AMBER COUGHLIN has a strong passion for dance and all forms of self-expression through movement. Growing up as a dancer in Pittsburgh, PA and later relocating to Akron, OH to study at the University of Akron she has gathered quite a range of skills. Amber has experience in Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Musical Theatre, and the Flow Arts as a Silk Fan Dancer. As Amber has grown as a performer and choreographer, she has chosen to follow the path of storytelling. As she currently choreographs for musicals, she is adapt to creating works that help stimulate strong emotions in her audience and dancers. Amber looks forward to creating fresh and entertaining choreography for Cleveland Dance Project.
Style - modern/jazz
Dance has been a huge part of LIANE FORTINO's life since a very young age. She began her dance “career” receiving training at the Performing Arts Center (now located in Canfield, Oh). She began with the basic ballet/tap combo class and worked her way through and eventually competed in several other styles including jazz, lyrical, hip hop, tap, ballet and pointe. While competing, she had the opportunity to travel to many dance conventions and take classes with many renown artists in the industry. While she loved jazz and lyrical, tap proved to be her favorite style. Her love and appreciation for the hoofing style of tap came about after being able to train closely for a few years with the amazing Mark Goodman (Velocity). Upon graduation, Liane moved on from the studio atmosphere and joined her collegiate dance team as well as taking part as a performer and choreographer in the university’s dance ensemble. It was also her first dive into modern dance, studying with Christine Cobb and some with her late husband Thom from Slippery Rock University. After college, she moved to Las Vegas and began her elementary teaching career, taking classes when she could (many in ballroom). She married, had a baby, and moved back to the Cleveland area where she took some time off from her teaching career to be a SAHM. She found a dance studio she thought would be the perfect fit for her (then) 2.5 year old daughter to begin her dance journey, and it ended up being a fit for them both as she became an instructor for the studio soon thereafter. You can find her many nights of the week passing on her love for dance to her amazing students at North Royalton Dance Academy. Cleveland Dance Project came into her life in the summer of 2017 after seeing an event for a master class pop up in her Facebook feed. She decided it was time for her to jump back in as a student. She took one of CDP’s first ever master classes and has been a part of their amazing dance family ever since. CDP has brought the joy of being a student and performer back into her life, and she is forever grateful she is able to be a part of the Cleveland adult dance community.
Style - tap
MEREDITH FABO has been training in all forms of dance, but especially enjoys hip hop and jazz. Through college, she performed in Spring dance showcases and the annual Ohio Northern Holiday Spectacular. Meredith's professional dancing includes performing as a Canton Charge girl for two seasons. She has been dancing with the Cleveland Dance Project and is excited to start her inaugural season as a choreographer.
Style - hip hop/jazz
ARIELLE STROSSER has been passionate about dancing since the age of 3. She is originally from Lancaster, PA, where she was recognized at an early age for her creative choreography talents. She choreographed for multiple dance teams in the area from the age of 16. She taught dance at the Lititz Academy of Dance, and was a part of their Cojomotion Dance Company. This company gave her the opportunity to perform at many charitable events including their annual Christmas show, helping to raise over $250,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation. After majoring in Dance at Radford University in Virginia, Arielle moved to Ohio to attend Cleveland State University with a major in psychology and a minor in dance. Currently, Arielle is a bartender in downtown Cleveland and just finished her fourth season with the Cleveland Dance Project. While she loves performing, Arielle’s main passion in the dance world is choreography. She choreographed pieces for CDP in seasons 2 and 4 and looks forward to choreographing once again for season 5!
Style - burlesque Broadway jazz
COLIN OMILANOWSKI is ready for the audience to join dancing in his number by the song’s end! A swing dancer of seven years, his primary styles are Lindy Hop, Charleston (partnered and solo), and East Coast Swing; he is expanding his repertoire with Balboa and occasionally Blues. Originally a social dancer in Cleveland, this is his first time choreographing a dance routine! His performances include dancing with the West Philly Swingers of the University of Pennsylvania and with members of Get Hep Swing. Watch out for his cheesy facial expressions between each swing out!
DEVON KAUFMAN has spent the last quarter of her life cutting rugs on dance floors around Cleveland and beyond despite having the knees of a grandmother. After establishing her swing dance roots at Case Western Reserve University, she has served as a teacher for the group and enjoys introducing others to the playful, energetic, and liberating dance style. She's probably dancing in a corner by herself somewhere, and totally wants you to join her.
Style - lindyhop
REBECCA BURCHER was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Slippery Rock University (SRU) in Western Pennsylvania. She graduated in 2014 summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Community Programs for Americans with Disabilities with a specialization in Adapted Physical Activity. She has combined the two degrees and worked as a teaching artist for outreach programming for Attack Theatre and Dancing Wheels Company and School. Rebecca has performed with Marcia Custer, Kathy Diehl, Amanda Tarr Dance Company, The Movement Project, MegLouise Dance, and Carmen Caceres. Her work has been selected for presentation most recently at SPACES Art Gallery, Cleveland Dance Fest, LAYERS, dotdotdot, Cleveland Dance Project, and has been commissioned by The Movement Project. Rebecca has taught various masterclasses including classes as a guest artist at Slippery Rock University, University of Akron, Cleveland Dance Fest, Cleveland Dance Project, GroundWorks DanceTheater and The Movement Project’s 2016 Winter Intensive. She has also worked as a Production Manager for Heidi Latsky Dance and IDACO Dance Festival. Rebecca is currently the Education and Community Engagement Coordinator for GroundWorks Dance Theater and an instructor at Beck Center for the Arts. She views her work with dance as a vehicle for change, awareness, education, protest, and acceptance.
Style - post modern
Heather Sakai is proud to be the Marketing Director at the Cleveland Dance Project. She has been involved with the group since its inception as both a dancer and choreographer. Heather started dancing at the age of three, her first few years under the direction of Jeanne Ann Corrigan and the majority of her dance education under the guidance of Arlene Cassara, where she learned ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop, participating in many dance competitions throughout the years. Heather then studied under Janiece Kelly-Kiteley at Baldwin-Wallace College, where she was a part of the B-W Dance Collective. Heather moved on to Case Western Reserve University, where she received dual Master's Degrees in Social Work and Modern Dance. At Case, Heather studied Graham technique under Gary Galbraith and Karen Potter; here, she was also selected to participate in a summer workshop at the Martha Graham Studio in NYC. Heather also had the opportunity to choreograph several pieces for Case's MaDaCol concerts. Heather has experience teaching ballet, tap, and gymnastics, both here in Cleveland and abroad in Hong Kong. When she is not dancing, she can be found working as a Marketing Associate at Osborn Engineering. Heather is honored to be involved in the Cleveland Dance Project family. She is also grateful for the many opportunities that have come from it, including having the chance to dance in a music video, performing with Levity Dance in Parade the Circle and CPT's Dia De Los Muertos, and co-choreographing a piece with Akane Little in the Firefish and EmpowerU Festivals.
Nothing excites NINA ROSSI 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 current endeavors include showcase pieces, theater, master classes, and workshops throughout Northeast Ohio; but she is ecstatic to continue sharing her love of the art form with the amazing family at Cleveland Dance Project! Her choreography is rooted in hip hop technique, jazz, and belly dance; but she pulls from a 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!
Style - Hip hop
AMANDA SZABO began dancing at the age of 5 in her hometown of Youngstown, Oh. She danced with Judy Conti Dance Studio and then at the Performing Arts Center in McDonald, Oh. She was trained in all dance styles both instructionally and competitively, but always had a love for contemporary dance. She attended several workshops, competitions, and conventions all over the country which included learning from some of the best 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 in 15 shows per weekend 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. 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 Willowick Middle School. She currently resides in Willowick with her husband, Michael and they are expecting their first baby this December! Amanda has been with CDP for 3 seasons now and choreographed in the Season 3 showcase (“This is Me”). Throughout all the stages of her life, dance has always remained a passion. Whether she was fulfilling her love for dance through teaching, or dancing professionally, it has always been a consistent part of her life. Amanda’s favorite part about dancing is the ability to tell a story through movement. She loves that there is an outlet for people to express themselves, especially for those who have a difficult time expressing themselves otherwise. Though dance has never left her side, now that she has completed her aspired goals, she is ready to make dance a bigger part of her life again through dancing with CDP.
Style - Contemporary
MATTHEW ROBINSON hails from Southwest Virginia where he began his dance training in 2012. He has a diverse background of movement experiences including modern, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and 10 years of Si Lum Kung-Fu. Matthew holds a BFA in Dance from Radford University (Radford, VA) and during the course of his studies he worked with The West Virginia Dance Company and The Roanoke Ballet Theatre. For the last two years he has toured as a company member with The Dancing Wheels Company including performances at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York, Touhill Performing Arts Center in St. Louis, and the Allen Theatre from Cleveland’s own Playhouse Square. Matthew is eager to move into his new company roles with North Pointe Ballet and the newly founded Cleveland Dance Project Company in addition to participating in multiple independent video and choreographic projects thanks to the incredible opportunities provided by the greater Cleveland/Akron area.
Style - Modern
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. 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. Since moving back to Ohio, she has completely fallen in love with the Cleveland Dance Project! Aside from assistant directing, she has choreographed for Season 1 & 4 Showcases, danced in 1, 2, & 4, and has taught 3 master classes. Jessica's dance studies and professional experience have culminated to form her dynamic and sometimes quirky contemporary style, and she hopes to continue to foster her artistic and administrative voice within. When she isn’t working with CDP, Jessica is a part-time certified yoga teacher focused on vinyasa and prenatal yoga and a full-time Mom to her baby daughter Josie.
MEGAN GURCZE grew up in a local competitive style dance studio, where she received many awards and scholarships. She was trained in many styles of dance including contemporary, jazz, ballet, pointe, hip hop, and tap. After high school she received an internship with the Verb Ballets and continued her training in ballet and modern. She returned to teach and choreograph at her home studio where she received many awards for choreography at competitions. After taking some time off, she returned to dance by training with Terence Greene for a summer and since than has been freelancing. This will be her third season with CDP and she's very excited for the future!
Style - contemporary
KATHIE NEJMAN is blessed to be a part of the amazing Cleveland arts community! Her teaching career spans over 30 years, and although she is educated in most genres of dance, she specializes in tap, jazz and musical theatre. Kathie is honored to teach and choreograph for many dance studios and performance teams throughout Northeast Ohio as well as being a Teaching Artist for Playhouse Square’s Community Engagement and Education Department for the past ten years, and most recently was a part of the teaching staff for their Broadway Summer Camp, along side the touring cast of “Come From Away”. She was a Choreographer and Director/Stager for Norwegian Cruise Lines, based in Florida and also assisted in the installation of casts on various ships. Her choreography has been performed throughout their fleet of ships, which have traveled from Alaska to Europe. As a dance student, Kathie has been privileged to study under the renowned teacher and choreographer, Dee Hillier and was a member of the Dee Hillier Dancers, where she not only performed in industrials, showcases and local events, but was instilled with a love of performance and an education of the dance legends. Her dance training also includes a ballroom background where she competed as a professional dancer and instructor. Kathie has also choreographed for dance teams, show choirs and musical productions for high schools and community theater as well. As a teacher and choreographer for competition dancers for nearly 20 years, Kathie’s pieces have earned recognition for best choreography, most entertaining, judges’ choice awards and numerous other top billings. Kathie is proud of her dancers’ ability to entertain an audience, explore character development, tell an amazing story and understand the importance of technique. Most importantly, Kathie hopes to inspire and challenge every dancer she teaches with becoming their best self, to enjoy the journey…and spread love and kindness by sharing their gift of dance with the world! Kathie is most proud of being the founder of “Dancing For A Miracle”, a performance fundraiser that invites Cleveland dancers to come together to help a child or family in need within our dance community. We have an incredible outreach of love and support from area dance studios and the arts community here in Northeast Ohio. The money raised is donated to the family to help offset the many expenses associated with their illness. Since its inception in 2006, “Dancing For A Miracle” has raised over $50,000, and has helped lighten the burden for some very special families. “We dance today, to give hope for tomorrow.”
Style - musical theater/production
ASIA MAI ANDERSON is an inspired freelancing artist that was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. She has been a student and performer of dance for over twenty years, an instructor of dance over 13 years, and has worked professionally as a choreographer for 4 years. Her mother says that dance is the air that she breathes. Asia's training spanned statewide in Ohio's most premier dance studios. She traveled across country cultivating her craft under the industry's top choreographers at professional dance conventions. Asia also studied dance at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Cross-training in ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, contemporary, musical theatre, modern, and competitive cheer has generated a style of dance and choreography that Asia describes as eclectic, athletic, sensual, and groovy. Currently, Asia is the creator of Audacious Dance, her dance company, aimed to provide and blog visual content, dance instruction, and performance. She continues to travel and further her education of dance and the visual arts. Asia is performing and instructing locally in the Cleveland area and is always available for collaboration.
Style - contemporary
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 Cleveland Ballet and the Case Western dance program. In her "spare" time, Anna is on the OhioDance Board of Trustees as the Chair of Marketing, 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!
HEATHER SAKAI is the Marketing Manager for Cleveland Dance Project and has been a part of the magic since Season One as both dancer and choreographer. She has been dancing since age three and considers it her greatest passion. She holds a Masters of Arts in Modern Dance from Case Western Reserve University and has taught and performed all over the Cleveland area. When she is not dancing, Heather works as a Marketing Associate for Osborn Engineering.
Style - contemporary
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 six and hasn't stopped since. She is trained in the styles of jazz, hip-hop, ballet, contemporary, tap, and acro. During her time at University of Michigan she was a member and 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. Currently 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 has also trained on Cleveland's elite hip hop dance crew, Elevāted, which led her to performance opportunities such as World of Dance. Molly choreographed for, and performed in, Cleveland Dance Project's season three showcase, and is excited to continue creating and evolving as rehearsal director of CDP's new company!
TORI MUELLAUER has been dancing for 24 years. She started her training at Charlotte Braun Dance Studio in Parma Hts and continued on through high school where she was also a member of the Magnificat High School Dance Team. Tori also attend Slippery Rock University and earned her BA in Dance. Since graduating in 2015 she has performed in Cleveland Dance Festival (with Rebecca Burcher), Ingenuity Fest (with Be Studios), Cleveland Dance Project season 1 as well as other local performances. Alongside dance performance, Tori is an actor with The Dinner Detective and teaches various styles of dance locally. During the school year, Tori is a Teaching Artist with Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio. She is also a certified Pole Fitness instructor through Xpert at Be Studios where she also teaches adult Ballet workshops.
Style - modern/athletic jazz
SHA'RAN MARSHALL is originally from Toledo, where she studied dance from 8 years old to the present. Her studies began with Daryl Jervis Dance Studio, The Toledo Ballet, The Toledo Repertoire and abroad in Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Tap, Musical Theater, and more. In between many competitions, workshops, and classes, Sha’Ran still finds time to take class and educate herself with the likes of Dee Hillier and local teachers to stay updated on the “new”! After moving to Cleveland in 1997, Sha’Ran has managed to keep her dreams alive with dancing, teaching dance, instructing fitness classes, and choreography work. A former member of the Cleveland Cavalier Dance Team for 5 years, she has had the opportunity of dancing with talented young ladies from around the US. Sha’Ran has also had the honor of teaching many talented students all over NE Ohio in many dance studios, colleges, and workshop classes. Sha’Ran is the CEO and artistic director of Dance~by Sha’Ran, “Where Passion Meets Dance”, an agency and company that provides dance classes, education, mentorship, consultation, minority scholarships and much more! Some of Sha’Ran’s dance work includes many recitals and competitions, Val in A Chorus Line, Anita in West Side Story, The Toledo Repertoire, back up dancer for Sister Sledge and Wade Robson, Choreography for various high schools, colleges, schools, studies and companies, Music video “antidote” by Jenya. Direction and Production of all Dance~by Sha’Ran videos. Fitness work includes Aqua, Step, Stretch and Firm, Cardio Dance, Circuit Training, Barre, and more. Sha’Ran resides in Cleveland with her 3 beautiful boys - TJ, Nicky, and Christian
Style - Fusion
EMMANUELLE CORR grew up dancing in the Cleveland area, moved to NYC for college and dance where she mainly danced and trained at Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey. She performed in and choreographed for a few small productions throughout the city during her four years there and now has returned to Cleveland, where she is teaching and choreographing for a local studio and is really excited to be back on the stage with all of you!
Style - contemporary
VIOLETTE ROBINSON is the founding director of Fire and Light Performing Arts, a professional creative live entertainment agency, and she works with a variety of local performance artists. As an artist, she specializes in dance with fire and LED fans, character performance, and performing as a living statue. She presented her first choreographed dance works, “X=X” and “Electric Bird” at IngenuityFest 2018, which were collaborations between dancers and “flow arts" prop manipulators who bridged their respective disciplines. Violette holds a Master of Arts in French and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and environmental studies with a minor in dance from Case Western Reserve University. She is excited to create another hybrid dance-flow art piece incorporating poi and modern dance for CDP Season 5!
Style - contemporary prop manipulation
THERESA (BONVISSUTO) HOLLAND began her training with Joanne Morscher and Ana Lobe at The Royal School of Ballet. She furthered her training in the Mercyhurst University Dance Department under the direction of Tauna Hunter, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Her professional career began with Ohio Dance Theatre, continued with Neos Dance Theatre, Cleveland Ballet, and North Pointe Ballet. Theresa has danced principal roles in Paquita (Paquita), The Nutcracker (Sugar Plum Fairy, Dew Drop) and Peter Pan (Wendy). She has been featured in contemporary repertoire, including Robert Wesner’s Searching for the Find, Dracula, Homage, and A 1940’s Nutcracker. She also performed in Joseph Morrissey’s Suite for Strings and Ramon Thielen’s My Cycle of Love. Theresa has performed as a guest artist with The Lake Erie Ballet, City Ballet of Cleveland, Canton Ballet, and Ballet Theatre of Ohio, appearing in roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, Columbine Doll, and Lead Flute in The Nutcracker, Marie Taglioni in Pas de Quatre, and Alethea Bodine’s contemporary pas de deux Let it Be Thy Will. Alongside her professional career, Theresa has been teaching and choreographing in the Northeast Ohio area for ten years. She choreographed the ballet sequences in Padua Franciscan High School’s production of The Phantom of the Opera and had the privilege of judging at Ohio Dance Masters. She acted as the Ballet Mistress at Artistry in Motion Dance Center for seven seasons and also served as Ballet Mistress and Rehearsal Assistant for North Pointe Ballet in their 2018-2019 season. Theresa is joining Kent State University this fall as an adjunct dance faculty member. She will also be teaching ballet at Center Stage Dance Studio, The Dance Movement, and The Shaw JCC in Akron for the 2019-2020 season.
STYLE: Contemporary pointe
The Cleveland Dance Project is the largest all adult dance group in the greater Cleveland/Akron area! It aims to provide dancers (18+) the opportunity to train, choreograph, and perform in a fun, yet professional environment, while making art relatable to the community, and bringing people together through dance. 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. We love our showcase to include every style of dance and every shape / size / gender / religion / color / orientation / ability...because we believe dance is joy, and dance is love, and there is a place for everyone in our dance family!
CDP has 3 major seasons yearly - Fall and Spring (which are performance seasons, open to dancers ages 18+, consisting of weekly rehearsals culminating in a performance showcase), and the Summer season (master classes designed to hone our dance skills and overall wellness, open to dancers ages 16+).
JESSICA KROFT started dancing in Ohio through high school as a competition kid. She then attended and graduated with a BA from UNLV, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In college Jessica was part of both the Dance ensemble and Company all four years. Throughout her four years there, she performed in concerts, showcases, college festivals, and off-strip performances. She also choreographed and performed in musicals for Amarinic Productions, an Ohio-based theater company, and traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland to dance in the Fringe Festival. After college, Jessica has performed in many showings and with the Nevada Repertory Dance Theater in festivals, showings, and flash mobs. Since moving back to Ohio almost 2 years ago, she has been the lead instructor at Chagrin Falls Club Pilates and has been in the past two seasons' showcases with Cleveland Dance Project. Jessica is very grateful to have the opportunity to continue dancing and performing in Ohio!
Style - modern/contemporary