Melissa Briggs is a graduate of New York University/Tisch School of the Arts and Smith College. A former NYC resident, past venues for her work include Symphony Space, PS 122, Joyce SoHo, The Flea Theater, and Dixon Place. Listed as one of “Gotham’s finest dancemakers” by Voice Choices (Fall 2000), Melissa has enjoyed artist residencies from organizations such as The Joyce Theater Foundation (NYC), The Yard (Martha’s Vineyard, MA), and BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange (NYC), among others. She has been teaching for over 13 years, and currently works with children ages 3 to university age all around the Santa Fe area.
Michael Duran, a native of Colorado, recently returned to Boulder as the Producing Artistic Director of Boulder’s Dinner Theatre after a very successful career in NYC.
His credits include:
- Broadway: The Music Man, Crazy For You, Me and My Girl, Into the Light, Annie 2 (Pre Broadway).
- London and National Tours: Damn Yankees with Jerry Lewis, Sunset Blvd. with Petula Clark, Bye Bye Birdie with Tommy Tune and Anne Reinking, Hello Dolly! with Carol Channing and On Your Toes Directed by the legendary George Abbott.
- Television: Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, Irving Berlin’s 100?th Birthday Celebration at Carnegie Hall (CBS), and An Evening with Alan Jay Lerner for PBS Great Performances.
He is honored to have worked with the best Director/Choreographers in the business. Susan Stroman, Kathleen Marshall, Jack O’Brian, Jerry Mitchell, Mike Okrent to name a few. Michael Has received the Denver Drama Critics Circle Awards for Best Director for Damn Yankees, Best Choreographer for Bye Bye Birdie, and The Top of the Rocky honor for Best Director 2005. He was also the recipient of the 2007 Ovation Award and Henry Award for his Direction of the critically acclaimed Ragtime.
Deborah has produced and directed documentaries and personal narrative films, that have screened at numerous festivals around the world, capturing multiple awards. It Takes Time To See, an experimental documentary screened at Lincoln Center and traveled with the Dance On Camera Film Festival. Dykeotomy, was featured at the Kennedy Center as part of the Best Of The American Film Institute Video Festival. Deborah is currently working on a feature length documentary on improvisational performing artist, Ruth Zaporah as well as a series of short profiles of women artists.
In addition to producing work for the single screen, Deborah also produces installation and interactive media projects. She is working with Max/MSP/Jitter to develop alternative interactive approaches to experiencing fiction and non-fiction narrative media.
Deborah holds an M.F.A from the San Francisco Art Institute and was a professor in the Moving Image Arts Department at College of Santa Fe. She has also taught at Humboldt State University, UC Santa Cruz, Ithaca College, and the University of New Mexico. Her classes have included film and video production and post production, documentary theory and production, fiction directing, feminist theory, avant-garde film, and film appreciation.
In 1999, Deborah founded and directed GirlsFilmSchool at the College of Santa Fe – an intensive residential film program for high school girls that continued, with a grant from National Endowment for the Arts, through 2006. The program was developed to provide young women with a supportive, yet challenging, environment in which to explore filmmaking as a creative process and possible career choice. In addition to the two week residential program, Deborah has facilitated numerous workshops for young filmmakers.
Christine Spizzo was born in Belleville, Illinois, but grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Following early ballet lessons under the guidance of Petrus van Muyden in Albuquerque, Christine received a Ford Foundation scholarship to the San Francisco Ballet School, where she began dedicated training with Harold and Ruby Christensen. She continued her training in high school, on scholarship, at the N.C. School of the Arts (now UNCSA), and at the School of American Ballet in New York. Upon graduation, she joined the National Ballet of Washington (DC), under the direction of Frederic Franklin and Ben Stevenson, and later, ABT’s “junior” company, the Ballet Repertory Co. (Richard Englund and Gage Bush, Directors).
In 1975, Christine joined American Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Lucia Chase, who promoted her to soloist in 1980. A soloist with ABT from 1980-‘88, during Mikhail Baryshnikov’s tenure as Artistic Director, Spizzo was noted primarily for her “soubrette” roles, which included Amour and a Flower Girl in Don Quixote, the Pigtail Girl in Graduation Ball, the White Cat in Sleeping Beauty, Dawn in Coppelia, a Harlot in Romeo & Juliet, and virtually every “pas de trois” in ABT’s classical repertoire. She performed with Baryshnikov in Balanchine’s Apollo, originated roles in Lynn Taylor-Corbett’s Great Galloping Gottschalk, and Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove, and danced lead roles in Balanchine’s Bouree Fantasque, Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto, Anthony Tudor’s Leaves are Fading, and Paul Taylor’s Airs.
Ms. Spizzo appeared in all of ABT’s “Live from Lincoln Center” telecasts, and in multiple “Dance in America” programs between 1975 and 1988. She performed in both of the ABT/Baryshnikov television productions — The Nutcracker and Don Quixote — and appeared in both of the ABT/Herbert Ross motion pictures, The Turning Point (’77) and Dancers (’87).
Christine was a Principal dancer with Ballet Arizona in Phoenix (Jean Paul Comelin, Director) from 1988-’90, where she danced lead roles in Comelin’s Nutcracker, Coppelia, Requiem, the Idylle and Flower Festival pas de deux, and in Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux. Also during the 1980’s, Spizzo performed with Martine van Hamel’s “New Amsterdam Ballet” (US tour), the “Dances…Patrelle Co.” (NY City Center season), the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (Bruce Adolph/Lila York’s “Sharehi”), and with the “Nureyev and Friends” North American tour. Christine was a Guest Artist of the Greensboro Civic Ballet and the Princeton Ballet Co. during that time. In 1990, she assisted Comelin on the staging of his ballet Requiem, for the Ballet du Nord in Roubaix, France. Finally, Spizzo performed on Broadway in “The Phantom of the Opera” for 10 years. This, her first and only Broadway experience, was where she ultimately retired from the stage.
Ms. Spizzo is widely recognized for her teaching, and is currently a full-time ballet instructor at the UNC School of the Arts. Prior to assuming her position at UNCSA, she was, for five years, an adjunct teacher in New York at NYU (Program in Dance Education) and at SUNY/Purchase. In 1996, ABT director, Kevin McKenzie, named her the first Artistic Coordinator of the ABT Summer Intensive Program, and she has remained a primary teacher in every subsequent ABT Summer Intensive, in NY and in Austin, TX. During most of her 30 years as a dancer in New York, Spizzo taught regularly at the David Howard Dance Center (summer programs), the Eglevsky Summer Dance Camps, Ballet Hispanico (company & school), Ballet Academy East, Red Bank Ballet (NJ), and at the School of Performing Arts in New Milford, CT.
Christine currently lives in Winstom-Salem with her husband, Raymond Serrano, who was himself a dancer with ABT. They are both on faculty at the “Dancer’s Edge” studio in Kernersville, and, together, have conducted Master classes for schools in Greensboro, Raleigh, and Charlotte, N.C. Since 2001, Spizzo has been a returning Guest Teacher in various summer programs, such as the school of Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet (NM), Scottsdale Dance Academy (PHX), and S.O.P.A. (CT). In 2006, Christine received the UNCSA Excellence in Teaching award.
Currently, National Dance Institute – New Mexico & Broadway Theater Dance Workshop’s Artistic Director, Tim was a principal teacher with National Dance Institute (NY) and a director for their summer programs. He performed and assisted in the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall for fifteen years, has performed in productions around the US and held artistic positions at New Ballet School-Associate School of Feld ballets/NY, and the Ittleson Center for Child Research.
Curtis Uhlemann, Artistic Director of Moving People Dance, costume designer, choreographer, teacher and dancer. Curtis received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree cum laude in Modern Dance/Dance Science and Injury Prevention from Brockport College. While attending State University of New York College at Brockport, he received a full scholarship to the American Dance Festival at Duke University. where he performed the works of such esteemed choreographers as Jose Limon, Paul Taylor, Gail Gilbert, David Parsons, and Mark Morris. Curtis became a member of the Moving People Dance in 2003. He currently choreographs for the nine time world champions The Cadets of Bergen County Drum and Bugle Corps and remains a resident choreographer for MPD.