a level 1 teaching certificate from the American Tap Dance Foundation and is currently working on her level 2 teaching certificate. She is on the faculty at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the American Tap Dance Foundation, Ballet Hispanico and The DreamYard Project. More information about Ann can be found on her website, anndragichandcompany.com
Eugene “Spydey” Jordan – SPYDEY grew up in in Hollis Queens, home to native hip hop icons like LL Cool J and Run DMC. He taught himself street dance moves and backflips by mimicking Michael Jackson and Usher videos when he was very young. He picked up Breakin’ at age 18 after watching it on T.V. and seeing it in his high school’s black history show. In his first year at college, he was introduced to Kid Glyde, son of Mr. Glyde and president of the legendary B-boy Crew “The Dynamic Rockers”. After training and learning about hip hop history from Kid Glyde and Dynamic, Spydey became a member of the Dynamic crew, competing with them in world reknown breaking’ competitions like R16 and Outbreak; he has won dance competitions at “Battle for Your Life / New Jersey” and the 610 Mayfield Competition in Pennsylvania
Stav German is a music and voice teacher based in Brooklyn, as well as a multi-genre vocalist and a singer-songwriter. After releasing her debut album in 2018, she performs with a computer-based solo set and collaborates with artists of multiple disciplines (musicians, stage-designers, puppeteers, tap dancers). Growing up in a musical environment, STAV GERMAN knew from a young age she wanted to be a singer and a voice teacher. After concentrating in music during her High School years, she continued on to study at Rimon College of Contemporary Music, where she studied voice pedagogy and performed in multiple ensembles of different genres. Stav went on to study at the Complete Vocal Institute in Denmark, where she graduated as a certified CVT teacher. After being the singer-songwriter and leader of the indie- rock band Malinka and one of the original indie-pop duo Stav & Roni, Stav started working with the musical producer Avi Elbaz in Tel Aviv. She now brings her own mix of Mediterranean and western influences to the city of New York after a festive release of her debut album. www.Stavgmusic.com www.Stavocaldesign.com
Lori Jorgensen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance from SUNY Brockport. She has performed throughout the world with Maude Baum Dance, Kaleidoscope Dance and All Nations Dance Company. She has taught Arts in Education throughout the United States. Lori has taught dance, yoga and fitness in Park Slope for over 20 years to Pre-K through retirees. She loves working with the artists at Spoke the Hub and has been the space rental manager at Spoke for almost a decade.
Mina Hamilton has been teaching yoga in Park Slope for 22 years. She has an Advanced-Level Professional certification from the Kripalu Center in MA. She is also a trained Yoga Therapist. She brings intelligence, humor and creativity to her classes. Mina has studied meditation with Jon Kabat-Zinn, Thich Naht Hanh, and Jack Kornfield and loves helping her students to be both revitalized and less stressed. Her book, “Serenity To Go: Calming Techniques for Your Hectic Life” has been published in 6 languages and is a hit in Japan, where it has sold over 40,000 copies. She is a Life Coach and has a MA from Harvard University. Before starting her yoga and coaching career, she was the Executive Director of several non-profit organizations. Her writing has been published extensively in magazines such as Mother Jones, the Nation, and the Village Voice. Her website is serenitytogo.com.
Elise Long is the Founder/Director of Spoke the Hub Dancing and Gowanus Arts. Born in Coalinga, CA and raised in SF Bay Area, Long attended Middlebury College in Vermont on scholarship where she graduated Phi Beta Cappa, Magna Cum Laude, with Highest Honors in Dance and Studio Art. She is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst and has done graduate work in Dance, Physiology, Anatomy and Kinesiology at Columbia Teachers College, NYU, LIU and Queens College. Since 1979, Long has created over 100 original dance/theater works performed in many lowbrow settings which have included beer halls, pizza parlors and ice cream joints, as well as higher brow venues including DTW, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Her work has also been performed in parks, across bridges, at war monuments, on ferries, in weddings, as part of protest marches and in parades as well as in more traditional theaters in the States, Canada and abroad. These days, Long is most interested in making community dance/theater works which bring people together of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels. Here, she finds incredible beauty and inspiration in the raw, untrained, unpolished and “rough-hewn.” Long has been teaching dance, fitness and related art forms to both children and adults for over 50 years.
Dolores Marie Natividad is a certified ACSM Exercise Physiologist and is certified by the International Yoga Therapist Association. Her passion led her to be part of the Wellness team at NY-PBM for 4 years offering Stress Management, Chair and Accessible Yoga, M.E.L.T Method to the Hospital Staff. Ms. Natividad concluded a feasibility research at 3 clinical sites treating the underserved populations in Harlem and the Bronx. Dolores maintains her private practice in Brooklyn and online where she offers Gyrotonics, Strength Training, Yoga Therapy and M.E.L.T Method and may be reached at: email@example.com. She currently works privately with a wide spectrum of people from the elite athletes to Pre and Post Op, COPD, MS and Arthritis populations. It is Dolores’ privilege to have studied with the founders of these intact systems she implements: Swami Satchidananda, the founder of Integral Yoga Institute, Julio Horvath the creator of Gyrotonics, and Sue Hitzman,MELT Method innovator. Her personal mission and joy is to bridge verified complementary systems to HealthCare.
Chelsea Padro holds a Master of Arts in Theatre Education from The Catholic University of America and a B.A. in Theatre Arts with a Minor in Adolescent Education from Nazareth College of Rochester. Chelsea was most recently the Lower School Drama Director and Early School Music Teacher at Severn School in Arnold, Maryland. For the past seven summers, she has served as Acting Teacher/Director at Admiral Theatre Summer Camp in Bremerton, Washington, where she teaches acting classes and directs the summer musicals. Chelsea’s recent productions have included Aesop, Come Back, Elf the Musical Jr., Snow White, Dear Edwina, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Superheroes, The Wizard of Oz, Murder in the Knife Room, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, James and the Giant Peach, Madagascar Jr., Mulan Jr., Shrek, Guys and Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, Legally Blonde, Xanadu, and The Music Man. Chelsea was the 2013-2014 recipient of Catholic University’s Euphemia Haynes Award for Excellence in Teacher Education, Secondary Education. In addition to all things theater, Chelsea enjoys the outdoors, scavenger hunts, kayaking, trailblazing, and embroidering. Chelsea is currently the Theatre Director at St. Andrew’s Sewanee, a private school in Tennessee.
“Chef Moe” (aka Moses Padro) is originally from Brooklyn and has been a chef for thirty years working at some of the most Iconic establishments in the world. He was a chef at the Adrian Kitchen at the Famous Peninsula Hotel in Midtown and at Tundra’s of Fort Lauderdale for many years before moving back to New York. He has also taught children’s cooking classes at the Museum of Natural History. An expert at inspecting food items, planning, developing menus, preparation techniques and presentation, Chef Moe also loves to incorporate fun into cooking, whether you are cooking for yourself or entertaining family and friends.
Richard Padro is a theatre arts educator, producer, actor, and director with numerous stage, television and film credits. He has directed and produced children’s theatre, university theatre, and the award-winning television program, In The Public Interest, a documentary exploring the role of public broadcasting for children’s educational programming. He received his MFA in Acting from UC Irvine and his BA in Theatre Arts from SUNY New Paltz. He has taught acting and stagecraft and has interned at several theatre companies including the acclaimed South Coast Repertory. He acted as Director of Theatre Education for Coyote Rep in New York City, The Admiral Theatre Foundation in Bremerton, WA, Program Director for the Young Artists Theatre Camp at Icicle Creek Center for the Arts in Leavenworth WA, and was involved in the initial New York launch of StageCoach Theatre Arts, Brooklyn Heights in 2004, where he also acted as CEO and Artistic Director for five years. He is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association.
Iliana Quander is an independent women’s clothing designer, artist and educator recently relocated from NYC and now based in Baltimore, MD. She creates one-of-a-kind and custom clothing for women and retails at Sohung Designs boutique in Manhattan and occasionally whole sales to other boutiques in the NYC area. In the past, she has served as Sustainability Director for the BK Style Foundation, the non-profit arm of the organization that produces Fashion Week Brooklyn (FWBK) each season. She has taught Clothing Reconstruction at F.I.T.’s (Fashion Institute of Technology) Center for Continuing and Professional Studies and, also, since 2015, she has taught a summer fashion camp (Brooklyn Fashionistas) for children ages 8-13 at Spoke the Hub Dancing in Brooklyn, NY. She is an arts educator with experience teaching people of all ages. Areas of expertise include visual art, fashion design, sustainability in design, zero waste techniques for designers and clothing reconstruction. Ms. Quander has also both organized and participated in many shows in the NYC area including: BK Style Foundation’s Fashion Week Brooklyn (SS & FW 2012- 2015), NAFI/Youthlink benefit gala at the Roosevelt Hotel, EcoFashion in the Park at Highbridge Park (2011 & 2015—sponsored by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez), Fountain Art Fair (2012) and many others. She was one of several sustainable designers featured in the independent film “SustainUp” by Dr. Iris Mohr. Since 2008, Ms. quander has also done on-site tailoring for the fashion and entertainment industries.
Kaina Quenga, a native of Hilo, Hawaiʻi has been dancing hula professionally for over 20 years in Hawaiʻi, Florida, New York and throughout the east coast. She performs widely as a freelance Polynesian dancer in the tri-state area at themed parties, community events, schools, and senior centers. Kaina trained under Hiloʻs famed kumu hula (hula teacher) Johnny Lum Ho of Halau O Ka Ua Kani Lehua and she also danced with Tihati Productions on her native Big Island. In the community, Kaina has worked with the students at Concourse House Day Care in the Bronx since 2003, teaching Native Hawaiian mele (songs) and hula (dance) to the children there. She is a Polynesian dance instructor at Spoke The Hub Dancing in Park Slope, Brooklyn and also has free Hula and Ori Tahiti dance classes throughout NYC Parks during the Spring and Summer. Kaina is among the dance Teaching Artists with Brooklyn Arts Council’s Folk Feet Folk Arts and Arts In Education programming. She is skilled in Native Hawaiian language as well as in the art of traditional Hawaiian lei making.Kaina is also the Director of Nā ʻOiwi NYC, a New York-based education and advocacy group that perpetuates Native Hawaiian culture, history, and voice in New York City. Kaina performed at the Aloha Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. with Brother Ah and the Aloha World Music Ensemble honoring President Barack Obama. She is devoted to sharing and perpetuating the traditional dances and culture of Polynesia. Kaina Quenga is a true ambassador of Aloha.
Sarah Pope is originally from Southern California and holds a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance from Texas Christian University. She is proud to have been singing, dancing and making believe at Spoke with Park Slope’s tiniest dancers for over a decade! Teaching not only at Spoke, Sarah is also a ballet and fitness instructor for all ages at the Prospect Park YMCA, and a teaching artist in NY public schools with Together in Dance. Sarah has performed with numerous contemporary dance companies in NYC including Mark Lamb Dance, Rene Gerardo Dances, Sarah Council Dance Projects, Catey Ott Dance Collective, Daniela Hoff Dance Company, HT Chen & Dancers, and Beth Leonard/The Construction Company. Most recently Sarah has been performing as SarahBesque the clown, whose work converges Sarah’s love of dance, humor, theater, and above all, the audience. She is grateful to Spoke the Hub for fostering her creative pursuits and her teaching practice, and for helping her share her love of dance with so many young dancers over the years.
Amber Schmiesing to school for Dance Performance and Choreography at Elon University. She is currently a freelance videographer based in NYC also working as the Assistant Video Producer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and with Nel Shelby Productions and Martha Graham Dance Company. She trained in tap dance with Gene Medler and in 2015 co-produced and choreographed a tap show with him which included live music as well as guest choreographers. She loves dancing, choreographing, and teaching and can’t wait to get back to the studio in the fall!
Sarah Shellow has been practicing yoga for eighteen years and teaching for ten. She holds a Yoga Alliance RYT 200 hour teacher certification. Sarah enjoys creating a sense of community and her classes are filled with an appreciation for the life experiences each student brings. She loves helping people discover and celebrate their innate gifts and assisting students in finding the most comfortable and joyful expressions of the poses for their bodies. Her classes reflect her love for poetry, story, and the language of transformation. Sarah was trained in the Anusara method and in aspects of Para Yoga. She honors teachers Marion Griffin, Suzie Hurley, John Friend, Noah Maze, and Naime Jezzeny among others for her introduction and deep immersion into the beauty and challenge that is her experience of yoga. For the ever-present guidance of her meditation practice, she is indebted to her teacher, Paul Muller-Ortega. Outside of class, Sarah writes about the confluence of yoga and culture in Cuba. She is deeply appreciative of the yoga practitioners in Cuba who inspired her to become a yoga teacher. Currently, she is working with several members of the yoga community in Cuba to continue to build a bridge between people of the United States and Cuba through yoga and meditation.
Justus Snyder was born into the world of film when he shortly after being brought into the world, he was cast in the starring role of his mother’s graduate film thesis at NYU “The Baby That Ate My Day.” Since then he has always pursued a role in film and the performing arts, from studying at one of NYC performing arts high schools to then going on to get his BFA at the Savannah College of Art & Design in Film & Television with a minor in Creative Writing. He has gone on to work on both professional and personal projects but finds that working with the next generation of filmmakers to be the biggest reward. Working during the school year as a teaching artist with Film at Lincoln Center, where he helps facilitate a program that teaches short filmmaking as visual literacy in different public schools around the city, in the summers he looks to continue this practice by running programs for kids that will continue and help the next generation of filmmakers find their voice.
Mindy Toro grew up in Brooklyn, working, choreographing, and dancing at Spoke The Hub, which greatly influenced her love of quirky and athletic performance art and dance. In 2015, she graduated with a BA in dance from Connecticut College, where she had the pleasure of performing the works of David Dorfman, Lisa Race, Faye Driscoll, Wendell Cooper, Ori Flomin, Heidi Henderson, among others. Mindy has shown her choreography at the Socrates Sculpture Park, LAVA, La Mama, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Danspace at St. Mark’s Church, and at various street festivals, parks, and gardens around the city. She most recently co-produced, with Mauri Connors, Park Piece; a two hour site-specific series of works throughout Prospect Park. She is also getting back into capoeira, which she is very excited about!