Dance Program Alumni

Testimonials

  • Monica Brady Barnard

    Alumna, Wayne State University Student, Choreographer

    I was a member of the Full Circle Dance Company for two years and have been invited back many times to choreograph. When I started in the company, I had only been dancing for one semester and I had been accepted based on the promise the director saw at my audition. During my two years, I took all of the classes I could and being part of the company grew my confidence and ability. I am now a dance major at Wayne State University and I choreograph for multiple high school productions. Without the friendships made and lessons learned at Full Circle, I would not be where I am today. I can’t thank my teachers enough!

  • Lisa Avigne

    Lisa Avigne

    Alumna

    I am forever grateful to Diane Mancinelli and the Full Circle Dance Company (FCDC) at HFC. I can truly say my time at HFC changed my view on life. The Dance Company teaches you more than how to dance. I have learned how to make a high quality work of art, have creative thinking skills, discipline, commitment and a strong work ethic. These skills will move with me through life, even outside of the classroom. I have learned to appreciate the works of people before me and the extensive history of dance. I have learned about anatomy and use of the human body as my instrument. Because of my experience at HFC, I can truly say I am one hundred percent prepared for my future academic endeavors and confident I will succeed. I will always recommend this program to any aspiring dancer.

  • Christopher Thomas

    Alumnus

    My experience in the dance company has been amazing. I’ve met so many talented dancers and choreographers through this class. My dance experience, knowledge, skills and networks have grown tremendously thanks to Ms. Mancinelli and her teachers!

Notable Alumni

  • Sonya Tayeh

    Sonya Tayeh

    Alumna, Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher

    Sonya Tayeh’s cutting edge work makes her one of the most sought-after choreographers of her generation. Tayeh graduated with a BFA in dance from Wayne State University and has since gone on to win many accolades for her choreography, including the Lucille Lortel award and the Obie award for her work on David Henry Hwang’s “Kung Fu,” for which she also received a Drama Desk nomination and the title of “Woman of Wayne” from her hometown’s Detroit Arts Council. She is also an Emmy-nominee from FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance and has worked with Madonna, Florence and the Machine, Kylie Minogue and Miley Cyrus (Director/Choreographer of 2011’s “Gypsy Heart” Tour). Her stage credits include Kung Fu (Signature Theatre); The Last Goodbye (Old Globe, Williamstown); Spring Awakening (San Jose Repertory Theatre); Walk For Water (Cirque du Soleil); “Wave,” “Next Wave” and “Quartet” (Los Angeles Ballet); “The Root of Me,” “Endurance To Move,” and “Battles” (Tayeh Dance Company), and pieces for various universities. She choreographed for the Martha Graham Company for a special project in 2014.

  • Dani Tirrell

    Dani Tirrell

    Dance artist, performer, choreographer and dance educator. Dani has danced with Jazz and Spirit Dance Theater of Detroit, Monroe Ballet Company, Full Circle Dance Company, Natural Locz Dance Company and Dani Tirrell Dance Theater that he founded and serves as Artistic Director. Dani also created Color Lines Dance Ensemble for youth dance artist ages 12 to 18.

    Dani has performed and shown work at Seattle International Festival of Dance (Seattle), Black Choreographers Festival (San Francisco), Gay City Arts (Seattle), Bumpershoot: Velocity Dance Center Showcase (Seattle), Showing Out: Black Contemporary Choreographers (Seattle), Young Tanz Sommer (Austria), Northwest New Works Festival: On The Boards (Seattle), Risk/Reward (Portland), Seattle Art Museum (Seattle), Erased (Color Lines Dance Ensemble) as part of Nights at the Neptune (Neptune Theater, Seattle), Monticello Wakes (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles) and Central District Forum of Arts and Ideas.

    Dani has choreographed works for 3rd Shift Dance (Seattle), Jazz Intoxication (Seattle), Broadway Bound Children’s Theater (Seattle), Stone Soup Theater (Seattle), Northwest Tap Connection (Seattle), Full Circle Dance Company (Detroit), Jazz and Spirit Dance Theater of Detroit (Detroit), Detroit Windsor Dance Academy (Detroit) and Vision Center Stage Dance Company (Detroit). Most recently Dani choreographed for the premier of House of Dinah written by Jerome A. Parker and Directed by Andrew Russell. House of Dinah premiered at On the Boards in the 2016/2017 season. Dani has also conducted workshops centered on gender/sexuality/race at Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (Seattle), Texas Festival of Dance Improvisation (Texas Women’s University, Denton, City Arts Magazine 2017 Genre Bender Artist paired with Mary Anne Carter and Allied Media Conference (Detroit).

    Currently his work focuses on the queer, gender non-conforming and black experience. Dani also incorporates House, Vogue, Whacking and Contemporary movement in his artist practice and work. Dani teaches throughout the Seattle area with Northwest Tap Connection and Massive Monkees Studio: The Beacon.

  • Melanie George

    Melanie George

    MA, Performing Arts: Dance, American University BA, Dance, Western Michigan University

    Melanie George is the Dramaturg and Audience Educator at Lumberyard (formerly American Dance Institute), working closely with nationally and internationally recognized contemporary performing artists in the incubation of new works for the stage. Previously, she was the dance program director at American University, and Assistant Professor of Dance and Dance Education Program Coordinator at Kent State University. Melanie is the founder of Jazz Is… Dance Project, and has presented her research on jazz dance improvisation/pedagogy throughout the U.S., in Canada and Scotland. Publications include “Jazz Dance, Pop Culture, and the Music Video Era” in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches (University Press of Florida) and “Imbed/In Bed: Two Perspectives on Dance and Collaboration” with Joan Meggitt for Working Together in Qualitative Research (Sense Publishers). Her choreography has been commissioned by colleges in Idaho, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. Melanie was a 2016 Helen Hayes Award nominee for Outstanding Choreography for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s production of Women Laughing Alone With Salad, and the featured dance artist at the 2017 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. She holds a BA in dance from Western Michigan University, an MA in dance and Graduate Certificate in Secondary Teaching from American University, and movement analysis certification from the Laban/Bartineff Institute of Movement Studies in New York.

  • Sylvia Suttle

    Sylvia Suttle

    Choreographer & Artistic Director Suttle Dance Company (SDC)

    Sylvia Suttle began her dance studies in Regensburg, Germany, at the Tanzschule Krippner with Eva Eger primarily focusing on Modern Dance. She has worked with Robert Wechsler, director, choreographer and dancer with Palindrome and Motion Composer in 2007; studied with Andrew Palermo, company owner and director of Dre. Dance in 2009. She danced with the HFC Dance Company from 2011-2012. She is also a dance assistant for Portia Field-Anderson at Oakland Community College and has taught company classes and served as a freelance choreographer since 2008. Her choreographed work has been performed in Germany for the University of Regensburg, in Michigan for the Berman Center for the Performing Arts, Jewish Community Center, Henry Ford College (Full Circle Dance Company), Oakland Dance Festival (ODF) American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), NewDANCEfest with Eisenhower Dance, Sidewalk Festival, Dally in the Ally, Detroit Design Ball, Regeneration with Kristi Faulkner Dance, Detroit Institute of Arts, had her pieces performed at Artlabj Festivals, for the Fulbright Scholars Foundation and Best of 2015-2016 Detroit Dance Race.

  • Rosalind Leath-Jones

    Rosalind Leath, National Dance Week’s Michigan delegate, is a Michigan certified dance educator, instructor and motivator. She is experienced in motivating and training students of all levels in modern, ballet, jazz, hip hop, liturgical and African dance techniques. She is also the dance teacher and dance program administrator at Kettering High School in Detroit. She enhances her student’s artistic experience by passionately planning and organizing competitive festival and camp opportunities for dance building awareness and appreciation of a variety of dance cultures and techniques. She promotes community service and character of dance to her students by overseeing their planning and coordinating of school concerts, with proceeds benefitting fundraising efforts for Kettering’s dance program.

  • Victoria Lara

    Victoria Lara

    Victoria Lara is one of the founding members of the Spanish Dance Company Alma Española. This company was founded in 2003, while Victoria was a principal dancer with the late Dame Maria Del Carmen’s Grupo España. Alma Española, or “Spanish Soul,” is dedicated to preserving the traditional art forms as well as the more popular artistic form of Flamenco from Spain. Alma Española performs nearly every facet of Spanish dance from Regional and Classical to Flamenco. She started dancing at a young age with formal study in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Middle Eastern dance. She has won over-all and first place in several competitions and was a member of the Windsor City Ballet Company, performing in The Nutcracker. She danced with Dame Maria’s Grupo España as a principal dancer in many venues, including the Detroit Opera House, Meadowbrook Theatre (with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra), Michigan Theatre, Oakland Community College, Cambridge Arts, The Players Club and Music Hall. She has also danced at the top tablao settings in Metro Detroit and throughout Michigan. Other Master Flamenco artists that Victoria studied with include Vida Peral, Paco Alonso, and Wendy Clinard.

  • Teresa Alvarez

    Teresa Alvarez

    Teresa was born in Detroit in 1991 and soon after moved to Oakland, Calif., where she discovered a love for the performing arts. At 10, she returned to Michigan and competed with a local pom dance team and trained with the National Basketball Association dance team, the Detroit Pistons Automotion. After taking some classes at the Detroit Opera House, Teresa danced in the Nutcracker with the Cincinnati Ballet Company as well as with the Stars of Ballet and Broadway under the direction of Meg Paul. While in her high school, she studied Dance extensively. She studied with teachers at the Joffrey Ballet Chicago and with other notable dance company directors and professors. After high school, Teresa performed as the lead dancer in a scene from the movie, Vamps. At Henry Ford Community College, she was a dance scholarship recipient and performed with the Full Circle Dance Company. In addition to dancing, Teresa’s performing work includes film and modeling. She was the winner of the Miss Great Lakes State Pageant in 2011. She currently is employed with the Detroit Tigers MLB organization, dancing with the DTE Energy Squad and a dance instructor for inner city youth.

  • Rosie Bak

    Rosie Bak

    Rosemary B. Bak holds a BS in Dance from Wayne State University. She began her formal training in Dance at 10 and at 17 began studying Dance at HFC. She gained skill through dance classes and performances with the HFC Full Circle Dance Company. She also attended many master classes on the trips to the American College Regional Dance Festivals with the College. From 2004-2008, Rosie was a founding member and artistic director of the popular performing troupe, The Luna Dancers. While a lifelong passion for Dance prompted her to accept her share of performing opportunities, she generally devoted her energies to myriad directorial aspects of unconventional performance art.

    During her tenure as a director of The Luna Dancers, Rosie was accepted to the Dance program at Wayne State University, where she sharpened her technique by studying a wide variety of genres. She also studied Dance as a science and an art form. In 2008, she left Luna to finish her Senior Capstone Project, a culmination of her experiences as both a dance student and a working creative professional.

    Rosemary began working as a personal trainer, establishing Life Changes Personal Training, LLC in 2009. She was inspired by the significant progress of her first client to help others as a Physical Therapist. She also volunteers at the S. A. Y. Detroit student-run Diabetes Education & Wellness (DEW) and Pro Bono PT Clinic for under- and uninsured women. She looks forward to opportunities to deliver treatment in various specialty areas of Physical Therapy, particularly Dance/Acrobatic Orthopaedics, Cardio-Pulmonary Rehab, Neuro PT and Women's Health.

  • Sandee Rodriguez

    Sandee Rodriguez

    Sandee Rodriguez began studying Ballet & Jazz at age six. She took lessons at Pamela Dunworth's studio in Dearborn and participated in musical theater throughout high school. She began dancing in the College's Full Circle Dance Company in 1989 and returned to choreograph as an alumna every year thereafter. In 1995, a near fatal accident left her paralyzed, with a traumatic brain injury and in a deep coma. Through hard work in physical therapy, perseverance and a positive attitude, her talent as a choreographer was strengthened. Every year that Sandee choreographs, she challenges herself to break new ground and to stretch her range in dance composition from the very traditional to the avant-garde.