Shari Vegso is a professional choreographer and teacher and the director of the Susquehanna Dance Center as well as Artistic Director of COBALT Contemporary Ballet of PA. Over thepast several years she has worked as a choreographer of both neo-classical and modern dance works presented at F&M's Roschel Performing Arts Center, the Fulton Opera house, the Ephrata Performing Arts Center and a variety of other venues throughout the region. Her personal missionis to create dance works of integrity and sophistication that help student dancers grow into professionals. Her students have gone on to dance professionally and/or attend universities with prestigious dance programs, including George Mason University, Alvin Ailey, Point Park, SUNY Purchase, Bard College, SUNY Brockport, Goucher College, James Madison University, George Washington University, Ohio State University, Bates Colllege, West Chester University, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Slippery Rock, Hofstra, the Laban Centre, London and Smith College, as well as the Mark Morris Summer Intensive.
Vegso is a former professional dancer whose career took her from Buffalo, New York to Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Netherlands, where she performed in numerous classical ballets, “Tanztheater” works, as well as dozens of operas, operettas and musicals. Her dance training in the US and Italy included internationally renowned ballet teachers from Vagonova, Balanchine, RAD, Bournonville and Cecchetti methods Among them: John Barker (translator of the Vagnova method into English), Helgi Tommasson, Kyra Nichols, Kathleen Crofton, Basil Thompson, Kirsten Ralov, Karl Toth, Jerzy Graczyk as well as the internationally renowned faculty of the Hungarian National Ballet School and the Palucca School, Dresden. She is also certified Cecchetti teacher, distinguished as "highly commended."In addition to classical ballet, Vegso-Wilson also studied Limon (with Aaron Osborne) and Graham modern dance techniques, Fosse (with Gregory Drotar) and Mattox (with Matt Mattox) jazz styles, East European character dance (with soloists from the Great Theater of Warsaw and Jolanta Rusak) , traditional Spanish dance and Flamenco (with Enrique Gutierrez in Rome).
Concurrent with her dance training, Ms. Vegso received her B.A. in Religious Studies at age nineteen from Canisius College. Upon returning to the US after her performing career she completed her Master’s degree in Urban Planning from SUNY Buffalo and worked as a disability rights advocate in the Philadelphia where she received an Excellence in Leadership award from the Mayor's Commission on People with Disabilities before moving to the Lancaster area and returning to her first love, dance.
Kristin Pontz is a Lancaster County native and received her BFA in dance from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She has performed and choreographed all over the East Coast in such venues as the NY Fringe Festival, Merce Cunningham Studio, and the North Carolina Dance Festival. Ms. Pontz currently teaches at Elizabethtown College, where she serves as faculty advisor to the university dance group E-motion, and at Dickenson College. She is the Director of Rev9 Dance Company, a modern dance company that performs regionally and is Assistant Director of COBALT Contemporary Ballet of PA. Ms. Pontz has choreographed and served as assistant director for the award winning Hempfield High School Dance Theatre for over 15 years and has choreographed many musicals including EPAC's recent production of "Chicago" and for productions such as Opera Lancaster's "Hansel and Gretel."
Deborah Engerman has toured Europe as Ballet Mistress with Rasta Thomas' Bad Boys of Dance. She trained with the Baltimore Ballet in the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance) tradition, passing her graded exams. While pursuing her degree in International Policy at Dickinson College, she continued her study of classical ballet at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Her dance training also includes Vaganova Technique, French Methodology, and the Dance Education Program at Towson University. Deborah was the Ballet Academy Director at Mid Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts, where she staged such ballets as the Nutcracker and Swan Lake, Act II. Dancers trained by Ms. Engerman have danced with Universal Ballet (now Kirov Academy), The Washington Ballet, The Vienna Opera Ballet, the Boston Ballet, and on Broadway. She has also been a coach to dancers winning at numerous international ballet competitions, such as The Prix de Lausanne, the Varna IBC, and The Youth America Grand Prix. One of her students, Adrienne Canterna, took the Junior Gold Medal at the 1998 Jackson USA International Ballet Competition.
Warkenda G. Williams-Casey is an experienced children's dance teacher and certified interpreter for the Deaf. She studied studied Psychology and Special Education at Carson-Newman College. She began her dance training at the age of five with Bristol Ballet in Tennesee and fell in love with the stage at an early age. She has had the pleasure of training with directors, choreographers, and dancers from such notable companies as Alvin Ailey and the Nashville Ballet. She studied Vaganova method and Neoclassical (Balanchine) ballet technique, which continue to influence her teaching and choreography. She has also performed with the Spirit of Norfolk Harbor Cruises, and ZWG Performing Arts Company. She was first given the opportunity to choreograph at Carson-Newman for the theatre arts program in productions such as “The King and I” and became the dance captain, coach, and choreographer for Praiseline Dance Company. Some of her favorite choreographed and performed works include Dracula the Ballet, For Colored Girls…, Metamorphoses, Little Shop of Horrors, Footloose, and Doubt.
Upon graduation, Ms, Williams- Casey became certified as an interpreter for the Deaf. She began connecting her love of dance and theatre with education by teaching and interpreting in the Virginia Beach School System. There, she combined movement therapy with special education and linguistics in a unique program. She also formed “Kid’s DOT” (Kids Deaf Outstanding Theatre), a performing company for children in the Deaf Studies program in Virginia Beach which drew upon her knowledge and love of ASL (American Sign Language) and dance therapy to provide performance opportunities to children. Upon moving to Baltimore, she created “Hands in Motion” which brought a similar outreach program to children who were hearing as well as those who were Deaf. She has also taught and interpreted in special education classrooms for a variety of Schools of the Arts, and for dance and theatre programs in Pennsylvania and in the South, most recently with "Going Places" an unique dance class with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing developed in conjunction with COBALT Dance Company and Millersville University.
Ms. Willams-Casey' personal philosophy of teaching dance is to respect the traditions of our chosen craft, meet each performer where they are, encourage growth and mistakes in a safe environment, and be open to miracles that can and do happen.
Warkenda resides in York, PA with her three children and husband.
Lavon Holland earned a B.A. in Performing Arts from Point Park University. She is a graduate of Baltimore School for the Arts where she received ballet technique training in Vaganova, Cecchetti, and Balanchine. She has studied the modern and jazz techniques of Graham, Cunningham, Horton, and Limon. She was first introduced to dance at age three, and over the course of her career studied other dance forms such as African-Dunham, Flamenco, Tap, Hip-Hop, Liturgical Dance and Musical Theater with some of the well known names of the dance world; Norma Pera and Stephanie Powell with The Baltimore School for the Arts; Nicolas & Marian Petrov, Douglas Bentz, Judith Leifer-Bentz, Ron Hudson, Roberto Munoz of Point Park University; Laura Alonzo with the Cuba Ballet Company y; Jose Molina, Tome Cousins, Andrea Woods, Hinton Battle, and Kenneth Gargaro of Gargaro Productions.
Ms Holland has performed in numerous major shows including “The Jazz Nutcracker”, “West Side Story”, “The Nutcracker”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “The Wiz”, “Evita”, “Godspell” . She has also danced professionally with The Physical Theatre Project based in Pittsburgh, PA and appeared as a guest artist on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Ms. Holland has taught at numerous dance workshops. She has performed and choreographed throughout the United States and in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Cuba, and other international countries. She recently completed a choreography project with the Girl Scouts of Central Pennsylvania in conjunction with Susquehanna Dance Center. Ms. Holland has loved being a positive role model to the children she has guided and instructed throughout her profession.
Ms Holland resides in Lancaster with her family and in her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, seeing the world, taking family photos, learning and reading about history, making candles and interior decorating.
L. Travis Love, LCCA is SDC's newest faculty member and also serves as Assistant to the Director. Travis has been sharing his passion for the performing arts with students for over 10 years. He has received "Pass Highly Commended" on his teacher examinations from the Cecchetti Council of America and currently holds his Licentiate Certificate. Mr. Love's students have gone on to perform and study professionally with companies, theaters, and prestigious colleges and conservatories. Recently he has been in The Fulton Theater's "Wizard of Oz", EPAC's "Guys and Dolls", "Legally Blonde", and "Hello Dolly" Ballet 180's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" , Lancaster Opera's "Hansel and Gretel" and COBALT's "Dances With Jane Austen". He has recently choreographed "Heathers", "Little Women", "Music Man", "Legally Blonde", "Footloose", "HONK!" and "25th....Spelling Bee". Travis is a member of the Arts Faculty at Linden Hall where he is the director of the dance programs, Artistic Director and Founder of Footprints Performing Arts, serves as Member at Large and Conference Administrator for the Cecchetti East Coast board of directors, and the choreographer in residence at Warwick High School and La Salle University, Travis is continually inspired by his students, peers, teachers, and the beautiful ever changing language of dance!