Guest Choreographers in Residence

2017-2018 Guest Artists

Fall 2017

Simon's Headshot

SIMON THOMAS-TRAIN began dancing at Middlebury College, transitioning from an extensive background in competitive cross country skiing to graduate with a BA in Dance and Architectural Studies in 2009. Since then he has had the pleasure of working with Tiffany Rhynard/Big Action Performance Ensemble, Satya Roosens, Attack Theatre, Alexandra Beller/Dances, Megan Bascom and Dancers, Tiffany Mills and Company, Rosie Herrera Dance Theater, Red Dirt Dance, band|portier, David Dorfman Dance, Pavel Zustiak|palissimo and in the immersive theater works Then She Fell and The Grand Paradise by the Bessie-winning Third Rail Projects. He is a co-founder of the multidisciplinary performance group The Space We Make.

Simon has had the great honor of participating in the State Department sponsored cultural diplomacy project DanceMotion USA during his time with David Dorfman Dance. Simon’s work has been presented in numerous locations in New York City and in larger academic institutions across the country. Currently, Simon is on the faculty at the Grace Church School and Gibney Dance in New York City. Though incredibly passionate about his career as a performer and teacher, Simon is also halfway through studies to earn an MBA in Sustainability Systems from the Presidio Graduate School. He seeks to ultimately integrate sustainable business practices into his career as a performer, teacher, and creator.

Kristi Photo

KRISTI FAULKNER (Founder/Artistic Director of Kristi Faulkner Dance) is a choreographer, performer, filmmaker, educator and activist. Based in Detroit, she operates under the philosophy "dare to be different" - creating thought-provoking, visceral experiences that generate meaningful conversation and social exchange. Her work challenges and excavates ideas about sensuality, strength, authority, disgust, attraction, and objectification while centering on authenticity and shedding the artifice of technically-focused performance to show what makes us human in ways that are relatable, yet sometimes uncomfortable.

Community engagement is integral to her artistic practice. She has led local community workshops at Lafayette Community Gardens, Affirmations LGBT Center, Light Box, Detroit Contemporary, Ponyride, and the Allied Media Conference in addition to master classes and residencies at numerous universities, studios, and festivals across the country.

Faulkner’s work has been presented and commissioned throughout Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, and New York including the Center for Performance Research, Dixon Place, Going Dutch Festival, Wealthy Theater, Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts, Niagara Fringe Festival, the University of Rochester, The College at Brockport, Oakland University, Michigan State University, Wayne State University and Bowling Green State University (BGSU).  Embracing her thirst for collaboration, she has worked on projects with Mahogany Jones, A Host of People, CMAP-Carrie Morris Productions, Shua Group, Dance in the Annex, and Detroit Dance Collective. Her dance films have been screened at Chez Bushwick's Kinetic Cinema, Alternative Arts Association NYC, Jam Handy, Cinetopia, and Detroit Film Theater. Her newest film, "Party of One", created in collaboration with Gold House Media was awarded the audience choice award at Moving24fps Detroit.

Faulkner holds an MFA in choreography and performance from The College at Brockport, State University of New York as well as dual degrees in dance performance and theatre from Bowling Green State University. She currently is on faculty at BGSU, where she is regularly commissioned for her choreography, and Wayne State University. She is a 2016 Maggie Allesee Choreography Award finalist for her work Object/obJECT, and a Knight Arts Challenge winner for her project Not in My House, a collaboration with the Ruth Ellis Center to engage and inspire LGBTQ youth through performance and storytelling.

Susan's headshot

SUSAN BROOKER is a member of the Artistic Board of Examiners and Instructors for the American Ballet Theatre, National Training Curriculum and ABT Summer Program faculty member. In 2000 Ms. Brooker was invited to the USA to teach on the faculty of the Hartt School Dance Division, University of Hartford, Connecticut, USA, and in the School of Dance Connecticut (formally the School of the Hartford Ballet) of which she became Director in 2001 and Chair of the Dance Department of the Hartt School Community Division in 2004 - 2008. She directed the BalletMet Dance Academy from 2008 - 2014.

Ms. Brooker is a Fellow of the Cecchetti Faculty ISTD, Major Examiner of Cecchetti USA and holds the Enrico Cecchetti Diploma. She taught for many years in Italy as: Director of the Scuola di Danza Hamlyn, Florence, Italian Examinations Organiser for the I.S.T.D., Honorary President of the Cultural Association, Ateneo Danza, and Vice President of A.N.C.E.C.

Students of Ms. Brooker have won prestigious international dance competitions including the Prix de Lausanne and are dancing with companies in Europe, South America and the Untied States.

Ms. Brooker has taught in schools in the USA, Europe, Canada and Japan and is a specialist in Ballet Pedagogy and curriculum development.

Winter 2018

Photos coming soon.

Zelma Badu-Younge

DR. ZELMA BADU-YOUNGE, Professor of Dance at Ohio University, one of the most charismatic cultural fusion artists, captivates her audience as she steps on stage. This mesmerizing performer is considered one of the most electrifying choreographers; with her high-energy synthesis of West African traditions combined with other world dance forms. Badu-Younge danced with The Philadelphia Dance Company -- Philadanco (Philadelphia, PA), and the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company (New York, NY); and is Dance Director and Choreographer for Azaguno, a multi-ethnic ensemble that focuses on research, preservation and the performance of African, African American, Caribbean and Latin American Music and Dance Styles. (Azaguno represented the United States at the Opening Ceremony of the 2002 World Soccer Cup competition in Seoul, South Korea).

Dr. Badu-Younge received some of the finest training in Canada, the United States, and Ghana: The National Ballet School of Canada, l' Academie des Grands Ballet Canadiens, Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and University of Ghana's School of Performing Arts. She holds a B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance focusing on Choreography (Concordia University), a M.F.A. in Dance Ethnology (York University), and a Ph.D. in Integrated Studies in Education focusing on Culture and Values in Education (McGill University).

Professor Badu-Younge is a recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Individual Creativity Excellence Award grant for choreography (2016 and 2008), the NAACP Image Award for Excellence in Faculty Academics and Research, a three-time recipient of the Ohio University Kennedy Lecture Series Co-Sponsorship Grant; nine-time co-recipient of Ohio University’s Arts for Ohio Award and of multiple awards in Canada from both government and artistic organizations including, the prestigious Chalmers, Laidlaw Foundation and Canada Council for the Arts (equivalent to The National Endowment for the Arts) Awards. She was also nominated for Outstanding Choreography by the Dora Mavor Moore Awards (equivalent to the Tony Awards).

Zelma currently serves as Education Assessor for the Ohio Department of Education’s Ohio Assessments for Educators Conference (2017), and is a member of the Ohio Dance Board of Trustees, where she is chairperson for Outreach and Education.

Badu-Younge has instructed, lectured, performed, given workshops or choreographed widely in 4 continents; and as a scholar, professional dance artist and teacher, been invited to sit on committees for The Congress on Research in Dance/The American Society for Theatre Research, and the Ohio Department of Education’s  “Committee for the Arts and Innovative Thinking.” She was a guest speaker at Princeton University’s 3rd International Symposium on the Music of Africa (Princeton, NJ), at the Society of Dance History Scholars conference on Dance Dramaturgy at York University (Toronto, Canada) a presenter at Orff in Africa “Music is Dance, Dance is Music” conference (Ho, Ghana), the World Dance Alliance -- Global Summit 2014 at Centre National de Danse Contemporaine (CNDC) in association with the University of Angers (Angers, France), and the International Council for Traditional Music, World Conference at Shanghai Conservatory of Music -2013 (Shanghai, China) and at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance  at the University of Limerick 2017 (Limerick, Ireland.)

Recently, Professor Zelma Badu-Younge co-collaborated, created new works and conducted workshops at the National Theatre of Ghana with its resident companies in the production of DIEMA (2015), and AZA (2016). Plans are in the works for a 3rd production titled AGRO (2018.) This fall she will travel to Chennai India to teach African Dance to professional artists, and both college and public school students.

Photo: Cylla Von Tiedemann 

Roger Van Fleteren

ROGER VAN FLETEREN, a native of Michigan, began his dance training at the age of twelve with Charmaine Schick. Two years later, he was offered a scholarship to study with Madame Nathalie Krassovska in Dallas. In 1982 he joined ABT and became soloist in 1990, where his repertory included works by Antony Tudor, Kenneth Macmillan, Twyla Tharp, George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jir¹í Kylián, and Frederic Ashton among other. He was chosen by Agnes de Mille to dance the principal role in her final ballet, The Other. Van Fleteren has appeared as a guest artist with companies throughout the United States including Wes Chapman's American Ballet in 1991-1992. Van Fleteren has also performed throughout Europe at major Opera Houses including the Paris Opera and the Coliseum Theatre in London. He has also performed in productions of 42nd Street, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the television series The Equalizer and in the film Dancers starring Mikhail Baryshnikov. Van Fleteren joined the Alabama Ballet Company from the London City Ballet in 1996 where he served as principal dancer at the renowned Sadler's Wells Theatre. His repertoire included Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Coppelia, Don Quixote pas de deux and works with Royal Ballet stars David Wall and Leslie Collier. While at the Alabama Ballet, Van Fleteren has been featured as Albrecht in Giselle, Drosselmeyer in Nutcracker, Herr Stahlbaum in George Balanchine's The Nutcracker, as well as principal roles in Bolero and Swan Lake. Van Fleteren continues to be closely affiliated with American Ballet Theatre. In the summer of 1998 and 1999, he was appointed Administrative Coordinator of the ABT Summer Intensive in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and was on the teaching staff of the intensive in Detroit, MI. In 1998, he co-choreographed Dracula, and in the 1999-2000 season Wes Chapman and Van Fleteren choreographed Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In 2001 he choreographed the Alabama Ballet's one- act full-length Romeo & Juliet and the full length Cinderella, and in 2003 he created original choreography for Swan Lake. In 1999, he won the Panoply Award for best overall choreography for Tickling the Ivories, in 2001 for Bach Variations. In the 2002- 2003 season he choreographed Be Major. Van Fleteren is one of the principal instructors in the Alabama Ballet School, and an Artist in Residence at the Gorham's Bluff Institute's Summer Residency.

Jessica (Loosenort) Pittman
(Alumna in Residence)

JESSICA PITTMAN (nee Loosenort) was born October of 1991 in Grand Rapids, MI.  Her first eleven years of dance were spent training at a competitive dance studio, Dance Dimensions, to be versatile in many styles including jazz, tap, contemporary, modern hip hop, lyrical and ballet.  Here is where she also developed her passion for teaching.  She expanded both her technical and performance training by receiving a BA in Dance and a BFA in Painting in 2014 from Grand Valley State University.   Through the Grand Valley Dance Company she has studied with renowned guest choreographers such as Lauren Edson, Autumn Eckman, and performed with the Thodos Dance Company of Chicago.  Jessica has choreographed for various shows including Home presented by The Schiff Dance Collective, Open Space 2014-2016, Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop Student Showcases, Denver’s Choreography Collective, countless undergrad shows, and represented GVSU at the 2013 ACDFA with her senior group piece, Let “Only You” Go.  Along with dancing for Colorado Opera’s presentation of Aida, she has performed with Denver companies Louder than Words, Davis Contemporary, and Boulder companies Third Law Dance Theater and The Schiff Dance Collective.  She currently dances with Interweave Dance Theater, Maureen Breeze, and is a co-founder of new professional dance company, Industrial Dance Alliance.

Page last modified January 17, 2018