DANCE FACULTY

TODD ROSENLIEB

DEPARTMENT CHAIR

Todd Rosenlieb,  todd.rosenlieb@gsarts.net, began his professional career in 1992 when modern dance maverick Erick Hawkins asked him to join his company in New York City. Named Company Director in the fall of 1995, he has staged Hawkins repertory around the country, including the last piece of Hawkins’ choreography, Journey of a Poet. During this time he coached Mikhail Baryshnikov and also danced with The White Oak Project at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for its premiere. During his tenure with the Hawkins Company, he taught and staged choreography throughout the United States including at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival. He continues to stage Hawkins’ work around the country.

His original choreography has been commissioned by Richmond Ballet, Ballets de San Juan, Nashville Ballet, the Virginia Symphony and the Indianapolis Symphony as well as on the university circuit including Montclair State University, Goucher College, James Madison University, Virginia School of the Arts, Old Dominion University, University of Nevada, Sarah Lawrence College, the University of Richmond, New York University, among others.

His work also includes filming a dance video with Annie Lenox and Twyla Tharp, choreographing for Petula Clark, staging for the Imani Wind Quintet, choreography for an original production of “Pocahontas” with the Virginia Stage Company and the Virginia Arts Festival, and choreography for Bernstein’s MASS with director Pam Berlin and Maestro JoAnn Falletta.

Todd holds an MFA in Choreography and Performance from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and a BA in Economics and English from Bucknell University.

JONI PETRE-SCHOLZ

ASSOCIATE CHAIR

Joni Petre-Scholz, Associate Chair, joni.petre-scholz@gsarts.net, is a former member of the Berkshire Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet and Manhattan Ballet, and a former principal dancer with Dances Patrelle. Joni toured internationally and performed in over 12 countries dancing works by Vincente Nebrada, Robert North, Gary Pierce, Billy Wilson and others. She began working with Dances Patrelle in 1988 appearing in many Patrelle ballets including The Yorkville Nutcracker, Adieu with a Handshake, Madame X, Rhapsody in Blue, American Dreamer, Romeo and Juliet, the world premiere of Notturno for Strings and Harp and as Lady Macbeth in the 2001 revival of Macbeth. In addition, Ms. Petre-Scholz was rehearsal director as well as assistant to the managing director. She has also re-staged many Patrelle ballets for Dances Patrelle as well as other companies. In 2002 Joni was a featured performing artist at The Lyric Recovery Festival at Carnegie Hall appearing in excerpts of Beauty and the Beast with original choreography by Ginger Thatcher and original score by Paul Winston. Ms. Petre-Scholz was a principal dancer in the world premiere of “POP” as well as Glad to be Unhappy choreography by Francis Patrelle. Joni has also appeared as a guest artist with Annabella Gonzalez Dance Theater in New York. A former member of the faculty of Ballet Academy East in New York City, Joni has been on the teaching faculty of the Old Dominion Dance Department and The Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia since 2005.  Her choreography has been presented by Women in Dance Conference (2019),  Virginia Ballet Theatre, University Dance Theatre of Old Dominion University as well as at The Governor’s School, and at the Regional High School Dance Festival. Joni has been a guest teacher for Complexions and Kibbutz dance companies. She is also certified in Progressing Ballet Technique® junior, senior and advanced programs.

Kathy brenner Lasakow

Kathy Brenner was a Principal Dancer with BalletMet of Ohio for nearly 10 years. Her wide range of leading roles include George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Square Dance, Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Serenade; Glen Tetley’s Mythical Hunters; the title role in La Sylphide and Frederick Ashtons’ Les Patineurs. Prior to joining BalletMet she danced soloist roles with the Cleveland Ballet and performed as a guest artist with the Louisville Ballet and Opera Columbus.  She frequently restages the classic ballet repertoire for The Governor’s School and has staged Paquita for Virginia Ballet Theatre and Ballet Academy East in New York City. Her orginal choreography has been performed by students of Virginia School of the Arts, The Carver Center for Arts in Baltimore and the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville. She received her early dance training at the North Carolina School of the Arts, the Joffrey Ballet School-NY, as well as extensively with Melissa Hayden and Wilhelm Burmann at their New York studios. Kathy has taught on the dance faculties of The University of Wisconsin, BalletMet Dance Academy, the School of the Atlanta Ballet, Virginia School of the Arts, Old Dominion University Dance Department.

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lorraine e. graves

Lorraine Graves was born in Norfolk, Virginia and began her classical training at the Academy of the Norfolk Ballet under the direction of the late Gene Hammett. In later years she was awarded full scholarships to the School of American Ballet and the American Ballet Center. Upon graduation from high school, she attended Indiana University at Bloomington completing a four year program in three years earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ballet with Distinction.

Ms. Graves began her professional career with the Dance Theatre of Harlem rising to the rank of Principal Dancer within one year and three years later, become Ballet Mistress in addition to her duties as a dancer.

Ms. Graves’ performance credits with DTH included Giselle, FireBird, Footprints Dressed in Red, The River, Toccata E Due Canzoni, Etosha, Serenade, The Four Temperaments, Agon, Allegro Brilliante, and the role of the Siren in George Balanchine’s The Prodigal Son.

Ms. Graves has extensive teaching experience including, the North Carolina School of the Arts, The Governor’s School for the Arts in Virginia, The Virginia School of the Arts in Lynchburg, VA, The Cornish Institute in Seattle, WA., the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, South Carolina Governor’s School of the Arts, and the Virginia Ballet Theater.

Ms. Graves is permanent guest faculty for the Virginia School of the Arts, and is on the Master Teacher Faculty at Dance Theater of Harlem. She is an invited guest teacher for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and is also lead adjudicator for the West Virginia Dance Festival.

Ms. Graves returned to her hometown where she is currently on faculty of the Governor’s School of the Arts. She is also Chairman of the Norfolk Commission on the Arts and Humanities, a member of the Mayor’s Downtown Task Force, a member of the Links Inc,  and is Secretary/Treasurer of her family’s business, Graves Funeral Home.

Janelle Spruill

Janelle Spruill graduated from The Governor’s School for the Arts in 2003 and earned her BFA in Dance and minor in Media Studies from Marymount Manhattan College in 2007.  While there, she performed works by Twyla Tharp, Doug Varone, Martha Graham and many others.  She was a member of the Elizabeth Higgins Dance Theater from 2004-2008.  She has been a scholarship student at The Ailey School, The Gus Giordano Dance School, American Dance Festival, and Garth Fagan Dance where she also had the opportunity to work and dance with the company.  She has been a teacher’s assistant at Broadway Dance Center for Shelia Barker and was a Rehearsal Assistant for the Richmond Ballet’s production of "The Nutcracker" in 2009 and 2013-2015.  She has performed numerous times with the Virginia Symphony and with Lyric Opera Virginia’s production of "La Traviata" as well as "The King and I" as "Angel George" in 2012.  She was a dancer in the Virginia Arts Festival’s production of "Leonard Bernstein’s Mass" in 2010.  She is Dance Masters of America certified in jazz dance and has taught at many DMA dance conventions. She has also taught at The Regional High School Dance Festivals Norfolk and at The National High School Dance Festivals in Miami, Florida and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  She has been on faculty at The Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia since 2009 teaching and choreographing for both the Dance and Musical Theatre Departments.  Her works have recently been accepted to The Richmond Choreographer’s Showcase and The Regional High School Dance Festival.  She has choreographs for The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Virginia Arts Festival "Rhythm Live Project", Norfolk’s Grand Illumination Parade and for Todd Rosenlieb Dance.  In 2014 she became the Associate Director of the TRDance Ensemble. Janelle is pursuing her MA degree in Arts Administration from Goucher College.

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Lauren Sinclair

Lauren Sinclair began her ballet training with Sandra Balestracci in Williamsburg, VA. Lauren is a graduate of the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC where she trained under the tutelage of Alla Sizova, Nikolai Morozov, and Ludmila Morkovina. During her ten year professional dance career, Lauren performed with Ballet Austin, Virginia Ballet Theatre, Todd Rosenlieb Dance, and Elbert Watson Dance Company. Her performances included roles in Serenade, Allegro Brillante, Cinderella, Coppélia, Nutcracker, and many other classical and contemporary works. She has a BS in Communication from Old Dominion University and is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 500) and Certified Pilates Mat instructor. Lauren strives to create a supportive environment for all her students, so they can learn and grow to their maximum potential without a fear of failure. She has a passion for the mental health of dancers and is a Mental Wellness Certified Dance Educator through Danscend. She is also trained in the following programs: Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT), SugarFoot Therapy (SFT) Injury Prevention for Dancers, and Flexistretcher (FLX). Lauren has been on the faculty of The Governor's School for the Arts since 2012, teaching for the Dance, Musical Theatre, and Vocal Music Departments and has choreographed for Dance and Vocal Music. Lauren joined ODU as an Adjunct Instructor in 2020. She teaches Master Classes in the Hampton Roads area and for the Regional High School Dance Festival. 

Christina Yoshida

BA in Dance from Old Dominion University, member of Todd Rosenlieb Dance, Certified in Classical Pilates, Instructor at Old Dominion University and School Director for the TRDance Center.

Ricardo Melendez

Producing Director for Actors’ Workshop of Virginia, Mr. Melendez is a 2009 recipient of the ‘Best Male Actor” award at the Dublin Theater Festival for his interpretation of Nijinsky in the Workshop Theatre Group production of Nijinsky’s Last Dance, previously performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, in Spain and many regional theaters across America. Some of his regional credits include, Trinculo at The Virginia Arts Festival production of The Tempest, Captain Slank at The Virginia Stage Company production of Peter and The Starcather, Hamlet in Hamlet at Theatre 22(NYC), Rodolfo in A View from the Bridge, at the Gershwin Theater, NY, Peter in Legacy of Light at the Barksdale Theatre in Richmond, Wilde in Gross Indecency by Moises Kaufman. Recent directing works: Paper Cranes, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Romeo and Juliet, Blood Wedding, Servant of Two Masters, and The Laramie Project. As a playwright his one man show, Call Me Boricua! received a premiere at The Workshop Theatre Group and at The Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis. His work Cloaked was produced at the Dublin Theatre Festival 2011 in Ireland, receiving nominations for Best play, Best actor, and Best costume design. Some film credits include Bordertown (2009), and A Gift Devine (2010). Mr. Melendez is the Associate Artistic Director at Todd Rosenlieb Dance Center, and Artistic Director of Virginia Ballet Theater. Ricardo currently teaches at The Governor's School for the Arts both in the Theater and Dance Departments as well as Old Dominion University. Mr. Melendez holds a BA degree in Dance Pedagogy from Butler University and a MFA degree in Theater from Brooklyn College, New York. At GSA he teaches Acting, Scene Study, Theatre History, Dramatic Literature, Pilates, Speaking Classical Text, Acting Shakespeare, and Vocal Production.

Michael Kaiser

Michael Kaiser has been on faculty at The Governor’s School for the Arts since 1990. Michael Kaiser studied classical ballet with the Tidewater Ballet and Virginia Ballet Theatre. His professional credits include: The Virginia Ballet Theatre, The Chamber Ballet of Williamsburg, The Wilmington Dance Theater, The Virginia Opera, The Virginia Symphony, The Charleston Ballet and the Tidewater Musical Theatre. Michael has a BA in Music Composition he is also on faculty at Tidewater Community College and Old Dominion University.

Janelle ings

Janelle Ings taught dance full-time in the Newark Public Schools for fourteen years. She is formerly the director of the Center for Modern Dance Education’s Senior Repertory Company. She attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts (FAME) and was a Fellowship student at The Ailey School. Janelle is trained in Horton, Graham, Dunham, West African and Ballet techniques. She earned a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University and received her Masters in Arts Administration from Seton Hall University. She was a recipient of 2007’s Governor’s Teacher Recognition Program, a recipient of the Marion A. Bolden Award for Professional Development Initiatives within the Performing Arts, she was nominated for Teacher of the Year and a recipient of the 2008 Excellence in Dance Award from the Newark School District. Janelle is a member of the International Dance Council and was a co-writer for Arts High’s dance curriculum. She has been the coordinator for Newark Public School’s district-wide dance festival. She also served as a member of Newark’s Arts Leadership Team. Janelle was selected as a contributor to “Middle School Dance” book. She has mentored dance education students from various universities. Janelle has performed with the Denishawn Repertory Company, Maxine Steinman and Dancers, Six Degree’s Dance Company, The Seventh Principle Performance Company and Umoja Dance Company. She had the honor of restaging Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, Fix Me Jesus for a Judith Jamison’s private 70th birthday celebration.

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Taylor Bonadies

Taylor Bonadies graduated from The Governor’s School for the Arts Dance Department in 2016, and received her B.F.A. in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University in Spring of 2020. During her time at VCU Dance, she performed works by Helen Simoneau, Scott Putman, Autumn Proctor, Eric Rivera, and further studied under Trebien Pollard, Jenna Riegel, André Zachery, MK Abadoo, and Dr. Gaynell Sherrod along with many other valued guest artists and faculty. She worked alongside Johnnie Cruise Mercer as rehearsal assistant during his residency for the 2020 Freshman Repertory concert led by professor Scott Putman, and was chosen as outstanding choreographer for 2019-2020 year by staff and students for her senior capstone work Untitled – electric33. Taylor deepened her dance and choreographic education by attending ADF, Bates, MELT by Movement Research, and New Dialect intensives with working artists and dance educators Sidra Bell, Miguel Gutierrez, Joy Davis, Jenn Nugent, Paul Matteson, Kristopher KQ Pourzal, and Michelle Boule among others. She is certified in Elemental Body Alignment System (EBAS) Level 1, a series of exercises designed by Scott Putman for structural integrity and supported range of motion preventing injury and facilitating healthy, mobile bodies. She has worked with TRDance center in Norfolk, Virginia as a teacher for their academy program and as a choreographer for their summer ensemble series. She is currently a member and collaborator of Era Dance Company creating multimedia performances in Richmond, Virginia, and partnering with nonprofit community organization Dogtown Dance Theatre as a video collaborator and administrative assistant. Taylor is continually working as a freelance interdisciplinary artist seeking to integrate her love for movement, teaching, media, and community. 

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Vicki Fink

Victoria (Vicki) Fink earned an MFA in Dance at Temple University Dance Department in Philadelphia, PA (2001) and earned a BFA in Theater and Minor in Dance at Virginia Commonwealth University's in Richmond, VA, (1995). She has been an adjunct dance faculty member for Temple University (1999-2001), Virginia Commonwealth University (2003-2005), College of William & Mary and Old Dominion University (2016-2020). Vicki was the lead dance teacher at the Henrico High School, Center for the Arts Honors Program from (2006-2016). In addition to teaching higher education and high school dance, she has been involved with many Partners in the Arts Projects, funded by Virginia Commission of the Arts, a freelance dancer within NYC, Philadelphia and Richmond, and a founding member of Ground Zero Dance Company. Vicki has been awarded a full scholarship to attend Bates Dance Festival and her choreography has been showcased at the American Dance Festival, American College Dance Festival, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, National and Regional High School Dance Festivals, Richmond InLight and Adelaide, Australia Festival. Vicki’s background includes studies of theater, modern dance, yoga, somatic movement, improvisation, contact improvisation, and multi-media, all of which has helped her in exploring and defining her own artistic voice. Her passion and commitment to dance and choreography is forever growing thanks to the amazing people she works with every day and the everchanging occurrences life brings.

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MOrgan white

 Morgan is so happy to be a part of the Governor's School. Morgan moved to Hampton Roads in 2019 after living in New York City for 10 years working as a professional dancer and actor. Currently with TRDance and Virginia Ballet Theatre, former credits include productions of West Side Story, Carousel, Cats, Billy Elliot and many others at theatres and venues all over the country. "To see us dance is to hear our hearts sing."

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DAVIANNA GRIFFIN

Davianna Griffin is a surging international performance artist-scholar researching 21st century Black womanhood. As a queer creative, she frequently collaborates with other artists and questions how embodied practices can serve as a voice for those who are silenced. Griffin’s movement vocabulary is rooted in Africanist aesthetics, traditions, and histories that inform her autoethnographic-embodied-ancestral memory practices. Davianna has presented her scholarly research at conferences such as Dance Studies Association, International Association of Blacks in Dance, and Collegium for African Diaspora Dance. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from The Ohio State University; she has danced professionally with Todd Rosenlieb Dance and is a dance faculty member at the Governor’s School for the Arts.

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DAVIANNA GRIFFIN

Davianna Griffin is a surging international performance artist-scholar researching 21st century Black womanhood. As a queer creative, she frequently collaborates with other artists and questions how embodied practices can serve as a voice for those who are silenced. Griffin’s movement vocabulary is rooted in Africanist aesthetics, traditions, and histories that inform her autoethnographic-embodied-ancestral memory practices. Davianna has presented her scholarly research at conferences such as Dance Studies Association, International Association of Blacks in Dance, and Collegium for African Diaspora Dance. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from The Ohio State University; she has danced professionally with Todd Rosenlieb Dance and is a dance faculty member at the Governor’s School for the Arts.

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auston henderson

Auston Henderson is a singer/songwriter, dancer, and actor from Houston Texas. He graduated from the prestigious Governor’s School for the Arts and has received his B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Elon University. Auston has performed at theme parks, cruise ships, television, and also has performed internationally in Ghana, Africa. He recently finished his three year run performing on the Grand Ole Opry’s General Jackson Showboat in Nashville, Tennessee. Auston's original music is on all streaming platforms.

amber romano

Amber Romano, native of Rhode Island, received her early classical ballet training at Festival Ballet and Heritage Ballet. She spent summers training at prestigious schools such as Boston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She began her professional career with the Nashville Ballet in Tennessee. For four years, she had the opportunity to perform in countless productions, her favorites including George Balanchine's Serenade and a demisoloist role in Waltz of the Flowers in The Nutcracker. In 2016, Amber moved to Norfolk, VA to join the TRDance and Virginia Ballet Theatre companies. Amber first began teaching ballet in Nashville and has found a passion in sharing her experience and love of dance with students of all ages.

brexdyn ladieu

Brexdyn grew up in Suffolk, Virginia, and is a graduate of The Governor's School for the Arts. He continued his training during the summers having the opportunity of attending intensives at The Richmond Ballet and The Nutmeg Ballet Conservatory. While in college he attended programs such as The Dance Ensemble Intensive, NW Dance Project, and Bounce!. La Dieu received his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) at George Mason University where he had the great privilege of performing in many student works, as well having the fortuity of working with such artists as Lar Lubovitch, Andonis Foniadakis, Jean Emile, Nacho Duato, Fiona Jopp, Lucinda Childs, and Micaela Taylor, where he was able to study and perform their works. He is currently dancing with TRDance Company in his second season.