2011-2012: Headshots

Charlie Biers ’13: Charlie Biers is a Political Science major from Los Angeles, California. Although fairly new to the world of ballet and modern dance he is a seasoned hair whipper and booty shaker. When he isn’t dancing he can be found stuffing his face with salty/spicy food, sleeping, or just attempting to find a way to change his birth certificate so that Beyonce Knowles is his mother. He would like to thank the dance faculty and company for giving him a home away from home and his family for the undying and unconditional love/support ever since he entered this crazy world.

Elly Dembo ’13: Elly is a junior economics major from New York City. She began her dance studies at Studio Maestro and continued there until her acceptance to the School of American Ballet. In 2006, she left SAB to study at the JKO School at American Ballet Theatre. Elly is so excited to spend another year with such an incredibly talented group of people!


Kelly Harrington ’14: Kelly Harrington is a sophomore and a Neuroscience and Behavior major from Syracuse, NY where she studied at the Center of Ballet and Dance Arts for 13 years taking ballet, jazz, and modern classes. When she’s not dancing, you will find her playing horn in various music groups, eating lots of vegetables, being the Vice President of Noyes, ellipticizing at the gym, or playing piano for fun. This is her second year in VRDT and she hopes to have another amazing year with everyone and dance even more than she did last year.


Emily Dunuwila ’12: Emily is a senior Urban Studies major from Syracuse, NY (go Orangemen!!) She grew up in the very special world of competition dancing—performing countless jazz and tap routines for panels of sleepy judges and crowds of neurotic stage moms (I love you Mom). When she joined VRDT in her freshman year at Vassar, Emily discovered a new world of dance—one that didn’t involve itchy sequin costumes or cheap plastic trophies. In her three years in the company, she has fallen in love with modern dance and has had incredible performance opportunities, including dancing Steve Rooks’s “Griot” solo in 2010. After spending a life-changing semester abroad in Sri Lanka, Emily is excited to be back in VRDT alongside all her dancing pals. She’d like to extend a special thanks to Steve, Kathy, Abby, John and Jeanne for their enthusiasm, support and inspiration.


Charmaine Branch ’14: Charmaine is a sophomore from Madison, Wisconsin and hopes to become an Art History major. She has been dancing since early childhood and even now her enthusiasm for dance continues to increase. She would like to thank VRDT and Flypeople for helping her grow as a dancer and enjoy movement. Of course she would also like to thank her parents, sister and Dancer (the much loved family dog) for being her inspiration.


Mike Graceffa ’14: Mike is a junior from Waltham Massachusetts and is super excited to spend his second year in VRDT. A musical theatre boy at heart, he is very excited to be studying other dance disciplines like modern and ballet. Michael has been dancing since the age of three and would like to give his love to his extremely supportive Mom and Dad, his Aunt Joanne for bringing the love of dance into his life, and his fellow VRDT and Fly People dancers who bring the aspect of friendship and love into his passion.


Matt Ortile ’14: Matt is a sophomore Media Studies major from Las Vegas. A musical theatre performer since birth, he first started dancing in his freshman year at Vassar, where he trained in modern, ballet, and hair-whipping with the illustrious dance faculty. A social media junkie, a Nutella fiend, and a Ben & Jerry’s connoisseur, Matt is extremely grateful and excited to carve the space with the incredible VRDT for a second year.


Jeremy Busch ’14: Jeremy is honored to be a member of VRDT’s 2011-2012 season. He is a sophomore Drama and Psychology double major who has danced for 12 years and has studied ballet, tap, jazz and modern. His mentors include Ginger Cox, Stacey Webster, Michelle Dorrance, Dawn Hillen, and Claudia Rahardjanoto, all of who inspired him when he was a student at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. After one year in the company, Jeremy would like to again thank the VRDT faculty for this amazing opportunity.


Max Lapides: Max is a sophomore computer science major from Doylestown, PA. When not dancing or attending various other rehearsals, he can usually be found in front of his computer doing computer science homework, building websites, or probably watching Netflix. Max lost the 6th grade spelling bee on the word “exercise,” he is endlessly amused by recursive acronyms, and he is very excited to be performing with VRDT for his second year!


Katherine Taylor ’15: Katie is a Pre-Med freshman from Ithaca, NY. She’s been dancing since the age of 3 and hasn’t stopped since. Katie trained at the Ithaca Ballet until leaving for Walnut Hill School for the Arts for the last two years of high school, and she is now a happy member of VRDT.


Isabella Kosmcher ’14: Bella is a sophomore and potentially majoring in Geography (the dance of cultures, environments and peoples). She has been dancing forever and was the co-producer, co-choreographer, and co-director of Isabella and Sophie Dance: Living Room Theater. Bella would like to thank the Vassar dance faculty for giving her the opportunity to celebrate movement again this year and her family for their boundless love, support, and inspiration. Take flight!


Juliana Rodzinski ’14: Juliana is a sophomore from Fort Worth, Texas. She has been dancing since age three, attending summer programs at San Francisco Ballet School, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell at the Kennedy Center, Texas Ballet Theater, The Kirov Academy of Ballet, and the Jillana School. At 16, she took a year off of school to dance as a trainee with Texas Ballet Theater under the direction of Ben Stevenson.  She would like to thank the VRDT family for helping her remember how much she loves to dance.


Simone Dubé Levine ’13: Simone is a junior from Memphis, TN, who is majoring in Philosophy and correlating in Art History.  She has always danced and always will dance.


Katharine Gripp ’13: Katharine Gripp is a junior from the exciting and well-know metropolis of Fairhope, Alabama. She is an English major with a Medieval and Renaissance Studies correlate in the works, and consequently looks forward to not having a job when she graduates. On the rare occasion she’s not in rehearsal or writing papers, Katharine is also a seamstress and costume designer, professional nap-taker, and dedicated Whovian. This is her third year with VRDT, and she’s loved every minute of it.


Emma Burke ’15: Emma is a Sophomore and has been dancing for 15 years. She is a native Long Islander and will most likely be an International Studies major. She is thrilled to be a part of the VRDT again this year!


Ally Hamilton ’15: Ally is a freshman from Kingston, Jamaica. She has been dancing for over 15 years and has studied ballet and modern at the Tony Wilson School of Dance, and at the Taft School (Watertown,CT). She also enjoys jazz and hip-hop and dance parties. You can catch her doing the latest Jamaican dancehall moves or pointing and flexing in her spare time. Ally is extremely excited for the VRDT season ahead and can’t wait to work with everyone!


Niya Nicholson ’14: Niya is a sophomore that hails from the Fabulous New York City!! Since the tender age of three, Niya has developed an immense passion for the art of dance. She has been trained in various dance techniques such as: modern, ballet, jazz, african, and hip hop at the Harbor Conservatory for the Arts as well as Fiorello H. LaGuardia H.S. Niya is ecstatic about her second year in VRDT!!!


Brian Heil ’14: Brian is a sophomore from San Diego, CA. He trained for nine years at the San Diego Academy of Ballet studying Russian classical ballet with Maxim Tchernychev. He couldn’t be happier with the program at Vassar, and would like to especially thank John Meehan for his incredible direction and instruction.


Alex Cornaccia ’14: Alex is a sophomore from Westborough, MA with an immense appreciation for boxers, buttons, and gazing at the night sky. On the rare occasions that she is not dancing, you might find her obsessively reading the science section of the New York Times, strolling thought art museums, or trying to find something that was there just a second ago. She plans on majoring in being passionately curious with a correlate in interpretive jellyfish dance, and she is thrilled to be part of the VRDT this year.

Emma K

Emma King ’15: Emma is a freshman from New York City. She began dancing as a tiny tot and went on to study ballet at the School of American Ballet. After a much needed two year hiatus, at which point she considered herself a 14 year-old ballet retiree, Emma regained her love of dance. At 16 she was introduced to modern dance at the 92nd Street Y where she learned the repertoire of Jean Urdman, Douglas Dunn, Doug Varone, Netta Yerushalmy and many other amazing choreographers. She also discovered her love for choreography and has never looked back! Emma would like to thank her family for their love and support. She would also like to thank the members of Flypeople and VRDT for the warm welcome to the Vassar family!


Maura Toomey ’15: Maura Toomey is a freshman from Montclair, New Jersey, where she first got her training in Modern and Ballet. She is ecstatic to spend her first year at Vassar in the company of all the talented VRDT dancers.


Elise Presser ’12: Elise is a senior biochemistry and political science major originating from Missouri – you know, that state in the middle. She started rolling around in the studio at the tender age of 5 and started seriously dancing when she first came to Vassar oh so many years ago. She is so excited to be in VRDT for her last year here and wants to thank all her fellow VRDTers for making it memorable.


Isaac Lindy ’14: Isaac is a sophomore at Vassar double majoring in Urban Studies and Drama with a correlate in tantrums.  He has been a competitive figure skater for 14 years, so he’s supremely confused as to why this company is called the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater. Won’t we be skating? Whatever. That being said, he is thrilled to be a part of this (figure skating) company and to have the opportunity to work with such talented peers, faculty, and choreographers.


Hannah Cushing ’14: Born and raised in Canandaigua, New York, Hannah Cushing has enjoyed dancing through the cornfields since early childhood. She is more than thrilled to be working with such talented choreographers, teachers, and dancers.  When not struggling to fulfill her majors in Environmental Studies and Economics, Hannah can be found dancing with FlyPeople, watching Shark Week re-runs, and stealing large quantities of creamsicles from the dining hall.  She would like express her infinite gratitude and love for her incredibly supportive family and friends (she would still be lost in the cornfield if it weren’t for you).


Karlin Gatton ’15: Karlin is a freshman hailing from the wonderful city of Chicago.  She began her training at the age of three at the Hyde Park School of Dance, and continued training there in both ballet and modern through the end of high school.  She has spent summers at Ballet Austin and the Alonzo King LINES Ballet School.  She is thrilled to be a part of the VRDT community, and is looking forward to all of the amazing adventures to come!


Menen Stroud ’15: Menen is a freshman from Oakland, California. She has been dancing for nine years, but has been training in modern, contemporary, and ballet at Oakland School for the Arts for the past three years. When she’s not dancing, Menen enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her friends and family. She is so excited to be joining VRDT this year!


Thomas Hochla ’13: Thomas Hochla is a junior pursuing a major in Music (Voice and Piano) with a correlate sequence in Adolescent Education.  Seen onstage since the age of nine, Thomas began taking dance “full time” his freshman year of high school.  This is Thomas’ third year in the company. Dance and Music are his passions, and he would like to thank all his teachers, friends, and family here and back home for their undying love and support in these artistic endeavors year after year.


Mickey Mahar ’12: Mickey Mahar: vehicles ran down there.