Mary F. Alford has studied dance for 35+ years. She has performed with the Knoxville Opera Company, City Dancers, Momentum Dance Lab, Optasia Productions, Studio Arts for Dancers, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Appalachian Ballet Company, and Circle Modern Dance. She continues to work at her day job as Dr. Mary, serve on the Artistic Committee and as a Core member for Circle, and live with her large white puppy and her small black angel puppies on 5 acres of rampant vegetation in Blount County.
Nate Barrett has been involved with Circle Modern Dance since 1996. Starting as an accompanist to classes and performances, Nathan has evolved over the last decade to now be a dancer, choreographer, and performance director. He has directed and co-directed Modern Dance Primitive Light in 2008 and 2009 as well as conceptualized, directed, and performed in Authintensity, a salon style show featuring improvisational movement and spoken word.
Nathan is also well known around Knoxville as an accomplished drummer and percussionist, having performed and recorded with many local acts such as Greg Horne, Jodie Manross, Artvandalay, Same As It Ever Was, The Bearded, and many others. He currently can be seen performing with Hudson K. He is a founding member of Capoeira Fundo da Mata, Knoxville’s first organized group for the Brazilian art of capoeira. Nathan also serves on the faculty for Knoxville’s Community School of the Arts as a percussion teacher.
Laura Burgamy received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from the University of Georgia. She has studied with and performed works by Bala Sarasvati of CORE Concert Dance Company, Matt and Emily Kent of Pilobolus, and Elsie and Serenity Smith of Cirque du Soleil, among others. She has had the privilege of traveling the country as well as the world with dance education and performance. Laura began her journey into the world of dance at the age of 3 in Birmingham, Alabama. Upon moving to Knoxville, she trained at Studio Arts for Dancers, and later with Go! Contemporary Dance Works, under the direction of Lisa Hall McKee. Currently, Laura is focusing on continuing her training in aerial dance as well as tapping in to the treasures found in the practice of Capoeira. She dreams of growing her own pair of wings in the future.
Morgan Fleming received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Choreography and Performance from Ohio University. She has performed works by choreographers including: Sean Curran, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, Donald MacKayle, Kraig “bopi” Patterson, and Mark Morris. Her own choreography has been performed in New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia. She credits her early training with Karen Gibbons-Brown, Mountain Movers Modern Dance, and many summers at the American Dance Festival for fostering her love of dance. When not working as the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra’s Data Coordinator, she is a Core/Artistic committee member of Circle Modern dance and serves as the Vice President of the board of directors for the Tennessee Association of Dance.
Angela Hill bio coming soon
Amanda Merriss began dancing at the age of five in her hometown of Eureka, California. She was a Principal Company Dancer of Brava! Dance Eureka directed by Virginia Niekrasz-Laurent, and she was accepted to summer programs for the Ballet West Academy in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Redwood Concert Ballet in Eureka.
Modern dance came alive for Amanda when she entered college at Sonoma State University, performing in the university Dance Ensemble while studying Studio Art and German. She also studied for a year in Stuttgart, Germany, where she pursued her passions for the visual arts and cultural exchange. Since her return, she’s perceived fewer divisions between visual art, dance, music and language. Amanda rejoiced when she found Circle Modern Dance, a community that celebrates the dancing spirit within and allows her to explore all the ways to move through space.
Callie Minnich received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance and Choreography from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is originally from Knoxville, Dancing from elementary through high school in the Knox county Magnet programs. She performed with the Austin-East Dance Company in high school and performed in and produced shows for the Reparatory Dance Company at USM. Soon, she will be teaching with Sizemology Dance. She is so excited to be a new core member of Circle Modern Dance and so excited to keep exploring dance with them.
Darby O’Connor, originally from Knoxville, TN, began her dance training at a young age at Studio Arts for Dancers. During her time at Studio Arts, she attended numerous master classes with Helen Starr, former director of the Louisville Ballet, and David and Anna Marie Holmes. She has also gained teaching experience as a substitute teacher and teaching assistant at Studio Arts for Dancers. Ms. O’Connor is a founding member of GO! Contemporary Dance Works and continues to work with the company as a guest artist. During her time with GO!, Darby has worked with Circle Modern Dance, a pre-professional company based in Knoxville in their annual production, Modern Dance Primitive Light. This enabled her to gain experience in stage managing and company administration with her induction into the Core in March of 2013.
Currently Darby is back in Knoxville after earning undergraduate education in dance from both the University of Alabama and Middle Tennessee State University. While studying with the MTSU dance program, Darby had the opportunity to work with Laurie Merriman and Teena Marie Custer as a student and performer. She has also received master classes from Stephanie Batten Bland, E.E. Balcos, T. Lang and Alberto del Saz. She was an active member of MTSU Dance Theatre for three semesters and attended the American College Dance Festival in 2010 and 2011. Darby was privileged to represent MTSU in the ACDFA informal concert, performing Laurie Merriman’s work Family Portrait. Also, while at MTSU, she studied under Erin Rehberg, artistic director of Core Project Chicago. Ms. O’Connor joined Core Project in January of 2011 and is still an apprentice with this professional dance company. In the summer of 2011, Darby toured with Core Project Chicago at Kansas City, Minneapolis, Boulder and Chicago Fringe Festivals. Darby has recently earned her certification in the Barre3 fitness technique after traveling to the St. Louis regional training in June 2013 and studying at Barre3 Knoxville. She is an instructor at both Barre3 Knoxville studios.
Julie Ruaen bio coming soon.
Sarah Whitaker has been studying and performing dance for twenty years. She has a BA in Dance and a BBA in Business Management from Radford University. Before leaving for college, Sarah danced with Pointe West Dance Company. She has studied and performed with Pro Danza Italia in Castigleonccello, Tuscany, Italy. She has also recently taught at Ashley’s Dance Academy. When she’s not dancing she enjoys reading, painting, and cooking.
Sharon Soper White bio coming soon