Meet the Dancers of Hysterika Jazz Dance!
Emily Funicello, from Gloucester Township, NJ, earned an EdM in Dance Education and a BFA in Dance from Rutgers University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She is a full time Dance Educator at P.S. 41 Martin Center for the Arts in Jersey City, NJ. Emily is a trained Teaching Artist for the Dance Theatre of Harlem. As a member of Zella Dance, Emily has performed at venues such as the Dumbo Arts Festival, Breaking Glass Project, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival and Jersey New Moves. Emily has performed in works by Julie Bour, Trisha Brown, Patrick Corbin, Douglas Dunn, Randy James, Jay T. Jenkins, David Parker and Manuel Vignoulle. She performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, for the National College Dance Festival in 2014. Emily is an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level Three of the ABT National Training Curriculum. In addition to dancing with the company, Emily is also HJD's Company Manager.
Stephanie Grover is a freelance dancer based in Brooklyn, NY. A proud native of Woburn, MA, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hofstra University with a BA in Dance and two B.S. minors in Exercise Science and Forensic Science. While at Hofstra, Grover performed in works by guest artists David Parker, Doug Varone, Sean Curran, Terry Creach, Fritzlyn Hector, and Cathy Young. Since graduation, Grover has performed with the NY Baroque Dance Co. in a Rameau production at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and at Jazz! at Lincoln Center in NYC. She works as a guest artist with David Parker and The Bang Group, performing at the ICA and the Dance Complex in Boston, as well as the 92nd St. Y, The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, and Rutgers University/Mason Gross School of the Arts. She also actively performs as one of the founding company members of KaKe Dance, Neshamah Dance, and Vector Dance Co. and has also been seen as a guest artist in works by Kailey McCrudden, Anna Hillengas-Troester, appearing at various venues including Dixon Place, Triskelion Arts, the Center for Performance Research, Peridance Capezio Center, Greenspace, and BAX, among others. In addition, Stephanie currently works both as a dancer and as an administrative assistant for Robin Becker Dance.
Martha Lavery earned a BA in Dance (with minors in Film Production and Psychology) from Hofstra University, where she performed and choreographed for three different dance organizations on campus. Since graduation, she has performed works by Nadia Joseph, Catherine Mancuso, Regina Nejman, Monifa Kincaid, Khensani Mathebula, Alexis Robbins, Marc Andrew Nuñez, Aimee Plauche, Jessie Sector, Stacey Temple, Sidra Bell, and Eric Biss. Lavery's original choreography has also been featured in various showcases around the greater NYC area. She is currently a member of ASHA Dance Company and a choreographer for DanceWorks New York City.
Nayaa Opong-Nyantekyi is a third year BFA dance major at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. She is from Cherry Hill, NJ and began her training at The Bowman School of Dance under the direction of Teresa Andris. She continued her training at Eleone Dance Unlimited in Philadelphia under the direction of Shawn Lamere-Williams. Ms. Opong has completed the DCNS Dance (directed by Dara Stevens-Meredith and LaCeda Nelson) and Larry Keigwin summer dance intensives. While attending Mason Gross, she has been privileged to perform in works by faculty members, Randy James and Blair Ritchie, and world reknown guest artists, Yvonne Rainer, Cleo Mack, Reggie Wilson and Maxine Doyle.
Ashley Peter, originally from Lakeland, Florida, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a concentration in jazz and ballet, as well as a minor in Journalism and Mass Communications from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. She has been on staff for Universal Dance Association, and an assistant at the Broadway Theatre Project and The Jimmy Awards, also known as The National High School Musical Theater Awards. She choreographed singer/songwriter Joey Contreras’ first music video, "Ohio." Her professional performance credits include industrials in NYC, Pittsburgh, Orlando, and Ohio, Pittsburgh Musical Theater, and RWS & Associates. She currently freelance teaches and choreographs at studios all over the tri-state area and is a member of the contemporary dance company UrbanHumans.
Jessica Pollack grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and trained at Jordan College Academy of Dance and The Academy of Ballet Internationale. She is a graduate of Indiana University and was a member of Central Indiana Dance Ensemble, where favorite roles included Cinderella and The Snow Queen. In New York, she has danced in several music videos, including The Gaslight Anthem's "Rollin' And Tumblin'" directed by Emil Nava, and she choreographed and danced in the video for the single "Angels Making Love" by Rachel Arac. Jessica also performed in the immersive dance theatre show "Ephemera" and has danced with Pink Pig Ballet Company and Aries in Flight. In 2014, she was Associate Director/ Associate Choreographer for the New York premiere of the new musical “Warp Speed: A Sci Fi Parody Musical” at Midtown International Theatre Festival.
Amanda Salituro has studied dance for 21 years. Originally from Poughquag, NY, she graduated from Hofstra University, summa cum laude, with a BA in Dance and a minor in public relations. While at Hofstra, Amanda performed in works by Robin Becker, Stormy Brandenberger, Niles Ford, Salvatore LaRussa, JoLea Maffei, and Jason Melms. She also choreographed and staged a variety of jazz pieces for Danceworks Productions. Amanda performed as a dancer onboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships and also danced in Amalgamate Dance Company’s Guest Artist Showcase and with the New York Baroque Dance Company. She is currently a member of mishiDance and performed with the company in the Palm Desert International Choreography Competition.
Imani Shivers (Soloist) is from Sicklerville, NJ and is currently a BFA Dance Major in the Mason Gross School of the Arts Dance Department at Rutgers. She is a former principal dancer of Eleone Connection under the direction of Shawn-Lamere Williams. Shivers has taught at Eleone Dance Unlimited for three years as a creative movement, jazz, and hip-hop instructor. Through training at DCNS Summer Intensive and Eleone Dance Unlimited, she has worked with choreographers Troy Powell, Tommie-Waheed Evans, Lamar Baylor, Gary Jeter, and Dara Stevens-Meredith. During her undergraduate career at Rutgers, Shivers has worked with Chein-Ying Wang, Christian Von-Howard, Randy James, and Barbara Angeline.
Chawnta' Marie Van ("Josephine" soloist) is a graduate of Long Island University with a bachelor of science in dance. She began her training at BrenCar Dancers under the direction of Brenda Jordan. She trained in summer intensives at the Earl Mosely Institute of the Art, Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Nathan Trice/RITUALS and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater. Professionally, Ms.Van has been a member of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater second Company and apprentice of the first company. Ms. Van was a principal dancer in the Opera musical "Show Boat," performed at the Chicago Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera and San Francisco Opera.
Mengjiao Wang is a first-year MA student in Dance Education at NYU Steinhardt. She is originally from China and started dancing when she was 6 years old. She has studied Chinese folk dance, Chinese classical dance, ballet and contemporary dance. In 2009, she was accepted to the Xi'an Conservatory of Music and earned a degree in Dance. In 2013, she came to New York City to study dance. In 2016, she performed in the Artists In Flight Performance Showcase.
Madeline Warriner is a freelance dancer based in Harlem. Originally from Denville, New Jersey, she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Rutgers University with a BFA in Dance and an EdM in Dance Education. She was awarded the Future Outstanding Professional Award by NJAHPERD and was considered at the state level for the New Jersey Department of Education’s Distinguished Student Teacher Award. She has performed works by Doug Elkins, Manuel Vignouelle, Robert Battle, Douglass Dunn, Julia Ritter, Randy James and Jay T. Jenkins. She has danced on the stages at the Joyce Theater and Gershwin Theater. Currently, she works as a Teaching Artist for Dance Theater of Harlem and in various public and private schools throughout Manhattan and the Bronx. In addition to dancing with the company, she is acting as HJD’s Company Manager.