COMPANY BIOS

Artistic Director | Assistant Director | Board of Directors | Dancers

Dancers:
 

  Jamir" Rimaj Robert Todd
Jamir is originally from Brazil.. Dance is Jamir's life inspiration for as long as he can remember. He learned the Hip Hop dance genre and credits dance with keeping him out of trouble. At the age of sixteen, Jamir began to do performances at CEG Dance Academy. He currently works for Eat Right Now which is a program that caters to children in schools teaching nutrition through dance. In the future, he would like to continue schooling, gain technique in more genres of dance and dreams of being part of a world renown dance company.

  Stephanie Vasta
Stephanie earned a B.A in Psychological and Social Sciences from Penn State Abington. During her years at Penn State she participated in the University's Dance Company as a dancer and student choreographer, and after graduating she became one of the Company's Associate Directors. She currently teaches at Carol Ann School of Dance, Jenkintown Dance Arts, and the Academy of Dance Artistry. Stephanie performed professionally around the country with New Vision Cirque and Dance Company, and locally with companies including Vada Dance Collective, Underground Dance Works, and Jenkintown Dance Company. She has been with ContempraDANCE Theatre since 2004. She toured Poland with the Company performing at Ladek Zdroj International Dance Festival with performances in Wroslow and Klodzko.

  Sarah Warren
Sarah is originally from Maryland, currently resides in Philadelphia, PA where she received her BFA in Dance Performance & Choreography from Temple University. Since graduation, Sarah has performed work for Keila Cordova Dances, The InterACTion Project and many other freelance artists in the Philadelphia area. Sarah formerly was an apprentice with NYC based company Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre and currently dances for Putty Dance Project, Nickerson-Rossi Dance (East), and ContempraDANCE Theatre Company.

  Kathleen Kerner
Kathleen is originally from North Carolina. She graduated in May of 2007 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BFA degree in Dance Performance and Choreography. Kathleen was a member of Hoctor's Dance Caravan Company traveling around the United States performing and holding workshops. She was a member of the John Gamble Dance Theatre from 2004-2007, and performed with them in North Carolina Dance Festival and the Fringe Festival. In the fall of 2005 she spent six months studying dance at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth, Australia. Along with dancing for Contempra Dance Theatre, Kathleen has been a member of Vada Dance Collective and Plasma Dance Theatre since January of 2009. She was also in the Philly Fringe Festival in September of 2008, dancing for Tammy Jean McMullin.

  Elise Mele
Elise is a dancer and choreographer in the Philadelphia area, born in New Jersey. She graduated from Drexel University where she had the honor of working with choreographers such as Olive Prince, Lindsay Browning, Tania Isaac, Leah Stein, Jennifer Morely, and many more. Elise also had the opportunity to work with Philadelphia Dance artist Gina Hoch-Stall and her company Real Live People. Currently, Elise is performing in upcoming works with Olive Prince Dance, she also is a company member in the Nickerson Rossi Dance Company (East). This is Elise's first performance with ContempraDANCE Theatre Company.

  Bilal Simpson
Bilal is a Charlotte, North Carolina Native who began dancing at the age of 10 formally at Fletcher School of Dance first studying Hip-Hop and secondly Ballet. In 2004 attended Northwest High School of the Arts with a focus of Ballet. Also in 2004 Bilal joined BB Dance Productions and afterwards Miss Donnas School of Dance where he began to compete at dance competitions. Bilal won several 1st overalls and platinum high scored awards and 4 titles. During High School Bilal began to dance professionally with the NBA and WNBA Dance Team. Shortly after, Bilal began to start his own journey exploring choreography and winning awards at several dance competitions and opened the door to choreographing throughout the state of North Carolina. In 2005 Bilal moved to Philadelphia, PA to attend University of the Arts where he studied Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Horton, Graham, Limon, Dunham and several other forms of dance. Shortly after relocating Bilal began to teach at Dshay Academy of Dance Arts which opened the door to several other opportunities; Teaching at Progressive Center for Dance; and Dance Workshops for studios such as Straight to the Pointe Dance Studio and Triplett Dance Academy. In 2009 Bilal joined Grace Dance Theater, a grass roots Dance Company that is Horton based and still currently resides there. Bilal became a resident choreographer for all the 3 company levels, GDT, GD2, and Training Company of Grace. Bilal has had the opportunity to work with prestigious choreographers and artists such as Mia Micheals, Abby Lee Miller, Dale Lamb, Dee Caspary, Travis Wall and Anthony Burrell.

  Daria Vartanian-Gibbs
Daria trained at ContempraDance School and was a member of ContempraYouth Dance Ensemble from age 7-18. She debuted in ContempraDANCE Theatre's "Woman" as the daughter at the age of 4. She attended the Creative and Performing Arts High School in Philadelphia her freshman and sophomore years studying with LeDeva Davis, Michael Susten, Derrell Williams, Shawn Lamere Williams and Peter Sabasino. She performed in Disney World, Ladek Zdroj International Dance Festival in Poland, Schuylkill Valley Dance Company's Nutcracker and Melange Dance Company. Daria trains with Meghan Braun of Waves Dance Company. In June 2014, Daria received her yoga teacher training certification for Jivamukti Yoga attending a 300 hour program in Costa Rica training with Sharon Gannon and David Life. She received her BFA from Temple University receiving the College of Liberal Arts’ Annie Hyman Award for Outstanding Service & Honors Society. Daria presently teaches dance & yoga throughout the Philadelphia area.

  Chayvon (BSwan) Dessus
Chayvon who has recently took on a stage name known as “ B. Swan" (black swan) that have been developed during the journey of building her career in dance. BSwan has been dancing for about 17 years studying various techniques including Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, along with Burlesque Dance. BSwan's journey in dance started out at an early age with L&L Dance Production, YPTC, infatuation Dance Company then later became a member of the Youth Ensemble with Koresh Dance Company back in 2010. She's currently teaches at multiple Dance Schools throughout Philadelphia such as L&L Dance Productions, Bella Ballerina Dance Academy, Precisions Pride Dance and A Leap Beyond Dance. BSwan is currently apart of The Pure Project Dance Company who's also the Assistant Director of The Pure Project founded by Itola Byrd. BSwan is also a solo inspiring artist who has her own brand, dance movement that is successfully going on four years now. Her goal is to inspire other Dancers/Artists especially the youth to dance as if they were Black Swans, her motto she lives by is to BRare, BNoticed, BYou!

  Eric Wood
Eric is from West Philadelphia where he was introduced to the hip hop dance culture at the age of 17. In 2011 he began dancing with Illstyle and Peace production touring for three years dancing hip hop and African. His experience with Illstyle company educated him in dance movement as well as the history of hip hop culture.

  Tia Di Pietro
From Northern New Jersey Tia is a 2012 graduate of DeSales University with a B.A. in Dance. Technically trained in ballet, modern, and jazz; She has created two original pieces that have been showcased in New York (Dance New Amsterdam), Pennsylvania (Emerging Choreographers Concert) and Wisconsin (ACDFA). Most recently, Tia was selected from a national group of candidates’ to participate with Regional Dance America’s Choreographer’s conference. Her choreography was presented and performed under the direction of “ Nelly van Bommel”. She has worked administratively and artistically with Freespace Dance Company as an Intern, as well as performing and choreographing along side Weird Al Yankovic in his concert Apocalypse. Tia was also a member of the DeSales University dance team for four years. While training at the King Centre she danced for the New Jersey Foundation of Dance and Theater Arts. Also performing pieces under various residences from all over the United States.

  Lisa Urbanowicz
Lisa is from NJ where she began dancing with The New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble. She went on to train with members of Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, New Jersey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Paul Taylor, Geo Hubela, and Cecily Bradly. She was captain and choreographer of her varsity high school dance team and coach of her college dance team at Monmouth University. She performed at events such as KTU’s Beatstock, World of Dance, charity events, and local artists in the Philadelphia area. Lisa is currently a member of female hip-hop company, FloMotion, is a choreographer for Beat Addikts United, and teaches at Dance Artistry in Swedesboro, NJ. When not dancing, Lisa is a full-time special needs elementary teacher in Freehold, NJ.

  Sarah McWilliams
Sarah grew up dancing in Glen Mills, PA and went on to graduate with a BFA in Dance from Temple University. She performed in works by faculty members Jillian Harris and Dr. Laura Katz Rizzo, and guest artists Larry Keigwin and Kyle Abraham. Sarah travelled to Israel where she spent five months training with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. She currently works as a dance instructor for students of all ages at KICKS Academy of Dance, Institute of Dance Artistry, and KMC Dance, and also teaches barre fitness and children's creative movement classes throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Additionally, Sarah is a company member with Philadelphia-based jazz dance company Project Moshen and NYC-based contemporary company kaycruddenco.

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