img_7147Rachel Altemose is a Sophomore from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She trained at the Pennsylvania Youth Ballet for 16 years in ballet, jazz, and modern. She loves life’s simple things such as cats, ice cream, and singing opera in the shower. Her biggest lifetime accomplishment was winning an award for checking out the most books ever from her high school library. She plans to double major in English (go figure) and Drama. She is thrilled to be in VRDT for her second year!


img_7180Hannah Arndt spends a lot of time thinking about time and also times (good and bad) and now sometimes panicking about time since she’s a senior but also being happy // rejecting apathy cuz life is pretty good even if it’s a bit incomprehensible. She has an enduring passion for avocados and dark chocolate, a great reverence for bodies of water, a consistent need to dance when music comes on. Carl Sagan once said “if you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe” and she is particularly grateful for the creation of such universe so she can enjoy apple pies from scratch.  She is also overjoyed to be dancing with the lovely creatures that are vrdt this year!

img_7189Kerri-Anne Bell is actually Beyoncé Giselle Knowles- Carter disguised as a senior studying Psychology and Education here at Vassar. Born and raised in Houston, Texas (*Kingston, Jamaica), she has trained with Vickers Ballet School, Edna Manley School of Dance, Tony Wilson’s Dance Centre and The Company Dance Theatre. When not in Kenyon, running to and fro classes or studying in the library, she can be found in her NYC penthouse snuggled up with Jay and Blue. She hopes to conclude her guise with making this final year with VRDT her most memorable and fulfilling dance year to date!

image1Kibi Blaze is a Junior English major from New Bedford, Massachusetts. When she’s not happily buried in literature you can always catch her around campus with her headphones, completely ignoring her surroundings because she’s too busy jamming along to this new playlist she just made called    “ *Naomi Campbell walk* ”    Kibi is her realest self when she’s wearing a pair of hoop earrings, they keep her on balance. She would like to thank her Mom and Grandma for signing her up for dance class and constantly reminding her to do what she loves and love herself unapologetically. 

image1-4Taylor Braunstein is a sophomore biochemistry major from Wellesley, Massachusetts. She began dancing when she was 3, and continued her training at Walnut hill school until her freshman year of high school. She then continued dancing in Boston Ballet School’s advanced program. She has attended summer programs at walnut hill school, Boston Ballet, American Academy of Ballet, the Rock school for dance education, Central Pennsylvania youth ballet, and Orlando Ballet School. In her free time, she enjoys talking to dogs, watching SVU, and squealing at panda videos. She is very excited to be a part of vrdt again!!!

vrdt-2016-photoOriana Catton is a Marth main. She regularly dreams of 4-stocking her enemies, finishing them off with a wavedash down-tilt wavedash back forward-smash. Or maybe psyche them out with some well spaced dash-dancing and then BOOM, ken combo! One of her life goals is defeating smash God mew2king, whom she deeply respects for his skill and precision of movement. In failing to become a successful artist, dancer, musician or professional smash player, she will pursue her secondary career path of opening her dream donut shop, “420 Glaze It”.

fullsizerender“Tiana has the wisdom of an old oak, the innate sweetness of a newborn babe, and the experience of a mafia Don who died of old age.” – from the fellowees of TMoney, otherwise known as Tiana Chung or Mrs. Aubrey Drake Graham.




get-attachment-aspxJade Direnfeld – Salutations, I’m Jade, feel free to call me Jâdé (jah-day). I bring the best of America and China to the table and I got that Canadian citizenship on the side to spice things up (disclaimer Canada is just not spicy at all). I enjoy what any 20 year old would; quiet walks around Sunset Lake in the evening, reciting poetry with friends while perusing the art gallery, and also raging absolute face and going hard in the paint until my dance moves are legendary. Wubba Lubba Dub Dub!




henryheadshotHenry Gilbert is a freshman from Andover, Massachusetts, but you would never know it, for he is wise beyond his years. In fact, it is rumored that he is actually Aristotle’s great-great-grandson. Henry is tickled pink to be a part of VRDT this year, and is grateful for the opportunity to perform alongside so many talented dancers.



raphe-vrdt-headshotRaphe Gilliam is a sophomore Drama major from Massachusetts. His arms are longer than he is tall. His dream is to become the giraffe that he knows he truly is. He is so thrilled to be a part of VRDT this year! And of course, he wants to thank his parents for their constant love and support.






saskiaheadshot2Saskia Globig is a sophomore who can often be found dancing for joy down the street! She has had the privilege of working with members of the Martha Graham Company and with the Gaga movement language, as well as a few tap dance legends. Saskia wants to push dance into new realms of theater and experience. Pina Bausch is her hero.



img_5626McClain 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 mushrooms) any day of the week. She wants to shrink down to an inch or so and scramble through piles of furry white carpet. She has been known to casually rappel down Costa Rican waterfalls with her grandfather and backpack through Icelandic terrain with her best friend. 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.

img_7079Someone on a dating app who he’s never met once said Turner Hitt was charming, so we guess he’s got that going for him. Also, one of those Facebook quiz things said the musical of his life was Les Miserables, so that’s a thing, too, we suppose. Finally, Buzzfeed puts his age at 35 based on his cheese choices



img_7133Megan Jackson is a junior Sociology major from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. She trained for 8 years at the Mill Ballet School in Lambertville, New Jersey and is happy to continue training and performing at Vassar. When she’s not dancing or secretly wishing to be a mermaid, you will find her napping, tap dancing, or watching Netflix for multiple hours at a time (shoutout to her favorite TV shows Midsomer Murders and Stranger Things). She is very excited to be a part of VRDT again this year and can’t wait to see where the year takes us!

strider-headshotStrider Kachelein comes from a small town in Oregon of 1 tavern, 2 grocery stores, 3 stoplights, and 4 world-renown golf courses. He enjoys playing baroque music on recorders and strumming to Appalachian folk-music on a homemade banjo. A senior, Strider is indebted to the dance department which has helped him improve by leaps and bounds since freshman year. His favorite place on campus is the ACDC and gets very upset when people dare to diss the Deece.




img_7241If you’re looking for someone dumb and stinky, look no further! New York’s hottest pre-med is Carmen Kloer. Formerly celebrated as a human lawn gnome, this New Mexico native does it all: dances, frisbees, even rolls around in the mud. As the legend goes, after the clock strikes midnight, you may just catch her in the 24-hour room doing all three (she brings her own mud). – The Renowned Hoon Hong




img_5875Sydney Lee is a physical phenomenon in a dance studio. Standing at a staggering 169 centimeters, she can only really be compared to a velveteen lowland silverback gorilla as she blazes across the floor. Often described as “a choreographer’s dream,” Sydney has specialized in all areas of dance since she was four. When not gracing the world in a theatrical setting, you’ll find her handwriting letters to her fans. ~ a masterpiece by Robin Drummond.



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Seeing as she’s a junior majoring in economics and forgot how to write, drafting this bio has been a daunting task for Margaux Lieser. Hailing from Chi-town, she misses Chicago-style pizza, but not hot dogs, while here in Po-town. When she’s not (living) in Kenyon, Margaux can be most likely be found with her headphones in, sunglasses on, and fierce game on fleek. She is so excited for her second year in the company and can’t wait to get funky with the fab dancers of VRDT!

img_7113Sydney Majka hails from the WICKED awesome Boston area where she began dancing at the age of 5. She is a self-proclaimed cha cha slide champion and 1 of only 5 students in the country to earn a perfect score on the AP Dance Dance Revolution exam. Besides dancing, Sydney is a frozen yogurt mogul and an avid eater. She would like to thank her #fam for all the #luv, and she feels #blessed to be performing with the VRDT #squad.


img_7137 Only a junior, Emily Martin has done the unthinkable: become the Fearless Leader of VRDT (actually the assistant to the director, but she thinks she runs the show nonetheless).  In her second year as the Fearless Leader, Emily hopes to continue to ensure the success and happiness of the wonderful company she calls family. She would like to thank her seven years at an all-girls school for teaching her that women run the world even though men think they do. Emily would also like to thank her mother for being the official VRDT mom and for always being right.


img_7122Kyle McConaughey, from Chapel Hill, NC, is excited about his sophomore year with VRDT. He studied modern dance for 10 years at Carolina Friends School, 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, at venues in Chicago, NYC, and Washington, D.C. among many others. He’s also taken three years of ballet and a smattering of just about everything else. He’d like to thank his parents and everyone else who has supported and inspired him along the way.

img_7210Gemma McElroy is a Senior from Maine majoring in art history. This is her third year in VRDT and she is thrilled to be working with such a talented group of dancers and thinkers. 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 ___. A book that she thoroughly enjoys is _____ (a bold choice, she knows). She sends baci a tutti and hopes that everyone has a ____ evening!



img_7157Mia Moraru loves smelling flowers and most of her dreams include her flying. you can always find her in a tree or on a rooftop somewhere around campus, and her favorite things to do are adventuring, handstands and reading. she is blood type A+!!




img_2389Jordan Nasif is a freshman from the sunny city of San Diego. While she is still undecided, she is interested in International Studies. She danced with California Ballet School for 6 years and then joined California Ballet Company as an apprentice for the 2015-2016 season. When she is not dancing or studying, Jordan can be found listening to vinyl records, eating chocolate, or watching the Boston Red Sox baseball games. She is extremely excited to be a part of VRDT and is looking forward to the upcoming season!

zerlina-headshotZerlina Panush hails from New York, New York and is a spunky funky red headed chick. Give her a lemon bar and you will make her day.






elizaEliza Perkins is a freshman whose happy place is anywhere in a studio or the mountains. She’s from Monterey, a coastal town in central California, and recently moved back from living in Bremen, Germany. She has trained at the Carmel Ballet Academy, The Dance Center, Diablo Ballet, Contra Costa Ballet, and Alonzo King LINES ballet in San Francisco. Her favorite dance experience was when she performed the role of Arabian Princess in the Nutcracker, and she is excited to make more dance memories with the VRDT company this year!! Thanks family for the love and support!

img_7094Annabel Renshaw is a freshman from Santa Monica, CA. She has been dancing since she was 3 years old at the DC Dance Center in Los Angeles. She is very excited to be in VRDT this year.







julia-vrdt-16-17What critics are saying about Julia Schmidt:

“Julia reminds most people of a phoenix.  Her bright orange hair giving her a flame-like appearance and she just has a magical aura around her.  She’s also a bird.” – NPR.

“Graceful as a gazelle.  Not that I’ve ever seen a gazelle, but they’re probably pretty graceful, right?” – Fox News.

“Intelligent, passionate, funny, outgoing, flawless.  These are all words that describe Beyoncé.  Oh, Julia?  She’s ok.” – New York Times.

The Misc failed to comment.

img_0084Elise Shea started her dance training at age four. While studying with the Indiana Ballet Conservatory, she won “Top 12 for Classical Variations” and several “Best Ensemble” awards at the Youth America Grand Prix. Elise attended summer programs at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, the Rock School for Dance Education, 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. This is Elise’s second year with VRDT, and she’s looking forward to becoming a more versatile dancer while learning from such wonderfully talented students and professors.

img_7220Ana Sheehan is a Senior Cognitive Science and French double major from Wallingford, Pennsylvania. She is so excited to be reunited with VRDT this year so she can move and groove with so many beautiful souls. Her anxiety is triggered by phone calls, cats and writing dance bios but this can be easily appeased with a quick listen to anything by Beyoncé. Finally, she’d like to thank her family for the endless support after coming to 10000000000 dance shows over the last 16 years and Bikini Body Workout by Kayla Itsines.

img_7166Savannah Smith is a sophomore that plans on majoring in Africana Studies and Political Science and is secretly Michelle Obama. When she isn’t studying, giving tours, dancing, or being a Student Fellow, you can find her slaying in the White House, at the DNC, and in life in general.  #BOandMO5ever #turnipforwhat



vrdt-headshot-2016Allison Sugino is a junior Greek and Roman Studies major from New York City who is thrilled to be back for her third year in VRDT. She trained at Ballet Academy East for ten years before coming to Vassar. Ever since it’s been debated whether her essence creature is a bluebird or a dragonfly and she remains undecided, only knowing that she’s happiest in the air. When she’s not dancing or living in the dance office, she can often be found badly explaining greek mythology, befriending people’s pets (especially cats), and drinking way more coffee than can possibly be healthy.

img_7119Maya Talwar-Hebert is a freshman from the small town of Melrose, Massachusetts, known solely for its abundance of  bakeries and nail salons. She enjoys long walks on the beach, reciting obscure drake lyrics, dogs, binge watching Grey’s Anatomy, cheesecake, and of course dance. Though a certain letter got lost in the mail, she still considers herself to be a member of ravenclaw. Maya is very excited to continue dancing at Vassar and to be part of the VRDT family. She’d like to thank her friends and family (s/o to Bear and Ryan) for all of their support.

img_7127Juliet Weis is the daughter of two artists. One takes pictures. The other paints. Juliet dances.






edit2Natalie Westgor is a senior American Studies major from Seattle, Washington.






img_71002Gelsey White is a sophomore from Massachusetts. This is her 2nd year as a member of VRDT and her 17th year dancing. In her (limited) spare time, she is an English major, a member of VARC, and a photographer for the Vassar Athletic Communications Department.  Endless thanks go out to her dance instructors, past and present, and her TGS and VRDT families!







image1-2Olivia Zhou is a senior sociology major from Chengdu, China, a place best known for being home to pandas. She enjoys a laid-back lifestyle where she can sleep often and study rarely. She is also irreversibly addicted to spicy food, especially Sichuan hot pot. So at the age of 4, she started dancing in order to keep fit while she eats as much hot pot as possible. She hopes to explore more dance styles besides Ballet and modern (so that she can eat more hot pot). She is thrilled to be a part of VRDT for her senior year!