Elena grew up in Massachusetts and received her early training at Donna Miceli Dance Center and The Academy of Ballet Arts. She went on to graduate magna cum laude from the University at Buffalo with a B.A. in Dance and a Minor in Speech and Hearing Science. After graduation, Elena moved to Boston where she performed with Prometheus Dance, Lorraine Chapman The Company, Luminarium Dance, Hyperbole Dance, Echo Dance Company, Avid Zeal Dances, Reciprocity Dance Theater, and as a dancer in W.B. Mason television commercials. Recently embarked on a new adventure, relocating to San Francisco, Elena has performed with LEVYdance and is currently a member of SARAH BERGES DANCE.
As a child, Gretchen studied ballet and jazz technique at Cary Ballet Conservatory in Cary, North Carolina. In 2012, she received her B.F.A. in Ballet, Jazz and Modern Dance Performance from the University of Arizona’s School of Dance. Under the auspices of the University of Arizona, Gretchen performed at the Joyce Theatre in New York City and as part of Martha Graham Dance Company’s performance of Dance is a Weapon. Subsequently, in Chicago, Gretchen danced professionally and began teaching Pilates as a Fletcher Pilates® Qualified Teacher. As a professional dancer, Gretchen has performed with River North Dance Chicago, LEVELdance and Art.if.Act Dance Project, and has toured to Germany, Israel, Switzerland, Luxembourg and China. Gretchen joined SARAH BERGES DANCE this year.
Thrown, crying, into her first dance class at the age of four, Shanise fell in love with dance despite this initial display of hysterics. That first class was a tap class; training in jazz, ballet, modern, and contemporary dance soon followed. Following her passion, Shanise danced through grade school and was a Dance major at UC Riverside. Shanise then moved to the Bay Area to pursue a professional career. She feels lucky to have worked with several fantastic Bay Area artists, including Sarah Berges. Her belief that dance is an important universal language motivates Shanise to work at getting the people of the world not just talking, but dancing together.
Originally from Metairie, Louisiana, Allison attended the University of Southern Mississippi where she received her B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography. Allison has danced with Barbie Diewald of TrioDance Collective, Chris Henry, and Vital Theatre Productions. She currently works with Christy Walsh of Stringdance+media, SARAH BERGES DANCE, and is a member of Mari Meade Dance Collective in New York City.
A dance artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Carmen graduated from the Argentine National School of Dance, and studied Dance Composition at the National University of the Arts UNA. She is currently pursuing a B.A. in Dance and Education at SUNY Empire State College.
At the former Merce Cunningham Studio, Carmen completed the Professsional Training Program and performed in workshops with the school’s faculty. She founded DanceAction in 2012, establishing a creative platform to make choreography in collaboration with musicians, designers, and visual artists. She also co-produces Movement Playdates with Mary Madsen. In 2015, Carmen joined SARAH BERGES DANCE and has performed in New York City and San Francisco with the company.
A native of New Mexico, Davonna has studied ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, tap, and musical theater with, among others, Melissa Lowe, Amy Ernst, Sam Watson, Tammy Dyke- Compton, Robert Moses, and Loren Fletcher. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance with a minor in Business Management from the University of Arizona. Since moving to New York, Davonna has performed with Jessica Taylor (DAMAGEDANCE), Hollye Bynum (bones dance), Amanda Hameline, Marc Andrew Nunez (Gotham Dance Theater), and Zanza Steinberg (ALMA NYC). This will be Davonna’s third performance with SARAH BERGES DANCE. She is thankful for the opportunity to work with such wonderful people!
Hannah graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She then went on to dance in Cirque du Soleil’s show, Iris. Hannah is currently choreographer for Periapsis Music and Dance and a professional freelance
dancer with several companies in New York City. She performed with SARAH BERGES DANCE in May, 2015 and will return to dance with the company later this year.
From Santa Fe, New Mexico, Katie received her B.A. in Dance and Drama at the University of California, Irvine. Her studies took her to many parts of the world, including Ecuador with Dramatic Adventure Theater in 2009, and Ghana in 2010, where she studied traditional and contemporary African dance with the Ghana Dance Ensemble. Other company credits include Arcos Dance, Beth Soll and Company, and Buglisi Dance Theater. Katie currently performs with Treehouse Shakers in New York City. Katie has been a member of SARAH BERGES DANCE since 2012 when she created the role of Penelope in the premiere of Women’s Work at La Tienda in Eldorado, Santa Fe.
Marcos began his dance studies in Brazil with renowned teachers at the Ballet Art Sandra Godoy School and Ballet & Cia Company. He performed in Tarzan, Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Don Quixote, Cats, and Cinderella. He also toured internationally with pop duo Sandy & Junior, and appeared in their film and TV productions. Marcos has performed with Connecticut Ballet in Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, and with Santa Clara Ballet in The Nutcracker. He has also performed with Zhukov Dance Theater, DTSF, Alpha Omega, Lydia Johnson Dance, Regina Nejman, and Haiti Dansco.
Melissa trained in Boca Raton, Florida at Boca Ballet Theatre with Jane Tyree and Dan Guin and at Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts with Jeff Satinoff. She danced with Dayton Ballet II, later joining Nashville Ballet as a trainee. As a soloist with the Charleston Ballet Theatre, Melissa performed principal roles for eight seasons. Now based in Connecticut and New York, Melissa is currently a soloist with Connecticut Ballet and Arch Contemporary Ballet. This is Melissa’s first season with SARAH BERGES DANCE.
Originally from Wisconsin, Morgan dances and choreographs in New York City. Morgan holds a B.A. in Dance and Arts Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She works in a variety of media including dance – contemporary and tap, photography, and film. Morgan also teaches Private Pilates, and works in Social Marketing at the American Tap Dance Foundation. This is Morgan’s second season with SARAH BERGES DANCE.
Jackie O’Toole hails from Philadelphia. She received a B.A. in Dance and a B.A. in Communications from Coker College and holds an M.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography from Florida State University. Currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Johnson C. Smith University, Jackie continues to choreograph and perform. She has set choreography on dance students at West Chester University, Winthrop University, and at the American Music and Dramatic Academy’s Los Angeles campus (AMDA). Jackie has been performing with SARAH BERGES DANCE since 2011.
Originally from British Columbia, Canada, Richard trained at Canada’s National Ballet School and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. He often performed with the National Ballet of Canada including their world premiere of John Alleyne’s Tristan and Isolde. Other career highlights include productions of Promises, Promises, Singin’ in the Rain, Sweet Charity, Guys and Dolls, Beauty and the Beast. Richard has also performed with Jean Ann Ryan Productions, Royal Caribbean Productions, Albany Berkshire Ballet, Galan Entertainment’s Tango Buenos Aires and at the APEC Summit in Vladivostok, Russia. Richard is among the first Western Canadian male dancers to receive an advanced Cecchetti certification. This is Richard’s first season with SARAH BERGES DANCE.
Shoko graduated with highest honors from the Japan Women’s College of Physical Education, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Movement Science with a specialty in Dance Studies. She attended summer dance intensives at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts and the Joffrey Ballet School, and, in 2012, moved to New York City to dance. Shoko has performed for Paris and Wizard in MOMA’s Japan Exhibition, at the Whitney Biennial 2014, at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival 2015, and at CES2016 Intel Keynote. She currently performs with Eryc Taylor, Yuka Kawazu, Rebekka Nodhturft, Doona Salgado and SARAH BERGES DANCE.
Nika Antuanette recently returned from a five-month Dance Journey in Israel with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and is currently pursuing her career as a freelance dance artist in the US. A Chicago native, Nika graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a double major in Dance & Psychology. Nika performs regularly with SARAH BERGES DANCE, enjoying a bi-coastal dance experience from New York City to Los Angeles and back. Nika has also danced with Anne-Marie Mulgrew & Dancers Company, ColliDe Theatrical Dance Company, Creative Development International, and Skylark Opera. She has performed work by Rami Be’er, Paul Taylor, Mats Ek, Larry Keigwin, Carl Flink, Penelope Freeh, Arnie Zane, Olga Stesyuk, Shapiro & Smith, Christine Maginnis, and Angharad Davies.
Jayson Douglas is from Paterson, New Jersey where he began his training at Dance World Academy. He went on to train in New York City at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey. Jayson attended Point Park University with a dance major. He also attended summer programs at Dance Place, Orlando Ballet 2, and Boston Ballet – all on full scholarship. Jayson’s professional career began as a Trainee with North Carolina Dance Theatre, now known as Charlotte Ballet. He has also danced with Lexington Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Company C Contemporary Ballet, and has performed around the world on cruise liners. Jayson regularly performs with SARAH BERGES DANCE. He is a resident choreographer with Midstate Ballet, and, this season joined Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre.