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Igal Perry - Artistic Director

Born in Israel, Igal Perry began his dancing career with Karmon, a folk dance company, and later joined the Bat-Dor Dance Company where he worked with leading teachers and choreographers including Inesse Alexandrov, Benjamin Harkarvy, John Butler, Rudi Van Dantzig, Alvin Ailey, Paul Sanasardo, and Lar Lubovitch. Upon arriving in the United States, Mr. Perry joined Dennis Wayne's Dancers as a ballet master and choreographer. During that period, he staged John Butler's work for the New York City Opera, the Opera of Munich, Caracas Ballet, and Teatro Alla Scala in Milan, where he also directed the world premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki's opera Paradise Lost.

Mr. Perry's first full evening of ballets, Chromatic Motions, was presented in 1979, in collaboration with the Manhattan School of Music, presenting works to original music by Rand Steiger, Randy Packer, Edward Billous, and more. In 1981 and 1982, he headed the ballet department at Jacob's Pillow, and went on to co-direct the Clive Thompson Dance Company. In 1983, Mr. Perry celebrated the opening of his dance school Peridance Center, now Peridance Center, which has since been providing a nurturing and professional environment for all dancers. A year after the opening of his school, he founded his dance company the Peridance Ensemble, now Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, for which he has choreographed over 50 works. Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Joyce Theater, and City Center are amongst the many theaters in which the Company has performed through the years. Mr. Perry has collaborated with numerous composers including John Mackey, Quentine Chappetta, Phillip Hamilton, and Avner Dorman, with whom he has created the full length workDreams and Demons (2003).

Mr. Perry's international engagements as a teacher and choreographer include The Scapino Ballet and Het National Ballet (Holland), Laterna Magica and the National Ballet (Prague), Architanz (Tokyo), The Royal Ballet of Sweden, The National Ballet of China, and the Kwang-Ju City Ballet Company (Korea), where he also serves as Artistic Director for the Kwang- Ju International Ballet Competition. Mr. Perry's works are in the repertories of companies throughout the world, including the Batsheva and Bat-Dor Dance Companies (Israel), Companhia de Danca de Lisboa(Portugal), the Alberta Ballet (Canada), Complexions (USA) and Alvin Ailey II (USA). Since 1995, Mr. Perry has been serving as guest master teacher at Juilliard, where he also staged his Intimate Voices, and premiered Mourning Song, created for the Juilliard Dance Ensemble. Mr. Perry's work has been repeatedly presented at the prestigious Florence Dance Festival (Italy) by his Company as well as by Florence Dance Company. In May 2007, Mr. Perry was inducted into the Dance Library of Israel Hall of Fame.

Program Directors

Roya Carreras - School at Peridance Director & CORE

Roya Carreras is an Iranian-Hispanic artist, choreographer, and educator who works within commercial, film, and theatrical settings from New York City to Los Angeles.

On stage, Carreras' work has been presented at the CURRENT SESSIONS, Dixon Place, Baruch Performing Arts Center, and The Green Building in New York City; in California, she has presented at The Odyssey, Highways Performance Space, Electric Lodge Theater, Glenn Wallichs Theatre, Diavolo, Brockus Project Space, and BRAVA. She was a resident choreographer for Columbia Ballet Collaborative of Columbia University in 2015 and in 2018 participated in the MANCC residency funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. She has taught ballet, contemporary, and improvisation at Harlem School of the Arts, New Canaan Dance Academy, American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Peridance, Riverside Ballet Arts, Riverside City College, Pasadena Dance Theater, Norwalk Metropolitan Youth Ballet, East Pointe Dance, and Brockus Conservatory. As a performer, she has worked closely with Barak Marshall at BodyTraffic, Bryan Arias, Danielle Russo Performance Project, and Lux Boreal Danza Contemporanea in Tijuana, Mexico. Carreras holds a BFA in Dance with Honors from UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts, with additional training from The Ailey School and Springboard Danse Montreal.

Her most recent work "Naneh," premiered inJanuary 2020, set on the L.A. Contemporary Dance Company.


Kelly Voelpel - School at Peridance Coordinator

Kelly Voelpel began her early dance training at the School of Performing Arts/Fineline Theatre Arts in New Milford, CT under the direction of Elizabeth Parkinson and Scott Wise. Following a year studying ballet at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, she attended the LINES Ballet Training Program and later joined The Ballet Theatre of Maryland. Since 2014 Kelly has been teaching ballet in the tri-state area and regularly performs with Mooney Cooley Dance.


Diego Funes Headshot

Diego Funes - Youth Ensemble Director & CORE

Diego Funes has choreographed all over the world, including London, Italy, Spain, France, Sweden, Norway, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala and throughout the United States, including New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, St. Louis, Kansas City, Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. His credits as a dancer and choreographer include major works in dance theatre, musical theatre, film and television.

Over 15 years, he has created a style influenced by his ballet, gymnastics and worldwide dancing career, creating kinetic, exciting and unconventional solo and group pieces that challenge and inspire his dancers.

His company, De Funes Dance, explores the intersection of dialogue and movement in contemporary dance. Funes' choreography is a rich tapestry of nuance and expansivity and always communicates its conceptual framework. Whether sourced from literary texts, conversations with his artists, or musical scores, language forms the foundation of his choreography.

His company has performed throughout New York City, including Battery Dance Festival, DUMBO Dance Festival, Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center, Symphony Space, Judson Memorial Church, Sans Limites, Dixon Place, Joyce Soho, Salvatore Capezio Theatre and Galapagos Arts Center, among others.

In 2018, his full-length evening, Interior Dialogues, including two world premiere pieces, Fragments and V., played a sold-out engagement at the Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center in Brooklyn. His acclaimed work, Crisalida, set to music by Astor Piazzolla, has also been staged throughout the world.

His debut short film, Rendez-vous, which he choreographed and directed on location in Paris, has been featured in over 30 international film festivals, and has won awards in Spain, India and Brazil. His follow-up short film ABSENCE has been seen in 12 international film festivals and has won three awards. Un-fazed, a solo work in progress, was commissioned by the Sanskar Virtual Dance Festival in Goa, India, where it was critically acclaimed. It is now being developed into an expanded work for six dancers. He co-created and directed a dance theatre work for online platforms, First in Half, then in Quarters, that was presented by Mixily Presents: Beyond the Frame - New Plays for Zoom and ArtSpa.

In 2007, he choreographed the major motion picture, P.S. I Love You, directed by Richard LaGravenese and starring Gerard Butler and Academy Award-winner Hilary Swank.

He trained in gymnastics from the age of four. As a teenager, he studied at the prestigious School of American Ballet, prior to dancing with Cincinnati Ballet, The New York City Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma and Baletto del Sud. He went on tour throughout Europe, later returning to the United States to break into musical theatre. His musical credits as a dancer include Cats, Hello, Dolly!, Riverdance, Anything Goes, A Chorus Line and The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. He also danced in numerous videos for MTV and with headlining music artists such as Liza Minnelli, Whitney Houston and Will Smith.

He most recently provided movement staging for actor and musician Hershey Felder's US tour of A Paris Love Story. He has choreographed acclaimed productions of Beauty and the Beast, Hello, Dolly!, And the World Goes Round, Zorba!, Leader of the Pack, the first New York revival of Subways Are for Sleeping, and shows for Tokyo Disney.

Diego lives in New York City, where he is the founder and artistic director of de funes dance, and the Youth Ensemble Director at Peridance Center.




Ejay Adakole - CORE & SAP

Ejay was born and raised in Nigeria. He moved to New York City in 2015 to chase his dream as a choreographer and dance teacher. He travels around the USA teaching AfroFunk, a style he created, which is a fusion of Afro beats dance and street Jazz. He performed at Coachella 2018 with Mr Eazy and has choreographed/performed with many african pop artists. Instagram- @ebinje


Tomoe Carr - SAP

Tomoe Carr was born in Manhattan, New York, NY, but she grew up in Japan for 10 years. She started her dance training in Japan at Next Generation Dance Studio under the tutelage of Cebo, learning styles such as Hip Hop, House, Waacking, Locking, Popping, and Breaking. Tomoe is also the first graduate of the street dance program KiNEXtionSTM from Next Generation New York Studios Japan. After returning to New York in 2014 she has expanded her dance vocabulary studying Ballet and Modern at Peridance Center. Tomoe is currently building her portfolio by working with accomplished professionals such as Tweet Boogie, Michele Byrd-McPhee, Soraya Lundy, Violet Galagarza to name a few. She has had grand opportunities of working with upcoming artists such as Meg Donnelly on Disney's "Next Big Thing" and Jidenna's music video "Tribe" as a featured dancer. As one of her first official dance jobs Tomoe was on the teaching staff for EXPG by LDH, and is a teacher assistant for Dance Wave and DanceBreak. Currently teaches children from ages 5+ and subs beginners Hip Hop and House. Starting the 2020 school semester, she will also be teaching as the head staff of the Litefeet kids class at Peridance Center. In 2019 she graduated High Tech High School and is currently enrolled in college as a Business Management major at New Jersey City University. In the Litefeet dance scene, she has been training under the pioneer dancer Daniel Hollaway also known as Chrybaby Cozie. As of 2019, she is officially part of the Breakfast club and Bombsquad in litefeet. This year she is continuing her training as a dancer and is also starting her career as a Model as well.


Dual Rivet - CORE

Dual Rivet is a women-led dance company focused on creating and sharing highly physical contemporary dance to a wide audience. Based in NYC, Dual Rivet creates work for stage and film that exchanges a cinematic and visceral language to influence both platforms. The company teaches a myriad of classes, throughout the United States, with an emphasis on contemporary partnering and floorwork. Led by Jessica Smith and Chelsea Ainsworth, Dual Rivet aims to share what it means to be female leaders in the arts.

Jessica and Chelsea come from an international background of creating and performing work in places such as England, France, Germany, Japan, Philippines, West Africa, Canada, and the United States. They have performed at venues such as West End Theatre, Kittery Maine, Musikfest Pennsylvania, Peridance Center, CreateArt, and Arts On Site. They have set work on companies such as the Peridance Youth Ensemble and Mixt Company Connecticut. Dual Rivet is currently on faculty at Peridance and Steps. Chelsea and Jessica are also directors of a multi-disciplinary arts organization, Arts On Site in New York City.

JESSICA SMITH is a New York City based dancer from New Orleans, Louisiana. She studied at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, London Contemporary Dance School, and received her BFA in dance from the Department of Dance at Purchase College. She's currently a performer at Sleep No More NYC, Vim Vigor Dance Company and ZviDance as well as Associate Director of Arts on Site NYC. She continues to teach and set work at schools, festivals, and training programs throughout the U.S. and internationally including: Purchase College, Princeton University, Springboard Danse Montreal (Canada), Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Camp, Peridance Certificate Program, Blois Danse Festival (France), and DanzaMed Temporada Internacional de Danza de Medellín (Columbia). She is Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Dual Rivet, a highly physical contemporary dance company based in NYC.

CHELSEA AINSWORTH is a graduate of the Dance Department of The Juilliard School. After graduating she worked with Johannes Wieland/StaatstheaterKassel in Germany, Lorena Egan, Flexicure, Amber Sloan, Bryn Cohn + Artists and was on the modern/ballet dance faculty at Cap21 musical theater school and Chen DanceCenter. Currently she is dancing with The Bang Group, as well as ZviDance. She's also the co-founder and Executive Director of Arts On Site, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting artists of all disciplines by offering affordable studio space and hosting monthly events to encourage community collaboration. She also built and curates residencies at a retreat and residency center in the Shawangunk mountains in upstate New York. In 2020 she joined the Dance Advisory Board of Marymount Manhattan College.


Colin Heininger - CORE

Originally from Pennsylvania, Colin Heininger is a current member of Peridance Contemporary Dance Company. Here, he has performed works by Igal Perry, Adam Barruch, Norbert de la Cruz, Marlena Wolfe, and Jae Man Joo. In 2016, Colin graduated as an Honors Scholar with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Musical Theater from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where he was named the Valedictorian of the School of Dance. In addition, Colin attended the Jacob's Pillow Contemporary program in 2014 and Springboard Danse Montreal in 2016. Throughout these places, he has had the privilege of performing works by Sharon Eyal, Netta Yerushalmy, Andrea Miller, Helen Simoneau, Beth Gill, Sidra Bell, Mark Morris, and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, among others.


Rachel Hettinger Headhsot

Rachel Hettinger - SAP

Rachel has presented work at the KnJ Theater at Peridance, Galapagos ArtSpace, at San Jose State, San Jose, CA at the sjDANCEcoChoreo Project- where her work was awarded with the Audience Choice recognition for choreography. As well as the Pushing Progress Showcase Series, the Young Choreographer's Festival, In-sight Dance Company's 5th Annual Suite Summer Festival at Socrates Sculpture Park, the 14th Annual DUMBO Dance Festival, the 11th Annual Amalgamate Artists Series, and The Giving Tree, a benefit concert to raise awareness for pediatric cancer.


Nikki Holck Headhsot

Nikki Holck - CORE

Nikki Holck is a dance artist from Honolulu, Hawaii. She is the Director of Peridance's Certificate Program and the Rehearsal Director for Peridance Contemporary DanceCompany. Nikki studied at Queen Emma Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Canada's National Ballet School, after which she began her dance career with the National Ballet of Canada. Upon moving to New York, Ms. Holck joined Peridance Contemporary Dance Company and began a close collaboration with Artistic Director Igal Perry and the choreographer Korhan Basaran, both that continue on today. Ms.Holck is an artist with Company RAu, Vivo Ballet, Superhero Clubhouse, and Kaimera Productions.


Lauren Jaeger - SAP

Lauren Jaeger graduated magna cum laude from Marymount Manhattan College with a BFA in Dance. Lauren has toured both nationally and internationally as a member of MOMIX, Buglisi Dance Theatre, Michael Mao Dance, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, and Catapult. Lauren is an Assistant Rehearsal Director for Buglisi's Table of Silence Project, which is performed each year on September 11th at Lincoln Center. She has also performed with Alma Dance, ACB Dance, Ballet Ambassadors, and as a guest artist with Eva Dean Dance. Lauren is a guest artist and master teacher for Adelfia Ballet School and the Fini Dance Festival in Southern Italy and NYC. In addition to her performance work, Lauren has been teaching for Peridance since 2009 and also teaches for several schools in the area including The Joffrey Ballet School, and Greenwich Dance Studio. In the past she has taught for the Steffi Nossen School of Dance, Center Stage, the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, and Ballet Hispanico.


Graciela Kozak

Graciela Kozak - CORE

Graciela joined the Peridance Faculty in 1985, where she also teaches the Ensemble and Core of the School at Peridance. She is also a member of the Professional and Junior Divisions at The Ailey School. Graciela Kozak was born in Argentina, and trained at the Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires. She danced with the Bat-Dor and Bat- Sheva companies in Israel, and the Peridance Ensemble in NY. She has performed works by Alvin Ailey, Paul Taylor, Jiri Kylian, Mark Morris, Igal Perry, Lar Lubovich, Donald McKayle and many other choreographers.


Jonathan Mendez - CORE

Jonathan began dancing at the age of nine in Cali, Colombia at the Colombian Institute for Classical Ballet (Incolballet). Upon graduation, he joined Incolballet, Colombia's premier dance company. Jonathan received a full scholarship to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. He performed with Dances Patrelle in the Nutcracker and their 2010 Spring Season. In May 2010, Jonathan performed with Avi Scher and Dancers at the Kennedy Center. In December 2010 Jonathan was a Guest Artist with Alberta Ballet for the production of the Nutcracker in Canada. Jonathan joined Les Ballets Grandiva in July 2010 for which he performed in many tours all around Japan. In 2012 Jonathan joined Les Ballets Eloelle for which he performed in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, China, South Africa and Japan. Jonathan is an American Ballet Theatre certified teacher and he also featured in the American Dance Documentary "First Position".


Annastasia Mercedes - CORE

Annastasia Mercedes, graduated with a B.F.A. in Ballet and Dance Pedagogy from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, under the direction of Stephen Pier. She has performed in both classical and contemporary works to include choreography by Pascal Rioult, Charlotte Griffin, Martin Losfnes, Stephen Pier, Gregory Dolbashian, Jose Limon, Martha Graham, George Balanchine, Anthony Tudor, and August Bournonville. In addition to her experiences in concert dance, Annastasia has performed in a number of regional theatre productions including appearances at Hartford Stage under the direction of Darko Tresnjak, and featured as "Eliza" in The King and I and "Ballet Winnie" in Tuck Everlasting. In addition to being on faculty at The School at Peridance, Annastasia is also on faculty at The Joffrey Ballet School, where she also serves as the rehearsal director for The Nutcracker. Her work continues with students of NYC Public Schools, serving as a teaching artist for New York City Ballet, Rioult Dance New York's DanceREACH Program, and Ballet Tech.


Jonathan Peña - SAP

Jonathan Manuel Peña who is popularly known as Shwing; is a dancer who started his performance career in the rough and competitive yards of Greek life. He has won numerous step and stroll competitions and later on continued his passion for performing arts by pursuing dance. He has been dancing professionally as a commercial Hip Hop and Reggaeton dancer for 5 years and has toured with choreographer J Romeo 2 times in both Miami and the Area. "Shwing" has opened up for Urban Latin sensation Nicky Jam and has performed for El Duo Perfecto, Koryn Hawthorne, Elle Winter, Jingle Ball 2019 and more. "Shwing" has performed on major televised programming like Telemundo and several music videos and is currently choreographing within the Urban Latin Reggaeton industry and teaching in the tristate area.


Donovan Reed - SAP

Donovan Reed, Philadelphia, PA, began his dance training at the age of 16. Soon after, Donovan attended college at The University of The Arts, he was awarded his BFA in May of 2016. During his time in college, Donovan participated as an artist in residence at Die Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Frankfurt, DE. In addition, he participated in an independent artist program where his training was extended with The Pennsylvania Ballet. Other studies include PHILADANCO!, Eleone Dance Theatre and The Rock School for Dance Education. He has performed works by choreographers Sidra Bell, Regina Van Berkel, Sharon Eyal, Tommie Waheed-Evans, Beth Gill, Andrea Miller, Tania Isaac, Meredith Rainey, and Helen Simoneau. Donovan joined A.I.M by Kyle Abraham in 2018. Pronouns: he/him.


Karin Rendelman - SAP

Karin, a native of Philadelphia, Pa., is a working choreographer and teacher residing in New York City. Graduating Cum Laud from Florida International University, Miami Florida, she earned a BA in Dance. Her infectious energy and her passion for dance were seasoned while she mentored under Broadway tap dancer, Jimmy Tate. Karin has been teaching for over 20 years and during this time, was honored to become the Director of the Dance Department at the nationally renowned Weiss School. She has also directed a youth tap company in South Florida where her students performed locally for community events/fundraisers and her choreography was recognized with numerous awards at a variety of competitions on both regional and national levels. Currently, Karin continues to teach master classes and create choreography for students all over the country and abroad as well as teaching on the competition/convention/intensive circuit and she is ecstatic to be beginning her 11th year on faculty at Peridance Center (NYC) where she is the Director of SynKopate - AN NYC Tap Project & SynKopate II - the first Peridance youth Tap companies. Karin's passion for her art and the technique that supports it, for rhythm and energy and the combination of it all, can be seen in each and every class she teaches as well as in her ambitious and expressive choreography!


Jordan Ryder - SAP

Jordan Ryder hails from Illinois where she trained at LoMastro Performing Arts, Extensions Dance Company and the Scholarship Program at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She attended New York University Tisch School of the Arts where she graduated with a BFA in Dance and a double minor in Sociology and the Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. After graduation, Jordan formed her dance collective, RyderDance. Since then, she has shown work at 10+ venues in the tri-state area including the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Loew's Jersey Theatre, and the Martha Graham Studio Theater. Her choreography has been broadcasted on PBS, Dance Parade, and other online platforms. Choreographic Commissions include Eryc Taylor Dance Company, NYU Tisch Dance Summer Residency, Art City's Bromance (Web Series), One Day Dance, and Melange Dance Company. Grants include Brooklyn Arts Council, NYU Tisch Space Grant, and ETD/ NCG New Choreographer Grant. As a freelance dancer, Jordan has danced in original works by Crystal Pite, Abarukas Dance | Yoshito Sakuraba, Guanglei Hui | Cross Move Dance Lab, Pamela Pietro, James Martin, and others.


TweetBoogie - SAP

Always representing The South Bronx, TweetBoogie is devoted to the street styles of hip-hop. As she continues to travel all over the world teaching in different countries such as Japan, Poland, Switzerland, China, Taiwan, Korea, Russia, Prague,The Philippines, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Australia and South Africa to name a few. Her passion has led her to work with top artists like Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Mary J Blige, Shakira, Kanye West & Nicki Minaj and the iconic Miss Janet Jackson in her amazing "Made For Now" video. Most recently, Tweetie choreographed for 50 Cent at Madison Square Garden for the POWER Premier of Season 6 of STARZ.

Tweet and her business partner Michele Byrd McPhee, newly launched their new production team called "TooBirdsProductions". They were hired to choreograph the opening number for WE DAY. An educational program for children sponsored by the United Nations. The multi-talented was also the host of MTV's "Dances From Tha Hood" On Demand executive produced by Sway Calloway. Some of her biggest clients were teaching Gail and Oprah a few of the latest hip-hop moves as a guest choreographer on The OPRAH Show. As the brand Ambassador of Ladies of Hip Hop Festival, TweetBoogie helps bring Ladies of all ages and sizes across the world to come together and celebrate street dance culture through music & dance one lady at a time.

Recently she was a guest teacher at the Juste Debout School located in Paris as well as the Hip Hop judge for their Juste Debout World Tour 2019. One of the biggest international underground dance battles that travels worldwide.

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