Laura Harrell, Studio Manager, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Master of Fine Arts degree from Sam Houston State University. She is currently an adjunct professor at San Jacinto College, Houston Community College, and Lone Star College. Laura has presented choreography at The Dance Gallery Festival (Texas/New York City), the American College Dance Festival, the Fringe Festival (Houston), Brazos Contemporary Dance Festival, and in the first ever, Art Saves Lives: A Cultural Conversation performance and educational outreach program in Nice, France. Additionally, she has set work at SHSU, Booker T. Washington High School, SJC, HCC, LSC, and West Texas A&M University. Laura served as assistant choreographer for Recked Productions site-specific project, Up For Air, and co-choreographed Tower and Super Nova presented by NobleMotion Dance at Zhilka Hall (Hobby Center, Houston, TX). Harrell was a featured emerging artist by NobleMotion Dance in the first ever Next Step Series, and most recently was recognized as one of Dance Source Houston’s 2017 Artist in Residence. Laura is thrilled to join the Hunter Dance Center staff, as well as Open Dance Project’s Company Manager!
Sarah Lyman*, Evening Manager, is a professional dancer based locally in Houston. She was born in Victoria, Texas, then continued her training at Booker T Washington HSPVA in Dallas. In her senior year she attended the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance to train with more intensity and to immerse herself in the diverse arts community of SF. Sarah has had the pleasure of working with various companies internationally and locally. Sarah joined Open Dance Project in January of 2017 and can’t wait to see what the season brings.
Tehillah Hartmann*, Program Director, is a native from Chicago, IL where her love for dance first integrated with her passion to see people healed and whole from the inside out. She explored these themes while obtaining her BFA from the University of Michigan, and upon graduating received the Albert A. Stanley Medal for outstanding achievement. During her time at Michigan, Tehillah produced and choreographed three evening length shows involving video, music and costume collaborators, as well as co-founded the student organization Performance Ark which seeks to facilitate collaboration between student artists to engender community thought and discussion. After graduation Tehillah continued to investigate the relationship between her faith and her artistry in Redding, California at Bethel Church’s School of Supernatural Ministry. Fueled by this season of creative soaking, Tehillah moved to Houston with her husband and joined the Ad Deum Dance Company for their 2014-2015 season. She is thrilled to be working with Open Dance Project and supporting Annie in her creative and entrepreneurial ventures. In addition to being the Program Director, Tehillah teaches Creative Movement and Modern classes at Hunter.
Abby Flowers* graduated with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Dance in 2013 from Sam Houston State University. SHSU is where she began her career in the aerial arts, studying under Alicia Chappell and eventually assisting her lower level classes before graduating. In 2014, Abby completed her Aerial Fabric and Aerial Trapeze and Lyra Teacher Trainings at VauLt Houston and began teaching classes there regularly. She has also had the opportunity to train with incredible aerialists from all over the world at the Irish Aerial Dance Festival, VauLt Houston’s Festival of Aerial Arts, and most recently at Frequent Flyer’s Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, CO. Abby is overjoyed to be leading the aerial program at Hunter Dance Center where she teaches kids and adults how to gain strength, develop artistry, and climb higher than they ever imagined.
Kirstin Grbic received her degree from the University of Texas at Austin’s Theatre and Dance department before moving to Oakland where her focus shifted from modern to tap dance. Continuing her tap dance education afforded her new opportunities such as guest teaching tap dance at Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet and the Oberlin Dance Collective in San Francisco. She then returned to Austin to work with Acia Gray of Tapestry Dance Company where she had the privilege to teach at the Academy and perform in a regional tour of “Ears Wide Open” and an international tour of “The Souls of Our Feet”, funded by the NEA. She participates in various festivals and master classes to further her education, learning from today’s masters the history of this American form, technique, and performance on a professional level. Her choreographic work has earned grants and numerous awards and has been commissioned on companies within the state and beyond. Currently, she can be found performing as a member of a jazz band led by Andrew Lienhard on piano and “sitting in” with local bands as a tap percussionist.
Nalley Grossberg* was first introduced to the Pilates method during her years training with the Houston Ballet Academy. After graduating with her BFA in Dance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, she decided to delve back into the Pilates world. In 2003, she earned her teaching certification through the internationally recognized Pilates Center of Boulder, under the direct tutelage of second-generation instructors Rachel Taylor Segel and Amy Taylor Alpers. This 985 hour, yearlong comprehensive program gave her the confidence and knowledge to teach anyone . . and she pretty much has! Young kids, adults in their 90s, professional athletes, folks suffering from illness, pre and postnatal women, people with injuries and people rehabilitating after surgeries . . .you name it, she’s been in the studio working with these individuals. Nalley believes everyone can and should do Pilates. It doesn’t matter your age, your size, or your athletic “ability.” The truth is, Pilates is a very powerful method of exercise that will make you feel better, so you can live a happier, healthier life. Nalley stays committed to continuing education. In 2011, she completed the 96-hour Master’s Level Certification, through the Pilates Center of Boulder. She takes yearly continuing education classes to keep her brain pumped! When she’s not teaching or dancing with Open Dance Project, Nalley is having fun with her husband Aaron and their two young children Arlo and Evie.
Emily Jesse trains, teaches, and performs on various aerial apparatuses, including silks, trapeze, rope, and custom fabricated apparatuses. As an instructor, she works to empower students both in class and in their daily lives; a love of aerial allows people to accomplish goals they never believed possible. Prior to teaching at Hunter, Emily spent seven years teaching trapeze and fabric at VauLt. She completed fabric and trapeze/lyra level 1-3 teacher trainings with VauLt in Houston, TX and Paper Doll Militia’s Level 1 Aerial Silks in Oakland, CA. She has attended festivals including the Irish Aerial Dance Festival, Edinburgh Aerial and Acro Convention, and Frequent Flyers Productions’ Aerial Dance Festival with aerialists from all over the world, each one influencing her teaching style and training strategy. Emily is thrilled to be a part of Hunter Dance Center and to share her love of aerial arts with the Houston community!
Kelly Tran is a hip hop dancer and choreographer from Houston. Kelly developed her passion for dance in her garage where she and a few friends choreographed to difference styles of music just for fun. That hobby gave her the chance to work with local events in her neighborhood and choreograph for parties and Quinceaneras. During that time, she joined her high school dance team at YES Prep Public where she learned about the different styles of hip hop, performing techniques, competing, and teaching. Kelly also had opportunity to intern for Hope Stone where she took modern and ballet dance classes. Through the influences of modern dance, she worked with drill team dancers at Channelview High school on creating solos for competition and officer auditions. After graduating high school, she worked as a dance director for YES Prep Public, performed with Sol y Luna (now Cirque le Vie), UH Fsa, Soundbox Studios, Illovation Crew, Soreal Performing Arts, & Prohibition the Moonlight Dolls. She is currently a student at the University of Houston studying dance as a minor. From dancing in the street to dancing in some of the best studios, Kelly is excited to share her love for hip hop with Hunter Dance Center.
In addition to a long and prolific performance career, Alisa Mittin* remains committed to her continual growth as a movement researcher and educator. She has been teaching for over 12 years, working with all age groups, in both traditional and non-traditional settings, and sites her rigorous training and higher education at the California Institute of the Arts as the linchpin of her experience and approach. She has twice served as co-director of Nimbus Dance Summer Youth Intensive in Buffalo, NY and currently acts as the director of ODP2, Open Dance Projects resident youth company. She has worked with ArtReach Houston and is passionate about movement education and therapy for incarcerated populations. Her main focus in the classroom is movement efficiency for the individual. Experiencing the form through ones own specific anatomy and capabilities. Patient growth from the inside out. Alisa teaches Ballet, Modern, and Stretch & Flexibility classes at Hunter.
Seth McPhail* was born in Hartford, Connecticut, but escaped to Houston at the age of 2. Seth grew up in Friendswood, TX where he graduated high school and began his dance training at San Jacinto College South at the age of 18. He went on to obtain a BFA in dance from Sam Houston State University where he studied under Jennifer Pontius, Andy Noble, Dionne Sparkman Noble, Erin Reck, and Jonathan Charles. After graduating, Seth spend two years dancing at sea with Royal Caribbean Productions where he performed the musical Hairspray. Since returning, Seth has performed with Hope Stone Dance and METdance. Recently, he had the opportunity to perform with Dark Circles Contemporary Dance at Jacobs Pillow’s in Massachusetts. Currently, Seth teaches dance at Dance Du Couer in Sugarland, TX and Dance Expressions in Friendswood, TX. Professionally Seth is in his 5th Season with NobleMotion dance, and is so excited to be in his second season with Open Dance Project! Seth teaches Modern, Jazz, and Aerial classes at Hunter.
Alonzo Lee Moore IV* teaches dance through Open Dance Project’s collaborative dance residency programs. He is currently working on projects in conjunction with Young Audiences as well as assisting KIPP Dance Krew, Lisa Sandifer dance teacher/director. The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) is a nationwide network of free open-enrollment college-preparatory schools. Alonzo is very proud to work with these students, empowering them to aspire towards collegiate level dance. Alonzo has taught in schools and studios alike over the past 11 years, primarily Modern. Fusing his knowledge of folk/character dance and modern with African-American and Caribbean cultural dance stylings, for inspiration, Alonzo brings to the studio a joyful strengthening modern dance class. Classical lines mixed with that of torsos capable of isolating as well as undulating. Explorations of placement, alignment, stamina, and core strength at the beginning of class sets the tone from which one might investigate swing, reach, width, spiral, weight, release and fall. Alonzo asks his students to bring 3 things to class, an open mind, body and spirit. With an awareness and focus on these three release into the rhythm. Alonzo teaches Hunter’s Mommy & Me classes, as well as Character classes.
Lori Rutledge holds a degree in Mortuary Science and once she became a mom she left the funeral service business and went into the fitness world full time. She was an instructor at Sheila Kelley’s S Factor for 7 years in the pole community and shortly thereafter she found her love for the aerial arts. She taught all levels in aerial fabric including aerial conditioning in the hammock at Vault Houston for 5 years. Her aerial experience has lead her to performances with Vault Houston and the Houston Grand Opera’s “The Ring Cycle”. Lori teaches all levels of Aerial at Hunter.
Christian Scott is an actor/dancer from the University of Tennessee. She has performed in theatre, film and television across the United States and Australia. She started her aerial training four years ago and feels super blessed to be able to teach here.
Stacy Skolnik* is a fitness enthusiast and working dance artist. She is currently on faculty at Hunter Dance Center and a company member of Open Dance Project. Stass, the sunshine Skolnik, is no stranger to the “barre.” She strives to personalize her regiments with the focus of athleticism mixed with the classical form and effective biomechanics. With innovative use of props, you are guaranteed to be a lean, mean fighting machine. She also holds a certification in Stott pilates Mat and equipment. In her practice of Pilates, she focuses a lot on how to move with flow efficiently and safely. As a young working artist, she is constantly trying to create new works to share to the community. The show, Houston X6, was her first appearance as an emerging choreographer. At Hunter, she will work with all ages and levels to get those creative juices flowing in Pilates, Barre, and Ballet!
Davis Stumberg* graduated from the University of North Texas with his BA in Dance. Aside from his dance background he was a collegiate cheerleader and has taught gymnastics and cheerleading for many years. He is a fitness enthusiast with a love for movement. His classes, Dance Party Workout and Aerial Conditioning, are a combination of his vast knowledge of exercise styles, packed with the punch of his fun loving and energetic personality. You might not know exactly what you’re walking into, but with Davis you’re guaranteed to get in a good workout while having a great time!
Brittany Thetford Deveau* is a dance artist working in Houston. Brit is currently on faculty at Hunter Dance Center and an adjunct professor for Sam Houston State University where she received her MFA in 2013. Brit has taught as a guest teacher throughout Houston and the State of Texas, for several companies and universities including NobleMotion Dance, Open Dance Project II, Leon Dance Arts, Sam Houston State University, The University of Houston, Lamar University, San Jacinto College-South & Lone Star College, also including a handful of Master classes at The American College Dance Festival in the South-Central region. Brit teaches Modern, Creative Movement, Circus Arts, and Stretch & Flexibility classes at Hunter.
*Open Dance Project Company Members