Teacher Bios & Class Descriptions
Alison Manning is Executive Director and Co-Producer of The Yard and Co-Artistic Director of DanceTheYard. Hailing from the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, Alison moved to New York City to attend Marymount Manhattan College where she received a BFA in Dance with a minor in Art History. After studying with the great Milton Myers at the School at Jacob’s Pillow and discovering her love of the Horton Technique, she continued training with Myers, Kristina Berger, Karen Gayle, and others. She now teaches Horton on faculty at The Yard, as a guest teacher at Peridance Capezio Center and STEPS on Broadway, and has taught and lectured on the technique at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education, Wesleyan University, and Ohio University, as well as at various local studios and student intensives. She currently performs and tours with The Bang Group, The Peggy Spina Tap Company, and Dance The Yard. In years past, she has toured and performed with Xodus Dance Collective, Boston-based Kindodance Company, Naomi Goldberg Haas’ Dances for a Variable Population, and The Next Stage Project, among others. Her own choreographic work, with collaborator Jesse Keller, continues to be presented each year as part of The Yard’s performance series, was chosen for the 2016 Inside/Out Festival at Jacob’s Pillow, and has been set on students at Ohio University, and was presented at Women in Motion salon series at NY Theater Lab 2013 and Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn in 2014. She is currently in her 9th season with The Yard.
Alison discovered her love of the Horton Technique as a scholarship student at Jacob’s Pillow, working with the great Milton Myers, and has continued studying for the past 7 years with mentors Mr. Myers, Kristina Berger, Karen Gayle and other master Horton Teachers, and teaches the technique on Faculty at The Yard each summer, and as a guest teacher at STEPS on Broadway. In addition to teaching, Alison works and performs with The Bang Group, The Peggy Spina Tap Company, Xodus Dance Collective, The Next Stage Project, Boston-based Kindodance Company, and Naomi Goldberg Haas’, Dances for a Variable Population to name a few.
Class Description: Alison Manning’s class focuses on technical precision balanced with breath, and physical athleticism through the Horton vocabulary. The main focus of the class is always on moving – and moving expansively. For all ages and backgrounds students will experience the Horton technique as an exuberant form of dance that moves and breathes. Each class flows through a structured warm up, into a learned combination, which draws on technical elements from the class.
From Ashland, Ohio, Jesse Keller graduated from Ohio University with a BFA in Performance and Choreography. She started performing professionally with StefanieBatten Bland (SBB) in Paris, France and remains a part of the troupe. With SBB, she has performed internationally at Festival Onze Bouge, Ris Orangis, Les Petites Scenes Ouvertes, and Cornell University’s Cultural Residency, along with nationally at The Baryshnikov Arts Center, Symphony Space, The Brooklyn Museum, Saratoga ArtsFest, Dogtown Dance Theater, Jacob’s Pillow’s Inside/Out, and Ringling International Arts Festival. She is a year-round island resident on Martha’s Vineyard where she serves as Director of Island Programs and Education and Co-Producer at The Yard, as well as Co-Artistic Director of DanceTheYard (DTY), The Yard’s resident dance collective. Since forming, DTY has presented work at The Yard, MV Hebrew Center, The MV Film Festival, NACHMO Boston, ACDFA East Central, Ohio University, Triskelion Arts, and the Women in Motion Festival. At The Yard she has played an instrumental role in developing and implementing MAKING IT, a creative dance-making curriculum and creativity initiative now active in all Martha’s Vineyard Public and Charter schools, as well as at the YMCA, in afterschool programs, libraries, senior centers, and elsewhere around island. In 2014 she was named ‘Woman of the Year’ by Women Empowered for her work in dance education.
Class Description: Intermediate/Advanced. Class draws from various dance techniques that include: contemporary, modern, jazz, ballet, and yoga; that have inspired her throughout her dance career. Class starts with floor work which moves us from the floor to standing through improvisation, Bartenieff Fundamentals, and yoga, in order to loosen the body, center ourselves, and meet the dancing community sharing the space. Center floor stems from classical movements but accented with a contemporary twist. All warm-up exercises culminate into a group phrase with plenty of time allocated for discovery. Dancers are encouraged to challenge their technique with accuracy and precision, but are invited to explore their own unique identity in the movement.
Holly Jones is a freelance dancer, choreographer, dance educator, and arts administrator based in NYC and Martha's Vineyard. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and received the Gold Key Award in Dance under the direction of Katie Langan. Holly is originally from Colorado where she trained with the Colorado Jazz Dance Company under the direction of Zetta Alderman. She received further dance training as a scholarship student at the School at Jacob's Pillow and Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School. Holly has had the privilege of working with, and performing pieces by; Robert Battle, Larry Keigwin, Jessica Lang, Deganit Shemy, Pedro Ruiz, Abdur Rahim-Jackson, Tami Stronach, Shen Wei, Alwin Nikolais and Bill Soleau as well as dancing with Australian based CoreDance Contemporary Company, Kate Bishop Option Dance, and the Lori Leshner Dance Project. Currently, Holly is on guest faculty at Steffi Nossen School of Dance, Center Stage Dance Studio, Westchester Dance Academy and The Yard. She is the Treasurer on the Board of Directors of The Clive Barnes Foundation. Holly dances with DanceTheYard, the performance project of The Yard on Martha's Vineyard where she is also the Associate Director of Development and Artist Services Coordinator.
Class Description: Contemporary Jazz. Jazz'n with Jones on Fridays is a high energy, feel good class that draws inspiration from Jazz Masters: Fosse, Luigi, Mattox, Cole and more. The class includes elements of improvisation, modern, contemporary, lyrical, musical theater and classic jazz techniques. The class will investigate contemporary jazz with a sense of humor and curiosity in a judgment free zone. The class begins with a structured warm up followed by center combinations and across the floor sequences culminating in a fun movement phrase and cool down.
Caitlin Cook is a dancer, choreographer and musician. She graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance from SUNY Purchase. She has presented her choreography at many venues in NYC including Judson Church, The Kitchen, Joyce Soho, Dixon Place, Good/Bad Art Collective, Chashama, The Performance Garage and Merce Cunningham Studio. She has danced in the works of choreographers Neil Greenberg, Tere O'Conner, Maria Hassabi, Sarah Michelson, Paige Martin, Sigal Bergmen, Athena Malloy, David Neumann, Gerald Casel, Jodi Oberfelder and Tami Stronach. Caitlin is the creator of the Dance/Band group, Skint and has been a vocalist in the bands Vizusa, Excepter and Insayngel. On the Vineyard she has presented her work at Built on Stilts and the Yard, taught creative movement at the CCC and ballet at Kaliedescope Dance and Spindrift Studio. Caitlin has studied ballet technique since the tender age of 4 years old and continues to go to class today. She has taught the Pilates Method for over 20 years.
Class Description: I have taken ballet classes since I was 4 years old. I have found that my ballet technique informed my modern dance training and choreography no matter how far I venture away from the pure form. In this class we will utilize ballet techniques to bring awareness to the geometry of how we move in space and within our bodies. We can use the ballet form to face challenges in our individual bodies and dance with ease and strength and joy!
Class Description: Contemplative Dance Practice is a movement practice developed by Barbara Dilley. It is a shared meditative and movement space. It is a way to begin the day with others in a space of shared intention; a time to witness the internal landscape, the body, the external landscape, and those around you. The class will contain 20 minutes of meditative practice, 20 minutes of warm-up, 20 minutes of shared movement, and 5 minutes of meditation to close. There are bells that indicate each change. When we meditate we sit in a circle as a way to actively hold the space. During the warm-up we spread out in the space and warm up our bodies as they need. Those who wish may continue to meditate through this time. When we begin the movement portion we return to the circle to hold the space for those who chose to move. It is a chance to practice both movement and witnessing, seeing without judgement. The mover can follow their own impulse to move in and out of the space when they feel called to.
Naomi Goldberg Haas | Modern
Naomi is a dancer, master teacher, choreographer and founding artistic director of the multi-generational company and dance education organization, Dances For A Variable Population (DVP) based in New York City. Through engaging dance programs throughout the city since 2005, the company has inspired senior communities through the power of dance, promoting access to strong and creative movement to adults of all ages and abilities. Ms. Goldberg Haas holds an MFA from Tisch Dance at NYU, and began her career with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 2013, Ms. Goldberg Haas received the "Art + Action Award" from Gibney Dance. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council awarded her the 2014 Presidents Award for the Performing Arts. Naomi has been happily teaching community class for special weeks during the summer at The Yard since 2006.
Class Description: Beginning with a standing warm-up opening the spine, expanding physical space, the class moves through a combination of contemporary and traditional dance techniques, yoga influenced and release based work. Focusing on correct alignment, articulation and connected movement, the class also includes a floor work section informed by Pilates strengthening. Concerned with moving with full expression and purpose, the work integrates the thinking body with the emotional body. Class is completed with adaptable large phrase movement across the floor.
Jody Kuehner| Contemporary
The flow-based class will keep you moving throughout promising ample time for big movement and artistic exploration. The class will be a container for the body to explore concepts and train through a physical practice. This includes continuous flow, heat, pathways, sequencing, moving from your spine, the separation of trunk and legs, inversions, stretch, strength and long intensive phrase work to end each class.
Caleb Teicher | Intro to Vernacular Jazz/Charleston
In this class, we'll explore the basics of American solo jazz dance from the 1920s-1940s. Popular steps like the Suzy Q, Shorty George, Apple Jacks, and Charleston will be taught in an environment that enhances appreciation for the quality of movement in early 20th-century jazz dance.
Michelle Dorrance | Tap
This class aims to bring out the dancer and the musician in everyone. Michelle will guide students in finding rhythm and clarity, as well as a deeper kinesthetic understanding of each step. Michelle embodies a true passion for teaching and strives to share this passion wherever she goes.
Nicholas Young | Body Percussion
In this class, music and movement become one. Students will learn about the basic techniques and vocabulary that are used in this emerging art form, and explore polyrhythm, counterpoint, and musical dynamics in the body.