Sara Spizzichini, a native of Massillon, Ohio, is a graduate of Point Park University having received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. Prior to her college career, she trained under the artistic direction of Ms. Jeanne Mahaffey, Inna Stabrova, and Mitchel Federan. In 2012, she graduated from the Jackson School of the Performing Arts. She has spent four consecutive summers performing with Versatile Dance Company (a non-profit organization). She has also had the pleasure of working and performing with Parsons Dance Company (National High School Dance Festival 2016) as well as Pittsburgh’s local Attack Theatre. Sara thrives off of performing and teaching while continually looking for new ways to challenge herself both physically and artistically. She is more than thrilled to be working with The Blanket on this upcoming project!
Jil Stifel is a performer, choreographer and interdisciplinary collaborator. Her work has been supported by The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Heinz Endowments, The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and The Kelly Strayhdorn Theater. Her recent performance credits include appearances with Maree Remalia | merrygogo, The Drops Ins collective, Dave Bernabo’s Modules and Staycee Pearl Dance Project. Jil has performed extensively as a company member of Attack Theatre and Philadelphia’s Miller Rothlein Dance Theatre. She was honored to dance with Kyle Abraham performing his early works in Pittsburgh. She is also a former company member of Labco dance, TanzTheatre Andre Koslowski and Gia T presents in addition to her work with independent choreographers. Jil currently teaches dance at the University of Pittsburgh where she is pursuing an MS in Wellness Research. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with Highest Honors from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts.
Eric Lobenberg was raised in Las Vegas, NV where he discovered his love for dance at the age of 14. After realizing this passion he attended the Las Vegas Academy for the Performing arts, where he studied voice and dance for four years. After graduating he was accepted into Point Park University, where he is majoring in dance with a concentration in modern dance. Since attending Point Park he has performed works by Sonya Tayeh, Alexandra Damiani, Anthony Tudor, and others. Last summer Eric spent some of his break training at the Martha Graham School and this summer he is excited to be working with The Blanket as well as attending Springboard Danse Montreal and returning to the Graham School.
Lindsay Fisher (originally from Butler, PA) spent the bulk of her career in New York City dancing with Helen Simoneau Danse (rehearsal director), Nathan Trice/RITUALS, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Collective Body/ Dance Lab, Ellen Cornfield, Daniel Charon, Camille A. Brown, Ayo Jackson, Brenda Daniels, Sean Sullivan, Steve Rooks, Sidra Bell and VIA Dance Collaborative (founding member). She has performed in Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera’s West Side Story and North Shore Music Theater’s Victor/Victoria. She received her BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2002 where she was the recipient of the prestigious Sarah Graham Kenan Endowed Fellowship of Excellence. She also received her MFA in Choreography from the University of Iowa in 2014 as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and as the first recipient of the Strategic Initiative Fellowship recognizing excellence in her field. She was recently awarded a Community Supported Artist Grant through the New Hazlett Theater (Pittsburgh, PA) and presented an evening of her work in April, 2017. She is also the co-founder and co-director of FORGE Summer Dance Intensive, hosted at Slippery Rock University. This year, she is excited to be joining the dance faculties of both Slippery Rock University and Point Park University, in Pittsburgh.
Bianca Melidor is a rising senior dance major at Point Park University concentrating in jazz. During her time at Point Park, she has performed in pieces choreographed by Troy Powell, Mark Morris, José Limon, Kiesha Lalama, Ruben Graciani, Jessica Hendricks and many other well-known choreographers. Bianca has also participated in summer programs like the Mark Morris Dance Group intensive, Ballet West, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Atlanta Ballet. Bianca is excited to work and perform with The Blanket and the rest of her cast members.
Sierra is a recent graduate from Point Park University receiving a degree in Dance and Entertainment Management. She has performed under the direction of Gregory Dolbashian in The Crowd Poem, Kyle Abraham in Continuous Relations, David Leventhal in Mark Morris' Grande Duo, and Miki Orihara in Martha Graham’s Steps in the Street. Most recently, Sierra worked alongside Jim Cooney, Camille Rolla, and Tony award winning Michael Rupert as Dance Captain/Swing for Sweet Charity. Previously, Sierra enjoyed working under the direction of Jim Cooney as Dance Captain in the Point Park Conservatory Dance Company 2016 production in Pittsburgh, PA. She recently choreographed the children’s benefit concert Mark Milovat’s Christmas in the City (2015) and Mark Milovat's Christmas in America (2016) at the Byham Theater.
Michaela Hoelldobler recently graduated from Point Park University with a BFA in Jazz Dance. She graduated high school from the contemporary dance department at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Throughout her schooling career she has been honored to perform works by Jose Limon, Sean Sullivan, Bill T. Jones, Luke Murphy, Ruben Graciana, Kiesha Lalama, Ronen Koresh, Matt Pardo, James Gregg, and MADBOOTS DANCE. Outside of school, Michaela held a brief company member position with MAC Ballet Company. Her choreography has appeared on stage at both Point Park University and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
John (JD) David DeNeff is a 20 year Kansas City native. He is currently working towards his BFA in Dance at Point Park University here in Pittsburgh, PA. John has worked with numerous choreographers since being at Point Park's conservatory. Some names include, Ori Flomin, Darrell Moultrie, Mark Burrell, and Jose Limon. He is thrilled to be an apprentice for The Blanket's first production of Lucinda Child's Early Works. He considers it an honor to be working under the direction of Matt Pardo and Caitlin Scranton this summer.
Georgia Bray grew up in Sydney, Australia where she made the move to the United States at the age of 18 to begin studying at the versatile conservatory, Point Park University. During her time at Point Park University, achieving a BFA in dance with a concentration in Jazz, she was able to work with numerous choreographers. Her latest works include the premiere of MADBoots' ‘Helpless People’ and 'Karmic Variations' choreographed my Jason Mcdole. Last Winter Georgia was able to continue her training with the Bodytraffic's intensive, and now she is super excited to be apart of The Blanket this Summer. Even though she is miles away from her homeland she will continue to get the biggest amount of support from her family and friends.
The Blanket is bringing seminal choreographer Lucinda Childs to Pittsburgh this summer to set 4 of her early works on local dancers. Visit out EVENTS page for more information on the performance.
Lucinda Childs began her career at the Judson Dance Theater in 1963 where she choreographed thirteen works and performed in works of Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, and Robert Morris. Since forming her dance company in 1973, she has created over fifty works, both solo and ensemble.
In 1976, she collaborated with Robert Wilson and Philip Glass on the opera Einstein on the Beach, as principal performer and choreographer for which she received a Village Voice Obie award. In the subsequent revival in '84 Childs choreographed the two "Field Dances" for the opera. Childs has appeared in a number of Wilson's major productions among them, Marguerite Duras' Maladie de la Mort, Wilson's I Was Sitting on my Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating, Heiner Muller's Quartett, and Wilson and Glass' opera White Raven and Arvo Part’s Adams Lament. and collaborated with Robert Wilson and Mikhail Baryshnikov on Wilson’s new production Letter to a Man which premiered in Spoleto Italy in 2015.
She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1979 for her collaboration, Dance, with music by Philip Glass, and film décor by Sol LeWitt. In a Washington Post review of Dance, Alan M. Kriegsman wrote, "a few times, at most, in the course of a decade a work of art comes along that makes a genuine breakthrough, defining for us new modes of perception and feeling and clearly belonging as much to the future as to the present. Such a work is Dance".
Since 1981, she has choreographed over thirty works for major ballet companies which include the Paris Opera Ballet, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, and Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Company. She has also worked as choreographer and more recently both choreographer and director for sixteen opera productions including Mozart's Zaide for La Monnaie in Brussels, Stravinsky's Le Rossignol et Oedipe, Vivaldi's Farnace, and Handel's Alessandro, voted "Opera of the Year" by Mezzo-TV 2013. In 2014 she directed a new production of John Adams Dr. Atomic for the Opera du Rhin and Jean Baptiste Lully's Atys and Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice for Opera Kiel in Germany.
The Summerscape Festival at Bard College commissioned the revival of Dance in 2009, which continues to tour in the United States and Europe and is currently included in the repertory of the Lyons Opera Ballet. Available Light (1983) with music by John Adams and set by architect, Frank Gehry was revived for the 2015-16 season, and she is recently choreographed Beethoven’s Grande Fugue for the Lyons Opera Ballet, which premieres in November, 2016.
Childs received the Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement in 2001, and was elevated from the rank of Officer to Commander in France's Order of Arts and Letters in 2004, and in 2009 she received the NEA/NEFA American Masterpiece Award. In the summer of 2017 she will be honored with the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement in Choreography.