Heather holds a Master's Degree in Modern Dance from Case Western Reserve University. She has been a part of the Cleveland Dance Project since the beginning and it truly bring joy to her life. When she isn't dancing, Heather is a Digital Product Manager at Go Media, a graphic design and web development company in Ohio City, where she also serves as the Event Director for WMC: Off-The-Grid.

meet our talented team

HEATHER SAKAI first took the stage at the age of three, when she began strict training under Jean Ann Corrigan, who taught her to jete over puddles. She has been lucky enough to receive training from many teachers over the years, but favorites include her long-time teacher Arlene Cassara, Richard Dickinson and Janiece Kelly-Kiteley. Heather holds a Master's

LERONTA REED was born in Cleveland Ohio and started out as a hip hop dancer. he enrolled in classes to gain other styles under his belt such as ballet jazz and tap. He has been traveling and taking classes from big name choreographers. He has even auditioned for hit TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, and America's Got Talent. 

After her time in Charleston she followed her heart back up to Cleveland where she coached the Padua Franciscan High School Bruinettes Dance team and began her journey as a dance instructor. She currently teaches at both Emjaez Dance Studio in Bay Village, and North Royalton Dance Academy in North Royalton. She specializes in both contemporary and ballet however, enjoys teaching all styles, ages, and levels. She is thrilled to choreograph for CDP this season after performing at both of last seasons showcases. She is so grateful to Anna and Jess for allowing her to continue her dance education and providing performance opportunities for her and other dancers in the area. Here’s to another fun, energy filled experience with CDP!


KATHRYN DIKE began her movement training as a spirited and plucky three-year old in her first gymnastics class. She loved it so much Kathryn pursued the sport for fifteen years. Along the way she found her love of dance and began choreographing her own competitive routines at the age of ten. As a junior in high school Kathryn got bit by the acting bug and dove head first

Dance from Belhaven University in Jackson, MS in 2011, where she studied under Laura Morton, Stephen Wynne, Cynthia Newland, and Caleb Mitchell throughout her academic career. She also studied under Steve Rooks and Randall Flinn during their residencies at Belhaven University and attended Alvin Ailey’s summer intensive in NYC. After spending some time in NYC post graduation, Erin moved to Cleveland, OH in 2012 to continue her dance career as an Apprentice with Inlet Dance Theatre, where she was promoted to Company Member in 2014. Dancing with Inlet has allowed Erin to perform in events throughout the region including Jacob’s Pillow Inside Out Series, Dance Showcase, DanceWorks, Pandemonium, IPAY, and in Inlet’s production of Center Of the Earth, world premiered in the Hanna Theatre. Touring
with Inlet has sent her to various cities including Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Des Moines, and Houston. In addition to her vibrant dance career, Erin has gained teaching experience throughout the Cleveland metropolitan area, most frequently at Savelli’s Dance and Martial Arts, where she teaches ballet, modern, non-traditional partnering, improvisation, and pointe. Within Inlet, Erin teaches for the Inlet Trainee and Apprentice Program as well as for Inlet’s annual 4.5 week summer intensive. This is Erin’s sixth season with Inlet.

RACHEL SOUCIE is a performer, instructor, and choreographer currently based in Cleveland. She received extensive training and performed with the Medina Academy of Classical Ballet, Ohio Youth Ballet Company, Dee Hillier Dance, Joffrey Ballet, South Carolina Dance Conservatory, Cleveland Ballet, Ohio Ballet, and the Alvin Ailey School to name a few. She began her pro career as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers Dance 

While he loves being a student, teaching is his true passion. He has trained many dancers who have gone off to successful careers. Bringing out the most potential in himself, as well as other dancers is what matters most to him. 

groups, singing in the church choir, and creative directing special projects. After going to college for a major successful year at Wright State University, being a part of the colleges’ Gospel Choir, Christian outreach organization, and Freshman Vice President of the Black Student Union, Carlin took a sabbatical to figure out what he wanted. At the late age of 19, Carlin took his first professional dance class ever from American Ballet Theater Principal Dancers. He then received an internship in art administration and dance for Clevelands’ Ballet In the City for their Guys Dance Too Program. Still being led by his faith, Carlin received the opportunity to choreograph and be in a music video for one of his favorite Christian artist “Gungor” in New Mexico and started dancing and emceeing for an Entertainment Company “Rock The House” where he is now one of the new dance managers. He then began teaching hip hop and training at Above The Barre Dance and Gymnastics in Berea, and has performed for the company in “The Nutcracker” as the lead role of “Arabian” for two dance seasons. Carlin was able to dance and perform at Cedar Point in Fall 2015, and as an aerialist in Summer 2016. From there Carlin began teaching and winning awards for competitive dance companies like Above The Barre Dance Company, Elite Dance Academy, Dance Studio M, and Legacy Dance Studio. 
He continues to work hard and keep his faith as more opportunities and dance projects come, such as the suicide prevention organizations “Alive on Purpose” Father/Daughter “Him and Me” Annual Dance, where he has choreographed productions for the event hosted by Danita Harris from Cleveland’s Channel 5 News.
Teaching hip hop, jazz funk, acro, and aerial Carlin Michael loves to see his students grow. As he continues his training, hard work and faith will only lead him to inspire more people along the way.

choreographers in the dance industry. She went on to the University of Akron to get her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and danced in the fall and spring showcases with The University of Akron’s dance program. While fulfilling her Bachelor’s degree, she danced with Versatile Dance Company and danced professionally with Cedar Point Live Entertainment for 3 seasons where she performed during the “Halloweekends” season. Here she learned to work with illusions and magic while also dancing and partnering. Throughout her college career, Amanda worked for several local dance studios and with local school districts teaching classes and summer camps in mainly hip-hop style and contemporary. Amanda then went on to graduate school at John Carroll University where she got her Master’s and Educational Specialist degree in School Psychology and is now working as a School Psychologist at Barberton High School. She currently resides in Twinsburg with her husband Michael. When choreographing, Amanda enjoys mixing different dance styles to tell a story. This will be Amanda’s 2nd season dancing with CDP. 

JAIME BOUVIER is a circus artist who performs on trapeze, straps, silks, stilts, and lyra. She is lately interested in combining partner acrobatics with dance and circus to explore and play with a new movement vocabulary. She is grateful to CDP for giving her the opportunity to dive deep into this creative exploration.

into the theatre department at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. She also choreographed two productions after graduation. While earning her BA, Kathryn took advantage of dance classes at Kent and later joined the Baldwin Wallace dance team for their 2009-2010 season. After moving back to Cleveland in 2017 she began taking classes again and got involved with CDP's season 2 showcase. Kathryn also performed in Megan Young's interactive performance piece, "Every morning I wake up and wonder what color will they say the sky is today?" at Spaces Gallery in May 2018. When she is off the dance floor, Kathryn can be found working as a freelance photographer (Pickled Pin-Up Photography), collaborating with her art collective (Mixed Bag), listening to one of her favorite podcasts, or hiking with friends. Kathryn hopes that her varied background in athletics, theatre, and music will bring a new and gritty energy to an already impressive cast of CDP choreographers and movers. "Life is short; don't wait to dance." - Valorie Kondos Field 

How I Got Over: A Cultural Journey of Faith.  She was the co-founder and Artistic Director of Praise in Motion Dance Ministry in Cleveland and has danced with Ko Thi Dance, as well as Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, where she performed works of notable choreographers such as Abdel Salaam, Jeffrey Page, and Ronald K. Brown. She currently holds a MA in Public Service where her interests involve developing interventions that use dance for healing. She has facilitated workshops nationally at various conferences including the Ohio Black Dance Festival, Dancing Our Africa, and the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference.

LAUREN HOLLER is a dancer and future lawyer from Valley View, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Dance Theatre and Politics & Government in 2015. Lauren is currently on staff at Revolution Dance Academy and is the director of Expedition Dance, a project-based modern dance company that she began in 2016. 

Contemporary-Ballet, Modern, Yoga, and Improvisation. She is a 200hr registered Yoga instructor. Teaching in locations around the Sandusky, OH area. Mookie has been a choreographer and dancer position with Cleveland Dance Project since Fall 2017; showing performances in various locations around the greater Cleveland areas. As well as had her pieces presented at Cleveland Dance Festival, Ohio Bike Week, and Sandusky State Theater. 

​​about cdp

choreographer of a Hip-hop dance crew called EnCore. She also performed in music videos and took classes through the U of M dance department. Now Molly is an instructor at Creative Movement Center in Broadview Heights, and a choreographer for a local high school's show choir and musicals. Molly is a dancer on Cleveland's hip hop dance crew, Elevāted. She is very excited about being involved in Cleveland Dance Project for the first time this year! 

In 2009, Jessica moved to NYC to continue dancing for Backspace and developed more collaborations with companies like Amy Campbell's Crooked Mouth Dance Company and Davon Chance Dance. After 5 years, she moved to L.A. and became the choreographer for Fugitive Kind Live Theater under the direction of Ovation award-winning director Amanda McCraven. Jessica performed in the ensemble and choreographed dances for Shine Darkly, Illyria, and also co-produced and performed in Fugitive's first full-evening dance work My Sister was the First to Fly. Her last project was dancing and working as lead choreographer in a new music video for Ray Salas aka Superliminal, directed by Lou Baldanza. She is currently a yoga and dance teacher in Canton, and a new mom to a beautiful baby girl!

ERRIN BERRY is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and the Executive Artistic Director of Errin Ministries, a community centered dance intervention that uses cultural and sacred dance forms to help solve and heal. Errin Ministries includes the companies Mojuba! Dance Collective, How Excellent! Dance Ministry, and presents the original production,  


ALEXA NICKELL was born and raised just outside of Cleveland, Ohio where she received her dance training at the Royal School of Ballet under Joanne Morscher. While at the Royal School of Ballet she performed with the Royal Youth Ballet Company. She then moved on to The College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina where she studied education. 

CARLIN DIXON is a Cleveland
native who grew up in his family’s church, True Holiness Temple. Carlin has come to appreciate the arts that his mother introduced him to in the church - being a singer herself, she helped shape
him to appreciate all types of creativity. Carlin continued growing up in the church spearheading and choreographing dance 

Founder & Executive Director, anna cerveny


Anna Cerveny is the founder and director of Cleveland Dance Project. She began her dance training under Joanne Morscher at the Royal School of Ballet at the age of 7. She received her BS in Chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Columbia University. During her 7 years of school, she spent much of her time dancing, choreographing, and directing her university's respective dance organizations and taking dance classes at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Broadway Dance Center.  ​​After graduating in 2013, Anna spent a year traveling internationally as the physical therapist for the Tony-winning Broadway play, "WarHorse", and taking dance classes around the world. Currently she works at University Hospitals as a senior physical therapist and the founder of UH's dance rehabilitation program, where she works with dancers from around the greater Cleveland area, including the Case Western dance program, and many professional dance companies in the area. In her "spare" time, Anna is on the OhioDance Board of Trustees as the Chair of Marketing, and she teaches injury prevention seminars at dance studios and companies in the area, and takes dance classes (her favorite styles are contemporary and jazz!). CDP is her passion project, and she is so excited to see all the talent that the greater Cleveland/Akron area holds and is eager to provide dance, choreography, and performance opportunities in all styles of dance to adults looking for a new dance family!


He is the founder of Terre Dance Collective which has enabled him to present work both in NYC and Washington D.C. Robert is currently in his first season as a dancer with GroundWorks Dance Theater.

marketing assistant, heather sakai


Heather Sakai first took the stage at the age of three, when she began strict training under Jean Ann Corrigan, who taught her to jete over puddles. She has been lucky enough to receive training from many teachers over the years, but favorites include her long-time teacher Arlene Cassara, Richard Dickinson and Janiece Kelly-Kiteley.

TAMARA GURCHIK is a Cleveland native and started dancing at age 7 at The Dance Centre by Heidi Glynias in Rocky River. Tamara was a member of her high school and college dance teams and studied ballroom and social dance with the Waring Dance Company. She also choreographed and performed with the Miami University Global Rhythms World 

TESSA CANNON is returning for a second season performing and choreographing for CDP. Last season, her piece #MeToo, explored how spoken word could accompany dance in a way often reserved for music. Tessa grew up as a gymnast and competition dancer in upstate New York, where she learned styles ranging from jazz and hip hop to ballet, tap, and

gymnastics and cheerleading, and loves hip hop and jazz funk. She currently is an avid WERQ dance fitness instructor all over the city and enjoys sharing her love of dance with adults from ages 16-91. Lauren is looking forward to meeting new dancers as well as dancing with the friends she made when joining CDP last season.

NINA ROSSI is excited by nothing more than letting her passion for dance and the creative arts run wild. She began dancing as a toddler, teaching in her twenties, and continues to cut a rug whenever - and wherever - possible. Nina has always pushed to make dance inviting to people of all ages/skill levels. Her choreography is rooted in hip hop technique, but pulls from a 

Expedition Dance has showcased work in both Cleveland and Columbus. Recent company credits include Cleveland Dance Fest 2017, Raw Artists Cleveland 2018, and Ten Tiny Dances Columbus 2018. Lauren’s credits also include training with the Movement Project in Cleveland, dancing as a company member with Seven Dance Company in Columbus, and interning for Battery Dance Company in NYC. Lauren is currently attending Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and hopes to continue exploring the interrelations between public policy, law, and dance in the Cleveland community and beyond. After choreographing for Cleveland Dance Project’s inaugural showcase, she is thrilled to be working with CDP again this fall!

ERIN PENNEBAKER was born and raised in Jackson, MS., Erin began her dance training at Ballet Mississippi under David Keary of the New York City Ballet. Her time at Ballet Mississippi afforded her a lot of opportunities, most notably the opportunity to travel to Sweden to perform for representatives of countries around the world. Erin graduated with a BFA in Modern 

LAUREN NEUMANN Lauren is excited to return to CDP’s Season 3 as a choreographer! Lauren moved back to NE Ohio a year ago from Chicago where she danced with an adult performance group, taught dance fitness and took as many dance classes as she could before returning home. Originally from Hudson, she has a background in dance, 

assistant director, Jessica Bennett


Jessica Bennett studied at the Canton Ballet for 14 years and then completed a dual degree at Ohio State University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Modern Dance and a Bachelors of Art in Psychology. She danced professionally with TUPACO Dance, Lori Belilove, High Jinx, Anna and the Annadroids, and the Backspace Performance Ensemble. 

renowned choreographers, including Dee Caspary and Ray Leeper whose work has been featured on SYTYCD. She also had the amazing opportunity to study closely for a few years with renown tap extraordinaire, Mark Goodman. Liane continued studying ballet, tap, and jazz, but focused mainly on contemporary and modern at Youngstown State University. She was a member of the YSU dance team as well as a performer and choreographer for the YSU dance ensemble. She earned her BS in early childhood education in 2005 and moved to Las Vegas for 8 years. There, she mainly focused on her teaching career as well as obtaining her Master’s in Educational Leadership. She took regular dance classes and spent 2 years focusing on ballroom dance; specializing in rhumba, salsa, and cha cha (as well as waltz, tango, and samba). She eventually moved back to Cleveland with her husband and daughter to be closer to family. She took some time off from her teaching career to be a stay at home mom. She truly missed dancing, but was ready to pass her love of dance onto her daughter. This is when North Royalton Dance Academy came into her life. She's combined her passion for teaching and dance by becoming a full time instructor at NRDA where she teaches classes in ballet/tap combo, jazz, lyrical, and has recently taken over their tap program (which is her true love). She has also choreographed many routines that have won overall high point awards at several competitions. Liane joined her new dance family in CDP's inaugural season and hasn’t looked back. She is extremely excited to have the opportunity to co-choreograph with the talented Alexa Nickell (whom she also met and danced with in CDP the last two seasons and now works alongside as an instructor at NRDA). She feels like season 3 with CDP will be the best yet and she looks forward to meeting and dancing with many new friends.

ROBERT RUBAMA is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia. He is a graduate of George Mason University with a B.F.A in Dance. Robert has had the opportunity to perform works by Andrea Miller, Donald Byrd, Mark Morris, Soon Ho Park, Nick Pupillo, Ivan Perez, and Yin Yue. He has also performed with Agora Dance and RawArts Dance at various venues in the Washington D.C area. 

 modern. She continued dancing in college as a dance minor at Ohio Wesleyan University, where she performed and choreographed for both student- and faculty-directed productions. She has danced professionally as a Canton Charge Girl,Cleveland Gladiator Girl, and as a Cleveland Cavalier Girl for the 2016-2017 season. Tessa is thankful to have found an incredible dance family with CDP and can't wait to share the stage again with such dedicated, talented, and passionate dancers. 

Season 3 Choreographers

Team, then moved to NYC and spent 10 yrs performing all over the country in theaters such as City Center, Madison Square Garden, Harry Du'jour Playhouse and more. Rachel has worked with numerous choreographers and companies including Mia Michaels, Jermaine Browne, Sheila Barker, the Underground Dance Project, Candance Franklin Dance, Clyde Bailey Dance Theater, and as a principal with Vissi Dance Theater. She has performed nearly every role in the Nutcracker, and numerous roles in other classic ballets, as well as the occasional musical. In addition to her stage career, she has also performed in fashion shows, music videos, and artistic photo shoots. Since returning to Ohio to raise her sons, she has performed pieces for Annika Sheaff, Sarah Carey, Anna Cerveny, Regina Pietraroia, Madi Jackson, Sha'Ran Marshall, and B-boy Tony Fresh. Rachel currently teaches classes in ballet, contemporary ballet, modern, and jazz at professional schools in the area including Beck Center for the Arts. She has been instructor and adjudicator for scholarship students of Dance Masters and teaches master classes throughout the country. She holds a certification in nutrition, is a STNA, and has 20 years experience working with preschoolers. Rachel strives to motivate and inspire her students to learn and grow as dancers and people, and to nurture the artist within.

Dance and Co. in San Diego, CA. and went on to perform as a Guest Artist in the San Diego Opera’s production of AIDA. While in Ohio, Madi danced with the Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre and Quagmire Dance, Inc., as well as worked with Dayton Contemporary Dance Theatre. She continued to study and train in New York with such notables as Sean Curran and David Dorfman. Madi performed at the Gus Giordano Jazz Dance World congress in Mexico. With an intense passion for choreography she has had several of her works adjudicated. She spent over a decade in the MD/DC area teaching, performing, and choreographing for several dance companies, as well as developing many dance programs for charter and private schools. She became a
long-term company member of the Full Circle Dance Company and served as the studio administrator for many years. She has been teaching for the past 27 years in many styles in private studios, master classes, charter, and private schools to all ages. Upon returning to the Cleveland area 5 years ago, Madi has performed two seasons with MaDaCol at Case Western, served as choreographer for the Cleveland Public Theatre STEP summer arts program for two seasons and has held teaching and administrative roles in local charter schools. She has recently debuted a new work on dancers from CDP and will be
on staff at Dance Lakewood in the fall. Madi is also the Director and Owner of Evolution Studios which will debut in the fall of 2018 and works full time as Professional Counselor in a local private practice.

MADI JACKSON a native of New York, recently earned her M.A. in Professional Counseling from Liberty University and obtained her B.F.A in Dance Performance and Choreography from Kent. Upon graduating, she received a scholarship to study with Malashock

MOLLY WEISS is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Creative Writing, but her passions lie in the arts. She began competitively dancing at age 6 and hasn't stopped since. Her training is in Jazz, Hip-hop, Ballet, Contemporary, Tap, and Acro. During her time at University of Michigan she was a member and

Degree in Modern Dance from Case Western Reserve University. She has been a part of the Cleveland Dance Project since the beginning and it truly bring joy to her life. When she isn't dancing, Heather is a Digital Product Manager at Go Media, a graphic design and web development company in Ohio City, where she also serves as the Event Director for WMC: Off-The-Grid.


variety of influences to create a style all her own. With a strong emphasis on musicality, she allows dancers to match movements with precise song elements while truly feeling the emotion behind them. From tutting to twerking, clean lines to out-of-the-box motions; expect a dance experience that is fun, thoughtful, and challenging! She is ecstatic to continue sharing her love of the art form with the amazing CDP family while putting together meaningful pieces that spark both conversation and positive vibes! As for those rare moments Nina isn’t dancing, she is the Production Manager at Goldfarb Weber Creative Media and a local activist. In addition to planning community events; Nina also volunteers and sits on the board of many civic organizations including women's clinics, the Metroparks, and AAF Cleveland.

ELIZABETH "MOOKIE" HANY began dancing at the age of 10 at Class “A” Performing Arts in Oak Harbor, Ohio. Early on Mookie focused her training on Modern- Contemporary dance techniques. She currently holds a BA in Dance from Ohio University. Mookie is the dance instructor for the Great Lakes Visual and Performing Arts Academy located in Sandusky, Ohio where she instructs students in 

AMANDA GRANITTO began dancing at the age of 5 in her hometown of Youngstown, Oh. She was trained in all dance styles both instructionally and competitively, but always had a love for contemporary, jazz, hip-hop dance. She attended several workshops, competitions, and conventions all over the country which included learning from some of the best 

what is the cleveland dance project?


The Cleveland Dance Project is the largest all adult dance group in the greater Cleveland/Akron area! It is a dance, choreography, and performance outlet for dancers (18+) who want to continue performing and/or choreographing into their adult life. Our dance family includes everyone from the dance teacher, to the dance professional, to the person who's always wanted to boogie but never had the opportunity until now. CDP's mission is to provide a fun, yet professional, environment for dancers of ALL styles to come together as a community, to help us all find a balance between our work/home lives and following our passions, while allowing us the opportunity to showcase our creations together to our friends, family, and the greater Cleveland/Akron area. 


CDP has 3 major seasons yearly - Fall, Spring, and Summer, 2 of which are performance seasons, open to dancers ages 18+, consisting of weekly rehearsals culminating in a performance showcase. The other season consists of weekly master classes designed to hone our dance skills and overall wellness, open to dancers ages 16+. Seasons alternate between performance and master classes.


We believe in making dance relatable to the community, embracing the talents of our local aspiring artists, and giving everyone a chance to come together to dance for Cleveland!

Adult Dance Group

LIANE FORTINO began her dance career at the age of 6. She danced and competed at the Performing Arts Center (now located) in Boardman, Ohio until the age of 18. While there, she trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop, and lyrical. She spent several years competing regionally and nationally earning top honors on their elite competition team.  During those years, she took numerous classes with 




Music Ensemble, including shows throughout the Midwest and performances in Chennai and Mumbai, India. Tamara began teaching at a local studio in college and also coached high school dance team for 6 years. She has performed with Alyssa Lee Wilmot's group a dance at Bal Ingenieux, Accidental Comedy Fest, and with the Five One Experimental Orchestra. This is Tamara's 3rd season with CDP. She is a graduate of Miami University and CWRU School of Law and is a practicing attorney. She lives in Olmsted Falls with her husband Matt, human children Jensen and Henley, and canine children Leahy and Gelsey.