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Senior Company Members

Sarita Smith Childs a Chicago native, is an independent dancer and choreographer. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in New York, Sarita returned to her performance career after a lengthy stint with ABN AMRO Bank as an Assistant Vice President in the Capital Markets Group. She spent two seasons with Melissa Thodos and Dancers and acted as Rehearsal Director and Educational Outreach Coordinator. She currently works with the Cerqua Rivera Arts Experience, Conge Square Theatre Company and MOMENTA Performing Arts Company as a guest choreographer, and with Randy Duncan Choreography as performer and as a choreographic assistant. She has been on the faculty of the Gus Giordano Dance Center, the Joel Hall Dance Center, the Lou Conte Dance Studio, the Salt Creek Ballet and the Academy of Movement and Music. She is currently director of the dance program at Whitney Young Magnet High School.

Lisa Green has been part of the Academy for almost thirty years. She began her training at age seven and began teaching at sixteen. She was a member of MOMENTA at its inception and performed with them as well as with the Orchesis Dance Troupe at OPRFHS throughout high school. She performed with the resident dance company of Santa Clara University in college and toured Poland and Russia. After college, Lisa completed her Master's Degree in Dance/Movement Therapy and worked at a psychiatric hospital. Lisa and her husband, Steve, have a photography business and live in Oak Park with their daughter, Shae (eight years old) and son, Aidan (eleven months old).

Mary Kelly Kren began dancing at the Academy. She graduated with honors from Columbia College with a BA in Dance. She currently teaches at the Academy and the Dance Center of La Grange. She has participated in Dance Chicago, Melissa Thodos' Dance Series and has worked with many Chicagoland choreographers. She currently dances for MOMENTA and is an active member of the Alumni Association. This summer, Mary will be attending DePaul University to complete a Master's degree in Education. She would like to thank all of the choreographers for their hard work and a special thank you to Jessica Lindberg for her outstanding research and coaching on Loe Fuller. She is honored to be performing the Fire Dance.

Beth Kahlin was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and began dancing there at the age of four. She continued to focus on dance through high school and also became involved with teaching classes at her studio. Beth attended Illinois Institute of Technology and graduated salutatorian with a Professional Bachelors of Architecture degree. She works for an architecture firm downtown by day and lives to take classes at Lou Conte Dance Studio by night! She would like to thank all the special people in her life for their love and support, and especially for dance teachers past and present who have helped her pursue her passion - Jill Johnson, Summeri-Dawn Hamille, Sarita Smith Childs, Christopher Tierney, Jennifer Hampson and Patti Eylar.

Sarah Najera has studied popular and folkloric Latin dance for the past thirteen years. She has been a principal dancer with several Latin dance companies, including Mosaico Dance Troupe and El Ballet Folklorico Revolucion. Sarah has studied Flamenco in Salamanca, Spain as well as Chicago with Edo Sie and his wife, Acuzena Vega. She has performed numerous times as a guest artist with Acuzena's company Soul y Duende and also with the Chicago based music ensemble Sones de Mexico. In July 2001, Sarah spent three weeks dancing with the resident dance company of the University of Morelos in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

Jennifer Sprowl, a native of Ohio, has been part of Lori Bellilove & Company since its inception in 1989. As a member of the Rebecca Kelly Dance Company, she has toured the East Coast and performed in a season at the Joyce Theater in New York. Jennifer has performed with Lori Belilove & Company on tours across the United States as well as Mexico, Germany and Hungary. She is currently on the faculty of the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation, where she assists in the direction of company classes and rehearsals as well as workshops and master classes while on tour with the Company. She is the Assistant Director for the Lori Belilove & Company Apprentice Program and is involved in rehearsal and the staging of repertoire. Jennifer is currently an Ohashiatsu Consultant using disciplines she has drawn upon while assisting in a healing arts program based on the Isadora Duncan technique.

Tarik A. Yetken is very happy to be dancing with MOMENTA again this fall. After first savoring the thrill of performance at the age of eleven years old, Tarik has rarely gone more than a month without making it back into the stage lights. As a member of the Three Night Dance Company and MOMENTA, he has enjoyed the opportunity to work with outstanding choreographers in venues around the city and suburbs. Over the summer, Tarik appeared in the ensemble for Glenview Theatre Guild's production of Hello Dolly! And choreographed and danced with the MOMENTA Alumni Association here in Oak Park. Tarik would like to thank Stephanie, Jon and his fellow dancers, as well as his family, Chris and Pierce for their ongoing support.

Raphaelle Ziemba started dancing at the Academy when she was four years old. She performed and choreographed in MOMENTA until 1994. From 1995-98, she attended Interlochen Arts Academy where she continued to perform and choreograph. From 1998-02, she attended SUNY Purchase College and graduated from the Dance conservatory with a B.F.A in Dance Performance. While at SUNY Purchase, she performed in four productions of The Nutcracker, Paul Taylor's Company B, George Balanchine's Stars and Stripes, Jos Limon's Psalm, Mark Morris' Grand Duo, Lin Hwai-Min's Excerpts From Legacy, Crossing The Black Waters and Planting The Rice and Doug Varone's Possession. Raphaelle went to Germany for a festival where she performed Lin Hwai Min's Excerpts From Legacy, Crossing The Black Waters and Planting The Rice. Currently, Raphaelle is on the faculty at the Academy and performs with MOMENTA. She is also dancing and choreographing for Instruments of Movement. She is Artistic Director for East Leyden High School Orchesis and is doing freelance work with Kirby Reed and Venetia Stifler.

 

 

 


 

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