The Company We Keep; JLDC Alum!
( just a few)
Shawn Mahoney began his ballet, tap, and jazz training at the
Joanne Langione Dance Center and his early performing career with Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre in Boston, MA. As an apprentice, Shawn danced for American Ballet Theatre before joining Boston Ballet. At Boston Ballet, Shawn performed in Petipa, Balanchine, Kylian, Forsythe, Bejart and others. Shawn performed as a chosen member of “Tharp!”, a national and international touring company directed by Twyla Tharp. Ms. Tharp invited Shawn to be part of the creative and choreographic process for her Broadway hit “Movin’ Out” and performed in Tharp’s “Red, White, and Blues”. Shawn performed with the Suzanne Farrell/Balanchine Project, Sean Curran Company, Washington Ballet, and Bale Estado de Goias.
As an educator, Shawn has taught internationally for Festa de Danca in Sao Paulo and Bermuda Civic Ballet. Currently, Shawn is on faculty at Emerson College, instructing dance classes to actors and musical theatre students and is a teacher and lecturer at Days in the Arts. Shawn founded Mahoney Agency, representing dancers for national engagements for the Nutcracker Ballet. Shawn is a sought out mentor for emerging artists and choreographers in ballet and contemporary dance.
Hana van der Kolk (far left) a native Bostonian began her ballet, modern and tap training at the Joanne Langione Dance Center. She currently lives and works throughout the US and in Europe, most frequently in Los Angeles and Amsterdam. Her choreographic projects combine elements of conceptual practice with post-modern dance and take place in a wide range of sites. She recently completed a year as the Arthur Levitt ’52 Artist-in-Residence at Williams College where she taught . Experimental Choreography and an movement improvisation training called Perceptual Intelligence, and directed a durational performance event for 17 students and 17 local residents, which featured carpentry, sewing, shamanistic healing, music, movement, and much more. Hana has also taught internationally including at the SNDO in Amsterdam and the University of Tallinn, Estonia.
Robin Campbell was born and raised in Boston. She spent her formative years dancing at the Joanne Langione Dance Center which she claims was her “home away from home”. Robin moved to New York at age 18 to attend Columbia University, where she graduated magna cum laude and phi beta kappa.
On Broadway, Robin has been seen as one of Hugh Jackman’s Dreamgirls in “Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway” and as an Alabama Lamb in the Susan Stroman/ Andrew Lippa musical “Big Fish”. Also in NYC, Robin has performed at City Center Encores, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and in various benefits, readings, and workshops. Robin can be heard on three original Broadway cast albums as well as two classical albums, with the NY Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra. Robin also works regularly in TV and film and has been seen on Onion Sports Dome on Comedy Central as well in The Consultants and Below the Beltway, most recently on HBO and Showtime. In addition, Robin continues to perform with the wonderfully talented Hugh Jackman, most recently in Las Vegas.
Rebecca Levy, Director of the FSCJ Dance Repertory Company, DanceWORKS Currently director of Florida State College at Jacksonville’s dance repertory company, DanceWORKS, Rebecca Levy has lived and worked as an educator, choreographer, and performer in Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles and Jacksonville. She is founder and artistic director of Jacksonville Dance Theatre, a modern dance company providing choreographic, performance and educational opportunities for dancers living in Jacksonville. And she was founder and for eight seasons co-artistic director of the Los Angeles based B.E. Productions Dance Company.
Rebecca holds a Master of Fine Arts in choreography from California Institute of the Arts, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from Cornish College of the Arts, and is a registered certified yoga instructor and a Power Pilates certified Pilates Mat I & II instructor. Her choreographic work has been featured in festivals and concerts throughout the country. Most recently her choreography has been produced at the New Seeds Festival for Women Artists, Emerging Choreographers Showcase in Pasadena, California, The Cambridge School of Weston, Massachusetts, Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Florida, NewGrounds in Tampa, Florida, the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, and Case Western Reserve University.
Rebecca participated in the 2012 NES Artist Residency program in Skagastrond, Iceland where she created an award winning dance-film, and was a contributing filmmaker to Globe Trot, a film project directed by Mitchell Rose and choreographed by Bebe Miller premiering in 2014. As a performer, she works with many notable choreographers and companies, and for six seasons has toured nationally as a soloist with Lineage Dance Company.
Annie Ellertsen, Class of 2003. I graduated from JLDC in 2003. At the time, if you had told me I would someday be guest teaching in one of the most respected studios in the world, or that I would book a national tour portraying some of the most recognized child icons, I would have smiled politely and not given it a second thought. I already had a plan for myself. I was to obtain my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance from Montclair State University. From there, I would move back to Boston and teach for Joanne. I was already working on getting my foot in the door, assisting as many fundamentals classes that my already hectic high school schedule would allow, and coming back to help with recital week when I was home from college…but that was preparing me for something else.
At college, Broadway Dance Center became my second home. Saturday mornings I would take the early bus from Upper Montclair New Jersey to Midtown New York and throw myself into every drop-in class I could. Very surprisingly, theater dance became my absolute favorite class. Lainie Munro’s was not to be missed. She took me under her wing from the very start. Fast forward to the summer of 2006, I became a summer intern at BDC, and to my delight and surprise, was asked personally to be Lainie’s classroom assistant. Trusting my instincts, I accepted. It quickly became apparent that teaching adults was, in ways, similar to teaching children. They love good music, appreciate a fun, supportive atmosphere, and love creative approaches to class. Sometimes by the end of the 90 minute class, we were staging a full-blown Broadway production number, or simulating a mock audition. While some of the dancers in class were already working professionals, others were actors and singers looking to brush up their technical chops, and some, just there to have a good time dancing to show tunes.
I treated this assistant position as if it were a full-fledged, paid job, on top of working (at least) two other jobs and auditioning. Unless I told Lainie otherwise, every class she taught, I would be there assisting. As our partnership grew, she gave me more responsibility. I would start class for her on days when she was running back across town from an audition. I became her dance captain for her Broadway Big Brother Big Sister performance mentorship program. I would assist her at conventions, (side note, years ago, I gleefully ran into some twelve-year-old JLDC nuggets who took our workshop…they are now about to be Senior Grads…time flies!!!) Finally, one day, she called me up: “Hey, it’s Lainie, listen, none of the teachers can sub my class at BDC today, so you’re on.”
After I caught my breath, it occurred to me, I know exactly how to do this. I walked in with confidence, lead the warmup, did some across the floor for technique and style, and finished by teaching them Michael Bennett’s “One” from A Chorus Line. From there, Lainie began requesting that I sub more of her classes, theater dance and theater tap. From word of mouth, I was asked to sub for other teachers on the BDC faculty, Crystal Chapman, Justin Boccitto, Lane Napper, and Mister Mistoffelees, also known as Jacob Brent.
Sometimes I wonder how this all happened. It all comes back to JLDC and creating that opportunity to cultivate my love of teaching. Not only did it turn into a life in New York, it’s taking me on the road for a year! After years of auditions, a few small gigs here and there, callbacks and cuts, I have secured my first long-term job as a performer! I will be playing Bert and Oscar the Grouch in the touring company of Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music in the fall!
If I can offer any advice to the dancers at JLDC now, it is this: If you are given an opportunity, or are making one for yourself, hold tight to it. If it starts to go down an unexpected path, go with it. Change is good. Fear is too, but face it, full force. Don’t ever let it stop you from being amazing. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” ~Walt Disney
Kate Abernethy; JLDC 2004, Birds on a Wire Dance Theatre values collaboration with ensemble-minded co-creators. Each performer is talented, committed, and completely and utterly unique. Kate Abernethy is a freelance dancer, performer and choreographer. In 2008, after receiving her BA in dance from Mount Holyoke College, Kate moved to Philly and began her dance career as a company member of keila cordova dances. In 2012, she broke out on her own and performed a self-choreographed solo When There’s No One, at InHale Performance Series and Etc. Performance Series. This past Spring, Kate performed in Megan Mizanty’s MFA thesis project, After Bodies. Kate’s current muses are transforming homes into performance spaces, awkward handshakes, and shuttered sunlight
Cookie Harrist graduated from JLDC in 2008 and is a choreographer, performer and writer currently based in Denmark, Maine. Her work aims to discover what separates dancing from moving, using choreography and writing to critically investigate groove. Cookie’s most recent choreographic work, a vigorously vulnerable solo called Present Present Present, was featured at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as part of the 2012 National College Dance Festival. In Fall 2013, Cookie co-founded the Hio Ridge Dance Collective as a way of insisting that young choreographers have the space to rehearse, collaborate on, and perform evening length work. Cookie graduated from Marlboro College with a BA in Dance and Poetry in 2012.
Sarah Levy , JLDC 2010 Originally from the Boston area, Sarah grew up studying various styles of dance including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern and Hip Hop at Joanne Langione Dance Center in Newton, MA. Sarah went onto attend Skidmore College where she pursued a B.A. in Sociology, while continuing her dance training under Mary Harney and Debra Fernandez. Additionally, she served as President of Skidmore College’s resident tap group, Stompin’ Soles and helped lead free beginner tap classes for the Skidmore community once a week.
While studying at Skidmore, Sarah discovered her interest and passion for working with students in urban communities. Her work with non-profit organizations such as Urban Scholars in Boston and Help2Read in Cape Town, South Africa led her to an AmeriCorps VISTA position with the National PTA’s Urban Family Engagement Initiative. While serving as a VISTA, she met Lorraine Spiegler, CityDance’s Artistic Director of Studio Education, School and Conservatory when they both served as judges for PTA’s National Art Program, Reflections.
After completing her AmeriCorps service year, she joined CityDance’s Community Programs Staff. Sarah is the lead administrator for Community Programs activities and manages logistics and documentation for all program sites, events and performances. She is so grateful to have found a place where she is able to combine her experience and interest in urban education with her passion for dance and movement!