Past Company Members, Collaborators & Guest Artists

Claire Ahlin (lighting designer) is a native of the Charleston area. Her foray into lighting design began while a dance major at Charleston County School of the Arts. She graduated Cum Laude from College of Charleston in 2016 with majors in Arts Management and Theatre: concentrating in Lighting Design. During her senior year, she completed a 120 hour internship in arts administration with Ballet Evolution. While at the College, her lighting design of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” earned her a nomination in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Design Competition for Region IV. She also presented “Lighting for Dance: A Collaborative Process” at the 2016 American College Dance Festival at Emory University. In addition to her lighting design residency with Palmetto City Ballet, she has also designed for the Palmetto City Ballet School, Mt. Pleasant Performing Arts Company, Coastal Ballet USA, Charleston Southern University, and Annex Dance Company.

Leslie Alexander (collaborator) grew up in a small town in Arkansas where her mother was a “Sunday Afternoon” painter. She studied art, art history and art education, receiving a BA from Rollins College (FL) and a Masters in Teaching from the University of South Carolina. Alexander taught art to young students in public and private schools in South Carolina for 25+ years, and during that time she also supervised student teachers in Richland County; served as the Assistant Superintendent of Children’s Art at the South Carolina State Fair; was president of the Columbia (SC) Arts Guild; and was a co-founder of the Useum, a mobile children’s museum. After retiring from teaching, she began a new career making art in her home studio. Alexander was mentored by Professor Al Beyer, artist Mary Todd Beam, and noted Italian artist Livio Valentini. Alexander works primarily in acrylic, and her paintings have evolved to include bold color and abstract images and express a spiritual dimension. Since 2004, she has occupied a loft studio in the Croft Building called Studio 143, located on Laurens Street in Aiken, SC. She teaches art classes and facilitates creativity workshops based on Julie Cameron’s The Artist Way.

Megan Amitrani (apprentice/company member 2009-2010) graduated from DeSales University with a BA in Dance in May 2009. Throughout her four years, she has had the opportunity to perform in student, faculty, and guest artist works, including works by Kate Jewett (Shen Wei Dance Arts), Caroline Copeland, and Ben Levy. In 2007 she was a member of DeSales Dance Company, where she performed throughout PA, NJ, NY and DE. Megan currently teaches at the Kathryn Barnett School of Dance in Red Bank, NJ.

Born and raised in Augusta, GA, Maggie Bailey (apprentice/company member 2013-2016)  received her BA in Arts Management and Dance, concentrating in performance and choreography, from the College of Charleston. She has studied at the American College Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival with choreographers including Elisa Clark, Pamela Pietro, Jesse Zaritt, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Gerri Houlihan and Rodger Belman. She has had the pleasure of performing in Piccolo Spoleto, the Charleston Dance Festival, the Alabama Dance Festival and the 2013 Spoleto Festival’s double-bill opera, Mese Mariano/Le Villi directed by Stefano Vizioli.

Laura Ball (collaborator) is a collaborative pianist, professional singer, composer, and arts producer based in Charleston, South Carolina. She has worked extensively in the fields of instrumental and vocal accompanying throughout her career, while always advocating for excellence in music education and training of the next generation of artists. She has performed in master classes for artists such as Renatta Scotto, Frøydis Ree Wekre, Marianne Challis, and Mignon Dunn as both a vocalist and collaborative pianist. She studied Piano Performance and Collaborative Piano with Marilyn Neeley, under the guidance of Martin Katz, at the Benjamin T. Rome Conservatory of Music in Washington D.C. and voice with Margaret Kelly Cook in Charleston, SC.

Wisconsin-born Heather Bybee (company member 2012-2016)  received her balletic training at Monona Academy of Dance and Dance Wisconsin (with whom she performed throughout the Midwest and East Coast), before earning a scholarship to the Central Wisconsin School of Ballet. Heather accepted the Presidential Dance Scholarship at Chicago’s Columbia College before finding her way to College of Charleston, where she was active in the campus dance community as Dance Alliance President in addition to performing with the Robert Ivey Ballet. Heather was fortunate to be invited to dance at Piccolo Spoleto, American College Dance Festival, Regional Dance America, SCDA, and Grand Prix, among other national and regional competitions. Upon graduating, Heather was hired at Dance Moves, Robert Ivy Ballet, and Flip Gym.

Cathy Cabaniss (company member 2011-2019) graduated with a BA in Dance from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania where she had the opportunity to perform the works of Lar Lubovitch, Helanius Wilkins, Teena Custer and Jose Limon. Cathy moved to Charleston in Spring 2011, and started dancing with Annex that Fall. As an educator she has experience teaching all levels, ages and genres of dance. Over the past six years Cathy has taught many times for Annex Dance Company, including Endless Mountains Dance Camp when the company is in-residence during the summer. Cathy is the dance teacher at Alston Middle School in Summerville.

Alexandra Danna (apprentice 2010-2012) is a student at the College of Charleston. After spending a semester at George Mason University (VA), she returned to Charleston and has performed in works by Robert Ivey, Jon-Michael Perry, and College of Charleston faculty and students. In 2010, she was a choreographer and dancer for Between the Lines, a collaborative project among local SC artists. This is Alexandra’s second season with Annex Dance Company.

Lisa Dietz (guest performer) is a graduate of The Ohio State University’s Department of Dance with a BFA in Dance Education.  She is currently dancing with Coalesce Dance Company and teaching at Dance Moves of Charleston.  Lisa has performed recently in the Charleston Dance Festival as well as in Chicago with coco dance group and with the Louisville Ballet in Kentucky.  She has had the opportunity to marry her passion for dance education with her belief in outreach and community service through her work with the Now & Next Dance Mentoring Project and BalletMet’s education outreach program, Momentum.  She is thrilled to join Annex Dance Company for this project.

Jamie Mandrell Drye (company member 2010-2011) is originally from North Carolina where he began his dance training at Western Carolina University. After receiving his BA at Winthrop University in Rock Hill S.C, He joined the Caroline Calouche & Company, where he performed for two seasons. Additionally he has appeared in Asheville Ballet’s Porgy and Bess, and CPCC’s Celestial Tapestries. A teacher at Manna House of Jazz in Harlem, he has also taught for SCDancing, Fascinating Rhythms Dance Studio, Elements of Dance, Miss Margaret’s Arts Academy, and FuSia Dance Center. He received the best choreography award at the CEDA Convention for his piece “Perseverance,” choreographed for Central Academy of Technology and Arts Dance Academy in Monroe, N.C during an extensive period of teaching in the Magnet School. He is the Director of Dance at The Ballibay Camps in Camptown, PA. Jamie currently resides in New York, working as a dance educator, guest choreographer, and apprentice with the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company.

Nick Faber (lighting designer) is currently pursuing his BA in Techincal Theater from DeSales University, and over the past year had the opportunity to work on all of the theater program productions, including Sunday in the Park with George, The Mikado, and Death of a Salesman. In spring 2010, he will be the lighting designer for the DeSales University Act 3 production of The Little Mermaid. Nick is the head of the technical theater department at Ballibay Fine and Performing Arts Camp where he has designed numerous dance and theater productions.

Aimee Gwynne (company member 2018-2021) attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she graduated with a BFA in Dance Choreography and Performance. During her time at the university she taught at numerous High Schools and Independent groups as the Dance Instructor for their colorguard and winterguard. In 2018, Aimee moved to Charleston, SC to become a member of the Annex Dance Company. She has taught as a visiting artist representing Annex at Camp Ballibay for the Fine and Performing Arts, as well as many schools in the Charleston County School District.  In Fall of 2021 Aimee moved to London, England where she is attending the University of Roehampton to obtain her MFA.

David Haldaman (guest performer), a New Yorker at heart, has recently relocated back to northeast PA. He has worked in the theater throughout his life, including Three Sisters (Pietre) with the Northampton Community College Theatre, John Lennon And Me (Jeff) and Special Class (David) with the Pennsylvania Youth Theatre. He also directed Seven Menus with the Northampton Community College Theatre. He is working towards a BA in International Marketing and is planning to pursue an MA in International Business Administration.

Lacey Heffernan (apprentice 2017-2018) began her dance training as a child in her hometown of Myrtle Beach, SC. In 2013, Lacey moved to Charleston to further her education. During her college years, Lacey participated in various projects with the College of Charleston’s Dance Department, Annex Dance Company, and Dance Lab’s Entertainment Company. She also had the opportunity to perform for Weird Al Yankovic and Beats Antique on their local tour stops during the summer of 2015. During the summer of 2016, Lacey worked in New York City as an administrative intern for the renowned contemporary dance company, Abraham.In.Motion. While in NYC, Lacey trained with Abraham.In.Motion and at various prestigious dance studios. In 2017, Lacey graduated Cum Laude from College of Charleston, where she earned a BA in Arts Management and Dance with a concentration in Performance and Choreography. Because of her dedication to CofC’s Dance Department, Lacey is a proud member of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts and the recipient of CofC’s School of the Arts Dean’s Excellence Award in Dance. After completing her college education, Lacey attended American Dance Festival’s Six Week School where she studied intensively under several renowned dance artists. During her time at ADF, Lacey performed with Heidi Latsky Dance during their instillation of ON DISPLAY in Durham, NC. Lacey enjoys choreographing in addition to performing and teaching; her work has been presented at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, College of Charleston’s Chapel Moves, and various Dance Moves Youth Company performances.

Leslie Jones (guest performer) holds an MFA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and a BFA in Dance and Minor in Music from the University of Central Oklahoma. She holds teaching certificates for dance and instrumental music in both Oklahoma and South Carolina. Leslie’s performance experience spans numerous festivals including the Performaticá Festival in Puebla, Mexico. She danced professionally with Oklahoma City’s modern and aerial dance company, Perpetual Motion, performing across the Midwest and at the Rogue Festival in Fresno, California. During graduate school, Jones studied the use of Werner Herzog’s films as choreographic and coaching tools. Leslie has taught dance since 2004 and has continued to teach various levels and ages in modern, ballet, improvisation, and creative dance. In 2015 Jones joined the College of Charleston as an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Dance. In addition to teaching at the College, Leslie teaches at Ballet Academy of Charleston, Dance Moves of Charleston, and the School of the Arts.

John Jannone (collaborator) is an audiovisual installation and multimedia artist, composer, and has a background as a performer, improviser, and creator in music, theater, and hybrid performance forms. He is an associate professor at Brooklyn College and has served as executive director of Camp Ballibay for the Fine and Performing Arts for the past 18 years. He studied philosophy and music at Colgate University, and received his M.F.A. in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer.

Courtney Kay (company member 2007-2011) graduated summa cum laude from the DeSales University Dance Program in 2007 where she had the opportunity to perform works by Sean Curran, Doug Varone, and Gerald Arpino. Courtney was a member of the DeSales Dance Company for 3 years and traveled to American College Dance Festivals throughout the U.S. where she both performed and presented her own work. In December 2006, she founded Artists Building Hope with Habitat for Humanity. She has also studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and Bates College. Courtney is currently dancing with Repertory Dance Theatre, and has been a guest choreographer for FuSia Dance Company and Repertory Dance Theatre Youth Company. She teaches at Dance Works in Quakertown, Pa and FuSia Dance Center in East Stroudsburg, Pa.

Hailed by the Charlotte Observer as a “brilliant musical talent”, Rachael Kistler-Igo (guest performer) is nationally recognized as an extraordinary performer, gifted educator, and an innovative community engagement activist. Rachael began her violin studies at the age of two and made her professional debut with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. She continued her violin studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, under the tutelage of David Updegraff and Peter Salaff. Ms. Kistler has held positions with the Asheville, Greenville, and West Virginia symphonies, and most recently served as Performing and Visual Arts Coordinator at Chautauqua Institution. During Ms. Kistler-Igo’s tenure at Chautauqua, she oversaw all of the institution’s arts education and community engagement initiatives, including in-school residencies for students with disabilities made possible through VSA grant funding as a partner of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She lives in Western North Carolina with her husband and son, and maintains an active performing and teaching schedule.

Janine McCabe (collaborator/costume designer) is the current Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. She leads the Costume Design and Technology concentration within the Theatre major and teaches courses in design, drawing and painting, hair and makeup, patterning and fashion history as well as occasionally teaching for the FYE program. Janine also mentors student costume designers on productions in the department’s season. Janine is a member of United Scenic Artists and her background includes years in NYC working as an Assistant Costume Designer on Broadway and Off Broadway as well as for Opera and Dance. She is the Resident Costume Designer for Pure Theatre and also occasionally designs at Charleston Stage. Her work with these two local theatre companies allows the opportunity to connect students she is mentoring to the professional theatre scene. Janine is always looking for interested students to develop Undergraduate Research projects with related to the costume field as well as students interested in Fashion Design and understanding the intersection of Costume and Fashion. Many of Janine’s students move on to professional work in costume construction, costume design, fashion and/or continue study in graduate programs.

Rebecca Moyer (company member 2007-2008) earned a B.A. in Dance and a B.A. in Business Management from DeSales University and a M.F.A. in Dance Choreography from State University of New York-Purchase College. Rebecca has performed with ContempraDance Theatre, ACTion Dance Touring Company, as a guest with the DanceGing Company in Allentown and Penn State Abington Dance Company. Rebecca has choreographed for DeSales University Dance Ensemble, Marywood University Dance Ensemble, Xtensions Dance Company, and ACTion Dance Touring Company. Her works have been seen in various venues across the Pennsylvania and New York area, such as the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Philadelphia Dance Fest, American College Dance Festivals and Gallery B in New York City. Rebecca has also had the opportunity to teach at various dance programs and dance studios in the Philadelphia and New York area, and is currently teaching at Marywood University, DeSales University and Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts. She is also the co-founder/co-director of Vada Dance Collective, a modern dance company based in the Philadelphia area.

Leigh A. Mumford (lighting designer) is a recent transplant into Philadelphia originally from Montclair, New Jersey. She attended The University of Massachusetts at Amherst studying Theatre and concentrating in Lighting Design with Penny Remsen. Leigh is a Lighting Designer for Dance and Theatre. Credits include: Bombitty for 11th Hour Theater Company, Jeffrey for Represented Theater, Zoo Story for Deaf West Theater, Ash Contempory Dance, Five College Dance Amherst Mass., Samantics Dance. Assistant Design Work with Mark O’Maley for Pilobolus, David Dorfman, Actors Shakespeare of Boston for King Lear at La MaMa, NYC. Please visit MumforDesign:

Steve Myers (collaborator) received a Ph.D. degree in English from the University of Rochester in 1990 and since has taught at DeSales University. The author of a book on W.B. Yeats’ poetry of the 1890s as well as scholarly articles on Yeats, his chapbook, Work Site, was published in 2003. Individual poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Bellingham Review, The Cream City Review, The Dalhousie Review, Miller’s Pond, Paterson Literary Review, Two Rivers Review, and West Branch.

Evan Parry (collaborator) is an Associate Professor in Performance in the College of Charleston Department of Theatre and Dance, where he teaches a variety of Acting classes, as well as Movement for the Actor, Stage Combat, Acting Shakespeare and Film Studies. He and fellow faculty member Eliza Ingle have choreographed and directed a number of dance or physical theatre pieces in Charleston, both at CofC and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. Evan primarily uses Laban Movement Analysis, Contact Improvisation, and Viewpoints actor training in his movement work. His most recent directorial work includes CofC’s production of The Love of the Nightingale and the Footlight Players’ latest production of Our Town. As an actor, he has most recently been seen as Butch in PURE Theatre’s production of Next Fall and as the King of France in The Shakespeare Project’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well.

The Power Company Collaborative (collaborator) believes that power can be found in art, dancing, collaboration, and the spirit of each individual. Choreographer, Martha Brim founded The Power Company in 2000 to “embrace the idea of power for all people” using dance as practice and performance. For 19 years thereafter, Brim and PoCoCo members (adding Collaborative to the name in 2012) have further defined that mission with experimental processes in nontraditional venues to embrace empowerment and inclusiveness in their work. The Power Company Collaborative is housed in residence at Columbia College, SC with Associate Director, Amanda Ling, offering internship opportunities for students and interdisciplinary experiences for local artists. The company continues to create installations, workshops, and public art that tap into unique sources of power found with a variety of artists and community partners.

Tara Rooks (company member 2021) is a graduate from the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG), with a BFA in Dance, concentration in Choreography and Performance. During her time at UNCG she trained with Duane Cyrus, Janet Lilly, Michael Job, Maurice Watson, and others; performing works by Martha Graham, Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane. In 2018, she joined Theatre West Virginia performing in Paradise Park and Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. After graduation she worked in Melbourne, Australia at the Infinite Dance Studio as their jazz and acrobatics teacher. In 2020, she danced with the West Virginia Dance Company performing, Souvenir: Diary 2020.</p>

Melissa Rowbottom (company member 2009) received her BA in Dance and BS in Business Management from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA where she was able to work with many well known instructors and choreographers. Prior to Point Park, Melissa performed musical theatre in the Lehigh Valley area as well as studied at Nardi Dance Studios and Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Melissa most recently received her MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. During her coursework at Drexel she danced and choreographed for Drexel’s Dance Ensemble, but was most recently a company member of Contempra Dance Theatre in Wayne, PA and Serendipity Dance Ensemble in Bethlehem, PA. In the past she has worked for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, The Association of Arts Administration Educators, Drexel University’s Department of Performing Arts, The State Theatre Center for the Arts and Pennsylvania Youth Theatre. She currently works at Nardi Dance Studios in Easton, PA.

Moira Martin (company member 2007-2010) received her BA in dance from DeSales University, where she graduated magna cum laude, as a recipient of the DeSales University Dance Ensemble Award, for excellence and leadership in performance. Moira performed in ballet and modern works by students, faculty, and guest artists including Doug Varone and Sean Curran, in addition to performing with the ACT I Theatre Company in West Side Story, Cabaret, and Crazy for You (dance captain). Moira has also studied dance at the Koresh School of Dance, Dance New Amsterdam, Peridance, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Summer Residency, Muhlenberg College’s Artist in Residence Workshop with Charlotte Boyd-Christensen, and the Doug Varone and Dancers’ Summer Workshop at SUNY Purchase. In 2007, Moira made her professional performance debut with inFluxdance in Found & Lost: Goals for 2002 at the Boulder International Fringe Festival and San Francisco Fringe Festival. She has performed with Annex Dance Company since its inception in 2007 and more recently began performing with undertoearts in the spring of 2009. Moira currently teaches dance in the central-northern New Jersey area.

Francesca Marinaro (company member 2007-2011) graduated from DeSales University in 2008 with her BA degree in Dance. While at DeSales, she had the opportunity to perform in student, faculty, and guest artist works, including works by Sean Curran and Doug Varone, Kate Jewett (Shen Wei Dance Arts), and Nicole Wolcott. Francesca also performed with the DeSales Dance Company for two years as well as Re-Cored Dance Company. As a choreographer her work has been showcased in the DeSales Emerging Choreographers’ Concert, DeSales Dance Ensemble Concert, DeSales Screendance Festival, Mountain Dance Concert, and the Philly Dance Collective. Francesca currently teaches dance at Northampton Community College and the Totts Gap Arts Institute. Francesca is the Founding Artistic Director of FuSia Dance Company, a pre-professional dance company, and recently open FuSia Dance Center in Stroudsburg, PA.

David Todaro (lighting designer)

Mary Walker (collaborator) was born in New York City in 1946 and raised in Tryon, NC. She earned her BS degree in math at Queens University in Charlotte, NC. After graduating, she moved to New York where she taught high school math for seven years. While there she studied painting at the Art Students League with Isaac Soyer where she realized she wanted to be a painter.  In 1975, she moved to Charleston, SC, married and started her art career. Walker has won several grants and artist residencies. She has worked in numerous print studios… the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in New York, Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, the Fine Arts Work Center and PAAM in Provincetown, and Limerick Printmakers in Ireland.

Michael Wall (collaborator) is an internationally recognized composer of music for dance, video, instillation, jazz and multimedia collaborations. He has previously collaborated with the choreographers including Bebe Miller, David Dorfman, Ailey II/Jennifer Archibald and many others. Along with Oscar Award Winning composer Darren Morze, Wall has scored “Bel Borba Aqui” and “Neurotypical” which aired on PBS. Wall continues to work as an educator and performer. He has worked for NYU, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Ohio State University, The American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, and is currently faculty at the University of Utah. He received his BFA in Jazz Piano from Rutgers University, where he studied under Kenny Barron. Wall is the founder of soundFORmovement, a website dedicated to music for dance

Nathan Wheatley (lighting designer)

Rye Zemelsky (collaborator) is a freelance interpreter in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her early exposure to American Sign Language (ASL) came through the performing arts as a member of a youth theater. While a student at Smith College, Rye studied as a visiting student at Gallaudet University in Washington DC, and completed as self-designed major on an interdisciplinary approach to ASL translating and interpreting for the theater. Upon graduation, she began working at The Learning Center for Deaf Children in Framingham, MA, where she received her training to become an Interpreter. In 2005, Rye acted as the Asl consultant for inFluxdance Company, under the artistic direction of Alysia Woodruff and Rose Pasquarello-Beauchamp, the start of numerous projects incorporating ASL into the performing arts. It was through this collaboration that Rye first worked with Kristin Fieseler, which has become an incredible cross-country partnership. She received her National Interpreter Certification (NIC)-Advanced rating through the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) in 2006. Rye’s additional background in outdoor adventure education has lead her to become a specialized interpreter and ASL guide in the outdoors.