Guest Teaching Artists

2017 Fall Guest Artists

September 16 - October 14 will be a series of Master Classes with a curated line-up of Professional Performing Artists (Dancers/Directors/Choreographers). Below are their bios and photos so you can peruse their backgrounds and get to know each artist. Erin is pregnant with her second baby and will have a newborn at the beginning of the school year - she will resume teaching on October 21.

Nicole Pierce, Isaac Lerner, Mindy Toro, Jennifer Sydor, Erin Roy,
Louise Benkelman, Chelsea Ainsworth, DOUG GILLESPIE

Their teaching schedule will be announced later this summer. Schedule of fall classes is here.



Nicole Pierce is Artistic Director of EgoArt, Inc., a dance-theater company she founded in 1999. She has created over 30 dance works for her company and maintains an active freelance career as a choreographer, teacher and dancer. Pierce’s choreographic work is eclectic in nature and explores traditional concert dance, multimedia installation, and theater. Her choreography often places audiences in site-specific locations or in constructed environments that incorporate video and sculpture. Karen Campbell in the Boston Globe called her work “expansive, muscular movement etched with vivid detail.”

Pierce is also a classically trained pianist and maintains a private practice teaching piano to children and adults. Much of her choreographic work is musically inspired and generated in direct connection to musical scores brought into the rehearsal process. Pierce has received fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Boston Dance Alliance and The Yard among others, and has performed throughout New England and in New York City. Pierce served on the dance faculty of Tufts University, Emerson College, The College of the Holy Cross and Green Street Studios and has conducted master classes at many schools and colleges including most recently Yale University, Harvard University and Roger Williams University. Known for keen musicality, rigorous structure and strong performance skills, she has received recent commissions by Roger Williams University, The Somerville Arts Council, St. Paul’s School, and Channel Dance in collaboration with visual artist Richard Dorff.

Some of her most noted works are Requiem, set to the complete score of Mozart’s Requiem as well as a series of monologues comprising The Ego Show cycle of which there are 7 parts. A recent transplant to New York City, Pierce is working on a one-woman show slated for Fall 2017. Please visit



Isaac Lerner is a freelance dancer with a BFA in Dance Performance from the Hartt School, University of Hartford. He has a base in Classical Ballet, Limón and Graham techniques, as well as contemporary dance working with choreographers such as David Parker, Adam Barruch, Doug Varone, Take Ueyama, and Loni Landon dancing duets, solos, and group works.  

He connects deeply to the Limón style as well as release techniques including the contemporary branches off of them.  Mr Lerner has choreographed several works, including "Usurped Power" (2014) “Unsystematic Lines of Intersection” (2015), and "7 Self Portraits" (2016), the later of which was created alongside an original music score by Gala Flagello.  His most recent work, "Space Between" (2017) was commissioned by Dance Canvas to premier in their "Introducing the Next" Showcase in Atlanta Georgia.  Each of his works shows his unique approach to composition and movement creation.



Mindy Toro grew up in Brooklyn, working, choreographing, and dancing at Spoke The Hub, where she started studying with Erin Gottwald.  At an early age, Mindy worked with Elise Long, Philippa Kaye and Noémie Lafrance, all of whom greatly influenced her love of quirky and athletic performance art and dance.  In 2015, she graduated with a BA in dance from Connecticut College, where she had the pleasure of performing the works of David Dorfman, Lisa Race, Faye Driscoll, Wendell Cooper, Ori Flomin, Heidi Henderson, among others.  

Mindy has shown her choreography at the Socrates Sculpture Park, LAVA, La Mama, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Danspace at St. Mark’s Church, and at various street festivals, parks, and gardens around the city. Mindy has taught composition/choreography, contemporary and creative dance at Spoke the Hub and Halestone in Lexington, VA.  She most recently co-produced, with Mauri Connors, Park Piece; a two hour site-specific series of works throughout Prospect Park.  She is also getting back into capoeira, which she is very excited about.  Mindy is thrilled to be invited to teach a master class with Erin's next generation of strong, graceful and determined dancers! 




Jennifer Sydor described as "dazzling" by The Boston Globe and "remarkable for her intense focus and vivid dramatic skill" by The New York Times began her dance training at The Dayton Ballet School. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University an MFA from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  In NYC, she has worked with choreographers such as John Carrafa, John Heginbotham, Jill Sigman, Stefanie Nelson, Nia Love, Janice Lancaster, Sharon Moore, Ben Asriel, Janessa Clark, to name a few.  She has toured internationally as a dancer with the avant-garde performance troupe and electro pop band Fischerspooner, in collaboration with The Wooster Group.  She has performed in Doug Elkins' Bessie Award winning Fraulein Maria, as well as a featured performer in David Parker and The Bang Group's Nut/Cracked, for five seasons.  Jennifer is in her tenth season as a dancer with The Metropolitan Opera where she has worked with Tony Award winning directors such as Mary Zimmerman, Michael Grandage and Bartlett Sher.  She has appeared in The Met Opera's Live in HD broadcasts worldwide, and on PBS's Great Performances in the operas Manon, Don Giovanni, Armida, Turandot and La Sonnambula.   She currently works with Laura Peterson Choreography, Vanessa Walter's dance theater and film project, Ripening and Third Rail Projects immersive dance theater show, Then She Fell.


Ballet dancer – turned modern dancer – turned actor, Erin Roy grew up in Alabama. She trained and then danced professionally with the Alabama Ballet. She received additional training from Ballet West and American Ballet Theatre. She danced for five seasons with Contemporary Dance Wyoming and was a frequent collaborator with Dance-for-Camera company Hole Dance Films. She served as Junior Repertory Company Director of Dancers’ Workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – teaching and mentoring a group of thirty young women. She now lives in New York where she is pursuing a career in commercials and television. She creates, produces, and directs her own theatrical entertainment productions through her company Roy’s Productions. Her ballet class begins with traditional ballet as its foundation, adds hints of physical theater, and stresses spontaneity of self within the confines of choreographed movement.  She hopes students leave her class with their work infused with joy and generosity.







Louise Benkelman is a New York City based dancer/choreographer/artist. Originally from Helena, Montana, she graduated magna cum laude from Roger Williams University with a BA in Dance Performance. While there, she performed works by Alexander Whitley, Sean Curran, Helen Simoneau, Christina Robson, Takehiro Ueyama, Jean Abreu, Hilary Easton, K.j. Holmes, Kellie Ann Lynch, and more. Louise spent an extensive amount of training in university at various locations throughout London, and credits that the UK/Europe has influenced much of her artistic tastes. Louise has created work for Fusionworks Dance Company, Roger Williams University (which was subsequently presented at the Gala for ACDA New England 2016), Gibney Dance Center, and various other artists. Louise is currently dancing with The Bang Group and other various artists.








Chelsea is a graduate of the Dance Department of The Juilliard School.  After graduating she worked with Johannes Wieland/StaadtstheaterKassel in Germany. Currently she is dancing with David Parker and the Bang Group, as well as ZviDance. She is on the modern dance faculty at Cap21 musical theater school and Chen Dance Center. She recently founded and is a Director at Arts On Site. 











Douglas Gillespie is a Brooklyn-based Dance Artist and has been an originating member and creative contributor throughout Kate Weare Company’s first decade. Now the company’s Associate Director, Gillespie assists Weare on commissions, sets and re-stages repertory, facilitates outreach and teaching, oversees touring and is integral to the company’s spirit. He teaches at colleges and dance centers around the world, most recently at The Juilliard School, NYU Tisch Summer Program,  National Taiwan University of the Arts and is on faculty at Gibney Dance Center in New York. Gillespie is an avid dance maker most recently choreographing for Sarasota Contemporary Dance a work named Bellonas; which will premiere in Spring 2017. Gillespie has also created his own student commissions for Cleveland State University, University of Florida and Santa Fe College; two of his works have premiered at American College Dance Association. Gillespie premiered his first solo project Echo, in Taiwan in November 2015 and had its U.S. debut in 2016. Gillespie has performed in Punchdrunk Emursive’s Sleep No More and Third Rail Projects’ Then She Fell. Gillespie was born in San Diego, raised in Jacksonville and received his BFA in Dance from Florida State University in 2005.