JOAN MEGGITT – Artistic/Executive Director – launched Antaeus Dance in 2001 with an ambitious tour of Estonia and immediately followed it with a world-premiere evening-length performance in Cleveland. Meggitt is a Cleveland-based choreographer, educator, and performer. Her impressive repertoire includes 50 evocative danceworks that combine physical stamina and self-discipline with a deep awareness of personal vulnerability. Her choreography has been performed by Allegheny Repertory Dance, Kent Dance Ensemble, Mather Dance Ensemble, Verb Ballets, and various other dance artists and ensembles both nationally and abroad.
Meggitt is an Assistant Professor in the Dance Division of Kent State University’s School of Theatre and Dance. In addition, she directs the annual Allegheny Summer Dance Intensive. Active in the field of dance education, Meggitt has been a guest artist and lecturer in modern dance at colleges and universities throughout the United States and in Europe. Earlier this year, Meggitt was a Guest Artist at American University in Washington, D.C.
Meggitt began studying dance at Allegheny College with Jan Hyatt and James Reedy. She earned her M.F.A. in Dance from Case Western Reserve University, under the instruction of Kathryn Karipides and Kelly Holt. Her training has been devoted to the modern dance technique of Erick Hawkins, which she has studied under numerous company members, most notably Kelly Holt, James Reedy, Cynthia Reynolds, and Gloria McLean.
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR & LIGHTING DESIGNER
BRAD PETOT has been designing lighting at Case Western Reserve University’s Mather Dance Center since 1984. He has worked with and designed for many local and notable artists, including Kathryn Karipides, Kelly Holt, Karen Potter, Gary Galbraith, Melanee Darby, David Shimotakahara, Gina Gibney, and Joan Meggitt. In his spare time, Petot is a Sr. Staff Engineer for Philips Medical Systems, where he designs MRI machines.
DESMOND L. DAVIS is a proud native of Cleveland, Ohio, a graduate of Kenyon College, and a founding company member of Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre (CCDT). A professional dancer, choreographer and Teaching artist, “Mr. Desmond,” as he is best known, has been working as an independent teaching artist with Karamu House, Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio and Verb Ballets. He enjoys sharing his love of movement with people from Pre-K to adult.
Davis has performed the works of Michael Medcalf, Dianne McIntyre, Shapiro & Smith, Peter Kalivas (PGK Project), and David Rousseve in Cleveland-area venues including Playhouse Square, Cleveland Public Theatre, Tri-C and Cain Park. He has also appeared with Dancing Wheels, SAFMOD Performance Ensemble and Mather Dance Collective (MaDaCol).
Energetic, intense, charismatic and focused, Davis strives to illuminate the beauty in everyday movement through the discipline of dance.
MARISSA GLORIOSO is on staff at the Department of Theatre and Dance at Cleveland State University. she is happy to be dancing again with Antaeus Dance. Additionally, she dance for events in association with Community arts of the Cleveland Museum of Art, and is a founding member of trideaDANCE, an organization that produces an annual performance showcase at the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin, OH. She holds a B.A. in psychology with a minor in dance from Cleveland State University.
JESSICA HODGES, the newest member of Antaeus Dance, is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Dance Education with a focus in Adapted Physical Activity and Minor in Arts Management. She is trained in modern and contemporary dance and has studied with artists and companies from all around the world. She takes special interest in cultural and non traditional dance forms, and is well versed in Balinese Dance, Korean drum and fan dancing, Japanese Taiko drumming and movement as well as stilt dancing. Jessica has performed in venues and festivals including ACDFA, Cleveland Public Theater’s Pandemonium, trideaDANCE, RAD Festival in Kalamazoo Michigan, Philadelphia Fringe Festival and the DUMBO Dance Festival in New York City.
In addition to her dance performance training and experience Jessica is the Education, Outreach and Special Projects Manager of DANCECleveland, She is also a Curriculum Development and Teaching Artist at the Beck Center for the Arts and Weathervane Playhouse. She is dedicated to providing accessible arts education experience, and teaches at organizations such as Akron Opportunity School, The Centers Youth and Family Learning Center, Merrick House and Providence House. Jessica has also contributed her time and talent to helping individuals with disabilities through dance. She has participated in the Yes I Can (!) Dance: A Parkinson’s Dance Experience event, as well as the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Special Education Resource Fair: Dance through Your Day Despite Disability.
She is a volunteer for the Gay Games 9 Arts and Culture Outreach Committee, Gay Games 9 Community Partner Steering Committee and Garden Walk Cleveland.
HEATHER KONIZ YOUNG holds a Master of Fine Arts from Case Western Reserve University and Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College (Clinton, NY). Koniz has performed works by Holly Labbe Cole, Richard Dickinson, Maurice Fraga, Gary Galbraith, Martha Graham, James Hansen, Elaine Heekin, Linda Kahn, Joan Meggitt, Amy Miller, Nina Nelson, Leslie Norton, May O’Donnell, Tresa Randall, Pascal Rioult, Jennifer Sandoval Eccher, Barbara Allegra Verlezza, Sabatino Verlezza and Bruce Walczyk. She has attended various workshops with the Limón Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre, Ellis Wood Dance and Dance Theatre X. Her choreography has been performed at the Glue Performance Series in Philadelphia, PA, adjudicated at the American College Dance Festival, and performed at the Northeast Ohio Dance Festival. Koniz recently performed with the Verlezza Dance Company at the APAP showings in New York City. In addition, her work has been premiered in the Spring Dance Concert at Hamilton College. Koniz is also a seasoned teacher and has taught throughout Pennsylvania, Central New York, and Ohio. Koniz teaches at Lakeland Community College, Case Western Reserve University, and is a Zumba instructor at two local gyms. She is currently the Dance Department Coordinator at Solon Center for the Arts and is on the faculty of the annual Allegheny Summer Dance Intensive.
SHANNON SEFCIK is a performer, educator and activiist. She graduated from Kent State University with a B.F.A. in Dance performance. Sefcik has been a member of the Advisory Board and a performer with MegLouise Dance/Artistic Director Megan Pitcher since 2010. Her performances with MegLouise include the 2010 Philly Fringe Festival, Breen Center for the Arts, Cleveland Public Theatre’s 2010 and 2011 Pandemonium, and MegLouise Studio Theatre in Cleveland, OH. Sefcik has also been a company member with The Marquez Dance Project/Artistic Director Jennifer Sandoval Eccher since 2011, and has performed in “The Art of Social Graces” in the CPT Big [Box] 2012 series. Her most recent performance was in CPT’s DanceWorks 2012 series with Travesty Dance Group/Artistic Director Kimberly Karpanty in “I Fight.” Sefcik is an instructor with DANCECleveland’s Read to Learn. . . Dance to Move program, promoting language and literacy development in young children. She is also the outside Networking Liaison/Board Member for Bank of America’s LGBTA pride resource group, organizing volunteer opportunities for the Cleveland LGBT community and affiliates. Sefcik continues her dance training with Joan Meggitt of Antaeus Dance, and with other local artists, including Megan Pincombe of Coventry Dance Company and aerialist Gloria Chu. Sefcik joined Antaeus Dance in 2012 and will be featured in all of the Company’s main stage performances, as well as in several other projects throughout the 2012-13 season.
RHIAN VIROSTKO– Antaeus Dancer – debuted with Antaeus Dance in “Vintage Visions” at Cleveland Public Theatre in May of 2012, and since then has performed with the Company in Tremont’s Arts in August and Playhouse Square’s Dance Showcase. Virostko has worked with MegLouise Dance/Artistic Director Megan Pitcher as a Company Member and Advisory Board Member since 2011, and has also appeared with Marquez Dance Project/Artistic Director Jennifer Sandoval in 2012. Virostko is an instructor for Read to Learn. . .Dance to Move, DANCECleveland’s preschool outreach program which encourages literacy through movement. She holds a B.A. in Zoology with a Minor in Dance & Theatre from Ohio Wesleyan University, and has continued her dance training with local professionals Joan Meggitt and Megan Pitcher, as well as through master classes with Doug Elkins, MOMIX, and Aszure Barton. She currently teaches AntiGravity Yoga Restorative classes and also enjoys training in aerial dance with Cleveland artist Leslie Friend. Virostko will be featured in Antaeus Dance’s main stage performances, as well as several other projects throughout the 2012-13 season.
MELISSA KNESTAUT AJAYI (Guest Artist) is originally from New Philadelphia, Ohio and is a graduate of Kent State University where she received a BFA in dance performance and a BS in Therapeutic Recreation. While living in New York City, she performed professionally in works by Alexandra Beller, Barbie Diewald, Kay Ottinger, Kim Karpanty, and Melissa West before joining Leanne Schmidt and Company in 2011. She was sponsored by the National Aphasia Association to collaborate with the Mount Sinai Stroke Support Group in NYC and created a work to raise awareness about aphasia, a language disorder that affects many people after brain injury. In 2013 Melissa relocated to Lexington, Kentucky where she began performing and choreographing with Blackbird Dance Theatre under the direction of Jenny Fitzpatrick and with whom she continues to collaborate as a guest artist and choreographer. She is excited to be dancing locally with Travesty Dance Group/Artistic Director Kim Karpanty and Antaeus Dance after returning to Ohio in 2015.
In addition to her performance career, Melissa is a Nationally Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and has worked in several clinical and community settings including inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation, psychiatric rehabilitation, and dual diagnosis substance abuse and mental health programs. She is currently a recreation therapist at Highland Springs Hospital where she is developing and implementing a therapeutic dance program. Her work and writing about using dance as therapeutic recreation has been published in the National Therapeutic Recreation Journal, and she has presented at the New York State Therapeutic Recreation Association Conference, Therapeutic Recreation Association of Suffolk County Conference (Long Island), and the National Dance Education Organization Conference.
HALLE SPERO (Student Intern) will be a junior dance performance major at Kent State University this fall. This is her second year as an apprentice for the Antaeus Dance Company. Last year she interned with the company and performed “Promenade” with the company at Playhouse Square. Her dance background consists of competing with Jordan Center Dance, doing styles such as jazz, ballet, tap, lyrical/contemporary, hip hop, pointe and musical theatre, and the Dance Division at KSU doing modern, ballet, and jazz. She has performed in both faculty and student choreographed pieces in her two years at KSU. She is anxious to begin choreographing in the upcoming year, and dancing as an apprentice with the Kent Dance Ensemble. Her aspirations for the future include performing commercially in L.A, Las Vegas, or Florida.