2017-18 Masterclass Series
Chip Abbott is a director, choreographer, and dancer who
recently performed in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway.
Chip made his Broadway debut in On the Town and was assistant
choreographer, dance captain and swing to the Emmy Award winning Joshua Bergasse (Tony Nominee 2015 for On the Town). 1st national tours: R+H’s Cinderella, Andy Blankenbuehler’s Joseph…Dreamcoat. NYC theatre: The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. TV/Film: The Tony Awards on CBS, Today Show, Avon’s “Boss Life,” British Vogue, and MAC Cosmetics. As a director Chip created Dance, Dance, Dance Heartbeat at Hershey Park, assistant director to Tony Yazbeck on the YoungArts Gala 2017 and choreographed Disney’s The Little Mermaid at Red Mountain Theatre. He is a member of guest facelty at Steps and Broadway Dance Center in New York City and has taught master classes in schools across the country including Oklahoma City University, the Boston Conservatory, and University of Central Oklahoma. Check out some of his work at www.chipabbott.com
Dorothy (Dot) Armstrong is graduate of the University of Iowa,
holding dual degrees in Dance Performance (BFA) and English (BA) with
a 200-hour Yoga Teaching certification. She studied under Melinda Myers,
Jennifer Kayle, Charlotte Adams, Armando Duarte, Eloy Barragan, Kristin Marrs,
Ellie Goudie-Averill, Mario Zambrano, Shi Pratt, Rennie Harris, and other esteemed teachers, artists, and choreographers at UI. She received additional training at the American Dance Festival, Movement Research, the Martha Graham School, and the Joffrey Ballet Chicago. Dot has danced in multiple works by faculty, graduate students, and undergrads shown at Space Place Theater, performed in the UI Summer Repertory Company, and toured schools, theaters, and museums across the Midwest with UI Dancers in Company for their 2015-2016 season. Dot developed the pre-ballet curriculum for ages 5-7 and taught ballet at the University of Iowa Youth Ballet. Additionally, Dot served as Vice President of the Undergraduate Dance Organization and participated in outreach programs with the Iowa Youth Writing Project to bring dance and poetry to disadvantaged populations in Iowa.
Mike Baerga (a native of Houston, Texas) started performing as a
competitive gymnast. He retired after he won the National Tumbling
and Trampoline Champion title of 2005, to pursue a career in dance after
discovering break dancing and performing in his first big performance in Houston Grand Opera’s Aida. After Graduating with a BA from the University of Houston with a double major in Dance and Journalism, Mike trained at Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Joffrey Jazz & Contemporary, before pursuing a graduate degree from NYU: Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating with an MFA in Dance and Choreography, Mike went on to pursue a career in musical theatre, performing in Susan Stroman’s The Merry Widow at The Metropolitan Opera, Disney Cruise Line, West Side Story and Paper Mill’s Broadway-bound revival of Can-Can.
He credits his first Horton teacher Harrison Guy in Houston for having a big impact on his career. His utilization of storytelling and acting within movement deeply impacted Mike as a performer and a movement and he is forever grateful. Mike’s university professors undergrad/grad also all had a huge impression on honing his technique and taking his raw talent and codifying it into a coherent physical voice. They aided Mike in exploring his body as a dancer and performer, and made it a mature and feasible tool for expression. Outside of performing, Mike is an avid foodie, and enjoys traveling and long walks on the beach.
Michael Crawford is from Takoma Park, Maryland. He began his
dancing with the Maryland Youth Ballet and at the Kirov Academy with
Vladmir Djoulahatze, spending summers at The Rock School and San
Francisco Ballet. Mr. Crawford then moved on to the Washington Ballet where he performed with the company under the direction of Septime Webre. Upon graduation, he went on to study in the Professional Division of The Pacific Northwest Ballet under Kent Stowell and Francia Russell. After leaving PNB, he has danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Jose Mateo Ballet, Ballet Memphis, and American Repertory Ballet. He has been privileged to work alongside productions such as “Guys and Dolls", "West Side Story", "Show Boat", "Cats", and other musicals performing at The Kennedy Center, touring, and many other international stages. As well as Principal guesting with The Washington National Opera, Adam Miller Dance Project, Kinetic Dance Works, TranscenDance Group, Brooklyn Ballet, Ballet Neo, Connecticut Ballet, and Oakland Ballet. While signed with New York Model Management, Mr. Crawford had the honor to internationally campaign, and film "Step Up”.
Michael is also an award winning teacher and choreographer. He has been teaching and choreographing nationally and internationally for 10 years. He has coached many prize winning students for competitions such as Youth America Grand Prix, New York City Dance Alliance, and Showstoppers dance competition. He has also taught at many studios including Broadway Dance Center, Metropolitan School of the Arts, Princeton Ballet and many, many more.
Jesse Factor is an MFA candidate in Dance/Choreography at the
University of Iowa, holding a BFA in Drama from New York University’s
Tisch School of the Arts. After receiving a scholarship to the Martha
Graham School, Jesse performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company
in the classic Graham repertoire as well as work by Robert Battle, Larry Keigwin,
and Bulareyaung Pagarlava. Jesse served as Resident Director for the North American Touring production of Cats, and performed in the European Company of Cabaret. Recent work in Iowa includes a reconstruction of Graham’s Helios: Ritual to the Sun, and his own creative work, including Marthagany: The Spectre-acle, and Kween Kong. Jesse loves teaching and is a frequent guest faculty member at the Martha Graham School, International Schools Theater Association, and has taught at ACDA Central Conference, Forge Summer Dance Intensive at Slippery Rock University, Cornell College, the Iowa Dance Festival, Peridance Capezio Center, Rockford University, and Molloy College/CAP21.
Joni Michelle Lanza
After a very blessed Broadway career that included Thoroughly Modern
Millie, 42nd Street Revival, and 5 seasons at the Radio City Christmas
Spectacular, Joni Michelle Lanza is a mom of 3 young boys ages 10, 9, and 6.
She’s moved from NYC to a maple farm in Garrison, NY to raise them. As a result of growing up in her Mom’s dance studio, her vast experience includes not only Broadway theater credits, but formal training at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, NYC, and dance training / teaching at all levels. When Joni isn’t busy with her sons, she’s working and performing with her own production company called Kentucky Girl Productions. Through this company, in conjunction with Lanza Family Foundation and the Hudson Hospitality Group, Joni continues to share her dedication and love of the arts and to help others. She has been producing benefit shows and outdoor music festivals to benefit Habitat for Humanity and Hope’s Door. Joni brings in talent from Nashville to NYC to provide high quality productions. This past summer, she performed her own music with a full orchestra at the Paramount Hudson Valley and at Lincoln Center in NYC with the world-renowned violinist, Daisy Jopling, to benefit the Daisy Jopling Foundation. This Foundation helps to further youth musical education outreach program. Most recently at the Hudson Room Stage in Peekskill, Joni produced an all-female vocal talent search called “Femme Fabulous” for scholarship awards that just finished on 2/14/2018.
Jesse Obremski, a native New Yorker described by DanceTabs as one
“with fluent simplicity” and “quiet understanding”, trained at The Ailey
School, LaGuardia High School, and The Juilliard School. Jesse, an Eagle
Scout recipient, the Jadin Wong Dance Awardee (2016), and "Dancer to Watch" by Interview En L'air (2017), has also attended Springboard Danse Montreal, Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts (EMIA), and Jacob's Pillow's Contemporary Program.
Jesse has performed with Diversity of Dance Inc., Kate Weare Company, Brian Brooks Moving Company, Buglisi Dance Theatre, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and is a principle dancer with the Limón Dance Company. Jesse has also performed works by Kyle Abraham, Nacho Duato, Martha Graham, Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, and Paul Taylor amongst others.
Jesse has taught across Canada and America. His choreography has been presented at EMIA, Playscape 2016, Dixon Place, The Juilliard School’s Choreographic Honors Concert and has been commissioned by Zest Collective, SEAS Dance, and NOVA: Movement and Sound. Jesse has assisted in the restating of works by Clifton Brown, Jacqulyn Buglisi, José Limón, Earl Mosley, and Maxine Steinman.
Broadway and Jazz
Kimberly Schafer is an award winning NY Director and Choreographer.
She received her Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance Performance from
Oklahoma City University. Recently she was the Dance Assistant for Tommy Tune
and Chita Rivera for their US tour “Chita and Tune: Just in Time”. Also, she assisted Tommy Tune and Randy Skinner on the production of “Lady be Good” at City Center. She continues to work with Tommy Tune on all of his solo shows such as Ford’s Theatre, a performance for President Obama. She is the creative director for “Masq” a show at the off-broadway theatre, the Diamond Horseshoe. She was an associate choreographer for BROADWAY BARES 24-26 and DANCING ON A DREAM at The Duke Theatre in New York. Some of her regional choreography credits include ALL SHOOK UP, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, SISTERS OF SWING, ON THE TOWN, SINGIN IN THE RAIN, CRAZY FOR YOU, and many more. She performed in BROADWAY BARES 17-25 produced by Jerry Mitchell, and EASTER BONNET at The Minskoff Theatre for Equity fights Aids. She teaches at Cap 21, BDC, Dance New Amsterdamn, Radio City Music Hall, Rosie’s Theater Kids, and various studios around the New York area. She has performed in several regional productions such as FUNNY GIRL, SINGIN IN THE RAIN, THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, CABARET, VICTOR/VICTORIA, and the National Tour of 42ND STREET.