2015-2016: 2015-2016 Company

Company 2015-2016

Rachel Altemose is a freshman from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She trained at Pennsylvania Youth Ballet for 16 years, studying classical ballet, modern, and jazz. Some of her favorite performing experiences with Pennsylvania Youth Ballet were in productions such as The Nutcracker, Cinderella, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Rodeo, where she was able to work under the direction of Christopher Fleming. She also has attended numerous summer intensive programs such as Kaatsbaan Extreme Ballet, Briansky Ballet, and BalletFleming. When not dancing, you can find her at a theatre rehearsal, reading for her English classes, or eating chocolate Haagen Dazs ice cream. She is so thrilled to be a part of VRDT this year!

You could call Maranda Barry a human, but in movement she feels more like a swirling vaporous mass, an agitated fish, a thick rope lashing through the air, a newly hatched chick, or perhaps a biting mouth. She would like to thank all the people in her life who have pushed her to not simply dance, but to experience.  :)

Anna Beeman is a sophomore from Washington D.C. majoring in Environmental Studies. She trained in classical ballet at the Maryland Youth Ballet for 11 years, and after her high school graduation she was fortunate enough to take a gap year to dance with the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago as a trainee before coming to Vassar. She has recently acquired a pair of spandex black shorts to be more “contemporary,” however at heart she will always be a bunhead. Anna is thrilled to be part of VRDT for her second year!

Taylor Braunstein started dancing at age 3 at a small studio in her town. At age 8 she moved to Walnut Hill School for the Arts, where she studied for 7 years. She then moved to Boston Ballet school for the remainder of high school. She has attended summer programs at Boston Ballet, Walnut Hill, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, the Rock School, American Academy of Ballet, and Orlando Ballet School. Taylor also has a deep love for easy mac, dogs, and Law and Order SVU.

Jacob Butter does not get cute, he gets drop dead gorgeous. And he is here to show people he still got it.

Tiana Chung hails from the beautiful island of Jamaica where rhythm, reggae and rum reign supreme. She was plopped into a dance studio at age four and absolutely hated it – spending the first couple of classes sitting in the parents’ waiting area. Eventually braving up to go into class, she would learn the choreography for a tap piece to be performed at the year end recital. However, the story takes a turn as little Tiana slips, falls and bursts into tears during her first time on stage. Realizing the traumatic state she was in, her dance teacher ran onto the stage, picked her up and finished the dance with her. It was at that moment that Tiana received the first inklings of comfort and lessons of perseverance that dance would continue to bring her to this very day.. And hopefully for an eternity.

Coming from Manila, Philippines, Camille Victoria Delgado has been in a perpetual state of cold. Regardless, she is Senior and a Classics (Greek and Roman Studies) major with a correlate in History, determined to do something with her life and the aforementioned concentrations. Much to John Meehan’s chagrin and continual consternation, she is also one of the Captains of the Vassar Khalj Ultimate Frisbee Team, and does not plan to step down any time this year. Sorry, John. Despite VRDT, Khalj, Flypeople, Thesis-hooliganism, and being a full-time student, Camille still finds time to squeeze in regular nap hours. She would like to give due credit and a shout-out to the #1 inspiration in her life: Maximo, I will never leave you– no matter how much you might want me to.

Jade Direnfeld is a sophomore from Maui, Hawaii. She has danced most of her life and doesn’t plan on stopping. She enjoys food, Netflix, and hanging out with friends. She is very excited about VRDT this year!

A born and raised Vermonter, Sean Downing grew up disliking all forms of winter sports, instead pursuing Irish Step Dancing; he does really like maple syrup though, so it’s okay. Somehow a senior Math and German double major, this is his first year with VRDT, and he’s really excited to be part of the group. With a background almost completely in the celtic arts, Sean is very excited to experience new things like rolling on the floor (or let’s be honest, moving your arms) while dancing. He would like the thank all of the friends, family and dance teachers who have got him where he is today. Reel it up!

Max Goldner is a freshman from South Orange, New Jersey who is ecstatic to be in VRDT.  He has studied choreography under the Lydia Johnson Dance Company and Horton and Graham technique with the Special Dance Company. When he is not schvitzing from dance, Max plays the cello in the Vassar Symphony Orchestra. In his spare time Max enjoys taking long walks down the aisles of Trader Joes, perusing the good food and exceptional samples. He would like to thank Zoey 101, Hilary Duff, and the Princess Diaries saga for making him who he is today.

Adam Gray: “The ideal video game produces not just an aesthetically pleasing interaction with cyber reality, but also corporeal one that allows the player to physically interface with hardware. I once heard a lecture that argued Space Invaders is the best video game for precisely this reason. The rudimentary electronics of SP can only process so much data at one time, and so as the player fights off aliens one by one, the circuits work more and more efficiently, which means the aliens begin to move faster and the tempo of the music increases. The player plays not only the game, but the machinery too. How beautiful it would be to have been born a capacitor on a circuitboard, interacting exclusively with glassy-eyed gamers whose pockets are filled to the hem with quarters, working every day until I short out on the arcade floor.”

Kelsey Greenway shares:

What is broccoli

Is it sacred

Is it art

Broccoli is insanity

Broccoli is life

We are all salad

McClain Groff loves a good old-fashioned printout calculator. She’s not really a sandwich person, but she’ll happily munch on some lentinula edodes (shiitake mushroom) any day of the week. She wants to shrink down to an inch or so and scramble through piles of furry white carpets. She has been known to casually rappel down Costa Rican waterfalls with her grandfather and like it so much she wants to go back to Arenal and live there. She hopes you enjoy the show, and maybe if you pay very careful attention her dancing will reveal even stranger mysteries than those detailed above.

Instead of writing his not-started, 5 page paper due in like 14 hours, Turner decided to finally write his bio for VRDT, during which he spent 10 minutes trying to come up with a better word/phrase for “not-started,” but, y’know, here we are. Turner is a sophomore Drama and Education double major who dreams of one day owning an alpaca named Pepperjack, even though pepperjack is not his favorite kind of cheese. Turner has been formally dancing for, like, a year and a half, I guess, unless you count bouncing around stage in high school musicals as formal dancing. Turner is also a member and technical director of Flypeople, and his greatest achievement through Flypeople has been his presence in the center of the twerking line for the beginning of Spring ’15’s Beyvolution piece (thanks queens Kerri & Ana!!!!). Turner looks forward to growing even more as a dancer/twerker/lover with VRDT and with Flypeople, and wants everyone to know that he probably makes the bomb-diggity-est pound cake north of the Mason-Dixon line (thanks Grandma)!

Megan Jackson is a sophomore who is secretly a mermaid. She trained for 8 years at the Mill Ballet School in Lambertville, New Jersey and is happy to continue training and performing at Vassar. You will usually find her taking a nap, tap dancing everywhere, or shoving pictures of her cat in people’s faces because he is so gosh darn cute. She is very excited to be a part of VRDT again this year and can’t wait to see where the year takes us!

At the age of three, Heather Kettlewell began a ballet class which she promptly quit as she refused to wear pink. 13 years later, 3 years ago, Heather decided it was time to put aside her soccer cleats and enter the world of dance.

Today, Heather is thankful to be a part of VRDT and is so excited for the year to come.”

Sydney Lee is absolutely ecstatic and humbled to be a part of VRDT her freshman year! Hailing from the glittery land of Las Vegas, Sydney spent her childhood learning hip hop, tap, and jazz when later her focus redirected to classical ballet. Since then, Sydney has trained at the American Ballet Theatre and The Joffrey Ballet summer intensives, as well as taken on principle roles in Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Paquita, and Swan Lake. A hopeful double major in drama and psychology, her passions also include nature, people, food, and quality Netflix time. Sydney extends her heart out to all her inspiring teachers, friends and family for their endless love and undying support. I love you mom and dad!

Margaux Lieser is a sophomore economics major from Chicago, Illinois who is thrilled for her first year in VRDT! To say she is obsessed with all things dance is an understatement; she is a Flype-RDTer. Margaux has trained at Joel Hall Dance Center and Visceral Dance Center in ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, and modern, and she has had some informal training in African and Latin (her hips don’t lie). She is a true jazzerina at heart, and you can always find her hitting her signature strut in the studio or onstage. Margaux is honored to be a part of the company this year and can’t wait to work with this group of outstanding dancers.

Emily Martin is a sophomore from Needham, MA. She trained in ballet at the Charles River Ballet Academy under the direction of Emily Hrones Umland, and at Dana Hall School with Devon Fitchett. Emily spent two summers at the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, ME and one summer at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. When not thinking about nerdy math or physics jokes or worrying about being late to something, Emily can be found thinking about her two yellow labs, Gracie and Teddy. As the new VRDT Assistant to the Director, she is so excited for her second year and all the dancing to come!

Kyle McConaughey, from Chapel Hill, NC (Go Tarheels!), is excited about his first year at Vassar and with VRDT. He studied modern dance for 10 years at Carolina Friends School as well as at the Governor’s School of North Carolina and the American Dance Festival. Kyle studied tap dance for nine years at the Ballet School of Chapel Hill with Gene Medler and performed with the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE) for six years. He also took two years of ballet in which he learned to pretend he was gracefully hugging a tree trunk, or a rather large beach ball. Kyle has performed with NCYTE at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC’s Symphony Space, and the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. He would like to thank his parents for being the coolest cats around, and everyone else who has supported him along the way.

Gem is a Junior from Maine majoring in art history. This is her second year in VRDT and she is thrilled to be working with such a talented group of dancers and thinkers. She has been dancing since back in the day and has so far managed not to break a single dish while practicing in the kitchen. It is here that she would normally tell you, dear reader, what she does in her free time, but in this bio she will leave that up to your imagination (go wild). Her favorite foods are ___ and ___, but she only allows herself to partake of the latter on a rainy day when the deece is particularly dicey. Her spirit animal is elusive (please let her know if you figure it out) and a book that she thoroughly enjoys is _____ (a bold choice, she knows). She sends baci a tutti and hopes that everyone has a ____ day/evening!

Kayla Miron’s dance career is older than the average refrigerator. At age four she started dancing for the tutus but stayed for the feeling of being alive. Now she never wears tutus if she can help it. Before coming to Vassar Kayla trained and performed with the American Dance Festival, the Triangle Youth Ballet, the Atlanta Ballet, and the Governor’s School of North Carolina. She is a sophomore and an English and Educational Studies double major. She uses her love of writing and of talking about feelings as a consultant in the writing center and as a student fellow in Main House.

Zerlina Panush is a Junior, Media Studies major and is so excited to be a part of VRDT for a third year! As a native New Yorker she enjoys long walks and bagels. Prior to Vassar, Zerlina trained at Ballet Academy East and later Manhattan Youth Ballet for several years in ballet, contemporary and character dance. For her third year in VRDT Zerlina hopes to fill it with exploration, more moving, shaking, twerking, and one-dropping (ty Kerri).

Elise Shea started her ballet training at the age of four and graduated from the Indiana Ballet Conservatory. As a student she participated in the Youth America Grand Prix and won “Top 12 for Classical Variations” and several “Best Ensemble” awards. Elise attended various summer intensive programs including the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in New York, the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, and the Paris Opera Ballet School. After graduating high school, she took a gap year to dance professionally with the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida. Her repertoire includes leading roles in The Nutcracker, Cipollino, La Fille Mal Gardee, Le Spectre de la Rose, and The Rite of Spring. Elise is thrilled to be a new member of VRDT this season.

Carlie Silva is a senior anthropology major/education correlate from CT. She has an affinity for mysteries, mangos, and Michael Jackson. The following poem eloquently captures the rest:

There once was a squirrel named Marley

Who thought pizza was quite gnarly

He danced in the trees

And fell through the leaves

And was reincarnated as Carlie

Savannah Smith is a freshman from Houston, Texas, and she is super duper excited to be in VRDT this year! She trained at Rowland/Ballard School of Dance and was a member of Kingwood Dance Theatre under the direction of Sheryl Rowland. Savannah also attended numerous summer intensives including OU SummerWind, Craft of Choreography, Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer Intensive, and International Summer Dance at Point Park University. Savannah is currently undecided about her major, but her passions include Twizzlers, Scandal, and her Cocker Spaniel Duke.

Allison Sugino is a sophomore born and raised in New York City who is thrilled to be returning to VRDT this year. She trained at Ballet Academy East for ten years before coming to Vassar. Ever since she has protested against the cruelty of pointe shoes but continues to wear them regardless of her bitter love-hate relationship with the torture devices. She can often be found sitting in the dance office for hours pondering the purpose of the trapdoor in one of the faculty offices, drinking way more coffee than can possibly be healthy, and jumping down icy hills, though she is making an effort to avoid that this year. Promise.

Hannah Tobias says “Never thought I’d be a senior, but here I am for the 3rd and final year of my VRDT career – incredibly, unbelievably honored to be connected to the beautiful and talented members of this company again, and absolutely humbled to be sharing the stage with them. Thanks goes out to all of them (especially my fellow seniors, whom I love and owe more than I can say), to the professors who make this show and this company’s many other opportunities-of-a-lifetime possible, to our unparalleled friends and family – keeping us grounded but on our toes, and to whoever you may be, reading this blurb and supporting the dance community with your presence tonight! Thank you, and please enjoy the show.”

Juliet Weis is a sophomore from New York City who has recently discovered a love for salmon. One day she hopes to dance among these wonderful creatures in the sea, swimming along to the beautiful melodies of crashing waves, enjoying the easy life aquatic. Until then, she is elated to move and jive with the fab dancers of VRDT!

Much like a ballerina’s foot en pointe, Natalie Westgor is shiny, strong, elegant, iconic, and kinda sweaty all the time. Natalie likes to dance (obviously) and likes to swim because she gets to dance through water. Nat wants to thank her years at Pacific Northwest Ballet, her beautiful parents for celebrating her “dada personality,” and her scrumptious friends for teaching her how to looooove. ok! enjoy the show! Thank you for coming!

Gelsey White is a freshman from Taunton, Massachusetts. She has been dancing since the age of 3, when she chose dance over karate lessons. After dancing at a local studio for then years, she joined the Project Moves Dance Company out of Brockton, MA, where she studied ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and hip hop. Highlights of her dance career include performing at the Joyce Theater in NYC, and working with choreographers Tyce Diorio and Teddy Forance. She is ecstatic to join the VRDT cast this year!

Kibi Blaze Williams-Brown (Yes “Blaze” really is her middle name) is a sophomore and English major repping New Bedford, Massachusetts. Touched down in ’96, she knew she loved dance by the age of six. Shoutout New Bedford Ballet! This is her first year in VRDT and she is honored to be a part of such a talented, passionate group of dancers.

Alaina Wilson is a senior from Bedford, NH majoring in Greek and Roman Studies with a correlate in Art History. At the age of three her parents decided that her affinity for pink tutus and twirling was a sure sign that dance was in her future. Alaina started her ballet training with the Augusta Ballet in Augusta, GA and upon moving to New Hampshire continued training with the Southern New Hampshire Dance Theater and at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, as well as spending summers at the Boston Conservatory. Alaina is      excited to be dancing with VRDT for her fourth and final year!

Hannah Worby has been dancing since preschool, if wiggling on stage counts as dancing. She spent many collective hours post-dinner perfecting her skills in front of the refrigerator as her sister groaned and her parents tried to ignore the thumps and shaking light fixtures. Primed and polished by Princeton Ballet School, Logrea Dance Academy, Westchester Ballet Company, Miami City Ballet, Naganuma Dance, and STEPS on Broadway, her flailing arms and legs have been working properly ever since. When she’s not holed up in the library, napping, or playing with her hair, Hannah is probably watching something on Netflix or snacking on chocolate-covered blueberries. This is her first year in VRDT, her second year at Vassar, and trillionth time thanking her family immensely for all that they have done to support her. After a two year hiatus from dance, she’s ready to show the world that she’s still got it. Hi Mom! Hi Dad! Look what I can do!



Choreographed by Katherine Wildberger

Music by Howard Kilik

Maranda Barry, Tiana Chung, Sean Downing, Jade Direnfeld

Max Goldner, Adam Gray, McClain Groff, Megan Jackson

Sydney Lee, Gemma McElroy, Kayla Miron, Carlie Silva

Allison Sugino, Kibi Williams-Brown, Juliet Weis

Gelsey White, Hannah Worby

Gently They Go

For Albert.

Choreographed by Miriam Mahdaviani

Music by Jeff Beal

Jacob Butter


Rachel Altemose, Anna Beeman, Taylor Braunstein, Camille Delgado

Kelsey Greenway, Turner Hitt, Heather Kettlewell, Margaux Lieser

Emily Martin, Kyle McConaughey, Zerlina Panush, Elise Shea

Savannah Smith, Hannah Tobias, Natalie Westgor, Alaina Wilson


Social Discourse

Choreographed by Seán Curran

Staged by Evan Copeland

Music by Thom Yorke

Maranda Barry, Anna Beeman, Turner Hitt, Margaux Lieser

Gemma McElroy, Kayla Miron, Savannah Smith, Allison Sugino


Social Discourse

Choreographed by Seán Curran

Staged by Evan Copeland

Music by Thom Yorke

Camille Delgado, McClain Groff, Megan Jackson, Kyle McConaughey

Zerlina Panush, Natalie Westgor, Kibi Williams-Brown, Alaina Wilson

Smooth Over

Choreographed by Abby Saxon

Music by Ella Fitzgerald and the

Orchestra from New York, New York

Tiana Chung, Jade Direnfeld, Megan Jackson, Heather Kettlewell

Margaux Lieser, Emily Martin, Savannah Smith, Alaina Wilson



Choreographed by Marius Petipa

Staged by John Meehan

Music by Ludwig Minkus


Rachel Altemose, Anna Beeman, Taylor Braunstein, Jacob Butter

Jade Direnfeld, Megan Jackson, Heather Kettlewell, Sydney Lee

Emily Martin, Savannah Smith, Allison Sugino

Natalie Westgor, Alaina Wilson


Heather Kettlewell

Allison Sugino

Anna Beeman

Zerlina Panush

Jade Direnfeld

Megan Jackson

Jacob Butter


Full Company



Choreographed by Marius Petipa

Staged by John Meehan

Music by Ludwig Minkus


Rachel Altemose, Anna Beeman, Taylor Braunstein, Jacob Butter

Jade Direnfeld, Megan Jackson, Heather Kettlewell, Sydney Lee

Emily Martin, Savannah Smith, Allison Sugino

Natalie Westgor, Alaina Wilson


Taylor Braunstein

Rachel Altemose

Savannah Smith

Zerlina Panush

Sydney Lee

Natalie Westgor

Jacob Butter


Full Company



Choreographed by Marius Petipa

Staged by John Meehan

Music by Ludwig Minkus


Rachel Altemose, Anna Beeman, Taylor Braunstein, Jacob Butter

Jade Direnfeld, Megan Jackson, Heather Kettlewell, Sydney Lee

Emily Martin, Savannah Smith, Allison Sugino

Natalie Westgor, Alaina Wilson


Alaina Wilson

Allison Sugino

Anna Beeman

Emily Martin

Jade Direnfeld

Natalie Westgor

Jacob Butter


Full Company


Choreographed by Dance Faculty and Students

Music by Kenny Loggins

The Company

Stellar Refraction

Choreographed by Alaina Wilson

Music by Ezio Bosso

Rachel Altemose, Anna Beeman, McClain Groff

Heather Kettlewell, Sydney Lee, Alaina Wilson

. , . , * . ,

the unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat

Choreographed by Carlie Silva

Music by Son Lux

Maranda Barry, Jacob Butter, Tiana Chung, Camille Delgado

Kelsey Greenway, Margaux Lieser, Kyle McConaughey

Gemma McElroy, Hannah Tobias, Gelsey White, Natalie Westgor


Choreographed by Camille Delgado

Music by Gallant

Jacob Butter, Max Goldner, Adam Gray

Kelsey Greenway, Kyle McConaughey, Hannah Tobias


Choreographed by Kelsey Greenway

Music by Antonio Sanchez, Vulfpeck,

and Crosby Stills Nash & Young

Rachel Altemose, Maranda Barry, Camille Delgado

Heather Kettlewell, Kayla Miron, Zerlina Panush, Carlie Silva

Hannah Tobias, Natalie Westgor, Kibi Williams-Brown, Hannah Worby


Choreographed by Maranda Barry

Music: None

Adam Gray, Turner Hitt, Heather Kettlewell, Gelsey White

The Six Merry Murderesses

Choreographed by Camille Delgado and Hannah Tobias

Music by IT’S A SECRET

Maranda Barry, Camille Delgado, Kelsey Greenway

Carlie Silva, Hannah Tobias, Alaina Wilson


Choreographed by Zerlina Panush

Music by Fats Domino and B.B. King

Maranda Barry, Kelsey Greenway, Max Goldner

Hannah Tobias, Juliet Weis, Natalie Westgor, Hannah Worby


Choreographed by Kayla Miron

Music by Sylvan Esso

Maranda Barry, Tiana Chung, Kelsey Greenway

McClain Groff, Kyle McConaughey, Gemma McElroy, Juliet Weis

Searching Spaces

Choreographed by Megan Jackson

Music by Nick Murray

Rachel Altemose, Taylor Braunstein, Jade Direnfeld, Sydney Lee

Emily Martin, Savannah Smith, Allison Sugino, Hannah Worby


Choreographed by Margaux Lieser

Music by James Blake

Jade Direnfeld, Megan Jackson, Margaux Lieser

Emily Martin, Kibi Williams-Brown

what did i do that for?

Choreographed by Jacob Butter

Music by Grizzly Bear

Anna Beeman, Tiana Chung, Camille Delgado

Jade Direnfeld, Kelsey Greenway, Carlie Silva, Natalie Westgor


  1. Precision
  2. Impulse

III. Outcomes

Choreographed by Max Goldner

Music by Rene Aubry, Tanya Taqug, and Victoire

Taylor Braunstein, Jade Direnfeld, McClain Groff, Heather Kettlewell

Sydney Lee, Gemma McElroy, Kayla Miron, Elise Shea