COMPANY TEAM - PRIVATE VOICE, GROUP VOICE, ADVANCED AUDITION TECHNIQUE
Christian Duhamel is a theatrical Swiss Army knife. As a member of AEA, the Dramatists Guild, the BMI Lehman Engel Music Theatre Workshop, and the Off-Broadway Alliance, he works professionally as an actor, playwright, composer, director, music director, choreographer, and vocal coach. After attending the acting program at the Theatre School, DePaul University, Christian returned to his passion for music and completed his BFA in Acting – Musical Theatre at Wright State University. Since then he has worked at theaters across the nation including Seattle Children’s Theatre, The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Human Race Theatre Company, The Ordway, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre. In New York, his work has been seen at Symphony Space, the PIT, the Duplex, 54 Below, and the Metropolitan Room. Honors and Awards: Oriental DreamWorks Songwriting Resident; Music Theatre Ventures’ Young Creators Award; Puzzle Theatre Festival Select; Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Awards for Lyrics, Music, and Playwriting, B-Side Productions’ New American Musical Award (finalist); the David Mark Cohen Playwriting Award (finalist); and The National Playwriting Award (finalist). Originally from Kellogg, Idaho, Christian grew up just south of Seattle, but now calls New York City home.
COMPANY TEAM - DANCE COMBO, KIDS ON BROADWAY, JAZZ, TAP
Originally from Lewiston, NY, Lisa is now proud to call Maplewood, NJ home. Lisa received her BFA in drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the arts.
As a performer, Lisa is a proud member of AEA, & has appeared in the Broadway national touring companies of Mary Poppins and Hairspray, serving as a Dance Captain for both. Other national tours include, My Fair Lady, Beauty and the Beast, Seussical, Cats, and Show Boat. Regional productions include, Grease, All Shook Up, High School Musical, 42nd Street, and Anything Goes. Currently, she is a member of Midtown Direct Rep- a company of Broadway performers, who live in the SOMA area.
As a choreographer, Lisa assisted in staging the regional premiere of Hairspray at North Shore Music Theatre in MA. She has served as assistant choreographer on the national tour of Miss Saigon, and choreographed productions at Pittsburgh CLO, the Mac Haydn Theatre, and industrials for Mercedes-Benz China.
Lisa has taught master classes all over the country through Broadway Dance Connection. Most recently, Lisa has served as the studio manager, and lead instructor at Dance with Miss Rachel in NYC’s TriBeCa neighborhood, specializing in song and dance for children 18 months through eight years old. At the university level, Lisa taught a semester at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in China.
Lisa’s most recent accomplishments have been earning a Master’s degree in public relations and corporate communication from NYU, and becoming a mom to baby Jasper!
COMPANY TEAM - MUSICAL THEATER, TAP, ADVANCED AUDITION TECHNIQUE, PRIVATE COACHING
Kaela O’Connor is very excited to be part of the CAPAS team! She is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), holding a BFA in Musical Theatre, and is now living the dream in NYC! While attending CCM, she was frequently called upon to teach all levels of Tap, Jazz, and Musical Theatre Styles within the Musical Theatre and Dance departments. Kaela was also credited as the Associate Choreographer for the department's production of "Carrie, The Musical" in addition to serving as the Choreographer for her Freshman and Senior Showcases, the latter of which was presented for industry professionals in NYC. She has had the opportunity to perform with companies such as: The St. Louis MUNY, Broadway Cares, The Fort Wayne Philharmonic, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Cedar Fair Entertainment. She can also be seen in a Pepsi/NFL commercial featuring Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback, Andy Dalton. Kaela is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association and is also a proud big sister to Roxie and Finnigan, the dogs.
Chris Hale is Associate Director, and Director of Education at Pushing Progress Contemporary Dance, which launched in the fall of 2009 and whose mission is to revolutionize the way we train in dance. Chris has served on faculty at Broadway Dance Center, Steps and Dance New Amsterdam. As a renowned master teacher, Chris travels around the U.S. and Canada, and was recently on faculty at the ABT New York Summer Intensive. Professional credits include “KTU's Miracle on 34th Street” where he performed with recording artists: Mary J. Blige, Deborah Cox, Tamia, Gloria Gaynor, and Michael Jackson. In 2002 he had the pleasure of performing with international singing sensation, Anastasia at the FIFA World Cup Final Draw in Korea. Chris also appeared on "Sex and the City" playing opposite Kim Catrall.
His years of experience with the GYROTONIC® methodology has hugely influenced his teaching and brought a heightened awareness to his own dancing. Chris is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.
Elisabetta Spuria is originally from Italy, where she grew up and started her professional career as a dancer/choreographer.
Since moving to New York City, she has been working with such artists as Mariah Carey (“Charmbracelet World Tour”) and Michael Bolton (“Only A Woman Like You Tour”) as both associate choreographer and assistant director.
She has been an assistant choreographer, dance captain and performer in numerous theater productions including; Footloose, Nights on Broadway III, and the operas Carmen, Candide and Aida. Elisabetta has worked and collaborated with directors and choreographers like, Josh Bergasse, AC Ciulla, Andy Sandberg, Andrew Goldberg, and Michele Assaf. Elisabetta was the choreographer of the regional premiere of Spring Awakening (ReVision Theatre/TheatreC), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (LIVE Asbury Park), Hair directed by Andrew Goldberg, Chicago at the Michael D. Palm Theatre in CO, The Who’s Tommy directed by Carlos Armesto, Tess A New Rock Opera (NYMF), disOriented, a play by Kyoung H. Park (Peter Jay Sharp Theatre), the Off Broadway play Zelda at the Oasis, Standby (NYMF), Madame Infamy (NYMF), Billy Lewis Jr.’s Jealousy (music video).
Elisabetta was associate choreographer for the PBS children show, “The Electric Company” and for ABC’s 2010 “One Life To Live” musical episodes. In addition, Elisabetta travels extensively to teach master classes and workshops throughout North America and across the globe; she has also been a guest teacher at Broadway Dance Center and at Steps on Broadway in NYC.
Lynne Grossman has decades of performing and teaching experience, and currently serves as the Dance Auditions Coordinator for the Department of Theatre and Dance at Montclair State University. She has also taught at New Jersey Ballet, Front-n-Center for Performing Arts, Sharron Miller’s Academy for Performing Arts, and The Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. While on faculty at The University of Texas at Austin, she received the College of Fine Arts Teaching Excellence Award.
Lynne’s early dance training began with Fred Danieli at the Garden State Ballet. She was then fortunate to meet and study extensively with renowned master teacher and choreographer, Gabriela Darvash, performing ballets such as Cinderella, Swan Lake, and Walpurgis Night. Her professional career continued with the Israel Ballet, Austin Ballet Theatre, Sharir Modern Dance Company and the Texas National Dance Theatre as co-founder and Director of the Academy. Lynne danced roles in classics such as, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, and Sleeping Beauty. She was honored to perform George Balanchine works including, Serenade, Symphony in C, Concerto Borocco, and Valse Fantasie. And also performed works by Doug Verone, David Parsons and many original pieces by contemporary artists. At Radio City Music Hall, Lynne performed in over 300 shows as both a ballet and jazz dancer.
BALLET, JAZZ, POINTE
New York native Courtney Jordan, earned a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College, under the direction of Katie Langan. She has performed works by Christopher D'Amboise, Murray Louis, Anthony Ferro, and Maurice Brandon Curry. Ms. Jordan was company manager for Matthew Neff, and continues to work with him on his many projects. She has been an instructor at Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, Pulse PAC, Broadway Dance Center, and David Sanders Dance Dynamics.
Hilary began her training at age 8 and was dancing professionally with the Indianapolis Ballet Theater by age 14. She trained at The Chautauqua School of Dance, The Washington School of Ballet, The Rock School of The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet School and The School of American Ballet before joining the Metropolitan Opera Ballet in New York City.
As a student at SAB, Hilary appeared in Christopher Wheeldon’s Le Voyage and participated in the New York City Ballet Education Department’s Lecture Demonstration program, performing Peter Martin’s Eight Easy Pieces, Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Cortege Hongrois and Puss n’Boots. Hilary danced principal roles in Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, under the tutelage of New York City Ballet's Patricia McBride and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, and performed in Petipa’s Giselle and Balanchine’s Serenade, Western Symphony, La Source and Four Temperaments.
Hilary is an ABT® Certified Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Writing from Columbia University where she graduated cum laude and lives in Montclair, NJ with her husband and three children.
JAZZ, HIP HOP
Jitka is a dancer, model, teacher and choreographer specializing in lyrical, hip-hop, jazz, and contemporary dance. She is a member of the Elements Community Dance Group and graduated from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague with a major in choreography and trained further at Steps on Broadway in New York.
As a performer, Jitka has appeared in music videos with Victoria Jones, Jaclyn Rose, and Harley; in commercials for Subway, Hanes, American Apparel, T-Mobile, Heineken, and Bud Light; and on film in “Frances Ha,” 2011.
Since 2009, Jitka has been a judge in Prague’s biggest annually-televised dance contest, “Dance Group of the Year.”
Jitka has choreographed for festivals, television, fashion shows, dance groups and theater and served as a judge for dance competitions.
COMPANY TEAM - KIDS ON BROADWAY, MUSICAL THEATRE, TAP PRODUCTIONS, MINI MTC
Katie Claire holds a BFA from Shenandoah University in Musical Theatre and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Theatre Pedagogy emphasis in Dance/Movement and is a proud member of AEA. Katie has appeared in numerous regional productions. Some of her favorites include: The Producers, Nunsense, Guys and Dolls, The Sound of Music, Beauty and the Beast and Footloose.
As a choreographer, Katie choreographed Urinetown, Carousel, Cabaret, High School Musical, Spring is Here, and Pajama Game at Five Towns College; Shout! The Mod Musical, 13, How to Eat Like a Child, School House Rocks, and Dear Edwina Junior for the John Engeman Theatre Children’s Ensemble.
Katie was an Associate Professor of Dance and Movement at Five Towns College and then transitioned into teaching Children’s Theatre at the John Engeman Theatre in Northport Long Island.
KIDS ON BROADWAY, DANCE COMBO, HIP KIDZ
Jillian is so excited to be joining the CAPAS faculty here in the great state of New Jersey where she began her performing career as a young child! She received her BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University in NYC and has spent over a decade as a professional performing artist all over the globe. As a proud member of the Actors Equity Association she has performed in prestigious NYC and regional theaters including The Theater at St Clements (off-Broadway) and The Papermill Playhouse. Additionally, she has sung the National Anthem for the NY Knicks, spent a year headlining a luxury cruise liner, and performed as 80’s popstar Debbie Gibson’s swing in a large scale Cirque production. Jillian is extremely passionate about using her talents and experience to work with children of all ages and help them experience the joys of artistic expression and performance!
HIPKIDZ, DANCE COMBO, TAP
Kerri is co-founder and managing director of Dance.Laugh.Learn. a music, movement and drama program for kids, and she is a performer who specializes in theatre for young audiences (TYA). She is an alumna of the educational theatre program at NYU where she graduated with a BS, along with a certification to teach theatre in the state of NY. She has performed with a long roster of theatre companies who make it their mission to provide educational shows and assemblies to both children and adult audiences including: Winceyco, ArtsPower National Touring Theatre, Arithmitickles, and Periwinkle Theatre for Youth.
ADJUNCT: PRIVATE VOICE/PIANO, MUSICAL DIRECTOR
Joseph Hill graduated with the Master of Music degree (MM) in voice from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. A native of Arkansas, he earned a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree in vocal performance from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, where he also held the prestigious post as campus organist at the Daniel Memorial Chapel, presiding over its newly installed C. B. Fisk, Opus 121 pipe organ. Mr. Hill has appeared as vocal soloist with the Bach Choir of Bethlehem and has made other solo appearances with Amherst Early Music and the title role in Handel's Solomon with the Choral Arts Society of New Jersey. He has appeared with the Vertical Player Repertory (Caccini's La Calisto), Metropolitan Opera Guild (Tolomeo in Handel's Cesare), Gotham Early Music Scene (various concerts), and Operamission in NYC (Narciso in Handel's Agrippina). He was selected as a finalist for the National Opheus Vocal Competition, where he won the Orpheus Handel Award. He has performed regularly with period ensembles La Fiocco and Vox Fidelis, and made his Off-Broadway debut in 2010 in Guy Frederick Glass’ The Last Castrato. Mr. Hill is in his twelfth year as Director of Music and Organist at the Community Presbyterian Church of Mountainside, NJ.
Aimee Willis holds a BA from UCLA and a MM from Northwestern. Her operatic career started at the young age of 22 when, directly out of college, she became a leading soprano at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in Germany. She has performed with famous conductors all over the world, including Giuseppe Sinopoli, Jiri Kout, Richard Buckley, Carlo Rizzi, Christopher Keene, and Fred Scott. In her concert work, she was fortunate to be included in Guiseppe Sinopoli’s first Carmen with Agnes Baltsa, accompanied by The Danish Radio Orchestra and broadcast in Copenhagen, which she then reprised in Berlin with Baltsa, Neil Shicoff and Denyce Graves. Also under the baton of Sinopoli at the Santa Cecilia in Rome, Aimee performed Parsifal with Waltraut Meier and Rene Kollo. At the Interlaken Festival in Switzerland, Ms. Willis sang selections from Porgy and Bess with one of the great portrayers of Porgy, Simon Estes.
In addition, Aimee sang numerous performances at the Berlin Philharmonic, including Bach’s B Minor Mass and St. Matthews’ Passion. Since returning to America, Aimee is creating a buzz with her critically acclaimed portrayals of the title roles in Salome (Atlanta Opera) and Tosca (Opera Fort Worth). Other acclaimed roles include, Fidelio(Leonore) at Atlanta Opera, EugeneOnegin (Tatiana) in Russian with the Hawaii Opera and Atlanta Opera, The Marriage Of Figaro (The Countess) at Hawaii Opera, Un Ballo in Maschera (Amelia), and Don Carlo (Elisabetta) both at Arizona Opera.
Laura Black holds a Master of Music in Opera/Musical Theatre Performance from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. Passionate about all genres of music, she has had the privilege to perform musical theatre roles as well as operatic roles across the country. Favorite roles include Julie in Carousel, Graziella in West Side Story and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. Laura was as the soprano soloist with St. Barnabas on the Dessert, performing numerous works including Faure’s Requiem. She also had the pleasure of performing Beethoven’s Ninth with the Winston-Salem Symphony. Laura originated the role of Juliet in David Chesky’s Juliet and Romeo, performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Laura is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.
Marisa's life long passion for theater and performing eventually evolved into her becoming a casting director at one of NYC's top casting offices. Upon graduating from Rutgers with BA in Theatre Arts, and in Communications & Media Studies, while also pursuing a career in the arts, she worked as an office manager at a telecommunications company. Her professional path started when she interned in a production office for Broadway's Hairspray. From there, her casting journey began. She assisted at Telsey & Co while they were casting The Wedding Singer, Tarzan and Legally Blonde the Musical on Broadway and the feature film Across the Universe. She also assisted on Equity Principle Auditions, Equity Chorus Calls, and immediate replacement castings for Broadway shows such as Wicked, Hairspray, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and All Shook Up. She then worked at CESD Talent Agency in both the youth and beauty divisions. Marisa has been working at Beth Melsky Casting for over six years casting SAG-AFTRA and non-union talent for International, National-network (including Super Bowl spots), regional and Internet commercials (both on-camera and voice overs), as well as Industrials, PSAs, and short film. Some popular commercial spots include Verizon, Crest, Liberty Mutual, Amazon Echo, Microsoft, TD Ameritrade, New York Lotto, Snickers and Bud Light. Marisa also continued to study acting at the William Esper Studio under William Esper himself. She independently teaches seminars, master workshops, and privately coaches students in the NY and NJ area on auditioning and acting techniques for both on-camera and theatre. Marisa is very excited to join the CAPAS team, and bring her expertise to our students.
Joe is thrilled to be joining CAPAS on the administrative side of things! As a performer, Joe is a member of Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and has appeared on the first season of The Knick on Cinemax, and the final season of HBO's Boardwalk Empire (Co-Star). Some favorite musical theatre credits include a tour of Fiddler on the Roof (Motel) two productions of A Little Night Music (Henrik) A Christmas Carol (Young Scrooge) and Funny Girl (Ziegfeld Tenor). Joe is currently pursuing his Master's Degree in Social Work.
DIRECTOR OF DANCE - LYRICAL, JUMPS AND TURNS
Raised in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, Calen Kurka started his training in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Musical Theatre, Modern, and Chinese Dance. He then later moved to Edmonton, Alberta, furthering his training competitively.
Currently on faculty at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, as an instructor Calen has taught across Canada, the U.S. and Japan, and more recently in Ireland at Dublin's Dance Jam '07. He is currently instructing for Dance Masters of America as one of their Master Faculty, and is also on faculty with Dance Educators of America. His choreography has been recognized as outstanding at many competitions throughout the U.S. and Canada, and has been the recipient of many awards. In addition to teaching in and around New York he's also assisted choreographer, director, instructor, Michele Assaf.
Calen's performing credits include being an original member of the first national tour of Jeff Amsden's widely acclaimed "A Few Good Men Dancin'", and performing with recording artist Carmella in a tribute concert to Cher. He's also worked closely with choreographer/instructor Chris Hale. As a featured performer, Calen's stage credits include having spent a year on contract with Tokyo Disney as a Main Stage performer, and taking on such leading roles as Capt. Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music" and Seymour in "Little Shop of Horrors" in regional stage productions. In addition he can be seen in "The Live! at Broadway Dance Center" video series "Turns and Turn Combos", dancing with choreographer Danny Herman, and heading his own instructional video "Floor Work with Calen Kurka and Chris Hale": A new addition to the "Live at BDC" collection.
As founder and Artistic Director of Pushing Progress Contemporary Dance, Calen hopes to continue his journey as an artist, instructor and choreographer. He wishes to inspire, and be continually inspired by those who so honestly give of their talent and themselves. He continues, with his company, to create work pushing new movement, strong technique, honesty, emotional commitment, and growth. It is an evolutionary journey with no boundaries, no limits, no ends.
Pushing Progress Contemporary Dance is a New York based contemporary dance and workshop company under the direction of Calen Kurka. Born out of a desire to strengthen awareness of mind, movement, and body, :pushing progress is considered a new dynamic force in the dance community bringing forward a new generation of technical strength and contemporary movement. It is pioneering new programs for training and making knowledge of the the human anatomy as a foundation for technique in dance. accessible not only to an elite, but to anybody who wishes to truly understand their ability and artistry as a dancer.
The work of Calen J. Kurka is considered highly athletic and of a new energy. Combining contemporary dance with the improvement and education of oneself, the work is both noetic, and emotionally charged with a focus on breaking boundaries and finding new perspective on movement and the challenges that bind us to our own bodies. It is a process determined to find artistic style and beauty through technique, the strength of intention, and trust of one’s energetic self.
DIRECTOR OF MUSICAL THEATER - MUSICAL THEATER, TAP, MIXED DANCE, GROUP VOICE
John recently graduated from New York University with a Master’s Degree in Performing Arts Administration and also holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Shenandoah University. John is the Artistic Director for Summer at the State, a summer theatre in connection with the State Theatre Center for the Arts in Southwestern, PA. He is also the co-founder of Larger Than Life Shows, a NYC based production and entertainment company. His directing and choreography credits include: Gypsy, Mary Poppins, Hairspray, The Producers, 42nd Street, The Nutcracker, Cats, Sweet Charity, Beauty and the Beast, and Legally Blonde. He is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association and his performing credits include: Spamalot, La Cage Aux Folles, Gypsy, All Shook Up, A Chorus Line, Anything Goes, Chicago, 42nd Street, and Footloose.
For over ten years, Page has been helping young people grow into artists by providing a nurturing environment in which to train, develop and be heard. As the parent of a performer herself, Page originally became involved in the arts to help create a positive place for her own child to study. But quickly, her dedication and business savvy became apparent, and she was asked to become a co-owner, business director, and company manager of her daughter's studio-a position she held for six years before founding CAPAS. Page is mentor and den mother to all her students, believing very strongly that every child has something special to offer. Her greatest joy is advising students and helping them succeed in all aspects of their lives. Page is regularly called on for help with everything from audition preparation, to fashion help. And, having supported her own daughter through the many joys and challenges of growing up in the arts, she is well positioned to mentor young people through everything from social conflicts to college auditions. It can be very difficult to navigate the world of performing arts training. Page created CAPAS to provide a safe, challenging and professional space for students to explore their creativity, take risks, and excel. If you put the positivity and heart back into the process, the results will speak for themselves.