Sue Samuels’ Jazz Roots Dance Company will perform ELLIE’S LOVE THEME/SHAFT original choreography by Jo Jo Smith, restaged by Samuels for HatchED – Saturday May 7th. Read on to find out more about Samuels and her work…
Sue Samuels, Artistic Director, has mentored/trained over 4 decades of artists worldwide including Melba Moore, Brooke Shields, and Irene Cara; FloBert award; Broadway Dance Center faculty (since 1986). Performance/Choreographic credits: Broadway’s Got Tu Go Disco (Minskoff Theater), The Johnny Hallyday Show (Paris), Brazil Export Show (Rio de Janeiro). Television: “All My Children”, “Jerry Lewis Telethon”, “Contemporary Women”, numerous commercials/industrials. Cofounder/owner/director of Jo Jo’s Dance Factory (10 years/NYC); the Jazz program for Children (Ft. Lauderdale Ballet and Broadway Dance Center under Frank Hatchett), Boca Raton Childrens Program and Jazz Roots Dance Company: www.jazzrootsdance.com
Bri White graduated from Wichita State University with a BFA in Dance. After graduating she spent two years in Chicago performing in several projects and teaching. When she moved to New York she became one of the founding members of Jazz Roots Dance and is currently the featured soloist, dance captain and rehearsal assistant. Her performance credits include Ballet Wichita, Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre, MidAmerican Dance Theatre and Alithea Mime Theatre.
Aubrey Kate Hensley studied at the Rock School and Kansas City Ballet as a recipient of The Kansas Culture Trust, sponsored by the Koch Foundation. Ms. Hensley graduated from Wichita State University with a BFA in Dance, where she performed with Wichita Contemporary Dance Theater and MidAmerica Dance Theater. Aubrey toured with Alithea Mime Theatre and performed in the Warsaw International Mime Festival. She also was a Featured Performer with the Crown Uptown Theater and was with Ballet Wichita as a Principal Dancer for six years.
Becky Robles hails from Smithtown, New York, and has over 20 years of dance experience. She graduated from Binghamton University with a degree in Business Management and danced in various campus groups throughout her years in college. During her time at Binghamton, she ran her college kickline team and was also a teacher’s assistant for the college level jazz class taught by professional dancer and Professor Fred Weiss. In addition to her college training, Becky has studied under Ann Mercedes for most her career as well as at Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey Studios. She has performed at concerts for KTU’s Dance Factory Live with Coro and Tymz2 for a BLI Rising Stars concert. She was also the lead dancer for the opera Carmen at the TriCities Opera House. When she is not dancing with Jazz Roots Dance, you can find her teaching jazz at a local studio on Long Island. This is Becky’s second year as a member of Jazz Roots Dance and is excited for the future.
Laura Stecher started with rhythmic gymnastics on a high competition level in Germany when she was little. At 19 she switched her focus to dance and studied at New York City Dance School in Stuttgart/Germany. Laura won Gold for her Solo Performance at ESDU Austrian Opens and again at ESDU World Dance Masters in Porec/Croatia, where she was awarded as best female talent, best dancer and received the Diamond Star for the highest score in the entire competition. She danced in the Musical Bonifatius and in Die Päpstin as Swing and Dance Captain in Fula, Hameln and Erfurt/Germany. She moved to NYC to study dance at Joffrey Ballet School on scholarship. She danced in music video clips from Basement Batmen as well as at New York Fashion week.
Costanza Deserti is originally from Italy and one of the main reasons why she moved to NYC where she has spent the past 5 years of her life was the incredible opportunities in the dance scene the city has to offer. Costanza primarily trained in classical ballet, first in Italy, then Switzerland and subsequently on a scholarship in Germany at the John Cranko Schule Academy. There she performed in the school ensemble in Prokofiev’s Symphony in D and in the opera Le Nozze di Figaro at the Stuttgarter Staatsoper. Decided to expand her dance repertoire, Costanza ventured into classical jazz style and that’s how her journey into the Sue’s Jazz Roots Dance world started! Her favourite pieces are Rat Pack, because of the glamour and joie de vivre, and Papa was a rolling stone, for its resonating rhythm and
sharpness of the steps.
Alyssa Noelle Pitaluga hails from Long Island and has been dancing since she could crawl. She has studied Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Hip Hop. Classically trained by Ali Pourfarroukh and katherine Healy, she became a member of the Eglevsky Ballet Junior Repertory Company, American Theater Dance Workshop and Dany Holdstein’s Two Worlds Dance. Alyssa was Captain of Oceanside High School Dance Team. She attended various intensives which include Larry Keigwin, Limón, EMIA’s Life Dance Co., Amy Marshall, Mark Morris, Paul Taylor, Briansky Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet, and American Theater Dance Workshop and more recently the Joffrey Ballet on full scholarship. As senior dance major at Adelphi University, she performs with the Adelphi Dance Department, Long Island Dance Project and Jazz Roots Dance Co. Credits include Dance Adelphi, Jazz Roots DanceJazz on the West Side, Two World’s NutcrackerColumbine Doll, Snowflake,
Spanish and Flower, Eglevsky BalletSleeping BeautyBluebird soloist, excerpts from Paquita, La Bayadere and Coppelia and Divine Rhythms Dance Snow Queen and
Sugar Plum soloist. Alyssa recently completed a teaching internship with Ballet Hispanico and currently teaches dance at three Long Island studios.
Elena Wood grew up training in Theater Jazz, Ballroom & Musical Comedy at The Walter Schalk School of Dance in Wilton, CT. In 2011, she graduated from
Hamilton College with a BA in Chemistry and Dance, where she studied Ballet and Contemporary under the artistic direction of Leslie Norton, Elaine Heekin, and Bruce
Walczyk. Aside from dance, Elena works on the Global Skincare Product Development Team at Estée Lauder. Elena has been a member of Jazz Roots Dance since
Paige Ketsoglou grew up on Long Island, NY and began her dance studies at the age of two at the Hannah Kroner School of Dance. Paige attended LIU Post and graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in dance studies and also completed the Broadway Dance Center Training Program. Paige has choreographed and performed with the Post Concert Dance Company all throughout her college career and had one of her pieces brought to the American College Dance Festival in 2014. In addition to performing at school, Paige has preformed with the Eglevsky Ballet Company in the Nutcracker, the Post Choreographers Showcase at Symphony Space, an American Apparel Spec Commercial, a back up dancer for a performer at Japan Day in Central Park, preformed with the PMT dance studio on The Today Show and danced as well as choreographed for DanceWorks NYC. She has had the opportunity to work with extremely talented choreographers
such as Michael Leon Thomas, Matthew Clark and Darnetha Lincoln M’Baye. Paige currently works as a dance teacher at studios as well as at the Olympic center in Lake Placid.
Chris “Chrisy” Kakurai was born in Japan, and started dancing Classic Ballet at the age of 3. She entered the “Academi de Dance Princesse Grace classic ballet de montecarlo” in Monaco on a scholarship where she took the top prize, and performed at the Opera house. She has studied Modern, Jazz, Street dance, contemporary, Tap, Acting and Singing in Japan and NY. She performed in productions as dancer and actor at Famous entertainment Park, TV, Theater, music video, movie, Model and many Night Clubs. She was picked to be the main character IA of dance Vocaloid in “Comicon New York2014”, she was featured in NY and Japanese anime media magazines. She created a performance show with the choreography and dancing coach workshop of the world voice ensemble Inc. in NY.
Why is it helpful to present a work in progress?
BY SEEING THE PIECE MOUNTED EVEN IN IT’S INFANCY, I CAN SEE IF THE WORK IS FLOWING CORRECTLY. AUDIENCE REACTION IS ALSO KEY.
Who are the most rewarding dancers for you to work with and why?
I ENJOY WORKING WITH DANCERS WHO MOVE IN THE CLASSIC JAZZ DANCE VOCABULARY WITH CONTRACTIONS AND MOVEMENTS EMANATING FROM
THE CHEST AND HIPS.
Why is it important to present this piece of choreography to audiences in NYC?
I FIND IT IMPORTANT TO KEEP THE CLASSIC JAZZ DANCE STYLE ALIVE. IT’S BEAUTY AND STRENGTH WILL BE LOST IF WE DON’T KEEP IT GOING.
What should HATCH audiences look forward to in your work?
HATCH AUDIENCES CAN LOOK FOR OUR STRONG CLASSIC JAZZ DANCE VOCABULARY WHICH IS RARELY USED IN TODAY’S CONTEMPORARY STYLES.
ALSO, TO LOOK FOR THE RHYTHMIC WAY WHICH WE USE THE MUSIC.