Announcing the inaugural guest artists for the UBSI Revitalized Dancer & Somatic Track (RD&S)

02 June 2022 Published in News and Announcements

Please join us in welcoming this year's Revitalized Dancer & Somatic Track guest artists

Christine McMillan RDS Headshot

Christine McMillan
Recovering Dancer & Somatic Track coordinator, University of Utah Assistant Professor, Lecturer

Luc Vanier

Luc Vanier
University of Utah Professor and Director of the School of Dance

ElizabethJohnson RDS headshot

Elizabeth Johnson
University of Florida Associate Professor

Tom Welsh RDS headshot

Tom Welsh
Florida State University Professor

Colleen Wahl RDS headshot high

Colleen Wahl
Alfred University Assistant Professor

Kellie St. Pierre RDS headshot

Frederika Steed
HCI Cancer Exercise Specialist, HCI Cancer Wellness Group Fitness Instructor, Owner of Methods In Movement

Kellie St. Pierre RDS headshot

Kellie St. Pierre
University of Utah MFA Candidate

Kellie St. Pierre RDS headshot

Melissa Mirza
Physical Therapist & Dancer

Read their individual biographies below.

There are multiple options for this track depending on ​personal interest and/or stage within the healing process of an injury including an option for Drop-In Classes.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 


Christine McMillan

Recovering Dancer & Somatic Track coordinator
University of Utah Assistant Professor, Lecturer

Christine McMillan (MFA) danced professionally for 27 years including 6 years with Richmond Ballet and 19 years with The Metropolitan Opera in New York City.  Performing in over 45 productions at the Metropolitan Opera, she has worked with renowned choreographers and directors and has appeared on PBS and in live international HD broadcasts.  In NY Christine also danced regularly with Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance and Ben Munisteri Dance Project.  Recognized for her versatility in both ballet and modern dance, Christine was awarded a Bessie (New York Dance and Performance Award) for performance in 2004.  She credits somatics in large part for the longevity of her performing career. 

Christine is currently an Assistant Professor, Lecturer at the University of Utah where in addition to ballet technique and pointe, she teaches Anatomy for Dance, Experiential Anatomy for Dance, Ballet Pedagogy, and Choreography.  Her choreography has been presented at the CPR in Brooklyn, artÉmotion, Dancemakers, ACDA, The University of Utah, Sugar Space Arts Warehouse, and the Somatic Dance Conference.  Christine received a B.S. from Indiana University in Ballet & Psychology and an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

A certified yoga teacher at the 500 hour level, Christine has taught yoga at to dancers, singers, and octogenarians.  Christine is also certified in the Ellové Technique and will complete her certification as a Functional Awareness Movement Educator in August 2022.  In addition to yoga, she continues to study a variety of somatic techniques including Alexander Technique, Body-Mind Centering, Developmental Movement, Laban/Bartenieff, Hanna Somatics, Pilates, and Experiential Anatomy as a way to deepen her knowledge of the moving body and investigate their application for dancer wellness.  She is excited to coordinate and offer the new addition of the Recovering Dancer and Somatic track to the Utah Ballet Summer Intensive in 2022.

Luc Vanier

University of Utah Professor and Director of the School of Dance

Luc Vanier (MFA, MAMSAT) was hired in 2016 as the Founding Director of the School of Dance at the University of Utah. He received his MFA from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and certified as an Alexander technique teacher in 2001 and later became a training course Director in 2011. A Principal Dancer and company choreographer with Ohio Ballet, he danced pivotal roles in the works of company founder Heinz Poll, Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Kurt Jooss, Lynne Taylor-Corbett and Laura Dean among others. His choreography has been produced at the Joyce Theater in New York City and toured nationally. Vanier has lectured and presented his research extensively nationally and internationally and his co-authored book “Dance and the Alexander Technique” was published by University of Illinois Press in 2011 (Also translated in Spanish Fall 2021 with Pequeña Hoja Press). In 2012, he founded the Integral Movement Lab, which combines the Alexander Technique and developmental ideas within product and curriculum designs. He co-created Framework for Integration, a movement analysis system anchored in the way babies and animals move that helps all movers make new, healthier movement decisions and encourages more coordinated and integrated bodily use. Luc is convinced of his responsibility to interrogate our physical practices in order to not habitually duplicate racist/sexist perspectives. He recently co-authored a chapter, The Subtle Dance of Developmental Self-Awareness with New Media Technologies, published with the Presse University du Quebec (PUQ) and Spring 2021, a new book chapter, Ballet aesthetics of trauma, development and functionality, was published in the book (Re)Claiming Ballet with Intellect Press.

Elizabeth Johnson

University of Florida Associate Professor

Elizabeth Johnson’s professional dance training began at North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied with many historically notable teachers. She earned a BFA with honors from George Mason University, receiving the Department of Dance Award for Academic Excellence, and her MFA in Performance and Choreography from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) where she was awarded the first Patricia Knowles Scholarship for graduate student excellence and the Wanda M. Nettl prize for student choreography.  

Since 2004, her contemporary repertory company, Your Mother Dances (formerly based in Milwaukee), has produced her original work alongside established choreographers from across the country (David Parker, Sara Hook, Gerald Casel, Trey McIntyre, Molly Rabinowitz, Heinz Poll, Luc Vanier, Erika Randall, Anna Sapozhnikov, Dawn Springer) as well as emergent regional and local artists. Johnson's choreography has been seen in New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Minneapolis, Louisville, New Haven, CT, Fort Worth, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and has been selected for Gala performance at the American College Dance Association.

As a professional performer, Johnson has toured nationally and internationally as a company member with New York City’s David Parker and The Bang Group and also danced with Sara Hook Dances (NYC & IL), and Molly Rabinowitz Liquid Grip (NYC). She has also performed distinguished classical and contemporary works by Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton, Salvatore Aiello, Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer, Rachel Lampert, Mark Morris, Cynthia Oliver, Luc Vanier, Trey McIntyre, and Heinz Poll and has served as rehearsal director for works by Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Sara Hook, Rebecca Stenn, Daniel Gwirtzman, Rebecca Bryant, and Maria Gillespie.

A somatic educator and practitioner, Johnson holds a Graduate Laban Certificate of Movement Analysis from Columbia College Chicago’s Department of Creative Arts Therapies where she garnered the Warren Lamb Tuition Scholarship. She is also a dual certified Teacher of the Alexander Technique (AmSAT, ATI), teaching private students and guest teaching in Alexander Teacher training courses in the United States (Alexander Technique Milwaukee, Salt Lake City Alexander Technique) and South America (Escuela Técnica Alexander Buenos Aires, Escuela Uruguaya de Técnica Alexander). Johnson is also a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Educator (RSMT/E), Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200) and continues her somatic education/certification in Dynamic Embodiment-Somatic Movement Therapy Training (DM-SMTT) with Dr. Martha Eddy (NYC).

Her academic teaching and research include the integration of aesthetics, anatomy, kinesiology, and somatic inquiry into dance technique teaching, Dance Composition pedagogy, and exploring feminist theory, embodiment, relationship, and popular culture trends and ironies in her choreographies. Her creative work—rooted in autobiography and her love/hate relationship with popular culture—seeks to subvert cultural tropes regarding propriety, relationships, and women’s bodies as objects/commodities.

At UF, Johnson has collaborated with SoTD colleagues to set choreography for plays (The Seagull, Voices From the March). She is also enthusiastically working with the Center for the Arts in Medicine and the College of Medicine's Department of Neurology considering best practices/protocols for dance/movement interventions for Multiple Sclerosis patients (Dance for MS pilot) and part of a larger multi-site collaboration on Dance and MS with the UF Center for the Arts in Medicine, Georgetown University Arts and Humanities Program/MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Department of Neurology, and  Scottish Ballet. 

Johnson's guest teaching and/or choreographic residencies include the University of Utah's Utah Ballet Summer Intensive (UBSI), Valdosta State University, Stephens College, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Texas Christian University, Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet Summer Intensive, Danceworks Milwaukee Performance Company, Wild Space Dance Company, and the American College Dance Association regional conferences. She has presented her written, embodied, and creative research at the International Somatic Movement Education & Therapy Association (ISMETA), International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS), National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT), Body-Mind Centering Association (BMCA), University of Southern Florida Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA), Southeastern Women’s Studies Association (SEWSA), and Motus Humanus national conferences. 

Internationally, Johnson has taught master classes at the University of Chile (Santiago), DUOC (Santiago), Universidad Nacional de La Plata, SODRE National Ballet School (Montevideo Uruguay), LA CASA Centro de Formación y Producción Artística (La Plata Argentina), Formación de Artistas Contemporáneos para la Escena (FACE) (Buenos Aires), La Fabrica (Buenos Aires), and the mixed-ability dance company Compañía de Danza Sin Fronteras (Dance Without Frontiers) (Buenos Aires).

International presentations include the Somatic Pedagogies & Performative Practices Symposium at University College Cork (Ireland), Colloque Cybercorporéités: subjectivités nomades en contexte numérique at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), 11th International Alexander Technique Congress (Chicago), CORPS de Ballet International annual conference (Florence, Italy), the International Symposium on Practice as Research (Hong Kong), The Fourth International Dance and Somatic Practices Conference at Coventry University (England), and the Movementis conference on Movement: Brain, Body, Cognition annual conference (Harvard Medical School). 

Johnson is co-author and author of three book chapters featuring Alexander Technique and developmental movement applications that promote conscious embodiment in response to new media technologies (University of Quebec/PUQ and Intellect publishers), student stress and trauma in the ballet class/studio (Intellect publishers), and the psychophysical demands of arts performance (Springer International Publishing). She has been an editor for the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT) Journal and is on the Journal of Dance Education (JODE) Review Board. 

Now an Associate Professor in the School of Theatre and Dance, Johnson has also served as Dance faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of North Carolina-Greensboro, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Texas Tech University. 

Tom Welsh

Florida State University Professor

Tom Welsh is a modern dancer and former gymnast who has performed works by Paul Taylor, Ted Shawn, Shapiro & Smith, Ann Carlson, Shirley Ririe, Joan Woodbury, Lynda Davis, Nancy Smith Fichter, Clara Gamble, and Wendy Cornish with university dance companies in Michigan, Kansas, Utah, and Florida.  Dr. Welsh is a member of the dance faculty at Florida State University where he teaches anatomy, kinesiology, conditioning, Pilates, and coaching for dancers.  Since 1991, he and his colleagues have been building a dancer wellness program that includes a purpose-built conditioning studio for dancers. He and his student conducts and publish empirical research on healthy approaches to training for a career in dance. Tom wrote Conditioning for Dancers to help young dancers learn how to take a greater role in managing their own development as dance artists.  In 2016, Tom was named Dance Educator of the Year by the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS).  

Colleen Wahl

Alfred University Assistant Professor

Colleen Wahl is a movement educator, author and dance artist. She co-directs Integrated Movement Studies, a graduate certificate program in Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies and is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Alfred University. She also runs a fitness and movement education practice, Move into Greatness, that integrates Touch for Movement Repatterning, corrective exercise and somatic education within a fitness context.

She is the author of Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies: Contemporary Applications and has a second book forthcoming.

She holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Dance from SUNY Brockport, a Masters in Liberal Studies from SUNY Empire State College, and a Bachelors in Dance and Arts and Education from William Smith College. She is a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst through Integrated Movement Studies, a Registered Somatic Movement Educator through ISMETA (International Somatic Movement Educators and Therapists Association) and Certified Personal Trainer through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine). She is also a Certified Simonson Teacher and is in process with Z-Health curriculum.

Frederika Steed

HCI Cancer Exercise Specialist | HCI Cancer Wellness Group Fitness Instructor |Owner of Methods In Movement
Stott Pilates Level 1 & 2 all Apparatus Certified, NASM PT, Crossfit level 1, Active Isolated stretching, McLoughlin Scar Tissue Release, NKT 1

Frederika started dancing when she was 5 years old in Deadwood,  South Dakota. She attended many summer dance programs including Ballet West Summer Intensive in Aspen Colorado; Chicago City Ballet School, Boston Ballet School. She moved to Utah when she was 15 to study with the Ballet Department at the University of Utah in 1989. She was also a student with Ballet West Conservatory under the direction of Professor Emeritus, Sharee Lane.

Mrs. Steed performed in many Fall and Spring showcases for the U. Being accepted in to the Utah Ballet her Frederika feels fortunate to have preformed in one of the last pieces William Christianson (Mr. C), the founder of Ballet West and San Francisco Ballet, staged for Utah Ballet.

“It was at the University where I was introduced to Pilates and learned of its benefits for a dancer,” says Frederika

Frederika Started her teacher training in 2007, and received Full Certification in 2012. In her 15 years of teaching, she has worked with Olympic marathoners, Australian hand ball athletes, Highschool ski and swim teams, young dancers and people who just want to stay healthy. Many of her clients started with her in their pre surgery preparation to include hip and knee replacements, spine and disk issues, and breast cancer. She has also continued to work with MS and Parkinson’s patients so that they can “Just keep moving”. Adding to the Pilates and dance background with the different modalities she teaches to what the body and mind need for that moment, stretch, strength, structure and freedom.

Frederika teaches group classes and private sessions in her studio Methods In Movement. She also works for Huntsman Cancer Institute Wellness Department private training cancer patients and running group fitness classes. Frederika has a worked with young dancers age 12 older to adults up to age 103.

Kellie St. Pierre

University of Utah MFA Candidate

Kellie St. Pierre is a performer, choreographer, and teaching artist originally from Bakersfield, California. Kellie graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance, a minor in Business Management, and a minor in Civic and Community Engagement. During her years in college, Kellie had the privilege to dance for Donald McKayle in his Étude Ensemble. Professionally, Kellie performed with DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion for five years, touring nationally and internationally, choreographing within current work and new creative projects, and teaching several residencies across the nation. Also with the company, she competed on America’s Got Talent, Season 12. She is a recipient of the Regional Dance America Pacific Monticello Emerging Choreographer Award, has attended the National Choreographers Initiative program under the mentorship of Ronald K Brown and Arcell Cabuag, and since has been an invited guest artist to several universities with the opportunity to set original work, as well as re-create DIAVOLO repertory. Her most recent visits include Bakersfield City Ballet, University of California, Los Angeles and University of Central Oklahoma. Kellie regularly teaches yoga-including horse yoga-as well as injury prevention and conditioning for dancers through Sugarfoot Therapy. She has been helping instill pre-hab practices at AMDA Performing Arts College, Debbie Reynolds Scholarship Program, MOTI Physiotherapy, Open Doors Dance Festival, and University of Utah’s School of Dance. As an advocate for dancer health and wellness, she strongly believes that we can heal ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually through movement and human connection.

Melissa Mirza

Physical Therapist & Dancer

Melissa Mirza is a Boston based physical therapist, dancer, choreographer, and educator.  Melissa holds a Doctorate of Physical Therapy and a BS in Exercise Science from Simmons University and currently practices as a Pediatric Physical Therapist at BAMSI Early Intervention.   Melissa is a Certified Laban Bartenieff Movement Analyst through Integrated Movement Studies and is a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist with the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association.  Melissa currently dances in collaboration with Boston based artist Catherine Siller on work surrounding gender identity. In the past Melissa has danced and choreographed with Project 31, fulfilled an apprenticeship with KAIROS Dance Theater, performed alongside the Bill Evans Company, and presented work in the New England area. Melissa currently teaches contemporary and ballet at In Sync Center of the Arts and the Colleges of the Fenway Center for Performing Arts.  As an educator, Melissa enjoys spreading the joy and comfort movement provides while promoting critical thinking, somatic experiences, diverse learning opportunities, and accessibility for all participants.